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don't you see me, falling for you

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This is how it begins: Yoongi, dragged out to a club by his friends, halfway through his first drink, and Jimin, pressed against Hoseok as they dance together in the middle of a small crowd. Jimin, with his head tilted back as his body bows with laughter, painted white and purple and neon pink beneath pulsing lights. Jimin, beautiful and bright and stunning, with everyone’s eyes on him and his eyes on Yoongi alone.

It’s easy to find out his name, because Hoseok drags Jimin over and introduces Yoongi as one of his best friends. Jimin slides into the booth, shy and so unlike how he’d moved and danced, and asks if Yoongi’s having fun.

His voice is quiet, lilting and slightly accented in a way that reminds Yoongi of the sun and the sea and the gentle pink sky of a fading summertime day. He doesn’t speak louder than a whisper, despite the music and the noise of the crowd, but instead shuffles close enough that Yoongi can see the damp sheen on his body, on the exposed skin of his chest and at the base of his neck.

Yoongi rolls his eyes, though not unkindly, and says, “ask me after I’ve had a couple more drinks.”

Jimin’s mouth twitches as he hides a smile behind his hand, but Yoongi sees the soft curve of his lips anyway and thinks, it might be nice to kiss him.

Jimin is shy and sweet, but he’s gorgeous, too, and he knows it. And when he angles his body towards Yoongi, even as people try to catch his gaze from across the room, one knee bent on the seat and pressing into Yoongi’s thigh, Yoongi realises that while everyone wants Jimin, Jimin wants him.

So, Yoongi allows himself to be dragged onto the dance floor, past Hoseok's sharp grin and Jin's amused smile, and rests his hands on Jimin's waist. He allows himself to grin when Jimin hooks his arms over Yoongi's shoulders and threads his fingers into Yoongi's hair. Allows himself to graze his fingers over the exposed skin beneath the hem of Jimin's shirt when Jimin presses their hips together why a shy smile that isn't shy at all, and moves them to the loud bass as lights flicker overhead, their bodies warm and the air electric.

Because it's not often that Yoongi wants the pretty boys that want him. 

He tucks his face into Jimin's neck and breathes him in, smelling nectarine and orange blossom and something warm. It’s surprisingly sweet, a lighter fragrance than he’d expected, but it suits Jimin. Suits his smile and his voice and the way he moves, a rose petal caught in a summer breeze, and such a strange contrast to the noise and the pulsing darkness of the room around them.

When they kiss, it’s not because they’re drunk, not really. They kiss because Jimin’s breath hitches when Yoongi brushes his lips over Jimin’s cheek, because when Yoongi touches him, Jimin’s hips falter from their thoughtless fluidity.

Jimin tastes of strawberry syrup and mint, and his mouth moves easily, gently, against Yoongi’s own.

Each time one of the moves away, the other falls further into them, like it’s hard not to be so close. It’s intimate and far too tender for two people standing in the middle of a crowded club, but it feels good. Something about the way they shift and kiss feels right.

Static gathers at Yoongi’s fingertips as he moves his hands up the curve of Jimin’s waist, feeling the heat of Jimin’s skin beneath his palms. Jimin smiles against his mouth, and it’s only when Yoongi’s fingers curl a little tighter around him that Yoongi realises how small Jimin is.

It had been impossible to tell with the way Jimin carries himself, easy and confident, dark eyes knowing, but now, as Yoongi holds him and Jimin lets himself be held, he becomes small and delicate in a way that makes Yoongi’s blood surge, hot and heavy in his veins.

The bass vibrating around them is nothing compared to the thrumming pulse Yoongi feels beneath his skin, a hummingbird heart beneath his bones. He can feel heat sink into his stomach when Jimin gasps, quiet and high, as Yoongi catches Jimin’s lower lip between his teeth and tugs.

“Hyung,” he breathes out, tipping forward as his fingers tangle a little more harshly in Yoongi’s hair to keep him close. “Yoongi-

Whatever he was going to say is lost when Yoongi leans forward to kiss him again, slowly, deeply. His eyelashes flutter when Yoongi pulls away, and Jimin's tongue darts out to wet his bottom lip, the indents of Yoongi's teeth a dark shadow on his cherry-stained mouth. Then, Jimin tilts his head to the side and watches Yoongi watch him through half-lidded eyes.

Yoongi moves his hands from Jimin’s waist to rest over the curve of his ass, feeling a deep spike of pleasure pulse in his abdomen when Jimin’s eyes widen, a soft sound passing through his lips that Yoongi can hear despite the surrounding noise. As if in encouragement, Jimin slots one of his thighs between Yoongi’s and rocks his hips forward, so there’s not a breath of space left between them.

There's sweat shining on the line of his neck, the collar of his shirt slightly damp, and when Yoongi exhales through his mouth, his breath ghosting over the skin of Jimin's lips, Jimin smiles. Absently, Yoongi realises that Jimin’s always smiling, simple and sweet over the smallest of things. In the past hour, he’s not quite sure he’s seen the expression slip from Jimin’s face, laced in the curve of his mouth, the dimple in his cheek, the crinkles of his glittering eyes. It's another little detail, one in a growing list of many, that Yoongi finds attractive about him. 

It’s impossible not to be aware of the eyes focused on them, on Jimin, but it’s also impossible to care. Not when Jimin tilts his head back, mouth parted, as Yoongi leaves a trail of wet kisses along his jaw, down his neck until he can feel the fine silver links of Jimin’s necklace beneath his tongue. 

There's something about kissing Jimin, holding him, that feels easy and natural, like they've been doing this for years. Yoongi doesn't think he's ever felt like this with anyone before, and as the night grows longer he realises he's not quite ready to let Jimin go.

“Mine?” Yoongi asks, mouth dragging over the skin of Jimin's pulse, grinning when he feels Jimin’s arms tighten around his shoulders, “or yours?”

In the end, Yoongi makes the decision for them, curling his fingers around Jimin’s wrist and pulling him away from dancing bodies, away from their now-mutual friends, away from the club and the music and what feels like the rest of the world. Outside, as they deliberate between getting a cab or taking the subway, Yoongi glances at Jimin, smiling beneath the dark blanket of the sky and the orange light of street lamps that pool above them, and thinks he’s beautiful. His dimpled smile and sparkling eyes, warm cheeks and even warmer hands, with a light that seems to make the air around him glow, makes Jimin nothing short of ethereal.

Yoongi’s thought so since the moment he first saw Jimin dancing. He’s undeniably pretty, but he’s lovely and stunning too, in a way that no one Yoongi knows has ever been, in a way that only seems to become increasingly obvious the more Yoongi pays attention to him.

The silence between them on the way home is pleasant. Their knees knock and their fingers intertwine, and Jimin wets his lips every time Yoongi presses a kiss to his hair, his temple, the corner of his mouth. Testing, teasing, sweet.

“Do you have-?” Jimin begins shyly, glancing at Yoongi through thick eyelashes as they walk up the stairs to his apartment, a couple of steps behind. “Um.”

Yoongi stops and turns, looks down with an eyebrow raised and a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “Hm?”

“Condoms,” Jimin says, bold and flustered all at once, voice echoing in the empty stairwell and eyes narrowing when Yoongi’s smile turns into a wide grin. “Lube.”

“Why, pretty?” Yoongi asks, reaching out to cup Jimin’s cheek, letting his thumb hover over Jimin’s mouth, where the gloss he’d been wearing earlier in the evening has long since faded. “What do you think’s gonna happen?”

Jimin’s lips part at the low tone of Yoongi’s voice, just slightly, just enough for Yoongi to notice the shine of Jimin’s teeth.

The question is only half-genuine, and the silence between them becomes a quiet challenge to see who’ll break first, and then Jimin smiles. His lips stretch and his teeth catch on the skin of Yoongi’s thumb, and he tilts his head further into the cup of Yoongi’s palm. Yoongi swallows, hard, as he feels saliva pool by the pad of his finger.

“I was thinking you’d fuck me,” Jimin says softly, Yoongi’s thumb slipping from his mouth to rest against the dip beneath his lower lip, stepping closer as his fingers press lightly against Yoongi’s wrist to keep his hand in place. “On the bed, if you’re feeling kind,” Jimin continues, smile unwavering, “against the wall, if you must.”

“Fuck,” Yoongi breathes, and then cups Jimin’s face with both his hands to angle his head, to bring their mouths close so he can lick behind Jimin’s teeth, graze the swell of Jimin’s lip and taste the lingering sweetness of strawberries. “Fuck you,” he says, a quiet groan, already so completely gone for this boy.

“That’s what I’m asking,” Jimin says, voice tight as he strains to meet Yoongi’s mouth. When Yoongi groans again, Jimin laughs, and his body curves forward as his head falls against Yoongi’s chest, shoulders shaking. “Hyung,” he says sweetly, skin flushed and eyes shining as he breathes his words into Yoongi’s neck. “Fuck me, please.”

Yoongi’s feeling kind.

He’s feeling kind, so he takes Jimin to his room, presses him down against deep blue cotton sheets, and takes his time to map Jimin’s body with his fingers and teeth and tongue. Yoongi kisses Jimin, deep and slow, drawing out soft sighs and muffled moans, his touch featherlight as he explores the sensitive skin behind Jimin’s ear, the dip beneath his ribs.

Jimin’s shirt pools beneath him, silken white fabric that glitters in the yellow light filtering through the half-opened curtains from the street lamps outside, and he gasps when Yoongi’s nails drag lightly down the line of his body. He’s as pretty and as perfect as Yoongi thought he’d be, small dark moles dotted by his shoulders and his hips, barely-there but so beautiful that Yoongi can’t help press kisses to them, lingering each time, breathing in the musky sweetness of his skin.

“Hyung,” Jimin whispers when Yoongi kisses the juncture of his jaw, bruising over his pulse. “Hyung,” he says, a little louder, a little more insistent as he cradles Yoongi’s cheeks and slots their mouths together, rolling his hips up when the hand Yoongi has on his waist tightens. “Yoongi.”

Beneath him, against him, Jimin is hard and straining.

One hand on the bed beside Jimin’s hips, Yoongi undoes the zipper of his jeans slowly, loves the way Jimin’s body tenses even as he kisses Yoongi with a gentle and thoughtless ease, barely catching his breath between one kiss and the next. Jimin rolls Yoongi’s lips between his teeth, soothes over the skin with his tongue, and smiles when Yoongi visibly falters and pulls away. He doesn’t let Yoongi go far before kissing him again.

It’s almost like Jimin would be happy to kiss and do nothing else, but when Yoongi stops, wanting, waiting to see what would happen, waiting to see how desperate Jimin is, Jimin makes a pained sound and lifts his hips up off the mattress. He covers Yoongi’s hand with his own, their fingers interlocking, and moves it to the small of his back, pushing his jeans down quickly and swiftly, thighs trembling as he holds himself up. He gasps when Yoongi lets his nails graze over the exposed skin of his ass.

Yoongi grins even as he captures Jimin’s upper lip between his teeth, even as his fingers dance over the firm muscle at the back of Jimin’s thigh. “Be patient, baby,” he says, and watches Jimin’s eyelashes flutter as he takes a deep breath.

Jimin lips look swollen and sore as he traces his tongue over them, and Yoongi feels something in his chest clench at the thought that he did that, made Jimin look like something wonderful and ruined (and his).

“Baby,” he says, voice low, “I like.” Then, Jimin’s smile turns into a grin, and before Yoongi knows it, he’s flipped them over with an impossible strength that Yoongi didn’t expect but should’ve seen. “Patient,” Jimin continues, leaning forward to brace one hand on Yoongi’s chest, the other curling gently around his neck, “not so much.”

They’re close enough to kiss, but they don’t. Not yet.

Yoongi’s hands grip Jimin’s waist to steady him, curved beneath his palms, soft and perfect and smooth. Jimin’s eyes form gentle crescents as his knees dig into the mattress on either side of Yoongi’s waist, the honeyed skin of his thighs exposed, muscles straining as he rolls his hips and tilts his head to the side, biting back a moan where Yoongi doesn’t.

“Brat,” Yoongi breathes, only the breath is more a groan as Jimin rolls his hips again, still slow, still smiling. The weight of Jimin on top of him, caging him against the bed, has Yoongi rocking his hips up in an attempt to gain more friction. Jimin’s head tips forward as he closes his eyes, mouth parted in a soundless moan when the coarse fabric of Yoongi’s jeans brushes against him.

Yoongi lets his hands trail slowly down Jimin’s body, pressing into the backs of his thighs, and watches Jimin’s expression shift, a muscle in his jaw twitching, breath catching audibly in his throat as his hips stutter in their movements when Yoongi’s fingers brush against somewhere particular sensitive. When that happens, Yoongi makes sure to return to the same space, over and over until Jimin’s mouth quivers as he tries to keep himself in control, still wanting more, not quite ready to let go.

The friction between them becomes firmer when Yoongi suddenly pulls Jimin close, Jimin’s chest heaving with a shaky exhale.

Ah,” Jimin gasps, and then laughs as he opens his eyes, tilting his head to kiss Yoongi and grinning against his teeth. “Shit.”

Jimin’s mouth is warm against Yoongi’s. Their smiles dim and the kiss grows into something deep and gentle, the mix of cocktails on Jimin’s tongue having faded. It takes a moment, only a moment, for Yoongi to realise that all that’s left for him to taste is the warmth of Jimin alone.

Yoongi feels suddenly overwhelmed, fingers digging into Jimin’s skin to the point where Jimin gasps and shifts, mouth going slack as he lets Yoongi lick between his teeth.

The noise of the city is muted outside, but the sound of Jimin’s breath and Yoongi’s beating heart are deafening, fill the room like an endless echo.

Yoongi opens Jimin up like this, eyes focused on the flutter of his eyelashes and the pink flush of his skin. The angle should be awkward but it isn’t, because with each press of his fingers, Jimin’s back seems to arch further, breaths stuttering and sounds soft. He takes his time to smooth past Jimin’s rim, to brush over his skin and curl his fingers, makes sure that Jimin can feel everything. The hand Jimin had rested on Yoongi’s chest curls around Yoongi’s shoulder instead to hold himself up.

It’s insane, the way Jimin responds to Yoongi’s touch, how he gasps out hyung and Yoongi and please, voice quiet and breaking, never quite able to string a sentence together or catch his breath. Yoongi keeps his eyes open just to watch him, even as his wrist begins to hurt and Jimin’s movements become desperate, just to watch the tremble of his lower lip, the shadows created on his jaw by the orange-yellow light.

