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(it's a paradise) it's a war zone

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Of all the ways Jimin thought his vacation would go, this wasn’t one of them.

 “Why can’t you sleep in the same bed as him?”

 “Because I’m here with my boyfriend.”

 “Jeongguk’s your best friend, your boyfriend isn’t going to die ― ”

“That’s not very nice, Jimin.”

UGH,” he screams out in frustration, arms crossing over this chest petulantly. It has no effect on Taehyung, who’s been steadily looking more and more amused as Jimin’s blood pressure has skyrocketed to new heights.

On the other side of the lobby, he can see Jeongguk having a similar conversation with Yoongi, fists clenched at his sides. Except, Yoongi looks completely uninterested in anything Jeongguk has to say.

They’d arrived at the hotel about an hour ago and had been told that instead of the four rooms they’d booked, they would only have three due to some water damage from a pipe leak in some of the other rooms. This would have been fine if the room they’d lost hadn’t been Jimin and Hoseok’s.

Namjoon and Seokjin, in what Jimin will forever remember as the Great Betrayal, had immediately agreed to let Hoseok stay with them and Jimin had been left, mouth gaping, to be pawned off to Jeongguk and his single room.

Jimin’s attempts to sway his friends to trade with him had fallen on deaf ears and in fact, he thinks they’re all enjoying his suffering a little too much. What kind of friends were they?

The only person on his side was Jeongguk, who’d been similarly outraged and outright refused to let Jimin stay with him. That had only pissed Jimin off more, as if he wanted anything to do with Jeongguk’s annoying ass.

“Serves you two right,” Seokjin says from where he’s sitting, fingers tapping away on his phone. “Now you can finally just kill each other and spare the rest of us.”

Hyung,” Jimin whines, rage bubbling into a whiny pout. “Seokjinnie hyung, please. I don’t want to stay with him. Can’t you switch with your favourite dongsaeng?”

“You’re not my favourite dongsaeng,” Seokjin tells him matter-of-factly, unblinking as he spares Jimin a glance. “Hoseok is.”

Taehyung gasps from behind Jimin, who stares at Seokjin dumbfounded and possibly even more upset. “What about me!” Taehyung yells, already barreling toward Seokjin on the couch.

“What about you?” Seokjin says dryly, an eyebrow cocked up.

“How come I’m not your favourite!”

“You’re annoying, too.”

Jimin’s plight is completely ignored and he’s left standing there, sulking. When Namjoon and Hoseok return from the front desk, the keys to their rooms in hand, Jimin lets his dread swallow him up in one big bite.

He’s doomed.

 

 

Their fabled first meeting had been in the middle of exam season. Jimin had been trying to study while Jeongguk had been trying to fool around with some floozy one seat over. They were in the quiet zone but the two of them wouldn’t stop giggling and Jimin had finally lost it and berated them rather publicly in front of everyone else in the study area.

Jeongguk hadn’t taken kindly to being called a man whore but Jimin refused to apologise.

Things got worse when Yoongi showed up at Hoseok’s post-exam party, Jeongguk and Taehyung in tow. Apparently, Jeongguk was Taehyung’s best friend and Taehyung’s best friend was welcome anywhere Taehyung was welcome. Jimin had almost asked Yoongi if that meant he’d be fucking Jeongguk, too, but he’d thankfully kept a lid on it.

Jimin had been saddled with Jeongguk’s existence since. He was everywhere.

And to make matters worse, none of their friends seemed to understand why they couldn’t stand each other.

“He’s a nice kid,” Hoseok had said, his usual cheer mellowed out by the three beers he’d had. “Very helpful.”

“He’s an asshole,” Jimin had spat back, grouchy and irritable. Namjoon had just announced Jeongguk would be coming with them to Jeju.

“Can’t you two just, like, fuck each other and get this over with?”

What?” Jimin had screeched, the alcohol induced flush in his face deepening. “Why the fuck would I ― ”

“God, I know, right?” Hoseok had huffed, completely ignoring Jimin’s appalled stammering. “You’re both cramping my style.”

Namjoon had started giggling after that and anything Jimin had to say was ignored in favour of Namjoon and Hoseok tittering to each other about how Jimin needed to get laid and how they’d heard that Jeongguk had a big dick. Wasn’t that Jimin’s type?

Jimin had stormed off to his room after that, too furious to even sleep.

 

 

In the end, Jimin’s summer vacation is ruined before it even starts.

He finds himself standing in the middle of room and staring at the one bed in quiet horror. They can both fit on it, but that doesn’t mean Jimin wants to share a bed with Jeongguk. There isn’t even a couch in the room - just two chairs by the one big window. The room’s smaller than the ones the rest of their friends got, too.

Jimin didn’t deserve this. He’s a good person. He pays his taxes and helps the elderly cross the street. What more did the universe want?

“Look,” Jeongguk starts, a scowl on his face that he represses with a big sigh, eyes closing. “The situation is what it is,” he says, fixing Jimin with a level look. His voice is carefully neutral.

Jimin’s eyes narrow. “I’m not dumb, I can see what the ― ”

“So,” Jeongguk interrupts, rather loudly, tone sharpening. “Can we just...call it a truce? For now?”

“Uh ― wha ― ”

Jeongguk’s looking at him rather expectantly and Jimin’s left floundering like a fish, completely unprepared for this twist. He stands there, gaping yet again. This day was beginning to be too much for him.

