It started with one question from Seokjin, one of Jimin’s best friends but also more often than not, the bane of his existence.
Actually, it all started with Seokjin, to be honest, because he was the one who was accepted into a modelling agency which so happened to be the same company that Kim Taehyung was under. They met, became friends, and then Taehyung invited him to a small friend get together sort of thing and said Seokjin could bring Jimin along.
Jimin knew of Taehyung because coincidentally they went to the same university (and everyone in the university knew of Taehyung – the closest thing to a celebrity they had attending), but it wasn’t like Taehyung knew Jimin, but it was nice of him to say he could come.
It was a relatively moderate amount of people at Taehyung’s apartment, some from university, some from the modelling agency. They were all friendly and nice, even after a few drinks. Jimin had pretty much attached himself to Seokjin because he seriously didn’t know anyone. He wasn’t the kind of person who could ease into a conversation with a stranger. He was shy and awkward and preferred staying at home watching Netflix. But, he did think he could benefit from some socialisation, even if he’d need a few days after to recover.
Luckily, it wasn’t like a rowdy college party. There was music but it was a respectable volume, and nobody was trying to get off the rails, smashed out wasted. Some were watching a football game in the living room, others chatting nearby, some outside in the top floor pool.
Eventually, Jimin found himself with a group of ten or so, Seokjin included, and as conversation flowed it started going in the direction of relationships and dating and sexual experiences as most young adult chats do and somehow, somehow, it landed on Seokjin asking Jimin (loudly) to pick who he thought was the most good looking person in the room.
Jimin wanted to sink into the cushions and disappear from the many pairs of eyes now eagerly trained on him. He tried to avoid the question but damn was drunk Seokjin a stubborn asshole.
The thing is Jimin should have said Taehyung, for many reasons. One, he wasn’t sitting with them and was in the kitchen chatting to somebody else, so he’d probably brush it off if he heard and go back to his most likely more interesting conversation. Two, he was a model and everyone thought he was attractive, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Three, he would surely be used to hearing that stuff by now.
And Jimin was going to say Taehyung but he hesitated because, well, Taehyung had a boyfriend of almost a year and a half and Jimin didn’t want there to be misunderstandings or unneeded fuss because he wasn’t interested romantically in Taehyung, at all.
So instead he said, in the smallest voice he could, but still being audible because there was no way he wanted to say it twice: “Jungkook.”
A brief pause of silence as the answer sunk in and then raucous cheering and laughter filled the room. Jimin’s cheeks were red and burning and he stared at the carpet.
Jungkook was Taehyung’s best friend, and Jimin chose him because he was handsome (so handsome) with a chiselled jaw and dark, focussed eyes and a gorgeous combination of masculine features over boyish characteristics. He chose him because he was currently standing near their group and Jimin was afraid if he chose someone far away Seokjin would go running through the apartment yelling it out trying to find them. He chose him because Jungkook was very quiet, seemed pretty nonchalant about things like gossip and would most likely not care about an opinion of someone like Jimin. But mostly, Jimin chose him because, for him… it was the truth.
Jimin’s liked him since first semester last year when Jimin somehow got stuck holding the door open for their early morning lecture, an endless stream of people flowing in, and when Jungkook approached he grabbed the door handle and nodded for Jimin to walk in instead. Jimin remembered saying thank you and Jungkook giving him a small smile in return.
There was also that other time, a student was mocking a foreign guest lecturer’s accent and Jungkook straight out told him to shut the fuck up (and the student did). Or when a freshman missed a clear shot during a competitive university soccer game (the team in which Jungkook was the clear golden player) – Jimin saw from the stands as Jungkook walked up to him and must have said something reassuring because the freshman smiled in relief, look of distress melting away.
It was no surprise with all of the group’s wild laughter and shouts that they got Jungkook’s attention, his eyes glancing up from his phone screen and towards them, hearing his name being repeated.
“Jeon! Jimin says you’re the hottest person in this room!” Yugyeom yelled and Jimin felt heat rise rapidly up his neck.
“Good-looking, n-not hottest – Yugyeom – ” Jimin tried, and failed, because no one was paying him any attention and wow, he wanted to get the fuck out of here. His stomach was twisted up and all he could think was that he should have tried harder to change the topic sooner, or make a joke and choose Seokjin. He was so embarrassed and Jungkook –
Jungkook was receiving many friendly slaps on the back and trying to escape headlocks and Jimin felt bad he subjected Jungkook to all this attention when he probably wanted to stay away from it. After all, he was always fairly quiet beside Taehyung, not saying an awful lot.
Jimin sighed and picked at a loose thread at the hem of his jeans, cheeks still hot and Seokjin’s laughter wasn’t helping.
Jungkook wrestled away from a dance major named Hoseok who was probably the most tipsy person in the apartment. “Okay, okay I get the point – guys, seriously stop.” Jimin could hear his voice take a firmer edge and he seemed a bit embarrassed too if his pink cheeks were anything to go by. He ducked his head down when his eyes made brief contact with Jimin’s. “I’m getting a drink.” He walked off, hands in the pockets of his jumper.
“No, Jungkook-ah, don’t go!” Hoseok screeched and Seokjin joined in.
Jimin collapsed into the cushions, stomach sinking with dismay, chest kind of tight. He’d never be able to hold a normal conversation with Jungkook now with this hanging over his head.
It was maybe an hour later that Jimin was standing at the front door one hundred percent ready to leave and hoping that everyone would forget about this event. Unfortunately, he was the sober driver for Seokjin who was going around saying goodbye to everyone.
Jimin rocked on his heels, glancing around the room at the remaining people, a few playing a card game in front of the television screen.
Jimin spun around and saw Taehyung, shooting him a blinding smile. “Oh, thank you for letting me come, once again.”
“No worries!” Taehyung grinned and then pulled him into a big hug and Jimin stumbled, not having expected that when they’d only talked about a grand total of two times.
From over Taehyung’s shoulder he suddenly met Jungkook’s gaze. He was at the kitchen counter, opening another can of beer (he’d had several drinks already and did not seem the slightest bit tipsy). Jimin looked away, feeling stupid again. Jungkook was probably wondering who the hell he was and why he knew of him when they’ve never even talked.
“Do you know where Seokjin hyung is?” Taehyung asked once he pulled away. “I haven’t said bye to him yet.”
“Oh, he’s um, I think he went that way…” Jimin trailed off as Taehyung gave him a thumbs up and walked away in that direction.
Jimin bit his lip and flushed as he made eye contact with Jungkook again except he was walking now, towards him? No, of course he wasn’t. Jimin averted his gaze, distracting himself by zipping up his jacket but then he felt someone in front of him and oh, oh no.
“Hey.” Jungkook was standing in front of him, black hair ruffled back and with a look that could – did – make Jimin’s knees weak. He didn’t seem mad which was good… right?
Jimin felt his stomach flip. “Um. H-Hi.” Was he here to tell Jimin how annoying it was of him to say what he did? Was he angry? Jimin might not survive this night from all the humiliation.
To his astonishment, Jungkook smiled, a really gorgeous half-smile, a small curl of his lips. He had dimples. Fuck, Jimin wanted to squeal.
“May I have your number?”
Jimin blinked. Wait. “What?”
Jungkook cleared his throat, touching the back of his neck quickly. “Can I have your number?” He repeated.
Was he hearing things? Jimin dumbly grabbed his phone from his jeans pocket, his mind blank. He hadn’t expected this. “I – ”
“Oh my God, yes, you can absolutely have his number. Here. Here.”
Jimin whirled around and Seokjin was there grabbing Jungkook’s phone from his shocked grasp and typing in numbers. By the time he handed it back Seokjin was babbling nonsense that Jimin was glad he couldn’t understand because he was sure it was nothing that would add to his dignity.
