Work Header


Chapter Text

The scream pierced through the room as sharply as a freighted bee strings it’s prey. It was the first noise the room had heard in a while, having left the coffin there for the new morning. The fear overrode any rationality that Jimin normally would have boasted of. He kicked and he screamed until his voice hurt.

It did not take long for Jimin to realise he was enclosed in a tight space, he had woken from his deep slumber, stretched both of his arms out and felt the wood above him of. The blackness shrouded his mind of any clear thoughts. “Am I dead? Is this hell? Where am I?” were the only thoughts that circled in his mind, over and over again like the oxygen that he was recycling in his small wooden box. It took all the effort Jimin could muster to stop thrashing around, and to realise that the coffin shook as he moved. And that was what finally calmed him down enough to breath... and also to come to the conclusion that his breaths were numbered. This is what Jimin did not know of; the average casket is 84x28x23 inches, total volume of 886 litres, the average human body contains 66 litres leaving 820 litres of air, 1/5 of which is oxygen. If Jimin breathed 0.5 litres of oxygen per minute he would have 5.5 hours left in the coffin before the level of carbon dioxide overrode his life.

But all Jimin could think of was “I need to get out of here, and very quickly at that too.” His only motivation to keep going was the fact that he wasn’t already buried deep under the earth, but lying on a table. “I AM ALIVE, PLEASE GET ME OUT, I AM NOT DEAD” he hoped this simple words would alarm at least someone to come and help. He did not know how much more clearer he could get with what he wanted.

The security guard, on the other hand had been at his job for a little too long by now to be phased by such screams, his paranoia of the dead had reached a level to which he himself could not comprehend. He heard the dead all the time and even boasted of many ghost sightings. Night shifts at a morgue made you very different to the rest of mankind, so he thought it was just his overactive mind causing mischief again and took no heed of the shouts.

The tears felt hot on Jimins cheeks, he wanted to stop crying, he knew he had reserve his energy to get out but the damned tears would not stop spilling! He rubbed his cheeks hard and bit his tongue, the sharp pain made his mind a little clearer, so he hit harder on the wooden casket, until the pain was overpowering. Things were finally starting to come into context: he had been asleep due to the soulmate ceremony because 12 hours before your 21st birthday you had to be asleep, every family had their own traditional ways of doing this and Jimin’s was no different. Only fools that no longer wanted to be alive would not go to sleep on the 12:00 mark, things went wrong; very very wrong when you were awake during the midnight change, missing limbs, disjointed body parts and one thing was certain: death. The brain could not comprehend the transition whilst being awake. The sudden change of place within spilt seconds blew your mind: quite literally. It was meant to be Jimin’s birthday, and the most life changing at that; he was 21 and today was the day he found his soulmate... “Why am I in a coffin? How did my soulmate get stuck in a coffin? That fool.”

And then it hit Jimin. The scream that penetrated the room this time was so filled with agony that it made the hairs on everyone that heard it rise on their ends. People walked past the morgue and shivered, pulled their coats little tighter around them. Mothers pulled their children closer to them and lovers pressed into each other just a little bit more. The leaves on the floor seemed to stop swirling in the nights streets and the rain seemed to be stuck mid-way through the sky, not daring to fall. The world froze as Park Jimin realized the truth behind his position in the coffin.

For the first time Jimin wondered if he ought to try and get out of his wooden cell at all, what would the point be if his soulmate was already dead? How was he meant to go through his whole life knowing he will be alone? “Stop. Stop thinking.” Jimin breathed into the small space that he occupied. His back hurt from lying for so long and his throat hurt from the screaming. ‘I will suffocate and die in a coffin, people usually die before they get in here but-I’ve always been a special child’ he thought with a weak smile. That made him realise just why he had to get out of here: he had a family and his best friend relied on him. “Taehyung-ah” Jimin whispered, he needed him the most right now, both were known for always being able to read each other’s minds. For feeling each other’s emotions like their own and always having a gut feeling when the other was struggling. ‘Taehyung is probably worried sick, he hasn’t heard from me for hours, I wonder how he’ll react to me being stuck here’.

But there was one thing that jimin was certain of and that was Kim Taehyung would not live a day without Jimin. For love and because that boy relied on Jimin: Taehyung was deteriorating in front of his own eyes and there was nothing he could do but support him with every fibre of his being. The thought that Jimin’s family members would be able to continue their normal life after his death, after a few months of mourning, but Taehyung not living till the very next day without him made his muscles tighten, his breath quickened and Jimin was now determined to to escape. Even if he did not have his soulmate, he’d have one purpose in life: to keep his best friend alive.

And so the panic stricken boy calmed his voice and repeated “I have switched places with my soulmate, I am not dead” in a audible shout, but not enough to tire him out.
The guard was nodding off, his head slightly askew and his breathing becoming shallow. No one had ever broken into a morgue, but the job still needed to be done and so here he was, night after night, getting paid to keep guard on the dead. The repeated words he heard he attributed to the state between the living and the dreaming but something made the hair on his neck stick up, it was not so cold where he sat, but for some odd reason he felt himself shiver and withdraw into himself. ‘This will not do’ he thought as he got up from his chair. He was going to do something he had forsaken years ago, tonight he would walk around the building, his dreams were eerie and his thoughts wild with terror. The old guard was not as much scared of the dead as he was of the living: they were the ones capable of causing you pain. The dead had long lost the ability to strike new pains in his heart. There was not much time in the guard finding out the source of the sound and putting together the different pieces of information being said from the coffin in front of him, to Jimin being free.

Hearts pounding and hands shaking, they both sat on the floor. One from the exhaustion of getting a young boy out of a coffin, alive and all. The other from the lack of oxygen and swirling thoughts in his mind.

“My boy, you need to get checked up, you’ve been in that box for god knows how many hours, just let me catch my breath and I will drive you to the hospital,” the old guard had never had any children of his own, but the young boy in front of him made his parental instincts flare up like anger in a bulls eye at a red flag. The boy in front of him was motionless, his eyes were watching a distant pool of light at the edge of the room, his breathing was deep, compensating for the lack of oxygen from the last few hours. His clothes were torn at different points of his body; he had thrashed around as much as physically possible in that tight box he’d been imprisoned in. The old man could not even begin to imagine what the lost boy sat next to him was going through. ‘Bless the poor thing, he didn’t even get a chance to meet his soulmate,’ he thought to himself.

Jimin was frozen in his spot, he wanted to run, for however many hours it took for him to reach home because home was where Taehyung was and he had to get to him before the latter did something stupid. But his limbs failed to co-operate. They were still recovering from the lack of oxygen and the pain of being hurled at wood for so long. ‘Taehyung-ah, I’m coming home’ was all Jimin could think, maybe if he repeated it enough times he’d be home quicker? Maybe Taehyung could feel his thoughts, just maybe.

“I need to go but can I please have a glass of water first?” Jimin half choked on the words, his throat felt like someone had used a nail file all along it. The guard looked at Jimin again, the whole of the him, and shook his head, there was no way he’d let the boy go, not in the state that he was in. “Son, you’re not going anywhere, you won’t be able to take a step with all the bruises on you, your hands are shaking and you look like you’ve seen hell and come back, and honestly if I had gone through your experience I don’t think I would have coped this well.”

“There is someone waiting for me, I can’t let him down, he’s probably going crazy by now...”Jimin kept going, the sentences getting more and more incoherent as he spoke them, his mind growing more blurry with every image of Taehyung alone in their bedroom.

“Young man, i don’t know who this person is but they’d not appreciate you not visiting the hospital first, you ought to get an assessment done, see if something’s gone wrong somewhere from all the hours enclosed in that bloody coffin.”

Jimin didn’t care about himself, not when it came to Taehyung. He was willing to run along wild fires and swim across oceans if it meant he could be assured his Taehyung-ah was okay.

“Can you at least tell me where we are currently?” The guard told him. And that was the last he saw of the boy in the coffin.

Jimin ran blindly, not particularly out of choice. It was just into the am hours and the streetlights were not enough to lift off the heavy winter darkness that lay across the city. He also did not think a single thought whilst he crossed the city to Taehyung, again he had no choice in this either. Every single ounce of his energy was going into moving his limbs; his feet barely touched the ground. Each & every one of his cells was screaming in pain, in a competition for oxygen, which Jimin was not taking in much of; he just wanted to reach home.

On a normal run Jimin would have looked softly at the windows of the shops, stared deeply at posters to see what was going on around the city he loved and to appreciate the view, but today everything was a blur, like a smudged out line in charcoal. Out of focus, unimportant. There was the ice cream shop that he and Taehyung both frequently visited, the latter boy having a thing for late night sweet treats. Or the charity shop on the corner where they had gotten their second hand bed frame and table from. The teenage boys at the time had a very tight budget to adhere to. Jimin did not stop to notice the curb he had just passed was the same one he had cursed years ago, promising to never walk on it again. It had tripped his Taetae whilst the boys were practicing skateboarding, a new hobby that lasted only a few weeks.

The plant next to the door had two pots, but unless you looked very carefully you would have not known that. Jimin, like most normal people, did not sleep with his house keys in hand, and thus he lifted the first plant pot out, heavy with the weight of the soil. Enclosed and wedged between the two plant pots was where they kept the spare house key. Keeping it under the doormat was something everyone did, so the secrecy lost its weight. Jimin and Taehyung both had a habit of locking themselves out, they were both a bit clumsy and miss placed all most all of their belongings one time or another. Sometimes they forgot to put the spare key back into its hiding place which led to more bickering than one can imagine. Sat outside their shared one bedroom house, back pressed into the doorframe they would re-evaluate ways to get in without breaking the doorframe, which with Jimins anger he would have easily done so if Taehyung had not held him down, his hand on the formers stomach, in a way to say “we will figure this out, just keep calm!”
Until, one day, going against all of Jimin’s morals, they YouTubed how to pick locks. Jimin’s blush was bright enough to look like someone had dipped a red paint brush and drew the blush on for him. Taehyung’s laugh was hallow and loud, not the type Jimin was used to, and both knew exactly why. If the same painter had the chance to paint Taehyungs face, it would be with the darkest shade of black. Taehyung wore bright yellow and an even brighter smile wherever he went, to compensate for the blackness that shrouded his life and enveloped him in its dark cage. Smiling came easy to Taehyung, in the same way a bee is always bound to be found near a plantation of flowers, you could be sure to find a smile lingering near his mouth. It wasn’t necessary fake, it was his way of saying a big fuck you to his life, for getting him to the place he was at currently. He hated everything about his past. There was only one positive that came out of everything that occurred that night; he started a new life with his best friend Park Jimin. If it wasn’t for the latter, Taehyung would have ended it all that same night.

When Jimin, with shaky hands and heart beating so hard he thought it would surely escape his chest, put the key into the door he felt it slid into place, smoothly, but fear stopped him from pushing the door forward to enter his house, which until now, had been his safe place. Fear lined every inch of him, all the thoughts he had stopped on his run home until now were trying to make themselves heard. He wanted to scream, tell everything to stop, all he wanted was to open the door. His hands felt clammy and his breath sticky. ‘Just push the damn door open’. Every step he took from the front door to the bedroom felt weighted down by lead. It felt like the 13 steps between him and Taehyung were actually 13 universes he was crossing.

Some part of Jimin already knew what he was going to see, but standing by the door seeing Taehyung fully dressed on his side of the bed, Jimin thought his world had come to a stop.

The moment Jimin had realised his place in the coffin, and what it meant about his future soulmate, he had ruled out any possibility of it being Taehyung. Because Taehyung had promised to grow old with him. Jimin did not see a future without his best friend, and Taehyung never broke his promises, ever. They had sat on park benches, 5am in the morning, with the sun painting it’s vibrant colours onto the sky, promising and dreaming of a future where both were happy. With an abundance of laughter and grandchildren’s milling about by their foot. Of lazy days where they both sat by the fire and remembered their youths, over hot tea and homemade cakes. Their future was always written together, spoken into being.

In his casket, Jimin had screamed. But now, numbness enveloped him it’s it warm hug, promised to keep him safe, kissed his cheek and whispered that it would keep the pain away. Jimin had one purpose after finding out his soulmate was dead; to keep Taehyung alive and now standing by the door of his bedroom, he realised that even that flicker of hope that been taken out of his grasp. Jimin knew himself to be the person who got up quickly on the bus to let an elderly sit, the one who offered to help a struggling lady with their bags across the road, to smile at little children with messy hair in their prams until they grinned back. He brushed glass to one side of the road when there was an array of it on the street, pushed back thorny branches of trees away from the footpath. He knew he was not perfect, but he was a good person. ‘So why is this happening to me then?’ He thought whilst staring at Taehyung’s pale face across the room from him. Taehyung lie in the suit which Jimin had picked out for him, he had laughed his way through it, never knowing why the suit mattered to his best friend so much. If only he had known.

Losing your soulmate was one thing, but losing your best friend on the same night was another. And them both being the same person was worst of all.

Because Taehyung wasn’t sleeping at all; he was dead.

Chapter Text

Jimin couldn't decide a lot of things, but his first and foremost upon waking up was: should he keep his eyes shut or open them?

The inside of his eyelids had the image of his dead soulmate. Painted in all the right colours, to a perfection he had mastered over their years of friendship and love. But opening his eyes was just as painful; he could see remnants of Taehyung in every inch of the room that they had called their own.

Looking up at the ceiling he spots the dinosaurs above, in bright childlike colours, Taehyung had once stayed up an entire night learning origami. And the products were Jimin’s favourite animal. Jimin had laughed; what were they to do with this many mini dinosaurs? Their small home was not somewhere they could accumulate a lot of their possessions into. It already had a lot more than the pair could easily navigate through; what with both being as clumsy as they are. So Jimin had picked up a bundle of string on his way home that evening, and together they had stuck the dinosaurs onto the ceiling. Taehyung holding Jimin up by the hip and Jimin wobbling all the while. They fell over a dozen times, into each other's arms, and laughed until they could not breathe. After what seemed like hours later, the pair lay on the small double bed they owned, and stared at the artwork above. They could not fit a normal double bed into their room and also all that the pair owned, so they had gone for the 4-foot bed, it forced them to be closer at night which neither of them ever complain about.

“To be honest Jimin,” Taehyung had once said, lying diagonally across the bed, “the two of us could fit into a single bed if we wanted.”

Jimin had nodded, his boyfriend was right, the two slept tangled together and barely used up the tiny bed to its full capacity. Taehyung needed to hug something to sleep, and Jimin was the perfect thing for him to hold during his nights, most of which he spent staring at the window because sleep didn’t come easily to the damned.

Jimin tried to push back the tears that clouded his eyes, everything was blurry and the origami pieces seemed to be swaying a little too much; or was his pain just making his imagination run wild? Could Taehyung see him from wherever he was currently? Was he blowing down onto earth to make himself heard?

Jimin’s heart gave a sudden squeeze as he remembered the night they had decided to make a video of the two talking in their different dialects, they were bored and Facebook live was now a thing. The story-line picked was of a conversation where the pair took it in turns to warm up a cold chicken, and at a certain point Taehyung decided the chicken was hotter than need be, and had taken it upon him to blow on the invisible dish. His lips came to make a big pout, his cheeks all puffed up and his eyes nearly invisible as he tried to not laugh through it; he failed miserably at that. And as the pair laughed, Jimin could not stop but think about just how beautiful he found Taehyung’s laugh. He watched the Taehyung on the screen and laughed some more, before deciding to switch to the Busan dialect.

Was Taehyung somewhere in heaven doing the same thing now, but rather than the imaginative cold chicken it was now replaced by the origami that danced it’s lonely dance? Could he still laugh in that way knowing that his best friend lay in bed paralysed with pain at the prospect of a future without him?

He looked forward, onto the full length mirror and saw the shape of Taehyung in front of it, scratching his head and, with sleep filled eyes, turning away and heading to the bathroom. And then he blinked and the shape ceased to be.

Jimin grit his teeth, if anyone else was in the room they would think he was feverish, he was shaking that hard.

After that Night that changed the entire of Taehyung’s personality and the lives of the two boys, Jimin had pushed Taehyung along into staying alive, he had given the younger boy his all, ‘for him to only repay me like this?’ Jimin thought.

“Taehyung-ah, please...come...back,” Jimin sobbed into his pillow, he turned his head to where Taehyung’s head ought to have been, with his tousled hair and puffy morning face. Jimin reached out, his hand hovering over the space that ought to be occupied. He withdrew his hand quickly, as if he'd been burnt; he was too scared that if he touched Taehyung’s side of the bed it would lose his smell. Taehyung's scent clung to the sheets, a little bit of his strawberry shampoo, his night cream but mostly a scent that cannot be defined with anything other than that it belonged to Taehyung. So he stared, clutching his hand over his mouth to stop the sobs escaping, and then he curled into a ball and cried for what seems like hours. He fell asleep again, his head banging as if from a hangover, it was his only escape from the horror that he was being forced to live.

A few hours later, still feeling like his entire being was burning alive, Jimin opened his eyes and this time noticed something a little different to the array of dinosaurs above his head. There was a note dangling that he had not seen the first time he had woken up; he got up shakily and tore it down.

‘Look under your pillow.’ It read.

Jimin scrambled, he did not know what he expected to find but for the first time in a long while he saw a small flicker of hope.

It was a letter, two sheets long and folded. Jimin noticed that it was the same paper he used for his university lectures; he did not believe in taking notes on his laptop, he always remembered more when he wrote his lecture notes by hand.



Jimin-ah annyeong,

I love you

A tear replaced the full-stop that otherwise would have indicated the ending of the first line of the letter. Jimin’s own landed in the exact same spot, the pairs tears mixing into the concoction of pain that neither could escape.

And at this moment you hate me, and I completely understand, you have every right to hate me becuase you are the one having to live with the truth that the boy you love is now buried 3ft down into the ground.

Jimin flinched. Taehyung was scared of small spaces, he hated the lift and he avoided crowded places in case he got stuck between people. Jimin’s entire body went cold at the image of Taehyung lying alone in his coffin, the dark being his only companion.

“Make it stop,” Jimin screamed into the room. “Make this pain go away, I can’t deal with it anymore, I can’t.” The last words were lost in his sobs, the letter was now crumpled, Jimin did not know who he was talking to, was it Taehyung or was it the higher being… was there a difference between the two?

But please just listen to me. Everything is a mess right, you feel numb or like you are being burnt alive, or maybe both at once. I know I have no reason to ask you to trust me, not after leaving you in the chaos that you are currently in, but you must if you are to know the truth.

Trust me, I tried everything I could do. I am the dead one-

“Stop saying that. It’s not real. Just stop saying that,” Jimin gasped, he could barely see the words on the page through his tears.

-but before I left this world, I went through all the stages of grief; I denied the truth for a while, pretend that nothing had happened and we could continue living the life we had once dreamt of. I was angry, and on most of those days you were there to calm me down, you fixed me to the ground before I had the chance to explode. My Jimin-ah, you are the one with the anger issues, and yet for all the months that I was angry, burning with rage at my fate, you poured water over the burns I had left on myself. I bargained, I really did, I cried at her door-step until nightfall to no avail. I bargained with whatever higher power there was, to change the way things were going to work out, and yet it came to nothing. And then I lie in bed for weeks on end, I gave all my life functions to you, handed you a lifeless corpse to look after because I didn't know how to deal with the truth of what one of my actions had cost both of us. Accepting all that I had done was the hardest part of it all, I don't know what people know about grief but the hardest part is coming to terms with the truth; this took every fibre of my being but I managed to do it; for you.

I know you will be grieving over me for days, weeks, months and even years or maybe your entire life time, and since I can't be there to help you cope with it, let me just say that the process of grief is not really a process, knowing you the way I do, you will feel anger first before denial, and that is okay. You will think that you are over the denial part but then in the middle of your bargaining, denial will knock on the door and call you in for its attention once again. You will feel like you are on some sort of a road trip without a map, you will cross the same paths more than a hundred times and just when it feels like it is all a bit too much, it will get easier.

I am so sorry I am not here to hold you as you shake with sobs, or to hold you down when you want to break every wall of the small house we once shared. I am so sorry I won’t be there when you will want to come join me on my side, but whatever you do, you need to live. I want you to live, not just for yourself but for me. I want you to have the best life out there, I am relying on you to experience life to the fullest so when you do join me at age 100, we can talk about it happily.

There is a lot I have to tell you Jimin-ssi, I know we always prided ourselves in being open and candid with each other but that is not the full truth; I had a dark seed of a secret that grew so large that it suffocated me and led me to being on this side and you on the other; with no way of reaching each other again.

I know you want to know everything, right this moment, that is just your nature. But now is not the time for you to find out everything that I have withheld from you, but with time you will understand.

I know all you want to do now is turn over in bed and sleep for another eternity, but I can't let that happen, you have to get on with life, for me. I will be watching you from above Jimin-ah, and I need you to continue.

There is a series of steps you need to follow before you can get to my next letter, the first is you will get up and shower, in the shower you will find a little note, and it will tell you what you need to know to get to the next letter.

Go on, the quicker you do this, the better you will feel. You love showers, remember when you once sat across the breakfast table and told me why you took 30 minutes in the shower? You were always so passionate, you had enough passion in you to light up a thousand light bulbs.

Jimin had a tendency to be random, to speak a lot and never shut up, but with the lack of words that Taehyung had left, it suited the two. The younger boy never did get tired of hearing his lover babble on about the most useless topics, so there he sat, with a bowl of cereal in front of him and with the warmest boy sat across. When Jimin got excited he talked fast, like very very fast, and so he leaned forward, so as not to miss a single word.

“Everyone has a simple pleasure in life, some people like to drink a cup of tea before they sleep, or watch a bit of tv after work or go for a jog in the morning.” Jimin was pouring the milk into his bowl, it had taken him a few minutes to open the lid, Taehyung was to blame for this. “That is a small thing that does not cost them anything and yet it makes them feel so much more connected to the world,” he took his first spoonful, “it scolds the world into order, makes everything stop for a while so that they can enjoy those few minutes of having that tea, or watching that show or that morning jog,” Jimin stopped to swallow his current mouthful.

“But do you know what my simple pleasure in life is? It’s showering. I just cant even begin to explain how much I love it,” Jimin paused for effect.

Taehyung laughed a little, he wondered just how long Jimin could go on and on about the simple aspect of feeling fresh after a shower, but he dared not interrupt.

“I feel like I am a different person, Tae stop laughing! I really do mean it, I will stop talking to you for the entire day if you do not listen,” a pout had blossomed on the talkers lips, and he held the spoon in his hand threateningly at Taehyung.

“Fine, fine! Go on, tell me, I am all ears,” the latter bit the inside of his cheeks to stop himself from making any further sounds.

And so, for the next 20 minutes Taehyung heard his passionate speaker go and on about why showers made him feel like a whole new person; and he enjoyed every second of it. At the end of it, as he rose to put his bowl in the sink, he stopped and took Jimin’s face in his right hand and rubbed away at the little dribble of milk that stained his lover’s chin.

But I know for you right now that is the least of your concern, you just want to know all the answers, but this is the only you will get to the answer.

I am being mean I know, but what can I do? I am not there physically to help you like you helped me for the past few 4 years, so I have to go with other means. And this is the best I could find.

Before you go, I want you to know that you are the strongest person I have ever met in my life, you will get through this. Have faith in me for one last time.

Your soulmate.

Chapter Text

The doorbell rang at ten past one in the afternoon.

Jimin showered and was wearing a pair of matching pyjamas that belonged to Taehyung once. The note on the shower glass panel read, “get dressed pretty, there will be someone at the door near lunchtime” with a smiley face that made Jimin’s inside turn-out. It was Taehyung’s signature smile, with a box for a mouth since he smiled with all his teeth.

He only managed to get through his shower whilst thinking of the last time a similar note had been left on his bed a few years ago.

Jimin had just finished his first-year university exams, he was glad to be getting his summer holidays finally, it felt like his professors had been late to the ball game and had left all their exams to be the last ones. It was like someone had taken off two bricks that had been attached to his shoulders and he could finally relax.

He wanted to walk right into the arms of Taehyung, that was what was on his mind as he stepped into their home. He was already so tired from the exam stress that he felt his eyes sting with tears when he was greeted with silence where he had expected Taehyung’s usual clamouring around the house. Then it hit him how Taehyung would still be at work and return later on in the evening.

Deflated, the boy had walked into the bedroom was about to sink down into the bed when he realised that there was an outfit laid out and a black box with a ribbon on top of it. “Get dressed pretty, I will meet you after work,” read a post-it note attached to it.

“Taehyung! We can’t afford this you punk!” Jimin had shouted into the empty room, it was a Gucci sweater, light enough to be worn on a summer evening but still warm enough for the winter months. Taehyung was a massive fan of the branded company, something Jimin never truly understood, but the pair were not financially stable enough to afford the luxury that it entitled.

He was going to going to scold the hell out of Taehyung for this irresponsible purchase; they still had to pay the rent for this month in a few days, not to mention the 3 monthly water bill that was still lying on the table in the kitchen. But at that moment he just wanted to take in just how much the gesture meant from Taehyung; he was most definitely the luckiest boyfriend alive.

A fancy dinner and too many awful jokes later, the evening had ended up with the pair at the beach, Jimin resting against Taehyung’s side as they took in the sunset that they pair both loved so much. Jimin loved the summer season the most since the sun only begun to sink to its rest around nine at night, giving him a more sense of accomplishment for the daylight hours. Taehyung knew Jimin adored the beach, it was where he felt the most himself and connected with the universe. The younger boy was always ready to indulge in Jimin’s strange likeness for everything that had to do with water.

The water that Jimin was showering under today was much colder than the ocean waves that the pair had giggled over as they ran around seeing who would dip their foot in the deepest. He did not want to get out of the water, he was trying to wash away the pain of what the present held for him as well as the bittersweet memory of what they once had.
Jimin dressed in the first of the seven pairs of pyjamas that Taehyung had left in their wardrobe for him to wear. It was a cotton pair, a deep shade of purple with a soft collar at the top. Jimin pressed the knuckles of this thumbs into his eyes to get rid of the last image he had of Taehyung in these exact pair of pyjamas only a few days back, in bed sleeping, as Jimin had left for his morning lectures.