And it’s not like he can say no, can he? He can’t let Jeongguk think he’s better than Jimin or something! Jimin’s jaw clenches at the thought of how smug and self-righteous Jeongguk would act if Jimin says no now.

“Fine,” Jimin says, taking in a big breath. “Sounds reasonable.”

“Is that a concept you’re aware of? Being reasonable?” Jeongguk asks, a smile settling on his face.

“Is this your idea of a truce?” Jimin accuses, already ready to throw all thought of being the better person out the window.

“It’s called teasing,” Jeongguk tells him. He drops his bag on top of the bed, taking the side next to the wall and leaving Jimin the side with the window. Jimin had thought he’d have to fight for the window side. “Friends do that sometimes.”

“I didn’t agree to be your friend,” Jimin snaps.

“Okay hyung,” Jeongguk says, catching Jimin off guard again. Jeongguk never called him hyung. “I’m gonna go shower before we head out.”

He disappears into the bathroom after that, clean clothes in hand. Jimin stares at the closed bathroom door, can’t seem to jump over all the hurdles suddenly popping up in is path fast enough.

Eventually, he stops staring blankly at the door and collapses into the bed. It was going to be a long week.

 

 

They head to the beach first and it’s fun, uneventful in that Jimin and Jeongguk keep to opposite ends, their friends always a buffer between them. They don’t get into any nasty fights and well, maybe a truce wasn’t such a bad thing.

Jimin’s a little buzzed, can’t keep the goofy smile off his face as they stumble back to their hotel. Taehyung and Seokjin are both belting out some ballad, lyrics horribly garbled but it makes Jimin laugh anyways.

“You and Jeongguk behaved,” Yoongi comments, offhand. He’s letting Jimin cling to him for support, maybe a little more drunk than he’s willing to admit. Jimin squeezes his arm, head resting on a bony shoulder. The angle’s all awkward but Jimin didn’t care. Draping himself over Yoongi was in his best friend duties.

“We made a truce,” Jimin mumbles, stifling a yawn.

“Did you now?” Yoongi drawls, the amusement evident in his tone.

It clicks in Jimin’s head all at once and he lets out an annoyed huff, swatting at Yoongi. “This was your idea, wasn’t it? God, you get yourself one boyfriend and now you’re meddling in everyone’s business, huh?”

“It worked, didn’t it?”

“For now.”

“You really hate him that much?”

“I don’t hate him,” Jimin mutters, glancing over at Jeongguk. He’s got his hand stuffed in the pockets of his shorts, black hoodie drawn up and over his head. There’s a lazy smile on his lips as he watches Seokjin and Taehyung bicker with Namjoon over whether or not Atlantis was real. “He’s just annoying.”

“Didn’t he apologise for the exam thing?”

“So?”

“So stop being such a brat,” Yoongi admonishes, reaching to pinch Jimin’s nose. He whines, jerking away and manages to lose his balance entirely. Jimin doesn’t go down without Yoongi though, dragging him into his fall and they both end up in a pile of bruised egos.

“I fucking hate you,” Yoongi grumbles, rolling off of Jimin, who’s erupted into a fit of giggles.

When Jimin glances over at him, Yoongi’s smiling, helped back up by Hoseok. Jimin’s surprised to find Jeongguk’s hand offered to him and even more surprised when he takes it. Jeongguk yanks him up in one go, Jimin stumbling into his chest and he squeaks on impact, blushing hotly.

He hadn’t expected Jeongguk to be that strong.

“T-thanks,” Jimin stutters, pulling away quickly. He doesn’t look Jeongguk in the eye, can’t.

“No problem,” Jeongguk says, voice a little rough from disuse. He’d been quiet the whole night and Jimin wonders if that’s because of him. The thought makes him feel bad, the hot feeling in his belly turning sour.

Maybe he should be nicer to Jeongguk.

“Didn’t know you were such a klutz, Jimin-sshi,” Jeongguk smirks, leaving Jimin standing in the sand to go over to Hoseok.

Or maybe Jimin should just chop Jeongguk’s head off.

“Big breath,” Namjoon instructs, helping to brush some of the sand clinging to Jimin off of him. “In and out.” Jimin follows his words, fingers uncurling from the fists he’s made. “There we go.”

“He’s such an ass,” Jimin hisses, nearly stomping his foot into the ground like a five year old.

“You give him too much of a reaction,” Namjoon says, his smile fond and indulgent. He wraps an arm around Jimin’s shoulder and they set off back in the direction of the hotel, the stars hanging in the sky above them. “I think he just likes riling you up.”

“Well he can suck my dick!” Jimin exclaims out angrily, glaring at the back of Jeongguk’s head. Then he pauses, realizing what he’s just said. “In the mean way. Not in the ― I don’t want him to ― ”

“I know, Jimin.”

 

 

Jimin’s back at square one.

He’s staring at the bed. The one bed.

Suddenly, it doesn’t look big enough and Jimin’s contemplating how rude it would be to make a pillow wall between the two of them.

“I’m not going to eat you.” Jeongguk’s voice carries over from the bathroom door, startling Jimin into action. He jerks toward the bed, face flushing. Jimin had showered before him, sobering up under the spray of the water.

“I know,” Jimin snaps, yanking the blanket off the bed and just as he gets in, he sees a very half naked Jeongguk standing in the little hallway to the bathroom and the hotel room’s door. His eyes hone in on the ink swirling up Jeongguk’s right forearm. Jimin’s seen the tattoo close up before, the snake hidden in peonies, fangs out and ready to pierce.

