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it's worth it, it's divine

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They meet in training. It’s mandatory for all metas after school, and Taehyung’s parents have just moved him across the country to Busan for his father’s job. He’s thrown into a new school and new training halfway through the year, and even for someone like him it’s almost impossible to make friends.

As far as Taehyung knows for the first few days, everyone has their place. At school the mechas group together by classification; during training they’re taught in neatly ordered groups. Taehyung spends more time with the coordinator of the training program than he’d like, trying to figure out where to place him.

Taehyung isn’t an elemental, isn’t a telekinetic, isn’t physically enhanced. There’s no point putting him in advanced strength or speed training, or combat. Taehyung’s so nervous under the scrutiny that he starts slipping, feels the present blur beneath his fingers. He thinks he slips off to a beach for half a second, but barely has time to glance around before he’s back in the hard plastic chair, the coordinator staring at him disapprovingly.

“Damage control,” he finally says, the lines around his mouth stern and unforgiving. Taehyung shifts in the chair, embarrassment creeping up his cheeks. He’s almost seventeen, he shouldn’t still be slipping like this.

Training in Daegu was self-regulated. Everyone specialized in something different, formed temporary groups to work on coordination and cooperation, and the instructors worked with them all individually. In Daegu he’d rarely slipped unless the pull was urgent; in Daegu there’d been no need for constant anxiety. In Busan it feels more like a prison.

The training room the coordinator leads him to is small and out of the way, the walls reinforced by some kind of inhibitor that Taehyung can barely feel tugging at him like a pull on a single hair. He doesn’t like it, but he can’t argue.

As it turns out, there’s only one other meta in Taehyung’s classification, whatever it may be. He steps into the room with his backpack slung over one shoulder, and his eyes widen when he sees Taehyung sitting cross-legged on top of one of the few desks, tapping restlessly on the surface.

“Hey,” Taehyung offers. The boy glances around, though there’s no one else there, as though Taehyung could be talking to somebody else.

“Hi?” He seems unsure, but slings down his bag at the desk next to Taehyung like he’s done it a million times.

“Kim Taehyung,” Taehyung says, and sticks his hand out with a smile. “They have no idea where to put me.”

The boy’s handshake is surprisingly firm for the shy hunch of his shoulders.

“Park Jimin.” Taehyung has heard that name called in a few classes in the last few days; the answer had always come from the back, and he hadn’t bothered to turn around. “It’s pretty boring here, you’ll probably move on pretty quick to somewhere that fits better.”

“Doubt it,” Taehyung snorts a little. He gets the feeling that an instructor should have been here by now. “The coordinator looked pretty fed up with me.”

Jimin laughs, and perches himself on the back of the chair in a feat of balance Taehyung could never accomplish. He gets the feeling that they’re going to be very good friends.


 

Taehyung doesn’t learn exactly what Jimin can do until his third day at the new training center. Their instructor is habitually late, barely seems to want to be there, and looks at Jimin like the boy is going to eat him alive.

After the session was over on his second day, Taehyung had casually sidled up to the instructor as he frantically packed his bag, and asked him casually if he’d like to know when he was going to die.

Now, the instructor barely looks at either of them. He assigns meditation exercises and then leaves the room, or sits uncomfortably at his desk as they both pretend to silently flip through the reading he’s assigned them.

“Could you actually do that?” Jimin asks that second day, after the instructor flees the room. “Find out when he’s going to die.”

Taehyung scrunches his nose. “Probably not,” he admits. “If I focused really hard, I could jump at least a little forward in his timeline, but I have no idea if I’d actually be able to pinpoint an event that specific.”

The last inescapable pull he’d felt had been toward a single mother, in line for ramen with his mother. He’d flashed backward, had ended up unseen in the corner of an unfamiliar living room as the girl was screamed at by her father, forced out of her own house. The memory sits unpleasantly in his gut.

The third day, the instructor hands Taehyung a book he’d read two years ago on his own and tells him to read chapter four without looking him in the eye. The book had been interesting the first time, the only text written by a time traveler available in the Daegu facility’s library, and he’s skimmed the instructional chapters at least half a dozen times by now.

He doesn’t catch the title of Jimin’s book, but the eye roll he gets behind the instructor’s back tells Taehyung it’s something equally as frustrating.

As quietly as he can, he tears a paper out of his notebook and scrawls down a message.

im really bored jimin.

Jimin raises an eyebrow, but glances over at the instructor, whose back is turned, before leaning over and grabbing the pen.

what do you expect me to do. Taehyung makes a face, like that should be obvious. Jimin rolls his eyes and turns back to the open page in his book, but he’s not actually reading, just staring blankly. By the fourth minute, Taehyung starts to think Jimin might have fallen asleep with his eyes open.

Taehyung sighs, and settles back into the uncomfortable chair. He opens his book, for something like plausible deniability, and then tilts his head back. If he can replay the entire episode of the anime he watched last night, he’ll let himself go to sleep. Work-reward.

He’s five minutes in when he feels something strange. Like a nudge against his skull, except there’s nothing there. Taehyung shakes his head, rewinds a few seconds in his mind’s eye, and goes back to concentrating.

This time, the nudge is stronger, and Taehyung jerks up in his seat. The instructor stares at him; Taehyung raises his fingers to his temple and dramatically narrows his eyes, and the instructor frantically scrambles to pick up his newspaper again. Taehyung scoffs, and goes back to his anime.

Will you shut up? The voice echoes in his head. The unfamiliar, very much not Taehyung’s voice echoes in his head.

“What the—” Taehyung yelps, only to get a harsh jab in the ribs from Jimin, who’s finally looked up to glare at him impressively.

Shut up, the voice—Jimin’s voice?—repeats. This time, there’s something like a tinge of uncertainty. I’m trying to sleep.

Were you reading my mind? Taehyung tries, rattling the thought around in his mind aggressively. Jimin flinches a little, like Taehyung’s screaming at the top of his lungs.

No, you’re just projecting. I watched that episode a month ago, I don’t need a replay. Jimin seems to be relaxing a little, and Taehyung smiles at him wickedly.

You realize I’m never leaving you alone during training again, right?

Jimin rolls his eyes one last time, plugs his ears with exaggerated motions, and goes right back to sleep.


 

Taehyung learns about Jimin’s abilities slowly. He learns that the dampers of their training room are there to stop him from looking into unwilling minds, though Jimin swears up and down that he never would. Taehyung looks for him at lunch one day for almost the entire hour, until someone points him toward the roof and warns him that if he talks to Park Jimin, he won’t have any secrets left within an hour.

“I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Jimin pouts, tossing a stalk of broccoli off the roof of the math building. “I never do it on purpose. Most of what I learn happens because people practically shout it at me. Can you hear me, I cheated on my girlfriend, did you know that? Like, yeah you just yelled it through a megaphone into my brain, now I know it.”

You put on too much cologne this morning, Taehyung thinks, very hard. Jimin’s next piece of broccoli lands on Taehyung’s forehead.

He learns that Jimin can do more than just read minds one day when they’re walking to the halfway point between their houses after training, and a group of older men approach them with mean eyes and clenched fists.

Ugly words are spat back and forth, and Taehyung has to fight not to slip forward or back, and when the tallest man’s fist comes flying at his face he flinches until he realizes that the motion has frozen. All of the men have frozen with terrified eyes and locked limbs, and Jimin’s hands tremble as he pulls Taehyung into a sprint, as far away as they can get.

Jimin spends that night at Taehyung’s house, both of them piled into the bed half on top of each other, and Jimin tells him everything.

“They built that room special for me,” Jimin says. “I was maybe six, just starting school. All the other metas were learning what they could do, how to be friends with the others in their category, and I sat in a box because I didn’t understand the difference between talking with your mind and with your mouth.”

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung says, because there’s really nothing else. Jimin smiles sardonically and tips his head back onto Taehyung’s shoulder.

“It’s what I know,” he says, like the words are a shrug. “I’ve had to get used to it. You know I’m gonna be the most monitored out of all of us.”

Taehyung frowns, because it’s true. People don’t like telepaths, the government included.

“I can teach you how to guard yourself,” Jimin offers late that night, edging into the early morning. “How to protect yourself from me.”

Taehyung scoffs.

“That’s stupid,” he says decisively. “There’s nothing in my brain worth being protected.”

So he never learns, and Jimin’s presence in his mind becomes as familiar as a hug.


