The sky was always dark.
The first thing Jimin had noticed upon arriving in Aldair was how the sky was dark despite how his tablet’s clock - which was set on Aldair’s time zone - said it was still too early. It was an intense blue color over his head, full of silver and golden spots that he knew were stars or other planets of the same galaxy, and Jimin still had a hard time trying to look away from it because it was a breathtaking sight.
He soon learned that the planet’s sky was always dark colored, no matter the time. In the early hours of the morning he could see purple hues if he looked up, painted almost pink on the horizon. The sky grew dark from then on until it was a deep midnight blue. It was incredibly different from the always gray sky Jimin had been used to seeing back at Earth, which hadn’t been of a cerulean blue shade for decades. The streets of Aldair were always illuminated, the light getting stronger as time went by to keep up with the changes of the sky, and it had been difficult to adapt at first, the sensation of living a night that never ended bothering Jimin to no end for over a month.
But it eventually got easier. Jimin learned to read the small changes in the sky and to identify which time of the day it was based on that. He accepted any help he could get from the Aldairians to get used to not only the sky but everything that was different from his own dying planet.
Aldair was in a galaxy close to the Milky Way - the Ordarium galaxy - and it was a planet bigger and healthier than Earth. The first contact between the planets happened over a thousand years ago and now the Earth’s population was finally starting to migrate to Aldair. The planet had the perfect environment for Earthlings to live as well as a culture that wasn’t too different, and it was easy for the two of them to find a balance.
Now, two years after arriving in the planet, Jimin was confident that he was completely used to everything around him. Truth be told, it had taken him a while to stop feeling the urge to stare at every new bit of information. Such things as the sky, which was so different from Earth’s; the big and impressive plants that could be seen spread around the city; their technology that was developed from the Celsthite, their most precious mineral which was also what Aldair used to create their energy; and the planet’s natives. It had been hard to not stare at their pointed ears, tails, and at their sirahs - the drawings that ran all over their bodies.
The awe Jimin used to feel every time he saw one of them, who looked like a fairy tale character who jumped straight out of a book, eventually died down and he barely blinked at the sight of colored skin and moving tails. But now, standing in front of the counter of a small electronics repair shop that had just opened close to his workplace, Jimin was having a hard time trying to force his tongue to unglue itself from the roof of his mouth for him to start speaking, which he was failing miserably to do. He had put his tablet on the countertop when he was still waiting for the clerk to leave the back of the shop and when the Aldairian had walked through the door and in the counter’s direction Jimin had gulped and stared, glad his hands were free because he was sure he could have dropped his tablet to the floor.
And now there he was, watching the Aldairian standing in front of him. The guy was looking to Jimin and back at the tablet the Earthling had placed on the countertop beforehand. Repeatedly. He had a bored and slightly irritated expression on his face as he waited impatiently for Jimin to explain what his problem was. Jimin was sure the guy had spoken something upon entering the room but if he was honest, his brain didn’t really register anything.
In his defense, Jimin had never seen an Aldairian as gorgeous as the one in front of him. And he had never functioned all that well in front of pretty people. It wouldn’t be any different just because this pretty person had a catlike tail and marks on his skin.
And oh, heavens. His sirah. They weren’t big and dark colored as most Aldairians’. No, the patterns were thin and delicate, golden drawings on his temple, cheeks and on the side of his necks. Jimin could see his marks on the back of his hands and he knew it spread all over his body: on his arms, back and legs. But he refused to think about how the swirling drawings must have looked like on the skin that was covered. He’d rather not go there.
Jimin took a deep breath to clear his mind, or at least try to, and finally opened his mouth to speak.
“Hi, uh,” He cleared his throat when his voice sounded higher than normal, “It’s my tablet.” He pointed a finger at the object, doing his best to look into the clerk’s eyes. “It’s Earth’s technology and I’ve had it for four years. It’s outdated but it was working just fine until two days ago.” He watched as the other nodded encouragingly, taking the object in his hands to watch it closer. He clicked on the power button and the screen lit up, but not entirely. Jimin pointed at the dark lines in the bottom of the screen. “It was just one at first. But then more lines started appearing.” He sighed. “I know it’s old but I wanted to know if there’s anything that can be done before I start looking for a new one.”
Aldair used a mix of Strouter’s, Earth’s, and their own technology to produce their electronics. The result of the partnership between the three planets was also what allowed Jimin’s gadgets from Earth to work without a hitch. The Earthling knew that the electronics produced and sold in Aldair had a higher quality if compared to the ones he had brought with him. However, not only was the interface was a little unfamiliar to Jimin, which was his own fault for refusing to let go of his old tablet sooner, but it was also expensive. Jimin was hoping his old tablet could be repaired to last enough for him to look for a good new one to buy that wouldn’t cost him an eye.
The Aldairian nodded once more after Jimin finished explaining his problem and ran his fingers on the screen, swiping from a page to another and going through the basic apps available.
“I can’t fix the damaged pixels,” He started talking, his deep voice sounding more than just a little pleasant to Jimin’s ears. He talked about some technical things Jimin didn’t understand all that well, so he just nodded along. “...so even if it’s impossible to have it back, I can contain it so it will not spread all over the screen. But I need to warn you that it won’t last long. This is an old little thing.”
Jimin nodded with a sigh.