This is, however, the first time he’s seen the metal bar through one of Jeongguk’s nipples, heat winding in the pit of his belly as Jeongguk dries his hair with his towel. He’s wearing nothing but a pair of sweats, hanging low on his hips, slim waist on display.

Jeongguk is...hot.

There’s no other way to put it despite Jimin’s best efforts. He looks like one of those Greek statues, rippling muscle and hand carved abs, the cut of his jaw too sharp to be real. It’s annoying. Jeongguk’s annoying.

And it’s not that Jimin’s been blind to how good-looking Jeongguk is but rather that he’s always been too wound up around him, his next quip always on the tip of Jimin’s tongue. Jeongguk gets under Jimin’s skin in the worst way ― an itch he can’t scratch. But they’re trying to be civil right now and well, Jimin wants to go to sleep, not have a dick measuring competition.

He draws the blanket right up to his chin, back very purposefully to Jeongguk’s side of the bed. Jimin doesn’t want to see him climbing into bed but that doesn’t mean his heart rate doesn’t spike up when the bed dips. When Jeongguk settles down under the blanket, Jimin’s brain very enthusiastically points out that he’s only a few centimeters away and that there’s nothing separating them.

His abs flash behind Jimin’s eyes and he nearly throws the blanket off, ready to storm out of the room and just sleep on the floor of Namjoon’s room. He lets out a breath he doesn’t know he’s holding when Jeongguk flicks the flight off, the room disappearing into darkness.

Jimin very resolutely tells himself that he’s still drunk and that finding an attractive person attractive isn’t wrong. Just because Jeongguk is easy on the eyes, doesn’t mean Jimin liked him. Or even tolerated him. It wasn’t a crime to find someone hot. Er, attractive.

Even if that person was Jeon Jeongguk, Jimin’s arch nemesis.

Okay, maybe arch nemesis was a bit of a stretch, especially when Jimin also described the barista at his favourite coffee shop who always worked Saturday mornings his arch nemesis, too. How could one person get his order wrong that often?

Jimin’s not sure how long he just lies there, staring out the window, unable to fall asleep. His brain doesn’t want to shut off, a blaring alarm of Jeon Jeongguk going off in head on repeat ad infinitum.

Of course Jeongguk wouldn’t let him sleep!

He turns over onto his back roughly, heart lurching in his chest when he realises how close Jeongguk is to him. His mouth goes dry, eyes widening as the moonshine fans itself over Jeongguk’s face.

Jimin forgets how to breathe, the room dissolving into nothingness as Jimin’s eyes trace the curve of Jeongguk’s nose, the jut of his cheekbones. His arm’s curled up and tucked under his head, bicep bulging, and Jimin turns away just as quickly as he had turned over, face flushing.

The embarrassment lulls him to sleep, heart hammering in his chest.

 

 

As Jimin lies there, heart in his throat, all he can think about ― beyond Jeongguk’s collarbones ― is how cruel the universe is. Not only did he have to share a room with Jeongguk but now, here he is, essentially drooling over the arm he’s turned into a pillow. An arm that belongs to one Jeon Jeongguk.

Jeongguk’s other arm is draped over Jimin’s waist, locking him in. Their legs are even tangled together. Was Jimin’s life a soap opera? Was this a hidden camera?

The worst part is how Jeongguk’s half-pinning Jimin to the bed, body leaning into him. Jimin had tried nudging him away but Jeongguk slept like a rock, dead to the world. Potentially, he was worse than Yoongi.

He contemplates just shoving Jeongguk off, screaming at him for causing this mess but Jimin doesn’t know if he’ll be able to live with the knowledge that they had woken up like this, entangled into each other. They still had to get through five more nights of this.

It’s as he’s contemplating how to tug Jeongguk’s arm off of him that Jeongguk goes very still next to him. Jimin immediately closes his eyes, feigning sleep as naturally as he can. Jeongguk doesn’t move, and Jimin thinks his heart is hammering loud enough for the neighbours to hear.

“Shit,” Jeongguk mutters, voice rough with sleep. For awhile he just lies there, very still and Jimin does his best to keep his breathing as steady and even as possible. But then he’s pulling his arm off of Jimin, realizing that Jimin’s sleeping on the other one. Jimin feels the mattress sink down as Jeongguk leverages himself up, his free hand squeezing under Jimin’s head gently. Jeongguk pulls his arm out from under Jimin with the same care, setting his head down on the pillow gingerly.

He rolls off of Jimin, taking the blanket with him and Jimin’s left half uncovered. Jeongguk curses again, crawling out of bed. Jimin thinks he’s left, but then the blanket’s being fixed, Jeongguk’s hands tucking Jimin in.

Jimin’s heart squeezes tightly in his chest, something hot squirming in his belly. He thinks he imagines the hand that brushes his hair aside, fingers curling into a fist.

He hears the soft footsteps of Jeongguk’s feed padding away and it’s not until he catches the click of the bathroom door that he opens his eyes, sucking in a deep breath. Jeongguk’s side of the bed is unmade, his pillow indented from where his head had been resting.

The room is too quiet; Jimin can hear the blood rushing past his ears.

It feels like he can’t swallow around the lump in his throat, his mind completely blank as he lies in the silence, unwilling to make sense of anything. Jimin can’t get his heart to stop shaking, hand pressing over his chest.

By the time he gets himself to roll out of bed, Jeongguk’s done in the bathroom. They nod at each other in silence, and Jimin rushes into the bathroom, eager to get away from all the confusion festering in the room.