 

The first time Jimin sees Taehyung slip, truly slip, he’s back in Taehyung’s bed. They’re both half awake, staring blearily at Jimin’s laptop playing a show they’ve both already seen before, and Taehyung starts to feel the pull low in his chest.

“Hey,” he says, tugging on the hem of Jimin’s tank top. “Hey, I’m gonna—”

He’s gone before he gets the word out. Taehyung’s been told that his body looks terrifying when he leaves it, that his eyes go white and his skin goes cold. He hopes Jimin isn’t too worried.

The scene he appears at is dark. Maybe a street, an alley. Angry voices, the sickening crack of punches being thrown. Taehyung inches forward, trying to get a closer look.

He doesn’t expect to see the knife, the quick motion of the taller man’s arm. Taehyung takes a step back with his intangible body and claps his hands over his mouth when the blood starts to spurt. The man with the knife spins and runs, and Taehyung gets one long look at his face before his chest starts hurting again.

Taehyung snaps back into his body and leans over the side of the bed to throw up.

Taehyung’s mother drives them both to the police station when Taehyung won’t stop shaking, won’t stop insisting that they go. He doesn’t even know if the murder had been in this city, but his range is only so far and he knows that it happened last night.

It takes a long time to convince the human officers to believe him, but Taehyung manages to give a description and convince them to make a sketch.

He all but collapses back into the car when they’re done, and Jimin strokes reassuring fingers through his hair.

“I’m here,” Jimin murmurs. Taehyung’s mother looks at them through the rearview mirror, and twists her arm back to pat reassuringly at Taehyung’s knee. She’s a dreamwalker; had been witness to the first of Taehyung’s visions that had come in his sleep.

He sees what he needs to, Taehyung rationalizes. It’s as simple as that.

Once, Jimin asks if he can read Taehyung’s memory of a vision. Taehyung shrugs, pulls up the most pleasant; a slip back from an old woman on the bus, remembering her first date with the husband whose grave she was on her way to visit.

Jimin keeps his eyes closed and presses his forehead to Taehyung’s as he listens, a small smile tugging at his lips.

“Thank you,” he says, when the memory is done. Taehyung smiles back, takes his hand.

“No problem.”


 

After high school, mandatory training is supposed to end. Taehyung is freed from it, but when he and Jimin move to Seoul for university, Jimin receives an email notifying him that all telepaths are required to register and train with their university facilities.

Jimin scowls through the rest of the day, until Taehyung promises him ice cream on their way to the Meta Affairs Office.

From what Taehyung hears of it, Jimin’s training from the school is incredible. There’s no other telepaths, but he meets with half a dozen professors every few weeks to go over new concepts, to practice his control and his balance. Jimin’s happier than Taehyung has ever seen him.

Jimin drags home another meta one day—Hoseok from his hip-hop class whose feet move so quickly Taehyung stops being able to see them.

“I can run super fast,” Hoseok assures them. “So fast. You wouldn’t believe.”

“Okay,” Taehyung says with a frown. He’s kind of stoned. They’re all kind of stoned. Jimin is curled up next to him on the couch, and curled up in a warm spot at the back of his head. “Show me.”

“Absolutely not,” Hoseok replies, indignant. “Why would you ask me that.”

Taehyung just stares at him, baffled.

Their group grows; metas don’t separate themselves in Seoul as harshly as they did in Busan, but it’s still easier to meet people through each other. Taehyung’s friends with plenty of humans in his classes, works with a few at the campus bookstore, but his personal circle stays private.

There’s Namjoon, who’s Hoseok’s age but already working on his master’s, who picked up Taehyung’s philosophy textbook one movie night and had finished it before the credits, and then proceeded to half-teach Taehyung an entire lecture course on it. Yoongi, who talks about his computers and sound mixing equipment like they’re people and completely re-codes Jimin’s phone for him. Seokjin, who dramatically claims he has a new ability every time they see him, but who also sometimes starts floating when he gets a little too excited.

Their sophomore year, Taehyung meets Jeongguk, who at first appears human in every way. He’s in Taehyung’s photography studio second semester, and they work together on a project, and he gets along well with Jimin.

When he slips back in Jeongguk’s timeline, Taehyung is proven horribly wrong.

“No fucking meta is going to live under my roof,” someone burly and angry growls. Taehyung tries to block out the vision; this is a horrible invasion of privacy. It doesn’t work, he can’t close his eyes; he’s forced to watch as Jeongguk, scrawny and barely sixteen, throws his clothes in his backpack and is shoved out of his home.

“I’m sorry,” he gasps, when he comes back to himself. The nausea of a horrible vision washes over him and he breathes through it.

Taehyung only notices that his head is in Jimin’s lap, Jimin’s fingers are in his hair, when he tries to sit up.

“What happened?” Jeongguk asks. His confusion would be cute if Taehyung didn’t feel so guilty. “Were you having a seizure?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “A vision,” he explains. “I can see forward in people’s timelines, or back.”

Jeongguk’s face twists uncomfortably, and Taehyung is scared that he’s going to lose another friendship.

“I’m sorry,” he says frantically. “I know it’s an invasion of privacy, I won’t tell anyone what I saw—”

Jeongguk sighs. Stares down at his hands, like he’s resigning himself.

“It’s fine,” he mutters. “Did you see…?”

“Usually,” Taehyung starts. Jimin’s fingers pause in his hair to tug a little, reassuringly. “Usually it’s whatever someone is thinking a lot about. Something that causes a lot of emotion.”

“So you saw my dad.” It’s not a question. Taehyung nods. “You want to know what I do?”

“Not unless you want to tell us,” Jimin says quietly. Jeongguk looks up, a little startled. Taehyung knows how gentle Jimin’s smile can be.

“I warp reality,” Jeongguk says. “Anything I want you to see, you’ll see. I could—I don’t know, I could make someone live out an entire fake life in ten minutes. It’s horrible.”

“No worse than the rest of us.” Jimin doesn’t sound phased, but it’s hard to surprise him. Even now that he knows how to block out all thoughts except his own, Taehyung still thinks that sometimes, Jimin just knows things.

There’s a few weeks of awkwardness between Taehyung and Jeongguk after that. It’s crashed when Jeongguk shows up at his and Jimin’s apartment with an extra large pizza and an HD torrent of Jimin’s favorite American movie.

They’re more careful when they tell Jeongguk about Jimin. He takes it well enough; as well as anyone does. After the few usual questions, it’s like nothing has changed, and Jeongguk gets invited to the weekly movie night.

The group settles. Hoseok goes abroad for a semester, Namjoon takes more office hours for the classes he TAs for than Taehyung thinks is reasonable, but they settle. Even after vacations—that Jeongguk spends at Taehyung’s house, eating his mother’s cooking—they always come back together.


 

When he’s close enough, Jimin is always resting somewhere in Taehyung’s mind. They’d talked about it, when the university training had started to teach Jimin more control. Jimin had mentioned the relief at being able to slip into someone’s mind so easily, to use his ability like it was always meant to be used. Jimin is a people person; even if the isolation is necessary, he gets lonely in his own head.

As the years have gone by, Jimin’s reach has gotten further. Freshman year, Taehyung had barely been able to feel Jimin from the basement laundry room of their dorm building. Now, he and Jimin talk freely from opposite ends of campus, mourning their lost time together as they work on their senior projects.

Taehyung’s portfolio is going well; Jimin’s choreography isn’t fighting him any more than usual. Hoseok teaches at a dance studio downtown and is starting to choreograph for small idol groups. Seokjin is busy with medical school, Namjoon is still at the university and might be applying for tenure next year, Yoongi is making music. No one knows exactly what Jeongguk’s major is, but he’s taking over thirty credits and seems to be doing fine, so they don’t bother him.

Jimin is a constant in Taehyung’s mind, can feel him from over a mile away, so it shouldn’t surprise Taehyung when it happens.

They’re curled up on the couch together, drifting through sleep at some terrible hour of the morning, when Taehyung tilts his head up from where his cheek rests on Jimin’s chest, and thinks, I want to kiss him.

And of course, because he’s curled like a cat in Taehyung’s mind, Jimin hears it.

“Yes please,” Jimin mumbles. His eyes are puffy, his lip curls up to expose his crooked front tooth.

Taehyung leans up, and up, and presses their lips together softly. Soft enough in the darkness of the apartment that it’s almost imagined.