Although Yoongi is full of want, so deep that it feels like need, to fuck Jimin hard and fast until neither of them can breathe, he wants to keep them like this, too. Wants to kiss Jimin through his moans, past the sounds he makes, feel the hot weight of Jimin’s tongue in his mouth, because he’s never had sex like this. He’s never had a boy, as wondrous and beautiful and giving, like this.

With his soft skin and kind eyes, tasting sweet even as he laughs into kisses and grins even as he gasps, Yoongi thinks Jimin’s as close to perfect as someone can get. Somewhere, quiet and secret inside of him, Yoongi thinks he’d like them to be more, to see and hear more of Jimin than he is now.

“Yoongi,” Jimin whispers, ducking his head to mouth at the sensitive skin of Yoongi’s ear, lips ghosting over the silver hoops of his earrings, “won’t you- ah, won’t you fuck me?”

“Fucking christ.” Yoongi swallows around a lump in his throat and pulls his fingers out, trails both his hands up Jimin’s sides until he can cup the back of Jimin’s neck and kiss him breathless. “Give me a second,” he says, even as he presses several short, lingering close-mouthed kisses to Jimin’s lips, unable to move completely away. “Let me just-”

Jimin lies back on the bed as Yoongi stands to take off his jeans and grab a condom. His legs are spread, open and inviting, knees slightly bent, and his fading pink hair is askance as strands fall across his face and over his eyes. One of his hands is trembling as he fiddles with the low collar of his shirt, the other fisting in the sheets by his waist as he waits for Yoongi to come back to him.

He’s beautiful.

He’s beautiful when Yoongi kneels on the mattress between his legs, letting out a quiet whimper when Yoongi kisses the skin of his thigh. He’s beautiful when Yoongi mouths along his abdomen, fingers working into Jimin with a little more lube, just to make sure he’s ready, just to hear him moan again. And he’s beautiful when Yoongi finally presses into him, Yoongi's hands hooked beneath his arms and their mouths brushing until they’re completely flush against each other, eyelashes fluttering closed as he gasps. One of his hands curls in Yoongi’s hair, the other warm over his shoulder, and they’re both quiet as Jimin adjusts, as Yoongi steadies himself over him.

Waiting, Yoongi presses his mouth to the high of Jimin’s temple, kiss as hard as his lips are soft.

Fuck,” Yoongi sighs, “baby.”

Jimin’s legs are hooked over Yoongi’s waist when he finally hums, making a small sound under his breath as he relaxes. Yoongi lifts one hand to cup the side of Jimin’s face, thumb pressing against the corner of his mouth as he bites down on Jimin’s bottom lip. Jimin moans, fingers digging into Yoongi’s back, and then whimpers when Yoongi does it again.

“Yoongi,” Jimin breathes, “please-

Without warning, Yoongi rocks his hips forward, and Jimin shouts and throws his head back, hips rolling up thoughtlessly and pulling Yoongi further into him, drowning Yoongi in a white-hot heat. 

He wants to close his eyes and lose himself in this, in the heat of their bodies and the sound of their skin, but he doesn’t want to look away. There's a shine on Jimin's cheeks and the expression on his face is caught in a euphoric bliss that Yoongi feels electric in his blood, the air between them charged and alive with something impossible.

God,” Yoongi whispers, unable to help himself from ducking his head and pressing a kiss to the pulse beneath Jimin’s jaw, over and over, using teeth and tongue until he can see a bruise beginning to blossom. “Fuck-” His mouth slips away from the pinkening skin, falling a little lower, when Jimin tilts his head back in a wordless request for more.

“Again,” Jimin says pleadingly, “Yoongi- again.”

Jimin’s groan is almost a cry when, instead of marking him elsewhere, Yoongi’s lips return to the same spot. 

Yoongi could move faster, if he wanted to, slam into Jimin until the headboard knocked against the wall and Jimin couldn’t do anything but moan. Jimin could ask him to, nudge his heels against the small of Yoongi’s back and pull Yoongi closer, into and against him.

He doesn’t. They don’t.

“Fuck,” Yoongi says, entranced by Jimin’s mouth and the sounds he makes, the hollow of his cheeks. “Baby, you’re so pretty, you’re so-”

“Yeah?” Jimin asks, fingers tightening in Yoongi’s hair, nails digging into the skin of his shoulder. His eyes are still closed, but his lips curve upwards, and a lovely light fills Yoongi’s chest at the sight of Jimin’s returning smile. “You- ah fuck, you think I’m, ah, pretty?”

“Shit-” Yoongi laughs, gasps, ducks his head to kiss Jimin again, to trail his mouth over Jimin’s cheek and breathe the words into his ear. “God, the prettiest, baby.”

Jimin’s cheeks lift as he turns his face to nudge Yoongi’s nose with his.

One-night stands aren’t meant to be like this, Yoongi thinks, more meaningful than the past five hook-ups he’s had. They aren’t meant to go on forever, with impossible tenderness laced into every touch, drawn out just to hear someone gasp because it sounds so lovely, to hear them laugh. But then, he supposes Jimin isn’t just a one-night stand, he can’t be, not when his body reacts to Yoongi like this, not when static seems to build beneath Yoongi’s skin every time he hears the sounds Jimin makes.

Yoongi,” Jimin says, and Yoongi pulls back just to see his face, to see him open his eyes.

“Yeah?” Yoongi asks, brushing his thumb over the skin of Jimin’s cheek before his hand trails down to grip Jimin’s thigh, fingers curling firmly against his muscle as Yoongi’s movements begin to grow a little less coordinated. “Yeah, sweetheart?”

Darling,” Jimin says again, the fingers he had in Yoongi’s hair moving to curl beneath his jaw and guide Yoongi’s mouth back to his, “you haven’t said my name.”

Yoongi swallows around a lump in his throat and presses a kiss to the high of Jimin’s cheek. Then, moving so that his lips graze over Jimin’s own, he says, “baby,” his lips dragging against the corner of Jimin’s mouth, “Jimin.”

Jimin moans, loud and desperate, and says touch me, and when Yoongi does-

Yoongi barely has his hand curled around Jimin, barely even moves, and Jimin comes between their bodies with his eyes closed tight and a shout of Yoongi’s name.

Yoongi stills, awed and overwhelmed, blood pulsing in his ears like the distant crash of waves against the shore. He's desperate to come, so close to the edge he can feel himself tipping, but he doesn't want to move. Instead, he focuses on how Jimin's body trembles around and beneath him, muscles quivering and unable to catch his breath. Yoongi trails his eyes over the multitude of marks against Jimin's skin, to his mouth and the movement of his chest as he pants. Next time they fuck, Yoongi thinks he'd like to go slower, take his time to pull the pieces of Jimin apart.

And isn’t that something, that Yoongi wants a next time.

They’re so close that when Jimin opens his eyes, Yoongi can feel Jimin’s eyelashes flutter against his own.

Jimin blinks slowly as if coming back to himself, and then shifts, something flickering across his face when Yoongi fails to hold back a moan. He moves his hands to cradle Yoongi's face and kisses him gently, softly, quiet like they're already done. But then-

“Darling,” Jimin says, smiling, teasing. “Yoongi,” he says again, flicking his tongue out to graze over Yoongi’s lower lip, where the skin has become sore. Suddenly, he clenches around Yoongi and rocks his hips up, keeping their mouths close as he whispers, “you fuck me so good.”

That’s all it takes for Yoongi to come. He buries his face in Jimin’s neck as his body shakes, like every nerve is on fire as Jimin stays tight around him, mouth open against the sharp curve of Jimin’s collarbone as he tries to catch his breath. It’s an effort for him to stay upright, but Yoongi does, just so that he can rest his forehead against Jimin’s, stay close just a little longer. And Jimin holds him, keeps Yoongi inside him, like he doesn’t quite want this to be over, either.

“Fuck,” he mumbles, the touch of Jimin’s fingers light on his skin. “Fuck me.”

And Jimin-

Jimin laughs. He laughs like he’s seen something wonderful, the sound weightless and free, and even though he must be sore, hair sticking to his temples and lips swollen, the faint make-up he’d been wearing around his eyes smudged, he kisses Yoongi. Over and over and over again until he can’t anymore, until Yoongi’s pulling away and pulling out of him with a soft hum, pressing a kiss to Jimin’s eyebrow when he hisses.

Yoongi stands on shaking legs to throw the condom in the trash, and he feels fondness flood his chest at the sight of Jimin, watching Yoongi watch him.

“Shit,” Jimin finally breathes, pushing himself up as Yoongi wipes him down with a damp towel, fingers grazing over his bottom lip and wincing. “Ah, hyung.”

Yoongi hums again, and then gestures to the bathroom as he runs his hand through Jimin’s hair, laughing under his breath when Jimin grins and turns his cheek so he can lean further into Yoongi’s touch. “Go on,” he says quietly, “clean up. You can stay the night.”

“And they say chivalry is dead,” Jimin says, playful and sweet, and when he stands, he cups the back of Yoongi’s neck and kisses him again, damp shirt brushing against Yoongi’s chest, the bare skin of his thighs brushing against Yoongi’s own. Then, a little more shyly, he says, “okay,” and, “thank you.”

Yoongi pulls on a t-shirt and a pair of flannel pyjamas, and Jimin chooses to forgo everything but a borrowed pair of boxers, and they curl towards each other on the bed far more intimately than one-night stands are meant to. Then again, Yoongi reminds himself, this is Jimin.

It's different.

The silence between them isn’t awkward or stilted and it can’t be, not when the sex was so good, not when the air was filled with laughter and the soft way Jimin had curled his tongue around Yoongi’s name, precious and coaxing and sure.

He tries not to smile too wide when Jimin reaches out with his fingers to tap lightly against Yoongi’s mouth, fingertips ghosting over the red skin of his lips, tracing over the softened edge of his cupid’s bow before he presses them against his own.

“We should do this again sometime,” Yoongi says, lips curling into a smile when Jimin bites the inside of his cheek, his skin flushing a soft pink as he tugs the duvet tighter around himself and glances away, over Yoongi’s shoulder and out the window.

“Give me a moment,” Jimin finally says, scrunching his nose, and Yoongi laughs, loud and sudden.

This is how it begins.

 

-

 

Hoseok and Jin have perfected a formula that they use on Yoongi rarely, but effectively. It starts with Hoseok mentioning, early in the week, how tired he’s been feeling and how desperate he is to have a break. Then, at some point, Jin will mention how he really wants to take every opportunity to have fun before he completes his Masters and starts working for his dad. Slowly but surely, they’ll drop enough hints that, by Friday evening, it takes very little convincing for Yoongi to agree to go out with them for the night.

It’s a formula Yoongi knows well but can never see coming until he’s halfway to pleasantly buzzed, Jin downing shots like a dying man while Hoseok dances as he decides whose bed he’d like to wake up in the next morning.

Only this time, Yoongi doesn’t resist as much as he would, and the reason for that is Jimin alone.

Jimin, whose turned from a warm body into a quiet companion, into someone Yoongi wouldn’t hesitate to call a friend. Over the past several weeks, they’ve met at countless movie nights and Sunday evening barbecues, thrown together by their small circle of friends. They’ve met on nights like this, too, where the city pulses with something loud and alive and electric, in a way that sits on Yoongi’s shoulders with an ease and familiarity that reminds him of home.

Jimin slots into Yoongi’s life like there was a space reserved just for him, waiting for the line of his body and the curve of his smile, the delicate touch of his fingers and the soft sound of his laughter.

Their relationship isn’t a secret from their friends, there’s no way it can be, but sometimes it feels like it. The way they linger and reach out for each other as the night gets darker, the way Jimin begins to tuck his face into Yoongi’s neck for comfort and the indents of Jimin’s waist begin to feel suited to Yoongi’s hold, seems like more.

It’s easy, to have fun and meaningless sex with someone who means something, where feelings and the weight of a relationship don’t sit heavy in the air between them.

It’s easy, and with Jimin, it’s nice. It’s really fucking nice.

The wind is cold where it breezes over their skin as they make their way downtown, the yellow lights from office buildings changing into the flashing neon of clubs and takeouts, the red cursive of an IT repair shop and the bright green of their favourite Chinese takeaway. The rain from earlier in the day has left dark puddles in the street, the pavement shining and reflecting the light of the city, and it makes the world around them feel a little like magic.

The glitter bomber Hoseok wears sparkles beneath passing car headlights, making him a green and golden beacon of colour, and Jin looks effortlessly put together as always, dress pants and a nice shirt that teeters on the edge of formal. They make an amusing pair, their outfits so contrasting considering they’re heading to the same place, and Yoongi hangs back as they walk ahead of him to take a photo, quickly sending it to Namjoon with a laugh.

Namjoon messages back, almost immediately, with a short video of him rolling his eyes. He’s waiting outside the club when the three of them arrive.

It’s a nice place, one of the few clubs Yoongi doesn’t mind going to, hidden in a quiet alley between unassuming buildings. He’d found it in his first year at university, when he and Namjoon had been trying to tentatively find their footing with each other. They'd stumbled in, pleasantly surprised to find music they both liked and alcohol that was cheap without tasting like it.

For the last few years, whenever they go out, even if it’s the two of them alone, this place is one of the first that comes to mind.

“Took you long enough,” Namjoon mutters without bite, but grins when Hoseok pinches his cheek before walking through the doors, Jin grabbing Namjoon’s wrist to drag him inside. Yoongi follows them with a smile, ducking his head as they take the stairs down to the actual club itself, music filtering into the hallway.

Taehyung and Jimin are dancing, and their expressions light up the moment they see Hoseok making his way towards them, cheeks already flushed from the heat. Yoongi quirks an eyebrow at Jimin, glitter on his cheeks and shirt loose on his shoulders, but continues on his way to the bar to get himself a drink, Namjoon and Jin already tucked into a booth and fighting over the handful of pretzels in the small bowl of trail-mix on the table.

Several people eye Yoongi as he leans over the counter, arms crossed and waiting to be served, but he pays them no mind. There’s only one person he cares to go home with, and he’s on the dance floor with a lovely smile on his face, catching the eye of anyone who comes close enough. Yoongi’s pretty sure there’s only one person he wants to go home with, too.

Ah,” Jin says when Yoongi approaches, a glass in one hand and two bottles of beer hanging between the fingers of his other. “This is why you’re my favourite. Honestly, I don't know what I'd-”

“Stop,” Yoongi interrupts with a roll of his eyes, biting down on his cheek as he pushes a brightly pink coloured drink towards Jin on the table, sliding next to Namjoon, “please, hyung.”

