Yoongi has a habit of bottling up his emotions.
They come in the form of colored smoke, which he then traps in small clear vials he buys from a witch’s trinket shop. He likes watching the colors curl and uncurl, sometimes settling momentarily along the bottom of the glass, before floating back up into a listless hover.
Each shade is associated with a specific feeling—yellow for joy and gray for sadness; light orange for comfort and pale blue for nostalgia; various shades of red for passion and courage and anger, different greens for peace and disgust and calm; black for fear; violet for lust.
They’re not memories, but they’re close. Yoongi can’t remember in exact detail the cause for every emotion he’s decided to keep, even with his attempts at brief documentation squeezed into card-sized tags attached to each bottle. Some come to him more vividly than others. Some are merely impressions now, vague images that he struggles to pull from the dusty recesses of his mind. But the feeling in each stays the same—strong, present, real.
When nights get too dragging, Yoongi likes to sit on the floor in front of his shelf and squint through the darkness so he can watch the colors dance. Sometimes he reaches out and curls his fingers around a bottle, basking in the emotion swimming within. Then he sets it back down and reaches for another, and another, and another, until he’s exhausted enough to fall asleep.
Sometimes, the feelings stay with him even into dreams, leaving echoes of faded memories fluttering behind his eyelids when he wakes up.
They’re always gone the moment he opens his eyes. But that’s okay.
“How are you feeling?”
Yoongi knows the question well. All he has to do is look down at his hands and see the color floating from his fingertips, like smoke after a cigarette has been lit. He’s come to understand colors better than anyone he knows, has learned to attach a personal name to each shade, has mastered categorical systems that only make sense to him.
Right now, grayish white swims in front of his eyes. He smiles lazily at Hoseok and waves a hand. “Unmotivated.”
Hoseok snorts and plops down on the empty chair beside Yoongi. The library is silent, almost deserted, and sunlight pools into the room in a way that makes Yoongi feel like taking a nap. He’s set his poetry notes aside, uncapped pen lying on top of a sheet filled with more scribbles than actual words, pencil crammed in between the pages of his reference material as a makeshift bookmark. His laptop has fallen asleep. Yoongi considers following its example.
“Poetry homework?” Hoseok asks, picking up a stapled pile of papers and flipping through them. The rhythmic sound of shuffling pages pulls Yoongi further into that hazy space right before blissful unconsciousness, and he settles his temple against the cool polished wood of the table. “This is due when?”
“Thursday,” Yoongi says, closing his eyes.
Hoseok sounds confused. “Next week?”
A pause. “Yoongi-hyung, today is Thursday.”
“I’m aware.” Yoongi turns his head so that his forehead is pressed against the table this time, effectively hiding his face from Hoseok’s view. “Can you take a peek about nine hours from now and see if I’ll make the deadline?”
He hears Hoseok snort in response, following it with, “Yeah, you’ll make it just fine.”
That makes Yoongi muffle a laugh against his hand. It’s a long-running joke within their friend group, asking Hoseok to see into the future when they all know he doesn’t have control over his visions. Still, there’s something reassuring about hearing Hoseok say the things they want to hear about the things they need to get done. It somehow makes it feel all the more possible.
“It’s a trick of the mind, but a good one,” Namjoon once said. “It’s more believable when Hoseok says it because we know he has access to the future, regardless of the terms.”
So now Yoongi pulls his chair closer, folds his arms over the tabletop to use as a pillow. “That’s good to hear. I guess a quick nap won’t hurt, then.”
Yoongi feels a hand ruffle his hair. Hears, “I’ll wake you up in half an hour.”
When Yoongi comes to a while later, the first thing that registers is that there are now other voices surrounding him. He lifts his head and notices that his things have been stacked neatly on top of his closed laptop. There’s a small cup of coffee that still looks warm sitting in front of him, and when his gaze moves further up he sees that three of his other friends are now sat on the opposite side of the table.
