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breathe my love (i'm wasted on you)

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

This was supposed to be a temporary gig.

 

Then a man in an Armani suit had handed him a wad of cash the equivalent of his parents’ mortgage payment just for not stealing anything out of his car, and he’d reconsidered how badly he really needed to go find a “real” job, anyway.

 

If he had to estimate, stats might go something like this: For every five clients, three would pass him by without so much as an upward glance in his direction. One would say and-slash-or do something demeaning and-slash-or rude. And one would tip well enough to make him forget about the first four, although typically Number Five gave him similar treatment as clients one-through-four.

 

It’s not an exact science, and some nights aren’t so fruitful. However, that one occasional customer who for whatever reason decides to bless the valet boy with an entire month’s meals and bills will never pull up to this establishment without catching Jung Hoseok’s million-watt smile and highest level of customer service excellence. It’s a constant gamble, because more often than not he goes home with a pretty pitiful wad of crumpled bills in his worn jeans pocket and the beginnings of a head cold from running around in freezing temperatures all night. He doesn’t like to think about what his average hourly rate would look like if he did the math.

 

Tonight’s been pretty dead. That’s how it goes - either it’s so dead he’s basically a sidewalk ornament or it’s so busy he needs three clones of himself to turn all the customers pulling up. And they can’t possibly come in steady succession - no, they come in cataclysmic waves of pissy, horny middle-aged men in suits that have much better things to do than wait for the valet boy. “Better things to do” would be more accurately phrased as “better people to do,” since it’s not like the folk rolling in are here for the ambiance at Lux Elite Gentlemen’s Club.

 

He’s making his way back from the garage, tennis shoes scuffing along the concrete as he counts the singles in his hand from the last client. He could tell the moment the old geezer handed over the folded up cash and gave him a wink as if to say don’t spend it all in one place, kid that it wasn’t going to be much, and it turns out he’s right.

 

Without even a sigh, because that would be a waste of breath, he refolds the stack of bills and stows it away deep in his front pants pocket. He learned his lesson about storing his cash anywhere except there after he lost a whole night’s earnings out of his coat pocket. Saddest part is that he’s pretty sure he lost it inside some guy’s car, so he just keeps imagining some loaded guy in a freaking Mercedes finding a nice stack of cash in his floorboard and going to himself, “Gee, it’s my lucky day!”

 

He takes a drag off his cigarette, which he’d only been able to light by borrowing the lighter out of his last customer’s car. He looks up at the sound of voices coming from the side door of the club, which isn’t unusual, but the conversation he starts picking up grabs his attention.

 

“...sure you would, but like I said, it’s against the contract.”

 

“How much do you want, huh? I’ll buy you out of the contract. Name your price.”

 

“I’m not for sale . I appreciate the offer, and I’m flattered, but no.”

 

The conversation grows more clear the closer he gets. He sees one of the club’s hosts standing against the wall, blockaded by a client that’s almost a head taller and looks like he’s had a few too many drinks tonight.

 

Hoseok slows down a bit. He’s not really meant to interact with the hosts, though he knows a few by name from driving them around occasionally. Some of them are pretty nice, but most don’t really give him the time of day. He doesn’t recognize this guy, but he does recognize the client from his stature - heavyset guy, balding on top with a squished-looking face, sort of like a bulldog.

 

“Hey, Mr. Seong,” Hoseok calls as he gets close enough, and Mr. Seong pauses to look up. “You ready for me to bring your car around?”

 

Mr. Seong draws away from the host, clearing his throat and straightening his collar. He looks at Hoseok with pointed irritation. “I was just coming out for some fresh air.”

 

Hoseok skips up to the side door. He catches a glance past Mr. Seong at the host, still leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and a jaded look on his face. “Let me get that for you, then, Mr. Seong,” Hoseok chirps, grabbing the door handle and pulling the door open. “Anything else I can do for you, Mr. Seong?”

 

Mr. Seong looks back at the host as if he wants to say something, then turns his attention back to Hoseok. With one last look at Hoseok, eyes narrowed, he walks through the door.

 

After the door shuts behind him, Hoseok lets out a breath and leans against the brick, sneaking a quick glance over to assess the host.

 

“And they say chivalry is dead,” says the host flatly, and Hoseok finally dares to look at him head-on. As to be expected, the boy is beautiful - blush-red lips, round cheeks. His hair looks to be its natural color, which is a bit unusual seeing as the hosts tend to bleach and dye their all kinds of wild colors. Hoseok doesn’t really know what to say, and before he can think of anything, the host turns toward him. “I had that under control.”

 

“Yeah, no, for sure. Uh, sorry for getting in the way,” Hoseok stutters, because it’s kind of hard not to get tongue-twisted looking at a man clad in nothing but fishnet tights, a thong, and a white fur coat.

 

The host glances over him quickly, eyes only lingering at his hand and giving a nod toward it. “You got another?”

 

Hoseok looks at the cigarette in his hand. “Oh, uh, no - sorry. Bummed this one off a client myself.”

 

An amused look spreads over the host’s face and he tilts his head. “If you don’t want to share, just tell me.”

 

“No, really!” Hoseok says quickly. “I swear. I’m broke as shit. Finished my last pack last night.”

 

The host shrugs and then flops back against the wall, crossing his ankles one over the other. Hoseok can’t even imagine trying to walk in heels like that, much less dance and jump around in them the way the hosts do inside the club. Seeming to notice Hoseok’s loitering, the host cuts a look across to him and says, “Shouldn’t you be getting back to the front?”

 

Hoseok leans over and peers around toward the front of the building. He can’t see any headlights on the street, and he hasn’t heard any car engines approaching. “Prob’ly. Been dead all night, though.”

 

“Tell me about it,” says the host. “I’m in there putting on the show off a lifetime, shaking this ass for a real one and there’s all of six tricks hanging around. Which wouldn’t be so much of a problem if they weren’t shying away from the tip rail like a bunch of virgins.”

 

Hoseok snorts at that, unable to help the stupid grin on his face. “How much have you made tonight?”

 

“Haven’t counted it up yet. Looks like a hundy or so,” says the host, pushing his hands into the pockets of his fur coat. The front of it is wide open, bare chest exposed to the biting cold. Hoseok can’t fathom how the guy is wearing next to nothing in this weather and doesn’t even seem phased. Hosts are like magicians sort of, he thinks. Just with less abracadabra and more, like, blowjobs and stuff.

 

“Doing way better than me,” Hoseok comments. He thinks about his meager earnings for the night in his pocket. It makes him wonder how much a host makes on a good night - not that they get to keep it all, anyway. Majority of the tips go to the guy running the joint. Hoseok is one of the few that gets to keep what he makes - but that’s all he makes. “Maybe I should get into the host business, eh? Seems to be where the real cash flow is at.”

 

The host tosses him a look and scoffs, his button nose wrinkling up at the very idea. “You? You’re probably better off parking cars, honey.”

 

“Hey, I got some moves,” Hoseok argues light-heartedly. Even though he’s not kidding - he’s been dancing since he was in diapers. Not professionally or anything, just for fun.

 

“I don’t believe you.” The host quirks an eyebrow up as he gives Hoseok another once-over, much slower this time. “Show me.”

 

Hoseok grins and shrugs, taking one last puff on his cig and then tossing it over his shoulder as he makes some space for himself. He waggles his eyebrows at the host for a split second before he launches into a few quick hip-hop moves, a couple body rolls and some popping. He ends on a smooth spin, facing the host and then throwing out some jazz hands as he sends over a goofy smile. “See? Not bad, right?”

 

The host looks shocked as he reaches up and pushes his dark bangs to the side with a tiny smile. Then he gives a flippant flick of his wrist and turns his chin up and away. “Amateur.”

 

“Yeah, you’re right. I’ll never make it as a host,” Hoseok laments. Lights pouring across the front of the building catch his attention and he realizes how much time he’s wasted dicking around. He makes a distressed noise and then takes off at a light jog, waving over his shoulder. “Duty calls! See you around.”

 

The host’s amused smile doesn’t fade as Hoseok turns away and rounds the corner of the building.

 

 

Moral issues and illegalities aside, working at a sex club is kind of fun sometimes. He likes days when he gets to drive the hosts around better because it’s guaranteed money and when they do get a wild hair to interact with him, they’re pretty interesting people.

 

Sometimes they even flirt with him, and even if he knows they’re not serious, it still kind of riles him up. Gets his heart racing and his thoughts going a little wild. It’s the attention he tells himself he likes because he hasn’t had a girlfriend in a while and the hosts are all kind of, well, pretty. So he doesn’t mind the flirting, and it’s not the real reason he likes driving them around at all. It’s good money, and it’s more fun than standing around on the curb.

 

Yeah, that’s all there is to it.

 

And if he gets a little giggly and flush-cheeked at a cute guy calling him babe, that ain’t nobody’s business.

 

He’s waiting outside with the SUV warming up, listening to the radio as he waits for whichever host he’s supposed to be chauffeuring next. He’d already made a few rounds to the tanning salons and the shopping strip this morning. Usually he waits around in the parking lot for them to come back, but today he’d gotten a call to come back and take someone to the clinic.

 

In his peripheral he sees the side door swing open and he looks out the window.

 

It’s the host from a few nights ago - the one Mr. Seong had been getting handsy with. He’s wearing more clothes today, which is a good thing because it’s cold outside and not because Hoseok doesn’t know if he could keep his eyes off all that sitting in the car with him.

 

The guy goes to the passenger door and hops inside, bringing a gust of cold air from outside with him. He fumbles around his big poofy jacket to buckle up and then yanks down the visor mirror to check his hair. Hoseok thinks that’s pointless because his hair has that flawless look that models and idols somehow achieve that he couldn’t replicate on his own head if his life depended on it.

 

“Hey,” Hoseok greets easily as he pulls the car away. “The clinic, right?”

 

“Actually, if you could knock me over the head one good time and toss me in a ditch, that’d be great.”

 

Hoseok blinks. He looks over and sees that the host isn’t being serious and lets out a weary laugh. “One of those days, huh?”

 

The host pops the visor back into place and then leans back in the seat. “Turn right up here.”

 

“Huh?” Hoseok pulls up to a stop sign and hesitates. “The clinic’s that way - ”

 

“Yep.”

 

“So - you. Want to go the other way?”

 

“That’s what I said.”

 

“Okay,” is all Hoseok says and then takes a right. He drives for a while, taking directions from the man in the passenger seat until they’re merging onto the highway headed way off from anywhere he’s ever taken a host before. “Can I ask where we’re headed?”

 

“Taking the scenic route,” says the host. “That okay?” He asks like he doesn’t really need Hoseok’s approval.

 

“No skin off’a my back,” Hoseok mumbles.

 

“What’s your name, anyway?”

 

“Hoseok,” he replies. He waits a beat before he returns the question. “What’s yours?”

 

“Jimin.”

 

Hoseok nods, drumming his fingers on the wheel absently. “Wanna, um. Want to talk about it or something?”

 

“‘Or something’,” Jimin states.

 

“Right,” Hoseok says. He forces himself to stay quiet for the next few minutes then, consciously willing himself not to sneak any looks over to the passenger side. He can tell Jimin is looking out the window, chin propped in his hand and fingers smushed into his cheek.

 

After a while, Jimin takes a long breath and lets it out. “You can turn around now.”

 

“Sure,” Hoseok says, switching on his turn signal and then pulling toward the nearest exit.

 

“You could get in trouble for this.”

 

“Yeah, guess I could,” Hoseok muses, taking the turnaround and heading back the opposite way.

 

“So why’d you do it?” Jimin questions.

 

He can’t pull the face he wants to at Jimin since he’s trying to pay attention to the cars on the freeway. “You told me to.”

 

Jimin snorts. “You’re kind of an idiot.”

 

“Was I not supposed to listen to you?” Hoseok asks, voice a bit whiny.

 

“I mean, you’re the one who would get in trouble for it. What do you think?”

 

“So next time I should ignore you and take you to the clinic?”

 

Jimin sends a rather condescending look his way. “You’re still asking me to tell you what to do, you know.”

 

“Well I’m dumb enough to listen, so you might as well,” Hoseok says with a laugh.

 

That earns a small giggle. It’s a nice, breathy little noise that’s dangerously contagious.

 

Hoseok narrows his eyes at Jimin playfully, only for a moment before he has to turn back to the road. “Do you even need to go to the clinic?”

 

“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes. I do.”

 

“Alright, damn,” Hoseok says, but he’s only kidding. “Right away, Your Highness.”

 

Jimin crosses his legs, wiggling in the seat to get more comfortable. “Glad we’ve reached an understanding.”

 

The way to the clinic isn’t too far; traffic isn’t as bad as it could be in the middle of a weekday. Hoseok pulls the car up to the entrance and puts in it park as Jimin seems to hesitate to get out.

 

He watches curiously as Jimin digs in his pocket - and boy is it a struggle because those pants are pre-tty tight - and pulls out some cash. Jimin holds the money out for Hoseok and turns then, locking eyes.

 

“Will you do me a favor?” He bats his eyes and purses his lips in a puppydog pout.

 

“Sure,” Hoseok says, reaching for the money.

 

Jimin snatches the money away with a flick of his wrist. “You didn’t even ask what the favor is.”

 

“Okay,” Hoseok says slowly. “If you want me to off someone, it’s gonna take more than that.”

 

Jimin stares at him hard for a moment, then his face slowly melts into a grin. “Buy me a coffee, big guy.” He hands the money over and Hoseok takes it.

 

“You got it,” Hoseok says with a wink.

 

“Something with lots of sugar,” Jimin adds as he pushes open the car door. He pauses in the opening of the door, a minxy grin tugging at the corner of his lips. “I like sweet stuff.” The way he says the words and the way he punctuates the sentence with a bite of his lip make Hoseok giggle as he starts to lose his nerve.

 

“I’m on it,” Hoseok says as the door closes. He watches through the passenger window as Jimin saunters off through the front doors of the clinic. He notes with some degree of internal conflict that Jimin’s ass looks almost as good in tight skinnies as it did in fishnets and a thong. This is a new development that he’s not quite ready to deal with.

 

He drives over to the nearest coffee shop and finds they also sell homemade pastries. He doesn’t really think much about it - it would be a bit out of character if he actually did - as he orders a blueberry scone and vanilla latte with a few extra pumps of sweetener. He orders himself a small black coffee and pays separate, then proceeds over to the free cream and sugar to load up his cup.

 

Coffees and pastry in hand, he heads back out to the car and drives back over to the clinic to wait in the parking lot. Jimin didn’t say how long it would take, so Hoseok leans his seat back and sips on his coffee as he waits.

 

About twenty minutes later, there’s a knock on the passenger side window.

 

Hoseok jolts upright, quickly hitting the button to unlock the doors. He waits as Jimin settles into the seat before handing him his coffee and the paper pastry bag.

 

“What’s this?” Jimin says, taking the offerings and peaking at the contents of the paper bag.

 

“It’s a blueberry scone,” Hoseok replies. “Sorry, I guess I should’ve asked first.”

 

Jimin looks at the scone for a few minutes before setting the bag in his lap. “You know I’m not really supposed to have this kind of stuff, right?”

 

Hoseok gapes slightly, looking from Jimin’s face to the bag in his lap. “Shit, I’m sorry - I didn’t know. Wait - why can’t you have it?”

 

“Too much sugar,” Jimin says. “The coffee alone will be way more than I’m supposed to have.”

 

“You’re on a diet?” Hoseok questions a bit dumbly. It makes complete sense - Jimin’s body is the moneymaker, all lean muscle and toned limbs, but the thought still hadn’t occurred to him.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin answers. “But blueberries are my favorite.”

 

“One little scone won’t hurt, will it?”

 

Jimin shrugs, heavily eyeing the paper bag in his lap. “I mean, I’m already cheating with the coffee.”

 

“Might as well go balls-deep, right?” Hoseok offers.

 

“I like the way you think,” Jimin says, pulling the scone out of its bag. He holds it gingerly in his hands, eyes flitting once more to Hoseok. “Balls-deep,” he agrees like he’s giving a toast, then takes a huge bite out of the scone.

 

“That’s the spirit,” Hoseok says, smirking as crumbs fall all over Jimin’s shirt.

 

“Mmm,” Jimin groans, closing his eyes. “I think I just came.”

 

Hoseok belts out a laugh and then puts the car in reverse.

 

As he’s pulling out of the parking lot, Jimin gestures to him with his free hand and takes a moment to swallow his food before he speaks. “Take the long way back.”

 

Hoseok stops the car pointedly in the driveway exit, leaning his elbow on the console and looking across the seat at Jimin. “Are you gonna call me an idiot if I do what you say?”

 

Jimin licks the pastry glaze from his lips, then leans over so quickly Hoseok freezes up, brain short circuiting. His breath smells like sweet blueberries. “Do what I say and I’ll call you anything you want, baby.”

 

Hoseok gulps.

 

To say he didn’t think about it, whatever it is, would be a lie. Because oh, Hoseok thought about it. His brain might not be processing actual, coherent thoughts, but his body responds like a livewire, neurons singing under his skin and his lungs dragging in a shaky breath against his best efforts to look unphased. His eyes drop to Jimin’s mouth, to those round, pouty lips that could probably show him a world of sensations because the possibilities with a guy like Jimin are fucking endless. And then he realizes he’s staring because Jimin smirks at him as he pulls away, taking another bite of his pastry and leaving Hoseok to make up his mind.

 

Without another word about it, Hoseok turns the car onto the road, and heads the opposite way from the club.

 

As soon as Jimin finishes off the scone, licking the glaze from his fingers, he pipes up again. “You know what would have went great with that?”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“A nice, fat joint.”

 

“Awh, man,” Hoseok says, nodding in solidarity. “No shit.”

 

Jimin hums, running his fingertip around the lip of his coffee cup lid. “You got any on you?”

 

“I wish. I don’t even have the money for a pack of cigarettes right now, though,” Hoseok says apologetically.

 

The conversations drops, and Hoseok eventually starts running low on time to go pick up the other hosts. He starts the trek back to the club and Jimin doesn’t say anything as they start pulling onto more familiar streets. He tries to drive slow, crawling the car down the road and letting everyone else go ahead of him at stop-sign intersections. But despite driving like the vehicle is made of glass and even missing his last few turns once or twice, he runs out of opportunities to postpone their arrival back at the club.

 

Car idling at the curb by the side doors, Jimin doesn’t get out right away. Instead, he pulls back his jacket sleeve and starts removing his watch. Hoseok watches curiously, unable to help noticing how dainty Jimin’s hands are, round nails painted dark navy and lots of rings on his fingers. He slides the watch off his wrist and then presents it across the seat to Hoseok.

 

“Here,” he says, jiggling the metal wristband slightly.

 

“What’s this for?” Hoseok asks, holding out his hand as Jimin drops the watch into his palm.

 

“Use your brain,” Jimin states.

 

Realization dawns over Hoseok’s face. “Oh,” he says, mouth forming the shape of the vowel. “Right.” He looks over the watch, not recognizing the brand but figuring he could probably pawn it for enough money to get an eighth or two.

 

“Mhm,” Jimin hums. “Bring me back something nice and I’ll give you a private dance. On the house.”

 

Hoseok laughs, cheeks turning pink. “Oh - um, I’ll get it for you no problem but I don’t need a, uh, dance or anything. Thanks, I’m just, ya’know,” he pauses, “not really into guys.”

 

The smirk on Jimin’s face makes him break out in a mild sweat. “Try that again, but be more convincing this time,” he says, eyes roaming over Hoseok’s face and stopping at his mouth.

 

Hoseok raises a brow. “Are you flirting with me?”

 

“Damn. I thought I was being subtle.”

 

“Are you supposed to be doing that?” Hoseok questions.

 

“Who’s here to stop me?” Jimin counters. There’s a mischievous twinkle in his eyes that makes Hoseok squirm in his seat. Then he says, with the most devious of grins, “Not you.”

 

Hoseok turns the watch over in his hand, running his thumb over the links of the band. “I gotta get going to pick up the others.”

 

Jimin purses his lips. “That’s too bad,” he says as he unbuckles and moves to get out of the car. “Did you decide what you want me to call you?”

 

“You can just call me by my name,” Hoseok replies.

 

“Mm, that’s no fun,” Jimin says with a pout.

 

Hoseok gives an amused huff. “You don’t remember my name.”

 

“I remember everyone’s name, Hoseokie,” Jimin states to his surprise. “See you around, big guy.”

 

“Later,” Hoseok mumbles, the sound of the door closing drowning him out.

 

He watches Jimin disappear through the heavy side doors of Lux with the cool metal of a gold watch in his hand and the distinct feeling that he’s somehow getting played.

 

 

If there’s one thing he has a hard time hiding his discontentment about, it’s getting back to the house early after a day shift.

 

He flips his skateboard up and tucks it under his arm as he hits the stairs, taking them two a time until he reaches the top. He heads down the walkway, passing by one of the neighbors that tends to hang over the balcony and yell at people on the ground sometimes. Usually it’s pretty legitimate stuff, like someone smoking pot too close to his air vents or making a racket in the parking lot. Hoseok gets it.

 

He swings around the corner and stops at the right door, jiggling the knob a few times before it finally gives. He’s hoping by some miracle the apartment is empty, but that hope is shot when he immediately opens the door and a weed fog comes rolling out.

 

Donghyun is taking up almost the whole couch, feet up on the coffee table. He has a joint in one hand and a half-killed beer in the other as he watches a basketball game on the box TV. He doesn’t acknowledge as Hoseok comes inside and makes for the kitchen.

 

He helps himself to the last of some leftovers from a couple days ago and then scours the living room until he finds a pack of smokes. Cigarette in hand, he heads back outside and lights up right around the time the sun starts setting.

 

He’s just taken a few good puffs when someone follows after him outside.

 

Glancing up, he sees that it’s Jiyoung.

 

“Hoseok,” she says, looking peeved. “What are you doing?”

 

He looks from her face to the cigarette sitting pretty obviously in his hand and then back. “Uh, smoking, I think?”

 

She rolls her eyes. Her hair was probably in some sort of casual updo at the beginning of the day, but now stray locks stick out here and there, escaped pieces spilling over her shoulders. He remembers a time when she used to be more filled out, healthy-looking - back when she was the cool, kinda hot mom of their high school class. Now she’s kind of raggedy looking, sunken cheeks and jutting bones everywhere and cigarette burns on her forearms. He wonders what she’s strung out on tonight.

 

“Real fuckin’ cute, Jung,” she snips as she closes in on him. She reaches up with her gangly arm and snatches the cigarette right out of his mouth, tossing it to the ground and stomping it out under her house slipper.

 

“What the hell?” Hoseok whines, too shocked to really do anything. “That’s the first one I’ve had all damn day!”

 

“Where’s my money?” Jiyoung demands, hands on her hips.

 

“I told you I gave you everything I had,” Hoseok breathes, leaning heavily against the balcony rail.

 

“Don’t give me that shit,” she bites out, eyes narrowed and lip curled up in irritation, or maybe disgust - both seem just as likely. “Where’s the money you got today?”

 

“Spent it,” he lies rather poorly. 

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” she practically screeches. “On what ?”

 

“On stuff ,” he grumbles.

 

“That’s it,” she snaps. “I’m done with you. Find somewhere else to live, you fuckin’ freeloader.”

 

Hoseok isn’t at all surprised. Donghyun’s been hounding on it for weeks now - he’s known his days here were numbered. “Alright,” he says evenly. “When do you want me out?”

 

This seems to catch Jiyoung off guard, as she stands there gaping at him for a few moments. Like she had been expecting more of a fight. “Where are you gonna go?” she questions.

 

“I dunno,” Hoseok mumbles. “Guess I’ll figure it out.”

 

She seems completely out of steam now, floundering in confusion. He wonders if she’d been saving this up all day, ready for him to come home so she could rip him a new one like Donghyun’s been pushing her to do. Funny how they never had this problem before her new boyfriend showed up a few months ago. “Well I don’t - like, want you out on the streets or something.”

 

“I’ll be fine,” he says, partly reassuring, partly exasperated. “You want me out tonight, or what?”

 

“No,” she says quickly. “I mean - I guess Donghyun probably does, but I can’t - like, kick you out with nowhere to go.”

 

“So I guess he put you up to this.”

 

“It’s not like that.”

 

Hoseok shrugs and stares longingly at the squashed cigarette near her foot. “It’s all good, Jiyoung,” he says easily. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

 

She’s looking at him with bewildered eyes that dart back and forth between his. “Not tonight. Just - stay here tonight at least. Find somewhere to go first, for christ’s sake. I don’t want you sleeping on a park bench or something.”

 

“Sure,” Hoseok says, nodding.

 

“Well,” she says, rubbing at her arm. “I guess I’ll let Donghyun know you’re moving out.”

 

“Sure,” Hoseok repeats.

 

“You know,” she continues, turning back to him right as she’d been about to leave. “You were so damn smart in school. You and Hyejin used to be so close.”

 

Hoseok doesn’t really know what to say to that, now that Jiyoung’s gone and gotten all nostalgic and sad. He looks at her off to the side, watching tears well up in her eyes.

 

“Anyway,” Jiyoung says, blinking a few times to clear away the tears. She turns back toward the front door, but before she goes inside, she calls loudly over her shoulder, “Get me the money or find someone else to mooch off of.”

 

He doesn’t dignify a response to that, just watches the last of the sunset and wonders when Donghyun’s going to remove himself from where he’s supposed to sleep tonight.

 

 

He’d spent the earlier part of the day running some errands - wiring money to his mom, buying cigarettes with the last of his cash, pawning the watch Jimin gave him and then meeting up with his dealer. He’d been pretty busy today, but the same can’t be said about the club, unfortunately. It’s a weeknight, so it’s mostly pick-ups and drop-offs, but there’s been a handful of lounge patrons to at least keep him from falling asleep standing up.

 

He sets his cigarette down as a car turns onto the road down the ways and a Genesis makes it way to the front. He trots over and spots someone in the passenger seat, going for that door first. When he opens it, he has to quickly wipe the surprised look on his face as Jimin is stepping out of the car in front of him.

 

Jimin’s eyes catch his for a heartbeat, and then he’s brushing past and heading for the club entrance.

 

Hoseok leans into the open passenger door and smiles at the client. “Good evening, sir. Will you be staying for a bit?”

 

The guy adjusts his tie in the rearview mirror before stepping out of the car, never sparing a look at Hoseok. He’s a generic looking middle-aged guy, perpetual frown on his face and Rolex on his wrist. Hoseok doesn’t know if he’s ever seen him before, which is probably for the best because the guy doesn’t acknowledge his existence as he makes for the club doors.

 

Hoseok parks the Genesis in the garage and makes his way back toward the front. The guy was shorter than he’d thought - his legs had been all cramped up behind the dash as he drove it around back.

 

He almost misses the figure standing in the nook of the side entrance, only realizes there’s someone there when there’s a faint metallic jingle. He realizes it’s Jimin standing there, silver bangles on his wrist clinking as he beckons Hoseok over.

 

“Hey, you,” Hoseok says as he switches trajectory and turns into the alcove.

 

“Got anything for me?” Jimin immediately questions before Hoseok even has time to check him out - just, you know, to see what kind of wacky ensemble he’s wearing tonight. He’s in a pair of booty shorts and an army camo jacket, unzipped even though Hoseok knows for a fact he’s got to be freezing. All in the name of fashion or sex appeal - neither seem particularly worth getting frostbite of the nipples.

 

Hoseok digs into his jacket pocket and produces the baggie of weed.

 

Jimin gives a sideways grin as he sees the bag and reaches out. His fingers brush Hoseok’s as he takes it from his hand, and even someone as dense as Hoseok can be would know it was intentional. “Thanks, babe,” he chirps as he stashes it.

 

“Yeah, no problem,” Hoseok says with a grin. He’s about to walk away because the transaction is over, but Jimin suddenly reaches out and snags the elbow of his jacket.

 

“Got a cigarette?” Jimin offers.

 

“Actually,” Hoseok says, pulling out his new pack and taking two from it. “For once in my life, I can say ‘yes’ to that.”

 

Jimin’s eyes are mischievous and unreadable as they dance from Hoseok’s hands to his face. “Very nice,” he hums, taking the cigarette Hoseok hands to him.

 

Hoseok lights his own first and is about to offer his lighter when Jimin steps up to him, into his space. Jimin’s cigarette is between his lips as he leans forward, lining the cherry of Hoseok’s cigarette up with the tip of his unlit one. He takes a few puffs as it starts to burn, then his hand comes up to hold it as he leans away.

 

Hoseok’s not really sure how he managed to sit still through that whole thing. He’s done that before, for sure, but it’s never been like that before. It’s never seemed so - and he’s still reeling because his brain blurts out the word into his thoughts without his permission - sexy.

 

He clears his throat. Jimin is smirking at him.

 

“Well, that was a little gay,” Hoseok supplies.

 

It makes Jimin laugh, smoke and vapor pouring into the air in front of him. “Oh, it gets much gayer than that, honey,” he says playfully.

 

“I bet,” Hoseok mumbles, taking a drag to hide the bashful grin on his face.

 

“What are you doing tonight?” Jimin questions, flicking his cigarette with his thumb.

 

“Supposed to be working,” Hoseok answers, nodding toward the front.

 

“After work,” Jimin amends. He tilts his head and watches Hoseok’s wheels turn, mirth curling at the corner of his lips.

 

“Uh,” Hoseok stutters. “Nothing, I guess.”

 

“Come smoke up with me,” Jimin says. It should probably sound more like a request than an order, but Hoseok gets the feeling Jimin doesn’t often not get what he wants.

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, nodding slowly, “okay.”

 

“Okay,” Jimin says, then takes a long, slow drag. When he blows out, he purses his lips into a round pout, blowing a single ring of smoke in Hoseok’s direction.

 

Hoseok is blatantly mesmerized, staring at Jimin’s lips like a dumbstruck idiot that’s never seen the human mouth before.

 

“Meet me here after everyone’s cleared out for the night,” Jimin says, voice low and eyes falling even lower, down Hoseok’s body.

 

Hoseok nods, blinking and finally remembering the cigarette in his own hand. “You, uh, don’t have to flirt with me ‘n shit just ‘cause I brought you some pot or whatever, man.”

 

Jimin has finished his cigarette and lets it drop down, crushing it out under the sole of his stiletto. “I don’t flirt with anyone I don’t want to flirt with.”

 

“What about clients?” Hoseok blurts out.

 

“Strictly business,” Jimin states.

 

“And me?”

 

“Pleasure.” Jimin turns for the door and starts walking off. Then he says, tossed over his shoulder, “See you in a few.”

 

 

Sometime between three and four in the morning, Hoseok finds himself wandering to the side door, unwrapping a piece of gum and popping it into his mouth. It’s way too cold to hang around outside any longer, so he pulls open the door and steps into an ill-lit hallway. The club music has died out, all clients either tucked in bed with their wives or their host for the night.

 

He knows Jimin didn’t get rented for the night. He hadn’t seen him go back in any of the vehicles he’d turned tonight. And the garage had been empty when he’d left - no clients hanging around late after hours. He leans against the nearest wall, his toes and fingers tingling as the feeling starts to creep back into them.

 

He’s not sure what to expect from hanging out with Jimin on the side like this. Jimin has been unashamedly flirtatious with him, but Hoseok is convinced it’s all a ploy of some kind. To get more weed out of him maybe, to bum a few smokes every time they cross paths. Maybe just for shits and giggles, to fuck with the valet boy’s head because he’s straight and naive. Whatever the method to the man’s madness, Jung Hoseok is not privy to it. And he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t at least a tiny bit interested to see what Jimin’s getting at.

 

The sound of a heavy metal door slamming from the other end of the hall makes Hoseok look up. Someone is coming down the hallway toward him, and it’s not until he’s right up on Hoseok that he sees with relief that it’s Jimin.

 

Jimin looks vastly different in sweatpants and a jacket, comfy looking tennis shoes on his feet. His makeup has been wiped off, only faint traces of eyeliner smudged around his eyes. He gives a small smile at Hoseok as he comes to a stop in front of him.

 

“You’re short,” Hoseok says, because he has no filter between his brain and his mouth apparently.

 

Jimin raises an eyebrow. “Were you expecting me to be wearing heels?”

 

“Nuh-no!” Hoseok babbles. “I just - I’m surprised is all. I’ve never seen you not wearing heels before.”

 

Jimin makes an amused noise and then gestures for Hoseok to follow. “My feet were killing me,” he’s saying as he leads them down the hall and into the main lounge area.

 

“My feet hurt just looking at you wearing those things,” Hoseok mumbles, distracted by his surroundings as they enter the room.  

 

It looks starkly different in the light, less fantasy and artificial lights, more sticky floors and chipped paint. A few boys hang around near the stages - hosts, Hoseok recognizes them - chatting and having a drink. They don’t even look up as Jimin and Hoseok pass by, heading behind the stage and through another hallway into what looks like a giant dressing room.

 

There are photographs of models and movie posters pinned up on the walls and wedged in the corners of smudged mirrors. Lipstick marks on glass and makeup piled on the tabletops. Thongs and tiny shorts, leather harnesses and whips and chains have exploded in heaps across the room - tossed over chairs, forgotten in bins and hanging from various hooks and corners. It looks like it might reek like a locker room, but it actually smells nice - like perfume and candles and skin products.

 

He follows Jimin up a spiral staircase that yawns under their weight to a loft overlooking the dressing room. A couch sits beneath a window to the back alleyway, some throw blankets tossed around and an ottoman covered in magazines and notebooks in front of it. There are cardboard boxes lining the room filled with feathered props, lights, painting supplies - like a garage sale, or some sort of storage unit for a high school drama club.

 

“What is all this?” Hoseok asks, looking around as he smacks on his gum.  

 

Jimin walks over to the couch and falls down into the cushions. “Just a bunch of stuff we use,” Jimin says. “We have to do our own decorations and costumes and stuff. This is all a bunch of leftover crap.”

 

“Huh,” Hoseok mumbles, intrigued.

 

“Mhm,” Jimin hums. Then he pats the space on the couch next to him with a seductive little smile. “Come roll me a joint, big guy.”

 

Hoseok isn’t even phased so much anymore by this level of flirting. It seems like part of Jimin’s personality - catching people off guard enough that he feels more in control. Not that Hoseok is psychoanalyzing him or anything. It’s a hunch. He walks over and takes a seat as Jimin twists around on the couch to struggle with the window until it creaks open a few inches.

 

“I didn’t bring papers or anything,” Hoseok says.

 

Jimin’s already reaching in his pocket, pulling a grinder and a booklet of rolling papers out of one side of his jacket and the bag of weed from the other. “Got us covered,” he says with a quirk of his eyebrows.

 

“Where’d you get this stuff?” Hoseok asks, taking the items Jimin hands over to him.

 

“I stole it,” Jimin replies, voice cherubic and sweet.

 

Hoseok lets out a surprised laugh and then sets to work, grinding up the flower and sprinkling a good amount into a rolling paper. His ears start turning red as he struggles to roll the joint, but Jimin is patiently waiting for him, legs crossed on the couch and socked toes wiggling next to Hoseok’s knee.

 

“Can’t do this for shit sometimes,” Hoseok grumbles, after he’s finally rolled something passable.

 

“I think it’s pretty hot,” Jimin supplies, and Hoseok makes a noncommittal noise as he licks the paper and seals the joint.

 

He packs it nice and evenly, gives the end a twist, then presents the finished product to Jimin for judgment. Jimin takes it between his two fingers and holds it steady as Hoseok lights it for him.

 

As soon as Jimin takes a hit and lets it out, saccharine smoke billows between them for a moment before dissipating and leaving behind the sweet, pungent odor. “Blueberry,” Jimin says, a grin blossoming over his entire face right before he starts coughing.

 

Hoseok grins too, then leans back on the couch and takes the joint as Jimin passes it. He pulls his gum out of his mouth to hold as he puts the joint to his lips.  He draws the smoke into his mouth and then takes a deep breath, letting it fill his lungs for a moment before letting it back out.

 

“Damn, it really does taste like blueberries,” Hoseok comments, holding back a cough of his own.

 

“Hoseok,” Jimin says, very seriously, “I think this is the start of something beautiful.”

 

 

Hoseok’s not really sure where the top hat or feather boa came from, but at least he knows the high-heeled shoes being squeezed onto his feet are Jimin’s doing.

 

“Why’re your feet so fuckin’ big?” Jimin is grumbling, crouched down by the side of the couch as he fusses with a buckle on Hoseok’s right ankle.

 

“Y’know what they say about big feet,” Hoseok says, waggling his eyebrows.

 

Jimin squints at him.

 

They both devolve into a fit of giggles, Jimin losing his balance and landing on his ass on the floor. Hoseok is melted into the couch cushions, more liquid than solid at this point. He stares up at the ceiling for a while and vaguely registers Jimin closing the last clasp on his shoe.

 

“There,” Jimin says, patting Hoseok’s foot. “Like to see you try t’dance in those, tough guy.”

 

Hoseok snorts, lifting his foot and examining the strappy heel that might be more flattering if not for his gangly toes that hang over the edge of the sole. “I feel... powerful,” he says, nodding and raising a triumphant fist.

 

“Up, up,” Jimin is saying, grabbing at his arms and pulling at him until he lumbers up to his feet. Jimin switches places with him, settling onto the couch with his legs crossed, hands folded daintily over one another. “It’s time for you to shine,” he says with flourish.

 

Hoseok immediately strikes a pose, tossing a modelesque look Jimin’s way. “Jung Hoseok. Twenty years old from Gwangju. I like dogs, cannabis... and-and Radiohead, and I think I,” he pauses for dramatic effect, “have what it takes to be Lux’s Next Top Stripper.”

 

“Well, Mr. Jung,” Jimin says slowly, “You have quite the skillset. But it’s gonna take more than that to impress me.”

 

Hoseok throws himself into a deep bow, almost snapping an ankle as he does so. He quickly recovers and stands up straight, making sure to look Jimin dead in the eye. “Wait,” he says, looking around the room as he has a light-bulb moment.

 

“Clock is ticking,” Jimin sing-songs.

 

Hoseok fumbles for longer than necessary to find his phone between two cushions on the couch, catching himself on Jimin’s shoulder when he wobbles a bit. He selects the dirtiest song on his playlist and turns the volume all the way up, laying it on the ottoman and getting back into position.

 

He starts a number he’d learned from a video on the internet. It’s clumsy, because heels definitely complicate things, and being fairly stoned complicates things, but he’s able to do a few passable body rolls and hip thrusts. He’s completely loose, completely high, and probably nothing in the universe could stop him from embarrassing himself now. He’s too far gone, lost in his own world of slow-rolling bass drums and a seductive voice singing English words he doesn’t understand but can safely assume are nice and explicit.

 

He ends up on his knees on the floor to no one’s surprise, body still gyrating. He’s getting way too into it now, though - way too close to actually dancing like a stripper. Grabbing the bottom of his shirt and lifting it up for a peak, playing with the waistband of his pants. But something - maybe Hoseok from the future, coming to save him - reaches through the marijuana haze and drags him back to reality.

 

He peels his eyes open and sees Jimin staring at him.

 

Jimin rolls his bottom lip between his teeth and bites.

 

Hoseok bursts into nervous laughter, desperately playing it off like a joke as he falls into a full kowtow, forehead touching the cool floor. “Please, Mr. Manager. I need this job to feed my kids,” he pleads, shoulders shaking with giggles and face burning hot.

 

A foot on his shoulder pushes him upward and Hoseok sits back on his heels. “You’ve got some moves - I’ll give you that,” Jimin says with a sly smile. “But it’s not just about being able to dance. It’s about knowing your audience.”

 

“Yeah?” Hoseok asks, unable to stop watching how Jimin reclines back on the couch, arms spread wide across the backrest and hips pushing up slightly as he sinks lower.

 

“Mhm.” Jimin tilts his head to the side, bangs falling across his eyes and casting shadows on his cheeks. “You gotta know what gets ‘em going - what gets ‘em throwin’ their cash,” he continues, and Hoseok is listening intently, thinking maybe he should be taking notes or how he wouldn’t mind a hands-on demonstration. For learning purposes - for self-improvement. Jimin’s gaze suddenly shifts darker, no trace of a smile on his lips. “You gotta know what gets ‘em hard. What gets them off so they keep coming back for more -  coming back to you because you’re the one that gave it to ‘em.”

 

Hoseok’s palms are sweating. His legs are falling asleep in the position he’s sitting but he’s entranced, listening to such a sweet voice say dirty things and knowing it only gets much, much dirtier. Filthy, so filthy - saying filthy, filthy things.

 

“Think you got what it takes to do that?” Jimin questions.

 

And Hoseok doesn’t really think he’s got what it takes, but the problem is moreso that he doesn’t think at all as he stands up and puts a different song on. He lets his phone drop back on the ottoman and stumbles for a moment to kick off the shoes as it gets started. And he’s definitely, definitely not thinking one single logical thought when he casts a look down at Jimin, steps into his space. Jimin doesn’t even seem phased, doesn’t seem nervous or bothered in the least - why would he be? And even Hoseok isn’t nervous, either. He’s got some sort of drug-induced courage coursing through his bloodstream, time-altering smoke in the air slowing everything down, slowing his thumping heart to a dull throb, slowing his hands so they don’t shake.

 

Distantly, like he’s seeing it happen on a movie screen, he realizes he’s doing this - he is really doing this. He draws a knee up onto the couch on one side of Jimin and Jimin’s hands come up to his waist, pulling him in. They share one look, which consists of Hoseok sending a dopey grin and Jimin tilting his chin up with something predatory in his eyes, full lips parted in heated focus.

 

And then the next thing he knows, he’s sitting on another man’s lap, and his thought process can be summarized as fuck it because now he’s dancing on another man’s lap. Christ, and it’s way too fucking easy. He falls right into it like it’s his first nature, body moving in waves, hips in circles. He finds Jimin’s chest under his hands and it doesn’t feel anything but right to slide them everywhere in reach. Shoulders that are broader than he’s used to in this context, muscles in fascinating places, short hairs at the back of a craned neck, the bump of an adam’s apple under the pad of his thumb when he slides it down.

 

Then there’s the scent - something masculine, a musk cologne that means Jimin probably showered and sprayed some on after sweating on the pole or in some guy's bed all night. It’s interesting to Hoseok, because he doesn’t really use cologne after he’s showered and getting ready for bed unless he’s going somewhere, maybe to meet a girl or going out for some fun. Was Jimin anticipating some sort of fun - or does he just like to wear cologne all the time so he always smells mouthwatering? And there’s a hand on his waist that’s wrapping around his back and he’s quickly figuring out he wouldn’t mind if that hand went lower and grabbed hold of his ass and -

 

His back hits the couch and he lets out a squeak as the air rushes out of his chest. He’s been upended in one sharp move, and now he’s caged between Jimin’s arms, trapped underneath him. It stirs something borderline physical inside him, like actual movement in the pit of his stomach, fluttering and twisting. Never in his life has he been tossed around, manhandled like that - maybe in sports or as a kid, but never like this. Under fishnet tights and patent leather and fur coats, there’s dense, lean-muscled power, a hard body under soft, lush skin. That same body is between his obscenely spread legs as he lies defenseless, instinctively submissive in this moment and perfectly enthralled by it. He wonders at the color of Jimin’s hair - almost jet black, haloed by the overhead light and hanging in front of his eyes, wonders at inky eyelashes and the traces of dark makeup around them, like it hadn’t all quite come off but he couldn’t be bothered with it any longer.

 

A snake-charmer grin spreads over Jimin’s face as he takes in the state Hoseok is in - slack-jawed, panting, flushed. Inexcusably, indisputably turned on.

 

“Better get used to this position if you’re gonna be in this line of business,” Jimin utters, and then he’s gone.

 

Hoseok lies there for a moment, catching his breath and staring at the kaleidoscope ceiling. Cotton in his gray matter, molasses in his blood vessels. He’s always liked indica strains better because he still gets the high but it brings him back down, couchlocked and sedate.

 

“Fuck, m’starving,” Jimin suddenly says from where he stands over by the stairwell. He looks over as Hoseok sits up and slumps over on the couch. “Wanna go raid the kitchen?”

 

“Sure,” Hoseok says as he starts to pull on his own shoes.

 

How far had he been willing to go just now, he has no idea. He tells himself it’s the weed and maybe some innocent curiosity. Who wouldn’t want to know more about someone like Jimin who pole-dances and has sex with people for a living, whose every word and glance are captivating? And any intrigue he has is only exacerbated by Jimin’s incessant flirting, calling him babe and big guy like it’s nothing, licking his lips and batting his eyes. So he decides he’s not going to think about how if Jimin had started something, he doesn’t know for sure that he would have put a stop to it. He’s not going to think about how agreeable he’d been to crawling into the lap of a man he barely knows and feeling him up and breathing him in.

 

He’s not going to think about it now, and maybe not ever.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

He wakes to orange sunlight and the smell of stale bread, sandpaper in his mouth and throat. He rubs at his sticky eyes, chest swelling up with a big yawn as he shifts up into a seated position on the couch. His stomach growls in yearning and he glances over at the sandwich crusts left on the side table from last night. Next to it, a couple roaches inside a jar lid they’d used for an ashtray and some bottle caps from beers they’d stolen out of the bar.

 

Getting crossfaded had not been in the plan last night, but there was never really a plan to begin with, anyway. Plans have a tendency to fall through based on plenty of prior experiences. Plans leave room for error, disappointment, irritation. Impulse is his modus operandi, and motive varies on circumstance. Money, sex, drugs, alcohol. A mental cost risk analysis, if you will.

 

So there was no plan. There had been opportunity and benefit with little upfront cost. He’d thought maybe it might take at least a spit handy, but no. Just the request itself, a bat of his eyes, and it had been easier than candy from a baby.

 


Scoring weed and smokes off Jung Hoseok should be the new idiom.

 

Jimin looks over at said candyless baby, still out cold and falling half-off the couch with a streak of drool running down his chin. He looks like an idiot - a kind of cute idiot, but still an idiot. An idiot that is winding himself right around Jimin’s little finger. Which had not been any sort of scheme - this had all truly, and quite literally as of the events of last night, fallen right into his lap. He’d known from the first moment Hoseok turned right instead of left in the car that he had him. Had him for what, he doesn’t really know. So far just a cigarette in passing and some weed, bought with the earnings from a watch he’d jacked from some asshole trick, like, three years ago.

 

So the impulse is there, the motive isn’t clear, and he’s got a roughly 180cm problem to deal with first thing this morning. He stands by the side of the couch staring down at Hoseok, upper lip curled in faint disgust at the drool bubbling on his lips and the snores ripping from his body. He leans over and gives his cheek a firm poke.

 

Nothing.

 

He grabs Hoseok’s chin in his hand and gives it a good shake, but still nothing.

 

“Hoseok,” he calls, patting his face with the back of his hand.  

 

For a moment, Hoseok gives a little groan and his eyelids flutter and Jimin thinks he’s about to wake up. But then he just sighs, not even budging an inch even though his legs can’t possibly have any blood flow to them and he’s going to have a crick in his neck from that position.

 

With his own annoyed sigh, he scoops his arms under Hoseok’s legs and heaves him the rest of the way on the couch to take up the space Jimin had just vacated. He pads over to the other side of the couch and grabs the corners of a fuzzy throw blanket that has a few dubious stains and smells. He throws it across Hoseok’s body and then looks down at him with his hands on his hips.

 

“Don’t get fucking used to this,” Jimin grumbles into the void, because the man in front of him is as good as comatose.

 

The metal railing clatters as he makes his way back down the stairs and through the backstage dressing room. He takes the stairs to the third floor, down the long halls to his room. He lets himself in quietly and steps over some clutter right in the doorway on his way in.

 

Taehyung is passed out in his bed. A look around the room tells him their other two roommates are gone. It usually works out like that - although there are four, sometimes five of them crammed into this tiny room together, they’re hardly ever competing for the space at the same time. There’s always at least one or two out for the night.

 

He steps over to his own bed, perpendicular to Taehyung’s, and takes a seat. It creaks under his weight - flimsy piece of crap that gives him back pain.

 

Taehyung stirs in his bed, turning over and stretching out on his side. He blinks and sets his eyes on Jimin, taking a lazy glance over his person. “Where’ve you been?” he mumbles, cheek smashed against his pillow.

 

“Valet boy brought me some weed so we got high last night,” Jimin answers as he kicks off his shoes.

 

“Park would be pissed if he found out you guys were fucking around together.”

 

“Yeah, well I’ve got a dick Park can suck,” Jimin grumbles, finally fighting his tennis shoes off and then kicking back on his bed. It’s a far cry from some of the California king beds he’s shared, luxury sheets and fluffy duvets. But it’s home, sort of, so he’s content. Taehyung hasn’t entertained his last comment, so he flops onto his side and pins him with a look. “You turn any tricks last night?”

 

“Just one,” Taehyung replies, and the far-off look in his eyes raises some red flags.

 

“Which one?” Jimin questions, eyes narrowed.

 

“Remember like two weeks ago that one first-timer who came and was acting all sketched out?”

 

Jimin purses his lips. “The hot one?”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung says. “He came back last night. It didn’t go that well.”

 

“Wait, let me guess - he started crying while you were fucking,” Jimin says quickly. “No wait - he threw up. On you - no, on your dick?”

 

“No, no,” Taehyung sighs, waving his hand. “The sex was… the sex was great. But afterward I kind of freaked.”

 

“‘Freaked?’” Jimin parrots.

 

“He was asking questions,” Taehyung elaborates. “And I may or may not have insinuated we don’t get paid.”

 

Jimin gawks for a moment. “Are you serious?”

 

“Unfortunately.”

 

Jimin groans, rolling onto his back and throwing an arm over his eyes. “Jesus christ, Taehyung, how many goddamn times do we have to go through this. They’re fucking tricks, man, mindless horny bastards who don’t give a shit about you. Why the fuck would you start that kind of shit?”

 

Taehyung is fairly quiet during Jimin’s rant, waiting until he breathes one last annoyed sigh and simmers down. “He’s nice,” Taehyung says, voice small.

 

“‘He’s nice,’” Jimin mocks, rolling his eyes. “He wants your ass , Tae, not your hand in holy matrimony. Plus he’s gonna rat you out to Sangchol if you keep bringing up shit like that.”

 

“He said he wouldn’t tell anyone.”

 

“And you bought that?” Jimin snorts.

 

“Yes,” Taehyung states. “I believe him.” He sits up on the edge of his bed and slides his feet into a pair of slippers. He stands up and pulls a robe around himself, heading for the bathroom. “And it doesn’t even matter,” he calls a few moments later as he brushes his teeth, “because he’s probably never coming back after last night.”

 

Jimin huffs, picking at the chipping blue paint on his nails. “Please. I’ll bet my new Louboutins he’ll be back for that dick in a hot minute.”

 

Taehyung appears in the bathroom doorway, toothbrush sticking out of his mouth as he glares at Jimin. “I’ll take you up on that bet.”

 

Jimin quirks his eyebrows in challenge, lifting up onto his elbow. “What are you wagering, Kim? Ante up.”

 

Taehyung thinks it over as he brushes his teeth, then disappears to finish up. When he comes back into the bedroom, he has a shit-eating grin on his face Jimin doesn’t like one bit. “How about,” he hums as he digs through his bags and pulls something out, “this?” He turns and presents the round, amber bottle of Remy Martin to Jimin, white teeth gleaming when he knows he’s got himself a bet.

 

“Deal,” Jimin says, nodding.

 

“But,” Taehyung cuts in, drawing the bottle back to his chest. “My feet are bigger than yours, and I don’t want your hooker heels.”

 

“What’s it gonna be, then, pretty boy?” Jimin chides.

 

“If I win,” Taehyung says, “you have to take a client of my choosing off my hands. Permanently.”

 

“Ouch,” Jimin hisses. “No dice. I’m fine with my own freaks, thank you.”

 

“Fine,” Taehyung relents - he had to know there was no way Jimin was going for that. “How about you just take one of my bondage guys? I can’t stand that shit.”

 

Jimin hums in contemplation, flicking his foot back in forth in the air where it’s crossed over his knee. “What happens if he’s not into me? Then the whole deal is off?”

 

“He’ll be into you,” Taehyung assures. “You’re great at BDSM stuff.”

 

“I’m just not awkward about it like you,” Jimin says with a snort. “You have to make everything so personal.”

 

“I didn’t ask to be here,” Taehyung says, all playfulness sapped from his tone.

 

Jimin glances over, catching the solemn look on Taehyung’s face and the frown tugging at his mouth. He turns his chin back around, pulling his blanket up over his chest and shifting down into his bed. “No one did,” he says, voice low. But he quickly foresees the argument coming before it leaves Taehyung’s mouth and cuts in before he opens it - “That doesn’t mean we go blabbing to every asshole with a pretty face about our problems. We keep those problems to ourselves and we keep our mouths shut.”

 

Taehyung blows air out of his nostrils and stares at the floor with a scowl.

 

“They’re all the same,” Jimin adds. “None of ‘em are worth risking an ass-beating over. Not even that guy from last night.”

 

“Maybe he’s different. You don’t know,” Taehyung contends quietly.

 

“What the fuck is this guy’s dick even made out of for you to be catching some type of feelings over it?” Jimin snaps, throwing his hands out in exasperation.

 

“At least I’m not fucking the valet boy.”

 

“Not fucking,” Jimin corrects. “Talking. And smoking. But I’m pretty sure he does want to fuck me.”

 

“Maybe he’s just nice and you’re taking advantage of that.”

 

“Nice guys like to fuck, too,” Jimin counters. Then he pauses for a moment in thought. “I’d let him fuck me. Especially if he keeps bringing me weed.”

 

“God,” Taehyung groans, standing up from his seat on the floor. “It never ceases to amaze me how much of a mess you are.”

 

I'm the mess?” Jimin huffs a contemptuous laugh.

 

“I don’t pretend I’m not human,” Taehyung states. “So I’d argue that makes me less of a mess than you.”

 

“What the fuck does that even mean?”

 

“Don’t act like you’ve never gotten bent out of shape over a client,” Taehyung says, pointing an accusatory finger. “You have feelings too, Park Jimin. They’re somewhere, way deep down in that thick skull of yours, but they’re there.”

 

Jimin scoffs and doesn’t even dignify a response. He’s never claimed to not have feelings. He just doesn’t go around wearing them all over his sleeve like Taehyung does, falling for every boy that treats him right and makes him feel special. It’s systematic behavior - some shrink could probably write a peer-reviewed article over it. Every six months or so, Taehyung comes back from a weekend in Paris or Bali with a new crush on a trick. Then heaven comes crashing back to earth, the asshole goes back to his wife he never told Taehyung about or runs out of money for his membership fees or whatever, and who’s there to mop up the mess afterward?

 

That’s right. Jimin is.

 

So Jimin doesn’t have time for feelings. He’s got too many of Taehyung’s feelings to watch out for. He’s got too many clients murmuring in his ear about wanting to take him away from all this, put him up in a nice condo and pay for him to go to college on the side while they have a whole family - wife, kids, grandparents - sitting at home waiting for dad to come back from his “business trip.” He’s got too many nights under his belt spent sleeping on a subway bench or sucking six consecutive dicks to pay his way into a hotel room to have time for feelings.

 

Clients aren’t there for feelings. Clients aren’t nice - they’re not ‘different.’ They’re all the same. Money, sex, drugs, alcohol - sex, money, alcohol, drugs. No matter how it gets tossed, no matter how nice they act and what nice things they say, or how pretty their face or how big their cock, they’re just a meal ticket. Cavemen after one thing from Taehyung and Jimin - sex.

 

People like Taehyung and Jimin don’t have the luxury of feelings. They have the luxury of survival. And while it’s gotten cushy where they’re at now - safe place to sleep, fancy clothes and swanky trips overseas, rich clients with phony “contracts” - nothing is ever guaranteed.

 

That’s how Jimin feels.

 

 

Tonight has been one of those nights where at least three clients have tried to lick his ass while he’s on stage. Not that that’s a problem in itself, but it always gets his regulars’ blood boiling when they have to sit in the shadows and watch some cockier guy with a wad of cash toss bills on Jimin’s back from across the room. They should know better than to get their feelings hurt over it, but it never fails to piss at least one of them off. Sometimes the pissed off one even goes home for the night unless Jimin can talk him down out of it.

 

That was hours ago, though, and now he’s just thankful to have the rest of the night off. He’s been breaking his back for over two weeks now, reclassifying himself as a nocturnal species.

 

He bundles up in a parka and braces himself for the cold outside as he steps out the side door to get some air. His feet have started in on their usual protesting, toes cramped inside a pair of lace-up platforms from an online store whose sizes apparently run small. But Sangchol insists on him wearing extra tall heels for whatever shit-for-brains reason. Probably something a client mentioned a blue moon ago, or maybe because he’s only average height and not built like a supermodel.

 

He’s so engrossed in glaring at his shoes that he almost misses the scuff of sneakers on the sidewalk coming his way. When he looks up and sees a familiar jacket and beanie getup, he gives a low wolf-whistle.

 

Hoseok squints into the darkness and then recognition ruptures on his face in the form of a boyish smile. “Hey, man,” he calls, shoulders up by his ears and hands shoved deep in his pockets. His face is deeply pink from the cold and he’s visibly shivering. “What’re you doing out here? You crazy?” His eyes fall to Jimin’s bare legs, only lingering a split second too long.

 

“Needed some air,” Jimin answers, unable to stop his own shiver after being out here for a few minutes.

 

“How’s your night going?” Hoseok asks, a bit of a drawl to his voice. It’s all very disarming - the overt dialectic differences, unassuming smile, easygoing demeanor. It’s unsettling how thin his walls are around this one.

 

“I’m not currently taking it up the ass, so,” Jimin says, punctuated with a nonchalant shrug, just to see Hoseok splutter a bit and play it off with an awkward laugh.

 

“I guess that’s…” he trails off, watching Jimin’s face closely, “good?”

 

Jimin laughs. “Depends who’s back there.”

 

If Hoseok wasn’t already so flushed from the weather, he’d be well on his way to a similar shade of red.

 

“You wouldn’t happen to have a cigarette on you, would you?” Jimin asks, having some mercy and changing the subject before Hoseok has an aneurysm.

 

Hoseok makes an excited noise and then holds up a finger in a ‘wait’ motion as he digs in his jacket pocket. He pulls out two mismatched cigarettes, one of them a little bent. He presents one in each of his hands with a proud smile, waggling his eyebrows. “Ta-da!”

 

Jimin snorts and takes the one that’s not bent. “I take it you bummed these off’a clients, then,” Jimin says, cigarette between his lips as Hoseok steps up with a lighter in hand.

 

“I found that one rolling around on the floorboard of a car,” Hoseok says with a cheeky grin.

 

Jimin pops him on the arm with his hand, and Hoseok flinches out of the way with a giggle. “You’re fucking with me.”

 

“Yeah, I’m kidding,” Hoseok says, voice and eyes softening. “I wouldn’t do that.”

 

“I’ve had worse in my mouth,” Jimin says with a blasé roll of his eyes. He blocks a bitter gust of wind with his hands as Hoseok reaches up to light the cigarette for him. The flame tosses flickering lights and shadows over Hoseok’s face for a few moments until the cigarette catches and Jimin takes a pull to kindle the cherry. He turns his head to the side and exhales before he speaks. “I’m over it out here. We’re going inside,” he says. He helps Hoseok shield the wind to light his own cigarette and then they take a step back from each other.

 

“I’m going inside?” Hoseok sounds more jokey than genuinely confused.

 

“If you so desire,” Jimin says - slowly, and with ample implication. He covers his grin with his hand as he takes a long drag.

 

Hoseok suddenly shivers hard, smoke coming out of his mouth in a rush. “Fuck, it’s fucking freezing out here. I’m definitely coming inside.”

 

Jimin sees the moment Hoseok realizes how that came out and his chuckle evolves into a full-on laugh.

 

“I mean - jeez. Not like that. Fuck,” Hoseok babbles, dropping his head in embarrassment. “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

 

“I live in the gutter,” Jimin says through his laughter. Then, “Come on.” He pulls open the side door and nods for Hoseok to follow.