He knew he could not just grab whatever the person had to bring and shut the door on his face like he wanted to. The intruder had a letter from Taehyung that he needed. ‘I hate every bit of you Taehyung. I hate you for making me do all this. But most of all, I hate you for leaving me doing this awful treasure hunt to find out what I ought to have known years ago.’

He sighed, brushed the clothes he had shed before going into the shower to one side, and walked across the small living room to the door. He wanted to get this done and over with as soon as possible.

Jimin didn't even bother pretending to be okay and putting on a mask of being strong. Whoever was on the other side of the door knew where Taehyung was and just how much it affected him.

Jimin’s hands shook, out of exhaustion, the simple task of getting up and showering had taken up all his energy for the day. He felt the coldness of the doorknob slice into him as he turned it to the right and opened the door.

The boy was tall, slender, wearing a blue coat that reached to his knees, a woollen scarf was wrapped around his neck. ‘Is it that cold outside? It’s only October,’ thought Jimin. He had a bike that he had rested on the side of the door. Jimin blinked a few times, he fought within himself to focus on the face in front of him.

“Jimin.” Namjoon said matter of factly.

Ah. Taehyung had enlisted the help of one of their mutual friends. A former best friend before Taehyung had decided that he no longer wanted contact with the outside world.

Without a word, Jimin led the now not-more-than-a-stranger into his home.

The younger boy was glad Namjoon’s eyes did not hold the pity that he was expecting in it. He would have crumbled to the floor if that was the case. He motioned for Namjoon to take a seat and sat as far away as possible from him. Jimin was a sucker for physical contact, a pat on the shoulder would be enough to unleash the tsunami of tears that threatened to engulf Jimin as a whole.

“I will not offer you my condolences at this very moment because from the years of friendship we once shared, I know that will result in you smashing my head against the wall and I have 50 minutes to get to work so that will not bode well,” Namjoon started. Jimin was glad Taehyung had chosen this one out of the rest; he was the best with his words.

“I have both of our lunches and I am only to give you the letter from Taehyung after you have finished yours. No bargaining.” The newcomer started to take two small boxes out of his backpack that Jimin could tell was home-made lunches, he felt sick just at the thought of eating.

“He can’t do anything if I don’t eat, so please give me his letter,” he did not add, ‘and leave’ because even though he was grieving, he knew not to be rude to someone who was only trying to help.

“I am not breaking my promise to Taehyung, so you either eat the food in front of you, or I will head out with your letter,” This was not the hyung that Jimin remembered; Namjoon had always looked at Jimin with a crescent moon-smile, his dimples on full display and a warmness to him that made Jimin gravitate towards him in every situation. ‘This is all Taehyung’s doing’ Jimin thought to himself.

“Hyung,” Jimin begun, he saw Namjoon shift in his seat, the harshness to his face grew lighter just with that one word, and there was a peak at his former friend in him. “I feel physically sick at the sight of food, please don't make me do this.”

“I am so sorry Jimin-ssi,” was all that Namjoon managed, there was a plea in his eyes that Jimin found impossible to ignore.

40 minutes later Jimin was alone again, he closed the door and didn't even bother walking to a comfortable seat; he slid down the door and opened the letter from his lost lover as if it was the oxygen he had been missing since the ending of the last letter. Maybe he would never be able to hear Taehyung say anything new, but these were the closest substitute he getting and he could not be more grateful.

Jimin-ah annyeong,

He rested his head against the door and inhaled as if preparing himself for a battle that he was destined to lose.

This is the second letter I am writing and I thought it would be easier than the first but for some odd reason, the tears just never stop? Is it the same for you? Are you crying like I am?

Jimin nodded.

You are fast asleep, you complained a lot as I tried to separate myself from you but in the end, the tiredness got the best of you. I can hear you sigh in your sleep and let me tell you; it’s one of the most beautiful sounds this universe has to offer. I am trying not to look over my shoulder at your sleeping form but you are as mesmerising to me when you’re asleep as when awake.

Taehyung’s handwriting was messier than Jimin’s naturally, but this was nearly illegible. Jimin looked through their bedroom door to the desk that was situated against one of the walls, he saw Taehyung’s body hunched over, tears slipping from his face, making it difficult for him to write. He saw his boyfriend turn again and again to watch his own sleeping body. He shook his head and the image vanished, but the truth was it was never there in the first place.

“How did I never know this was happening? Why did you keep it from me Taehyung-ah?” Jimin whispered to thin air, he hoped his love was strong enough for it to carry over to wherever Taehyung currently was. Not his body, but his soul, because that never died, did it?

I am going to start from the beginning, from the night that undid our entire future like the wrong move in Jenga causing the entire structure to crumble to the ground.

It was close to midnight when the doorbell of the Park house rang, Jimin was awake on the wrong side of youtube, where he was learning how to milk a goat but the problem was he was not really sure he had ever seen one of those in his entire 17 years of living.

His parents were asleep and his brother wouldn’t open the door even if he was offered a million dollars, ‘that lazy bastard’ Jimin thought as he tiptoed downstairs.

A hand went over Jimin’s mouth, he realised later it was his own, to stifle the screams that threatened to awaken not just his family but the entire neighbourhood. The boy in front of him was clad in a black sweater, that looked like it had seen better days, his shirt underneath looked like it was picked up from the floor and his jeans had dark spots that Jimin could not distinguish in the dim light of the streetlamp opposite his house.

But it wasn’t any of this that scared Jimin, it was the look of on Taehyung’s face. It was unearthly, a little like Taehyung was caught in a nightmare even though he was wide awake but it had a hint of something else, something his mind could not put to the vibrant and happy-go-lucky boy that he was well used to. It looked almost sinister, but surely that was not right, this was Kim Taehyung after all.

Kim Taehyung was the social butterfly, the glue to their friendship group and the official event planner. He was the one who unashamedly proposed the next bike ride in the summer, or found the next cafe that had the best board games from their childhood, for their group to try out. He never really walked, he skipped to wherever he needed to go, there was that much happiness in his footsteps. He was the I-will-think-of-a-out-the-box-solution-and-get-us-out-of-this-mess type of friend. The rest of them usually stood in awe as he found ways that no one had ever thought of to win against enemy players. Like the time they went to an escape reality room and he had managed to use the light from the camera to find the letters on the wall. Or the time where they were completing a virtual reality mission, one of the first that was launched in their city, and he had won the game within 20 seconds; the task was to eat 2 slices of cake and whilst the rest of them fought with the dizziness the game offered as they tried to accomplish the task, Taehyung had just thrown the slices in the elevator and eat them with ease later. Jimin had watched in awe, fighting back the butterflies in his stomach, but he blamed it on the queasiness of the game and not on anything more. He was very wrong in that prospect, he would later realise.

But the Taehyung that greeted Jimin that night was the one he would have to get used to for the next four years; the broken one. The one who could not leave his house to see a friend without taking medication first, the one who completely disappeared from the group chat that he had once been the admin of. The one who cried himself to sleep and woke up drenched in tears too.

Jimin sat with Taehyung’s head buried in his neck, his hands digging into Jimin’s sides. He had stopped asking any questions after Taehyung had tried to answer but only choked on his own words, he would wait until morning to find out what had caused this change of events. He just wanted to get Taehyung to stop shaking as much as he was, to put an end to the tears that seemed to flow out of him like that of a broken tap that no one could get close enough to, to fix. He just wanted his old best friend back, but that was wishful thinking. His old best friend died that night, and the shell of a man that he would be left with for the next four years would die on his 21st birthday.

If only the seventeen-year-old Jimin knew that he would only find out fragments of the truth in the following days and that the whole truth would only come to him in the form of letters after Taehyung ceased to be.





Chapter Text

“He killed his father.” 


Jimin was sat with his hands clenching onto the softness of the sofa. His fingers dug into the material so hard Namjoon thought he’d burst the seams and bring out some of the fillings. 


“That can’t be right, out of all of us, Taehyung was always the most family-oriented, they were always his first priority . Are you sure?” 


Jimin shuffled shakily to the bedroom, he had been getting sudden tremors for the past two days, it was as if his physical body was getting accustomed to the pain and shock that Taehyung's death had bought on. He tried to focus on the minor task of retrieving the letter from underneath his pillow, where he had placed it in the morning after having slept with it in his hands the entire night. Or whatever of the night he had actually managed to sleep through. 


He bought the letter to Namjoon, folded it so only that one paragraph would show and held it out for the older boy to read.


Namjoon’s heart ached, at how these letters were all that kept the boy in front of him going from day to day, but there was also a pang of pain in there for himself, for something he too had lost.


“Taehyung did that…” came a tiny voice from Namjoon, he did not know if it was statement he was making or a question he was asking. It really didn’t matter, because Jimin wouldn’t answer him either way. 


It was the second lunch meal that Namjoon had come to visit Jimin, with another packed lunch and yet another letter. 


“Did you have dinner?” He asked in between bites of his chicken sandwich. 


“My parents came around evening time yesterday, my mum was the person I called when I came home that night from the morgue and found Taehyung on my side of the bed,” Jimin was picking at his sandwich, he was not a fussy eater naturally but his taste buds seemed to have shut down alongside himself and his entire body. 


Mrs Park loved Taehyung like a third son, she and her family did everything to keep the boy afloat after he had drifted onto their shores on that night. The couple had, of course, contacted Mrs Kim and found that she was widowed, her soulmate had died that night and that she wanted nothing to do with her son Taehyung. 


It had taken the entire family by surprise, Taehyung was the ideal son and they had a picture perfect family, “what could have gone so wrong?” Mr Park had asked his soulmate that night before he drifted off to sleep.


Taehyung said little about it, the police even less; there had been a lack of evidence as to what had occurred that night and the Park Family had come to the opinion that Taehyung had gotten into a fight of some sort or the other and his father had died trying to save him. And this is the impression they would have for many more years until Jimin finally got the courage to tell them the reality of what actually happened that night. 


But that did not stop Mrs Park from foreseeing some dark future that her son was entangled in. She knew, as mothers do, years earlier that Taehyung would be the downfall to her son and yet she could not put this into words; her son saw the entire universe in the boy he had rescued and kept alive, like a stray wounded cat. So when she got the call that night, she knew it had finally come to pass. 


There were no words spoken. Just the empty silence of her oldest son breaking apart as she held the phone to her ear. They were there within minutes, to an unlocked door they had entered fearing the worst; Mrs Park felt guilty for the relief she had felt on seeing her son unharmed physically and still breathing. But she saw even in that moment he was damaged beyond repair and that it would take years for him to heal if he did heal at all. 


Jimin knelt by Taeyung’s dead body, no movement or tears escaping. His parents hugged what felt like a carved marble statue of an animated son they once knew. Mr Park kissed Jimin’s right temple and tried to get him to speak but there was no use and soon he yielded and moved away to let his wife hold their son as if he was a child once more. 


Later he would put his hands under Jimin’s armpits and drag him to the other side of the room, as if heaving him from the deepest part of the ocean, weighed down with what life had taken out of him rather than the water that may have infused into him; he was not letting a police officer touch his baby. 


Jimin would not remember the amount of people that walked into his small, cluttered but pleasant one-bedroom home. He would be shielded by his mother like he was when he was a child and they were in a crowded place, or something unpleasant was transpiring across the street and his mother would stand in front of him to stop him seeing whatever it was. When he was a child his inquisitive mind would have fought to try and get a sneak peek, but the newly turned 21-year-old Jimin would not have moved a limb as his mother clasped him, trying as every mother does, to absorb some of the pain that her son was going through. 


He would completely miss the security guard from the morgue who had helped him escape his premature coffin and the doctor who, for the second time in the last 24 hours would come to certify Taehyung’s death; Mr and Mrs Park had no idea that Taehyung’s death certificate had already been printed once before on 12th of October. 


Grief made Park Jimin revert back to a toddler, who had forgotten how to function, and so it was a struggle to leave her sleeping baby in bed alone and leave in the morning, Mrs Park felt like she was back in 1998 when Jimin was 3 years old and clung to his mother more than ever before; he was probably conscious of his brother’s arrival soon into the world. 


But they had to go and talk to Taehyung’s mother, who were once such close family friends but now had become near to strangers since they had taken Taehyung into their home. Mr Park felt he was not adequate enough to break to a mother that her son had died, not on his own anyway, so they had gone together. Leaving Jimin was no easy task, but she had promised her sleeping son that she would be back soon, but as it happened, they got caught up until the late afternoon when they finally managed to withdraw back to their son. It was hard trying to disengage themselves from the mourning house, they couldn't possibly say they were suffering near as much as the Kim family, and both the couple being soft in nature, had never managed to get out that they were worried for their son; not when another mother's child was gone forever. 


Jimin had let his mother fuss over him for a while when they returned, his father sat next to him with their shoulders touching, the trio had had a long day. 


“Come home with us,” they had repeated over and over again. “It won't do you any good to be here.”


But Jimin could not leave, not when Taehyung had kept himself alive in this house. His notes were stuck everywhere, that Jimin kept on stumbling upon, one in the mirror that told him he looked as beautiful as ever, or the one in his bedside drawer, where he kept his vitamin tablets, ‘your left arm will ache all day if you don't take it!’ it read.


And his letters, Namjoon could not travel to his family home to deliver them, and he needed those more than he needed air. Even if the entire house reeked of his lost lover, it was his home and he was not leaving. 


“Let me sleep on the sofa, I can manage that,” which bought a sharp stare from both the father and son, with her bad back this was not something they would let her execute. 


Jimin reluctantly told them about the letters and how Namjoon had been given the task of making him lunch, about the clothes in his wardrobe for him and the notes around the house. Normally he would have blushed at such a thing, even if his parents were romantics themselves. But now there was no colour to Jimin’s cheek, a paleness had settled in to replace it. 


“I will come every evening and make you dinner, i cannot stand you being alone in this house,” his mother announced. This was the last arrangement that they had come to. The Park family had always been close, and it seemed like the gap that Taehyung had created for the past 4 years was being closed now, maybe to bring them even closer than ever before. 


The shared look of concern, the unspoken words between his parents, the way they had come up with a plan around their busy lives to accommodate for him was what made Jimin want to crawl into a ball and cry until he had run out of tears. He had once shared all this with his soulmate too, and now there was a vast abyss that no one could ever fill.


Jimin sat silently after telling his listener of the night before. Namjoon listened, in broken sentences, as if he truly was a 3-year-old learning to form sentences, as Jimin gave an account of his parents. He was left to fill in a lot of blanks, Jimin just didn't seem to have the strength to delve into anything at any great length. But Namjoon was favourable with his words, be it spoken or written, he could read between the lines more than anyone else. His mind never truly stopped churning, creating theories, twisting words to create new meanings that no one had yet thought of. So he fitted well with the boy in front of him. 


Taehyung tried as best as he could to recall what had happened on the night he had killed his father. He had spent so much of his time trying to bury the memory that now he did not really know what to write to Jimin. He wondered how much of the gruesome details he could say and at what point his soulmates idea of him would change forever. The fear that Jimin would fall out of love with him after hearing what he had done froze his hands on the paper, stiff like the hinges of a door that has not been opened for a few hundred years. 


Jimin was in the living room, curled up on the sofa, with a blanket on top that Taehyung had draped over him, marathoning his shows. He had a few days off from university and was taking all the advantage of the free time to catch up on things he had missed. 


Taehyung could hear the subtle gasps and the occasional burst of laughter from where he sat, he had told Jimin he was journalling, that it helped ease his mind and take away some of the stresses of his days. It was not a full lie, he would occasionally journal a line or two; to make himself feel better for the white lie that he was feeding Jimin. He was going to do worse things, so he tried not to feel too guilty about it. 


He wrote as much as he could about their dingey hallway, the cracked floorboards and the dripping ceiling. The table on the side that holds all the glass bottles of his father's drinks, all emptied to the last drop. He had come to his family home from his second part-time job, it was nearing midnight and he was bone tired. He had spent the entire evening and most of the night on his feet, as a waitress in a shabby hotel that was a 40-minute bus ride away from home. Most of the time he fell asleep on the journey and had the bus driver shout his name from the front, the man knew Taehyung as the boy who had that big square smile, and a gleam to his eyes that meant he was trouble, but in the best sense. 


It was starting to get a bit too much; being the happy-go-lucky friend who was always upbeat and smiling outside, but as soon as he stepped into his house, he felt his shoulders drop and his lips turned into a flat line, his eyes seeping in the darkness of the house.


 His mother worked as a cleaner at the school, it was a meagre pay with all the school holidays they had and it was hard to manage with one parents income. So Taehyung served as a waiter on the busier evenings and assisted at a food factory that he went to in the early morning hours before school. He did not want to take a weekend job, which his father always taunted him about, because it was his only time where he could be with his friends and pretend that his family’s financial situation did not depend on his shoulders. 


He saw his father striking his sister, jabs thrown in his drunken state, some hitting her face and others the fridge behind her. She was shrieking for him to stop but he had her by the wrist and she could not fight her way out of his grasp. His mother had been trying to stop the blows on her daughter's face but had been thrown onto the floor where she sat now, wailing into her hands. 


Taehyung could not remember when he had determined to grab one of the glass bottles, but he felt himself striding across the hallway to his father, he pushed the man on his right shoulder and swung the bottle over his head, breaking it into two. He could only remember his sisters screams, his mother grabbing him from the back and shoving him as far away as she could manage. He was shocked at the sight of his own hands, blood-smeared and warm. 


He covered his face with his painted hands of red and cried. A shrill sound, like that of two knives being sharpened.


Only later, in nightmares which Jimin would hold him through, sweaty and mottled, would he realise that he had stabbed his father, again and again with the broken glass in his hands.



Jimin focused on the sandwich in his hand, he wanted to ask Namjoon if it was wrong that he did not feel any less love for Taehyung than he had done before finding out that he was a murderer. However, he could not form the words out loud because even he knew it was immoral how he felt, and it would possibly drive the older hyung away from him, which he could not let happen. As selfish as it sounded, he needed his letters and Namjoon had them. 


Namjoon shifted in his seat. “But his father's death does not explain why he died just a few hours before your soulmate ceremony.”


Jimin shuddered, if something as big as this was revealed in his second letter, then what was in store for him in the later ones? 




Chapter Text

"He just left me. Completely and utterly. I have no idea what I did wrong. But how could he do that hyung?" Jimin shouted, he looked like he was a firework just before it explodes into the sky, angry and shimmering. "Make him come back. Just bring him back, that's all I want." 


Namjoon stepped forward, he tried to get closer to the smaller boy but there seemed to be a wall in-between them, a barrier that Namjoon thought was too high for him to climb over. 


"Jimin, let me help-" 


"No. You can't help me." Jimin screamed into the room. "Can you bring Taehyung back? Can you bring him back to life?" 


"Of course I can't do that, Jimin listen to yourself," Namjoon begun.


"You have no idea what I am going through," Jimin watched Namjoon flinch. But he was seething in anger, anger at himself for being so in love, at Taehyung for not being alive and generally at the entire universe for the pain that was ablaze in each of his cells. 


"It gets better, it does, believe me," Namjoon did not know where to begin or where to end. How do you tell a 21-year old that they will have to get used to being without their soulmate for the rest of their life? It sounded unreasonable even as he said it. Even after all he knew.


"I gave him my everything, from the moment he came to my doorstep on that night till the day before my ceremony, all I did was give him everything I held in me. I let go of everything that mattered to me, I barely saw my family when we moved out, he hated spending nights alone. I never met with any of my friends for fear he would be left alone for too long. I felt like I had to give every second to him that I could spare. And look where the selfish bastard left me. Empty-handed and with no-one to call my own." Jimin gasped for air. He rubbed away at the tears with the back of his hand. 


"Of course I want him for my selfish reasons. It's as if I am left without air every moment he is not here, but you know what makes me even angrier? Knowing I and you and everyone else will get to experience life after 20, to have a career and a lovely home, to settle down and have children, grow old enough to have grandkids but look at what he got; nothing. He didn't even live to 21. Even if we had separate soulmates, I just wished my best friend got to experience life just like everyone else," Jimin sobbed. 


He moved to the wall and lifted his fist. Namjoon tried to hold him back but he was too strong for his grip. Namjoon was pushed backwards, he tried to regain his balance and go to Jimin but he was too late. By the time he had reached Jimin again, his hands were streaked with blood and the wall had a dent in the shape of it.


"Go away," Jimin screamed as his hyung tried to hold his hand, to at least try and soothe the physical pain that he felt. "Just get out." Jimin was pushing Namjoon now, away from himself, away from everything he felt. 


Jimin was a year younger than Namjoon but when the pair were together it felt like the age gap was of a decade or more. The older boy was always so much wiser, knew exactly what to say, but for once Namjoon didn't know what to do, he did not know how to lessen the pain that the boy in front of him felt. 


So, with lead in his heart, he walked to the door, it took his everything to leave Jimin alone in this state but ‘maybe he will calm down if I am not here,' he thought as he reached for the door handle. 


And then he heard running and Jimin was in his arms, his legs wrapped around the older one's waist. His face buried in Namjoon's neck. Namjoon's right hand rested at the back of Jimin's head, and the other was keeping the smaller boys in place. Everything became a blur for the next few moments as Namjoon tried to regain control of his thoughts.


"I want him back," Jimin whispered into Namjoon's neck. 




Jimin had butterflies from the moment he had woken up that morning. And now standing in the middle of their living room he surveyed what was to become his kingdom for however how it took for them to move out to a bigger house. Jimin could not move into his university dorms like most first-year students did, because Taehyung was not going to university. Jimin had tried to reason with him, but had failed to come up with a suitable answer to all his arguments. He had to come to terms with the fact that a university degree was not everyone's cup of tea.


"Your life can still be just as wonderful if you don't go to uni, Jimin-ah, and who says I can't enrol next year?" But before the start of the next academic year, Taehyung will come to realise that he has no future, and he would have this same argument again with Jimin. But at 18, they did not know that. 


The smallness of the house suited him because with only the two of them he did not think he would be able to cope with a larger one. Not to mention that Taehyung was the only one working full time, had started his job as soon as his college exams had finished, and they had realised that they would need a place of their own. For the first time in Taehyung life, work did not feel like a burden or something his father ought to be doing instead of him, as he had done in his early teenage years. Because this time it was for him and Jimin. 


As they placed yet another box on the floor from Mr Park's car, Jimin's fingers brushed that of Taehyung's underneath it, he grew hot. Felt the heat on his cheeks and prayed that the boy in front would not look into his face and see the way this small touch had impacted him. 


The two boys had always been easy with skinship, holding hands came as easily as breathing and Taehyung struggled to fall asleep without holding Jimin in his arms, his long limbs encircling the smaller boy. And yet, these days Jimin felt a different sense within him, a slow burn along his insides when the two touched, he was scared the flame would grow too much and that he would do something stupid. Something that Taehyung was not yet ready for.


He could not help but wonder if the boy walking out of the front door now also felt the same. He hated the idea that he was the only one experiencing all this and wished that Taehyng would blurt out what was encircling his mind. He dared not say a word, afraid he was rushing things. Taehyung was fragile, as fragile as a thin sheet of glass that had already experienced the harshness of the world around it. And Jimin found himself always calculating the way he said or did things, just so as not to throw him off. Unless he was angry, then Park Jimin could not control his mouth and Taehyung would learn that in the next few months as Jimin's patience wore thin.


Maybe Jimin was overdoing it, but Jimin had this weird inclination where he wanted to take their first steps into the house together. He knew he was being silly, they were only tenants here. That when the two bought their own house together he would be able to do all of these crazy things… and yet he felt his hand reach out to grab Taehyung's arm as they were about to enter the house for the night, Jimin already having said goodbye to his parents. 


The former looked up, a quizzical expression on his face. He raised an eyebrow. 


As Jimin moved to reach where Taehyung stood, he felt a shy small cross his face, he could not meet the confused boy's gaze. But Taehyung knew his best friend well, and felt himself intertwined his hands with the smaller boys and together they stepped into the house. 


Jimin would look back on that day, and thank the heavens that he had stopped Taehyung because unlike his oblivious 18-year-old, he knew now that he would never have the chance to move into a house of his own with his soulmate. 


That night as they got into bed, that still did not have a headboard, Jimin felt himself bite his tongue as Taehyung pulled him closer to his side. They had the same duvet as the one from Jimin's old bedroom, but the bed mattress underneath was unfamiliar and they both felt it. He was glad to be facing the window, where the streetlights glowed softly in the early autumn night. Every bit of his body that touched his best friends felt hotter than the rest of his body. He felt agitated, like all of his nerve endings were on fire. And without thinking, he pushed himself deeper into the curve of Taehyung's body that had become his new home. 


He felt Taehyung's lips brush on his neck and wanted to scream, he waited for him to do something more. Anything more. He gulped, and let go of his breath after a while because Taehyung wasn't going to do anything. And he knew it was not in his hands to make the first move; what if Taehyung was not ready for anything more? He thought endlessly.


He felt the younger boy's grip tighten at his waist. "Welcome to our new home, Jimin-ah." 


"You too Taehyung," Jimin whispered, his voice faltering. 



Jimin lay with his head in his mother's lap, staring at the ceiling, it felt like his entire body was in physical pain, aching from head to toe.  


"Mama, please help me, you've always known how to make me feel better; when I had a fever you knew exactly how to bring it down, when I had a bee sting you calmed the searing pain, so do something now. I can't live like this," Jimin's words merged. One word bumping into the next. 


His mother ran her hand through her older child's head. She wanted to accept all of his pain for herself, and yet it was her baby that was going to have to live through it. She knew Jimin and Taehyung had planned for a future with each other, they were always stuck at the hips even from the start of their friendship. Whenever Jimin had friends over, which was all the time during his high school years, you could always guarantee to see the two sat next to each other, one usually leaning into the other. When Jimin's friends stayed overnight and she happened to pass his bedroom door, she'd see the two tangled with each other, be it on the bed or the floor, depending on who got the lucky dip for that night. They were inseparable for years on end. 