Sure, he didn’t hate Jeongguk but Jimin definitely didn’t ― he didn’t want this either. Whatever this was.

 

 

They’re at a gamgyul orchard because that’s the kind of place you visited when you were friends with Namjoon. He’d booked the visit himself, excited to pick some fruit and ask the farmers a million and one questions. Jimin thinks it’s all very cute, and the orchard is very pretty, but he can’t appreciate any of it.

His eyes keep being pulled to Jeongguk, as if suddenly starving to see him, stomach twisting itself into even more knots with every glance.

He can’t focus, his brain just looping that morning over and over again in his head. It feels like his skin is still burning from where he’d touched Jeongguk, the ghost of his body still pressed tight against him.

Jimin’s chewed his bottom lip sore, hands wringing together as he trails after everyone else. Every now and then, he’ll linger by one of the trees, plucking a leaf off a branch only to pick it apart.

This truce was causing him more grief than just bickering with Jeongguk on a daily basis did. Jimin huffs irritably as he throws the remnants of his torn up leaf onto the ground, hands wiping on his oversized striped shirt.

“You’ll give yourself wrinkles if you just scowl all the time,” Hoseok says to him, startling Jimin out of this thoughts. He hadn’t even realised Hoseok had hung back to fall in step with him.

“I’m not scowling,” Jimin defends, latching onto Hoseok’s arm.

“Uh huh,” Hoseok says, a hand running through his hair. “Why’re you moping?”

“I’m not moping either!”

“You haven’t tried annoying Yoongi-hyung once this morning. It’s not like you.”

“Maybe I didn’t want to annoy Yoongi-hyung this morning,” Jimin retorts, knowing what a weak argument it is. Hoseok’s responding snort is telling enough of how believable Jimin is.

“Did you and Jeongguk fight?” Hoseok whispers, concerned and conspiratory.

“No, we didn’t fight,” Jimin grumbles, letting Hoseok’s arm go. He doesn’t want to talk about Jeongguk or any of the weird, conflicting feelings swimming through his head.

“Oh,” Hoseok says, surprised. Then his brows furrow together and he fixes Jimin with a confused look. “What’s wrong then?”

“Nothing’s wrong!” Jimin exclaims, shoving Hoseok away. He can’t keep the pout off his face, happy that he’s at least got his oversized sunglasses on to hide his eyes. Hoseok only purses his lips.

“Fine, be stubborn then!” Hoseok snips, arms crossing over his chest, nose in the air.

Jimin finds himself laughing, a hand coming up to hide his giggling. “Hyung,” he whines, squeezing his hand between Hoseok’s side and his arm to loop their arms together. He leans into him, head plopping against his shoulder. “If something was wrong, I’d tell you first. You know that.”

“No, you wouldn’t,” Hoseok argues but his tone has softened. “I always have to worm everything out of you.”

“Well,” Jimin starts, unsure really of what he wants to say. “I’ll come tell you when I’ve figured it out.”

Hoseok glances at him, eyes narrowed. He catches Jimin’s gaze, follows his line of vision to where Jimin’s attention is fixed on Jeongguk several feet away, his camera to his face as he snaps photographs of Namjoon. Jimin flushes, caught red-handed as Hoseok’s mild annoyance transforms into something mischievous and knowing.

“Oh, I see what the problem is,” Hoseok grins, wickedly gleeful. “Loverboy’s not paying attention to you, huh.”

Loverboy? ” Jimin exclaims, horrified, slapping Hoseok’s back. It does nothing to get Hoseok to stop snickering, eyebrows waggling at Jimin suggestively. “What the hell are you going on about?”

“You shouldn’t play coy, Jimin,” Hoseok grins, his hand gripping Jimin by the wrist to tug him in Namjoon and Jeongguk’s direction. Jimin’s immediate reaction is to dig his heels into the ground but he nearly ends up toppling forward when Hoseok just continues to pull on his arm.

“Hyung!” Jimin screeches, catching everyone’s attention and the burn of embarrassment that runs through him when he realises everyone’s looking at him has him giving into Hoseok entirely. His face is beet red as he stumbles into Hoseok, already planning to make a mess of Hoseok’s luggage for being such a demon.

“Namjoon, Jiminie wants a basket to pick some gamgyul, too!” Hoseok yells, taking the half-full basket from Namjoon and offering it to Jimin. “And I’ll take these,” he adds, grabbing Jimin’s sunglasses and wearing them himself before he disappears with a wave toward Seokjin.

Jimin’s left standing in front of Namjoon and Jeongguk, the former of whom is looking at Jimin warmly. “You could have just said you wanted to pick the gamgyul, Jimin.”

“I ― ” Jimin starts, staring at the basket of fruit and contemplating if he could aim one right at Hoseok’s head. “Uh…”

“Jeongguk just wanted some close ups of the fruit,” Namjoon says when Jimin offers nothing of intelligence, glancing back at Jeongguk. “We good?”

“Yeah hyung,” Jeongguk smiles, angling his camera at Jimin. “Thanks.”

“I’m gonna see if we can get another basket.” Namjoon points over at the tour guide who’s been winding them through the part of the orchard open to the public. He ruffles Jimin’s hair as he heads over. “Happy picking, Jiminie.”

“Thanks hyung,” Jimin mumbles, can’t help but smile at Namjoon’s sweetness. He hears the shutter of Jeongguk’s camera, head whipping to look at him.