Namjoon and Jungkook are bent over a single book. Judging the notepad by Jungkook’s elbow and the fact that he seems to be paying close attention to everything Namjoon is saying (which is normal, really, save for the furrow between his brows that indicates he’s mildly confused), Yoongi assumes that it’s for his literature elective that Namjoon is tutoring him in. Beside Jungkook, Seokjin is comfortably leaning back in his chair, one hand holding his own book to eye-level. His other hand is perched on the backrest of Jungkook’s chair, fingers absentmindedly playing with errant strands of the younger’s hair.
Yoongi looks to his right. Hoseok is talking to Taehyung about something on his phone, their heads nearly pressed together. Deciding not to bother them, Yoongi turns to his other side instead and is met with the sight of Jimin quietly doodling on his notebook.
Yoongi reaches for the cup of coffee. The movement catches Jimin’s attention, his pencil pausing over paper. There’s a smile ready on his face when he turns to Yoongi. “Hey, hyung. You’re awake.”
“Hey,” Yoongi says. The smell of coffee hits his nose as he lifts the cup to his lips. “You got this for me?”
Jimin shrugs, turning his gaze back to his notebook. The smile on his face stays, though. “Hobi-hyung texted me. Said you had a deadline.”
“I do,” Yoongi confirms. He takes a sip from the cup, glad at the warmth that floods his mouth. He downs a few more gulps before he pulls his laptop towards him. A little belatedly, he nudges Jimin’s knee with his own and murmurs, “Thanks.”
Jimin responds by briefly pressing his foot against Yoongi’s calf beneath the table.
Sitting there surrounded by his friends, Yoongi begins working on his assignment and sees soft, calming blue.
The first time Yoongi met Jimin was on an afternoon painted in warm tones of orange.
Jimin had stumbled into the room two minutes after time, catching the professor just as she’s pulling out the class list for roll call. After profusely apologizing, he ducked his head as he looked for an empty spot, cheeks flushed in embarrassment.
Yoongi watched all of this happen from his chosen seat in the back corner of the room. It was a small class, a higher art studies course that Yoongi took to fill in his units for the term. Accidentally, Jimin made eye contact with him just as it seemed like he’d decided on a seat somewhere in the middle row. There was a moment, short but meaningful, then Jimin pushed the chair back in and slipped into the one right beside Yoongi.
“Hi,” he said brightly, pulling the strap of his bag over his shoulder and setting it down. He lowered his voice when their professor began calling names, leaning a little closer towards Yoongi. “Did I miss anything?”
Yoongi quirked an eyebrow, mildly amused. “You were barely late, so no.”
Jimin had breathed a sigh of relief at this. Yoongi thought that would be the end of the conversation, but then Jimin whispered, “I can’t believe I’ve already made a bad impression on the first day.”
“I’m sure our professor will forget about it,” Yoongi whispered back, pausing to say here when his name was called.
Jimin was still looking at him. “Min Yoongi, eh?”
Yoongi glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.
Jimin offered him a smile. “I’m Park Jimin.”
Early afternoon light fell over the artificial blond of Jimin’s hair. It made his skin glow, and he looked as gentle as his voice sounded. Orange shifted into yellow. Warmer, softer.
Yoongi found himself smiling.
By the end of class, he had a slip of paper full of doodles and brief messages in Jimin’s bored handwriting, tucked between the pages of his blank notebook.
Jimin’s hair is black now.
It’s a little too dark to look natural, but Yoongi thinks it suits him all the same. In the two years they’ve known each other, Yoongi has seen Jimin go from a darker blond to pastel pink to orange peach to light brown. He wonders where Jimin’s decisions of hair color comes from.
“Is it based on your mood?” he asks, reaching over to curl a strand around his finger.
Jimin leans into the touch. They’re sitting in the cafeteria of the humanities building, waiting for their friends. The room is filled with light chatter from other tables, but the moment feels serene. White.
“I guess,” Jimin says, lashes fluttering when Yoongi cards his fingers through the back of his head. “I just change it when I feel like it, I don’t know.”
Yoongi hums. “It suits you.”