For the 7 months that Taehyung stayed with the Park family, they saw less and less of anyone else. Taehyung became a part of the family, his preferred foods got added to the list just under Jimin's. But unlike the cheerful, boxy smiled boy that Mrs Park was used to, she saw a broken version of it, he smiled just as much, but there was no glow in it any longer. The normally loud laughter was dimmed down to the lowest setting. From years earlier, he had grown accustomed to the Park family, came and went whenever he felt like it. Helped himself to everything and anything; sat with Mrs Park in the garden as she sipped her tea and chatted away with Mr Park as he cooked dinner… and yet once he moved in, they rarely saw him besides dinner time. That was the one meal that the entire family had to have together no matter what went on outside of the house, and this included Taehyung. Mrs Park wondered how this altered boy impacted the friendship that her son had with him, and yet they seemed to grow closer than ever, so she didn't intervene. Not that the 17-year-old Jimin would have let his mother intervene anyways. 


"You know there are three things that are certain in our universe: by the age of 21 you will have a soulmate, a curse will take its course and death is mandatory on every living being. You've known this since you've had sense so now you have to live through it my baby, there is nothing me or your dad or anyone can do to make any of these things disappear." 


Mrs Park had come to visit her grieving son in the morning on this day, she and her husband ran a small family business, it was a card company with a few franchise open throughout the country that they had to frequent every quarterly and that time was already here. Jimin had to force his mother to go, he knew his dad would forget half the things and also not look after himself over the week-long trip. 


Later that afternoon, Namjoon bought Jimin his seventh letter. Some of these were filled with memories of the two lovers, others that made Jimin cry until he ached to his core. The pain was still anchoring Jimin to the ground and he wondered how long it would take till he grew used to it, or if it would follow him to his own grave. 


As Namjoon was putting on his coat, ready to say goodbye, Jimin hesitated with his request. The older boy had been giving his lunch hours for Jimin, he did not know how to ask for more of his time. 


He fiddled with a thread that was coming off of the t-shirt he was wearing. Unaware of what to ask or how to make it seem impersonal.


The thing was that Jimin's mother always left after he had fallen asleep, sometimes she sat on the floor and sang to him, or at other times she sat reading on the small bean bag near the window whilst Jimin battled with his insomnia. But he had never had to fall asleep in an empty house before and he knew that if today no one was with him, he'd not sleep the entire night. 




"Hmm," Namjoon was putting his hands through his coat, focusing on that action alone, he was not the one to do things in haste. 


"Are you busy tonight?" 


"It's a Friday night Jimin, the only thing I have planned for tonight is a bath and an early bedtime," Namjoon smiled, dimples all on display like art pieces in a museum. 


"Well, so, um I was thinking if only Hobi hyung doesn't mind-" 


"What I do is up to me, what has Hoseok got to do with how I spend my time?" The older boy said abruptly, throwing his backpack over his shoulders and turning to leave. 


"I'm sorry I didn't mean anything like that, it was just that I was wondering," Jimin pulled the thread out entirely out of his t-shirt and looped it around his fingers. 


The older boy had already crossed halfway through the room and was nearing the door. He had 10 minutes to get back to the office, he would need to hurry up if he was to clock back in on time. 


He grabbed for the door handle as Jimin said, "if you could stay the night." It was blurted out all in one go, a request from a hopeful, ready to be denied, because why would someone have to give up their lunch and their bed for someone who had not properly spoken to him until just a week ago? 


Namjoon's hand stopped on the cold metal doorknob, he turned around, "you want me to what?" Namjoon regretted his choice of words, he did not mean them to sound as harsh as they had. 


"I'm sorry, of course not, I just, it's nothing, have a good shift!" Jimin looked down at the floor, dropped the thread from around his fingers, foolish and wishing the ground would engulf him, how had he been as stupid as to ask Namjoon that? 


"You want me to stay the night?"


"I can't sleep alone, it's too scary without Taehyung." 


"I will come back in the evening," Namjoon said simply, he opened the door and walked into the October afternoon. A fresh breeze whipping at his face, he realised he had left his grey woollen scarf on Jimin's sofa, but he didn't go back to get it, he would return a few hours later anyway. 


At a quarter to midnight, he found himself on the same sofa where his scarf had been left, with two thin blankets over him and his feet dangling off the edge. He was comfortable enough, just found it hard to sleep being in a new environment. 


Jimin lay in his small double bed and saw Namjoon's feet dangling off his sofa, he admired the older boys height a lot but for once it seemed to be at a disadvantage. 


He tossed and turned in bed, unable to quieten his mind. He listened to an audiobook on self-growth, thought it would be boring enough to send him off to dreamland and 1 hour in, he was still as awake as ever. He played soft music of rain pouring down rocks in some European country somewhere, to no avail. From his bed, he could only see the back of the sofa, and yet he could not stop staring at it and the dangling feet of the occupier. 


Finally, he twisted himself out of bed, dragged his duvet with him, and slowly tiptoed around to where Namjoon lay. He tried not to make any noise but did end up knocking over some papers off the coffee table as he went across. He put the duvet on Namjoon first, aware that if he took the two smaller blankets, his body would be left to the cold air of the living room. And then slowly, he removed the smaller blankets from underneath after he saw that Namjoon had not woken up yet. He went and tucked the duvet under the sleeping boy's feet, and pushed the adjacent sofa so that there was no gap in between; it now held Namjoon's feet rather than it being suspended from air like it had been for the past few hours. 


Jimin looked down at the sleeping boy, his right hand under his cheek, and breathing softly and smiled at his work. 


When he reached his bed, he found himself drifting off to sleep without many more minutes passing by. 


The only thing was; Namjoon was not asleep at all. He had quickly closed his eyes as he heard the rustling from Jimin's bed and waited anxiously for whatever the smaller boy was going to do. He had not expected this of all things. 


It made him sleep with a lighter heart; he had caught a small sight of the boy he had once known before Taehyung's death. Of the softer, kinder and more heartwarming Jimin. The Jimin that was selfless and put everyone else before himself, the one that spent his free time helping his friends rather than doing his own work, who listened to his loved one and yet never shared his problems. Namjoon was glad to see that that part of him had not died alongside Taehyung. 


Chapter Text

 Jimin was washing up, there wasn’t a lot to wash but Namjoon still insisted he would help dry the dishes. 

"I really don’t understand why our labs have to be 6 hours long, does it look like I have that much concentration on any given day?” Jimin asked, hoping Namjoon wouldn’t say anything rational back. 

“You’re young with a fresh mind, what do you mean you can’t concentrate for 6 hours?” Jimin was severely disappointed in Namjoon. 

“You have to see things from my level hyunggg,” the younger boy complained. 

Namjoon bent his knees, “hmmm, things do look different from here,” he said with a grin. 

Jimin rinsed his hands under the tap, turned and wiped it all along Namjoon’s t-shirt, which made the boy nearly drop the last plate he was drying. 

“You brat!” He shouted as he hastily placed the plate at the edge of the counter and ran after Jimin, unfortunate for him, Jimin was an exceptional runner, and had even better agility. 

He ran behind the sofa, but before Namjoon could even turn to get to the edge of it, Jimin had jumped over and was now running into the bedroom. This proved a lot harder, with the bed in the middle and desk at the side, but Jimin weaved around until he reached the balcony, where he met a dead end. 

Namjoon ran, already out of breath by the small lap of the house, and caught Jimin from behind, only problem was that slender boy was not going to give up so easily and tried to squirm out of his arms. It ended with Jimin half diagonal in his arms. There wasn’t a lot of thought process in either of the boy’s action, so to make things less awkward Namjoon found himself slipping his left hand under Jimin's knees and carrying him bridal style. 

“Jimin-ah, my arms are dying,” Namjoon complained as he reached halfway to the bed, he was surprised at how easily the younger boy had wrapped his arms around his neck and seemed at peace to be where he was. With only one slight problem: the carriers arms were about to give up any second. 

“Hyung, you can’t drop me! You’ll break my back!” Jimin half screamed, sensing the unease in Namjoon’s arms and his face growing a bright red. 

With great difficulty, he did make it to the bed, where Jimin was deposited with a thump . And lay down himself, face forward at the edge of the bed. 

Jimin made himself comfortable by dragging himself up and hugging onto a pillow, something Taehyung had everyday, “you need to work on your upper body strength, hyungie.”

“I’m fine with all the biking I do and I hate arm workouts so, no thank you buddy.”

“No, I know you’re fit and healthy.”


“To carry me more.” 

It was a simple enough suggestion, but it implied Jimin saw Namjoon in his future, and for that reason only, it seemed worthwhile.



The pair were in the kitchen, it had been a few weeks since they had moved in and they were getting into the hang of actually cooking for themselves. They always cooked the simplest thing, with whatever they had in the house, because apparently Jimin had read an article somewhere that said this was the most efficient way of doing it. Taehyung, someone who found it hard to tell the difference between salt and sugar, was not going to argue. He had spent a large amount of his time as a waiter but the most he had of the kitchen was just retrieving the dishes; he had never really cared enough to pick up the art of cooking. 

He was mostly used by Jimin for moral support in the kitchen, with high fives and words of encouragement being peppered throughout every cooking session. Taehyung usually tasted everything that Jimin cooked, mostly with no choice, because every so often Jimin would wander over to him and shovel a spoonful of food into his mouth. Today he was standing by the fridge, a punnet of tomatoes on the table across from him, that he was periodically eating from, as he listened to Jimin whine about just how annoyingly irresponsible his teammates were in his group project. 

Taehyung had stopped listening for a while now, his eyes lingered on the shape of Jimin’s slender physique. The small beauty spot on the middle of his nape. The S shape that he could trace with Jimin’s back. The way his black jeans clung so tightly to his butt, thighs and calves. Taehyung’s hands itched to touch him, for what reason he did not know. Just that he wanted to press himself against Jimin and feel the shape of him. 

He shook his head. He was going crazy, this was no way to think about his best friend.

The kitchen ceiling had been leaking for the past two days, Taehyung had placed a metal bowl on the floor, the biggest utensil they had in the house, to catch the drops. This had meant that the table was pushed to the right side of the kitchen, leaving very little space between the fridge and the table.

And that was way when Jimin walked towards him, on his way out of the kitchen, Taehyung found himself throwing his hands up as if in surrender. He felt his entire self turn to stone as Jimin so easily, and without a thought, pushed his body into Taehyung’s in order to squeeze past him. He felt his eyes close as Jimin’s fingers traced its way across his hips, at how Jimin’s entire groin pressed into his own. His lips parted, cheeks grew hot and his hands fumbled after Jimin passed by. Taeyung watched Jimin leave the kitchen and threw his head back against the door of the fridge, trying to will his mind into calmness after the chaos that had ensued. 

Jimin was hot, of course he was, you would have to be in denial of the finer things in life in order to say otherwise. And that was why he was feeling this way. Taehyung tried to rationalise his thoughts. Anyone who felt Jimin’s body against theirs would feel just as he had done, it was nothing more. Nothing special. 

A few nights later, he would feel himself grow agitated at the sight of Jimin in just a towel, freshly out of the shower. One of his hot showers, where the entire bathroom would be steamed up for minutes later. He could still see the vapours swirling in the air through the half-open bathroom door from where he sat up in bed, like the thoughts in his head were. He would watch a droplet of water run its course from behind Jimin’s ear, along the side of his neck, past his collarbone and right down his chest and abdomen before disappearing into the towel that was fastened around Jimin’s hips. He was mad at the towel for hiding his view, all he wanted to do was see where that particular drops journey ended. That was the only reason why he wanted to jump out of bed and snatch away at the fabric fastened around his roommates waist.

But how was he going to blame the towel for how he wanted to press his hands onto the entire length of his best friends body, seep in the warmth of the water he had just showered under. How was he going to explain to anyone that all he wanted to do was touch at the supple skin of the boy who was now going through their shared wardrobe finding a suitable pajamas for the night? Or that Taehyung wanted Jimin in bed, with just a towel on and nothing more.

A week from now Taehyung would be outside of Jimin’s campus, waiting in his car to pick him up. He would notice how three boy would turn their heads in unison as Jimin passed them by, and how Jimin looked back, as boldly as ever and grinned at them whilst brushing his hair. Taehyung would find himself going 60mph on a 30 road, not a glance spared at Jimin the entire ride. He would only hear blood rush in his ears and feel the leathery grip of the steering wheel. 

A few months later, on a  cold January evening, Taehyung found himself alone at home. Jimin had gone to pick up a box of kimchi from his mother and would be returning before dinner. Taehyung worked from home for the local council with regards to over-seeing safeguarding documents in relation to children in the city. He did not make any decisions himself as to what happened to these children, he was at the bottom of the chain of those who read the initial documents to see if there was any red-alarms that needed to be put forth. But he found purpose in his job; felt like he was doing something to aid the most vulnerable of the population. Not to mention that he only had to visit the office once a week for a brief meeting with his team leader about the week’s progress. This suited his anxiety of being out amongst people, it helped him to be able to do his job properly without having to constantly feel like he was standing on a row of needles. 

He had logged out of his work laptop for the day, grazed on a pink lady apple and then had pulled out his personal laptop to go through the hundreds of videos of himself and Jimin. He was trying to edit a video as a gift for Jimin, there was no particular occasion, he just liked seeing Jimin happy. 

This involved him going through all the years of footage he had, in little glimpses because watching every video on his hard drive would take him a month on its own. 

He giggled at the video of the 14-year-old Jimin and Taehyung that had snuck away to the neighbouring city on the train without parental consent. They had felt so cool and would talk about it to everyone at school that cared enough to listen. His eyes watched fondly at 15-year-old Jimin as they spoke in accents on the way back home from school; eating ice cream on a summer afternoon just before the start of the summer holidays. Or the time when Taehyung had joined the Park family on their winter vacation to Japan where they had spent an entire day throwing snowballs at each other… and had come home to a severe cold. 

His eyes always lingered on Jimin, how he had grown so beautifully into his features over the past few years. How his eyes drew into crescent shapes whenever he smiled, how he disappeared from the screen every time he laughed. How Taehyung knew just when Jimin was about to fall and would grip onto him. He noticed how much warmth Jimin’s eyes held when he looked at Taehyung.

And then the world went black for Kim Taehyung. He wretched, it felt like someone had lodged a square block in his airways and he found it hard to breathe. His vision blurred and he felt his hand lose all its senses on the mousepad. 

“Synchrony between two people is the only way you can tell people are soulmates before the actual ceremony,” he knew this fact like he knew his left hand from his right. It was a unspoken law that everyone was aware of. A game kids played when they got bored in public: find the soulmates. One Jimin and Taehyung had played all throughout their teenage years, in cafes and in parks, on beaches and at school. All you had to do was spot just how many times a pair moved in unison, the more movements you could tally, the more your chance of winning.

And there it was. In all its glory for Taehyung to see in the hundreds of videos in front of him. In the latest video, it was almost scary just how much Jimin and Taehyung moved in synchrony. It was as if they were two puppets who had the same puppeteer, all arms and legs being pulled at once. They were like a mirror image of each other. 

He saw his hands on the mousepad drip with blood, the table in front of him vanished and the smell of alcohol was burning in his nose. His white minimalistic living room was changed to the dingey kitchen of his family home, grime clinging to the walls and the plaster peeling from the ceiling. Rather than the softness of the sofa that he sat on, he could feel his back against the metal of the refrigerator and taste bile in his mouth. 

But for the first time since the night of his father’s death; all he could hear was his mother’s words. He heard them spoken a thousand times over, the same sentence, all at once. From every direction.

There was no way Jimin was his soulmate. He would not let Jimin hold that status in his life. Jimin did not deserve such a title. 

He tried to remember what his doctor had told him to do when he had a panic attack, “breathe-in to the count of 5 and breath out to the count of 5” but what was he meant to do if there was no oxygen left in the room? When his airway felt like it was being squeezed by an iron grip. What was he meant to do when breathing became painful? Why had his doctor not taught him of that scenario? 

Taehyung knew that soulmates were decided by fate, but he was not going to accept Jimin as his own, that was not on his agenda. Not on this day nor any other. He was going to do everything in his power to not let fate run its course; it was his only option. 



The cafe was on a sidestreet to one of the busiest streets their city had, and hence, due to the high maintenance cost, the room itself was tiny. At no fault of the owners, the prices were over the top but to the 7 boys who had frequented it, it was the atmosphere they adored. It was near the college that all 7 of them had attended, some earlier than others depending on their ages.

There were only 4 tables, one that had a window sofa on one side and a few scattered chairs around it, and this was the one where all seven of them fit, not to mention that it was also the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing area.

It was Yoongi and Jungkook’s soulmate ceremony that had bought the two groups together. On Yoongi’s 21st birthday, when Jungkook woke up in his bed, he cried at the strange one-bedroom studio he was in, uncertain about his whereabouts and just exactly why he was here. Yoongi, on the other hand, was prepared, he knew when his eyes opened to a 16-year old’s bedroom just why he was there, amidst a floor strewn with mangas and DVDs of games that Jungkook had played all during that week, and had not gotten to tidying up. He sighed, climbed out of the bed and let himself out of the Jeon’s household. He was thankful that it was early morning and he would only see his soulmates face once he reached his own apartment, and not through some old photograph or video call. He was romantic in that old fashioned way. “Thank god, my fool doesn't live across the world from me,” he had thought with a soft smile on his face, he was going to finally meet his soulmate and he couldn’t be happier. 

Some soulmate ceremonies did cause more trouble than they were worth; such as people finding themselves in different countries or even continents. Or the worst cases where one of the soulmates were in prison and their other half replaced them, but as it was a very possible feat, the law did take this account and there were legislations to maintain order.

Yoongi and Jungkook represented the smaller half of the population; where they fell in love with each other after the ceremony rather than before. 

Namjoon and Hoseok’s case was the complete opposite. They had both needed each other in their first few years of knowing each other more than ever. They had been madly in love for years, before the ceremony confirmed their feelings for each other. 

They sat across from each other now, Hoseok’s eyes never straying from Namjoon’s body, and occasionally grinning at his partner. 

“Finally, after so many years we are all together,” Jin said to the group, they were yet to order anything. Jin found it hard to believe that even though all of them lived in the same city, they found it so hard to get more than three people at the same place at the same time. 

“Not all of us,” Jimin said defiantly. He was looking straight at Jin, a bold dare to make sure he did not refute. He may be one of the youngest of the group but he would not let allow anyone to forget his Taehyung-ah. 

The awkwardness that wafted through the room was stronger than the smell of freshly brewed coffee and chocolate cake that one of the other tables had ordered. 

“We all are sincerely sorry for your loss Jimin, it has affected us all too, we were once his best friends as well as you,” Yoongi says, hoping it will alleviate some of the tension that he felt brewing.  

“Until you both decided we no longer meant anything to the both of you that is,” Hoseok piped in, he saw a small grin on Jin’s face and knew that was what the oldest boy was also thinking, but did not dare say.

Jimin shifted in his seat, he was sandwiched between Namjoon and Jungkook, and he felt the thighs of both the boys press into his. “Taehyung had a lot of anxiety about going out for a few months, and once that calmed down, he just didn't trust himself anymore to be out with people,” he shook his head a little, trying to keep at bay all the nights of arguments and bitter resentment about why they just couldn't be normal young adults, “we did try and meet you guys a few times, in twos and threes, but even after those he would be in bed for days, at that time it made no sense to me, but it does now,” Jimin felt a little lighter, he could finally provide an explanation for all the weird behaviour of the duo.

This was not the place to tell everyone that Taehyung had murdered his own father, but he hoped that the four of them knew him enough to know that over the next few months he would fill in all the gaps of their knowledge, with whatever they were entitled to know of their former best friend. 

“Okay, I understand about Taehyung, but what stopped you from meeting us?” Hoseok asked.

Jimin grew hot, his cheeks filled like a glass of red wine, he wanted to get out of this small cafe; it was causing him to feel claustrophobic… or was that the uncertainty he felt at his own past decisions?

They had spent many a night arguing, Jimin shouting at the top of his lungs, asking what could possibly be wrong with the two of them going out to a restaurant, a bar or nightclub. Jimin loved dancing, his body moved to the rhythm of absolutely any music ever. He just wanted to be like every other young adult.

Taehyung sat on the edge of the bed, in one particular memory of Jimin’s, his hands gripping onto the duvet on either side as his best friend stood in front of him, fists tightened and teeth bared. Waiting for an answer to his question of “why do we have to spend every weekend at home?” It was one of the many questions he had fired at the younger delicate boy. 

Taehyung’s hair was getting longer, some parts coming onto his face making him look softer than ever. Jimin felt awful being so angry at him; he looked like a kicked puppy. But Jimin found it hard to control the anger he felt at Taehyung, who was starting to become an extension of himself considering the amount of time the two spent together. 

The younger boy shrugged. This just resulted in Jimin clenching his mouth tighter. He just wanted to communicate with him, just simple words would suffice and yet ‘the bastard makes my life so fucking difficult’ he thought. He could not stand the silence, the empty looks and the way Taehyung kept more of his words in his mouth than spoke them. 

It was never like this before, Jimin had prided himself on knowing his best friend like an open book, better than anyone else knew him. But now he was not so sure. 

“You go by yourself if you want to get out so badly,” Taehyung finally spoke, seeing that Jimin was ready to burst.

“You know I will not be able to enjoy myself because of the guilt of leaving you on your own.”

“You don't have to worry about me.” 

Jimin laughed, it was a bitter sound. They both knew that the only reason why Taehyung was still alive was because Jimin had sustained him for the past few years, giving him everything he had inside of himself and more. Always caring more about the younger boy than about himself. He thought he deserved an award for being so selfless. 

“Fine, I will go on my own. You can sulk by your own fucking self.”

Jimin turned on his heels, knowing if he looked at Taehyung for a second longer he would change his mind. This was the first time in months that he had made the decision to go out on a Saturday night and he was going to do it no matter what.

Taehyung was wasting his late teens, but that didn't mean he would have to too. Jimin had a life outside of the bubble he shared with his best friend, or so he thought.

He took one of the fastest showers of his life, washed well and felt a lot lighter. He loved the simple way that water washed away not just your physical dirt, but all that clung to the edges of your mind too. 

With his head facing every other way except the bed at which Taehyung still sat on, unmoved since the last time he saw him, he got ready. An excitement lingered in his steps, he was feeling happier just at the thought of being outside in the buzz of people, amongst the noise and chaos that they had both once loved. He tried not to focus on his best friend’s reflection in the mirror as he fixed his hair and sprayed himself. He had better things to look forward to. 

His small home felt like it was pressing on his rib cage, making it hard to breathe. 

Jimin did not look back, but at the door of the bedroom he did say, “see you in a few hours Taetae, sleep early, I won't be gone for long.” 

He had reached halfway across the living room when he felt Taehyung on his back, his hands wrapped around Jimin’s waist. “Don’t go, if you go,” Taehyung breathed onto Jimin’s neck, “I will do something stupid and you will never be able to forgive yourself.” 

Jimin felt roped in and unable to break free but he did not move an inch, because he felt caged in other ways than physically. 

As Taehyung slept that night, Jimin wondered what he was doing so wrong but could not put a finger to it. So he turned and kissed the sleeping boy’s forehead softly and slept. ‘It is what it is,’ he thought. 

Back in the cafe, Jimin could feel the touch of Taehyung’s forehead on his lips; but that was just a memory like Taehyung would become for the rest of his life. He was not going to paint a bad image of his soulmate to other people so white lied, which technically was not a lie because it contained elements of truth in it as well, just not the entire thing. “We just liked spending all our time together.” 

“Can’t relate,” Hoseok said and everyone grinned. Some for reasons different to others. 

Whilst standing in line to order, all of them standing in a roughly straight line, Namjoon felt Jimin’s chin on his shoulder from behind him. He smiled at the smaller boy, proud of him for doing so well. It would just get easier from here, the ice was broken now and he hoped for the best for the 6 of them. Especially for Jimin, who was cutely digging his chin into his shoulder, an affectionate gesture that made Namjoon glow from within, it was a genuine touch that Namjoon had not felt for a while now.

Chapter Text

Jimin had a breakdown in front of the refrigerator at his local supermarket. He was stood in front of the drinks section, but a small yellow sign read that they were out of stock on the mango drinks, which Jimin did not care about, but they also had no pear juice in stock. Taehyung only ever drank pear juice, they always bought them in dozens. The third shelf of his fridge at home had no more space to hold any more: the drinker was not there to drink them. But that didn’t stop Jimin buying a dozen on a weekly basis. But now they had none and Jimin didn’t know how to comprehend the fact that one day he would need to stop buying this juice. He didn't expect the day to come so soon. He didn’t care that his mother shouted at him for buying things only taehyung had ever wanted, he didn’t care that Namjoon walked into the kitchen and sighed at the sight of all of his strange behaviour, he didn’t care at all about what anyone thought. He was the one who had lost his soulmate at the age of 21. 


Jimin couldn’t stop the shaking or the sobs. He felt sick, like he would explode if he stayed in the store a minute longer. His entire body felt like it was alive with ants and yet he couldn’t do anything to get rid of them. He wanted to run out out of there, fill his lungs with fresh air; or the scent of taehyung. He wanted to be held by his soulmate, just once and he knew he’d be fine. 


He rang the closest person at hand.


“Namjoon hyung,” he whispered, the phone felt like it was sliding out of his hands, but he was gripping it with all his might. He didn’t know what he was doing wrong.


If Jimin was in the right state of mind, he could have marvelled at how Namjoon picked up the phone at the end of the first ring. But Jimin did not know and did not care for the fact that Namjoon had set Jimin’s phone call to a different ringtone to the rest; knowing that Jimin would rarely ever call him, but when he did, it would be important. In the first week, when they had not spent their nights together, he would leave the house with, “make sure you call me if you need me, I keep my phone on full volume.” But even if his phone was on the lowest setting, he would still wake up at the ringtone of Jimin’s call; it was one of panic and alarm, he had associated it already with those emotions. 