“I just want it to function until I can buy a new one. I can’t afford to be without a tablet.”
“That I can do.” He pulled a drawer and took a piece of paper from it, where he wrote down how much the repair would cost for Jimin, who looked at it for a while before nodding.
Jimin had been happy and relieved when a coworker told him that the shop close to the Principal’s building repaired not only Aldairian gadgets but Earthling electronics too. The price was within his expectations, so he paid without a problem. When the clerk reached his hand out to take Jimin’s money, the Earthling glimpsed at the sirah in the back of the Aldairian’s hands, not being able to stop himself. He had only heard about golden sirahs and it was his first time actually seeing it in person. And not only the drawings were mesmerizing but the man was incredibly pretty, with or without his sirah. Paired with a small nose, sharp eyes, and pouty lips, the golden drawings made him look almost ethereal.
After he had Jimin’s money and tablet, the Aldairian sent him a smile that looked much too forced.
“Anything else?” He asked after handing Jimin his receipt, his eyes narrowing in a warning that Jimin didn’t really understand, maybe because he was too busy trying to not zone out again at the pleasant sound of the other’s voice.
“No, that’s all. When can I get my tablet back?”
Jimin once again had the impression the guy relaxed a little but didn’t have time to dwell on it because the clerk was giving him the date.
It was safe to say Jimin would be coming back to that store every time something broke.
The Aldairian clerk wasn’t someone easy to talk to, Jimin soon discovered. During all the times Jimin tried to start some sort of conversation - which weren’t all that many, given that he needed an excuse to go to the shop and he didn’t have as many malfunctional gadgets as he would have liked - he either arched an eyebrow without saying a word as if he was daring Jimin to say anything more or, which was the best case scenario, he gave monosyllabic answers, clearly not intending to indulge him in small talk.
And Jimin just lowered his head with his cheeks burning a little in embarrassment and walked away from the counter. No matter how many times he tried talking to him, he would never force his presence on him when it was clearly unwelcomed.
He just couldn’t stop trying every time he entered the shop, wondering if that was the day the Aldairian would give him a real smile and answer him with something more than ‘yeah’.
He set his beer down on one of the tables of the bar he liked to go to, the one who sold Earthling beer - among other things -, and let himself fall on the chair with a sigh. He pursed his lips as he watched the condensation on the glass, pondering if it was time for him to stop it all. It had been a month since he first saw the man and he had visited the shop at least once every week. He didn’t even have a good reason to be there anymore and he was sure the clerk was already aware of that as well. He feared he was starting to turn into one of those annoying insistent types and that wasn’t something Jimin wanted. He really wanted to get to know the Aldarian more but if he didn’t want to, Jimin couldn’t just continue to impose his company the way he had been trying to do.
He grabbed the bottle and took a small swing of it, humming under his breath when the liquid went down his throat. The amount of money Jimin was spending monthly to afford the overpriced Earthling beverage on the weekends was starting to make him want to cry but he had always loved a good cold beer too much to just give it up. It was refreshing and relaxing after a long week of work and there weren’t that many human items being sold in Aelhill, the city Jimin lived in, especially not food. Jimin had come to appreciate Aldairian food just like he got used to its clothes and costumes, but he still missed certain human luxuries that just didn't arrive in Aldair yet. Jimin doubted they would ever, as the transportation costs were too high. He was already glad he had found a place to drink a beer, even if it was way more expensive compared to what he used to pay back in Earth. It was turning into one of his favorite places to relax because they not only had a big variety of drinks, but the food was good and the environment was quiet.
Jimin looked at the door, watching people walking inside and out, his mind drifting on its ow back to the clerk. He always tried not to stare but sometimes it was impossible not to watch him as he analyzed whatever problem Jimin brought to him; he was just too beautiful and his movements were too grateful for Jimin not to do it.
When the same Aldairian who was on Jimin’s mind entered the bar, Jimin thought for a brief moment that he was hallucinating. The man looked around the place, his eyes widening a little when his gaze fell on Jimin. He tilted his head to the side and his face lit up slightly in recognition, and it was in that moment that Jimin understood that he was indeed seeing him there.
It was the first time Jimin saw him without a counter hiding him from the waist down. He was wearing a red blouse with the first two knots untied and hanging loose - Jimin had taken some time to get used to the knots used in place of buttons but he was long over it -, his brown leather pants hugged his hips nicely but they weren’t too tight around his legs, looking comfortable instead of restricting. His blouse was tucked inside the pants and he had a belt wrapped around the waistband of it, the long edges of it falling on his right side, almost reaching his knees. It was simple attire and it would have been similar to what Jimin himself would wear if he had a coat over it all, but he still looked stunning in it.
There was a movement behind him that attracted Jimin’s eyes and there was his tail, dark golden, thin and smooth like leather, moving languidly behind him as he walked.
Jimin looked down at his beer bottle after a few more seconds, feeling a little too shy to keep staring at him. He drank it slowly, taking small sips and staring at the brown wooden surface of his table. He was so focused on it, so lost in thoughts, that he didn’t hear the approaching steps, startling when a plate of small round cakes was placed in front of him. Jimin had tasted them before and knew the herbal flavor of the loaves of bread was heavenly. He hadn't ordered them, though, so he blinked twice before looking up, his eyes widening a little at the sight of the Aldairian from the electronics shop in front of him.