“Come on hyung, you need to get home.” Jimin rolled his eyes and opened the front door, shoving him outside. He was about to follow after him but felt a light grip on his forearm, just enough to get his attention.
Jungkook let go, looking a bit sheepish. “Sorry. Um. Just – is it okay if I call you?”
Jimin felt a warmth in his chest. So he nodded quickly and then darted away with Seokjin, wondering what on earth just happened. Wondering if he was somehow walking away with a glimmer of a chance.
Jimin could feel all the gazes on him and his skin prickled with slight discomfort. He thought that by now – six months later – that he’d be used to this attention and also that everyone else would be used to this too.
The hand in his tugged him into one of the many seats in the lecture theatre and Jimin felt a wave of relief to be able to distract himself with something like opening his bag and getting out his laptop. He didn’t realise it would be like this – dating one of the most attractive guys in the university and himself being, well, rather plain in comparison.
A weight settled on his shoulder, and the hand in his slid away from his grasp and onto his thigh instead, a familiar touch. “Fuck I’m so tired. Taehyung was up until three in the morning crying to me.”
Jimin felt his mood drop, turning to see the frown on Jungkook’s face. He was resting his chin on Jimin’s sweater covered shoulder, placing a small kiss under his jaw. He looked more tired than usual, fatigue dark under his eyes.
“Oh, poor Taehyung.” Jimin murmured, the simplicity of his words making him internally cringe. He was awful at this, at trying to relate to how Taehyung could be feeling because he’d never gone through a breakup before. Jungkook was his first real boyfriend, his longest relationship. He’d never experienced anything similar, never really had to comfort one either. “I’m… it must be rough.”
Taehyung had been dating another model, Hyunseok, for almost two years but after growing apart and having different focusses, they decided to break up.
“He tells me it was mutual but, yeah, it’s not easy.” Jungkook sighed, his hand sliding across Jimin’s thigh to his knee and then back up.
Jimin knew Jungkook wasn’t trying to but it made his cheeks hot. Physical touch was important for Jungkook, which Jimin hadn’t expected. It had made Jimin anxious in the beginning, thinking Jungkook would want him to reciprocate instantly, want him to give out within the first couple of dates. It was turmoil for Jimin because he was really quite a cautious person. It turned out Jungkook just liked having the small touches for his own comfort.
“Maybe we could do something tonight to get his mind off it, like watch a movie?” Jimin offered.
“Mm.” Jungkook leaned over, his breath ghosting over Jimin’s lips. “You look good today.”
“Uh.” Jimin stuttered, taken aback by his words. He looked like he always did – a sweater with jeans and comfortable sneakers, hair barely brushed in his haste to get to his lecture on time. He hit Jungkook’s chest as his boyfriend started to laugh from his flustered expression. “God, shut up. You’re so annoying.”
“You do, you look adorable.”
“I look like this every day.”
“Because you look good every day.” Jungkook cooed as Jimin rolled his eyes, cheeks now pink and not from the autumn chill. “Though you did look even hotter when you were wearing my high school jersey – fuck, I almost - ”
Jimin pinched his bicep and Jungkook flinched back, still laughing and not the least bit sorry. By the time he finished he shot Jimin a very fond smile, eyes shining with something that made Jimin warm inside. He knew why he was smiling at him like that, that was the first time they had sex, the first time Jimin’s ever went all the way with anyone.
“Stop talking if you ever want to see me in it again.” Jimin muttered, and Jungkook smirked wider, giving his thigh a quick squeeze.
Jimin was halfway down the hall to Taehyung and Jungkook’s apartment when his phone vibrated in his back pocket. Manoeuvring the many plastic bags in his hands he grabbed the device hurriedly, left arm straining from the weight. He managed a quick glance at the screen, automatically smiling.
“Hey, I’m almost at your place. Missing me that much?” Jimin answered.
“Always.” Jungkook laughed from the other end of the line. “But hey, um, I’m calling because soccer practice got extended another hour.”
“Oh. Okay, that’s no problem.” Jimin replied despite a small twinge of disappointment. The university soccer team was really important to Jungkook though, so he admired his dedication even if it did cut into their arranged plans sometimes.
“I’m really sorry for the lack of warning, but I’m so thankful for you doing this.” Jungkook said softly as Jimin reached the correct apartment door. “I think it will cheer him up a lot.”
Jimin pressed the phone against his ear with his shoulder, needing to adjust one of the plastic bags that was digging harshly into his wrist. “It’s no trouble. I don’t mind.” And he didn’t. Truthfully, Jimin and Taehyung weren’t that close and Jimin did worry after maybe thirty minutes they would run out of things to talk about, but Jungkook cared for him, and Jimin wanted to look after the people Jungkook cared about.
“Okay, I have to go, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Jungkook paused and Jimin heard his coach yelling something in the background. “Thank you, again. Bye baby.”
“Bye Gukkie.” Jimin ended the call and readjusted the bags, wondering now if maybe he brought a little too much. In hindsight, perhaps he had gone a little crazy with the candy and groceries in case he felt like Taehyung needed a homemade meal, and even brought some DVDs that weren’t on Netflix because Jimin was old-fashioned like that. He knocked on the door, hoping that Taehyung would appreciate his efforts even if his comforting skills didn’t work out.
The door swung open a few seconds later.
From his limited experience, Jimin expected Taehyung to look dishevelled and exhausted, but appearance wise he seemed okay, wearing some grey sweatpants and a black t-shirt, hair combed. His mood did seem different, however.
“Oh, hey, Jungkook told me you were coming. He’s not here at the moment, not sure why, but he should be on his way…” Taehyung opened the door wider to let Jimin in, checking his phone as he did to search for messages from his roommate.
Jimin quickly put the plastic bags on the table, arm muscles finally relaxing. “His practice got extended an hour, but I was already here so.” He bit his lip as he glanced around the apartment, wondering how to go about this. Should he just be upfront? Should he not bring up the topic? Jimin took a breath, deciding maybe they needed to ease the atmosphere between them first. “Uh… have you had dinner?”
Taehyung blinked. “Um. Not yet? To be honest, I don’t have much food in the fridge and Kook hates it when I eat his – though he probably wouldn’t mind if you ate something -”
“That’s okay!” Jimin brightened, happy his pain had been worth it. “Let me cook you something! I brought everything already!”
Taehyung stared at him, mouth parted a bit in surprise. “You did?”
“Yep!” Jimin grinned wide as he grabbed the relevant bags and took them to the kitchen, quite familiar with the layout as he had cooked here before. “You want to watch a movie after?”
Taehyung shoved his hands in his pockets, hesitant, but smiling. “Maybe.” He peered into the other plastic bags and his mouth quirked up, incredulous. “Jesus, do you have DVDs? Are we the same age?”
If that was Jungkook, Jimin would probably smack him in the shoulder. “Come on, shut up.”
Taehyung was chuckling behind a hand, and Jimin was glad his mood was lifted even if temporarily. He walked to the kitchen counter, turning on the coffee machine and grabbing two mugs. Jimin didn’t have the heart to tell him he didn’t really like coffee.
“Hey Jimin, thank you. I know why you’re doing this, and I’m kind of embarrassed but I’m grateful.” Taehyung said quietly.
Jimin didn’t know how to respond, so he distracted himself by cutting some vegetables, stringing together different sentences in his head. “Of course, I don’t mind. I’ve never really done this comforting before so I might be terrible at it but, um, I’ll try my best?”
Taehyung laughed, pressing some buttons on the coffee machine and the kitchen was filled with the sound of coffee beans grinding. “It’s all good. I think you got lucky, my breakup was not too chaotic. I’m not heartbroken exactly, just, it’s weird not being together.” He was staring at the mugs, voice suddenly thick and tight.