Jin smiles, saccharine sweet, and then reaches for Yoongi’s beer and takes a long sip.

Hey,” Yoongi snaps, and then huffs when Namjoon fails to hide his laughter behind the cup of his hand. “Drink your own toxic-looking shit, thanks,” he says as he snatches his drink back with a small glare, pulling the wooden bowl of trail mix towards himself. Then, slightly petulantly, “I got your favourite.”

Jin clicks his tongue, cupping his chin in his hand as he twirls the straw in his drink. “My best brat.”

Yoongi tries to keep his expression deadpan, but beneath Jin’s persistent smile and Namjoon’s small huffs of laughter, he can feel himself falter.

Conversation flows easy and light between them, as it always has, and they lean close to be heard over the steadily increasing noise of music and rumbling of the crowd as the night goes on. The two of them have been his best friends from the start, Hoseok included, and Yoongi appreciates more than anything how they can spend nights together without saying a word, or times like this, where there seems to be so much to talk about that they keep bouncing between topics.

Occasionally, Yoongi will see Hoseok moving from one dance partner to the next, body liquid as he flows between them, shifting easily to the changing beat and bass of the music. Sometimes, his eyes will find Taehyung amidst a small crowd, people gathering around him like he’s something wondrous and unreal, and Yoongi doesn’t quite blame them.

More than anyone though, Yoongi will catch sight of Jimin. He dances like each beat of music is an echo of his own beating heart, hyperaware of everyone’s eyes on him but moving so freely, expression so perfectly casual it's like he doesn’t realise how desperately people want him. His smile is lazy, head tipped to the side, and his dark eyes glitter as he invites people to look but not to touch.

The highlight on his skin shines golden, hair black and pushed off his forehead, simple silver hoops adorning his ears. Fine chains around his neck catch the light, reflecting off his skin like flashes of crystal and-

He’s gorgeous. So unbelievably gorgeous.

Yoongi swallows down the rest of his beer when Jimin suddenly looks directly at him.

Namjoon stands to get more drinks, and Jin’s smile doesn’t waver even as his gaze turns slightly pensive, eyes darting to Jimin and then back to Yoongi. When Jin opens his mouth to speak, Yoongi shuffles further into the booth to hear him better.

"Tell me something-"

Yoongi rolls his eyes. "No."

"I swear to god," Jin begins, "the fucking disrespect-"

"That's nice," Yoongi interrupts again, unable to help his grin before Jin reaches out to whack his thigh. The expression falls from his face immediately. "Um-"

Jin cackles, reaching out to pinch Yoongi’s cheek before tapping it softly. His smile falters after a moment of looking at Yoongi, analysing him, before he suddenly says, "I just want to know if it's serious. You and Jimin, is it something to think about?”

Though random, the question isn't entirely unexpected. Yoongi looks away as he shakes his head. It’s not something they’ve been concerned with, or that’s become a topic of conversation between them. It is what it is, and the lack of expectations is half of what makes it so easy. “No.”

Jin hums, but there’s no judgement behind it. “You’re sure?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says after a moment. “We just…click. It’s nice, to click like that with someone.”

“But what are you?” Jin’s voice is curious, though not demanding. “The two of you, what is it?”

“Fun,” Yoongi answers quickly, because it’s the truth. “He’s become a good friend, and that comes first, to be honest.”

“Does he know that?” Jin asks. “Do you?”

Yoongi takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, taking a moment to really think on his answer because he knows that Jin’s interest is genuine, that he’s concerned in the kindest of ways. Finally, Yoongi nods. “We know.” And then, “the two of us as friends, all of us, really, that comes first.”

“I’m not asking for us,” Jin says, “I’m asking for you.” Then, he smiles, shaking his head as he knocks their knees together. “But as long as you’re sure, as long as you’re okay, then alright."

Yoongi smiles, small and grateful, and though Jin’s eyes stay fixed on Namjoon as he carries their drinks back to them with a triumphant grin, his smile softens and his shoulders relax.

A little under half an hour passes, condensation from their bottles gathering on the table and their second bowl of trail mix half-finished as they continue to talk. Jin’s face is flushed and Namjoon’s eyes are a little hazy when they both decide to brave the dance floor and join their friends. Yoongi laughs as he watches them; they’re a mess of uncoordinated limbs, their laughter loud enough to carry across the room as they form a small circle of their own.

Jimin catches Yoongi’s eye again as he rests his head on Taehyung’s shoulder, back pressed to Taehyung’s front, and winks.

Not quite ready to dance or make a fool of himself with his friends, needing more alcohol in him to even consider the option, Yoongi sits back to nurse his second beer. His nose scrunches at the faint citrusy flavour, but it’s good enough to fill him with a pleasant warmth, and he finally stands when there’s hardly a drop left. He can’t help but let out a bark of laughter at the betrayed look on Hoseok’s face when he realises Yoongi is making his way to the bathroom instead of joining them.

The music is muted through the tiled walls, and the old flickering light casts a slightly purple haze on his skin. Yoongi turns on the tap and runs cold water over his wrists to cool himself down, and the bathroom door swings open as he’s drying his hands. He doesn’t have to turn around to know who’s walked in, looking over his shoulder before he throws away the paper towel, lips pursed as he waits.

“Hey,” Jimin says, after a moment, familiar and sweet.

“Hey.” Yoongi smiles. “Having fun?”

Jimin hums, and then nods, taking a step forward as his fingers twitch. “You’re not dancing?”

Yoongi tilts his head and his smile fades into something a little more teasing as Jimin closes the distance between them to run his thumbs over Yoongi’s bracelets. “I might.”

He loves moments like this, the before, where the air becomes charged and electric, filled with this ever-present wanting that seems to sit beneath their skin. He loves how in a split second, their friendship turns into more, something saturated and heavy and so easy to fall into. It’s fun, too, because it turns into a test to see who breaks first, who reaches out and asks, even though the answer remains forever unspoken.

Tonight, it’s Jimin.

He drapes his arms over Yoongi’s shoulders and presses their hips together, pulling Yoongi into him and sighing when Yoongi rests his hands on the small of Jimin’s back. “Dance with me,” he says quietly, words whispered against Yoongi’s mouth, the promise of a kiss between his lips. “Come back and dance with me.”

Yoongi tightens his grip on Jimin. “Why?”

“Because I want you to,” Jimin murmurs easily, “and you want me.”

Yoongi lets his head tip forward to press a chaste kiss to the corner of Jimin’s mouth, lips quirking when Jimin lets out a quiet sound. “Oh?”

Jimin moves one of his hands to curl at the side of Yoongi’s neck as they watch each other, still waiting, still teasing, thumb pressed against Yoongi’s jaw. The silver metal of his rings is cold against Yoongi’s skin. “I want you,” Jimin says, shameless and low, catching Yoongi’s bottom lip between his teeth and smiling when Yoongi’s eyelashes flutter as he groans, “to want me.”

I do, Yoongi thinks. More than anything.

The best thing is that he knows Jimin wants him back.

Softly, slowly, he kisses Jimin until the breath leaves his lungs, until Jimin’s fingers tremble against the line of his throat and his smile begins to waver the more desperate he becomes. Yoongi pulls away to stroke his thumb beneath the delicate skin of Jimin’s eye, and then kisses him again.

They go out onto the dance floor with their fingers linked, and Yoongi lets Jimin lick into his mouth without a care for who watches, who looks at how Yoongi holds Jimin and how Jimin so obviously wants.

That night, they fall into Jimin’s bed and Yoongi kisses up the skin of Jimin’s inner thighs, letting his teeth drag and bite and bruise, Jimin’s hands tugging at his hair. His fingers are a familiar weight where they lace behind Yoongi’s neck as they kiss, deeply and sweetly and desperate all the same, the soft stutter in the way he says Yoongi’s name as he comes. Later, when they stay up until four in the morning to watch shitty films on Netflix, sleep-warm and the life of the city still thrumming in their veins, Yoongi presses a kiss to the juncture of Jimin’s neck and thinks- knows, that they’re okay.

They’re so much more than that.

 

-

 

One Sunday, Yoongi walks out of his room to see Jimin sleeping on the couch, his head on Hoseok’s lap and Hoseok’s fingers running through his hair.

“Morning, hyung,” Hoseok says, rubbing his eye with the back of his hand as he looks up, smile small. Beside him, Jimin shuffles and makes a soft sound.

Yoongi hums, falling into the armchair and pulling his legs up onto the seat, hugging his knees to his chest. “You sleep well, Hoseok-ah?”

Hoseok nods. “Well enough.”

The early morning sun shines palely into the living room, and there’s the sound of running water in the bathroom as Namjoon has a morning shower. Body still heavy with sleep, the relative silence in the apartment is more than welcome, allows them to wake up slowly. Yoongi’s eyes flicker back to Jimin, skin still flushed from sleep and mouth slightly parted, hands curled up by his chest, and thinks of how they’d woken up earlier this morning, Jimin’s head nestled beneath his chin and their legs tangled together. He’d pulled himself out of Yoongi’s hold to get a glass of water almost an hour ago.

“I think he was on his way back to your room,” Hoseok says quietly, letting his thumb brush over Jimin’s temple, “but he saw me sat here and thought he’d give me company.” Then, with a laugh, he adds, “It took him like, two seconds to fall back asleep though.”

Yoongi grins, and then yawns. “Wouldn’t mind joining him, to be honest.”

“I’m sure.” Hoseok smiles, raising an eyebrow and then raising a panicked hand when Yoongi reaches behind him as if to get a pillow to throw.

Yoongi glares but sits back again, getting comfortable.

The sound of running water stops, and Yoongi’s eyes are drifting closed when Hoseok suddenly whispers, “he’s a good kid.”

In the quiet, Yoongi’s agreeing yeah, he is, sounds much louder than his actual response.

“How did you meet?” Yoongi asks, resting his head against the back of the couch and forcing himself to stay awake.

“He’s in one of my dance theory classes,” Hoseok says, “he’s fucking smart, hyung.”

“Yeah?” Yoongi asks, though he doesn’t doubt it. “Isn’t he a first year?”

“No, yeah.” Hoseok nods. “He’s really fucking smart. He’s planning on a double major, dance and economics, I think.”

Yoongi feels his mouth fall open. “He’s already got it figured out?”

Hoseok nods again, and then laughs. Yoongi can only look at Jimin, slightly incredulous. It’s not that he didn’t think that Jimin was smart, but he hadn’t realised just how much. Then again, the time they’ve spent together, alone and with their friends, hasn’t really allowed much opportunity to talk about university, and Yoongi hadn’t wanted to press because Jimin is still so young and Yoongi doesn't want to overwhelm him with questions that even graduating students worry about answering.

“I’m glad you two are friends,” Hoseok says quietly, lightly pinching Jimin’s cheek before he soothes the skin with the pads of his fingers, Jimin humming as he presses his nose into Hoseok’s thigh.

“Why wouldn’t we be?”

“No,” Hoseok corrects, “I thought you would be, I just…didn’t think you’d get on that well.”

Yoongi feels his expression drop, sighing. “Fuck off.”

Hoseok grins, and they fall back into silence, though they’re both a little more awake. Something thuds in Namjoon’s room, and Yoongi’s eyes flicker to the hall instinctively, but when there’s no other sound, he settles again. He’s thinking he should maybe get himself some coffee, some fruit to see him through until they have their weekly take-out from Namjoon’s favourite Thai place, when Jimin hums and moves.

Yoongi watches, impossibly endeared, as Jimin turns around to face the back of the couch, curling into himself further, Hoseok looking down at him with an incredibly fond expression.

Hoseok catches Yoongi’s eye. “You’re keeping it casual, then?”

Yoongi purses his lips, eyebrow slightly furrowed. “Yeah, that’s what he wants.”

“He said that?” Hoseok frowns. “What do you want?”

Yoongi thinks back to his conversation with Jin, and can’t help but huff out a breath of laughter. “You guys are really something, huh?”

“Why?” Hoseok asks, “who? What did he say?”

“Jin. Asked if we were serious.”

“Aren’t you?”

Yoongi shakes his head, rubs a hand over his face again and sits forward. “He’s young, Seok-ah,” Yoongi says, “and I’m…not the best person, so. We know what this is, and we’re happy about it.”

Hoseok’s mouth pinches, and he leans forward, momentarily forgetting that Jimin’s resting against him. He immediately sits back when Jimin makes a small, unhappy sound.

“Hyung,” he says, the loudest he’s spoken in a while. “you’re the fucking greatest person. You’re just- you’re just having a shit time.”

Yoongi lets his mouth curve into a smile, fond and a little bemused. He hadn’t meant it like that at all, but he can’t deny the little flare in his chest, the relief and gentle warmth that flood him, at Hoseok’s complete faith in what he says to Yoongi.

“I’m being serious,” Hoseok says, his free hand tapping on his thigh as if to drive home his point. “You’re a fucking good person. And you weren’t okay, but good people can feel bad, too. It’s not a reason not to date, it’s not a reason someone wouldn’t want to date you.”

“Hoseok-”

Grinning, but serious, Hoseok says, “you’re a fucking catch.”

Yoongi shakes his head and stands, walking towards the couch. “Thanks, Hoseok-ah,” he says, ruffling his hair, and then reaches down to stroke the back of his knuckles over the shell of Jimin’s ear. “But we’re good.”

“You are?” Hoseok asks, and Yoongi rests a hand on his head as he nods. “Promise?”

The thing is, as irritated as he could be by his friends’ questioning over his and Jimin’s relationship, he knows they’re coming from a good place, knows that they mean well and that they have the best intentions at heart. And Yoongi doesn’t think he could ever bring himself to be even as a little frustrated with Hoseok.

“Promise.”

Suddenly, Jimin rolls onto his back, eyes still closed but nose scrunching. “Stop talking,” he groans in a small voice, squirming when Hoseok laughs and pinches the skin beneath his chin. “No.”

Jimin pulls away from Hoseok, and Hoseok laughs and stands, pressing a hard kiss to his head as he does.

“I’m gonna go get some coffee,” Hoseok says, but instead of heading to the kitchen, reaches for the keys in the small bowl on the coffee table. “Breakfast?”

Yoongi, still smiling down at Jimin, who has his eyes open as he blinks blearily, nods. “Please.”