“An offering for you to let me share your table.” The Aldairian said with a small smirk tugging at the right corner of his lips.
Jimin opened and closed his mouth thrice before he looked around and verified that there wasn’t any other free table available.
“Sure!” He winced at the volume of his voice and licked his lips before trying again. “Be my guest,” Jimin said, pointing at the empty chair in front of him.
The Aldairian nodded his head and sat down.
“They’re good to make people a little bit sober after drinking too much.” He pushed the plate closer to Jimin at the same time he took a swing of the drink he had bought for himself, a clear glass filled to the half with a dark liquid Jimin recalled being one of Aldair’s most popular alcoholic drinks, very similar to Earthling whiskey. “But they’re also tasty. So, enjoy.”
“Uhm.” Jimin grabbed one bread from the basket and glanced at the man before taking a bite of it. “Are you sure I don’t owe you anything for this?”
The Aldairian watched him for a little too long to be comfortable and Jimin was shifting uncomfortably on his chair by the time he answered.
“How about a favor?” He smiled at Jimin’s wide eyes and tilted his head to the side. “I can ask for it anytime, so always be on alert, rosy cheeks.”
Jimin felt his face burn slightly with the nickname, which made the Aldairian chuckle softly before taking some bread for himself. Jimin looked down at the one he had in his hands and took another bite of it, chewing with a hum, trying to hide the red he knew was painting his cheeks.
The night looked that much better now.
When Jimin got his current job two years ago, he knew it would be tiring but he never regretted it. The weeks right after he arrived on the planet were difficult ones. Jimin was in one of the first space buses that left Earth to Aldair, so there hadn’t been a strong Earthling support in the planet yet which meant Jimin, and everyone else that came with him, didn’t really have anywhere to look for help when feeling completely lost. As soon as Jimin had heard the news about an Earthling base being built close to the bus station, a couple of months after his arrival, he applied for a job there.
Now, Jimin was responsible for receiving the Earthlings who arrived in Aldair each month, analyzing if they needed help with the language or not, and writing down the contact of the ones who could use a lesson or two. Aldairian wasn’t hard to speak, but Jimin knew how difficult it was to learn a new language, especially when there was the pressure of needing to be fluent in it as soon as possible. He had been nervous when he started working because he had never been a teacher back when he still lived on Earth; but, he discovered that it came easily for him, to teach people Aldairian.
He had just dismissed the group of people that had arrived earlier that day after having given them the address of their assigned homes, a list of names and addresses saved in his tablet. Half of the people who were in the last bus from Earth would be coming back to the base the next day for Aldairian classes with Jimin, some of them barely speaking the basic words. It was more than Jimin was used to having in a classroom and he would have to make sure the classes weren’t too crowded for when the next bus arrived in a few weeks.
He lifted his arms over his head, groaning lowly at the stretch, as he wondered if the Northern base, which was newer than the one Jimin worked at - known as the Principal -, would be able to receive a few of the humans that would be arriving, in case many of them needed Aldairian lessons. The Principal had welcomed a group of ten Earthlings that came from the Northern three months ago, after all, so Jimin didn’t think they would deny his request if it really was necessary.
But Jimin was free for the day and he pulled his coat closed before wrapping the belt around his waist. The black of it contrasted against the light brown of his coat but Jimin liked the combination. He started walking down the street in the direction of the building he lived in, watching as Aldairians and Humans mingled together. Some were walking to their destination, like Jimin, and others unloading the buses that were all around the station. It was an interplanetary station so the content being handled was mostly Earth’s; Food, medicine, researches, and drinks.
Jimin knew he was right when he saw a familiar figure supervising the load of one of the buses that were being put in front of him. He had a tablet in his hands and he wrote something down with a magnetic pen every time he checked the information taped on the boxes. It was the pretty clerk from the electronics repair shop Jimin always frequented and it didn’t take much for him to assume the boxes had all kinds of gadgets’ pieces and tools.
Jimin stopped walking and watched him for a while, trying to decide if it was a good idea to approach him. Maybe some other time Jimin would have just shaken his head and walked away, but the smile and the pet name he had given Jimin a couple of nights ago were fueling his courage. Jimin took a deep breath and let it out noisily before starting to walk in his direction.
The Aldairian was wearing an open coat, the cloth hanging loose on his frame, with his usual leather pants and knee length boots, similar to the ones Jimin himself was wearing. The tip of his tail was swinging slightly, almost brushing the ground, and it was the first time the Earthling noticed how long it actually was. It was slightly curled but if relaxed, it would drag against the ground. It looked smooth and its texture was very similar to the leather of his pants, only of a lighter shade, given its dark golden color.
He frowned and raised his head when Jimin was a few feet away from him. His posture changed when he recognized him, and Jimin couldn’t help but like the way his shoulders and expression relaxed. The relieved expression didn’t last long, however, because soon he smirked, turning to fully face Jimin. His tail moved softly once before keeping still again.
“Well, if it isn’t rosy cheeks.” Jimin bit his inner cheeks at the loud voice that managed to attract some curious glances, trying not to be flustered by the nickname. He smiled (and maybe it was a little more awkward than he wanted) and stopped at a comfortable distance from the other, just close enough for them to talk without needing to speak too loud to be heard. He was thinking about what to answer but his mind went blank when the Aldairian angled his head to the side and watched Jimin with amusement. “I suppose you have business here, too?” His shoulders shook a little with a short and silent laughter, “That or you’re following me, and I’d rather think better of you, so don’t disappoint me.”