 

“What do you drink?” Jimin asks as he leads Hoseok into to the lounge and then heads behind the bar. In the light, the lounge looks much like any other dance club or bar after closing. Bar stools upturned on top of tables, a yellow janitor’s mop bucket in a corner, glassware lining the bar counter for cleaning. It smells like bleach and floor cleaner, residual cigarette smoke and alcohol spills.

 

“I’m a beggar, not a chooser,” Hoseok replies as he rubs the cold from this hands.

 

Jimin uncaps two beers and then heads for the main stage seating - stark white armchairs that glow pink and blue under the club lights and look a lot more comfortable than they really are. He holds his cigarette between his lips carefully as he quickly cleans off a table save for an ashtray and sets one of the beers down. He takes a drink from the other, motioning for Hoseok to sit down. “Have a seat, Mr. Jung.”

 

Hoseok, compliant as ever, plops right into the seat and ashes his cigarette. “You wanna play cards or something?” he asks, the picture of innocence.

 

Jimin’s laugh rings out into the empty room. “No,” he says, very slowly as he sets his beer down, “I don’t want to play cards.”

 

Hoseok makes a noncommittal noise and nurses his beer as Jimin takes a seat and pulls off his shoes, feet crying in relief as he flexes them a few times. He takes one last drag from his cigarette and then hands it off to Hoseok as he gets up and heads for the stage.

 

Hoseok is clearly out of his comfort zone, unsure of what Jimin’s about to do next. Twitching with nervous anticipation, like Jimin might jump out and scare him or something. It’s refreshing, kind of adorable even.

 

Jimin tosses his coat into a random chair before he hops up on stage. His muscles are a little tired and sore from working the stage all night, but he’s invested in this now.

 

“What are you doing?” Hoseok calls, lilting voice floating up to where Jimin is doing a few stretches.

 

“Consider it part of the audition process,” Jimin says, then finally takes a grip on the pole as he spins to face Hoseok. “I expect you to have this choreography down by tomorrow night’s show. Got it?”

 

Hoseok gives a mock salute. “I’ll give it my best shot.”

 

“Good boy,” Jimin purs as he makes a few circles around the pole. “Now watch closely, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Hoseok says just as Jimin lifts off.

 

He’d taken to the pole like a fish to water, just a few years ago. He’d spent countless hours practicing and learning new moves until he could do more than anyone at the club - even the actual ex-strippers in the joint. And when clients look at him with sex in their eyes, tacking a price tag on his body for the night, he feels graceful - powerful when he’s up here. He loves the gasps when he does something especially risky, the murmurs of amazement when he defies gravity, floats on air. When he’s the center of the room, when everyone’s eyes are on him and the tension shifts over on his terms, he feels in control, like the puppetmaster, the orchestrator.

 

He’s gotten good at hiding the trembling muscles, the look of pain on his face when his skin snags on the metal or he lands wrong. He does a few understated moves that are general crowd-pleasers and then lands delicately back on his bare feet, tossing his bangs out of his face and looking over at Hoseok.

 

“Holy shit,” Hoseok says, then starts clapping. “That was amazing!”

 

Jimin scrunches his nose, faking a demure grin and leaning his back against the pole.

 

“Like, wow,” Hoseok is saying as the clapping slows to a stop and he shakes his head in awe. “I didn’t know pole dancing could be like that. You make it look like an art form or something.”

 

“When you’re done kissing my ass, get up here and give it a try,” Jimin calls down to him.

 

“Oh - I dunno,” Hoseok stammers. “I don’t think I can do any of that without busting my ass.”

 

“Come on,” Jimin urges, crooking a finger at him. “I’ll make sure your ass is unharmed.”

 

Hoseok takes a big swallow of beer and stands up, glass clinking loudly on the table. He strides up to the stage and Jimin meets him at the edge, offering a hand to help him up.

 

“You’re wearing too many clothes,” Jimin says as he gives Hoseok a once-over.

 

“Um -” Hoseok starts, but Jimin grabs his jacket and tugs at it pointedly.

 

“Take this off,” Jimin orders, and Hoseok quickly obliges, tossing his jacket over the edge of the stage. It’s quiet enough to hear it land on the floor. “Your skin has to be exposed where you want to grip the pole,” he explains, demonstrating by wrapping his legs around the pole and suspending himself in a seated position.

 

“That looks painful,” Hoseok says, grimacing but paying close attention in an almost studious manner.

 

“It can be,” Jimin admits, dropping to his feet. “You can’t do any of that with pants on, though.”

 

Hoseok turns bright red, looking down at his jeans and wiping his palms on his thighs.

 

Jimin giggles as he does a simple pirouette. “I’m not telling you to take them off, dumbass.”

 

“Oh, okay,” Hoseok says, but the tips of his ears are still red. “So what can I do?”

 

Jimin motions for him to come closer and he does. “Put your hands here,” Jimin instructs, Hoseok following right along. “Now just take a step or two, spin around, and pick your feet up a little.”

 

“Pfft,” Hoseok sputters with a cocky little smirk. “Easy.”

 

Jimin takes a step back as Hoseok gives it a try. “Not the worst I’ve ever seen,” Jimin says. “You definitely look like a straight guy twirling around on a pole, though.”

 

Hoseok laughs and gives it another try the opposite direction.

 

“Your core strength is there,” Jimin says, trying not to sound impressed as Hoseok starts messing around, showing off a bit with some impromptu lifts and spins. “Maybe you’ll make a decent stripper yet.”

 

Hoseok suddenly does a mock-sexy move, bending down low and rolling his body back up, pulling a ridiculous face and then losing it right at the end in a fit of giggles. “Show me something else,” he says then, almost excitedly.

 

Jimin hums and takes the pole in his hands again, slinking around and pushing Hoseok back a few steps with a hand on his chest. He launches into a more complicated set of spins and flips, ending upside down on the pole, legs splayed wide as he studies Hoseok’s inverted face.  

 

“Wow,” is all Hoseok says. His eyes make a long, uneven line from Jimin’s right foot all the way to his left before he wets his lips nervously.

 

Jimin rolls out of the position, feet barely tapping the stage before he glides around in a circle.

 

“Are there, like, rules for clients when you’re on stage dancing?” Hoseok asks, watching as Jimin does some lazy twirls.

 

“No hitting, biting, or pulling,” Jimin says simply. “Everything else goes.”

 

“Has anyone ever broken a rule with you before?”

 

“I’ve had to call security a few times.”

 

“Have you ever gotten hurt?”

 

“While I was dancing?” Hoseok nods to confirm. “Not by a client,” Jimin answers. “I’ve hurt myself at practice a few times. Broken toes, sprained ankles. Pulled a hamstring once. Just gotta pop a couple hydros and get that ass on stage.”

 

“Seriously?” Hoseok asks, face pinched.

 

Jimin pauses, hanging from one arm to the side. “Do I seem like I’m joking?”

 

“No,” Hoseok murmurs. Then he adds, “You’re tougher than me.”

 

“I think I could take you in a fight,” Jimin teases.

 

“I know you could,” Hoseok agrees, looking over Jimin’s body.

 

He comes to a stop in front of Hoseok, beckoning him with a flick of his hand.

 

Hoseok wordlessly obeys, stepping closer until he’s just out of arm’s reach. He looks less nervous than before, but he still fidgets a bit as he anticipates Jimin’s next move.

 

“Come here,” Jimin says, beckoning him even closer.

 

Hoseok hesitates for a moment, eyes wide, but then he takes another step until they’re face to face.

 

The last time they’d been this close, Hoseok had been faded and writhing on his lap. It’s been weeks since that night, only seeing each other in passing since then. It had revealed what Jimin had been suspecting - no, convinced of - since his first few minutes around Hoseok.

 

Hoseok may not have come to terms with it yet himself, still in the midst of some internal battle over it. But Jimin knows attraction when he sees it, and it’s written all over Hoseok’s face. Pink-stained cheeks, chewed lips, lingering glances. So that night, when a dark look had passed over Hoseok’s face and he’d crawled into Jimin’s lap, it was confirmation.

 

Hoseok wants him.

 

“Did you run out of questions?” Jimin asks, tilting his head.

 

“I can’t, um, can’t really seem to think of any right now,” Hoseok admits, much to Jimin’s amusement.

 

Jimin reaches out and fiddles with the tail of Hoseok’s shirt. He looks up at Hoseok, chin tipped down and smile coy. “Why’s that?”

 

“Just kind of, uh…” he trails off, trying to look anywhere but Jimin’s eyes, “distracted.”

 

“Distracted?” Jimin repeats, carefully lifting Hoseok’s shirt just a tiny bit with his index finger. He lets his gaze flick down to the glimpse of flat stomach, the faint trail of hair to the elastic of his underwear. Faint muscles and the ridges of his hipbones peeking from the relaxed waistband of his jeans. He’s mildly surprised Hoseok is still holding his ground, which only serves to add more fuel to the fire. He hums and lets the shirt drop, fixing Hoseok with a burning look. “What’s got you so distracted?”

 

Hoseok sends him a playful glare. “You really have to ask?”

 

“I’m very good at many things, honey, but mind reading isn’t one of them.”

 

“Your clothes are just kind of, you know…” Hoseok’s eyes fall downward and he gestures half-heartedly. “Distracting.”

 

“Oh, these?” Jimin says, reaching a fingertip under the waistband of his tight shorts and popping the elastic. “So if I took these off, you’d be less distracted?”

 

“No,” Hoseok says, shaking his head, face and tone too cryptic for even Jimin to figure out, “because then you’d be naked and standing right in front of me.”

 

“Mm,” Jimin hums, letting his head tilt back to rest against the pole behind him. “You say that like it would be a problem.”

 

“It might be.”

 

“You don’t sound so sure.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes are hot on Jimin as he continues to shake his head slowly, jaw flexing like he’s chewing on whatever he’s about to say. “I’m not sure about anything right now.”

 

Jimin gives a sympathetic frown, bottom lip in a teasing pout. “If there’s anything I can do to help, just say the word.”

 

Hoseok inches closer, and Jimin feels the room tilt on an axis, shifting almost physically to something headier, more viscous. The air burns between them, Hoseok’s eyes black with lust and Jimin’s grin crooked with satisfaction. Jimin reaches up and flattens a hand on Hoseok’s stomach, feeling the ragged, shallow breaths he’s trying to repress. He runs his hand down, hooking his fingers into the front of Hoseok’s pants -

 

Hoseok’s hands snap up to his, grabbing his wrist and stopping him. “What’re you doing?” he asks, voice sharp with alarm.

 

And for the first time in Hoseok’s presence, Jimin is genuinely confused. “What?” he asks, a bit dumbly as he looks from Hoseok’s hands clamped around his and then raises an eyebrow at him.

 

“You’re just, like, going straight for my dick, or what?” Hoseok says, trying to make it sound like a joke but failing because he’s evidently serious.

 

“Is that not what you were wanting?” Jimin questions, pulling his hand from Hoseok’s.

 

“What? Fuck - no! I mean, just a normal ‘no,’ not a ‘fuck no,’” Hoseok babbles, reeling back a few steps. “Wai-wait - what did you think I wanted?”

 

“I don’t know, like a blowjob or something?” Jimin suggests with a shrug.

 

“A - what? No!” Hoseok practically yells, face brilliant red and voice reaching a squeaky, panicked pitch. “I was not expecting a fuckin’ blowjob from you.”

 

Jimin laughs with amused wonder. “You really just came in here to watch me dance?”

 

“N-no, I came to hang out,” Hoseok answers. “I thought we were, like, friends or something.”

 

“So you brought me cigarettes and weed because you want to be,” he pauses, brow raised incredulously, “...‘friends’?”

 

“Um, yeah, pretty much,” Hoseok replies, rubbing the back of his neck as his gaze shifts around the room.

 

Jimin sputters with another laugh, shoulders shaking and eyes arched. “That’s so cute.”

 

“You would have sex with someone for bringing you pot?” Hoseok asks.

 

“Yeah, why not?”

 

“Yeah, I don’t know about all that,” Hoseok mumbles.

 

“I don’t get turned down very often,” Jimin admits as Hoseok shifts around uncomfortably.

 

“It’s not that you’re not, like, attractive or whatever,” Hoseok says, gesturing a bit aimlessly with his hands. “I just don’t want you to feel cheap or anything.”

 

“Cheap, huh?” Jimin tries out the word, trying to sort through everything and get back on top of this conversation.

 

“Yeah, I mean,” Hoseok continues. “There’s no way someone like me could afford you. You’re definitely worth more than an eighth of weed, right?”

 

“I can set whatever price I want.”

 

“Yeah, sure - I guess. Yeah.” Hoseok seems confused now, too, lost and veering into iffy territory.

 

“And if I want to do it with someone for free, I can do that, too.”

 

“Yeah, of course,” Hoseok says, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”

 

“Stop overthinking things,” Jimin states. “Just because I’m a whore doesn’t mean I’m not a normal person, too.”

 

Hoseok cringes at the statement, hand clasped around the back of his own neck as he stares at the stage floor. “Sorry,” he says again.

 

“It’s okay.”

 

“It’s late,” Hoseok says. “Maybe I should get going.”

 

Jimin shrugs. “Sure, if you want to.”

 

Hoseok seems to hesitate, torn between leaving and adding on another thought.

 

“Or you can come upstairs and hang out,” Jimin offers, and Hoseok looks up.

 

Jimin sees Hoseok considering it, overthinking the implications, two sides of his brain at war. He doesn’t quite understand the hang up over it - if they want to fuck, they should just fuck, Jimin thinks. It doesn’t need to be complicated. No one can make Jimin feel cheap unless he lets them. And Jung Hoseok is probably one of the last people on this planet with the ability to make him feel cheap.

 

Hoseok’s face softens after an extended moment and he offers a smile. “I should go,” he says, voice low.

 

“I’ll see you later, then,” Jimin says, returning the smile.

 

Hoseok takes another moment too long, like he’s second guessing his decision, but ultimately turns toward the edge of the stage to leave.

 

“What, no goodnight kiss?”

 

Jimin meets Hoseok’s doe-eyed look with a cocky grin, shifting his weight to one hip and reaching to wrap his hands around the pole behind his back. His grin only grows wider when Hoseok comes back to him, closing the distance in a few steady steps until Jimin has to tilt his chin up to look at him. This close, Jimin could reach out and pull him in, but he keeps his hands rooted to the pole, letting Hoseok hold the ball in his court.

 

“Why - you want one?” Hoseok questions. He doesn’t seem so shy now as his eyes fall to Jimin’s mouth.

 

Jimin’s short laugh is breathy, his smile wavering. His body automatically responds to the unanticipated confidence, pulse picking up and lips going soft and pliable. “I don’t want anything from you.”

 

But he knows he looks like someone ready to be kissed, because Hoseok meets the words with a smug look and says, “Try that again.” He tips his chin and they’re close enough to breathe each other’s air, too close to pass this off as anything but an almost-kiss. “More convincing this time.”

 

Then Hoseok turns away and hops the edge of the stage, turning around and throwing Jimin a blinding smile. “See ya later, Jimin,” he calls, then he pulls on his jacket and he’s out the door.

 

Jimin drums his fingers on the pole for a moment, lips pursed as he looks around the empty lounge. This is why he doesn’t make plans - because if he’d had one just now, it would have failed. Hoseok is teetering on the line - starting a game he doesn’t even know he’s getting into with someone who’s better at that game, been playing it much longer.

 

But that just means there is a game now, and Hoseok wants to play.

 

 

Jimin doesn’t get very many phone calls. But the ones he does get have never been good news.

 

He’s sitting on the sidewalk outside the club, leather boots squeaking where his legs are crossed out in front of him. The cold of the cement under him bites through his shorts, the brick wall unforgiving against his back.

 

Taehyung is off galavanting around Tokyo with the subject of his latest infatuation, and Jimin has the niggling feeling those two dumbasses are about to fuck a lot of shit up. The call he’d gotten tonight had started off like any other travel update - Taehyung calling to let Jimin know he was alive and hadn’t been thrown in the back of a van with a bag over his head. Then it had gone south, Taehyung talking about how different this Jeongguk guy is and how he’s a good person - a load of misguided, naive garbage. Jimin hadn’t even had the time to properly talk some sense into him before he’d rushed to end the call.

 

And the night hadn’t really gotten better after that. Some young, hotshot attorney coming off of a big case win had drawn him in with loads of cash, raining bills all over the stage during his last performance. Jimin thought the guy would fold like a cheap suit in the bedroom, and all the signs pointed to that line of reasoning when the guy could barely form a full sentence behind the closed door.

 

But the guy had had way too much to drink, too much pride and hot air gone to his head. He’d been unnecessarily rough, heavy handed and aggressive. All things Jimin can deal with in stride - things that don’t even rattle him anymore, though once upon a time they did. It’s more of an annoyance, an inconvenience of the job. Now his scalp is tender and his hip is sore where he’d been bent too far for too long. There’s an ache in his jaw where the guy went for a hit without permission. Jimin had warned him about breaking the rules - rough play and bondage are Diamond-status only - and then the asshole had gone and made a complaint about it afterward. He’s sure it hasn’t gotten around to Sangchol yet, since the guy hasn’t come tracking him down with his backhand at the ready yet.

 

So when Hoseok meanders by, keys jingling in his hand and looking like a breath of fresh air, Jimin really can’t help himself.

 

“Done for the night?” Hoseok asks, stopping by Jimin’s feet.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin answers. “That your last one?”

 

“Yeah.” Hoseok nods. “Hey - you okay?”

 

Jimin doesn’t look up. “I’m fine.”

 

“I gotta get this guy his car,” Hoseok says, “but I’ve got a joint or two in my backpack I’ve been saving for a rainy day.”

 

Jimin runs a hand through his hair as he finally takes in the look in Hoseok’s eyes, trying to keep his face easy and unaffected. “Is that an offer?”

 

“Sure is,” Hoseok says, and then he’s smiling.

 

“You don’t have to ask me twice.”

 

“Cool. I’ll be right back,” Hoseok calls, already taking off toward the garage at a light jog.

 

He waits where he is, looking out across the street at the empty buildings and broken windows, boarded up or covered in tattered plastic sheets. This area of town is so quiet compared to the rest of Seoul, abandoned and left to the bottom-dwellers. City sounds are a distant dream from here, sirens and car horns and screaming engines. Here there’s just trash caught in the wind, the faint pur of a luxury car driving by and crunch of gravel under the tires. The club mix is almost audible, more of a rumble than anything, and there’s the occasional slam of a car door.

 

A black car drives by on the street in front of him, tint too dark to see through the window, but Jimin’s sure it’s Hoseok.

 

A few minutes later, Hoseok reappears around the side of the building and makes a steady path toward Jimin.

 

“Here,” Hoseok says, offering a hand and helping Jimin to his feet.

 

Jimin considers taking him back to the loft again, but at the possibility of getting laid, he takes them up the stairs and sneaks them into a private suite instead. He’s rather indifferent to the prospect of fucking Hoseok, if only slightly skewed toward wanting it more than not. He can look at Hoseok and tell he’d be nervous and gentle at first, something that Jimin could drink in like a cool glass of water. It’s not often he gets to fuck people that don’t already know what they want, or that might be amenable to doing what Jimin wants instead. He heads into the room and switches on a bedside lamp, sinking onto the corner of the mattress and leaning over to start pulling off his shoes.

 

Hoseok hesitates at the doorway for a few moments, looking around the space curiously before letting the door close with a muted click. He’s quiet as he slips off his own shoes and then pads across the carpet into the room, surveying the simple furniture - king bed, nightstands, a television on top of a dresser.

 

“Why’s there a TV in here?”

 

Jimin finally pries the first boot off and lets it fall to the floor. “Some people like to watch porn or like it as background noise or whatever. We sneak in and watch it all the time,” Jimin replies, setting to work on his other shoe.

 

“So this is where the magic happens,” Hoseok says, looking and sounding underwhelmed.

 

“This is mostly a spare room,” Jimin says. “The nicer ones are down the hall.”

 

“Good to know, I guess,” Hoseok mumbles.

 

“Mind opening the window?” Jimin requests as he shrugs out of his jacket until he’s left in nothing but his dance shorts. He probably could have stopped by his room to change, but that would have been an extra flight of stairs and a waste of time.

 

Hoseok draws back the curtain and wrestles the window open about halfway. Then he turns around, looking at the bed and at Jimin like he’s waiting for his next orders.

 

Since their conversation about ‘friendship’ and whatnot, Jimin has realized he will need to take a different approach with Hoseok. Straightforward works for Hoseok about as well as authoritative works for Jimin, which is to say - not very well, and met with some level of aversion. He doesn’t ease into things often, if ever, but finds he likes this better. He stretches out on the bed casually, resting his head on his arm and waiting patiently.

 

Hoseok finally kicks into gear, shrugging his backpack off his shoulder and digging around in it. A moment later the bed dips and Hoseok takes a cross-legged seat at a safe distance as he lights up a joint.

 

“I’m good at keeping secrets,” Hoseok says between hits.

 

Jimin takes the joint when Hoseok offers it to him. “You think I’m gonna tell you mine?” he asks as he takes a puff, eyes closing as the smoke fills his lungs.

 

“I’m just sayin’ you can talk to me.” Hoseok shrugs and adjusts his hat on his head so it sits backward. Jimin thinks he looks good in a snapback and a t-shirt, light wash jeans and a single bracelet on his slender wrist. He’s distinctly opposite of any other man Jimin has been in one of these rooms with - no starch-ironed suit or boring crew cut. It settles a sense of calm over the room, a sense of balance.

 

“My friend’s a goddamn idiot,” Jimin grumbles. “He thinks he’s in love with a trick or something stupid like that.”

 

“I could see why that would be a, uh... conflict of interest,” Hoseok says as they pass off the joint again.

 

“It’s a mess, is what it is,” Jimin sighs. “That type of shit can only go bad.”

 

“Not much you can do ‘bout it,” Hoseok supplies.

 

“I know.” Jimin shifts to lie on his back, visualizing imaginary patterns in the paint on the ceiling.

 

There’s a lingering hush, just the sound of Hoseok exhaling smoke. Then, after a few more moments, “Can I ask you a question?”

 

Jimin shrugs.

 

“How’d you end up here?”

 

Jimin turns his head to look at him, sizing him up after asking something like that. He can only sense genuine curiosity, intrigue - no condescension or pity. “I was on the streets before this,” Jimin states. “Turning tricks, smoking crack. Sangchol found me a couple years ago and ‘recruited’ me.”

 

Hoseok nods, taking in the information with a thoughtful expression. “How old does that make you?”

 

“I’ll be twenty-four this year."

 

“So,” Hoseok begins carefully, “you’ve been doing… this type of thing since you were a teenager?”

 

“Something like that, yeah,” Jimin says. “Off and on. Just something I did when I had to do it.” He takes a slow hit, blowing the smoke toward the ceiling and then passing the joint back to Hoseok. “What about you? You ever do something because you just had to do it?”

 

“Sorta,” Hoseok answers. “I came here thinking I was gonna do something big, but I, uh, kinda got a reality check.” He laughs a bit humorlessly, picking at a rip in his jeans. “Now I’m just broke as shit with nothing to write back home about.”

 

“Why don’t you just go home?”

 

“I dunno,” Hoseok mumbles. “Guess I just kinda wanna figure it out myself. My parents don’t know I don’t have a real place to live or they’d lose their shit.”

 

“If they knew what you were doing for money, they’d lose their shit, too.”

 

“Yeah, no kidding.”

 

“So where are you living?”

 

“With this lady I knew back in school,” Hoseok answers. “She was my best friend’s mom.”

 

“Was?”

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok says. He digs into his pocket and pulls out his cell phone, unlocking the screen and passing it over to Jimin.

 

Jimin looks at the picture on Hoseok’s phone with his brows furrowed in confusion. It’s a school portrait of a girl, a few years younger than Hoseok. The picture is Hoseok’s wallpaper, glass cracks spider-webbing across her smiling face from his busted screen. Jimin hands the phone back and Hoseok deposits it onto the bedside table.

 

“Her name’s Hyejin,” Hoseok explains. “She was in an accident. Her mom’s still real messed up over it.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“Yeah, but that was a long time ago,” Hoseok says, recovering with a faint smile. “She would kill me if she knew I didn’t end up going to college.”

 

“Why didn’t you?”

 

Hoseok shrugs. “I had to go to work,” he says. “There’s no way I could afford it.”

 

Jimin hums in understanding and then rolls over onto his side. “This is not the type of conversation we should be having while we’re getting high.”

 

Hoseok laughs at that. “Sorry, I must’ve missed that rule.”

 

“I’ll let it slide this time,” Jimin says, stretching as the THC starts to kick in, a sleepy smile spreading over his face. His muscles are still sore from earlier, though, and he groans when he flexes his leg the wrong way and his hip pinches with pain. “Shit, tomorrow’s gonna suck.”

 

“What’s wrong?” Hoseok asks, concern in his voice.

 

“Some asshole was treating me like his bitch earlier,” Jimin responds, rubbing his hip over the sore spot.

 

“That’s kinda sketchy."

 

“Occupational hazard,” Jimin muses. He looks up as the bed shifts and watches as Hoseok scoots around, spreading out on his side to face Jimin.

 

“Do you like being a host?” Hoseok asks, reaching out to ash the joint into a tray on the nightstand.

 

“For the most part,” Jimin says. “It’s not the worst gig I’ve had.”

 

“What would you wanna do besides this?”

 

“Haven’t thought much about it,” Jimin replies honestly. “What about you?”

 

“Same,” Hoseok says. “I just take it one day at a time, y’know?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin agrees with a lazy nod. “Yeah, I get that.”

 

“Sorry if I said anything that offended you the other night,” Hoseok says. “I don’t really know much about this kind of stuff so sorry if I’m kinda ignorant.”

 

Jimin waves it off. “I’ll let you know if you say something that offends me.”

 

“Good,” Hoseok says. He leans up to the nightstand one more time to drop the roach into the ashtray and then settles back down, bending an arm under his head for a pillow. He’s kind of pretty, Jimin thinks. Not rugged or aged, just bright-eyed and youthful, plush lips and a kind smile. Where Jimin’s mask is one of confidence and deception, Hoseok’s is of cheerfulness and simplicity. Jimin finds himself inexplicably drawn to the details, the way he absently dampens his lips with his tongue or his long fingers fidget with a piece of string on the comforter between them.

 

“Are you overthinking again?” Jimin questions, earning Hoseok’s attention away from the string.

 

“Prob’ly,” Hoseok mumbles, going right back to picking at the blanket.

 

Jimin rolls his eyes. “Spit it out.”

 

Hoseok sends him a heavy look, chewing on his lip. “Were you serious - when you, uh, when you said you didn’t want anything from me the other night?”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows raise slightly and mirth plays at the corner of his mouth. “You seemed pretty sure I was lying.”

 

Hoseok lets out a nervous, somewhat breathless laugh. “D’you ever give a straight answer when someone asks you a question?”

 

“Why should I?” Jimin muses. “Isn’t lying what makes us human?”

 

“That’s an interesting theory you got there,” Hoseok says. Then, holding Jimin’s gaze, “Tell me something that’s not a lie.”

 

Thinking for a moment, Jimin finally comes up with a response as he shifts a little closer. “You were right,” Jimin says, pausing to watch the suspense cross Hoseok’s face. “I do want you to kiss me.”

 

Hoseok’s sharp inhale is almost silent, but Jimin is attuned to his every move. A haze moves over his face as his eyes leave Jimin’s and fall to his lips, down his neck. Jimin keeps still, only his thumb twitching idly on his hipbone as Hoseok’s gaze drags over him slowly, almost drunkenly.

 

Jimin makes sure his tone is soft, gently encouraging when he speaks next, and his eyes are honed in on Hoseok’s face. “You can touch,” he practically whispers, masking his own delight at the way Hoseok’s eyes flash up to his face in surprise, round and sparkling with lamplight.

 

The hand that had been fidgeting between them stills against the mattress. Jimin makes the choice easier, scooting even closer until all Hoseok would have to do is reach out just a little bit.

 

“I won’t bite,” Jimin adds with a tiny grin.

 

Hoseok’s breathing is getting louder, his lips parting and eyelids heavy. He’s still hesitating, but he seems to take one shaky breath and then he’s reaching over, brushing the back of his fingers against Jimin’s stomach.

 

Jimin feels his own breathing pick up too as Hoseok’s fingers sear into his skin, warmed from the joint. Any trace of a smile on his face fades as Hoseok gets a little braver, turning his hand over and flattening his palm on Jimin’s skin. He looks down at Hoseok’s hand on him and swallows, mouth dry from smoking, and when he looks back up, their eyes meet.

 

Hoseok moves then, running his hand up and over Jimin’s chest. Jimin wonders what’s going through his mind, what type of turmoil is happening behind that dark stare. He arches into Hoseok’s hand when his fingertip brushes a nipple and Hoseok suddenly stops.

 

“Kinda tickles,” Jimin whispers with a short giggle.

 

Hoseok only nods, then directs his attention back to his own hand as he smooths it down toward Jimin’s stomach, veering off to the side and sliding it down Jimin’s hip. He moves much slower as he crosses over Jimin’s shorts, his touch infinitely lighter as he traces a shaky line down Jimin’s thigh.

 

Jimin takes Hoseok’s hand in his own and guides it back upward, placing it against his cheek. His eyelids flutter shut as he turns his head and kisses Hoseok’s palm, breath warming the skin. He dusts another kiss over Hoseok’s wrist, then a few little kisses to the individual fingers. His tongue slides out, giving a tentative, kittenish lick to Hoseok’s ring finger as he opens his eyes.

 

Hoseok is gone . His eyes are fogged over with filthy, punch-drunk desire, mouth parted and practically gaping as he watches Jimin’s mouth work over his hand. His eyes slide shut when Jimin slips a finger past his lips, runs the edge of his tongue over the tip.

 

Then, snapping out of a trance, Hoseok pulls his hands away and rolls onto his back. He groans loudly, burying his no doubt furiously red face in the crook of his arm. “Oh my god,” he mumbles, drawing out the last word.  

 

Jimin can’t help but chuckle at his expense. “Why are you torturing yourself?” he questions, sitting up onto his elbow.

 

“I don’t fucking know ,” Hoseok groans. He reaches down and adjusts the front of his pants, drawing Jimin’s attention to the fact that he’s at least half hard already.

 

“What’s wrong?” Jimin asks, though he thinks he has a pretty good idea.

 

“I dunno,” Hoseok murmurs. He lets his arms fall to his side, blinking up at the ceiling. “This is the first time I’ve ever done anything even close to this with a - uh, with a guy.”

 

“You’re kidding ,” Jimin breathes, dripping in sarcasm.

 

It at least gets Hoseok to laugh a bit, but then he rubs at his face with his hands.

 

“No, really,” Jimin hums. “I’m honored.”

 

Hoseok takes his hat off, runs his hands through his hair a few times and then puts it back. He turns back to Jimin then, chest rising and falling with his breaths. “I don’t know anything about this.”

 

“It’s not rocket science,” Jimin says. “Heard it’s not even that different from doin’ it with a girl.”

 

“It’s not just that,” Hoseok continues. “It - it’s you . You’re like a, a fuckin’ blackbelt. And I might as well be a fuckin’ virgin.”

 

“Then shouldn’t you consider yourself lucky?” Jimin proposes.

 

“Fuck, I guess,” Hoseok says, biting back a smile and letting out a shuddering breath.

 

“I’d take good care of you.”

 

Hoseok sobers at that, cheeks flushed as he mulls it over in silence. He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and keeps it there for a few moments before letting go of it. “Can we just - ” he starts, cutting himself off and breathing in deep. Then, after exhaling, “Can we go slow?”

 

Jimin tongues the inside of his cheek, letting a low hum vibrate through his chest. “We can go as slow as you want, baby,” he breathes, and Hoseok seems to be looking at him expectantly, waiting on him to make a move. So Jimin rolls over, stretches a leg over Hoseok’s waist and settles into his lap.

 

Hoseok responds immediately to the simple contact, hips pressing upward slightly as his hands tremble at Jimin’s thighs.

 

“Not slow enough?” Jimin questions, spreading his knees wider until his ass is fully planted on Hoseok’s crotch.

 

“No, it’s fine - this is, this is fine,” Hoseok says quickly, hands now moving with conviction up Jimin’s legs to his waist.

 

Hoseok’s heartbeat is rapidfire under Jimin’s palm as he runs a hand up his body, over the scratchy, worn logo on his t-shirt. “You’re so nervous,” he says with a giggle. “It’s cute.”

 

“That doesn’t help,” Hoseok mumbles.

 

“I like it,” Jimin says, leaning over close. “Relax. I said I wouldn’t bite.”

 

Hoseok’s adam’s apple bobs as he swallows and tilts his chin back. “What if I want you to?”

 

And that - that brings a wicked smile to Jimin’s face, makes him tighten his fist in Hoseok’s shirt. “You’re not as shy as you let on,” he says, leaning down into Hoseok’s neck. The moment his lips connect and his tongue drags over the skin, a stilted moan leaves Hoseok’s lips right next to his ear and it makes Jimin sink his teeth right in.

 

“Shit,” Hoseok breathes, fingers tight on Jimin’s waist. He turns his head to the side to give Jimin more room to mouth at his neck, tongue at his earlobe.

 

“Let me know if I need to pump the brakes,” Jimin instructs, resting his weight on one arm so he can slide the other between them. Hoseok’s head jitters up and down in affirmation as he traces the shape of Hoseok’s ribcage, thumb running the length of his sternum. He reaches the bottom of Hoseok’s shirt and hooks his hand underneath, getting a bit overeager at the feel of soft skin under his palm. He pauses, hand resting on Hoseok’s stomach, blunt thumbnail raking through the soft trail of hair under his belly button.

 

But Hoseok is breathing raggedly, hips shifting restlessly under Jimin’s weight, and he’s making absolutely no sound or move for him to stop or even slow down. So Jimin pushes higher, the t-shirt bunching on his arm as he makes a straight line over Hoseok’s chest and back down.

 

“Hey,” Hoseok murmurs, and Jimin pauses. “Thought you said you wanted to kiss me.”

 

“Mm,” Jimin hums close to Hoseok’s ear. “Got distracted.” He presses open-mouthed kisses along Hoseok’s jaw, up to the corner of his mouth. He draws his hand out of Hoseok’s shirt to place it on the side of his face, using his thumb to tilt his chin where he wants him. Hoseok’s eyes are closed when Jimin’s eyes flash upward to see.

 

“Remember this,” Jimin says softly against the edge of Hoseok’s lips. “Your first kiss with a man.”

 

“I will,” Hoseok whispers, and then Jimin kisses him.

 

He lets their mouths burn together, slow and wet and deep. Hoseok’s lips are chapped from the cold, warm and swollen from so much licking and biting, but they’re plush and soft. He tastes good, like smoke and spearmint, but his moans taste better when Jimin sucks on his bottom lip. He tips Hoseok’s head more with a hand on the back of his neck and gets a deeper angle as he slides his tongue in, tasting and licking inside. And Hoseok groans more, low and jagged, like he’s never been kissed like this before, like nothing’s ever felt so good. Jimin catches Hoseok’s tongue between his lips and sucks gently, and the hands on his hips push him down harder into Hoseok’s lap.

 

Jimin pulls away and Hoseok chases after for a second before letting his head fall back on the mattress. “Was that good?” he questions, a bit rhetorically.

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, nodding. “Really good.”

 

“You want more?” Jimin asks - again, rhetorically.

 

“God, yeah,” Hoseok sighs. “Fuck me up.”

 

Jimin grins, hand finding its way back under Hoseok’s shirt. “What happened to going slow?”

 

“Fuck it,” Hoseok growls. “Fuck going slow.”

 

With a chuckle, Jimin pushes Hoseok’s shirt up so his chest is exposed and he leans down, letting his breath wash over skin as he speaks. “What changed your mind, hm?”

 

“You - ” Hoseok stutters, “You’re fuckin’ - so hot.”

 

Jimin hums as he mouths at Hoseok’s chest, reveling at how easy it is to make him respond. Hoseok arches into his mouth, drops a hand onto the back of his neck and rakes his fingers through his hair. When he flattens his tongue over a nipple and then sucks, Hoseok makes a noise that’s somewhere between astonished and obscene as he pulls Jimin tighter into his chest by the back of his head.

 

“Ohmygod, I’ve never - ” but Hoseok doesn’t get to finish that thought because he gasps as Jimin moves lower, sucking kisses into his stomach.

 

“Good?” Jimin asks, just to check. Hoseok nods sluggishly, not tearing his eyes from what Jimin’s doing down by his hips. Jimin slides a hand up Hoseok’s thigh, stopping at the fullest part and giving a hard squeeze. He watches Hoseok’s face as he moves the hand up further and rubs over the front of his pants, feeling the outline of his cock.

 

“Oh, fuck,” Hoseok groans, thrusting lightly into Jimin’s hand.

 

“Mm, you’re so hard already,” Jimin comments, tonguing at the corner of his mouth.

 

“Are you?” Hoseok asks, concerned even through the fucked-out daze.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin replies with a nod. “Wanna feel?”

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok breathes.

 

Jimin moves back up to sit on Hoseok’s lap and grabs himself through his shorts. Hoseok’s hand comes up and hovers over his for a moment before touching lightly. Jimin pulls away and watches as Hoseok carefully presses his hand over the bulge of his cock, amused at the way his eyes widen as he feels the shape in his palm. His heart jumps in surprise when Hoseok reaches inside his shorts, closing a fist around his length and drawing it out.

 

“Oh,” Hoseok mumbles, eyes transfixed on Jimin’s cock, flushed and hard. Then he starts to move his hand up and down, thumbing at the slit.

 

“I like how this went from ‘go slow’ to you holding my dick in your hand, like, five minutes later.”

 

“You think it’s only been five minutes?”

 

“Fuck if I know,” Jimin mumbles, trailing off as he watches Hoseok try spitting into his hand a few times before finally getting enough spit to start jacking him off with more assurance. He lets his eyes fall shut and tilts his head back, rocking gently into Hoseok’s hand and letting his ass drag over Hoseok’s crotch with each motion.

 

“How’re you so sexy?” Hoseok asks, free hand reaching around and giving Jimin’s ass an experimental squeeze.

 

Jimin covers Hoseok’s hand on his cock with his own for more pressure. He leans back so his body is taut and stretched out, resting a hand behind himself and rolling his hips harder against Hoseok. “Can you picture me riding your cock like this?” he asks, eyes almost closed and mouth hanging open.

 

“Fuck,” Hoseok groans. “Fuck - yes. God , yes.”

 

Jimin takes hold of Hoseok’s hand then and moves it away from his cock, pulling it upward to his mouth. He rubs Hoseok’s knuckles against his lips, then sucks a finger into his mouth.

 

“Oh my god,” Hoseok gasps, fingertips sinking into the flesh of Jimin’s ass.

 

Jimin moans lightly around Hoseok’s finger and sucks it tight across his tongue, all the way in and back out. He does it a few times until Hoseok’s breathing is almost desperate, then he pulls it out with a wet pop. “Now can you picture me sucking your cock just like that?”

 

“Oh, fuck ,” Hoseok flat-out moans, tossing his head back in abandon and surrendering to the heavy breathing, the upward roll of his hips, the whimpers escaping his mouth.

 

“Mm, so pretty,” Jimin hums, leaning down and kissing Hoseok’s cheek. Hoseok turns his head to press their lips together, but Jimin slips his tongue out and licks the seam of Hoseok’s lips instead. “So sweet.”

 

Hoseok parts his lips effortlessly and tilts his head to the side to seal their mouths together. He’s getting hungrier, tugging on Jimin’s lips more insistently and trying to get deeper, kiss harder. Their mouths part with a light smack as Jimin pulls away, holding Hoseok’s jaw in his hand.

 

“Can I taste you?” Jimin asks, and Hoseok’s eyes flutter shut.

 

“Yeah,” he answers, reduced to a whimper.

 

Jimin leans back and helps Hoseok out of his pants, discarding them on the ground beside the bed. Hoseok goes for his underwear next, eagerness jittering in his hands as he drags them down and off. Jimin urges him to move up the bed with two hands on his hips before he sinks down on his stomach between Hoseok’s legs.

 

“Are you clean?” Jimin asks.

 

“Yeah, yeah - of course,” Hoseok says sincerely, nodding for emphasis.

 

“Okay,” Jimin says and takes Hoseok’s cock in his hand.

 

“Wait - you’re just gonna take my word for it?”

 

“Are you lying?”

 

“No,” Hoseok says, shaking his head quickly.

 

“Then yeah, I’m gonna take your word for it,” Jimin states. “I’m getting tested next week, anyway, so you’ll be on my list if anything comes up.”

 

“Oh,” Hoseok says, nodding slowly and sinking back down into the mattress. “You get tested all the time?”

 

“Every two weeks,” Jimin replies, still hesitating with his hand on Hoseok’s dick. “That change your mind?”

 

“No,” Hoseok assures.

 

Jimin can already tell Hoseok isn’t going to last long when he leans down and takes him into his mouth and Hoseok’s legs curl on either side of him, heels digging into the mattress. Which doesn’t matter either way to him, because his body is a little sluggish from exhaustion and the weed and time is a construct, anyway. He flattens his tongue against the head and gives a few slow circles, pulls off and licks down the sides to get it wet. He looks up and finds Hoseok being very still, hand pressed over his mouth and pointedly staring at the ceiling.

 

“What are you doing?” Jimin questions.

 

“Trying not to nut immediately,” Hoseok responds, like he’s letting out a breath he was holding.

 

Jimin laughs softly, shaking his head. “I haven’t even gotten started yet.”

 

“Well, this is gonna be embarrassing.”

 

“Look at me,” Jimin orders, and Hoseok does. He wraps his lips around Hoseok’s cock and sinks down, keeping eye contact and a steady suction. He pulls off, slaps the head gently against his tongue a few times for show and smirks at the way he can almost see the moment Hoseok’s soul leaves his body, and he then goes back down.

 

He’s going slower than usual, partly because he doesn’t want Hoseok to blow his load right this second, partly because he’s enjoying every broken noise pouring out of the man. He focuses less on going fast and more on thick pressure and keeping it nice and slick. It seems to give Hoseok time to acclimate, his moans drawing out a bit lower and hoarser, his hand running through Jimin’s hair a bit less wild, fingertips massaging slowly into his scalp.  

 

“Oh god, that’s good,” Hoseok says darkly, eyes trained on Jimin’s mouth.

 

Jimin hums, mouth too full to do much more than that. He doesn’t think Hoseok would last long with deep throating, so he sticks to tonguing at the underside as he bobs his head at an agreeable pace, toying at the head every so often. He runs his hands over Hoseok’s thighs, appreciating the lean, wiry muscles and how they flex with Hoseok’s aborted thrusts. When Hoseok’s moans get high and breathy, he eases off and presses sloppy kisses down the length, past the base until he gently tongues at his sack. It earns a different type of moan from Hoseok, one that tells him this part feels new. It spurs Jimin on with curiosity as he tests what kinds of noises Hoseok makes when he sucks there, rolls his tongue around in wet circles.

 

All of it works Hoseok up so easily, and he makes such sweet sounds, voice a bit on the raspy side. Most men try to contain the noises, or they dull them down to restrained grunts or deep groans. But Hoseok lets them fly free, however whiney or needy they sound - no matter the pitch or tempo, no matter how choked or hiccupy.

 

A thought occurs to Jimin and he pulls away, still stroking Hoseok with an even grip that slides seamlessly now with all the spit he’s worked up. “Wanna try something?” Jimin questions.

 

“God, anything,” Hoseok says. “Whatever you wanna do to me.”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows jump at that slightly. He doesn’t think Hoseok knows the full implications of a statement like that, but he likes the enthusiasm. He sticks one of his own fingers into his mouth to wet it and then reaches down, pushing one of Hoseok’s legs up by the underside of his knee. He leans over and seals a few wet kisses against the inside of his thigh, nipping gently at the pliant skin there and feeling how Hoseok twitches from it. He takes Hoseok’s cock back into his mouth, working up to a rhythm. When he’s pulling fluent moans from Hoseok’s chest again, he trails his wet finger down and finds his perineum.

 

“Oh,” Hoseok says lightly, but nothing more as Jimin massages the skin there with his knuckle.

 

He pulls off and adds more spit to his finger before going back down, timing his next downward suck with the push of his finger into Hoseok’s hole. Hoseok wiggles for a second, eyes widening as he lets out a confused little noise, then he quickly loses himself to the slide and pull of Jimin’s mouth around his cock. Jimin gives him a few moments to adjust to the feeling, which - judging by the reaction - is the first time he’s ever done anything like this. Then he thrusts deeper, curling his finger purposefully as he works to keep Hoseok occupied with his mouth.

 

“Y-you’re gonna put more in?” Hoseok stutters.

 

“No, just this one,” Jimin answers. “Unless you want more.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head, cheeks absolutely rosie and lips glistening and kiss-swollen. “Seems like - like it might hurt.”

 

“It’s not supposed to,” Jimin says.

 

“Is it… good like that?” Hoseok asks.

 

“It’s really good,” Jimin answers, cock resting momentarily against his cheek. “I can show you one day, if you want.”

 

“Yeah, maybe, um, some other time,” Hoseok says, nodding quickly.

 

Jimin hums agreeably. “You’re gonna come really hard from this.”

 

Hoseok closes his eyes and sighs dreamily. “I’ve already accepted my fate.”

 

Jimin flashes him a grin before he goes down on Hoseok’s cock for what he’s going to make sure is the last time before he makes him come. He lets Hoseok hear all the filthy slurping noises, plays up a choked sound when the blunt head of his cock hits the back of his throat. He checks every few bobs of his head that Hoseok is watching him, or at least doing his best to watch through eyes pinched in pleasure, head tossed back in ecstasy. He crooks his finger deeper inside, and Hoseok lets him know he’s found what he’s looking for before he’s even aware of it with a loud, strangled moan that gets caught in his throat.

 

“Oh, fuck, what the fuck was that,” Hoseok splutters, gasping as his body practically vibrates. Jimin rubs at his prostate again, and Hoseok writhes , mouth hanging wide open but no sounds coming out for a tight, strained moment. Then, when something breaks or snaps in him, when he tips over the edge, a wild noise bursts out of him and he claws at the blanket, fingers tugging at Jimin’s hair, pulling his head down as his hips roll upward.

 

Jimin takes it greedily, letting Hoseok buck into his mouth and never letting up the pressure on his prostate. He wishes Hoseok weren’t being so gentle, almost asking permission to grab his hair and fuck his mouth. He kind of wants to see Hoseok take it, take what he wants - fuck hard into him, hold him down like Jimin’s mouth is his to use. He makes sure Hoseok knows he loves it, loves when he lets go and cries out, thrashes, squirms, thrusts, pleads. He lets him know in the way he moans like a slut around his cock, sucking hard and fast and wanton like he can’t get enough, like just the taste and fullness in his mouth is going to get him off any second now.

 

“Jimmm -Jimin.” A moan hiccups out of him and his brain stalls out momentarily. Then, panting, warning, “M’bouta come.”

 

The moan that escapes Jimin is more like a growl as he pulls, sucks, pushes Hoseok closer to the edge. He wants his reward - he wants Hoseok coming hard, crying out his name for corrupting him like this, for giving this to him and ruining him. He pushes - hard, fast, relentless - until he gets what he wants, until Hoseok’s legs are squeezing around him, moans ripping out of him, orgasm pulsing through his body in merciless waves. He pulls off and takes Hoseok’s come on his face, letting it splatter his tongue and lips and cheeks so Hoseok can look down and see what he’s done.

 

Hoseok blinks at him blearily, somewhere at the very end of it all washing over him, and then he collapses and melts into the mattress. Jimin moves upward to join him, wiping his mouth on the back of his arm and drying his hand on the blanket. He kneels across Hoseok’s waist, grabbing his chin and silently ordering his attention.

 

Hoseok watches, drunk and mesmerized, as Jimin makes quick work of the come on his face, wiping it off with his fingers and lapping them clean.

 

Jimin leans down then and claims Hoseok’s mouth in a spit-slick, scorching kiss, mouths slipping and sucking and making messy, damp noises. He dips his tongue into Hoseok’s mouth so he can taste his own come there, and Hoseok whimpers - spent, pliant, wrecked. He gasps into Hoseok’s mouth when a hand closes around his cock, and he breaks the kiss to lean back and give him space.

 

“Spit on your hand,” Jimin instructs, and Hoseok obeys quickly. There’s probably ten different types of lube in this room alone, and Hoseok’s still having trouble working up enough saliva, but Jimin likes the primitiveness of just spit and hard work. He likes the idea of christening Hoseok’s first time jacking someone else off like this, this kind of unpolished, down and dirty task - an initiation of sorts.

 

Hoseok smears his hand through the precum at the head, adds more spit until he can stroke up and down smoothly. His gaze alternates between Jimin’s face and his cock as if he’s making sure he’s doing a good job. Jimin thinks it’s cute, since it’s kind of hard to screw up a handjob, but it’s endearing. So Jimin encourages him with light moans, a gentle rock of his hips to show he’s enjoying it.

 

“That’s good, baby,” Jimin breathes. “Just like that.”

 

“I can - I can do it with my mouth, if you want.”

 

Jimin chuckles, leaning over Hoseok and dropping his weight onto his hands on either side of his shoulders. “I’m too horny to try and walk you through a blowjob right now.”

 

Hoseok nods, and Jimin takes his chin in his hand, pressing his thumb into his lips.

 

“This is good,” Jimin says. “Make me come like this.”

 

Hoseok opens his mouth and mumbles an okay , and Jimin’s thumb slips in. Eyes falling closed, Hoseok slides his tongue over the pad of Jimin’s thumb and lets it rake over his bottom row of teeth.

 

Jimin hums as he rubs his thumb over Hoseok’s lips, watching how they give and pull. “You have such a pretty mouth,” Jimin says, licking his own lips.

 

Hoseok swallows, eyes still closed. Then he asks, voice breathy and trembling slightly, “Are you picturing my mouth on your cock?”

 

Jimin folds over, face pressed into Hoseok’s neck as he groans. “Oh, you little shit,” Jimin says through a dark, lustful laugh. “Acting so innocent, but you’re a dirty bitch, aren’t you?”

 

Hoseok laughs too, his free hand sliding up Jimin’s back as he still works his other hand on Jimin’s cock. “Didn’t know I was ‘til tonight. Promise.”

 

“Mm, I like that,” Jimin says, teeth on Hoseok’s earlobe. “So you’re like my dirty bitch.”

 

“Oh, god,” Hoseok breathes. “Oh, god that - that’s so hot.”

 

“Pull up your shirt.”

 

Hoseok scrambles to oblige, yanking his shirt up until it’s bunched under his armpits. “Like this?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says, leaning back. “I’m gonna come on your chest.”

 

“Fuck, yes,” Hoseok groans, hand pumping faster.

 

“Stay like that,” he orders, and Hoseok nods quickly, biting his lip. He wraps one hand around Hoseok’s to show him how he likes it but lets his other hand wander, over his own body to tease himself, down to toy with the band of his shorts that are bunched down under his sack. He puts on a show, lets this be as much part of the pleasure as the blowjob for Hoseok, and it seems to be working based on the ravenous way Hoseok’s eyes follow his movements.

 

His orgasm starts to build and he gives in to the urge to rut his hips, lets the breathy whines fall past his lips and his eyes squeeze shut. His imagination runs rampant with filth, supplying him with every possible way he can think of to fuck Hoseok or get fucked by him, to suck him off or get sucked. His mind has them naked and entwined, Jimin bent over to take Hoseok’s cock from behind or on top of him, riding his face. Images of Hoseok’s face painted in come, of those hands gripping Jimin’s ass as he pounds into him, of the look on his face when he takes a cock for the first time.

 

“Oh fuck, I’m coming,” is the only stilted warning Jimin gives before he blows, come splashing in ropes across Hoseok’s bare skin, a few stray pearls landing as far up as his shirt. His body gives one last shudder as he breathes deeply to catch his breath.

 

“Whoa,” Hoseok says, looking down at the mess on his body. “That was awesome.”

 

Jimin sends him an impish, knowing grin because he appreciates the compliment, but he’s not quite done yet. He dips down and flattens his tongue under the fattest drop of come on Hoseok’s stomach, lapping it up into his mouth.

 

Hoseok’s brain seems to short-circuit, jaw hanging slack as he watches Jimin finish the rest in a few neat swipes of his tongue.

 

Jimin lets some of it pool inside mouth - he’s used to the taste of his own come - and leans up, taking Hoseok’s face in one hand and looking to his eyes for permission.

 

Hoseok barely hesitates, tipping his head back and holding his mouth open nice and wide as Jimin makes the exchange. His eyebrows furrow, probably at the flavor, but a broken noise comes out of him as Jimin seals their mouths together, licking deep into his mouth.

 

He makes sure all the come is sucked from their lips and lapped from the inside of their mouths, until only a faint bitter aftertaste remains. Then he kisses Hoseok more, just because it feels nice and Hoseok is so delightfully malleable and so sweet, so warm and soft underneath Jimin’s mouth and hands. He doesn’t taste like spearmint much anymore; he tastes like sex and come and ambrosia, like want and revelation.

 

When he’s finally sated and content, Jimin rolls off to the side and onto his back, stretching out and giving a happy sigh.

 

“Oh my god, I’m gay,” Hoseok says suddenly, tickling Jimin with laughter.

 

“This doesn’t mean you’re gay,” Jimin states, reaching down and tucking himself back into his shorts. His body is ready for sleep now, muscles and brain ready to boot down for the night.

 

“Bi then, maybe,” Hoseok suggests. “I’m something .”

 

“Maybe,” Jimin sighs, blinking sleepily at Hoseok as he turns and joins their gazes.

 

“Man,” Hoseok groans. “I still gotta get home. It’s fuckin’ late.”

 

“Mm’just gonna stay here,” Jimin mumbles, already turning over and getting comfortable.

 

“Okay,” Hoseok says, rolling off the bed and going to grab his stuff. “Hey, that was - that was fuckin’ awesome.”

 

Jimin grins up at him to watch him slip his arms into his jacket, throw his backpack on over his shoulder. “That was just a little sample.”

 

“Don’t I know it,” Hoseok says, smiling wide. He looks like he’s about to ramble out the door for a moment, but he suddenly hikes a knee up on the bed and leans over to Jimin. He plants a clumsy kiss on Jimin’s cheek and then withdraws, face bright red as he turns around to leave. “I’m - I’m gonna go. See you around, man.”

 

“Bye,” Jimin says with a soft laugh, right before the door closes after him.

 

His walls, he thinks again, are definitely too thin around this one.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

There’s blood on his hands.


There’s blood on his hands that’s not his and he can’t stop them from shaking even to light a fucking cigarette.


He doesn’t even understand why he’s so bent out of shape. He’s seen fights before. He’s seen people get their ass kicked. He’s even gotten into a few tussles before, taken hits to the face and dealt a few himself. He’s seen busted noses and black eyes and broken arms, stitches and bruises and bandages.


He’s never seen someone beat the shit out of someone else who was completely defenseless. Not with that kind of look on their face - not uncontrolled rage, blind and red and explosive, but a look of eerie calm, eyes black and almost unseeing. And then Taehyung - more shock than fear in his wide eyes as Sangchol wrenched his head back with a fist in his hair, reared back and just -


Beat the shit out of him. Wailing on him, barely blinking as he watches his fist hit someone else’s face. And then the look on his face after - like he was annoyed Taehyung had fallen down and hit his head on the sidewalk. Like it was an inconvenience that Taehyung made him do this, like Taehyung’s blood on the ground was just another problem he’s got to take care of.


Hoseok had been stunned - that’s what he fucking does because he’s a useless fucking idiot - he just fucking froze. Just watched it happen quicker than he could even remember to breathe. By the time he’d even fully registered what happened, Sangchol was barking at him to get this shit cleaned up , only he wasn’t looking at the blood, he was looking at Taehyung when he said it.


get this shit cleaned up


shit cleaned up


Hoseok’s hand is claimed with cold and anxiety as he grasps a cigarette and puts it in his mouth. He reaches for his lighter and fumbles, unable to get his goddamn fingers to work, too numb and trembling. He clicks it a few time, scraping his thumb on the metal wheel until it breaks the skin and almost throwing the thing at the ground in a frustrated outburst. He finally calms down, takes a few deep breaths and then holds it in so he doesn’t put out the flame as he lights his cigarette.


Then he sees it, the blood stains on his cigarette -


Taehyung’s hair is so light, almost white, the blood had just soaked right into it, staining it brilliant red, almost beautiful in the most fucked up way -


He throws the cigarette at the brick wall and scrubs his hands on the front of his jeans.


Just then, the side door bursts open and there’s a rapid clicking of heeled shoes on the concrete. Jimin - body nearly naked, wearing only a skimpy stripper’s outfit - steps out of the alcove and into the streetlight. He’s got these cheetah-print cat ears clipped in his dark hair, which might make Hoseok poke fun if he weren’t violently sick to his stomach.


“Hoseok,” Jimin says, voice cutting clear and bright through the night calm. “I heard something went down out front - ” his voice drops as his eyes fall to Hoseok’s chest, the blood splotched on his clothes and smeared in fingerprint streaks down his pants. “What the fuck - what happened?”


“Sangchol just-just beat the shit out of someone,” Hoseok stammers.


“What?” Jimin takes a few steps closer, a wrinkle between his brows as he shakes his head in confusion. “Who?”


“One of - one of you guys. A host.”


Jimin’s eyes get wider. He looks like he doesn’t want to ask the question - “Which one?”


“T-Taehyung.”


The name has barely left his mouth before Jimin is on him, fisting the front of his jacket and shaking him once, jarring a gasp out of him. “Where is he?” Jimin demands. The look in his eyes is hard, wild. It’s almost like he doesn’t even recognize Hoseok beyond the turbulent thoughts and scenarios wracking his mind.


“I took him upstairs. To his room,” Hoseok replies weakly, and Jimin immediately lets go and shoves away, heading for the door. Hoseok fixes his jacket where it’s bunched in the front from Jimin’s hands.


Fuck ,” Jimin hisses, and then he’s gone, the metal door slamming behind him and pitching the street back into quiet.


Hoseok takes a shaky breath and then slumps against the wall. He slides down, brick scraping into his back until he’s sitting, hunched over with his head against his knees as he just tries to breathe.


He doesn’t know how long he sits like that - how many cars slowly pass in front of him or how many times the street lamp to the far left flickers. He thinks about going to Jiyoung’s, but he hasn’t even made any money tonight - not a single tip. He’s got to get his shit together, got to pick himself up and get back to the front. He doesn’t even know who’s running cars right now - whoever it is must be pissed.


He thinks about Taehyung, curled up in a ball on some type of shitty bed-looking thing, like something they might use in the military. He’s seen camping equipment that looked more comfortable than the thing Taehyung called his bed. And the bars on the windows - to keep criminals out, or to keep innocent people in? Is this a prison - not the unconventional prostitution setup Hoseok thought it was - but an actual hell for these people? Was this normal - were all people who sell their bodies subject to violence, to being treated like shit that had to be cleaned up ? Hozed off the sidewalk so paying customers don’t have to look at the mess? Are they trapped here? Can they leave if they want to? Do they want to?


There are tears drying on his cheeks by the time the side door opens again, another set of footsteps clicking closer to him. Someone kneels beside him and there’s a feather-light touch on his shoulder.


“I heard about what happened - are you okay?”


He looks up at Mihyun’s face, delicate features pinched in concerned.


“Ah, you’ve got blood all over you,” she says, frowning. “You can’t go back up there looking like that.”


“I’ll, I’ll go home and change real quick,” Hoseok mumbles.


Mihyun is already shaking her head. “I already had someone cover for you for tonight. Go home and take the night off.”


“But I haven’t - I haven’t made any money tonight.”


“We’ll get together and split tonight’s tips, okay?” Mihyun offers. “You should go home. It’s not very busy tonight, anyway.”


Hoseok searches her eyes for a moment, seeing something knowing and kind in them. “Okay,” he murmurs, shifting around to get ready to stand up. “I’m just gonna - I think I’m gonna go make sure he’s okay.”


“You know your way upstairs?” Mihyun questions, stepping back as Hoseok gets to his feet and brushes his pants off.