There’s the sound of keys clinking and then the door closes, and Jimin frowns, lower lip jutting out. Yoongi bends down before he can help himself to kiss Jimin’s mouth, keeping it chaste until he feels Jimin kiss him back. Then, he rests a hand on the back of the couch and kisses Jimin again, deeper, slower, lets his tongue trace over Jimin’s mouth.

Jimin sighs, and he lifts his hands to curl lightly at the collar of Yoongi’s shirt and keep him in place. And they kiss, slowly, lingering, until a gentle heat begins to build beneath Yoongi’s skin, and Jimin’s mouth parts and his breath begins to grow heavy.

“Hyung,” Jimin says, and when Yoongi pulls back, he looks a little more awake, eyes bright.

Jimin’s smile, Yoongi thinks, is the most wonderful thing about him. No matter how small it is, there’s a lovely light that reaches his honey eyes when his lips stretch and his dimple deepens. Jimin always seems to shine, bright and beautiful, but when he smiles it’s like everything around him begins to glow.

Yoongi taps his fingers to Jimin’s shining mouth, and then presses them against his own. “Come on,” he says, “get up.”

Despite his loud groan, Jimin’s smile doesn’t dim, and he dutifully begins to push himself up as Yoongi steps away so he can swing his legs off the couch. He’s sleep-soft and warm, and there are purpling bruises on his jaw and over his collarbones, and Yoongi can’t help but reach out and brush his thumb over them. Jimin hisses, but then his shoulders relax, and he looks up at Yoongi through his eyelashes.

“Later,” Yoongi promises, wetting his own mouth. “Later.”

Jimin grins, slowly, like he’s won a prize Yoongi didn’t realise they were even playing for. He stands just as Namjoon enters the living room, and the three of them eventually head to the kitchen to hunch over the small wooden table until Hoseok bursts back into the apartment, the morning walk clearly having a positive effect on him. His voice is loud as it rings down the hall, mixing with the sound of the door slamming shut and the crinkle of paper bags.

They eat with the weak light of the sun filtering into the kitchen and their legs all tangled beneath the table, Yoongi quietly sipping at his coffee as Jimin rests his head on Namjoon’s shoulder and they talk about an article on his phone, Hoseok telling Yoongi about his plans for the week. It’s nice, one of the better Sundays that Yoongi’s had, and then Jimin glances up and, noticing Yoongi’s gaze flicker towards him, smiles.

Around them, the world glows.

 

-

 

Sometimes, Yoongi wonders if it’s love. If the weightless impossibility that he feels around Jimin, how they’d fallen into each other in a way Yoongi’s never done with anyone else before, could be love.

He’s never been in love - though he has loved - but with Jimin he thinks the lines begin to blur. Each emotion feels so vivid, from the calm to the happy to the quiet, that Yoongi often feels the lingering sweetness of Jimin’s kind heart on his tongue, can taste the heavy redness of want beneath his teeth, the firm lines of Jimin’s body against his fingertips even as he works.

He’s not sure if he’s in love with Jimin, but sometimes he wonders if he could be.

Then, one day, Jimin takes Yoongi’s hand in his, and says, thank you for letting this be easy. Then, much later, lips by Yoongi’s ear, says, thank you for being my best friend.

The thing is, Yoongi knows whatever he feels, Jimin does too: the intensity and the lightness, the friendship and the overwhelming need to touch and to taste and to feel. So, if that’s all Jimin thinks they are, then that’s all they must be.

The love they share, the respect for each other, is nothing like the films he'd watched or songs he'd listened to growing up. It's the love of friends, but deeper, tangible and heavy in a way very few things have ever been able to portray. Yoongi won’t destroy what they have by overthinking it, won’t ruin his relationship with Jimin to test a theory and see if he’s in love, see if he’s worthy enough to have someone love him back. Yoongi won’t risk something so special for a thought that comes and goes fleetingly, in stolen pockets of time when the sky shifts from muted pink to deep violet, and Jimin’s breath is soft and slow against his chest.

Sometimes, Yoongi wonders if it’s love. Then, he looks at Jimin, at the easy smile on his face and the bitten skin of his lips, and thinks, he’s my best friend. He stops wondering, after that.

 

-

 

Summer is creeping into the air, the days growing longer as the sun begins to radiate a gentle heat into the sky, one that sinks heavy into their skin. The afternoon crowds begin to grow restless as people rush home to spend time enjoying the sun and the warmth before it becomes stifling, uncomfortable in the way city heat inevitably does.

When it hits, all Yoongi can think is he should’ve seen it coming.

The thing about depression, melancholia, the heavy shadow that weighs on his shoulders and comes back to him with the ease of an old friend, is that it never really leaves. He has good days, and those happen a lot now, and he has his best days, ones he actively savours every moment of and makes sure he remembers to embrace every little thing. Most days are steady and calm. Welcome.

But then there are the days that remind Yoongi just how deeply he can get lost in himself, just how much his mind works against him even when his heart doesn’t want to. Those days are the ones that linger on him like fading bruises, purple and green and yellow at the edges, and don’t ever seem to leave.

For some people, they only recognise what’s happened when it’s all over, as they’re slipping back into their skin, realising oh, I lost myself somewhere. For others, they see it approaching in the horizon like the weak rays of a rising winter sun and wait for it, patiently and without resistance, taking time to savour the peace before the inevitable crash of thunder upon the shores of their souls.

Sometimes, it’s a mix.

For Yoongi, he has a moment, a fleeting realisation, and then it hits and all he can think is, he should have seen it coming.

Yoongi’s heart is an endlessly rolling wave, and sometimes the sun flickers through the tunnel created at the centre and turns the water into sparkling gold, a beautiful and tempting ambrosia that feels like sweet wine sinking into his blood. Sometimes, night falls, and the water turns black, and it’s impossible to tell where the sea and sky meet, impossible not to drown.

Summer is creeping into the air, and the Friday evening has been pleasant albeit weighted with something Yoongi isn’t able to place until he’s finally alone. It’s as he’s tipping off into sleep, his bedroom warm and the sky dark, the film Namjoon and Hoseok were watching in the living room filtering through the small gap beneath the door, that he realises it might be hard to wake up tomorrow.

He's on the precipice of slumber, and like a sudden downpour, a rush all at once, the voices he keeps hidden in an echoing cave in the furthermost corner of his mind, spill out.

You’re not good enough, is said in a soft whisper, why try if you’ll just fail again? in an angrier tone. No one needs you, in his own voice, quiet and steady, no one at all.

Yoongi’s breath hitches, but the sound of his shaky inhale is suddenly too loud for the room, so he muffles his breathing into the duvet and feels more awake than he ever has. He’s suddenly aware of the deafening thud of his heartbeat, the way his lungs seem to rattle behind his ribs, the strange tension in his stomach building until he feels sick.

The numbness arrives quickly after that.

Yoongi closes his eyes and listens to his mind play the same thoughts over and over. Thoughts that Yoongi’s worked so hard to convince himself are lies but are so easy to accept the moment they filter into his conscious, even if he knows better than to believe them. Even if he knows that there are people who love him, even if he’s working hard to find that love for himself.

He can’t quite tell when sleep takes him, or when wakefulness shakes gently at his shoulders and suggests it might be better to not get out of bed today, that it might be better if he doesn’t face the world on a day he’s not ready to face himself.

The sun shines brightly enough that he knows it’s past midday, and Yoongi feels tears gather by his lower lash-line. So, he turns his face into the pillow and breathes in the smell of fabric softener, willing himself to take deep and steadying breaths.

It’s fine, he thinks, depression is an old friend, he just needs to let this pass. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, it won’t be the last. It’s fine.

He doesn’t realise the sun has set until there’s a knock on the door, a hesitant tap of knuckles before it creaks open. He swallows around a lump in his throat and wonders if it’s Hoseok, if he’s come back from a day out and realised Yoongi hasn’t left his room, or if Namjoon already knows and wants to offer quiet comfort, to curl around Yoongi in bed and not say a word. He wonders if they know it’s one of the days where he can barely bring himself to breathe.

He doesn’t expect it to be Jimin. The rest of the world, maybe, but not Jimin.

Yoongi takes one deep breath. Then another.

Jimin is the only one who doesn’t know Yoongi like this, when he’s at his most vulnerable. They’re close, impossibly so, but Jimin is the only one of their friends who doesn’t know of the shadows that sit heavy on Yoongi’s soul, sunken beneath his skin, that spill out from the cage of his ribs and bleed through the gaps of his heart. Yoongi’s not ashamed of it, there’s no point in that, but he just-

He thought he’d have more time, with himself and with Jimin, before Jimin found out.

Finding out something like this always changes things, can sometimes be the make-or-break of a relationship. Yoongi’s lucky that it’s not so bad now, but it was, and times like this, it can become obvious the person he grew into when he got too lost; it’s not a side of himself he likes facing. There are very few people in Yoongi’s life who’ve found out about his dark days and stayed, and those that have are the ones he calls his best friends.

Yoongi closes his eyes and focuses on the rise and fall of his chest, on the cotton brushing against the bare skin of his feet and the wrinkled sheets beneath his arm, the indent of the pillow beneath his cheek.

He takes a deep breath, holds it, then exhales through his nose.

Around him, everything is silent. Then, the window pane clicks and the air is cold as it rushes in, like the four walls in his room needed a chance to breathe, too.

He can hear the soft pad of feet on the floor and the opening of his bedroom door again, the murmured voices of Namjoon and Jimin in the hallway. Then, Hoseok’s quiet question of his name before he comes close enough to rest a hand on Yoongi’s head, fingers brushing through the thick strands of his hair. There’s the muted sound of him setting a glass of water on Yoongi’s bedside table.

“I came in earlier,” Hoseok says quietly, “but you were sleeping, so.”

In a rare, but much needed show of affection, Hoseok bends down to press a kiss to Yoongi’s forehead. He doesn’t care for physical touch, he and Yoongi have never been the sort to, at least not with each other, but times like this - days like this, the need to know they have each other is more important than the comfort of lines drawn in the sand.

Yoongi keeps his eyes closed, but a tear slips over the bridge of his nose. Hoseok hums, sad and sweet, and presses his nose to Yoongi’s hair as they breathe each other in, and it helps. Even if only a little, it helps.

Eventually, Hoseok stands to leave the room, and Yoongi focuses on the sound of his breathing and the city outside, the sound of his beating heart. Somehow, the world still feels silent. It’s like everything is muted. Everything a little grey and washed out.

Yoongi curls his fingers against the pillow, and the mattress creaks as he turns to face the door.

Jimin’s eyes widen when he slips back into the room, seeing Yoongi’s face staring back at him through the mess of his duvet, but then his expression softens, and he walks towards Yoongi with something tender in the line of his mouth. He doesn’t say anything, but when Yoongi closes his eyes and bites down on the inside of his cheek, Jimin curls beneath the sheets with him. They’re not close enough to touch, but close enough that if Yoongi wanted to, if he wanted to, he could.

He does.

Their fingers brush.

Yoongi’s always needed to be alone when he’s like this even when he hasn’t wanted to be, but Jimin carves a place for himself like he’s always belonged. The air doesn’t shift and the feeling in Yoongi’s chest doesn’t grow tighter, the assumption that he needs to act okay for the people around him staying hidden, and it’s almost overwhelming, but in the gentlest of ways.

He drifts in and out of consciousness, and each time his heavy eyes flicker open, Jimin is there, quiet and waiting, settled and still. He doesn’t let go of Yoongi’s hand.

At one point, Yoongi wakes to find light filtering out from the bathroom, and Namjoon sat with his legs crossed on the bed. His dark hair looks soft and he’s biting on the inside of his cheek, lost in his own thoughts. His eyes keep flickering around the room, as if restless, but his shoulders relax the moment he sees Yoongi awake.

For Namjoon, for his best friend, for the person who stood by Yoongi’s side and told him it was okay to feel like shit and hate himself so long as he didn’t expect Namjoon to as well, Yoongi brings himself to speak for what feels like the first time in days. “I’m sorry, Joon-ah,” he says, a little hoarse and a little quiet, “I didn’t expect it to hurt so bad.”

Namjoon shakes his head, eyebrows furrowing as he leans forward, tucking his face into Yoongi’s neck and holding him closely, tightly. Namjoon’s the only person Yoongi’s ever let himself feel small against. “Never,” he says, fiercely, voice sure and steady, “hyung, never.”

Yoongi closes his eyes and breathes in the smell of sea salt and fresh cotton, of comfort and of love. It’s a combination that brings Yoongi the peace of home when home is too far away, and he falls asleep with Namjoon’s weight heavy and welcome, around and against him.

The loss of time is maybe the worst part about it all because it’s dark again, the last orange glow of the sun fading from the horizon and casting shadows in Yoongi’s room, when Yoongi exhales loudly through his mouth without feeling like the movement will break the glass cage of his body. Jimin’s smile is as gentle and warm as the golden dawn of a new day.

“There you are,” he says quietly. He doesn't mean here, in this room, and they both know that.

Yoongi shifts his head just enough to nod. “Here I am.”

Jimin’s expression doesn’t falter as he ghosts his fingers over the curve of Yoongi’s mouth, pressing them against his own lips before he reaches out again, this time to smooth Yoongi’s hair back from his forehead, fingers light as he brushes them over Yoongi’s temple, index finger catching on the silver hoop of Yoongi’s earring.

It takes Yoongi a while to find the strength to speak.

“This is why,” Yoongi finally says, breathing deep through his words, “I took a year off.”

Jimin hums, using the silence to say, “you don’t have to tell me. I don’t mind.”

Yoongi shakes his head, causing Jimin’s hand to fall to his cheek. “Listen,” he begins, already tired again, Jimin’s palm warm against his skin. “I took time off because of this. It was every day. This, me, it was every day.” Yoongi sighs, his voice trembling when Jimin grazes his thumb back and forth. “This is the first time it’s happened in a while. It’s okay. I’m okay.”

“You are,” Jimin says, soft and sure. “Yoongi, of course you are.”

There’s more Yoongi could say, but he doesn’t want to, doesn’t think he needs to. There’s nothing wrong with him, and he doesn’t need to justify himself, but-

But it doesn’t hurt, to hear it from someone else.

Even though it’s late, Yoongi gets up to brush his teeth, spends six minutes instead of two just to make sure, and drinks two glasses of water. It’s only when he’s thinking of stepping into the shower that his stomach makes a small sound and Jimin, standing in the doorway, presses a dry kiss to his cheek before nodding his head. When Yoongi steps out with his hair smelling of coconut shampoo he can’t remember buying, Jimin is waiting with two bowls of steaming noodles on the bed.