“Who said you could take pictures of me?” Jimin scowls, glaring at the dumb smile on Jeongguk’s face. He’s staring at the camera screen, glancing up at Jimin only when Jimin throws a handful of leaves at him.

“You look pretty,” Jeongguk says, like its nothing, surprising Jimin. His eyes are so big and sincere as he says it, too, but Jimin can’t read his expression otherwise. He opens his mouth but nothing comes out, cheeks burning pink.

Jeongguk snaps another picture, point blank. He reaches to brush a stray leaf out of Jimin’s hair, smiling at Jimin before he wanders off back to their friends. Jimin’s stupefied.

What the hell was he playing at? Jimin whips around, ready to give Jeongguk a piece of his mind. He didn’t like mind games and whatever Jeongguk was doing, he didn’t appreciate it.

But he finds himself swallowing down his spike of rage, Jeongguk’s laughter drowning out Jimin’s annoyance. Taehyung’s doing a silly dance in front of the camera for him, Yoongi watching a few steps behind.

For the first time, Jimin wonders why he’s been so adamant in rejecting Jeongguk from his life when everyone seemed to adore him. Somehow, he’d convinced himself that Jeongguk had everyone fooled and now…

Jimin lets out a groan of frustration, grabbing a gamgyul from the tree nearest to him and yanking it off the branch. He continues picking, furiously grabbing fruit and dropping it in the basket, too angry to think straight.

By the end of their tour, the basket is overflowing with gamgyul and Jimin’s arms hurt.

“May have gone a little overboard there, Jimin-ah,” Yoongi teases, staring at Jimin’s basket. Taehyung’s trying to cajole Seokjin into giving him a piggyback ride but Seokjin is steadfastly ignoring him.

“At least I helped pick,” Jimin retorts back, tongue sticking out.

“Yeah and now you can’t even carry the basket,” Yoongi points out, smug and offering no help to Jimin at all.

“Do you ever get tired of being an ass?” Jimin asks, already fed up. “Or is it that being an ass is the only personality you have?”

“Ouch,” Yoongi winces but Jimin just stomps past him, miserable and irritated. He feels bad when he’s at the orchard’s entrance, shoulders drooping when he admits that he’d gone too far. It only worsens his mood but before he can turn around and go apologise, Jeongguk’s blipping onto his radar.

“Here,” he says, taking the basket out of Jimin’s arms without another word. Huh?

“I can carry it fine myself!” Jimin exclaims, ready to yank it back into his arms but Jeongguk just hums at him condescendingly and walks away. Jimin actually does kick at the ground this time, near ready to pull his own hair out but instead he sucks in a deep breath and resolves to go apologise to Yoongi.

Jeongguk be damned.

 

 

Jimin doesn’t like haunted houses.

He doesn’t like haunted houses and right now, quite frankly, he doesn’t like his stupid friends either.

“Aw, cheer up, Jiminie,” Taehyung smiles, trying to push Jimin’s scowl into a smile. He slaps Taehyung’s hands away and glares harder, annoyance only growing when Taehyung just laughs. “So cute.”

“Ugh, go away,” Jimin grumbles, dreading having to go through the house. It looms ominously in front of them, not a single window lit through with light. He was going to fall on his ass before anyone managed to scare him.

Hoseok, the lucky bastard, had pretended he had a stomach ache from something they’d had at lunch and managed to weasel out of being dragged here. When Jimin had offered to stay behind and keep him company, his friends had pretty much picked him up and thrown him over their shoulder.

Jimin resolutely doesn’t think about how Jeongguk probably could do that.

“Okay, so we can go in two groups of three,” Namjoon explains, handing everyone their ticket.

“Why can’t we just go in together?” Jimin asks, trepidation rising.

“Max group size is four.”

“Oh, okay,” Jimin mumbles. This just means he has fewer people to hide behind.

In the end, because the universe hasn’t stopped laughing at him yet, Jimin goes in with Taehyung and Jeongguk. They’re nice enough to let him be in the middle, Taehyung taking the lead rather fearlessly and Jeongguk bringing up the rear.

Jimin’s heart is already in his throat and all they’ve done is made their way up a set of stairs to the entrance and despite his posturing that he’s not scared, Jimin knows he doesn’t have anyone convinced.

“It’ll be fun, Jiminie,” Taehyung grins and Jimin pulls himself up to his full height, head held high.

“I’m not scared.”

“Right,” Jeongguk’s says from behind him as Taehyung nods indulgently.

Before Jimin can tell them both to fuck off, the door they’re waiting in front of opens. Jimin swallows. Everything on the other side of the door is pitch black. It takes a nudge from Jeongguk to get Jimin going, Taehyung having already disappeared into the darkness.

For the first little stretch, nothing happens. Jimin’s heartbeat is all he can hear, footsteps small and uncertain as he follows after Taehyung. Not that he can see Taehyung. Really, Jimin has no way of even knowing if his friend is still even there.

They’re supposed to be following a red light marked on the ground but Jimin’s so tense he can barely be bothered. It takes Jeongguk’s gentle nudging to keep him going, the hard press of his chest now a permanent fixture as Jimin leans back into him.

A chilling laugh echoes around them, and then something’s grabbing at Jimin’s foot and he’s screaming as loud as he can possibly go. He’s pretty sure he’s headbutted Jeongguk in the chin but if he has, Jeongguk hasn’t said anything. Instead, his hands are on Jimin’s waist, rubbing softly at his sides and keeping him going forward.