“Even so, you can be upset. I think you’re entitled to be as upset as you need.” Jimin smiled warmly, internally praying he wasn’t overstepping a line.
“Yeah… I know it was the right thing to do, but I just feel kind empty.”
“That’s understandable, he was like a part of you.” Jimin moved on from chopping garlic to green onions. He’d met Hyunseok on a few occasions, and with Taehyung the couple seemed really at ease, always smiling and giggling, happy just to be in each other’s company. On the outside looking in, Jimin didn’t notice any strain in their relationship, but Jungkook had mentioned it a few times, so the break up was a shock but not entirely unexpected. “But, Taehyung, without him you’re still whole. You just don’t feel like it yet.”
There was a beat of silence before Taehyung exhaled roughly and then beamed. “I’m glad Kook has you.” He let the coffee machine fill up one mug before changing to the next. “You know, I worried about him sometimes. He’s so soft-hearted, he just wants to take care of others, but I always felt like his previous boyfriends didn’t return it the same way.”
Jimin turned the stove heat on, placing a pot on top and waiting for it to get to the right temperature. He knew Jungkook had been in a few relatively serious relationships in the past. They’d talked about it a bit, but Jungkook had never said anything like this. Maybe he didn’t think the way Taehyung did, maybe he was too kind and didn’t see it.
“Anyway, I know you do.” Taehyung finished, stepping around the counter to the fridge and pulling out a carton of milk. “I’m not trying to burden you, I just want to say I’m happy for you two.”
Jimin glanced away, a little overwhelmed. He hadn’t expected this. He didn’t think Taehyung would think so nicely of him. Jimin had – and still has – a lot of uncertainty regarding himself and in being with Jungkook. It was difficult being the less experienced one, being uncertain of certain steps in a relationship. He felt awkward sometimes too, being far less popular and having a much smaller friendship group than Jungkook – even if that was what he preferred. He wasn’t ashamed of himself (Jimin had spent too many years of his life living like that), but he did wonder if they were sometimes mismatched.
But he was so happy with Jungkook, and Jungkook’s never complained, not even once.
Jimin smiled shyly. “Thank you.”
Jungkook entered the apartment just as they started the movie, hair damp with sweat and sleeves rolled up past his elbows.
“Hey, sorry I’m late.” He greeted as he put down his sports bag and kicked off his shoes, eyes brightening at the smell of stew.
Taehyung raised a hand in return absentmindedly, focussed on the movie (one of the ones Jimin brought, not meaning to brag but he was quite proud in his selection).
Jimin got up from his seat on the sofa, stomach doing those little somersaults he still got whenever he saw Jungkook. “Hey.”
“Hi baby.” Jungkook leaned down to peck him on the lips, hand snaking behind the nape of his neck. “Mm, did you cook? I’m so hungry.”
Jimin brushed some stray strands of hair out of Jungkook’s eyes. “I’ll warm some up. Do you want to shower first?”
“Yeah.” Jungkook kissed him again, eyes crinkling at the corners. “This is the best, coming home to you. I’m so happy.”
“What the heck.” Jimin hit his chest as his cheeks began to redden, heart speeding up from the sheer affection in Jungkook’s voice. “Why are you being so sappy?”
“I’m trying to be romantic, my dear.”
“Go shower.” Jimin giggled, nudging him towards the bathroom and admiring the muscles in his back as he went. Jimin had thought Jungkook was far too handsome before, but after getting to know him he got even more attractive.
Jimin chewed on his lip as he tossed up between which sweater to wear, the autumn weather slowly but surely starting to intensify for winter. He was in the middle of pulling off his baby blue one to replace with a black one instead; it was less stylish but it was warmer, and Jimin would hate himself if he caught a cold before exams.
“I’m heading over to Jungkook’s in a few minutes.” Jimin said as he placed his laptop in his bag, leaving his textbooks open on his desk. His phone made a notification sound and he checked it, thinking it was Jungkook but it was Taehyung tagging him in a meme.
“I can’t believe you have the audacity to kick me out.” Seokjin, who was sprawled on the carpet, pouted in disappointment. “And laugh about it with your boyfriend.”
“But it’s my dorm.” Jimin said pointedly. “And it was Taehyung, not Jungkookie.”
“You go there so often now.” Seokjin groaned but it was good-natured, Jimin could tell he was pleased for him. He’d been encouraging Jimin forever to go on dates and be more forward but Jimin was difficult – he was shy, and he couldn’t agree to go out with someone if he didn’t feel attracted to them, despite others saying that feelings may develop later. It felt unfair somehow, like he was leading them on. “You never have time for your hyung.”
“That’s not true.” Jimin slung himself over Seokjin’s back, squeezing around his shoulders. “You know I love you.”
He supposed Seokjin made a fair argument, joke or not, but a lot of those visits had been Taehyung related – not really doing anything, just trying to be there for him and get his mind off things, or be an ear if he needed to vent.
You’re the best, Taehyung had said when Jimin treated him to ice cream when the day for what would be his and Hyunseok’s second year anniversary rolled around. They also went and watched Jungkook’s soccer games together and even hung out a couple times to study. Gradually, it stopped being about trying to help Taehyung through his breakup, and more just being friends.
“I’ve been replaced and it’s my own fault.” Seokjin fake wept dramatically and Jimin rolled his eyes.
“Remember that you embarrassed the hell out of me.”
“And you ended up with a fine ass boyfriend. You’re welcome, next.”
“Why do you think he asked me out on a date?” Jimin mumbled as he tugged on the hem of his t-shirt. He was ready to leave for the restaurant – he’d been ready for an hour - but in that time his nerves were in full force.
“The same reason most people ask others on dates, he’s interested in you.” Seokjin replied.
“But, he doesn’t even know me.”
“So he’s getting to know you.”
“But, why?” Jimin whispered, heart pounding in his chest. He just didn’t get it. Jungkook was the university’s star athlete, the gorgeous film-making and photography student.
Seokjin’s expression softened. “Don’t doubt yourself. You’re a catch. Besides, this is what you’ve been waiting for! For a guy you’re interested in to be interested back.”
Jimin made a small sound of agreement. “Yeah, I suppose.”
“Trust me, from what I know and from the times I’ve spoken to him, he seems like a really nice guy. He wouldn’t stand you up, or do anything to embarrass you. Maybe he thought you were cute when you said he was the hottest guy.”
“Most good-looking.” Jimin corrected begrudgingly.
“Same thing.” Seokjin gripped Jimin’s shoulders, staring at him like he was giving him a pep talk (and he was). “Stop psyching yourself out. Just enjoy yourself. Worst case, you two don’t click and you never speak again. At least you tried.”
Jimin laughed shakily. “Yeah. You’re right. Maybe he’s just as nervous as me for this date?”
“Of course he fucking is.”
“Okay, I’m going.” Jimin hugged Seokjin again, though doubting that Jungkook could be as tense as he was. Jungkook probably got asked out all the time. “Thanks, hyung.”
Jimin stared at the scene several yards away from him. Jungkook was standing nearby the fountain on the university campus, two girls and guy around him speaking animatedly.
Jimin didn’t know them, and he didn’t know if he should interrupt. Jungkook was known by so many people – either from being friends with Taehyung or the star player on their soccer team. He was sort of infamous all around campus and Jimin was… practically a homebody. It’s not that he minded that – he wasn’t going to pretend to like things if he didn’t, be someone he wasn't - but he wondered if he had anything to offer Jungkook, if anything in ‘Jimin’s world’ could be interesting for him.
I should go over, we’re supposed to be meeting here after all.
I’m his boyfriend, I’m not intruding.
Jimin glanced away, feeling hot and awkward. He was in the midst of trying to psych himself up when he heard a voice from some distance beside him.
Jimin swerved and his chin tilted up and saw Taehyung walking towards him.