I’m not fragile, Jimin’s amusement echoes quietly, and he pulls Taehyung up to settle between his legs, chest to chest as Jimin pulls him down again.

They fall into it like they’d fallen into friendship; quick and easy as falling asleep.


“What do you want, Taehyung-ah?” Jimin says sweetly, pushing Taehyung’s sweaty hair back from his forehead. Taehyung’s eyes are shut tight, hands clenched where they’re knotted above his head, legs spread wide around Jimin’s hips.

“Please,” he stutters. “Jimin. Jiminie, please.”

“Use your words.” Jimin sounds so disinterested, so bored. He shifts his hips half a centimeter and Taehyung whines, so full, so desperate.

Fuck me,” he finally manages, voice weak. “Please, please, I’ve been good.”

“Sure,” Jimin finally agrees. He grinds in slow and deep, has stars bursting behind Taehyung’s eyelids, before pulling out as slow and aching as anything. Taehyung bites back a sob, claws at the wood of the headboard. Helpless. “Remember though, baby. No coming until I say so.”

“I’m good,” Taehyung promises deliriously as Jimin’s hips start to work, as he scratches lines down Taehyung’s chest and sucks stinging marks to the side of his neck. “Please, Min, baby’s good, wanna get fucked, wanna—”

“I know,” Jimin says, too sweet. Condescending. “I know, that’s all my baby’s good for. Getting fucked. Taking it like a good slut, right?”

“Right, right,” Taehyung babbles. He’s so gone, so open for Jimin. He can feel him in his head, a constant blanket of reassurance and comfort under the mean words and sting of sensation. “Yours, Jimin. Your slut.”

The longer Jimin fucks him, degrades him, spills saccharine sweet insults from his lips, the harder it gets to keep himself together. Taehyung begs, arches himself up, whines for Jimin like he’s desperate, like he needs it, and still Jimin denies him.

“Stop it,” Jimin snaps, after the third edge, after the third time he’s gone still and agonizing inside Taehyung, eyes sharp and fingers digging in bruises as Taehyung tries to buck his hips. “Don’t fucking move.”

The tears come hot and fast, slipping from the corners of Taehyung’s eyes and into his hair as Jimin picks up speed again, concentration lost, biting down hard on his lower lip. His eyes are hooded, staring down at the red weeping flush of Taehyung’s cock between their bodies.

Taehyung doesn’t feel it until it’s too late. The swell of pleasure in his gut, the drag of Jimin’s skin over the sensitive head, the tension and preparation for release.

“Jimin,” he gasps, as he starts to lose control. “Jimin, Jimin—help, help I can’t—I’m gonna—”

Don’t come,” Jimin growls, and then something tightens in his grip around Taehyung’s mind, and Taehyung’s body goes rigid, and it feels like his orgasm is slammed back by a wall in its path. Taehyung wails, jerking his arms against his bonds and thrashing in Jimin’s grip, sobbing desperately as he chases something, anything. It’s agony, the best kind of pain, and Taehyung goes mindless and boneless as Jimin freezes in horror.

“Oh god,” Jimin says. He doesn’t sound mean anymore. His fingers grasp at Taehyung’s face, pull his head up from where it’s lolled back, smack lightly at Taehyung’s cheek until he manages to open his eyes.

“I was good,” Taehyung says deliriously. He doesn’t understand why Jimin looks so scared, so horrified.

“I’m so sorry,” Jimin gasps out. There are tears on Taehyung’s face that don’t belong to him, as Jimin fumbles desperately with the ropes around Taehyung’s wrists.

“What’re you doing?” Taehyung slurs. “Green, green, Jimin-ah.”

“I’m calling red,” Jimin says. He’s shaking, his voice is shaking, and it’s what snaps Taehyung back to himself.

“Hey,” he calls softly. “What happened?”

He wraps his arms around Jimin’s shoulders as soon as his wrists are free, and Jimin buries his face in Taehyung’s sweaty skin and cries.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin chokes out. Taehyung’s more alert now, thinking more clearly, and he tries to imagine anything Jimin could be sorry for. There had been nothing strange in the scene, nothing out of the ordinary for them, until—

Until Taehyung had started to come, and Jimin had told him not to. Had told him not to, and forced Taehyung’s orgasm back.

“Oh,” Taehyung says, and feels Jimin shudder underneath him.

“I’ll never do it again,” Jimin promises, like he’s scared Taehyung won’t believe him. “Please, Taehyung-ah, I’m so sorry. I’ll be better.”

“It’s—it’s okay.” Taehyung furrows his brows, strokes his palms down Jimin’s back in the way he likes. “Jiminie. I’m not mad.”

The words take a few moments to sink in. When Jimin lifts his face from Taehyung’s shoulder, red-eyed and puffy, he looks bewildered.

“You’re not?” He asks. Taehyung scrunches his nose.

“No,” he decides, with an air of finality. “It felt—good. Sort of. Really intense. Edging but worse.”

Jimin almost cracks a smile. Soon enough, though, the frown comes back.

“I promised to never do that,” he says quietly. “To never use it on someone without permission.”

“Then you have my permission.” Taehyung says it easily, like there’s nothing simpler. Maybe there isn’t; Taehyung has never protected his mind from Jimin, never seen any reason to. He trusts Jimin with every part of him. Why should this be so different?

“I have your permission to stop you from coming?” Jimin asks, incredulous. It’s a little funny; they’re both smiling at the edges. Taehyung nods, affecting seriousness.

“You are allowed to use your mind control to have amazing sex with me,” he decides. Jimin swats at his shoulder. “But really. I trust you. We have a safeword; you can literally read my mind and know if I need to stop. I want to try, at least.”

“You’re incredible,” Jimin says, and leans down for a kiss.

Personally, Taehyung thinks Jimin has it the other way around.


 

“Are you okay?” Jimin’s head jerks up almost guiltily when Taehyung asks, voice low from where he’s leaning against the frame of their bedroom door. Jimin’s near-obsessively manicured fingernails have been tapping irregular patterns into their table for close to five minutes now.

“Sorry,” Jimin says, and flattens his palms to the wood.

“I didn’t ask if you were sorry,” Taehyung reminds him, but it’s with a smile. He sits carefully in the chair opposite Jimin, smooths his hands along the table to just barely brush Jimin’s fingertips with his own. “We don’t have to do this, you know.”

“I know.” Jimin frowns without looking up. He shifts a little in Taehyung’s head. The presence reminds him of a cat; languid and slow, padding around quietly, sometimes chasing after a tangled thread of thoughts Taehyung can’t quite work out. “I want to. I want to a lot.”

“So what’s with this?” Taehyung gestures broadly at him, at the quietly rumbling anxiety Jimin is letting him feel. Jimin shrugs, but it seems more a way to delay the conversation than anything. He picks uncomfortably at a hangnail, and licks his lips before he speaks again.

“I’m scared of how much I want it. How good it felt last time, to just…” He trails off. “What if I go too far?”

Taehyung tugs Jimin’s fingers forward, locks their hands together.

“You’ll know,” he promises. “And you’ll stop, and I’ll be okay. We’ll be okay, Jiminie.”

“Yeah,” Jimin says. The tension buzzing off his spot in Taehyung’s head starts to ease; he gets a little quieter, stretches what Taehyung likes to imagine are his little cat toes. “I’m not a cat, Taehyung-ah.”

“That’s what it feels like,” Taehyung pouts, and Jimin rolls his eyes and pinches his finger, and the tension is gone entirely. It devolves into Jimin chasing him into the bedroom, tumbling them both onto the bed, kissing him until Jimin’s anxiety has melted into nothing.

And that’s how Taehyung finds himself settling into the scene later that night, stretched out comfortably naked and half-hard from anticipation alone.

“You remember what we talked about?” Jimin asks, perched on the side of the bed. He’s still fully clothed; his hand strokes softly up and down Taehyung’s outer thigh. It sounds more like he’s trying to reassure himself, so Taehyung doesn’t interrupt.

“If you need to use a word, shove at me. Hard as you can, okay? I’ll feel it.”

“Okay,” Taehyung confirms. “I trust you.”

“Thank you,” Jimin says. His smile is soft, but the scrape of his fingernails along Taehyung’s skin isn’t. “I want you to have fun with this too.”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says. He tries to affect nonchalance, but the pitch of his voice and the satisfaction Jimin coos silently at him tells him he’s failed. “I—wanna have fun, Jimin-ah.”