A breathy laugh slips past Jimin’s lips. “You say that every time I dye my hair.”
Yoongi shrugs. He presses gently against Jimin’s scalp, rubbing like he would to a puppy, and Jimin leans back into the touch in a silent request for him to continue. Minutely, Yoongi shifts closer to Jimin, just enough that their thighs brush lightly against each other.
“Comfortable, aren’t we?” Seokjin’s voice pierces the moment, causing Yoongi’s fingers to pause their ministrations. He turns his head from where he’s been cataloguing every detail on Jimin’s peaceful expression and sees their oldest friend slipping into the bench across from them, shortly followed by Jungkook who’s already carrying a tray. “Why haven’t you gotten food yet?”
“We were waiting for you guys,” Jimin says, cheeks flushed pink. Yoongi scratches at his scalp one last time before letting his hand drop, and Jimin pouts at the loss.
Yoongi flicks his ear lightly. Jimin pushes his shoulder.
Seokjin rolls his eyes but doesn’t say anything, suspiciously thanking Jungkook when the youngest hands him his food. Jungkook’s wide-eyed gaze is all-too-innocent to actually be innocent, and Seokjin stares at his plate, looking like he has half a mind to buy himself something new altogether. Namjoon is the next to arrive, looking a little rumpled as he leans down to quickly press a kiss on Jungkook’s and then Seokjin’s cheek. Then he drops his bag onto the table and scurries off to buy food.
Taehyung and Hoseok show up a minute later, slipping onto the bench beside Yoongi. Hoseok pulls out a packed lunch from his bag and wordlessly passes it to Taehyung, making Jimin pout playfully and say, “Where’s my lunch, Hobi-hyung?”
“Go ask Yoongi-hyung,” Hoseok says without even looking at Jimin.
Jimin turns to Yoongi with a flat expression. “Our friends are rude. We should’ve just gotten lunch and started eating without them.”
Yoongi laughs. White turns into lavender.
As with all discoveries, it happened accidentally.
Yoongi had been drinking with Namjoon on the rooftop of their rundown apartment building, two kids barely out of high school, when he lifted his third bottle and squinted at the stars through the glass. “How do telescopes work?”
“Uh,” Namjoon had said, craning his neck as though the answer was written in the stars. And maybe it was. He had the ability to decipher meanings no one else could see in constellations, after all. Yoongi asked about it once, but Namjoon had merely given a vague answer about how stars had life and, therefore, a voice.
At the moment, however, he failed to find an answer from the night sky. Probably because of the alcohol.
He laid back on the cold concrete and closed his eyes. “I’m too drunk to remember. I’ve read about it somewhere, though.” He opened one eye again to peer at Yoongi, who was still squinting through the glass. “But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that.”
Yoongi stopped trying to magnify the sky through his empty beer bottle. He turned his gaze to Namjoon. “Do you think people will have developed better telescopes in 50 years?”
Namjoon threw an arm over his eyes. “What’s with all the questions?”
Yoongi shrugged even though Namjoon couldn’t see him anymore. “You’re usually up for answering them.”
“Too tipsy,” Namjoon said, then, “How are you feeling?”
Yoongi stared at his hands. Namjoon couldn’t see the way white mist curled around his fingertips, looking almost blue under the glow of the moon. Content.
Yoongi lifted his right hand and spread his fingers apart, peering at the moon through the gaps. His skin glowed. He turned his hand over, following the path of mist with his gaze, and then he passed his fingertips over the open mouth of his empty bottle. Some of the mist slipped inside. Yoongi pressed his thumb over the mouth to keep it trapped.
“Whoa,” he heard Namjoon say. Turning his head, Yoongi saw that his friend had sat back up, staring at the bottle with wide eyes. “How did you do that?”
“Do what?” Yoongi asked, before turning back to the bottle, and oh. “You can see it?”
“Yeah.” Namjoon scooted closer, eyes glued to the bottle. “I didn’t know you could trap it like that.”