“Yeah - yeah, I was just up there earlier,” Hoseok says. “Thanks.”


“No problem,” she says. “Go home and get some rest. Try to have a good night off.”


“Yeah, I’ll try.” He follows her back to the side door and she takes off back toward the lounge ahead of him. He cuts through to the stairwell, head tucked and hat low on his head as he sneaks through the door and starts up the flight of stairs.


He almost gets lost in the hallways upstairs, but he remembers Taehyung walking him through how to get to his room. He finds a door he thinks is right and -


There’s a bloody handprint on the door handle. His handprint. He knocks on the door softly, checking the hallways are clear as he waits to see if anyone answers. There’s motion on the other side, and a light comes on under the door moments before the handle clicks.


Jimin stands before him, yellow light from inside the room pouring from behind him. His eyes look tired and he seems smaller than Hoseok is used to - no heels, standing a bit folded in on himself, arms crossed over his chest. He’s swimming in a loose sweatshirt, legs bare the rest of the way down and toes pressed into the chilled laminate.


“I just wanted to check on him,” Hoseok says softly.


Jimin steps aside and gestures for him to come in, the long sleave of his shirt covering his hand.


Hoseok steps past him into the room and sees Taehyung lying on his bed - cot, camping bed thing , not a real bed - facing the opposite way. His form is still but moves gently with his breaths.


“He’s asleep,” Jimin says, almost a whisper and closer in proximity than Hoseok had been expecting. “I cleaned him up and gave him some pain pills. Looks a lot worse than it is.”


“I’m sorry,” Hoseok whispers, staring at the point of Taehyung’s shoulder under a soft-looking shirt.


“Why are you sorry?” Jimin grumbles, voice edging around irritation.


“I didn’t even do anything,” Hoseok says. “I just stood there and watched.”


“What would you have done, huh?” Jimin questions. He crosses in front of Hoseok and goes to sit on another bed - his bed, if Hoseok isn’t mistaken. He vaguely recognizes the spot-printed getup from earlier, bunched up and tossed on top of an overflowing suitcase wedged up underneath the cot. “You would have just gotten your ass kicked, too.”


“I dunno,” Hoseok mumbles. “Maybe I could have stopped him before he hurt him.”


“Nah,” Jimin says, shaking his head. “He wanted to beat the shit out of someone. He wanted to pick on someone weaker than him. He was gonna do that whether you stepped in or not.” Jimin says the words like they’re all too familiar to him, like he’s said or thought them plenty of times.


“Taehyung’s your friend?”


“Yeah.”


Hoseok is starting to piece things together. “He’s the one you were talking about. The one that’s got a thing for a client.” He knows exactly which client, too - it’s not like it hasn’t been obvious.


“Yeah,” Jimin confirms. “Why else do you think Sangchol did this to him?”


“I don’t know,” Hoseok says. “Didn’t seem like he had a reason at all.”


“Taehyung got a pretty bad complaint,” Jimin continues. “Something about not even pretending to enjoy himself while he was with a client. One of his regulars.”


Hoseok’s eyes drift back to Taehyung as he listens.


“He’s never been cut out for this,” Jimin says, head low as he runs a hand through the front of his hair. Then he rests an arm on his knee, his other hand coming up to fidget with the silver hoops in his right earlobe.


“I wish - ” Hoseok can’t quite get the thought out. He chews his lip before he tries again. “I wish there was something I could do to help.”


“There’s not,” Jimin states as his eyes are focused on Taehyung. “Unless you’ve got some magical way to get him the fuck out of here, there’s nothing you can do.”


Hoseok’s chin falls to his chest. He looks at the blood stains, the wrinkles in his clothes and the worn holes in his pants that weren’t there when he bought them.


He feels… useless.


“I, um,” Hoseok mumbles, rubbing the back of his hand across his mouth. “I should get going.”


Jimin looks up at him for a moment but doesn’t say anything.


Hoseok takes one last look between the two of them and then leaves.





The door to the apartment closes behind him as he steps inside to toe his shoes off. He looks around and sees the living room light is still on, an empty pizza box left open on the coffee table and beer bottles strewn across nearly every flat surface. He shucks his jacket and tosses it on top of his duffle bag by the end of the couch, pulling off his hat and combing a hand through his hair.


He wonders if Jiyoung has some sort of laundry cleaner to get the blood stains out of his clothes. These are one of his few pairs of jeans and one of only two jackets he owns. He doesn’t know if he can stomach something to eat, so he dusts the ash off the couch and sinks down into the cushion, relieved to finally get his weight off his feet.


He hears the bedroom door click and then Jiyoung pads into the room, houseshoes silent on the carpet.


“You’re home early,” Jiyoung says, stepping around and sitting on one of the armchairs. Her face is pallid and her hands are jittery, her jaw twitching when she’s not talking.


She’s on something.


“Something happened at work,” Hoseok explains. “They told me to go home.”


She shifts in her seat, tugging at the bottom of her nightgown with her boney hands until the hem stretches so far it loses its shape. “So - so you didn’t get no - didn’t get any money tonight? You didn’t get any money then?”


“No,” Hoseok replies, unable to look her in the face when she’s like this.


“Now I told you - I told you bring me money. I told you t’bring me money , Hoseok,” she stammers, voice lilting upward as she starts getting worked up. “How you gonna - gonna pay rent? How’re you paying for rent this month, huh? Donghyun wants’ta - Donghyun and I wanna know how you’re gonna pay us.”


Hoseok rubs a hand over his face and folds over, elbows digging into his thighs. “I don’t have anything right now. I’ll get you the money, okay?”


“No-no - it’s not okay,” Jiyoung says, shaking her head almost comically fast. “Not okay at all. You gotta get outta here. You need to leave.”


Hoseok looks up at her then, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. He sees the hardness in her eyes - the resolution in them. She’d been waiting up for him - she’d known he wasn’t going to have the money. He swallows around the lump in his throat and clamps his mouth shut, lips pressing into a thin line. His hands wring together in his lap as he takes in a breath.


“Tonight?” he finally asks, an edge of hope to his voice that maybe Jiyoung will remember him - remember how he’s called her auntie almost his whole life, remember him coming over to play with Hyejin for years and years. Remember him taking her daughter to school dances and cheating off of each other’s homework because Jiyoung never really minded as long as they were sort of learning something. Maybe she’ll remember how he still came over after school even after Hyejin was gone to help Jiyoung around the house because laundry was piling up on the bedroom floor, trash was overflowing in the kitchen, no more mail would fit in the mailbox and it was just strewn across the welcome-mat.


But Jiyoung doesn’t remember that, because if she did, she wouldn’t say what he knows she’s going to say - what she does say.


“Now.”


He rubs his hands over his legs, over the rust-colored stains, broken-in denim soft under his palms. He clears his throat and stands up.


“Okay,” he says.


He packs his things. Outside, he drops his skateboard to the ground, a duffle bag slung over each shoulder, knit cap pulled down over his ears.


He pushes off, not quite sure where he’s headed except for somewhere else .





The register zips closed and lets out a ping as Mihyun holds up a stack of cash, a grin on her face.


Hoseok holds out his hand as Mihyun counts the money into his palm.


“There we go,” she says, eyes arching cheerfully. “Now I have change and you’re not carrying around a bunch of singles like a stripper.”


Hoseok laughs and folds the bills. “Thanks,” he says, tucking the cash into the front pocket of his jeans. “And thanks for the food. Really. It was amazing.”


“No problem at all,” Mihyun says with a smile. She’s let her hair down for the night, rolled the sleeves of her button-down up to her elbows and kicked her heels off. Hoseok always thought the staff dress code was kind of funny - bouncers and attendants walking around in pressed suits and the hosts slinking around in g-strings and hotpants. “It’s one of my mom’s recipes. She never actually taught me how to do it step-by-step so it took some practice to get it to come out right.”


“First thing I’ve had that didn’t come out of a microwave in like a month,” Hoseok says. “I really appreciate it. Thank you for everything.”


“You did make sure the bed was made and all the lights were out when you left, right?” she asks as she sorts the other stacks of cash on the countertop.


“Yep,” Hoseok replies. “All clear. Like I was never there.”


“Good,” she says with a short nod. “I asked around and one of my friends told me they’ve been looking for someone to split rent with. I can text you his number if you want to talk to him.”


“Really?” Hoseok questions, brows raised.


“Really.” She sets a stack of bills on its side and taps it against the marble countertop, straightening it out into a neat stack. “He doesn’t live in the best part of town, but it’s better than nowhere.”


“Yeah - yeah, for sure,” Hoseok agrees. “Thank you. Seriously, thank you.”


Mihyun rolls her eyes lightheartedly as she wraps a rubber band around the stack and sets it to the side with the others. “You don’t have to keep thanking me. It’s really not a big deal.”


“I’ll stop thanking you when you stop doing nice things for me,” Hoseok says, leaning on the counter with a dopey grin.


Mihyun’s cheeks turn slightly pink as she clears her throat and ignores the comment, continuing on to count out the next stack of money. “What about tonight? Do you have a place to stay?”


“Got it covered,” he says with a thumbs-up.


“Thank god,” she sighs. “I kept worrying the housekeepers were going to find you squatting upstairs and rat you out to Mr. Park.”


Hoseok chuckles a bit nervously. “Oh, yeah - me too. Every time I heard someone in the hall I almost had a heart attack. But I’m good for the night.”


“Alright,” Mihyun says as Hoseok pushes off the countertop and heads for the front door. “See you tomorrow night.”


“Yeah, see you. Take care,” Hoseok calls as he heads outside.


He lights up a cigarette he’d bummed from one of the bartenders earlier and pockets his lighter. He pulls out a set of car keys and turns them over in his palm, looping the keyring around his finger and giving it a twirl as he heads for the parking garage.


When he gets to the garage, he finds the SUV by clicking the lock button on the key fob a few times. He hops into the back seat and yanks his shoes off, tossing them over his shoulder to land on top of his bags he’d stowed away in the trunk earlier this evening. He crumples his jacket up under his head for a pillow and tugs the other one tighter around his chest as he shifts around on the seat to get comfortable.


He doesn’t even have time to think about how cold it is or how cramped his legs are before he crashes.





The next day, he’s parked at the side of the club in the SUV, his bags stowed away in the back as he works to come up with some sort of cover story in case someone sees them back there. He’s been waiting outside the club for half an hour, yawning and rubbing sleep from his eyes as he waits for whoever he’s supposed to be driving next.


He finally sees motion through the passenger window and looks up, recognizing Taehyung’s blonde hair immediately and masking his surprised nervousness as he realizes Jimin is right next to him. He sits up straighter in his seat as Jimin comes to the front seat of the car and Taehyung goes to the back, both yanking open the doors and closing them at almost the same time.


“Hey,” Jimin says, avoiding meaningful eye contact.


Hoseok offers a smile and then turns to look over his shoulder at Taehyung. “Hey. You doing okay?” he asks, trying not to stare too long at the purple shiner and split lip.


“I’m alright,” Taehyung says, doing his best to return the sentiment with a mild, flat-lipped smile.


“The clinic,” Jimin says as he checks his hair in the visor mirror.


“Got it,” Hoseok replies.


The ride is mostly quiet, only one or two short conversations between Taehyung and Jimin about their plans for this evening. Something about Taehyung having to clean the “Diamond suites” and Jimin adamantly stating he’s going to help against Taehyung’s protests. And then something about Jimin getting booked for a “new trick” tonight, which is about where Hoseok completely tuned out.


At the clinic, Jimin hops out of the car and lets the door slam shut behind him without so much as a glance Hoseok’s way.


Taehyung lingers in the back seat for a moment, and Hoseok turns around to see what’s holding him up. Taehyung is looking at him, one eye wide and the other a bit glassy as he peers through his puffy, swollen lids. “Thank you,” Taehyung says without looking away.


Hoseok blinks in confusion, brows lightly drawing together. “For what?”


“For helping me to my room,” Taehyung replies. “And for coming to check on me.”


“Ah,” Hoseok says, frowning a bit. “It’s, uh, it’s no big deal. I didn’t really… do anything.”


“Thank you anyway,” Taehyung says.


Hoseok nods once, offering a smile. “Sure. Anytime.”


Taehyung moves to get out, hand paused on the door handle. Then, before he opens it, “Jimin isn’t going to say it, but he’s thankful, too.”


Letting out a small, breathy laugh, Hoseok can’t help but toss a glance at Jimin through the car window where he stands outside the clinic, hip cocked and a miffed look on his face. “It’s really nothing. I wish I’d actually been some kind of help, but uh, I was pretty useless.”


“Sometimes just being there is enough,” Taehyung says. He pushes open the car door, letting in cold air as he steps out. “I’m not sure how long this is going to take. You might want to get comfortable.”


Hoseok grins with a light shrug. “I’ll make do.”


Taehyung nods, offering one last, soft smile, and then closing the door. Hoseok watches him join Jimin as they both head through the front doors of the clinic before pulling the car around into a parking spot.


As he settles in for the indefinite wait, he thinks about how he’s gotten pretty good at getting comfortable.





That night he’s bundled up in two different blankets and thanking every god in the universe for whoever invented the futon. It’s a vast improvement from the backseat of a car - even if there’s a streetlamp pouring light in from the broken blinds and the home is so quiet he can hear the downstairs neighbors arguing and a baby crying somewhere in the distance. He can even hear when the guy in the apartment right next to him flushes his toilet or blows his nose.


But he’s in heaven - an actual, real-life pillow under his head and enough room to stretch his legs out straight. It’s even better than Jiyoung’s couch, even smells cleaner - a lot less like stale weed.


Mihyun had really pulled through on that friend she’d said was looking for a roommate. The guy seemed easygoing enough - just a broke guy desperate for someone to help pay the bills. Hoseok had been too embarrassed to admit he couldn’t remember the guy’s name - he doesn’t even remember a single syllable. But he’d been nice, offering Hoseok the empty guest room and even letting him use the futon that was in there already and some bedding. Now it’s just a plain white room with a black, lumpy futon against one wall and Hoseok’s duffle bags in the middle of the floor.


Jiyoung has been calling him since the night she’d kicked him out. Each time she’s either in hysterics, crying about how Hyejin would never forgive her for this, or she’s yelling at him about owing her more money for back-pay on anything she could think of - utilities, rent, groceries, the haircut she’d given him two months ago in her kitchen.


So when his phone rings, he lets out a groan and shoves the pillow over his head.


He tries to ignore it, but ultimately he snatches the phone off of the floor and checks out the caller ID. It’s an unknown number, one he doesn’t recognize.


“Hello?”


Hoseok?


“...Jimin?”


Yeah, ” Jimin says, voice hushed. “ What are you doing?


“Um… sleeping?”


Jimin sighs into the line. “ Then why’d you answer?


“I didn’t recognize the number,” Hoseok grumbles.


Oh, ” Jimin says. Something doesn’t sound right in his voice.


Hoseok sits up, the blanket falling from his chest. “Is something wrong?”


No, ” Jimin answers quickly. “ I was just - nevermind. Go back to sleep.


“No - no, it’s fine,” Hoseok assures. “What’s up?”


Jimin seems to think for a moment, only the sound of a faint intake of breath after a long moment before he speaks. “ I was gonna see if you wanted to come hang out.


“Right now?”


No, let me grab my calendar and see when I can pencil you in, ” Jimin snips. “ Yes, now.


Hoseok gives a giggle under his breath. He’s already up, digging out a pair of joggers to pull on. “Alright, alright - damn. What is this, a booty call?”


Maybe if it was the other way around.


“How so?” Hoseok says, amusement bubbling in his voice as he works his feet into his shoes one-handed.


I’m the booty and you’re the plug, ” Jimin explains, as if that makes perfect sense. “ Of the drug-dealing variety, not the anal kind.


Hoseok snorts a laugh, face heating up. “You know I’m broke as shit, right?” he questions. “I can’t afford ‘the booty’ and I damn sure ain’t a plug.”


Jimin laughs at that, slow and alluring as he changes his tone. “ I’ll make it worth your time and your weed.


“Oh yeah?” Hoseok says, voice going dark and husky without his permission. “How’re you planning on doin’ that?”


Why don’t you come here and find out, big guy?


Hoseok feels his dick twitch just at that and almost chokes on his own spit. He awkwardly laughs it off as he pulls on his jacket and digs around for his wallet in his mess of clothes. “So this is a booty call.”


Maybe, ” Jimin hums. “ Maybe I just don’t feel like being alone right now.


Hoseok pauses at that, hand clasped around the width of his wallet. “Everything okay?”


Everything’s fine, ” Jimin states, but Hoseok can practically hear the walls going up around him in his voice. “ Just come to the club. I’ll meet you outside.


“I’ll be there in a few,” Hoseok promises.


Okay, ” Jimin breathes. “ Bye.


Hoseok ends the call and makes a mad dash for the front door.





Jimin is waiting inside and pushes open the door for Hoseok as soon as he walks up and reaches out for the handle. He wordlessly takes Hoseok by the wrist and ushers him to the stairs, not letting go until he’s halfway up the first flight. Hoseok follows behind like a duckling, feeling a mixture of confusion and excitement and worry.


Jimin is wearing a soft, fuzzy red sweater and tight black jeans that are more cut-up holes than denim. He looks and smells so good already and Hoseok’s barely gotten close to him, but he knows he’s wearing that same musk cologne and he’s freshly showered, hair still slightly damp with a few natural waves in the longer pieces on top. He leads them to the second floor, down the hallway to the same private room as last time. He still hasn’t said anything, the only sound from him the faint footfalls of his canvas shoes on the hall floor.


Nerves set in as soon as Jimin punches in the code and the door swings open. He disappears into the dark, not needing to see where he’s going - probably from having navigated these rooms so many times before. A second later, a lamp clicks on and Jimin is standing by the bed, not quite looking at Hoseok but not quite avoiding his gaze. Almost like he’s aware Hoseok is there, but he’s lost in thought, somewhere off in the midnight ether.


“I just brought a few joints I already had rolled.” Hoseok shifts nervously on his feet.


“That works,” Jimin says, taking a seat on the bed and fixing Hoseok with an unreadable look.


Last time had been so much easier. He’d been high and horny as hell, trying and failing to not gawk at Jimin’s body all night, trying not to get caught up in those seemingly sweet brown eyes. And Jimin had been so different than he’d expected - so patient and calm, like he was trying to make it good for Hoseok. Talking like he wanted to do it again, talking like this could be a thing they do.


And Hoseok - Hoseok has been taking Jimin’s advice in being avoidant of thinking about it too much. He’d fucked around with a guy and he thought maybe it would bother him more but he can hardly bring himself to care because it had been mind-blowing . Thoughts of heart-shaped lips and muscular shoulders and dancer’s legs have been fueling every sleazy fantasy he’s had since that night.


So last time had been easier to slide into, but that’s not going to stop this time from happening. Because if there’s one thing he knows - it’s that he wants to do that again. A hundred times over. He kind of wants to jump into the bed with Jimin and let him devastate him for days on end, take him anywhere, show him everything . And tonight Jimin is gazing at him from the bed with this look in his eyes that could mean anything and Hoseok could probably wither away, melt straight through the floorboards.


Jimin’s face softens into a laugh as he gestures at Hoseok. “Why do you look like you think I’m about to murder you?”


“Sorry,” Hoseok says, trying to shake it off with his own weak chuckle. “Just - um, just nervous I guess.”


“You? Nervous? No way,” Jimin says sarcastically as he kicks off his shoes.


“Yeah, I know, so out of character,” Hoseok kids, taking off his hat and raking his hands through his hair until he can only hope it’s presentable. Then he shrugs off his backpack and jacket, retrieving the plastic baggie of joints.


Jimin stands up then and his hands start working at the front of his pants. Hoseok must make some kind of unintentional noise because Jimin snorts. “I’m just getting comfortable. Chill.”


“Oh,” Hoseok says eloquently. “Cool.”


Jimin pulls his pants down and kicks them off his ankles. When he stands up, his sweater falls too far down his thighs to tell what he’s wearing underneath. Hoseok pretends like he’s not extremely interested in finding out as he looks anywhere but at all the smooth skin on display. He loses actual brain cells when Jimin turns around and crawls onto the bed, stretching out on his stomach and kicking his feet up, crossing them at the ankles.


Not really sure what else to do with himself, Hoseok sinks onto the edge of the bed farthest from Jimin and starts praying. “How’s Taehyung doing?” he asks, kind of impressed with himself for coming up with the question in his current state of mental chaos.


Jimin’s finger is in his mouth as he nibbles on one of his nails. “Sangchol’s got him grounded but he’s fine.”


“That’s good,” Hoseok says, nodding.


“Mhm.”


Hoseok shifts around to sit fully on the bed as he tries to look somewhere that isn’t directly at Jimin’s ass. He busies himself picking out a joint and lighting it up, making sure the cherry burns evenly. He helps himself to the first hit, coughing a bit as he exhales at the ceiling. “Has anything like that ever happened before?”


“Not to one of us,” Jimin answers. His eyes go almost crossed as he inspects one of his nails. They’re painted bubblegum pink now, trimmed short and round. An assortment of rings are on his fingers, Hello Kitty on his pinky and a cobra circling an index. “I knew he had a temper because I’ve seen him be a real dick to some of the people around here. And I knew he was violent because he’s been known to throw shit around and break stuff.”


“But he’s never hit anyone before?” Hoseok questions.


“Oh no, he has,” Jimin says simply. “Just not me or Taehyung.”


“Oh,” Hoseok says, but before he can add another question, Jimin wiggles around on the bed and changes the subject.


“Anyway,” Jimin sighs. “I’ve been having to pick up the slack since Tae’s benched. He’s got this one client that only likes him because he’s tall. I had to wear these fucking stupidly high heels and now my feet hurt like a bitch.”


Hoseok gives a sympathetic look. “That was tonight?”


“Mhmm,” Jimin hums as he watches Hoseok take a second hit. He rolls over onto his side and his sweater rides up his thighs a bit. “Wanted me to keep them on the whole time.”


“And I bet that’s not even the weirdest thing a client’s ever asked you to do,” Hoseok muses.


“I wish,” Jimin groans. He takes the joint when Hoseok offers it to him, taking a deep rip and then devolving into a fit of coughs. Then when he’s settled down, eyes a little glossy, he says, “It’s weirder when guys tell me they’re in love with me.”


“That’s it?” Hoseok says with a disbelieving laugh. “That’s the weirdest thing that comes to mind?”


“Well, I do have this one regular that has a thing for my armpits.”


Hoseok stares for a moment and Jimin bites his lip like he’s trying not to laugh. Then Hoseok bursts out laughing, hand clutching at his stomach. “No fucking way,” he gasps, a tear forming at the corner of his eye that he wipes away with a finger.


“And this other guy - ” Jimin continues, trying to talk through his own giggles - “He doesn’t really ask for sex that much. He just likes to watch me eat.”


Hoseok sucks in air and simmers down, exhaling heavily. “That’s not that weird.”


Jimin shrugs and takes another hit, smoother this time, breathing out smoke through the ring of his lips. “Most of the clients here are pretty boring. Lots of old men. The ones with freaky kinks get filtered out during the application process.”


“Hm,” Hoseok ponders. “Bet some of ‘em lie on their paperwork.”


“Sometimes,” Jimin says. “But it’s usually just something they’re embarrassed about, like wanting me to dress up and act like a girl or pretend I’m their high school math teacher. Stupid stuff like that. The real crazy shit happened before I came here.”


“Back when you were on the streets?” Hoseok questions as Jimin passes the joint.


“Mhm. There weren’t rules back then. Or security guards,” Jimin replies. He bends a leg up, dragging the cuff of his sweater sleeve in circles over his knee.


“You seem kind of grateful to be here,” Hoseok comments, following the movement of Jimin’s hand with his eyes. There’s a peak of yellow underwear, high up on Jimin’s leg that he eyes curiously as he takes a hit.


“I am.”


Hoseok’s eyes flick back to Jimin’s face and he can’t help but gape slightly. “Even after what Sangchol did to Taehyung?”


Jimin’s face hardens, upper lip curling slightly. “That’s the first time he’s ever done anything like that.”


“What if he hurts you?”


“Can’t be any worse than anything I’ve already dealt with,” Jimin mumbles.


“That’s…” Hoseok shakes his head, inhaling, “kinda scary.”


“Why?” Jimin questions, almost sounding annoyed.


“He could hurt you and you’d just… take it,” Hoseok elaborates.


Jimin huffs. “You seem to think I’d have some kind of choice.”


A word gets caught in Hoseok’s throat. His head drops down and his shoulders slump over a bit. “Sorry. I guess I forget you’re not here by choice.”


“Are any of us?”


Hoseok doesn’t know to answer to that, so he quietly offers the joint back to Jimin and then jostles around until he’s lying flat on the bed. He stares at the lamp, watching the flurries and rings the light makes in his vision as the weed starts setting in and his mind begins to feel airy and cotton-candy light.


“None of that would have happened if Tae hadn’t been stupid enough to fall for a trick.”


Hoseok turns his head to take in the almost-pout on Jimin’s face. “I take it you’ve never done that before.”


“Not even close,” Jimin says with a snort. “It’s like with any other job. You have to keep your life separate from work.”


“People fall in love with people they work with all the time,” Hoseok contends carefully.


“It’s not the same,” Jimin states. “The clients here can ruin our lives. They can literally have our asses beat by bitching to someone about a subpar fuck. You don’t go around making friends with them and catching feelings for them. They don’t need anything else to hold over our heads.”


“Maybe Taehyung couldn’t help it,” he says with a shrug.


“God, you sound just like him,” Jimin sighs. He takes one last, long hit and then leans over to set the joint aside in an ashtray. He exhales and then turns to look at Hoseok pointedly. “Have you chilled out enough to fuck yet?”


Hoseok feels his face burning, his gut flopping over inside him. His instinct is to laugh it off, but he realizes quickly that Jimin is serious and swallows it. “You - you really want to?”


“That’s what you came for, isn’t it?” Jimin questions a bit dryly.


“We really don’t have to.”


Jimin narrows his eyes at him. “So do you or do you not want to fuck?”


Hoseok must be beet-red from his ears to his chest. “I mean - only if you want to.”


“I want to,” Jimin states. “I wouldn’t have called you to come all the way here if I didn’t want to.”


“Makes sense, I think,” Hoseok mumbles.


Jimin raises his eyebrows at him, waiting. “So?”


“Yeah, I definitely want to,” he says.


A soft look blooms over Jimin’s face as he slides his hand across the mattress. He reaches out with his index finger and hooks it under the bracelet on Hoseok’s wrist, sliding it around and toying with the clasp. “What do you wanna do?” he murmurs, lashes fluttering.


Hoseok stares wide-eyed at Jimin for a moment, trying his best to come up with an answer that sounds smooth or confident. Because there are a million things that come to mind, a lot of which don’t really have anything to do with being in bed or being naked, but only a few of them that might be acceptable answers. So he lets Jimin take his hand and guide him gently across the bed without a word. They both scoot together until Jimin’s breath hits his collarbone where his head is tipped down, hair tickling Hoseok’s jaw.


His heart is pounding and he’s already getting wound up from being this close to Jimin, but his breathing is deep and even. Time starts to do that funny thing where it feels like it doesn’t run in a straight line, only this moment right now, this moment that starts running like a old-time projector clicking through photo stills. Jimin’s hand is still on his, fingertips pressed into his palm and he feels it, like really experiences it, the cells and fibers that artfully compose this delicate thing in his hand. Jimins pulls their hands to his chest so Hoseok can feel the downy texture of his sweater, the heartbeat that’s not really much slower than his own. The red knit fabric under his hands seems brighter, the stark white blanket emitting its own luminescence.


And then Jimin tilts his face upward and his lips, faintly sticky with some kind of sweet-smelling balm, touch Hoseok’s jaw as he says, half of a whisper, “I’m all yours tonight.”


Hoseok can only imagine what other spellbinding words Jimin must spin for clients, can only hope some of the pretty things he says hold some type of truth. But the words work because Hoseok is a hopeless fool, and he feels a surge of confidence as he reaches across and smooths his hand up the outside of Jimin’s thigh. It feels only right, because he hasn’t really been able to look anywhere else since those criminally tight pants came off. He slides his hand down to the bend of Jimin’s knee, amazed at how soft the skin there is.


Jimin’s breath hiccups slightly in surprise when Hoseok lifts his leg and slips underneath it, flattening himself against Jimin’s front. His leg winds around Hoseok’s waist on instinct and Hoseok contains a groan he wants to let out at the sensation, just the thought, the possibility of being naked and wrapped between Jimin’s plush thighs, muscles flexing around his hips and an eternity of soft, gorgeous skin.


He squeezes the muscle in the middle of Jimin’s thigh, thumbs and fingers pressed into the give of skin as he moves higher. He reaches the hem of his underwear and doesn’t stop, sliding underneath and grabbing a handful of ass, earning some sort of aborted noise as Jimin pushes back into his hand.


Jimin licks a thick, wet line up his throat then, groaning as Hoseok gives another squeeze of his hand and then withdraws to feel around more. There’s something curious about the underwear, something about the fit and the way they hug Jimin’s hips.


“Are these women’s panties?” Hoseok blurts out, feeling the front waistband where it sits down low on Jimin’s tummy.


“Mmhmm,” Jimin practically moans against his neck.


“Shit,” Hoseok breathes. “Why’s that so hot?”


“You like them?” Jimin asks as his hand starts to wonder up the back of Hoseok’s shirt.


“Yeah,” Hoseok says, and it’s embarrassing he’s this fucked up on the idea alone. “Lemme see ‘em.”


Jimin rolls onto his back and pulls the sweater off over his head and tosses it. He arches and gives a demure grin as Hoseok takes in the sun-yellow hipsters, white seams designed to mimic men’s briefs. Jimin’s half-hard cock is taking up a lot of space the tight material wasn’t meant to accommodate. Hoseok almost laughs, but it comes out more like a groan as he pushes Jimin’s legs apart and climbs on top of him.


He sinks down until they’re connected chest to hip and tries not to rut into the warmth, tries not to whimper when Jimin’s legs wrap tight around him. He tries, but he fails. Because next thing he knows, Jimin is gasping as Hoseok grinds down onto him, buries his face into his neck and lets out a low, delirious sound.


“You can’t fuck me with all these clothes on,” Jimin breathes into his ear.


“Fuck, I bet I can.”


Jimin laughs, but he’s tugging at the bottom of Hoseok’s shirt. “If I have to be naked, so do you.”


“Done,” Hoseok says, sitting up and yanking his shirt off as Jimin starts tugging at his waistband. He’s in the middle of kicking his pants off when Jimin reaches into the front of the panties and starts stroking himself, watching with a mirthful smirk as Hoseok struggles against his teetering state of inebriation to get undressed.


“You want me to leave these on?” Jimin questions, hips rolling purposefully into the motion of his hand.


“I want you to never take ‘em off, ever,” Hoseok says, finally getting out of his pants with a triumphant huff and climbing back between Jimin’s legs. He doesn’t shy under Jimin’s heavy gaze between his legs, but he shudders at the way Jimin licks his lips at the sight.


“I bet I can change your mind about that,” Jimin hums, winding an arm around Hoseok’s neck. His hands are warm but the metal rings on them are cool as he runs his hands down Hoseok’s back, down and down to palm Hoseok’s ass and drag him closer.


“Please change my mind,” Hoseok says, grinning as he leans down and presses a kiss to the corner of Jimin’s mouth.


Remember this, Jimin had said, as if Hoseok could ever possibly forget. He’s been hung up on this mouth ever since - these sinfully sweet kisses, feeling phantom tingles like Jimin left some sort of electrical current behind everywhere he’d touched. He slants his mouth over Jimin’s and kisses away another gasp when he rolls his hips down again, withholding his own groan when his cock rubs across cotton fabric.


He hasn’t decided what’s better - being underneath Jimin, feeling his weight holding him down or being on top and being wrapped up him up, getting pulled in by him. Nothing about Jimin is modest in what he wants as he grabs and pulls - the back of Hoseok’s neck, his arms, his shoulders and back. He kisses Hoseok with no intention of breathing, no intention of letting up until they have to part and pant against each other’s mouths. And then he reels Hoseok right back in, tasting his top lip with his tongue and then switching to the bottom. It’s so much more kissing than Hoseok expected, but it’s a welcome surprise because Jimin’s mouth is some type of nirvana.


Jimin gives a soft moan in his throat when Hoseok reaches under and wrenches the hem of the panties up and sideways, grabbing hold of his asscheek again once it’s exposed. Hoseok is growing acutely aware he’s developing some type of fixation as he kneads the flesh in his hand and lets his fingertips trail lower, following the crease of Jimin’s thigh. He sort of likes how restrictive the panties are - too tight to get everywhere he wants, teasing him like he’s not allowed to touch there yet because they’re in the way.


Two hands come to each side of his face and turn his head sideways, Jimin’s tongue flattening and licking the shell of his ear. Then, right there , right in his ear, “You can put your fingers in me.”


“Sh- shit ,” Hoseok hisses as his hips stutter and something deliciously harsh shoots down his spine. “Whatta ‘bout lube?”


“I’m already wet,” Jimin purs, doing filthy things to Hoseok’s earlobe with his mouth and then tonguing his way down lower to the ridge of his jaw, the tendons in his neck. “Got ready for you while you were on your way here.”


Hoseok buckles at the ideas flooding his mind - Jimin bent over or spread out and taking his own fingers, biting his lip and thinking about Hoseok and getting ready for Hoseok’s cock. He moans and Jimin meets it with a devious little laugh but he shouldn’t be laughing because Hoseok could probably pass out or die at any second with this information.


“Oh, you must’ve liked that,” Jimin says, pointedly rolling his hips up and grinding their cocks together through the fabric of his panties.


“Fuck,” Hoseok says because it’s the only coherent word he can think of right now.


“Mm, you like that, baby? You like that I fucked myself open with my fingers and put these panties on just for you?”


“Oh my god, Jimin , christ,” he says with an imploring edge because this man has got to stop or else Hoseok’s going burst and end their fun way too soon. He follows with the only logical thing he can think to do next and slips his fingers into the panties, fumbling for just a few seconds before he finds Jimin’s hole, slick and ready as promised. When he pushes his finger inside, Jimin lets out a pleased little whimper and sucks harder at his neck, hard enough he’s probably going to start leaving marks and all Hoseok can think is god just fuck me up . He can’t really get a great angle, but his dick is throbbing at the slick wetness sucking at his finger, and god he has got to get his breathing under control because he must sound crazed, ravenous, debauched .


“Tell me, baby,” Jimin whispers. “Do you like eating pussy?”


“Hhah- what ?”


Jimin giggles into his neck and Hoseok pulls away to look at him. “It’s not a trick question.”


Hoseok blinks a few times and he’s just kind of paralyzed there with his finger in Jimin’s ass and their dicks pressed together and he has no idea why Jimin is asking a question like that. “I mean - yeah?”


“What about ass - have you ever eaten ass?”


Hoseok’s entire brain stalls out.


Jimin starts laughing and pets his hair, pushing his bangs up off his forehead. “Oh no, I think I broke him.”


“Shit, is that an offer?” Hoseok finally blurts out.


“More like a request,” Jimin hums. “You want to?”


There’s only one correct answer to that: “ Fuck yes.”


“Good,” Jimin purs. “I used flavored lube, so get to it, big guy.”


Hoseok leans back on his heels, looking down at Jimin as he’s still waiting for his brain to reboot.


Jimin latches on to it as a sign of hesitation. “You don’t have to.”


“No way in hell I’m gonna pass on that.”


Jimin’s eyes hold him for a moment as something vaguely akin to fascination passes over them. “It’s easier if I turn over,” Jimin suggests, thumbs hooking into the waistband of his underwear.


“No,” Hoseok says, pushing Jimin’s hands away. “Leave ‘em. For now.”


An unholy grin stretches Jimin’s lips at the words. “There’s my dirty bitch.”


Hoseok laughs lightly as he pushes at Jimin’s legs, urging him to turn over until he does. Then he watches as Jimin draws up to his knees, chest low to the mattress and back dipping, muscles carving out smooth divots along his spine. Hoseok gives a longing sigh and starts his hands’ path low on each of Jimin’s thighs, sliding up and over the round swell of his ass and then down the slope of his back. One of Jimin’s hands lay next to his face as he mouths at a knuckle, cheek pressed into the comforter.


“God, you’re sexy,” Hoseok breathes without thinking about it. He slips his middle finger under the hem on Jimin’s right asscheek and pops the elastic. Then he leans forward and mouths at the line where skin meets fabric, letting his tongue slide under and not really caring if he leaves wet splotches. Jimin pushes his hips back, letting out a soft noise as Hoseok’s mouth travels down and across the fabric, nuzzling over his sack and breathing warm air out as he goes.


Hoseok’s stoned brain slowly realizes how close to uncharted waters he’s drifting, and excitement and anticipation thrum throughout his entire body, heavy and molten. He reaches up and grabs at the waistband of the panties, pulling hard until they come down and then stopping once they’re around Jimin’s thighs.


“God,” Hoseok says. He swallows and if his mouth wasn’t so fucking dry from the weed, he’d salivate at the sight. He shifts down lower on the bed and takes one of Jimin’s asscheeks in each hand, watching the way the skin whites out under the press of his thumb and then bounces right back when he lets up.


“In your own time,” Jimin grumbles, wiggling on his knees slightly.


“Shit, sorry,” Hoseok breathes. “Can’t stop looking at you.”


Jimin lets out a small, frustrated whine. “C’mon, you can look later.”


“Yeah, yeah,” Hoseok says, leaning in and parting Jimin’s asscheeks. “I got you.”


And then he flattens his tongue and licks a long, thick line and Jimin mewls and arches his back even deeper. Hoseok groans and immediately goes back for more, switching to tight circles around his hole, trying to get the tip of his tongue inside and groaning again when he gets that taste.


“Yeah, baby, just like that,” Jimin is saying as he’s rutting back on Hoseok’s face. Then he’s reaching back, planting a hand on the back of Hoseok’s head and pulling him in and Hoseok is letting out a broken, muffled noise. “Suck on it, baby. Yeah , like that - just like that. Good boy, baby, good boy .”


Hoseok takes every bit of it, takes every word and every push and pull and just wants more . Jimin’s hand is insistent on the back of his head, blunt nails raking his scalp and fingers bunching in his hair. It’s a suggestion, not an order, but Hoseok takes that, too. His fingers sink into full-flesh hips, maybe even too hard but Jimin isn’t phased, and he uses the grip to move him how and when he wants. He loses himself somewhere between mind and matter where seconds and minutes are obsolete, where he measures time in moans and space itself is in the radius of their bodies and the sweltering air around them.


“Oh, fuck me baby, fuck me,” Jimin whines, voice lost in a high register and cracking on his vowels. Every muscle in his body pulses with need - pink fingernails clawing the blanket, shoulders and back fluctuating in shallow waves, thighs tightening and releasing all in clockwork time with the give and take of Hoseok’s mouth.


At some point in his invented time-space continuum Hoseok pulls away and Jimin’s hand falls from his head to join the other as it roots to the mattress and grabs a fistful of comforter. He shoves a finger into his own mouth to wet it and then finds Jimin’s hole and pushes it inside unceremoniously. Jimin’s ass swallows the finger, sucking it in and twitching around it before Hoseok pumps it in and out a few experimental times just to see what happens when he does it. Jimin sighs softly in temporary relief and Hoseok takes it as a go-ahead to push in a second that slides in as easily as the first.


He’s not even doing any real stretching. He’s staring with this dumbfounded look on his face at the obscene image of his fingers, slick and wet and glistening, fucking in and out of Jimin.


“Mm uh , Hoseok, look later ,” Jimin growls.


“How am I gonna see this later?”


“I’ll let you watch me do it for fuck’s sake,” Jimin rasps.


He gives a pensive hum. “You drive a hard bargain.”


“Mm’gonna fuckin’ kill you.”


“Before or after I fuck you?”


Jimin lets out a royally frustrated noise and Hoseok laughs and gives him a firm few pats on the ass.


“Chill, I’m getting there,” he promises.


“You’re getting cocky,” Jimin warns. “Lube’s in the top drawer on the nightstand, you little shit.”


Hoseok clambers off the bed and finds that Jimin must have idiot-proofed it for him, the bottle of lube being the only thing in the drawer. As he’s climbing back up the bed, Jimin peels the panties off his legs and pitches them over the side of the bed. Then he’s in position, hands and knees, as he looks back and watches Hoseok snap open the bottle of lube and slick up his cock.


“Mm, god, yeah,” Jimin sighs wantonly, fixated and staring as Hoseok kneels behind him, cock in hand.


Without the inhibitions of sobriety, Hoseok gives into impulses and temptations so easily. A hand smacked across Jimin’s asscheek that earns him a kittenish squeak, the little jiggle he gives it before smoothing his palm over the fading redness. The heavy thump of his cock as he taps it a few times against the cleft of Jimin’s ass before aligning it with his hole. The way he teases the head around the outside to see what kind of profane noises and curse words Jimin throws at him.


And then he’s pushing inside and Jimin is moaning something like god yes baby more but Hoseok can’t really hear past the slow rush of blood in his ears, can barely see past hooded eyes and the dark haze haloing his peripheral. He watches in frames of stop motion as his hips seat against Jimin’s ass, his hands make stop-go-stop lines up and down Jimin’s back. And his mind is stalled out trying to think of the word to describe the feeling of being inside, coming up with words like euphoria , heaven , bliss but none seem dirty enough, none can quite convey the lewd sublimity of it all.


They slip away from time again when Hoseok pulls out and pushes back in. Jimin lasts the first few thrusts on his hands, then buckles to his elbows and only makes it three or four more, and then he’s all the way down until his face is on the mattress and Hoseok puts a hand between his shoulder blades to hold him there and that’s where he starts losing count. The air is smoke and sweat and liquid moans, the clap of their skin and the creak of the bed. Jimin is honey-sweet filth; Jimin is the convergence of oh baby please don’t stop and fuck me right you dirty bitch.


Hoseok stops, pulls out, grabs Jimin’s hips. “Turn over.”


“Ohh- uh , Ho seok , just keep fucking me like this.”


“Wanna see you.”


Jimin’s giggle floats through the room as he rolls over onto his back a bit drunkenly and then pulls his legs up to his chest. “So cute, wanting to see my face while you fuck me,” he teases, biting his lip as Hoseok realigns his cock and wastes no time pushing back in.


“How could I not want to,” Hoseok mumbles, jostling Jimin around until he’s in a good spot and then starting up a rhythm.


“Mm, am I pretty, baby?”


“So fuckin’ pretty,” Hoseok admits, unashamed.


Jimin giggles, then he slurs, eyes closing, “So sweet.”


Hoseok pauses and fumbles around until he finds the bottle of lube lost in the folds of the blanket. He spurts some on his hand and then takes hold of Jimin’s cock, eliciting a string of praise and sighs. Like this, he can see the sheen of sweat on Jimin’s neck and chest, can even lean forward and lick it. He can hike Jimin’s leg up with an arm under the crook of his knee, fold him over and throw them into a headlong pace.


“Is it - is it good?” Hoseok stutters between thrusts.


“So good, baby, it’s so good,” Jimin purs. He lifts his hand and smooths it over Hoseok’s cheek, reaches around and snags the back of his hair. “I can show you how good it is sometime.”


Hoseok nods. “M’not - not gonna last much longer.”


“You gonna come for me, baby boy?”


“Y-yeah,” Hoseok pants.


“You gonna come in this ass?”


Hha -yeah, yeah - I’m - ”


He comes.


Mouth gaping open, hips rutting and chasing his orgasm, eyes screwed shut and release suffusing in waves through him. He empties inside Jimin and then returns to his body, remembers how to breathe as he sucks in air and how to see as he blinks down at Jimin spread so beautifully underneath him.


“Good boy,” Jimin is saying, panting, cheeks and chest red and eyes like glass.


Hoseok regains his grip on Jimin’s cock and starts pumping and Jimin groans, runs out of dirty things to say and reverts to half-uttered obscenity and short, pitchy whines.


“Oh, oh baby, I - ” He sucks in a shallow gasp, eyes pinching shut. “Oh. Ohh .”


His cock throbs hard in Hoseok’s hand as he comes, wet drops slapping and streaking both their chests and stomachs. He sucks in air through his teeth and then lets it out in one last, low grunt and then he’s spent.


Hoseok sighs as he pitches his body sideways, falling onto his back and bouncing a little as he hits the mattress.


“Holy fuck.”


He looks over at Jimin, whose eyes are closed in a sleepy smile as he reaches his arms out over his head in a catlike stretch. Then he opens his eyes just enough to peek through them at Hoseok with the same woozy smile in place.


“You said you brought more weed, right?”





A spirit of smoke curls and blurs Jimin’s ink-black splotch of hair, cast against the pencil-gray ceiling. In the light from the window, because they’d decided darkness was better than lamplight for some forgotten reason, it’s dark, too dark to see his eyes or face. Only an infinity of skin washed in moonlight, and only the red cherry fire, a shooting star across a monochrome nebula of peaks and shadows.


Jimin finishes the hit and then tilts his head back, blows it to the ceiling. The sound the rush of air makes as it leaves his body, his lungs, his lips, is fascinating. His hips move in languid circles on Hoseok’s lap, knees sunken into the bed on either side of his waist.


He’s closer to knowing the number of breaths Jimin has taken since they started their second round than how many minutes or hours or eternities they’ve been at it. He thinks it’s definitely been a while, because the pressure that’s built up is so much and it’s so tight, an overwhelming ache in his lower stomach. They’re moving torturously slow, melting and flowing into each other. Partaking corporeal pleasure in introspective silence at a godforsaken, dragging pace. When he has a truly coherent thought, it’s that this is going to go down in his personal history as one of the most surreal nights of his life.


Jimin holds Hoseok’s jaw steady, thumbs and fingers pressing into his cheeks. The cherry of the joint arcs across Jimin’s torso again as he brings it to his lips with his other hand, breathing in deep.


Then he’s leaning down, and Hoseok’s lips readily part as Jimin exhales the smoke into his mouth. He breathes it in, lets it bathe his lungs before he lets it out.


“Good boy.”


Jimin’s hand slides to his neck, lightly circles around his throat. Then it moves down, thumb dipping into the hollow of his throat.


“Such a good boy.” Jimin’s voice bleeds into the smoke-stifled space between them, deeper than Hoseok’s ever heard it before, almost husky in its intent. “So eager to please me. So sweet.”


He leans down, lets his tongue dip into Hoseok’s mouth to taste. Hoseok sighs a soft moan into Jimin’s mouth as he seals their lips together. Jimin pulls away.


“Mm, yeah, so sweet.” Jimin sits back, resuming the agonizing pace he rides Hoseok’s cock with. “You like giving me what I want. Right, baby?”


Hoseok nods, rolling his lips together at the tingling Jimin has left behind again.


“Mm, I like that. I like that a lot, baby boy,” Jimin says, nodding slowly. Then he stills, and then he’s shaking his head instead. “I don’t get that a lot, though. It’s always about that they want.”


His voice is growing and he’s finally starting to pick up the pace, and Hoseok lets out a relieved groan.


“They think they’re in control ‘cause they get to tell me which way to bend over and take it or ‘cause I do what they tell me to do. Or ‘cause I pretend to beg for their cock and let ‘em think they’re really giving it to me,” Jimin continues. “But they’re wrong.”


Jimin’s short little tongue clicks perforate the air as he tuts, his hand hot as he strokes Hoseok’s chest. “They’re so wrong,” he says, even louder, “ I’m the one in charge. They came to see me. They pay to fuck this ass and it’s my mouth they want on their cock.” He lets out a laugh as he says his next words with an affected tone of dramatization. “This is my domain. I am the gatekeeper. I hold the holy grail.”


He looks down at Hoseok then, strokes his cheek and then pushes the sweaty bangs off his forehead. “ I ,” he says, drawing the word out, “...am their messiah.”


There’s a smile in his voice as he says the last word. His thumb peels back Hoseok’s bottom lip, draws a line from the point of his chin to the hinge of his jaw. He tucks a lock of hair behind Hoseok’s ear as he giggles faintly. His breath starts coming unevenly as he builds up to a faster pace, bouncing lightly up and down on Hoseok’s lap.


“How’d you like that speech, baby boy?” Jimin asks shakily and takes another hit.


“I-I’m gonna come.”


Jimin blows the cloud of smoke into Hoseok’s face. “You’re damn right you are.”


Hoseok moans once, and then he comes.





 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

The clicks of his stilettos echo in the quiet hallway as he makes his way to his room. He pushes open the door, mildly surprised to see the light is on and Taehyung is awake.

 

Taehyung sends him a bored look from where he’s lying on his bed, flipping through a fashion magazine. “How’d you manage to avoid getting booked for the night?” he questions, dampening  a finger on his tongue and turning to the next page. His black eye is still fresh and swollen, an angry shade of purple, and a deep red line cuts the swell of his busted upper lip.

 

“Kept getting calls for private dances,” Jimin states. He starts working at the collar around his neck first, working the leather through the buckle and then pitching it onto his pile of clothes.

 

Taehyung hums and then goes back to reading.

 

“I met someone interesting tonight,” Jimin says impishly.

 

“Oh yeah?” Taehyung murmurs, not even glancing up.

 

“Mhm.” He sits down on his bed to start working at the fasteners of his boots at the tops of his thighs. “Real young guy. Very sexy but kinda grouchy.”

 

Taehyung looks up at him then, eyes narrowed.

 

Jimin finally gets his first shoe off and lets it fall to the floor. “He was kind of jacked, too. Probably a gym rat. But he did have this, like, baby face - ”

 

“You saw Jeongguk?”

 

Jimin gives a mock-surprised gasp. “That’s his name! How’d you know?”

 

“What did you do?” Taehyung questions, hands tightening on the pages of the magazine.

 

Laughing, Jimin stands and undresses the rest of the way, finally free of the all the straps and tight leather. “We talked and I gave him a lapdance.”

 

The irritation on Taehyung’s face - jealousy - is amusing to no end. Taehyung doesn’t take the bait, though, and just goes back to pretending to be reading.

 

“Relax,” Jimin sighs. “I didn’t toss his salad or anything, christ.”

 

“I wasn’t accusing you of anything,” Taehyung states, voice unconvincingly calm.

 

Jimin digs around in his suitcase and starts compiling an outfit, laying the pieces on his bed as he talks. “I mean, I kind of wanted to see if he would , but he was pretty dead set against it. Guess he really is into you after all.”

 

“You would have fucked him to prove a point.”

 

“Of course,” Jimin states. “But his head’s as far up your ass as yours is up his, so he wasn’t going for it. Though I’m pretty sure I gave him a semi.”

 

“God, fuck off,” Taehyung mumbles.

 

“Lucky for you, I was already planning on it,” Jimin says as he pulls on underwear and a pair of jeans.

 

“Off to fuck the valet boy, then?” Taehyung questions, utterly uninterested.

 

Jimin smirks as he pulls on his shirt. “Told you nice guys like to fuck.”

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes and closes the magazine, setting it aside. He pulls out a mirror and examines his eye, gingerly touching the fainter bruising around his cheekbone. “I’ve never been so ugly in my life.”

 

“Don’t lie to me. I’ve seen you in a bowl cut,” Jimin says with a snort as he goes into the bathroom to check his hair and freshen up his makeup. “Don’t you want to know what Jeonggukie and I talked about?” he calls, grinning at the annoyed sound Taehyung makes.

 

“If I must,” Taehyung replies half-heartedly.

 

“He’s serious about getting you out.” When Taehyung doesn’t respond, he continues. “I told him to go find my old dealer from back when we were with Jungsoo.”

 

“Why would you do that?” Taehyung questions, voice bleeding with irritation.

 

“He can get us fake papers,” Jimin states, cleaning up his smudged eyeliner and blotting away shine with powder. He reshapes his hair with some hairspray and then spritzes on plenty of cologne before coming back out of the bathroom.

 

Taehyung is sitting up now, running an exasperated hand through his hair. “Jimin, I don’t want him trying to help me. He’s going to end up getting hurt.”

 

“If he gets you out of here, why do you care if he gets hurt?” Jimin questions, shrugging on his parka and pulling the fur hood over his head.

 

“Because I just do,” Taehyung says.

 

“Well, you shouldn’t,” Jimin states. “If you wanted him to stay out of your business, you shouldn’t have told him in the first place. But it’s a bit late for that, so you might as well take advantage.”

 

“I hate how you made that sound,” Taehyung sighs.

 

“Why? It’s reality,” Jimin says as he zips up his jacket. “What have I always told you? You come first. Always.”

 

“This is different,” Taehyung states. “This could ruin his life or get him killed. It’s not worth it.”

 

“Again - if you get out, what does that fucking matter?” Jimin says with a disbelieving laugh.

 

“You don’t understand.”

 

“Then enlighten me,” Jimin says, hands on his hips.

 

“You don’t know how to care about anyone but yourself,” Taehyung states with the sort of level tone that says he’s thought about this before plenty of times. “You don’t get it because you think everyone here is out to get you and you don’t trust anyone. You don’t know anything about caring if people get hurt.”

 

“Why is it a bad thing to care about myself?” Jimin argues. “You’re so damn worried about some asshole that wipes his ass with fifty-thousand won notes and pays to fuck you that you’ve somehow forgotten he’s the reason you got your fucking ass kicked.”

 

“That wasn’t his fault.”

 

“And what’s he gonna do about it, huh?” Jimin questions, lip raised in a snarl. “Buy you a fuckin’ Gucci ice pack?”

 

Taehyung shakes his head, heaving a defeated sigh. “You don’t know anything about love.”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says, turning to leave. “I’m gonna fuckin’ keep it that way, too.”

 

The slam of the door reverberates through the hallway as he makes for the stairwell, taking the stairs at a light jog and then shoving through the doors of the side exit. Outside, a car idles on the curb, white smoke billowing from the exhaust. He goes straight to the passenger side, ducking into the seat and slamming the door shut behind him.

 

“Hey,” Hoseok says with a dopey grin.

 

And as hard as Jimin tries to be irritated, as pissed off with Taehyung as he is, that grin eases something in his chest and he rolls his lips together to stop a smile. “Hey,” he says instead, “when do you have to give the car back?”

 

“My friend let me borrow it for the night.”

 

Jimin turns to look at him then, arm propped on the center console. He tries for a sweet smile, drumming his fingers on his cheek lightly. “Did you bring me something nice?”

 

Hoseok pulls something out of his jacket pocket. He holds up a plastic baggie with a handful of rainbow gummies at the bottom and gives it a little shake.

 

Jimin takes the bag, pocketing it. He purses his lips and reaches over to take Hoseok’s chin in his hand.

 

Then, in the most suggestive voice he can manage:

 

“Good boy .”



On some rooftop on the other side of town, as far as they dared go from the club, they’ve been giggling and swapping war stories for over an hour. It’s freezing and they’re both pink from the cold, fingers numb as they pick at a takeout pizza from where they lie sprawled next to each other on the hard concrete.

 

“He made us watch all these videos and stuff so we wouldn’t sound like uncultured street rats in front of these, like, fuckin’ millionaire clients,” Jimin is saying.

 

“Like in My Fair Lady ,” Hoseok supplies.

 

Jimin turns to look at him, eyes narrowed playfully. “What’re you doin’ watching movies like that?”

 

“Hyejin, my friend,” Hoseok says, “she loved Audrey Hepburn. She used to make me watch all kinds of movies with her.”

 

“No shit?” Jimin says with a thoughtful frown, mildly impressed.

 

Hoseok laughs. “Why can I, like, physically see your opinion of me getting better?”

 

“Because here I thought you were an uncultured street rat,” Jimin says, giggling.

 

“Hey, I never claimed I wasn’t,” Hoseok says, propping his arms behind his head and looking up at the night sky. “Don’t set your expectations too high.”

 

“They were never very high to start with, if that takes off some of the pressure,” Jimin teases.

 

“Oh, thank god,” Hoseok says, chest rattling with his laughter. “I feel so much better now.”

 

Jimin turns away to smile at the sky, too. He’s been smiling so much in the past hour his cheeks hurt, but it’s probably just because it’s cold. And it’s got to be the edibles. He hadn’t had much, and he doesn’t even feel that high. But he’s never had them before so it’s different.

 

Right?

 

“Oh, oh!” Hoseok says excitedly, “Just thought of another question about your sexcapades.”

 

“Shoot.”

 

“Do any guys ever make you call them ‘daddy’?”

 

Jimin snorts. “A better question would be ‘do any guys ever not make me call them daddy.’”

 

“I don’t,” Hoseok hums, matter-of-fact.

 

“You’re not a client, dumbass.”

 

“So I don’t count for anything?” Hoseok says, sounding a bit disappointed.

 

“What do you want, a participation trophy?”

 

“Oh!” Hoseok gasps. “I just thought of another. Do you have to do, like, BDSM stuff?”

 

“Oh, loads ,” Jimin replies, rolling his eyes.

 

Hoseok makes an intrigued sound. “You don’t sound too stoked about it.”

 

“It’s not my thing,” Jimin admits. “There’s a line where it just gets to be too much for me to really enjoy it.”

 

“Ah,” Hoseok says in understanding. “I don’t think I could do that stuff if I were you.”

 

“I mean, it can be kind of fun,” Jimin muses. Then, as Hoseok is shrugging it off and presumably thinking up his next question, Jimin rolls over and on top of him, straddling his waist and earning a surprised little huff.  

 

Hoseok giggles, hands fumbling at Jimin’s belt loops. “Oh, hello,” he says, eyes sparkling in starlight and mischief.

 

“You ever tried it?” Jimin questions with a devious grin.

 

“Uh,” Hoseok drawls, jaw going slack. “Like, chains and whips ‘n stuff?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says, shrugging nonchalantly. “Bondage, blindfolds. You know.”

 

Hoseok laughs nervously, settling his hands on Jimin’s ass. “Nah, I don’t really think it’s my thing.”

 

“Can’t knock it ‘til you try it, right?”

 

Hoseok’s laugh raises half an octave and he shifts nervously on his back, trying to get a read on Jimin’s facial expression. “I’m not gonna let you, like, drip hot candle wax on me or some shit.”

 

Jimin hums, tilting his head curiously. “Would you let me slap you?”

 

“Sure, why not?” Hoseok says, much to his surprise, and it’s hard not to let his willingness become endearing.

 

Jimin smirks and then rears his hand back as far as he can and Hoseok lets out a shocked yelp, arms flying up to his face to shield himself.

 

Not like that , jesus, what the fuck,” Hoseok practically screeches, giggling through his hands.

 

“Kidding,” Jimin says, gently pulling Hoseok’s hands from his face. He moves to roll off back into his own spot, but Hoseok’s hands on his waist stop him.

 

“No, do it,” Hoseok urges, wetting his chapped lips and biting back a sheepish grin. “Maybe I’ll like it.”

 

 

Jimin stares for a long moment, mouth slightly agape. "You're serious?" 

 

 

Hoseok gives a little shrug of his shoulder and a coy smile. 

 

The smirk on Jimin’s face darkens. “You are my dirty little bitch, aren’t you?”

 

“I’m high as fuck. Just do it so I can get it outta my system,” Hoseok says, wiggling around and presenting his cheek with a tap of his index finger against it.

 

Jimin places his hand on Hoseok’s cheek, letting his thumb trace over the skin. Then he pulls back, gives it a light slap, and Hoseok turns his gaze back on him.

 

“Wasn’t so bad,” Hoseok says with a one-shouldered shrug.

 

Without warning, Jimin rears back and slaps him again, harder this time.

 

Hoseok belts out a laugh, reaching up and rubbing at his cheek. “Okay, nope. Not into it at all. Experiment over.”

 

Jimin clucks his tongue and grabs Hoseok’s hand, pulling it to his own cheek and resting it there. “Ah-ah-ah, hold on now,” he says as surprise dawns across Hoseok’s face, “All we know now is that you’re probably not a sub.”

 

Hoseok seems to sober, smile fading until he looks serious. “I’m not gonna hit you.”

 

“Why not?” Jimin questions. “Try it.”

 

Nibbling at the inside of his cheek, Hoseok searches Jimin’s face for a moment. “Are you sure?”

