welcome to the neighborhood :)
the notecard was tacked to the bouquet with a sun-shaped pin, scrawled lettering done in pretty pink sharpie. there was no addressee at the top or signature at the bottom, yet everybody knew that the bouquet of red and black carnations and vanilla truffle cake had been sent over from the flower shop right down the road.
(jungkook hadn't put up much of an argument about that matter, haphazardly cutting a slice for himself before sitting back and observing the rest of them set up shop, respectively. when namjoon opened his mouth to complain, jungkook raised a finger to shush him. "making me work would be child labor," he had said.
nobody had mentioned the fact that jeon jungkook was a fresh, blooming twenty-something year old, who had never seriously worked a day in his life, and was well over his years of being a child.)
taehyung had walked by said shop earlier that evening, spine aching from lifting box after box of flowers so that namjoon would stop bitching about how the shop had yet to look fresh as fuck, there had been a sign outside their doorstep littered in pink glitter and rainbow star stickers.
we have the prettiest flowers in town
when he had lifted his head, he had seen seokjin standing in the window with a dust pan, face twisted with the most disconcerting mixture of smugness and pure rage. taehyung narrowed his eyes.
and that's how it had started.
"what the fuck is he doing?" hoseok asks irritably, craning his neck to get a better view of the shop's front entrance, as if it'll help him to get a better view from half a mile away.
"i wouldn't know," taehyung sighs from where he's hunched beside him in the bushes. "you're the one who has the binoculars. what is who doing?"
"the tall one." hoseok waves a hand in taehyung's general direction, gaze still fixed in the binoculars. "the one with the pretty lips."
"seokjin," taehyung fills in. then, as if he needs reminding, "you know his name, hoseok. namjoon bitches about him all the time."
hoseok gives him a disgusted look, albeit still peering through his binoculars, which are now undeniably giving him an exfoliated view of taehyung's face. choosing to completely ignore taehyung's last comment, he asks, "why do you know the names of our competitors?"
"you know him. and i shopped there before you guys guilted me into working for you," taehyung responds bitterly. "they sell strawberry plants. i was a regular. this is so stupid, anyway. why is namjoon having us scope them out again? it's the fifth time this week."
"he's suspicious of movement inside."
"it's a store, hoseok. people go inside there to buy things, which does require a bit of basic movement."
"you really have to learn how to be a team player." hoseok extends a hand towards a disgruntled taehyung, eyes still focused far away. "hand me a piece of goldfish, while you're at it, learning how to be a better person and all. i'm starving."
"maybe you should have thought about that before you took the binoculars and left me to sit here with my thumb up my ass." as if to emphasize his words, taehyung pops another individual of rainbow goldfish into his mouth and chews it obnoxiously loudly. "how am i supposed to help you find out their next move if i can't even see anything?"
hoseok sighs dramatically. "you're so toxic. better cut that shit out, you know, jungkook was talking about how the daisies this year are quite sensitive to negative atmospheres."
taehyung scowls. "i'll show his daisies a negative atmosphere."
"you- oh, shit."
taehyung perks at the sudden slyness in his tone. "what? what is it?" squinting at the blurry front door, he grasps hoseok's shoulders and begins shaking relentlessly. "hoseok, what? give me the binoculars. that's not fair. you've had them this entire time. what do you see?"
"hold on, you ingrate," hoseok snaps, and taehyung rolls his eyes because hoseok's been hogging the binoculars this entire time and is now leaning uncomfortably into taehyung's personal space to get a better view. "i see someone different."
"what do you mean, someone different?"
"like, different. seokjin got a new hire. and..." hoseok whistles lowly, the threads of his voice dipping in pitch. "my, my."
"what? you're being so fucking weird. let me see-"
"stop wrestling for the fucking- DON'T- touch me-"
"HAND ME THE FUCKING BINOCULARS-"
with a startled yelp, hoseok releases them, jolting backwards from where taehyung has just pinched him. he rubs at the reddened, crescent-indented skin morosely, lip jutted outwards in a little pout. rolling his shoulders in an attempt to smother his own smug victory, taehyung lifts the binoculars to his eyes and-
"jesus, you're fucking blind," taehyung hisses, adjusting the viewfinder until it's not as blurry. "i'm trying to see the shop, hoseok, not their goddamn chromosomes."
ignoring hoseok's dejected grumbling, taehyung tilts his head to get a better look inside the shop's windows. there's a collection of succulents outside the front entrance, a couple people bustling around inside. seokjin is standing at the front counter talking to a customer, and standing right beside him, fidgeting over the cash register, is the new employee.
taehyung assumes, anyway. he's never seen him before in the amount of times that namjoon has had him watch the shop from the bushes. his tongue goes dry.
he's wearing the flower shop's official shirt, soft baby blue with a pale sunflower stitched on the top right corner. it's baggy on his small frame, hanging slightly off his left shoulder, and it's almost completely covered by a pair of white overalls, which are ripped down the left side, chunks of melanin peeking through the shredded edges. they stop at the middle of his thighs, which bulge around the material. taehyung suppresses a groan.
he's cut the store shirt right across the abs, turning it into a crop top that exposes so much skin yet, at the same time, not enough in the slightest. taehyung wonders how the fuck seokjin was okay with such a harsh adjustment being made to their dress code. one time, an employee spilled kombucha on the front of his shirt and seokjin sent him right out the door.
when he lifts the binoculars to get a good look at his face, it feels like a kick in the stomach. he has his dark hair swept back, kohl smudged around the corners of his eyes, glossy heart-shaped mouth painted over with a peachy lip tint.
at the same time, it's not even a close enough look. taehyung wants to see more, but the binoculars won't allow it.
"do you see him?" hoseok asks, a bit sarcastically, because taehyung has been rooted to the spot for a good five minutes now. he jumps backwards to avoid a sharp jab from taehyung's elbow.
they're all startled by namjoon slamming his hands against the table. jungkook chokes on a mouthful of ramen, gripping his knees so tightly his knuckles turn white while taehyung frantically pats his back.
"we need a new plan," is what namjoon comes up with after thirty-two seconds of awkward silence. "this isn't working. our sales are beginning to plateau."
"whaaaaat?" jungkook pipes up after he's successfully hacked up the noodles lodged in his throat. everyone sadly watches the soggy, half-digested ramen fly twenty feet across the room. "that's impossible. the people love my goth-quietus-maximus-death-fuel-hydrangea 2.0s."
everyone stares at him. namjoon lifts his head. "your what?"
"my..." suddenly, jungkook realizes his mistake. "oh, shit. nothing. my nothings. i absolutely did not create an alien plant hybrid and stuff the mommy of them all in our storage room. and she absolutely did not grow out of control and devour two of our interns, either."
namjoon slowly reaches up to rub his temples. "i love my job. i love my job. i love my job i love my job i love my job i love my job..."
"we have interns?" hoseok asks curiously, looking over at taehyung.
taehyung snorts. "not anymore-"
"ANYWAY," namjoon booms, silencing the room once more. "the most IMPORTANT thing right now is the fact that our valued customers are starting to shop at seokjin's instead of buying flowers from us. we need to figure out why, and what we can do to increase our sales once more. yoongi, grab the competition wheel."
from where he's curled up in the corner, hands snug around a cardboard cup of coffee, yoongi looks up. he's scooted his chair as far away from the others as possible, dark circles seeming permanent under his eyes. "the what?"
"our competition wheel," namjoon repeats, frowning. "don't act dumb."
"i honestly don't even know what that is-"
"just because you only started working here last week doesn't mean you can slack off during a team meeting. i know this job is a little-" airquote, "uncomfortable, for you, but you'd get adjusted to us a bit quicker if you weren't trying to melt into your own shadow."
"you pulled me off the street and grabbed a pair of garden pliers, held them to my throat and told me you were in need of employees and if i didn't join you were going to-"
yoongi looks to taehyung for guidance. he sighs. "over there," he says. "in the corner. behind the dart board of seokjin's face."
"this is the weirdest place i've ever fucking worked at," yoongi mumbles. there's a collection of loud, unbearable squeaking as he wrenches the obnoxiously large cardboard circle from its place in the dusty corner.
he wheels it over to the group, slumping back in his seat as soon as it's positioned in the center. it seems namjoon's made some minor adjustments, scratching out wrap seokjin in toilet paper in favor of murder seokjin.
the dial sits readily in the center. taehyung buries his face in his hands.
"we need to pick a new approach on how to raise our sales," namjoon continues, gesturing to the board. "since nothing we come up with on our own is working, i'm vouching for the competition wheel to help us find an answer."
hoseok squints. taehyung assumes he's snagged his eyes on chloroform seokjin and plant an apple tree inside of his ass.
"who wants to spin the wheel today?" namjoon asks. jungkook practically ejects himself out of his seat, hand raised politely in the air, eyes wide with excitement. "oh, oh, who do i pick? who should i-"
"jungkook is the only one with his hand raised," hoseok points out in confusion. "actually, now that i think about it, he's the only one who ever actually volunteers to spin the wheel."
namjoon narrows his eyes. "fine. jungkook, go ahead."
the youngest employee rips out of his plastic chair, prancing over to the wheel as he sets his hands on the side of it. "i'm gonna spin it," he announces, emitting the rest of the employees to sigh in unison. taehyung feels a strong sense of deja vu as jungkook flicks the wheel backwards, muscles bulging with the sheer energy he puts out.
jungkook's always so rough with the poor thing. broken it off the stand a couple times, actually.
the group watches tensely as the dial flickers through their bleak options. taehyung swears, if they have to come up with a way to murder kim seokjin, he's going to quit. minimum wage isn't worth it.
he looks at namjoon, who's leaning forward expectantly.
the dial starts ticking a bit louder as the wheel slows itself down, and taehyung watches it pass over burn the shop down and kidnap his employees. he clenches at the sight of flower heist, but relaxes when the dial decides not to land on it.
it doesn't land on murder seokjin either, to taehyung's relief. instead, as the wheel slows, the dial ends up on undercover sting operation. namjoon releases a distressed groan.
"that's boring," he says. "but whatever. the wheel has spoken. undercover sting operation. that means a lucky volunteer is going to bust into the place, pretend to be their friend, and then flip the entire establishment onto its ass."
"so, like, checking out the competition," taehyung substitutes for yoongi, who's staring at the wheel - and namjoon - in utter horror.
"they're not competition to us at all, but sure, we'll go with that. was that a volunteer, taehyung?"
"uh, no, it most certainly was not-"
"perfect! we have a volunteer."
taehyung stares at him blankly. "how am i supposed to go "undercover" if they know i work here?"
"talk shit about us, i don't know," namjoon says, waving his hand dismissively. "you're the one going undercover. shouldn't you know what that means?"
"i mean, i thought like, as my employer, you'd have a set plan for me to go by."
"i'm your boss, not your babysitter. just go in there and buy a couple flowers or something -" he looks at hoseok, "bleach them when they come into our store so their infection doesn't spread - and tell me what makes their store more suitable than mine."
he couldn't have just said that to begin with?
"well, i could have told you why THAT is." hoseok begins counting off on his fingers. "they have higher salaries, cleaner floors, nicer displays-"
"that wasn't an invitation to talk shit, hoseok."
"-more options, nicer staff, they don't have a flower demon living in their basement-"
the shop only has a couple customers filing around when taehyung steps inside. it's to be expected, since working at namjoon's has given taehyung a brief hindsight on their rival's schedule over the past year - tuesdays are always their slowest days, right up there with thursdays. he's watched the place through binoculars enough times to know that seokjin always ducks out at three pm, so at 3:15, taehyung strolls up to the front door.
it's the safest solution, really. waiting for seokjin to leave cancels out the chances of being discovered as an employee of namjoon's shop, potentially risking having his cover blown.
a mother is fawning over gardenias in the opposite corner, arms full with a wide-eyed child. taehyung's always secretly preferred the interior of seokjin's flower shop in comparison to namjoon's: while it's a bit smaller, it gives the entire place more of a secure, home-y feel. there are flowers lining every shelf, vines climbing the back wall behind the front counter. there's not a lot of free space, but in a way it's almost comforting.
it always smells vividly of flowers, too, even with the vegetable plants and endless shelves filled to the brim with cacti. a pleasant floral scent hangs in the air, tangible on the back of your tongue until you step outside.
so, it's sweet. but taehyung hasn't forgotten why he's really here, so he pretends he's busy by drifting over to a large pot full of white, plush flowers in the nearest aisle. namjoon had told him to lurk around for a bit, but not long enough where it'd actually seem suspicious. taehyung scans his eyes over the price tags and, no, it doesn't seem like they're having any type of sale.
maybe it's the type of flowers? they easily could have gotten a new shipment. taehyung worries his lip through his teeth as he examines the ceramic pots in front of him.
it's quite a beautiful type of flower actually: he doesn't think they have any back at namjoon's. it's shaped like an uneven heart, soft petals giving way for a leafless stalk and golden spadix, tiny eruptions of flowers blooming within it. below the white ones are an assortment of green, purple and yellow. they're neatly organized, color coded to a fault, and taehyung is about to reach out to stroke a petal when suddenly-
"can i help you find something?"
startled, taehyung quickly jumps to the side and, fuck. of course.
it's the new employee. the one taehyung had quite nearly eyefucked through the binoculars about three days ago. he feels his face flush involuntarily, somehow feeling like he's been caught despite the fact he's only been staring at flowers. just like every other customer.
he's even prettier face to face, plump, moisturized lips parted slightly in confusion, eyebrows furrowed. his mouth is painted with a dewy rose gloss. taehyung glances at his nametag, jimin, before flickering his gaze back up towards his lips. he wonders what it'd be like to snag his teeth on them, tug them back until they bounce back with a soft pop between their tongues.
today jimin's ditched the overalls for a washed-out denim jacket, but the crop top is still painfully visible underneath, exposing the clean slope of his abs. his jeans, shredded completely at the knees, bite into the thickness of his thighs.
taehyung searches his brain for a good response, he really does. something to ease any sort of suspicion (even though jimin shouldn't have any, too busy being trained as the new employee and all.) what comes out is, "i- uh-"
jimin tilts his head cutely, nodding towards the white flowers. "were you checking out the calla lilies?"
"i- oh. is that what they're called?"
with a nod, jimin's mouth eases into a gentle, pearly grin. taehyung thinks, fuck. "they're really popular this time of year, actually, with it being wedding season and everything. the white ones are most popular, since they look prettiest in bouquets. not only that, but they hold a lot of, like, love-related meaning too, so it's kinda symbolic to have at your wedding, i guess?"
sucking in a deep breath, taehyung forces himself to calm down, although his heart is still racing at the initial shock of seeing jimin up close. his tone comes out with a bit more of a teasing hilt than he had originally intended. "do you know what the actual meaning is?"
"of course i do," jimin giggles, playing right along, and taehyung's heart quite literally flips in his chest. "purity and innocence. i always thought that was kinda cute, since the flower is shaped like a heart."
taehyung hums a quiet agreement after a beat of silence. purity and innocence. "they're pretty," he says.
"oh, very." jimin chews on his lower lip, eyes drifting from the lilies to taehyung. "definitely not my favorite, but they're quite something. were you... were you looking to have a bouquet made, or something? i can't make them myself, since i'm new, but i can have someone help you."
"nah, i'm not looking for a bouquet today. i'd have no one to give it to, anyway."
jimin nods thoughtfully, his eyes flashing with something that taehyung thinks looks a lot like muted relief. "what were you looking for in particular?"
"i'm just looking around," taehyung tells him, because it's the truth. then, for no particular reason other than to stretch out their conversation a little more he decides to add, "i really like strawberries, though. i was thinking about buying a package of strawberry seeds before i left today."
"that's so cool!" jimin's mouth falls open in a cute 'o', eyes widening significantly. cute. "are you going to grow your own strawberries?"
"well, yeah, that's why i'd buy strawberry seeds." at taehyung's words, jimin blanches slightly, only just realizing how dumb his question actually was. he smirks at the high flush steadily rising in jimin's cheekbones. "what else would i buy them for?"
"u-um," jimin stutters, reaching up to bury his face in his hands. "of course that's what you meant. oh my god. i'm so sorry. that was so- oh my god. embarrassing. god. i'm so-"
taehyung can't help but laugh. jimin's just too cute, all flustered like this, squeezing his rosy cheeks between his hands as he mumbles abashedly to himself. while taehyung kinda feels bad for having so much fun with him, he's not ashamed to admit that he enjoys seeing jimin blush even more than that. "no, no, don't apologize, it's okay, it's cute," he giggles out, basking in the way his words practically ensue steam to fly out of jimin's ears. and then even though he already knows the answer, he asks, "are you new?"
"i am," jimin whispers, smiling sheepishly through the slits of his fingers. "i started, like, four days ago."
"well, despite that little hiccup, you're doing a really good job." taehyung cards his fingers through his hair, doesn't miss jimin's eyes trained on the slight action. "don't be afraid to make mistakes, yeah? and little fuck-ups like that are kind of endearing."
"you think so?" jimin's staring at taehyung head-on now, completely absorbing the praise. taehyung takes that thought and tucks it in his back pocket.
"definitely! it makes you a lot more approachable than anybody else i've ever seen here. speaking of which..." taehyung cranes his neck to look behind jimin, frowning slightly. "are you alone?"
"huh? oh. yeah." jimin blinks out of his reverie, glancing over his shoulder to make sure nobody's standing at the front counter. when he's made sure that he's not making anybody wait, he turns back to taehyung with a wide smile. "my manager ran out for a minute but he said we'll be slow for a while, and i told him i could handle things by myself. it's just ringing people up, anyway, and i know a lot about flowers, so."
is he showing off? he's fucking showing off.
taehyung bites back another smirk. "is that so?"
"well, like- i-" caught, jimin automatically begins tripping over his words again, before ending awkwardly, "yes."
"how is that?"
"i study them," jimin mumbles shyly, averting his gaze to his baby pink nikes as if he's embarrassed. "like, the meanings and stuff. it's kind of dumb."
taehyung shakes his head. "'s cute," he says. "different."
jimin quirks up an eyebrow, smirking faintly. "i have been told i'm quite different."
it doesn't take a genius to know that he's not only talking about flowers, the way his voice dips in pitch like that. jimin's tongue flickers across his lower teeth and taehyung finds himself staring at jimin's lips once again, ripping his gaze away after it feels like he's been watching for too long. jimin breaks out in an impish grin. "have you?" taehyung asks, almost challengingly.