“I didn’t know either,” Yoongi admitted. He waved a hand around, movements sluggish due to the alcohol swimming in his veins, but there was still enough alertness left for him to know that this was a moment he should remember. “I was kinda just playing around, and—I don’t know. You always said you couldn’t see it.”
“Because I couldn’t,” Namjoon said. “Not until now.”
“You can’t see this?” Yoongi waved a hand around, drawing Namjoon’s attention to it. At Namjoon’s no, Yoongi lifted the bottle again. “But you can see it in here?”
“Yeah.” Namjoon lifted his hand like he was about to touch the bottle. He said, “This is so cool.”
When his fingertips made contact with the glass, his awed expression changed, turning calmer. Serene. He looked at Yoongi, then, and Yoongi understood what just happened by the look in Namjoon’s eyes.
“You can feel it, can’t you? You can feel exactly what I’m feeling.”
Namjoon pulled his hand away and nodded. Yoongi removed his thumb from the mouth of the bottle, watching as the mist drifted up and faded into the open night air.
Yoongi keeps his eyes shut. He tries not to smile when he hears Jimin huff, waiting to see what the younger boy will do to get his attention. He doesn’t quite expect Jimin to plop down on top of him, knocking the breath out of his chest. His eyes fly open, and he’s immediately greeted by Jimin’s grinning face.
They’re close enough that Yoongi feels a stutter beneath his ribcage. The moment feels familiar.
“There we go,” Jimin says, making no move to leave his perch on Yoongi. On the contrary, he shifts into a more comfortable position (at least for him), crossing his arms over Yoongi’s chest and resting his chin on them. “Now you’re paying attention to me.”
Yoongi lifts his head a little, ignoring the strain in his neck, just so he can see the look on Jimin’s face when he flicks him on the forehead. “Brat.”
Yoongi lets his head fall back down. His bag is an uncomfortable substitute for a pillow, but the soft press of grass against his back makes up for it. He shifts his legs to accommodate Jimin’s, and they end up in a tangled mess of limbs that Yoongi doesn’t mind all that much. An arm finds its way over Jimin’s lower back, just lightly resting there.
“What do you want?” he asks. He feels warm. Happy.
“Your attention,” Jimin says.
Yoongi snorts. He lifts his other hand and tugs at Jimin’s hair. “Needy.”
Jimin rolls his eyes at this, but there’s a pretty flush sitting on his cheeks. “You’ve been napping and I want someone to talk to.”
Yoongi glances around them as much as he can, considering his position. “Wasn’t Taehyung here?”
“He was, but now he has a coffee date with Hoseok-hyung and I’m bored.”
Now it’s Yoongi’s turn to roll his eyes. “He has a coffee date with Hoseok every other day.” He pauses. “Taehyung doesn’t even like coffee.”
“Shh,” Jimin shushes, lifting himself slightly in order to free an arm and pat Yoongi’s face. “They’re young and in love, let them be.”
Yoongi snaps his teeth playfully the next time Jimin makes to lower his hand. Jimin yelps and pulls away.
After returning to his previous position on Yoongi’s chest, Jimin sighs and says, “I can’t believe all our friends are dating.”
Yoongi gulps. Wonders if Jimin is able to pick up on any changes in his heartbeat, in his demeanor, in the color that’s lazily floating around them (a subtle red now, flustered, nervous) even though Yoongi knows no one else can see it like this. His fingers twitch slightly, brush over Jimin’s hip where the younger's shirt has ridden up.
Jimin shifts and looks at Yoongi as though he’s waiting for something.
Jungkook appears, then, sipping on a juice box. He takes one look at Yoongi and Jimin, pulls the straw from his mouth, and says, “This is a public place.”
Yoongi tries not to feel too disappointed when Jimin rolls off of him, but laughter bubbles in his chest when Jimin gets up on his feet and lunges at their youngest friend. Jungkook easily dodges out of the way, dropping his bag by Yoongi’s head before making a run for it. Jimin chases after him, yelling.