“Good,” Jimin murmurs, and all uncertainty has slipped from his face, replaced by a teasing smirk as he keeps his hand steady, keeps his touch chaste. “Want me in that pretty head of yours, Taetae?”

And that—Taehyung closes his eyes in embarrassment when he feels his cock twitch, when Jimin looks down at it with amusement. His nails dig in again, and Taehyung bites back a whimper as he squirms.

“Use your words,” he snaps. “I asked you a question.”

“Please,” Taehyung gasps in immediate response. “Want—want you in my head. Wanna be yours.”

“Hands above your head,” Jimin says quietly, after a pause. He sounds pleased, feels pleased where he’s wrapped around Taehyung so completely that it’s hard to think of anything else. Taehyung obeys mindlessly, his fingers just brushing the headboard.

“I don’t have to tie you up tonight, right, baby?” Jimin asks sweetly. His hand trails higher and higher, brushes the jut of Taehyung’s hip, tracing lightly over his abdomen. Taehyung chokes on his own desperation, on Jimin’s pleased amusement. “You’ll be good, keep yourself nice and spread for me.”

Taehyung’s legs inch apart, and Jimin’s smile grows. “Just like that, Tae-ah.”

“I’ll be good,” Taehyung promises. It’s terrible, how easy he goes. How much Jimin can work him up with a few teasing words and a hand on his thigh.

“It doesn’t really matter, though,” Jimin muses. “After all, let’s see what happens when you try moving those pretty hands of yours.”

Obedient, anticipating, Taehyung tugs his hands down. Or, more accurately, tries to. He makes it maybe an inch before his muscles lock, Jimin’s grip on his mind tightening to an unmistakable pressure. Taehyung feels his arms move without his mind’s permission, feels his body like a stranger’s arrange until his wrists are crossed, legs spread wide open and shameless.

He’s hard enough by now that it hurts. Taehyung’s breathing is tight in his chest, his eyes wide as he realizes—

“You’re okay?” Jimin clarifies aloud, but his lips are curved up like he already knows.

—as Jimin plays with his body like a doll, like a toy, like a thing to be used.

The whimper that tears out of him is jagged and awful, is Taehyung’s only form of release as Jimin holds him still.

“That’s right,” Jimin murmurs. He sounds so satisfied, so mean. Taehyung tries to struggle, tries to twist and buck for no other reason than that he’s bursting at the seams from the though of it. Jimin digs his claws into Taehyung’s muscles tighter, smacks his inner thigh sharp and painful.

“Stop fighting,” he orders, and Taehyung yields because he has to, because he wants to so badly it hurts.

“Jimin,” he says. Jimin’s left him his voice and his eyes and nothing else. It’s exhilarating and terrifying and wonderful all at the same time, and he’s so hard and flushed pressed tight against his belly, and Jimin just smiles his sweet smile and watches Taehyung come to terms with being his plaything.

“I’m right here,” Jimin promises, and carefully arranges himself to straddle Taehyung. They aren’t touching, not an inch, until Jimin leans down to press a kiss to Taehyung’s slack lips.

Being kissed like this makes Taehyung’s lungs constrict, his pulse thrum in his ears. Jimin won’t let him move, won’t let him kiss back, and the frustration burns tears into Taehyung’s eyes as Jimin kisses him messy and dirty, as one-sided as if he were kissing a painting.

“Aw,” Jimin coos, when he leans away to brush away the tear that had streaked from Taehyung’s eye to his hairline. “Baby didn’t like that?”

Taehyung’s response is a low, wet moan. His mind is a jumble; he can barely sort out his own thoughts, is closer than he thinks he’s ever been so quickly to dropping low, to the place he loves where he only exists to serve.

“You know what I think?” Jimin asks. He settles back on his heels, straddling Taehyung’s thigh, and gives him a thoroughly disinterested once-over. The touch of amusement at Taehyung’s leaking cock has Taehyung whining, trying to curl into himself even as Jimin pins him like a butterfly.

“I think you do like it,” Jimin decides, and reaches out with one short finger to trail down Taehyung’s cock from tip to base.

The noise Taehyung makes is inhuman. Jimin doesn’t care.

“I think you like it when I’m mean,” he continues. His voice dips down low, his eyes dark and satisfied as he reaches for the lube discarded on the sheets. The click of the cap is too loud; Taehyung bites down on his lip and tries not to struggle. “When I tease you. When you’re so, so good but I still don’t give you what you want.”

Taehyung parts his lips, but when he tries to speak, he pushes out only air. Jimin’s hand, slick with lube, grips Taehyung tight.

“Ah,” Jimin warns, thumbing at Taehyung’s leaking slit. “Good toys don’t talk, baby.”

Baby toy, Taehyung’s mind echoes, and Jimin smiles as he twists his wrist. It’s so agonizing, feels so good when Taehyung is this worked up, hypersensitive to anything Jimin will give him.

“That’s you,” Jimin says, and it’s almost fond. “My toy, Taehyung-ah. Got you all pretty and pinned and mine to play with ‘til you cry.”

Taehyung’s eyes are still blurred with tears. He’s so close; it would be so easy.

Jimin goes on like that, sitting back comfortably between Taehyung’s spread legs. He works Taehyung’s cock on the painful side of too-tight, digs his fingernail underneath the head just for the pleasure of holding Taehyung still when he tries to thrash. The noises Jimin lets him make are choked off, pathetic little whimpers and hiccups as Jimin works him closer and closer to the edge, scratches red lines that fade to white on Taehyung’s thigh with his free hand.

“Oh, you’re close?” Jimin asks cooly, when Taehyung is teetering on the edge of incoherence. “How close, Taehyung?”

Please, is the only coherent thought in Taehyung’s head. Jimin has sunk deep into every part of him, is echoing in every impression and thought and desire that flicks through him. Jimin smiles, a predator to his prey. Please, please.

“Hm.” He sounds thoughtful. “Tempting.”

Jimin adjusts his grip, and presses the nail of his thumb into the head of Taehyung’s cock, and drags it down, down, the edge of pain burning through Taehyung like fire, like dying, and—

It hurts more than anything Taehyung could think of when Jimin shuts the orgasm down. Taehyung wails, loses himself entirely as he thrashes and twists and stays completely still under Jimin’s thumb, with Jimin’s claws in him.

It hurts, and aches, and when it doesn’t stop and doesn’t stop and doesn’t stop Taehyung starts to sob, to reach out silently for comfort, for something, and feels Jimin tuck tighter around him like a safety blanket.

Green, Taehyung thinks, as much as he’s able through the sensation. It’s overstimulation but worse, denial but with a violent edge. Jimin ebbs him back slowly, until Taehyung stops gasping through sobs when Jimin strokes him, palms the head of his cock to a shine.

“You didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, right?” Jimin mocks. “Oh, you did? Stupid baby; like I’d let you come this quick.”

He pushes himself up again, gets his face close to Taehyung to press a quick, chaste kiss to Taehyung’s unmoving lips. Taehyung burns with humiliation, at the reminder.

“This is mine, right?” Jimin asks like he’s expecting an answer, tugging the head of Taehyung’s cock between two fingers. Taehyung tries to part his lips, tries to say yes, always, and the words stick in his throat as Jimin smiles smugly, as his slick fingers trail down, down, to brush over Taehyung’s hole.

Taehyung’s breathing picks up again, but Jimin just strokes him lightly, almost petting. It shouldn’t feel as good as it does, shouldn’t have Taehyung squeezing out more tears as Jimin forces his thighs further apart on the bed.

“And this is mine,” he murmurs, no longer a question. “Always so greedy for it, baby. You know good toys don’t beg.”

Taehyung doesn’t know if he’s begging, doesn’t know what Jimin can see in his head. All he knows is Jimin’s hands on him, and Jimin’s grip on his mind, on his body.

Yours, he tries, desperate, and Jimin draws his hand up again, wipes lube and precome onto Taehyung’s stomach until his palm is dry.

“Messy slut,” he mocks, and Taehyung’s humiliated whine is pulled out of his throat by force.

But then both of Jimin’s hands are cupping his jaw; Jimin’s sitting above him and staring into his eyes and keeping their gazes held together.

“And this is mine too, right?” He asks, cruelty digging like knives into Taehyung’s skin. “Your dumb, empty head is all mine to play with.”