"hmm." taehyung opens his mouth to add something else when a customer drifts towards the front counter. "oh, hey. someone's up front."
"what? oh. oh." jimin chokes out, startled, moving quickly to them. "i'm so sorry! are you ready to check out? let me help you with that."
and taehyung watches while jimin cashes them out, hands hesitant on the buttons of the cash register: a telltale sign he's not used to the machine yet. it seems he has a habit of biting his lip when he's focused, narrowing his eyes just slightly as he bags the man's things. his fingers are incredibly gentle with the flowers, almost sinfully so: taehyung never noticed them before, but jimin's sporting chunky black rings on almost every digit. he's careful not to tear the petals with them as he slides them into the plastic.
when jimin bends over to grab another bag, taehyung isn't shy to admit that he most definitely checks out his ass. shaped like a fucking peach. he's so pretty and it's not even close to fucking fair.
it's obnoxious, really. namjoon sent taehyung to scope out the place and here he is, making eyes at the new employee and fantasizing what it would be like to spurt cum all over his golden skin, how those rose-tinted lips would look slicked over with drool and taehyung's precum. would jimin's breath hitch if he started begging, taehyung wonders? he'd get all throaty and desperate, he bets, would look so lovely blushing the way he does.
and the rings. would it hurt if jimin fucked himself while he wore them? he'd look so angelic bent over, fingers slotted to the knuckles inside of himself, rocking his hips back and forth on the mattress, babbling senselessly while taehyung took out his phone and filmed it. fuck, he'd get off to it for hours, jimin's cheeks soaked with tears and spit, pupils blown and rimmed red from crying.
taehyung wouldn't let him touch himself, either. he wouldn't need to, not with taehyung's cock buried inside him, fucking him so hard he can't walk for days. he'd make jimin suck his fingers, too, swallow his moans around them. it'd be so fucking filthy, fuck. taehyung has to hold back a groan at the thought.
he doesn't even realize jimin's smirking at him until he clears his throat. taehyung's jostled back into reality almost immediately, swallowing thickly when he realizes he's been caught. there's no trace of the customer, and taehyung wonders for how long. a while, he guesses, judging by the playful expression dancing across jimin's irises.
"are you going to buy those strawberry seeds or not, big boy?"
"so what you're saying is," jungkook begins cautiously, "you want to have a thump with seokjin's new employee."
taehyung grimaces. "god, no. not when you say it like that."
jungkook only chuckles, attention focused entirely on their game. to be honest, taehyung forgot the title already. it's some horror game, and he's already died about twelve different times. after a zombie cornered him in a dirty, rotted bathroom for the final time, taehyung abandoned the controller to let jungkook handle them by himself. after a couple minutes of that, jungkook got bored and decided to go online to yell at some twelve year olds. his headphones are now draped lazily around his neck.
it's not like taehyung isn't used to this. the two grew up together, threw a party when they got into the same university, and taehyung had begged dorm staff to let jungkook be his roommate. in a way he had asked for twelve year olds to be able to listen in on his every conversation. one time jungkook had left the game paused without telling him, and he had jerked himself off until he heard soft giggling from the console.
"but namjoon sent you in to check out the competition and you came back with no hints but a raging fucking boner that i had to help cover for, while hamburger was in the basement trying to devour hoseok because he needed to grab some fertilizer."
"i-" taehyung raises an eyebrow. "hamburger?"
"cute, right?" jungkook grins thoughtfully, nuking a zombie onscreen. "i named her that because yesterday i went out and got burgers from mcdonald's and i found out she knows how to catch them mid-air."
taehyung stares at him incredulously.
"it's kinda scary, though, since she's got like, massive teeth and all. crazy bitch could swallow me whole."
"please kill it," taehyung deadpans, and jungkook turns to him, mouth agape.
"no! what the fuck? when you see a harmless chipmunk dart across the road, do you speed up to try and flatten it? i didn't think so." a muffled voice says something through his headphones, and jungkook growls. "shut the fuck up, devin, i fucked your mom last night." he sighs. "but anyway, i don't know taehyung, i'd just shoot your shot. your poor dick hasn't seen any form of bussy in centuries."
"first of all, don't call it that. secondly, namjoon would kill me. i'd be fucking the enemy."
"namjoon doesn't have to know- jacob, are you fucking kidding me? i told you to back me up. this is why i'm the leader and you're my pathetic little lackey. you don't even know how to use a handgun, you pussy. oh, yeah, keep crying, go tell your mommy that i'm bullying you. oh, you're gonna go get your dad? sure, bitch. i'll let him know that his wife was getting a fat dicking from ME while he was waiting for her to come home last night."
after a beat of awkward silence, taehyung reaches out to rest his hand on jungkook's arm. "babe, maybe you should stop playing."
"it's not my fault these big fucking babies don't know how to back up a teammate."
"no, googie, what i'm saying is, you're starting to sound like one of them."
"don't call me that," jungkook hisses, blushing just faintly. "god, tae. not in front of the boys- what the fuck did you just say, kyle?"
taehyung collapses against the back of his bed with a huff. everything's fucked up. for the most part, his life has run pretty smoothly. he's been working at namjoon's for a year - sure, the environment is a little wonky but it keeps things interesting - has had nearly no trouble passing his classes (except for that one history exam that almost put him under a month ago) and he's been pretty calm and collected. but.
today, he can't stop thinking about jimin, which is a pretty ridiculous feat considering he doesn't know a thing about him other than he's got a pretty face and an ass sculpted by eros himself. taehyung doesn't know what he does in his free time, what his favorite fruit is, how he takes his coffee, or even his last name.
but he guesses that's the thing about hookups, right? you're not really supposed to know those things. that opens a door for attachment, and while taehyung has had his fair share of relationships and he's not completely turned off to the idea, it's just not possible. not when jimin works for seokjin, taehyung's boss' sworn mortal enemy. catching feelings for jimin would mean losing his job (possibly his life) - it's something he just can't afford.
fucking him senseless is pretty dangerous too, in more ways than one. taehyung's obsessed with the thought of folding jimin over and fucking him sideways, hearing his name come out in hitched gasps and sobs. it definitely wouldn't be too difficult to accomplish, not when namjoon's having taehyung scope out the place whenever seokjin leaves. that way, him and jimin are left completely alone: he's basically being paid to flirt with him.
of course, he hasn't forgotten the original "task" either, although he still has no idea why the fuck seokjin's sales are rising so quickly. there have been absolutely no changes to their stock, their prices, anything. there's definitely something different; but taehyung can't put his finger on it. it's crawling right under his skin - he just has no idea which vein to check.
absentmindedly, he lets his mind wander, listening to jungkook argue with the players over his headset. now they're fighting over who gets to play lookout while someone investigates an abandoned museum. taehyung shakes his head with a fond smile even though jungkook's words are everything short of endearing. "kyle, you skittish little bitch, just wait outside for five minutes while jisung runs inside. leave moon and i- is that even your real name, by the way? who the fuck names themselves moon-"
they're interrupted by a series of low hollering over someone's microphone, it being so noisy that even taehyung hears it when he's sprawled out in his own bed. then again, their beds aren't exactly oceans apart, since jungkook gets scared of flesh-eating monsters at night, but-
jungkook stiffens. taehyung raises an eyebrow.
"what is it?" he asks.
"jacob's dad," jungkook croaks out.
taehyung stifles a laugh. "m- what?"
jungkook opens his mouth to respond, but is promptly interrupted by a flurry of you think you can bully my son i'll go chop some trees down in my backyard and bring a two by four to your household to knock the-
"turn it off," taehyung says, heart hammering in his chest. "jungkook."
"i'll lose my progress," jungkook whines.
"suburban lumberjack fathers can't be fucked with, i know from experience. he'll track your ip address and find out where you live. turn it off. turn it off. jungkook, i swear to god, if i come out of the shower tomorrow and there's a burly man standing next to my bed i will literally take a shit in your closet."
"how do you know that from... oh. that one girlfriend you had once? the one with the big tits? wasn't her name like... jennifer or something- oh, shit," he says in the microphone, "jennifer is your daughter? wait, jacob is that jacob? jennifer's brother, jacob? how is that fucking possible? oh my god i'm so sorry listen her tits aren't even that big i was joking they're like adequate-"
"turn off the fucking game, jungkook."
can you work today
glancing at his screen as it lights up subtly in front of him, taehyung reads the text with a roll of his eyes.
i'm in class
please i'm short
i'll pay you extra
i have an exam coming up
isnt hoseok working with one of the newbies today
yeah about that
they saw jungkook's..concoction
in the basement and went unconscious so we had to send them to the hospital
it was quite melodramatic really
don't worry i'll ask
are they okay
oh yeah they're fine
how much extra are we talking here
like time and a half
god please i'm trying to do paperwork but i can't with hoseok up my ass
do you really want to be cramped in that room anyway
taehyung bites his lip. on the board, his professor is going over an equation that he should have memorized last night; instead, he lied awake with jungkook until five in the morning discussing several jesus theories. his books had laid abandoned, untouched on the covers beside him. after jungkook had fallen asleep, he couldn't drift off, so he jerked himself off to the thought of edging jimin, and then came so hard that he knocked himself out and missed both of his morning classes.
he lifts his hat just slightly, fixing his unbrushed hair beneath it.
i'll be there in ten
as soon as taehyung walks in, he's greeted by the muffled sounds of screaming (undeniably hoseok's) and something heavy slamming against the walls down in the basement. heaving a sigh, he shuts the door behind him with an imperceptible click. there's a customer standing at the front counter with a six-pack of some flowers, vibrantly yellow and pleasantly scented.
"hi, i'm sorry, were you waiting here long?" taehyung asks with a gentle smile, sliding behind the counter. "they just called me in."
"do you hear screaming?" the woman asks, eyes wide with confused horror.
the awkward beat of silence is filled by a hoseok-sounding shriek, followed by sit, hamburger! sit-
"no?" taehyung replies sweetly, sliding the daisies towards the register. "oh, are these daisies? they smell wonderful."
the woman's face brightens almost immediately. "aren't they just the sweetest? i'm putting them in the window of my kitchen."
"that sounds just lovely." he watches the woman insert her card in the chip reader, clears his throat.
"BAD hamburger," comes hoseok's smothered screams from the basement. "don't you DARE eat that broom."
"my mom used to plant daisies in her garden," taehyung tells her.
her eyes widen. "they just make everything look so beautiful!"
"especially the yellow ones," he says, gesturing to the flowers as he bags them. "they really stand out against the contrast of the others... oh- here's your receipt! there's a survey on the bottom and if you complete it, you have a chance to win a free gift card."
"is it an online survey?"
"oh... yeah. a pain, right? but it doesn't take too long, i promise. if you come in with a code, i'll give you a free packet of seeds."
"i..." the woman frowns. "i wouldn't want you getting in trouble."
"oh, no, no. don't worry about that." he winks, causing her to flush cutely. "really, though, please bring in the code. i don't wanna get yelled at. we have, like, a quota."
she laughs sweetly, reaching out to set a hand on his arm. "well, we wouldn't want that, would we? i'll help you out."
taehyung beams. ka-ching, bitch.
"hamburger, that is not a fucking toy-"
there's the brief sound of a weed wacker being activated, and hoseok's screams increase in pitch.
taehyung waits until the customer is out the door before turning to the sunflower rack, where one of the new girls is organizing one of the lower shelves. she looks to him with one eyebrow raised, worry evident in her expression. "we should probably go help him," she notes absentmindedly.
props to namjoon for hiring this one. only two weeks into the job, and she's already desensitized. taehyung can't deny the fact that he's mildly impressed.
"yeah." he pushes himself away from the counter with a sigh. "i'll go grab the pruners."
namjoon hasn't sent taehyung to seokjin's for a week.
an entire week.
he doesn't go on his own terms, either. not only would he get caught wandering around the competition's territory, but namjoon always sets taehyung's shifts up so he works from noon to five - by the time he gets out, seokjin has already come back from the store (or wherever it is he goes to. one time, hoseok brainstorms with taehyung while they're monitoring the store from their favorite stake-out spot.
"maybe he's going to a strip club," he says as they watch seokjin scurry out the door. "gettin' a quick fuck before he has to go back to work."
"i seriously doubt that." taehyung's depressed to admit that he immediately trains his binoculars on the cashier instead: today he's wearing a pink sweatshirt over his apron and a matching butterfly hair clip. "how would he be able to squeeze that in within an hour?"
in the store, jimin waves cheerfully at a baby in a shopping cart. his cheeks are stretched wide, skin dewy and glowing as he throws his head back in laughter at something the mother says. taehyung's heart twists in his chest.
which is fucking gross, because again, he can't catch feelings. he won't.
not for the enemy.
he has saturday off, which means he ditches classes to spend the majority of his friday afternoon napping. on and off, taehyung wakes up to play jungkook's console while he's out, but more often than not drifts with the controller in his hand. in the later evening he's startled awake by the shrill ringing of his phone and he sifts around the warm cocoon of his sheets with a groan.
face pressed in the pillow, he blindly feels around before realizing it must have fallen on the floor. whatever, he thinks, tugging the blankets back over his head.
but it goes off a second time.
and a third.
by the fourth, taehyung starts to feel like he could commit murder in the first degree. he sits up sharply, squinting his eyes against the stark brightness of the tv: other than the piercing light coming from the screen, the rest of the room is swallowed in darkness. tilting his head, he glances out the window, muted panic flickering through him when he realizes it's too dark outside.
leaning over, he scoops up his phone off the ground, answering it on its final ring. "what," he mutters groggily.
"h-hi, taehyung, is it?"
he frowns. the voice is completely unfamiliar. "sorry, who is this?"
"um, i'm a friend of- well i mean, i'm not really a friend, but... whatever. i have your friend with me and he's really drunk and like, he said something about his friend taehyung so i went searching in his phone, and..."
taehyung lifts his head to throw a half-hearted glance towards the other bed, vacant of a jungkook-shaped body. a trace of concern trickles into his bloodstream. "jungkook?"
"yeah. he's like, black-out drunk." the guy laughs. "i don't think he has a ride back home and the others are trying to leave now but i'm worried. i don't want him going back by himself. he's, like... ouch, really clingy when he's drunk."
"i know." taehyung smirks at the muffled, whiny voice in the background. the relief is immediate. "is that him?"
"uh, yeah. he's, like, clawing at my legs. i- jungkook, get the fuck- why the fuck would i have milk?"
"definitely sounds like my jungkook," taehyung snorts tiredly, slipping out of bed. "i just woke up, give me like, twenty minutes to drive there. the bar he always goes to, right? the one on park ave?"
"i'm sorry i had to wake you up for this. do you do this shit often?"
already pulling a hoodie over his head, taehyung sighs into the receiver. "he should be paying me at this point. hey, i'm sorry to ask, but can you like... stay with him until i get there?"
"of course," they promise, voice hued with the hint of a smile. "i don't want him asking one of the strippers if they'll buy him... i think he's saying milk, but he's like... slurring. a lot. and they're working. one of them looks like she could beat his ass. my ass, too, actually. i'd pay her. so- oh- jungkook- JUNGKOOK, YOU CAN'T PEE THERE. oh my god. i have to- i have to go-"
jungkook is already slumped against the wall outside when taehyung pulls into the parking lot. upon spotting the car, jungkook's eyes light up with immediate recognition, albeit a bit hazed over with alcohol. taehyung kills the engine, taking a moment to stare at his best friend through the windshield. jungkook is talking to himself, like he thinks taehyung will be able to hear him from such a long ways away.
"taeeeeeeee," jungkook is groaning as taehyung approaches, shaking his head. "yawudd not BELEEVEY whud - whud happened t' me like, twenty minutes ago. i god robbed."
"you got robbed?" taehyung clarifies slowly, guiding jungkook to his feet. "what do you mean?"
"some- some bitch stole m'phone and used it to... doo doo doo... call. sm'one."
oh. "that was a friend of yours," taehyung says, patting his back reassuringly. "they called me to see if i'd come pick you up since you, like, clearly can't handle yourself. you didn't drive here, did you?"
"uber," jungkook mumbles into taehyung's shoulder, wrapping his arms around his waist as taehyung struggles to walk him back to the car. "s'm.. s'm guy who eats his corn wid.. wid honey."
taehyung furrows his eyebrows. "what?"
"he eats his corn," jungkook pauses to stare up at taehyung wildly. he makes a nonsensical gesture with his hands, looking at taehyung like he expects him to understand. "with honeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey. like, the one that the birds make."
"bees make honey, jungkook."
"get in the car."
jungkook pouts. "but 'm not done yet."
taehyung stares at him blankly. without a word, he crams jungkook into the passenger seat, leaning over his slumped frame to attach his seatbelt. above his head, jungkook continues to babble. "i've... n'vr seen children of the corn, actually. do.. do dey all wear overalls or is that jus' the country folk? folk.. haha.. i... i said- i said- i may jus' be a s-simple country boyyyyy, but cohwn bread don't grow sideways in the win'ner-"
jungkook doesn't wake up until noon that next morning. taehyung has the day off but he calls namjoon on jungkook's behalf anyway, giving him some shitty excuse about how he ate bad shellfish and has been throwing up since one in the morning. when ten rolls around and jungkook still hasn't stirred from his incapacitated state in his bed, taehyung sneaks out of his own to start breakfast.
he half-assedly throws french toast in a pan, rifling through the cabinets above the stove to find aspirin. setting the bottle down on the counter, taehyung reaches over to grab a glass of water. he returns to the oven, turns the heat on, and waits.
as expected, when the smell of cinnamon hits the air, he hears jungkook's bed-springs creaking ominously from the other room. he doesn't have to turn around to know that jungkook has slid into one of the chairs, ravenous eyes trained on taehyung as he stands at the oven.
grinning smugly, taehyung sets the aspirin down on the kitchen table. "how are you feeling?"
jungkook glares at him, tiredly, agitated, hungover. "like shit," he says. he wraps his hands around the cap and twists, but nothing budges. he gives it another try before holding the bottle out to taehyung, face pulled into a pout. taehyung rolls his eyes and takes the aspirin, twisting off the cap for him.