Namjoon had ran the entire way to the supermarket, his heart in his hands, not knowing what to expect. Every time he thought Jimin was getting better, healing a little bit more, the younger boy surprised him by going back to square one. Back to the screaming, refusing to eat, where he slept on the floor and refused Namjoon when he tried to help him to bed, and of course the nightmares, those never left anyways. 


He ignored the security guard at the front of the automatic doors that called out to him, rushed past the square boxes filled with the days cheapest deals and down the isles filled with office workers grabbing their lunch meal deals. His head scanned every person, for a split second each, to spot the boy that made his life hold some purpose after all he had been through. After he had entered a dark tunnel which seemed everlasting; until park jimin shone at the end of it with blinding lightness that he found hard to deny.


He let the smaller boy cling onto his jumper, dig his nails into the soft Woollen fabric, holes he would never end up mending. He let Jimin’s tears seep past the layer of his clothes until he was sure he could feel the coolness of them on his skin. 



And that was when the push and pull begun for Jimin and Taehyung.


It was as if Taehyung had a saw in his hands and was going back and forth, again and again, and the thing that was being cut in two was not a piece of wood but Jimin. With everything action of Taehyung, Jimin felt himself being worn thin, bit by bit, debris by debris. 


Taehyung spent the next few months trying to convince the universe, but mostly himself, that he was not in love with his best friend. He heard his mother’s words on the radio as he tuned into the morning news, heard it on the phone call with his team leader and even when Jimin spoke. His mind switched off to whoever was speaking to him, only heard those certain words that would define the next few years of his living. 


On one of the nights, spring being around the corner, Jimin felt himself sigh in an empty kitchen. Taehyung was having one of his lowest periods since they had moved in together, he spent most of his time sleeping or lying awake, staring at the ceiling. His work had given him time off, they were a big co-operation that liked to boast about how well they looked after their colleagues and hence Taehyung was on paid sick leave. 


Jimin wondered, not for the first time, why Taehyung was feeling so low all of a sudden, but asking Taehyung had proved futile, all he got was a vacant stare back. 


Jimin slipped into bed next to his best friend, ‘because that is what we will always be’ Jimin thought bitterly. ‘Nothing more, not when Taehyung has anything to do with it.’


Taehyung turned to his right, his half closed eyes meeting that of Jimin’s. He rubbed his nose into Jimin’s shoulder, softly and with as much love as he could muster.


“I am sorry,” he whispered, those were his most used words these past few days.


Jimin put his hand lightly on Taehyung’s ever growing hair, feeling the softness of it against his palm. 


“I am sorry for being the most useless person in the entire world,” Taehyung dug his face deeper into the side of Jimin’s shoulder, breathing him in, “I want to do more to help you, but I just can’t get my body to listen to me.”


“It’s okay my baby,” Jimin’s felt himself grow rigid, he hoped Taehyung would not overthink his use of the endearment, he did not want to betray his feelings but his words had tumbled out before he could stop them. He just wanted Taehyung to stop feeling as awful as he was.


“You are my most favourite human being,” Taehyung said in a light tone, and Jimin found himself sleeping easier that night, it was not everything he wanted from Taehyung, but it was something nonetheless.


But then there were nights where Taehyung flinched every time Jimin went near him. He moved away to the edge of the bed and curled up into a ball so that Jimin could not hold him even if he wanted to. 


“What have I done?” Jimin would whisper into the dark of the night, wondering how he could have made a mistake even after all the care he took towards making sure Taehyung was comfortable. How he was sacrificing his own happiness of having his best friend as a lover just in case Taehyung was not ready for something like that yet. 


“Just. Get. Away. From. Me.” Taehyung would spit out, each word would scald Jimin as if his words were oil droplets from a scorching hot pan.


They would watch dawnbreak together, Jimin from the window that overlooked the street and Taehyung through the balcony door. The small bed they shared having a gap to fit another body in between them. 

Taehyung wanted to make sure Jimin would not fall for him, because once that happened, it would be harder for him to live in the bubble of denial that he had created so beautifully for himself. 


He tried not to see the blush that crept on Jimin’s face each time they touched. Pretended not to notice how Jimin angled himself each night alongside his body so that there was no gap between them. How Jimin spoke his name in his dreams as if in a fever on more occasions than Taehyung would like to admit. He willed his mind to believing this was all because they were the closest of friends, and nothing more. 


Taehyung was trying to delay a decision he would have to make. He was only 18 years old but with how life had treated him so far, he felt like he had been in the world for centuries.


“You have the prettiest hands,” Jimin was kneeling on the floor, a few days later, whilst Taehyung sat on the bed, he was cutting Taehyung’s nails and could not help but marvel at just how beautiful they were. There were three deep veins that ran from his index, middle and ring finger onto the back of his hands. His fingers were long and slender, dips forming after each set of joints. His nails were picture perfect, it was as if someone had drawn it on photoshop and attached it to the ends of Taehyung’s fingers.


Jimin knew he was being daring by complimenting Taehyung’s hands, he hoped that every set of best friends in the entire world also did it, to make it seem like it was a norm. For Taehyung not to think of it as anything other than the ordinary. 


The tightness of Taehyung’s chest at the words was missed by the smaller boy who sat dreamily holding his hand, having only cut one of his nails in the past 2 minutes. Taehyung was glad that there was no way for friends to be able to read each other's minds, because if that was the case Taehyung would be in so much trouble.


Taehyung had a habit of shaving his face daily before going to bed. He liked a clean face and since he did it so regularly it only took a few minutes each time. But now, even that simple task he found to be an impossible feat. 


So there he sat, at the corner of the bath where there was an extended area for him to perch on, looking up at Jimin.


Jimin’s hand trembled as he held Taehyung’s chin in one hand and a razor in the other, Taehyung was holding a bowl to his chest, where Jimin was dipping in the razor every so often. Jimin found himself growing lightheaded at every stroke of the blade, the truth was that he was not even looking at where he was shaving… his eyes rested on Taehyung’s adam’s apple. He willed his mind to think of the spring flowers blossoming outside or the sound of the morning birds, anything that was pure and untainted. Because at this moment, his thoughts were running in the complete opposite direction.


“Do you shave your n-eck too?” Jimin asked shakily, his words feeling like they were round rubber balls in his mouth. Hard to disperse. 


“Hmmm,” came a slow rumble from Taehyung, he did not want to open his mouth incase it made the razor move accidentally, he trusted Jimin with his life, no mistaking that, but his face? That was another matter. 


Taehyung mistook Jimin’s hesitance to shaving his neck to the fact that he was scared of cutting him on such a sensitive area. But to Jimin it was a lot more than that. For a moment, he found himself closing his eyes, taking a breath in before his hand moved from Taehyung’s face to his throat. His thumb rested lightly on Taehyung’s adam apple, and his fingers rested at the back of his neck. Without realising what he was doing, he found himself lightly stroking Taehyung’s adam apple, and when the younger boy swallowed Jimin found himself bite the inside of his cheeks. This was a more painful ordeal than he had signed up for. He felt himself closing his legs tightly, afraid of what he may disclose without wanting to. 


With every upward stroke of the razor along Taehyung’s neck, Jimin felt a wound open up on his own body. It was the idea of what they could have that was burning him alive. He wanted to bend down, kneel in front of Taehyung and place deep kisses on his neck, replace the razor for his own lips. Leave marks that would take days to disappear. He wanted to paint red blotches across the entirety of Taehyung’s body, make him into an art piece that could be hung in museums. 


“Here, done,” Jimin said, a slow rise of anger growing in the pit of his stomach, he took the bowl from Taehyung’s hand and placed it in the sink, water splashing onto the tiled floor. 


“Hurry up and take a shower, I have to go in too,” he said, his throat closing up and his vision blurring a little. 


But as he turned to leave, he felt Taehyung’s hand grip onto his left wrist, painfully. He closed his fingers into a tight fist, not wanting to turn around and let Taehyung see the mess that he currently was. 


“Jimin-ah,” he pulled Jimin back, until he was forced to turn around and look at him. 


“Help me with that too,” he begged. There was some part of him that wanted to feel Jimin’s hand run across his body, in the disguise of a shower.


Tears formed like tiny diamonds on Jimin’s lower lash. He didn’t want to cry in front of Taehyung, all he wanted to do was crawl into bed and forget the entire world. Sleep was going to be the only cure for the heartache he was suffering from.


“What do you want from me?” Jimin asked, each word drilling a hole into Taehyung’s chest, hot and stinging. 


Taehyung found himself undoing Jimin’s tiny fist, one finger at a time. He started from his smallest finger and with deliberate slowness made his way across to his thumb. It seemed like an eon had passed until Taehyung finally saw the little dents of nail marks on the palm of Jimin’s hands, where he had been digging them for the past few minutes. 


He drew Jimin’s palm to his lips, kissed them softly, five kisses for the five little dents. Hoping it would ease the pain Jimin had tried to cause himself. 


And that was when the first of Jimin’s tears broke free and ran its course down his face, he was never going to be able to stop. 


“I don’t know,” Taehyung mumbled against Jimin’s fingers.



Jimin way sitting on the bed, a pillow tucked behind his back, leaning against the headboard, whilst Namjoon lay vertically on the bed, most of his legs hanging off of it. 


Jimin had his laptop on his lap, but the screen was tilted so he could see Namjoon’s reaction; which the older boy was trying to not provide. Because what Jimin had been doing for what felt like a lifetime was digging his toes into Namjoons side, whilst also saying, in a rhythmic tone, “joonie-hyung-joonie-hyung-joonie-hyung.” 


Namjoon was biting his cheeks in, holding his book above himself, trying to concentrate on the words on the page, whilst Jimin was trying his best to get to every last nerve of his. 


“Joonie, hyung, joonie, hyung, joonie, hyung…moonie hyung?” 


Namjoon’s head snapped to the left, his eyes focusing on Jimin.


“What did you say?”


Jimin closed his laptop completely now, his voice had a ‘I-am-also-trying-to-convince-myself-I-am-onto-something-here’ tone to it. 


“Well, if I take out the j from between the n and o, your name ends in ‘moon’,” thankfully, he sounded more convinced by the end of the sentence than at the start. 


The older boy shook his head, a smile spreading across his face, “you are a very special child,” he said and tried to get back to his book. Which proved much more difficult than Namjoon was willing to admit.


Jimin placed the laptop to the side, brushed his hair back lightly and came to lie on his stomach, pressing his side to Namjoons. 


“Yes, but am I your special child?”


Namjoon pretended to think, he put his book on his chest and looked at the ceiling of origami dinosaurs. They were dancing softly to the breeze that glided through the room from the open window. Namjoon was yet to ask Jimin why he slept with it open the entire night, even in the freezing cold of late November.


“You are,” he said after a while, his smile broke through like a moon escaping the grasp of the clouds that were trying so hard to hide it. 


Jimin put his thumb and index finger in each of the crates of dimples that adorned Namjoon’s face, “you are the cutest person ever, like” he shook the older boys head slightly, making Namjoon’s hair bounce from side to side, still gripping his cheeks, “the cutest ever!”


Namjoon blushed, he hated all the attention he was getting but he didn’t know how to stop Jimin from gushing over him. When Jimin was passionate about a particular thing, it was easier to let him run his course than to hinder him; he was unstoppable when it came to things he loved in life.


“Hyung, you’re mean!” He took his hand away from Namjoon’s face, and pressed it to his own face, “I want dimples too!” 


“You do have them, go on, spot pouting, Jimin-ssi, lisssten to me.” 


“No, you don’t share and I don’t  appreciate that,” his lips protruded out, and Namjoon’s heart ached at the sight. 


So he did the only thing he could think of in that moment, he reached out to tickle Jimin and that was enough to make the boy roll away from him, to the edge of the bed; but at least he was smiling. 


“You have tiny ones, you see dimples are proportional to each person’s size,” he said cheekily. 


“Now you’re just being mean!” He chucked the pillow that was closest to him at Namjoon and then curled up so Namjoon wouldn’t be able to get his face.


Namjoon giggled, he was seeing a bratty side of Jimin that he was well used to from the years of friendship they had shared earlier in their teenage years. And he was glad to see it, even if it did come with the cons of him being annoyed out of his wits.


The clock on the bedside table read 2:13am, when Namjoon was shaken into awakening. He fumbled to find Jimin, to coo him to sleep again but was just met with more shaking. He rubbed his eyes, pulled the duvet around himself and tried to focus on the, “hyung, listen, hyung…” that coming from his right.


“What i-s it Jimin-ssi?” 


“You know how you’re my moonie hyung?”


Jimin received a nod from his sleepy recipient. 


“Well, I was trying to fall asleep, which is incredibly hard with your snoring but we can talk about that some other time,” this got him a warning shot from the older boy who was sensitive about the delicate topic, “and I kept on watching the moon come in and out of clouds from my window and thought,” he paused for dramatic effect, which to Namjoon was the last straw, as if being awaken at this ungodly hour wasn’t bad enough, now he had to put up with dramatic pauses too. A sigh escaped him, as he nuzzled his itchy nose into his pillow.


“You are my moonie because you are here for me through my darkest period, to give me light when the rest of the world turned black as night for me.” He said, with so much confidence that even Namjoon found himself surprised at it too. He guessed Jimin had been preparing for this for a while before he woke him up. 


“That has got to be the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me,” Namjoon’s eyes glistened with tears, he loved the moon: how it  never betrayed you even on your loneliest night, when everything felt turned against you. The sun kept you company during the day, but during those hours everyone else was there too; it’s the moon who holds your hand and befriends you whilst everyone has left and you’re sat wondering about the universe and everything it entails (which he did a lot, his mind never stopped churning). And for Jimin to compare him to that sort of beautiful presence in his life? It was a lot more than he could have ever asked for. 


Jimin’s face beamed into a crescent shaped smile, “I knew you would like my analogy!” There was the innocence of a 4 year old who comes to you with a drawing they made, with all the hopes of the world held in their eyes, and it tugged at Namjoon’s heartstrings. He felt it so severely, he was sure the tendons of his heart would break and allow a backflow of blood into his atriums, but he couldn't care less. The love he had for the smaller beaming boy in front of him was enough to keep him going for the rest of his life. 

Chapter Text

Namjoon got used to arriving at Jimin’s house to find him either crying or sleeping, sometimes it looked like both.

Even when months had passed and Namjoon thought Jimin was healing, it would all come back. He would walk into the house only to find Jimin staring out of the window of the tiny balcony they had, shaking with sobs. Taehyung had left a bigger hole inside of Jimin’s life then Namjoon could ever dream of. 

The older boy knew he could never replace Taehyung, there was no doubt about that. Because how do you ever try and replace what a pair of soulmates shared? It was a rhetorical question. 

The only thing Namjoon wanted at that moment was to bargain with whoever controlled the universe and beg for himself to take Taehyung’s place in the afterlife. For Jimin to have his lover back, even at the cost of his own life. He would have sacrificed everything he had in himself to grant the grieving boy what he needed the most.

‘How did you think this was a good idea taehyung-ssi? Why did you think I would be able to cope with seeing your soulmate in this condition? Did I really appear that strong to you?’ Namjoon would ask looking up at the heavens. 

The hyung would go and kneel in front of Jimin, let him decide what he wanted. Mostly the slender boy would just lean into Namjoon, his face buried in his shoulder and cry until no tears formed in his tear ducts. Namjoon did not have any words of comfort; not for someone that had lost the bigger part of himself. 

At other times he would find Jimin sleeping at odd times of the day, like walking in at lunch only to see that Jimin had his head next to his plate, his hands still holding onto the chopsticks he had begun eating with but did not have enough energy to continue. He would go closer only to find that the sleeping boy’s face was streaked in tears; that had dried without anyone being there to wipe them for him.

These were the days were Namjoon was the most angry. He wanted to set fire to the ocean and drown every forest out there. He cared for no-one but the little boy who was barely alive. Just hanging on by a thread, ‘a broken thread since his soulmate had decided to desert him’, Namjoon would think bitterly...

But the thing that Namjoon hated the most was Jimin pretending to be okay when every fibre of himself was burning in agony. Where he would find Jimin at the edge of their bed, as far away from him as possible. He would be turned away, his knees drawn up to his chest and tears falling without ever seeming to stop. Namjoon knew because he could see the reflection of Jimin in the window across him; made crystal clear by the moonlight that they both loved so much. 

“How long is this going to go on? How many more nights will I have to wait before I can have the older jimin back? I don't think I can go on anymore.” Namjoon would say to Taehyung because surely taehyung ought to know; he was the reason behind this anguish. Before gently putting his hands on Jimin’s shoulder and getting him to lie on his back. All he wanted to do was kiss his tears away, but that’s not what a friend did. That’s not what Taehyung had left him for him in his long letters. In that split second he would see all of the things that Taehyung was allowed to do, but that was forbidden for him. How Taehyung would be able to cup his hands around the small rosy face, how he would stare into the swollen eyes of his lover, how he would gently bring his face lower to kiss away the pain. How much he wanted to kiss Jimin… he imagined him to taste salty and yet the most sweetest creature to be alive. He wanted to brush his lips on the red cheeks, to run his lips across all the tear streaks across his face, all the way down to his neck. He thought of how Jimin’s neck would taste, how his collar bones liked being left marked. Or how his hands would feel on Jimin’s body as he kissed the length of his stomach.

But the most he was allowed to do was bring Jimin to his chest and let him cry himself to sleep again. And he hated every part of himself for ever wanting anything more. 

He would bite the insides of his lips, bring forth blood, to punish himself for having these thoughts. Park Jimin only ever had one lover and he would never even look at another man, ever. He felt disgusted that he wanted to taste a grieving boy, even if it had been months since he had lost his lover. 

Namjoon had been selected by taehyung to pick up the pieces of Jimin after he died. To console him, comfort him and guide him through his darkest days. To ensure that he did live past his 20s, to grow and live through all of the dreams the two had once dreamt of. And then after that? Namjoon was to be a guardian angel who kept tabs on the younger boy, nothing more. Namjoon knew his assigned role. What his job description was. And yet...

Just one time he wanted the phrase “I want him back” to be changed, just slightly, to “I want you”. But Kim Namjoon was fooling himself because that, in fact, was just too much to ask. 

No matter how much he tried to hide the fact, to change it, make it untrue, he could not. 

He was in love with Kim Taehyung’s widower. 

And then Jimin snapped.

He had had enough of this tug of war. With their feelings and actions, thoughts and words. He was tired of everything that the two could have but were depriving themselves of. Jimin knew his reason for not having done something already; Taehyung was going through a monumental change in his life, coping to live without a family who he had devoted his entire life, and just trying to cope with living day to day. He felt like Taehyung should make all the decisions in his life, he was left with so few. He had wanted to give the delicate boy time and space before they moved onto something new, something that would change the dynamic of their relationship and all that they would now be allowed to do. It made Jimin dizzy to think of Taehyung as his boyfriend, who would obviously become his soulmate on his 21st birthday. That much was obvious to him; as clear as daylight. 

But it was the eve of his 19th birthday, still 2 entire years left before their fate ran its course and proclaimed them as the soulmates they were. But Jimin could not do this for one more day. He felt weighed down as if all of his limbs were coated in lead. He found it harder to smile spontaneously at toddlers he saw on his way to university, no longer spread his hands out whilst walking to feel the breeze pass between them, found it harder to inhale and fill his lungs with fresh air. It was as if his lungs were half the size they ought to be, his body having to work extra hard just to live. Every day he spent with Taehyung felt like a lie; one where they both knew what they wanted and yet there was an invisible barrier stopping them from moving ahead. 

They had spent the entire summer months in a blur of each others company. On the hottest day of the year, the two of them lay on the bed, as far away from each other as possible, because of the heat than anything else, just in their boxers. Before it was even 3 pm they had finished their second family-sized ice cream tub, which was more in a liquid form than solid when they had it. Jimin felt sticky, from sweating as much as he was, to the ice cream that had managed to drip from the of the tub onto his hands and chest, to the gaze of Taehyung that lingered on him the entire day. Jimin lay trying to think of winter, a time where his body didn’t feel like it was shutting down from the humidity that the room offered. It was as if there was no punctuality to air any longer. But he knew of Taehyung’s gaze, passing from the top of his head, moving to his lips and neck, lingering there for a while. Before moving to his chest, and then his tummy. It lowered to his hips, and remained there for the longest stretch; Taehyung was disgustingly shameless. It moved past his thighs and calves…. Only for the cycle to begin all over again. 

“Jimin-ah,” Taehyung said, the heat making it hard to each word to penetrate through Jimin’s mind, he turned his head to the right to see Taehyung pointing at his chin. So, as a reflex he found himself rubbing at it. 

Taehyung had watched the drop of ice cream that lingered on Jimin for the longest time, saw it melt and then stain Jimin's face. He watched as the liquid form glided down a little, but didn’t make it far. It was stopping him from watching over the entire of Jimin’s lean body, embedding to memory, in all its curves and dips. 

Jimin wiped but it didn’t seem to change the expression on Taehyung’s face. So he stared into Taehyung’s eyes and dared him to do the unthinkable.

It took a split second for Taehyung to know exactly what Jimin wanted, and before he could stop himself, he was throwing his right leg over Jimin’s body and pinning him under it. His knees dug into Jimin’s hips. Taehyung had kissed Jimin’s cheeks, forehead, nose and hands all throughout their friendship. But this was so different, this wasn’t in the name of friendship. But something that lay on the far end of the spectrum. 

Jimin’s mouth parted slightly as he felt Taehyung’s tongue on his chin, it was soft and light, as if a butterfly had come to sit on it. But the feelings that coursed through Jimin’s body felt otherwise. They were an accumulation of his years of longing, and of what he wanted the most in the world. He was so close. 

Jimin moaned, it was a sound that penetrated right through Taehyung’s bones and everything he stood for. He felt his hips grind on top of Jimin as if his voice was the string-pulling his limbs into action. Everything was a blur of the taste of Jimin’s chin, the touch of their nearly naked bodies touching everywhere possible, the sound of Jimin’s whimpers as he arched himself further up, eliminating any space between them, the smell of Jimin’s lust for what he wanted from the younger boy. Kim Taehyung had seen a glimpse of heaven and he wanted to see more. 

And then just like that, it was all over. “Tae-hyung,” was all that Jimin had managed to gasp out but it was enough to snap the turmoiled boy back to reality. For just a few minutes Taehyung, in the eye of lust, had managed to forget his fate and all that it meant for himself and Jimin. For just that moment he had let his guard down; as if he wasn’t responsible for his and Jimin’s life. As if everything didn’t rest on him not falling in love with the boy who lay under him. 

Within a split second, Taehyung was out of the room, his head feeling like it would split open in two; unable to get rid of the image of Jimin lying on the bed, all his to be taken and yet left alone, heartbroken. 

Jimin felt his tears trickle down into his ears, he was too busy to wipe them away, his mind busy in self-loathing for loving a boy who was never going to admit his feelings. For being abandoned in a state like this. He felt used like he had been left naked on the street. He hated everything that breathed, but mostly himself. 

Every night during the summer they went out for a walk. Jimin felt his chest expand and his footsteps grow lighter under the night sky. For once he was not bound by the four walls of his tiny home; he loved nature too much to even care that Taehyung was adamant on keeping the two of them from moving forward. 

They dug their feet into the grass, a coolness seeming through them as they sat shoulder to shoulder, watching the city sleep beneath them from a hilltop. Their friendship grew like the ever-expanding population of their city, lights flaring in places they had once thought was unimaginable. 

Sometimes they sat in silence, bathing in each other’s existence, other times they spoke of whatever came to mind.

“If fish could breathe above water, do you think they would stay with on land or go back to the water?” Taehyung asked, sitting on a swing set in an empty playground, way past bedtime for the intended audience of the park. 

“I would never come up if I had the choice to be underwater,” Jimin laughed. “The worlds too corrupted.” 

“But I would miss you then.” 

“You could come to every lakeside and seashore and meet me, or join me instead.” 

“That’s a shout.” The younger boy would look at his best friend and grin. They were always fated to be together. Even if it was only for a while...

Sitting on top of their shared car, across the view that held the countryside Jimin would ask, “Can you daydream at night?” 

“If it’s about you, I can daydream 24 hours of the day.” 

“Oh shut up already,” Jimin would scold, a smile painted across his face. 

“Why did the doctor not fill in a safeguarding form after the second monkey bumped his head? What an irresponsible dick,” Taehyung exclaimed, how could he have let the mother monkey get away so many times?

“Because they’re monkeys Taehyungie, not humans!” Jimin would answer, a bubble of laughter erupting into the night sky and splashing it with colours. 

“How did you get that mark under your ear Taetae?” They were sat a few streets away from home, on a green space that the city had installed to meet their “clean air” requirements. 

“I was trying to take my earring off and of course pulled at it too hard, the sharp end scratched it,” Taehyung answered lightly, his heart skipping a few dozen beats at how observant Jimin was towards him. 

“Did you know you do this tiny bouncy when you’re adjusting your shoulder bag?” They were sitting on a wall that overlooked a few farms, not too far from home. Taehyung was swinging his left leg in a rhythmic manner, and it was hitting the side of Jimin’s foot each time. 

“I do?” The older boy asked, “do I look cute doing it?”

Taehyung rested his foot, which of course did not have his shoe on, under Jimin’s and left it there for a while. “You look cute doing absolutely anything.” 

There were nights where Taehyung had his head buried deep into Jimin’s lap as he cried. “I miss them so much,” he would gasp out, unable to hide his pain of having not only lost his father but his entire family. He hated going out, but how was he to tell Jimin it was because his footsteps always lead to his family's home, and he was tired of always having the door locked. There was never a mention of forgiveness or changing things; so after a few times, he gave up. Stopped going out altogether. Afraid of his subconscious taking him to the one place where he knew his fate had been decided. Where he had been born and would eventually die. He wanted to give it some time before he made that prophecy come true. 

But now the warm days were a distant memory, the tubs of ice cream in their fridge were no more just like Jimin’s ever-thinning patience. He was about to turn 19 in a few hours and completely done with being played around with. He was tired of being a ping pong ball that Taehyung threw into each hand, did whatever he wanted to do with. 

It was the beginning of the end. 