Jimin,” Taehyung wails. If he could move, if he were anything other than Jimin’s toy, he’d be wrapped around him right now, begging for comfort. Jimin just laughs, wipes a line of drool away from Taehyung’s cheek.

“That’s right, doll,” he says, every word another shock of arousal, another violent tease. “There’s nothing up here, baby. Nothing useful, at least. You should hear yourself, stupid and begging like you deserve any of what you’re asking for.”

His fingers dig into Taehyung’s cheeks, purse his lips out in a pout.

“My useless, empty thing,” Jimin croons. Taehyung gasps wetly, the corners of his eyes sticky from tears. “Just waiting for me to fill you up like you deserve.”

And Taehyung—his eyes roll back into his head, dumb and drooling and everything Jimin says he is.

“Good,” he barely registers Jimin saying, feels a palm teasing down his chest. “Let’s see how much I can break you down tonight.”


 

When they talk about it, curled up with Taehyung’s fuzzy socks tucked into Jimin’s lap the next early afternoon, it’s Jimin who surprises him.

“I loved it,” he admits, a sweet smile tugging at his lips. “Taetae, it felt—so good.”

“I thought that was my line.” Taehyung can’t keep the grin out of his voice; he’s been feeling so light today, so pleased with Jimin’s hand gentle in his hair and peppered with kisses whenever they’re close enough. The television is on mute in the background, both of them facing each other on the couch they’d splurged on.

“No,” Jimin says, gesturing a little with his hands, the little presence in Taehyung’s mind poking its claws out and kneading sweetly to get comfortable. “No, listen, it was the first time—you know I don’t use it on people, that I would never. But Taehyung, that felt for the first time like I wasn’t, you know. A monster for doing it to someone.”

Taehyung doesn’t quite know how to reply, but he does know how to project satisfaction and support. He likes to think of it as tossing down a ball of string; Jimin likes to call it I’m not a cat, Taehyung.

It works anyway. Jimin flushes a little with excitement, with pride.

“I wasn’t even close to losing control,” he says. “It was like—I don’t know. Like I could finally use a hand that’s been tied behind my back ever since I could understand that I shouldn’t have it in the first place.”

“That’s kind of fucked up,” Taehyung points out, scrunching his nose. “Like, the room they built you back in Busan. I don’t know how they let that happen.”

Jimin deflates a little, runs his fingers lightly over the rise of Taehyung’s soft ankle socks.

“I mean, I do understand.” He sounds resigned. “People don’t like telepaths. And after last night—I didn’t even know what I was missing, Tae-ah. I feel so light with you, so good.”

“I’m glad,” Taehyung says, glancing down; almost shy. He’s irrationally pleased with himself, that Jimin has practically been glowing since the scene. That Taehyung has practically been glowing too, stripped down so perfectly and rebuilt by careful touches and soft assuring words in the dark of night. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Jimin tells him, so earnest Taehyung can feel his ears start to burn. “And I don’t—I have no idea how to thank you. How much it means to me that you trust me like this.”

“Dummy,” Taehyung teases, nudging his toe into Jimin’s belly. There’s more give than normal; Jimin had just wrapped up a production last week, and he’s giving himself a little much-needed time off. “I trust you with all of me. No matter what.”

Jimin’s smile is blinding; Taehyung can’t help himself when he lunges suddenly forward to press kisses to Jimin’s squished up crescent eyes. It starts a small war of affection that ends with their positions flipped, Jimin’s head resting under Taehyung’s chin as Jimin presses against his side and tries not to let his ass fall off the couch.

“You’re perfect,” Taehyung tells him. “Never a monster, Jiminie. You don’t hurt anyone, don’t hurt me in ways I don’t like. And last night…”

He trails off, takes a moment to think. Remembers the utter incoherence of it, the ease with which he’d slipped out of his own mind and allowed Jimin to take control.

“I never imagined anything could feel like that,” he admits, tugging on a strand of Jimin’s dark hair. It’s so soft, always so soft. Jimin hides a smile in the fabric of Taehyung’s shirt. “And I was so safe, Min. You’re so good to me.”

“I think you’re better,” Jimin says, the smile so wide Taehyung can barely make out his words. “Anything for you, Taetae.”

“Anything for you, Jiminie,” Taehyung promises in return. “Always.”


 

Jimin is approached by three different branches of the government and two representatives from the military in the months leading up to their graduation. Twice they come to their doorstep, and Taehyung waits with arms crossed in the entryway as Jimin explains with forced cheerfulness that he has a job lined up out of school with a dance company, that he’s not interested in being an asset to his country until he decides when he’ll be doing his military service.

“No one likes telepaths,” Jimin mumbles one evening, collapsing into Taehyung after shutting the door on an intelligence recruiter. “It’s like, fucking, they could use me, but no one there would trust me no matter how strong their barriers were.”

“Fuck them,” Taehyung says forcefully, and Jimin slaps a hand down onto his chest with a whine.

“Shut up, what if he’s still out there.”

That night, Taehyung slips for the first time in weeks. It’s an uncomfortable settling in his stomach as he gets ready for bed, the miserable knowledge that he’s going to vanish and there’s nothing he can do about it, not when it’s this strong. He’d done some voluntary training with the campus program, had learned how to ignore tugs from strangers, but when it’s insistent like this he can do nothing but follow.

Taehyung has barely turned around from the dresser to look at Jimin, curled up with a book half on Taehyung’s side of the bed, when he feels his knees start to give out beneath him.

His vision goes white, and when Taehyung can see again he’s somewhere brighter than the soft golden glow of Jimin’s bedside lamp.

“Park-ssi,” a voice says cooly. Taehyung blinks the spots out of his eyes, ghostly hand finding stability against the wall. “I wish you would cooperate.”

“This is illegal.” It’s Jimin’s voice, proud and stubborn. Taehyung’s breath catches in his throat, as he takes in the scene.

It looks like some kind of prison. White walls, fluorescent lightning, cold metal fixtures. Jimin sits cross-legged and bruised on a cruel excuse for a bed, his wrists cuffed to the rails. His jaw is tilted up, stubborn and proud, mottled with purple and yellow and green.

“And who’s going to do anything about it?” The woman standing in front of the door says. Taehyung doesn’t recognize her uniform, but he does recognize her face. One of the intelligence officers who’d followed Jimin around for almost a week, before Jimin had talked to campus security. “No one will be missing you. No one really trusts you; I doubt you have anyone in your life you haven’t compelled to need you.”

“That’s not true.” Jimin sounds frustrated, sounds worn down. Taehyung aches to reach out and touch this Jimin, almost a decade older than the one he’d left in bed. “I won’t cooperate, Director. If you want a war, start it yourself.”

“Ah, Jimin,” this Director says, too informal. A fake smile twists her smooth face into something brittle. “I don’t think you understand. No one knows you’re gone. No one knows where you are. There are no other options.”

Where am I, Taehyung wants to scream. Jimin doesn’t look upset, doesn’t look frightened.

Instead, Jimin smiles, and a familiar touch wraps itself around Taehyung’s mind.

It’s never happened before—Taehyung hadn’t even known it was possible, but this Jimin slams into Taehyung like a bullet train. It’s all vague impressions—the arrest, the ultimatum, the solitude and torture and feeble attempts of a weaker, broken telepath to make him submit. The pain he’s fighting through to connect despite the inhibitors in the walls, in his clothes.

Remember, is the only clear word of connection, before a string of numbers sear themselves into Taehyung’s mind. In this ghostly body he doesn’t need to breathe, but Taehyung’s chest feels tight anyway. Coordinates, plucked out of a guard’s head before the first time they’d hit him. Remember, Taehyung.

Something on the Director’s wrist beeps, and Jimin’s smile widens.

“What are you doing,” she says, unease low in her throat. Jimin doesn’t answer.

Leave. It’s more of an impression than anything else. The tail end of a ghostly connection.

I’ll remember, Taehyung pushes back, as forcefully as he can, as he feels the churning low in his gut. I’ll find you.

I know, Jimin promises. The door of the cell slides open, and two uniformed men step in. Their knuckles are bruised.

“You’ll regret this,” the Director warns. “Whatever you’re doing.”

“I don’t think I will,” Jimin says.

And Taehyung disappears.