"how drunk was i?" jungkook asks after he's downed a couple capsules, forehead now pressed into the coolness of the table's surface. "how many bitches did i fuck?"
taehyung makes a face at that. he goes into the fridge and grabs a carton of milk, sliding it over to jungkook. "don't ever say that to me again. you didn't "fuck any bitches." you never do shit like that."
"i could if i wanted to."
"you're gay," taehyung points out.
jungkook considers this. "oh yeah." he pauses. "but i still could."
"i think you've been talking to those twelve years old too much. i mean- at this point, i kinda prefer that over you going and hanging out with..." he cuts his sentence off short, but the implication is still painfully obvious.
jungkook winces. "was i that bad?"
"you were bought by like, five strippers."
jungkook stares, horrified. taehyung scoffs.
"kidding. no, you weren't too bad. one of your friends called me before you could get much worse."
"they touched my phone?"
"yeah. they said you mentioned me, so i came to get you as always." taehyung crosses his arms. "but you're not getting my point. why did you go out last night? did you get that essay done?"
jungkook ignores him, staring deeply into the milk contents as if he's expecting an eyeball to drift to the surface.
"googie," taehyung insists.
"you're not my dad," jungkook grumbles bitterly. "you should come out with us sometime. you'd love it."
taehyung snorts, scraping some french toast onto a plate. "i absolutely would not."
"you would." jungkook gulps down some of the milk, wiggling his eyebrows at him. "we got a new addition to our group lately. he's cute. you should meet him."
"i'm not interested in anyone who..." taehyung waves his hand distractedly, "coexists within your little friend group."
"you're in a bad mood this morning," jungkook grumbles, reaching for the plate taehyung passes over to him. he near salivates all over the fucking table.
"i'm still pissed off that i had to go out last night to pick you up."
"next time don't, then."
taehyung rolls his eyes. "don't be a baby. you know i'd always come for you."
"you wouldn't have to come for me if you were already there," jungkook persists, abandoning his food to fold his hands underneath his chin. "hang out with us sometime. actually, next friday. come with us next friday."
"absolutely fucking not."
"you never leave the HOUSE," jungkook cries, stabbing a piece of french toast with his fork. "you have no friends other than me! at least come just to hang out with me. watch over me or whatever. or," he says with a sly smirk, "or, come for..."
"absolutely fucking not."
"tae, you'd love him. he has black hair."
"a lot of boys have black hair, jungkook."
"yeah, but last night he wore tights," jungkook continues.
taehyung twitches at that.
jungkook certainly doesn't miss it. smiling sweetly, he adds, "a torn red sweater over these like, tight tight tight tights. and he has a fat ass. he looked so fucking good, taehyung. you could fuck him."
"stop trying to lure me into one of your gross little drinking fests."
jungkook huffs. "you're getting boring in your old age."
"don't say that." taehyung tears jungkook's plate away, prompting a sharp gasp of betrayal. "i just don't want to have anything to do with your shitty friends, that's all."
"you're scared he'll reject you," jungkook replies smoothly. "or you'll be embarrassed."
jimin's face flashes in taehyung's mind, and he shakes his head. "that's not it."
"oh, what, you want to fuck that flower shop guy? are you saving yourself for him or something?"
caught, taehyung's face erupts in an angry flush. "i- no."
"i thought you said you wanted to FUCK him, not catch feelings."
"i'm not catching feelings."
"then what's the big deal?" jungkook snatches his plate back, shoving a forkful of french toast into his mouth. "it's just a fuck. you can fuck anyone, taehyung. it's just when feelings get involved that it gets all twisted."
taehyung narrows his eyes. "you say this like you've had experience."
"when? i've never seen you go on a proper date in your life."
jungkook groans loudly. "i've gone on plenty, but we're not talking about me right now, are we? stop changing the subject."
taehyung rolls his eyes. after a moment of this, jungkook shoots him an impatient look. "will you please just come with me next friday? i don't want to end up by myself and that's what always happens. being drunk isn't fun when you're alone."
"fine," taehyung admonishes sternly, "but i'm telling you right now, if i get ditched somewhere, i'm coming home without you and locking you out of the room."
an idea is already taking root in jungkook's head. he rubs his hands together slowly and taehyung almost takes a step back at the mere sight of it. once again, jimin's giggle echoes in the back of taehyung's brain and he frowns: surely he wouldn't care, right? not like it matters. they haven't seen each other in a while anyway. jimin's probably already forgotten who taehyung even is.
friday comes rolling around sooner rather than later, definitely a lot quicker than taehyung had been expecting. although he would never admit it, jungkook picked a good time to dump copious amounts of alcohol into his veins: the week brought forth a handful of exams and extra work hours, some of his days stretched so taut that taehyung barely made it to bed before falling asleep. taehyung swears that he isn't going to drink a lot: he's there to watch over jungkook, after all, and maybe get a lap dance while he's at it.
nothing too serious, he thinks.
jungkook spends twenty minutes fixing his hair in the bathroom mirror, spraying some shit in it that smells like chemicals and strawberries: "someone there you like?" taehyung teases, and gets a bottle of toothpaste thrown unceremoniously (and quite off-aim) at his face. jungkook insists that there isn't, but when he finally exits the bathroom his cheeks are aglow with a rosy hue that taehyung doesn't see all that often.
they step in the door and jungkook gives simple introductions: taehyung glances over several smiling faces but doesn't bother to remember any of them. one of them - jaehyun, or something - makes a slight about how his boyfriend is part of the group, too, as if taehyung cares, but he's off getting a drink. there's something about him that rubs taehyung the wrong way, whatever it is. the flicker of annoyance in his eyes when he mentions his boyfriend, the way he's leaning back against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest.
it's like he's waiting for something, but taehyung doesn't know what it is. it puts him on edge.
"jaehyun's just like that," is all jungkook says when taehyung pulls him aside, some fruity scented alcohol already sloshing over the rim of his plastic red cup. "they have kind of a weird relationship, but it's best if you don't get involved." taehyung assumes he's talking about the boyfriend but the comment makes him a bit confused. why would he try to get involved to begin with?
taehyung's only half-certain that jungkook's already introduced him to the "cute guy" they've been discussing all week, but taehyung doesn't pay any mind to it. he's a bit distracted by the constant slotting of warm bodies, the overwhelming heat of the room. making sure jungkook doesn't get himself into anything stupid.
it's been a while since taehyung attended a party of any kind, so he finds himself completely caught off-guard when he realizes how much of a lightweight jungkook is. two shots in and jungkook's already grinding on someone, their face blurry from the lights, soft around the edges. taehyung watches for a little while, until he's certain that jungkook is horny enough to want to stay put for the time being.
the kitchen is blissfully empty when taehyung slips inside, squishing his body through the swinging doors and taking a deep breath. the air is still faintly buzzing with the energy outside but it's a bit calmer in this room: taehyung takes a sip of his own red cup and pulls his phone from his back pocket. he doesn't honestly remember what he's drinking: one of jungkook's friends had poured it for him, some pink liquid that smells like peaches and tickles the back of his tongue.
he leans back against the counter with a sigh, opening instagram. namjoon's posted some new pictures of the store front, sunflowers freshly planted on either side of the steps. taehyung flicks his thumb over the photoset, a red heart jumping from his screen to notify him that he's liked the picture. below that, yoongi's posted a picture of his dog and jungkook posted selfies at some point earlier this morning. if taehyung leans closer, he can catch his own elbow in the background of the third one.
"what are you doing here?" a voice comes suddenly and taehyung jolts, nearly dropping his phone to the floor in surprise. turning fast, he's about to spit out something like i'm sorry does this room have your name on it when his eyes properly settle and, oh.
"jimin," taehyung breathes, and oh times a million.
he's dressed a bit casually tonight, an oversized baby pink t-shirt tucked into a high-waisted denim skirt. the shirt is a bit opaque and taehyung's eyes graze over the undeniable grooves of jimin's abs underneath all of the peach undertones. there's a backwards black cap sitting on the top of jimin's head, forehead exposed through the gap in the material. his legs peek out deliciously through the creases of the skirt, thighs curving against the denim. it takes all of taehyung's physical strength to drag his eyes back up to jimin's face. his gold hoop earrings catch the kitchen lights, twinkling prettily next to his jawline.
he scans over jimin's features feeling like he's been kicked in the stomach. a strawberry eyeshadow is painted on the backs of jimin's eyelids, white eyeliner blended into the inner corners. his highlight puts the dance floor lights to shame, fluttering softly in the dim kitchen light. there's a faint red tint to his cheeks, like blush but not quite: taehyung dubs it cherry pollen. it's flecked across his cheeks like freckles, subtle enough that taehyung wouldn't have noticed if he wasn't drinking up jimin's image. tonight his lips are coated in a metallic, iridescent peach gloss. when jimin smirks, taehyung's heart drops from his ass to the floor.
"i haven't seen you over at the shop in a while," jimin tells him as he sips from his own red cup, perched on the edge of the counter.
taehyung just can't stop staring at his fucking lips. he probably looks like an entire idiot at this point. "were you waiting for me? that's sweet. i only went once, you know. i made that much of an impression on you?"
jimin splutters on his drink. a grin tugs at the corners of taehyung's mouth. "wh- no. in your fucking dreams."
"doesn't seem like i have to dream too hard, then."
his mouth drops open like he's thought of a really good comeback for that, but then jimin hesitates before saying, "perhaps you don't. you never answered my question, though. what are you doing here?"
"i should be asking you the same thing."
jimin smirks, slightly lifts his red cup in the air. "drinking, obviously. hiding in a dinky little room all by myself. did you come with jungkook?"
"how did you..." it suddenly occurs to taehyung then that jimin must still not know they work for the rival store, because there'd be no way that jimin would ever willingly hang out with jungkook if that was the case. he frowns. somehow, jimin and jungkook know each other. is jimin one of his friends? taehyung makes a mental note to beat jungkook's ass later.
it's a cheap trick, luring taehyung to this party so he could coincidentally run into jimin. fucking asshole.
"i saw you two walk in together," jimin says lightly, as if his eyes don't graze taehyung's fingers as the sentence rolls out. taehyung dumbly remembers loosely linking his fingers together with jungkook's when they passed through the door. "are you two..."
taehyung snorts. "me and jungkook? absolutely fucking not." taking a sip of his drink, he adds, "he has a crush on someone here, i think. that's why he wanted to come tonight."
"that's why he's all dolled up, then," jimin giggles, tipping his own cup back.
taehyung tilts his head. cute of him to have noticed. "yeah."
"he got so drunk the last time we came out." jimin fidgets with the hem of his skirt, pretty thighs flashing in taehyung's direction. he does his best not to swallow too loudly. "god. he was hanging all over me and everything."
"yeah, don't remind me. i was the asshole who had to hear him talk about scarecrows the entire way home."
at that, there's a sudden spark in jimin's eye. "what did you just say?"
"scarecrows?" taehyung stares at him dumbly. "like, the things that watch over people's gardens so birds don't-"
"no, no, you fucking moron," jimin hisses, shaking his head, "you drove him home?"
taehyung blinks, slowly. "uh, yeah? i always am. mister kim, designated driver."
"i see." jimin's smiling to himself now, like he knows something taehyung doesn't. it not only confuses him, but makes him incredibly nervous for some reason: he opens his mouth to ask jimin what's so funny before the dull sound of a phone invades the room. jimin tugs his shirt out of his skirt, pulling his phone from the waistline. taehyung tries his best not to stare hopelessly at the exposure of skin.
jimin reads a text message displayed on his lockscreen, rolling his eyes. pulling the phone to his lips like he's about to record a clip of his own voice, he says, "keep acting all needy and shit and i won't get you a drink at all. don't fucking test me."
it's kind of hot, the way his voice dips when he says that. at the same time, his words have a startling similarity to the words of someone else that taehyung had spoken to not too long ago. he opens his mouth stupidly, something like disappointment spiking in his gut. "that wouldn't happen to be jaehyun, would it?"
jimin looks up in surprise. "you know jae?"
jae. "yeah," taehyung answers, hoping he doesn't sound as bitter as he feels.
"oh. i didn't know you two were friends. he can be nice sometimes, but most of the time he's a dick. kinda possessive, too, if you know what i mean? and not in the attractive way." despite himself, taehyung smirks at jimin's words. "sometimes that's hot, but not the way jaehyun acts. it pisses me off. he can get so bossy."
"be careful talking about your boyfriend like that," taehyung teases, tongue flicking out to grab some of his peach drink from the rim. "i might run my mouth."
"i'm sorry, my what?"
"your boyfriend?" taehyung frowns. "jaehyun said-"
"oh." tipping his head back, a deep giggle falls out of jimin's lips. "is that what he said? god- he isn't. jaehyun isn't my boyfriend."
furrowing his eyebrow suspiciously, taehyung clears his throat. "are you sure?"
"do i sound like i'm sure?" jimin smooths out a crease in his skirt, lifting his eyes to smirk at him. "if jaehyun was my boyfriend, i'd be out there grinding on him, don't you think?" he takes a moment to think, sipping his drink thoughtfully. "although i have heard that he has an impressively big dick."
the sudden vulgarity causes taehyung to choke this time. jimin flashes him a pearly smile, alcohol flooding taehyung's nose and making it impossible to breathe. as soon as he's deemed taehyung fit enough to inhale on his own, jimin hops down prettily off the counter, spinning his skirt in a way that has taehyung's head reeling. "well, i think it's time for me to ditch. this party's kinda boring."
taehyung gives him a weird look. outside the kitchen, the music is still thrumming obnoxiously loudly, laughter booming in through the walls. it sure sounds like fun to him, and he doesn't even like parties. "how would you know? you've been in the kitchen the entire time."
"so have you," jimin fires back. he's standing a bit closer now and taehyung can smell a hint of cherries, can properly see now that there isn't a counter and a cash register between them that jimin is slightly shorter. "it's just not my forte. i prefer parties with a bit more coke, anyway."
taehyung snorts. jimin grins cheekily, then asks, "do you want to come with me?"
he laughs. "absolutely not."
"what do you think about meteors?" jimin asks, fingers looped through the swingset chains, his highlighter snagged by the moonlight overhead. he's staring at his feet, spinning himself in gentle circles.
"what about them?" dragging his eyes from where jimin's hat lies abandoned on the grass, taehyung tips his head up to look at the sky. the stars twinkle prettily. "they're rocks."
"but maybe they're people."
taehyung laughs, staring at him incredulously. "that's ridiculous! how could meteors be people?"
"think about it, see? they're so rare, but they're constantly up in the sky. when i was little, my mom told me this silly story about how when people die, their souls go back to the stars and how some of them turn into meteors: but that's, like, only if you're able to transcend into your next life or something. i don't remember the specifics. i think she said something about how when you see a meteor, your souls are connected."
"like soulmates or something?"
he nods. "exactly like that. have you ever seen a meteor?"
"no," taehyung says, watching the overhead light of the playground flicker across jimin's eyelids. "have you?"
"i haven't." jimin smiles. "when i was a kid, i always wanted to. what do you think about the moon landing?"
"oh!" taehyung cries dramatically, throwing a hand over his heart. "fake."
jimin bursts out laughing. "you're such a hypocrite! how can you say meteors aren't people but the moon landing was faked?"
"because it was," taehyung says matter-of-factly. he takes a sip of the strawberry vodka gripped loosely between his fingers. "there's proof."
"proof," jimin snorts, wrapping his lips around the lip of the bottle when taehyung passes it to him. "enlighten me, socrates."
"there were rocks with set numbers written on them. and there's no gravity on the moon, so how was the flag waving in the breeze?"
"maybe there was a miraculous gust of air. like, in that moment. man's achievement was so great that the universe just had to create a single gust of air, just for that video clip."
"or it was a fan projecting the image of wind blowing."
"so you're telling me that humanity has never touched the moon?"
"never." reaching for the bottle, taehyung's fingers brush against jimin's. "we have never once touched the moon."
jimin laughs. "that's quite a bleak opinion."
"i think there's something kind of comforting about it. humans have touched literally everything on this earth and marked it to make it theirs, but the moon is like, untouched. it's the only spot in this universe that we know about but have never touched."
"like-" taehyung places his thumb over the glowing outline of the moon, poking his tongue out slightly. "i can do this, and make it look like i'm completely overshadowing the moon, but in actuality i'm miles and miles away from its surface."
jimin watches taehyung for a couple moments longer until he turns, his own thumb mirroring taehyung's.
"and it's so close," taehyung continues. "it's so close to us, but we've never dared to touch it, because we don't know anything about it."
"maybe it has its own gravity."
"maybe it has oxygen, too, but it's like, poisonous to us. our lungs would just reject it."
"maybe it has space bunnies."
taehyung smirks. "space bunnies?"
"yeah, like, the ones in super mario galaxy."
choking, taehyung reels the bottle back as if he's going to throw it at jimin, but they're both laughing uncontrollably now. "you ruined it! i spent all this time making up this special little moment for us and you had to go be a big dork and ruin everything."
"you didn't even kiss him?" jungkook asks, staring at taehyung from his bed. the lights have been off for hours but taehyung and jungkook have both been wide awake since taehyung snuck back in the door. "come on, that's a lie."
"i didn't," taehyung says, because it's the truth. he flops over to look at jungkook from across the room, cheek squished into his pillow. "we didn't even hold hands. i did get his number, though."
"you've gone soft."
taehyung sits up and throws a pillow at him, glowering when jungkook cries out something about abuse. with a huff, he collapses back into his sheets, shutting his eyes. "i'm just waiting, that's all."
"for what?" jungkook snorts. "an invitation? you already bought strawberry seeds from him. he clearly wants you to eat his ass."
"you're unbearable." taehyung cracks one eye open. "i still can't believe you were friends with him this entire time."
"i had no idea it was the same jimin," jungkook says, jaw dropping when taehyung lifts his head to stare at him. "i'm serious! why don't you believe me? i'd never seen seokjin's new employee before in my life."
"here i am, your best friend, and i don't even know half of your other friends."
"not my fault you never come out with us."
"where did you meet him?"
"music store," jungkook says, smiling at the memory. "i was there looking at vinyls and this pink-haired kid got kicked out for playing the drums too loudly. not what you'd expect from someone like jimin, is it?"
taehyung scoffs. "not really, no."
"i like him better with black hair."