Jimin widened his eyes at that despite knowing deep down that it was just a joke at his expense, which was made clear by the smile still playing on the other’s lips. Jimin had seen the Aldairian acting defensive before and it was completely different than how he was acting at the moment. Jimin still felt his face burn at the mere assumption that he had stalked him, though, and he sputtered embarrassedly before finally being able to form coherent words.
“I am not!” He only noticed how unclear his answer was when the other arched an eyebrow at it. “Following you. I’m not following you.” Jimin ran a hand through his hair out of habit, not having to worry about keeping it in place now that he was off work. “I work in the Principal.” he made a pause before continuing. “The Earthling base. You know it, right?” Jimin pointed over his shoulder in a way to indicate the building, which he knew could still be seen from where they were standing. The man’s smile got a little larger and Jimin decided to see it more as a positive answer to his question than as a display of how much Jimin was amusing him. “I just got off work and I saw you here by the buses and, uh.” Jimin flicked his eyes to the boxes near the Aldairian’s feet, just to avert his eyes from his figure for a moment. “Decided to come say hi.”
He felt the skin of his face prickling with the knowledge that the Aldairian was looking intently at him. Jimin looked back in time to see him licking his bottom lip before speaking.
“If that’s so,” His tail moved from side to side a few times but Jimin kept his eyes on his face, past the phase of being awed by how Aldairians could move their tails as easily as their other limbs. His tail was thinner than the ones Jimin usually saw, and it was one of the longest. But it wasn’t something new to Jimin anymore. “Hi, then.”
Jimin watched his face for a heartbeat before nodding his head twice. The Aldairian’s smile got bigger and Jimin could see his pointed canines clearly for the first time. He had just seen glimpses of it while he spoke, which wasn’t often because he tended to slur his words and his lips moved in a way that made it difficult to see his small fangs.
“Hi.” Jimin looked at the boxes again and decided it was worth a shot. Even if he looked like a fool asking the obvious, it was better than to let the talk die down, especially when he was the one who approached the other. “Stuff for the shop?” He nodded his head in the direction of the wooden boxes and the Aldairian followed with his gaze before agreeing with a hum.
“Yeah. It’s actually late, this shipping should have arrived last week.” He was looking down to the tablet in his hand. He frowned and his lips pursed on a slight pout, his words coming out a little more slurred, which made Jimin almost smile. “If this had taken a few more days to arrive it would have given me a big headache.” He looked at Jimin again and gave him a lazy smile, just the right corner of his mouth quirking up. “You’re lucky this arrived before you went to the shop again. Have you broken anything else?” He lowered his arm to his side and changed the weight of his body from one foot to the other until he was comfortable again. His tail moved behind him, making his amusement clear. “You still haven’t come to the shop this week, so you’d be going there soon, right? Tomorrow, maybe?”
Jimin actually smiled despite the embarrassment he was feeling at the way the other was teasing him.
“I have some classes to prepare but I was actually thinking about passing there tomorrow before it closes.” And Jimin actually was having a problem with his new tablet, the brand new Aldairian one he had finally bought a week before. He had accidentally blocked some of its functions and even if it was a little embarrassing, how bad he was with this kind of stuff, at least he had a real reason to hit the shop.
The Aldairian blinked and his posture changed slightly, the tip of his tail curling up and down before stilling again.
“Class?” He looked in the direction of the Earthling base and Jimin saw the exact moment he understood what Jimin’s job was. “A teacher, huh?”
Jimin shrugged, allowing himself to watch how the pattern of the man’s sirah near his right temple ondulated close to his eye and went down his cheek ending in a delicate curl close to the corner of his mouth. His sirah, Jimin noticed, were mostly round lines and delicate swirls that contrasted beautifully against his light skin tone. Jimin didn’t take more than five seconds appreciating the drawing, but the Aldairian still noticed, a serious expression dappening a little his amusement. It was enough for Jimin to wince and look away from his face.
“Yeah, I teach Aldairian to Earthlings.” Jimin had taught people from other planets a few times but it was rare, only happening when their own bases were all full.
He watched as the man nodded and they both glanced to the side when another box was put over the ones near the Aldairian’s feet.
“Well, I should go back to work, this won’t get to my shop on its own.” he used his pen to point at the boxes he still had to check before looking up at Jimin again. His shop. So he wasn’t just a clerk but the owner. “See you tomorrow, teach.”
Jimin pressed his lips together, wondering if what he wanted to do was a good idea before he decided to take the risk.
“Jimin.” he smiled at the curious glance the other sent him. “My name’s Jimin.”
“Uhm,” Jimin watched him nod his head and he was about to nod back and walk away when the Aldairian spoke again, “Call me Yoongi.”
The Aldairian, Yoongi, smiled at him and his tail flicked before he turned his attention to the box.
Jimin went home feeling like he had accomplished something important.
The next night Jimin went to the shop - more excited about seeing Yoongi again than having his tablet working without a problem - he understood why Yoongi had been so defensive with him during the first times they met.