Taehyung’s laughing ahead of him, “Jiminie, come on, there’s still more to go.”

It feels like they’re in the haunted house forever, adrenaline and Jeongguk’s solid presence the only things keeping him going. At one point, the walls start closing in on them and Jimin clings to Jeongguk the whole time, later unwilling to let go of his arm. That doesn’t last long when someone grabs at him from behind and he’s jumping a foot into the air to Taehyung’s laughter again.

They come out holding hands, Jimin’s weight resting against Jeongguk’s side. He lets Jeongguk lead him back outside, trying to bring his racing heartbeat down, only starts laughing when his brain finally accepts that he’s out of any immediate danger.

Taehyung’s telling everyone how much Jimin screamed and Jimin finds himself laughing along, doesn’t realise he’s still gripping Jeongguk’s hand tight in his own until Seokjin smirks at him, eyes lingering in the space, or lack thereof, between Jimin and Jeongguk.

Jimin lets go immediately, stepping away, eyes wide as he shoots a quick glance at Jeongguk. He’s expecting some kind of snide remark but it never comes. Instead, Jeongguk just gives him a once over, and quietly asks, “You okay, hyung?”

He nods mutely, doesn’t trust himself to say anything, heart in his throat.

For the rest of the night, Jimin stays glued to Namjoon and Seokjin’s sides despite the way his stomach bursts into butterflies every time he thinks of his hand in Jeongguk’s.

 

 

By the fifth morning of waking up curled up in Jeongguk’s hold, Jimin gives up on not enjoying the sensation. He even burrows in a little deeper, sleepy and too exhausted from all the circles he’s thought himself into to really put up much of a fight against his love of cuddling. At this point, cuddling with Jeongguk didn’t even seem that bad.

He always pretends to be sleeping when Jeongguk wakes up, Jeongguk’s gentle hands maneuvering him around so he can sneak off into the bathroom. This morning isn’t any different save the brush of Jeongguk’s knuckles against the high points of his cheeks.

Jimin’s not sleeping on his arm for once, so Jeongguk just lies there next to Jimin, watching him sleep. He has half a mind of telling Jeongguk what a creep he’s being but well, Jimin’s not sure he has a leg to stand on when he’d spent five minutes yesterday trying to count every individual eyelash fanning across Jeongguk’s cheeks.

Eventually, though, Jeongguk climbs out of bed and Jimin sucks in a shuddering breath, staring at the empty space Jeongguk’s left behind on the bed. He can’t make sense of anything lately, can’t ignore the way his attention gravitates toward Jeongguk in everything they do.

They’d gone to a market the day before and Jimin had tagged along with Yoongi and Taehyung despite the fact that he prefers shopping with Hoseok and Seokjin. Taehyung had been tugging Jeongguk toward a booth and Jimin hadn’t been able to help himself, had ignored the quirked eyebrow Yoongi had thrown at him.

At one point, Jeongguk had even stood between Jimin and some creep that wouldn’t stop ogling him. His heart had nearly burst out of his chest when Jeongguk had leaned over Jimin’s shoulder to look at something, voice rumbling through Jimin as he’d asked the stall owner how much some trinket cost.

Even now, Jimin can’t stop thinking about it. For the most part, they stayed out of each other’s way but every time their paths crossed, Jimin was left dumbfounded. He’s only known Jeongguk some five months, his entire opinion of him based on his first impression of him.

Now, the Jeongguk Jimin had met so many months ago and the one who’d let Jimin steal beef off his plate two nights ago seem worlds apart. His head’s a mess.

And it didn’t help that Yoongi had been so cryptic the night before. Jimin had sat curled up next to him by the pool, the rest of their friends scattered to different corners.

“You’ve been quiet,” Yoongi had said, their fingers laced together. Jimin was busy tracing the the veins along the back of his hand, occasionally letting his finger drift up Yoong’s forearm. “Everything okay?”

“Why does everyone think something’s wrong?” Jimin had huffed, too tired to really be annoyed.

“Who’s everyone?”

“Hoseok-hyung.”

“Mmm,” Yoongi had hummed, shifting in his seat. “You haven’t goofed off as much as you usually do.”

Jimin had shrugged. He knew he’d been off most of their vacation, mind preoccupied with Jeongguk and it was annoying how Jeongguk seemed entirely unaffected, happy to carry his camera around everywhere and film or take pictures.

“You ever wonder why Jeongguk agreed to a truce?”

“Uh, because we’re on vacation and it’d be annoying for everyone if all me and Jeongguk did was fight.”

Yoongi had snorted. “You think you don’t bicker all the time when we’re not on vacation.”

“It’s different,” Jimin had insisted, sitting up properly. He’d found himself glancing over at Jeongguk again, the hoodie he’d been wearing now discarded. He was shirtless underneath, the black ink of his tattoo drawing the attention of some of the other patrons.

“Why don’t you like him?”

“I ― ” Jimin had no real answer to that. “I dunno. He’s annoying.”

Yoongi’s expression had morphed into something bordering on exasperation. “Hating someone’s guts doesn’t mean you have to harass each other all the time. And if you really found each other annoying, you’d steer clear of one another more.”

“How am I supposed to avoid him if he’s everywhere ?” Jimin had snapped, attempting to pull his hand out of Yoongi’s. Yoongi had only held on harder, drawing closer to Jimin.