"me too." taehyung lets out a breathy giggle. "makes me wanna pull it."
jungkook laughs, rubbing a hand over his face in mock disgust. "shut the fuck up."
silence falls over them. taehyung's almost half-asleep when jungkook suddenly whispers, "what are you going to do?"
"what do you mean?"
"you have a crush on the competition," jungkook says and taehyung hates the way it makes his cheeks feel warmer than usual. "you're a traitor to everyone in our establishment. you've let namjoon down. the shop is going to be in shambles."
"you're friends with the competition."
"namjoon doesn't know that. i'm not the one who spends every second of my day thinking about him."
"don't be so dramatic. namjoon hasn't sent me to seokjin's in two weeks, but it's not like that matters anyway. oh. and i don't have a crush on jimin," taehyung adds briskly, an afterthought.
"riiiiiiight. that's why you didn't fuck him tonight, right?"
he's silenced by another pillow.
it's an ironic twist of fate that namjoon has taehyung sneak into seokjin's for the second time the next day. namjoon tells him to wait until 3:20, just to be safe and sure that seokjin isn't going to come back by surprise.
jungkook and taehyung make eye contact as he goes to slip out the door, jungkook making a crude gesture with his tongue in his cheek. taehyung rolls his eyes.
it's strangely humid when taehyung enters seokjin's, as if the air conditioner has decided to run out. he pinches his shirt between his fingers, fanning himself off with the uselessly dry air. jimin, standing cutely at the register, lifts his head up as the bells at the top of the door twinkle softly. he looks lost in thought at first but when his eyes settle on taehyung, he smiles wholeheartedly, eyes crinkling at the corners.
today, he's wearing a skirt again.
"taehyung," he says.
taehyung tilts his head. he doesn't remember telling jimin his name. "that's me," he says, a bit confused.
jimin laughs. it rings through the air prettily. "i know it is. are you stalking me? you always pop in whenever i'm on shift. it's like you're watching me or something."
taehyung doesn't know if he has the strength to admit that he does. his manager pays him to do just that: sit in the bushes with a pair of binoculars and stare at jimin for hours at a time. and okay - maybe it's not jimin that namjoon wants him to observe, but nobody has to know. "or something," taehyung says, scoffing lightly and hoping it doesn't sound too forced. "i guess our schedules just match up at the perfect time."
"it is kind of weird," jimin begins, staring at taehyung suspiciously, "that you always manage to show up as soon as we'd be alone in the store together."
taehyung stares right back at him, unwavering. his eyes graze darkly over jimin's exposed legs. "kind of weird that you'd mention the fact that we're alone together."
jimin raises an eyebrow, licking over his lower lip as he lets that sink in. his features melt into an indifferent expression, like he's bored, but if taehyung looks hard enough he can make out traces of a faint flush in his cheeks. he squeezes his thighs together unconsciously.
"did you plant those strawberries yet?" jimin asks then, changing the subject abruptly. "i never did hear how they were doing."
"it's kinda cute that you care," taehyung smiles, "this much."
"i don't. i'm simply making the point that it's been a long ass time since you've come in."
the ghost of a smirk flickers across jimin's lips. "not really."
"is that so? it sounds like you did." there's a crack in the linoleum and taehyung runs the heel of his foot over it. "and we just hung out last night, too. unbelievable."
"did we?" jimin snorts. "i don't remember. i must have been really drunk."
taehyung's not sure what he's implying by that: if jimin only hung out with him because he was a bit tipsy, or that the entire night is uncalled for in his memory. his words hold a bit of a double meaning and taehyung stares at him dumbly. "you don't remember anything?"
"did you want me to?"
he picks at his thumbnail as he says it, nonchalantly: looking disinterested as fuck. taehyung grits his teeth. fucking brat.
jimin's gaze flutters to him then. "i asked you a question."
there's something so startlingly domineering about the way he says it, and it takes taehyung by surprise. his mouth falls open dumbly, hand twitching at his side like he doesn't know what he wants to do with it. in any other circumstance, if anyone ever spoke to him like that, taehyung would shut them down immediately, spew some shit to have them crawling towards him on their hands and knees. he'd take them right on top of the front fucking counter.
with jimin, though, he's unsure which route to take. and he's not sure why, but he's pretty sure it has something to do with a late night conversation about how man never landed on the moon.
taehyung's gotten himself stuck. this was originally supposed to be a game, like countless others of times: but jimin. jimin. all he wants to do is fucking ruin him but he has no idea how anymore. it's bullshit. he always fucking knows how.
"i asked you a question first," taehyung says after an awkward beat. it's a weak comeback but it's all he has.
jimin looks sly when he replies, "i guess you did."
"are you going to answer me, then?"
"you gonna do anything if i don't?"
taehyung stares at him incredulously. "maybe."
grinning, jimin challenges, "you don't sound too sure about that."
"then do it."
"maybe i don't feel like it."
jimin shrugs. "suit yourself," he says dismissively, but taehyung doesn't miss the flash of mild disappointment ripple across his face. "you gonna buy something or are you just gonna keep standing there looking pretty?"
at one-thirty am, fist wrapped shakily around his cock, taehyung finds himself thinking about jimin.
nothing too concrete: dirty images coming to him in abstract chunks. jimin riding him, cute pouty lips trembling as he watches his hips sink down, stuffing himself with taehyung's cock. toying himself with it, stretching himself to the breaking point, soft whines and cries spilling from his mouth as taehyung reaches over to grab him by the hips.
he dreams of jimin's thighs, how soft they'd be trapped in his palm. pretty baby, taehyung mumbles incoherently as he imagines meanly digging his thumb into the slit of jimin's cock. using me to play with yourself, are you? making yourself into a dumb little toy. i haven't even touched you yet.
taehyung would grind into jimin achingly slowly, watching his eyes roll back when taehyung found that sweet spot of his. he'd make sure to fuck him so his cock collided with it with every thrust. time the noisy, wet noises with jimin's whines, his pleads. the sound of taehyung smacking the sensitive skin of his thighs, hearing jimin cry out. his own name, falling beautifully from jimin's swollen, spit-slicked lips.
taehyung comes like that, thinking of jimin moaning his name, eyes wide as he watches taehyung's cock fuck into him. he has to bury his face into his pillow to muffle his groaning, cock twitching in his hand as cum stains the sheets.
it's filthy and pathetic. taehyung sighs breathlessly.
so i've done some thinking
finally going to admit defeat?
but i have a question
what would you do if you were able to go there
to the moon?
if you could do ANYTHING on the moon what would it be
that's a good question
too long to answer over text
well it doesn't have to be an essay
i'd have sex
of course you would
how would that work?
with astronaut helmets and everything?
don't forget space suits
you're so gross
what would you do
i'd plant a garden
those flowers would never survive
neither would your dick you lustful pessimist
i'd get flowers that could live there
would you cover the entire thing?
no i'd have a garden all to myself. big enough for me but too small for anyone on earth to see it
then whenever something makes me sad i could travel to it
my little secret moon garden
what kind of flowers would be there
all kinds of flowers! especially daisies
would you go with me?
to the moon?
are you asking me on a date
go to the moon with me
"you left him on read," jungkook reiterates slowly, reaching over to grab one of taehyung's fries. he dips it in an absurd amount of ketchup before popping it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. "he told you to go to the moon with him, and you left him on read."
"i panicked," taehyung hisses, because it's nothing short of the truth. jimin's text had left him at a loss for words.
for one thing, taehyung isn't in the right position. he can't go on a date with jimin, not with his job on the line - it's not much, but it's all he has. and not only that, but. taehyung's not trying to fall for park jimin. he's really not trying to crush on someone as fine as park jimin. that's an immediate set-up for disaster, and if anyone knows that, it's kim fucking taehyung.
"are you still psyched out about losing your job?" jungkook asks, pointing a fry at him almost accusingly.
"i can't be "psyched out" about it if it'll actually happen, googie."
"you're stupid." jungkook leans back to take a long sip of his soda. taehyung watches his throat bounce to avoid the piercing, judgmental look in his eyes. "the most beautiful person in the world wants to go on a date with you, and you left him on read? for WHAT? for minimum wage? if you're that freaked out about it, just tell joon you're scoring information out of him." setting it down, he adds, "or is it something else?"
taehyung looks down.
"it is!" jungkook shouts, launching a ketchup-soaked fry at him. taehyung narrowly avoids it, watching it sail across the restaurant before landing with a wet squelch on the floor. "you're scared, aren't you?"
"i don't get scared," taehyung counters.
"look at me again and say that."
"because you're a fucking pussy."
taehyung glares at him. "i am not-"
"so, what about him is scaring you? because obviously you can't use he'll reject me as an excuse anymore, since he was the one who initially asked you out. are you scared he won't like you? scared he's going to think you're a freak? scared he's gonna date you for two days and then leave you for some other cute customer who mosies on into that flower shop? jimin's nice, you know." jungkook crosses his arms over his chest. "i haven't known him for that long, but from what i've seen whenever i've hung out with him, he's really, really sweet. one time someone left a box of kittens on the side of the road and it started raining and his landlord doesn't allow pets so he sat out there with them, holding an umbrella over the box until the storm ended."
taehyung stares, mouth agape. of course, park jimin is not only a sultry bombshell, but the most softhearted person on earth. "i left that angelic little bitch on read."
"i know you did, you fucking asshole."
"do you think he's mad?"
jungkook takes a brief moment to break intense eye contact with his cheese fries. he looks at taehyung like he's got four dicks climbing out of his forehead.
taehyung bites down on his lower lip. "so... i'll take that as a yes."
with a sigh, jungkook wraps his lips around his straw and takes an even longer, more meticulous sip than before. popping his lips, he tuts before saying, "you know, you've impressed me before with the way you squeeze out of rough situations, but to be completely honest with you, i really don't know how you're going to manage to get around this one."
shit hits the fan at precisely 1:42 pm, about a week after taehyung initially ignored jimin. jimin hasn't texted him since, and while taehyung's a bit disappointed in that fact, he also knows he can't rely on jimin to keep any sort of relationship going. taehyung was the one who rejected him, after all - jimin can't be the one to pick up the pieces. that has to be taehyung, but he's never done anything of the sort and he doesn't really know where to start.
it's selfish, continuing to ignore jimin like this. but taehyung can't stop. knowing he's done something wrong: it gave birth to an awful habit that taehyung can't seem to shake. he doesn't want to make it right, not when he's looking at a completely blank canvas. not when he's holding a clean paintbrush without a hint of knowledge in the world as to which color he should dip it in first.
yoongi and taehyung are alone in the shop. namjoon's gone on lunch about fifteen minutes ago, promising he'd bring back something from the deli down the street: yoongi says he sincerely doubts it. so they're sharing a packet of cookies taehyung brought along, crumbs scattered around the table as taehyung leans forward to stretch his arms over the span of the counter.
it's completely dead. it's always dead on wednesdays, and taehyung hates working wednesdays but hoseok called out, and he didn't have the heart to leave yoongi by himself. all in all, it's not too bad: yoongi's good company, considering his quiet personality. he's actually kinda funny, in a really dry, dark-humor sort of way.
they're watching something on netflix. yoongi's phone is propped against the back of the cash register, some crime show playing on the screen. both of them have their eyes on it, but they don't have any fucking idea what's going on. taehyung knows someone cheated, someone else got stabbed, but he can't figure out who this one guy is who's running around wearing a mask. it's either the jealous boyfriend or the-
"i'm not following it," yoongi tells him, cookie dangling from his teeth. taehyung smirks.
"me neither. i think her brother is the one in the mask."
"the one that got stabbed or the one that fell in the lake?"
"lake," taehyung elaborates, leaning across yoongi to grab another cookie. "the one that got stabbed is still in the hospital, right? she's weird, but i don't think her family is like... the murderer type."
"what makes you say that?"
"it just doesn't strike me as the type. they're the- fuck, what do you call it? blue herring, or something?"
"red herring," yoongi corrects him with a snort. "blue herring?"
"fuck you, man," taehyung snaps, but he can't help giggling as he breaks off half of his cookie and launches it at his coworker, "i was close enough."
"barely," yoongi giggles.
taehyung's about to say something else, to counter him, but he's interrupted by the soft jingling of the bells above the door. yoongi looks up at the same time, automatic greeting tumbling from his lips as the customer steps inside. taehyung's about to wave, when-
without a word, taehyung shoves himself from his stool, gracelessly dropping to the ground. upon impact, he smashes his elbow off the side of the counter. "fuck," he hisses. yoongi stares down at him, arching an eyebrow confusedly as taehyung rubs at his elbow.
"what the fuck is wrong with you?"
taehyung makes a frantic shushing motion. when he peeks around the counter leg, he can just barely see jimin standing at the door. he's not looking in their direction, just squinting at a flower display in the corner. what the fuck is he even doing here? he works at a flower shop, doesn't he? can't he just buy flowers there?
but he's not dressed in his work shirt, taehyung realizes as he examines the baggy hoodie skimming jimin's knees. he must not work today. but why the fuck did he choose this shop over seokjin's? "can i help you find something?" yoongi asks cautiously from somewhere up above, clearly anxious from the way taehyung's acting. taehyung rips his head back behind the counter as jimin looks over.
taehyung squeezes himself tighter into the counter as jimin's voice carries closer. "is jungkook working today?"
oh. so he does know jungkook works here?
"no... no, jungkook's not scheduled." yoongi shoots a quick glance down at taehyung, too briskly for jimin to notice. taehyung keeps a finger pressed tightly over his lips, and to his relief, yoongi wordlessly directs his attention back to jimin.
"oh," jimin replies. taehyung hears the telltale sound of him rifling around through his pockets. suddenly, there's a loud bang as jimin slaps something down on the table. he sounds pissed. taehyung shrinks further into the counter. "i'll ask you, then. how do you passive-aggressively say fuck you in flower?"
taehyung hunts jungkook down for nearly two hours on campus until he finds him hunched over, hiding, in the back room of the library. upon seeing taehyung, jungkook lets out a shriek, jumping from his seat as taehyung slams the door behind them. there's no lock, so taehyung stands in front of it instead and hopes it looks intimidating enough. "jimin knew that you worked at namjoon's," is the first thing he says. it comes out in a borderline growl.
"oh, is that so?" jungkook asks, clutching an opened bag of potato chips and trying not to look like he's about to shit himself. "that's so funny."
"how long have you known that jimin's worked at seokjin's?"
taehyung crosses his arms. jungkook swallows hard and then offers again, "whaaaaaaaaaaa-"
"there's no way you couldn't have known where he works if he knew where you do."
"that sentence didn't make any sense."
"fuck you, you know what i'm trying to say. 'i've never seen seokjin's new employee in my life,'" taehyung repeats in a high-pitched, mocking tone. "that was such bullshit. you totally knew what you were doing when you talked me into going to that party. you wanted me to hook up with jimin."
jungkook huffs. "you're crazy. what was jimin doing at seokjin's today, anyway?"
"what?" jungkook asks.
"i never told you jimin was at seokjin's."
jungkook takes in this information with a light bob of his head, looking like he's really absorbing it, letting it register. then, without a word, he turns towards the open window. he wraps his hand around the crank and turns it frantically, shoving his head out of the tiny space and screeching, "HELP! HELP I'M GETTING KIDNAPPED MY NAME IS JEON JUNGKOOK I'M TWENTY YEARS OLD AND WHEN I WAS SIX I WANTED TO BE A DENTIST-"
taehyung lunges. jungkook screams again, ducking out of taehyung's grip. they nearly knock over a computer and two shelves of books, but eventually taehyung gets his hands around jungkook's shoulders and pins him against the wall.
"choking-" jungkook gasps out, eyes rolling into the back of his head. "can't breathe- cutting off oxygen-"
"jungkook, i'm not even touching your throat."
"going- into a tunnel-"
"ANSWER ME," taehyung shouts, jostling jungkook where he stands. "you wanted me to hook up with jimin, didn't you? that's why you bribed me with the mention of his fat ass, you sick little fuck. you know i love fat asses."
"okay, FINE," jungkook shouts back, dramatically averting eye contact. "i did. i wanted you to hook up with jimin."
taehyung squints. he fucking knew it. "why?"
"he messaged me," jungkook begins. "when namjoon first sent you over there. he was like, oh, there's this really cute guy who came in here and i think i might have a chance with him. and first of all, i had no idea he was working that day. and obviously i knew that it had been you, because the time stamps worked perfectly. and jimin- he doesn't, like, think too highly of himself, so when he said that to me, i was like... go for it, you know? because i knew you were gonna think he was hot, too, because it's jimin, and i was thinking that jimin would be good for you, too. but i thought that if i told you, it was gonna be like i was playing matchmaker, or i was sneaking behind your back or something, and i didn't want that."
taehyung's still stuck at the beginning. jimin doesn't think too highly of himself. despite this, jimin still asked taehyung out, and taehyung didn't hesitate to reject him. guilt is eating him alive. he had no fucking idea. he's such an asshole. "what do you mean, jimin would be good for me?"
"like, i'm not saying you're the classic, stereotypical fuckboy that's too scared to give anyone a chance, but you're the classic, stereotypical-"
clearing his throat, taehyung holds up a hand to silence him. "okay. got it." it's not like he can really disprove jungkook's words, because it's true. no matter how much he doesn't want to admit it, taehyung didn't give jimin a chance. for as long as he can remember, he's never given anybody a chance. "i'm still pissed you lied to me. but- fuck. did you know that jimin was going to come to our work today?"
"no." jungkook shakes his head. "and for the record, he doesn't know you work there, either. what did he get?"
"a bouquet," taehyung says flatly.
"he told yoongi that he wanted it to say," airquote, "fuck you in flower."
jungkook bites his lip. and although taehyung really shouldn't be thinking it, the fact that jimin bought a big fat bouquet of fuck you flowers is probably one of the cutest things that he's ever heard of. he could have gone down any other route, or just blocked taehyung completely, but instead he went with damage by flowers. why? because they met in a flower shop? who the fuck even does that? it's so damn cute and taehyung hates hates hates himself for even thinking like that.
"how can i even make it up to him?" taehyung asks. "jungkook, please. you have to help me."
"i mean... if he bought you flowers-"
"they say fuck you, jungkook."
"okay, yeah, but he, still- uh, bought you flowers."
he's right. jimin's pissed, but he still went out and bought flowers for taehyung - there's still feelings attached. "give me his address," taehyung begs.
"what the fuck? no."