Jimin had already made a fool of himself in front of Yoongi, as per usual, before he walked back to the shop’s front door to watch the street as the man worked on fixing the shit Jimin had done. It was just a cover up, really, because Jimin looked at Yoongi at every chance he got.
He was considering walking closer to start a conversation when someone else entered the shop and went straight to the counter, walking past Jimin as if he didn’t even see him. Yoongi paused whatever he had been doing on Jimin’s tablet to welcome the new client.
Jimin sighed and shrugged a shoulder, looking back outside and at the sky full of stars, that never looked any less beautiful no matter how many years he lived in Aldair. His attention was attracted back to the counter soon, though, because of the sound of something heavy falling to the floor.
Jimin turned on reflex and expected to see Yoongi picking up his chair that he had accidentally tipped over or whatever he - or the client - had let fall, but what he saw instead was the man trying to pull Yoongi closer, despite the counter in between them, by the tight grip he had on his wrist. Yoongi’s expression was a dangerous one, with narrowed eyes and upper lip slightly curled up, making the point of his fangs visible.
Jimin had see him with an expression of barely contained annoyance before, when an irritating customer was getting on his nerves, but he never looked as aggressive as he did at that moment and it was enough to ring an alarm in Jimin’s head, who looked at the man who was holding Yoongi and frowned.
The interplanetary immigration wasn’t something that could have been done easily. Everyone who needed to leave their home planet had to fill papers after papers with everything there was to know about them. Medical records, ancestry, all their documents, which were going to be adapted to the ones of the planet they would be going to live from then on. The travel needed to be done between countries of similar characteristics that would allow the immigrants similar living conditions to their home planet. Earthlings could travel to a total of three planets and Jimin knew which people were allowed to enter aldair past the space bus station.
Strouters were the only other immigrants allowed to live on the planet, given the big amount of Earthlings Aldair welcomed already on a daily basis. They were tall beings with long limbs and a pale blue skin color who were known for their intelligence. A few of them lived on Aldair, being responsible for updating their technology. There was a small population of them living all around the planet.
They were a peaceful and pleasant people who were easy to recognize, and so Jimin knew that the man in front of the counter was an Earthling just like himself.
Now that he was paying attention, he could hear what they were talking about and it made him pull away from his relaxed position against the open door, becoming alert and focusing all his attention on what was happening.
“Sir,” Yoongi’s voice was serious and it made it clear how angry he was despite the polite treatment he was giving the man, “Please, let go.”
The man just waved his free hand to dismiss Yoongi’s request.
“Just a second. I never had a chance to see golden marks before. I’ve read about them, of course. They say it gives you some sort of ability, right? Is it true? I’m a scientist and I tell you, I’d die for a chance to study a sample of your tissue.” the Earthling was talking more to himself than to Yoongi but his voice was still loud enough to reach Jimin and it made him straighten his back, his eyes searching for the man’s hands and not relaxing even when he confirmed he wasn’t carrying anything that could have harmed Yoongi, whose shoulders were tense despite the way he looked ready to either run away or punch the man at any moment. Jimin kept watching, ready to jump in if necessary. “It’s such a shame most Aldairians have those black or blue marks, you know?”
He sounded excited and Yoongi pressed his lips into a thin line when the man turned his hand around to see his sirah on the back of it.
“Yes. I do know it. I’m Aldairian, as you very well know. I’m aware of the colors of my people’s sirah.” The man nodded his head, not really hearing Yoongi, who took a deep breath. Jimin couldn’t see it, but he was sure his tail was restless behind him. “Now let go of me. I don’t care about whatever you’d love , you won’t get it. If you don’t release my arm right about now, I’ll rip your eye off with the same hand you’re holding.”
This got the man’s attention and Jimin watched with growing satisfaction at the way the man’s eyes widened and his expression changed with fear. He let go of Yoongi’s arm as if it burned him and the Aldairian pulled it to his side, away from the man’s reach.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t-”
“Now,” Yoongi cut him off, “How can I help you?”
The Earthling sputtered something Jimin didn’t understand but that was enough for Yoongi because he gave him a curt nod and walked to the back of the shop, leaving Jimin and the man alone in the room, the first looking as if he wanted to be anywhere else but there.
Yoongi came back with a new charger and gave it to the man, who slammed the money on the counter and grabbed his purchase before scurrying away and out the door.
Jimin watched the man walk away and only relaxed when he couldn’t see him anymore. The guy walked away quickly and Jimin hoped he was feeling as ashamed and afraid as he looked on the outside.
Jimin had read somewhere about the Aldairians’ sirah and all the colors they could have. But from what Jimin had gathered the so called abilities, the rare types such like Yoongi’s own, were nothing but fairy tales told from parents to children, tales about the beginning of their planet and how the first Aldairians were marked according to what they accomplished during the Creation, their markings passed to their descendants. The only thing Jimin knew to be true was that golden and silver sirahs were rare while black and blue were abundant. To think someone would be invasive the way that man had been just because of a children’s story was ridiculous.
Jimin looked back at Yoongi just in time to see him making a face. He was wondering if it would have been a good idea to approach Yoongi right now because, honestly, Jimin was unsure if he was going to be welcomed by the other after what just happened. Before he could make a decision, however, Yoongi looked in his direction. Jimin blinked in surprise and waited, barely breathing, as Yoongi watched him with an expression Jimin just couldn’t read.