“I know you’re not this clueless,” Yoongi had said, muttering something else under his breath that Jimin hadn’t been able to piece together. He’d refused to give Jimin anything else and they’d both ended up falling asleep there.

Jimin does have a conclusion in mind about why Jeongguk is being so nice to him but it isn’t anything he’s willing to accept. It’s easier just shoving everything into the same corner of his mind and telling himself that he only had one more night of this damn vacation left.

 

 

They spend their last full day in Jeju lounging on the beach, the book Jimin had brought with him finally in his lap. He’d spent the better half of his morning waist deep in the water playing with Taehyung and Seokjin.

He’s almost done the chapter he’s on when Jeongguk flops down onto the towel next to him. Seokjin had carried one of those giant umbrellas out onto the beach, instructing to Namjoon to carry a second. They’d laid out all their towels under the shade but Jeongguk’s was decidedly not next to Jimin’s. He’d lied down next to Jimin on purpose.

Jimin ignores him ― or well, he tries. Jeongguk’s just in his swim shorts, chiseled body on display again and Jimin’s eyes strain from trying to sneak glances at him as discreetly as possible. His attention is especially enraptured by Jeongguk’s nipple piercing, the only other piercing Jimin had seen on him besides the ones in his ears.

“Did it hurt?” Jimin asks, surprising even himself, nodding at Jeongguk’s piercing. He ignores the blush in his cheeks as Jeongguk glances from Jimin to his own nipple.

“Not really,” Jeongguk answers, looking back at him. He lifts himself up onto an elbow, body angled toward Jimin. “Why? You want one?”

Jimin’s eyes widen as he shakes his head. “N-no. I don’t like needles.”

Jeongguk’s laughter is soft, his grin lazy as he looks at Jimin, the sharpness in his eyes betraying his otherwise benign expression. “That’s too bad.”

Jimin’s brows furrow, lips pursing together in confusion. “How come?”

“Hmm, nothing,” Jeongguk replies, returns to lying on his back, hands bracing his head as his eyes close. Jimin’s eyes drink in the sight of his biceps flexing with a thirst he’s ashamed of, forcing himself to look back down at his book.

“You can’t just say that and then say it’s nothing,” Jimin mumbles, wonders if Jeongguk will keep talking to him. He squeezes the page he’s on between his fingers, watches the page wrinkle from his sweat.

“They’d look good on you.” Jeongguk’s voice is low, a heat curling in his gut at the words.

“W-what would look good on me?”

“Nipple piercings.”

“Oh,” he says dumbly, heartbeat thudding to a stop in his chest. All the blood rushes to his face and he swallows, glancing around himself. Yoongi’s snoring on his other side, the rest of his friends in the water save Namjoon, who’s looking for crabs. “Thanks. I guess.”

Jeongguk only hums and Jimin sneaks a glance at him, lip caught between his teeth. His eyes are fixed on Jimin, an intensity in them that catches Jimin off guard. He doesn’t know what to do with Jeongguk, with himself. Jimin’s lip drags out from under his teeth.

It was now or never.

“Um,” he starts, looking back down at his book. The words swim together on the page and Jimin can’t read a single one. He feels queasy. “I wanted to say sorry.”

“For what?”

Jimin makes a frustrated noise, but swallows his pride, Yoongi’s exasperated look flashing behind his eyes. Things were easier, more fun, when Jimin wasn’t looking for reasons to get into fights with Jeongguk.

“For everything, really. I’ve been...an assohole and I mean, it wasn’t really fair of me to refuse to give you a second chance.”

Jeongguk doesn’t say anything and Jimin glances back at him, finds surprise written all over Jeongguk’s face, like he can’t believe that Jimin’s owning up to being an ass. He pushes himself up, and Jimin can’t look away.

“Thanks,” Jeongguk finally says, a smile spreading across his face. “I’m sorry, too.”

“Wow, that only took you five months.” It’s Yoong’s drawl, words half garbled with sleep.

Hyung!” Jimin whines, swatting at his belly. Yoongi ‘oofs’, curling into himself, but he’s laughing and it pulls Jimin in, too, even as he whines about how annoying Yoongi is.

For the first time since their whole vacation started, Jimin feels light, like some invisible weight he’d been carrying around has fallen off his shoulders.

 

 

Jimin wakes up with a throbbing headache, the bed completely empty.

He can barely open his eyes, hands rubbing at them as he blearily blinks to wakefulness. “Jeongguk?” he croaks, but there’s no responding answer.

Jimin forces himself up, squinting as he looks around the room, hand reaching for his phone on the nightstand next to him. It’s past ten and their flight back to Seoul isn’t until later that evening so he’s wondering where Jeongguk’s disappeared off to.

He manages to get himself out of bed and into the bathroom, drinking straight from the tap despite the metallic tang of the water. Last night comes back to him in chunks as he’s standing in the shower, rubbing gunk out of his eyes.

They’d all gotten drunk on the beach around a bonfire, and Jimin distinctly remembers needing to be carried back to the hotel. He blanches when he realises it was Jeongguk who had piggy backed him and then curses out loud when he remembers throwing his arms around Jeongguk happily.

Jimin stumbles back into the room, thankful that Jeongguk isn’t there. He didn’t have the forethought to grab clean clothes, still half wet from this shower. Their room is a mess of dirty laundry and all their things are scattered around haphazardly. Packing was going to be a bitch.