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t just abandon your sorry ass here and leave? Give me one reason and I will stay,” Jimin stood against their living room window, arms crossed across his chest. His teeth grinding against each other until his head hurt.

Taehyung was sat on the edge of the coffee table, a sofa between the two of them. And he said nothing. 

“I have done everything in my power to make you happy, make sure you feel comfortable and safe, everything,” Jimin signed, pressed his back more into the window ledge. “And even if I didn’t feel this way towards you, I would have still done the same because before anything else you are my best friend first.” 

“I have nothing to give you,” Taehyung put his on his thighs, palms up; empty. 

“Why are you so adamant on denying what you want? Why is it so hard for you to admit how you feel towards me? Who are you trying to fool?” 

“Myself, you and my unfortunate fate.”

“You may be doing a great job at fooling yourself and fate, but I for sure am not falling for the facade you’re trying to put up and failing at so badly.” 

“I have tried, so hard, but I can’t seem to get it right.”

“And what’s so wrong with me?” 

“The painful thing is, absolutely nothing, you are everything I have ever wanted Jimin, and that’s the problem.” 

“I would have swallowed all my feelings for you ages ago if I knew you weren’t feeling the same way for me as I do. But how am I meant to pretend that you don’t look at me like that. That you don’t get jealous every time I look at another boy. Or forget the way you rubbed yourself onto me, fully awake and aware, and the lust in your eyes whilst doing so?”

“We can’t be together, and that’s all there is,” Taehyung gripped onto the coffee table, his head was burning with images of his family kitchen and words spoken in haste. His eyes hurt from the glare of a kitchen light that he had not seen for years. 

“Care to explain?” Jimin’s jaw was clenched, his eyes burning a hole in Taehyung’s chest. 

“I can’t explain, why don’t you understand?”

“That’s the problem, I understand you way too much to know that this is not what you want.”

“You can’t fall in love with me Jimin-ah, for my sake and yours.”

“Couldn’t you tell me that before you decided to tell me I’m your favourite person at age 18? Or before you kissed my forehead and told me we would grow to be grandparents together at 17? Or what about before you proclaimed that we would have 3 daughters and 2 sons when we were 16? Couldn’t you tell me I am not meant to fall in love with before everything the two of us have gone through? Before I left all my friends to take care of you? Or when I gave up two years of my life being locked in a one-bedroom house because everything else made you sick?” Jimin had started off strong, with his voice steady and stern and yet by the end his words were falling on top of each other. The tears burning his throat and making it hard to breathe. 

“It’s all my fault, everything is my fault,” Taehyung answered, he didn’t know what else to say, how to console his best friend. 

Jimin crossed the small distance between the windowsill to the coffee table. A few strides and he was kneeling by Taehyung, his right hand gripping the younger ones chin, not gently. “Say the words ‘I am not in love with you’ and I will bury all my feelings for you and continue as the friends we are. I will burn myself to the ground but won’t ask for anything more from you. But let me hear those words. I beg you. I am done with being hung above the sea, either drop me into the sea and let me drown or bring me to the shore, Taehyung. Please.” 

The older boy looked into his lover’s eyes, and jolted backwards, Taehyung held the pain of the entire world in his eyes and Jimin was fearful of what he had seen. He sat on the floor now, shaking. But no answer came and he was left with no choice but to unsteadily get himself off the ground. Without help, a hand or any reassurance from his loved one. 

“That’s it then,” Jimin said, his tears falling faster than he could wipe away, a race to see which one could roll down his nose and jump into the unknown. “I am done with whatever we are.” 

Taehyung’s head whipped to where Jimin stood now, his eyes pleading. “No.” Was all he could manage. “You can’t.” 

Jimin wanted to laugh. But the laughter died the very moment it was born. With his left thumb, he wiped away at his tear. Flicked it away, in anger and disgust at what a mess he had become. 

“I am sorry I couldn’t keep up with you Taehyung-ah, I’m sorry for finally realising I am not strong enough to share the pain you hold in your eyes but won’t reveal to me. I am sorry,” and with that Jimin turned around, ready to say goodbye to his most favourite person. 

He was leaving, he wasn’t going to stay a night longer with someone who couldn’t make up their mind. He had had enough. He dragged the suitcase that rested in the small storeroom next to the kitchen and bought it to their room. Closing the door, he felt himself cut in two, as if he had just had half his limbs torn. How was he going to live without his other half? 

The click of the lock on the bedroom door was the very moment Taehyung had made his decision; he had chosen Jimin. In that space of time between Jimin saying he was leaving and the door closing, Taehyung had managed to realise that there was no life without his Jimin-ssi. 

But this was all a lie: because that day in January when Taehyung had realised the decision that awaited him, he had already chosen Jimin. But at the age of 18, he had found it hard to accept that he would die in a few years time. So he had put a wedge between himself and the acknowledgement of what the future held. He had tormented himself in the lie that he was deciding what to do. When in fact, he had chosen Jimin that very first moment. How could you not when you love someone that much? 

For a while, he thought he could play hide and seek with fate. Put dust in its eyes and make it bewildered for a while. For the first time in life, he had been optimistic that maybe things would work out the way he wanted; that the two of them could live together till the end of their days. But for someone like Taehyung, optimism is a facade, a child’s play that you know is bound to end.

Between Jimin’s goodbye and tears, Taehyung had realised that he had no life if it was not for the boy in front of him. He would rather get two years of happiness with Jimin then 80 years without him. He had murdered his father, but he could not have the blood of Jimin on his hands.  

Taehyung was going to make the next two years of his and Jimin’s life a paradise. Because unfortunately, that was all that fate had given Taehyung to live. In exactly 24 months, 730 days, 17520 hours, 1051200 minutes and 63072000 seconds Jimin would be turning 21 years old, and Taehyung would be taking his last breaths; but for Jimin it was all worth it. 

Taehyung felt all of his burdens fall to the ground the moment he stepped into the room that held his beloved. He took a deep breath, and with each step felt a warm surge of happiness flow through him. His heart was no longer pouring out black, clotted blood like it had since the day he had killed his father; but for the first time, he felt fresh blood coursing through him.

He sat in front of Jimin, unbraced his arms from where they had been hugging his knees, rocking back and forth in a pain that he would never be able to describe, A pain that threatened to wipe away all of the happiness of his life at the idea that he had chosen to leave Taehyung. It was not a passive thing that just came to be, he had gone forward and chosen it; if Taehyung did something to himself, Jimin knew he would be to blame. And yet, he there was, having decided that he was putting his own happiness before Taehyungs. 

With a tenderness that Taehyung had never used on Jimin, he placed Jimin’s hands on his side and slowly pushed on the smaller boy’s knees so that they were now on either side of himself. Jimin looked up at him, his eyes locking into Taehyung’s; ‘what are you doing?’ They asked. 

He placed his hands on Jimin’s face, his thumbs slowly wiping away the tears that still did not stop shedding. A softness to his touch that took Jimin’s breath away. 

“I love you,” Taehyung whispered, afraid the world was there at their doorstep, hearing all that passed between them. 

And Jimin felt himself breathe in what felt like an eon. “I love you too,” he answered. 

Jimin watched Taehyung lower his face to align with his own, and just before their lips met, Jimin closed his eyes and breathed in slowly. Taehyung’s lips reminded Jimin of every summer breeze that he had walked through, of sunflowers swaying in unison. When they broke free, Jimin opened his eyes to Taehyung’s boxy smile in front of him and his heart ached. It had been years since he had seen that smile and here it was, a second gift of the night. So he put his hand on either side of Taehyung’s and drew him in once more, he wanted to taste him again, and again, and again. Until the clocks ran out of time and the universe of space. He was never going to be sated.

With an ease that surprised Jimin, he felt himself being carried to the bed, his heart beating in his throat; he thought the past few years of longing for Taehyung had prepared him for what was to come and yet the look in Taehyung’s hazel eyes made him feel faint.

Taehyung felt his insides turn to liquid as he placed Jimin lightly at the top end of the bed. He saw Jimin’s lips part slightly and knew he had lost the battle already, there was no war to win when Park Jimin was sat waiting for you to make him yours. 

And thus, for the second time that year, Taehyung placed himself on top of Jimin, kissed until neither could remember their own names. Enlighted in the breathlessness that came mixed with desire and longing. Jimin’s fingers were digging into Taehyung’s plain white t-shirt, his body pressing into Taehyung’s in a way that made him think that they were actually one body after all. The space between their skin and boundaries of each body failed to be; tonight Jimin was determined to become one. 

Taehyung’s hands slid smoothly into Jimin’s hoodie, made Jimin shiver at the cool touch on his warm body. He wanted to hide from the world, but he knew the red blush on his cheeks could be seen for miles. Glaring and painfully easy to see. 

The rest of the Jimin’s birthday night was a blur of skin on skin, each others names moaned in ways that made the other’s hair rise on their skin, the arch of a back and the pressure of the others body. 

Some part of Jimin remembered the laugh escaping him as Taehyung threw his hoodie over his head and it landed exactly where his own t-shirt had landed. “Never knew you were this good with your aims, Taetae,” Jimin would whisper, his fingers fumbling at Taehyung’s jeans. 

For Taehyung, it was the memory of Jimin being held in place by his knees on either side of his hips, as he reached to his right to grab a handful of condoms and tube containing lube. They would bicker in the morning when Jimin would throw the empty tube at him, complaining about how Taehyung owed him a new one. 

Sometimes later Jimin would find himself holding onto Taehyung’s right hand with both of his, marvelling at how beautiful they were; knowing the other hand was dripping in lube, ready to be inserted into himself. “Can I?” Taehyung would ask, his eyes lowered in shame, and when Jimin nodded he would hesitate, not wanting to hurt his baby. 

And then he would feel Jimin’s lips enclosing around his index finger, and a slow pleasure would rise in his stomach. Jimin was staring into his eyes; it was a way of saying, ‘I want this as much as you do.’

The first scream of Jimin’s would halter Taehyung from pushing his finger in any deeper, scared that he was going to fast too quickly. He would lower himself down so that his lips were pressed onto Jimin’s neck, lightly kissing him. Giving Jimin’s mind a diversion from the pain that ebbed through himself. “Tell me to stop,” he would remember saying, already knowing Jimin’s answer. 

Sometime later Taehyung would remember pushing Jimin’s knees up, kissing every inch of Jimin’s body, over and over again until Jimin knew there was no part of him that could last any longer without having Taehyung inside of himself. “Ple-ase,” Jimin would beg, his entire body was feverish and every touch of Taehyung’s skin on his made him want to scream in a painful way that he never knew existed until tonight. “Taehyung, I can’t,” he would find himself whimpering, tears brimming his eyes, he was ready to erupt. 

Jimin’s fingers would twist into Taehyung’s hair, drag his pretty face to his own so that no gaps remained between them. He would hear Taehyung whimper as he bit onto his lower lip. “Make love to me, Taehyung,” he would recall saying, eyes locked and hearts pounding together. 

Taehyung was the first to come, his cock pressed tightly inside of Jimin, his thrusts coming to a slow stop. And then Jimin would follow suit, it was Taehyung’s come filling him up that would throw him over the edge. He would dig his teeth into Taehyung’s shoulder as it happened, and hear a soft, “you did so well,” from his lover. They would hold each other until they grew numb. Unaware of both time and space; because frankly, they didn’t matter for once. 

This night would be the beginning of the end for Jimin and Taehyung’s blissful relationship, but Jimin didn’t have to know that… not yet. 

Falling for Jimin was a steep fall of a cliff but also the most gentle ride of Namjoon’s life. He was good with words, he worked for a publishing company, and read hopeful authors first drafts. He knew how to manipulate letters to make words, to phrases that held new meanings, to sentences that explained the world as it lay. And yet he could not fully describe how he came to love Jimin the way he had; words were left without their worth for the first time. 

The way Jimin’s eyes were double their size when he woke up, and how he reached for the water bottle next to his bed the first thing in the morning. How he sat on the floor at the end of the bed and stretched each morning, with eyes half-closed and body still warm from the bed. 

Jimin did not like to talk in the first hour or so of walking up. It wasn’t him being moody or anything, he would beam up at Namjoon at times, but he just couldn’t really form words so early in the morning. He replied to every question with sounds of “hmm” and “umm”s. 

As someone who loves talking and explaining, Jimin felt like Namjoon’s missing half. He listened intently, asked questions, repeated your own words to show he understood what you were saying. When he looked into your eyes it felt like you were the only person in the room, and it made the older boy feel warm and fuzzy in his stomach; to hold the attention of such a beautiful boy was all he could ever want. 

How Jimin had a splash of red on his cheeks at random times of the day, with no correlation to his feelings or activity, it was like the necklace he wore or the rings that were on his fingers; a beautiful piece of decoration on him. 

“Jimin-ssi,” Namjoon had asked from where he sat on the floor, on a bean bag, with a book open in front of him about growing bonsai plants. Wanting to know why the younger boys cheeks were flushed so brightly for no apparent reason. 

“Hmmm,” came a sound from above, Jimin was on the bed, notes scattered on the entire of his bed as he scanned the pages, a pen in his fingers, spinning perfectly. 

“Are you cold?” 

“Nope,” he didn’t look cold, with half his body in a blanket and the other half wearing a hoodie that seemed warm enough. 

“Are you nervous?” 

“About what? My lab reports? No, I don’t think I’m that bad at my subject hyung!” He said with a small laugh. 

Namjoon left it at that, and Jimin did not push him further. He felt better knowing that the smaller boy didn’t need a reason for the pink smear on his cheeks, it made him precious, just as precious as he was slowly growing to the older boy. 

But most importantly what made Namjoon fall head over heels over Jimin was how intensely Jimin loved. He loved with every single one of his cells; each atom of his body put all its effort into the act of loving to a limit that Namjoon did not seem possible for a boy so small. Whoever was loved by Jimin had won in life, no matter if it was as a friend or family or in the luckiest persons case: as a lover. That would have been Kim Taehyung, who Namjoon thought was an absolute fool for leaving Jimin; how could he have had the heart to say goodbye to love like Jimin’s? Namjoon thought without a clear answer ever coming to mind. 

Namjoon realised in those moments how he would do anything for Jimin’s love… but the truth was that Kim Taehyung had already won that battle and came out victorious. 

There was nothing Namjoon could do to beat the sacrifice Taehyung had already made. 

Chapter Text

Jimin had been the first to reach the escape room, he had just finished one of his lectures and was missing the second one of the day since this was the only time everyone could meet. It was Jangho’s birthday and Jin, the lover of games, had decided this is how they were spending the day. 

From the first moment, Jimin had an awful feeling about this entire place, it was too sketchy, even though it was based right in the city centre. ‘What kind of a place doesn’t have its own door?’ Jimin thought, he had walked around the entire building and found nothing, but the signboard was there regardless… without a door. He texted the group chat and then sat idly, sipping on his iced strawberry smoothie and remembering the taste of Taehyung’s lips against his in the summer days. He knew it was futile to think of such things, but any spare minute Jimin had, he felt himself drawing towards soulmate; Taehyung was his default mode. 

After what seemed like an eternity and a half, with a dozen texts from everyone asking where to park and which road had a ticket machine, they were finally all headed towards the escape room. The door that Jimin was confused about, and which he had complained to Yoongi and Jungkook as soon as they appeared, happened to be shared with the bar next door. 

Jimin tried not to think of how happy Yoongi and Jungkook looked, handheld tightly, a comfort shared between them that seemed as easy as breathing. Jimin remembered how easy his and Taehyung’s relationship had been from his 19th birthday, how everything seemed to fall together for them. Jimin had never been happier than those two years he had shared with his soulmate; he ought to have known it was too good to last. That he was born with an unfortunate fate that did not hold onto happiness for long, it always managed to escape him no matter how tightly he clung to it. It was like trying to collect water using a net. Futile. 

Jangho was one of the quietest of the group, he had a shy demeanour to him that touched Jimin’s heart. Even though Jimin was much younger than him, he felt like he would do anything in his power to protect the boy. He wore baggy clothes and trousers that were always cuffed at the bottom. He had the softness of autumn to him all year long. And yet he managed to keep a secret that would uproot Namjoon’s life for so long.

The staircase to the escape room they had chosen was in the basement and Jimin felt himself wishing he had texted his mother his whereabouts. Even with the amount of people around him, he felt terrified of his future. 

“If someone murders us and hides our bodies here, no one will ever know,” he heard Hoseok whisper from the front of the group. Echoing Jimin, and probably everyone else’s thoughts. 

Jimin was in the middle of the group, he wanted to grab someone’s hand, to feel the comfort that only physical touch could bring in that moment. “I wish you were here, Taetae” Jimin heard himself think, with every step they took towards their ultimate doom. 

They were being briefed on the safety rules of the game, and Jimin wished he had not come, he leaned back a little on his heels and felt the familiar shape of Namjoon behind him. And he stayed like that, thankful for the small gesture from his older hyung that was leading him to feel just that bit better about this whole thing. 

And then he saw Hoseok’s gaze, not at him, but above him, he was staring at Namjoon. Jimin felt himself jolt forward. A taste of regret swirling in his mouth at the realisation that his own soulmate was nowhere to be seen, he was hoarding up someone else’s.

Pitch black. That was the only thing that hit everyone’s senses as soon as the door shut behind them. And no one was sure which scream belonged to who because all of the 7 boys let out a shriek all at once. Jimin grabbed onto the first person in front of him; he felt his lungs close up and his chest tighten; he could not get rid of the image of the coffin he had been forced to stay in on his 21st birthday. 

Jimin’s hands dug into Jin’s arms until the older boy gasped. But Jimin could not stop; because at that moment, he had realised that unlike himself, Taehyung was never able to get out. Is this what Taehyung felt and saw? Is this what death felt like? The sweat rolled off of Jimin’s forehead until he could feel its trace down his temple and onto his throat, he was stuck and he felt himself suffocate. Everyone was talking at once, but to Jimin the world had come to an end and he was slowly disintegrating. The hot streaks of tears felt like they were burning his skin, his smelt damp earth and was scared that he was slowly decomposing. Alive and all. 

“Are you okay?” Jin whispered, close to Jimin’s ears, but he needn’t have bothered, amidst all the talk of everyone else, it would be hard to hear Jin even if he shouted. 

Using the sleeves of his shirt, Jimin wiped away at the tears and whatever of the sweat he could. And he nodded, only to realise that Jin would not be able to see him doing so, you could not see your own hands in this darkness. “Ye-s,” Jimin finally answered, not trusting himself to expand, fearful that if he opened his mouth again it would come out in a shrill cry; a cry for Taehyung. 

The escape room was not meant for men in their 20s, it had a maze that all of them, besides Jimin and Yoongi, had to walk through sideways. The maze, upon a lot of touching up and down, was found to be made up of plastic. “Kookie, just shred the entire thing, I am choking here,” he heard Jin shout. 

They had made it a few centimetres into the maze when Jimin realised Namjoon was behind him, and after him was Hoseok. In the small space that the group occupied, it was hard not to feel the back of Hoseok’s hands as he was back hugging Namjoon. When the group stopped, Jimin felt himself come to a sudden halt, and amidst the grumble of everyone complaining about being stepped on, Jimin could swear he heard Namjoon moan. ‘Oh come on,’ Jimin thought, ‘here out of all the places?’

They did make it out of the maze, but it did cost the group a hint as they were unable to find the torch stuck to the chain that lined the wall of the maze. They finally arrived at the next section, containing a very room filled with bloody dolls and shrivelled toys that made Jimin curse under his breath. He could swear he saw the hair at the back of Yoongi’s neck rise. Jimin smiled, knowing he was going to force Jungkook to accompany him everywhere he went for the next few days. The group were now able to complete the tasks according to each of their capabilities, Jimin solving the maths puzzle leading to Namjoon figuring out the riddle that was written in red on the ceiling. Which in turn let Jin and Jangho to collaborate to figure out the lock at the end of the door. Jungkook managed to see the reflection on one of the mirror which Yoongi had found for him. All of which Hoseok lead and orchestrated, being the cool-headed leader that he was. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Jin’s brother’s steakhouse where they managed to order enough food for at least 20 people. Jungkook himself could have sworn he ate enough for 6, he had a knack for free food. 

Amidst the drinks, the steam rising from all the sizzling food and a string of conversations, Jimin was unaware of how Hoseok was taking in his every small action. From the way he fell onto Namjoon whilst laughing, or how Namjoon’s hand so easily rested on Jimin’s thighs. How there seemed to be a bridge that only Namjoon had managed to cross to reach the ever withdrawing Jimin. How Namjoon’s gaze lingered on Jimin for a second too long, stabbing a dagger into Hoseok’s heart; that gaze was meant to be reserved for himself and yet he was being left ignored, he felt as cold as the stake on his plate. 

Hoseok’s entire being hurt, it was as if someone was holding a knife under his rib cage. Grazing it with every smile that Jimin managed to produce from Namjoon. Hoseok remembered the early years of his and Namjoon’s love, where Namjoon would showcase his dimples so easily, it was his way of drawing Hoseok in; a beautiful swirling tornado of feelings being drawn with each crescent-shaped smile. Hoseok was Namjoon’s soulmate after all, and knew that Namjoon was falling in love all over again; but this time it was not with himself but the younger pink flushed, wide-eyed, grinning boy in front of him.

It was after midnight, Jimin and Namjoon were walking home, the streetlights guiding their way. Jimin did wonder why his hyung had decided to come home with him, rather than go with Hoseok hyung, but when he asked he had received only a shrug in return. He was glad for the company nonetheless. The sky was cloudy but the moon did manage to make its appearance every once in a while. Namjoon was telling Jimin about the way weather is predicted, which Jimin kept arguing against; it was always so inaccurate, couldn’t they find a better way? 

Jimin had been too passionate in his examples of all the times that he had been caught in a downpour even after having religiously checked the weather app built into his phone. Causing him to trip forward, but Namjoon grabbed him, instinctively. He was used to Jimin falling onto him whilst laughing, a habit that had formed in the very early stages of their friendship years ago. 

His hand moved from Jimin’s shoulder and came to rest lightly on the small of Jimin’s back. But then Namjoon bit his tongue and cursed himself because as soon as Namjoon had reached Jimin’s lower back he flinched and moved away. Jimin’s entire body went rigid and he gasped out loud. 

‘That’s too far, I’ve gone too far, I have managed to cross Jimin’s limits. He hates me. He will tell me he never wants to speak to me ever again. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.’ Namjoon thought, he couldn’t lift his head to see Jimin’s facial expression, he was too scared to look up and see disgust written all across it. And he knew that would break him beyond repair: he couldn’t risk that. 

Namjoon always felt like he was treading on eggshells whenever he was with Jimin. He was afraid of doing or saying anything that would shatter the younger boy to pieces.

He felt Jimin close the distance between them and wondered why he hadn’t shouted at him already. For stepping over all the boundaries Jimin had created between the two.

“I am sor-“ 

His words died in his mouth as he felt Jimin take his right hand, he gulped and looked at Jimin’s face, it looked as beautiful as ever under the soft moonlight that had managed to escape its cage of clouds for that specific reason only; to highlight Park Jimin’s beauty. 

Jimin put Namjoon’s hand on his upper back, “you have to start from here, and then slowly move it along my back and then rest lower down.” He said matter of factly. 

Namjoon traced his hand softly, almost hesitantly, over Jimin's back until he came to the small of his back. 

“I have a very sensitive lower back and when I say sensitive I really do mean it. Every time anyone touches it without my brain processor what is happening I want to scream out loud. It’s not painful, but it feels like all my nerves end just there on my lower back.” Namjoon felt like he was walking on seventh heaven, he was finding out something about Jimin that only one another living soul had known about in the past. 

Everything changed for Namjoon in that instant, for the first time he let himself hope. And then told himself to shut up, that Jimin didn't mean anything by this, his face looked like he was just sharing what cereal he liked for breakfast; not a piece of him that Namjoon had been dying to learn more about, the part that Taehyung had known all about. 

“Whenever I stand for pictures and someone places their hand on my lower back, I turn myself to stone and will myself to stop feeling, and yet it’s unbearable...and it’s the same for my waist, you have to move from the middle of my back and hold me there after giving me some time to process what you are doing.” 

Jimin, for the first time, had shared a part about him that Namjoon felt dizzy to know. How to hold him in a manner that wasn’t entirely platonic. But he couldn’t let himself fall for the trick, it could just be something that held no meaning to Jimin any longer, having lost his romantic partner a few months ago.

It was holiday season and Jimin and Taehyung were visiting the Park family for the week. There was nothing Taehyung could do to avoid this family gathering, it was the one time the entire Park family got together each year. Everyone was well aware of the progress of the duo’s relationship status, Facebook had confirmed it for anyone who was remotely uncertain. Jimin and Taehyung were the type to post disgustingly cute selfies and videos that made everyone else roll their eyes. But no one could deny just how happy the pair looked. Love was a magnificent thing, and the new change to Jimin and Taehyung could be seen for miles. 

And yet the two of them found a joy in stolen kisses and passionate make-out sessions behind the storeroom door. Where they snuck out in the middle of the night and sat on the rooftop of the Park family’s extended kitchen. Taehyung took pride in the bright red flare he was able to unleash upon Jimin’s cheeks when he ran his foot against Jimin’s leg under the dinner table. They drew pleasure from holding hands behind little cousins who were snuggled into them whilst doing movie marathons. 

During the days, when no bedroom door was meant to be locked, they made passionate love in the shower in the bathroom, in the car on the ride back home from running an errand, and the garage where Jimin pressed his hand firmly onto Taehyung’s mouth to ensure no one heard the way his lover sounded when in ecstasy. There was a certain thrill they got from knowing they could be caught but it was not enough to stop them regardless.

Jimin sat at the top of the garden one night and watched as Taehyung fed grapes to a 3-year-old niece. He felt a smile spread across his face, Jimin thought he had seen a glimpse of his future and it made him giddy. Every time the little girl shook her head, her two ponytails bounced and made Taehyung laugh; he even got hit by them once or twice when she was extremely passionate in her conversation with Taehyung. She had big brown eyes that looked like it held a thousand stars in them, Jimin could see the glint in them from where he sat. 