Their quickly-cut conversation replays itself in Yoongi’s head, an odd mix of regret and relief sitting in his chest.
Seokjin sees through opaque objects at command, though he doesn’t like doing it often because it gives him headaches. Jungkook understands the emotions of animals better than anyone else. Taehyung makes it rain.
And Jimin, he remembers everything.
Jimin remembers everything, and Yoongi knows everything includes the time he almost told Jimin he loves him because they got too drunk while in Seokjin’s living room in celebration of finals being over. Yoongi thinks about it a lot, about how close Jimin’s face had been, so close Yoongi could feel the whisper of Jimin’s alcohol-stained breath against his mouth. Thinks about how much he wanted to lean in until there wasn’t any distance left, about how Jimin’s expression changed from tipsy-giggly to wide-eyed and expectant. About how Yoongi said, “Jimin-ah, I—” before his world started spinning too rapidly and the alcohol caught up to him at the worst possible time, and then the moment was gone as Yoongi rushed to the bathroom.
Jimin never said anything about it. Yoongi never did, either, but he wonders how Jimin interprets that moment in his mind, how he sees the Yoongi then in his memories.
Last summer, Yoongi was woken up by his ringtone at 5AM on a Monday and was told by an excited Taehyung to pack some sunscreen and swimming trunks. He didn’t receive much instruction after that, and he spent ten minutes just sitting in bed staring at the dark screen of his phone, wondering if the call really happened or if he just dreamed it up.
He got his answer fifteen minutes later, just as he was brushing his teeth, when Hoseok came knocking at his door announcing that they were going to the pool.
It had been a good day.
Jungkook had lifted Yoongi onto his shoulders without warning, causing an admittedly embarrassing shriek to come out of his mouth, before wading through the water and meeting Jimin who was perched on Seokjin’s shoulders in the middle of the pool. Their fight lasted a while because Yoongi had been in the mood to win, and Jimin never really backed down from anything.
In the end neither of them were victorious, both of them falling into the water. When they reemerged, they saw that Namjoon had been filming the entire thing on his phone.
Yoongi went through the rest of the day feeling the happiest he’d been in a while. Everything was bright yellow with tinges of blue, and when he got home that night, the feeling remained with him enough that he was able to preserve it in a bottle.
That particular emotion, attached with a tag that simply said Pool Day , went on top of his shelf.
It still sits there to this day.
The stars say tonight is a good night for honesty.
Yoongi stares at Namjoon’s text for a while, only looking away when he hears a knock coming from his door. He decides to leave the message unanswered for now, locking his phone and letting it drop onto the couch as he gets up to answer whoever’s decided to visit.
He isn’t expecting to find Jimin standing there, dressed comfortably in an unzipped jacket thrown over a plain white shirt, but he isn’t quite surprised either. It isn’t the first time any of his friends have dropped by without warning, but Jimin at least always sends a text even if it’s to say he’s literally in the elevator up to Yoongi’s unit.
“Hi hyung,” Jimin says, smiling warmly. Light from within Yoongi’s apartment floods the corridor and makes Jimin look softer around the edges.
“Jimin-ah,” Yoongi says. He blinks once, before stepping aside and motioning for Jimin to come in. He watches as Jimin toes his shoes off and carefully sets them aside. “What’s up?”
“Nothing much,” Jimin says, walking further into Yoongi’s apartment. “I was just bored.”
“Good to know I’m only a form of entertainment to you,” Yoongi says dryly, causing Jimin to laugh as he plops onto the couch.
“You know that’s not true, hyung,” Jimin says, shrugging his jacket off and carelessly throwing it over the back of the couch. The sleeves of his shirt reach past his fingertips, and Yoongi watches the younger’s fist curl into them momentarily, bunching up the fabric. “I also see you as a source of free food.”
Yoongi puts a hand over his heart. “I’m wounded.”
Jimin lies down sideways on the couch, grinning at Yoongi. He curls up, tucking his knees against his chest, bringing his hands up to his face so he can pillow his cheek onto them. Yoongi picks up his phone and puts some music on.