“Thank God it was you, I wasn’t sure.” Taehyung laughed. He was dressed really nicely in carefully selected pieces, looking every bit the model he was. “Do you have class?”
“No, I’m done for the day.” Jimin adjusted his bag on his shoulder. “I was almost falling asleep in my last lecture.”
“Right, haven’t you actually slept straight into the next lecture before?”
Jimin laughed despite the small bit of embarrassment from the memory. “Shut up. That was one time!”
“Look, you told me, so I’m never going to let it go.” Taehyung raised his hands defensively.
“That’s not fair! You have to tell me an embarrassing story too, make it even.” Jimin protested weakly, grabbing Taehyung’s arm and mustering up the best puppy dog eyes he could. It always seemed to work on Seokjin and Jungkook. “Please?”
“Hey, don’t pull that black magic shit on me.” Taehyung replied with a grin, trying to block Jimin’s eyes from his view. They went through a few seconds of Jimin trying to swat Taehyung’s hand away and Taehyung avoiding his gaze, laughing all the while. Once he successfully managed to slip away and Jimin conceited, he glanced behind Jimin, posture straightening. “Oh, there’s Jungkook.”
Jimin was about to stutter out some lame excuse to stall him but Taehyung was already walking over and Jimin trailed after him, confidence rising from having another presence.
“Jungkook!” Taehyung called and Jungkook peered over the small group, his gaze falling to Jimin then Taehyung, and then back to Jimin.
The three others around Jungkook instantly brightened further at the sight of Taehyung, eyes widening and cheeks going pink, gazes all falling onto him. Jimin supposed Taehyung had that effect on a lot of people.
They all flocked to Taehyung, and in that time Jungkook reached for Jimin’s hand, attention solely on him and Jimin felt stupid for being worried that he would interrupt. “How were your classes?”
“Good.” Jimin answered, relaxing under his touch. “How were yours?”
“Boring.” Jungkook said as he pressed a quick kiss at Jimin’s hairline.
“Look this will cheer you up. I brought you banana milk.” Jimin rummaged through his bag for the bottle. It was kind of silly; Jimin had just been buying some snacks at the convenience store that morning and when he saw the drink Jungkook loved so much he just couldn’t resist. He liked to see him smile.
Jungkook took it with surprise, before he grabbed Jimin in his arms and spun him around. Jimin was crushed to his chest. His boyfriend was so extra.
“My angel.” Jungkook crooned once he let him go, already opening the bottle.
“It’s just – it’s – it’s nothing.” Jimin mumbled, realising that dramatic display of appreciation got Taehyung and the other three’s attention.
Taehyung shot him a brief smile before glancing away.
Jungkook took a sip before facing the others. “Jimin and I have plans so we should head off, talk to you later?”
The others nodded and smiled, saying their goodbyes. Jungkook squeezed Jimin’s hand, looking like an excited puppy. They didn’t have particularly interesting plans, it was a pretty simple date – they were going to a café for coffee (hot chocolate, in Jimin’s case) and maybe some desserts, and then some shopping afterwards. Jimin had an exam he had to study for so he couldn’t stay late.
He’d worried that these kind of things would get boring for Jungkook, Jimin admits he really does prefer little things like this more than extravagant events, but so far Jungkook didn’t seem to mind. Maybe he really just liked spending time together, no matter how it was.
Jimin smiled, leaning into Jungkook’s shoulder as they walked.
“Jimin, they finally scored a goal!”
“What, I was only gone for like two seconds!”
Jimin raced back to the couch with the bag of chips he had gone to the kitchen to collect, watching the replay of Manchester United score an excellent goal from a corner kick.
Taehyung cheered, extra elated from the buzz of alcohol. “And it’s even scores again.”
Jimin sat back down on the couch, putting the chips between them. He had gotten a lot closer to Taehyung over the weeks since things ended with Hyunseok. It had been two months now and Taehyung was back to his cheery self. He returned to modelling, regularly going to university lectures and hanging out with friends. He even spoke to Hyunseok a couple days ago on the phone, checking up on him and smoothing out any last issues.
Jimin was happy for him, Jungkook was too.
Speaking of Jungkook, Jimin realised he hadn’t told him he was here. His boyfriend was still at university, and Taehyung called him over because the soccer match was on and they both loved Manchester United and Jungkook wasn’t there to watch it with him.
“You must be good luck!” Taehyung declared and cuddled Jimin, breath smelling strongly of wine.
“You need to take a break.” Jimin chuckled as he placed the lid back on the wine bottle and pushed it slightly away, taking the wine glass too. He was just standing up to put the glass in the sink so Taehyung couldn’t have any more when the door opened and Jungkook walked in.
Jimin couldn’t help the way his stomach fluttered. Jungkook looked so handsome, thin buttoned up shirt accenting his biceps and washboard abdomen, jeans shaping around his muscular thighs and mile long legs. His hair was ruffled from the wind, falling over gorgeous eyes and above high cheekbones.
Jungkook noticed him a second later, startled. “Babe?” He looked confused, eyes trailing from Jimin to Taehyung clinging to him, eyes narrowing in on the sight. “What are you doing here?”
Taehyung slowly detached himself, not looking at Jungkook, as Jimin stood up. “I came over to watch the game with Taehyung. Are you tired? Sit down a bit.”
“I… oh.” Jungkook cleared his throat and then smiled but something about it seemed off – it didn’t really touch his eyes and it looked a bit forced. Jimin felt strange, was something wrong?
“Do you want me to go?” Jimin asked quietly, chest suddenly tight. Jungkook didn’t seem that excited to see him.
Jungkook cupped Jimin’s cheeks, thumb tracing over his skin gently. “No, no of course not. Sorry, it’s just been a long day and I was surprised to see you.” He leaned down to kiss Jimin’s lips.
When he drew back, his smile was genuine.
Jimin ended up staying the night since the game went for quite a while, and then Jimin got… distracted from the time by Jungkook.
“You don’t need pants, come here.” Jungkook whined from the bed, only in his boxers and hair damp from their shower.
“I thought I left sweatpants here the other day.” Jimin mumbled as he opened another drawer of Jungkook’s dresser. He was wearing Jungkook’s high school jersey which reached mid-thigh (it was slightly oversized on Jungkook, it was huge on Jimin) but he got so cold when he slept he wanted pants.
“You just want to see me wearing only your jersey.” Jimin rolled his eyes, like he wasn’t totally pleased by the capitalised JEON on his back.
Jungkook smirked. “Yes I do, because you look damn cute.”
“But I get cold.”
“I’ll keep you warm.” Jungkook stood up, taking a second to admire the curve of Jimin’s back as he opened another drawer, and the fresh finger bruises on Jimin’s smooth, pale thighs.
“But – ” Jimin felt his next breath knocked out of him as Jungkook scooped him up and dropped him on the Queen sized bed, crawling in beside him right after. “Jungkook!”
“Tell me you didn’t like that.”
“Ugh.” Jimin rolled away, blushing furiously. Stupid Jungkook and his stupid muscles. Stupid Jimin for his stupid strength kink.
Jungkook cinched an arm around his waist, spooning him, chuckling behind his ear. “Don’t be mad, I promise I’ll cuddle you all night.”
Jimin huffed but he melted against Jungkook’s chest all the same, resting a hand over his.
“You’re not too sore, right?” Jungkook added, kissing the nape of his neck, getting a little shiver from Jimin because it was a sensitive spot for him. “I got a bit rougher than usual.”
“Mm, no. I’m okay. I like it when you get all possessive.” Jimin pulled up the blankets and shifted around, getting comfortable. His eyelids were slipping shut, body having a nice but tired ache to it and relaxing from the warmth.
“We’ll swap next time.”
“Though I actually prefer it slower - ”
“Jungkook?” Jimin sighed, eyes closed.
“I’m going to sleep.”