When Taehyung joined Jimin, he was glowing with a radiance that Jimin had not seen in a while; it was mostly the innocence of a joyful interaction with a child. He slumped down next to Jimin, who immediately made himself comfortable against the familiar body of his lover.


“Hmmm,” the boy addressed adjusted himself so that he was turned slightly to his boyfriend.

“When can we have kids of our own?”

It was an abrupt question, something Taehyung had not expected. He felt his throat tighten, the future was not as beautiful to him as it was to Jimin.

Jimin let the silence linger. He was as certain that Taehyung wanted a family as he was of the 7 days of the week. Growing up, they had discussed it a great deal, Taehyung always saying that he wanted a large family, a family in which children got to be children, unlike his own upbringing. 
“Will it be soon?” Jimin asked again, a seed of hope growing in him. “I want to have our children Taehyung.” 

The younger boy chose his words with care, he felt like a cloud of darkness had come down to shroud him away from all the happiness he had felt over the past few days. There was a sharp pain in his chest as he realised that Jimin would one day grow to be a father, and he would not be there to share the happiness with him. Taehyung was never going to see Jimin hold their firstborn in his arms, he was never going to get to drop his daughter off the school, or comfort his crying son. He would never hear the word “papa” whilst a toddler looked into his eyes with all the love in the world. 

“One day, yes you can.” Taehyung finally replied. It was hard to decide what hurt more, the idea that Taehyung would never be a father or that he would never get to raise a family with Jimin. He had fought off the demons for a while now, been in the honeymoon phase with Jimin in the light of their new relationship, but he felt himself being drawn back again. Back to the black hole; it was the image of his future. The nothingness of it. 

As Jimin slept that night, Taehyung turned to face him, held his face in his hands. As the silent tears ran past his cheeks, he put his nose to Jimin’s. “I don’t want to leave you,” he whispered, scared of waking Jimin up, of him ever finding out what Taehyung was about to do. As he tried to calm down the sobs that threatened to uproot all of his secrets, Jimin stirred in his sleep and reached out to Taehyung, adjusted himself so that Taehyung’s head rested on his chest. And so the wounded boy hugged onto the love of life, holding him like a raft on a stormy night in the sea.

He was going to have to come to terms with not having a future. Of never being able to go through all the milestones that everyone was certain to achieve. No one really questioned them; not until they knew that it would not be theirs to attain.

“I don’t want to die,” he found himself uttering, in a prayer that would never be heard. 

It was a few weeks later when Namjoon and Jimin had spent an entire day out, they had met some of Namjoon’s colleagues for brunch and went to a flea market that ran well into the late afternoon. And then Jimin had found himself dragging Namjoon to a nightclub after dinner, it was his turn to be in his element and show Namjoon what real fun looked like.

“Jimin! I am dying to pee, please get out before I have to do it in a bottle,” Namjoon said as a way of conversation, he really did need to pee but mostly he just wanted to hear Jimin’s voice. ‘How can I miss him already? He’s literally been gone for 10 minutes.’ He thought with a goofy smile, the same one Jimin had said he loved so much. 

“I am,” a cough interrupted Jimin’s sentence, “taking a bath.” He completed. 

‘But you didn't mention you’d take a bath today,” Namjoon laid down on the bed and stared at the little dinosaurs and decided to pick out a favourite. 

No answer. 

Jimin usually made a big deal with his baths, he would get all of his bath bombs and creams, he would take a book with him mostly, being efficient with time was always a big deal to Jimin. ‘So why did he rush in today?’ Namjoon didn't want to overthink it. 

The two had a wonderful day, they had laughed to the point that their stomachs hurt, Jimin’s smile never once strayed from his pretty face. Everything had been just as the older boy would have wanted it to be. 

Namjoon was happy but after another five minutes he had a tightening in his stomach and he sat up. The dinosaurs being forgotten about. 

“Jimin, open the door,” Namjoon ordered. 

He felt sweat rise to the surface of his skin, he tapped his foot on the discoloured and overused carpet. Something was very very wrong. 

And then he heard the gagging; Jimin was vomiting. 

“Jimin! Please open the door, please, I am begging you,” the boy outside was going out of his mind, Jimin had been fine when they had come home, what could have gone so wrong in so little time?

Namjoon was inside the bathroom as soon as Jimin had unlocked the door, he found the slender figure with his hands clutching the toilet bowl, his back arched and he looked like a ghost. 

Namjoon got onto his knees and sat beside the weak boy who was still heaving into the bowl; only now nothing was left inside of him and a long line of saliva hung from his mouth. His eyes were closed as if to say ‘I hate you seeing me like this but I have no one else left.’

Namjoon put one of his large hands on Jimin’s back, as a way of reassurance that he was there to fall back on, be it for just this moment or for the rest of his life. 

He placed his right hand alongside Jimin’s chin, and with his thumb wiped away at the last bit of saliva. 

Jimin lifted his head a little and leaned into Namjoon’s hand. He looked exhausted. As if there was more of an internal battle that was raging inside of him, even though he had managed to survive the physical one. 

The older boy helped Jimin to sit leaning against the door of the bathroom, flushed the small content of Jimin’s dinner away, he wished he could clean his memory in that same way; to get rid of all the images of Jimin crying and hurting, alas, life was not as easy. 

Namjoon sat down slowly in front of Jimin, he did not want to ask what had just happened, he had a gut feeling that tonight was going to be a lot harder than he had imaged. He sighed, sometimes he felt like he was not strong enough to be in Park Jimin’s life. It was not to say that being with Jimin was difficult, or that he would change any part of the beautiful boy he had fallen in love with; just that Jimin felt intensely, his mind ran at 150 miles per hour and his way of seeing the world was so in-depth that Namjoon’s mind hurt. He could not understand how a little boy of only 21 could feel so fiercely. Or how he could have loved Kim Taehyung with that much zeal, there really was not anyone in the entire world who was loved more than Taehyung, none at all. He wondered how it would be like to be loved to that extent, to be the first and last thought on Jimin’s mind every day and night. How it would be to live within every single cell of your lover. To have your name carved that deeply into your soulmates heart. He wondered, and sighed; it would never be him. 

“Please tell me you did not make yourself vomit Jimin, just reassure me that you have not just done what I think you have done.” 

Jimin had his head leaning into the door, but nothing changed in his expression, he did not shake his head or nod. Namjoon took this as a yes, that Jimin had just made himself sick, he had put his fingers in his mouth and wretched up everything of the day; it was his way of punishing himself for having a good time.

“Jimin-ssi, you know this is not what he would have wanted? Why do you keep doing things that would make him angry? He left a manuscript for you, just so you can continue life and live out the years of your life happily, and this is what you do?” 

“I didn't think of him for so many hours hyung, how could I have done that? I can't forget him. I can’t do that to him,” Jimin shook his head for the first time, his eyes were still not meeting Namjoon’s. It fret about looking at Namjoon’s neck and chin but could not climb any higher. 

“It was not like you forgot him for days or weeks, he literally left your mind for a few hours and you do this to yourself?” 

There was a slow rise of anger in the latter’s voice, he felt it expanding at the pit of his stomach. He wanted to say: how can you be so selfish? Why am I never in your thoughts even though I spend every second of my free time with you? How is it you never see me even though I am here, within reach and hurting for you? Am I so invisible to you? Have you ever wondered how much pain I have endured on your behalf? How I could just leave and watch you crumble all on your own?’ But he said no such thing, he was in love with a boy that loved someone else; he was the one to blame.

Jimin stayed silent, he did not know how to explain to his older hyung that he felt like he had betrayed his taehyung. How it hurt his very core to think that he had smiled and laughed whilst taehyung was lying somewhere in a dark coffin all by himself. How it was his duty as taehyung’s best friend to always include him, and yet here he was; having forgotten all about him for so many hours. It all felt wrong but he could not explain this in words, he was too shaken and weak. 

“Hyung?” Jimin whispered, he finally raised his eyes to meet Namjoon’s, there was no tears in it, just a sea of pain that the smaller boy was struggling to keep afloat in. He shuddered, because he knew what was to follow. “Am I allowed to be happy?”

Namjoon felt like a volcano that had laid dormant for centuries but had at that moment changed its mind; he wanted to destroy cities and kill everything that had the courage to live. He wanted to turn everything that was beautiful in this world to ashes. For a second the nature-loving Kim Namjoon wanted the world to turn into a grey mist; swirling with the aftertaste of his anger. 

Namjoon had learnt how to curb his anger at a young age; his father had hated any sign of it in the childhood home he grew up in and had taught his children the best way to take control over it. ‘You can never take back what you say or do when in anger’ he heard his father’s voice in his head for the hundredth time. His father would have told him to get out the room but Jimin was blocking the way so he rose up and turned his face away. His fathers ‘well done’ rang in his ears, but he felt no happiness at the praise. 

He wanted to shake every bone in Park Jimin’s body, to unhinge every structure inside of him and to replace it with some sense. He wanted to scream that there was no one who deserved to be happier than him, but he could not say the words. 

Jimin’s six words had opened up a wound in himself that he knew would never heal.

Chapter Text

Jimin had been in one of the three coffee outlets his university offered. It was definitely not as cute and aesthetically pleasing as the coffee shops in town, but it was a convenient place to get your caffeine fix. He did not drink a lot of it, he was there because Hoseok hyung had texted that morning, saying he wanted to meet Jimin. The text had a lot of emojis and exclamation marks, making Jimin smile a little at the excited tone of his hyung… alas, it was all a facade. 

He sat overlooking the business school, it was built with blue glass and was the most modern of all the buildings his campus held. His own major, chemistry, was in the health and life science department and looked as old as the roads he walked on… ‘someone is not dividing the cash out equally’ he thought. 

That morning, before leaving for work, Namjoon had given him a letter from Taehyung, and he felt himself rejuvenated. Each letter of Taehyung’s was a set of new words that he had never heard, it was Taehyung’s way of keeping up a conversation with him. After the first weeks worth of letters, one every day, the letters grew more infrequent, each had a date across the top. But even when Jimin lay them on his desk at home, he could not formulate a trend in them; no matter how amazing his chemists’ mind was at finding patterns and sequences. In this one, he was speaking of the time when Jimin had not let Taehyung cut his hair, and Jimin had blushed to be reminded of it.

By the end of the next hour, Hoseok had tears in his eyes and Jimin had fire in his. Seeing the way Hoseok looked anywhere but at Jimin broke him to little pieces. He was the reason behind all the pain that accompanied each and every word of Hoseok. He was to be blamed for all the agony that the older boy was feeling. 

“I just want my soulmate back,” Hoseok had uttered, looking as pained as a kicked puppy. He was pleading Jimin to give something back to him that only belonged to himself. Jimin had no rights over Namjoon, none at all, and yet here was Hoseok asking him if he could have back something that was rightfully his. It made no sense to Jimin, how he had been so blind as to be the cause of suffering for someone else. And out of all the topics, it was on one that meant the most to Jimin; soulmates. 

As per usual, Namjoon picked up Jimin’s call at the end of the first ring and was shocked at how fierce the younger boy sounded. He had demanded for Namjoon to meet him outside his office, and in the middle of the afternoon, that was not the easiest to achieve. And yet, he had rushed through the office floors and met Jimin just outside the doors, where he saw Jimin’s car was parked, very skewed, on the curve. Jimin always took great care parking his car, never wanting his vehicle to be a cause of discomfort for other drivers or pedestrian. He would never forgive himself if he was the reason behind someone else’s harm.

 Something was very wrong.

“Hi, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” 

“I am as good as gold,” Jimin said between his teeth, his hands were in tight fists and he was flushed a hot red. 

“Jimin-ssi, tell me what’s happened.”

“I want my house keys back, this very second, and also for you to know you are no longer welcome in my life.” 

The naive boy, unaware of what had transpired between Jimin and Hoseok, felt his whole world crumble before his own eyes. The colour left his face and he felt lightheaded, he was always fearful of this day; where Jimin would no longer want him around and here it was.

“B-ut, why?” 

“You doing this to anyone else is horrifying enough, but to do this to me, someone who has lost his soulmate forever, it’s just unimaginable,” Jimin spat out. Unaware of how vague he was being and just how much it was costing Namjoon. 

The older boy put his mind back to the past few months, and could not put a finger on where he had gone so wrong for Jimin to be this angry at him… or was Jimin finally coming to realise that Namjoon was in love with him and finding this horrifying. He shivered involuntarily. 

“I can’t help how I feel,” Namjoon said, not wanting to be outright about his extent of emotions, hoping it would convey to Jimin that he couldn’t help but fall for him. 

The look on the boy in front of him said that this was not registering in his mind, that this was not about Namjoon’s feelings at all, but then what could it be about? 

“There is nothing to feel hyung, it’s a matter of the duty you have towards your soulmate. Do you know just how much pain you are causing Hoseok hyung because of your mistreatment towards him?” 


“Stop acting all innocent. You are absolutely vile.” Namjoon might as well have been slapped by the younger boy. “Out of all the people in this world you chose me as a weapon to hurt your soulmate? How could you?”

Namjoon stood dumbfounded, unable to put the pieces of the puzzle together, unable to comprehend just why the boy he was so in love with was accusing him of such things. A cold chill seemed to seep from the footpath into the soles of his feet and pass through his entire body, freezing him to the spot and making him incapable of any actions, words or even thoughts. 

“My heart broke to see Hoseok hyung in so much pain. As someone who has lost their soulmate forever, I know just how much he is suffering and I can’t believe I am the reason for it. It makes me want to scream the world down.” 

Jimin lowered his eyes, “he did not say this out loud to me, but of course, I am to blame for all the time you have spent with me rather than him.” He shifted his weight from one foot to another, “if I knew Taehyung was spending all of his free time with someone other than me, I would have knocked them down by now.” 

“Jimin, you have it all wrong,” Namjoon stammered finally, seeing just how hurt and embarrassed Jimin looked, he was blaming himself for something that he played no part in. Wanting to save him from accusing himself any more than he already was. 

But this was just what Jimin needed to ignite the fire in him again. “Fuck you. Don’t you dare tell me what’s right or wrong. I lost a part of me when Taehyung died, I will not be the cause for someone else to go through the same.” 

When Namjoon was 12 years old, and his sister 9, he had been given the responsibility of looking after her at the park. She had come back with a scratched knee, Namjoon had been at the edge of the park, and had not realised that she was going to jump off the swing in that irresponsible manner. He was always a lot more mature than everyone his age, and at age 9 he would have never done such a thing. 

“I gave you one responsibility and you managed to fail that, maybe I should lower my expectations of you,” his mother said. Namjoon had his whole world torn in two by those words; he felt like the most incompetent son and brother. 

A decade had passed, where he had done everything he could as an older brother for his younger sister, from her last-minute homework, to standing up for her to bullies, buying her whatever her new DIY obsession was, being the subject to all her makeup tutorials, filling in her university application and everything in between. And yet, he still felt like the worst brother to have graced the Earth. 

For the second time in his life, he felt a similar sort of searing pain in himself; it was the raw, grating-every-single-of-one-of-your-skin-cell type of pain. 

When he had not managed to say anything in reply, Jimin held his hand in front of him and accepted the key that Namjoon produced.

“I will never love anyone but Taehyung. Got that?” 

As soon as he slapped his car door, he felt the world crumble in front of his eyes. The guilt of his sharp tongue and fiery anger hit him like a truck full of stones. He bit his tongue until he tasted blood, and yet it was the feeling of regret that threatened to make him throw up. 

He ought to have gone home, thought through his words and then spoken to Namjoon. But he had not, and had managed to say all these things to Namjoon that he would never be able to take back. It was his worst trait; not being able to control his speech towards the ones he loved the most. He knew just what key to press to hurt his most beloved, and in anger, he did exactly just that. He had been trying for years to curb his tongue in the face of anger and had failed, and now seeing Namjoon’s ash coloured skin and frozen body, he realised that he had hurt the boy beyond repair.

It was only once he reached home, shed his bag and jacket by the edge of the bed, and crawled into his place of escape that the pain of what he had just lost hit him. The regret had occupied his mind the entire ride home, and now he was going to have to face the worst of it all; coping with the grief of losing his moon. His only light in the pitch-black darkness that Taehyung had deserted in.

How was he going to navigate through it this time? 

“Taehyung-ah,” he whispered into the empty room, clutching his duvet to his chest as tightly as he could, it felt like deja vu of his 21st birthday where he woke up with a similar sense of loss. 

The last time he had cried, cried until it hurt his eyes and burnt his throat and gave the whole world a grey filmy cover of tears. And yet this time it was numbness, at not knowing what to do next. Taehyung didn’t know this part of Jimin's life, couldn’t have prepared a letter for it to make Jimin feel better, show him what to do next. This time he was left empty-handed. 

“Please, I beg you, come back, tell me what to do, just come back,” he uttered, there were no tears, just pleading for his wishes to come true. 

“I need you the most now, Taehyung-ah,” he wondered why no one had told him that losing a friend hurt just as much as losing a lover, that Namjoon’s presence in his life had kept at bay the loneliness that he would have otherwise had to face. 

“You knew you would die a day before the ceremony so why did you not talk to me about it? What stopped you from telling me what was weighing you down to the ground? I will never forgive you for keeping all the heaviest burdens to yourself, for never openly telling me what was eating away at you. Or for the fact that you made me grow so dependent on you. But mostly… just for dying on me as you did.” 

The boy he was speaking to was dead, so there was no interruption to hinder his speech, just an empty room and a belief that his soulmate could hear him kept him going. 

“I wish I could hate you for all that you made me suffer and are still making me go through, I wish I could be angry at you and tear at your skin. And yet, even though it has been months since I have last seen, heard, smelled, tasted or felt you, I still love you as much as I did when you were alive. I love you, Taehyung-ah.” 

He whispered Taehyung’s name to try and keep at bay all the questions his mind threatened to suffocate him with. Such as, why was he feeling the loss of Namjoon in this way? He had lost his friends before, but why was it that he could not see a day in his future without the older hyung. He loved him as a friend and that was all, he told himself. It was the truth, there was nothing more than friendship between the two of them. Not from Jimin’s perspective anyways. 

And with his soulmates name on his lips, he drifted off to sleep, unable to hold onto the reality of his feelings; of how empty he felt without his Moonie hyung. 

The next handful of months were blissful for Jimin and Taehyung. One where they travelled every time Jimin had a few weeks off during term time, and the entire of their summer they had spent abroad, the nearly-qualified chemist had a knack for the feel of jet-lag from travelling so much his own body lost rhythm of the concept of time. Taehyung still worked from home, getting all his work done in hostels and cheap air bnbs. They pushed each other in shopping carts in supermarkets where all they understood were the numbers on the price tags and nothing else. Spent hours searching for free things to do on lists created by other young travellers. They shared cooked dinners with people they had only met that afternoon, passing by in the hostel's corridor and Taehyung, being the social butterfly he was, striking up a friendship that would blossom as quickly as flowers in the midst of spring. 

Jimin felt Taehyung grow into a larger extension of himself. Only felt right when his hand was laced with his lovers. No matter how awful the bed was for that night, he was always comforted by the way his body fit into the curves of Taehyung’s. He was sure home was everywhere Taehyung was. 

Taehyung’s hand rested on Jimin’s waist as they watched the skyline of Malta. Jimin glanced, with a smile on his face, as Taehyung prayed to the wishing fountain, Jimin’s prayers had already been answered and he was looking at them just that very moment. 

In Italy, Jimin saw Taehyung lose himself in all of its museums, he found him drugged and in love with each and every art piece they came across. Kissed him deeply on the mouth whenever they found themselves alone in a room, Jimin knowing he was keeping Taehyung from filling his memories with all that the room held, and yet being unable to let go of his best friend’s hips, he was lost in Taehyung as much Taehyung was lost in the painters and their crafts. 

They walked along floating flower market in Amsterdam, the bustling of people making them stick to each other like never before, knowing that it would be so easy to lose each other in the influx of people the city had travelling through it on a regular basis. Jimin was amused by the lack of real flowers being sold at these markets and saw Taehyung flashed him a grin when he complained, all pouts and criticism. 

They drove around the highlands of Scotland, gathering strength from the mythology that the country was submerged in. Seeing the mountain tops covered in fog and trees clustered together every which way. For hours they would drive without seeing another soul on the road, feeling like they were the only two people left alive in the vast world that enclosed them. Jimin was always putting his head out of the window and screaming incoherent things to the wind, which made Taehyung laugh until he had to stop the car and hold onto his stomach. He was sure that he would crash the car if he hadn’t done so. Jimin humoured him with his excited little dances as they climbed yet another mountain top, by reaching over the safety gates and nearly falling over the fence created to safeguard them against the farm animals that were strewn here and there. Once they had come across a pair of horses very close to the road and Taehyung was certain that they were fake, ‘how do they not react when cars drive by them so closely?’ He had wondered. But, nevertheless, the two of them did get out and spend half an hour exclaiming just how beautiful they were.

Taehyung wrote Jimin letters whenever possible, he knew he had to make the first few months after his death as bearable for Jimin as possible. Needless to say, it hurt him to his very core to put pen to paper, knowing full well just how much Jimin will be hurting once he was left alone. He knew that the past few years he had made Jimin had forsaken everything for his sake, and yet he could not let Jimin go. He was selfish and wanted every second he could get with his best friend; surely that was not too much to ask knowing that he was to die very soon. The rest of the world was going to have Park Jimin for another 80 years, and yet he only had 1 and a bit to spend with him. Taehyung wanted to enclose himself and Jimin in a cage, put handcuffs on the two of them, slip a string on Jimin’s waist, anything that would make sure that they stayed close. He was greedy for every minute of Jimin’s attention while he was alive. 

The dying boy took care to love every little part of his soulmate. He made sure he was awake to catch Jimin waking up in the morning, all puffy-eyed and dishevelled hair. To kiss him on his neck whilst they waited in a queue for tickets to an amusement park. To drape his body over the smaller boys as he read a book. Softly running his fingers over Jimin’s cheeks as they sat eating dinner. To kissing the palms of his hands after making love. He whispered “I love you” in the most random times during the day, like when they were going downhill whilst riding a bike or while switching on the indicator of his car to turn left. It caught Jimin off guard, turned the tip of his cheeks a rosy pink and his breath a little more shallow. 

Little did he know that Taehyung was trying to fit in all the I love you’s of a lifetime during the space of two years. 

Namjoon knocked on the door until his hands hurt. He knew Jimin was inside, had seen his shadow moving through the window. He could feel his hands growing sore, but still, the heartless boy on the other side did not let him in.

“Jimin, please open the door,” he half-shouted. “I know you’re in there, please.” He pleaded. He put his forehead to the door. 

“You can’t throw me out of your life like this, you just can’t” Namjoon sighed, speaking to wood for all that mattered. Then he saw a beam of light at the bottom of the door grow dark across the middle; Jimin standing across from him.

“I don’t know what Hoseok told you, but it’s all a lie, you can’t believe him.” Namjoon’s heart felt like it was burning, he did not know how he would live without Jimin. His light at the end of the tunnel. 

“I will suffocate without you Jimin-sii,” he hated how he meant every single one of those words. He hated just how much meaning the boy on the other side of the door held to him. 

He heard a gasp on the other side, saw the light under the door shift a little a more. 

Jimin had seen from the small peephole that Namjoon’s forehead was resting on the door, and after hearing Namjoon’s proclamation he had rested his own on it too. But he could not open it, not after knowing that he was the reason someone was going to lose their soulmate. After losing his own, due to reasons unknown to him, he could not be the reason why someone else went through the same pain he survived through each and every day.

Then Namjoon uttered the four words he knew he had left, his last chance at getting Jimin to open the door. 

“Hoseok cheated on me.” 

It was four simple words, but it changed everything for Jimin, everything he had been fighting against collapsed in a heap and he fumbled for the doorknob. 

Namjoon was not expecting such a sudden change and felt himself thrown off balance as soon as the door opened. He tripped into the room and grabbed onto the only solid thing he could reach: Jimin, his lifeboat in the vast ocean he had been drowning in.  

And then he was holding on for dear life, he never wanted to let go. He held Jimin so tightly to him that the little boy struggled to breathe. Namjoon dug his face into Jimin’s shoulders and cried until he felt himself grow lighter in weight. The younger boy felt himself gripping just as tightly, he did not know where his mind was or what he was doing, but the idea of letting Namjoon go made his whole body grow rigid. He tried not to think of what this meant; he just did as his body wanted. 

It was late and Jimin had taken Namjoon to bed, where the older boy lay with his face buried into Jimin’s stomach, one arm underneath and one above, burying himself and all his grief. 

As Jimin ran his hands through Namjoons hair, he felt himself wondering at how selfish he had been, for months he had been relying on the now weak and feeble boy, never seeing just how much pain he had been going through himself. He had been blinded by his pain to see that of Namjoons, but for once there was no mask on the older boy, he was showing Jimin his entire self; the broken and betrayed one. 

“How did you find out?” Jimin whispered, half hoping that the boy clinging to himself was asleep and would not hear his question. 

Namjoon felt a shiver pass through him, it was as if someone had taken his body and thrown it into a snow-filled front yard. He tightened his grip on Jimin’s waist. And with as much conviction he could, he told Jimin of the months of confusion and fear he had lived through. 

His mind went to all the days Hoseok came home looking rough, where every time Namjoon touched him he would take a step back. He had been satisfied somewhere else. The nights where Namjoon stepped in to hug his soulmate only to smell a distant smell, not one associated with himself or their house. The outbreaks where Namjoon finally stood up to face his fears, only to be told he was being over sensitive and his mind was running too fast for himself. All the scars on the inside of his mouth from biting it too hard, his only way of stopping himself from asking on another night why Hoseok looked so vacant and far away. 

Hours later Jimin would still be awake, his mind rushing with a million thoughts, none clearer than the last. He did not know what to feel or where to go next.

He knew this was all wrong. The way the older boy felt for him was forbidden. And his own feelings? He tried convincing himself that he felt nothing for Namjoon, how could he when he had a soulmate in Taehyung? Surely not. No, he was sure that it was only Namjoon who felt anything out of the ordinary for him. 