 

He comes back to himself on the floor, the back of his head aching where he must have fallen. Jimin’s fingers are familiar cupping his cheeks, checking him carefully as Taehyung blinks himself back into his body.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks, frantic as his fingers fly to the sore spot on Taehyung’s scalp.

“Jimin,” Taehyung gasps, and his fingers grip too tight at Jimin’s wrist as his body adjusts to the adrenaline and panic in his mind. Jimin’s silent probe is gentle and Taehyung flinches back like he never does. He can’t ignore the alarm in Jimin’s touch and guilt mixes in with the jumble of emotion even as Taehyung pushes him back.

Taehyung has seen Jimin before, when he slips. Knows horribly when his mother will pass, when he’ll twist his ankle during a recital in a decade and a half and be forced into retirement, when his first choreographed ballet will debut. They’re all kept behind a neon warning sign, and Jimin has never pushed.

Taehyung is smart enough to know that even if he shares his visions as freely as if they were Jimin’s own, he can’t let Jimin see his own future.

“Don’t,” he manages, through the panicked heaving of his breaths. He never learned how to protect his mind from Jimin; has never wanted to. Instead, he brands the memory with warnings and tries to lock his terror to it, to let Jimin know it’s something he can never touch.

“I won’t,” Jimin promises. He’s sitting on top of Taehyung’s hips, fingers still probing gently at the sore spot on his scalp. “You know I wouldn’t.”

And Taehyung knows—he does know, knows with all of his heart that Jimin would never take that from him. But he can’t stop seeing that cell, and those bruises on Jimin’s jaw and eyes, and the barely-scabbed cut on his cheekbone. Can’t stop remembering the flashes of water in his lungs and electricity and can’t stop gasping

“Help,” Taehyung begs, through the awful rasp. He can’t calm himself down. Someone is going to take Jimin away, in the next few years. Someone is going to take Jimin away and hurt him and Taehyung’s reaching out for comfort and trying to stop Jimin from seeing at the same time and he’s breathing quickly enough that the ache in his head grows and spreads until he can barely see through the black spots. “Jimin, Min, help.”

And Jimin makes an awful, worried noise, and Taehyung stops hyperventilating.

Jimin’s professors had talked about it in hypotheticals. If someone as powerful as Jimin could control unconscious parts of the mind, wire impulses and neurons to bend to his will. If Jimin could control hormone balances, blood pressure. Heartbeats.

Taehyung lies on the floor of their bedroom and tries not to cry as he lets Jimin breathe for him, digging bruises into Jimin’s wrists.

“I’m right here,” Jimin promises. Taehyung feels a dull ache in his knees that doesn’t quite belong to him, knows that Jimin won’t get up until Taehyung’s okay no matter how uncomfortable it gets for him. “Whatever you saw, I’m okay, Taetae. I’m right here.”

Taehyung’s heartbeat has slowed, and he doesn’t know if it’s Jimin’s direct work or the aftereffect of Jimin breathing with Taehyung’s lungs. Their chests rise and fall at the same quiet pace.

Taehyung blinks tears out of his eyes and sniffs quietly, and when the adrenaline has leaked out of his bones, Jimin hands control back.

It’s hard not to break down. It’s hard to live like this, with the weight of too much he shouldn’t know pressing down on his chest.

Jimin carries him to bed, and presses ice to his head and has Taehyung tell him their address, their friend’s jobs, the layout of the apartment they’re moving into after graduation. It helps take Taehyung’s mind off of everything, helps him focus on the here and now. With a Jimin who doesn’t have to worry, doesn’t have to bear the same kind of burden.

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung mumbles into Jimin’s chest later that night, and receives a gentle tug on his bangs for the trouble.

“Shut up,” Jimin says, but it’s more kind than anything. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

“I don’t want it to happen.” Taehyung doesn’t know if it’s audible, if Jimin hears it with his ears or with his mind, but Jimin pulls him tighter anyway, humming gentle concern. “I want to forget.”

But those numbers might be seared into Taehyung’s mind until the day he dies, and he’ll never forget the memories Jimin had left impressions of in the brief seconds they’d had. It’s overwhelming and awful and Taehyung doesn’t know if he’ll be able to think of them deeply without panicking again.

Not for the first time, Taehyung curls tight against Jimin and hopes that the future never comes; that Jimin will stay by his side instead of dragged away by faceless, heartless, power-hungry strangers.

For now, though, at least he has Jimin to breathe for him when Taehyung can’t do it on his own.


 

The next months fly by in a blur. Graduation passes in a heartbeat, they move into an apartment closer to downtown than to campus, Jimin talks idly about adopting a cat and then comes home one day with fifty photos of a calico from the shelter on his phone and a bag of kitty litter in the trunk of his car. They settle into a life Taehyung had never been able to picture for himself, too caught up in other people’s futures to bother contemplating his own.

Taehyung loves his job. He’d interned at the gallery for months before they offered him a permanent position, and he gets to spend his days surrounded by art and the people who love it. He loves his job, wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes—

Sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes Taehyung is stuck in the back office for hours past nightfall, past when Jimin has gotten home and cooked dinner and sent several worried text messages that Taehyung barely has time to respond to. Sometimes his superiors push him too hard and expect too much and Taehyung works himself until he’s scraped raw and ugly and brittle.

Sometimes, Taehyung begs Jimin to put him to sleep, just so that he can stop worrying.

“This isn’t good for you,” Jimin whispers into Taehyung’s collarbone late one night. Taehyung had crawled into bed around two, too exhausted to even strip off his clothes.

“I know,” Taehyung whispers back. He’s so tired, won’t need Jimin to help him sleep tonight. He knows Jimin cries when he asks, after Taehyung has dropped into unconsciousness; hates doing that to Jimin, but sometimes he needs it so badly. “I know, I’m trying to stop.”

“Take some time off.” Jimin’s plea is exhausted, is accompanied by his unconscious tug at Taehyung’s mind to join him, to let go of the tension in his muscles. It’s so easy to let go, to surrender himself to anything Jimin might want.

It’s only under the cover of night that Taehyung lets himself admit it; lets himself be as overwhelmed and aching and desperate as he tries to keep repressed in the daylight.

“Sometimes I wish you would take it all away,” he says into the nothingness between himself and the ceiling. “Just for a little while.”

“What do you mean?” Quiet rustling as Jimin shifts, as his fingers trail along the mother-of-pearl buttons of Taehyung’s dress shirt. Taehyung blinks at the darkness. “Take all what away?”

“All of me,” Taehyung whispers. “Everything I am. You could do it.”

“Taehyung…” Jimin trails off. Taehyung thinks he’s pushed himself up onto one elbow, thinks he feels Jimin’s lips ghosting along his jaw. “You know I wouldn’t do that. Never.”

“I know.” Two of Jimin’s fingers slip into the gap between buttons, rub soothing circles over Taehyung’s stomach. “But, Jiminie. What if I wanted you to?”

Silence. Not thick or uncomfortable, but almost natural. There are crickets humming from somewhere below the open window, a few birds singing hours before the sun is due to rise.

“I don’t know,” Jimin says. “But—for you, if it would help—I’d try.”

“Thank you,” Taehyung whispers.

If Jimin says anything back, Taehyung is too asleep to hear it.


 

The scene takes a long time to negotiate. Three different sit-downs over the dining table, a few conversation points as Taehyung sits perched on the edge of Jimin’s ice bath. Taehyung has been making a conscious effort to leave the gallery earlier, but has found himself miserably rolling out of bed two, three hours before usual in order to catch up on work.

Taehyung wants everything. Wants Jimin in control of every part of him, down to the molecule. Jimin is more hesitant; he flat out refuses to restrict Taehyung’s breath with his powers. Breathing for him in the panic after a vision is one thing. What Taehyung asks for is entirely different.

“I can’t do that,” Jimin says quietly, tapping on the dark wood of the table. “I’m sorry, I won’t.”

He doesn’t explain himself beyond that, but Taehyung doesn’t expect him to. He crosses it off his mental list, and moves on.

“I want you to do as much as you want. Anything you’ve ever wanted to try,” Taehyung says a few days later, swirling his fingers in the tub. It’s more ice than water; Jimin looks completely miserable, sitting submerged up to his waist. Dancing is hell on his body, but in a few weeks—after this production—he’ll be able to relax for a while.

“Anything?” Jimin asks. Quiet, thoughtful. He’s not taking any of this lightly, and a large part of Taehyung is relieved.