Jimin woke up to the sound of his alarm, and true to Jungkook’s word he was still nestled in his arms. Giving his sleeping boyfriend a few light kisses across his collarbones, Jimin untangled himself from Jungkook, stretching out his limbs after.
He pulled on his jeans from yesterday and exited the room, throat dry and craving water. His body ran a bit hot when he remembered all the moaning he had done last night, though most of it had been muffled into a pillow because he was too loud for the thin apartment walls. It was just that Jungkook was so good at everything, and always so gentle even when he was acting a little dominant.
Jimin pushed the images of Jungkook pinning him to the bed whilst he had his way with him to the back of his mind when he saw Taehyung, drinking coffee whilst scrolling through his phone.
Taehyung jolted slightly before shooting Jimin a quick smile. “Morning.” He opened his mouth like he was about to say something and then faltered, turning back to his phone. His eyes had fallen on Jimin’s neck.
Jimin frowned, but he decided not to dwell on it, reaching for a glass. “Do you have much on today?”
“Ah, just some classes and then an assignment to submit.” Taehyung replied. “I think I’m going to be pulling an all-nighter for this one.”
Jimin gave him a sympathetic smile. “I’ve been there. Let me know if you need me to bring you anything like energy drinks or coffee if you run out.” The jar of coffee beans was looking a little low. Taehyung and Jungkook both liked to push it as far as possible, not wanting to give in first and be the one to buy a new packet.
Taehyung smiled as he started walking back to his room, a dismissive tone to his voice. “Nah, it’s all good, don’t bother.”
Jimin stood in the kitchen with the empty glass in his hand, somehow feeling like he got blown off.
When he went back to Jungkook’s room he caught sight of himself in the mirror. Two dark hickeys were on his neck. Jimin traced the edges of the reddish purple – not that Jimin minded, but Jungkook didn’t usually mark him up like that.
Jimin thought at first that it was just him being too sensitive, reading too much into things, but he couldn’t help feel like Taehyung was now avoiding him.
He stayed shut away in his room whenever Jimin was over at the apartment, he had bolted when Jimin had sat down at a café with Seokjin and Taehyung, became strangely slow to reply to any messages and whenever they did speak in person, Taehyung kept cutting the conversation short.
Jimin stared at his hands on the university bleachers, waiting for Jungkook to finish practice but silently mulling over what he could have done to upset Taehyung. He didn’t want to be on bad terms with Jungkook’s best friend and put his boyfriend in an awkward position. He really thought they were becoming closer too.
“Hey.” A weight settled beside him and then an arm around his shoulders. “You good?”
Jungkook was raising a bottle to his lips, jacket strewn across beside him. He hadn’t showered yet, must have come straight to Jimin once practice finished.
Jimin shrugged. “I guess.”
“Wait, what’s wrong?” Jungkook frowned, eyes filled with worry.
“It’s just… I don’t know…” Jimin almost wanted to brush it off but Jungkook was looking at him so earnestly he couldn’t. “Have you noticed if Taehyung’s been acting weird?”
“Taehyung?” Jungkook paused, putting his water bottle down and swallowing. “How so?”
Jimin shrugged again, feeling stupid. What if he was just making a big deal over nothing? What if Taehyung was just really stressed over something? What if it was a matter that Taehyung felt wasn’t any of Jimin’s business? “It just feels like he’s avoiding me, a bit? Do you know if I did something to him?”
“Oh.” Jungkook sat back, chewing on his bottom lip thoughtfully. “I haven’t seen much of him either lately. I’ll talk to him tonight. I’m sure he’s not mad at you, okay?” Jungkook slid a hand onto Jimin’s, gaze warm and comforting.
Jimin already felt less burdened by speaking to him. “Okay.”
Jungkook kissed him on the cheek. “Alright, I’m going to go shower and change. Meet you back here in ten?”
Jimin nodded as Jungkook stood back up, grabbing his jacket as he jogged off towards the locker rooms. Jimin stretched his legs, pulling out his phone to scroll through some social media as he waited. Quickly, he got caught up in some new dance videos from his favourite YouTube channels that he got slightly startled when two new people joined him on the bleachers. It was a girl and a guy, both good looking, and from memory, both on the cheerleading team.
“Hey, Jimin, right?” the girl asked sweetly.
Jimin smiled, albeit confused. “Yes?”
“I’m Mingyeong and this is Donghun. You’re Jungkook’s boyfriend?” She seemed friendly enough, Donghun too, even if Jimin did find them approaching him a little odd.
“Yeah.” Jimin nodded, placing his phone back in his pocket out of politeness. Was that how everyone knew him as – Jungkook’s boyfriend?
“That’s so cool.” She remarked, curling some of her bleached hair behind her ears.
“Uh, I guess?”
“You must be able to go to all these awesome parties because he’s best friends with Taehyung.” Donghun added, sitting down, tone curious.
Jimin wasn’t sure how to respond. He supposed he did have those opportunities, but Taehyung didn’t really go to that many parties that he knew of. Even if he did, it didn’t really mean that Jungkook or Jimin were automatically invited.
“Maybe. I’m not really a party person so I don’t know for sure.” Jimin said truthfully, their intentions starting to become clear.
“Ah, that’s a shame.” Donghun smiled dreamily, sharing a look with Mingyeong. “Taehyung is so handsome, and I spoke to him once – he’s really nice. I would love to be friends with him.”
Jimin didn’t miss the hopefulness in his voice.
Mingyeong grinned. “Well, I think Jungkook is hotter – like when he’s on the field, damn - but I mean, Taehyung is a model. He seems so interesting too.”
Jimin felt his stomach twist at their words, partly out of possessiveness (he naively wished he could be the only one to admire Jungkook’s physique, particularly when he was riled up with competitive energy) but mostly out of the way they seemed to be comparing them. He didn’t even understand why they were concerning him with this conversation – he was dating Jungkook, not Taehyung.
Mingyeong caught herself, and added on hastily, “Don’t worry, I’m not trying to go after your boyfriend.”
Jimin rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably, racking his mind for something to say, wishing he could be one of those people that knew how to connect and get along with anyone. Thankfully, life was cutting him some slack today because he saw Jungkook walking towards the bleachers, a towel around his neck to catch stray droplets from his wet hair. He had changed back into jeans and a white button up that was almost see through in certain lights.
“Sorry, I have to go. It was nice to meet you.” Jimin stood up with a wave and hastily made his way to Jungkook. He grabbed Jungkook’s hand, very aware of both of them staring. “Come on, let’s leave.”
“Huh – why?” Jungkook glanced over his shoulder, eyes darkening. “Did they say something to you? Should I go kick their ass?”
Jimin couldn’t suppress a smile at that. “No. I just wanna spend time with you.”
Jimin felt himself being tugged to his feet as the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the soccer game. Taehyung was cheering, along with Seokjin and Hoseok, holding up a banner with Jungkook’s name on it.
“We won! We won!” Taehyung grabbed Jimin and pulled him into a hug, laughing.
Jimin unconsciously smiled too from Taehyung’s infectious personality, watching the players on the field shake hands and bow. Jungkook had scored two goals – the end score being 2-1 – and he was clearly receiving the result of that in the form of chants of his name from the audience (an advantage of a home game) and claps on the back from his teammates.
Slowly, the stands began to clear.
“Party at Yugyeom’s!” Someone cheered.
Jimin glanced in the direction of the voice but he didn’t recognise him. Taehyung clearly did because he waved and yelled, “We’ll be there!” More cheers from the people around them. Taehyung faced them. “Right? You’re all coming, right?”
Seokjin and Hoseok practically shouted their affirmations. Jimin nodded, wondering if Jungkook would be going too.
“Oh, can we quickly go get some fries before they close?” Seokjin piped up.
“Shit, yes, I’m starving.” Hoseok added on.