When Yoongi joins Jimin on the couch, Jimin moves around until his head is pillowed on Yoongi’s lap. He grabs Yoongi’s wrist and lifts his hand so he can play with his fingers, an act that everyone in their group knows relaxes Yoongi significantly. Yoongi watches as Jimin presses the pads of their fingers together, brushes a thumb over his knuckles, and eventually slips his fingers into the spaces between Yoongi’s own so that their hands are entwined.
Yoongi is so mesmerized by the sight of their hands together that it takes him a while to realize that Jimin is looking at him. Watching him back. Feeling himself flush, Yoongi meets Jimin’s gaze and wonders what exactly is happening.
Carefully, Jimin tugs Yoongi’s hand closer. His breath flutters against Yoongi’s skin and then, after a second’s pause, his lips graze over Yoongi’s knuckles in a barely-there kiss. The skin of Yoongi’s hand tingles at the feather-light touch. His fingers twitch against Jimin’s but don’t try to pull away, instead clutching tighter, squeezing until he can feel Jimin smiling.
A hazy kind of white, tinged with the faintest of reds, floats in Yoongi’s vision.
“Do you remember…” Yoongi begins, before his voice trails off and disappears into the darkness of his room. They’ve moved to the bed, not really talking, just letting the moment speak for itself as the soft hum of music from Yoongi’s phone in the living room filters through the crack of his door.
Jimin turns to his side, and Yoongi does as well after a moment. It’s a little difficult to make out the expression on Jimin’s face with all the lights off like this, but Yoongi tries.
Yoongi pinches the fabric of his bedsheets. Then he reaches up to brush Jimin’s hair behind his ear, keeps his hand there.
“Do you remember when I almost kissed you?”
He hears Jimin’s breath stutter. “So I wasn’t imagining it.”
Yoongi thinks Jimin closes his eyes. There’s a brief moment of quiet, their breaths filling the space between them, before Jimin says, “Memories are subjective, hyung. I might remember everything that’s ever happened to me, but only in the way I perceived them. Only in the way I experienced and interpreted them.” Jimin turns his head slightly, and Yoongi feels lips brush over the delicate skin of his inner wrist. “I thought it was wishful thinking on my part.”
“It wasn’t,” Yoongi says. “My stomach just had an awful sense of timing.”
Jimin laughs, the sound soft and breathy. “Then why didn’t you ever bring it up after that?”
Yoongi shrugs, and he pulls his hand back. He thinks Jimin might be looking at him again. “The moment never felt right.”
He gets a hum in response. The mattress shifts as Jimin scoots closer, as close as he had been that night. “And now?”
Yoongi doesn’t answer. Instead he pulls Jimin in, an arm sneaking around the younger’s waist, Jimin’s hands finding the nape of his neck, lips meeting in the dark.
Pink smoke floats in the bottle.
Yoongi holds it up and watches as early morning light reflects off of the glass. Beside him, Jimin hums as he writes on a card, dark hair still mussed where he’s laid on it in his sleep. Yoongi doesn’t stop himself from leaning forward and pressing a kiss against the younger’s temple.
Jimin giggles and turns his head so that their mouths clumsily bump into each other. Yoongi smiles and kisses Jimin softly, properly, feeling warm and happy and content and a bunch of other things that Yoongi has always associated with shades of pastel.
He leaves small kisses all over the skin of Jimin’s neck when the younger turns back to what he’s been writing, and after a while Jimin hands him the card.
Yoongi looks at it. He laughs.
There aren’t any words, just doodles of hearts and flowers and two faces that Yoongi thinks is supposed to be them caught pre-kiss. He attaches it around the mouth of the bottle, and then Jimin is tentatively reaching for it, movements hesitant.
Yoongi wordlessly encourages him by nudging the bottle closer.
Jimin’s eyes flutter shut upon touching the glass. A smile slowly blooms on his lips, cheeks turning a pleasant pink, and Yoongi knows that this is one he’ll keep forever.