Taehyung has already arranged his vacation days.

“Anything,” he promises, as a wicked smile curves on Jimin’s lips. “Anything at all.”


 

When Taehyung wakes up, he’s alone in the sunlit bed. It’s the first time he’s slept in past sunrise in—he isn’t sure how long, and he takes the time to stretch out, working the sleep out of his muscles as he listens to Jimin sing quietly to their cat in the kitchen.

“Precious,” Jimin croons, accompanied by the soft sounds of her food bowl against the floor. “Here’s breakfast, sweet thing.”

Taehyung closes his eyes and imagines Dust butting her head up into Jimin’s fingers, face tilted to one side as he scratches behind her ears.

Jimin has always been her favorite, but Taehyung doesn’t mind.

It’s relaxed enough that Taehyung forgets. That he rolls languidly out of bed and washes his face and walks out into the kitchen expecting a good morning kiss.

“Morning,” he mumbles, voice rough from sleep, and Jimin looks up from the stove with a blank stare of indifference. Taehyung pauses, unease rising in his gut, waiting for Jimin to speak.

In the end, Jimin doesn’t bother. He curls his lip back, stroking idly down Dust’s back, and Taehyung’s knees buckle beneath him.

He hits the floor hard. There’s an invisible hand on the back of his neck, Jimin forcing him to bow his head, to show respect. The unease shifts to anticipation, and Taehyung licks his lips. Dust drops to the floor and slinks past him, her tail curling around Taehyung’s wrist before she vanishes to her perch on the back of the couch.

“Good morning,” Jimin says casually. Taehyung’s heart pounds harsh against his ribcage. He has to bite down on his lip to stop himself from making some kind of noise. Jimin’s presence in his mind is different somehow. Usually it’s a two-way link, Jimin’s emotions easy to read and his thoughts skimming the surface of the connection.

This, though, is different. Taehyung can feel Jimin’s grip, but it’s cold. Impersonal. A familiar catlike presence replaced by the thrum of raw power, a razorblade pressed against his spinal cord.

“I was going to bring you breakfast,” Jimin continues. He’s sitting on the counter, bare heels tapping out a rhythm on the cabinets below him. “Maybe feed you in bed, if you were good. But you haven’t been good, Taehyung-ah.”

“No,” Taehyung mumbles, at Jimin’s expectant pause. He has to fight Jimin to push the word out, has to struggle to use his voice. Jimin yields with a detached amusement after a few moments, and Taehyung speaks with the knowledge that Jimin could seal his voice away whenever he pleased. “No, Jimin. I’ve been bad.”

“That’s right.” Jimin sounds pleased at the admission. “You forgot. Tell me what you forgot, baby.”

Taehyung’s throat is dry. He darts his tongue out to lick his lips, and finds with a twist low in his gut that he can’t pull it back into his mouth. Jimin laughs, quiet and mean, as he leaves Taehyung’s tongue hanging, spit pooling on the tip.

“I asked you a question,” Jimin says. He bows Taehyung’s head further, doesn’t comment as a line of drool drips slowly to the floor.

Tears sting at the corners of his eyes as he huffs in rapid breaths, as Jimin waits.

“Forgot,” he says, slurred and distorted and thick around his own tongue. It’s humiliating and awful and Taehyung could cry from it already, has only been awake for half an hour and is so intensely overwhelmed. “Forgot—m’place.”

“That’s right,” Jimin agrees. He hums thoughtfully, and Taehyung can feel Jimin’s eyes on him as he stares down at the dark wood flooring. “Remind me what you are today, Taehyung?”

Taehyung whines, and closes his eyes like he can block any of it out. He squirms a little, surprised Jimin lets him.

“Toy,” he mumbles. Jimin’s touch is less cold now, satisfaction seeping in and calming Taehyung’s heartbeat.

Jimin doesn’t bother answering him. Taehyung hears the sounds of Jimin dropping back to the floor, puttering quietly around the kitchen until his bare feet come to a stop in front of Taehyung.

“Clean up your mess and I’ll let you eat,” Jimin says. Taehyung blinks and looks with blurry vision at the small puddle of drool on the floor beneath him.

Jimin doesn’t push him, doesn’t bend Taehyung down for him. Instead, he leans back against the counter and waits for Taehyung to do it himself. Taehyung swallows as best he can, and more spit drips along his tongue.

Without Jimin’s guidance, it’s difficult. Clumsy and inelegant and Taehyung almost falls twice as he bends low, pushing his face down to drag his tongue along the floor, messy and desperate as he laps up his own drool.

When Jimin drags Taehyung up, forcing his mouth open and his knees spread, there are tears on Taehyung’s cheeks. He’s huffing in little gasping breaths; Jimin lets him look up again, to see his relaxed posture and the lazy hand curled around his coffee mug, and smiles.

“Good,” Jimin murmurs, and reaches out to brush away a tear.

Taehyung’s breakfast is small; pieces of fruit eaten messy from Jimin’s fingers, sips of water through a straw, most of a pastry that leaves crumbs Taehyung gets to lap from Jimin’s palm. He’s on his knees the whole time, an obedient pet even when Jimin uncoils from around his mind while he eats.

“I have some things to do today,” Jimin says idly as he finishes his coffee. He’s still leaning against the counter, braced with his feet spread and Taehyung kneeling directly in front of him. “And I’ve been so stressed, Taehyung-ah. I want to play with my toy, but you know you don’t deserve all of my attention, right?”

Taehyung nods. Jimin’s hand is warm and firm in his hair, a careless comfort.

When they move to the bedroom, Jimin watches him crawl. He doesn’t offer any help, just leans casually and lets Taehyung stumble and inch forward. He doesn’t follow until the kitchen is clean, arranges Taehyung just how he wants him on his knees again from a different room, and draws back until he’s done.

Jimin joins him, and inspects Taehyung critically. Taehyung keeps his head down even without Jimin’s influence, and waits patiently as Jimin takes in his soft grey sleep shirt, his loose black pants. He’d washed his face and fixed his hair after waking up, and Jimin seems appeased.

He undresses Taehyung like a doll. Arranges his limbs one at a time and holds them there for his own amusement as he drags the shirt over Taehyung’s head, stroking teasing hands down Taehyung’s chest as he keeps his wrists hanging limply around his ears.

“You know I love to play dress up with you,” Jimin sighs, when Taehyung is completely bare. It’s awful that he’s already hard, that Jimin knows how much submitting like this burns in Taehyung’s veins. “But I just don’t have time for that today.”

And now—Taehyung knows what comes next, knows what’s about to happen when Jimin opens the drawer in their closet and pulls out the ball gag. He whines, jaw already dropped open and waiting.

Jimin pads back quietly, and his hand tangles in Taehyung’s hair again.

“You see,” he starts quietly. He scratches along Taehyung’s scalp, then lower; his fingernail scratches a gentle line into the soft skin of Taehyung’s cheek. “I don’t really want to bother with you today, pet. You’re so needy.”

It’s mocking, and shame burns in Taehyung’s chest. Jimin doesn’t seem to care.

“I just want you dumb and empty,” he says slowly, carefully. Resting the pads of his fingers against Taehyung’s open lips. “Only taking what I want to give.”

“Yes, Jimin,” Taehyung whispers. Kisses Jimin’s fingers, delicate and sweet. A smile curls across Jimins lips, and he fingers the gag thoughtfully, and—

Taehyung’s vision goes black. His breath catches in sudden panic; he can feel himself blinking, can move his eyes around freely, but—he’s surrounded by utter darkness. Alone but for Jimin’s fingers against his mouth, and when they draw back it feels like he’s drowning.

Taehyung whimpers in what might be fear, before he feels the gag pressing against his lips.

“Open up,” Jimin coos, and forces Taehyung’s mouth open before he even has time to react.

The strap buckles tight around the back of his head, the pressure constant and reassuring in the endless darkness. Taehyung forgets, then—tries to reach out, aches to be held and reassured that he’s not alone. Jimin pins his arms behind his back with a disgusted curl of displeasure, and Taehyung can practically feel him stepping farther away.

He’s making pathetic little noises around the gag, hears Jimin’s feet shuffling on the carpet. Every sound is amplified by the darkness, as Jimin cups Taehyung’s face sweetly and kisses the rubber ball, smacking a little when he draws away. Taehyung heaves out something that might be a sob.