Taehyung brightened. “Same. Oh – one of us should go tell Jungkook where we are because he literally never checks his phone.”
The three of them turned to Jimin pleadingly, Seokjin kind of giving him a smirk.
“Ah, sure.” Jimin said, much to their delight.
He parted with them from the stands and walked towards the locker rooms where other players were exiting from, a lot of them having friends or significant others waiting for them. Jimin bit his lip, feeling self-conscious.
He and Jungkook had gone on that date three days ago. Jungkook was charming and sweet, conversation had been awkward at first but it eventually became natural. Jimin personally thought it had gone really well. Jimin thanked him again after with a text, and Jungkook replied saying he enjoyed it, but after that nothing happened.
Jimin hadn’t known if he should bite the bullet and call him, wondering if Jungkook wanted to hear from him.
Jungkook walked out a few minutes later, chatting to a teammate briefly before he noticed Jimin. Jimin gave a small, tentative wave, knowing the other probably hadn’t expected to see him.
The teammate said something and Jungkook nodded before the other left. Jungkook had his water bottle in his right hand, and had changed into Adidas sweatpants and his university sports jacket.
“Hey.” He smiled, walking to Jimin. “I didn’t know you came to the game.”
“I don’t usually. Um. Taehyung asked me to come so I did.” Jimin said, aware his heart had started beating a little faster at seeing Jungkook up close again. He really was that attractive.
“Ah. I see.” Jungkook’s expression wavered, looking almost disheartened.
Fuck, did Jimin say something wrong? One of Jungkook’s teammates walked past, swinging a hand around his neck, guffawing. “Damn, Jeon, getting lucky.”
Jimin went bright red. Jungkook shoved the other guy off, half-laughing but also embarrassed. “Fuck off, Yoon.”
“See ya next week!” This guy – Yoon – shot Jimin a grin that looked by all means sincere. “Bye Jeon’s boyfriend!”
“I – ”
“Sorry. Ignore him.” Jungkook said hurriedly and Jimin felt bad for the misunderstanding and wished he didn’t feel a little bit pleased and flattered.
Jimin laughed it off as best as he could. “Um… The others are going to a party at Yugyeom’s. Did you – were you going to go?” Jimin asked hopefully. He wasn’t that big on parties but it would be nice to spend time with Jungkook.
Jungkook faltered, as if he was torn between two things. “Actually, I was just going to stay home and watch a movie. Not really feeling it today.”
Jimin felt his heart sink, the words stinging almost like a rejection. “Oh. Okay.” He forced a smile. People like Jungkook didn’t date guys like Jimin. They didn’t match – lifestyles, personalities. He had expected that. “You played really well! Congratulations.”
“Thanks, hyung.” Jungkook smiled wider.
Jimin ducked his head. “The others are just getting some food, by the way.” He turned on his heel to lead Jungkook to the now closed food stall, not turning around to check if he was coming.
The three of them were sharing a box of chips, looking high on the energy from the game. They ran up and hugged Jungkook when they saw him, showering him with compliments.
“I get it. I’m the best.” Jungkook chuckled as he stole a potato chip from them.
“Are you coming to Yugyeom’s?”
“Nah, I’m just going to go home.”
Taehyung pouted. “What? Why?”
“A bit tired.”
“That makes sense – you’ve earned it.”
“I earned sleep?”
“Whatever.” Taehyung turned to Jimin. “We’re going to go buy some drinks before we go to Yugyeom’s, you’re still coming right?”
Jimin gave a sheepish smile, not as excited to go anymore. He kind of just wanted to wallow in dejection for a while by himself – as childish as that sounded. “I… I think I might just go home too.”
Jungkook was staring at him kind of intensely and Jimin figured he probably realised he was only going for him – wow, now his feelings for a guy after one date were plain obvious. Jungkook must think he was an idiot.
“Aw, you as well?” Taehyung’s lips turned downwards.
From behind Taehyung, Seokjin’s gaze darted from Jimin to Jungkook but Jimin crushed his curiosity with a small shake of his head that went unnoticed by anyone else. After saying goodbye, Jimin shoved his hands into his pockets, avoiding any eye contact with Jungkook in case it betrayed how he was really feeling.
“Um, hyung.” Jungkook called after him, when Jimin had just mumbled a quick goodbye. His voice sounded a bit flustered. “Do you – I can drive you home.”
“I live on campus, it’s okay.” Jimin replied quickly. Jungkook must feel bad for not being able to return his feelings. At least the guy Jimin had been crushing on for ages was nice.
“Then – wait – do you want to come back to mine and watch a movie? I’ll order pizza.” Jungkook suggested and he sounded shy.
Jimin’s mouth was frozen in shock. What was going on? Did Jungkook just mean it as a friendly offer? Was it guilt? Jimin swallowed, “I-I don’t understand. Are you asking like a date?”
Jungkook chuckled softly and maybe it was Jimin’s imagination but he swore the tips of Jungkook’s ears were red. “Yeah. Like a date. I know it’s kind of casual – I’ll take you somewhere nice next time.”
Next time? Jimin’s mind had gone unhelpfully blank. “But I thought you weren’t interested.”
Jungkook glanced down, abashed. “I am. I thought maybe you weren’t.”
“What made you think that?”
“Because you – I mean – it’s nothing. It was stupid.” Jungkook replied, voice almost a bit insecure, and then looked up at Jimin almost shyly. “So… movies and pizza?”
Jimin felt like his whole body had gone light. He was weightless. He was floating. “I’d like that.”
“Can I see?”
“No! Jungkook!” Jimin made a grab for the photo album in Jungkook’s hand (this was not how he wanted to spend time with Jungkook). Curse his boyfriend for being taller than him, with longer arms as well so he could easily hold the object well out of Jimin’s reach.
“Please? Please?” Jungkook begged, eyes crinkled at the corners because of how hard he was smiling. “You’ve seen my past photos. I bet yours are hella cute.”
Jimin felt his hands go a bit clammy. He knew Jungkook was too polite and kind to actually look in it if Jimin didn’t say he could, but he looked so damn excited Jimin didn’t want to say no.
“It’s embarrassing.” Jimin protested and crossed his arms.
That album had his high school photos in it – and that wasn’t a good time for him. He had been insecure, about a lot of things – his weight, his looks, his grades, his social standing. His years were spent comparing himself to others, trying to be better, be someone else.
He had escaped that negative headspace since starting university and meeting all sorts of new people, but he didn’t like to be reminded of it.
That Jimin had been struggling with himself about – about everything. That Jimin was not someone he wanted Jungkook to see.
He was kind of a loser in high school, and he knew not everyone fit in, Jimin accepted that. But he didn’t know if he wanted to show it to Jungkook who had been popular in high school, who always had someone to sit with and talk to. He’d seen the plethora of people from high school who adored Jungkook, heard stories from Hoseok who attended the same school about how loved he had been – Jungkook had even admitted he felt strange coming into university because not everyone knew him. Jimin wasn’t naïve to think Jungkook wouldn’t have had his own struggles regardless, but it was still daunting.
Maybe Jungkook would lose interest in him (popular guys didn’t associate themselves with people like Jimin) – and sometimes it still felt like Jimin and Jungkook came from different worlds and this was too good to be true.
“Baby? Shit, I’m sorry, I’m being an asshole.” Jungkook’s voice cut him out of his stupor. His boyfriend lowered his arm and offered the album back, gaze regretful. “This is private, I’m sorry.”
Jimin realised his eyes were stinging. “It’s… it’s fine.” He took the album back slowly.
“Fuck.” Jungkook gathered him in his arms, looking so apologetic Jimin wanted to apologise too. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have insisted. Do you… do you want me to leave?”
“No.” Jimin linked his arms around Jungkook’s back, cheek pressed against his sternum. “I just need a second.”