 

Jimin rolls his eyes. “I’m not a girl, Hoseok. Just fucking hit me already - ”

 

Almost before the last word leaves his mouth, an abrupt smack perforates the air.

 

The sting of the slap blooms over his cheek as he turns to look down at Hoseok, mouth gaping slightly in surprise.

 

“Oh, god,” Hoseok splutters. “I’m-I’m so sorry. That was way too ha-”

 

Jimin crushes their mouths together, hands twisting into the front of Hoseok’s jacket as he pushes his weight down onto him. He tilts his head to the side, licking deep into Hoseok’s mouth and dragging a groan out of him. The hands on his ass move up under his jacket, under the back of his shirt and up his back as he arches it, pushes down to rub their crotches together through their jeans. The concrete is harsh and cold under his knees, and the stinging on his cheek is subsiding but still sending a hot sensation into the pit of his stomach.

 

Hoseok pushes up against him, pressing their chests flush and wrapping his arms all the way around Jimin’s back. Jimin groans into his mouth as something like liquid fire swirls in that same place in his stomach. Suddenly he’s thinking about how he could strip Hoseok down right now and they could fuck right there on the rooftop. Let the concrete bite into their knees and elbows and break and bruise their skin, let their moans and cries punch through the city and into the sky. He could devour Hoseok whole right here on this fucking roof, right now , consume every sweet part of his body and savor it on his tongue. And the most thrilling aspect is that, judging by the way Hoseok is rutting up into him and gasping into his mouth, Hoseok would happily let him.

 

But then he has a better idea, one that makes his cock throb and makes him wrench back from Hoseok, catch his face between his hands and burn their gazes together.

 

“Fuck me in the car.”

 

Hoseok lets out a whimper, a desperate little sound, and then they’re scrambling to their feet. They take the fire escape stairs, hands clasped as Jimin practically drags Hoseok behind him and Hoseok is laughing, tripping over his own feet around a corner. And then they’re both laughing, falling against the railing and then somehow they’re kissing more, Hoseok’s hands threading into Jimin’s hair and cupping his jaw.

 

“Fuckin’ klutz,” Jimin teases as Hoseok pants against his mouth, lips stretching in a goofy grin.

 

“Sorry,” Hoseok mumbles, not sounding very apologetic.

 

They take off down the stairs again, not any more careful than they’d started, until they’re running across the empty lot to where the car is parked. Hoseok stops to pat down his pockets for the keys, fumbling to get them out of his jeans. Jimin falls with his back against the driver door and watches with amusement. When Hoseok has been struggling long enough, the keys snagging on the hem of his pocket and icy fingers too cold to function, Jimin rolls his eyes and grabs him to drag him in.

 

Hoseok stumbles into him and Jimin wraps his arms around his neck, pulling him in to kiss him breathless. Hoseok sucks on his top lip and then tries the bottom, tastes both with the tip of his tongue. He’s probably too high to care if it’s sloppy, and Jimin likes it like that because he doesn’t remember ever kissing anyone like this. Kissing someone who’s smiling and giggling between the noises of their lips parting, moaning just because their tongues slide together or because Jimin tugs at his hair. Someone who pulls away and presses their foreheads together, licks his lips slowly and sighs like it’s just that good. Someone who dives back in for more as soon as he can catch his breath, starts rutting him against the car, tries and fails to pick him up and then starts cackling about it as he just grabs Jimin’s leg and hikes it up around his waist instead.

 

Jimin can’t breathe, can’t possibly catch his breath after the run across the parking lot and the borderline excessive amount of kissing, so he lets his head roll back with a dull thump against the roof of the car. Hoseok goes for his neck then, sucking and licking, tongue swirling, teeth scraping. He moans as Hoseok grinds into him, crushing him into the side of the car and he might even be sucking marks into his neck, which is a problem Jimin can’t bring himself to care about.

 

At times like this Jimin usually has so much to say, so many lines he keeps on retainer, things he likes to say to keep hold of the reigns. But his mind is full of burning ember flurries, pretenses blown and leaving behind something transparent. He doesn’t mind if it’s obvious how bad he wants this, if it’s obvious how bad he wants this someone who’s back to kissing him senseless, kissing the lies right away from his lips and swallowing them as wordless mumbles.

 

Hoseok breaks away, the tip of his nose pink and eyes shiny and lips wet. He smiles, huge and bright, and Jimin thinks don’t look at me like that and then wrenches him in to kiss it until it’s gone.

 

“S’cold out here,” Hoseok mumbles as their noses bump, and he leans in to drag his cold nose over Jimin’s cheek. His breath flickers on Jimin’s skin, the shell of his ear, little glimpses of warmth in the forbidding cold.

 

“You’ve got the fuckin’ keys,” Jimin says, shoving playfully at his shoulder.

 

“Fuck, you’re right,” Hoseok says, pulling away enough to dig the keys the rest of the way out of his pocket.

 

“Getting distracted again?” Jimin jeers as Hoseok unlocks the car and opens the back door.

 

“‘Distracted’ makes it seem like I’ve got somethin’ more important to worry about.” Hoseok shrugs out of his jacket and tosses it over the seat out of the way before crawling into the car first.

 

Jimin follows right behind him, closing the door. He strips off his own jacket as Hoseok leans precariously between the front two seats and turns the engine over to let the heater run. Jimin leans back against the closed door, runs a hand through his hair to fix where Hoseok’s fingers messed it up. There’s a seat belt buckle digging into his thigh and it smells like someone tried to cover up the stale smell of old fast food with a new car scented air freshener, but none of that is on his mind as he watches Hoseok flop back into the seat with a huff.

 

“Do you wanna try something?” Jimin asks as Hoseok starts fighting with the button of his jeans.

 

“Like what?”

 

“Like sucking dick,” Jimin replies, palming at the front of his pants.

 

“Oh, shit,” Hoseok breathes, eyes round. Then, eyes following the movement of Jimin’s hand, “Just tell me what to do.”

 

“You can probably start by taking my clothes off,” Jimin says with a grin.

 

Hoseok turns and crawls on his knees over the seat until he can reach out and pull up on Jimin’s shirt. Jimin leans forward and lets him pull it off, lifts his hips when Hoseok goes for his pants next but gets hung up when they won’t come off over Jimin’s shoes.

 

“Dumbass,” Jimin says, laughing as he watches Hoseok struggle, yanking and jerking his feet around until his shoes finally come off.

 

“Not stupid if it worked.” Hoseok ditches the pants on the floorboard and then leans back into Jimin.

 

“You, too,” Jimin says, sliding his hands under Hoseok’s shirt until Hoseok grabs the back of his collar and pulls it off, too.

 

“Pants now or pants later?” Hoseok questions, hands paused at his zipper.

 

“Pants now,” Jimin says. “So we don’t have to stop later.”

 

Hoseok isn’t much more successful at shaking himself out of his own pants, and Jimin watches with mirth as he finally frees himself.

 

“You deserve a round of applause,” Jimin teases, reclining against the inside of the door and letting Hoseok move his legs around on the seat until he can kneel between them. He tilts his chin up as Hoseok closes in, bracketing him with his hands on the window on either side behind him.

 

Hoseok kisses him, parts their lips with a wet noise. “Can I tell you something?”

 

“Later,” Jimin grumbles, running his hands down Hoseok’s naked sides, feeling his ribcage and the dip of his waist.

 

“But I wanna tell you now,” Hoseok whines.

 

“Then why even ask,” Jimin grumbles, but it just sounds whiney.

 

Hoseok sends him a lopsided grin. “I’m just gonna tell you.”

 

Jimin rolls his eyes. “Fine. Tell me.”

 

“You’re kinda cute,” Hoseok says. “But also kinda, like, beautiful.”

 

Jimin snorts, brushes it off as he shifts lower on the seat underneath Hoseok. “Just ‘kinda’?”

 

Hoseok’s tongue plays at the corner of his mouth and then his front teeth dig into his lower lip. “I’m sure you get that all the time.”

 

“Mhm.” He reaches up and tucks a lock of hair behind Hoseok’s ear, letting his eyes fall half-closed. “Not from many people like you, though, baby boy.” Then he wraps the hand around the back of Hoseok’s head, fingers combing through soft hair, and pushes downward.

 

Hoseok goes eagerly, shifting down on the creaky car seat until he can mouth at Jimin’s stomach. His breath tickles, warm and damp on cool skin, as he licks a random wet stripe and then sinks lower. The position is awkward and crowded, and their breath is fogging up the windows, but neither seem to care as Hoseok starts sucking at the crest of Jimin’s hipbone. He moves away, takes Jimin’s cock in his hand and leans down to press his lips to the base, swipes his tongue out for his very first taste. Then he hums thoughtfully, lifting his head to look up at Jimin.

 

“Just tastes like normal skin,” Hoseok comments.

 

“What did you expect it to taste like?” Jimin says with a short huff of a laugh. Then, as Hoseok leans back down, “Make sure you cover your teeth.”

 

“Got it,” Hoseok says dutifully, sinking lower. He wets his lips with his tongue, runs his thumb idly up the vein on the underside of Jimin’s cock. Then he opens his mouth and laps tentatively at the head.

 

“Gotta get it wet,” Jimin says, watching.

 

Hoseok nods once, then slides the head of Jimin’s cock fully into his mouth. Jimin gives a small sigh as Hoseok tastes at the slit and then obediently swirls his tongue around. Then, without prompting, he moves down, taking more into his mouth and letting it slide over the flat plane of his tongue.

 

“Good boy,” Jimin says gently, pushing Hoseok’s bangs out of his face. “Now suck.”

 

And Hoseok does, and Jimin rolls his head back to lean against the window because that’s about as much instruction as Hoseok needs. Hoseok sucks cock like he’s thought about it before, like he’s been running through it in his head and knows exactly what he wants to do. He sucks hard, until his cheeks hollow out and his lips seal tight around the width. He sucks cock like he likes it noisy, moaning and humming in response to Jimin’s little gasps, letting his lips smack away from the head when he pulls up for air.

 

“Careful,” Jimin breathes when he feels Hoseok gag slightly around the head, when he’d gotten overeager and pushed down his throat a little too far. But he doesn’t heed the warning, because the next few downward bobs of his head are deeper and deeper, until Jimin is groaning outright as Hoseok’s soft palate flutters around his cock. Hoseok doesn’t seem to mind gagging one bit, doesn’t mind making little choked noises on Jimin’s cock or having to come up and gasp for air as tears well at the outer corners of his eyes.

 

“Is it okay?” he asks, breathless, and Jimin grins sluggishly.

 

“You’re doing so good, baby.”

 

Hoseok nods and drops back down, but this time with more confidence. He grips Jimin’s cock in his hand and lets the ring of his fingers meet his lips when he goes down. He flattens his tongue and rubs the head in circles over it for Jimin to see, lets his eyes flutter up so their gazes meet.

 

And, if Jimin is being honest with himself, he’s getting pretty fucking worked up for being on the receiving end of a virgin blowjob. He’s making needy noises he probably shouldn’t be, gripping Hoseok’s hair a bit too tight. He’s rolling up into Hoseok’s mouth and breathing way too hard, sounding more like he’s the rookie when he’s done this a million times before and it shouldn’t be fucking with him so badly. It’s not even really the technique or the high, it’s something about the way Hoseok seems lost in it, eyes closed not like he’s concentrating but more like he’s relishing in it, living in each second.

 

Jimin catches Hoseok’s chin in his hand the next time he pulls off and urges him upward. “C’mere,” he mumbles as Hoseok moves upward.

 

“Was gonna keep going,” Hoseok rasps, and Jimin just uses the hand on his jaw to tilt his head for an open-mouthed kiss, tasting himself on Hoseok’s tongue.

 

He reaches down, sliding a hand down Hoseok’s stomach to wind around his dripping cock. Hoseok gives a quivering inhale through his nose, rocks his hips slightly against Jimin’s hand. Jimin strokes him a few times and then trails lower, feeling the weight of his sack in his palm, letting his fingertips graze the flat of his taint. It makes Hoseok break the kiss and drop his head onto Jimin’s shoulder, dropping his hips lower until their bodies slide together and he’s fucking into Jimin’s hand.

 

But Jimin withdraws his hand and turns over in the seat, back bumping into Hoseok’s chest and trying to find purchase on the seat with his knees. He jams his elbows into the armrest of the door, pushes his hips back so his ass meets Hoseok’s crotch and Hoseok pushes forward into it.

 

“Lube’s in my jacket pocket,” Jimin says, and Hoseok leans over to rustle around in his jacket that’s piled on the floorboard. Hoseok balances himself with a hand on Jimin’s back until he finds it, leaning up and bumping his head on the roof of the car with a hiss.

 

“Fuck,” Hoseok grumbles.

 

“Klutz,” Jimin goads. He turns to look over his shoulder as he watches Hoseok pop open the small bottle of lube and then pour some on his hand. “I don’t need any prep. I’m good from earlier,” he says, not missing the odd look that crosses Hoseok’s face for a microscopic instant. He thinks about it that look for a second, and he’s not even really sure why, but he finds himself saying, “I didn’t fuck anyone. Just have to stay ready anyway.”

 

“Oh, okay,” Hoseok says a bit cryptically as he coats his dick with the lube and then wipes the rest on Jimin’s hole. He slips in a finger with ease as if to prove to himself it’s ready for him.

 

Jimin catches Hoseok’s gaze, both of them staring at each other for a brief moment through half-mast eyes. “I’m all yours,” Jimin says, and Hoseok’s lips part in a silent exhale.

 

Without another word, Hoseok pulls his finger out and then hunches over behind him, having to anchor an arm on the backrest of the seat as he lines himself up.

 

And then Jimin is moaning as Hoseok is sliding in, pushing him forward until his shoulder bumps the door and then he’s all the way in , just like that. Jimin lets out a gravelly noise and barely gets a chance to regain his grip on the armrest when Hoseok starts rocking into him, racking his whole body with each thrust.

 

“Oh, fuck, that’s it, baby,” Jimin groans. “Harder. Just fucking - do it hard .”

 

Hoseok lets out a jagged growl and then sinks a hand into Jimin’s hair, crushing him into the car door as he starts hammering into him. Jimin gasps as his cheek presses into the cold window, breath making a foggy circle in the glass. And then Hoseok is pounding into him so hard the car is starting to rock, so hard it’s starting to hurt where his shoulder and chest and face are jammed into the door but Jimin is keening, cock throbbing hard as he moans so long and loud there’s drool pooling at the corner of his lips.

 

“Oh god, baby, muh- more ,” Jimin is crying, voice cracking where Hoseok knocks the air from him with each thrust. He shudders when Hoseok diminishes the space between their bodies, leans in and mouths at his ear, down to his shoulder. He gasps when Hoseok bites, ridges of his teeth sinking in and tongue soothing over the abused skin.

 

Something about this person - this boy who asks if he wants to play cards and listens to Radiohead and still gets nervous and tongue-tied before they hook up - bending him over in the back seat of some stranger’s car and fucking him into the window, ripping the moans from him and fucking him so hard and fast he can’t keep up is melting his fucking brain, slow-moving magma on a downhill slope. He’s being rendered a babbling mess by someone who blushes at being called baby , moans spilling from his mouth as he abandons trying to make any sense of it.

 

He gasps, strangled and surprised, when Hoseok suddenly reels him backward by the hips, pulling him across the seat so the upholstery burns at his kneecaps and he has to grab on to the armrest to keep from falling over. Then Hoseok uses the new leverage to fuck him deeper, faster, jolting Jimin forward and wrenching him back with two hands tight on his hips.

 

“God, that’s so fucking good ,” Jimin is practically crying. “Love it wh-when you’re rough like that.”

 

“Yeah?” Hoseok plants a hand between Jimin’s shoulder blades and pushes him face-down into the seat cushion, and Jimin moans because that’s too fucking good, shouldn’t be allowed for Hoseok to do something that fucking hot .

 

“Fucking dirty bitch,” Jimin gasps, babbling really, because his brain isn’t forming complete sentences anymore. The drag of the rough upholstery under his cheek, the cock pumping in and out of his hole, filling him up, the slapping of Hoseok’s hips against his ass is dissolving every coherent thought in his brain until it’s only more more more and god yes god yes. And then, without any sort of thought process, “Put my hands behind my back.”

 

And Hoseok listens without missing a beat, grabbing Jimin’s wrists and overlapping them on his lower back, pinning them there with one hand. It takes away every sense of balance Jimin has, leaving him with his face shoved into the seat, leaving him perfectly at Hoseok’s mercy. It hurts a little bit, stings on his cheek and his knees where the fabric is abrading his skin, aches in his neck and back where he’s bent at a rough angle but it’s good, so fucking good he could come just like this, might come again later when he thinks about this.

 

“Mm-Jimm-min,” Hoseok stutters, fingers tightening around his wrists as the rock of his hips starts to get uneven, his breath coming in serrated, wet gasps.

 

That’s when Jimin knows Hoseok is about to come and it makes him groan. “Come all over me,” Jimin gasps. “Come on my back. Cuh-come for me, baby.”

 

A noise gets caught in Hoseok’s throat and he sucks air through his teeth, lets go of Jimin’s hands, and then he’s pulling out. Jimin whines because he’s empty but then there’s hot come splattering his back, and when he peels his eyes open and looks over his shoulder, Hoseok’s face is utterly wrecked, utterly fucked-out as he jacks himself through his orgasm.

 

“Oh, fuck , baby,” Jimin groans, closing his eyes as Hoseok finishes and finally seems to start breathing again. He pushes himself up onto his palms and lets his head hang, and for a few moments, there’s only the sound of the both of them dragging air into their lungs. The words oh my god roll out of him as Hoseok leans over then and starts licking his back, lapping up sweat and come with a sluggish fervor, spent and sated but still craving more. It makes Jimin’s back arch as he makes his way down lower, mouthing over his tailbone as his tongue slides between his cheeks.

 

“Oh god, oh fuck , Hoseok, you filthy fuckin’ slut,” Jimin blathers, pulse throbbing in his ears as Hoseok seals his mouth over his hole, tongue shoving inside and sliding in and out against his walls.

 

Hoseok mumbles something unintelligible and Jimin’s eyes roll back in his head. Hoseok goes in , slurping and sucking and fucking his tongue, so wet and sloppy and goddamn filthy. If Jimin’s brain was melting before, it’s liquefied now, and the sounds gushing from his mouth are embarrassingly needy, shameful, depraved. He doesn’t even know when or how Hoseok gets more lube on his hand, only knows when he’s reaching between Jimin’s legs and squeezing the base of his cock, pumping up and down with the in-and-out of his tongue, and that’s when everything goes hazy, drunken - too much to process, too much going on at once.

 

Tongue buried in his ass, slick hand squeezing and stroking his cock, Jimin comes. Comes with a moan that borders on a scream, comes with his eyes squeezed so tight there’s red swirling in his vision, comes with the type of open-mouthed, fingers-clenched, breath-held orgasm that leaves him a panting, writhing mess in the back of some stranger’s car with the fucking valet boy.

 

Afterward, they sit naked in the back seat with a window cracked to air out the smell of sex and the smoke from Hoseok’s last cigarette they share, passing it silently between each other for deep drags and deeper exhales.

 

Jimin’s body is viscous against the seat, neck craned as his head rests on the back of the seat. His eyes are closed as he takes one of the last drags off the cigarette and then blows it toward the window. Hoseok’s fingers are soft as they brush his, taking the cigarette to cash the last few puffs.

 

“I guess it got gayer,” Hoseok mumbles with a slight giggle.

 

“Nah, I think you could still be straight,” Jimin says, lulled into a state of deep relaxation, like he could fall asleep any second in this random car in some empty parking lot, buck-ass naked with come drying on the seat underneath him. Wouldn’t be the worst place he ever fell asleep.

 

“You seemed to like it a lot when I slapped you,” Hoseok comments amusedly, breathing out the last bit of smoke and then rolling up the window on his side.

 

“I like when people surprise me.”

 

“Does that not happen very often?”

 

Jimin rolls his head over to look at Hoseok, to take in the sexed-up hair, the drowsy eyes and loopy smile. Then he says, eyes never leaving Hoseok’s, “More often as of late.”

 

Hoseok turns away at that, biting his bottom lip to hide a bigger smile. He heaves a sigh then, letting his head thump back against the headrest. “Shit, I need to get you back before you get in trouble.”

 

“I’m not too worried about it,” Jimin says. “I’d be more worried about how you’re gonna get the jizz off’a the seat back here.”

 

Hoseok lets out a groan that rolls over into a breathy laugh. “Fuckin’ worth it, man.”

 

Jimin doesn’t say anything, just sends a lazy, half-smile, because he thinks it was worth it, too.

 

Worth it to sneak out and risk getting caught because if everything goes as planned, he’s leaving within the next forty-eight hours or so. This is probably it - this is his last free night he has to get away, the last time they’re going to be able to be alone like this. This is the last time they’re going to hook up, and he’s fine with that.





 

 

He’s fine with that.



Jimin walks along the sidewalk toward the front of the club, heels scuffing the concrete as he pulls his fur coat tighter around his chest. The glitter from the ornate skull mask in his other hand is rubbing off on his fingertips and the skin on his face is irritated from where he’d been wearing it all night.

 

He doesn’t know why he’s going to the front. He knows why, but he doesn’t really want to delve into the reasoning and implications behind that can of worms. He knows he’s going to see Hoseok, because Hoseok will smile and laugh and say something stupid and probably stumble over his words and it will make the weight on Jimin’s shoulders feel a little lighter.

 

So he knows why he’s going to the front - because a date has been set, and the plan is set in place. They’ve got passports and timeframes and money straightened out. Taehyung is a nervous wreck, second-guessing and doubting and worrying and it’s driving Jimin crazy.

 

He’s going to the front to see Hoseok because Hoseok is the closest thing to comfort he has right now.

 

He rounds the corner of the building and spots Hoseok finishing up with a customer, passing over their keys with a smile and waving them off as they drive away. Jimin lingers for a moment, waiting until the car turns onto the next street before heading over to where Hoseok is folding up his last tip with the rest of his money and pocketing it.

 

“Hey, big guy,” Jimin calls, and Hoseok’s head snaps toward him with an almost cartoonish shocked look on his face.

 

“Jimin,” Hoseok says, then a smile stretches across his face. “What’re you doin’ out here?”

 

“Came to see if I could sweet-talk you into a cigarette,” Jimin says, coming to stand at a distance close enough to talk, but far enough that it won’t raise much suspicion.

 

“You don’t gotta sweet-talk me into nothing,” Hoseok says with a goofy grin, already digging out his pack and offering one to Jimin.

 

Jimin takes a cigarette and puts it between his lips. Normally he’d want Hoseok to light it for him - something about that has always felt kind of faux-intimate, but tonight he takes the lighter Hoseok offers and lights it himself. He’d hate to compromise anything because Park caught him flirting with the valet boy when he’s supposed to be working the lounge floor right now.

 

“You alright?” Hoseok asks, probably having picked up on Jimin’s nervous energy, even if he’s not willing to admit that’s what it is.

 

“I’m fine,” Jimin states. “I don’t know about Taehyung, though.”

 

“Why’s that?” Hoseok questions, exhaling smoke through his nose.

 

“He’s been acting all wishy-washy and shit,” Jimin says. “Like he doesn’t want to go through with it.”

 

“You think he’s gonna bail?” Hoseok asks, eyebrows raised.

 

“I don’t know,” Jimin replies honestly. “I’m gonna try to keep him from doing that, but he’s been a mess since we came back from Jeongguk’s last time. He keeps freaking out thinking Park’s gonna find out and Jeongguk’s gonna get hurt or something like that.”

 

“Not for no good reason,” Hoseok supplies quietly, watching his own hand as he ashes his cigarette. Then he looks up at Jimin, catches the way he’s chewing at the inside of his lip. “Are you worried?”

 

“No.”

 

Hoseok shifts his weight onto his other foot. “Okay,” he says, pausing, “You know I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure you guys are okay, right?”

 

“There’s only so much you can control,” Jimin says, trying to brush Hoseok’s statement off but finding it settles somewhere in his chest.

 

“Guess we could worry ‘bout it all night,” Hoseok muses after a breath. “Or we could not and just do it.”

 

“Balls-deep, right?” Jimin offers with a weak grin.

 

It makes Hoseok smile. “Yeah,” he says. “Balls-deep.”

 

Just then, someone comes out of the front entrance onto the sidewalk, shoes scuffing as they stop to light a cigarette. They both turn and Jimin immediately recognizes Jeongguk. The look on his face doesn’t bode well.

 

“Ah, shit,” Hoseok mumbles, taking one last savoring drag from his cigarette and the dropping it to put it out. “Gotta get going.”

 

“I need to get back inside, anyway,” Jimin says.

 

“Yeah, better go shake that ass for a real one,” Hoseok jokes, grinning, and Jimin shakes his head and tries not to laugh.

 

“Go take care of loverboy over there,” Jimin says, and Hoseok winks before turning and trotting over to Jeongguk.

 

Jimin watches Hoseok leave for a moment before realizing he’s staring, and not even at his ass or anything like that. He pulls the cigarette from his mouth, drops it on the ground and crushes it under his toe. He turns to leave where he came from, not looking back again but pulling the collar of his coat up to hide a stupid fucking grin.



“Why does he think he has to do this?”

 

Jimin doesn’t look up from where he’s shoving clothes into the biggest duffel bag he owns. His backpack is already overstuffed, leaning against his bed on the floor.

 

Taehyung hasn’t packed anything. He’s been like this for hours. Jimin had talked to Hoseok earlier and given him some bullshit excuse, telling him to meet them later tonight after the attendants cleared out to buy him some time to reason with Taehyung.

 

“Because you went and blabbed your big mouth and cried on the wrong guy’s shoulder,” Jimin states, haphazardly folding his favorite shirts and cramming them into the duffel.

 

Taehyung is lying on his bed on his side, arms wrapped around his stomach like he feels sick and knees curled almost to his chest. “You’re being an asshole,” he grumbles, reaching up and pressing a hand over his eyes.

 

“And you’re being a pussy,” Jimin counters, fitting the last few things into his duffel before negotiating with the zipper to get it shut. “You wanted this to happen or you wouldn’t have said anything.”

 

“I couldn’t keep lying to him,” Taehyung says softly.

 

“Bullshit. Since when do you have some sort of moral fucking issue with lying?” Jimin questions as he turns around and starts working on Taehyung’s stuff, shoving the clothes that are strewn and lying about into the bags on the floor by his bed.

 

“I’m not you , Jimin,” Taehyung states. “I don’t enjoy lying.”

 

“Look, we can really have this stupid fight later,” Jimin states. “Like maybe after your boy-toy gets us somewhere we’re not going to get our heads blown off at point-blank range.”

 

“That would be best case scenario if Sangchol found us,” Taehyung murmurs. He’s not even making a move to help Jimin pack his belongings.

 

Jimin disappears into the bathroom, snatching items off the counter and shoving them into an empty makeup bag. When it’s full and he thinks he’s got everything necessary, he comes back into the room and adds it to Taehyung’s bag. “You can think about all the fun ways Sangchol is going to hunt us down and kill us later. We need to go now.”

 

Taehyung is sitting up now, shaking his head. “We can’t.”

 

“Yeah we can,” Jimin states. He grabs a stack of clothes he’d compiled into an outfit and shoves them into Taehyung’s lap. “Hurry up and change.”

 

He doesn’t think Taehyung is actually going to do what he says, but he’s a bit relieved when Taehyung starts pulling off his pajamas. As Taehyung dresses, Jimin finishes packing and sits on top of his suitcase to get it closed. When he’s done, he looks up and sees Taehyung staring off to the side, eyes tracing unknown patterns on the peeling wallpaper.

 

“Come on,” Jimin urges, standing up and moving in front of Taehyung to shove his favorite tote bag into his arms. “We were supposed to be out of here hours ago. Hoseok and Yoongi are waiting on us.”

 

Taehyung’s arms close around the bag and he looks at Jimin, face a storm of emotions they don’t have time to deal with right now.

 

Jimin grabs Taehyung’s jacket off the bed, shoves that into his arms, too. Then, as Taehyung watches his own hands sink into the fabric, Jimin says to him, “Jeongguk is waiting on us.”

 

Taehyung looks up at him. “I guess I don’t have any choice.”

 

Jimin shakes his head, heaving a sigh. “You made your choice the moment you decided to spill your guts to an idiot like him.”

 

Taehyung drops the bag and jacket on to the bed and goes to sit down, and Jimin almost groans with irritation. “I didn’t know he was going to do this.”

 

Jimin scoffs. “Then you’re kidding yourself and you’re even stupider than he is,” he snips, kicking at Taehyung’s suitcase. “Now get your pussy-ass self up and let’s get the fuck out of here.”

 

“I’m not ready ,” Taehyung says, a pleading edge to his voice.

 

“Honey,” Jimin says patronizingly, “when has anyone ever asked if you were ready?”

 

Taehyung looks near tears now, throat bobbing as he swallows and his eyes start to mist. His voice breaks over his next words. “What if this is a mistake?”

 

“The best way to know if you’re making a mistake is to ask yourself after you’ve already made it.”

 

Jimin’s eyes burn into Taehyung’s, like maybe he can get Taehyung to understand. He’s not made for this. Jimin might be, but Taehyung isn’t. Taehyung is so far above all this, the lying and the cheating and getting used, being passed around and discarded.

 

Taehyung needs out , and Jimin can only hope Taehyung sees that, too.

 

Taehyung breaks away, looks to the floor, and Jimin is pissed he wasted the time packing.

 

But then Taehyung stands up and pulls on his jacket. Neither of them say anything else as they grab their bags and disappear.

 

Outside, there’s an ignitable urgency in the air as Taehyung and Jimin slip through the side doors and head for the car that’s waiting on the curb. The trunk pops open as they approach, and Jimin quickly loads their bags into it, gesturing at Taehyung to get in the car.

 

Jimin closes the trunk and the sound on the empty street is deafening. He takes one quick glance around before ducking into the passenger seat. Before his door is even fully closed, the car takes off.

 

“Damn, what took so long?” Hoseok questions, looking over at Jimin from under the shadow of his baseball cap.

 

“Had a few things to sort out,” Jimin says absently, watching the side view mirror.

 

Hoseok doesn’t say anything as he grabs a pack of cigarettes from the dash and lights one up, cracking the window and dropping his lighter in the cupholder. He takes a drag and then offers it across the seat to Jimin.

 

Jimin takes it and breathes it in deep, passing it back when he’s done.

 

“My phone’s cut off and I couldn’t get to one,” Hoseok says. “I don’t even know if Yoongi’s still gonna be waiting.”

 

“He’ll be there,” Jimin states.

 

Hoseok takes one more puff on the cigarette and then offers it to Taehyung in the back seat. To Jimin’s surprise, Taehyung reaches up and takes it.

 

“Do you have any more?” Taehyung questions.

 

“Yeah, yeah, keep that one,” Hoseok says and reaches for another.

 

“Thanks.”

 

Jimin doesn’t think about much on the drive to the meeting point. He watches headlights in the mirror and leans against the door, occasionally looking up when the car slows or stops. Taehyung is silent in the back seat, the sound of the air rushing through the window drowning out his breaths as he smokes.

 

He knows they’ve arrived when Hoseok slows the car and pulls into a lot behind a gas station. There’s another nondescript car parked by a dumpster, driver side window rolled down with a pale arm hanging out, cigarette between two fingers.

 

“Is that Yoongi?” Taehyung questions, leaning up to look between the two front seats.

 

“Think so,” Hoseok says as he pulls up at a safe distance and parks. “That looks like what he said he’d be driving.”

 

“Yeah, that’s him,” Jimin mumbles and gets out of the car. Hoseok follows, silently helping him gather their bags and then heading toward the other parked car. The trunk opens as they approach and they toss the bags inside before slamming it shut. Taehyung is already in the back seat, the silhouette of top of his head visible through the back window.

 

“I, uh,” Hoseok mumbles, loose gravel crunching under his feet as he shifts in place. “I guess I’ll see you around, then.”

 

Jimin looks up at him, then back to the car. He hadn’t really thought about this being where they part ways, but it makes sense. Hoseok has to ditch the other car, and it’s not like he’s going to Daegu to see them off. “You’re going to meet up with Jeongguk, right?”

 

“Yeah.” Hoseok nods toward the car. “Will you have him tell Jeongguk to meet me at my place?”

 

“Sure,” Jimin says. “You leaving town tonight, though, right?”

 

“Yeah, supposed to catch the train to Gwangju,” Hoseok replies, hands in his pocket.

 

There’s a moment here when Jimin thinks there should be some sort of goodbye. Where he wonders what’s appropriate in this situation, where they don’t really know each other that well but he kind of feels like they do. But he knows they’re already running way behind schedule and they don’t have time to waste. And there’s a sense of anxiety, a sense of something imminent in the pit of his stomach.

 

“You guys better get going,” Hoseok says, dispelling Jimin’s thoughts.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says, turning toward the car.

 

“Jimin,” Hoseok says, and when Jimin looks at him, he’s smiling. His eyes are soft and happy, faint dimples coming and going as it wavers for a short moment. “Take care.”

 

Jimin nods, something hard in his throat that he ignores as he opens the car door and gets in.

 

He doesn’t realize he hadn’t even said anything back until they’re pulling onto the expressway toward Daegu.



“I remember this place.”

 

Yoongi’s beer clinks against the kitchen counter as he sets it down to look over at Jimin where he’s stretched out on the couch. “Yeah, you’ve been around the block, huh,” he says, leaning over to ash his cigarette in the sink.

 

“I think Taehyung is from here,” Jimin muses as he picks a piece of chipping paint from his nail.

 

The shower starts from down the hall, the sound of pipes groaning and a shower curtain sliding across a metal rod audible through the apartment’s thin walls.

 

“How’d he end up in Seoul, then?” Yoongi questions.

 

Jimin shrugs as he crosses his ankles, toe making circles in the air. “Beats me.”

 

Yoongi goes silent, foot thumping against a cabinet where it dangles. Then, without looking at Jimin, “Keep my number on you in case you run into trouble.”

 

Jimin snorts. “What, you gonna come to my rescue if something happens?”

 

“You know what,” Yoongi says, blowing out smoke. “I take it back. Go get yourself killed for all I give a shit.”

 

“That might be more convincing if you hadn’t just gone out of your way to make sure I didn’t get killed.”

 

“The fuck are you talking about,” Yoongi grumbles. “I’m gettin’ paid for this. Ain’t doing it for charity.”

 

“Since when do you rescue hookers as one of your business services?” Jimin questions with a laugh.

 

“Since some poor bastard with a fat wallet rolls up to my doorstep and pays me to do it.”


“Oh, Yoongi, you bleeding heart,” Jimin coos, and Yoongi flips him off.

 

Just then, Yoongi’s cell phone ringtone chimes from the counter next to him. Yoongi snatches it up and answers it.

 

“Jeon, the fuck took you so long?” Yoongi says gruffly.

 

Jimin watches curiously as Yoongi listens, eyebrows drawing slowly together at whatever is being said. A feeling of something cold and hard like dread sinks to the bottom of his stomach.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi mumbles. “Yeah, just text me when you get here. Alright. Later.” He hangs up and hops off the counter, turning to Jimin.

 

“What?” Jimin questions, brow raised at the odd look on Yoongi’s face.

 

“Minor change of plans,” Yoongi states. “He’s got the kid with him.”

 

Something in Jimin’s chest gives a hard pinch. Whatever it is flits through his body, raw sparks under his skin and a faint queasy feeling in his stomach. “Hoseok?”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi answers. “He didn’t say anything, but I think something happened.”

 

Jimin swallows, holding back the questions he wants to ask because there’s no way Yoongi has any answers, anyway. “Told you something was gonna go wrong,” Jimin mumbles, looking away as Yoongi moves around the living room.

 

A moment later, a pile of blankets falls onto the couch at his feet and he looks up at Yoongi, who stands there staring at him pointedly.

 

“This thing pulls out into a bed,” Yoongi says, gesturing to the couch.

 

“Are we having a slumber party?” Jimin jeers, but there’s little humor behind it because even he can’t shake the nervous flutter under his ribcage.

 

“I’ve got other shit to do tonight,” Yoongi states. “Kid’s gonna need a place to sleep, and I don’t think ‘Mr. Jeon’ is gonna wanna share.”

 

“When will they be here?” Jimin questions, eyeing the pile of blankets.

 

“Few hours,” Yoongi says. “I’m gonna run to the store.”

 

“Get me something to eat. I’m starving.”

 

Yoongi pulls a face. “I ain’t your fuckin’ delivery boy.”

 

Jimin groans, letting his head fall to the side against the back couch cushion. “Can you just drop the fucking tough-guy act and bring me some food? I haven’t eaten anything in, like, over a day.”

 

Yoongi turns away, jerking on his jacket and pulling a baseball cap over his head. “I’ll call your fuckin’ pimp myself and tell him where he can pick your ass up.”

 

Jimin rolls his eyes as the front door slams shut.

 

About forty minutes later, Yoongi shows back up with two bags of takeout and a twelve-pack of beer.



Jimin is curled up on the couch he’d pulled out and made into a bed, fighting off sleep after a hot shower and a full stomach. He had flipped through TV channels for about an hour, but he hadn’t been paying attention anyway and figured he’d save Yoongi the money on the electric bill since he did end up bringing him food.

 

Yoongi is in the recliner, socked feet propped up and cell phone illuminating his face. He yawns and stretches his arm back behind his head, adjusting his hat and then shifting around to get more comfortable.

 

Exhaustion is dragging Jimin to sleep, even though his mind keeps flickering back to life every few moments with something too close to worry . He’s sinking deeper, soft pillow on his face and blanket wrapped around him, whir of a heater blowing and his own even breathing lulling him until his eyes fall closed, mind blanking out.

 

Then Yoongi’s phone pings, and his eyes pop back open.

 

“They’re here,” Yoongi grunts, kicking the recliner closed and getting to his feet.

 

Jimin sits up and watches him pull on his shoes to leave, wincing when the door slams. He smooths his bangs down, runs his palm over the buzzed back of his head. There’s a grating silence in the small apartment, clock ticking from somewhere in the kitchen, the sounds of the blankets shifting around his legs.

 

He stands up and walks around, realizes he’s pacing and then sits back down.

 

You don’t know anything about caring if people get hurt.

 

Taehyung hasn’t come out of the bedroom since he’d gone in there after his shower. He’s still in there now, probably wide awake and waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

Waiting for what, Jimin doesn’t know. For this all to come crashing down, for Sangchol to come busting down the door and laugh at them for being stupid enough to try pulling this. For Jeongguk to come strolling back in any moment, straightening his tie and looking at them like he’s confused as to why they look like they’ve seen a ghost. But he thinks the worst part of it is already over, back when he’d been certain Yoongi’s phone was never going to ring.

 

How would he have ever known what happened to Hoseok?

 

He wonders if he would have hesitated, if they’d never gotten a call.

 

The front door swings open and Yoongi appears, followed by Jeongguk.

 

Jimin thinks nothing, says nothing, as he sees the state Jeongguk is in. Swollen, busted up face and blood in giant splotches on his crisp white shirt. There’s paralytic in his bones as he speaks. “Taehyung is in the room.”

 

Jeongguk nods, body shifting to the side enough for Jimin to see past him to Hoseok.

 

Relief is temporary when he sees Hoseok’s face. There’s no blood, no black eye or busted cheek or split lip. But there’s a vacant look on his face, hollow, a lights on but no one home sheen over his eyes. He doesn’t even look at Jimin when he steps through the doorway.

 

“See you guys around,” Yoongi says on his way out, turning one last look to Jimin. “Don’t steal anything or I’ll fucking kill you.”

 

Jimin rolls his eyes after the door slams behind him. “There’s nothing in here worth stealing. I already looked.”

 

Neither Jeongguk nor Hoseok acknowledge it. Jeongguk throws a glance down the hall, body drawing that direction. “I’m gonna go get cleaned up,” Jeongguk says.

 

“The fuck happened to you guys?” Jimin questions, looking between them for some sort of answer. He can already tell he’s not going to get one, though, just from the way Hoseok doesn’t even seem like he heard and Jeongguk dodges the question.

 

“Long story,” Jeongguk says, heading toward the hallway.

 

“Wait, where the fuck is he supposed to sleep?” Jimin calls after him, because he doesn’t want Jeongguk - or Hoseok - getting the wrong idea about the bed being made or him being a little too willing to share it.

 

Jeongguk sends a pointed look, though it’s a bit lost underneath all the blood and puffy skin. “Looks big enough for two.” He ignores when Jimin flips him off and disappears down the hall.

 

Jimin looks to Hoseok then, ignoring the sound of doors opening and closing and Jeongguk and Taehyung talking.

 

It’s at that moment, when Hoseok won’t meet his eyes, not because he’s avoiding it but because he doesn’t even seem to realize Jimin is in the room, that the blame in his mind shifts. He had been blaming Taehyung a lot, giving him all the credit for getting too hung up over a trick and dragging them into this mess. Then the blame had subsided when he realized it could actually work, and that with a push in the right direction, Taehyung could be scott-free. But now, with the soulless shell of a boy standing a thousand miles away who probably smiles about raindrops and squeals over cute things and makes jokes just so other people feel more at ease, Jimin blames Jeongguk. He blames Taehyung again. He even blames Yoongi a little bit for being too soft, too willing to pitch in.

 

But most of all, he blames himself.

 

None of this would have happened if he hadn’t caved. If he hadn’t tipped Jeongguk off and baited him in. If he hadn’t called Yoongi and talked him into helping for old-time’s sake because he knows Yoongi is kind of a sucker. If he had only shut down the idea of bringing Hoseok into the plan when it had come out of Jeongguk’s mouth when he’d had the chance, when he’d even hesitated - worst case scenarios racing through his mind - but he’d kept his mouth shut.

 

He doesn’t even know what happened, doesn’t even really need to, he only knows it’s his fault.

 

Hoseok finally looks up at him, maybe feeling Jimin’s eyes after however many moments. “I can sleep on the floor,” he mumbles, gesturing limply with one arm.

 

“Don’t be stupid,” Jimin says, moving around to lean against the back of the couch. “Just come here.”

 

Hoseok doesn’t move, only shifts his weight to the opposite foot and rubs a hand up his other arm.

 

“C’mon,” Jimin grumbles. He’s waving with his hands now, almost frantically. “Come here.”

 

Hoseok’s chest jumps slightly, like he’s catching a noise or a breath before it gets out. He’s motionless for a long moment then, eyes sightlessly roaming over the bed, over Jimin’s feet and somewhere on the floor.

 


Then, he crumples. His face contorts into a frown, tangible pain unfurling on his face as tears stain his cheeks, drip down his jaw. It’s the ugly kind of crying people don’t let other people see, when they cover their face in their hands, bury it into a pillow, hide themselves in the dark. Hoseok stumbles a few steps, catching his balance on the edge of a table as a hand flies up to his face to press over his mouth, smothering a sob.

 

Jimin feels his own mouth flatten into a tight line as he swallows hard. “Come here,” he repeats yet again, softer this time, beckoning weakly - more like pleading - with his hand.

 

Hoseok sucks in a sharp breath and then he’s falling into Jimin, knocking the wind out of him as arms crush his ribcage and a tear-soaked face burrows into his neck.

 

“It’s okay,” Jimin whispers, arms wrapped around trembling shoulders. The points of Hoseok’s arms and legs are all digging into different parts of him and it’s hard to breathe with Hoseok’s weight on top of him, but Jimin holds him in tighter still.

 

Hoseok gives a thick, wet sniffle and lets out a shuddering whimper into Jimin’s neck.

 

“Don’t get that shit on my shirt,” Jimin grumbles, petting Hoseok’s hair, tucking it behind his ear and pushing it out of his face.

 

Hoseok never says anything, not for the next hour Jimin spends doing that - smoothing his hair, rubbing his back, whispering it’s okay and I got you . He pulls the blanket over them both, tucking it around Hoseok’s shoulders. He’s done this with Taehyung before on a few bad nights they don’t talk about. He’s seen tricks cry on the job while he watched unsympathetically as they sobbed about their broken families and ruined lives. He doesn’t really know what to think of this, though.

 

Sometime after Hoseok finally falls still, breathing deeply with his head in Jimin’s lap, arms tangled around his legs, Jimin gives a quiet sigh. His fingers still brush through Hoseok’s hair, sweeping his bangs from his forehead and sometimes wandering to stroke his cheek, follow the line of his jaw or ghost along the slope of his nose.

 

“Oh, baby, what happened to you?” he sighs, watching the way Hoseok’s eyes flutter behind his closed eyelids as he tucks a piece of hair behind his ear.

 

He stays exactly like that until early morning light peaks through the balcony blinds, until he hears someone stirring in the bedroom. He carefully slides himself out from under Hoseok without waking him and moves to sit on the couch moments before Jeongguk walks into the living room.



Jimin suppresses a shiver as he stands outside at the airport, listening to the flutter of pigeon wings as they land on the sidewalk and the squeak of brakes as cars pull over to the curb. Hoseok shifts next to him, teeth practically chattering as he hunches his shoulders over in his hoodie.

 

“You think he’s gonna stay?” Hoseok asks, nodding toward the car where Taehyung and Jeongguk sit in the front seats, mouths moving in unheard conversation through the window.

 

“No.”

 

“Why d’you say that?”

 

“I just know,” Jimin mumbles.

 

“Did he tell you?”

 

“No.”

 

Hoseok inhales shakily, giving a hard shiver. “Fuck, they need to hurry up. I’m freezing my balls off.”

 

Jimin gives him a lukewarm smirk. “In a hurry to get out of here?”

 

Hoseok shakes his head quickly. “Uh-uh.”

 

Jimin hums, turning back to watch what he thinks will be the last of the conversation taking place in the car. Taehyung has started crying, so that’s a good indicator he’s right about his assumption.

 

“Guess this is the last time I’ll be seeing you,” Hoseok mumbles, side-stepping a bit closer.

 

“Guess it is,” Jimin says, ducking his chin down slightly.

 

“I know you’re not gonna think twice about me after you’re gone and all,” Hoseok says, then, “but I’m, uh, I’m prob’ly gonna miss you. A little.”

 

Jimin doesn’t look at him. “Don’t make this even more of a soap opera than it already is.”

 

Hoseok huffs a laugh at that. “Sorry,” he says, shoe scuffing nervously. “I’m just - gonna be kinda worried about you.”

 

“I can take care of myself.”

 

“Oh, I know that. But I don’t think it’s gonna stop me,” Hoseok says, and he looks like he’s going to add something else, but just then Taehyung steps out of the car.

 

Jimin sends Hoseok a knowing look, mouth pressed into a line. They watch from where they stand as Taehyung and Jeongguk say their goodbyes and then Taehyung turns their way.

 

Hoseok heads toward the car, then, tossing one more look over his shoulder at Jimin and saying, “See you around.”

 

“Bye,” Jimin mumbles after him, too softly to make it through the wind. He turns away and follows behind Taehyung through the airport doors.

 

They’ve checked their bags and are making their way to security when Taehyung hesitates. Jimin sees it out of his corner of his eye, sees the moment Taehyung starts to turn around, and he quickly grabs him under the arm before he makes it half a step.

 

“Oh, no you don’t,” Jimin says, dragging Taehyung back until they’re face to face. He watches Taehyung’s eyes drift back the way they came from and grabs his face roughly between his hands. “Get your shit together right now, Kim Taehyung. Get it together.”

 

Taehyung’s lashes are wet with tears that stream down onto Jimin’s fingers where they’re pressed into his cheeks to keep him from looking away. “He told me to go,” Taehyung says thickly. “He didn’t even want me to stay.”

 

“No, stop that shit,” Jimin says through nearly clenched teeth. “Stop crying. He’s doing the right thing, okay? He wants you to be safe.”

 

Taehyung breaks then, mouth trembling as he leans over against Jimin’s chest. He sobs soundlessly, shoulders racking as Jimin pulls him in, arms tight around him. “I love him,” he mutters brokenly somewhere into Jimin’s jacket. Then again, so small and helpless and with the type of pain Jimin doesn’t know anything about but makes his chest secretly ache anyway, “I love him.”

 

Jimin takes a deep, steadying breath. “Listen to me,” he says, pulling Taehyung’s face back up, smearing the wetness from his cheeks with rough, hurried hands. “Look at me. Don’t ever get this wrong. You come first. You come first.” He sees the words phasing straight through Taehyung and gives him a hard shake, fingers almost bruising with how tightly he’s holding. “ Say it.

 

Taehyung’s eyes pinch shut, fat tears squeezing from the corners of his eyes. His voice is a cracked whisper when he speaks. “I come first.”

 

“When?” Jimin demands.

 

Always .”

 

Jimin lets go of Taehyung, taking a step back. “Good,” he says. “Now dry your fucking face. We have a plane to catch.”

 

You don’t know anything about love.

 

Taehyung is right. He doesn’t know anything about love, probably wouldn’t know it if it slapped him in the face. But he thinks he knows a little bit about pain, maybe even heartbreak, too, now that he’s held it at least twice in his arms.



It’s been a constant hustle since their plane touched down at LAX.

 

First there had been the language barrier, Jimin barely knowing enough to get by and Taehyung proving fairly useless on that front. There had been the process of frustratedly hand-gesturing their way into a hotel room for a few nights, figuring out a way to get cell phones, trying not to get lost on every street corner when they walked to buy groceries.

 

But it had settled more easily than he’d been anticipating. He hadn’t known how much Jeongguk had actually sent them with, but Taehyung had pulled up the account on his phone and proceeded to practically fall to his knees at the number of digits across his screen. So they’d found an apartment in a neighborhood that made even the sketchier streets Jimin had worked back home look like urban paradise, but it’s still theirs and they like it anyway. They’d even gone furniture shopping and picked out curtains.

 

Curtains .

 

Taehyung is lying on his twin bed on his stomach, phone in his hand as he mouths English words at the screen and listens to a video lesson through his earbuds.

 

Jimin is on the other side of their studio apartment, sitting cross-legged on the floor as he counts the cash he’d made last night. “Tae,” he calls as he drops the last single on the stack with a frown. When Taehyung doesn’t answer, he leans over and grabs a throw pillow from the couch to lob at him.

 

The pillow smacks him in the face, knocking the phone out of his hand as he lets out a noise. “What the fuck,” he says, pulling out his earbuds.

 

“You’re gonna have to go get money out of the bank.”

 

Taehyung sits up, holding the pillow on his lap. “How much are we short?”

 

“Like, a fucking lot,” Jimin mumbles. “Four-hundred.”

 

“Shit,” Taehyung says, taking a deep breath. “Are you sure?”

 

“You wanna count it yourself?” Jimin questions, gesturing to the money lying on the carpet in front of him.

 

“No, no,” Taehyung says, shaking his head. “Shit. I really don’t want to take more out.”

 

“Do you want your pride or do you want electricity?” Jimin asks as he leans back against the couch, draping an arm over his bent knee.

 

“God, why is L.A. so expensive,” Taehyung mumbles.

 

“Part of the American dream,” Jimin muses, letting his head fall back against the couch cushions.

 

“What are we gonna do when we run out?” Taehyung asks.

 

“That’s a long way off.”

 

“Maybe we should think about it.”

 

Jimin drags himself to his feet with a sigh, walking into the kitchenette to grab a soda and crack it open. He leans against the breakfast bar that divides the room and watches Taehyung fall back on the bed to stare at the light fixtures overhead. “Guess you could call Jeonggukie up and cry to him,” Jimin suggests with a snort.

 

“Oh, fuck off.” Taehyung is so clearly disheartened by the mere mention of the name it almost makes Jimin feel a little bad for him. Almost, but not quite.

 

“I’m serious,” Jimin says, grinning. “He’d just whip out his checkbook and ask you how many zeros to write.”

 

“He doesn’t even use a checkbook, dipshit,” Taehyung grouses. “No one in this century does.”

 

“I had a guy ask me just the other day if he could write me a check,” Jimin argues. “I told him no but I’d take Venmo.”

 

Taehyung sighs.

 

Jimin giggles. “God, you and your pining . It’s fucking gross.”

 

“I’m not ‘pining’,” Taehyung states.

 

“Just fucking call him already, christ,” Jimin groans, rolling his eyes.

 

“How the fuck would I do that?”

 

“Google his office phone number.”

 

Taehyung lets out an almighty sigh. “You know that’s not what I meant.”

 

“Get over yourself,” Jimin states. “You’re such a pussy sometimes, I swear.”

 

“Who fucking asked you?” Taehyung suddenly snaps. He sits up on the bed, leaning down and shoving his feet into his shoes.

 

Jimin can’t refrain from rolling his eyes yet again. “ You sure didn’t ask me anything before you got us into this mess.”

 

“You say that like you’re not standing in an apartment halfway across the world because we actually got out ,” Taehyung states, grabbing his phone and keys as he heads toward the door.

 

“Who ever said I wanted out?”

 

Taehyung stops. He turns back to Jimin, looking much more confused than angry. “What are you saying?” he asks, narrowing his eyes.

 

“We’re here because of you, not me,” Jimin states.

 

“I didn’t force you into anything.”

 

“Would you have left without me?”

 

Taehyung bites the inside of his lip and turns away.

 

“I mean, at least be honest with yourself,” Jimin continues.

 

“We came here to find your family,” Taehyung contends.

 

“Oh, that,” Jimin says with a short laugh. “Still being willfully ignorant about that, huh?”

 

“What?” Taehyung fixes him with a hard stare, doubt and resentment.

 

Jimin shrugs, setting his drink on the counter and crossing his arms over his chest. “You think I have the slightest idea where my family is? I don’t even know their fucking names. How many people in a city of four million do you think have the last name Park ?”

 

“That was the whole reason we came to L.A.,” Taehyung argues, shaking his head with confusion. “Are you - are you saying you lied ?”

 

“I’m saying you’re kind of stupid for believing it.”

 

“Oh my god,” Taehyung says in disbelief. “Why are we even here? Why did we come here? What the fuck , Jimin?”

 

Jimin walks over to the couch and flops down, back to Taehyung. “Fuck if I know.”

 

“I could have been looking for my sister,” Taehyung says. “I could - I could have been with him this whole time.”

 

“Yeah, because hanging around Seoul with a fucking public figure would have been such a great idea.”

 

“That wasn’t your decision to make,” Taehyung says.

 

“If you wanna run back to Korea and get your man, be my fucking guest,” Jimin snaps without looking over his shoulder.

 

The door slams.



He doesn’t really know what to expect when he hears Taehyung returning later that night, deadbolt clicking and door swinging shut behind him. He lies still in his bed, sheets tossed to the side because it’s way too hot in the apartment even for nighttime.

 

“Jimin.”

 

He turns his face and sees Taehyung standing by his bed, taking off a gold chain necklace and lying it on their nightstand. “Yeah.”

 

The lamp between their beds switches on, the light reflecting in Taehyung’s dark eyes. He doesn’t look drunk or like he’s been crying. He looks calm. “Can I ask you to be completely honest with me for the next fifteen minutes?” he asks, voice low like the question is a secret.

 

Jimin shifts over in bed onto his side, stuffing his pillow under his head and staring back into Taehyung’s heavy eyes. “Okay.”

 

“Why did you lie about your family?”

 

“To get you to leave with me.”

 

Taehyung nods. Jimin scoots over some as Taehyung sinks onto the edge of the bed next to him. “Did you want to leave?”

 

Jimin looks away, down to Taehyung’s shoulder. “I wanted to get you away from there.”

 

“Why didn’t you just tell me?”

 

“You would’ve stayed if I had.”

 

Taehyung takes a breath, lips slightly pursed as he seems to think of his next question. He’d better be smart about it, since Jimin had only promised fifteen minutes. “Did you really do that just for me?”

 

“No,” Jimin says. “We wouldn’t have been safe. I did it for myself.”

 

“Do you want to go back?”

 

Jimin looks to Taehyung’s eyes. He wonders if Taehyung can see he doesn’t want to answer that one. “Sometimes.”

 

“Do you think we’re safer here?” Taehyung asks.

 

“We’re not gonna get by once we use up all the money unless you get a job,” Jimin says. “We don’t know enough English. We live in a kind of shitty area.”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung says, nodding slowly. “I don’t like what you’re doing for money.”

 

“It doesn’t bother me,” Jimin says. He pauses for a moment, frowning a bit. “We don’t have any friends.”

 

“What if something happens to one of us?”

 

“I don’t know,” Jimin says. “Guess whoever’s left would be fucked.”

 

“Would it be any better if we went back?”

 

“I don’t know about that either,” Jimin says. “I know a lot more people there. And we’d at least have an easier time finding jobs.”

 

Taehyung is quiet, hand making idle circles on the blanket.

 

“Is my fifteen minutes up yet?” Jimin asks with a small grin.

 

“I don’t remember when it started,” Taehyung admits.

 

Jimin gives an amused huff, rolling his eyes slightly. “That’s not fair. How do I know when I can start bullshitting again?”

 

“Maybe you should just stop altogether,” Taehyung suggests. “Something to consider.”

 

“I considered it and decided against it.”

 

Taehyung sighs, long-suffering. Then he sobers, looking down at Jimin. “What are we going to do?”

 

“Well,” Jimin begins. “I already went online and booked you a one-way ticket back to Seoul, so I guess you could probably pack your shit.”

 

“What?” Taehyung says.

 

“You have, like, twenty-four hours to cancel before we’re out the money if you change your mind,” Jimin hums.

 

“Why would you do that?”

 

“I don’t know,” Jimin says. “I was all pissed off and thought you were gonna leave, anyway.”

 

“I see,” Taehyung says, heaving a sigh. “Well, you made a huge mistake.”

 

Jimin sends him a confused look.

 

“You should have bought two tickets.”


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 

The bus rumbles down the road, people shuffling around to get off at their stops. There’s something sticky under his foot and he’s sweaty, but there’s not enough room to take off his jacket. Yoongi’s headphones are over his ears as he listens to an album he’s been obsessed with for a week now.



He’s on his way back home from a job interview that had gone about as well as one can when he’s got a criminal history and no verifiable work experience. But he’s kind of worried Yoongi will start threatening to kick him out if he doesn’t at least try, so he’s been sucking it up and forcing himself to travel to whatever part of town, sit and answer tentative questions about his “qualifications,” and pretend like he’s a reformed rebel looking to live on the straight and narrow.



It hasn’t really been working, but Yoongi hasn’t said much about it, so he thinks maybe it’s okay. He doesn’t like to think about what might happen to him if he messes up this arrangement with Yoongi. He’s the most settled he’s felt in years. He has his own room with a closet and a dresser and a bed and it’s just wild.



The bed might be nicer if he could sleep through the night, though. Or fall asleep to begin with, which has been kind of a problem for a few months now.



About the time his favorite song on the album comes on, the bus pulls up to his stop and he gets to his feet, pocketing his phone and tucking his board under his arm. He rolls down the street to Lucky Cat, a few blocks from the bus stop, lines in the sidewalk clicking under the wheels and wind catching in the open sides of his jacket. When he passes by the windows of the restaurant, he smiles and waves inside to the owner. He forgets her name and calls her ma’am most of the time and she doesn’t even bother trying to remember his. She’s busy with a customer and doesn’t wave back as he skids past and pops his board up, catching it as he takes the fire escape stairs two at a time.



Heavy bass in his ears and food on his mind, he strolls into the kitchen and goes for the fridge, digging around for the leftover stir-fry he knows Yoongi didn’t finish last night. He finds it hiding behind a pack of beer and throws it in the microwave, drumming his fingers on the counter as he waits.



In the silence between songs, he hears voices.



He quickly turns around and pulls the headphones off his head, gaping and feeling a pang of embarrassment when he realizes there’s two other people in the apartment right now.



Yoongi being one of them, “ - my fuckin’ food, jackass, put it back.”



And the other -



Jimin .



There he is, leaning against the arm of Yoongi’s old couch like he owns the place, patent leather pants shining in afternoon sunlight through the naked window, a baby-pink shirt draped over his shoulders that matches his much longer, much pinker shock of hair.



The microwave is beeping from behind him, Yoongi is saying eat that and I’ll fucking kill you , his headphones are blaring rap music from where they lay around his neck, but he can’t even think. His brain has come to a screeching halt, and he looks like a fucking idiot because Jimin is saying something to him now -



“Your food’s done.”