It had probably been only a couple of seconds but it seemed like full minutes before Yoongi finally sighed and his shoulders relaxed. He walked to the back of the store again and Jimin changed his weight from one foot to the other, not knowing what to do. Yoongi soon walked back to the front of the shop, though, and he was carrying his coat and a bunch of keys in his hands. He looked around the place, probably making sure there was no client needing him, before grabbing Jimin’s tablet from the countertop where he had left it before and unlocking the small gate that would allow him to get away from behind the counter.
And then he was walking in Jimin’s direction.
Jimin’s eyes widened and he straightened his back again, this time for a completely different reason. He clasped his hands in front of his body before changing his mind and letting is fall by his sides, clenching and unclenching his fists.
He cursed internally when he raised his head and saw the amused smile Yoongi had on his lips, probably having seen Jimin’s nervous antics. He held back a grimace and tried to smile instead, running his hand through his hair to brush the strands off his forehead.
“Hey.” Yoongi nodded in answer and Jimin had already opened his mouth to keep talking when Yoongi put his coat on, without tying the knots to close it over his chest. He looked at Jimin and smiled, looking nowhere as furious as he did before. Jimin shifted on his place and licked his lips before talking. “Are you fine?”
Yoongi looked confused at first, a small wrinkle between his eyebrows making it clear, but soon his face lit up in understanding and he nodded with a roll of his eyes.
“Yeah. I’m used to dealing with that kind of idiot from time to time.” He made a face. “It never gets less irritating.”
“I’m sorry.” Jimin offered with a frown and Yoongi gave him a small smile.
“I’m used to the stares, I don’t mind them all that much. It’s the inconvenient people that bother me.” He looked Jimin in the eyes and his smile grew larger. “Every Earthling stares.” His tail moved languidly behind him. “You stared.” Jimin’s eyes widened in alarm and it seemed to make Yoongi even more amused. “Still do, actually.”
Dread washed over Jimin like a wave of cold water and he gaped like a fish.
“I’m so sorry! I wasn’t trying to be creepy, I swear!”
“I assume you don’t have any interest in taking a sample of my skin so I guess your reason for staring and coming back is another one entirely.”
Jimin wasn’t sure if his face was white as a paper or beet red but he was sure he didn’t look healthy.
“I don’t have any reason! I just-”
He shut his mouth and pressed his lips tightly together. Yoongi arched an eyebrow, curious.
“You just what?” Jimin averted his eyes to his own feet and maybe Yoongi felt bad for him because when he spoke again, his voice was gentle. “Hey, don’t worry. I’m just joking around.” Jimin glanced up and the Aldairian’s smile had taken a soft turn, none of the previous malicious amusement present there. “I know you don’t have any ill intentions.”
Jimin shook his head.
“I don’t. I really don’t, I just…” He shrugged before letting his shoulders fall. “I need my stuff to be fixed, of course, but you just look beautiful and I just wanted to see you again.” he made a face and looked down at the floor once more. “I didn’t know I was staring that much, I’m sorry.” Jimin hated the thought that he could have made Yoongi feel uncomfortable with the way he was acting but he was interrupted before he could have started to punch himself internally over it.
“You don’t, really.” Jimin looked up at him and he knew he looked confused by the way Yoongi chuckled. “I said I was just joking. You did stare the first day but it didn’t last long.” He waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Oh.” Jimin’s shoulders relaxed and he rubbed the palm of his right hand over his face to get rid of the embarrassment he felt. “Fine. Great.”
Yoongi chuckled and shook his head.
“And I should thank you, shouldn’t I?”
Jimin blinked when Yoongi spoke and looked at him with a small frown.
Yoongi waved a hand in the air, the smile still present on his lips.
“For the compliment.” Jimin’s eyes widened the same time Yoongi’s smile grew. “For thinking I’m beautiful.”
Jimin opened and closed his mouth a couple of times without anything coming out, what only worked to make Yoongi more amused.
Yoongi let out a laugh before nodding in the direction of the door.
“Wanna go to the bar?” he raised Jimin’s tablet that he was still carrying. “It’s just a configuration problem so I can fix it there.”
The sound of the notification alarm startled Jimin a little. He had completely forgotten that he was bound to receive the list of the people who’d be arriving from Earth in the next bus. He gave Yoongi an apologetic smile, who only waved his concern away before grabbing his glass and taking a sip of his drink.
Jimin scrolled through the list and frowned a little at the number of names there. He sighed and closed the document, opening the message app instead.
He raised his eyes from the screen of the tablet and blinked at Yoongi. Jimin felt his cheeks growing a little hot with the knowledge that the other had been watching him the whole time. He smiled sheepishly and shook his head.
“Not really.” He started as he clicked on the contact he wanted to send a message to. Taehyung was an Earthling that taught Aldairian just like Jimin did, only in the Northern base. They became good friends after talking to each other a couple of times because of work. Jimin sent him a message warning him that he’d be sending a couple of students his way the next day, for him to be prepared. It was much easier to organize the new people into classes when they were aware they were arriving. He looked up when the message was sent and Yoongi was waiting patiently for him to keep talking. Jimin put the tablet on the table and took his beer bottle. “A new bus is arriving tomorrow and I’ll have to send some students to the Northern base because our classes are crowded for this month. The Principal only has two classrooms available to new groups right now.”