“Okay.” Jungkook replied, carding a hand through Jimin’s hair soothingly.
Jimin thought he had moved past this, that he was done feeling sorry for himself, and it’s not that he wanted to change the past or hated himself because he hadn’t fit in – he just wanted to show his best self to everyone all the time.
His self-acceptance was not perfect, but it was the idea of Jungkook not accepting him that made him nervous.
Jimin took a deep breath. “You can see.”
Jungkook leaned back slowly, surprised. “Are you – are you sure? You don’t have to say that.”
“No, I…” Jimin opened the album, the first photo a fifteen year old picture of himself in his new school uniform. Jihyun was beside him. “It’s alright.”
Jungkook glanced down at the photo, smiling. One hand was still stroking his back. “Aw, you’re adorable. Your brother looks so much like you, but cuter.”
“Kidding, I’m kidding.” Jungkook chortled, flipping to the next page after a nod from Jimin. He made a comment here and there, mostly just cooing at Jimin’s lingering baby fat on his cheeks, or a stunned compliment on Jimin’s academic awards (“Um, I was kind of a nerd” “How can you be embarrassed about being smart?”). Jungkook finished looking through the album a few minutes later, Jimin still huddled up against him. “Why were you worried? That album just shows how amazing you are.”
“It’s just...” Jimin bit his lip and glanced at Jungkook who really did look confused, “high school was a crappy time for me.”
Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “Why?”
“I was a bit of an outcast.” Jimin took the album from Jungkook and put it back on the small bookshelf he had near his bed.
His words must have been enough, because Jungkook seemed like he understood. “Did you think I’d judge you?”
“A bit.” Jimin glanced at him meekly. “I just think if we met in high school you never would have noticed me.”
Jungkook sat down on the edge of Jimin’s bed. “I wouldn’t be so sure.”
Jimin chuckled, hoping he didn’t sound salty because he didn’t want to make Jungkook feel bad – it’s not like it was in any way Jungkook’s fault. “I’m not saying this out of spite, I’m just – we’re different.”
Jungkook held out his hand for Jimin, who took it, sitting down next to him. “And is that so bad - us being different?”
“I…” Jimin’s train of thought crumbled at Jungkook’s sincere gaze. Was it? The point was they met now, not in high school. Who was to say Jimin would have even liked Jungkook in high school either? When they were together, Jimin didn’t feel like they clashed. He felt comfortable, felt understood. “I guess not.”
Jungkook slipped a hand around the back of Jimin’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss, eyes fluttering closed. The kiss was sweet, just a press of lips on lips.
Just that, and still more.
From: Jungkookie x
I spoke to Taehyung. He said he’s just been busy with some personal stuff.
To: Jungkookie x
Oh okay!! Tell him I’m here for him if he needs me. Thank you for asking for me Kookie.
Jungkook said it wasn’t about Jimin so Jimin tried not to ponder about it, even if Taehyung seemed to become even scarcer.
On top of that, Jungkook started acting strange too. Not that he was avoiding Jimin – quite the opposite, he seemed to be eager to be with him all the time. But he suddenly didn’t seem to want Jimin to come over to his apartment, somehow always persuading Jimin to go back to his instead even though Jimin was staying in the college dorms which was not as nice as Jungkook’s place, not in the slightest.
At first, it had just been an excuse like “your place is closer” or “the apartment is a mess because we’re in the middle of converting to the KonMari way of living.” But then it slowly became clearer when Jungkook kept evading the subject, or saying goodbye to Jimin at the door. The idea that Jungkook was hiding something from Jimin made him uneasy, made him imagine things he didn’t want to.
And whenever Jimin asked about Taehyung he changed the topic, or got into a bad mood.
“I still don’t get why you insist on coming here.” Jimin said as he heard a rowdy group of students pass through the hall, surely drunk and heading to some frat party.
Jungkook had one earphone in his ear, scribbling in his notebook. “I like it here.”
Jimin stared at his own scribbled notes, worst case scenarios swirling in his mind. He’d be afraid Jungkook was getting bored with him if he wasn’t acting as sweet and attentive as ever, and still constantly wanting to spend time with him.
“Are you sure nothing is wrong?” Jimin mumbled, somewhat annoyed by his evasiveness.
Jungkook glanced up, eyes soft. “Don’t worry about it, okay?”
He obviously recognised that tone because a flash of exasperation flitted through his face. “Jimin – I – can we please just let it go? At least for now?”
That stung more than Jimin anticipated, and Jungkook looked guilty afterwards. There was a sharp edge to Jungkook’s tone that he had never heard aimed at him before.
Jungkook sighed, staring down at his notebook.
Jimin turned away to hide his stinging eyes. Something was definitely wrong, and Jimin was hurt Jungkook wasn’t telling him the truth.
He was going to go speak to Taehyung tomorrow properly.
Jimin sought Taehyung out after one of his photoshoots. He waited outside the building patiently, even holding a takeaway cup of coffee that Taehyung liked. The temperature was dropping further lately, so his nose was cold and his ears freezing, so from enduring all this he wasn’t going to leave until he got some answers – some honest ones.
He had been standing – pacing – for about fifteen minutes when Taehyung stepped out of the building, scarf hiding half his face, face looking freshly washed of makeup.
He stiffened when he saw Jimin.
Jimin took a deep breath, nervous all of a sudden. “Hey! Um… sorry to just show up, but… can we talk?” He held out the coffee with a shaky smile.
Taehyung hesitated, eyes roaming around the street as if looking for an escape route. There was none. He accepted with a tight smile. “Sure.”
“Oh, thank God. I mean, okay.” Jimin breathed out and motioned towards the café where he had just bought the coffee. It wasn’t too crowded and it was warm.
Taehyung followed him wordlessly though he seemed reluctant the whole time, constantly glancing at his watch or his phone. Basically looking anywhere but Jimin.
They sat down at an empty table, atmosphere tense between them like it hadn’t been in a long time.
“So.” Taehyung said finally, taking a sip. He looked unsure. Jimin hoped the coffee wasn’t lukewarm or cold.
“Um, look. I know Jungkook probably asked you already but – did I do something wrong? You’re avoiding me, right?” Jimin blurted, pent up frustration and confusion set free, heart beating fast from the nerves.
Taehyung gulped and glanced away, arms folded in his lap.
“It’s okay, you can tell me straight-forwardly. I’m sorry for whatever it was, I just, I don’t know what I did?” Jimin tacked on quietly.
“Straight-forwardly…” Taehyung murmured and he looked almost angry – with himself or Jimin, Jimin wasn’t too sure. He put the coffee cup down and ran a hand through his fringe a few times, combing it down over his eyes like he was ashamed or embarrassed. “You’re right. I have been avoiding you.”
Jimin knew that, of course, but the admittance felt like a shove in the chest. “W-Why?”
Taehyung leaned back and clenched his jaw. He faced Jimin, eyes uncharacteristically cold, and he almost regretted asking. “I fell for you.”
Jimin’s breath caught. “What?”
“I like you.” Taehyung sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I didn’t mean to, and I didn’t realise until one day it just smacked me in the face. Fuck, I mean Jungkook’s liked you for so long and –”
What did that mean?
“ – and I fucking fell for my best friend’s boyfriend.”
Jimin blinked, speechless.
“I’m such a shitty friend. You guys are literally perfect together – Jungkook fucking loves you. I’d never do anything to try break you two up.” Taehyung seemed like he was going to cry, his voice sounding choked and fragile and Jimin wanted to comfort him but how could he when he was the cause of it? “I don’t know how to act around him or you.”
“Or, maybe I’m just missing having someone, you know? I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out.” Taehyung finished, shoulders slumping and he resembled how he looked when he was fresh out of the breakup with Hyunseok. “Look, I should go. I’m sorry. Jungkook asked me to keep my distance from you until he could speak to you about it, and get used to the idea, I suppose.”