His voice is as deceptively sweet as Hoseok remembers, and the amused glint in his eyes is even prettier than he remembers, which is kind of unfair because all this time he’d been trying to convince himself Jimin wasn’t really that hot to begin with but now he can plainly see that was a crock of shit. Jimin has transcended his own level of hotness, surpassing even the imaginary Jimin that’s been plaguing some of his more private daydreams.



It’s a lot to process.



“It’s not his food, it’s my goddamn food. Fuckin’ punk-ass kid,” Yoongi grumbles.



“Uh,” Hoseok articulates.



Jimin giggles.



Yoongi rolls his eyes.



“Hi, Hoseokie,” Jimin says with a little tinkling wave, nails painted shiny, liquid black.



“Hi,” Hoseok says. He turns around quickly and pops open the microwave, reaching in to grab the food and scalding his fingers on the container. He hisses a few swear words and drops it on the counter with a clatter.



“Fuckin’ moron,” Yoongi says. “Anyway, yeah, I’ll give you a call when I get some in. No guarantees on the pricing, though, I just go off’a what they tell me.”



“Awwh, no friends and family discount?” Jimin hums, boots thumping as he starts heading for the door.



“Not for you,” Yoongi grunts.



Jimin makes a pouty noise, getting closer to the front door. “After everything I’ve done for you, Yoongi-baby.”



Yoongi snorts. “Be glad I’m doing any kind of business with the likes of you.”



Hoseok is pointedly avoiding eye contact as he stirs his food, only looking up when he senses eyes on him.



“Business is always a pleasure with you,” Jimin says, directed at Yoongi, but his eyes flicker over Hoseok for a searing, hummingbird-heartbeat moment, and then he turns and leaves.



The sound of the door closing hits Hoseok like a defibrillator as he lets out a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding.



“The fuck was that ?” Yoongi demands, eyebrow raised at the way Hoseok’s hand is frozen holding a bite of food halfway between his plate and his mouth.



“Uh, what? What was what?” Hoseok stutters, taking the bite and consciously willing himself to chew it up.



Yoongi narrows his eyes at him. “What’s going on with you and Jimin?”



“What? Nuh-nothing’s going on,” Hoseok says quickly. “I didn’t even know he was back.”



Yoongi looks severely unconvinced. “You fucked him, didn’t you?”



What? ” He almost chokes and then lets out a nervous, spluttering laugh. “Wha-what? Why would you ask - ”



“You gotta be kidding me,” Yoongi cuts him off, shaking his head.



“No, it’s - you’ve got the wrong idea,” Hoseok stammers.



“I wish I had the wrong idea,” Yoongi says, then he heaves a sigh. “Listen, kid,” he begins, mouth pressed into a disappointed line, “he’s not the kind of person you need to be getting wrapped up with.”



“I’m not,” Hoseok says, voice coming out whiny. “I don’t even - I barely know him. I haven’t seen him in months.”



“Yeah,” Yoongi says. “But I know that slimy bastard. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”



“What?” Hoseok blinks, swallowing a bite of food. “I’m not - I’m not gonna get involved with him.”



Yoongi scoffs, standing up from where he’d been leaning against the wall and heading for his bedroom. “He’s a different breed than what you’re used to, kid,” Yoongi warns, voice floating down the hall.



Hoseok frowns down at his food for a few moments before finally setting it aside on the counter. He grabs his cigarettes and heads out the front door, feet clunking on the stairs as he makes his way back down. Yoongi’s rules about smoking in the house vary, so he usually plays it safe.



He sees Jimin’s crossed legs from under the awning before he actually makes it all the way down and feels his heart give an almost painful pulse against the back of his ribs. He puts on his best unphased look as he steps off the last stair, placing his cigarette in his mouth and trying not to gawk.



Jimin is smoking his own cigarette, leaning against the brick wall and looking up at Hoseok unreadably. He breaks the awkward silence first. “Next bus doesn’t run for a few more minutes.”



“Oh,” Hoseok mumbles, flicking his lighter a few times before his cigarette catches.



“I think we’re supposed to ask each other how we’ve been or something like that,” Jimin says, grinning slightly.



Hoseok nods, exhaling smoke. “We can do that. How’ve you been?”



Jimin crosses his arms and never quite loses the mischievous look in his eyes. He ashes his cigarette, gesturing with it subtly as he talks. “I’ve never been better,” he says. “And how have you been, Mr. Jung?”



“Been alright,” Hoseok says and leans against the wall a few steps away from Jimin. “Trying to find a job, trying not to piss Yoongi off too much. Same ole.”



“Exciting,” Jimin says blandly.



“How was L.A.?”



Jimin sighs dreamily. “It was amazing,” he says. “So many places to go shopping and so much stuff to do. You can just wear whatever you want to wear there. No one cares if you’re gay or whatever. So easy to pick up guys.”



Hoseok feels something inside him sink a bit at that, but he doesn’t focus on it very long. “That’s cool,” he says. “So why’d you come back?”



“Just wasn’t working out.”



“Money?”



“Part of it.”



Hoseok makes a noise of understanding. “You here to stay?”



“Mhm,” Jimin confirms. “Tae and I got an apartment and I got a job at this club now. Real legitimate operation this time.”



“Dancing?”



“Uh-huh,” Jimin says. “It’s not too far from here, actually. You should stop by and see me sometime.”



“Ah, I would,” Hoseok says slowly. “I don’t really have the money for that kinda thing.”



Jimin shrugs. “Suit yourself.”



A moment of something indecipherable hangs over the air.



Then, because Hoseok is even more of an idiot than Yoongi gives him credit for, “Do you wanna, like, grab dinner or something?”



A smirk plays on the corner of Jimin’s mouth as he lets smoke out through his nose. “What’s the ‘or something’?” he questions.



“Um.”







They end up walking down the street to have happy hour draft beers at a hole in the wall bar Yoongi had taken Hoseok to a few weeks after he’d moved in. There’s only one bartender and all the chairs and booths are mismatched, but the music is good and they have these fried calamari things that Hoseok can single-handedly kill a whole basket of.



Jimin is sitting across the table from him, mouth dark and pink, eyes still smiling at something stupid Hoseok said earlier. And Hoseok is on his third stein already because the bartender keeps swooping by with more as soon as he polishes them off.



“People would stop me in the middle of the street and ask me, like, what kind of moisturizer I use,” Jimin is saying, taking a sip from his own glass and licking the foam from his upper lip.



“That’s not surprising,” Hoseok says.



Jimin quirks an eyebrow. “Why’s that?”



Hoseok avoids the question for about three whole seconds while he takes a drink. “Um, well, ‘cause you have nice skin, you know?”



“You think so?” Jimin asks, tilting his head and playing coy.



Hoseok doesn’t even set his glass down before taking another drink, a much longer one this time. He clears his throat and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “I mean, yeah. I think anyone would agree.”



Jimin leans forward, elbow on the table and chin propped in his hand. “So does that mean you still think I’m pretty?”



Hoseok’s eyes linger a bit too heavily on Jimin’s face before he breaks away to look down at the table. “It’s not like you look different,” Hoseok mumbles. “Just the hair.”



“Do you like it?” Jimin asks, smiling now.



“Yeah,” Hoseok blurts out. Then, stuttering, “Uh, I mean. It looks nice on you. It’s a - it’s a nice color.”



“You don’t think it’s too much?” Jimin questions, scrunching up his nose for a split second that very nearly sends Hoseok into cardiac arrest.



“No - I mean - it - no. Not at all.”



Jimin laughs then, teeth grazing his bottom lip. “You’ve always had such a way with words.”



“God, I’m so embarrassing,” Hoseok mumbles, then immediately snorts with laughter. “I fucking - I had no clue you guys were standing there earlier and I just came waltzing in with my damn headphones on, jamming out to Jay Park. Who fucking does that.”



“It was cute,” Jimin says, and Hoseok’s breath hiccups silently. Then, eyes darkening a bit, or maybe it’s just the shitty bar lighting, Hoseok doesn’t fucking know, but Jimin adds very slowly, “You’re cute.”



Before Hoseok can make more of a fool of himself, the bartender blesses him by showing up to bring them another round. As the bartender leaves, though, Jimin hones back in on him like his attention was never really gone to begin with.



“What have you been up to since I’ve been away?” Jimin asks easily.



“Uh, well, I got arrested,” Hoseok says, rubbing his hands together sheepishly. “So there’s that.”



Jimin laughs, shaking his head. “Wow, that is embarrassing.”



“Yeah, and Jeongguk came and bailed me out,” Hoseok states woefully. “He made me feel even worse about it than my own parents and he didn’t even say anything.”



Jimin tuts, wagging a finger with a playful grin. “That’s your own fault for getting caught.”



“Yeah, that’s what Yoongi said,” Hoseok says. “‘Course Jeongguk was all lecturing me about breaking the law and destroying my future and stuff.”



“Awh,” Jimin says. “Two dads disagreeing over their son getting in trouble. How sweet.”



“You know, I’m sort of offended but you’re also not fucking wrong,” Hoseok says, lips spreading into a grin no matter how hard he fights against it. “They literally argue over me like they’ve got joint custody or something. And I swear to god, one time I walked in the room and Yoongi was talking on the phone with Jeongguk about me. Like, exactly the type of shit my actual parents would talk about.”



Jimin’s shoulders are bouncing with laughter and his cheeks are tingeing a pretty pink.



“‘ I’m not gonna talk to him about college, you do it,’” Hoseok mimics in a naggy voice that really sounds nothing like Yoongi, complete with hand gestures, and Jimin is covering his mouth to keep from cackling. “Like I’m a child, for real.”



“If it makes you feel any better, I know you’re not a child,” Jimin says in the type of tone that is usually accompanied by a wink, but all he does is raise his eyebrows just slightly and god if it’s not the sexiest thing Hoseok’s ever seen.



“I’m - ” Hoseok swallows hard, knee bumping the bottom of the table. “Bathroom.”



Then he bolts, headed straight for the grimy restroom and catching the corner of a wall with his shoulder on the way. He swears under his breath and rubs at his shoulder as he pushes through the swinging door, coming to stand in front of the sulfur-stained sink and staring at his reflection through the hard water streaks on the mirror.



Is he - is Jimin flirting with him?



Should that even slightly surprise him? And why is he tripping over it like this?



Maybe because he’d spent the first month after Jimin left wondering what it would have been like to actually hang out with him, get to know him, be his friend. Go to a movie, play videos games, take a walk on the beach, have a romantic candle-lit dinner -



Okay, so he’d actually been wondering what it would have been like to date Jimin. And now here he is, hanging out with Jimin at his favorite little bar and Jimin is flirting with him like this could be going somewhere, and he’s in the goddamn bathroom staring at his own stupid face instead of out there staring at Jimin’s stunning one. Maybe because he can’t really fathom why someone like Jimin, who is hot enough to theoretically have any person in the entire country, the world even, is giving him the time of day, much less flirting with him. And not just because he’d brought him a few joints or shared his last cigarette, not because he’s trapped at a sex club where the valet boy is the closest thing to communication with the outside world he has.



It’s still quite a bit to process.



Five minutes later, Hoseok emerges from the bathroom and manages to not run into any walls or trip over anything on his way back to the table. Jimin is on his phone, tapping out a text message as Hoseok approaches.



“Last call for happy hour,” Jimin says as Hoseok takes a seat. “I got us one more round and closed out our tabs.”



“Yeah, cool, awesome,” Hoseok says. He looks down as Jimin slides his phone across the table toward him, a blank contact pulled up. He recovers quickly, scooping up the phone and tapping out his number to save in Jimin’s phone.



“I’ll text you so you have mine,” Jimin says as he takes his phone back. A second later, Hoseok’s pings from inside his pocket. Jimin sets his phone down on the table and then turns a bright smile on Hoseok. “There we go.”



The bartender brings them their last round and Jimin tells him about this festival he went to called Pride and shows him pictures on his phone as they slowly sip on their last beers. Hoseok can’t really help but look more at Jimin’s face, close to his own as he leans across the table and flips through photos in his gallery. They stumble across a picture of Jimin and Taehyung, dressed in wild rainbow colors and crop-tops, bodies sweaty and leaning into each other and joined at the tongue in an open-mouthed kiss.



“Oh my,” Hoseok says, laughing nervously as his cheeks burn hot.



“Ah, yeah, that was so much fun,” Jimin says. “Taehyung was so wasted. You know it’s bad when I’m the responsible one.”



Hoseok can’t really help but look at Jimin in wonder, thinking about the adventures he had in the United States, the things he saw and the people he met there. He wonders at all the pictures as Jimin gives dreamy-eyed commentary - a snapshot of Taehyung and Jimin at Venice Beach, palm trees and white sands behind them, a candid shot of Taehyung sipping an iced latte on Rodeo Drive. Jimin pauses at a picture of himself kneeling over a red star on what he explains is the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



“Oh, this one's for you,” Jimin says almost excitedly, zooming in so Hoseok can see the words on the star. He looks up and smiles as Hoseok squints in confusion, unable to read the English words. “It’s Audrey Hepburn’s star.”



Hoseok’s mouth falls open.



Jimin keeps right on talking, flipping through his pictures and not even noticing Hoseok is gaping at him.



That -



Jimin had thought about him - had taken a picture for him ?



What does that -



“ - and this is this bell thing that symbolizes friendship between the U.S. and Korea, so we were kind of, like, obligated to go there. That’s what Taehyung said, anyway - ”



mean?



“ - wanted to go to like a million art museums, so that’s where that’s from.” Jimin looks up at Hoseok and goes quiet, a slow smile spreading over his face as he chuckles. “You’ve had a lot to drink, huh?”



“What?” Hoseok leans back, shakes his head to snap himself out of whatever daze he’d just been in. “No - I’m, I’m good. Sorry, I just zoned.”



Jimin is still smiling gently as he puts his phone away. “Come on,” he says, nodding toward the door, “I’ll walk you home.”



“Oh - okay.”







The sun had begun to dip low and peek out between buildings when they had started the walk back to Yoongi’s, and it’s completely gone by the time they reach the last block. They’d done everything imaginable to slow down their arrival - stopping to pick a coin up off the ground and making a wish on it, Hoseok pausing at a bus stop bench to retie his shoe because Jimin had been convinced it was going to be hilarious when Hoseok finally tripped, even stopping to read a lost dog poster on a light pole and having a whole conversation about how sad it was and how neither of them have ever had a pet dog but they both want one someday.



But, as with all things, there was only so much they could do to postpone the inevitable. Hoseok isn’t really sure if that’s what Jimin is doing, or if he just has nothing better to be doing right now. But he knows that’s what he’s doing because he’s kind of tipsy on cheap beer and bright, bubbly laughter and blossom-pink hair falling into sleepy, bedroom eyes.



“It’s so weird,” Jimin is saying as their shoulders bump and Hoseok veers slightly to make some space, “having a job and my own place. Being, like, a productive member of society. It’s fucking weird.”



Hoseok nods thoughtfully, watching the sidewalk move under his feet. “Weird in a good way or a bad way?”



“Good weird, I think,” Jimin says and comes to a stop. He’s staring ahead at the side of Lucky Cat with an amused glimmer in his eyes.



Hoseok follows his gaze and spots Yoongi smoking a cigarette, hunched over on the bottom step of the fire escape. He waves sheepishly and Yoongi ignores him.



Then Jimin is leaning over into his space, and he smells the same , like cologne and beer but also something sweet and that’s what Hoseok is focused on when he drops his voice so only Hoseok can hear, “Why does he look like he’s about to start cleaning his gun and asking what my intentions are with you?”



Hoseok giggles and leans away, suddenly feeling his pulse in every square inch of his body, dick included. He looks back over at Yoongi, who’s adamantly ignoring them even though they’re just at the corner of the building and well within earshot. “I think that’s just his face,” he mumbles back to Jimin, who giggles lightly.



“Jeez, sorry you have to look at that every day,” he says, nudging Hoseok with an elbow.



Hoseok watches as Yoongi flicks his cigarette butt and gets to his feet, throwing one last narrow-eyed look at him before he turns around. “He’s leaving.”



“Good,” Jimin states, and Hoseok meets his eyes.



Hoseok’s heart gives a ba-dump that he’s glad is hidden because the dumb, mouth-breather look on his face is certainly not. “Why’s that a good thing?”



Jimin narrows his eyes playfully, turning toward Hoseok and taking a small step closer. “C’mon, Hoseok, you’re smarter than that.”



“That’s, um, uh,” Hoseok stammers, holding back a physical shiver when Jimin’s eyes fall to his mouth for a glimpse, “...debatable.”



Seeming to have some sort of mercy for probably the first time ever that Hoseok can remember, Jimin takes a step back and lets the moment fizzle away. “Come see me at work sometime. I’ll get you in for free,” he says.



“Are you allowed to do that?”



“Of course not, but I’m willing to risk it all for you,” Jimin says, a bit dramatically as he bites back a smile.



Hoseok rolls his eyes so exaggeratedly his head rolls back, too, as he lets out a laugh. “You’re so full of shit, oh my god.”



Jimin’s giggle subsides as he pushes his hands into his pants pockets and shrugs. “Nah, my boss is chill. He won’t mind.”



Hoseok thinks it over for a moment, giving a few hem-and-haw nods of his head. “I dunno, man. It’s probably not a good idea for my probation.”



Jimin snorts, fixing him with an incredulous look. “You live with a fucking drug dealer.”



Hoseok lets out an exasperated sigh, but it’s just a bunch of hot air because he’s still smiling like a dumbass. “Alright, damn. I’ll stop by.”



“Good,” Jimin nearly purs, and all Hoseok can hear in that voice is -



Good boy .



The smile on his face drops, and suddenly it feels ten degrees hotter even though it’s late evening and it should be getting colder. He remembers that look in Jimin’s eyes, the one that says I’d take good care of you and has yet to fail to make Hoseok weak in the knees. And god he wants to let Jimin take care of him, but he wants Jimin to come upstairs and get tangled in his sheets and fuck him up even more . But they shouldn’t fuck on a first date - not that this is a date - but Hoseok doesn’t really want Jimin getting the wrong idea, that tonight was some sort of extended prelude to a casual fuck. Because before Jimin had left, it had been hurry, rush, now-or-never, but now Hoseok kind of wants to do it right, to let it burn a little slower, to let it build to more than a quick fuck.



He doesn’t really know if that’s what Jimin wants, can only hope so, but he knows if he gives in right now, there’s no chance that’s what it’s going to be.



“I should, uh…” Hoseok mumbles, sobered from his own thoughts, “I should prob’ly go.”



“Mm, yeah,” Jimin says, nodding. “It’s past your curfew, young man.”



Hoseok groans, unable to stop a smile because he’s never been good at keeping a straight face. “Why did I think it was a good idea to tell you about that?”



Laughing, Jimin waves it off. “Don’t worry, it’ll eventually get old. Or someone will make a ‘daddy’ joke and it’ll get awkward.”



“I’m fucking - ” Hoseok snorts, not even getting a full sentence out through his laugh as he starts trudging away, “I’m so done. Good night .”



Jimin’s stands still, watching him head toward the stairs with a look that seems wicked but could be anything for all Hoseok knows. “Night, Jeongguk Junior,” he sing-songs.



“Oh my god, stop ,” Hoseok groans, reaching the bottom of the stairs and then turning around.



Jimin is still just standing there with this fucking look on his face.



“Are you just gonna stand there and watch me leave?”



“If you’re about to trip going up those stairs, I’m not about to miss it.”



Hoseok huffs, turning back around. “I’m not gonna fuckin’ - ” He trips over his own feet, catching himself on the railing before he face-plants. “Alright, fuck that foot, fuck the stairs, fuck you , Jimin.”



Jimin is doubled over, laughing so hard he’s winded and clutching at his stomach. “Oh my god,” he gasps, “you fucking klutz. Do it again, please do it again.”



Hoseok is bright red and trying not to laugh himself breathless as he walks up the first flight. “Dude, I hate you so much right now,” he calls over his shoulder, met with an even louder laugh from Jimin.



When he reaches the top of the stairs, he turns and sees Jimin hasn’t budged, eyes unwavering as he stares up at Hoseok from the ground. “I said goodnight already. Show’s over. You can leave now,” Hoseok says with a dumb grin and a sheepish flap of his hand.



Jimin chews on his nail for a moment, smile half-covered by his hand. Then he waves, a little flutter of his fingers. “Bye, Hoseokie.”



Hoseok swallows. “Okay, bye.”



The door shuts behind him and he resists the urge to collapse against it, somehow out of breath from a single flight of stairs and nothing else .



Yoongi is sitting on the couch, headphones on as he stares at the screen of his laptop. When he notices Hoseok, he only looks up, squints, and shakes his head.



Hoseok lets it roll off as he goes into his bedroom, letting the door click shut behind him and taking a deep breath for a moment because he’s still breathing funny. Then he flops onto his back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling until he realizes he’s smiling like an idiot and shoves a pillow over his face.







The next few weeks go by in a blur. Hoseok miraculously landed a job as an overnight stocker at a grocery store, so he’d spent a week going to orientation and learning his way around his new job. He’s only part time, but there’s already been talk of bumping him up to full time if he keeps doing well. He and Yoongi had smoked a celebratory bowl and bought a mini bundt cake for the occasion, although in hindsight they really should have gone for a regular-sized cake because it didn’t last three minutes once the munchies set in. And when he’d gotten his first paycheck, Yoongi had walked with him to the bank and helped him set up his own account and everything, told him how to get direct deposit for work, and now Hoseok can even send money to his mom from an app on his phone.



But all this great goodness aside, Hoseok is exhausted. His sleep schedule is a mess. He’d thought adjusting to an overnight schedule would be ideal since that’s what he’d been doing at Lux, anyway, but trying to sleep during the hottest part of the day with all the racket from downstairs has proven a worthy adversary. And he still gets nightmares during the day, still has trouble falling back asleep even when the sun is lighting up his whole room and he can hear people, cars, life all around him. So he usually zonks out on the long ride to and from work, even if it’s made him miss his stop twice already and he only feels more tired when he eventually jolts awake.



It’s early morning, people stepping onto the train with their coffees and newspapers and looking ready to start their day. Hoseok is nodding in and out of consciousness, the bill of his hat pulled down over his eyes to block out the bright lights that run the length of the car. He usually listens to music, but he’s determined not to miss his stop this time so he can get home, get a shower, try to sleep.



He yawns as he boards home, rubs at his eyes and tries not to crash into a fence or roll off the curb. He sails past the front of the store, vacant until they open for lunch later today. He skids to a stop and grabs his board, rounding the corner of the building into the alleyway.



“If it ain’t the breadwinner himself,” comes Yoongi’s coarse voice, and Hoseok looks up.



Yoongi and Jimin are both hanging around the steps of the fire escape, passing a joint between themselves. Hoseok does his best to play it cool because Jimin looks like he’s coming back from a night out, dressed in a low-cut shirt and a choker necklace, heavy makeup around his eyes. And tight pants, always with the tight pants.



“Sup guys,” Hoseok mumbles as he passes between them, heading up the stairs.



“You don’t want any?” Yoongi questions, gesturing with the joint in his hands.



“Nah, I’ll pass,” Hoseok replies, pulling open the front door.



“Someone check if he’s running fever,” Yoongi mumbles and Jimin huffs a rather underwhelmed laugh at it.



Safely inside his room, Hoseok feels free to be kind of… kind of something . Irritated or something. He’s not sure why Jimin hadn’t texted him that he was coming over, or why he’s showing up to hang out with Yoongi of all people, like they’re suddenly best buds. Then he’s even more confused as to why he’s so irritated about it in the first place. It’s not like Jimin can’t hang out with Yoongi or go and do whatever he wants.



He and Jimin have kept up a stop-and-go text message dialogue since the night they’d exchanged numbers, but they’ve both been too busy to see each other. They’ve handed out a lot of rain checks and the best times for Jimin to hang out seem to fall right at the worst times for Hoseok.



So he’s sort of irritated, though he’s not sure exactly why, and he’s maybe a little jealous that somehow Yoongi lucked out in pinning Jimin down long enough to share a joint with the guy. And maybe he’s even sulking a bit as he yanks off his shoes and empties his pockets onto his dresser, tosses his hat on top and shakes his hair out with his hands.



Yoongi chooses right then to come knocking at his door, stopping Hoseok in his tracks as he’s gathering up his sleep clothes. He drops them back on the dresser and grabs the doorknob, pulling open the door with a huff -



“You too good to hang out with me now, or what?”



Jimin - not Yoongi - leans against the doorframe, half-smile on his lips and arms crossed over his chest.



“Uh, no, sorry,” Hoseok says. “I was just, you know, tired from work and stuff. Sorry.”  



Jimin looks past Hoseok into his room. “Can I come in?”



“Oh, yeah - yeah, sure,” Hoseok says, side-stepping and gesturing for Jimin to come inside. He closes the door as Jimin walks into the room and looks around curiously. “Sorry, it’s kind of, uh, empty.”



Jimin hums, giving a light shrug. “Could use a throw rug or some mini blinds. Maybe a potted plant or something. Might spruce the place up a bit.”



Hoseok chuckles under his breath and rubs the back of his neck as Jimin takes perch on his unmade bed, still eyeing around the room. “You, uh, just gettin’ off work or what?”



“I went and had a few drinks with some of the other dancers,” Jimin says, tugging at the laces on his boots and sliding out of them. “Yoongi texted me and told me my stuff came in. Now here I am.”



“Cool,” Hoseok says, nodding.



“You’ve been busy,” Jimin says, crossing his legs and leaning back on his hands.



“Yeah, got a job working overnight.”



Jimin makes a sound of understanding. “That why you never stopped by to see me?”



“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Hoseok mumbles. “I’ve been planning on it, I just haven’t had the time. My sleep’s been all messed up with the new job and my nights off are kinda random.”



“That’s okay,” Jimin says, then fixes Hoseok with a pointed look. “Long as you’re not avoiding me.”



“No, no, of course not,” Hoseok says, shaking his head. He’s still standing awkwardly by the door, not sure if he should try to sit somewhere or what. There’s really nowhere to sit, which makes him think Jimin intentionally took up the middle of the bed for some reason. So he pads over to the center of the room and fiddles with stuff on his dresser to look preoccupied. “Just been busy with work and probation and stuff. Trying to get shit straightened out.”



“Jeongguk must be so proud,” Jimin muses.



“Well, he’s off my ass about it, so there’s that,” Hoseok says. He turns and leans against the dresser, finally having worked up the nerve to face Jimin head-on.



“I haven’t really seen you much since I’ve been back,” Jimin says as his eyes flutter down to where his hand toys with the hem of his shirt. “I had been hoping to see more of you.”



“Oh,” Hoseok says. “Oh, uh, yeah. Definitely.”



“I kind of thought we might just…” he trails off, eyes flashing up to Hoseok and burning into him. “Pick up where we left off.”



Something twists in his gut at the words, and Hoseok works to keep a level head. “You mean, like, before you left for L.A.?”



“Yeah.” Jimin sends him a confused look. “What else would I be talking about?”



Hoseok had kind of hoped he meant that night when he’d first came back. The night he’d almost deluded himself into thinking was some kind of date. But Jimin means what they were doing months ago, the casual fucking. It stings a lot more than Hoseok thought it would. “Yeah, sorry, I don’t know. It’s been a long night,” he says with a bland laugh.



Jimin scoots over then, patting the space next to himself and looking expectantly to Hoseok.



Hoseok stares at the space. There’s a lot of temptation there, because fuck he wants to but there’s no telling if Jimin would even be open to the idea of anything beyond that casual level of fooling around. Hoseok finds himself hesitating and Jimin catches it immediately.



“What’s wrong?” Jimin asks.



“Nothing, I just - ” He bites his tongue, swallowing the words.



Jimin narrows his eyes, frowning a bit. “So… you’re not interested in that anymore.” It’s not really clear if it’s a statement or a question.



“I, uh,” Hoseok stammers, at a loss entirely. “I dunno.”



“Oh,” Jimin says easily. “Is it because you’re seeing someone now?”



Hoseok quickly shakes his head.  “No, no. That’s not it.”



“Did I do something wrong?”



“What?” Hoseok blurts out. “No, of course not - no.”



“So what is it then?”



“Nothing, Jimin, it’s nothing,” Hoseok breathes, slumping back against the dresser. “I’m just - I’m not really into the whole... casual hookup thing right now.”



“It’s not like that, is it?” Jimin seems genuinely confused. “We’re friends. We know each other, sort of.”



Hoseok’s mouth squeezes into a line and he rubs his hand over his jaw, trying and failing to figure out what he really wants to say. “That’s - not really the point.”



Jimin laughs, then. “Why does it feel like I’m getting dumped or something?”



“Don’t you actually have to be dating for that?”



“Yeah, exactly,” Jimin snips, all traces of humor vanished and a frustrated set to his brows.



And then Jimin is grabbing his shoes, pulling them back on, and he’s going to leave, and Hoseok panics.



“No, wait.”



Jimin pauses, fingers intertwined with the laces of his boots.



“Stay,” Hoseok says weakly. “Stay here. Sorry, I’m just - tired is all. I don’t know what’s going on with me.”



With a doubtful look on his face, Jimin kicks his shoes back off. Then he stands, and Hoseok holds his breath.



And when he exhales, it comes out as -



“I missed you.”



Then Jimin is stepping up to him, close enough to breathe him in, and Hoseok knows in that moment he’s a goner. Jimin’s hands come to his waist, warm through his t-shirt, and he smells amazing, looks amazing, and Hoseok is such a fucking goner.



“I missed you too, baby,” Jimin murmurs, sapping the breath from Hoseok’s lungs. He ducks his chin, forehead pressing against Hoseok’s jaw as his hands slide up his sides.



Hoseok turns his face, nuzzling into soft hair and thanking every deity he can think of that he’s leaning against the dresser because there’s no way he could stand up straight. His heart crashes in his chest, every raw nerve in his body coming alight when Jimin’s lips press to his neck. He lets out the most vulnerable, embarrassing noise ever but he doesn’t really care because Jimin’s body is against his then - warm, soft, solid, everything he remembers but better, way better.



There’s no stopping his hands from coming up to Jimin’s face then, pulling him up to crush their mouths together, moaning straight into Jimin’s mouth the moment they connect. He winds his arms around Jimin’s neck and Jimin’s hands are up the back of his shirt and each kiss blends into the next in a continuum, tongues pressed to teeth and teeth scraping lips and lips sucking tongues. And then more, and more, until he can’t breathe but he’s not going to stop, until they’re gasping into each other’s open mouths between the wet slide of their lips. Until he’s memorized what Jimin’s bottom lip feels like between his, what it feels like when he sucks on it, how it gives under the ridge of his teeth, and then on to the top because he’s going to memorize that, too. He buries his hands in pink hair, presses himself closer into Jimin’s body until there’s no getting any closer. He tilts his head and licks deep into Jimin’s mouth, reveling at the noise he makes and then doing everything he can to get that noise again.



Eventually Jimin lightly pushes against his chest, laughing gently and mumbling something like whoa there babe but Hoseok is far from done. He dives into Jimin’s neck, tonguing, tasting, working his way up until there are cool metal earrings against his lips, then back down, as low as he can get, sucking a mark somewhere above his collarbone. Then his hands are on Jimin’s waist, then his ass, dragging him in, dragging their crotches together and -



“Oh, god, Hoseok,” Jimin breathes, hands clinging a bit desperately to Hoseok’s back. “We’ve got all day, baby.”



Hoseok inhales deeply at that, letting his head fall to Jimin’s shoulder as he finally catches his breath. “Sorry,” he says, smoothing his hands over Jimin’s back, feeling the silky texture of his shirt, the muscles that flex underneath. “Sorry, I just - want you. So bad.”



Jimin laughs lightly, hands warm on Hoseok’s bare skin, sliding up the divot of his spine. “You can have me, baby,” he says, whisper-soft. “I’m right here.”



And Hoseok will wonder about the meaning behind that later, because right now he’s slipped all the way to the bottom of the hill, crashed, tumbled and rolled, and he’s not coming back up any time soon. He lifts his arms over his head as Jimin pulls off his shirt, throws it so hard it hits the wall with a thump. Then he’s doing the same to Jimin’s, a little more delicately because it feels expensive, but it still ends up in a pile on the floor, too. He pulls Jimin into another kiss, and another and another, pressing so their chests are together because he just wants Jimin’s skin on his from now until forever, if that’s not too much to ask.



Jimin breaks the kiss to reach down and start undoing Hoseok’s pants, and Hoseok takes the opportunity to really let it sink in how fucking gorgeous this man in front of him is. Sun-kissed skin from a summer in L.A., even more muscular now like he’s been working out and eating more, black line of a choker tight around his neck and silver jewelry all over his fingers and ears. Jimin is so out of his league it doesn’t make any sense why he’s now leaning into Hoseok’s neck, licking and sucking his way down, hands spread wide all over, all over . Hoseok’s chin falls to his chest and he pants as Jimin’s mouth closes around a nipple, hands pushing insistently to get his pants down, and then he’s moaning because oh, god he thinks he knows where this is going and he’s hardly prepared to try and process that.



By the time Jimin sinks to his knees in front of him, he’s trembling.



“You still clean?” Jimin questions, looking up at him.



“Yeah, I - ” haven’t even touched anyone since you left “ - I’m clean, I promise.”



“Mm’kay,” Jimin mumbles, and then he’s leaning in, taking Hoseok’s cock in his hand, and Hoseok’s eyes glaze over. Instead of going straight for it, Jimin dips down and presses his mouth to Hoseok’s sack, licking circles and taking one at a time into his mouth, and that’s about the moment Hoseok braces himself with both hands on the edge of the dresser.



“Oh, fuck,” Hoseok pants as Jimin keeps at it, eyes closed and soft hair brushing Hoseok’s cock. “ Ohh , fuck.”



Jimin hums at him and pulls away, kisses up Hoseok’s length and then parts his mouth, letting his tongue slide out so Hoseok can see him give a kittenish lick to the head. That’s all the playing around he does, though, because in the next breath, he’s swallowing Hoseok’s cock down, lapping at the underside, sucking hard , like he’s trying to remind Hoseok no one else can do this to him. No one can make him groan like that, hips rolling in helpless circles, knuckles white where he squeezes the dresser for dear life. No one looks this good on his cock, bright pink lips and nails painted blood-red.



He’d asked to be ruined that first night they started this, when he’d walked into that room knowing damn well what was gonna happen when he closed the door, when he’d let the words you can touch and can I taste you hypnotize him. He’s still asking to be ruined now with every stutter of his hands into Jimin’s hair, with every resounding gasp of Jimin’s name that falls from his mouth. And he thinks, as he pushes Jimin’s bangs out of his face and their eyes meet, and Jimin just gives a gurgling moan around his cock that vibrates all the way to his toes and fingertips, that he already is ruined.



Jimin’s eyes open and close periodically, fluttering up to watch Hoseok’s face. His eyes stay closed, though, when he starts going deep, taking Hoseok all the way into the back of his throat, over and over again until Hoseok’s thighs are clenched so tight to keep from thrusting they’re quivering. At some point that Hoseok feels instead of sees, because his eyes are practically rolling back in his head and his eyes are squeezed shut, both of Jimin’s hands fall to Hoseok’s hips as he bobs his head, taking his entire cock all the way to the base on each stroke.



“F-fuck, Jimin, hang on,” he pants, and Jimin pulls off to look up at him, lips puffy and slick with spit and precum. He watches through a haze as Jimin stands up and takes his pants off to crawl, naked, onto his bed - his bed - holding his gaze as he pats the spot where he wants Hoseok to lie down next to him. Hoseok kicks off the pants around his ankles and crosses the room, slipping into that empty space and sighing as Jimin’s arm wraps around his waist. He kisses and lets himself be kissed, lets Jimin share the taste on his tongue, kisses honey moans and sweet sighs from Jimin’s lips.



“Missed you,” he mumbles into Jimin’s mouth, even when he knows he shouldn’t. “Mm-missed you so much.”



“Shh, baby,” Jimin whispers, leaning over Hoseok until he lies back on the mattress. “M’right here. Not going anywhere.” He kisses Hoseok again, the corner of his mouth, and then pulls away with a little smile. “Except to get the lube.”



“Dresser, top right,” Hoseok says, and Jimin climbs off to go get it. He takes that moment to spread the blanket out a little more evenly, and to promptly get his shit together because there can not be any more confessions like that spilling out of him.



Jimin comes back, eclipsing the light as he climbs on top of Hoseok and straddles him, smooth thighs across his waist. “Wanna help me finger myself open?” he asks like it’s nothing, and Hoseok groans.



“Fuck, is that even a question?” he murmurs as Jimin sends him a cheeky grin and takes Hoseok’s hand, upending the bottle and pouring lube onto his fingers.



He adds some lube to his own fingers and then leans forward to balance on a hand by Hoseok’s head. “Didn’t know if you’d just wanna watch,” Jimin muses, lifting his hips and stretching an arm behind himself.



“Nice of you to ask,” Hoseok says with his own grin. It slips away, though, when he sees the exact moment Jimin slips a finger inside himself, the way his eyes get heavy and he pushes back on his own hand a little bit. He sees the benefit of watching - the minute changes in Jimin’s face, the light sheen of sweat developing on his forehead, the way his eyebrows and lips twitch only enough to see up close like this. Eventually his idle hands get the best of him and he reaches up, feeling around until he finds that Jimin has already pushed in two fingers, pumping them with ease in and out of himself.



“Kinda got it down to an art by now,” Jimin says at the look on Hoseok’s face. His hand slows to a stop as he looks down at Hoseok, licks his lips. “Go ahead,” he says.



Hoseok carefully rubs around his hole for a moment before pushing in alongside Jimin’s fingers and feeling his cock throb at both the sensation and the moan Jimin gives.



“That’s good, baby,” Jimin hums as they start moving in unison, Hoseok taking every lead from Jimin, matching his movements.



“This is really hot,” Hoseok supplies.



“Yeah?” Jimin says, crooked grin on his lips. “Just this?”



“No,” Hoseok mumbles, shaking his head. “You, you’re hot. You’re so hot.”



“Thank you,” Jimin coos, leaning down and kissing Hoseok’s parted lips once. Then, with a giggle, “You’re still so cute.”



“I dunno if anyone’s ever called me cute so many times in this context,” Hoseok says, still kind of mesmerized by the feel of his fingers pressed into Jimin’s, sliding in and out of his hole, getting deeper and deeper each time.



“You don’t like it?”



“M’not complaining.”



Jimin leans back, spreading his free hand down Hoseok’s chest. “You’re not just cute,” he says, pulling his hand out and letting Hoseok push in another of his fingers instead. “You wanna know what else I think?”



Hoseok’s head jitters up and down in a nod.



“You’re sexy, too,” Jimin says, hips riding Hoseok’s hand absently. “Especially when you dance. And when you’re like this. You look so good like this.”



“I do?” Hoseok mumbles, pausing to watch Jimin pick up the lube again, adding more to his hand.



“Mhm,” Jimin hums, and then he’s stroking Hoseok’s cock, spreading lube all over it and letting his thumb rub at the head. “So good. I almost forgot how good you are. How good you taste.”



Hoseok can’t even formulate a response, rapt at the way Jimin raises up on his knees to line himself up.



“How good you feel,” Jimin breathes, just as he sinks down on Hoseok’s cock, and Hoseok’s head falls back on the bed. “Did you forget how good I feel, baby?”



“No,” Hoseok answers, shaking his head and trying not to press his hips upward as Jimin’s ass settles on his lap, walls tight and wet and hot all around him, sucking him in. “God, no. No way I could forget.”



“Can I remind you anyway?”



“Please, god , please.”



“Oh, baby, don’t beg,” Jimin purs, and then starts to move. “I like it way too much.”



Hoseok couldn’t beg if he wanted to - if he had to - can’t speak at all, really, because in the next few moments, Jimin is riding him hard and fast, pushing off with his palms on Hoseok’s chest, knees digging into the mattress. All he can comprehend is the up-down-up of Jimin’s ass on his cock, which seems to be exactly how Jimin wants it - speechlessness, blind pleasure - only heavy breathing, wet moans, skin on skin. He thinks vaguely that this is what it must feel like to surrender everything to one person, to be dominated, to hand over control and let someone take and take and all he wants is to give . He doesn’t know much about that kind of thing, only the glimpses Jimin has shown him, but he’s realizing slowly how it’s more in his head than physical, and it’s fluid, ever changing, but it still all boils down to what Jimin feels like at the time, what Jimin wants.



And he realizes, in a moment of clarity under the shadow of Jimin’s body, sweat dripping from his bangs because it’s sweltering in his room, that he really likes giving Jimin what he wants.



He likes being Jimin’s good boy .



“Ji-Jimin,” he mumbles, because that moment of clarity has dissolved, and now he’s back to hazy lust, heat, so much heat because it’s so hot and their skin is just slipping and sliding all over each other. Jimin’s fingertips are digging in, short nails biting into his shoulder, and he’s rocking down so hard there’s a real possibility the bed frame could collapse, so hard it’s jostling Hoseok’s body on every downbeat and if Yoongi is anywhere in the apartment, he’s definitely hearing this. Fuck, people in the restaurant might even be hearing it if there’s anyone down there at this time of the morning.



“Yeah, baby,” Jimin pants, words almost lost in his breaths.



“Is-is it good,” Hoseok stutters, eyes closed, unable to open them.



“It’s so good,” Jimin coos, hand grasping under Hoseok’s jaw. “So good.”



“But that’s not - ” what I want to hear . Hoseok grunts, sitting up straight and wrapping his arms around Jimin’s back, wrenching him in close and interrupting any sense of rhythm he’d had going. He finds the barely-there mark on Jimin’s neck from earlier and seals his mouth over it, tasting sweat and that sweet something that could be some kind of lotion or could be Jimin’s fucking skin because it makes sense for him to taste good. Jimin’s arms drape over his shoulders and he uses that leverage to push up with, keep going so their bodies slide against each other. And it’s so hot it’s dizzying when they’re this close, vying for the same air in the small spaces between them, bodies putting off heat in near tangible waves. Jimin’s breath is even hotter as he whispers and breathes sin into his ear, and it’s driving him crazy but it’s still not exactly what he’s wanting to hear.



In a moment of freak strength, maybe adrenaline or something because Jimin is heavier than he looks, Hoseok flips Jimin onto his back, lets him bounce against the mattress as his eyes spring open in surprise and his mouth forms an oh . Then he hooks his hands under Jimin’s knees and it’s sweaty there, too, but he pushes up until Jimin folds up underneath him so easily, so nicely because he’s so flexible and suddenly so pliant, but it’s still what Jimin wants, what Jimin wants, what Jimin wants. Then he lines himself up and fucks Jimin with some kind of adrenaline-wrought intensity, racking fully realized moans from Jimin’s body, from his gaping mouth. And he keeps fucking, with everything he has, until he can barely breathe and he’s getting lightheaded and he’s biting his lip and he’s gonna come if Jimin doesn’t just hurry up and say it for god’s sake and then -



“Fuh-fuck, baby , oh god,” Jimin moans, eyes closed, head tossed back, tendons in his neck straining against his choker, “You’re gonna make me come .”



“Is it good ?” Hoseok grunts, punctuated with a harsh thrust of his hips.



“So good, baby, so good, ahh - oh god,” Jimin babbles. His face is flushed red and the makeup on his eyes is smudged, inky and black, and his hair is sticking to his forehead in clumps. His chest is heaving, thighs trembling where Hoseok’s hands are clamped around them, bearing down with his weight.



He gives even more, gives so much his muscles are burning and protesting and there’s droplets of sweat running down his body, down his neck and between his shoulder blades. His orgasm is twisting in the pit of his stomach, swelling and sending him over the edge, cock throbbing and pulsing and balls tightening up and he’s about to burst -



And then, at the last second, the last moment, “ Ohh -oh my god, you’re so good - such a good boy, baby, so good.”



He tips over the edge, spilling into Jimin and riding it out until there’s wet, squelching noises from his come spilling out and he’s dragging in air like he nearly drowned. He buckles over, catching himself on the heels of his palms, and he’s about to collapse off to the side when Jimin wraps around him, full body, arms and legs winding impossibly tight as he writhes underneath him. Hoseok gasps, cock overstimulated as Jimin’s walls convulse around him. Then there’s come splattering between their stomachs, and Jimin’s voice is a broken mantra of ahh-ahh-ahh in his ear. And it registers, almost like an out of body experience that he’s coming back from, that he just made Jimin come untouched.



“Oh my god,” Jimin breathes, and he’s still wrapped around Hoseok at every angle, chests heaving against each other. He devours the side of Hoseok’s neck in open-mouthed kisses, tongue hot and pressed flat to lick the flutter of his pulse from base to jaw. Hoseok doesn’t even know how to act, what to do, when Jimin’s hands slide up into his sweaty hair, turning his head and pulling him into a dragging, hot, tongue-on-tongue kiss. So he kisses back, lets his body melt on top of Jimin and gasps when his cock slides out, but Jimin just holds him tighter, legs around his waist and arms clinging to his shoulders.



He can’t figure out what he just did, what magical thing just happened that Jimin is kissing him like this. Devastatingly intimate, the type of kissing lovers do, cradling each other in blissed-out, no-holds-barred abandon. He can feel every unabridged part of Jimin’s body, doesn’t think they can physically fit together, meld together any closer than this. It lifts a part of the wall between them so he thinks maybe he can feel some parts of Jimin’s soul almost. Or maybe he’s just high on sex and lust, delirious from the lack of oxygen and rush of hormones to his brain as it wanders to nonsensical places, which makes a lot more sense.



Eventually Jimin has his fill, breaking away and heaving a content sigh as he disentangles himself from Hoseok’s body. Hoseok reads it for what it is and moves off, rolling onto his back so they lie side by side, shoulder to shoulder on his tiny bed.



“Wow,” Jimin says, and Hoseok hums in agreement. “It’s been a while since I had a prostate orgasm like that.”



“Yeah?” Hoseok says like he knows what Jimin’s talking about but he makes a mental note to do some research later.



“Mm,” Jimin groans happily, stretching out his legs and bunching his fists into the blanket, letting out another blissful sigh. “I could go for a nap after that.”



“Same,” Hoseok agrees, yawning as exhaustion seeps back into him. “You can stay if you want.”



Jimin seems to consider for a moment, quietly lying with his eyes closed and hands relaxed on his chest. “Think I’m gonna go home. I need a shower and stuff.”



“Kay,” Hoseok mumbles, and Jimin is already sitting up, crawling over him and off the bed. He hears the door open and close, the sound of water running in the bathroom. He stays where he’s at, coming to terms with this hollow feeling that’s burrowed its way into his chest.



Jimin comes back a few moments later, shuffling around the room to find his clothes. Hoseok watches him step into his underwear, then his jeans that he has to shimmy into. Jimin notices him watching and grins. He crosses the room in one motion, the bed dipping as he throws a leg across Hoseok’s waist and plops down on his lap.



“Oh, hello,” Hoseok says with a soft smile.



“I’m so glad we’re doing this again,” Jimin says, returning the smile with one of his own.



“Yeah,” Hoseok mumbles, but he can feel the smile sliding off his face.



“What?” Jimin questions, brows knitting together.



“Huh?” Hoseok swallows. “Nothing.”



Jimin squints at him. “You’re a shitty liar. What is it?”



“Nothing,” Hoseok repeats. “I’m just tired is all.”



“You’re acting weird,” Jimin states. “And earlier you were acting weird, too. What was all that about not wanting a ‘casual hookup’ or whatever?”



Hoseok feels the look overtaking his face before he can help it, the defensive set to his brows and the near frown tugging at his mouth. “I, uh, kinda meant exactly what I said.”



“I mean,” Jimin says with a little laugh, and he’s still smiling even though Hoseok doesn’t know why or how, “we can call it whatever you want, but that’s what this is. Right?”



Right?



And whatever is written all over Hoseok’s face must answer that question for Jimin, because in the next second he’s back standing on the floor, grabbing his shirt to pull on over his head and stomping his feet into his boots.



Hoseok sits up, running a hand through his hair and trying to stay calm, but his heart is slamming inside him, lodging in his throat and telling him to be anything but calm.



“This is fucking - ” Jimin is stammering aggravatedly, kneeling down to yank on the laces of his boots, “- fucking great, man.” He’s shaking his head, huffing an incredulous laugh. Then he stands, turns to pin him with a look that Hoseok can’t meet with his eyes. “What the fuck, Hoseok?”



“What do you mean ‘what the fuck’?” Hoseok turns so he can lean against the wall, pulling his blanket around him not because he’s cold but because he feels exposed, naked, and not in a good way at all. “What - you want me to say sorry for thinking of you as more than just some guy I fuck once in a while?”



“I don’t need a fuckin’ formal apology, but like - you could have fucking said something before we fucked.”



“I did .”



“God, you’re an idiot,” Jimin breathes, leaning over into the mirror and fixing his hair. Then he turns around, sighs, and leans into the dresser. “Look, I get it, okay? This shit happens. But look - if we’re gonna do this kind of thing, you can’t be acting like that.”



“Alright, then we’re done.”



Jimin stares at him, completely unreadable. Then, as he heads for the door, “This was your fuck up, not mine.”



“Guess I was pretty fucking stupid for thinking of you as more than a cheap fuck, then,” Hoseok snaps, then the door slams, and he regrets it.



He regrets everything.







Sometimes his nightmares are replays of that night.



He’s behind the wheel of the Porsche, and it’s so real he can feel the engine rev, feel it vibrating around him and under his sweaty, clenched palms. He’s behind the wheel of the Porsche, and it’s so real he’s looking out through the window at two people in the distance. One of them bloodied and broken, a limp pile on the ground and the other unscathed, standing there with a set to his shoulders that says something like can’t believe I’m gonna have to waste a bullet on you. Or maybe it says -



get this shit cleaned up



He’s gonna run, gotta get out of here, he’s gonna run for it - he even wrenches the wheel as far to the side as it goes and he’s gonna run .



there’s nothing you can do



He’s underwater. It’s in his ears and filling his lungs and it’s slowing down his body as he turns the wheel straight, pulse pounding in his ears like the tick of a clock at half-speed.



nothing you can do



His foot is on the clutch and his hand shakes as he shifts gears and presses the gas.



unless



He hears the scream of the tires as he lets off the clutch, and then everything outside the windows blurs, and he can’t even really see it when it happens, just sees a dark mass fly across the window in front of him. Then he’s braking, stopping, pushing open the door. He’s catching himself against the side of the car, looking over at the someone on the ground.



Sometimes this is the part where he walks around and looks, and he sees what was really there - a man in a wool coat, twisted at unnatural angles and blood pooling under his head, seeping into the concrete.



But sometimes he sees a tiny body, thin wrists with a bracelet on one of them. Long brown hair and a pleated skirt and she’s broken, distorted, mangled. He can’t see her face, but he knows who it is, knows it’s her , and then he sees her come to life, move, breathe in and -



He jolts awake, lungs gripped so tight he can’t breathe, so tight he’s gonna die and -



Instinct kicks in, and he sucks in air and he’s okay, but his body is shaking, trembling, and he’s alone, blinking around in the darkness for some sort of light. He thinks he might have let out a scream - did he scream? - or it might have just been in his nightmare.



He comes back into himself in stuttered glimpses. He’s home - in his bed - that’s his phone next to him - he can call someone, he can talk to someone, he can stop being alone.



His fingers rattle so badly he has to type out the text message four times before he gets it right.



>> r u awake



Then it’s quiet, just him gripping his phone in his palm and staring at the screen, waiting for a reply.  



He waits seconds, minutes, but one doesn’t come.



He curls in on himself, grabbing the corner of his sheet and drying his face because he’s crying, been crying, but it’s not helping because he’s crying even more. Every time he closes his eyes it’s her, it’s someone on the ground, it’s the barrel of a gun, it’s get this shit cleaned up and it’s blood in blonde hair, blood in brown hair, blood on a white shirt, blood on a black wool coat, blood on the sidewalk, blood on his hands.



The door opens and he flinches.



“Hoseok?”



He sits up as light pours in from the hallway across his bed, and Yoongi stands in his doorway rubbing his eyes and squinting at the light. Hoseok doesn’t say anything, but Yoongi comes inside, letting the door close behind him and pitching the room back into darkness. The bed dips and a hand fumbles at his shoulder.



“Hey,” Yoongi says softly. “Hey, you’re good. You’re okay.”



“Sorry,” Hoseok mumbles. “Just f-freaked out. M’fine.”



Yoongi doesn’t say anything as his hand spreads over Hoseok’s back, resting there between his shoulder blades, and it’s just a hand on his back but it lets him breathe a little easier.



Some time passes as Hoseok focuses on breathing deeply, lets his eyes close as the hand on his back rubs a tentative circle and he sighs. Then the hand starts moving more assuredly, and it’s warm and solid and broad with long, gentle fingers, and Hoseok could probably fall asleep like this.



But before he does, he comes back to reality and opens his eyes, blinking the last few stray tears from his lashes.  



“You never ask what’s wrong,” Hoseok murmurs.



Yoongi’s hand goes still. “Don’t need to.”



“You already know?”



“No,” Yoongi replies. “Just ain’t none of my business.”



Hoseok swallows, wipes his face on his pillow. “Do you,” he says, but the rest comes out a whisper, “Do you wanna know?”



“I’ll listen if you wanna tell me.”



There’s a long stretch of silence, and eventually the hand on his back starts rubbing slow circles again, and then Hoseok lets out a shuddering exhale.



“I killed someone.”



If Yoongi has any sort of reaction, Hoseok can’t see it in the dark or feel it. His hand doesn’t hesitate on his back, he doesn’t gasp or make any noise of shock or disgust. He just sits there, steady and solid, unchanging. Then, voice the same deep, even tone as before, “Shit happens sometimes.”



Hoseok tries to laugh, but it comes out a pitiful, weak noise. “That’s it?”



“It ain’t that big’a deal,” Yoongi grumbles. “Bastard prob’ly deserved it, right?”



“I dunno,” Hoseok mumbles. “I still - I still did it.”



“Yeah,” Yoongi says, and Hoseok can barely see him nodding his head. “You know, if I got this fucked up over every person’s death I caused, I’d be dead myself from lack of sleep.”



“You’ve killed people before?”



“In a sense,” Yoongi says with a shrug.



“What do you mean?”



“Sold ‘em their poison, didn’t I?” Yoongi sighs, shifting around with a knee up on the bed next to Hoseok to get more comfortable. “I still sleep like a baby, though. Guess that says a lot about me.”



Hoseok is quiet.



“People die,” Yoongi says, taking a deep breath. “For all kinds of crazy reasons. If we sat and really took a look at it, people cause other people’s deaths all the time. Sometimes it’s right in your face and sometimes it’s just… random chance. Shit happens.” The hand on his back withdraws as Yoongi turns away. “Just a part of life, I guess. But for what it’s worth, I think the bastard you killed deserved it. I hope he’s rotting in hell as we speak. And I hate you had to be the one to do it, but I think there’s a lot of people who would shake your hand and thank you for what you did.”



Hoseok doesn’t want anyone knowing what he did, much less have people thanking him for it.



“Anyway,” Yoongi says, standing up and walking over to Hoseok’s dresser, rustling around on top. “You good to go back to sleep?”



“Yeah,” Hoseok mumbles, but it’s not convincing to either of them. He hears a metallic click and then Yoongi is lighting up a cigarette, walking back toward him.



“Move over,” Yoongi grumbles, waving his hand.



Wordlessly, Hoseok scoots over until he’s almost pressed into the wall. He stays silent as Yoongi lifts the covers and climbs into the bed, propping himself up on one of Hoseok’s pillows. It’s too small of a bed not to touch, so Hoseok’s knees bump Yoongi’s legs or their elbows catch when they jostle around. But they settle in, Yoongi on his back and Hoseok on his side facing him, and they don’t speak anymore. Hoseok watches Yoongi in the darkness, cherry of the cigarette glowing when he breathes in, gentle rush of air as he breathes out.



Before Yoongi even finishes the cigarette, Hoseok is out.







He’s mouth-deep in a bong, about to take the biggest rip of his life when someone comes banging on his door. He shotguns the hit and goes into a sputtering coughing fit, tears in his eyes as he scrambles to open the door.



“You always take people’s shit without asking?” Yoongi grouses, pushing past him and coming into his room with a bag of Lucky Cat takeout in his hand.



“Sorry, didn’t know you were home,” Hoseok chokes out, finally simmering down and breathing deep.



Hoseok expects Yoongi to scoop up the bong and take off with it, but instead, he clambers down to the floor like an old geezer, groaning about his knees when they pop. He sets the takeout bag on the floor, then grabs the lighter, lights up, and takes a hit.



Hoseok rolls with it and heads to take a seat beside Yoongi, dragging the bag of food toward himself and picking through the contents to set up a spread on the floor.



“Guess that answers my question,” Yoongi says on an exhale.



“Figured we were sharing,” Hoseok hums, already digging into a tub of kimchi fried rice.



They take turns until the bowl is cashed, then lazily slump back against the side of the bed and bicker very slowly over whose chopsticks are whose. When they finally settle things, they chew in silence. Hoseok is staring at one of the knobs on the dresser when Yoongi decides to speak.



“You been sleepin’ better?”



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, takeout container resting on his stomach and toes wiggling in his socks where his feet are stretched out, way across the room. Like, way further than normal. He doesn’t remember his legs being that long. Yoongi’s are long today, too, even though Yoongi is usually kinda short. “Sorry for bothering you at night and stuff.”



Yoongi snorts. “If I’d known you had so much damn baggage when Jeon brought you, I would’a made him take you with him.”



“Sorry,” Hoseok says again through a yawn.



“S’okay,” Yoongi says, sounding sincere. Then he clears his throat, shifting around where he sits. “Anyway, Jimin said he’s having a thing at his job he wants me to come to.”



“Cool,” Hoseok says blandly.



“Said it’s his first big solo performance or something,” Yoongi continues.



“Good for him.”



“And he said he’s gonna get us in for free, so we should go.”



“Yeah, prob’ly not,” Hoseok mumbles.



Yoongi turns his head and fixes him with a look. “I let you live in my house, use my bathroom - use my bong , and you’re turning me down the one time I ask you to do something.”



Hoseok chokes on his own spit, coughing as he sets his takeout container aside. “No, no, sorry. I just - I didn’t know it was like that.”



“It’s not ‘like’ anything,” Yoongi grumbles. “I just don’t wanna go by myself and Jimin made me promise to go.”



“How’d he manage that?” Hoseok wonders aloud.



“He said if I went, he’d refer me to all his stripper friends so I can sell to ‘em.”



Hoseok nods in understanding. “That’s a good deal.”



“Yeah, no shit,” Yoongi says. “Slimy bastard. I’m telling you. He always gets what he wants.”



Hoseok doesn’t respond to that.



“So you going?” Yoongi questions, head rolling over to look at him.



“Yeah,” Hoseok sighs. “I’ll go.”



 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Club Mamushi is a bird of a different feather. Whereas Lux was dark, seedy swank and a thin veil of opulence, Mamushi is breakneck dance beats, blaring strobes, and shots, shots, and more shots. On the dancefloor are suits coming off a nine-to-five with their dress shirts pushed up around their elbows and queens in half-drag and body glitter alike.


There are no private rooms at Mamushi - only low-mileage lap dances upon request, and there are mirrors in every darkened corner to make sure no one’s getting anything extra. Jimin’s even gotten in trouble a few times for going above and beyond to make a customer happy. Which had been a double-edged sword - massive tip, but a somewhat lukewarm reprimand from his boss to remind him this isn’t that type of establishment. The dancers on stage are there to pump people up, get them tossing back those shots, get them throwing that cash, get them sweating it out on the dancefloor to the latest mega pop remixes. The only time the lights turn down and something slow and sexy comes on is during a performance, when everyone’s eyes turn to the main stage and they start pulling out their singles.


Tonight is his night. His first official performance on the main stage at the heat of a Saturday night. His mix on the club speakers, his choreography, his crowd. He’s warmed up already from prowling the club floor, reeling in customers with a promise for a great show to come later. He’d even invited plenty of his acquaintances - friends, even, if he can call them that - so tonight is really and truly his night.