‘You are just playing with his heart, you’ll just break it again’ he told himself. He looked down to see Namjoon still curled tightly around his middle, his face buried into his stomach and he felt a dagger in his heart; he could never call the boy his own. He already had a special person and that was Taehyung, he couldn’t love two people at once…

Namjoon needed someone who would give their whole heart to him, and a lot more loyalty than Hoseok had been able to give him. And unfortunately, Jimin was just not that person. 

Jimin put his hands under the sleeping boy’s armpits and pulled him up the bed, he stirred a little, searched for Jimin’s body and once he had found him, he whispered, “it’s okay Jimin, you’ll be okay.” 

And that was when all of Jimin’s composure broke; he realised that Namjoon was so used to comforting Jimin that even in the deepest of his pain, he still felt the need to be there for him. 

He needed to leave. He needed to get out of the bed, out of Namjoons arms and far away. He was going to suffocate with all the pain he felt in himself, he was slowly dying from the inside. 

As he untangled each of the older boys limbs, he thought of how selfish he was being. How he was abandoning Namjoon when all these months he had been the only thing to hold his broken pieces together in his hands. Even when those pieces cut deep into his hands, he never let go. And yet, at the first sign of pain on Jimin’s behalf, he was choosing the easier option; escaping Namjoon’s hold to go find relief somewhere else. 

He reached over and placed his own pillow into Namjoons vacant arms like he used to do with Taehyung all those months before. He wanted to bend down and kiss him on the forehead, but this was not Taehyung, and he was not allowed to treat him like he was. 

So he brushed away the small stray pieces of hair on his hyung’s forehead and turned to go. 

Only that he felt Namjoon grabbing his left hand and stopping him from taking the next step forward. It felt like a taut rope. 

Jimin turned around to stare into Namjoons bloodshot eyes, still as beautiful as ever.

“Tell me you want me to go and I will leave this city and never look back.” 

It was one word, just a single syllable, that’s all he had to utter and he would be saved of all the pain that held onto him like metal chains digging into his flesh. And yet he could not utter the simple instruction; it would kill him to see Namjoon walk out of his life. 

He sat back down. The wind was loud tonight and the moon was playing tag with the clouds, only appearing for a few seconds before finding refuge in another set of clouds. He saw a cat walk along his front fence, lonely and dark, ‘searching for what, this late at night?’ he thought. 

Digging his hands into the edge of the bed he breathed deeply. “I don’t know what to feel, think or do hyung.” 

He felt Namjoon’s body shift on the bed, he could see every one of his actions reflected on the mirror. He saw Namjoon move the pillow that Jimin had put in his arms, get onto his elbows and then slowly sit up. Even though he saw crystal clear the shape of Namjoon closing the distance between the two of them, he could not form the word “stop” on his lips. Nor did he say anything as he felt the former’s body press into his back, his knees on either side of Jimin’s hips. Rather than getting up from where he sat, as Namjoon slid his arms to hold Jimin even closer, he felt himself lean back into the embrace. 

And all he could think was ‘this is not what friends do, this is not what friends do, this is not what friends do.’ 

“I will wait as long as you need.” 

“I can’t do this to him.” He cast his eyes away from the window as he mentioned Taehyung, his face growing in shame. ‘What would Tae say if he ever saw this?’ He thought.

“Would he want you to live your whole life on your own? Put yourself in his shoes, would you want that for him?”

“But what if… what if, in whatever world comes next, we meet again, and he’s angry with me for letting him go? As his soulmate I  have the duty to think of him no matter what,” he didn’t add, “no matter if he is dead.” 

A long silence drew out between them. Jimin knew he ought to get up, walk out of the room, sleep on the sofa. He was aware of the fact that all Namjoon wanted to do in that moment was to press his lips onto Jimin’s neck, like Jimin had wished for in all the months before Taehyung’s confession. Jimin wondered what he was doing playing with Namjoon’s heart like this, what he was doing fooling around with a boy who had already been broken by his own soulmate. 

“Jimin,” Namjoon breathed out, his words tingling on the younger boy’s neck. “Put your hand on your heart and tell me, do you feel nothing at all for me?” 

Jimin looked at the window again, saw the immense amount of courage that one question would have taken in Namjoon’s reflected gaze. He wondered how many months of preparation went behind this one fluid sentence. He was glad to be on the receiving end. 

Namjoon took Jimin’s right hand, unhooked all of his fingers from the edge of the bed, and placed it Jimin’s heart. The younger boy felt his own heartbeat rushing, like water over a stone in a creek, nothing holding it back.

Jimin thought that maybe if he didn’t say anything Taehyung would not be angry at him; that the dead boy could not hold him accountable for something he had not uttered from his own mouth. And thus, he swapped their hands over so that now it was Namjoon who could feel Jimin’s heartbeat. 

The small action spoke volumes. It said “I can’t form the correct words for how I feel, but feel it for yourself.” 

Chapter Text

“Soulmates are not for a lifetime and that is the hardest truth I have come to terms with.” They were sat at the beach, it was already getting chilly, but Jimin did not want to leave without seeing the sunset. He held tight onto his own and Namjoon’s jacket which the older hyung had draped over him seeing him shiver in the cold breeze that only rushes across the ocean’s surface. 

“They are there when we need them the most. I guess only the luckiest get to spend their entire lifetime with their soulmate, and then there are people like you and me,” Namjoon sighed, the grief of losing what he had once considered his most priced possession enveloping him it’s brace once more. ‘Will I never heal?’ He wondered. He had come to terms with what had happened between him and Hoseok, had slept alone in a cold bed and woke up in the same state too. Emptiness had been his only friend for all the months before Jimin had been placed in his life. 

Namjoon had gotten used to pain. The soft ache of sadness that rested on his shoulders like the light summer jacket that he had worn earlier that day. It was like a scar that was going to take until his last breath to heal, blood ready to pour out if he pulled at the skin too hard at any given moment. 

The long nights when he had stayed up counting every breath he took; painfully aware of how alone he was. Unlike Jimin, Namjoon had no one to hold him as he cried himself to sleep, no one to grip onto him as he woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, aching for the touch of another human being. His days dragged like a sharp needle across his skin, there was no one he could turn to. Those months spent alone had made Namjoon the person he was today; he would be able to live through anything the world threw at him now. He was as hard as lead, unwilling to yield to any more pain than the months of it he had already lived through. 

The person whom he had loved the most and that fate had chosen for him, had ended up betraying him. He had lost faith in ever having a happy ending. And Jimin’s stubbornness to only love Taehyung was not helping him restore his faith. He was one of those sad endings that writers left to make the book realistic, he ought to know; he was an editor after all.

Hoseok had been Namjoon’s sunshine for years, the only bright spark that made his dimples come out from their hiding. Namjoon was always a lot more mature for his age than was good for him. Even at the tender age of 14, he was up all night, hurting on behalf of all the pain the rest of the universe suffered from. He would go home from history class and imagine how the soldiers felt in the dark trenches, how their lovers felt at home knowing they would never return. He used to hurt for all the people who died at sea, amongst the vast unknown the ocean held and that men are yet to discover. He made his own mind ache thinking of what eternity meant, he could never really wrap his mind on it, it seemed impossible that such a thing will exist. His heart felt tortured for all the people who died young and all the alternate universes where they got to reach an old age. And in the deepest of his depression, it was always Hoseok who put his hand out and dragged him out of it.

Namjoon had grown gone through his teenage years using his lover as his role model, wanting to be as calm and collected. He worshipped Hoseok, followed him everywhere he went. He himself was a shadow cast by the sun that Hoseok was. They were everything to each other at one point and it came to no one’s surprise when they had completed the soulmate ceremony and been paired together. And then it all changed. Maybe the confirmation of being soulmates was all that Hoseok needed for him to go out and seek pleasure in other places; he thought Namjoon would never leave him. Not when they had been lovers for so long and destined for each other by fate. Alas, he did not know Namjoon at all, because that is exactly what Namjoon did do.

Painfully, Namjoon was bought out of his thoughts, he had felt the sudden rush of something being thrown at him. He looked at his lap and was taken aback to see his jacket laying on his thighs, and Jimin standing over him; burning with rage.

“What’s wrong Jimin-ssi?” He asked, using his hands to slowly push himself up, sand clinging between his fingers. 

“I will never stop loving Taehyung, why is that such a hard concept for you to get your head around?” Months later, he still could not bring himself to say the words out loud. Maybe there was some part of himself that still denied the cruel trick fate had played on him. 

“I am not telling you to stop loving Taehyung, all I am saying is that we should-” 

“We can’t! Not now or ever. Just stop, please,” Jimin begged, his eyes were lingering near Namjoon’s chin, he could not lift his head any higher to meet his eyes. 

“Does it not hurt you to deny that we could have a happy ending?”

“There is no happy ending for people like you and me.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way, Jimin-ssi,” Namjoon reached his hand out to take hold of Jimin’s hand in his own. He saw the setting sun reflect in Jimin’s eyes; a shade of orange and pink that only Park Jimin could display as beautiful. He was in love with every small detail of the boy in front of him. The way his breath now came in shallow gasps, how his feet were in the a v shape in front of him. 

Jimin recoiled, took a step back and looked as if he had been strung. “We are just friends. The sooner you get that into your head the better.” 

Namjoon watched Jimin walk away and felt each of those steps on his heart. He still clung onto the jacket that the younger boy had thrown at him. The sunset was a backdrop to Namjoon’s heartbreak; if this was how painful giving life a second chance was going to be, maybe he would stop trying altogether. He grit his teeth and felt the tears pass his dimples, the ones Jimin loved so much. He saw Jimin’s bright smile and how he dug his thumb and forefinger into them each time Namjoon smiled, he was sure they had grown larger over the past few months of constant digging. And he cried harder, his shoulders shaking and his breath catching; had he not convinced himself he had faced the worst sort of pain already? Then why was this hurting this much?

The last time Namjoon had suffered from a heartbreak he had turned to the oldest hyung, knowing that he would be able to bring the comfort that Namjoon needed. Their relationship was mostly founded on the peace they both gained from each other. Jin had always been the one Namjoon hid behind when things got too much or held onto when he was too scared to move forward. Jin also found a homely comfort in the younger boy; their silences were never awkward, they could bathe in it for hours without getting tired of each other. Even when the world seemed too heavy on his shoulders he knew Jin would be able to save him from it.

As usual, Jin was quick to the door when Namjoon had knocked that night, having left Hoseok in the house they had bought together. Namjoon could have thrown Hoseok out, but he could not live in the same house that held all of their happiest memories, now painted in a colour named betrayal.  He would rather live in a cell than be imprisoned in the memories of what they had been and longing for what they could have been. It was too much for Namjoon to cling onto, so he had fled to his point of refuge; Jin. 

The older hyung looked surprised to see Namjoon at his home so late in the night, which Namjoon expected. It was unusual for Namjoon to stay up late, no matter what the occasion was. Jin was clad in a cotton bathrobe and by the looks of his wet hair,  he had just gotten out of the shower. 

Namjoon walked in and fell into the Jin’s arms, his long limbs wrapping around the comfort that he had grown used to. His head bending just slightly to fit into the crook of the older hyungs neck. He inhaled deeply, ready to lose himself in the arms of one of his most beloved friends... And then the smell of jasmine bought bile to his mouth. It was the one Hoseok came home smelling of on his nights out, where Namjoon lay in bed wondering where he had gone so wrong.  He opened his eyes, saw the reflection of himself on the door of the kitchen; clinging onto Jin and felt just how cruel the world could be.

He had gone to Jin bearing the blade that Hoseok had embedded in his chest, with the hopes of it being pulled out, and yet Jin pushed it further and twisted it until the world lost all of its colours. 

“It was you,” Namjoon said, matter of factly, his arms dropping to his side. He felt like a corpse, lost of anything that made him remotely alive and human. 

“Jangho and I are in an open relationship,” Jin said, the guilt weighing his words down. 

“But you know me and Hoseok are not.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t know how it-” Namjoon had turned around and was walking out the door before he heard the rest of that sentence. It was the start of his lonely road to recovery. He was not going to run to anyone else to be comforted, or so he had thought until Park Jimin had showed up in his life. 

“I am liking your new hairstyle,” Mr Park said to Taehyung, a smile to his eyes that reminded him of Jimin.

That morning, Jimin had sat on Taehyung’s lap and brushed his hair for him. Talking to him softly of how they needed to go grocery shopping on the way back from his parents and how the paint on the back of the bathroom door needed to be reapplied. Jimin had a rubber band on his wrist, it was the one he was going to use to tie his lover’s hair in a man-bun. Taehyung was fighting to concentrate, he wanted to listen to Jimin talk but more than that he wanted to kiss him hard on the mouth; the struggle of choosing between the two was definitely something very real.

“I want to cut, it gets in my eyes all the time,” Taehyung replied, he was pouting whilst chomping on some watermelons. The rest of the family stayed far from the plate, knowing Taehyung was not the one to share when it came to fruits. 

“Then why don’t you?” Mrs Park asked, innocently.

“Ask your son,” water dribbled over Taehyung’s chin, “he won’t let me.”

Jimin felt like the sun was shining about an inch from his head. He bit the insides of his cheeks to stop himself from screeching. “I’m going to,” he choked, the saliva that was normally meant to aid ones chewing and swallowing had forgotten its function. He tried again, this time he simply said, “water,” and walked out with a forced smile. ‘I am going to kill you Kim Taehyung,” he thought, indignant of the fact that his boyfriend was so shameless!

Later that night they were in bed, their bodies feeling like an extension of each other from how long they had spent kissing each other, feeling every part of the other’s body with their mouths. As if tasting each other for the first time. The moonlight eliminated Jimin’s body in a way that made Taehyung lose his mind, he was so thankful for the boy that rested atop of him. 

“So why won’t you let me cut my hair?” Taehyung asked, his hand rubbing circles on Jimin’s back. 

Jimin lifted his head a little and looked up at Taehyung, his eyes were glistening and his lips looked as plump as ripe peaches, he wanted to crush them with his own.

The smaller boy did not answer. He just started to kiss Taehyung from where he lay. From his chest to his stomach, his belly button to the insides of his thighs. He kissed softly, longingly. There was no haste, just a slow pleasure rushing through Taehyung’s body every time he felt those pink, plush lips against his skin. Taehyung arched his back up and clutched into the sheets. He wanted more now. 

Jimin was always a tease, in everything he did. He looked up at Taehyung, his mouth dangerously close to his boyfriend’s cock, and smiled. He was going to do something better than suck Taehyung off, but it did not hurt to watch Taehyung writhe in pain, it did not hurt at all to be in so much control.

And it was whilst riding Taehyung, his hands dug deep into his long hair that Jimin moaned, “this is why.”

As the days flew by Taehyung grew more and more agitated. He needed to think of Jimin’s future before he left him empty-handed on the day of their soulmate ceremony. Jimin was clueless to the way his entire world was going to be turned upside down overnight, and Taehyung was not strong enough to remotely hint as to what was coming his way. The dying boy wanted to see his lover as light and happy as a fairy in his last days. He knew all this would change as soon as he died, but he wanted the last memory of his soulmate to be a happy one. It was a selfish move, and yet he could not get himself to inform Jimin of what was racing along his nerves every moment of the day, causing him to stumble even in broad daylight.

It was on a spring night, the coldness still lingering on the edges of winter having just ended, that Taehyung found himself in front of Hoseok and Namjoon’s house. He needed advice, and years after having cut the two off, there he was; once more the ever hopeful dongsaeng of being alleviated of some of his pain by their words. He was not going to tell them everything; just enough for them to help him out.

He raised his hand to knock, his mind finally coming out of the autopilot that it was constantly on. It stopped mid-way in the air because what he heard next heard froze his blood in his veins. He was not meant to be a witness to what was being spoken behind the walls and yet he could not move away. The shock of the words glueing him to the doorstep of the two hyungs he had grown to role model and yet now did not know what to think of now.

Taehyung shifted from the doorstep so that he could see the outline of the living room; the curtains providing the silhouettes of everything that went on inside of it. He saw how Hoseok lifted his hand to reach up to Namjoon’s cheek and how the taller boy stepped back.

“You lied to me, over and over again.” His head stooped low, it was like the world’s worth of pain rested atop it. 

“You know I still love you.” 

“If you did, you would have not gone ahead and cheated on me. Actions speak louder than words, have you not heard how the saying goes, Jung Hoseok?” 

“We are soulmates, you can’t just leave me,” Hoseok’s voice was quiet, but stern. He sounded sure of himself, much more than Taehyung ever would have if Jimin had caught him cheating. He would never do such thing, not in this life or any other. He was leaving all of the hate he found growing inside of himself for Hoseok to the back of his mind, he needed to concentrate on what was going on. He balled his fists by his side, his jaws ached at being clenched so hard.

“So the two of us being soulmates gave you all the confidence you needed to go and screw other people because you thought I would never leave you?” Namjoon shook his head, a bitter laugh escaping his mouth. 

Taehyung stood, aghast at the scene unfolding in front of him. He watched Hoseok hold onto Namjoon, put both his arms around the taller boy, bury his face in his chest. And yet Namjoon’s arms stayed by his side, and his head was aloft. 

The onlooker turned and left the scene of crime, his mind was racing in all the unknown futures of his soulmate. It was as if the wall he had been banging his head against for all these months had finally given way. He saw a glimmer of hope and it was all he needed to return home to the arms of his beloved. 

That night, as Namjoon slept at the edge of the bed, as far away from the smaller boy as he could get without falling off,  he felt Jimin press against him. One arm digging under himself and the other draping over him. “I’m sorry hyungie,” he said as he buried his face into Namjoon’s shoulder blades. His soft button nose tracing shapes on his skin in a way that made Namjoon melt away.

Namjoon was always adamant on loving himself first, putting himself before others. He had a policy where he only gave people one chance, but with his Jiminie it was different. He found it hard to say no, to push him off, to tell him that he was hurting Namjoon beyond repair. He was willing to be hurt over and over again for the boy that now clung onto him. He wanted to be stiff and aloof, and yet his body could not translate his thoughts into action; he felt himself soften under Jimin’s touch.

For the second time in Jimin’s life, he felt himself dying from the inside out. He watched, transfixed, at the way Namjoon slept with his mouth slightly open and woke up looking messy and rough. At the breakfast table when their hands reached for the same piece of toast, Jimin withdrew first, the feeling of the older hyung’s hand on his affecting him like a bolt of electricity. He caught himself staring at the reflection of the editor as he lay engrossed in another book; longing to be looked at. Craving his soft brown eyes on himself, wanting to be the centre of the older boy’s attention.

And in the end, it was a beige hoodie that set their relationship on fire. 

Jimin called it his “joonie hoodie”. It was the most comfortable one to hug into, he would explain. He held onto Namjoon for a bit longer whenever Namjoon wore it, and he wore it a lot, for that exact reason. 

Jimin was sat on his chair, a laptop on his knees and his foot resting on the bed. He was watching “The Notebook” for the hundredth time, it made him feel at ease: it was his and Taehyung's favourite film to watch together. The latter had once joked that if he had to have a female crush it would be Rachel Mcadams, which got him a flick on his forehead from Jimin.

“Here,” Namjoon said, placing a very neatly folded hoodie on the bed. “I was passing by town and saw that they had this hoodie back again, I couldn’t find one in your size, sorry.” He smiled shyly and headed to the kitchen. 

He was wearing the exact same sweater, which Jimin imagined to be his normal old one.

As Jimin put the laptop down onto his bed, he wanted to check what size it was exactly, he was used to wearing things that were too big for him anyway, but Taehyung and Namjoon may not share the same size. As he flipped the hoodie inside out, something Jungkook had taught him a long time ago came flooding back to him. Near the edge of the label, on a lot of clothing, the season and year is written, and the sweater he held was from 2 years ago.

Namjoon had given Jimin his old hoodie… but why? 

Jimin felt a flush of warmth rush along his entire body, from his head to his toes. He could feel a little knot at the bottom of his stomach that he did not know what to think about. As he slipped into the all-too-big top, he felt a warmth on his cheeks that he had not felt for a while. 

Namjoon had been resting his arms on the counter, a glass of water that he was slowly working his way through resting by his hand when Jimin appeared at the door. He felt himself wrapping his fingers at the edge of the counter to hold himself upright.
Jimin noticed how Namjoon’s hoodie rested at the back of one of the kitchen chairs, he was standing in a white t-shirt that showed off a lot of his skin.

Jimin’s hair was tussled, from having put the sweater on and not having brushed his fingers through it like he normally did. But it was his face that made every fibre of Namjoon want to fling himself onto the smaller boy. His cheeks were painted the most beautiful shade of pink, just at the tips. Namjoon was sure if he was to touch it, it would feel as soft as candyfloss does on ones finger. There was a glow to Jimin that he had never seen since today, and he was just that bit lightheaded from the sight. 

Jimin’s hands were barely visible, the hoodie came to near his knee and made him look like a teddy bear. It was the most sweetest image to encounter. 

Most endearing of all was that Jimin was wearing clothing of his that he loved the most, he saw a future there that he knew he could not have; where they lived together and shared clothes and much more together. Namjoon was a fish in the sea with a fisherman that kept on giving bigger and grander baits but withdrawing it just as he wants to snatch it up. But fate wasn’t the only thing playing with him, so was Jimin. 

Very slowly Jimin closed the small distance from the doorway to the counter where Namjoon stood. He placed his hands, firmly, on Namjoon’s waist. His fingers digging into the soft white t-shirt that Namjoon wore. 

“Thank you hyung,” Jimin whispered, his breath light on Namjoons collar bone, his lower lip brushed against his skin ever so lightly that without any intention from Namjoons behave, he gasped. 

Namjoon felt Jimin press himself, his entire self, onto his own body. He gulped, which was loud in Jimins ears. His head was rushing with a thousand emotions and none he could control. 

He undid his fingers from where they had been gripping onto the counter and as Jimin had taught him, moved it from the middle of Jimin’s back, until it rested at his hips. 

One more breath on his collar bone and Namjoon would have tore through every layer of his own and Jimins clothes and taken Jimin on the kitchen floor. But Jimin spared him that fate; by doing something worse. 

Park Jimin was known for two things; wanting to be complimented and being a tease. He executed them so well. He was a performer, not just on the stage, but everywhere his foot touched. Namjoon’s breath caught. 

Jimin stood on his toes and held his face very close to the older, now very flustered, boy. Jimin’s eyes were glittering with a wetness that screamed hunger, his lips so soft that Namjoon could feel them without even touching them. He wanted so badly to press his own lips to them, to feel the softness crush him like a vice. He wanted to taste Jimin even if it was just for once. 

“Tell me I look pretty in your clothes,” Jimin drooled out, a sense of desire clinging to each syllable that Namjoon had only ever heard of in his dreams. 

That one sentence was Namjoon’s entire undoing. It was as if Jimin had pulled one thread at the top of Namjoon’s head and it had collapsed his whole self into nothingness. Jimin felt Namjoon harden against his thighs, and within a second he had turned and walked out of the kitchen. 

Namjoon would have forgiven Jimin even on this occasion, he was used to the younger boys foolishness at this point. It was Jimin’s next action that was the straw for his patience. All of the walls he had built to protect Jimin came cascading down and now how he could not forgive any further. 

Jimin took three scalding hot showers until his body was red and close to blistering. He rubbed himself so harshly that the pain in his heart was overthrown by the way his body screamed for mercy. He had betrayed Taehyung and now he was going to punish himself for it; it was what he deserved for making another man hard at his touch. He was the one to blame for being so shameless and unfaithful. 

What Jimin did not know, as he fucked a pillow whilst moaning Taehyung’s name, was how Namjoon stood by the closed door and felt himself shatter at every gasp escaping Jimin’s mouth. Anger, an emotion that Namjoon had been taught to control since he was a child, finally taking over his entire being.

He was going to make Park Jimin pay for this. 

Chapter Text

Jimin had not thought about where Namjoon had gone since their last meeting in the kitchen, thus when he heard a key turn in the door he started awake. The bedside clock read as 3 am and he gasped in surprise at having fallen asleep without Namjoon being beside him. The last few hours had been a blur of guilt and pleasure. Both rigged into one. His throat felt parched, he swung his legs off the bed and the feeling of Namjoon’s hard-on was again on his mind. It was all his fault. 

He wondered just when he had fallen asleep, how many hours he had spent in bed burning with fever coloured in the shades of guilt and regret?. Why had Namjoon not woken him up? How come they had missed dinner? 

Namjoon was in the living room when Jimin immersed from his room, a hand blocking the glare of the light. He watched as Namjoon shed his knee-length beige coat; his breath caught on the way out. The older boy had not changed since the last time they had met, he still wore his white t-shirt and ripped jeans. But now there were marks adorning him as if adding the last touch to his very simple outfit. Red blotches covered his neck, the right side of his collarbone and there were fingerprints on his thighs. 

There was an acidic taste swirling in Jimin’s mouth, his head was filled with bees. There was a smile on Namjoon’s face that Jimin wanted to punch right off. He felt like he was being mocked. And he hated every second of it. 

It was only when the tears clouded his eyes and blurred the image of the boy in front of him that he realised he was crying. Why was this affecting him so much? Why was it like his body was raging in a sort of anger that could burn cities? 

Before he knew it, he was standing in front of the taller boy, his mind hurling a thousand slurs at him. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” He shouted, shoving Namjoon back, but the boy had seen it coming and did not move all that much.

He just smiled bigger. His dimples displayed like a peacock showing off its charms and his eyes hidden. He looked gorgeous and it made Jimin feel worse. “How could you do this to me when you’ve been on the receiving end of it once?” 

In a voice that was dripping with honey, Namjoon asked, “do what Jimin-ssi?” 

“Don’t say my name, you fucking cheater,” Jimin was about to punch Namjoon square in the face when the older boy grabbed his hand mid-way and held it softly in his own. 

As he slowly undid Jimin’s fist with both of his hands, he said in a gentle tone, “I can’t cheat on you, Jiminie.” Their eyes met, he looked at the younger boy with a mock understanding, “we’re just friends, remember?” 