The next morning, he lets Hoseok dote on him a little more than usual, lets Jin make stupid jokes until he finally laughs, and lets Namjoon hug him a little more tightly than he usually would.

And he lets Jimin hold him.

He just lets Jimin hold him.

They don’t kiss. They don’t fuck and they don’t flirt, and they don’t kiss, but they fall asleep together every night of the week until one evening, Yoongi opens the door with a small smile and flushed cheeks.

Yoongi’s not in the habit of telling himself ‘tomorrow will be better’, because there’s no guarantee. Over time, learning and coping with his mental health, he’s learned to hope, but he knows promises like that are empty, not worth the weight of self-imposed expectations crashing down when tomorrow isn’t as good as he promised himself. It always hurts, more than it needs to, and seems to make everything worse. In the end, telling himself things like that doesn’t give him a chance to appreciate and feel proud of being okay again, because it didn’t happen when he wanted it to.

With Jimin, lying across from him and blinking slow, Yoongi lets himself think that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow might be alright.

 

-

 

It’s not a decision they make, to stop sleeping together, but as the months pass and work and assignments grow difficult, things begin to shift. When they get time together, the moments Jimin gets away from his studies, it’s as friends, as people who love each other more than they want each other, and it’s nice. And then one day, Jimin says we’re not dating, right? and Yoongi shakes his head, because they’re not, and they never were.

Then, a few weeks later, he meets Jiyoon and he’s glad that he doesn’t have to think twice when he asks for her number, and then asks her on a date.

Being with her is everything Yoongi thought a relationship would be: cliché sparks and fireworks, hot and fun and electric. Being with her, Yoongi knows how he feels, it makes sense, and it’s a reassurance that he never loved Jimin, not like this, because he would’ve known.

Falling in love feels like this: her laughter and shy smiles, the soft blush of her cheeks and the lipstick stain that fades from her mouth as the day goes on, left on the side of coffee-cups and folded beneath the corners of napkins she uses as she eats. It’s the barely-there touches she presses to his cheeks and his neck and his mouth, the tremble of her thighs and the curve of her waist. It’s the euphoria of an endless summer, and it’s wonderful.

Sometimes.

It’s wonderful, sometimes.

Here’s what love isn’t, or, what it shouldn’t be: seeing Jimin across a room and aching to hold his hand, remembering the arc of his body and the dip of his spine, the sound of his soft breath and soft heart. It shouldn’t be finding something funny and wanting to share it with Jimin first, wanting to share everything with Jimin first. It shouldn’t be having a bad day, and another, and forcing Jiyoon to stay away while he breathes in and tries to remember the sweet cologne Jimin had used on the days he’d held Yoongi close.

It shouldn’t be thinking that if Jiyoon is an endless summer, then Jimin is an ever-changing and ever-beautiful year, the gentle warmth and soothing cold, sharp and vivid and real.

Yoongi has always wanted Jimin - from the very first time they met, something in the heart of him had reached out and wanted, but to need him is another thing entirely. It’s strange and unsettling, and somehow made worse by the fact that it never feels like a bad thing, never something to feel guilty or ashamed of. Never, for even a second, has Yoongi felt like a burden by Jimin’s side.

He wonders if he’ll ever get over the way he wants Jimin, if he’ll ever feel anything other than completely stunned in the way Jimin always seems to want him back, even if the wanting is for the silence of a good friend.

His feelings for Jimin don’t change though, while his feelings for Jiyoon do. The more he tries to find a balance, the harder it is to maintain, and he begins to distance himself from them both until Jiyoon leaves seven months after he first kissed her outside her dorm room, confused and hurt and heartbroken.

It leaves Yoongi a little heartbroken, too.

 

-

 

The evening is light, February beginning to fade into March, and Yoongi settles into the new academic year with a strange ease considering his time away, one that comes unexpectedly but is more than welcome. He’s not prepared to have Jimin show up in the middle of the night, soaked to the bone with raindrops clinging to the strands of his hair and the short curves of his eyelashes, lips trembling as he closes his eyes and leans his head against Yoongi’s shoulder.

They haven’t seen each other in weeks, and the moment he hears Jimin inhale against his skin, Yoongi releases a deep breath he didn’t realise he was holding in.

Jimin’s been struggling for a while, carrying a weight on his shoulders none of them could see, though all of them had tried, in their own ways, to help. Jin, giving Jimin his company and doing his best to make Jimin smile, and Jungkook, bringing newfound lightness and warmth, never wanting to let Jimin feel alone. Hoseok tried to talk things through with Jimin, honest and sincere in a way that always attracted people to him, and Namjoon tried to provide quiet comfort, his ever-steady presence always able to make Jimin feel calm.

Taehyung, someone who Jimin always needs in his life, who provides Jimin a home in the curl of his smile and the wrinkles in his palms, could only do so much.

Whether it’s because he knows Jimin far more deeply than either of them have been able to comprehend, or because he knows the phantom weight of sudden sadness, the overwhelming burden that comes with the grief of realising you’ve lost yourself, Yoongi hadn’t said, or done, anything. He’d simply taken Jimin’s hand and whispered into the skin of his knuckles that when Jimin wanted, when he needed, Yoongi would be waiting for him.

He just hadn’t expected that Jimin would actually come.

The evening is light, but it’s raining and cold outside. It’s nearing six-thirty, and Jimin curls himself into Yoongi’s hold like he’s trying to crawl into the cavern of Yoongi’s ribs, replace Yoongi’s heart with his own, and shakes with tears that don’t fall.

“I don’t know,” Jimin says, voice wavering as his fingers clench against the fabric stretched over Yoongi’s chest, “I don’t know what’s wrong.”

“Okay,” Yoongi says soothingly, not caring for how his shirt grows damp as he holds Jimin, or how the cold clinging to Jimin’s skin bleeds into his own. He smooths his hand against Jimin’s hair, presses his lips to the top of Jimin’s head. “That’s okay,” he says, “we’ll figure it out.”

Yoongi stands for as long as Jimin needs him to, one arm around his shoulder and the other still in Jimin’s hair, Jimin’s arms wrapped tightly around his waist as Yoongi presses absent kisses to his head. He exaggerates the rise and fall of his chest until he can feel Jimin’s body mirror his movements, until it feels like their hearts are beating as one, until the sound of their exhales resonate behind each other's ribs.

He’s so proud of Jimin, so fucking proud, for coming here and asking for help, even if he didn’t really ask at all.

When Jimin’s steady enough, Yoongi leads him to the bathroom.

As Jimin undresses, Yoongi bites down hard on the inside of his cheek and takes several deep, shuddering breaths. He’s thin, and the weight loss hadn’t been as obvious on his face as it is around his shoulders, in the cave of his stomach; it’s the strength of his thighs, the small valleys created by the rippling muscles in his arms, that lets Yoongi know Jimin’s thin figure isn’t the result of purposefully poor eating alone. There are bruises on Jimin’s feet, around the curves of his ankles, and even a stray spot of purple-blue, like ink spreading in water, on the small of his back.

The bathroom fills with steam, condensation gathering on the mirror and against the white porcelain of the sink and tile walls. Yoongi helps Jimin scrub the rain and day from his body, careful of the splattered colour staining his skin, and ends up standing in the shower himself to wash the shampoo from Jimin’s hair. He’s still dressed, and he keeps his movements soft and slow, and they stand together with Jimin’s back pressed to Yoongi’s chest, his head ducked beneath the spray of water as Yoongi holds him.

He just holds him.

When they’ve dried off and changed into comfier clothes, Yoongi wordlessly handing Jimin his favourite sweater, they sit together on the couch. Jimin’s body still trembles from something other than the cold, lips quivering even as he presses them to the rim of the mug cupped in his hands.

“It hurts,” Jimin admits quietly, eyes closed, one hand blindly searching for Yoongi’s own. “It hurts, but I don’t know what it is. I just-” he whispers, breath hitching, fingers tightening between Yoongi’s. “I’m so tired.” His voice is high and pained, a furrow deepening his brow. “I’m so tired, hyung.”

Yoongi raises their intertwined fingers to press a kiss to the back of each of Jimin’s knuckles, lips lingering on the valleys of the green-blue veins that rise beneath his skin, breathing in the smell of coconuts and something soft and warm, something sweet.

Jimin, he thinks, is someone who radiates love. Love that feels tender and kind and familiar in a way that reminds people of home, and it washes over everyone he touches, makes them feel settled and soothed. There’s something about his smile and how it manages to ease everyone around him, the tension in their shoulders dissipating immediately the moment his lips stretch into a laugh. There’s something about his gentleness, too, his unwavering ability to see good in people, his determination to do and to be good.

It makes him amazing, wonderful. It makes Yoongi admire Jimin in a way he’s never admired anyone before.

There’s also something about the way he aches, that makes Yoongi feel the echoes of Jimin’s pain in the hollow of his bones.

Yoongi hadn’t known bones could ache until he met Jimin.

“Hyung,” Jimin says after a moment, taking a deep breath. “I think, um. I think-” It takes him another moment, and he opens his eyes to look at Yoongi, cheeks flushed but skin pale. “I think maybe I do know what’s wrong, but-” A muscle in his cheek twitches as he tries to keep his expression from crumpling, as he tries to blink back tears that pool by his eyelashes. “I just don’t know how to make it better.”

“Jimin,” Yoongi murmurs, resting both their mugs on the floor by his feet. Then, he takes both of Jimin’s hands in his, fingers curling against Jimin’s palm, thumbs brushing over the hills of his knuckles. “Jimin-ah.”

Jimin’s eyelashes flutter, small and delicate and shining. “Hyung?”

“You want to get better?” Yoongi asks, voice impossibly quiet, barely audible over the steady rain pattering against the window. “You really want to be okay?”

Jimin nods, the muscles and tendons of his throat shifting as he swallows.

That’s the first step.” Yoongi leans forward, pulling Jimin into him, so that when he speaks again, his words are a whisper in the small sliver of space between their mouths, a secret as important as the universe to be shared between them alone. “Wanting that, knowing you want that, is the start.”

“It feels hard,” Jimin admits quietly, “it feels hard already.”

“I know,” Yoongi says, and lifts one hand to cup Jimin’s cheek in his palm, angle his face with a gentle touch so that he can press a kiss to Jimin’s forehead. “Jimin-ah,” he says against Jimin’s skin, the drying strands of his dark hair, Jimin’s breath falling on the exposed skin of Yoongi’s neck, above the collar of his shirt, “I know that.”

Yoongi thinks, if he could, he’d carve the hurt out of Jimin and put it in his own chest, carry the weight of it just so that Jimin wouldn’t have to, so that Jimin could go around with his soul still as radiant as the light he gives to those around him. Yoongi also thinks that Jimin is far stronger than anyone, including Jimin himself, will give him credit for. He thinks if anyone can shake the shadow from their soul, it’ll be Jimin.

“Come on,” Yoongi says tenderly, when the tremors have left Jimin’s body and the set of his shoulders is heavy with sleep, weeks worth of exhaustion finally catching up with him. “Come on, sweetheart.”

The endearment slips out before he can help himself, but Jimin hums and nods, and leans into Yoongi as he stands. This is another thing, new and tentative but so familiar, the way they touch each other even when they have no reason to, even though it’s been almost a year since they last held hands. Yoongi doesn’t mind; he misses it, has missed Jimin. Having him again, like this, despite everything, is more than enough.

When they’re curled towards each other beneath Yoongi’s duvet, an echo of a memory so long ago, Yoongi takes Jimin’s hands between his again.

“Listen,” he says, waits for Jimin to look up, “listen to me.” He presses the pads of his fingers hard enough into Jimin’s skin that his nails turn white, hard enough that Jimin’s eyes widen slightly and his breath shakes as he inhales. “You’re the only one who can make yourself better,” he murmurs, lips brushing against his own thumbs as they cup around Jimin’s hands, and Jimin shivers as Yoongi’s breath grazes his skin. “We’ll all be here to help you- we fucking love you, but you’re the only one who’s gonna make it okay.”

“But you’ll be there?” Jimin asks uncertainly, biting the inside of his cheek. “You’ll be there, hyung?”

“Of course,” Yoongi says, lets a small smile curl on the corner of his mouth, lets lukewarm honey trickle into his heart at the hope in Jimin’s voice. “Always, Jimin-ah. Hyung will always be there. Middle of the night,” he says, “early in the morning. All the way in Busan, if you need. You call me, and I’ll come to you, okay?” 

There’s a damp sheen in Jimin’s eyes, a strange and sudden expression that Yoongi’s never seen before that flickers across his face, before the air leaves his body in a rush. He lifts his hand to touch two fingers against Yoongi’s mouth, then brushes them over his own, before shuffling forward to press a kiss to the corner of Yoongi’s eye. He lingers, breathing slow, and then pulls back.

Yoongi falls asleep to the rise and fall of Jimin’s chest, to his steady breath, to his fingers clasped between Yoongi’s own.

 

-

 

Watching Jimin wither broke Yoongi’s heart, but watching Jimin bloom fills Yoongi with a meadowsweet summer warmth, makes his chest expand like an endless field beneath an open, cloudless sky. It's like seeing a garden come to life in spring, roses and sunflowers budding between Jimin’s ribs, golden pollen spilling from his laughter as it glitters in the sunlight, a sweetness lingering in the air around him. He has his bad days, but he reaches out, and when he doesn’t, he learns to.

Jimin grows into something impossibly beautiful, more so than before, quieter and yet somehow more sure of himself. He’s as sated and calm as he is full of life, his happiness so vivid it’s like colour streaked over a canvas, a masterpiece to admire and adore.

One day, Yoongi looks at Jimin and thinks what if, just once, they tried to be more than what they were. They were so close, before.

This is what loving Jimin is: holding his hand through the night, watching the light of dawn break in his eyes over the city skyline, the smell of citrus as he washes the day off his skin. It’s the neon lights of the city and the smell of the coffee he carries around, the taste of freshly spun warm sugar and the cold weight of silver rings on small fingers against his skin.

This is what loving Jimin has always been: the way Yoongi’s breath catches in his throat at the sight and sound of him, the want beneath his skin that feels like an electric charge in his veins when Jimin teases and smiles and coaxes Yoongi closer, the taste of strawberry cocktails from the night they first met.

Only, Jimin loves differently than he used to. He’s matured, and though he still carries this light and burning beauty, there’s a newfound tenderness to his affection, a gentle and quiet adoration that he carries deep in his skin, deep in his soul. It’s so clear to Yoongi, the difference in the way Jimin loves him now compared to the way he loved Yoongi then.