Jimin doesn’t put on a show - he likes to think he is the show. And he has this theory that secretly, maybe in some hidden recess of the human mind, everyone either wants to be a stripper or they want to fuck one. He hasn’t been proven wrong yet.


So the DJ tapers down the techno mix and announces the performance as the strobes cut off and the lights on stage grow dim and red-purple. Jimin stands off stage, a belly chain around his waist dangling over his simple black shorts. He waits for his music cue and the crowd roars the moment he slinks onto the stage, takes hold of the pole and flies.


Even just the simplest of moves drives people wild. Something about a body gliding around on a pole, legs poised and toes pointed, grace thrumming through every hardworking muscle and tendon casts a look of wonder on people’s faces. Jimin loves this part, where he stops messing around, stops teasing at his capabilities, when the bass drops low in the split second before his cue and then he throws himself headlong into some of the hardest tricks in his repertoire. If the club were silent, one might hear his skin catching and squeaking on the metal or his heels clacking against the stage when he lands a flip. But the illusion is here now, a lithe dancer bathed in violet lights winding around a pole with unrepentant suggestion in every bend and turn, and even Jimin can get lost in it.


Tonight’s crowd is a lively one, screaming and throwing cash and begging him to strip the bills from their hands or bend over to stash some in his shorts. He works the edge of the stage, giving some love to the boys right up front. He lets them touch, but only enough that the bouncers don’t intervene, only enough to make them want more. There are plenty of girls here tonight, too, and even though at first he’d been confused about girls being at a gay club, he’d quickly learned they throw money just as easily, and he doesn’t discriminate against anybody’s cash.


After making his rounds along the tip rail, he heads back to the pole for the finale and takes off. He climbs his way to the top, and when he does his last big drop, the crowd erupts and bills rain across the stage.


And then it’s over, and he can barely straighten up the fat wad of cash he walks backstage with, pleased grin on his face. He stashes the money in his locker and freshens up, makes sure his makeup is intact and his hair is intentionally messy. He checks his phone, finding a text from Taehyung letting him know where to find him, and then heads back to the club floor.


It’s the time of night when everyone isn’t quite wasted yet, although there’s the occasional guy stumbling around sloshing drinks in people’s hands, tripping over other people’s feet. He maneuvers his way through the masses of jumping, flailing bodies and almost gets roped into dancing with a group of college-aged kids that recognize him from stage. He makes it past them by promising to come back and starts scanning the tables along the parameter, looking for familiar faces. Then he spots Jeongguk sticking out like a sore thumb - starched dress shirt, designer loafers, icy watch on his wrist and a look on his face that says he’s never been to a place like this before and he’s not overly thrilled about being here.


Jimin makes his way over, dodging a server carrying a massive tray of empty glasses and beer bottles. As he gets closer, he realizes there’s a whole group of them seated around one of the plush half-circle sofas. Jeongguk, Taehyung, even Yoongi and - Jimin loses face for an instant - Hoseok . Everyone save for Jeongguk is smiling and chatting, and it looks like they’ve had at least two rounds of shots already. They don’t spot him as he emerges through the throngs of people, too engrossed in watching Yoongi try to land a coin in his glass.


“Jimin!” Taehyung calls excitedly as Jimin saunters up, standing up and throwing his arms around him in a quick hug. He’s wearing a shimmery black shirt and dangling earrings, working a smoked-out makeup look that rivals the intensity of Jimin’s own look for tonight’s performance. Jimin can tell from the fruit-flavored alcohol on his breath and the way he leans up to plant a sloppy kiss on Jimin’s cheek that he’s already heavily buzzed.


“Hi, baby,” Jimin says back, loud enough to hear over the rapidfire bass coming from the speakers right behind their table. Over Taehyung’s shoulder, he catches Hoseok glancing at him for a moment, something obscure swimming in his eyes along with the reflections of the club lights. Then Hoseok is looking away, back to Yoongi, and Jimin’s face is being smushed between Taehyung’s hands and pulled around to face him.


Taehyung gives him a huge, beaming grin and yells, right at Jimin’s face, “You were fucking amazing!”


“I didn’t see any of you up front paying your respects,” Jimin chides as Taehyung lets go and turns away with a noncommittal wave of his hands.


“I couldn’t get any of these guys to get up there,” Taehyung laments. He flops back down on the bench next to Jeongguk and immediately reattaches their bodies at the hip.


Jeongguk sends Jimin a half-ass nod in greeting and takes a sip of whatever is in his glass as Taehyung clings to his side and nuzzles into his neck.


“Gag,” Jimin groans. “How long have you guys been here?”


“Not long enough to get anyone to dance with me,” Taehyung replies, tossing a pointed look at Jeongguk, who doesn’t seem phased by it.


Jimin turns to Hoseok, who almost seems to be pointedly ignoring him at this point. “Hoseokie will dance with you, Tae,” Jimin practically yells, loud enough for everyone at the table to hear.


Hoseok does look at him then, and Jimin sends him a crooked smile. And even through Jimin’s stubbornness and current lack of inebriation to justify his wandering eyes, there’s no denying Hoseok looks particularly appetizing tonight. He’s wearing his hair down - no hat for once - and his arms are bare in a sleeveless band t-shirt, the front tucked into a dark pair of pants. He offers Jimin and Taehyung a small, awkward smile that can’t quite figure out if it wants to reach his eyes or not. “I’ll, uh, I’ll probably have a few more drinks and then we can go out there,” he says, though Taehyung doesn’t seem impressed much by his answer.


“You should come dance with me,” Taehyung says then, pulling Jimin’s attention back.


“I would but I’m not done with my shift yet,” Jimin replies. “Still have another hour.”


“We’ll hang out here until then,” Taehyung states.


Jimin is going to make a comment, something about how they’d better all be sloppy drunk by the time he gets back, when he sees Yoongi lean over and mumble something into Hoseok’s ear. The words get caught on his tongue just as he’s about to speak, and suddenly he’s forgetting what he was about to say altogether because then Hoseok is giggling at whatever Yoongi said, the sound drowned out by the music. Yoongi is smirking, too, and looking at Hoseok with their faces closer than necessary, and then Yoongi glances up and catches Jimin staring.


And Jimin can’t really explain what possesses him in the next moment, something kind of hot whipping around inside him that falls on a spectrum between mild annoyance and anger, but on a heartbeat impulse, he’s stepping across everyone’s legs and planting himself right into Yoongi’s lap.


“The fuck,” Yoongi says as he goes stiff with a his glass in one hand and the other arm hovering awkwardly behind Jimin’s back.


“Is this seat taken?” Jimin questions, leaning in as he slides an arm around Yoongi’s shoulders. He wiggles around until he’s comfortably seated across on Yoongi’s thighs, arms around his neck and fingers laced on top of his shoulder.


“Uh, it ain’t fuckin’ available.”


With a pout, Jimin takes the glass from Yoongi’s hand and sets it aside. “There’s nowhere else to sit.” He crosses his legs, foot bumping Hoseok’s knee mostly on accident. Hoseok doesn’t acknowledge any of it, though, and just starts talk-yelling to Jeongguk across the table about vehicle transmissions or something else Jimin has zero interest in.


“Shouldn’t you be working?” Yoongi says, but Jimin feels a swell of victory as Yoongi’s arm tentatively settles around his waist.


Jimin leans in even more, dropping his voice and letting a seductive smirk play at his lips. “Maybe I’ve got better things to do.”


Yoongi turns his head at that, leaning in so his mouth is close to Jimin’s ear. “That shit doesn’t work on me, you know.”


Jimin laughs and reaches up to toy with the sleeve of Yoongi’s t-shirt. “It used to.”


“Yeah, well, we all learn from our mistakes, don’t we?” Yoongi states, leaning over to pick up a tumbler from the table that’s mostly melting iced and some sort of brown liquor.


Jimin makes a discontent noise and leans away as Yoongi finishes off the drink and sets it back on the table. “Is what it is, then?” Jimin muses, reaching up and messing with the hat that’s turned backward on Yoongi’s head, sliding his fingers along the brim. Then he leans in again, and this time he looks over at Hoseok, who’s still trying to pretend like he doesn’t care Jimin is there, and says, “Or are you sure it’s not because you’re a little hung up on somebody else at the moment, hm, Yoongi-baby?”


Yoongi snorts and plays it off pretty well - Jimin will give him credit for that. But his eyes subconsciously cut over to Hoseok for a split second, and that’s all Jimin really needs to know. “I don’t have to be hung up on someone else to not want to fuck you.”  


“You might not like it, but I know you, Yoongi,” Jimin hums. “And I know from experience exactly what you look like when you want someone.”


Yoongi huffs, almost a laugh but far too rough around the edges. “That so?”


“Mm- hm.”


The hand around Jimin’s waist gives a few slow pats against his hip, and Yoongi tilts his head and sends him a condescending smirk. “I ain’t claiming to know you,” Yoongi says, “but I will say I know from experience exactly what you look like when you’re not gettin’ what you want.”


Irritation flairs in Jimin’s eyes as he rolls his lips to wet them, but he pushes it to the backburner because the last thing he needs to do is let Yoongi know he’s getting to him. “And what is it you think I’m wanting?”


“Something too good for you.”


Without missing a beat, Jimin ducks his head, lips brushing Yoongi’s ears as he whispers, “Guess we’ll see if you’re right about that.”


Then he stands up, smirking at Yoongi and then turning to step across Hoseok, who leans back and doesn’t even look up as he passes by, legs bumping and Jimin reaching out to grab his shoulder for balance. Just as Jimin makes it across and steps out into the open, someone yells his name over the music.


Jimin looks up, eyes flitting around until they land on his boss, approaching their table and waving him down.


“Jimin! Hey, sorry - oh, hi everyone!”


“Guys,” Jimin calls loudly to garner everyone’s attention. “This is my boss, Namjoon. He’s the manager here.”


“Hi, Namjoon,” Taehyung calls, waving and smiling. “This place is great!”


“Thank you, thank you,” Namjoon says with a charming smile as he comes to stand next to Jimin. “Everybody doing alright? You guys need another round?”


“They’d love another round,” Jimin interjects.


“Awesome.” Namjoon waves someone at the bar down and gives a signal to the bartender. “Drinks are on their way. Thanks for coming, everyone. If you guys need anything, let me know.” He’s met with a jumbled chorus of varying degrees of appreciation before he turns to Jimin and nods for him to step off to the side in private. “You’ve got a guy waiting on a dance,” Namjoon says as they step away from earshot.


“Sure thing, boss,” Jimin says, a bit cheekily.


“Hey,” Namjoon says seriously. “Keep it over the clothes, above the belt. Got it?”


“Sir, yes sir,” Jimin says with a wink. “Where’s my guy?”


“Second floor, right hand side in the very back.”


Jimin gives a mock salute and heads that way.


“I mean it, Jimin!” Namjoon calls after him. “No extras!”


Jimin rolls his eyes and makes his way to the stairs, weaving through clusters of people hanging along the railing. He finds the guy he’s looking for lounging on one of the VIP sofas, a bottle of Patrón on the glass table in front of him next to a thick roll of cash. Jimin tears his eyes from the money and puts on his best sultry grin, prowling up to the customer with a bit more of a motivated swing in his step.


The guy looks up as he gets closer, and Jimin realizes this is going to be easy money because the guy’s even moderately good-looking. Hair swept back and styled nicely, stubble on his jaw. All conventionally attractive things, but the most attractive of all being the cash within arm’s reach as Jimin sinks down next to him on the couch. He crosses his legs and stretches an arm out on the back of the seat, tilting his head and playing up his sweetest smile.


“I hope you’re the person I’m looking for,” Jimin says, and the guy smiles.


“What’s your name?” he asks, lazily gesturing for Jimin to come closer.


“Jimin.” He moves over across the bench, turns so his body is facing the customer. He reaches out and lays his hand on the man’s thigh, feeling the expensive material of his suit pants. “What’s yours?”


“That sounds like it could be your real name,” the man says in lieu of answering.


“That’s because it is.”


“Hm.” The man leans forward, popping open the bottle of liquor and pouring some into an empty glass on the table. “Jimin, was it? Can I get you a drink?”


“I’d love one,” Jimin purs, hand moving a bit higher on the man’s leg.


When the man leans back, he hands Jimin the glass. “You’re new here.”


“I take it you’re not,” Jimin says before taking a sip. The liquor burns, but it’s not unbearable. He’s gotten good at hiding his distaste for things that make him want to retch.


The man shrugs and gives a lazy gesture with the hand that’s not behind Jimin’s back - the one wearing a very expensive-looking watch. “I may come here once in a while.”


“You should come more often,” Jimin hums, gazing at the man over his glass as he swirls the contents around.


“Maybe I will.”


“For me?” Jimin says with a grin.


“Mm. Maybe. We’ll see how tonight goes.”


Jimin knocks back as much as he can in one drink, making sure he doesn’t grimace as he swallows. Then he sets the glass on the table and shifts to the edge of the seat. “I’ll make sure you want to come back.”


“Oh yeah?”


“Mhm,” Jimin hums. “Whenever you’re ready.”


The man doesn’t move, just gestures to the table. “Finish your drink. I’m not in a hurry.”


Jimin wants to sigh, because he knows this type - the guys who likes to drag things out, talk and try to get to know him. But he helps himself to some more tequila and then sits back next to the man, anyway, because he’s still fairly new here and wouldn’t want to ruin his odds of nabbing a regular with this kind of money. “Thank you,” Jimin says with a sickly sweet smile.


“No problem,” says the guy. “When do you get off work?”


Jimin leans across the man’s lap, reaching over and picking up his hand to turn it and check the time on his Cartier wristwatch. “In about fifteen minutes,” he says, then gently sets the man’s arm back, intentionally letting his hand slide up over the back of his hand and across his sleeve.


The guy hums in acknowledgment and then fixes Jimin with a rather unreadable look. “Will you be heading home, then?”


“No, actually,” Jimin says. “My friends are here to hang out tonight.”


“That’s too bad.”


Jimin tilts his head, narrowing his eyes curiously. “Why do you say that?”


“Because the next thing I was going to ask is if you’d let me buy you another drink,” he replies. Then, after giving Jimin a pointed once-over, “Off the clock.”


Jimin leans in closer, enough to smell the man’s expensive cologne and let his breath was over his ear. “You can buy me as many drinks as you want, baby.”


The man laughs, low and dark. “You wouldn’t turn down free drinks, huh?”


“Certainly not from you.”


“Is that all you want from me?”


Jimin leans back to look at the man’s face, keeping his expression passive. “What are you offering?”


“The cash on the table,” the man says, barely lifting his hand to point. “Count it.”


Jimin hesitates for a moment, but he does what the man says, setting his glass down and picking up the roll of cash. He leafs through the bills until he gets to three-million won and then stops. “And what are you wanting in exchange for this?”


The man turns his gaze on Jimin, hot with lust, but cold with something else - calculating. “You. Alone. Twenty minutes or so, give or take.”


“I’m not a whore,” Jimin states, refolding the money but not setting it back on the table yet.


At that, the man laughs. “That’s a lot more than a whore makes for what I’m asking, isn’t it?”


Jimin puts on a fake smile, batting his lashes. “You say that like you think I know how much whores make.”


“You can make all that in twenty minutes, or you can make however much you get for one dance and go hang out with your friends,” the guy states. He shrugs, eyebrows raised and an infuriating smirk on his face. “Up to you.”


Jimin chews on the inside of his lip for a moment, mouth pursed in thought and cash heavy in his hand. After a moment, he looks up and finds the man staring at him, waiting for an answer.


Then, all business and without a second thought:


“Throw in the bottle of Patrón and you can have me for thirty.”





Jimin stands in the staff bathroom over the sink, brushing his teeth and staring at his reflection. He spits and rinses his mouth out, drying off on a paper towel. Then he notices the red mark at the base of his neck, faint but unmistakable. He leans in closer to inspect it and then finds himself staring at his reflection again, at the wide-blown pupils and the way he’s suddenly seeing his own face in high definition. Soft, almost glowing skin, vibrant pink hair lying across his forehead and cherry-red lips that spread into a smile even though he doesn’t really know what he’s smiling about.


He sprays on some cologne and tosses the bottle in his locker before heading back toward the club with a full cup of Patrón in hand. He can already feel the music like champagne bubbles in his bloodstream as he makes his way through the crowd back to where he’d found their group last.


When he gets there, he realizes the table has been occupied by a whole other group of people. He looks around for a few minutes as he takes a few drinks, scanning the crowd of dancing bodies in varying states of inebriation and undress before venturing further onto the dancefloor.


The ecstasy he’d taken a little under an hour ago is starting to kick in, giving him that same rush like he’s just coming off stage, the crowd screaming for him and begging him to come back. A song he’s never heard before pulses through the speakers at every angle, and he can almost physically feel the sound waves moving over his skin, into his muscles, all the way to the marrow in his bones. He makes his way through the mass of people, getting bumped into and catching a few stray elbows, but he doesn’t care. There’s still a smile on his face and he feels like he could happily evaporate into the air, let the bass vibrate through his molecules before coming back down as rain.


And then he catches sight of a familiar white band t-shirt, sleeves cut off above the shoulder and lean, muscular arms reaching out to hold onto whoever he’s dancing with. Jimin’s body takes him that direction of its own accord, mesmerized by the flickering lights on sweat-glistening skin and the sway and roll of gifted hips. When he’s close enough, he sees that it’s Yoongi that’s wrapped in one of Hoseok’s arms, and they’re both much drunker than Jimin is high from the way they’re rolling and grinding their bodies, heads thrown back in laughter or just pure drunken abandon.


Jimin presses in behind Hoseok, ducking into his neck and inhaling deep, reveling at the scent of sweat and body soap and liquor and something his brain immediately attributes to sex .


“It’s me,” he says against Hoseok’s ear, and Hoseok’s head languidly rolls back onto Jimin’s shoulder as he lets out a noise that’s a cross between a moan and a laugh.


“Hey, you ,” Hoseok says, Yoongi still wrenched against his front, but his free arm lifts back over behind himself to card into Jimin’s hair. “God, you smell good. Always smell so fuckin’ good.”


Jimin hums a laugh and slides a hand around Hoseok’s front, flat over his stomach to feel it flex with his movements. He presses in until their bodies are flush, until every thrust of Hoseok’s hips ends with his ass riding against Jimin’s crotch and every arch of his back is fluid against Jimin’s chest. He holds the cup of Patrón up, offering it to Hoseok and then tipping it back for him to take a long, gulping drink from it. Jimin watches the way his throat moves with each swallow, adam’s apple sliding up and down, the way his lips part around the rim of the cup until it’s empty. Then Hoseok pulls away, a bead of liquor running down his chin, and Jimin’s first instinct is to lean in and lick it off.


“Mmm, are you gonna kiss me,” Hoseok mumbles as Jimin’s tongue slides close to his mouth.


“I’ll do more than that,” Jimin says into Hoseok’s ear.


Hoseok giggles, but instead of feeding into the line, he turns his face toward Yoongi with a dopey grin. “Look at Yoongi,” he says loudly, gesturing to the man currently attached to his pelvis.


“Yeah, I see him.”


Yoongi is sweaty, cheeks flushed and mouth parted as he pants to breathe. His hat from earlier is nowhere to be found, hair sticking to his forehead and beads of sweat running down his temples, down onto the collar of his shirt. He’s staring straight ahead at Hoseok with the type of unabashed hunger that makes Jimin smirk because he was right about that bastard.


“What are you guys doing way over here?” Jimin questions a bit breathlessly, because Hoseok is grinding against him, burying his hand in Jimin’s hair and wrenching him impossibly closer. He’s starting to sweat, too, now. As bad as the last time he and Hoseok fucked - in his room on tangled sheets, sweltering hot from the summer sun and no air conditioner running. He’d liked it like that, tasting salt on every inch of Hoseok’s skin, watching his cheeks suffuse in shades of red, heat and lust. He likes it just as much now, because the drug coursing through him makes him feel warm like he’s sitting next to a fireplace, but the body pressed against his makes him feel entirely aflame.


“Teaching Yoongi how to dance,” Hoseok answers. His hips move in the scant space between Yoongi and Jimin, less dancing now and more rocking forward and pushing back. Then, with a cute little laugh he adds, “He likes it.”


Jimin finishes off the tequila and then carelessly tosses the cup to the floor. He slides both hands down Hoseok’s sides to the bottom of his shirt, grazing his fingers underneath the hem until he can feel scorching skin, damp with sweat. “I bet I know what he likes more than dancing,” Jimin says, somewhere against the back of Hoseok’s ear.


“What’s that?” Hoseok questions, turning his face so their mouths are a breath apart and Jimin can smell alcohol and a sweetness that’s distinctly Hoseok on his every stilted exhale.


“How ‘bout I show you?” Jimin hums. He turns away from Hoseok, looking across at Yoongi with a grin on his face that he can’t really help. He reaches out, sliding a hand around the back of Yoongi’s neck, feeling the damp tips of the back of his hair and the way he leans closer just at the touch alone. Then he gives a little tug, and Yoongi comes so willingly it’s easier than candy from a baby. Jimin guides him all the way forward, and with the tilt of his own head, he seals his mouth on Yoongi’s and then they’re kissing. Making out, really, because Yoongi starts kissing him back, pressing his front so tight to Hoseok neither of them can really dance anymore.


Yoongi tastes like Jimin remembers, but with a stain of whatever smooth whiskey he’s been drinking. Jimin has always been mildly fascinated with how easily someone who puts up such a tough front folds in this type of moment, pliant mouth and a giving tongue. The sensation alone has Jimin groaning, one hand working its way up underneath Hoseok’s shirt and the other heavy on the back of Yoongi’s neck, pushing into his hair. They’re all so close together, jumbled breathing and clumsy hands and arms wound around each other that all it takes when their lips part is a slight turn of his head and then Yoongi is kissing Hoseok. Jimin watches Hoseok’s mouth moving against Yoongi’s, catching glimpses of tongue, fully entranced by the wet slide of lips. His eyes feel heavy as he watches Hoseok catch Yoongi’s lip with his teeth, and he thinks he hears Yoongi make a raspy noise but everything is muffled by the club music and the blood pounding in his eardrums.


Hoseok is the one to break the kiss, turning his head to pant as Yoongi leans down into his neck where Jimin can’t see exactly what’s going on anymore. But the way Hoseok arches into him, lifts his dark eyes to meet Jimin’s and then tips his chin up in clear invitation makes Jimin think he must like whatever is happening.


In the next moment when Jimin kisses Hoseok, there’s hundreds of bodies packed around them - sound blasting through the club at ear-splitting volumes, people screaming along to the lyrics and yelling over each other. There’s at least six other people immediately knocking into them or rubbing against them at every angle, and there’s even a guy behind Jimin trying to insinuate himself into this situation. And there’s Yoongi, melded against Hoseok from the front, licking the sweat from his collarbone and sucking kisses into his neck.


But when Jimin kisses Hoseok, a hush falls over him, over the two of them, over everything. He can only hear his own beating heart and feel Hoseok’s mouth against his, puffs of air against his cheek and a solitary gasp against his lips. He can only feel himself and one other person in stark clarity, and then the lines start to blur to where he’s only feeling Hoseok . Hoseok’s lips, his tongue, his skin, his breath - everything , feeling him like an electrical charge running through both of their bodies. The world could dissolve around them and they would thrive on this. Not lost, not far gone but strikingly here , now . If touch alone could make art, Jimin could paint masterpieces of Hoseok with how much he can feel him in this moment.


It takes Jimin’s mind time to catch up when Hoseok pulls away. When he opens his eyes, he distantly realizes Hoseok and Yoongi are making out again but he doesn’t really care much because this just means he can latch his mouth to Hoseok’s neck, tug on his earlobe with his teeth. And his hands are free to edge around the waistband of Hoseok’s pants, dig his fingertips into the jut of his hipbones. His revels at the texture of Hoseok’s pants under his fingertips, the heat coming off his body, especially down where his hand is sliding and Hoseok is pushing against him -


“Oh, god, Jimin,” Hoseok moans, barely dragging his mouth away from Yoongi to get the words out.


Jimin swallows, throat dry, and blearily realizes the heel of his palm is rubbing Hoseok’s cock through is pants. “Come home with me,” he mumbles into Hoseok’s ear without a second thought. His motor functions are running on sheer impulse, driven by the rawest of instincts that cross his mind. “He can come, too.”


Hoseok’s head falls forward onto Yoongi’s shoulder, body racking with his breaths as he all but stops dancing. He lifts his head and says something into Yoongi’s ear and Jimin feels himself smirk as Yoongi’s eyes grow even darker with whatever Hoseok just told him.


Jimin!


He ignores the call of his name, sliding his hand up, finding the top of Hoseok’s waistband -


“Oh jesus, you guys are fucking wasted,” comes Taehyung’s voice, somewhere from over Jimin’s right shoulder.


And then there are hands tugging at his arms, pulling him away from Hoseok. As he’s being pulled away, he casts one more glance back to Hoseok and sees Yoongi’s arm tight around his waist.


“What the fuck are you on right now?” Taehyung says, yelling to be heard and pulling Jimin’s attention back.


Jimin laughs, throwing his arms around Taehyung’s waist, dragging him into a hug. “I’m just dancing, Taetae.”


“Dancing my ass,” Taehyung says and dodges Jimin’s mouth when he leans up for a kiss. “Jesus, what the fuck,” he says with a giggle, clumsily pushing at Jimin’s face.


“It’s so hot,” Jimin groans. “I’m thirsty.”


“Come on,” Taehyung says, wiggling around in Jimin’s arms, but Jimin only squeezes tighter.


“So horny,” Jimin practically yells, forehead thumping against Taehyung’s chest. “Fuck. Take me back. I was gonna fuck both of ‘em, Tae.”


“What?” Taehyung says, unable to hear over the music.


Jimin leans up, getting his mouth close to Taehyung’s ear as he yells, “I was gonna have a threesome and you ruined it, asshole.”


“Not with Hoseok and Yoongi. They’re drunk.”


You’re drunk.”


Taehyung giggles. “Just a little.”


“You owe me a threesome.”


“Put it on my tab.”





“Jeonggukie, why’d you finally change your mind?”


The reflection of Jeongguk’s eyes in the rear view mirror is dark, vaguely illuminated by the dash lights and the headlights of a passing car as he looks to Jimin in the back seat. “About what?”


Taehyung leans over and mumbles something to Jeongguk.


“Why is he under that impression?” Jeongguk questions.


“He assumed and I didn’t correct him,” Taehyung replies.


Jimin watches the exchange from where he’s sprawled in the back seat of the Porsche, knees cramped against the back of the driver seat. “I’m finally gonna find out what’s so special about Jeongguk’s magical dick,” Jimin muses. Then his eyes go wide and his jaw drops theatrically. “Do you think I’m gonna fall in love with it, too, Taetae?”


“I think you’re safe,” Taehyung replies with a giggle.


Jeongguk only gives a long-suffering sigh from the driver seat.


Jimin lets his head fall back against the headrest. “I call middle bitch on the spit roast.”


Jeongguk sends Taehyung a confused look. “Spit roast?”


“It’s a sex position, babe,” Taehyung explains.


“Jimin,” Jeongguk calls. “I hate to break it to you, but there’s not going to be a spit roast tonight.”


“Maybe we can watch some porn for inspiration,” Jimin hums thoughtfully. “Get all artistic with it ‘n shit.”


Nooo,” Taehyung groans. “I just want whatever position is the least amount of work. I’m tired.”


Taehyung,” Jeongguk snips. “We are not having a threesome.”


Jimin clumsily smacks the back of Jeongguk’s seat with his hand. “What a fuckin’ rip off. Take me back to the club. I’m gonna go find someone else to do it with.”


“Babe, the man just wants a spit roast,” Taehyung says through a bubble of laughter.


“Can we just stop saying the words ‘spit roast,’ please?”


“You’ve said it more times than I have,” Jimin mumbles.


Jeongguk sighs again, shaking his head. “We’re not having a threesome. At all. Ever.”


“Oh my god,” Taehyung gasps. “We’ve had this exact conversation before.”


“Oh my god, you’re right,” Jimin says. Then he squints at Jeongguk’s face in the rear view mirror, but Jeongguk ignores him. “You cockblocked me that time, too. Asshole.”


Jeongguk pulls a face. “I’m… sorry?”


“If you guys ever do decide to have a threesome and I’m not your guest of honor, I’m dumping you as my friends,” Jimin states.


“We wouldn’t dare,” Jeongguk deadpans.


“You’re the only hypothetical guest of honor for us,” Taehyung coos, turned around in his seat to look at Jimin.


“Thank you, baby,” Jimin says with a pleased smile. Then he groans, grabbing his crotch and shifting uncomfortably in the seat. “God, are we almost home yet? X makes me have to piss like a racehorse.”


“We’re here,” Jeongguk says.


“I knew you were on something,” Taehyung says with an accusatory glare.


“He didn’t give me enough to share.”


“Okay. Both of you. Out,” Jeongguk orders.


After a lot more time, effort, and exasperated sighs on Jeongguk’s behalf than it should have taken, the three of them make it upstairs and into Taehyung and Jimin’s shared apartment. And after a pitstop to the bathroom, and quite a bit of stumbling around and giggling, Taehyung ushers Jimin to his room and deposits him on the bed.


“Jeonggukie,” Taehyung whines, grappling with Jimin’s pants against his incessant squirming and giggling. “Come help me get his pants off.”


“Just leave them on,” Jeongguk calls back from the living room.


Jimin cackles, still fighting his legs away from Taehyung, who loses his balance and flops face-first into the bed. Jimin seizes the opportunity and rolls over onto Taehyung’s back, smushing him into the mattress.  


“Get off me, you asshole,” Taehyung groans, muffled against the comforter. “Jeongguk, help, he’s killing me.”


“That’s very unfortunate, dear,” Jeongguk says blandly, a disembodied voice that hasn’t budged from the living room.


“Guh,” Taehyung grunts, Jimin still giggling from on top of him, face nuzzled into the back of his hair. Then he lets out a loud huff, seemingly accepting his fate, and Jimin’s laugh dies down to an amused hum.


Jimin sighs contentedly, eyes closing as he sniffs Taehyung’s hair and wiggles to get a little more comfortable on top of him. Taehyung is a bony, wiggly pillow underneath him, and Jimin’s pants are halfway down his thighs, but he currently feels no desire to move another muscle. And Taehyung smells pretty nice, like the expensive shampoo he says he can’t live without and a little bit musky after getting sweaty at the club and probably stealing puffs off of other people’s cigarettes when Jeongguk wasn’t looking.


He doesn’t smell sweet like Hoseok, but something more flowery, maybe roses. But Hoseok also smells boyish and sort of masculine at the same time. Somewhere in the spectrum of the two, from dark and robust, men’s cologne and cigarette smoke, to the tingle of spearmint and strawberry-sweet gentleness. It’s not like Jimin was ever lying when he said Hoseok tastes sweet, either. It’s less literal and more of a metaphorical sweetness, like something about Hoseok’s lips and his tongue and his skin just elicits this illusory sensation.


“Jimin,” Taehyung grumbles. “Do you have a fucking boner?”


“There’s a chance greater than zero.”


“Oh my god.” Taehyung wrestles himself out from under Jimin with a frustrated noise, shoving him off and to the side. “Why are you literally the worst human being on this planet?”


Jimin’s grin falls as he goes still on his side next to Taehyung.


Taehyung rolls from his stomach onto his side to face Jimin, eyes going wide when he sees the look on Jimin’s face. “Wait, no-no-no. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”


Jimin blinks and looks away, bunching the blanket up under his chin. Across the room on the opposite wall is his bulletin board he’d bought at a yard sale with grainy pictures he’d had printed for cheap. It’s mostly empty since he hasn’t had much to add to it yet. But it’s growing - pictures from L.A. and the few places he and Taehyung have ventured to since their return to Seoul. A picture from their celebratory barbecue dinner after Jimin landed his job at Mamushi. He even has one of Jeongguk up there - forcefully squished into the picture, cheek-to-cheek with Taehyung as Jimin had stretched his arm to snap the shot. Next to the bulletin board is a wrinkled poster of disco-era Cher and some sort of abstract painting Taehyung had insisted complements his personality.


“Hey,” Taehyung says gently, scooting closer. “You know I didn’t mean that.”


Jimin rolls onto his back to look at the ceiling. He still can’t be bothered to either pull his pants back up or kick them off, so he just lies there on top of his rumbled blankets, corner of a pillow half-wedged under his back and shoes on the sheets. He’s pointedly not thinking right now - very intentionally avoiding the niggling feelings trying to catch him off guard, lurking at the hazier edges of his alcohol and drug-blurred mind.


“Jimin.” Taehyung reaches over and rests a hand on his chest, shaking him to get his attention. “I promise I didn’t mean that. It was a joke. I’m sorry.”


“I know,” Jimin says, batting Taehyung’s hand away.


“Then why do you look like that?”


“‘Cause I think you might be right.”


Taehyung’s eyes are wide, brows pinched as he stares at Jimin. “No,” he says, shaking his head. “No - what ? Why would you think that?”


Exhaling, Jimin closes his eyes. “M’just coming down from the X is all.”


“You’re not the worst person in the world,” Taehyung states. “You’re one of the best. You’re one of my favorite people ever.”


“Tae,” Jimin says softly, turning his head and looking at Taehyung. And he knows right then, staring into Taehyung’s annoyingly empathetic, deeply sincere eyes, that he’s about to spill over.


“Jimin,” Taehyung practically whispers, eyes darting back and forth between Jimin’s. “What’s wrong? What happened?”


“Am I a cheap fuck?”


Taehyung looks shocked for a moment, but the expression melts into one of poorly masked anger. “Who said that to you?”


“No one,” Jimin says as he quickly looks away.


“Someone.”


No one.”


“What’s going on?” Taehyung asks, almost pleading.


“He’s too good for me, isn’t he?” Jimin says rather than give an answer.


“Who?”


Jimin turns and fixes Taehyung with a pointed look.


Taehyung’s lips press into a thin line as his eyes burn into Jimin’s, no doubt trying to piece this together and decipher it for more than it really is. It makes Jimin roll his eyes and turn back away. He hates when Taehyung does this, tries to read him like that, dissecting and picking him apart with just this fucking woeful look on his face.


“M’going to sleep,” Jimin says, rolling over onto his side to face away from Taehyung.


Taehyung is quiet, but after a few moments he reaches over and places a hand on Jimin’s shoulder. “There’s no one in this world too good for you,” Taehyung says gently.


Jimin shrugs his hand off.


Taehyung sighs and stands up, padding over to the door. “Good night,” he calls.


“Night.”


“I love you.”


Jimin is silent.


Taehyung clicks off the light and the door closes a few moments later.


He gave Taehyung a lot of shit for falling for Jeongguk, for thinking he’s different and for catching feelings when he was just a trick. He had been baffled by it, so completely perplexed and aggravated at it. Could never understand what was so special about Jeongguk, what part of Taehyung’s brain was foolish enough to believe in that type of thing. He still kind of thinks it sometimes when he sees how damn smitten Taehyung is, the way he melts around Jeongguk and seems so grossly… in love.


And there are things he doesn’t let himself think about, like how for hours of the plane ride back to Seoul he’d been wondering what Hoseok would think, how he would react. Wondering if they could pick up where they left off, if that was even a good idea. Because Jimin could distinctly remember the way Hoseok had made him forget that he’s a manipulative, self-serving asshole, made him wonder if it really is possible to run into good people in this world other than Taehyung. He doesn’t allow himself to think about how, the night he’d finally run into Hoseok on happenstance - because he really had been so avoidant of everything, he had left their reunion up to chance - he’d been more focused on how cute Hoseok was when he blushed or got excited talking about something. Jimin doesn’t even really remember what they’d been talking about. He just remembers a giant, infectious grin and thinking, as he couldn’t help but smile back, that no two of Hoseok’s laughs ever sound exactly the same.


He doesn’t think about how he’d felt something unsettlingly close to relief when Hoseok told him he wasn’t seeing anyone. Or how he’d felt just as desperate as Hoseok had been when they’d finally kissed, finally got to touch after so long thinking about it and wanting it. And then, the most troubling of all being how he’d let himself go, wrapped himself around Hoseok and clung to him. How he easily he could have slipped into that hereafter of kissing Hoseok if he hadn’t forcefully dragged himself back to reality.


Their conversation afterward had been somewhat unfortunate. At least, that’s what Jimin tells himself. Because it’s easier if it’s somewhat unfortunate versus what it really was - an utter trainwreck. A moment, or probably even longer - a string a moments, a fucking montage - of sheer panic. He thinks he deserves Hoseok calling him a cheap fuck. He even knows, logically, that Hoseok probably didn’t mean it, that it was probably a defense mechanism. It doesn’t really explain why it’s eating at him so badly when he’s been called far worse with much more conviction and sincerity.


It’s all probably some sort of mindgame, he thinks. He wasn’t getting emotional, he wasn’t feeling something, he was just basking in the endorphins of a decent fuck. He’ll explain away jealousy and profound kisses for as long as it takes for them to mean nothing. He’ll even tell himself they already mean nothing.


But of all the people he lies to, the person he lies to the most is himself.





The next morning comes with groan-worthy dread and a splitting headache from dehydration. He realizes he never figured out the pants on-or-off situation when he tries to roll over to get more comfortable, but he still can’t be bothered to deal with it. He rolls over onto his stomach and buries his face in his pillow to get the bright morning sunlight out of his eyes.


It quickly becomes apparent that he’s not going to fall back asleep.


With a sigh, he sits up and ruffles around until he finds his phone. He squints at his screen, vaguely registering a string of texts and missed calls from Taehyung from the night before and one from Namjoon about his shift tonight. For some reason, he pulls up Hoseok’s name without thinking and stares at the last message that he’d never replied to.


He thinks about texting Hoseok and even starts typing out a reply. But he deletes it and pulls up Yoongi’s conversation instead.


>> u guys still alive?


He stands up, kicking off his pants and shoes before heading for the kitchen. He’s not even mildly surprised Jeongguk is already awake, seated at their small dining table and swiping through a news article on his iPad.


“Morning,” Jeongguk says before taking a drink of coffee.


Jimin grunts and goes for the fridge. As he’s forcing himself to drink water, his phone pings with a message from Yoongi. It’s just a simple one-word confirmation, and Jimin knows he should definitely leave it at that. Instead, he replies.


>> if u and hoseok fucked, i take partial credit. ur welcome :)


He helps himself to the breakfast Jeongguk had made on the stove and goes to sit at the table across from him in relative silence. It’s not until he’s eaten half the food and watched Jeongguk speed-read five or six equally boring-looking articles before he says something.


“You’re like a fucking cyborg.”


Jeongguk looks up at him, eyebrows furrowed in confusion for a moment before he goes right back to reading. “You’re actually not the first person to tell me that.”


“I probably won’t be the last,” Jimin grumbles. “You don’t sleep, you don’t eat. You run on coffee and pre-workout.” He leans forward, squinting at Jeongguk until he finally looks back up to meet his eyes. “Do you even have a soul?”


Jeongguk doesn’t even blink. “My programming is advanced enough to mimic humanity.”


“You’re a nerd,” Jimin says, scrunching his nose and trying not to laugh. “Why does Taehyung hang out with you?”


Jeongguk gives a lazy shrug of one shoulder. “Must be my magical dick.”


Jimin snorts a laugh. “Must be since you’re not the slightest bit funny.”


“Humor isn’t my default setting,” Jeongguk hums, turning his attention back his news article with a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.


Jimin goes back to eating, too, and he’s really going to leave it at that. But for some reason, probably residual effects from the X, he decides to get mildly sentimental. “Hey, uh, sorry for being an ass last night,” he says.


Brow raised, Jeongguk looks up at him again and waits for him to elaborate.


With actual physical effort, Jimin keeps himself from rolling his eyes and heaving a sigh. “For, like, coming on to Taehyung and stuff. I was just wasted.”


A slow half-smirk spreads on Jeongguk’s face. “I assure you, it didn’t bother me.”


Jimin looks mildly offended. “Is that ‘cause you’re not threatened by me?” he questions, and Jeongguk gives a flippant one-shouldered shrug. Jimin leans over, squinting. “I fucked him way before you came into the picture, loverboy .”


Any trace of humor on Jeongguk’s face is gone as his chest and shoulders swell and deflate in a soundless sigh. “Thank you for that vivid reminder.”


Something annoyingly close to guilt edges its way into Jimin, tugging downward at the corner of his lips. He chews at the inside of his cheek, ducking his head and looking down at his plate. “Sorry,” he mumbles.


“Don’t be,” Jeongguk states.


“Nah, I probably should be,” Jimin continues. He inhales deeply, pushing his plate to the side and letting his elbows thump onto the table, scrubbing his face with his hands. “I don’t exactly take responsibility for my actions very often, so. Take the apology.”


“Apology accepted,” Jeongguk says easily.


Jimin stares for a moment, then shakes his head in disbelief. “I still can’t tell if you’re actually a good person or just really good at pretending to be one.”


“The line between real and fake can be very obscure when it comes to human beings,” Jeongguk hums.


Jimin snorts. “Sounds like something a cyborg would say.”


“For the record,” Jeongguk says, looking up from the screen. “I genuinely do accept your apology. I don’t hold anything that happened back then against either of you.”


“What a relief ,” Jimin breathes sarcastically, and smirks when Jeongguk gives a small, resigned sigh. “Now we can kiss and makeup and be best friends forever .”


“Well, you are my boyfriend’s best friend, and you’re very important to him. So it is in my best interest to develop some sort of amicable relationship with you.”


“Oh, wow. I just got the warm and fuzzies,” Jimin drones flatly as he stands up from the table, walking over to the living room to plop down on the couch. “Fucking cyborg, I swear to god.”


Jeongguk gives a soft chuckle but doesn’t respond, seemingly content to let Jimin have the last word.


Sometime later while Jimin is boredly flipping through television channels, Taehyung emerges from his bedroom in a silk robe thrown haphazardly around his shoulders and fuzzy pink house slippers. Jimin pries his eyes away from the TV long enough to watch Taehyung trudge up to Jeongguk and drop his head to his shoulder, groaning loudly.


Jeongguk chuckles, wrapping an arm around Taehyung’s waist and pulling him in. “Good morning to you, too.”


Taehyung huffs, shoulders slumped for a moment before he finally leans up and kisses the side of Jeongguk’s head. Then he reaches over and picks up his coffee cup, taking it into the kitchen to get him a refill. After he sets it back down on the table for Jeongguk, he shuffles into the adjoined living room and sinks onto the couch next to Jimin.


“Can we just stay home today?” Taehyung grumbles to neither of them in particular, shifting around on the couch until he’s stretched across, head resting on Jimin’s lap uninvited.


Home.


“Yeah,” Jimin says, and places a hand tentatively on top of Taehyung’s head.


He looks down at Taehyung, at his hair that’s gotten way too long and the gross hickeys on his neck, some fading and some new. Then he looks over at Jeongguk, absorbed in whatever boring thing he’s reading on his tablet, absently picking up his coffee mug and blowing across the steaming surface.


Jeongguk seems to sense Jimin’s eyes and he looks up for a moment, cup paused near his mouth. Jimin thinks for a moment there’s a smile there, but the evidence disappears behind the coffee mug as Jeongguk takes a sip, and when he sets it back down, it’s gone.


Taehyung wiggles to get more comfortable, letting out a sigh when he finally finds a good spot, and Jimin relaxes and tries not to think too hard about the word home.





Yoongi had never actually replied to the text Jimin had sent, which isn’t surprising in the least. He’d never been one to entertain Jimin’s antics, not even back when they were both younger and significantly stupider. Jimin has also managed to convince himself he doesn’t care enough about the answer to that question - what happened between Yoongi and Hoseok after he left the club? - to just ask Hoseok himself.


If there is one thing Jimin is great at, it’s avoiding his problems. And right now, no matter how much he tries to play it off, Hoseok is his biggest problem. However, this does not explain why he is currently shuffling down the street toward Lucky Cat with not a single clue what he’s intending to say or do when he arrives.


He stands at the top of the fire escape, rickety metal under his feet and his backpack slung over his shoulder as he contemplates turning heel and hightailing it straight to work to clock in early.


But Park Jimin is not afraid of confrontation. And he has nothing to be nervous about - Park Jimin doesn’t even get nervous.


He raps on the door hard a few times and then shifts his weight from foot to foot as he waits for an answer.


A few moments later, there’s commotion on the other side and the door swings open.


“Don’t you know better than to go banging on people’s doors like the fucking police?” Yoongi growls, brows pinched and an annoyed set to his mouth.


“How else am I supposed to knock on a door?” Jimin snips, tilting his head testily.


“How about texting before you show up on my goddamn doorstep like everyone else in the twenty-first century.”


“Just thought I’d swing by on my way to work,” Jimin hums.


Yoongi pins him with an incredulous look. “He’s not here.”


Jimin bats his eyes, the picture of innocence. “Who are you talking about?”


Then, Yoongi rolls his eyes and leans on the doorway with an exasperated sigh. “He’s pulling a double at work. Won’t be home until tomorrow morning sometime. You’ll have to go get your rocks off somewhere else tonight.”


Jimin just smiles. “Maybe I came to see you.”


“Yeah, yeah,” Yoongi grumbles, waving a dismissive hand. “I didn’t fuck him, alright? Is that what you came to find out?”


Jimin lets out a laugh at that. “That might be the funniest thing you’ve ever said, babe.”


“Wasn’t so funny when you were acting like some type of animal marking your territory,” Yoongi states.


The grin falls off of Jimin’s face and he rolls his eyes. “Hoseok isn’t anyone’s ‘territory.’ Definitely not mine.”


Yoongi stares for a long moment, something that’s always irritated Jimin a bit. Jimin prefers expressing his distaste with good old-fashioned words. Finally, Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Christ. Just text him.”


Before Jimin can get another word in, the door shuts in his face. He purses his lips and huffs a quiet noise of indignation before turning heel and heading back down the steps. At the bottom of the fire escape, he pulls out his cell phone and checks the time. He still has a while before he has to show up for his shift, but Hoseok’s job is on the other side of town. Before even realizing, he’s pulling up his text conversation with Hoseok and tapping out a message.


Right before he hits send - he stops.


He drums his fingers on the back of his phone, tossing and turning ideas over in his head. Then, decidedly, he erases the message, pockets his phone, and doesn’t think about it again.


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Hoseok wakes up sprawled on his bedroom floor with a vague memory of running to the bathroom a few hours ago to throw up and then tripping over a pile of clothes on the way back. He grimaces at the foul taste in his mouth and the flop of his stomach as he rolls over onto his side, groaning when the sunlight glares down at him from the window. He’s got a wicked hangover, and this is the part where he starts recalling the events of last night in pieces. 



He obviously remembers smoking up and then walking to the club with Yoongi. He also recalls in excruciating detail watching Jimin’s performance and trying not to pop a boner or let out some kind of lusty whimper with his friends sitting right next to him. They probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared, though, because Yoongi and Taehyung had been preoccupied getting themselves wasted and Jeongguk was in his natural state of being preoccupied with Taehyung. 



He all too clearly remembers Jimin coming to their table, sitting in Yoongi’s lap and flirting with him. And then after Jimin had left, Yoongi had leaned over and asked him if he wanted to go smoke another joint in the bathroom, and the only acceptable answer to that had been fuck yeah man and that’s where things start getting a little fuzzy. He feels like at some point there were at least three of them shoved into a bathroom stall which consisted of way too much giggling from Hoseok and Taehyung and a lot of griping from Yoongi about keeping quiet or they would get caught. 



Then he’d moseyed over to the bar arm-in-arm with Taehyung and ordered, like, way too many shots for four people. He and Taehyung are quite possibly the worst two people to leave unsupervised at a gay bar, because he knows for sure some body shots happened before Jeongguk and Yoongi eventually tracked them down. Then there’d been some dancing, and a mostly naked buff guy dancing inside a cage that stole Yoongi’s hat, and then there’d been even more, dirtier dancing, and some other stuff… 



Hoseok groans as he realizes with a sick feeling that he’d made out with not only Jimin last night, but somehow Yoongi , too. Which probably defies some laws of physics, because he’s got to be the last person on planet earth Min Yoongi would willingly make out with. But it’s also kind of the hottest thing that’s ever happened to him - excluding every general encounter he’s ever had with Jimin. It rates pretty high on his bucket list of things he never knew he wanted to do before he dies. And this is all fine and dandy - 



But then the sick feeling intensifies when he realizes he’d tripped over his clothes earlier because he’s wearing nothing but his boxers, and that unnerving fact is what has him dragging himself up from the floor and barreling toward the door. 



“Yoongi?” he calls out into the apartment, hand pressed into the side of his head where a massive, splintering ache blooms. He doesn’t get an answer, so he stumbles down the hall to Yoongi’s bedroom - which he’s definitely not allowed inside, but this is an emergency - and throws the door open with a loud crack . There’s a human-sized lump on the bed, but it’s impossible to really tell if there’s a human currently inside it, so Hoseok pads into the room and starts patting around on the comforter. 



“The fuck do you think you’re doing.”



Hoseok quickly retracts his hand as the lump starts moving and Yoongi lets out an irritated grunt, struggling against the blanket. “Hey, uh, so. About last night.” 



Yoongi finally frees himself, head popping out of the blanket, cow-licked dark hair fanned out on his pillow and sticking out in all directions. He doesn’t say anything, just squints until he focuses on Hoseok’s face, and then his upper lip curls in annoyance. 



Hoseok clears his throat. He’s about to say something when he notices Yoongi’s eyes drift downward, landing somewhere below his chin. He subconsciously reaches up and feels around on his neck, and Yoongi’s eyes flit back to his face. “So, uh - you wouldn’t happen to know if we, um - well, if you and I, kind of…” 



Yoongi keeps staring, no doubt waiting for Hoseok to form an actual coherent sentence. 



“Did we, like - well, I know we kind of made out and stuff,” Hoseok stammers as he takes a few precautionary steps backward. 



Yoongi’s frown deepens. 



“Did we - ” Hoseok flails for a moment, hoping maybe his vague hand gestures will get the question across without him actually spitting it out. 



“Are you trying to ask if we fucked?” 



“Yeah, I, uh, I think I am.” 



Yoongi lets out a long sigh and then rolls over in bed. “Go away, Hoseok."



“What? Hey, wait, that’s not an answer - ”



“What in your right goddamn mind makes you think I would fuck you?” Yoongi practically growls, and then a pillow flies across the room and hits Hoseok’s chest before landing on the ground silently. 



“Oh, thank god,” Hoseok sighs in relief. “So we just made out or whatever at the club, right?” 



“Christ, don’t remind me,” Yoongi groans, voice even more deep and gravelly than usual. 



Hoseok lets out a breathy, sheepish laugh as he turns for the door. “Oh, man, I was freaking out. Sorry about that, man.” 



Yoongi only grunts in acknowledgement as Hoseok slips back out of his room, closing the door behind himself. 



It’s not until he’s four episodes deep into his binge watch of Friends , empty takeout box in his lap and a can of Sprite in his hand, that it hits him. 



Stumbling into his room with Yoongi, who had been doing his best to help Hoseok even in his own inebriated state. Hoseok clumsily stripping down, knocking some stuff off his dresser and tripping over something before collapsing on the bed. Looking up at Yoongi and saying something like your turn with a dopey, drunken grin. And then Yoongi saying you’re drunk , and Hoseok nodding stupidly, and then Yoongi saying and you’re faded , and Hoseok just nodding again. 



Then Yoongi had said something about Hoseok not even liking him like that, and Hoseok had shrugged. Maybe he imagined Yoongi saying you like Jimin and he imagined himself nodding slowly, grin slipping off his face before coming back as he said, doesn’t have to be a big deal . At this point in remembering, he’s practically doubled over himself, face buried in his hands and burning hot, sick feeling twisting in his gut. But then he remembers more, looking at Yoongi with a smirk on his face and saying you want it , and he wants that to be all there is to it, but Yoongi had said something about how Hoseok doesn’t know jack shit about what he wants. 



Then he’d - 



He’d made out with Yoongi. 



Sloppy, drunk, careless. More fuck it than want it . But it had happened, very briefly, and it’s all one big blur up until Yoongi had sat up, hanging over the edge of the bed, eerily similar to how Hoseok sits now. 



The last few things Hoseok remembers are lying in bed as he’d watched Yoongi leave and sending Jimin a drunk text or two because he’d been horny and messed up. He’s too nervous to look at what ended up getting sent. 



It’s in the middle of this borderline meltdown that Yoongi decides to emerge from his room with a lit hangover joint and start rummaging through the fridge. 



Hoseok listens from the couch as Yoongi tinkers around the kitchen for a few minutes before coming into the living room and taking up residence on the recliner nearby. Yoongi tosses him a look, eyebrow raised as he exhales smoke. “If you’re gonna be sick, don’t throw up on the fucking carpet.” 



“I came on to you last night after we got home,” Hoseok blurts out. 



Yoongi stares at him for a moment, and Hoseok thinks he might explode in rage or something, but then he just snorts and gives a half-assed shrug. “Yeah, you’re a handful when you’re drunk. If I had known that, I woulda made Jeongguk babysit you instead.” 



“I’m so sorry,” Hoseok practically groans. He can’t even look at Yoongi, just leans over until he’s lying against the arm of the couch, hoping he can phase through the cushions, all the way through the restaurant downstairs, beyond the foundation, and into the ground. 



“That what you’re all worked up over?” Yoongi questions, and at Hoseok’s whiny, embarrassed noise, he lets out another abrupt laugh. “You make shit into way too big of a deal sometimes, kid.”



“God, I’m an embarrassment to humankind,” Hoseok whines as he grabs a throw pillow and crushes it over his face. 



“Shit happens,” Yoongi says nonchalantly as he takes another hit. When Hoseok peeks at him from under the throw pillow, he gestures with the joint as an offer. 



Hoseok shakes his head and mumbles a no thanks before stretching out on the couch fully, stuffing the pillow under his head and trying to focus on what’s happening on the TV. But he can’t really stop thinking about how he’d embarrassed himself last night, almost physically pained at the mortification. He still hasn’t checked his text messages to see what he sent Jimin.



Right on cue, Yoongi pipes up from the recliner. “Jimin texted me this morning.” When Hoseok doesn’t respond, he goes on. “I think he was trying to figure out if we fucked or not.” 



Hoseok’s brows furrow together in confusion. He tries not to get any wild ideas about what that could mean as he shifts around to look at Yoongi. “Why?” 



Yoongi shrugs as he looks at his phone, probably re-reading the message he’d gotten from Jimin. “Fuck if I know. Probably just ‘cause he’s a bitch.” 



Hoseok must be too quiet, because then Yoongi fixes him with a look. 



“I did warn you not to fuck around with him.” 



“Yeah, I know.” 



“But you did it anyway,” Yoongi says, ashing his joint in his empty water bottle. “And now you’ve gone and got yourself a crush.” 



Hoseok pouts obstinately and pretends to watch TV for a few moments. Then he gets aggravated, and he knows he’s not fooling Yoongi or anyone else, anyway. “I just don’t get it,” he finally blurts out, tossing over onto his back and glaring at the ceiling. “I’ve done it with a bunch of girls before and I’ve never had this kind of problem. I do it with one guy and suddenly I don’t know how to keep shit casual.” 



Yoongi lets out a breath of smoke before responding, dropping the roach into the bottle and setting it aside on the end table. “Yeah, that’s pretty much what a crush is, kid,” he says as he stretches his arms behind his head and leans back in the recliner. 



“Maybe it’s because he, like, popped my gay cherry.” 



Yoongi pins him with a look. 



“What? It could be.” 



Yoongi rolls his eyes and looks away. “Uh-huh. Sure, kid.” 



“Or maybe it’s just ‘cause he was, like, my bisexual awakening.” 



Yoongi snorts. “Sounds pretty fuckin’ fake to me.”



Hoseok deflates with a sigh. 



“Look,” Yoongi says, then, adopting his oddly parental tone he usually reserves for lecturing Hoseok about his life choices, which has always felt vaguely hypocritical but with good intentions. “I’m not one to give advice, but you can take it from me because I know how this shit goes from experience. Get your head out of your ass and stop tripping over a guy that has diagnosable commitment issues,” Yoongi says. “He ain’t in love with you. He’s in love with the fact that you give him what he wants every time he asks for it.” 



As much as he’d love to tell Yoongi how wrong he is, and how he’s not crushing on Jimin, and how if Jimin walked through the front door right now asking for sex, Hoseok would be able to tell him to go find it elsewhere, he doesn’t. 



Because when he unlocks his phone, the first thing on his screen is a long, incoherent paragraph - a fucking letter, even, a damn novel - he’d thankfully never sent. The text cursor blinks back at him after the words miss you miss you so much pls come over im so sry



He erases the entire message, thinks about typing out a different one - just to say hey, hope you’re doing okay or maybe can we talk? - but, in the end, he just locks his phone and sets it aside.







It’s not the worst night he’s ever had by far, but it’s not a great one, either. 



He’d gotten off work early that morning to an empty house, Yoongi off somewhere for the whole day. He still hasn’t quite figured out if he’s supposed to sleep during the day when he doesn’t work that night, or if it’s better to wait and sleep at night. But it hadn’t really mattered, anyway, because he’d tried going to sleep all day and had ended up lazing around, vegetating as he stared at his phone screen. 



Yoongi had come home a few hours ago, but he only knows this because he’d heard doors opening and closing and footsteps walking around. And then daytime had bled into evening, and evening into night, and now he’s lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling with the full knowledge he’s not going to fall asleep. 



He checks the time on his phone. Almost 3am. 



He sighs. Rolls over onto his side and tries to get comfortable. It’s not even too hot right now, nice and cool. And he’d just washed his bedding so it smells like fabric softener. Hawaiian breeze or something tropical like that. He had spent entirely too long sniffing all the different kinds at the supermarket when Yoongi had texted him asking him to bring some back. He had thought about how it smells like the color of Jimin’s hair looks like it would smell, and he’d been very tempted to shove it back on the shelf. But he’d also been tired, and the thought of falling asleep in sheets that he’d deluded himself into thinking smelled like a fucking hair color hadn’t seemed as preposterous as it really was. 



He sighs again. Rolls the other way, dragging the blanket with him. Jimin smells nothing like Hawaiian breeze, though. Although he could picture Jimin on a beach in Hawaii. Probably with some expensive sunglasses and a coconut drink and a tank top and swim trunks. And he’d look amazing and fit right in because he’s so tan from being in America all summer. He’d look like a beautiful tropical flower, and Hoseok can just imagine him with a colorful lei around his neck and an orchid tucked behind his ear and a smile on his face brighter than the sun.



And, wow , this has gotten way out of control. 



He flushes away these thoughts and tries to close his eyes, wills himself to go back to sleep. 



He lies and listens to a car alarm go off for a really long time, what feels like an hour, until he checks the time and sees that not even ten minutes have passed. 



And then he jumps, because right as he’s looking at his phone, a text message pings at full volume, popping up with Jimin’s name on his screen. 



>> hey, u up?



Hoseok texts back lightning fast, and as soon as the message is delivered, he jumps again because then he has an incoming call from Jimin. He swipes to answer the call before the second ring. 



“Hey,” he says, trying not to sound overeager and failing abysmally. 



What are you doing up so late? Are you at work? ” 



“No, I’m at home.”



Couldn’t sleep? ” 



“Yeah.” 



Jimin makes a noise of understanding. “ I just got off work. I was about to head home, but I’m in the area, so. ” He doesn’t finish the statement, leaving it open-ended as he seems to wait for Hoseok to fill in the blanks. 



“Oh,” Hoseok mumbles. His heart is pounding hard, but he wills himself to keep it cool. “Sooo…?” 



Jimin lets out a laugh, and if Hoseok didn’t know any better, he might think it sounded nervous. “ Yeah, so I was gonna see if you wanted to hang out. ” 



Hoseok is quiet for long enough that Jimin’s breath rushes across the phone in a steady exhale. He struggles for the words before eventually trying to get them out. “Jimin, I don’t know - ”



Just to hang out, ” Jimin says quickly. “ That’s all. ” 



Something tells Hoseok he really shouldn’t believe being alone with Jimin can result in just hanging out, but he’s also an idiot, and he doesn’t like being alone. And something has always made him think maybe Jimin is doesn’t like being alone, either. “I don’t have any weed or anything right now,” Hoseok settles on saying. 