Yoongi nodded in understanding.
“Do you need to go now?”
Jimin shook his head before taking a swing of his drink. He leaned his elbows on the table top and gave his full attention to Yoongi.
“I’m sorry for this. What were you saying?”
Yoongi smiled and his tail moved to throw itself on his own lap. Soon he was finishing telling Jimin about the clueless client who made him busy during the whole afternoon and gave him a headache.
They had been meeting for a drink at least once a week. Jimin still went to the shop but not as often as before, now that he could meet Yoongi outside of it without having to make a fool out of himself. And the more time he spent with Yoongi, the less the Aldairian looked like he jumped straight from a fairytale book. He was still beautiful, of course, but part of the awe Jimin had felt when he looked at him had dissipated, which he was very grateful for.
Now, instead of noticing just how ethereal Yoongi looked when he did this or that, Jimin was learning more about him, things that made him more real and not like someone who looked like a dream.
Yoongi was sarcastic and he had a hard time trusting people but Jimin didn’t take long to see he was more than that. He was funny, his humor was a little silly sometimes but it matched Jimin’s just right, and he made the Earthling giggle with his whole body from time to time. He was stubborn and a sore loser, but also nice and kind.
Jimin wasn’t seeing him through rose colored lenses anymore but he was still very much interested in Yoongi, who in turn had grown much more comfortable around him. Jimin would go as far as confidently saying they were now friends.
“...but I understood what his problem was, eventually.” Yoongi’s shoulders sagged when he sighed and it was visible how tired he was, which made Jimin frown slightly as he wondered if it wouldn’t have been better if Yoongi had gone straight home to sleep rather than spend time with him in a bar. Yoongi raised his eyes from his drink to Jimin before giving him a smile, and the Earthling didn’t know if it was for being successful at helping his client or because of the worry that was apparent on Jimin’s expression. “It was good to see how excited he was when the communicator worked again, so...” He shrugged one shoulder but it did nothing to hide how happy he was at the outcome.
Jimin beamed and nodded his head, understanding that feeling way too well.
“I know. It’s all worth it when everything works out in the end.” Jimin said, remembering his own students. He watched as Yoongi agreed with a tilt of his head before yawning. The way his nose scrunched and the small, now visible, fangs reminded Jimin of a cat. They made it impossible for the smile Jimin had on his lips to vanish. When Yoongi closed his mouth, his tail shifted a little on his thigh and he arched an eyebrow at Jimin, who leaned back against his chair. “You look tired. Want to call it a night?”
Yoongi thought about the offer for a while before shaking his head.
“I’d like to eat something first.” Yoongi looked at their table and Jimin copied him, observing the drinks and appetizers they had ordered. The plate that had come full of grilled pieces of meat - which were good to help them stay sober but was not as efficient to fill their bellies - was now almost empty and Jimin knew that they wouldn’t really find something fulfilling to eat in there. “You don’t need to come with me, of course.” Jimin looked up with slightly wide eyes, just in time to see the way Yoongi’s teasing smile took a soft turn. “But I wouldn’t mind some company. Unless you want to go home or,” Yoongi waved a hand around and frowned only for a heartbeat, starting to look a little awkward. “You know, stay here if you want.”
Jimin had started shaking his head even before Yoongi finished speaking.
“No, I want to go!” Jimin cringed at how loud his voice sounded and at the way Yoongi’s eyes widened a little. He decided against apologizing, however, when Yoongi beamed.
It wasn’t his usual amused or teasing smile, there was not a single trace of sarcasm on his face this time around. He looked happy with the way his cheeks bunched up and turned his eyes into two little crescent moons. There was also a shift on his body language and he looked more relaxed, and if this had been caused by the Earthling’s answer like he assumed it had, Jimin would bear the small embarrassment of having sounded way too excited and wouldn’t apologize for it.
“Then let’s go.” Yoongi uncrossed his legs and straightened his back a little but he didn’t stand up until Jimin showed he was about to do the same. “I’m starving.” Jimin watched for a couple of seconds the way Yoongi’s tail gently swung back and forth before looking him in the eyes again. “How do you feel about some radu meat?”
Radu was a big animal, similar to Earth’s buffalos, whose meat was very popular. Jimin had tried it before and he enjoyed it very much, the meat was tender and juicy, covered by a layer of fat that melted against the tongue.
Jimin started salivating just by thinking about it and he nodded his head, following Yoongi to the door.
“I’d actually love some right now.”
Jimin looked through the window of the small restaurant and allowed himself a couple of seconds to appreciate the sight of Aldair’s natural satellites. A month had passed since the first time Yoongi took him out to eat and the smallest ones were already clearly visible, Sphir’s blue-ish color was almost blending with the dark sky while the oranges hues that formed Crisar looked brighter than ever. They were bigger in Aldair’s sky than the Moon had ever been to the naked eyes of the people living on Earth but they still looked small compared to Hibis. The biggest natural satellite wasn’t visible yet as it had yet to enter the appropriate phase but it was easy to see its outline and the sheer size of it made goosebumps appear on Jimin’s arms and nape.