Jimin sat motionless in his seat as Taehyung got up and left, his coffee forgotten on the table. Jimin’s stomach was knotted up even worse than before.
He barely ever had any guy be interested in him romantically, never mind two.
Jimin had to admit he felt comfortable pressed against Jungkook’s side, head on his shoulder and a blanket wrapped around them on the couch. The movie playing was a thriller that he’d been wanting to see for weeks but right now he could barely focus. Because on the outside he was comfortable, but on the inside he was in turmoil.
Did Jungkook know about what Taehyung told him? Should he tell Jungkook about it?
Jimin twisted the blanket in his grip and moved back a fraction. If Jungkook knew - and he must know - why did he not tell him?
Jimin exhaled heavily.
Jungkook’s body tensed, the arm around his shoulders moving off slightly. “Hey. Are you okay?”
Jimin pressed his lips together, staring blankly at the television and not taking anything in. A character was screaming at someone, blood dripping down one side of her face. Jimin didn’t even care.
“Are you still upset about the other day?” Jungkook asked gently with an edge of caution.
They hadn’t exactly made up from that tense conversation (had it been a fight? Argument?), and instead silently swept it under the rug.
Jimin reached for the remote control and paused the movie even though there was no point; he had no idea what was going on in that film. That same character from before was now frozen on the screen, mid-speech.
He took a quick breath, meeting Jungkook’s worried gaze. “I spoke to Taehyung yesterday. He told me… he told me he had feelings for me.”
Jungkook blanched, arm sliding off completing from his shoulders and Jimin missed it’s warmth instantly. “Ah. Right.”
Jimin felt his heart sink at Jungkook’s reaction. So he did know. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
His boyfriend fidgeted slightly with downcast eyes. “I don’t know. I was shocked, and kind of angry with him.” Jungkook muttered, voice bitter but somewhat forlorn all the same. “I didn’t know how to just bring that up.”
Jimin frowned as Jungkook stammered after that, looking like he wanted to say more but then deciding not to.
“Okay. I get that.” Jimin said softly. Jungkook wasn’t looking at him directly anymore, clenching his jaw and wringing his hands together on his knees, shoulders hunched over. He hated seeing Jungkook like that. “I’ve been thinking about what Taehyung said a lot.”
“Oh. What are you going to do?” Jungkook asked and his voice hardened, as if he was preparing himself for Jimin to hurt him.
As if Jimin could ever. “What do you mean?”
“About what he said.” Jungkook mumbled, sounding more and more closed off. But just as his defences came up Jimin heard that waver – that insecurity from months ago before Jungkook asked him out the second time.
Taehyung asked me to come so I did.
For the first time Jungkook looked fragile, and Jimin needed to show him he was loved. Jimin treasured words and moments spent together but Jungkook liked touch – a hand in his, an arm around his waist, a kiss against his cheek.
Jimin slid a hand onto Jungkook’s shoulder, pressed his body closer to Jungkook’s. He was tense under his touch. “Jungkook…” Jimin reached up to cup Jungkook’s chin, tilting his gaze towards him. “Do you think I’m going to leave you? For Taehyung?”
Saying it, Jimin thought it sounded absurd, but Jungkook sighed, looking ashamed. “I sometimes wonder about it.”
Jimin felt his heart ache. “But why?” Did Jungkook not think his feelings were genuine? Had Jimin not done a good job at showing him – telling him?
“Because.” Jungkook seemed agitated, and apprehensive. “Because it’s Taehyung.”
“I… So? I don’t…”
“It’s – he’s a model. He’s handsome, he’s fun, he’s nice, he’s popular. You two get along well.” Jungkook paused and bit his lip. “He’s the one everyone wants to be with, you know? He’s the one everyone likes. I just got lucky because I’m his friend.”
Jimin didn’t know what to say. He’d never even thought that Jungkook would feel this way – he always seemed so confident, so assured of himself.
Jungkook went on. “I’ve never really minded it – I don’t really care for it all that much. But when it comes to you… I didn’t want to have to compete for you. I didn’t want to lose.”
His words made Jimin want to shower Jungkook with sweet words of reassurance, be upset that he would ever think this way about Jimin. Even so, something about it left an ugly feeling in Jimin’s stomach.
“Is that why you asked me out? Because I picked you over Taehyung at that party?” Jimin’s voice was barely a whisper.
Jungkook’s gaze snapped to his instantly, eyes wide. “No! No, that’s – it’s – it gave me the confidence but it wasn’t – wasn’t the reason.”
“Jimin, I’ve had a thing for you since last year.” Jungkook murmured, hand falling on Jimin’s thigh like it often did. “I didn’t know your name or anything, but I’d see you around campus and… I thought you were pretty. Your mannerisms were always so cute. Honestly, I’d just sit at the back of the room so I could stare at you. I thought you knew.”
Jimin blinked up at him. He’d always thought he had been invisible to Jungkook before the party – because how could someone as plain as him be noticed by someone like Jungkook?
But maybe that fascination was true for Jimin too, because the first person he always saw was Jungkook. Even before, in those crowded lectures and soccer games, it had always been Jungkook who Jimin searched for. He knew of Taehyung – knowing Seokjin, that was inevitable – but it was Taehyung, Jungkook’s best friend, not the other way around.
“I liked you from before too, when you held the door open for me. I liked you then.” Jimin confessed. He had thought this story was stupid to tell Jungkook, to like someone from such a simple thing, but Jungkook was smiling shyly, adorable dimples in his cheeks.
Jimin nodded. “Yeah.” He pushed himself up and with a newfound courage he sat down in Jungkook’s lap, doubt gone as Jungkook placed his hands on his hips to secure him. “So don’t worry about me leaving you for Taehyung. I care for him, but I don’t love him. Not the way I love you.”
Jungkook’s eyes looked shiny.
“You’re my first choice, Jungkook. You’ve never been anything else.”
Things gradually returned to normal.
Taehyung started hanging out with them again, bringing with him two new friends – Namjoon and Yoongi – who he met and became close with whilst he was putting distance between Jungkook and Jimin.
Jungkook and Taehyung must have hashed things out because they were back to being on comfortable terms.
Jimin thought maybe there was something going on between Taehyung and Yoongi but he didn’t want to assume. Taehyung was back to being cheerful and happy – that was all Jimin had wanted.
“Thanks for everything, for putting up with the stuff I put you and Jungkook through.” Taehyung told him, after leading Jimin away from the others one night during a ‘study’ session (they were all taking turns versing each other in Mario Kart).
Jimin shook his head with a smile. “It’s okay.”
“If I ever hurt Jungkook like that I’d never forgive myself.” Taehyung said quietly. He cleared his throat and shot Jimin the closest thing to a smirk he had – a teasing grin. “If you were wondering, yes, I still like you.”
His tone was light enough that Jimin could hear it without feeling awful and guilty. “Ah. That had been keeping me up at night.”
“Are you honoured?”
Taehyung laughed, the sound nice to Jimin’s ears. “It’s strange, because I do like you, but I don’t want to be with you. I envy Jungkook, but I genuinely want you to be with him. I’ve never felt this way. It’s weird, but also sort of a relief.”
Jimin felt like his heart was full from hearing him say that.
He went on. “I think it’s hard to lose my feelings for you when all the things I like about you are still there.” He waved a hand dismissively. “But I’m going to be fine. I’m going to just enjoy being single – save money, do more work projects, get better grades, go to gym! I will get over you, Park Jimin.”
“I will be supporting you!”
Taehyung gave him a fond smile. “And please look after my gentle-hearted Jungkookie.”
Jimin glanced back to the living room where Jungkook was versing Seokjin in the Kart racing game, tongue in cheek, focus solely on the screen. “I will.”