"i am not going to give you jimin's address so you can go fuck the anger out of him, taehyung. it's not going to happen. not to jimin. he doesn't deserve that shit."
"i'm not going to FUCK him," taehyung says. jungkook raises an eyebrow. "i'm serious. i'm not."
"what are you going to do, then? suck his dick? swallow his cum? let HIM fuck YOU?"
"nothing like that," taehyung finalizes. "god, why do you think i'm going to use sex to get myself out of a- actually, don't say anything. i know the answer."
"i just don't want you to do that. not in this circumstance." jungkook sighs. "you really hurt him."
fuck. taehyung feels it like a punch in the stomach. holding his breath, he mutters, "i know."
"you'd rather do this face to face, then? still knowing that?" jungkook takes a step closer, his eyes challenging, daring. "i haven't known jimin for very long, so i don't know him too well, but i don't know if he's going to forgive you so easily."
it feels like an eternity before jungkook finally says, "okay fine." he rolls his eyes. "i'll help you. but if you don't come home tonight, i'm gonna take a shit in your bed."
it's quiet when taehyung steps up towards jimin's front door.
his house is as annoyingly adorable as taehyung pictured it would be: an apartment, sure, but jimin's definitely made himself at home, hanging daisies in the windowsills and smiley-face stickers all over the <em>welcome :)</em> sign that hangs from the door. the message makes something tick in the back of taehyung's mind, but he can't really pick out what exactly it is, not with his nerves as active as they are.
there's a cat sitting in the window watching him. glaring, rather. it's fat and orange and the blinds are closed tightly so it has to poke its head through - taehyung glares right back and, after a moment, the cat hisses at him. fucking asshole. his next thought is, he didn't know jimin had a cat. why would the sweetest person in the world have such a demonic looking animal living in their house? if taehyung squints, he can see that one of the cat's eyes are glazed over, like it's possessed.
if anything, taehyung pictured jimin to own a kitten, maybe a golden retriever. definitely not this thing.
his heart hammers in his chest as he turns back to the door. it's debatable whether or not jimin will even open it - maybe he'll look through the peephole and leave taehyung standing out here without a word, go back to whatever he was doing before being interrupted. quite honestly, taehyung wouldn't blame him. but because he wants to ene just attempt to make things right, taehyung takes a bracing breath before knocking.
nothing happens. the cat continues to watch him, like it's guarding the house or something, and suddenly taehyung's afraid that jimin might not be home. jungkook had said he would be, right? classes ended early, or something. biting the inside of his cheek, taehyung knocks again.
suddenly, the cat's head disappears. taehyung can hear a soft voice, muffled, and as the door is pulled open, he hears the remainder of jimin's sentence. "...gonna scare people, staring at them like that-"
when jimin looks up to see taehyung, his words end awkwardly in the air. he looks stunned, to say the least, but that's not all.
he looks awful. even with him being park jimin and all - his hair is sticking up in the back, like he's been sleeping for days. his cheeks are splotchy, eyes swollen and rimmed scarlet: as he inhales, it comes off rough and hoarse, like he's been crying. jimin's eyes widen slightly upon landing on taehyung, and taehyung can probably guess how strange this must look: kim taehyung standing in his doorway, hands shoved awkwardly in his pockets, trying to avoid eye contact but coincidentally being unable to look anywhere but at jimin. as soon as the surprised look starts to ebb away, jimin's eyes become shrouded with something like resentment.
taehyung rifles through his brain to come up with something decent, something to keep jimin from slamming the door right back in his face. what comes out is, "uh, hi."
jimin doesn't slam the door. he doesn't pull away, either. instead of screaming like taehyung's expecting, he leans against the frame with his arms crossed. "what do you want?"
the shift in confidence throws taehyung off. his mouth hangs open stupidly, and then he's looking over his shoulder, asking quietly, "c-can we talk?"
"we are talking."
"n-no, i mean..."
jimin scoffs. "you want to come inside?"
"if that's okay," taehyung whispers, but the fire in jimin's eyes hasn't drifted away just yet, so he tacks on a small, "please."
he's expecting jimin to finally shut the door, leave him out there on the doorstep. when jimin glances over his shoulder into his apartment, taehyung's heart sinks. does he have someone over? his suspicions are confirmed when jimin gives him another cold look, signalling him to wait as he shuts the door just slightly. not completely shut, but far enough so that taehyung can't see inside, and he's left feeling like he's falling into a hole as he hears things being rustled around inside. a door slams, something's moved.
then jimin swings the door open again, a bit wider this time. he runs a hand through his hair and sighs, "fine. come in."
"am i, um, interruptting something?" taehyung asks, biting his lip as genuine guilt washes over him. "i'm sorry if i did. i can leave-"
"didn't know that was your fucking business," jimin spits, and okay, ouch. "i told you to come in."
"r-right," taehyung hears himself mumble stupidly as jimin steps back inside. he follows the other, trying to be as hesitant and non-imposing as possible. when jimin leans over to shut the door, taehyung practically jumps out of his own skin. jimin then wordlessly passes him, moving to sit on the couch with his arms crossed once more. taehyung forces himself not to look around, finding the action not very difficult when the light catches jimin's irises. taehyung can see how dewy they are, even now, and jimin silently runs his hand over his face as if he senses the attention.
what he does notice, from the brief once-over, is that jimin's apartment is surprisingly put together. every surface is clean, the only visible sign of trash being a half empty bottle of lemonade on the table in the kitchen. maybe taehyung's imagining things. maybe jimin isn't really too fucked up after all. you hurt him. was jungkook just fucking with taehyung when he said that? and the confidence - jimin really seems fine to him.
either that, or he's a really good actor.
"let me just ask you a question," jimin cuts automatically, voice low and dangerous. "why?"
"um..." taehyung licks over his bottom lip nervously, struggling not to shove his hands in his pockets again. he doesn't want to look dismissive or like he's withdrawing - even if he doesn't say it outright, he wants jimin to subtly know that he's not on the defensive. "to start, i'm, uh, not very good at the whole... relationship, thing."
"well, that's obvious," jimin snorts, rolling his eyes. "you don't usually get left on read after asking someone on a date."
"i know, and i'm..." taehyung takes a deep breath, and suddenly the words just spill out, "'m sorry, jimin, really, i am- i don't... i don't know what came over me. i've always been, like, really really scared of being rejected - and that's not an excuse, i know- don't- i don't want it to be." he pauses, making sure it's okay to continue, and when jimin raises his eyebrow, taehyung accepts it as silent permission. "and- god, i don't want to sound... this is going to sound so stupid."
taehyung feels the heat in his cheeks before it even comes out. "i just- i know we haven't been talking for a very long time, but when we went to those swings and had that really long talk- i felt like something, um, clicked. between us. and before that, i wasn't really- expecting... anyth... oh god, i sound like a fucking asshole, but i guess that's what- what i am. fuck. like. fuck. okay. you're different. and i'm not saying that like, you're different from other guys, or girls, or some stupid shit like that - i'm saying..."
taehyung chokes. jimin rests his chin in his hand, watching him intently.
"what are you saying?" he asks again, voice maybe a pitch softer this time. like he's encouraging taehyung to speak, like he realizes it must be hard to talk about, like he's trying to be supportive even when he must feel terrible. taehyung sucks in a harsh breath.
"i was scared i'd be rejected," taehyung finishes awkwardly, anti-climatically, "by you. and usually it wouldn't be a big deal but- when it comes to you, it is- fuck, jimin - everything's just such a big deal, and you're so fucking cute and lovely when you speak and i fucked up. i really fucking fucked up."
jimin shakes his head. "okay, but - if you were so scared to get rejected, why would you... reject me, when i clearly wanted to... you know."
"i was scared you'd reject me later on or something, when - i mean, obviously i like you. a lot, but - like, if i really really started to like you, and if you rejected me then, i wouldn't - know. what to do with myself, or anything. i'm sorry. jimin, i'm so sorry."
it's an awful, panicked finish, and taehyung winces internally when jimin says nothing back. he removes his chin from his hand, draping his arms over his legs and staring absentmindedly at an old stain in the carpet. the silence hurts more than if jimin had decided to tell taehyung to go fuck himself instead. he's so lost in thought and taehyung would give anything to know what's going through that pretty head of his: jimin worries his lip through his teeth, face blank of any obvious emotion. suddenly, he's an empty canvas, and taehyung wonders if he's too late.
he doesn't think too highly of himself, jungkook had said. taehyung played with that - not intentionally, but his actions still made something twist impossibly between them. what if he is? what if he's too late?
he doesn't want that. taehyung may have fucked up a great many things in his short lifetime but he doesn't want park jimin to be one of them, another thing added to that list. not when his smile glows the way it does, not when his mind speaks in artful ways taehyung never imagined words ever could. he wants jimin. all of him. he'd rather have every piece of him than nothing at all.
"i don't know what to say," jimin murmurs finally, eyes still locked on that stain as if he can rip it from the carpet with sheer willpower. "i'm still so pissed. you... you have no idea how much courage it took to even ask you, and when i didn't get any response, i felt so... fuck - so stupid and small, like i'd been stepped on, and i haven't been able to forget that feeling for days. it won't go away, taehyung."
taehyung's so fucking stupid. he doesn't deserve jimin, shouldn't even be in the same proximity as him. because even though jimin felt pain bone-deep, he's still allowing taehyung to stand in his living room, to let him speak and listen to what he has to say.
"it won't," jimin starts, and a hiccup betrays him, "stop-"
taehyung hears the sob before he sees it. jimin reaches up to cover his mouth with his sleeve, crying into that instead of the open air and when he speaks again, it bites taehyung's skin and leaves angry, violet bruises. he doesn't think too highly of himself. you hurt him. "like... like i'm not good enough, like i'm just gonna get hurt over and over again, like i shouldn't try to- to-"
taehyung's moving to jimin before he even realizes, stumbling over his feet and dropping to his knees. jimin doesn't push him away, only looks at him with something like confused bitterness on his face. it's all sharp joints and no soft edges. cheeks all rosy, stuttering breaths, jimin doesn't say a word when taehyung's hands twitch towards him. he takes it as permission to continue, so he reaches around to take ahold of jimin's wrist, running his thumb over the soft skin of his knuckles.
jimin blinks hard, gasping softly. "wh- what are you- d-doing?"
"d-didn't know if i could," taehyung mumbles sheepishly, "hug you."
this makes jimin's lips twitch with something like the ghost of a smile, and he asks, "d-do you want to?"
"yes," taehyung says, not wasting even a moment of time. "jimin, god, yes, can i please- can i please hug you, i'm so fucking sorry and i'm so stupid and-"
jimin falls into taehyung's arms before he can quite finish, wrapping his small arms around taehyung's shoulders like he'll sink if he doesn't have something to hold onto. taehyung's quick to pull him in close, burying his face in jimin's hair and tracing his fingers down his spine. jimin's entire body trembles, shivers hooking his lungs as taehyung whispers soothingly.
they sit there like that for a while, long enough for taehyung's legs to lock up uncomfortably from the way he's seated, but he doesn't care. jimin holds onto him tightly, face pressed into his shoulder. he's not crying anymore, not really, although the occasional sniffle will slip out - it's more gripping taehyung just to keep himself steady.
then, jimin croaks out, "i'm sorry."
"you?" taehyung asks, wanting to pull away to stare at him, make sure he's serious, but jimin's still wrapped around him. "why are you sorry? i'm the one who-"
"not that," jimin says softly, pulling away with the smallest of smiles. "'m so... dramatic about everything. y-you left me on read, but that wasn't really something i should've been... crying over. n-nobody, like, died."
taehyung giggles a bit at the last part. "you weren't being dramatic," he tells jimin truthfully, reaching up to trail a thumb over his cheek, catching a stray tear there, "you were upset. i'd be upset, too. it's good to cry, you know?"
jimin leans into his touch, sighing somewhat dreamily. "makes me feel like a baby."
"you are a baby."
at that, jimin frowns. "catch me kicking you out."
"i'm serious," taehyung says, moving his thumb to jimin's bottom lip. it's still trembling a little under his touch. he gently presses into it. "about the crying part, i mean. it makes you human. i was so mean, jimin. i shouldn't have ignored you like that, not when you were putting yourself out there like that. i should never ignore you. nobody should ever ignore you. i don't blame you for crying."
"mm," taehyung nods, leaning over slowly to kiss his forehead. "i was an asshole."
"you really were," jimin agrees, flushing slightly when taehyung's lips make contact with his skin. "i should hate you or... something."
"or we can actually go on a date," taehyung says, pulling back to gauge jimin's reaction. jimin's eyes are wide, imploring as he searches taehyung's face. "can we?"
"can we what?"
taehyung frowns. "did you ignore m-"
"no, no!" jimin insists, shaking his head frantically, laughing cutely. "i just... i wanna hear you say it," he mumbles, tips of his ears turning red. "please?"
something turns in taehyung's stomach at the sound of that. he forces it down, taking a deep breath as he asks completely this time, "will you on a date with me?"
"maybe," jimin sing-songs, and bursts into laughter at the blank look that crosses taehyung's face. "i'm joking! yes! yes. but i get to pick where we go, okay? okay?"
as fate has it, jimin chooses for the date to occur back at his own apartment. taehyung tries not to read too deeply into it, but he swears that jimin's voice had gotten a bit husky when he said it, like taehyung wasn't the only one who had certain imagery crawl into his head at the thought of being alone at jimin's once more. jimin labels friday doomsday, sending taehyung a screenshot of the event recorded into his phone calendar with a devil emoji surrounded by swirling pink hearts.
it's cute, how excited jimin is for this, but it's not like taehyung isn't any less enthusiastic. he starts getting nervous on tuesday, and nothing can help it go away. he gets off in the shower, plays video games with jungkook, even picks up extra shifts at work: his heart is still thrumming uncontrollably in his chest, increasingly getting worse as the set day approaches.
on friday morning, taehyung seats jungkook on the couch and forces him to critique his outfits. this is so fucking stupid, jungkook says with a roll of his eyes, you're just visiting him at his house, aren't you? throw on a pair of sweats and call it a day.
but that's not good enough, no. for anybody else, surely, but definitely not for jimin. not when taehyung has the strangest feeling jimin has something up his sleeve, the way his voice sounded over the phone. after two grueling hours, taehyung finally feels satisfied with a black t-shirt and shredded jeans that hug his thighs. jungkook compliments that part especially, telling him that jimin won't be able to look away. i sure wouldn't, if i was him, which prompts taehyung to throw a pillow at his face and call him gay. jungkook stares at him, speechless, before laughing so hard he cries.
jimin texts him asking if five's okay. taehyung responds with a wave of hearts almost immediately.
at four fifty-two, taehyung's sitting outside jimin's apartment from the safety of jungkook's car, his face in his hands. jungkook not only hypes him up for the thirty minute drive over, but continues to shamelessly smother taehyung in compliments as they sit in the driveway.
"i've never seen you like this before," jungkook confesses, squinting towards jimin's door. "you must really like him. i mean, it's obvious, but... i had no idea that he really made you this nervous. nobody makes you this nervous."
"i know," taehyung groans into his hands, mentally screaming at himself for sounding so weak. jimin's just a boy. the prettiest boy taehyung's ever seen - an angel walking on the lines of the earth, every star undivided, whatever. he's just - fuck. fuck.
"really, taehyung, it's just- what the fuck?"
taehyung doesn't even have to look up. "is it the cat?"
"why the fuck is it looking at me like that?"
"i don't know," taehyung mumbles, refusing to lift his head. "there's something wrong with it. don't look at it straight on, it might lunge out the window. oh, god, jungkook. i'm so- god."
"don't be too choked up," jungkook says, reaching over to squeeze his knee as gently as possible. after a minute, he lets out a small exclamation, squeezing a bit tighter. in a low voice, he hums, "oh. you're so toned today. not that i noticed, or anything. have you been working out?"
"i'm leaving," taehyung announces, nudging jungkook aside with a playful shove. jungkook giggles ridiculously, eyes crinkling at the corners as taehyung pushes the passenger door open. "wait, okay, tell me how i look."
"exactly the same as usual, just a bit sweatier and smelling a bit more like cologne."
taehyung stares at him impassively. jungkook sighs dramatically.
"i already told you i'd fuck you like, seven times. you didn't even ask for three of them."
"alright, alright, good," taehyung resolutes, slipping out of his seat. pretending his hands aren't shaking, he salutes to jungkook before turning towards the house. before jungkook drives off completely, though, taehyung doesn't miss the THAT'S MY COWBOY shouted crudely out the window. taehyung doesn't turn around as he holds up a middle finger.
it takes a few minutes for jimin to answer the door this time. while he waits, taehyung watches the sun hang low in the sky, starting to paint the world in a fuzzy orange hue. after another minute passes by, taehyung whips out his phone, pulling up jimin's contact. i'm cold :(
i'm fixing my buttplug, jimin doesn't hesitate to text back almost automatically. taehyung nearly drops his phone on the pavement. kidding. stop whining i'll be there in a second
he's in the middle of firing back with a short rant, something about how jimin just shouldn't leave his dates apprehensive and going into cardiac arrest on his doorstep, when he hears the doorknob click. taehyung looks up just in time to see the door swing open.
his jaw drops.
as he expected, jimin wasn't planning on starting this date without kicking taehyung right in the chest. he's decided to pull the ground out from under taehyung's feet, leave nothing in his wake. taehyung stares and stares and stares.
jimin's decided to go with an off-shoulder cherry crop top, his shoulders and arms exposed deliciously: the fabric's snug around his waist, and cuts off a few inches above his navel. taehyung's eyes fall on his abs, and he bites his lip so aggressively that he's pretty sure the skin breaks. there's a pretty bow tied around the top, ribbons draping towards his thighs. his washed out jeans are so tight around his hips that taehyung feels the world go off kilter.
and when taehyung looks up towards his face, his eyes nearly roll into the back of his head. jimin's lips are painted with their signature peach gloss, faux freckles peppered across the bridge of his nose and extending to his cheeks. his eyeshadow matches - of course it matches - and he's got golden hoops in, jingling cutely as jimin tilts his head with a sly grin.
taehyung manually shuts his mouth. jimin's grin only widens.