I’m not really in the mood, anyway.



“Yeah, me either.”



Sooo… ” 



“So,” Hoseok says, mouth feeling dry. He clears his throat and swallows a few times. 



I can just go home. ” 



“No,” Hoseok says quickly, and he’s irritated with himself that he only partially regrets it. “No, you can come over.”



You sure? ” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok replies. “Text me when you get here and I’ll let you in.” 



Okay. I’ll see you in a few, then. ” 



“Yeah, okay. Bye.” 



As soon as the call ends, Hoseok jumps out of bed and rushes down the hall to take the fastest shower of his life. He does a sniff-test on his clothes before pulling on some clean sweats and a t-shirt and then dousing himself in cologne. He shoves most of the crap on his floor under his bed and shakes out his comforter until his room looks at least halfway presentable, although that’s being pretty generous. He’s in the middle of stashing a mixed pile of clean and dirty laundry in his closet when his phone goes off with a text from Jimin saying he’s here. 



He catches himself tiptoeing to the front door before cutting it out. He’s a grown man, and he can make his own bad decisions with or without Yoongi’s approval. 



When he opens the door, Jimin looks a lot less like a bad decision and more like a really, really good one, even when Hoseok mentally kicks himself for thinking that. He’s wearing a soft smile, one Hoseok doesn’t know that he’s ever seen before, and a plain t-shirt, ripped jeans. His backpack is slung over one shoulder, hand wrapped around it, nails painted in baby blue polish. He looks a little tired, and like he’d only done a half-ass job of removing his makeup, liner smudged around his eyes. 



“Hey,” Jimin says, shifting his backpack strap on his shoulder. 



“Hey, come on in.” Hoseok moves out of the way, closing the door behind Jimin as he walks past.



Jimin lingers in the dark living room, casting an unsure look to Hoseok.



“We should, um, go to my room,” Hoseok says, stumbling over his words because he’s automatically nervous with Jimin in the vicinity. He heads down the hall, Jimin trailing behind him, and closes the door once they’re both inside. “Sorry, Yoongi’s grouchy about the lights and stuff being on when he’s trying to sleep.” 



“No problem,” Jimin says, letting his backpack fall to the floor by Hoseok’s bed.



Hoseok shoves his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants to keep from fidgeting. 



Jimin sinks onto the bed, right in the middle yet again, and throws him an amused look. “This has got to be the most awkward interaction I’ve ever had with anyone, and I’ve had some pretty fucking awkward interactions before.” 



Hoseok lets out a laugh and nods, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “Yeah, sorry, I’m being super weird.” 



Jimin laughs softly, too, and shrugs it off. “I was expecting it.” 



Hoseok, feeling a bit more assured, moves toward the bed. Jimin scoots over to let him crawl up and sit against the wall. He keeps a safe distance between them, making sure they’re not accidentally brushing knees or anything as Jimin kicks off his shoes and then scoots back to lean against the wall beside him. 



“I got a promotion, sort of,” Jimin says. 



“Really?” Hoseok asks, turning to Jimin with wide eyes.



Jimin nods, a small grin tugging at his mouth on both sides. 



“That’s amazing.”



“It’s no big deal.” 



“It is a big deal.” 



“It’s not.” 



Hoseok huffs a laugh and shakes his head. “So what kind of promotion is it?” 



“I’ve been helping Namjoon come up with some concepts,” Jimin says. “We’ve been talking about doing this burlesque theme one night. Something like that. He wants me to help choreograph a group performance and some other stuff.” 



“Really?” Hoseok says, eyes wide and a smile growing on his face. 



“Yeah,” Jimin says, and if Hoseok didn’t know him better, he might say Jimin was bashful . “He just wants me to train the newer dancers. It’s really nothing.” 



“Sounds like something,” Hoseok says. He catches himself staring at Jimin far too fondly and turns his attention somewhere across the room, eyes focusing on the fingerprint smudges on the mirror above his dresser. 



An awkward silence falls for a long moment, and Hoseok flounders as he tries to figure out what to say. 



“I’m - ” Hoseok tries, but swallows it. Jimin turns to look at him, but he can’t lift his face to meet his eyes. “I’m, um, I’m really sorry for what I said… last time.” 



“What, you calling me a cheap fuck?” 



Hoseok winces. “Yeah, um. That. I’m sorry.” 



Jimin laughs, light and airy and bordering on a little too self deprecating for Hoseok’s comfort. “I promise you I’ve been called much worse, babe.” 



“Yeah, but I don’t want - ” Hoseok heaves a sharp, frustrated sigh. “I shouldn’t have said it. I was being an asshole.” He finally looks up at Jimin and chews on his lip nervously as Jimin just seems to smile back so easily. 



“It’s fine,” Jimin says like an assurance. “I’m really not worried about it,” he continues, shifting his legs around on the bed until one of his legs is inconspicuously leaning against Hoseok’s. “No offense, but you’re kind of harmless.” 



Hoseok tries not to grin at that and feels himself blush. “Harmless?” he repeats back, ducking his chin and shooting Jimin a playful look. “What’s that supposed to mean?” 



“It means I know you didn’t mean it,” Jimin states. Then, bold as ever, Jimin slumps down and lets his head rest on Hoseok’s shoulder, nuzzling his cheek a bit until he’s comfortable. 



Considering how many times they’ve had wild, hot sex, Hoseok should really not be this soft and gooey over Jimin’s head on his shoulder. He really, really should put some space between them because Yoongi’s voice is in the back of his head saying he ain’t in love with you and Hoseok is trying to listen, really trying , but Jimin’s arm is sliding under his, hand making its way down his arm until they’re holding hands and, well. 



Hoseok’s only ever been a goner when it comes to Jimin, anyway, so why would Yoongi’s words make any difference now? 



Jimin’s hand is soft and small, fingers moving deliberately to trace the inside of Hoseok’s fingers with each of his own, slotting them apart and testing how their hands fit together intertwined. 



It’s oddly quiet, the hum of the air conditioner the only real noise inside the room as they both sit perfectly still except for Jimin’s thumb testing the give of the skin on the back of Hoseok’s hand. 



“Jimin,” Hoseok starts, but Jimin shushes him softly. He’s not sure what he even wants to say - just that this should probably stop because it’s giving him wild ideas about how this could all mean something. But then there’s Yoongi’s voice again, rattling in the back of his mind, diagnosable commitment issues



Could Jimin really be that… cruel? 



“You’re thinking so loud,” Jimin hums, voice so close Hoseok can almost feel it vibrate through his body.



“It’s ‘cause your ear is so close to my head. You can probably hear everything.”



Jimin leans back then, reaching up with his free hand and giving Hoseok a few taps against his temple. “Hey, pipe down in there. I want some peace and quiet.” 



Hoseok smiles, proud at the way he holds back an endeared laugh. “If only that would work.” 



Jimin rests his head back on Hoseok’s shoulder. Which surprises Hoseok, because for some reason he thought that had been a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and yet. “What does work?” 



Hoseok purses his lips in thought. Then, after some deliberation, “Pot, usually.” 



Jimin snorts, and Hoseok can feel his body shake with laughter where their shoulders are pressed together. “That explains a lot.” 



“Are you judging me?” 



Jimin huffs lightly. “Of all the people in the world, I’m the last person to judge anyone.” 



Unable to think of the words to say to that, Hoseok only squeezes Jimin’s hand a bit tighter. 



But that seems to drag Jimin back out of whatever state he’d been in, and Hoseok feels a pang of disappointment as Jimin separates their hands and leans away a bit. Then Jimin lets out a big yawn and turns to look at Hoseok. “It’s really late.” 



Hoseok nods. “Yeah, yeah. I’m sure you wanna get home - ”



“Can I lie down?” 



“What?” 



Jimin looks pointedly from Hoseok to the bed, but doesn’t say anything else. 



“Oh. Um, yeah, sure. Of course.” Springing into action, Hoseok quickly scoots over and scrambles to adjust the pillow on the bed. He hopes that tropical fabric softener is covering up any other lingering boy-smell because next thing he knows, Jimin is stretching out on his bed, right there where he fucking sleeps, and burying his face in Hoseok’s pillow. 



Unsure of what to do with himself, Hoseok fidgets and tries to stay very still. 



Jimin peeks one eye up at him and then, melting every muscle in Hoseok’s body, he smiles. “You’re like a nervous little mouse sometimes.” 



Hoseok ducks his head sheepishly and feels himself blush. “You’re kind of intimidating sometimes.” 



Jimin sighs and turns over onto his side, wiggling until he’s settled with his arm under the pillow as he reaches out to pat the space next to him. “Promise I won’t bite.” 



Hoseok tries not to think about what happened the last time Jimin made that promise as he takes an unsteady breath and shifts around to mirror Jimin's body with his. After a few moments of avoiding eye contact and pondering over the shade of blue on Jimin’s fingernails, Hoseok finally comes up with something to say. “Do you like it better here?” 



“Better than L.A.?” 



“Yeah.” 



Jimin hums in thought as he plays with the corner of the pillowcase, sliding the fabric between his fingertips. Hoseok wonders if he’s ever seen Jimin fidget. No other instances come to mind immediately, but he doesn’t know if he’s ever been chill enough in Jimin’s presence to take note of any details like that. “I think so. Tae’s a lot happier here.” 



“Are you?” 



Their eyes meet, Hoseok’s wavering to different parts of Jimin’s face but Jimin’s holding steady.



“I think so.” 



“Shouldn’t you know so?” 



“Maybe,” Jimin says. “It’s more complicated than that.” 



“How?” 



Jimin doesn’t seem to have an answer for that. He chews on his lip as he drops his gaze to Hoseok’s chest. “It’s just not that simple. Not everything is black and white.” 



“I think it is,” Hoseok says softly, but his voice lilts up at the end like it’s a question. Then, more assured, “You’re either happier now than you were then, or you’re not. Right?” 



An irritated scowl comes and goes across Jimin’s face for a split second before he lets out a breath. “It’s just different. Back then, everything was simple. I knew where to go and what to do. I knew what everyone wanted from me. I knew my job, I knew who I answered to. I had all that shit sorted out.” 



“But…” 



“But now it’s different,” Jimin continues. “Now I - I have to figure everything out myself.” 



“Yeah, but,” Hoseok begins, but he pauses to make sure he’s saying the right thing. He’s not sure if what he settles on is a good answer, but it’s the best he can come up with. “I think that’s what makes life life . Figuring stuff out.” 



“I can’t say if I’m happier now,” Jimin says as his eyes seem to find some far-off place, somewhere on the wall above Hoseok’s shoulder, “because I don’t think I was ever happy back then, and I don’t know if I’m happy now.” 



“You don’t… know if you’re happy?” 



“Content,” Jimin says with a nod of finality. “Content, maybe. But I don’t know about happy.” 



Hoseok curses his inability to - to say the things he feels. To know the right thing to say, to be that person that could help Jimin right now. Instead, he only knows how to reach across the short space between them and wrap his hand around Jimin’s to stop it from messing with the pillow case. 



“But,” Jimin says, eyes finally falling back to Hoseok’s face. “It’s a work in progress.” 



Hoseok eyebrows draw together with some emotion that creeps inside his chest at that. Because he feels that, too. He’s a work in progress, too. 



Jimin lets his eyes fall closed then, just a hint of a smile at the corner of his lips before he turns his head and hides in the pillow.



Wordlessly, Hoseok leans over and presses his lips to the side of Jimin’s head, right in the midst of fading pink hair that definitely smells more like men’s shampoo than Hawaiian flowers. When he pulls away and rests his head on the pillow, Jimin’s eyes open and stare at him, enigmatic and brimming with something Hoseok doesn’t think Jimin will ever clue him in on. “Hey,” Hoseok says softly. 



“Hm?” 



“Tell me something that’s not a lie.” 



Jimin closes his eyes and seems to take a long, slow inhale before letting it back out. “This seems to be a running theme in my life these days.”



“What’s that?” 



“People trying to make me to be honest for once.” 



“It’s good, though, right?” Hoseok suggests. “Telling the truth can be kinda… relieving.” 



Hoseok’s not sure how convinced Jimin is of that, but he watches curiously as Jimin looks like he’s about to fall asleep, chest moving calmly with his breathing and body entirely relaxed into the mattress. 



Just as Hoseok has fallen into the comfortable silence of Jimin seemingly falling asleep, Jimin says, very quietly, “I missed you when I was in L.A.” 



The heave Hoseok’s heart gives is nearly enough to knock the wind out of him. He swallows, lips moving in an effort to respond before he settles on, “You already said that before.” 



“Yeah,” Jimin mumbles. “But I really mean it this time.” 



That’s a sting followed by a bit of an ache, though, because Hoseok had known Jimin probably didn’t always mean all the pretty words he’d said before. But Jimin seems to have a near physical aversion to feelings , something Hoseok can’t even slightly relate to because he’s never gone a day in his life successfully avoiding the emotions that hit him at any given moment. So, maybe Jimin hadn’t quite meant it then, or maybe he can’t admit he’d meant it, but Hoseok believes him when he says he means it now. 



It still doesn’t do much in the way of sorting out what it all means , though. Taking a picture with Audrey Hepburn’s star, hanging out with him and going out on what had felt like a date, coming here now after Jimin had made it so clear he wouldn’t touch a real relationship with a fifty-foot pole during their last disaster of a conversation. 



Hoseok wants it to make sense so badly. 



“I think it’s only fair you tell me something true now, too,” Jimin says, breaking Hoseok out of his thoughts. 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, nodding. “Yeah, I guess so.” 



“So?” Jimin urges with a small smile. 



“I, um,” Hoseok says, laughing nervously. “That night after we left the club, I, uh, ended up making out Yoongi. Sort of.” It’s out before he even thinks about it. He’s not sure why of all the confessions he could have made he settled on that one. Maybe because he wants to see Jimin’s reaction to it, or maybe to confirm that Jimin wouldn’t care either way. 



What he gets, though, is Jimin raising an eyebrow and shifting his gaze away. “That’s odd.” 



Hoseok stumbles. “It’s - odd?” 



“Yeah,” Jimin says. “Yoongi usually doesn’t lie to me about anything.” 



“Yoongi lied?” 



“I guess so,” Jimin says conclusively. 



“What did he say?” Hoseok asks quickly, brows furrowing together in confusion. 



“He said you guys didn’t fuck.” 



“Oh,” Hoseok says with a laugh, and then pulls a face. “We didn’t. Thank god .” 



Jimin looks skeptical. “So you guys just kissed, and that’s it?” 



“Well, sort of drunk made-out,” Hoseok says. “It was weird. And really awkward.” 



“Hmm,” Jimin hums. “Trying out the tricks I taught you, and you didn’t even invite me to come play?” 



Hoseok wants to laugh, but something about the statement doesn’t sit right. “It’s really not like that. We just - I was just really fucked up. It was stupid.” 



“You don’t have to explain yourself to me, babe.” 



“Yeah I - guess I don’t,” Hoseok mumbles, growing more and more confused as the discussion goes on. Jimin’s words say he doesn’t care, that it makes no difference if Hoseok and Yoongi had made out or fucked or had done nothing at all, and yet the look on his face says something different. Whatever it is, it pushes Hoseok to say, “It really was just a stupid mistake.” 



“Could have been worse,” Jimin says. “You could have went home with me.” 



Hoseok almost chokes. 



Jimin laughs then, rolling over onto his back and stretching out even more, arms reaching over his head and then falling back until his hands dangle over the edge of the mattress. “Relax, it was a joke.” 



“You just - you just say shit like that like it’s nothing.” 



“It’s the truth, isn’t it?” Jimin questions. “It would have been a mistake.” 



“For you or for me?” 



“For both of us.” 



Irritation rooted somewhere in hurt twitches inside Hoseok’s chest as he cuts his eyes away from Jimin to glare at the wall. 



“I don’t mean it how you’re taking it.” 



“How do you mean it, then?” 



“You were really drunk,” Jimin elaborates. “It would have been kind of fucked up for anyone to pull anything with you like that.” 



Hoseok settles down a bit, tight feeling in his chest relaxing its grip. “Oh.” 



“Yeah,” Jimin says, then lets out a humorless laugh. “You really think I’m just, like, a total asshole, don’t you?” 



“No,” Hoseok states quickly. “I really don’t.”



Jimin is quiet, though, maybe close to falling back asleep, maybe just tired of the conversation. 



Hoseok’s mind is anything but quiet, and he’s really unable to hold back everything going on in there even as hard as he tries. “I think you’re amazing.” 



Jimin’s eyes open just enough for Hoseok to see the incredulous look he tosses. 



“I’m serious.” Hoseok reaches over and swats Jimin’s chest playfully.



Jimin catches Hoseok’s hand where it lands on his chest. He casts one look at Hoseok’s face and then starts pulling the hand until Hoseok’s body leans with it, until Hoseok has to move closer. Until Hoseok is leaning over Jimin, surprised at how clear his own mind is suddenly, unburdened and so quiet he can hear his own heartbeat getting louder, his own breathing and even Jimin’s, too, as he leans down. 



When he looks back later, he’ll realize this was the moment he fucked up. 



Hoseok kisses Jimin first, soft enough but too clear in his intent, too telling of the want that courses through him and doesn’t stop at the physical. He worries that maybe Jimin can feel too much, and maybe that’s why he doesn’t kiss back right away. 



His worry dissipates as Jimin’s hand reaches behind his neck and pulls him in again, tilting his head to sink into another kiss. 



“I really just came to hang out,” Jimin mumbles against Hoseok’s lips between two kisses. 



Hoseok pulls away then, and he wants to search Jimin’s face but he can’t quite stop staring at his lips. “We can stop.” 



“Yeah.” 



Hoseok almost leans right back in, falls right back into it, but with his last remaining shred of self-control, he pauses. He turns his head to the side, looking away because he’s going to lose that last shred if Jimin keeps staring at him like that. “I don’t wanna do this if it means nothing to you.” 



Rather than speak, Jimin’s hand tightens on the back of Hoseok’s neck slightly, pulling him down. He presses a soft kiss to Hoseok’s cheek, lingering for a moment before pressing another a bit lower, along his jaw. Then, like an innermost secret, he says, “It doesn’t.” Another kiss to Hoseok’s jaw, breath on his neck. Another secret, even softer this time: “It doesn’t mean nothing.” 



He thinks about how easily Jimin had lied about missing him. Or maybe hadn’t lied. The line is so blurry, Hoseok doesn’t think Jimin himself even knows where it crosses or what’s on either side of it. It doesn’t answer why Jimin hasn’t been texting him back. Or why he’d showed up suddenly in the dead of night like this, claiming pure intentions and by all accounts looking the picture of innocence. But these things hurt even worse from someone who looks so delicate and sounds so sweet. 



Jimin doesn’t look like he could hurt Hoseok. 



Doesn’t feel like it, either, because his lips are soft and his skin is warm and smooth. Hoseok leans his head to the side as Jimin presses another kiss to his neck. He turns and presses their lips together, following Jimin down as he lies back on the pillow. It’s the slowest they’ve ever kissed before, burning slow like Hoseok’s wanted since Jimin came back from America, maybe even longer than that. It doesn’t feel like there’s anything before or after this, nothing being built from and nothing being built toward. Just this, the unbroken press of their lips, quiet noises nearly drowned out by the whir of the air conditioner and the puffs of their breath.



Hoseok pulls away to calm his breath and to look at Jimin’s face. Maybe if he’s close like this, close enough to count lashes or see the star bursts of Jimin’s irises, maybe he could decipher what Jimin’s thinking. But he can’t, and Jimin only shutters his eyes closed and tips his chin up to seal their mouths together again.  



This is the point when Hoseok decides he’s going to stop thinking. He just breathes, slips into the trancelike rhythm of their mouths moving together. Jimin’s hands lock on either side of Hoseok’s jaw, thumbs stroking cheekbones as he urges Hoseok’s head to the side. This is where they cross the line from just kissing to making out, from the gentle slide of lips to the intent push into each other, the press of tongues and the tightening of their grasps. 



He’s not sure if he pulls or if Jimin pushes, but their mouths never part as they roll in tandem and Hoseok lies back against the mattress. He lets out a soft sigh as Jimin’s weight settles on top of him and a leg presses comfortably between his. He holds back a noise as Jimin ducks into his neck, pressing kisses along his pulse up toward his ear. 



Jimin sits up, leaving Hoseok in a dazed state as he pulls off his own shirt, letting it fall somewhere to the side of the bed. His hands spread along Hoseok’s waist, fingers toying with the hem of his shirt as if asking permission. Rather than granting it, Hoseok grabs the shirt, lifts up enough to shuck it off, and tosses it aside. 



Then there’s a heavy moment, lingering somewhere in the distance from Hoseok’s eyes to Jimin’s, where they could be trying to read one another or maybe send some sort of message across. Hoseok can’t read anything written in Jimin’s face, only knows that his eyes seem softer than usual. Maybe from sleepiness, a heavy-lidded droop to them, sedate and calm. Or maybe from something else, like the way his brown eyes move across the features of Hoseok’s face. Not down at his body, where his chest is breaking out in goosebumps from the cool air or at his legs that bracket either side of Jimin’s hips. Whatever it is, be it the late night catching up to him or a rough night at work, or some sort of softness uniquely reserved for Hoseok , the look in Jimin’s eyes doesn’t seem to fade even as he runs his hands over the dip of Hoseok’s waist. 



Maybe there’s something to be said about the wordlessness between them right now. For how much they’ve talked in the past when they’ve done this, both seem content to be perfectly quiet as Jimin smooths his hands across the soft give of Hoseok’s belly, fingertips dipping just inside his navel and then moving along elsewhere. Hoseok lies there and lets the warmth of Jimin’s hands relax his mind, ease his body. A silent sigh falls gently past his lips as Jimin’s hands move up, over his chest and down his arms. He stops, retraces his path back down to Hoseok’s waist, stops there with his thumbs twitching tentatively at the waistband of Hoseok’s sweatpants. 



An understanding of some kind rises between them as Hoseok meets Jimin’s eyes. He pushes up on his heels to hook his fingers into his waistband and push his pants lower, dragging his underwear along with them because there’s no point in pretending like those aren’t going to follow soon after, anyway. Jimin carefully helps him untangle each ankle and then drops the clothes over the side of the bed before turning his eyes back on Hoseok. 



He’s never felt so vulnerable as this before. Exposed like a raw nerve, a flower in a thunderstorm. A minor sense of relief washes over him when Jimin leans back to maneuver out of his own pants, and then they’re both stripped bare, staring quietly at one another through the tempered glass wall that separates them. 



Jimin puts the first crack in the glass as he falls forward gently, catching himself with his hands on either side of Hoseok’s head. He only hovers for a moment, just long enough for Hoseok to tip his chin up and shut his eyes expectantly, before he drops down to connect their mouths, body heavy on top of Hoseok. Pressing down on him, pressure across his chest and between his hips, but Hoseok moans quietly with it, thighs squeezing tighter around Jimin’s waist. And it’s not a scorching kiss, not sloppy or wild or feverish like some before. It’s deep, lips dragging slowly against each other, still noisy from some underlying hint of desperation, and it aches. All the way from somewhere deep in Hoseok’s chest, through his arms that wrap around Jimin’s neck, all the way to the tips of his fingers that bury into Jimin’s hair - it aches. 



From the moment Jimin had started kissing him until well after their lips part, Hoseok’s eyes stay shut, breathing softly from his mouth and just the faintest crease between his brows. Jimin kisses the corner of his lips, and if Hoseok was a complete fool he might think that’s Jimin’s favorite spot to kiss. Jimin presses short kisses to Hoseok’s chin, the edge of his jaw, the arch of his neck. He does open his eyes, though, when he feels Jimin pull back a bit, fingers brushing a lock of hair to tuck behind Hoseok’s ear. And Hoseok really is a complete fool, then, because he thinks maybe that’s Jimin’s favorite spot to touch. 



Jimin pushes one more kiss against Hoseok’s lips before shifting downward, hands resting tentatively on each of Hoseok’s knees. He casts a look upward at Hoseok, brows furrowed in focus or questioning, and in lieu of talking - because they’re done with words, it seems - Hoseok only arches his back, hips pushing off the bed in the slightest of requests. And with that, Jimin tips his head downward and gives a kiss to the side of Hoseok’s knee, right at the bend, as he shifts down on the bed until he’s settled between Hoseok’s thighs. 



Hoseok has been relatively calm up to this point, but when Jimin’s breath flutters at the crease of his thigh, a deep shudder racks down his spine and he feels his composure slip. He makes a hushed, breathy sound as Jimin’s hands push underneath his thighs and he realizes with a stirring feeling in his gut that Jimin is spreading him wider to dip down even further. Hoseok lifts his head in hesitant curiosity, lids heavy over his eyes as he watches Jimin disappear between his legs. His head tosses back in shocked pleasure when he feels Jimin’s breath on his skin, overly warm and unfamiliar. It draws the muscles in his legs so tight they nearly tremble as his legs pull open wider on instinct. He almost wants to sob with relief or anticipation or helplessness because he’s thought about this enough times before that he can practically feel Jimin’s mouth already. But in actuality, there’s only the ghost of Jimin’s breath and the warm slide of his hands down the insides of Hoseok’s thighs. 



He does let out a surprised, stuttered noise when Jimin seals his mouth to his leg, tongue making purposeful wet circles before he parts. It goes on like that, Jimin placing damp kisses all over Hoseok’s thighs, letting his breath tease but never touching, until Hoseok lets out a whiny noise of discontent and he gives a pointed upward push of his hips. He’s ready to break their self-imposed silence any second now to beg if he has to, because he’s well beyond the point of trying to seem calm or dignified. 



Just after the ache has turned into a throb and the throb is on its way to a burn, Hoseok feels Jimin’s tongue slide over his skin so unbearably close that all the blood in his body seems to give a hard pulse of need. He shifts restlessly, reaches down and sinks his hands into Jimin’s hair and hopes it’s enough to get him to stop teasing and put him out of his misery. And it seems to work, or maybe Jimin just has mercy, because there’s a wet heat between his cheeks in the next moment, and god he’d known how bad he wanted it but he didn’t think it would feel like he needed it.



He clenches his teeth but moans deep in his throat, still conscious of thin walls but hardly able to contain it. Jimin’s mouth on him is such a foreign feeling but overwhelmingly good, just one more checkbox on the list of ways Jimin has ruined him. He catches himself tugging too tightly at Jimin’s hair and thinks about loosening his grip until it pulls a low moan from Jimin, and that only makes him tug a bit harder and let out a moan of his own. And then Jimin’s fingers are sinking hard into his thighs, wrenching him closer, and Hoseok is so far beyond coherent thought he can’t remember either of their names or where he is or how thin the walls are or the things someone once warned him about this man in his bed. He only knows feels so good and want and more



Jimin’s mouth moves up, more kisses on his thighs, more teeth nipping at his skin, until his tongue slides along Hoseok’s length. And he doesn’t tease, probably understanding from Hoseok’s senseless string of gasps and grunts that he can’t possibly bear any more. He swallows Hoseok down, pulls the moans from Hoseok’s chest even louder until Hoseok is pressing the back of a hand over his mouth to quiet himself. 



Hoseok trembles, chest heaving, and he’d thought maybe he wouldn’t be ready for the fingers that trace an experimental circle around his hole, but his entire body seems to writhe toward them, every muscle begging. Jimin’s mouth on him is warm and wet and so beautiful, always so good at this that Hoseok never quite knows what to do with his hands, where to look, how to stay quiet. But he does his best to sort it out, arm thrown over his eyes, teeth buried in his bottom lip, one hand still rooted in Jimin’s hair. He peeks from under his arm when he senses a hesitance from Jimin, watching as Jimin’s mouth pulls away and his eyes flutter up to Hoseok curiously. Jimin seems to be asking a question, fingers still rubbing into the twitching muscles but not pushing any further. 



Bottom lip still trapped tight between his teeth, Hoseok nods. 



Jimin needs no further answer, leaning over the bed to unzip and dig through his backpack. When he returns, kneeling between Hoseok’s knees and working open the cap of a small bottle of lube, it hits Hoseok how real this moment is. Jimin is here, right in front of him, and this is about to happen. He’s thought about it before, ever since the first few times Jimin had mentioned it, thought about it perhaps too many times. His curiosity had led him to some self-experimentation and some intense daydreaming, but those are all hypotheticals, hard maybe’s, and this is his pressing reality. There’s a slight flutter of nerves in his stomach, but he’s oddly calm. And he realizes something as they exchange one last look of reassurance. 



He trusts Jimin. Probably far too much. 



Jimin is slow and careful, watching every look on Hoseok’s face closely. Slowing when Hoseok looks overwhelmed, easing into it when Hoseok is ready to push forward. He follows so fluidly with the signals Hoseok gives that they seem to have merged together onto the same wavelength. His free hand smooths over Hoseok’s body in warm patterns, urging him to relax, giving silent consolation. There comes a point, after the stretch and burn of a third finger, when Hoseok clamps a hand over his mouth as his body tenses and his breath jolts in discomfort. 



Jimin stills his hand, eyes wary as he watches Hoseok adjust. Then he reaches up, takes Hoseok’s hand from where it’s pressed tight over his mouth. Pulls it away, up to his own lips, and kisses Hoseok’s knuckles. Turns it over to kiss Hoseok’s palm, his wrist. 



Hoseok forgets, as he watches with mesmerized eyes as Jimin’s lips dust more kisses over the palm of his hand, that there had ever been any pain to begin with. Jimin presses one last kiss to Hoseok’s skin and seems like he’s about to let go, but Hoseok takes Jimin’s cheek in his hand instead. He cards his fingers through Jimin’s hair, around to cradle the back of his head, and then gently pulls Jimin down, lifting up on an elbow to meet him halfway as their noses bump gently. 



Jimin is the one to close the distance this time, that much Hoseok is sure of. But in everything else, Hoseok is lost. Because he’s kissed Jimin a lot of times, but he’s never felt consumed like this before, as if Jimin’s one and only intention is to undo Hoseok completely. He barely gives room for Hoseok to suck in a breath or let out a moan, keeps sliding their lips together with the type of perfect dragging pressure that makes Hoseok’s back arch and toes curl with need. And fuck Jimin is a good kisser and that should make sense by now but nothing, nothing makes sense right now. Hoseok doesn’t even really mind, though, as long as Jimin keeps kissing him like this, like the answer to every question ever posed to the universe is somewhere on the tip of Hoseok’s tongue or the roof of his mouth or the swell of his bottom lip. 



And then Jimin’s fingers move inside him, and Hoseok lets out some sort of depraved noise into Jimin’s mouth. Jimin kisses him through each meticulous second, until Hoseok has to break away and remember how to breathe, and even then Jimin’s mouth is on his neck, his forehead, kissing away sweat and smoothing out the tension there. The fingers inside him start a slow rhythm, and Hoseok finds himself pulling in a breath with each push inside. After however many minutes it takes of Hoseok’s deep breathing and Jimin soothing kisses into his skin, some sort of bone-deep pleasure starts to ebb inside Hoseok that has him clinging to Jimin’s back, hips just slightly pushing forward for more. 



That’s when Jimin pauses, casting another unreadable look down at Hoseok. 



“Hoseokie,” Jimin whispers, and just like that the silence is broken. 



Hoseok pries open his eyes, not even realizing how hard he’d been panting or how tightly his fingers are digging into Jimin’s sides. “Y-yeah?”



“Do you want to…” 



“Wh-what?” Hoseok stammers, blinking until he can see clearly. 



Jimin carefully withdraws his hand, Hoseok shuddering at the sensation. He glances down between their bodies and looks deep in thought for a moment. “You should get on top.” 



Hoseok gapes for a moment, brain not processing still. “On top?”



“Yeah,” Jimin says. “It’s safer for you that way.” 



Immediately, Hoseok is shaking his head. “No. Like this. Do it like this.” 



Jimin’s brows pinch together as he stares at Hoseok like he’s trying to detect any signs of uncertainty. But ultimately, he gives a small nod of his head and then leans to the side to grab the bottle of lube and a condom. 



Hoseok doesn’t really question it as he watches Jimin roll the condom onto himself. He’s more concerned with the fact that that is about to be inside him, and he doesn’t think any amount of daydreaming or internet surfing could have really prepared him. The flutter in his stomach kicks up to full force as Jimin recaps the bottle and tosses it aside, and then he’s holding himself in his hand and shifting around into position. 



“Hey,” Jimin says softly, seeming to notice the nervous energy sparking through Hoseok. “It’s okay. We don’t have to. We can stop - ”



“I want to,” Hoseok says, and even though his voice shakes, he means it. Then again, steadier, “I want to.” 



Jimin nods, rolling his lips to wet them as he shifts even closer, knees against the underside of Hoseok’s thighs. 



The moment he feels blunt pressure, Hoseok sucks in a sharp breath and tenses up, and then it’s gone. 



“I’m - sorry, I just got nervous,” Hoseok babbles, willing himself to take a deep breath. As he lets out the breath, he shuts his eyes and feels his body relax. “Okay. I’m-I’m good.” 



“I’ll go really slow, okay?” Jimin says softly, and Hoseok’s head jitters up and down in a nod. “If you say to stop, I’ll stop.” 



“Okay,” Hoseok mumbles, still nodding. 



Jimin leans over then, a hand pushing into the bed beside Hoseok. He’s still staring at Hoseok, still attentively reading every expression that passes over his face. Then he reaches down between them, taking himself in hand and lining himself up. 



And, ever patient, and exactly as promised, Jimin goes slow. 



The hardest part is keeping himself relaxed. But Jimin whispers gentle reassurance into his ear, presses a kiss to his temple. Hoseok finds his determination somewhere buried under his nervousness and latches on to it tight. He knows he can do this - he knows it’s going to feel good. He wants this, wants this with Jimin



And, with one concurrent gasp from both of them, Jimin is inside Hoseok. Just barely, just enough to steal both of their breaths away. Jimin stays very still as Hoseok adjusts, forehead leaning against the side of Hoseok’s head and breath fluttering the hair next to his ear. It really doesn’t take long, because Jimin had spent plenty of time preparing, and Hoseok really is more relaxed than he’d ever thought he could be. Because as unnatural as the feeling is, as unusual and foreign as it feels - the notion of the two of them together like this makes it feel right. The very idea of Jimin here - with him, in his arms, doing this, with him



It’s enough to have Hoseok wrapping an arm around Jimin’s back, pulling him to signal that he’s ready. He lets out a low, strained grunt when Jimin rocks his hips just slightly, and he quickly realizes they’ve got a long way to go but it’s entirely bearable. There’s a lot of pausing and breathing and Jimin asking if he’s okay and Hoseok promising he’s fine. There are the noises Jimin makes, small and sometimes caught behind his teeth, and the pressure in the pit of Hoseok’s stomach that seems to build with each hesitant motion. 



Then comes a point, somewhere between a babbled string of curses and a low, drawn-out groan from Hoseok, where Jimin actually starts to move. And Hoseok knows he made the right decision by lying down for this because there’s no way he could have possibly held himself upright. He can barely hold on to Jimin’s shoulders, legs not cooperating enough to even wrap around Jimin’s waist or do much more beyond fall open wider. Every single thing about it is new - from the sensation of being filled to the notion of surrendering, of being held and handled, of bearing the weakest parts of himself in blind hope. 



Thin walls be damned, there’s no repressing the moans that punch out of Hoseok when Jimin starts to build a rhythm, shifts up on his knees more for a different angle. One that renders the gray matter in Hoseok’s mind to mush and has his eyes rolling back, jaw falling open. It’s entirely too much and not near enough at the same time, because the feeling is overwhelming but he can’t get enough of Jimin’s arms wrapped around him, waist between his thighs, soft hair between his fingers. He can feel every bit of tension in Jimin’s body, from the taut muscles along his spine to the strained grunts he buries into the side of Hoseok’s neck. 



“Seok,” Jimin breathes, barely more than a rush of air against Hoseok’s skin. “Seok - baby - I’m - ” He cuts himself off, voice devolving into a choked noise he swallows back. He loses his rhythm, hips stuttering and the bed creaking unevenly. Before Hoseok even realizes through the haze, Jimin is coming, letting out a low moan and finishing with a few last, smooth rolls of his hips. 



Hoseok groans when Jimin’s hand closes around his length, eyes pinching shut and neck arching. He realizes distantly that he’s about to come, their bodies curled around each other at every possible angle and Jimin still inside him. But he wants to come almost as much as he doesn’t want it to end because -



Because Jimin will leave when it’s over.



Even at the edge, tipping over and spilling out, pleasure flooding his mind and drowning everything out, he can’t fool himself into thinking Jimin might stay. 



Even as he comes unraveled at the final strokes of Jimin’s hand, whispered nothings in his ear and soft moans pouring from his mouth, he can’t fool himself. 



And then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Jimin is rolling over onto the bed next to him, chest heaving as he tries to catch his breath. Hoseok lies still, staring at the ceiling and trying to stay in the past moments for just a little longer. 



They lie quietly for a while, shoulder to shoulder. Hoseok eventually lets his eyes fall closed and shifts his legs around to get comfortable, hips aching a bit from the position he’d been in. 



He thinks he should probably get up and go get something to clean himself up with, but just as he’s finding the motivation to do so, Jimin rolls over him and off the bed. He waits and listens as Jimin trails through the apartment to the bathroom, runs water in the sink. It’s reminiscent in the worst ways to the last time they’d been in this same position, right before Hoseok said things he didn’t mean and Jimin said things he probably meant a lot. 



Jimin comes back, the door clicking closed behind him. He stops at the bed beside Hoseok and kneels down, pushing a warm, wet washcloth over his skin. 



Hoseok watches Jimin, who could be avoiding his eyes or might not be. It’s hard to tell. 



When Jimin’s done, he goes back to the bathroom, leaving Hoseok in his room for a few moments. Hoseok looks at Jimin’s clothes strewn on his bedroom floor, his backpack hanging open by the side of his bed. Jimin will come back and start getting dressed, and then he’ll leave. But probably not before saying something that shouldn’t hurt at all but probably will. 



Jimin comes back into the room. 



He switches out the light. 



Hoseok is glad there’s no way Jimin can see the confused look on his face in the dark. Especially when Jimin blindly fumbles through the room, bumping into the bed and groping around until he finds the edge of the covers and gives them a tug. 



“Sit up for a second,” Jimin says, yanking on the covers pointedly. 



“Oh.” Hoseok sits up, letting Jimin wiggle the covers out from under him until they’re free. 



Then Jimin is climbing over him, pulling the covers over them both and situating himself on the bed between Hoseok and the wall. 



“You’re staying the night?”



In the long, awkward moment it takes Jimin to answer, Hoseok panics a lot.



“I - yeah? Is that okay?” Jimin finally mumbles back. 



“Yeah. Yeah, of course,” Hoseok says, snapping himself out of it. He feels Jimin shifting around next to him, the mattress jostling with every movement. When his eyes adjust enough to the dark, he looks over and sees the outline of Jimin’s shoulders, back turned toward him. 



Without really thinking at all, Hoseok rolls onto his side and scoots over behind Jimin, throwing an arm around his waist. 



Jimin goes rigid for a few seconds, and Hoseok panics again - much more intensely this time. Then Jimin seems to relax, and Hoseok feels the tension run out of his own body with a shaky breath. 



“This okay?” Hoseok asks softly. 



“Yeah,” Jimin replies, even softer. 



“Good night.” 



“Yeah,” Jimin mumbles. “Night.” 







Morning comes with the usual clanking and clamor of the restaurant kitchen downstairs prepping for the lunch rush, with a few random added noises throughout the adjoining apartments. Creaking pipes, thumping footfalls, muffled TV garble coming from the living room. 



He stretches out, joints popping. He lets out a sleepy groan as he feels the soreness sink into every part of his body below the waist. He has no idea how Jimin does this on the regular.



Jimin



There’s a split second where he hopes , where he’s pretty sure he’s going to reach over and Jimin will be right there, right under his hands and he can just roll over and wrap him up but -



The bed next to him is empty. 



Hoseok sits up, scrubbing his hands over his face and carding his fingers once through his hair to get it out of his face. He double checks the bed again rather stupidly, even throws a glance around the room just in case. 



He rolls out of bed, snatching his sweatpants up off the floor and almost falling over as he yanks them on. He heads into the living room toward the sound of the television - Yoongi hardly ever watches TV. 



As he turns the corner into the living room, a cold feeling solidifies itself in his stomach. 



Yoongi is perched on a chair by the living room wall, one leg draw up to his chest as he ashes a cigarette through the half-open window. He looks up as he notices Hoseok standing in the mouth of the hallway. Then, lips pressing into a thin line, he shakes his head. 



“He ain’t here, kid.” 



Hoseok looks around the living room. Anywhere but at Yoongi. 



“Left about an hour ago.”



“Oh,” Hoseok says, nodding. “Uh. Right, yeah. I was - just. Checking.” 



Yoongi breathes out loudly, flicking his cigarette one last time before tossing it out the window. “Hate to say I told you so,” Yoongi says as he stands up and starts struggling to close the window. 



“Yeah, he just, uh,” Hoseok mutters. “He said some stuff that made me think it was different this time.” 



“He’ll say anything,” Yoongi says, window snapping shut with a loud clatter. 



“Yeah, I get it.” 



Yoongi stops short, seeming to cut off whatever lecture he was about to give and sparing Hoseok from it. “I’m sorry,” he says instead. “You deserve a lot better than that, Hoseok.” 



Hoseok doesn’t say anything, just turns and goes back to his room. When the door closes, he looks down at the floor and wonders why the fuck he was too stupid to notice Jimin’s stuff wasn’t there in the first place. 







Chapter Text

 

 

 

Hoseok has never gotten off a bus in Gangnam before tonight. He’s questioning if he’s ever even been here at all before. He can’t think of a time off the top of his head, which makes sense. He doesn’t exactly fit in around here. 



He follows Jeongguk’s extremely detailed text directions down the street, bypassing hoards of wealthy-looking people and crossing the street in front of cars worth more than triple his yearly earnings at the grocery store. It reminds him that he used to drive those kinds of cars all the time. Hop right into the driver’s seat, quickly figure out if it was a push start or manual or automatic and then remember not to adjust the seat or mirrors at all. That line of thinking leads him to the best part about working at the club - meeting Jimin.



It’s odd how that name used to set butterflies off in his stomach almost every time he heard it. Now it just feels like a sour ache, twinging around in his gut and making him feel the less than subtle urge to cringe. 



He’d been pretty fucking stupid. He still feels pretty fucking stupid. People like Jimin - beautiful, untameable, wild - unbound and untied - don’t fall for other people. Other people fall for them, and the ones who have the money shower them in gifts and luxury but can never buy their affections beyond empty words and faux intimacy. And people who don’t have money just end up heartbroken and left with the itching feeling they never had a real chance to begin with. 



It’s painfully obvious which category Hoseok falls under. 



Jimin hasn’t texted him in well over two weeks. If he doesn’t count the last text he did receive from Jimin - hey lol sry, been busy. how r u? - and then a complete lack of response to Hoseok’s immediate reply, then it’s been closer to three. Not that Hoseok has been keeping count, or really trying to strike up conversation either.



Waking up alone after thinking things had been different that night had left a harsh burn somewhere in Hoseok’s chest. On his lungs that didn’t seem to breathe normally for a few days after that. On the inside of his ribcage that had been left feeling a bit emptier than before. And undoubtedly on his heart, which had subsided for the most part. At least until he sees his last unanswered text to Jimin in his phone or catches a glimpse of a pink-haired stranger walking by at work. He’s not lying to himself that he’s over Jimin, but he is lying that he’ll get over him sooner rather than later. 



He makes his way to Jeongguk’s lavish apartment building, someone buzzing him in immediately but not saying anything over the little speaker. He heads for the elevators and up to the correct floor, hands shoved in his jacket pocket as he looks around absently. He’s late, partially due to the extra shift he’d picked up for this afternoon and partially due to procrastination. The extra shift had also been avoidance, although it clearly hadn’t worked out how he’d hoped. Because here he is, stepping up to the door of Jeongguk’s fancy and expensive apartment. He rings the doorbell and tries not to get nervous at the din of a crowd he can hear on the other side of the wall. 



The door opens and a man in dark suit stands in the doorway, smiling politely. “Hi,” the man says, seeming to look over Hoseok’s appearance but not showing any sign of contempt. 



“Uh, hi,” Hoseok says, shifting anxiously on his feet. This guy is wearing a suit - one he probably picked up from the dry cleaners or maybe had his maid or personal assistant pick up, or maybe he just went out and bought it on a whim for the occasion - and Hoseok is wearing jeans and his most minimally stained t-shirt. 



“You’re here for the dinner party, right?” 



“Uh - yeah. I’m, um. Jeongguk’s friend.” Hoseok is doing that thing where he knows he’s not lying but everything he says comes out sounding like a lie anyway because he’s nervous as fuck. 



“And you are…?” The man’s smile never fades, but there’s an amused glint in his eyes as he watches Hoseok squirm. 



“Hoseok.”



The man immediately throws the door open, sweeping his arm in a grandiose gesture for Hoseok to come inside. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Hoseok. Come inside - Jeongguk’s been waiting for you,” the man says as Hoseok ducks past him. “Maybe ‘worrying’ is a more fitting word. He kept thinking you’d somehow get lost in the five minute walk from the bus stop.” 



“Can’t say I’m surprised,” Hoseok mumbles, only halfway paying attention to what the man is saying. He’s caught up looking around the apartment at the massive windows and sleek, monochromatic decor. People in sharp suits and elegant cocktail dresses are scattered around the vast living room and spilling into the kitchen and dining areas, all with sparkling champagne flutes in hand. He immediately starts overhearing conversations that sound like a foreign language and he quickly realizes they’re all discussing business, finance, investments, money. 



“I think I last saw Jeongguk in his office,” the man continues, ushering Hoseok away from most of the clamor. He leads them the opposite direction toward a much quieter area and steps ahead to lead him through a doorway. 



It’s a huge personal office, and inside are several familiar faces. 



Jeongguk is leaning against the arm of a lounge chair occupied by Taehyung, who takes the mostly empty glass from Jeongguk’s hand and polishes off the last few sips. The manager from the bar where Jimin works is here, too. Hoseok can’t exactly remember his name, but he’s the first to look up and smile as he enters the room. 



And then there’s Jimin, sitting cross-legged right on top of the lacquered desk at the center of the room. Hoseok feels his stomach drop, but he doesn’t really have time to deal with that when the man who’d invited him inside gives him a firm pat on the shoulder and then loudly announces their presence. 



“Jeongguk, one of your important guests has arrived,” the man says loudly. 



Jeongguk quickly looks over, eyes finding Hoseok. His eyes crinkle with warmth first, followed by a soft smile. It eases the twisting feeling in Hoseok’s stomach if only just a tiny bit. “Hoseok,” Jeongguk says, standing up and crossing the room. “We were starting to think you’d gotten lost.” 



“Yeah, sorry I’m kinda late,” Hoseok says, the last part of his statement getting cut off as Jeongguk suddenly crushes him in a hug. 



Jeongguk pulls away and gestures to the only other man in the room wearing a suit - the one who’d let Hoseok in the front door. “This is my assistant, Seokjin.” 



“I promise I was getting around to introducing myself,” Seokjin assures with a smile, offering his hand for Hoseok to shake. “Nice to meet you.”



“You, too,” Hoseok returns, matching Seokjin’s blinding grin with a softer version of his own. 



As soon as Hoseok lets go of Seokjin’s hand, Taehyung is standing right in front of him wearing another equally warm smile. 



“I’m glad you could come,” Taehyung says. 



There’s an awkward moment where Hoseok extends the hand he’d just shook Seokjin’s with toward Taehyung, and Taehyung eyes it with a raised brow. Then he bypasses the hand entirely, pulling Hoseok into a tight hug. It’s a casual hug, but Hoseok wonders if Taehyung possesses some type of mystical powers because it’s filled with so much genuine warmth that it inexplicably makes tears sting at the back of Hoseok’s eyes. When Taehyung pulls away and offers a gentle smile, Hoseok sends one back and thinks he could go for another hug or two like that. 



“You remember Namjoon from the club,” Taehyung says, turning and pointing toward the center of the room where Jimin and the aforementioned man are engaged in conversation. 



At the sound of his name, Namjoon looks up and waves. 



Hoseok waves back, mouth twisted awkwardly as he tries not to look immediately to Namjoon’s left where the object of all his heartbreak and pining is sitting. 



“Did you eat before you got here?” Taehyung is asking, and Hoseok drags his eyes back to him. 



“No. I didn’t really have time,” Hoseok says. It’s sort of true. He’d been too busy stressing out over whether to go to this party or not to eat. He’s just glad Yoongi wasn’t there to witness his turmoil. 



“Come on,” Taehyung says, motioning for Hoseok to follow. “We don’t want to get champagne-drunk on an empty stomach.”







In the kitchen, Taehyung shows him the spread of hors d’oeuvres and sweets, shoving samples at him and prying his opinion out of him until Hoseok starts rolling with it. Soon enough, he’s sampled everything and had a glass and a half of champagne. The nervousness and deeply embedded sense that he doesn’t belong here has diminished, only really spiking up when an expensive looking man or woman from Jeongguk’s office staff brushes past him or greets him. But Taehyung seems perfectly comfortable covering for him, scooping up the conversation and politely granting them a quick escape back to Jeongguk’s office. 



Yoongi has arrived by the time they step back into the office, and he’s now joined the conversation between Jimin and Namjoon. Jeongguk, Seokjin, and a few other people are loitering outside the doorway, discussing business or politics or things far above Hoseok’s paygrade.



But then Taehyung is headed straight for Jimin and the others and Hoseok curses internally because he’d really thought Taehyung had his back but goddamn it he’s joining right in on their conversation and Hoseok will look like an idiot if he doesn’t go over there. So he meanders over, insinuating himself between Taehyung and Yoongi, which is unfortunately directly across from Jimin. 



Yoongi throws an arm around his shoulders and gives him a rough shake. “Finally done mooching off the refreshments?”



“You didn’t leave any leftovers for me to steal out of the fridge so I had no choice,” Hoseok says, trying for a smile. It must be pretty convincing, because Yoongi barks a laugh. Hoseok can smell a lingering hint of weed on him. It makes total sense that he’d blazed up before trudging into this social warzone. Hoseok is cursing himself for not doing the same.



Somewhere amidst the easy-flowing conversation, Hoseok works up the nerve to actually look at Jimin and has immediate regrets. 



Jimin looks stunning. His pink hair from weeks ago has been replaced with icy blonde, parted and styled precisely to frame his forehead. He’s in a chic all-black ensemble, a slim turtleneck tucked into dress pants cut from a slightly shimmery fabric and cinched snug around his narrow hips with a designer belt. A lone pearl-drop earring dangles from one ear, the most minimalistic jewelry Hoseok has ever seen him in. He looks lovely, regal, and not a bit out of place. Not in the sanctity of the office or out there among the white-collar giants.  



Yoongi must translate something from Hoseok’s silence, nudging him with an elbow. “You wanna go smoke?” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, and then turns to follow Yoongi out of the office. 



They find their way to a balcony overlooking the city, a bit brisk at this time of the night but nonetheless breathtaking. Hoseok’s only really seen views like this in movies or in pictures on the internet. He’s so caught up in staring, trying to take in the vast city skyline with his wide-open eyes that Yoongi is halfway through his cigarette before Hoseok even remembers that’s why they came out here. 



“It’s a nice view,” Yoongi mumbles around his cigarette. 



Hoseok shakes his head in disbelief. “Sure beats our place.”



“‘Course it does,” Yoongi says, blowing out smoke and gesturing with his cigarette. “We live in the armpit of the city and this is like… the eye or something. Fuck metaphors, anyway.” 



Hoseok laughs softly. “If we’re talking metaphorical body parts, wouldn’t where we live be more like the asscrack?” 



“Nah,” Yoongi says, shaking his head and pulling a face. “The asscrack would be that empty warehouse district over where they had that shithole of a club. The fuck were they calling it again?” 



“Lux,” Hoseok answers. 



Yoongi snorts. “Yeah. Lux . Stupid fuckin’ name.” 



“Guess they thought it made it sound fancy,” Hoseok muses, taking a cigarette as Yoongi offers one from his pack and lighting it up. “‘Lux Elite Gentlemen’s Club’.”



Yoongi lets out a huff. “Gentlemen,” he parrots, lip curled in disgust. “Like any of the scumbags in there could be considered gentlemen .” 



“Jeongguk was one of those scumbags.” 



Yoongi shrugs, then takes another drag off his cigarette. He doesn’t reply until he lets out his lungful of smoke. “I thought so at one point,” Yoongi says. “But I guess he’s different, huh?” 



Hoseok nods. 



“Not a lot of guys with that kind of money think like that,” Yoongi says. “You don’t get that rich and successful by being nice and charitable and shit.” 



“Well, yeah,” Hoseok says, turning around and leaning his back against the handrailing. “If that was how it worked, then all the shitty people would be dirt-poor like us.” 



“Maybe we are the shitty people,” Yoongi says with a mirthful grin.



“Who said anything about we ,” Hoseok says, earning a swift kick in the shin from a laughing Yoongi. 



“Shithead,” Yoongi grumbles. Then he drops his cigarette to the ground, crushing it out and not bothering to pick it back up. He looks to the glass door and the smile on his face changes to a near comical grimace. “Incoming.” 



“What?” Hoseok asks Yoongi’s back, because he’s already headed for the door. “Wait, where are you - ”



He watches as Yoongi brushes past someone in the doorway, and then Jimin is stepping out onto the balcony and closing the door behind himself. 



Hoseok quickly turns back around, hunching over the railing and hoping by some miracle he can finish his cigarette and sneak back off the balcony unnoticed. 



That idea gets shot to shit, though, because Jimin comes and leans on the railing a few steps down from him. 



“You look like you’re having a blast.” 



Hoseok looks up reflexively, trying not to flinch when he realizes Jimin is staring straight at him, a grin tugging at his lips. “I’m just tired is all.” 



Jimin scoffs lightly, crossing his arms over his chest and tossing his head to get his bangs out of his eyes. “That’s your excuse for everything.” 



Hoseok gives a dry laugh, trying to maintain a brave face. He’s not exactly known for his tact in making awkward situations less awkward. “Yeah. Guess I need to come up with something better.” 



Humming but not commenting, Jimin turns back to look at Hoseok. Only when Hoseok cuts a few quick glances over to Jimin can he see that Jimin is measuring something, gauging his reaction. Hoseok doesn’t really like the feeling at all. “You ever been to a party like this?” 



Hoseok lets out a short breath of a laugh. “Definitely not.” 



“I’ve been to a few,” Jimin muses. “At least this one has food.” 



“Can you imagine Taehyung throwing a party where there’s no food?”



Jimin shakes his head. “I can barely imagine Taehyung throwing a party like this at all. I mean, look at him. Mingling .” 



Hoseok feels a spark of amusement at that. He knows better than to let Jimin charm him too much, knows that it only leads to bad decisions and lots of heartache. But, even after weeks have passed, many nights spent telling himself he doesn’t want Jimin, doesn’t even like him, he’s still defenseless against his smile and it’s annoying, really, how easily Jimin makes him laugh. “Jealous?”



“Of course I am,” Jimin huffs. “Where’s my rich white knight? I’m just as cute as Julia Roberts.” 



Hoseok doesn’t have anything to say besides you’re much cuter , so he holds his tongue and bites back a laugh. 



“I’m serious,” Jimin states, slapping his hands on the balcony railing and then hopping up to sit on the edge. He wiggles until he’s comfortably seated, legs dangling and hands rooted on either side. “I need to find myself a sugar daddy of my own,” he continues, brushing a hand through his hair to fix where it had fallen out of place when he’d jumped up. “Get me a list of the fifty richest men in Korea.”



Hoseok has to drag his bottom lip between his teeth to hold back his smile, turning his face away so maybe the darkness will help hide how his cheeks flush with warmth. At least his aching, quick-beating heart is concealed, even if he’s a bit worried anyone could look at his stupid, lovestruck face and see it plain as day. “Is that what you want, Mister Golightly?” 



“Mhm,” Jimin hums. He suddenly embodies Audrey Hepburn’s classic posture, hand poised with a pretend cigarette holder between his fingers and shoulders tilted delicately. “I’m a deeply and importantly talented individual. It’s a tragedy I’m not currently and perpetually being showered with all the finest things in life,” he spiels with grand flourish, giving a haughty toss of his head. 



And then Hoseok has a near fatal heart attack because Jimin decides to throw an arm across his face dramatically and then lean backward over the railing, teetering dangerously fifty-something floors above ground. Hoseok lets out a terrified yelp and is on Jimin in an instant, grabbing him around the waist and wrenching him forward. 



“Jesus christ, Jimin, what the hell ?” he’s screeching, hands still clamped right around Jimin’s back on the very real chance he decides to do something stupid like that again just to fuck with Hoseok. 



All the while Jimin is cackling, bright laughter ringing through the air and into the night sky. His hands settle on Hoseok’s shoulders and he simmers down to a giggle before throwing him a look. “You can’t even pick me up properly and you’re trying to save me from falling off a building?” 



“You know what, on second thought - ” Hoseok hooks his arms under Jimin’s legs and yanks up as if to pitch him backward, eliciting a shrill yelp from Jimin as he claws at Hoseok’s back. 



Asshole ,” Jimin gasps, out of breath as he punches Hoseok lightly in the arm. 



Hoseok doesn’t even realize he’s smiling like an idiot until it drops off his face as Jimin’s hand wraps around his arm, giving a slight squeeze. 



He’s not even sure what happens. In the split second between his thoughts about why he absolutely, definitely shouldn’t do it, he’s kissing Jimin. 



Later it will haunt him how familiar it feels, how easily he slips right into it. Kissing Jimin, being kissed by Jimin. Kissing each other. He thinks about their first burning kiss, about remember this and Jimin’s lips on the corner of his mouth. He thinks about tacky lip balm sweet on Jimin’s lips and breathless kisses in the stifling air of a private suite that didn’t belong to them. He thinks about wild, bruising kisses on a rooftop that turned sweet, giddy, senseless by the end of the night. He thinks about the missing goodbye kiss, the one he never got but he thought about giving at least a hundred times while they were standing outside the airport. He thinks about the I missed you kisses, the soul-bearing kisses, the drunken kisses, the mistake kisses, the heartache kisses. The kisses that lied to him, saying they meant something more in the way they felt real, the way they tingled on his lips and curled around his heart and soared in his stomach only to shatter the rose-colored glass and drag him back to the reality of he ain’t in love with you



And he wonders, days from now, weeks from now, when Jimin still isn’t his, what kind of kiss this will be. 



They break apart either at the need for air or maybe because Jimin has the same sinking feeling Hoseok does. Hoseok rests his forehead on Jimin’s, resists the urge to kiss him again. He can’t keep giving in like this, giving so much of himself and for what? For someone who either doesn’t feel the same or will never admit it if they do. 



Hoseok takes Jimin’s hand, surprised at how easily Jimin lets him hold it. He struggles for a few moments with what to say, how he feels. But he knows they should talk, so he tries. “Jimin, listen - ”



“No,” Jimin interrupts, already shaking his head and pulling his hand away. “No - no . We’re not doing this.”



“You don’t even know what I was about to say,” Hoseok says, pleading edge to his voice. 



“Yeah, I do,” Jimin states, jaw tensing as he turns his head to look off to the side. 



“Please,” Hoseok says, voice breaking and sounding pathetic. He feels a bit pathetic, too, because he’s already swallowing past a hard lump in his throat. “It doesn’t have to be right now, but can we talk? Please?” 



Jimin doesn’t look at him. “What’s there to talk about?”



“You’re ignoring me,” Hoseok says. “You haven’t answered any of my texts in, like, two weeks.” 



“I’ve been busy.” 



The words hit Hoseok hard in the chest, but they’re not unexpected. He backs away, leaving Jimin sitting on the balcony and shoving his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, I get it,” he says. “Just call me if you ever decide you wanna talk.” 