The problem is, Yoongi can’t see the same difference in himself. There are no sparks, no moments where he catches himself and knows that this is it, that this is all there is. Instead, he waits. Waits for something to shift and change and fall into place but nothing does.

The more the months pass, the more that Yoongi allows the golden-white light of Jimin’s soul to spill into the cracks of his and make his heart glow, he realises that it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to Jimin, waiting for Yoongi to love him back, when he could love someone who’d be able to understand him better, who’d be able to love him more than Yoongi does, despite how desperately Yoongi wants to.

Maybe it isn’t a decision Yoongi deserves to make alone, but Jimin isn’t someone who deserves to be alone in love, to give his heart to someone who can’t promise they’ll give it back. So, Yoongi leaves Jimin heartbroken.

He leaves himself a little heartbroken, too.

 

-

 

Daegu is home. The familiar sounds and the smell of the air, the rhythm of the crowds that move at a slightly slower beat than Seoul, a hum in the air like an eternal fading note of a symphony. Daegu is home, but three and a half years after he first met Park Jimin, it doesn’t feel like it, not this time.

Though it’s summer, the air feels cold, the light of the sun only just breaking into the faded lilac sky. He can still feel the echo of Jimin’s lips against his mouth, the phantom touch of Jimin’s skin beneath his palms; soft, like his voice, like his heart.

Soft, like Yoongi loved him.

Loves him still.

Jimin, who he isn’t in love with and deserves more than Yoongi can give, even if Yoongi wants to give him everything. Jimin, who Yoongi left with tears clinging to his eyelashes that, for the first time, Yoongi couldn’t brush away.

People don’t fall in love after years of knowing each other. Yoongi was stupid to think it’d be different for them, stupid to hurt Jimin for the sake of trying.

“Are you sure?” Namjoon asks when Yoongi voices those thoughts out loud. He’s come to stay with Yoongi for a couple of weeks while his parents take a sudden trip to Japan, and though it’s been weeks since the breakup, they haven’t talked about it. Not till now. “Do you really believe that?”

“No,” Yoongi sighs, and then rubs his nose with the back of his hand. “I don’t know,” he says quietly, “I’m not sure anymore. It’s just- if other people can, then why- um, why couldn’t we?”

Through the open window, the colour of the sky finally begins to grow saturated, the trees shifting like they’re shaking themselves from a deep slumber. Beside him, Namjoon runs his finger along the rim of his coffee cup and purses his lips.

Yoongi had caught Namjoon returning from one of his early morning walks, the ones he takes when he’s too restless in the night to sleep and feels like he’s not of enough of a person to be, when he needs a reminder that there’s a world, living and breathing, outside the shell of his soul. Yoongi had caught Namjoon toeing off his shoes and gently told him to have a shower as he fixed them both a drink.

“I think,” Namjoon begins, voice low, dark hair still wet as he takes a sip of his second coffee, and Yoongi hums and waits. He wants to know what Namjoon thinks, often values Namjoon’s opinion more than his own. “I think, sometimes you know, yeah. Like with noona, you saw her and you knew, and it wasn’t love at first sight but- but it was close.”

Yoongi closes his eyes and waits for Namjoon to continue, inhales so deeply and so much that his chest expands until it hurts.

“When you saw Jimin, you knew then, too.” Namjoon’s voice grows steadier as he speaks, still caring and contemplative, but more sure. “Do you remember, how you told me it clicked? With Jimin, that you- that it clicked? The very first night you met.”

Yoongi hums, and for a moment, a quicksilver of time faster than the pause between one heartbeat and the next, he allows himself to remember the sweet warmth of Jimin’s touch, the taste of his tongue and the curve of his smile, the way he’d looked: beautiful and radiant beneath coloured light. He was a young god in a crowd of believers, ethereal and unreal.

And Yoongi had touched him, held him. Kissed him to the point where it felt like love.

“Maybe it wasn’t love at first sight,” Namjoon says, “but maybe your soul, or your conscious, or- or whatever, maybe that knew. Maybe it just took your mind a while to catch up.”

“But wouldn’t something have changed?” Yoongi asks, voice tight and trembling. “Joon-ah, don’t you think I’d see it? That I’d be able to tell?”

Namjoon reaches out and curls his fingers over Yoongi’s knee, digging into the dips between his bones. “You’re trying to make logic of out something illogical,” he says, “you’re trying to pick apart and analyse an emotion that people have long since stopped trying, hyung. And for what?”

Yoongi’s response is immediate. “I don’t want to hurt him.”

“You already have,” Namjoon says softly, not unkindly, “and you’re hurting yourself, too.”

Yoongi bites the inside of his cheek, and after a moment, reaches out to curl his hand over Namjoon’s own.

“You met someone,” Namjoon murmurs as the city begins to wake outside, the noise of morning traffic finally filtering through the air, “and maybe it wasn’t sparks and butterflies, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t love. Maybe, with Jimin, all love means is feeling happy, feeling safe. Maybe love is just coming home.” Then, after a moment, he says, “you can’t tell me Jimin didn’t make you feel those things. I saw the way you looked at him. God, hyung, the way you look at him.”

Yoongi’s eyelashes flutter and he takes another deep breath, tilting his head back as warmth gathers behind his eyes, blinking at the ceiling. “I know,” he says, “I don’t have to see to know how we- how I-”

“It’s not your fault if you can’t love Jimin,” Namjoon says, far more understanding and wise than Yoongi will ever spend a lifetime trying to comprehend, “and I know you say your feelings haven’t changed, but you come back to him. You come back to him, always. You want to make him happy before you even think of yourself.” Namjoon shakes his head, huffing out a breath of laughter. “What I’d give to love someone the way you love each other.”

Yoongi licks his lips, feels the crinkles of his chapped mouth.

“You say your feelings haven’t changed,” Namjoon says, “but you’re not like this over someone you don’t love. You weren’t like this last time.”

Yoongi suddenly thinks of the texts Taehyung had sent before term ended, the ones Yoongi had been unable to bring himself to reply to, and that he’d found again this morning. The texts that were the reason he’d said anything to Namjoon at all. He thinks of how Taehyung had thanked him, for putting Jimin first regardless of anything else, and then, days later, had asked if what felt Yoongi wasn’t love, if he could tell Taehyung what is.

“I don’t know if there’s enough of me to give,” Yoongi admits sadly, “I can’t give him what he deserves.”

Namjoon turns to face Yoongi, eyebrows furrowed. “You don’t get to decide that,” he says, quick and firm, and turns his hand so that they can lock their fingers together, grip tight. “You and Jimin, even when things are bad, the two of you are good. You can’t tell me you don’t know that.”

Yoongi glances at Namjoon, chest trembling as he exhales.

"I'm so fucking dumb," Yoongi sniffs suddenly, pulling his hand away to rub his nose. "I'm so fucking stupid, I can't believe-"

"Don't say that," Namjoon interrupts with a shake of his head, reaching out for Yoongi's hand again. "You didn't know, and how could you? When you believed everything you'd ever felt, right from the start, was just friendship."

Yoongi purses his lips, shrugging. "I don't want to make it worse," he says eventually, "I don't want to make it better, only to make it worse again."

“Tell me you could love someone else the way you love him,” Namjoon says, and then softer, quieter, “tell me you could watch him love someone the way he loves you.”

It takes two days.

It takes two days for Yoongi to gather his thoughts, to pack his things and get his new apartment sorted earlier than planned, to make sure Hoseok is okay with Namjoon spending the last few days away from home at his house instead. Then, Yoongi gets the first ticket back to the city. To Seoul, where there’s his love and his heart and his home.

 

-

 

October is sinking into the city, into their skin, bringing cold air and pale-golden sunlight. Darkness begins to set into the horizon as Jimin follows Yoongi out of the restaurant.

It’s been weeks since Yoongi confessed, but they’re still taking things slow - or, Yoongi’s still taking things slow. More than dealing with his love for Jimin, he’s been dealing the fact he’s been in love all these years, and suddenly every moment that plays in his mind from before and every moment between them now feels almost overwhelming.

Yoongi treats Jimin with the tenderness he deserves, but selfishly knows that the reason he hesitates to move forward is because he’s terrified of hurting them again. Terrified of hurting Jimin again.

So, he keeps the brush of his fingers gentle over Jimin’s cheek, barely lets them trail over the backs of Jimin’s hands. He keeps the kisses he presses to Jimin’s skin - his hair, his temple, the corner of his eye - chaste, and sits on the opposite side of the table when they go out to eat, wanting to give Jimin space.

He has Jimin in a way he’s never had before, or rather, in a way he’s never realised he’s had before, and he doesn’t want to fuck it up.

Yoongi had planned to walk Jimin home and end the night with a dry kiss to his forehead, maybe the corner of his mouth, but Jimin curls his fingers around Yoongi’s wrist at the intersection that would lead them back to his apartment and drags him further into the city instead. There’s a lovely, sweet expression on his face, full of something Yoongi now knows to call love.

They walk through tight alleys bustling with late-night crowds, past bars and take-outs and market stalls selling steaming street-food, the air heavy with the smell of hot spices and onions. They wander aimlessly, pointing things out to each other that they want to try, places they promise to visit in the future - for dessert, for drinks, for another date. Somehow, they find themselves walking towards one of the smaller parks in a more residential district, tall buildings standing side-by-side on quiet streets with artfully planted trees on the sidewalks.

Jimin suddenly stops, looking up as if he’s focusing elsewhere. Yoongi takes in the gentle slope of his nose, the sharp curve of his jaw and how it softens beneath the shadows cast on his face, takes a moment too long to register Jimin pulling him close.

Yoongi startles, though he doesn’t move back, and feels his expression soften when Jimin scrunches his nose. “What?” Yoongi asks, lightly squeezing Jimin’s fingers between his own.

“Can you hear it?” Jimin asks, voice lilting. “Listen.”

Yoongi hums, and then after a moment, hears the faint notes of a song filtering from an open apartment window, familiar and nostalgic. Absently, he realises it’s one of Jimin’s favourites.

Jimin’s eyes become soft crescents on his face, and he wordlessly moves forward to close the breath of space between them, tucking his head against Yoongi’s neck, hair tickling Yoongi’s skin. Instinctively, Yoongi’s arms curl around his shoulders as Jimin’s curl around his waist, and he presses his cheek to Jimin’s temple and breathes in something sweet, something warm.

They sway together, hold each other, and it would be embarrassing in any other situation to stand in the middle of a quiet street, rocking back and forth to music they can barely hear over the ever-present rush of city noise, but Yoongi’s here with Jimin. Nothing really matters more than that.

He feels Jimin’s chest expand as he inhales, nose pressed against the juncture of Yoongi’s jaw, and it’s-

It’s a strange power to have, he thinks, to settle someone’s soul. It’s a strange thing to know someone has the power to settle yours.

The air is cold but Yoongi feels warm, and his eyelashes flutter as Jimin presses a chaste kiss to his skin, right over the point of his thrumming pulse.

“Yoongi,” Jimin says quietly, “come back to me.” He doesn’t pull back, doesn’t move away, just lets his lips brush slowly against Yoongi’s jaw. “Come back to me, now.”

Yoongi’s been taking things slow, to give them both space to adjust, room to breathe, because he’s scared and terrified and so in love it could break his heart. But Jimin holds him, as he’s always held Yoongi, and asks Yoongi to let go and Yoongi does. Taking a deep breath, he tightens his arms around Jimin’s shoulders and nods.

He can feel Jimin smile against his cheek as he moves back, just enough so that he can look Yoongi in the eye, gaze bright and beautiful. Yoongi, without thinking, moves his hands to cradle Jimin’s face, thumbs brushing over his jaw and catching on the long silver chains that hang from his ears. Yoongi, without thinking, leans forward and presses a kiss to Jimin’s mouth.

It’s so soft, so tender, that Jimin’s breath trembles against Yoongi’s skin.

“Again,” Jimin murmurs, eyes closed when Yoongi pulls back to glance at him, to make sure this is okay. “Yoongi,” he says, smiling, teeth catching on his bottom lip as he waits for Yoongi to move closer, “kiss me again.”

Yoongi kisses Jimin until his hands shake, until it feels like his heartbeat stutters, and then Jimin gasps and ducks forward to press their noses together, to take a moment and catch his breath.

“I’m scared,” Yoongi confesses, Jimin’s fingers gentle against his waist. “I’m so scared I’m not going to love you right.”

“Hyung,” Jimin says, sweet and sure, “jagi, you’ve never loved me wrong.”

Yoongi clenches his jaw. “Fuck,” he breathes, “fuck.”

“I’m so lucky,” Jimin continues, and his words are whispered against Yoongi’s mouth, their lips grazing over each other as he speaks, “to have you love me from the start. I’m so lucky.”

There’s something about his voice, something about the tone he uses and the accent that’s still as strong as the day he moved, that makes Yoongi trust everything he says completely. Jimin’s honesty is a flame that burns at the heart of him, and Yoongi can see flickers of red and orange-gold in the brown of his eyes.

It’s one of many things, Yoongi’s beginning to realise, that he adds to the list of reasons he loves Jimin. One of the many things that Yoongi realises that he chooses to love about Jimin, so effortlessly it doesn’t feel like much of a choice at all.

“I’m lucky to have you love me at all,” Jimin says, and cups Yoongi’s face in his hands, palms warm against Yoongi’s cold skin. “That you loved me for so long, I’m just sorry I didn’t love you back. I’m sorry I didn’t know-

No,” Yoongi says sharply, fingers dropping down to curl gently against Jimin’s neck. “Don’t say that, don’t apologise to me. It’s not- we’re not-”

He stops, short, unsure of how to say what he feels, only that he knows it’s better like this. That despite what they went through, to be here like this, right now, is what matters most.

Jimin nods, understanding, expression soft, and then says, "maybe it's selfish of me, but I'm glad it took us this long." At Yoongi's hesitant look, questioning and patient, Jimin continues. "I didn't love you, before, not like this. For as long as it might feel like I have, I haven't loved you that long at all. So maybe it's selfish of me, but I'm so glad you never let me break your heart."

Speechless and a little stunned, Yoongi can only look at him, swallowing hard. 

“I still don’t know how much I love you, not really. I don’t- hyung, I don’t think I ever will.” He pauses to take a deep breath, and Yoongi’s eyes flicker over his face, his shining eyes and his bright smile. “But if there’s one thing I do know,” he continues, “it’s that you’re going to be there for me. You’ll help me figure it out.”