"so, what other methods of torture are you going to use on me tonight?" taehyung asks casually as jimin leads him inside, tugging eagerly on taehyung's wrist with a black nail-polished hand. jimin throws his head back at this, laughing adorably loud. taehyung's stuck admiring it and his ass, his veins undeniably burning.
jimin's decorated a little. for the most part, each light has been turned off. there are vanilla-scented candles placed around meticulously, casting each room in a dull, amber glow. taehyung's surprised to admit that this doesn't necessarily turn him on - it's nice, warm, feels like home. taehyung feels almost feverish as jimin pushes him down onto the couch, clapping his hands together.
"i'm going to prepare a delicious, home-cooked meal for you," he announces.
"are you a good cook?" taehyung asks with a smirk, absolutely not dumb to the fact that jimin's still got their fingers looped together. he plays with jimin's hand absentmindedly, runs his thumb over the thick silver rings adorning each digit.
it turns out, jimin's not a good cook. they both discover this when the kitchen is shrouded in black smoke. jimin frantically fans a washcloth around the room, covering his mouth with one hand while he coughs out, i don't know what happened, this wasn't supposed to happen, i was reading straight from wikihow - taehyung can barely hear him over the smoke detector, running itself ragged as it screams. taehyung can't find the fucking switch to turn it off, and he tosses it over desperately in his hands.
"i just wanted to make pappardelle," jimin whines, throwing the smoking pot under cold water and letting out a bloodcurdling scream as it howls.
"i don't even know what that is," taehyung shouts from where he's hiding behind the fridge. "is that a vegetable?"
"it's a pasta dish, you fucking idiot."
"i'm not the one who almost burned the house down, fuck - fucking papa deli-"
once the smoke detector is successfully turned off - taehyung smashes it against the wall three times for good measure - he suggests they order pizza. jimin's disappointed, but he softens up when taehyung blurts out in giggles. they laugh and laugh and laugh - jimin ends up falling on his ass, causing taehyung to laugh even harder: they sit on jimin's kitchen floor with their heads in their hands, surrounded by the dissipating smoke and the sound of cold water running.
and one of them should really get up to turn that off, in all honesty, but taehyung doesn't want to move, not when jimin's leaning against the cabinets like this, shoulders shaking from laughter, tears dribbling down his cheeks. it tastes like honey and gold, all warm tones and pink lemonade.
he's so lovely. jimin's so fucking lovely and taehyung's upset that he doesn't even realize it.
jimin's got his head crammed in a dvd cabinet, ass poking out from the way he's bent over. taehyung's wholly enjoying the sight from the couch, tongue sliding along his bottom teeth. "i'm going to show you one of my favorite movies," jimin says from inside, followed by a series of cluttering. "after that, we can watch one that you wanna see."
"so this has become a movie date, now?" taehyung asks teasingly, reaching over to grab another piece of pizza. "what if you don't have the movie i wanna watch?"
"then we'll pick together," jimin says confidently, letting out a short noise of triumph as he locates the movie he's been trying to find for the past ten minutes. he pulls himself free and waves the dvd in taehyung's direction: castle in the sky. he's never seen it, but jungkook's said quite a bit about it. apparently, it's one of ghibli's best films. "have you seen it?"
"i've heard about it. is it any good?"
in response, jimin lets out a fake, exaggerated moan. taehyung chokes on a piece of pepperoni. jimin wastes no time shoving the dvd into the player, rubbing his hands together menacingly. behind them, in the kitchen, popcorn is making small explosions in the microwave. the room smells like salt and vanilla - taehyung cocks his head to the side as he stares at jimin, wonders if he could get used to this.
after the popcorn's quieted, jimin practically skips into the kitchen to grab it. taehyung doesn't turn around but he hears jimin pouring it into a larger bowl, humming a familiar song under his breath. he waltzes back in and situates himself beside taehyung, their thighs touching faintly as jimin skips through the advertisements. hate these things, jimin mutters. taehyung snorts, tries to ignore his heartbeat flooding his ears.
"do you talk during movies?" taehyung asks. jimin considers this for a second, pulling the corner of his lip through his teeth.
"only if they're bad," jimin decides. "so i can talk shit about them. do you?"
"jungkook and i drive people fucking nuts in the cinema," taehyung confesses. jimin laughs as he pulls the popcorn closer. "we don't ever shut up. we analyze everything - if we don't like a character, holy shit."
"that sounds fun."
"it is," taehyung smiles, and without thinking, he adds, "you should come with us sometime."
without thinking, jimin tells him he'd love to.
and as it turns out, jimins doesn't get irritated when taehyung starts asking questions. he asks things that jimin couldn't possibly know: why ghibli decided to write such a quirky little story like this, how pazu doesn't drop sheeta when she floats into his arms - i would've dropped her, taehyung tells him - and jimin doesn't tell him to shut up once. he nods when taehyung points out something he admires, laughs at the wondrous look in his eyes, tells him that dola's always been his favorite character because she has pink hair and jimin's been dying to dye his hair pink but he's too afraid. taehyung thinks it would look cute. anything would look cute on jimin.
"i thought your favorite character would be sheeta," taehyung says as they watch the girl sort through pots and pans onscreen. jimin's got his legs pulled to his chest, body turned slightly towards taehyung's. they're not touching, not yet.
"why? does she remind you of me or something?"
taehyung snorts. "only in a few aspects. she can cook."
jimin's jaw drops. he smacks taehyung's shoulder, bursting out in giggles. "shut up! i can totally cook. that was an accident. never happened before. what does remind you of me?"
"you're both pretty," taehyung says easily, smirking at the hot flush creeping across jimin's cheekbones.
"shut up," jimin whispers. "you're stupid."
"maybe," taehyung replies, but doesn't press it further.
it's halfway through the second movie - one of the installments from the avengers, because taehyung doesn't know half of the movies jimin's acquired in his little collection - that jimin places his hand between the both of them. he presses his fingertips into the cushion and waits. the bowl of popcorn sits half empty a few inches away, pizza box scavenged and folded back together on the table.
taehyung sees it almost automatically. holding his breath, he allows his own hand to inch closer. jimin meets him halfway, his fingers jolting slightly when taehyung's hand encloses them. he watches jimin duck his head, hissing a bit under his breath, before whispering, "is this okay?"
jimin nods. he runs a free hand over one of his rosy cheeks. "it's okay," he whispers back.
taehyung decides in that moment, he could. he could get used to this.
"you didn't fuck?" jungkook asks when taehyung's halfway across the dark apartment, tip-toeing so as not to wake him. of course, jungkook's been lying there, waiting. "why the fuck are you home? you looked like a snack. a whole meal deal from-"
"i don't want to fuck him yet."
jungkook sits up, squints in the darkness. he leans over and turns the light on, crossing his arms over his chest. asks taehyung to repeat himself, make sure he's heard him correctly.
"it's not the right time," taehyung says with a shrug. "i don't want to ruin things."
"he's got you good."
taehyung rubs his face to hide the furious heat in his cheeks. "i know."
the next time they meet up, it's by chance. taehyung's dozing in class when his phone vibrates on the table, startling everyone around him. he gets more than a few glares - one of them belonging to his professor - as he tilts his head to look at the screen.
i have the weirdest question
i will not send you another picture of my foot
i asked for that ONCE because i was scared you'd have ugly feet
what are you doing right now
wanting to die in mathematics
it's over in 20 minutes
so i went to the store
and i missed the last bus home
i started walking home because the weather cleared up for a minute but
taehyung glances out the window. it's been downpouring since he first woke up this morning. he skipped his first few classes because of it, thinking it would calm down enough for him to walk on campus without getting soaked. in the end, jungkook had driven the both of them since taehyung didn't feel like it - he'd persuaded taehyung out of his bed with coffee, promised to buy him snacks later if he got up and brushed his teeth.
he watches another bolt of lightning streak across the glass, hears the thunder overhead. it's the third one in the past two minutes.
don't move i'm coming
find shelter somewhere
send me your location
taehyung sends jungkook a quick message, nothing but i'm stealing your car. he doesn't give him enough time to answer, snagging the spare key from the bottom of his backpack - jungkook gave it to him months ago, 'in case of emergency, because i lose my keys all the fucking time' - and ditching class right as the professor starts to spiral into a lecture about some equation. he'll text jooheon for notes later, he swears. as if to promise this to himself, he makes eyes with heon as he's halfway to the door. heon looks bored out of his mind, like he's about to drop dead on the desk, but he still manages to give taehyung an all-knowing smile as the door closes.
jungkook's car starts up without much difficulty - not even a single splutter of smoke, which taehyung is eternally grateful for. as he undoes jungkook's horrific parking job, he curses himself for not driving himself to class this morning. he'd much rather pick jimin up in his jeep than jungkook's banged up ford - some dent in the side door from when a goose flew right into it as jungkook gunned it 80mph to some bubblegum pop song.
although, taehyung thinks as he squints through the ocean on the windshield, jimin probably won't really care. thunder roars over the road. without any more hesitation, taehyung plugs jimin's location into the maps.
it takes about fifteen minutes or so, and even then taehyung has a hard time locating him. the map isn't exactly accurate, what with jimin being in the middle of nowhere - it reroutes him twice, and as he pulls into the same driveway to do a u-turn, taehyung resists the urge to slam his fists into the steering wheel. the rain's only picked up in tempo, singing loudly against the pavement.
by the third time, taehyung lifts his phone to his ear. it dials for a few moments, then, "moshi moshi? i mean, hello."
"jimin, where the fuck are you?"
"i'm right here." taehyung stares into the grey oblivion, sees nothing but lightning and yellow lines. "i've been watching you go in circles for the past four minutes."
"baby, give me a goddamn landmark."
"i'm standing on the open- oh, hold on." after an awkward pause, taehyung sees a flash in the rearview. "i have my flashlight on. can you see me?"
"i see you, fuck, i see you, don't move- don't- god. i'm going to beat your ass. you tried walking on the open road like this? what if someone had tried to snatch you up? why do you sound so calm? are you... is that you? oh my god, it is. i'm hanging up. i can't see anything."
when he pulls up alongside jimin, he's caught in a fluctuation of emotions. on first sight, his heart sinks - on the other, something warm prickles in his chest at the way jimin's clutching his two plastic shopping bags, pink hood pulled up over his forehead, nose scrunched from how hard he's shivering. he looks like a fucking kitten. taehyung unlocks the door and exhales loudly as jimin hesitates. he opens the door carefully, peeking inside with wide eyes.
"what are you doing?" taehyung searches his face, trying to look for something wrong. is he hurt? "come on, get in."
jimin throws a wary glance towards his soaked shopping bags, then back towards taehyung. "i don't..."
"you don't what? are you okay?"
"i don't want to get your car all wet."
taehyung stares at him, disbelieving, for the longest time. "get in the fucking car, jimin."
jimin frowns. he climbs inside slowly, wary of his drenched clothes brushing the seat. taehyung allows this for about ten seconds before grabbing jimin by the shoulders and shoving him down into the car, ignoring his whines of but my clothes are so wet and i don't want to ruin your car! do you have a towel i can sit on or something? he's still clutching the bags, too, his hands shivering from the aftermath of the rain. taehyung pries them from him and sets them on the floor, cranking up the heater.
"you're shivering," taehyung murmurs, rubbing his hands along jimin's trembling shoulders. "why didn't you wait at the bus stop and call me there? you must have known it was going to start pouring again."
"i really didn't," jimin chatters, turning his face against the fans. his hair's sticking to his forehead, but a couple of strands fly loose, fluttering in the warm, mechanical breeze. briefly, taehyung does the math. from here, it would take about ten minutes to drive to jimin's, right? how long is the walking distance? at least double that, right? from the campus, it takes twenty minutes to walk to the nearest store, and jimin's house is-
jimin would have been stranded, alone in the rain, for-
"fuck," taehyung hisses, running his hand along his face. his sudden reaction clearly puts jimin on edge, because he leans over to put his hand on taehyung's knee, face drawn with concern.
"'m sorry," jimin stammers. "i would've- i would've kept going, but i'm scared of..."
"no, no, not you, it's just... i'm glad you called me. don't apologize. what are you scared of?" taehyung blinks slowly. the rain? was someone following him? no... "the thunder," he realizes. jimin swallows roughly. it turns taehyung's insides into a mess. to think jimin would have kept going, in the middle of the downpour, but only refrained because the loud noises scared him.
god. he called taehyung not because he wanted help, but because he was scared.
at a closer glance, taehyung can see dried tear tracks on jimin's soft cheeks. they blend in seamlessly with the droplets of rain, only noticeable when placed against the rosy, scratchy backdrop. his heart climbs up into his throat as jimin whispers, "i'm sorry, tae. i didn't want to bother you."
taehyung's heart flips. "don't say that. you could never bother me."
"but now your car is ruined," jimin despairs. rolling his eyes, taehyung glances behind them. he flicks on the blinker, making sure nobody's going to rip out behind them as he pulls out into the road. keeping a hand on jimin's shoulder the entire time, squeezing gently as jimin shakes under his touch. "it's not. and this isn't my car, anyway - it's jungkook's."
jimin says nothing to that. when taehyung finally looks over at him, he's gaping, open-mouthed.
"you STOLE jungkook's CAR?"
"my love," taehyung scoffs, reaching up to ruffle jimin's drenched hair, "for you? of course."
jimin doesn't look too pleased, but he decides to stay quiet on the matter. he leans back against the seat, heaving a sigh. taehyung gives him a quick once-over and then looks back out onto the road. two cars drive by in the other lane: their headlights beam through the mist. the windshield wipers are the only sound in the car for a while, steady clicking as they brush heavy sheets of rain away. even with them on their highest speed, taehyung still has to go slow. it's raining too hard to properly see.
"what time do you have to be home?"
jimin's been staring out the window, his chin propped in his hand. at this, he looks to taehyung, one eyebrow cocked. "there's no set time, really. i fed brad before i left."
taehyung tries not to sigh. ignoring the thought of jimin's demonic cat altogether, he asks carefully, "do you want to sleep over?"
as soon as he gets jimin inside, taehyung rushes to the bathroom to grab towels. jimin's left standing alone in the middle of the living room, tiny, taking everything in silently. jungkook's xbox controller is left abandoned on the table, next to about five or six empty bags of flaming hot cheetos. underneath that, littered all over the floor, are jungkook's textbooks: dog-eared, left open. notes are scattered here and there.
"i'm sorry it's such a mess," taehyung calls over his shoulder, imagining jimin's disgust. "jungkook's a pig."
unbeknownst to him, jimin has the fondest little smile creeping onto his face. "it's okay. i like it," he says, grinning when taehyung pokes his head out of the bathroom to give him a weird look. "i do! it's very... homey."
"it looks like the trash can of a homeless twelve year old," taehyung corrects him as he reemerges, offering jimin a fluffy grey towel. "here. i'll go get some stuff, uh, ready. so you can shower. that'll probably warm you up a bit. are you hungry?"
jimin's hair is starting to dry out, curling at the ends. he rubs the towel against his hair, smirking a bit. "what's the point of me drying off if i'm just going to shower right afterwards?"
"so you don't catch cold, dumbass," taehyung bites, reaching over to flick jimin's forehead. jimin jerks back with a cry, holding a hand up to protect himself from any further blows. "don't be a brat."
"that'll be difficult," jimin informs him, grinning cheekily. "is jungkook going to come back soon?"
"i think he's staying at his friend's tonight."
"oh," jimin says. the word hangs heavily in the air, along with the complete and utter obvious. neither of them say anything about it. instead, taehyung leads jimin further into the apartment, pointing out the kitchen, the second bathroom, the conjoined bedroom. jimin tries to sound casual as he asks why the beds are so close together - taehyung says that he really doesn't have an answer, because he doesn't. he tries to ignore the obvious hilt of jealousy in jimin's tone as he passes over a change of clothes.
as soon as jimin disappears into the bathroom, taehyung whips out his phone.
don't come home tonight
what the fuck are you even talking about
have you been ignoring my messages
i texted you like 17 times why did you steal my car
jimin's here and we're alone and i really don't want you ruining everything by screaming at your twelve year olds on the xbox
one of them turned thirteen yesterday
don't come home
how the fuck could i
i don't have a car and i'm not about to walk in.... WAIT
that took you a minute
I'LL CRASH AT A FRIEND'S
why is he there whats going on is everything okay DONT fuck in my bed
we're not fucking
he's sleeping over
as a friend
sure he is
is it the thunderstorm?
how did you know that
he started crying in the car one time when i was driving him home from the bar
he was drunk so i didnt think anything of it
but i guess it's not really a coincidence if youve noticed it too
yet he held up an umbrella for kittens in the middle of one? i dont get him
big dick energy
un fucking likely
please dont thump in my bed
jimin returns not too long after that. taehyung's taken to the kitchen, thrown ramen in a pot and pulled a stool up to the stove. he sits boredly, stirring the contents around and watching the way they ripple around the wooden spoon. quietly, jimin materializes behind him, his soft footsteps prompting taehyung to look up and nearly send his own arm into the boiling water.
taehyung's grey hoodie is a little big on jimin, sleeves travelling well past his fingertips. his cheeks are still flushed from the shower, and he smells faintly of taehyung's body wash. dark hair trickling into his face, taehyung's basketball shorts bunched up around his small waist.
"this smells like you." jimin's got the fabric lifted to his nose, sniffing it curiously. "can i keep it?"
"absolutely not," taehyung snorts, but knows deep in his heart that jimin's probably going to wind up taking it home. it looks better on him, anyway. "are you feeling better?"
"a little," he says with a hint of a smile. "thank you."
jimin throws a glance towards the window. the sky's blackened a bit, lightning still crackling along the starlines. as for the thunder, it's a bit quieter, but he still looks abrasive as he chews his lip. "for letting me stay over."
"i wanted you to," taehyung says. when jimin locks eyes with him, there's a grateful smile flickering across his lips. "are you hungry at all?"
a scoff escapes jimin's mouth as he peers into the pot. "for what, ramen? where's my home cooked meal?"
taehyung laughs dryly. "up your ass."
"i've never played a video game like this before."
"really? i had no idea."
"why is everybody shooting at me?" jimin sets down his bowl to raise his controller, growling cutely at the player onscreen. "i didn't even do anything-"
"that's exactly why," taehyung chokes, reaching over to wrap his arms around jimin's shoulders. he places his hands over jimin's, neither of them saying anything as taehyung guides him through the checkpoint. "you need to shoot other people, too. it gets you points."