Logically, he knew the satellites - Aldair’s moons - were harmless, peacefully orbiting around Aldair. But it had been disconcerting in his first few months living on the planet because he wasn’t used to looking at the sky and seeing something as big and scary as them. The sight used to make images of apocalyptic movies resurface in Jimin’s mind, of meteors colliding with planets. He eventually had gotten used to it, to the notion that the natural satellites, Hibis in particular, wouldn’t get any closer to Aldair, only being more or less visible according to how its phases changed with time.
Then Jimin learned to appreciate their beauty.
All the bright yellow, orange, and blue-ish stars were already enough to make the planet’s sky look completely breathtaking but the natural satellites on their more visible phases were something like Jimin had never seen before.
Sphir and Crisar were already striking but there were still a couple of days before Hibis would start its more glorious phase.
Jimin looked away from the window and put his fork on his empty plate before leaning back against his chair with his eyes closed, sighing contently. The meat had been as delicious as always and he could still feel the almost-sweet taste of the fat on his tongue. He opened his eyes and Yoongi’s smile was the first thing he saw.
The plate in front of the Aldairian was also empty, only a few pieces of vegetables lying there, and Yoongi looked as satisfied as Jimin did.
They were in the small restaurant that Yoongi had assured him a month ago had ‘ the best grilled radu meat you’ll ever eat’ , which had soon been proved to be true words. It had been awhile since Jimin had last tasted something as good as what that establishment had to offer and he wondered back then if he should have thanked Yoongi for suggesting it.
Yoongi raised an eyebrow and Jimin could almost hear his voice teasing him despite not having opened his mouth, conveying all he wanted to say with the expression on his face, always so expressive.
“I’ll sleep so well tonight,” Jimin said, grabbing his glass of water and taking a sip of it. “Maybe I’ll even dream of meat.”
The sound of Yoongi’s chuckle made Jimin’s own smile grow bigger.
“A nice dream, I’d say.” Yoongi tapped the tabletop beside his plate and a hologram appeared in front of him, casting a light blue light over his face. Jimin watched as he entered his ID information to pay for his food and tapped his own side of the table to do the same. He was interrupted by Yoongi’s voice as soon as the hologram appeared in front of him too. “There’s no need, Jimin.”
Jimin blinked in confusion and watched as Yoongi added both his share and Jimin’s to his own bill, which made his eyes widen.
“Not that I’m not grateful but why?”
Yoongi glanced at him briefly before looking back at the hologram to finish the transaction.
“I invited you, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” Jimin started, still feeling a little surprised, “But so did you the last time and I still paid for my part.”
He heard the sound of Yoongi humming and waited for their food to be paid and the holographic window to be gone. Then Yoongi looked at his face and crossed his arms over the table with a smile, careful not to hit his empty plate.
“I wanted to treat you, how about that?”
There was an almost pleasant burn on Jimin’s cheeks and ears and he smiled as warmth spread through his body at Yoongi’s words.
“I can’t argue with that, can I?”
Yoongi shook his head and looked through the window the same way Jimin did before. The night was fairly slow in the restaurant and there was no rush to make their table available, a couple of others already clean and ready to receive any arriving clients around them.
“Hibis’ phase will change in two days,” Yoongi said, making Jimin also look at the satellites. “Have you ever seen it?”
Jimin frowned and looked back at him, tilting his head slightly to the side.
“The moment it changes.” Yoongi was still looking at the sky and Jimin knew he was talking about Hibis.
“I don't think so.” He frowned a little, trying to remember it. He had seen Hibis in its most beautiful stage before but he didn’t remember watching while it changed.
“You haven’t.” Jimin blinked at the certainty in Yoongi’s tone and looked at him with a small wrinkle in between his eyebrows. Yoongi felt his eyes on him and focused his attention on Jimin. “Trust me. You wouldn’t forget it if you had seen it.”
Jimin glanced briefly at the still dark shape of Hibis before looking back at Yoongi.
The Aldairian nodded his head and shifted on his chair, resting against it.
“Even more.” Yoongi blinked and his expression changed a little as if he had just thought of something. Before Jimin could have asked about it, he was speaking again. “If I got your schedule right, you’re free in two days, right?” Jimin nodded, sitting a bit straighter at his scheduled being discussed. “Would you like to see the change?” Yoongi moved his head in the direction of the sky. “It will happen at the dawn of your free day.”
Jimin’s heart beat a little faster and before he could think about what he should answer, his mouth was working on its own.
“Are you inviting me to stargaze?”
Yoongi’s smile faded a little and he frowned, probably thinking about the word Jimin used. The Earthling was considering hiding himself under the table when Yoongi replied.
“I guess go? There will be stars and we will gaze at them, so yes?” Jimin couldn’t help but giggle at the way Yoongi nodded with a big smile on his lips, the embarrassment that had been building inside him vanishing away when Yoongi didn’t deny it. “Do you want to? I know a good place for it.”
Jimin nodded with a smile, not even thinking about saying no. Not when he loved to spend time with Yoongi. He didn’t know exactly what Yoongi felt for him, if he felt anything more than friendship, but he couldn’t avoid the way he felt giddy at the idea of them stargazing together, he couldn’t shake off the knowledge that it was a romantic activity. It was back at Earth and something was telling Jimin that it wasn’t different in Aldair.
“I do.” He said, not being able to contain the force of his own smile. He hid his hands in between his thighs as a way not to reach out and take Yoongi’s hand, touch his face to trace his sirah, or something equally embarrassing that would put them both in an awkward situation. “I really do.”