Yoongi blinks slowly as he takes Jimin in. Even now, even after all this time, he thinks Jimin is beautiful. Soft cheeks and slightly parted mouth, smooth skin that seems to glow in the orange light and something kind, pure and tender, that seems to radiate from the deepest corners of his heart.

“I’ll be there,” Yoongi agrees finally, fingers brushing the small hairs at the nape of Jimin’s neck.

Jimin nods, the dimple in his cheek small but visible. “And I’ll be there, too.”

Yoongi presses a kiss to Jimin’s forehead, breathing him in. He can smell the gentle flora of spring and heady citrus of summer, a light fragrance that reminds Yoongi of the small garden his mother tends to with pride, and feels immediately soothed. It’s like whatever static had built beneath his skin, fear and worry and weariness, dissipated the moment he touched Jimin again.

“When did you get so smart, Jimin-ah?” he asks suddenly, voice light, feeling more at ease than he has in months.

Jimin snorts and moves forward to hug Yoongi instead of replying, and something in the air settles both sudden and slow, and makes Yoongi think that yes, he’d choose this love and the hurt that comes with it, over and over again, for someone like Jimin.

October is sinking into the city, into their skin, and love, too, sinks with it.

 

-

 

There’s a patch of sunlight that streams in through the large windows of Yoongi’s apartment, and he loves to sit in the warmth and watch dawn break over the city. But there’s something about seeing Jimin, hair now ash-blonde and a new piercing glittering in the cartilage of his left ear, cross-legged as he looks up at the sky, that fills Yoongi with an overwhelming sense of awe. Jimin, somehow, seems to make the world around him beautiful, too.

It’s early afternoon, and the light catches on the soft highlight of Jimin’s cheeks, the cherry-red of his wine-stained mouth. His eyelashes flutter as he soaks in the approaching summer heat, and his fingers tap a tuneless beat on the black denim of his jeans, stretched tight over his thigh.

“Hey,” Yoongi whispers, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, watching, waiting. The music filtering in from his bedroom, a mix of synth and lo-fi, fills the comfortable silence of the apartment, the beat of the bass like an echo of the rhythm of Yoongi’s pulse.

Jimin turns his face towards Yoongi, lower lip caught between his teeth, and smiles. “Hi.”

Yoongi feels his heart swell and lift until it feels like it’s caught in the back of his throat. He thinks: Jimin is the most beautiful person he’s ever seen. He thinks: Jimin is the most beautiful person he’ll ever love. 

Yoongi reaches out with his hand. “Come here,” he rasps, “stand up for me, Jimin-ah.”

Jimin, always receptive and sweet, gets to his feet immediately and takes Yoongi’s hand in his, curling their fingers as his thumb presses against Yoongi’s rings, adjusting them until the engravings all face upwards. Yoongi grazes his fingertips against the lace choker around Jimin’s neck, a delicate strip of fabric detailed with intricate flowers, and lets his fingers hover over Jimin’s steady pulse as he slots their mouths together. Jimin’s other hand, where it rests on his chest, spreads beneath the open collar of Yoongi’s shirt to lay flat against the smooth expanse of his skin.

Though they’d eaten a while ago, glasses of wine finished between mouthfuls of richly flavoured food, Yoongi swears he can still taste the sharp notes of cranberries on Jimin’s tongue, raspberries trapped beneath the roof of his mouth like they’ve been picked fresh from a summer garden, heady and light all at once. There’s always something so sweet about Jimin, the way he tastes and smells and touches, the way that he loves. It renders Yoongi speechless, unable to comprehend how he has someone like Jimin in his life, how he has someone to love him like Jimin does.

Yoongi curls his tongue around Jimin’s, licking behind his teeth, and lets his hand fall a little heavier against Jimin’s neck, pressing down lightly on his pulse and smiling when Jimin hums, soft and happy, and presses himself closer.

He pulls back after several long, lingering moments, to press his thumb against Jimin’s bottom lip, damp beneath the pad of his skin.

“Hyung?” Jimin exhales shakily, his voice gentle but also filled with something a little deeper, darker. Something a little like want. “Hyung-” his breath hitches when Yoongi presses a sudden and soft kiss to his upper lip, thumb still against his mouth, catching it between his own and letting his teeth drag. “Oh.”

The hand Jimin has on Yoongi’s chest curls slightly, nails scraping over Yoongi’s skin, and he seems lost in a haze as he leans into Yoongi further, searching and seeking for more of his touch. Yoongi loves it when Jimin is full of laughter, teasing and coaxing and confident, but he loves it when Jimin is like this, too. Like they have all the time in the world, like everything will still and stop just so that Jimin can take his time to kiss Yoongi deep and long and slow.

Yoongi smiles wider and kisses Jimin’s lip again, just as gently, lingering a little longer when he hears Jimin sigh. His hand curls more firmly beneath Jimin’s jaw, just enough to tilt his head back and hear Jimin gasp against his mouth. “Yeah, baby?” he asks, quiet and knowing.

Instead of replying, Jimin drapes his arms over Yoongi’s shoulders and presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth, grinning when Yoongi’s breath stutters. “Yoongi,” he murmurs, “bedroom?”

It takes a great deal of effort for Yoongi not to pull Jimin towards his room immediately, hands falling to Jimin’s waist and thumbs pushing the hem of Jimin’s shirt up to brush over his skin, feeling his breath catch in his throat when Jimin’s eyelashes flutter.

There’s always something a little overwhelming about looking at Jimin, even after all these years, like Yoongi still can't quite believe he's real.

“Oh?” he asks, keeping his voice purposefully light as he feels the raised river of a vein over Jimin’s hip beneath his thumb, “what’s in the bedroom?”

Jimin’s eyebrows furrow as he pulls back, assessing, and then bites down on his bottom lip before releasing it slowly, the corners of his eyes crinkling when Yoongi’s gaze inevitably flickers to his mouth. “A bed, hyung,” he says, and then purses his lips to stop himself from smiling. Yoongi brushes a thumb over Jimin’s waist again, reactionary. “Condoms. Lube.”

Yoongi grins, wide enough that his cheeks lift, and huffs out a breath of laughter when Jimin rolls his eyes and tucks his head into Yoongi’s shoulder.

“You’re mean, hyung,” he says, but makes a quiet sound, pleased, when Yoongi presses a kiss to his hair. They stand, quiet and content for several long moments, until Yoongi taps Jimin’s side with his fingers, kissing him slowly, just once, just enough that it takes Jimin a second too long to open his eyes again, and goes into the kitchen.

Hoseok keeps some shit in the drawer by the fridge, nothing too fancy but just enough to give a pleasant high, and Yoongi rolls a couple of joints with practiced ease, lighting one using the flame of the cooker before he takes the first drag. He can hear Jimin shuffling in the bedroom, the track changing into something a little slower, and let’s smoke fall from his lips as he runs a hand through his hair.

The lighting in his room is slightly muted, tall city buildings keeping direct sunlight from filtering in. It makes everything feel a little hazier, a little more gentle, a little more warm.

Or maybe that’s just Jimin, who seems to radiate and glow as he stands by the window, fingers curled over the ledge and jeans in a pile on the floor, shirt long on his frame and the muscles of his calves tensed as he stretches to look out and down at the street below.

Jimin glances over his shoulder as Yoongi walks in, eyes flickering down to the joint in his hand. The necklaces Jimin’s wearing, half-hidden beneath his shirt, glint in the light. One of them is a gift from Yoongi, a small and dainty chain with a fancy clasp at the back. Jimin has yet to take it off.

Jimin‘s nose scrunches as he grins. “You’re staring.”

“You like it,” Yoongi says immediately, and then, a little more sweetly but no less teasing, he says, “you’re beautiful.”

Jimin’s eyes widen, and Yoongi catches the soft pink blush that blooms beneath his cheeks before he hides his face behind his hands. “Oh my god,” he says, laughing, “you’re so- get out. Get out.”

He moved forward as if to push Yoongi back himself, his expression both embarrassed and flustered, but Yoongi catches on of Jimin’s wrists and lifts it to his mouth, pressing his lips against the raised skin of Jimin’s veins. Jimin’s chest rises with a shaky exhale, and he half-stumbles as Yoongi pulls him towards the bed.

“Watch me,” Yoongi says quietly, the backs of Jimin’s knees pushing into the edge of the mattress, “watch me watch you.”

And Jimin does, dark lashes fluttering as Yoongi cradles his cheek, eyes half-lidded and fixed on Yoongi’s face as he raises the joint to his mouth. Yoongi presses his thumb just below Jimin’s lower lip, a wordless request, and then exhales into Jimin’s mouth, chapped and slightly wet as it brushes against his own.

Jimin watches Yoongi even as he takes the smoke into his lungs, even as he releases it moments later, a mesmerising white-grey disarray that carries into the space above their heads.

Yoongi brushes his thumb over Jimin’s cheek, and then tilts his head back to take another drag. His mouth twitches when Jimin presses a wet kiss to the pulse beneath his jaw, dragging his lips down the column of Yoongi’s throat, not quite pulling away between each touch of his mouth, instead leaving a damp trail along Yoongi’s skin.

“Hyung,” Jimin murmurs, lips swollen and warm. “Yoongi-yah,” he says, “now watch me.”

Yoongi tilts away just to glance down at him, stroking his thumb over Jimin’s cheek again. “Always,” Yoongi says, immediate and sincere, “always, baby.”

Jimin smiles, lips stretching as his eyes curve, eyelashes casting shadows against his cheeks, and reaches down to take the joint from Yoongi’s fingers.

Slowly, making sure Yoongi’s looking at him, Jimin takes Yoongi’s free hand to his hips, beneath the fabric of his shirt. Where Yoongi had expected to feel smooth skin, and the thin cotton elastic of Jimin’s underwear, instead he feels-

He feels-

Lace.

Jimin grins as he inhales, watching Yoongi’s eyes widen and his lips part. It’s been a while since he’s worn something so delicate, so soft to the touch, and though he wears them for himself, he also knows just how much Yoongi loves it. Just how much Yoongi loves-

Jimin presses his palm a little harder against the back of Yoongi’s hand, so that Yoongi’s fingers brush roughly against the netting between the stitches.

He’s so fucking gorgeous.

“Fuck,” Yoongi breathes, both of his hands pushing Jimin’s shirt up to his midriff to see him, to see how the black fabric stretches over his honeyed skin, dainty and lovely and so gorgeous. “Fuck,” he says again, “you’re so pretty, baby.”

The moment Jimin exhales, Yoongi kisses him, pushes Jimin back onto the bed and can’t even smile when Jimin bounces lightly on the mattress, hand raised as he keeps the joint between his fingers. One of Yoongi’s knees bends between Jimin’s parted thighs as he ducks down to kiss the skin of Jimin’s throat, the juncture of his neck, fingers digging into the lace over Jimin’s hips.

Ah,” Jimin sighs, happy and dazed all at once, “hyung-”

God,” Yoongi says, eyes closing as he feels Jimin’s pulse jump beneath his tongue, nose dragging over the skin beneath Jimin’s ear and breathing in the smell of orange blossom and citrus, sweet and sharp and familiar. “Fuck,” he says, “you’re so pretty, so perfect for me.”

Jimin’s laughter turns into a gasp when Yoongi bites down on the skin just beneath the choker around his neck, the smoke he’d inhaled rushing out his mouth. “Oh,” he sighs, “oh, ah-” His hand curls around Yoongi’s neck to keep him close, to keep him steady, fingers digging into Yoongi’s skin. “Just for you, hyung.”

Yoongi hums, and then rolls Jimin’s skin between his teeth, smiling as Jimin’s hips jerk. He drags his tongue over the darkening pink bruise, one hand slipping from Jimin’s waist to the bed, so he can push himself up on one arm. His chest heaves, heart pounding, and everything feels slightly muted, the music and the sound of their breathing, the colour of the sunlight that gilds the strands of Jimin’s hair.

Everything feels slightly vivid, too: the flush of Jimin’s skin and the rise and fall of his chest, the black lace pressed against his hips and the colour of his mouth.

Jimin, breathless and beautiful and Yoongi’s.

For a moment, there’s stillness as they both take each other in, and then Jimin raises the joint to Yoongi’s mouth. Yoongi’s lips part automatically, breathing in, and he barely has time to let his lungs fill with smoke before Jimin surges up to kiss the corner of his mouth.

Yoongi gasps and Jimin inhales.

He can feel the damp end of the joint as Jimin cups his face, fingers pressing against his cheekbones, the swell of his hands against Yoongi’s jaw. Yoongi pulls back as Jimin breathes out, taking the joint from him to set it in an empty glass on the bedside table.

Then, slowly, he begins to undo the buttons of Jimin’s shirt, taking his time to let his nails drag over Jimin’s skin, Jimin’s fingers tangling in his hair as they kiss. Everything is sated and easy, from the way their mouths meet to the way they breathe, and Jimin continues to make quiet sounds beneath his breath as they kiss, gasps and gentle exhales that seem to sink into Yoongi and fill him with endless warmth.

Jimin suddenly tugs at a few strands of Yoongi’s hair and Yoongi nips at his lower lip, chastising, only for Jimin to then grin against his mouth. “Wanna ride you,” he says sweetly, their lips brushing as he speaks, so that the wet drag of his mouth catches on Yoongi’s skin. “Wanna make you come.”

Yoongi hadn’t realised how hard he was, how painfully so, until Jimin rolls his hips gently against him. Yoongi’s mouth falls open in a gasp around Jimin’s name, and when Jimin rolls his hips again, slower and more purposeful, Yoongi presses a bruising kiss to his mouth. He can feel the blunt ends of Jimin’s nails dig into his scalp, hear the low sounds Jimin makes as Yoongi bites and licks his lips, like the want trapped beneath his tongue will spill out and fill Jimin with the longing and desperation that vibrates and thrums in Yoongi’s blood.

“Okay,” Yoongi agrees, feeling Jimin’s chest heave against his own, “okay, baby.”

Jimin’s lips parts in a soundless whimper as Yoongi works slowly down his body, taking his time, muscles tensed as he waits patiently, still so full of want. The way he forces himself to breathe, to keep still even as Yoongi can feel his muscles jump, fills Yoongi with desperate desire, a heavy lust that fills his chest, wanting to see just how far he can push Jimin, wanting to see just how long it takes until he can’t anymore.