"this is the meanest game i've ever played in my life."
"we'll have jungkook train you sometime. what games have you played?"
"animal crossing new leaf," jimin rails off, tilting his head towards the ceiling in thought. taehyung's nose is practically pressed into his neck at this point. "i played a digimon game once but i felt bad because the enemy dinosaur guy died."
shaking his head, jimin leans down to scoop up his bowl. he picks up a noodle and slurps it between his lips, biting back, "you wouldn't say shit if you visited my town on animal crossing. i may not be able to shoot someone, but i'm the leader of some mean little spring-themed streets."
it's two-forty am when they decide to negotiate on where jimin's going to sleep. taehyung suggests his own bed, but jimin despises that idea - he doesn't want to feel like he's stealing anything of taehyung's. jungkook's bed is out of the question, since it probably smells like sweat and taehyung can see the cheeto crumbs from across the room. but he doesn't want jimin to sleep on the floor, either: not when it's still pouring like this, thunder low but threatening in the nightlife.
jimin suggests the couch, but there's a nervous hue to his eyes that tells taehyung it's not a good idea. he doesn't want jimin to be alone, in some house he doesn't know, surrounded by the sounds of thunder.
"you can sleep in my bed," taehyung says. "jungkook and i do it all the time."
"do you kick in your sleep?" jimin asks, looking apprehensive. "one time i slept in a friend's bed and they kicked me so hard i thought my dick fell off."
taehyung stares at him for a long time, blankly, before uttering, "no."
so they decide on that. taehyung crosses the room to turn off jungkook's light - the other left it on when they woke up this morning, insisting that any "leftover night demons" would burn alive before they got home from classes. the room is shrouded in immediate darkness: taehyung's left the hall light on, golden light filtering in through the doorway.
jimin's glowing in it. he watches taehyung with the most peculiar look on his face, and taehyung can't tell what he's thinking. the soft light causes fragments to lift in jimin's eyes, like clouds of honeydust. his cheeks are dusted with the faintest brushstrokes of pink - a slight fever from being out in the rain. and he really does look beautiful in those crop tops and tight ripped jeans, but he looks lovely like this too - dark hair curling around taehyung's hoodie, lips dewy with peach balm. eyes not quite piercing but calculating, like he's waiting for something.
taehyung's retracing his steps back to jimin when there's another bolt of lightning, this one stronger than the ones before. jimin jolts where he stands, jaw clicking into a tense, set position. he doesn't yell, or shoot miles into the air. no; his face twists with a sudden bout of fear, obviously trying to keep it under control as the thunder creeps in. his eyes squeeze shut as taehyung approaches.
when the thunder comes, like the clouds are screaming, jimin closes the distance between them. his hands are drawn to his chest, tightened into the smallest fists. taehyung tries to soothe his own heartbeat as his hands settle on jimin's shoulders. rubbing soft, slow circles with his thumbs, he asks, "have you always been this scared of it? the thunder?"
jimin nods. his eyebrows are screwed together, nose scrunched as he waits for the noise to pass. "ever since i was little," he whispers. "i don't know why. like, i know it can't get me, but i still-"
"it's okay," taehyung murmurs. he repeats it like a mantra, only slowing when jimin's eyes flutter open. he lifts his head to stare at taehyung and, oh - taehyung hadn't realized they had stepped so close together, or that their foreheads are almost touching, or-
jimin notices, too. his eyes flicker darkly, heavy, to taehyung's lips, back to his face. momentarily distracted by the close proximity, he mutters, "i don't know how to not be scared of it."
"really," taehyung murmurs.
their lips come together seamlessly. taehyung angles his head, bringing his hand to the back of jimin's neck to steady them. when he runs his tongue along jimin's lower lip, he tastes salt and peach lip balm. jimin exhales breathily, slowly lifting himself up on his toes so he can better reach taehyung. somewhere along the way, his hands find taehyung's shirt, gripping the material between his fingertips as he parts his lips.
taehyung licks into jimin's mouth automatically, something kicking in his chest when jimin's next breath comes ragged. jimin chases taehyung's tongue with his own, leaning forward. all this and they're still not close enough: when taehyung breaks the kiss, jimin falls forward like he's pursuing a ghost. he makes sure not to fall too far behind, their mouths only centimeters apart.
his lips are still parted, pupils blown and dark as he watches the pattern of taehyung's lips. "are you still scared?" taehyung asks.
"a little," jimin breathes out. still looping his fingers in taehyung's shirt, jimin tugs him forward.
they come together again. jimin's grip relaxes as taehyung cups his cheek, teeth knocking together at the sudden shift. jimin licks into taehyung's mouth this time, moaning softly while taehyung snags his lower lip in his teeth - sucking on it lightly, releasing it with a wet pop as they pull away from each other.
it's so difficult not to go again, with jimin's raspberry lips swollen like that, his taste still lingering on the back of taehyung's tongue.
jimin bites down on his lip, a blissful smile blossoming across his face. taehyung feels the warmth pool in his ribs before he even knows it's really there.
they fall asleep like that, too: jimin's spine curved against taehyung's chest, warmth stretching through the spaces between.
"group meeting," namjoon announces, relinquishing a manila folder on the plastic disney princess table in the center. "the time has come, once again, to discuss our establishment sales and wh- jungkook, what are you eating?"
everyone turns their heads to look at the youngest, crouched over in the corner with his cheeks stuffed full of something. startled, jungkook tucks his hand behind his back, his chewing stalled so he can mumble out, "nothing."
"are you eating the basil again? what did i tell you about eating the basil? summer is a prime season for our basil and- is that why the display case is empty? have you eaten it all?"
"no," jungkook cries through his engorged cheeks. a half-chewed leaf falls from between his lips to the floor, and he grabs it only to shove it back in. namjoon looks on distastefully.
"i have a question," yoongi says tentatively, raising his hand. "why are we in this location for our meeting?"
"what are you talking about? this is an excellent place for a meeting," namjoon snaps.
"we're in the supply closet."
"this is the environmentally friendly version of our previous meeting spot."
"our only source of light is a half-dead light bulb." yoongi gestures to the ceiling, where a single, flickering light bulb is dangling on a string. "and it smells like dusty butthole."
hoseok, crammed against the far wall next to a dusty pile of flower seeds, explains, "he's trying to hide from the police. they were peeking in the windows this morning."
yoongi scrunches up his nose in confusion. "what the fuck do they want with namjoon?"
"they finally figured out about those interns."
namjoon turns on hoseok quite violently, fists clenched tightly to his sides. "i told you not to share that with anybody," he hisses. "you crossed your heart, hoped to die."
"i didn't stick a needle in my eye," hoseok points out.
"he has a good point," jungkook chimes in.
"shut the fuck up, jungkook." namjoon whirls on him now. "you weren't even there."
"yes i was. i was hiding under your desk."
"what the fuck were you doing under my desk?"
"well," jungkook begins, "you were eating potato chips the other day, and some of them got stuck on the floor, and you told me i couldn't take my lunch break because i spent too much time playing with hamburger downstairs, so i-"
"the meeting," yoongi despairs, frantically snapping his fingers to pull everyone back to attention. "please. i have a dentist appointment at six."
taehyung's phone buzzes in his pocket. he waits until nobody's looking before tugging it out, throwing a quick glance towards the screen. it's a no caller id, he notices with a wave of confusion. who the hell is that? his phone rarely gets calls from no caller ids. "hey, namjoon? is it okay if i take this for a second?"
"does it pertain to our meeting?" namjoon asks with a huff.
taehyung stares at him blankly. with a sigh, namjoon waves him away. "alright, fine. make it quick. we're discussing some real important stuff here."
"like yoongi's gingivitis," hoseok says.
"what? i don't have gingivitis. my dentist says i have the prettiest teeth he's ever seen. i'm going in for a regular check-up," yoongi whispers in horror, covering his mouth with his palm. "why do you think i have gingivitis?"
taehyung doesn't really hear the majority of the commotion that occurs after that, because he shuts the door behind him. there's an uproar of voices, most of them telling yoongi it was a joke - rolling his eyes, taehyung hits accept and holds the phone to his ear. relocating down the hall a bit, he says, "hello?"
"hello, kim taehyung."
the voice is strangely familiar, but for some reason, taehyung can't put a finger on it. "i'm sorry, who is this?"
"i know what you've done."
taehyung bristles a bit. he can't think of anything he's done that could be considered anywhere near the realm of wrong, though - he's a college student working at a flower shop, for christ sake. "um, i'm sorry- i- i don't know what you're talking about."
"a little birdie told me that you're seeing someone going under the name..." there's a brief shuffling of papers, as if they're flipping through a file. "park jimin. is that correct?"
"what the fuck are you talking about?" taehyung asks, now on the defensive. what could this possibly have to do with jimin?
"i- you-" they stammer a bit. taehyung cocks an eyebrow. "you do know a park jimin, right? he, uh, said you did."
"yeah..." taehyung draws out, the hairs on his arms beginning to stand on end. slowly, he makes his way over to the window and peeks through the blinds, staring outside suspiciously. "jimin, is this you? are you playing a joke on me?"
"no," the voice booms. "this is your worst nightmare."
"jimin, seriously, is that you? how are you making your voice sound like that?"
"you should be terrified," the voice continues, shaking a little now. "now that i know you're dating park jimin."
"oh." so it's not jimin. he would never say something like that with so much bravado. "we're not dating."
"i'm gonna hang up," taehyung deadpans, shifting to press his thumb to the end call button.
"no!" the voice cries, and then quickly corrects itself with a growl, "no. listen to my words very carefully, mr. kim. i want you to stop seeing jimin immediately."
"and you're out of your mind. goodbye."
"your job is on the line, isn't it?" from the other end comes a dark laugh. "it would be a shame if kim namjoon were to find out about yours and jimin's little... interaction that you shared the other night."
now taehyung's starting to get pissed. the kiss - it crosses his mind for a split second. he feels the tips of his ears grow steadily warmer, swallowing thickly at the memory of jimin's soft lips against his own. ignoring the sudden flutter in his chest, he whispers, "how the fuck do you know about that?"
"he told me himself. quite a collateral mistake, on his part. he has no idea that you work for namjoon, does he?"
the big word... the awkward shifts between this voice's tone... taehyung perks supiciously.
"is this seokjin?"
"it is," taehyung hisses. seokjin. jimin confided in him about taehyung, because he has no idea that taehyung works for the enemy. and it's not like jimin would care if he found out - they've progressed too far for that to even be a problem - but if namjoon finds out, taehyung could easily lose his job. "jimin- you're not going to fire him, are you?"
"oh god, no. he's one of my best employees."
taehyung frowns. "i don't understand."
"i can't allow my employees to be... canoodling with someone from our rival store. especially not jimin. you could lure him in with your fiendish, lustful ways and convince him to start working for namjoon instead."
"dude... i wouldn't wish that upon anyone."
seokjin splutters a bit, obviously not expecting such a response. flustered, he adds, "t-the thing is, i don't want to get rid of jimin. but i don't want him working for me if he's dating you, so... obviously, you're the one who has to go."
"what are you gonna do?" taehyung snorts. "kill me?"
"if i have no other option."
"what the fuck? are you serious?"
"no," seokjin giggles. then overrides menacingly, "i m-mean... yes."
"aren't, like... aren't work and home life supposed to be kept separate?"
"they are. you're right. but you're the one who entered my store, aren't you? conveniently enough, i think it was when i wasn't around to catch you."
"fuck," taehyung whispers. jimin even told him that?
"i want to know why you came into my store, pretending you were a normal customer, when you know damn well-"
"you'll never take me alive," taehyung screeches into the phone. seokjin starts to say something after that, but taehyung is faster, quickly ending the call.
"you'll never take me alive?" jungkook repeats slowly, narrowing his eyes until they're tight, judgemental slits. "that's the best you could come up with?"
"you're not helping."
"what else do you want me to say? this is the stupidest thing i've ever heard come out of your mouth. so what if seokjin doesn't approve? it's not like he's going to fire jimin. just keep the whole thing lowkey. you don't have to tell namjoon that you're fucking the enemy."
"we're not," taehyung stresses, "fucking."
taehyung rolls his eyes. "do you think i should tell jimin or not? oh, hamburger's trying to chew your ankle."
"what?" onscreen, jungkook turns to give the killer plant a dirty look. "hamburger, what the fuck? i raised you from a seedling. i'm like a turbo parent. a mommy and daddy combined. get your fucking teeth off of my leg." at his tight-clipped tone, the plant - taehyung has to double check with himself to make sure he's not going insane, but yes, the plant grumbles, pulling itself out of frame entirely. jungkook turns back to taehyung, shaking his head fondly.
"please fucking kill that thing," taehyung begs.
"no! why do you all keep saying that?"
"because it's a killer plant, that is five times your size, and has killed two of our interns."
"those big fat stupid interns should have known not to come into the basement," jungkook pouts. his head jerks towards hamburger's direction, his voice coming out low once again, "hamburger! stop chewing on that fucking rake. it's not a toy. i- don't you give me that look- anyway, taehyung, what did you ask me?"
"nothing, it doesn't matter."
"are you going to tell jimin?"
"i should, right?" taehyung tilts his head. "it would probably make things easier."
"if i were you, i would before seokjin does."
we have to talk
don't tell me you're breaking up with me when we aren't even dating
i heard a "yet" at the end of that sentence
don't flatter yourself
ok so it's not like.. DEATHFULLY important but it involves both of our jobs
did jasmine pass away?
my condolences :(
who the fuck is jasmine
the little old lady you take care of who eats salt and thinks shes a foot
who the FUCK told you that
he was lying wasnt he
how many times have we hung out while you were thinking that i take care of some dementia patient named jasmine
i don't feel obligated to answer that question
anyway us needing to talk
did you want to see me in person? you can come over later if you want :O
why did you tell jimin that i watch over some old lady named jasmine
i thought you didn't want him to know that you worked for namjoon
wasn't i having your back
that's not what i'd call it...........
"so, what is it?"
sitting on jimin's couch, taehyung folds his hands over his lap. brad is watching him from the other side of the room, glare calculating and careful as taehyung leans over to grab a drink of water. jimin's standing in front of him with his arms crossed, practically drowning in a camo sweatshirt - and taehyung's basketball shorts, which jimin decided to take home after their little sleepover. taehyung tries not to flush as he directs his attention back to jimin's face.
"alright, so, it's about where i work. and you can't freak out."
jimin narrows his eyes. "o...kay."
"promise me you're not gonna freak out," taehyung tries again, voice catching a bit. jimin's eyes widen imperceptibly.
"are- are you the leader of a drug mob?"
taehyung chokes on his next sip of water.
"because if you are," jimin continues, starting to look frantic, "th-that's okay and all, but i can't- i can't be getting involved in something like that. i haven't even done a single drug in my life, and i've seen really scary movies about that type of shit, and-"
"i'm not in a drug mob," taehyung interrupts, putting his head in his hands. "it's just- telling you, i might- i don't want to fuck things up."
"why would it fuck things up- are you a stripper-"
"NO," taehyung shouts, waving his hands in the air as if to dismiss the tension. "i work- god. okay. i work at a flower shop."
jimin waits for him to say anything else, to explain further. his teeth slowly drag over his lower lip, face scrunched like he's trying to grasp what taehyung's telling him. "i- i work at one, too. are you telling me... did seokjin hire you or something? do you work with me now?"
"no- i... i work at the one right down the street."
jimin tilts his head, looking utterly dumbfounded. "there's a flower shop down the street?"
taehyung snaps to attention. "you don't know about it?"
"no," jimin gapes. "that's insane. i've lived here for years and i had no idea."
at that, taehyung heaves a long sigh. "not here, you fucking- i work at the shop right down the street from the one you work at."
it registers slowly, jimin's features slowly contorting from ones of confusion to complete, sudden understanding. he unfolds his arms, letting them drift to his sides as he watches taehyung painstakingly carefully. "oh," he says, his tongue darting out to wet his lower lip. "oh. you work at the... you're our... oh."
"the one that seokjin hates?"
"jungkook works there, too," jimin continues, pointing a finger. "so... when you- when you came into my work that day, you were-"
"namjoon wanted me to find out why your guys' store was doing better than ours," taehyung explains sheepishly. "i didn't... i didn't know that you worked- i mean- fuck- i did, but- i wasn't going there just for you- uh- but-"
jimin studies him, his mouth twitching into the smallest smirk. "go on."
"i- shut the fuck up," taehyung snaps. "i went there strictly for work business. i can't believe you're not freaking out."
"why would i freak out? because we're enemies now? i think it's kinda cute," jimin giggles, hand moving to run his thumb over his lower lip. "did you know what i was wearing? before you came in that day?"
the overalls. the crop top. taehyung sucks in a sharp breath involuntarily, feeling himself fall back against the couch cushions. there's a soft cloud of arousal beginning to float deep in his stomach. "no," he says, because it's the truth, and wishes his eyes weren't so diligently trained to the way jimin's thumb is working his lips. "but i noticed it afterward."
"did you?" jimin takes a step closer, gaze flickering over taehyung bravely. once he gets close enough, taehyung can clearly see the blush dusting his cheekbones. "you know why i wore it, right?"
it takes taehyung approximately five seconds to shake his head, absolutely delayed. jimin's thumb rolls over his teeth. his hand twitches toward taehyung, unsure on how to proceed. for a brief moment, his eyes flicker with hesitancy. taehyung leans towards him then, nodding imperceptibly. jimin accepts the silent permission, sliding closer and resting his hands on either side of taehyung's head, caging him in with his small frame.
jimin's face is mere inches away from taehyung's now, breath fanning his cheek as he murmurs, "maybe i saw you watching me."
"did you?" taehyung asks coolly, pretending his heart isn't racing in his chest, pretending his cock isn't kicking against his boxers. "that's funny, angel - you just seemed so surprised when i told you i worked at namjoon's, didn't you? and just the other day, seokjin told me over the phone that you had no idea."
the confidence slips from jimin's fingertips momentarily. almost automatically, a cocky grin corrects itself onto his features. "ah, you're right - you caught me. that's not why i wore it."