It’s as he’s drying his hair with a towel that he spots Jeongguk’s camera sitting on the table in the room. He finds himself picking it up, knows he probably shouldn’t look through it but Jimin can’t help but think back on those pictures Jeongguk took of him in the orchard. He wants to see what Jeongguk saw.

Except when Jimin gets the camera on and starts clicking through the photographs, he finds a lot more of himself than he’d anticipated. Every third picture is one of him. Jimin smiling, laughing, pouting. There’s even some of him standing by himself on the beach, staring out at the sun. He remembers that morning, remembers letting Namjoon drag him out for a walk and Jeongguk trailing behind them.

Jimin’s heart stutters in his chest and he’s too slow putting the camera down when Jeongguk swings the door to their room open. For a split second, they just stare at each other, Jimin’s heart racing, embarrassment burning through him as Jeongguk’s eyes fix on the camera still in Jimin’s hands.

“I ― ” Jimin starts, his tongue suddenly too heavy in his mouth. He needs to apologise but he can’t wrap his head around the pictures ― there’s so many of them, so many of Jimin.

Jeongguk doesn’t look mad but he’s striding over and taking the camera out of Jimin’s hands. It flusters him, how close Jeongguk is, all his embarrassment rushing out of him in one breathless sentence. “That’s a lot of pictures.”

“Shit,” Jeongguk curses, looking at Jimin quickly, and then his eyes are squeezing shut, a hand rubbing at his face. “Shit.”

“I ― I’ll come back,” Jimin mumbles, thinks it’s better to give them both a moment to digest this all. He sidesteps Jeongguk but doesn’t make it even a step closer to the door, Jeongguk’s arm looping around his waist and pulling him flush against his chest.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Jeongguk’s voice is so low, rough with something Jimin doesn’t want to identify. His fingers curl into the fabric of Jeongguk’s hoodie, eyes wide as he looks up at him.

“I’m ― I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have ― ”

“I’m not mad,” Jeongguk says slowly, setting his camera back down on the table. He doesn’t let go of Jimin. “I just ― This isn’t how I wanted to tell you.”

“T-tell me what?”

Jeongguk’s cheeks are tinged pink, uncertainty written all over him. He licks his lips. “That I like you.”

It takes a moment for the words to sink in, Jimin’s belly swooping and suddenly it feels like too much to breathe. “You what?”

“I like you,” Jeongguk repeats, knuckles brushing over Jimin’s cheek. His eyes close on instinct and he breathes in, shuddering in Jeongguk’s hold.

“Oh.”

Jeongguk’s breath ghosts over his lips and Jimin finds himself gripping Jeongguk’s bicep in one hand, eyes opening just enough to let him take in Jeongguk’s mouth, eyes tracing the curve of his cupid's bow and drinking in the mole just under his lip, and then he’s closing the gap, lips pressing against Jeongguk’s. Jimin’s whole body seems to sing as Jeongguk holds him tighter, his other hand cupping Jimin’s face.

Jimin clings to him, finds himself pushed right up against the table, arms winding around Jeongguk’s neck as Jeongguk deepens their kiss, licking his way into Jimin’s mouth. His mind’s gone blank, a whine escaping him when Jeongguk draws back just enough to suckle on Jimin’s lip, teeth nipping at the flesh as his tongue soothes the sting. He feels overwhelmed by Jeongguk’s quiet intensity, moaning when Jeongguk sucks on his tongue, and just takes and takes and takes.

His mind’s a little hazy when Jeongguk pulls back to let them both catch their breath, barely an inch apart. Jimin kisses him again, chastely, their noses brushing together and he rubs them together, giggling as Jeongguk smiles. Embarrassment curls hot in his gut and Jimin finds himself ducking his head into Jeongguk’s chest.

“I, um, I think I like you, too,” Jimin says, the words muffled into Jeongguk’s hoodie. He can’t show his face to Jeongguk, not with how hot it’s burning.

“Really?” Jeongguk sounds a little incredulous but there’s a playfulness in his tone that has Jimin’s heart doing loop-di-loops. He swats at Jeongguk’s chest, whining as Jeongguk laughs.

“I don’t just let anyone kiss me,” he pouts.

“Then I’m a very lucky guy,” Jeongguk murmurs, kissing the side of Jimin’s head and then trailing kisses down the side of his face. Jimin goes pink with each kiss, fingers fisting into Jeongguk’s hoodie as his heart attempts to beat out of his chest.

His breath shudders in his chest as he looks at Jeongguk, flushing under the attention. A thousand thoughts race through his head but he can’t focus on a single one with Jeongguk right here, in front of him.

“When were you gonna show me all your pictures of me, huh?” Jimin asks, smirking at the way Jeongguk’s face goes red. “I didn’t even know I had my very own fansite. I thought only idols had those.”

“Hyung,” Jeongguk pouts, pulling back enough to stand up straight. Jimin only slides back onto the table, laughing at Jeongguk’s embarrassed expression.

“I wanna see all of them.”

“Sure,” Jeongguk mumbles, taking Jimin’s hand in his own. It’s as Jimin’s staring at their hands that he remembers their friends, the sinking realization that they would never let him live this down flooding through him.

“Everyone is gonna make so much fun of me,” Jimin whines, legs kicking out, and Jeongguk just laughs, squeezing Jimin tight.

“Don’t worry, baby. I’ll tell them all to fuck off,” Jeongguk grins, thumb stroking over Jimin’s cheek.

Jimin only blushes, swallowing down the way his heart skips a beat at the endearment. “My knight in shining armour, huh?”

“Something like that.”