Yoongi feels Jimin’s heart beat beneath his tongue, the slight dip beneath the cage of his ribs, the tight muscles of his abdomen, the woven silk of lace. He’s not quite sure who moans louder, then, only that it’s enough to make Jimin laugh, and even though he’s holding his breath, Yoongi feels his heart burst with something wild, something wonderful and familiar, a plethora of emotions he's only ever experienced around Jimin alone.

He wants to take the lace off, but he knows Jimin loves the feeling of it against his skin, loves it when Yoongi presses down hard enough that the fabric leaves pink indents against his hips. Instead, Yoongi lets his tongue dampen the silk, drags his teeth over the underside of Jimin’s length and lets his mouth fall open around the tip, saliva pooling beneath his tongue. He keeps Jimin still with a hand on his hip, another against Jimin’s inner thigh to keep his legs spread.

“You’re so pretty,” Yoongi says again, nosing against the thin band of lace stretched across Jimin’s abdomen, breathing in the sweet and musky scent of Jimin’s skin. Somewhere distant, somewhere secret and safe, he realises that even after all these years, Jimin still smells the same. “God-” he says, humming when he feels the muscles of Jimin’s thigh quiver beneath his palm, “baby, the things you do to me.”

Don’t-” Jimin gasps, between moans of Yoongi’s name and hitches of his breath, as Yoongi teases and kisses and lets the warmth of his breath fall hot and heavy on Jimin’s skin, “I don’t- I, ah, don’t- fuck-”

Yoongi presses an open-mouthed kiss to the head of Jimin’s cock, and Jimin sucks in a breath so sharp Yoongi feels it fill his own lungs.

Yoongi,” Jimin says, voice high and breathy, desperate and pleading, “please-

Yoongi strokes his thumb over Jimin’s thigh and pulls away. He presses absent kisses to Jimin’s hip, to the curve of his waist and the lining of the lace beneath his stomach, and waits until Jimin has calmed, until his fingers have just managed to stop trembling.

Then, when Jimin swallows and nods, Yoongi stands.

He undresses quickly, reaching for the lube and the second joint he’d rolled earlier, setting it on the bedside table. Heat coils in his abdomen, heavy and electric, as Jimin palms himself through the damp silk of his lace, biting down hard enough that blood rushes to his swollen mouth as he waits for Yoongi to sit back between his legs.

Jimin had wanted Yoongi to watch him, and Yoongi does. He opens Jimin slowly, surely, takes his time as he feels Jimin clench and tighten around his fingers, one of Jimin’s hands fisted into the sheets beside him. And he watches, as Jimin’s mouth falls open in soundless moans, soft whimpers drawn from the back of his throat, muscles rippling beneath his skin as he shifts and begs for more. Jimin’s body is a beautiful instrument, finely tuned to Yoongi’s touch alone, the bow of his body and the notes of a love song spilling from his mouth, coming alive beneath the graze of Yoongi’s fingers, the gentle heat of his breath.

Jimin’s voice is a symphony, his heart an orchestra caught in crescendo. The way his tongue curls around Yoongi’s name is a prayer, and he’s a masterpiece of watercolour spread against the white sheets of Yoongi’s bed.

Yoongi watches Jimin until watching isn’t enough.

“Baby,” Yoongi says softly, the thick of his accent filtering into his words, “baby, do you still want to-?”

There’s dampness clinging to Jimin’s lashes, liquid silver gathering at the corner of his eyes, but he nods. Yoongi, filled with unbearable want, moves to kiss Jimin sweetly, deeply, until Jimin sighs into his mouth, his fingers lightly resting against Yoongi’s jaw.

Yoongi sits back against the headboard as Jimin takes the lace off and positions himself, shirt falling from his shoulders and knees on either side of Yoongi’s hips. His hands immediately come to curl around Jimin’s narrow waist, feeling the marks left by the lace beneath his fingers, breath hitching when Jimin’s hiss becomes a gasp as Yoongi presses down on the sensitive skin.

Jimin rests his palm flat on Yoongi’s chest, nails digging into Yoongi’s shoulder, and he uses his other hand to steady Yoongi as he finally, finally, sinks down. It’s quiet, painfully so, as they take their time to adjust.

Jimin’s bottom lip is caught between his teeth, a rosebud flush high on his skin, and the edges of his cupid’s bow are a soft pink blur. The marks on his thighs and chest and neck are vibrant, blooming flowers, caught in the summertime sun.

“You alright?” Yoongi asks, stroking his thumbs against Jimin’s skin, eyes flickering over his face.

Jimin swallows, eyelashes fluttering, but after a moment, nods. “Yeah,” he says softly, “yeah, hyung.”

If they weren’t high, if Yoongi couldn’t taste the bitter sweetness of smoke at the back of his throat, if the weed didn’t sit heavy in his blood, Yoongi might’ve fucked up into Jimin, knowing it wouldn’t take much for him to come. And Jimin might’ve moved faster, thighs straining as he kept up a relentless pace, but it’s late afternoon, and the world is glowing around them.

The word is glowing around them, and they’re trapped in a pool of muted gold and pink and blue, colours blurring behind their eyes. There’s no rush, no desperation; being together, like this, for them, is enough.

After a moment, Yoongi reaches out for the joint and uses the lighter he keeps in the drawer beside his bed. He wets his lips with his tongue as Jimin curls his fingers around Yoongi’s wrist, angling the roll to his mouth so he can take a deep inhale, and then tilting his head back to exhale.

Then, before Yoongi can take a drag, Jimin cups Yoongi’s face with his hands and rests their foreheads together, rocks his hips slowly so that when Yoongi gasps, Jimin can lick behind his teeth. Yoongi grins against Jimin’s mouth, lowering one of his hands to grab the curve of Jimin’s ass and pull him closer, have Jimin’s breath hitch against his lips.

Hyung?” Jimin asks, laughs, “Yoongi- ah, are you watching?”

Yoongi opens his eyes, having closed from their kiss, from the tight and hot heat of Jimin around him, and smiles when he sees Jimin looking back, gaze glittering. “Yeah, baby,” he murmurs, “I’m watching.”

They’re close enough that their eyelashes brush, that their noses graze against each other and each time Jimin rolls his hips, his lips press against Yoongi’s mouth. Close enough that it feels like Yoongi’s heartbeat echoes in Jimin’s chest, that each time rocks his hips up, Jimin’s smile falters as he moans.

They only half-finish the joint, too lazy to keep breathing the smoke when they could breathe each other in, instead. The sound of music fades beneath the sounds Jimin makes, gasps and murmurs of Yoongi’s name, ah’s and hyung’s, and oh, please-

They kiss, and they kiss, until Jimin grows desperate, until Yoongi doesn’t think he can sit still much longer with Jimin on him like this, with his thighs spread and his breath hot on Yoongi’s skin. He wants to ruin Jimin as desperately as he wants to hold him, and Jimin has been waiting to come since Yoongi first put his mouth on him, and he’s been so wonderful, so patient and giving and good, and Yoongi just wants to see him come.

“Baby,” Yoongi says, “sweetheart.” He takes Jimin’s face in his hands, kisses Jimin’s upper lip gently, then lets his teeth catch on Jimin’s bottom one. “You’re so beautiful, so- fuck,” he gasps when Jimin clenches around him, encouraged and pleased by the praise, “you’re so perfect for me.”

Jimin’s mouth is still parted as he smiles, lazy and sated, a damp sheen on the skin of his neck, on the curve of his temple and the shadow beneath his jaw. “Hm- yeah?” he asks, sweet and high and soft, his words slurring slightly. “You’re- ah, you’re close?”

“So close,” Yoongi promises, brushing his thumbs over the delicate skin beneath Jimin’s eyes. He opens his mouth to say more, but Jimin kisses him, lips curled happily as his eyes slip shut.

“Good,” Jimin mumbles, ducking his head to mouth at the skin of Yoongi’s jaw, biting down lightly on his skin. His hands grip tightly on Yoongi’s shoulders when, suddenly, Yoongi curls his fingers around Jimin’s dick.

The consistent slow rock of Jimin’s hips stutter, and his movements begin to lack finesse as Yoongi moves his hand.

So good, baby,” Yoongi says, tilting his face to press a kiss to Jimin’s hair, and then, with Jimin’s nose pressed against the juncture of his shoulder, unable to form any words as he lets Yoongi take control, Yoongi says, “now just come for me, baby. Jimin, just-”

Jimin, sensitive and overwhelmed, soft and so receptive, does. Yoongi, at the sound of Jimin’s moan, the sound of his own name spilling Jimin’s mouth, comes, too. It’s quiet, but it’s wonderful, and Yoongi reaches out to brush damp strands of hair back from Jimin’s forehead, fingers ghosting down to the lace around his neck, thumb brushing over the bruises littered over his skin.

Then, he presses the pads of his index and middle finger to the centre of Jimin’s lips and holds them there until Jimin smiles, before pressing them back against his own mouth.

Though Jimin eases himself off Yoongi, he stays on Yoongi’s lap, body still trembling. Yoongi holds him through it, murmuring words of praise into his hair, against the shell of his ear, hands moving over Jimin’s skin, soothing and reassuring, and so, so in love.

The stutter of his heartbeat and the warmth pooling in his chest, the words trapped beneath the roof of his mouth, the quiet not-so-secret waiting to be set free – it all suddenly clicks. It suddenly makes sense. Four months after Jimin let Yoongi back into his life, he realises that this, that Jimin, it’s love.

He’s in love.

“Jimin,” Yoongi says, almost desperately, suddenly not quite sure what to do with himself, needing Jimin to know, “Jimin-”

He’s tired, and high from shit weed, but Jimin finds the strength to pull away from Yoongi and stroke a gentle finger down the slope of Yoongi’s nose, over the raw and bitten skin of his mouth. Thoughtlessly, Yoongi purses his lips in a chaste kiss to the tip of Jimin’s finger. “Yoongi?”

I love you,” Yoongi breathes, like it’s a secret he’s held in his heart, a flower growing and blossoming until it bursts, like the words are the notes of a birdsong from the mouth of a golden bird finally set free from its cage. “Jimin, I love you so much. I love you, I love you, I-”

The expression on Jimin’s face becomes flustered, light and so happy, so unbelievably happy, that Yoongi’s not quite sure why he didn’t say it before. He tips forward like he can’t help himself, kissing Yoongi’s forehead, his cheek, the corner of his eye.

“Hyung,” he says quietly. “Yoongi.” He makes sure that Yoongi’s watching, makes sure they’re looking at nothing else but each other, when he says, “I love you.”

Yoongi releases a breath he didn’t realise he was holding, releases a laugh, too, and then tucks his face into Jimin’s neck. He repeats the words against Jimin’s skin over and over until Jimin’s shaking.

It takes them a while, but they manage to find the energy to clean themselves up, half-falling asleep as they shower together, the evening early but their hearts heavy in the warmest of ways. Yoongi turns the music off, and pulls up Netflix on his laptop as Jimin curls on top of fresh bed sheets, grinning when Jimin scrunches his nose.

“Cherries and chocolate,” Yoongi says absently, as he scrolls through the films, “weed and wine. It’s a fucking Lorde song.”

Jimin laughs, so loudly and brightly that his body tips forward, arms curling around his stomach, and Yoongi watches him and feels something sweet, like liquid sunlight, flood his veins. “You’re such a shit gay,” Jimin says, unable to catch his breath, “it’s Lana Del Rey, asshole.”

“An asshole you love,” Yoongi says immediately, teasing and confident, and can’t hide his smile when Jimin’s expression softens and he nods, small and slight.

“I do,” he says tenderly, “so much.”

Falling in love feels like this: the fading day outside his bedroom window and the smell of coconuts from the shampoo he used to wash his hair, the echo of Jimin’s laughter still ringing in his ears and the sight of the boy he’s loved for years, watching him, waiting, smiling like Yoongi’s given him everything he’s ever wanted.

Like Yoongi’s the only thing he’s ever wanted.

Yoongi closes his laptop as Jimin tilts his head to the side and says, quietly, “call me baby.”

Yoongi bites the inside of his cheek. “Baby,” he says.

Then, “call me Jimin.”

And Yoongi nods, and takes a step closer, throat tight. “Jimin,” he says, voice softer, doesn’t need to see the way Jimin’s eyes widen to know just how much feeling he’s laced into the word, into his expression.

Voice shaking, Jimin says, “call me yours.”

Yoongi moves quickly, crawling onto the bed so he can kneel in front of Jimin and look down at him, tangling his fingers behind Jimin’s neck so he can breathe the words against Jimin’s mouth. “Mine.”

Jimin’s laughter is watery, and he sniffs as he shakes his head, holding Yoongi close.

Yoongi presses a kiss between his brows, smiling. “Tell me you love me,” he murmurs.

“I do,” Jimin says, “Yoongi, I do-”

“I love you,” Yoongi says, before Jimin can continue, and feels his cheeks hurt with how widely he grins when Jimin’s mouth parts, shock turning into awe turning into love.

 

-

 

These are the moments, throughout the years, Min Yoongi falls in love:

           The slip of Jimin’s sweet smile as his mouth parts when Yoongi fucks him just right, the askance spread of his hair and how it falls into his eyes. The hollow of his cheeks and the bob of his head, the stretch of his swollen mouth and the flutter of his eyelashes when Yoongi kisses him as he comes.

           The way he says hyung, sleep soft and quiet, with his fingers trailing down the slope of Yoongi’s back as they lie together late on Sunday mornings, letting the spring sun warm their skin. Hyung, sleep soft and happy, I love you.

           The sincerity with which Yoongi asks, did you miss me? and the sincerity with which Jimin replies, always.

           The way they curl beneath the sheets of Yoongi’s duvet or on the sofa of Jimin’s apartment, standing outside in the cold or huddled together in the library, late nights in the music room or early mornings in the dance studio. Their searching eyes and frantic hearts that settle and soothe the moment they catch sight of each other, find each other again. The here you are, and, always, here I am.

           Jimin, bright-eyed and cheeks no longer sunken, skin a lovely Grecian gold, running to Yoongi with a wide smile and stumbling into a warm embrace when he gets his exam results.

           Jimin, quiet and sweet, smoothing Yoongi’s hair as he takes slow sips of his morning coffee and doesn’t ask Yoongi to get better, just reminds Yoongi that he will.

           Jimin, with his head tilted back as his body bows with laughter, painted white and purple and neon pink. Jimin, beautiful and bright and stunning, with everyone’s eyes on him and his eyes on Yoongi’s alone.

These are the moments, a handful of many throughout the years, Min Yoongi falls in love.