"then why did you wear it?"
jimin lowers his mouth so it's resting beside taehyung's neck, the feeling of his lips against his skin causing chills to run down taehyung's spine. "wanted to get fucked," jimin drawls, and taehyung suppresses a groan. "all that tight clothing and exposed skin and you think you're the only one who wanted to fuck me when you first laid eyes on me, taehyung? why do you think we made so many sales that day?"
in his lap, taehyung's hands tighten into fists. "you-"
with a laugh, jimin relocates his lips to taehyung's cheek. he presses an intimate kiss to the crook of his mouth. "you wanna know why my workplace does so much better than yours? you think you're the only one who wants to fuck me? taehyung, you bought something that day too, didn't you? strawberry seeds," jimin ghosts, pulling away so he's facing taehyung once more. "you're not the only one who bought strawberry seeds that day."
taehyung doesn't know what to say. his mouth hangs open somewhat dumbly, heart hammering in his ears.
jimin tricked him. exceptionally well, taehyung might add - he played the shy, flustered part exceptionally well. as soon as taehyung walked into the store that day, jimin saw him as a challenge. he's seen taehyung as such for the entirety of their interactions afterwards, too: fidgeting with his skirt at that party, bending down to grab more bags for the customer - he knew taehyung was watching. because everyone always watches.
that's why seokjin fucking hired him. that's why they suddenly started making so much goddamn money.
a part of taehyung almost feels betrayed. suddenly, in a stilted tornado of panic, he has no idea what was real and what wasn't: obviously jimin wasn't sneaking around when they were talking about the moon that night, right? or when they kissed- when jimin got angry-
"when..." taehyung releases a held breath, feeling stupid as he searches jimin's smirk. "when did you-"
"i thought you were cute," jimin says, "and that's it, just cute, but then. then. that night jungkook got drunk, do you remember that?"
he does. "the night i had to go pick him up?"
"i was the one who called you. i talked to you on the phone. that's when i found out your name. i had to find you in his phone. and when you got all worried over him, when you took him to your car - it made me think, maybe he's not just some dumb guy who wants to fuck me and buy cheap strawberry seeds, maybe he's actually nice. and then when you showed up at the party that night..."
"the swingsets," taehyung whispers. jimin nods.
"i started falling for you then," jimin tells him. "it's kinda dumb, right?"
"no. we're not that different," taehyung says simply. jimin's face goes alight with recognition. "up until that point, i just- i just wanted to fuck you too, so- you just- you were just... you tricked me."
he's stammering, a bit flustered now. jimin laughs, shifting so he can seat himself in taehyung's lap. "well," he says, giggling as he presses his lips to taehyung's cupid's bow, "i'm not trying to trick you now."
taehyung hums in response, curving his hand around the back of jimin's neck. "you're saying you still think i'm cute?"
"of course," jimin mumbles, eyes fluttering closed. taehyung meets him halfway, fusing their lips in the center.
"you still want me to fuck you?" taehyung asks lowly. jimin's breath hitches somewhere in the back of his throat. "answer me."
"y-yes," jimin returns.
"and you're still falling for me, right?"
for that one, jimin smiles so hard that for a second, taehyung's afraid the sun will tilt right out of the sky.
jimin looks good like this: eyes unfocused, hips stuttering as taehyung stretches his lips to the base. his lips quiver faintly as taehyung hollows his cheeks, tongue dragging up the length. jimin's still got his hoodie on, listened so well when taehyung instructed him to do so, but his fingers are twitching at the hem, wrapping tightly around the thin fabric.
the shorts are hanging from his ankles, taehyung's thighs brushing against them as he lays between jimin's legs. he slots his tongue in the slit of jimin's cock, smirking when it pulls a short moan from his lungs. "no, no," taehyung chastises gently as jimin splays a hand over his mouth, "wanna hear you, baby."
"i- mmfgh," jimin groans, turning his cheek into the pillow. "y- fuh- teasing me."
taehyung's own cock is pressing against his jeans. he laughs, pulling off with a wet pop. jimin raises his head to glare down at him, the absence of warmth clearly disconcerting. "you don't want me to tease you? okay."
"no, i-" jimin bites down hard, a delicious flush adorning his face. "tae."
instead of saying anything, taehyung presses his thumb against the tip, watching precum pool against his skin. before jimin can react, taehyung dips his face down to lap it up, lips wrapped around the tip before sinking back down. he feels jimin's fingers tangle themselves in his hair, gagging a bit when jimin bucks his hips upwards. he trails the tip of his tongue along the base, groaning a bit as jimin's breathing gets heavier.
"tae- i- n- ffuck- too- slow-"
"you wanna go faster?" taehyung asks, relocating so he's pressing messy kisses into jimin's inner thighs. "thought you wanted to go slow, baby. s'what you said when i first laid you down."
"what do you want?" taehyung wraps a hand around jimin's cock, lazily jerking it a bit. jimin twitches violently, chest heaving as he fights not to fuck into his palm. "gotta tell me what you want, baby, or i'm gonna get bored. you want me to get bored, jimin?"
jimin inhales, startled at the sudden roughness of taehyung's tone. he shakes his head furiously, whimpering helplessly when taehyung begins to slow his pumping. "n-no," he chokes out.
"then tell me what you want."
"you," jimin breathes out, fingers curling and uncurling. "wanna-"
"you wanna?" taehyung prompts, frowning. "come on. what did you want when you first laid eyes on me? tell me everything, baby. don't leave anything out."
"mmf- ride you," jimin finishes weakly, hips jolting as taehyung gives his cock a couple of decent strokes. "i- ah- wanna be filled, pl- hard," he adds hurriedly, probably under the impression that he's still talking in full sentences, "m-messy. want it to- to hurt."
"baby." as if the way jimin's talking isn't pushing taehyung himself to the edge. he presses a gentle kiss to the head of jimin's cock, thoroughly teased and dripping with precum. "that what you want, yeah? you wanna be my dirty bitch?"
and oh, jimin just keens at that: he squeezes his thighs together, sighing happily. taehyung's filthy little princess. he smiles, pulling himself up into a seated position so he can pat his lap. jimin's not watching but he definitely understands by the sound - scrambling to get up, jimin all but crawls into taehyung's reach, letting out a low noise when their mouths slot together.
he grabs at taehyung's shirt, humming curiously. taehyung shakes his head and lets jimin's pout slide this once - it's their first time, after all, and taehyung doesn't want to overwhelm him, doesn't want to deny him too much. jimin's still wearing nothing under that hoodie, so taehyung hooks one hand under his ass, finger circling his rim. the other seeks purchase in his hair, wrapping his fingers through the locks and tugging gently.
"there's a word," taehyung mutters, "if you want me to stop."
"red," jimin confirms, nodding impatiently. "r-red."
"good boy," he tells him softly, "lube?"
"dresser. top- top drawer."
so taehyung leans to the side, removing his finger from jimin's entrance and using it to pry open the drawer. he smirks at the contents inside, grabbing the half-empty bottle of lube and squeezing a bit onto his fingers, watching it dribble to his wrist. "strawberry," he hums thoughtfully, keeping a firm grip on jimin's hair. when jimin shies his eyes away, taehyung pulls on his hair so their gazes are level. jimin glares, cheeks flaring, but he has enough of a brain to keep his mouth shut. "what were the type of seeds i bought that day, jiminie?"
when jimin doesn't say anything, taehyung scissors his lubed fingers against the empty air, opening them slowly so jimin can see the sticky strings being pulled apart. jimin's jaw goes slack. "i asked you a question, angel. do you want me to finger you or not?"
"yes- y-you bought- um- s-strawberry," jimin whispers, mortified.
"is this a coincidence, then?"
he opens his mouth, closes it. squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head.
"so cute. what a good boy," taehyung coos, relocating a digit so it's pressed flush against jimin's inner thighs. he pulls it through with a loud squelch, studies the lube as it trickles down the back of jimin's legs. jimin lets out a particularly needy sound, breathing steadily increasing in tempo. "are you my good boy, jimin?"
"y-" jimin swallows hard, sweat causing his hair to stick to his forehead. "yes."
"say it," taehyung tells him assertively, cock twitching at the haze in jimin's face. "i want you to say it."
"i-i'm your good boy. good- fuck. can- mm- fucking finger- me. please."
but taehyung makes him wait ever longer, looping his soaked fingers around the head of jimin's cock and wrapping them to the base. even this isn't good enough, not messy enough - with a scoff, taehyung uncaps the lube and squeezes it over his dick, all soft and cold. jimin jolts, twitching his hips back and forth. "y- tae, please. pleasepleaseplease-"
"alright, alright," taehyung grins, giving jimin's cock one final, mean tug before returning them to his rim. he gives jimin's hair an urgent tug, spanking the side of his ass once. "up."
jimin whimpers, but lifts his hips anyway. taehyung positions a finger underneath, slowly loosening his grip so jimin knows it's okay to lower himself back down. when taehyung's fingertip brushes against him, jimin groans breathily before sinking down fully. initially, his eyebrows scrunch together at the intrusion - he relaxes when taehyung shifts around, helping him adjust.
"want you to fuck yourself," taehyung mutters. "want to watch you."
jimin sucks in a breath at the assertive tone. face hued a pretty red, he grips taehyung's shoulders, slowly easing himself off and back on. the room is soon filled with quiet, wet noises and jimin's heavy breathing: add a moan to the mix when taehyung adds another finger. he builds up a sloppy pace, hitched gasps causing taehyung's jaw to go slack.
"more," jimin gasps, head tilting back when taehyung's fingers scissor against his prostate. "oh fuck-"
"could you cum like this?" taehyung asks him lowly, cock straining painfully against his jeans. "jimin. could you-"
"p-please," jimin breathes. "i-i could, but-"
"wanna feel- nnmf- wanna- fuck me."
taehyung laughs. "was that a question or a request?"
jimin looks annoyed, cracking one eye open irritably at the teasing hue. "fuck me," he says, deeper this time. taehyung's heart climbs into his throat at the sight: jimin's already fucking himself dumb, stuffed with three fingers - and while it should be a crude contrast, the domineering look on his face somehow fits perfectly.
and it's not like taehyung's patience is staying constant, either. his cock hurts, jimin's ass rutting against it with every bounce of his hips. taehyung releases him, letting out a low sigh of relief when his jeans are pushed down around his ankles. jimin's the one who goes to the cabinet this time, ass hanging off of taehyung's lap as he rifles around in search for a condom. taehyung smacks his inner thigh, jimin reaching around to grab his wrist.
"you're not supposed to be this bossy," taehyung tells him.
"s-sorry." turning back around, jimin tears the condom packet with his teeth. "v'been wanting this for a really, really long time and i just- want you to fuck me and you keep- teasing me and- boxers. your boxers, taehyung."
"what about them?"
"take them off," jimin whines, worked up to a fault. he only adds a hurried please when taehyung quirks an eyebrow at him. rolling his eyes, taehyung slips a thumb under his waistband and pulls it forward. his cock slips free easily, bobbing against his lower stomach.
jimin's staring. taehyung isn't looking at him but he can feel the heavy weight of his eyes, and rightfully so - taehyung's shamefully big, always has been. it isn't long before jimin's unwrapping the condom, his fingers shaking as he goes to unfold it around taehyung's cock. "you're-" taehyung begins, biting his tongue when jimin wraps a hand around his base, "so- impatient-"
"shut the fuck up," jimin whispers, and then he's moving forward, crashing his lips against taehyung's. he licks into his mouth, throat clicking once taehyung grips him by the chin. he angles his hips forward, allowing taehyung to position himself before bottoming himself out.
they fuck like that, uneven and messy and sloppy - jimin wraps his arms around the back of taehyung's neck, groaning loudly into his shoulder as he fucks himself off of his cock. taehyung's got his fingers digging into jimin's sides, nails making crescents into the soft, thick skin. their skin's sticky where it meets, taehyung's heart racing in his lungs.
"filthy bitch," taehyung hears himself mumble against jimin's cheek, using his hair to pull his head back so he can get a good look at jimin's lost gaze, his slacked jaw. "what do you think?"
"y-your- filthy- oh, filthy filthy filthy-"
taehyung's dick is throbbing. he grips jimin's face in his hands and pulls their mouths together again, spit entangling as jimin moans. "cum when i do," he breathes against jimin's chattering teeth. "wanna hear you. want the fucking neighbors to hear you."
"can you do that for me, baby love?"
jimin doesn't have the strength to answer, but taehyung knows he understands. he goes to roll his tongue against taehyung's cheek and snags his lower lip with his teeth by accident. "gonna- no- nononon- ahgn-"
"close?" taehyung requests, and jimin whimpers messily. "that was quick. little slut must've been waiting for so long to take my cock, huh?"
"y-you... gonna- cum?" jimin gasps out, poor thing. "gonna-"
"not yet, baby. not yet." taehyung presses a kiss to his forehead, smirks at the despaired whine he gets in response. "you want me to cum, angel?"
"wanna- wanna cum."
"such a good boy." jimin's head falls forward so taehyung catches him, cupping his cheek against his palm. he runs his thumb over jimin's cheekbone, feels the skin come away warm and wet with tears. "baby's crying? baby wants to cum that badly? feels so good?"
"feels so good," jimin echoes, eyes fluttering shut. "sososososo good-"
"yeah?" taehyung grabs his hips meanly, tugging him upwards only to bottom him back out. jimin lets out a sob, collapsing forward into taehyung's chest. he plants a kiss to the top of jimin's head and takes over from there, jimin babbling nonsense into the fabric of his shirt. "baby likes the feeling of my cock buried inside of him? making him feel so good and full?"
jimin murmurs something then, fingers tightening against taehyung's chest. taehyung doesn't have to ask what - he feels jimin tighten significantly around him, feels the throbbing sensation beginning to increase. there's a fuzzy feeling swallowing up the back of taehyung's brain, so he says, "go ahead. go ahead, baby."
they cum seconds apart, jimin going first - riding it out, his cum stains both of their shirts, spurting across their chests. three seconds later, taehyung feels the heat coil tightly inside of him, and it unfurls almost painfully: he cums with a guttural groan, his head falling to jimin's shoulder as he fills the condom.
he feels almost numb when he falls backwards, jimin curling up against his chest.
they lie there for a few minutes, and then jimin says in a mocking tone, "baby likes the feeling of my cock buried inside of him?"
taehyung giggles violently, smacking his shoulder. "shut the fuck up," he gets out, but he's smiling. "fuck you. i'm not the one who ruined our clothes."
jimin's laughing, too, his shoulders shaking from the effort. "that wouldn't have happened if your daddy dom side had let me take off my hoodie."
"stop," taehyung laughs, throwing an arm over his face in embarrassment. "stop. if you didn't like it so much, you wouldn't have cum."
"oh my god," jimin breathes, lifting his head. "i'm hungry."
"of course you are."
"stay the night," jimin urges, hand reaching out. taehyung intertwines their fingers, lifting the tangled mess to his mouth so he can kiss jimin's knuckles. "please?"
"i'm not going anywhere," taehyung promises. "just- just lie here with me a while, okay? let me catch my breath."
jimin stares at him disbelievingly. "what are you, 94?"
"are you insinuating that a grandfather could fuck you like that?"
"oh my GOD-"
"you have to aim like this," jungkook tells him, twisting his wrist so he can showcase his own controller to jimin. "hold down these two buttons at the same time, pull back the trigger and aim right for their heads."
"can't i aim for their ankles?" jimin whispers, horror spreading through his features as jungkook assists him into position. "oh god, i feel so bad. they're all like, five years old."
that pulls a laugh from taehyung, his head squared in jimin's lap. jungkook squints at him before explaining to jimin, "they're not five. one of them turned fourteen, like, a month ago."
"that's still young," jimin says, and then asks taehyung, "what do you think?"
"rip their fuckin' heads off, babe," taehyung responds, pointing toward the screen, where someone is slowly advancing towards jimin's avatar. "get that one first, his head is shaped like a triangle."
"leave phineas out of this," jimin chastises him, but aims anyway. his eyes flicker towards jungkook's finger position, mirroring it hesitantly. he pulls back and-
jungkook and taehyung jostle forward with a triumphant yell. jimin can't control a blinding smile, dropping his controller so he can cover his face with his hands. a congratulations message flashes across the screen, jimin's avatar now assuming a dumb winner pose.
"congrats," jungkook says after a loud assortment of hollering. "your first win in two hours."
"i did it!" jimin squeaks excitedly. "did you see? did you see?" taehyung reaches upwards and jimin meets him, scrunching their noses together and moving their faces to opposite sides.
when they pull back, jungkook is looking at them in disgust. jimin blushes.
taehyung snaps, "what?"
"why do you keep doing that? just make out."
"we're nose kissing," jimin says shyly.
"why don't you just fuck right in front of me?"
"you'd like that, wouldn't you?" taehyung hisses, beckoning jimin with a finger. "baby, come here. it's okay. kiss me again."
"do not," jungkook warns. between them, jimin freezes, head twitching between the two somewhat fearfully.
"i- i have to go to golf practice," jimin tells them, moving to slide off the bed.
taehyung narrows his eyes suspiciously. "you don't even play golf."
"it's a secret sport," jimin says.
"speaking of secrets," jungkook begins, looking at them pointedly. "have you told namjoon and seokjin yet?"
"told them what?" taehyung and jimin answer in unison, staring at him in bewilderment.
"that you're dating."
jimin watches him for a moment longer, then stares at taehyung. "we're... dating?"
"i think- we might be," taehyung whispers. jungkook buries his face in his hands.
jimin murmurs, "what will i ever tell my wife?"
"leave her, jimin."
"i fucking hate both of you," jungkook gripes. "what are you going to do if they find out?"
jimin's the first one who laughs. he throws his arms around taehyung's shoulders, singing, "i guess we'll get fuckin' fired. we'll live in boxes on the side of the street but we'll be happier than the rest of the world and it'll be fucking glorious."
taehyung never does get the chance to tell namjoon himself, because jimin strolls in one saturday afternoon like he owns the place. he strolls up to the front counter and asks for a bouquet.
"for him," jimin says, pointing to a very flustered taehyung. "how do you say i think i'm in love with you in flower?"
do you remember a long time ago when i asked you to go to the moon with me?
when i almost lost you forever?
no i don't recall that one
it was wrong of me to ask you to do that
what are you saying
you couldn't have given me the moon
that night the sky was already empty
there would have been nothing to go to
are you okay
do you need me to come over
my sweet darling most beloved taehyung
please listen to me
you've already built a moon in my veins