Jimin may as well have been knocked out with a boulder for all the help Namjoon’s condescending tone did to him. He wanted to act unaffected, to show Namjoon that ‘yes, that is exactly what we are,’ but his tears betrayed him. They fell at a pace that made Jimin weak-headed.

He pressed his forehead to the older boy’s chest, saw through the film of tears how the marks were made recently. He tried to stop all the images of Namjoon being with another boy flood his mind and yet that was all he saw. 

“If we are just friends,” he breathed, “then why do I feel so betrayed hyung?” 

It took everything in Namjoon to grab the crying boy by the shoulders and stand him upright again. He wanted to hold him, soothe him from the pain that was gushing through him. But he was tired, just so tired of all of Jimin’s games. He wanted an end to whatever this was. Wanted to be put on either side of the vast nothingness that Jimin was holding him suspended upon. He was tired of giving Jimin chances, it only led him to being hurt more and more, and he felt weary now. Exhaustion clouding all of his actions; he wanted his racing mind to find rest.  It was a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere but using up all of his energy. 

“I can’t answer that for you Jimin. You have to make your mind up, and soon. I am running out of patience with whatever we have here,” he motioned with his hands at the space between them, “and what you want me as.” 

Jimin stood, aghast at the choice in front of him. He could not just pick a side. That was not how it worked! His hands felt itchy and he was struggling to keep his head aloft.

“I’m the one who is always chasing after you. You know my feelings for you but your words and actions keep on confusing me as to what you see in me. What am I to you? A lover? A guardian angel appointed by your soulmate? Or just a friend?”

When it produced nothing but a vacant stare from Jimin, Namjoon turned around and headed to the kitchen, but before he closed the door behind him, he said, “you have until sunrise to decide.”

He stumbled backwards, a few unsteady steps and he touched the back of the sofa. He felt himself unable to stand up anymore. Even in this moment of panic and unease, what he saw was a broken boy, on the eve of his 19th birthday, feeling the same way as he did now. ‘Is this what you went through too, Taehyungie?’ He asked, his mind going into the small piece of haven that was always associated with his soulmate.

Unlike Jimin, Taehyung was just forced to confirm a decision he had made months ago. For Jimin it came as a surprise, he was not expecting such a sudden change in his older hyung. He thought they could continue walking the tightrope that was a personification of the blurred lines of their relationship. He did not know what had caused such a change of mind in Namjoon, could it have been the way Jimin had teased him earlier? Jimin thought it was; he was yet to learn of what Namjoon had heard Jimin moaning into his pillow before he left the house and found himself in Hoseok’s bed. Begging Hoseok to leave as many marks as possible, he had revenge to take. 

He saw a Taehyung by their bedroom door, with tears streaming down his face. And another one by the bookshelf that had all more books from Namjoon than the actual occupants of the house, he was screaming at Jimin. There was a Taehyung leaning against the wall, with a sour expression on his face. And another shape of Taehyung by the kitchen door, laughing.

“You are a-”

“-could you betray-”

“-trusted you,”

“-you never cared about me, did you?”

They were all talking at once, some with tears choking their voices and others screaming at Jimin. The laughs cut through his bones, the shaking of the head pierced him in the heart. Jimin covered his ears and closed his eyes shut. He screamed to drown the voices in his head. 

Even with his eyes closed, he saw the images of Taehyung on the breakfast table, the younger boy pouting whilst eating, sleep covering his eyes. He saw their hands intertwined in line to pay for their groceries. Envisioned how their bodies moved against each other; felt Taehyung’s kiss on his neck and mouth. Heard Taehyung say “Jimin-ah” like his life depended on it when they were in public, finding his way back home to his beloved. 

When Jimin could hear the birds singing their sunrise chorus he groped his way into the kitchen. He saw Namjoon sat, with his head in his hands at the table. He was staring so hard at the wooden table, Jimin was sure he would cut through it with his gaze. Neither of them had slept. He did not want to think of the agony that the older boy was going through; having placed all reins in Jimin’s hands, giving him the power to steer their future in whichever direction suited him the best. 

Namjoon looked up at Jimin, who came and sat opposite him on the table, that was the only place he could take on the small two-people table. His eyes looked hopeful, and yet there was a cloud of something more painful in his gaze. 

Jimin felt ruthless. Like a thief snatching away a child’s favourite toy. 

“I have chosen Taehyung.” He said matter of factly.

No words were spoken between Namjoon placing his hands on the table and slowly pushing himself out of the chair, to him grabbing his coat in one hand and leaving. Jimin watched, transfixed, at the boy who so wished for a happy ending and yet was being denied one. He was the one to blame for this unfortunate series of events and it took every fibre in him to not call out. To not grab his hand and pull him into the arms, the same ones that had begun to feel like home. He heard the front door lock and knew there was no going back. 

There was the nothingness once more, so he welcomed it and rested his head on his arms, and let sleep lull the ache in his chest. He was done with crying and screaming, he was tired of fighting, of playing tug of war.

Some part of his mind told him Taehyung would be happy with his decision, and yet, for once he did not find happiness in Taehyung’s happiness. He felt shackled to a dead boy and it was wasting away at him from the inside. 

Jimin woke up to a letter being pushed through the door. 

This was the last of Namjoon’s responsibilities with regards to the two younger boys, it was meant to be given on the 13th of October on Jimin’s 22nd birthday, but Namjoon was leaving the city later that night and did not want to rely on posting it. He knew just how much these letters meant to Jimin and how devastated he would be if it got lost in the post; the same Jimin who had chosen a dead boy over him. He had been heartbroken before, had also felt the pain of Jimin deserting him before; it came as no shock to him now. He was numb to the pains of this world once more and ready to move on.

The date was disregarded by the grieving boy, he poked his finger through the top and tore away at the flimsy cream coloured envelope. He needed his soulmate to ease the pain that he felt; he was the culprit. He had been the reason for every single one of his tears and heartache. Kim Taehyung was to be blamed for every ounce of pain that pushed along his veins. 

It read:

Jimin-ah annyeong,

I am accursed. 

Knowing you will die before your 21st birthday is hard enough, but writing your own lovers future with another person’s name is worse still. Taehyung wrote Namjoon’s name where he knew his own name belonged. He had to replace the arms that Jimin was going to fall into, or else Taehyung knew he would jump off so far down that only pieces would be found. 

Reaching out to Namjoon took every ounce of courage he had but for Jimin he pushed past all of the barriers and got there in the end. He told Namjoon that he would be leaving, for how long he did not say. No matter how much the older boy persisted, he got no answer out of Taehyung. 

Taehyung sat in a cream coloured sofa in Namjoon’s new apartment, it was minimalistic at best, apart from the books. There were books on the floor and on the table, on the windowsill and next to the plants. He struggled to meet Namjoon’s eyes, knowing that one day, if his plan worked out, Jimin would look into those same eyes as he looked at Taehyung’s. 

He was planning his own heartbreak, writing it in letters to Namjoon where he told him about Jimin and how he liked to be cared for. No matter how strong Taehyung pretended himself to be, he could not put pen to paper when it came to all the ways to love Jimin. He left that for Namjoon to figure out by himself; it was already costing him enough to imagine Jimin with another man. 

He bargained with Namjoon for a year’s worth of his time to spend looking after Jimin, bound him by the dated letters he handed to him. The last one to be given a year after his death. Taehyung did not know the statistics of how long it took for two people to fall in love, nor did he know with certainty if his plan would work; but at least he knew Jimin would have someone to share his grief with. In the end, just the reassurance that he would not be alone made it all worth it.

The last few months of Taehyung’s life he spent waking up in a cold sweat, he had dreamt, for the hundredth time of Jimin sharing a future with Namjoon. It was inevitable that Namjoon would fall in love with Jimin, how could one not? The fact that they had both lost a lover each made them more vulnerable to the affection of an outsider; what Taehyung did not know was how stubborn Jimin would be in his faithfulness to his soulmate. 

On those nights, when Jimin reached to pull him into a hug, he did everything he could to not portray his thoughts on his face. He tried to lose himself in the warmth that only his lover could bring him. How even whilst swimming through the darkest oceans Jimin would still be able to bring him a sense of comfort that he could gain nowhere else. He was glad to be Jimin’s soulmate, even if it was only for a few years. It was enough. 

Every second with Park Jimin was enough. 

“We will always be soulmates, in this lifetime and all the ones that come after this. I believe that and I know you do too.” That was the easiest part to write. It was the next sentence that stretched his heart into a thin wire, so painful that Taehyung put his left hand to his mouth.“But I am letting you go of the string that attaches us, just for the remainder of this lifetime. You are free of our relationship Jimin-ah.”

On the last day, whilst Jimin was getting ready to sleep for the beginning of his soulmate ceremony, he saw Taehyung at his calmest. They kissed, as passionately as if it was their first time. Taehyung’s hands rested on either side of Jimin’s face, and the smaller boys hands were wrapped around Taehyung’s neck. Their breathing slowed to match each other’s, their hearts beat together as one; for the last time. 

“I am going to be here Taehyungie,” Jimin whispered between kisses. “We will be soulmates the next time I wake up.” He smiled into the next kiss.

“We will be,” Taehyung answered. He looked into Jimin’s glowing face, it was radiating happiness that he embedded into his mind as his last memory of his most loved person. 

“I’m so excited!” 

“I know baby,” Taehyung said, hugging Jimin to his chest, as tightly as ever. Feeling their bodies collide just once more, oh how he was going to miss his lover. 

“I love you Taehyungie,” Jimin said softly, but still as boldly and with as much conviction as he could muster. Which was a lot.

“I love you too, Jimin-ah.” 

In the next few hours of Jimin being asleep, Taehyung put everything he knew Jimin would need after his departure. The sticky notes and washed clothes. He wrote down all of his passwords to his devices so that Jimin could gain access to the thousands of pictures, videos and voice notes he had gathered for Jimin. He put up the heater because by the time Jimin woke up and returned, the house would be cold; what Taehyung did not know was that without himself, Jimin would never be warm again. 

He spent a while lying next to his sleeping soulmate and took everything of his in. How his hair came to rest on his forehead to make a heart. The movement of Jimin’s eyes under his eyelids, flicking in an amusing way. How his cheeks were softly coloured just at the tips. His luscious lips, curved in a slight pout. How his chest raised rhythmically in his sleep. One of his soft small hands resting on his stomach and the other by his side. Taehyung reached out and touched it gently. He intertwined their fingers together just once more. And he re-played all the years they had spent together in his mind and smiled fondly. They had shared a great deal of happy memories, it was enough for Taehyung to die peacefully.

And with one last kiss, Kim Taehyung bid his beloved goodbye. Knowing he would never see him again. It was not an easy thought, but he had made Jimin happy over the past 2 years of being lovers and all the years before that as friends. He had gained as much bliss he could from being granted this beautiful boy as his own and now it was time to let go. 

To cut the thread that bound them as soulmates so that Jimin could live.

From the deaths in his family, Taehyung was aware that their families were buried within a week. He had thought he would be in his family home until morning before any further action was taken. And hence, Jimin and himself would swap places where they only changed from one of Taehyung’s home to another. He did not know that his mother would report the death of her oldest son to the police, suspecting him to be murdered. The police officer would tick a box that classified for an autopsy, it was the one headed “a sudden death via violent, unnatural or suspicious cause”. And thus, how Park Jimin would wake up in a morgue, locked inside of a coffin, screaming and frightened.

By the time Taehyung’s mother would open the door Taehyung would be foaming at the mouth, his eyes cast far back and him being unable to stand up. The night’s wind would cut through his clothes and pierce his already dying body. The agony he felt from within was entirely physical at this point and it would be unbearable. When his mother would shout for her daughter, she too would fall to her knees and hold on to her saviour of that cursed night.

The three of them would see the image of the night when Taehyung had killed his father. Taehyung feeling the warm blood on his hands, his sister could feel the grasp of her dying father’s hands on her own, and Mrs Kim would see her soulmate’s face once more on her lap as she held onto his dying frame. 

It was in those moments that Taehyung’s fate had been decided for him. 

“I curse you Kim Taehyung to be holding the body of your dying soulmate in your arms like I am now on the day of your ceremony.” 

In the universe they lived in, three things were certain: by the age of 21 one will have a soulmate, a curse will take its course and death is mandatory on every living being.

“Please, forgive me,” Taehyung would plead and only after hearing he was forgiven by the two people he had hurt the most with his actions, would Kim Taehyung close his eyes and see the image of Jimin in his mind, smiling at him for the last time before he died a happy man. 

Jimin sat still. His eyes reading and re-reading the letter until he knew it off by heart. And yet it seemed to penetrate right through him. This was the one letter without any mystery or promises of things being made clear in the future, and yet to Jimin, it was the most confusing. 

After what felt like the hundredth time of re-reading it, did Park Jimin finally whisper out loud, to make it stick in his head than anything else, “Taehyung died for me.” 

He knew he was loved, he also knew that if he was in Taehyung’s place he would have done the exact same thing. And yet the idea of someone dying for him was too big of a concept for him to wrap his mind around at that moment.

He read as Taehyung explained all the friction and distance he had tried to create, how he had tried to fool fate into not making them soulmates and knew it was something impossible. Jimin was painfully reminded of his own anger and out-lash at Taehyung, how he had been so ill-tempered with a boy who was only trying to save the two of them and the future that awaited them. The pain that Jimin had so often seen, and begged Taehyung to share, was now finally explained. 

It would take months for Jimin to finally comprehend what Taehyung had done for him, he would cry again for the boy he had lost and grieve over him once more; the wound being opened to the outside world for the second time. But this time, it was a dull sort of ache, he knew why Taehyung had done it. It did not make the pain any less, just more understandable. 

The part that made Jimin the most angry was that Taehyung was letting him go, freeing him of the bond that held the two in a union that Jimin had fought so hard for. 

“I am never letting you go!” Jimin would shout at the letter, his fingers gripping so tightly onto the page that it would tear at the edges. “You can’t just cut me off like this!”

And yet he remembered how last night he had chosen Taehyung not because he wanted to, but because he was forced to by the idea of how disappointed Taehyung would be if Jimin move on. Taehyung was removing all the thorns on his path, clearing them until Jimin had a road filled with soft petals to walk on to reach Namjoon. 

Nearly a year ago Namjoon had stood on the other side of the door of Taehyung and Jimin’s house, two lunches in his backpack and a letter in his coat pocket; a small bandage for Jimin’s too large of a wound. A year later when he opens the door to a drenched Jimin on his doorstep, he has a flood of nostalgia hit him for the naive boy he had been. 

The white t-shirt is soaked through, clinging onto Jimin’s lean body, making Namjoon shamelessly aware of his own eyes taking everything in. His black jeans already latch onto his defined thighs, but now with the added water, it was a sight to behold. Namjoon did not want to look into Jimin’s beautiful face, he was afraid of what he might see. And yet his eyes met Jimin’s, his eyelashes appear longer when drenched in the rain. He always had pink cheeks, but at this moment his entire face was lit up in a flush of rose. His lips were parted, he was breathing through his mouth and Namjoon hated himself for how much he adored the image in front of him. 

Jimin had once ran across the city in false hope, aware that he was heading into a tunnel with no light at the end of it and yet unable to stop his feet tracing its path to where his soulmate lay. And for the second time he found himself doing the same, but this time it was different, he was running to someone who had set themselves on fire so Jimin could see the light. He knew he could walk into an empty apartment, no evidence of the boy that resided it. Or worse: Namjoon could refuse him. And yet he found himself run, for the sake of the flame that was ablaze in his heart, the one that Namjoon had lit and refused to let dim. 

“I have changed my mind.” Jimin gasps out. He still can’t control his breathing, his hand grips onto the edge of the doorframe. 

Namjoon looks at the white knuckles of Jimin and wonders about what Jimin had changed his mind on. That he no longer hated his 6-hour lab sessions, or that he wanted to close the window at night when they slept... where Jimin slept because Namjoon was no longer in the picture. Or about the fact that he now did not hate autumn and winter with a passion because of how inconvenient it was with its bleak days and cold weather. It clashed with his sunshine personality you see. What exactly had Park Jimin changed his mind on? The possibilities were endless. 

“I want you,” Jimin said. 

As soon as he let go of the door frame his knees gave away from under him, but Namjoon was never going to let him fall. So he did what he had done once, months earlier, he scooped the boy from where he stood and into his arms. He carried him up the six flights of stairs of his apartment, and with each step, he felt every ounce of pain and hurt he had experienced on behalf of Jimin fall off his shoulders. Jimin’s head rested against his chest, his ear pressed over Namjoon’s heart. He stared at his face, which was turned up slightly, and their eyes were locked for all of the 54 stairs until Namjoon’s front door. Namjoon told his heart to quieten down, he was afraid of his heart giving away too many of his secrets to Jimin but it did not listen to him; it was too busy talking to its owner. 

“Before I say or do anything, I need you to understand a few things, or else our whole relationship will be built on a foundation of lies and I can’t do that to you.” Jimin breathed out. He looked at Namjoon who was staring at his hands, he could tell his older hyung was nervous, he knew this was everything Namjoon had wanted for a long time but he needed just a few more of his moments; otherwise, the start of what could eventually be the most beautiful thing in his life would be all ashes and dust. 

He reached his hand out and lifted Namjoon’s face to meet his eyes. He was going to do this the right way. 

Taehyung had cut himself loose of his ties, now Jimin had to do the same. “Namjoon-hyung, at this very moment I am letting you go of all the responsibilities Taehyung attached between you and me; the ones where you were meant to be my guardian angel and get me through my days until I was strong enough to walk on my own.”

Jimin exhaled and saw how the boy in front of him also looked like a huge weight had been lifted off of his shoulder. His heart hurt, but this time it was not for Taehyung, for the first time since Taehyung’s death, Jimin felt an ache in his heart and this time it was for the boy who sat breathing heavily next to him. A part of Jimin realised that Namjoon could just get up and walk out of his life and never turn back. A part of him wanted that, he did not want to see Namjoon suffer on his behalf anymore. But a bigger part of him wanted Namjoon to hold his hand and never let go, because without him even noticing it,  Namjoon had become like a second home; his safe place. 

Namjoon did not move a muscle, he stared into Jimin’s eye as if to say ‘I have made my decision to stay, it is up to you where we go from here, the cards are all in your hands Park Jimin’.

Jimin took a shaky breath, he did not know how to speak anymore, all he wanted was to hold onto Namjoon and forget the world, but he knew before anything happened he needed to say all the things that otherwise would haunt him till his last breath.

“Can you love me knowing that my heart will always belong to Taehyung and you both?”

Namjoon nodded. 

“That even if I am 100 years old, I will still feel the same amount of love for Taehyung that I do on this day and that you will never try to change that.”

Another nod. 

”Why are you not saying no?” Jimin suddenly grabbed onto Namjoon’s shirt, he looked at him with a dare in his eyes, “Why are you not telling me I am being selfish and that you deserve my entire heart?” 

Namjoon untangled the fistful of his shirt that was enclosed in the hands of his lover, he held both of his hands in his own. 

“Because from the day I stood on your doorstep for the first time a year ago, I knew there was no force on this Earth that was going to be able to change the way you felt for Taehyung. Even though I had barely spoken to you properly for years, I still knew the look in your eyes of determination, that you would never let anyone replace Taehyung.”

Now it was Jimin’s turn to be speechless, he watched Namjoon caress his hands.

“That day I saw a bigger part of Kim Taehyung inside of you than was inside of his grave. That the dead boy had managed to leave his whole entity in your hands. I have known you and Taehyung before you both decided to isolate yourselves, but on the first time when I stood at your door, I saw Taehyung shine through your entire being. I would be a fool to try and move him out of your heart when I know he belongs in every one of your cells.”

“I am so sorry hyung,” Jimin begun but could finish, he snatched his hands away from Namjoon’s grip and put his head into them. He could not imagine what it would be like to love a boy who was so deeply in love with another man. Jimin wandered what kind of way Namjoon loved him; for him to be sacrificing so much just for his sake. 

“For what? For telling me the truth that I knew even before I started to fall for you?” He moved closer to bridge the gap that Jimin had managed to create. “Jimin I know what I’m getting into and I would never choose otherwise. I could live happily for the rest of my life even if you gave me one-tenth of the love you have given Taehyung. You love so fiercely and intensely, that that would be more than enough to last me till the end of my days.”  

“You deserve someone who loves you and you only, you deserve better than what I am able to give you.”

“And yet I have chosen you.”

Namjoon put one of his hands on Jimin’s back and rested the other on the smaller boys stomach. He saw Jimin look into his eyes with a new look that he had longed to see and thought would never be fated to witness, but here it was. 

He slowly lowered Jimin onto the bed. His head felt like it would explode, his hands had lost their sense of touch and his heartbeat could be heard for miles. This was better than every image he had ever conjured up of the two of them. It was slightly better than perfect. 

He adjusted himself so he was just above the little boy who he had fallen in love with months ago. He stroked Jimin’s rosy pink cheeks, he was blushing and it made Namjoon want to scream at the top of his lungs. He had never witnessed something so beautiful. He realised he was breathing too heavily, but no matter how much Namjoon tried to cover it up, he could not. 

He felt Jimin’s long eyelashes, he touched the bridge of his nose. He look a hollow breath as he brushed his thumb along Jimin’s lips. Jimin was looking at him with a sense of longing that made Namjoon want to hide; he felt like he was burning up. That was when his hands begin to quiver slightly, he felt lightheaded. 

Namjoon nearly gasped as Jimin took his hand and kissed his fingertips, one by one. His eyes widened, he had not seen this coming and felt totally caught off guard. He felt as if he had been bestowed the greatest gift on earth; a kiss on the hand by the sweetest angel to have ever existed. 

Now another fear gripped onto Namjoon. He knew the way life treated him and in those moments of staring into Jimin’s eyes, he could hear a fire alarm going off, someone knocking on their door, a lightbulb shattering on top of them. He knew something would happen and he would never be able to feel Jimin’s lips on his.

And yet he could not rush, this was either going to be perfect or he did not want it at all. He was going to stare into Jimin's soul until there was no secret left inside of him.

He saw Jimin place his hands on his cheeks and draw him in, ‘of course Jimin has no patience’ he thought fondly and smiled. This was just one of the characteristics of the boy he was in love with. Jimin dug his thumbs in Namjoon’s dimples whilst their lips met. And Namjoon felt himself melt away, he thought of every book he had ever read and knew no one had captured the feeling of euphoria in the way he felt it now. It was as if wings had sprouted from his shoulders and he was finally at peace with the world and everything it held within it. 

Chapter Text

“It took you three years to come visit me?” Jimin asked as he rested his head on Taehyung’s shoulder. 

He snuggled in closer. His black woolly coat and all too-big scarf wrapped around him a great contrast to the lightly clad Taehyung besides him.

“I couldn’t visit you any earlier, you were yet to heal.” 

“All of those months I begged you to come back and you never listened?” Jimin sighs, the sharp aching of his past a memory that he was yet to let go of.

“It was not easy seeing you hurt so much, but I was never allowed to come down until now. Believe me, Jimin-ah, I would have come if I could.”

They sit in silence for a while. It was on Taehyung’s bucket-list to see the northern lights, and on Taehyung’s 24 birthday, Jimin had bought his family to Lapland to fulfil the dead boys wish. He had not expected for Taehyung to join him. 

At first, when Jimin saw the northern lights, he thought it was smoke billowing from the woods. It was not what he had expected. He was unsure if his eyes were playing tricks on him or if what he was seeing was real. Maybe they had come to the wrong side. The vast whiteness of the ground was the same everywhere, it would not be hard to make a mistake and arrive at the wrong area; everything was just a blanket of snow. He wondered now if Taehyung could be seen, in all the glory of white that he was cast in. 

“Can you visit everyone?” 

“No, only you can see my soul.” Taehyung breathed softly next to him. “Since our souls are intertwined and made of the same elements.”

They watched as the Aurora Borealis became more and more prominent, they went from dull to bright to astonishingly breathing-taking beautiful. It was like keys on a piano, playing at once and then not at all. They both stopped breathing for a while, the view enclosing them in its grip. 

“Will you not tell me about your daughter?” 

Taehhyung felt Jimin’s heart beat faster and the entire green-grey-sparkling sky reflected in his eyes. “I thought I could not love anyone more than you and Namjoon hyung, and yet when she was born I felt a love that could move entire universes. I love her the most!” Jimin was so excited, Taehyung had to put his hand on his head and pat it. He felt at peace knowing that Jimin could experience this sort of happiness.

“Hey! You’re an angel, so tell me, who does she love the most? Me or her papa?”

“Both,” Taehyung replied.

“You could have at least pretended to hesitate!” Jimin said, pouting and trying to cross his hands over his chest but being unable to, his coat was too big. He had to dress appropriately, him or Namjoon getting a cold meant that their daughter would also catch it, and that was something neither wanted to go through; her immune system was already weak enough as a baby. 

He looked back at the log cabin they were staying in, whilst walking out he had made sure she was cocooned in all the blankets he could find even though they had paid an extortionate amount of money to get a cabin with the best heating system; money was nothing when it came to the health of their daughter. She had nestled into the small crook of Namjoon’s arms and Jimin felt a sigh leave his body; this was everything he had ever wanted. 

Taehyung knocked his knee with Jimin’s and grinned. “I can’t lie as an angel.” Saving Jimin’s life rather than his own had given him the way of right to heaven, it had cancelled out his action of murdering his father due to all the pain he had endured during his sacrifice. He was glad, this was the only way he could watch over his beloved. 

“You will come visit me again?” 

“Every time you need me.” 

“So basically every second of every day for the rest of my life?” Jimin laughed, it was a beautiful sound to hear, it made the view of the all the lights in front of Taehyung sparkle just a bit more.

“I’m sure that’s not allowed even for soulmates!” 

“In the next life you won’t be stupid so we can have a lifetime together, right?”

“You can bet my life on it.” 

“Let’s not do that!” And they both laughed. 

Life had not treated either of them as they wanted it to, but things would be better; they had another lifetime to look forward to.