And the world goes quiet. Jimin takes away his ears, and Taehyung’s chin drops to his chest as he starts to shake. His world is nothing—he is nothing without Jimin’s hands on him.

Pretty thing, Jimin hums quietly. Taehyung shudders at the contact, at the image that accompanies the words: Taehyung, exposed and vulnerable and staring blankly with wide, sightless eyes.

And then the image fades, and Jimin’s hands drop, and Taehyung aches to have him back. He can feel the vibration of his throat, can’t hear how pathetic he must sound, begging wordlessly for touch.

Wait here. Jimin is condescending and flippant and Taehyung knows he’s moving away, must be standing up and getting dressed for his day. I’ll come back when you’re nice and empty.

Jimin’s voice vanishes, and his presence fades but for the grip on Taehyung’s limbs.

And Taehyung is left alone in the dark.


 

Taehyung doesn’t know how long it’s been. He’s broken down to raw sensation; the ache of his knees from the indents of the carpet, the strain of his arms and shoulders from his wrists crossed at the dip of his spine.

He thinks he’s been crying, but the tears have long since dried on his cheeks and Taehyung can’t tell if his hiccuping breaths are sobs or not. His chest hurts, too tight and anxious even as he slips lower and lower, unable to think or remember, unable to want anything except Jimin’s hands on him.

Oh, that’s cute. Some kind of noise is wrenched out of his chest when he feels it, Jimin’s pleased purr. He doesn’t know if Jimin is back in the room, doesn’t know if he’s watching, but Taehyung strains toward Jimin inside himself with all the desperation and need inside of him, begging wordlessly like a pet. Pretty toy missed me?

Taehyung is incoherent past the point of a fully formed reply. His eyes are closed, and even when he opens them, trying in vain to find Jimin, he’s still met with the all-consuming darkness.

Ah, Jimin chides. None of that. You’re just gonna put on a show.

And Taehyung’s hands start to move. He’s crying again now for sure as his shoulders ache from the sudden movements, as he strokes down his own chest, following Jimin’s earlier path.

He sucks in a jagged gasp that burns his throat when Jimin has him wrap long fingers around his own cock, when his other hand picks up the bottle placed next to him and smears lube along his fingers. It drips messy down to his wrist.

Taehyung still can’t see, doesn’t know what to anticipate, has no way to control the movement of his hands as he smears the lube over himself, his grip too tight and nails digging in to tender flesh. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and Taehyung forgets to exist as anything but Jimin’s puppet as the pleasure builds, as Jimin plays with him and uses him and owns him.

Mine, Jimin whispers in the back of Taehyung’s head, as he forces Taehyung to grip the bottom of his cock too tight, to stave off the impending orgasm. It’s torture; Taehyung tries to move his hand, tries to wrench back control because he’s so close it hurts. In retaliation, Jimin forces Taehyung’s thumbnail down, pressing into the sensitive underside until Taehyung is sure he’s screaming.

His jaw aches around the gag, pleasant and dull. The drool at the corners of his mouth never seems to dry, smeared messy all over his chin.

That was fun, Jimin notes. Taehyung’s hands wipe lube off onto his thighs, and return slowly to their spot behind his back. Taehyung tries to struggle, begs with his useless voice and his half-broken mind for Jimin to come back, to let him come.

He’s answered only with the echo of a laugh, and the return of utter, complete silence.

What must be hours later, after Jimin has made Taehyung finger himself open and fuck himself wide open with a toy and edge over and over again, Taehyung hangs limply with nothing but Jimin’s control holding him upright. He feels pinned, legs almost numb from the knees down, eyes painfully raw and swollen. He blinks into the darkness and feels tears well up again.

Taehyung is so alone. Jimin hasn’t been back in so long, the darkness complete and overwhelming. He can’t stop from reaching out with a silent keen, stretching out like trying to grasp at fingertips he isn’t sure are there.

Jimin, Taehyung aches. There’s nothing else left in his head to want.

Baby, Jimin answers with a taunt, and Taehyung shakes from the force of his sobs.

Jimin, he repeats. He can’t think of anything else, anything but the awful terrible emptiness that only Jimin can fill.

Oh, baby wants me to touch. Let’s play a game, then, stupid thing.

Taehyung is sure he screams when he feels hands on him. Curled around his wrists; not moving or pulling or tugging at them, just a careful weight. They slide up, over his biceps, kneading into his aching shoulders. Jimin lets him sag into the touch, lets him whimper and squirm as fingers press into sensitive muscle.

He’s too dumb to ask what the game is, to ask what Jimin wants from him. Luckily, as the touch smooths over his chest, Jimin doesn’t seem to mind.

I’m going to ask you a question, doll. If you get it right, I’ll let you come.

Taehyung doesn’t know what the punishment will be if he gets it wrong. All he knows is that Jimin’s words carry the promise of pain if he fails. Or maybe not pain—maybe just more solitude. Thumbs swipe over Taehyung’s nipples and his hips jerk up, Jimin’s grip gone slack.

Please, he thinks, mumbles desperately around his gag. Please, please, please.

Okay, doll, Jimin presses into him. Am I touching you?

A harsh pinch at both of his nipples and Taehyung squirms. His head spins. Is Jimin—of course Jimin is touching him. He can feel it, can feel the familiar creases of Jimin’s palms and the smooth edge of his nails. He wants to say yes, to beg to come, but even so dumb and sunken into this dark place of non-existence, Taehyung knows it can’t be that easy.

This has never happened before. Jimin has mentioned off-handedly trying to control specific nerve endings, to simulate touch, but they’ve never—he’s never done it.

Anything at all, Taehyung had promised him.

What’s your answer, darling, Jimin croons. Taehyung surrenders into the grip on his cock, into the fingers pressing deep inside him, and hopes he isn’t crying too loudly.

No, he manages. No, not—you’re not touching.

Good, Jimin laughs, mocks, proves Taehyung right. And why’s that?

Taehyung is so close to breaking. Alone in the dark and the silence with not even Jimin’s hands to keep him grounded. He feels like he’s going to fly into a million pieces.

Because I’m not worth it, he thinks, more clearly than he’s thought anything in hours. Because I’m your dumb toy, because toys don’t deserve to be touched. Haven’t earned it.

Perfect, Jimin whispers. The hands, the imaginary touches, vanish. Taehyung shudders, and collapses into himself. His back is hunched, sagging on his knees with Jimin no longer holding him proud. My broken toy.

Warm breath on the back of his neck. Short fingers carding through his hair, lips pressed against Taehyung’s temple. He doesn’t have the energy left to cry.

“Who do you belong to?” Jimin whispers. His voice is the first thing Taehyung has heard in hours, the only thing that matters as he heaves in breaths and surrenders everything he is and stares with blind eyes into the dark world Jimin has built for him.

Jimin, he thinks. He moans out from behind the gag as fingers tighten in his hair, as Jimin’s pleasure buzzes through his spine.

Taehyung closes his eyes, and tips his head back, and gives himself up to the emptiness.


 

Two days later, they go to the beach. It’s a little dreary, a little damp, but the shore is empty and they have the skyline to themselves.

“I’m proud of you,” Jimin says, with sand in his hair and salt water dripping from his legs. Taehyung tugs the blanket tighter around himself and leans back a little further into Jimin’s chest.

“Didn’t even do anything,” he mumbles, but he knows Jimin can feel his own irrational pride.

“You trusted me with every single inch of everything you are, Taehyung-ah.”

Taehyung digs his toes into the cool sand, smiles quietly out at the shore. Jimin’s fingers brush sand off the nape of his neck.

“Yeah,” he agrees. “I did. I still am.”

He’s never learned how to block Jimin out. Doesn’t think he’ll ever want to. Taehyung lets the love and comfort seep through his bones, feels Jimin’s smile pressed against his hair.

“I love you,” Taehyung offers. The words are tugged out of his mouth by the wind, blown inland for the whole world to hear.

There’s a quiet tug in the pit of his stomach. Taehyung blinks, the sun shines, and he watches two old men walk along the shoreline. The water laps at their toes, pants rolled up to their knees.

Their hands, one broad and fine, one small and stocky, cling to each other like it’s the only thing that matters.

Taehyung blinks, and the clouds cover the sun again.

“I love you too,” Jimin promises the world.

Taehyung breathes in, and lets Jimin breathe out for him.