Jimin does look over at Hoseok then, but Hoseok would have preferred the cold dismissal to the slicing irritation he gets when Jimin narrows his eyes at him, brows creasing at the center. “There’s nothing to talk about.” 



“Then stop doing this,” Hoseok snaps. He ducks his head shamefully, hating that he’d raised his voice like that. This is a terrible place to be having a conversation like this, but after that kiss just now, after weeks without any real sense of closure, he’s at a loss for what to do.



“Stop doing what?” Jimin questions calmly, clearly much more put together about this than Hoseok is. 



“I don’t - ” Hoseok pauses, figures it out and makes sure he means it when he says, “I don’t want to do this anymore, okay? Don’t come to my place acting like you want something from me and then just - bail on me like that.” 



“What - did you expect me to stay and make you breakfast in the morning?” 



Hoseok sighs, shaking his head. “I just don’t want to do this anymore, Jimin. Any of it.” His voice is miraculously steady, not betraying the utter chaos inside him right now. He’d fucked up again , and if he doesn’t say this to Jimin he thinks it’s just gonna keep happening. Because Yoongi had been speaking nothing but the truth when he said Jimin isn’t in love with Hoseok, and it’s so unfair because Hoseok thinks he might be - 



Hoseok can’t bring himself to finish that thought. 



“If you ever decide you want to talk about this for real, call me,” Hoseok says, turning to leave. 



Just then, the balcony door slides open and Namjoon steps out. Hoseok feels everything inside himself sinking, because as nice of a guy as Namjoon seems, he really doesn’t feel like muddling his way through small talk right now. He wants to get away, go home. Throw out his tropical-scented fabric softener. Maybe go spend money he can’t spare on weed he’d promised himself he didn’t need anymore. 



“Hey guys,” Namjoon greets cheerfully, tapping his cigarette pack on the back of his hand and then tearing away the plastic wrap. When he’s done, crinkling the plastic against his palm, he looks up and seems to pick up on the tension in the air. “Am I interrupting something?” 



“Not at all,” Jimin states, hopping off the balcony ledge and smoothing his shirt. “I was just headed back inside to go find Tae.” 



“Oh, he’s in the kitchen opening up another bottle of champagne,” Namjoon says. 



“Probably could have guessed that.” Jimin gives a light laugh, brushing Namjoon’s shoulder with his hand as he passes by and slips back through the door. The door slides shut, leaving Hoseok awkwardly alone with Namjoon. 



“Hoseok, right?” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says with a nod. At least Jimin went inside - he doesn’t know how he’d be able to breathe if he’d stayed. “You’re the manager at the club. Uh…”



“Mamushi,” Namjoon states, smiling. “It’s the name of a species of snake. The Japanese pit viper.”



Hoseok’s eyes widen at that. “That makes the club, like, ten times cooler.” 



Namjoon laughs at that, walking over and taking a seat on a chair. “There’s no interesting backstory on how I came up with it. I just watched too many nature documentaries when I was a kid.” 



“Maybe leave that part off when you tell people,” Hoseok suggests, and they both laugh. Then he makes the mistake of looking at the glass balcony door and sees Jimin there, just on the other side of the glass. He’s talking to a few of Jeongguk’s rich friends and clearly laying on the charm by the way their eyes sparkle and they laugh at whatever he just said. 



“Snakes have a bad reputation,” Namjoon says, grabbing Hoseok’s attention back. “Everyone is scared of them and a lot of people think they’re evil.” He takes a drag off his cigarette as he pauses thoughtfully, looking out at the sky as he exhales. “But they’re not inherently bad creatures, are they?” 



“I don’t think so,” Hoseok says. 



“Me either,” Namjoon agrees. “I think they’re just misunderstood. They’re animals of self-preservation and instinct. They bite when they’re threatened and do what they need to do to survive. I’ve always thought they’re probably more scared of us than we are of them.”



“Yeah,” Hoseok mumbles. “Never really thought about it.”



“I guess I’ve thought about it too much,” Namjoon says with an easy smile. 



“It’s okay,” Hoseok says. “I think about a lot of things too much.” 



“Don’t we all,” Namjoon hums. 



Hoseok stands quietly for a while, then finally shuffles his feet toward the door. “Think I’m probably gonna head home for the night. It was nice meeting you again.” 



Namjoon quickly stands, holding out his free hand for Hoseok to shake. “It was getting to talk to you,” he says. “Come back by the club sometime. I’ll buy you a drink.” 



“Yeah, that sounds great,” Hoseok says, nodding and smiling even though he doesn’t think he’ll ever work up the nerve to go to Club Mamushi again no matter how friendly the manager seems. 



“Have a good night,” Namjoon calls as the door shuts behind Hoseok. 



He makes his way around the house, peering around corners and doorways until he finally spots Yoongi talking with Jeongguk and Taehyung near the front door. 



“Hey,” Yoongi calls as Hoseok approaches, and the smile he was wearing slips a bit. “You alright?” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, forcing a grin. Neither of the three look convinced. “I’m just - I’m really tired. From work. I think I’m gonna go home.” 



“I’ll drive you,” Jeongguk says. 



“No, no, that’s okay - ”



“Let him drive you,” Yoongi cuts in, giving Hoseok a hard look. “It’s late.” 



“You’re gonna stay for a while?” Hoseok questions. 



“I got things to do tonight,” Yoongi says. “I’ll be back late.” 



“I’ll get my keys, then,” Jeongguk states, and before Hoseok can argue any more, he’s gone. 



Taehyung looks at Hoseok then, giving yet another warm smile. “Thanks for coming.” 



“Yeah, no problem.”



“The fuck was this party for, anyway?” Yoongi asks, glancing around like he’s looking for a sign or something, maybe a happy birthday banner. 



“Oh, um,” Taehyung says, laughing a bit sheepishly and clearly holding back a smile. “Jeongguk wanted to introduce me to some people from work.” 



Hoseok and Yoongi both gape. 



“Like - ‘ introduce you’ introduce you?” Hoseok questions. 



“Yeah,” Taehyung answers, and then the smile makes its way onto his face against his best efforts. “It actually went really well tonight. It’s not - you know. It’s not going to go public for a long time. But he’s not… going to try so hard to hide me anymore.” 



“That’s awesome,” Hoseok says loudly. “Congratulations. I think. Is that even the right thing to say in this situation?” 



“I can’t see this type of thing happening often enough for there to be a right thing to say,” Taehyung muses. 



“Well congrats, anyway,” Yoongi says. “Seems like a thing that ought to be celebrated.” 



Jeongguk shows back up then, wrapping an arm around Taehyung’s waist and planting a kiss on his cheek. “I’ll be back in a bit.” 



Yoongi snorts. “You guys make me glad to be single.” 



Jeongguk flips Yoongi off before heading for the door, Hoseok falling into step behind him. 



“Jeonggukie,” Taehyung calls from behind them. “No speeding.” 



Jeongguk tosses a sly smile over his shoulder. “As you wish.” 







The passenger seat of Jeongguk’s new Porsche is about the same as his old one, but in Hoseok’s mind it feels completely different. He’s been in it quite a few times already, to the point that he can tell by the way the seat is adjusted if Taehyung was just in it. Taehyung likes to sit up straight, watch the roads and switch through radio stations. Hoseok likes to lean back, let the hum of the engine lull him into a state of almost-sleep. Jeongguk had offered to let him take it for a spin, but Hoseok had quickly declined. 



He hasn’t been behind the wheel of a car since that night. 



He wonders if he’ll ever be able to drive again. Maybe, he thinks. He’s been getting better. Less nightmares, less frantic texts to Yoongi in the middle of the night. The replays of that night are getting fuzzier, less detailed. More the idea of what happened than seeing it in his dreams over and over in vivid color. Even Yoongi had said he’s been doing better. The last time he’d sat with Hoseok at night, he’d only had to stay for a few minutes before Hoseok was okay to fall asleep on his own. 



“So,” Jeongguk begins, cutting through the silence and jarring Hoseok from his thoughts. “Did you enjoy the party?” 



“It was great,” Hoseok says, hoping to sound sincere. 



Jeongguk laughs. “You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you had a bad time.” 



“It wasn’t the party,” Hoseok admits. “Just. Some other stuff going on.” 



“Other stuff,” Jeongguk repeats. “Such as…” 



“You know.” 



“I don’t like making assumptions.” 



Hoseok sighs. “ Jimin stuff.”



Jeongguk hums in understanding and Hoseok wants to roll his eyes. As if Taehyung hasn’t filled Jeongguk in on every gory detail. “Want to talk about it?” 



“About as much as I wanna talk about all my other problems,” Hoseok mumbles. 



“Which means you do want to talk or you don’t?” 



Hoseok lets out another long-suffering sigh, hunching down in his seat and slumping against the door. “I do wanna talk, just not right now.” 



“Okay, then,” Jeongguk says easily. 



The rest of the ride is quiet to Itaewon, Jeongguk easily switching through gears and coasting down the residential streets toward the Lucky Cat. Soon he pulls up to the curb, but as Hoseok is leaning over to get out, Jeongguk stops him with a hand on his elbow. 



Hoseok turns to look at Jeongguk, expectant and confused. He’s half-expecting Jeongguk to give him a lecture on his love life, or check in to make sure he’s not skipping work or missing probation appointments. 



“I never thanked you properly,” Jeongguk says. 



“For what?” 



“For everything,” Jeongguk continues. “For all you did to help me get them out.”



“You don’t have to thank me for that,” Hoseok says, waving it off. 



“I do,” Jeongguk argues gently. He smiles. 



“Okay,” Hoseok says. “Well… You’re welcome, then.” 



Jeongguk nods, seemingly satisfied with that. Then he lets out a laugh and shakes his head. “Yoongi would ride my ass about having a savior complex.” 



“Why’s that?” 



Jeongguk hums for a moment, debating on whether or not to elaborate. “I put in a good word with the manager out at our branch in Gwangju. It’s close to your family’s house and it’s on the bus route. If your mom wants to go for an interview, she’s got a job there.” 



Hoseok slowly processes the information, staring down at his hands in his lap. 



It’s not the highest paying job, but she could start off with training and work her way up,” Jeongguk continues. “There’s good benefits. Good work hours, professional environment.” 



Hoseok looks up at Jeongguk’s face cast in blue lights from the dash. 



“You don’t have to tell her about it,” Jeongguk says. “It’s just an offer. You don’t have to take it.” 



“Thank you,” Hoseok finally says, the words rushing out of him like an exhale of relief. 



“Don’t mention it.”



“You’re supposed to say ‘you’re welcome.’” 



Jeongguk sends him a confused look. 



“You always say ‘don’t mention it,’” Hoseok says. “You should say ‘you’re welcome.’”



“You’re right,” Jeongguk says with a nod. “You’re welcome.” 



Hoseok sends Jeongguk a bright smile, and then rushes up to his bedroom to call his mom. 







Hoseok taps his knuckles on the open door to Yoongi’s office, leaning against the doorframe as Yoongi pulls his headphones off and sets them aside on his desk.



“What’s up?” Yoongi calls, dropping his feet from where they’d been propped up on his desk. 



“Just bringing you rent money,” Hoseok says as he steps inside the office, motioning to Yoongi with the folded cash in his hand. 



“Whoa there, it’s the first of the month,” Yoongi says. “You sure you don’t wanna wait until it’s two weeks late?” 



Hoseok rolls his eyes and tosses the money on top of Yoongi’s desk. “Here.” He turns to leave. 



“Sorry, forgot you’re still moping around about the J-word.” Yoongi lets out a laugh. 



“I’m not moping,” Hoseok grumbles. 



“What do you call it, then?” 



“I don’t call it anything,” Hoseok states. “I’m fine.” 



Yoongi sighs, standing up from his desk. “What happened at that stupid dinner party, anyway? You were just coming around from last time he messed you up, and now you’re right back at it again.” 



“That,” Hoseok states, “is something I need to be high to talk about.” 







“And then he says ‘there’s nothing to talk about,’” Hoseok is rambling, adopting a very poor impression of Jimin’s tone. “Like - like this whole thing was nothing to him.” 



Yoongi grunts, passes the joint to Hoseok. “You seem pretty sure it wasn’t.”



“Yeah well - maybe it was nothing to him,” Hoseok mumbles. “But whatever, right? Who cares. Not me. I don’t care.” 



Yoongi raises a disbelieving brow at Hoseok, paused in the middle of loading up the grinder. “Yeah, okay, kid.” 



“Totally,” Hoseok says, sinking back into the couch. He kicks his feet up on the coffee table, only for Yoongi to immediately reach over and shove them back off. It doesn’t even phase Hoseok. “I just - I just feel so stupid .” 



“That’s how I always felt after we fucked,” Yoongi hums, lips twisted in concentration as he works to roll another joint. 



Hoseok takes a long hit, nearly enough to burn his fingers on the cherry of the joint. He splutters for a moment, eyes glassy and head feeling lighter with every passing second. At this point, he doesn’t even remember why he’d stopped smoking weed in the first place. It takes him an extra few moments to process Yoongi’s words, but when he does, his eyebrows draw together in confusion. “You and him, then?” 



“Nothin’ to get jealous over,” Yoongi grumbles. “He was working the corner down on one of my streets when I was running coke. I think he was probably, like, eighteen? Nineteen, maybe?”



Hoseok has perked up in his seat, eyes wider as he does his best to pay attention. 



“He would always try to reel me in when I passed by, you know,” Yoongi continues. He pauses to dampen the rolling paper with his tongue, taking his time to seal the joint neatly. “One hell of a salesman, that one. He never had a problem turning tricks. Don’t really know what he wanted with me.” 



“You don’t think he just… liked you?” Hoseok offers. 



“Nah,” Yoongi says, shaking his head. “I think he just wanted to make connections out on the street. Came in handy, didn’t it?” 



Hoseok considers it, sinking back on the couch. “So what happened?” 



“I eventually caved,” Yoongi says around the finished joint, steadying the lighter by the tip. He takes a moment to light it, give it a few puffs and breathing it out. “‘Course I didn’t have any money.” 



“He did it with you for free?”



Yoongi lets out a raspy laugh before it dissolves into a small coughing fit. When he settles, he’s shaking his head, waving his hand to get his point across. “Fuck no. He did it for the blow.” 



“Oh.”



“He never seemed like a cokehead, though,” Yoongi adds. “Think he was just turning around and selling it to his tricks for a profit or something. Or maybe some of the other hookers. Who knows.” 



He can’t help but look at Yoongi and wonder if Jimin sees him the same way he sees Hoseok. Jimin hadn’t even asked for weed or anything last time. He’d just showed up, fucked Hoseok, and then left. It doesn’t make sense to Hoseok. None of it ever really did. He’d just been naive enough to go along with it, not prepared for the way he was going to get caught up in it. 



“Anyway, it all started feeling really weird to me,” Yoongi goes on. “Just didn’t feel right, you know? Plus I was having to make up for the stuff I was giving him with other sales and it just didn’t make sense for me to keep doin’ it with him. So I called it off. He was cool with it. Said he had another guy lined up already or something.” 



Hoseok accepts the joint as Yoongi hands it over, pausing before he takes a hit. “And that was the end of it?”



“More or less.”



“Huh.” 



“Yep,” Yoongi says, leaning back in the recliner and propping his arms behind his head. “I got to know him pretty well. Least who he was back then. I don’t really think he’s changed that much.” He takes a beat, turns his head to look away and rocks a bit in his chair. He seems to chew on what he wants to say before finally letting out a resolved exhale. “He’s not a bad person. He just came from a different world than you. Even if you think you know what he’s been through, who he is, you just don’t.” 



“Self-preservation,” Hoseok mumbles, staring off into space and nodding to himself. “Like the Japanese pit viper.” 



“What?” 



“Nothin’.”



“Right,” Yoongi drawls, fixing Hoseok with an odd look. “Anyway. I was real surprised when Jeongguk told me he wanted to leave the club. Last I heard from him, he loved it there. I didn’t even believe it until I talked to him myself. And even then I wasn’t so convinced.” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says. “I think he had his reasons.” 



“Who knows,” Yoongi mumbles. 



Hoseok nods. The room falls silent for a moment, Hoseok taking a hit off the joint and Yoongi mesmerized with the ceiling. Hoseok eventually passes the joint back and calls it quits, sinking down into the couch again and letting the world ebb and churn around him. 



Just as his mind starts to drift into sublime nothingness, the shrill marimba melody of his ringtone cuts through the sedate quiet. 



Hoseok blearily opens his eyes, registering that his phone is buzzing in his pocket. He pulls it out, takes a look at the screen. Furrows his brows. Does a double take. 



“It’s Jimin,” Hoseok says. The ringtone continues and the phone vibrates in his hand, Jimin’s name plastered in bold letters across his screen. 



“You gonna answer it?” Yoongi’s voice comes as a rumble from the recliner. 



“You think I should?” 



“You told him to call you if he wanted to talk for real, didn’t you?” 



Hoseok stares at the name on his screen, eyes drifting from the green call answer button to the red reject button. “But you said all that about how he’s just playin’ me. What if he’s just doin’ that again?” 



Yoongi shrugs. “I don’t give a shit what you do, kid.” 



“What?” Hoseok asks in disbelief. “Yoongi. Help. I dunno what to do.” 



“Don’t look at me!”



The call drops before Hoseok can make a decision. 



Hoseok stares at the phone in his hand, watching as the missed call notification pops up. 



“Should I call him back?” 



“Jesus christ, Hoseok,” Yoongi grumbles. “How did I get dragged into this fucking soap opera?” 



“I think… I think I’m gonna call him.” 



Yoongi launches a throw pillow at Hoseok, hitting him square in the head. Hoseok barely acknowledges it, only gets himself to his feet and continues to stare at his phone. 



“But I’m not gonna let him fuck me over,” Hoseok says with a resolute nod.



“You do that,” Yoongi sighs. 



Hoseok walks blindly toward the front door, never taking his eyes off his phone as he unlocks it and pulls up Jimin’s contact. As soon as the front door slams shut behind him and he takes a breath of fresh, balmy evening air, he hits the call button. 



Jimin answers on the third ring. 



Hoseok. Hey . ” Hoseok closes his eyes at the sound of Jimin’s voice, turning to lean against the wall as the fire escape creaks under his weight. 



“Hey,” Hoseok says tentatively. “I was, um. Just returning a missed call I had from you. Figured you might’ve pocket dialed or something.” 



No, ” Jimin says softly. “ I did call you. ” 



“Oh,” Hoseok breathes. “Then what’s up?” 



Jimin pauses, but Hoseok isn’t sure if he’s struggling with what he wants to say or if he’s distracted. “ Are you busy tonight? ” 



Red flags immediately raise in every part of Hoseok’s brain. “Why?” Hoseok questions suspiciously. 



Not like that, ” Jimin says, voice dropping to a whisper. There’s a lot of static and commotion on the other end. It sounds like he might be at the club, if Hoseok had to guess. “ I meant to call earlier but I didn’t have time. I wanted to see if you would meet me here at work. ” 



“For what?” Hoseok asks, proud of himself at how firmly he’s holding his ground. 



To talk. ” 



Hoseok remains quiet long enough that Jimin lets out an exasperated sigh. 



Look, I’ve gotta go. I’ve got a lot to do and then I’ve gotta be on stage in thirty minutes. Just drop my name at the door if you decide to come.



“Okay,” Hoseok mumbles. 



Okay, I - ” Jimin cuts himself off, letting out another audible breath. “ I’ll talk to you later. Bye.



Hoseok utters a confused-sounding goodbye and then the call ends. When he goes back inside, Yoongi is right where Hoseok left him on the couch and the weed smoke hits him like a physical wall. 



“So, uh,” Hoseok begins, turning his phone over in his sweaty palms. “He wants me to go see him at the club.” 



Yoongi turns, lifting his hat from over his eyes to peer across the room at him. “You gonna go?” 



“He said he wanted to talk.” 



“Then go talk.” 



“But what if - ”



“Then don’t . Fuck. I don’t fucking care. Just deal with your shit, Hoseok.” 



Hoseok pouts but makes no move to leave. “So when you guys were doing it back then, which one of you was - ”



Yoongi is up out of his recliner halfway through the statement, and Hoseok is already making a mad dash out the front door. 







The club isn’t nearly as packed as it was the last time Hoseok was here. He makes his way through the sporadic huddles of people, trying not to get in the way of any servers with heavy trays in hand as they dart between tables. A dark rap song rumbles over the speakers as Hoseok heads in the direction of a thick audience pressed together around the parameter of the main stage. 



At an excited roar from the crowd, Hoseok looks up to the stage out of curiosity and notices a dancer giving a performance. It only takes Hoseok a fraction of a second to recognize Jimin. 



Jimin’s presence on stage is a powerful one. Hoseok had never really known what that even meant until he first saw Jimin on stage that night at Lux. It gives him an odd sense of deja vu, even though everything about seeing Jimin on stage now is different. Back then, Jimin had seemed lost in himself, swept up in the delicate feel and movement of his own body. Graceful and celestial, bare feet and soft features. 



Tonight, though, Jimin is more raw, more sensual. There’s power concealed in every lithe twist of his body, every quick twirl around the pole. He throws himself into the beat of the music with precisely controlled intensity, making every flip and spin look effortless yet intimidatingly elegant.



Hoseok makes his way through the mass of people, eyes on the stage as Jimin sweeps around the pole in a long series of tricks. He manages to make his way to the very front just as Jimin’s shoes touch the floor to drop down onto the stage. This close, Hoseok can see every muscle rippling under his skin, a tight pair of shorts the only clothing on his entire body. Hoseok’s stomach drops at the same time Jimin folds over, chest sliding across the stage floor and ass presented in the air. The crowd around him gets deafeningly loud, but the move only lasts a few seconds before Jimin flips around and starts into an intricate sequence of floorwork. 



With only seconds left in the song, Jimin makes his way toward the edge of the stage. He barely has to reach out to have four people lunging his direction to wave cash at him, desperate to give him their money. Hoseok is in awe at how efficiently Jimin strips the cash from their hands, making his way along the edge of the stage with well-rehearsed ease until a majority of the cash is either wadded in his hand or awaiting him on the stage floor. 



Then it’s over. The audience disperses, and in all the commotion, Hoseok doesn’t even see Jimin exit the stage. 



He wanders away from the stage and digs out his phone. He shoots a quick message to Jimin letting him know he’ll be at the downstairs bar and then heads that way. The crowd at the bar is thin enough for him to snag a bar stool while he waits, although he wonders how long the bartender will take to kick him out after realizing he has no intention of buying any drinks. The last time he’d gotten crossfaded at Club Mamushi, he’d ended up making way too many mistakes, and he really can’t afford that tonight. Quite literally, too, since he’d just paid rent and even picking up extra shifts at work haven’t exactly allowed for much wiggle room in his bank account. 



He prepares for a long wait, barely able to keep himself from anxiously checking his phone every three seconds.



He doesn’t even have time to start questioning his decision to come or freaking out about how this whole “talk” is going to go before there’s a hand on his shoulder and a body brushing against his to get to the bar. 



“Hey,” Jimin says, elbows coming to rest on the bar where he’s squeezed himself between Hoseok and the guy next to him. He leans over and gets the bartender’s attention with only a quick wave of his finger. He orders two of something, but Hoseok can’t hear over the club’s mind-splitting techno mix blaring through the speakers. 



The bartender makes the drinks right then, setting them on the counter in front of Jimin in exchange for the crumpled wad of cash in his hand. 



“You can thank your friends at the tip rail for the drinks,” Jimin says over the music as he takes a drink in each hand, leaning away from the bar. 



“It’s your money. You earned it,” Hoseok calls, watching as Jimin sips the top of each drink to keep them from spilling over. 



Instead of yelling back, Jimin gestures with a nod for Hoseok to follow. He leads them through the club, zigzagging carefully through groups of people and around the main stage to a quieter area. He pushes open a swinging door clearly restricted to staff only, motioning for Hoseok to hurry through. 



On the other side is a much quieter dressing room, the door swinging shut to muffle most of the ruckus from the club. Hoseok follows Jimin past rows of long countertops with lighted mirrors to another dressing room even further in the back.



Jimin hands Hoseok one of the drinks before turning and lifting himself up to sit along one of the counters, back to a mirror. 



Hoseok takes a seat along a bench not unlike the ones found in locker rooms. He turns the glass in his hand idly, waiting for Jimin to be the one to break the tension. 



Glass clinking down onto the tabletop, Jimin pushes a hand through his hair and crosses his legs. 



An obstinate silence hangs in the air. 



Heaving a sigh, Hoseok sets his glass aside and looks up at Jimin with a tired smile. “What, no lap dance?” 



“Dances are for paying customers only,” Jimin says, tone serious but a slight smile making its way to his eyes. 



“You, uh. Said you wanted to talk?” 



Jimin takes a beat, any hint of that smile falling as he smooths his hands down his bare legs and folds them over his knee. “That’s what you asked for, isn’t it?” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, nodding slowly. “Guess it is.” 



“What is it you wanted to say?” Jimin questions. There’s a tenseness to his posture and his voice like he’s carefully measuring and restraining every part of himself. 



Hoseok takes a long moment, rubbing his palms together and interlacing his fingers, squeezing and releasing. It’s incredible how much he’d thought about saying before, but how he’s never able to come up with the words when the time comes. He thinks maybe he should have prepared a speech or something. It doesn’t help that his mind is still foggy from the weed and Jimin’s presence alone is enough to render him a jittery, fidgety mess. But he finally finds his words, and even if he stutters and his voice wavers nervously, he still gets them out. “I think you, uh, kinda know how I feel. I don’t really think I can do the casual thing. No strings attached. I don’t - I don’t think it’ll ever be just that for me.” 



As Hoseok speaks, Jimin’s chin turns away, looking at the wall to his far left. He chews on the inside of his cheek for a moment, lips pursed in thought. 



“So, um,” Hoseok says after Jimin doesn’t seem to have anything to say to that. “What is it that you want?” 



At first it had seemed like Jimin was just being stubborn. Quiet. Reticent. But upon closer inspection, Hoseok witnesses the subtle twitch of his thumbs and the white-knuckled grip of his hands around his knee. The muscles tensing and releasing in his jaw, the glassy shift of his eyes around the room. 



It occurs to Hoseok - with a spark of confusion laced with damnable hope - that this isn’t easy for Jimin. 



There’s no denying it this time. Jimin is nervous.



Hoseok doesn’t really know what to make of it. 



Jimin finally seems to swallow, throat bobbing and lips rolling between his teeth. Then he clears his throat. “I don’t know what I want,” he says at last, and Hoseok feels the dull grip around his heart squeezing tighter already. “I just. I guess I miss how things were before.” 



“Why?” Hoseok asks, voice placid and eyes falling to the tiled floor. 



“It was a lot less complicated.” 



“Well, I’m sorry, I guess,” Hoseok says. “It’s not like you can go back there. It’s closed down now  and - ”



“I don’t mean when we were at the club,” Jimin interrupts. “That’s not what I miss.” 



Hoseok sends him a confused look. “What do you mean, then?” 



“I mean before I said the things I said.” Jimin uncrosses his legs, hands coming to either side to grip the counter as he leans over, bangs falling across to hide his face. “Before things were like this.” 



Hoseok nods, taking a breath. “We can - we can try to start over, maybe? Just try to be friends and see how it goes?” 



At that, a weary smile tugs at one side of Jimin’s mouth, but he lets out a single, humorless laugh. “I don’t know if I want that, either.” 



“Then what?” Hoseok asks. “I don’t think I get what you’re saying.” 



“I’m not good at this, okay?” Jimin blurts out suddenly, voice raising before he catches himself. “I guess I just - I wanna know what my options are.” 



“Your… options?” Hoseok parrots, blinking with even deeper confusion. 



“Yeah. Like, what is there besides this - this shitty thing we’re doing right now?” Jimin questions. “Because I don’t like it. Whatever it is.” 



“I - I don’t know, Jimin - ”



“Is that it?” Jimin questions. “Just - we either have to just be friends, or we have to keep ignoring each other like this, or we have to - to be in a relationship ? That’s our only options?” 



“I mean,” Hoseok mumbles. “What else is there?” 



“Nothing. Besides what we were doing before.”



“And I don’t want to do that.” 



“Anything between us is doomed to fail. You know that, right?”Jimin suddenly says, sliding off the counter top and then turning around. He presses his palms into the counter, leaning over with his back turned to Hoseok.



“Guess I didn’t get the memo,” Hoseok mumbles. 



“I don’t know the first thing about being with someone,” Jimin says. “I don’t even know why you’d want something like that with me.” 



“Is that why you left? Last time?” 



“Yeah,” Jimin says, head hanging low. He lifts his foot and scuffs his heel across the tile, the only sound in the room for a heavy moment. Then, lifting his face to look in the mirror but not meeting Hoseok’s eyes, Jimin continues. “But I - I keep picturing you moving on. Being done with me and finding someone else who’s actually capable of this shit.” 



Hoseok can’t even formulate a complete thought, much less figure out something to say out loud. 



“And I keep thinking about what you told me,” Jimin goes on, voice flowing more freely but still not looking up at Hoseok. “About what happened with you and Yoongi that night.” 



A crease forms between Hoseok’s brows, mouth downturned in confusion. “You didn’t even act like that bothered you.” 



“It doesn’t bother me.” 



“I’m not tryn’a call you a liar, but… you seem kinda bothered.” 



Jimin spins around, leaning back against the counter and setting Hoseok with an unreadable look. “Yoongi doesn’t just go around kissing people.” 



“It was nothing,” Hoseok reiterates, slightly exasperated. “ It was a stupid kiss. We were wasted. Ask him yourself - it’s never gonna happen again.”



“I’m not mad about it. I don’t care if you kissed him or fucked him or if you’re gonna marry him - ”



“Then what’s the problem?” Hoseok interjects, much more loudly than he’d intended. 



Jimin is quiet. He doesn’t have an answer. 



Hoseok heaves a sigh. “Jimin, why did you call me to come here?” 



Jimin’s dark eyes are glassy, and a nearly imperceptible emotion ripples across his face. He tucks his chin down, reaches a hand up to his face and presses it there. 



That’s when Hoseok hears it - a sniffle.



Jimin is crying. 



Hoseok is up on his feet without thinking, crossing the short space between them and ghosting his hands over Jimin, too hesitant to touch. “H-hey - what’s wrong? Are you - are you crying?” 



Jimin lifts his head and bats Hoseok’s hands away, a stubborn jut to his chin. “I’m not crying,” Jimin states, but as he says it, a lone tear streaks down his cheek and drips from his chin. 



“Don’t cry,” Hoseok says softly. His hands flounder uselessly, wanting to touch and soothe but afraid to make it worse. 



“I’m not .” 



“Okay, okay, sorry,” Hoseok says quickly, taking a step back and holding his hands up in surrender. 



“God,” Jimin says, shaking his head and pushing an agitated hand through his bangs. “This is so stupid. I don’t care that you kissed him. I don’t .” 



“Okay…” Hoseok says slowly. 



Jimin’s chin falls to his chest, shoulders slumping in defeat. “But he can give you what you want, right? He would be with you the way you want. That’s what I keep thinking about. How he can do that and I can’t. And it shouldn’t bother me and it just pisses me off that it does . And if it’s not Yoongi, then it’ll be the next person. Or the person after that.” 



“I don’t want Yoongi. Or the next person or the person after that. I want you ,” Hoseok says. When Jimin looks up at the words, Hoseok gives a helpless shrug. “It’s only ever been you.” 



Jimin blinks as he absorbs the words, lashes wet with tears but cheeks dry. He searches Hoseok’s eyes, and it feels like he’s measuring again, trying to read him, but it’s different this time. Jimin is open this time, like he wants to be read, too. As if, maybe for the first time since they met, Jimin doesn’t mind Hoseok seeing straight through him. Eventually, though, Jimin’s eyes fall away, down to some spot on Hoseok’s chest. “What do you think is gonna happen if we get together?” he asks, practically a whisper.



“I dunno,” Hoseok says. “We don’t really have a way of knowing. That’s just… kinda how it works.” 



The answer doesn’t seem to reassure Jimin any. 



“But,” Hoseok continues, voice lightening. “I know that… we could go on dates. They’ll have to be cheap dates, though, ‘cause I’m kinda broke. We would hang out a lot and watch movies and play video games and stuff. And we can smoke weed together and you can teach me how to blow those smoke ring things. And we’d have lots of sex, prob’ly.” 



It earns a soft laugh from Jimin, who shakes his head but looks up at Hoseok like he’s waiting for him to go on. 



“And I’d - I’d help you with your stuff for work, if you wanted,” Hoseok says, a grin growing across his face. “I can, like, help you glue glitter on stuff. I’d definitely help you pick out new outfits.” 



Another laugh, followed by an eye roll. But the smile on Jimin’s face stays as Hoseok continues, gaining momentum.



“And I’d be faithful and try to make sure I never hurt you,” Hoseok says. “We’d learn to trust each other and figure out how to be happy. It’d be... a work in progress.” 



Jimin’s smile fades slightly, but his gaze never breaks away from Hoseok’s. 



“And I - I would just kinda love you, I guess,” Hoseok says. He gives another shrug, and a small, hopeful smile. “I would love you.” 



Jimin closes his eyes, taking a deep, shaky inhale. “I think,” he says, then pauses to nibble his lip. “I need time to think.” 



“Yeah,” Hoseok says, nodding. “Of course.” 



Jimin pushes off from the counter behind him, taking a step forward closer to Hoseok. “I have to get back to work,” he says quietly. “But text me, okay?” 



“Okay,” Hoseok says. “I will.” 



Jimin takes the next half-step forward to Hoseok, bringing his arms up around him in a careful hug. He ducks his face into Hoseok’s neck and seems to breathe in for a few moments, heartbeats crashing together from inside their chests. When he pulls away, he slides a hand over Hoseok’s cheek, eyes falling to Hoseok’s mouth like the thought crosses his mind to kiss him. But he only pulls away, taking half of Hoseok’s heart from his chest and carrying it with him, and leaves back through the door they came from. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Jimin has been hiding backstage for the last thirty minutes of his shift. There’d been only so many half-hearted lap dances he could give before he’d decided the cash really wasn’t worth it. Not that the guests could tell the difference - he’s an expert at pretending to be fine. 



Which he is fine. He is. 



He’s not sure exactly how he anticipated the conversation with Hoseok to go, but he thinks it ended… well enough. Better than previous conversations. Although he can’t consider a conversation to have gone that well if he’d ended up crying in front of someone. Crying is just not something Park Jimin does , much less crying in front of some guy he knows biblically. 



He is coming around to the idea, though - albeit very slowly - that Hoseok is not just some guy to him. It still terrifies him. Thinking that in his mind, in a place so hidden he can’t even really decipher what’s back there, he already knows things with Hoseok are different. Hoseok is different. He wonders how long it’s been like that. He’s still lying to himself that it really hasn’t been that long, that this change somehow happened overnight and he’d woken up with these sudden and inexplicable butterflies and feelings



It goes against every unspoken rule he’s ever set for himself. It goes against every lesson he’s ever learned in his life. He’s not sure when in his mind it means nothing crossed over into it means something or when don’t trust anyone turned into I trust him . His mantra of they’re all the same they’re all the same is making less and less sense when people like Hoseok and Taehyung and Yoongi and Jeongguk exist, when they’ve asked for nothing in return.  



He doesn’t really wish they could go back to how things were before, but god is he scared to move forward. 



The dressing room door swings open and a set of footsteps approaches in Jimin’s direction.



“Jimin?” It’s Namjoon. 



Jimin looks up from where he’s sitting against the wall on the floor, arms wrapped around his shins and chin resting on his knee. 



Namjoon looks down at him, brows furrowed not in anger but in concern. “Hey, what are you doing in here? Are you okay?” 



“Yeah, sorry,” Jimin mumbles, wrapping his arms tighter around his legs but not making a move to get up yet. 



“What’s going on?” Namjoon questions, frown deepening as he grabs a chair from in front of the counter and slides it over to take a seat. “Did something happen? Did someone do something to you?” 



“No, no - nothing happened,” Jimin says quickly, shaking his head. “I’m just, um. Not feeling super great.” 



“Are you sick?” Namjoon asks persistently. 



Jimin wants to let out a sigh, but he refrains. He runs a hand through his hair, pushing his bangs out of his face. “No, I’m sorry. I’ll get back out there,” he says, making a move to stand up.



Namjoon reaches out and sets a hand on his arm, and Jimin pauses. “You can talk to me,” he says, eyes round and sincere. 



He can’t really help the confused look he gives the hand on his arm and then redirects to Namjoon’s face. 



“It is a boyfriend thing?” Namjoon questions, face softening into an empathetic frown. 



“What?” Jimin blurts out. “ No . I don’t even have a boyfriend.” 



“Oh, okay. It just kinda looks like a boyfriend thing.” 



“He’s not my boyfriend.” 



Namjoon purses his lips, a poor attempt to hide a look of amusement. “So it is about a guy.” 



Jimin sighs. 



“Is it Hoseok?” 



“Oh my god ,” Jimin grumbles, hiding his face in his arms. 



Namjoon lets out a gentle laugh, giving a few friendly pats to Jimin’s arm. “So I take it you kids haven’t quite worked things out yet.” 



“It’s not going to be a problem at work,” Jimin says quickly, lifting his head and meeting Namjoon’s eyes in a way he hopes comes across as sincerely as he means it.



“I’m not really worried about that.”



“Yeah, well. I just want you know I’m not about to do something stupid like get fired over this stuff,” Jimin mumbles, tucking his chin. 



Namjoon lets out another laugh. “That’s good because I can’t really afford to lose you right now. If you keep running the place so well, I’m gonna have to make you my business partner or something.” 



Jimin brushes it off with a roll of his eyes and a shake of his head. “It’s not that serious.” 



“You’ve brought a lot to the table,” Namjoon says. “I’m lucky to have you around.” 



The compliment deflects right off the surface of Jimin’s skin, no matter how much he sort of wants to let it sink in. He pulls his legs a big tighter to him, avoiding Namjoon’s eyes. 



“I think Hoseok would be lucky to have you around, too.” 



Jimin can’t even hold back the self-deprecating laugh, more a scoff than anything. 



“Hey,” Namjoon says quietly, leaning over and giving Jimin’s shoulder a shake. “Why don’t you just take off for the night? Your shift’s almost over and it’s not that busy out there, anyway.” 



“I’ll finish my shift,” Jimin says, unfolding his legs and pushing to his feet.



Namjoon stands, too, but stops him with a hand in the air and an unwavering look on his face. “As your boss, I’m dismissing you for the night. Go get some cake from the break room for Sungmin’s birthday and go home.” 



Jimin pauses, but not because Namjoon’s presence or arm in his way are particularly intimidating. He looks up at Namjoon with a brow slightly raised, corners of his lips pulling down in a frown. “Cake?” 



Namjoon’s face falls, confusion knit between his brows. “Yeah, like… cake? The dessert?” 



Jimin rolls his eyes and breaks into a small laugh. “I know what cake is.” 



“Okay, good. I was concerned there for a second,” Namjoon says, letting Jimin pass by. 



Jimin’s heels click on the tiled floor as he makes his way around to the bench in front of his locker and sinks down. He’s so used to his feet aching from wearing heels that he barely registers just how sore they really are until he starts working at the clasps to get the shoes off. 



Namjoon makes his way toward the door. “Night, Jimin. Make sure you stretch. And stay hydrated.” 



Jimin watches the door swing shut behind Namjoon until he’s left alone in the dressing room. One shoe off and the other still clinging to his foot, he leans down and takes it off. He lifts his feet from the ground, locking his knees with his feet out in front of him and giving a few relieving flexes of his toes. He looks at his feet - the harsh red lines from the straps of his shoes, blisters on his heels and toes in various stages of healing. His shoes lay on the floor beneath, trusty dance heels he’d broken in after taking a hairdryer to the band and a pocket knife to the soles to scuff them up for better grip. 



For the first time since leaving the club, since fleeing the country and slumming it in the States and then returning to realize he had no place to live - nothing and no one except himself and his suitcase and this pair of heels. Since showing up at Club Mamushi on a whim after seeing an ad at the bus stop and watching Namjoon’s jaw drop as he danced, since landing this job and trying to figure out where the line between dancer and whore blurs for him. For the first time since - since ever , Jimin thinks maybe Taehyung was right about there being something else out there for him. 



“Cake,” Jimin repeats with a laugh under his breath. He sets his feet down and shakes his head in disbelief. 









Jimin doesn’t come to any mind-blowing emotional revelations that night or even the next few nights after that. Not that he’d been expecting to or anything. He had been expecting things to get even more awkward between he and Hoseok after their last talk. But, much to his relief, things are almost normal like they were before all this boyfriend and I would love you shit had started manifesting its sticky and confusing self between the two of them. 



He’s off early tonight, having gone in earlier in the evening to help Namjoon coordinate everything for the night’s set. He’s not used to being off early - or not having to do so many private dances to make enough money to pay his half of the rent. His raise along with his stage performance earnings have been raking in plenty of cash to pay the bills and even fund a few shopping trips with Taehyung.



The door to their apartment shuts behind him as he realizes the lights are on and Taehyung is home. He makes his way toward the sound of dishes clanking in the kitchen, where he finds Taehyung digging through the cabinets. 



“What are you doing?” Jimin questions, dropping his backpack into a dining room chair. 



“I was looking for a whisk but apparently we don’t own one,” Taehyung says, closing the cabinet and turning to face Jimin with a perplexed frown. “How do we not own a whisk?” 



“Uhh,” Jimin says, gesturing vaguely toward the sparse countertops of their shared kitchen. “Neither of us can cook, for one.” 



Taehyung accepts the answer with a thoughtful nod. “We should buy one.” 



“Alright, Martha Stewart,” Jimin mumbles, wandering into the kitchen to lean against the counter. “Put it on our shopping list, then.” 



“We have a shopping list?” 



“Sure we do,” Jimin says, pulling out his phone and typing out the single word into a blank note. “There.” He turns the screen toward Taehyung to show him their new shopping list. 



Taehyung squints at Jimin’s phone screen for a moment before his eyebrows raise curiously. “Oh, you just got a text from Hoseok.” 



“What?” Jimin says quickly, snatching the phone back and holding it close to himself as he checks the message. It’s just a short reply to a message he’d sent earlier, but the damage is done and Taehyung is fixing him with a suspicious look. Jimin sniffs. “Shut up.” 



“I didn’t say anything.” Taehyung crosses his arms over his chest and sends a smirk that makes Jimin’s lip twitch in annoyance. 



“You were thinking it.” 



“Since you’re suddenly a mind reader, what am I thinking now?” 



“You want to know what’s going on between me and Hoseok.” 



“I was actually thinking that surely my best friend would tell me about something like that since we tell each other everything ,” Taehyung hums. 



Jimin falters at that, finding a spot somewhere at the bottom of Taehyung’s pajama pant leg to stare at as he purses his lips. “Hoseok kind of… asked me to be in a relationship with him.” 



Taehyung is quiet, but Jimin doesn’t meet his eyes. Then, after a longer pause than absolutely necessary, Taehyung lets out a breath. “Is that what you want?” 



“I, um,” Jimin stammers, clearing his throat. He crosses his arms over his chest and shifts uncomfortably. When he tosses a brief glance upward, he sees Taehyung staring at him expectantly. He gives an exasperated roll of his eyes toward the ceiling in lieu of holding the eye contact. “I don’t know. That’s kind of the problem. But I think I might... like him. Like maybe he’s - ” he can barely choke the word out, “...different.”



Taehyung doesn’t appear even remotely surprised when Jimin finally looks back at him. He’s just standing there, relaxed and patiently awaiting Jimin’s next words.



“But I feel like I shouldn’t,” Jimin says. “It’s - it’s stupid , I know. But it feels like I’m not allowed or something.” 



“Why is that?” 



“I don’t know,” Jimin mumbles, shrugging helplessly. “It’s weird. I used to give you so much shit for talking about this kind of stuff, and now here I am. I used to give myself so much shit. It just seems like - why me ? Why does he like me? I’m not, like, designed for this. Like, my brain wasn’t wired for this kind of shit. I’m not cut out for it.” 



Taehyung is shaking his head, lips downturned in a soft frown. “I don’t believe that. I think we were all made for love.” 



“I didn’t say anything about love.” 



It comes out too quickly to convince either of them. 



Taehyung mercifully lets it slide though, only giving a playful roll of his eyes. “You love me, don’t you?”



“Yeah,” Jimin huffs. “Even though you borrow all my shit without asking and you and your boyfriend are gross as fuck.” 



“So why does it seem so different?” Taehyung asks with a small laugh. “You can love Hoseok, too. It’s just a different kind. You guys will go on dates and be boyfriends and have exclusive sex and all that. Or not exclusive - I don’t know what you guys are into.” 



Jimin can only cringe. “Stop saying that word.” 



“What word? Love ? It’s not a curse word, Jimin.”



“Yes, that one. Fucking stop ,” Jimin groans, scrubbing his face with the palms of his hands. “I’m just - I’m kind of. I don’t even fucking know, okay? I just fucking know things could go really, really bad.” 



“That’s reasonable,” Taehyung says. “Things could go bad. It’s a risk you take.” 



Jimin forces his hands back down to his sides, grasping at the counter behind his back. “And I’ve always thought that we - that I don’t get to do that kind of stuff. I don’t get to have that.” 



“It’s an adjustment,” Taehyung continues. “You were protecting yourself from getting hurt back then. But now it’s safe to try something, if you want.” After a few moments of silence, Taehyung moves across the kitchen - carefully and quietly, like approaching a wounded animal. It’s annoying but Jimin is too lost in thought to acknowledge it. When Taehyung leans against the counter next to him and reaches an arm around him, Jimin instinctively leans into him and feels at least twice as safe in a matter of seconds. “It’s okay to want to be with someone,” Taehyung says, even as Jimin is shaking his head. 



“It’s not that fucking serious,” Jimin snips, but the heat behind it is lost when his voice comes out weak and he’s slumped over under Taehyung’s arm like a deflated balloon.



“You don’t need to punish yourself,” Taehyung says, voice low and comforting. “You are good enough. You are capable of it. If you want to try it, give it a try. If you don’t want to, then let him down easy.” 



“Easier said than done.”



“Of course it is,” Taehyung agrees easily. “Just be honest with him about what you need. I think he’ll respect whatever decision you make.”



Jimin swallows, throat catching on dryness. “I don’t know what to tell him.” 



“I don’t know, either,” Taehyung says. “But I think you should give him an answer of some kind soon. It’s not right to keep him waiting for too long.” 



“You make it sound so goddamn easy,” Jimin states, shaking his head and shrugging Taehyung’s arm off of his shoulders. “You make it look easy.” 



“Falling for someone is easy,” Taehyung replies. “But being in love with someone, wanting to be with them… That’s where it starts to get tricky. You just have to kind of…” he pauses, biting on his lip as he comes up with the words, “hope the person you’ve handed your heart to is gentle with it, I guess.”



And Jimin knows the answer, but asking the question out loud seems to solidify some of the liquid turmoil sloshing and spinning around in his mind. “Do you think I’ve been gentle with Hoseok’s heart?”



“I don’t know,” Taehyung admits honestly, giving a shrug. “I don’t really know what’s been going on because this is the first time you’ve really talked to me about it. But I think if he’s asking you to be with him, it’s not too late to start, right?” 



Jimin sighs, running a hand upward to sweep through his bangs as he straightens his back. “Thanks for not being an asshole about this like I was with you.” 



“I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” Taehyung leans over then, giving a small peck to the side of Jimin’s head before pushing away from the counter to leave the kitchen. 



“Ugh, gag me.” 



Taehyung pauses though, turning around to face Jimin. “Whatever you decide to do, just remember your own rule.” 



“It’s our rule.” 



“Our rule,” Taehyung amends. He reaches out and pokes Jimin in the chest with his index finger. “You come first.” 



Jimin nods. “I come first.” 



With that, Taehyung sends a soft, sleepy-eyed smile and turns away. “Good night,” he calls over his shoulder as he heads down the hallway toward his room. 



“Night, pretty boy,” Jimin says, free to let go of the small smile that creeps onto his face. 



Always









Jimin doesn’t sleep well in perfect silence. He can’t even remember ever sleeping in a room alone since before coming back from L.A. At first he’d pounced at the idea of having his own room - his first ever. Then, after the first few restless nights spent tossing and turning to distant city sounds and apartment ruckus, the idea had dulled a bit. 



Taehyung rarely, if ever, sleeps alone. He’s always with Jeongguk, whether here or at Jeongguk’s place. Tonight is one of the latter nights, meaning the apartment is even quieter, even emptier. 



Jimin is too proud to ask them to stay here more often. He knows Taehyung thinks they’re a bother to Jimin. That’s how he always acts, pretending like they’re getting on his nerves with all their sickly-sweet interactions, calling each other pet names and being generally attached at the hip. Or lips. But he doesn’t mind that much. He minds the loneliness more.  



He’s adjusting, though. He’d spent most his evening goofing off with the other dancers at the club, cracking more jokes about Namjoon’s new questionable haircut than getting any actual practice in, so he’s not feeling as lonely as he could be. It seems to ease up with each passing night, bothering him less and less. Not to mention that a few days after Jimin had complained to Taehyung and Jeongguk about not being able to sleep at night because it was too quiet, a brand new white noise generator had mysteriously materialized in front of his bedroom door.



So he’s not feeling the weight of loneliness tonight, but there’s something else niggling at him. He can’t quite place a finger on it. He just keeps tossing and turning, passing time in fragments with his eyes on his phone screen or the empty white ceiling. 



It’s during one of the stretches that he’s trying to will himself to put his phone down and go to sleep that he sees the glow of his phone screen light up the room with a notification. And he knows, without turning over, without checking his screen, exactly who it’s from. 



He rolls over onto his side, reaching out from under his bunched-up covers to grab his phone from the nightstand. The backlight instantly blinds him as he brings the phone to his face to squint at the screen. 



Two new texts from Hoseok. 



>> ahh sry just now getting a break at work !!

>> im sure ur asleep by now.. goodnight ^.^



He checks the time. It’s after 4am. He turns over onto his back and sets the phone down on his chest, back to staring at the ceiling. 



The average person would have probably sorted their shit out by now. But Jimin isn’t exactly the average person. Even his criminal history of prostitution and theft and drug use aside, though, he thinks he’d still find a way to make this complicated. Everyone else can do the math pretty easily - one guy likes another guy, the other likes him back, they get together and start dating. It’s that simple. 



It’s that fucking simple. 



Isn’t it?



Every thought in his mind starts with a big, fat what if . What if he gets hurt, what if he hurts Hoseok, what if there are more lies, what if Hoseok doesn’t like the truth about Jimin’s past. What if - what if - what if . Two words had never bugged him so badly in his entire life. Not how much or count it or dirty whore or bend over or cheap fuck . Not even the word: love . Just those two words. What if?



What if it works? 



The next time Jimin opens his eyes, it’s almost three hours later. He hadn’t even realized he’d dozed off. He paws around in his blanket until he finds where his phone had slipped off his chest in his sleep. When he unlocks it, his conversation with Hoseok lights up his face in the gentle daylight seeping through his bedroom window. The battery is almost dead, ticking down from six to five percent at the exact moment he checks. 



Letting out a sigh, he pushes his phone under his pillow as he turns over on his side and gets more comfortable. 



More what if’s creep around the fuzzy edges of his half-conscious mind, but they ring differently in the sleepy morning hours. What if all the stuff Hoseok said about cheap dates and video games and trusting each other was right? What if it didn’t end in disaster - what if they could be great together - what if they could be really happy? 



What if he misses his chance?



As soon as that last thought crosses his mind, his eyes open. Slowly - as slowly as the realization that permeates through him, wedges tight into his chest and coils tight through his fingers where they squeeze around the folds of the blanket. And then he’s staring at nothing, sleep in the corners of his eyes and heavy in his limbs but his heart giving a few hard, double-pace beats. 



I don’t want Yoongi  



He throws his legs over the side of the bed, feet hitting the shag rug by his bedside. He starts scrambling through the pile of clean laundry he’d neglected to put away until he yanks on the first clean pair of sweatpants and t-shirt he finds. He bumps his shoulder on the doorframe on the way to the bathroom to brush his teeth. As he scrubs at his teeth with jittery impatience, he realizes how god-awful he looks. His hair is unwashed and on the greasy side, face bare and pale with dark circles cradling his red-rimmed eyes. He runs a hand through his hair but it’s futile - the bedtime cowlicks aren’t going away until he washes it properly. It’s crazy how he just doesn’t give a shit about any of it. 



or the next person



He batters his way through the apartment, doors slamming and thumping around in his bedroom until he’s fully dressed, backpack slung over his shoulder and headed for the front door. He stops just short of getting his hands on the doorknob and turns heel back to the living room. He scours their shared DVD shelf with a few antsy clicks of his tongue until he finds the one he’s looking for and crams it into his backpack alongside last night’s sweaty practice clothes. 



or the person after that



Then he’s out the door, dipping past the elevator in favor of the stairs. As soon as he swings open the exit door, it quickly occurs to him that he should have checked the weather. Outside, it’s completely overcast and the air smells distinctly of rain. With impeccable timing, thunder rolls through the sky.  



Jimin curses under his breath but doesn’t turn back. He makes a dash for the station to catch the next bus he knows will take him to the right stop a few blocks down from the Lucky Cat. It’s busy this time of morning - almost too busy to fight his way onto the bus, but he manages to find a place to stand. He hangs onto the rail tight as the bus lurches forward, people crowded around him and shuffling about. 



It’s about two minutes from the stop when it starts downpouring. He watches through the windows as the streets start to flood, water rushing along the gutters and falling into spillways. When it’s his turn to get off, he hops off the last step and splashes water under his shoes as he ducks his head and takes off down the sidewalk. 



By the time he makes it around the corner of the Lucky Cat, he’s drenched. His hair is matted to his forehead, his shoes and clothes are completely soaked through. He takes the stairs up the fire escape carefully so he doesn’t slip and stops in front of the door to catch his breath. 



He gives a few confident knocks and shivers hard as he waits. 



The lock suddenly clicks and the door slides open. Jimin’s nerves don’t even have time to jump before Min Yoongi stands in the doorway before him, regarding him with an deprecatingly amused expression. 



“Did you drown on the way over here?” Yoongi muses, grin crooked into one cheek. 



“Forgot to check the weather.”



They stare for a moment that starts off tense and then fizzles out to bland. 



“I know you didn’t come to see me. He’s inside. Just got off work,” Yoongi says finally, stepping aside and presenting the open door for Jimin. 



“Thanks,” Jimin mumbles as he squeezes past Yoongi into the apartment. His shoes squish water onto the floor as he stops and takes them off by the door. He looks up as he notices Yoongi lingering by the front door behind him, baseball cap pulled down on his head and keys in hand. “Headed out?” he questions as he shakes his bangs from his eyes and does his best to straighten out his wet shirt. 



“Going back home for a few days,” Yoongi says. “Don’t touch my shit while I’m gone.”



Jimin snorts. “No one wants to touch your shit, babe.” 



“And don’t fuck on my couch,” Yoongi warns, pulling the door open so the heavy patter of rain muffles the sound of his footsteps as he leaves. 



When the door closes, Jimin is left in the darkened living room, water dripping from his clothes and hair. Another shiver racks through him, goosebumps breaking out over the entirety of his skin. He listens hard for any sign of movement from across the apartment but can’t make out anything. 



Clenching his teeth to keep them from chattering, he makes his way toward Hoseok’s room. He stops in front of the door, arms crossed tight over his chest until he consciously tells himself to relax them. 



Within a split second, he collects himself and gives a few soft taps on the door. He hears some commotion through the thin walls - the bed creaking, faint footfalls, an indistinct thump. Then the knob is turning and the door is sliding open - 



I want you



“Hey,” Hoseok says, eyes wide with surprise. He’s clearly fresh out of the shower, hair soft and damp and falling into his eyes. It’s been getting longer than Jimin’s ever seen it, falling in shaggy waves from its natural part slightly off-center. The t-shirt hanging from his shoulders looks loose and comfortable paired with basketball shorts and the same simple bracelet he always wears. Jimin can smell his shampoo even from here - fresh, clean boy overlaying that confounding sweetness.  



It’s only ever been you



“Hey,” Jimin says back, forcing his lips into a weak smile. 



Hoseok seems like he’s about to say something but cuts himself off as he takes in the state Jimin is in. Rumpled clothes, soaked to the bone with autumn rain cooling on his skin. Jimin isn’t stricken with self-consciousness often, but in this moment, he shrivels up the slightest bit because he knows he’s a mess. “Are you okay?” Hoseok asks instead of whatever he’d been about to say. 



Jimin lets out a single laugh. “Yeah. Turns out I’m not made of sugar.” 



A small smile pulls at Hoseok’s lips, eyes softening into gentle arches. “Hold on a sec,” he says as he reaches up, hands on Jimin’s shoulders as he maneuvers around him and out into the hallway. He pads toward the bathroom, leaving Jimin to steep wet footprints into the carpet. When he returns, he has two ragged but clean-looking towels in hand. “You’ll catch a cold,” Hoseok says, sounding almost parental as he hands one of the towels to Jimin. He keeps the other for himself, unfolding it and then tossing it over Jimin’s head, taking it upon himself to scrub at Jimin’s wet hair. 



“I’ve heard that’s a myth,” Jimin says, voice a bit muffled from under the towel as he dries himself. 



“That’s what my mom always told me,” Hoseok hums as he massages his hands into the towel. 



“In that case, I won’t question Mama Jung.” He can’t get the words out without them jolting from a shiver that catches him off guard. He thought it might get at least an amused grin out of Hoseok, but when the towel parts so he can look up at him, all he sees is concern. 



“Do you have clothes you can change into? You’re soaked,” Hoseok says, brows knitting together. 



Jimin recalls the sweaty practice clothes reeking at the bottom of his backpack and gives a definitive shake of his head. 



Hoseok sends him a perplexed frown. “What were you thinking - going out in the rain like that?” 



“Well obviously it wasn’t raining when I left or I would have brought a damn umbrella.” 



“Or just came another time. Like, you know, when it’s not flooding outside.” 



Jimin huffs. He turns his chin away stubbornly as Hoseok walks off to go dig around in his dresser. When he finally figures out what he wants to say, it comes out as a mumble. “I wanted to see you.” 



“You could have texted me,” Hoseok chides as he pulls out some soft-looking sweats and a long-sleeve tee. “I would’ve met you at the bus stop.” 



“My phone’s dead.” 



“Why is it dead?” 



“I didn’t think this through, okay ?” Jimin snips. “I just - I wanted to see you, okay?” 



“Okay, okay,” Hoseok says, voice softening as he brings the clothes over to Jimin. “Put these on before you get hyperthermia or something.” 



“Hy po thermia.”



“Whatever,” Hoseok says with a snort of careless laughter. “I’m not a scientist.”



“Scientists don’t even - you know what, never mind. Fuck it,” Jimin grumbles, grabbing at his clinging wet shirt and peeling it off of himself over his head. 



“What are you doing?” Hoseok practically squeaks, eyes comically wide as he scrambles back a few steps. 



Jimin pauses, wet shirt halfway off his arms. “Uh… changing?” 



“Right here?” 



Jimin rolls his eyes, shucking the shirt into a pile on the floor and then going for his pants. “Why are you freaking out about seeing me naked? We’ve fucked, like, a hundred times by now.”



“Six.” 



“What?” Jimin questions. As he pushes his pants down his legs, Hoseok looks pointedly in a different direction and gnaws at his lips. 



“Nothing,” Hoseok mumbles, turning so his back is to Jimin. 



“Six what?”



“Six times,” Hoseok says. “Six, not a hundred.” 



The information and the implications of Hoseok knowing that number off the top of his head process as Jimin slips into the dry clothes. With Hoseok’s back turned, Jimin freely pulls the sleeve of the shirt down over his hand and holds it to his nose to breathe it in. It smells fresh, which is a lot more than can be said about the rest of the dirty laundry scattered about the room in assorted piles. 



It occurs to Jimin that he could question why Hoseok is keeping track of that number, but he doesn’t like the possibilities of the conversation that could follow. He decides to let it slide. 



“Were you about to go to sleep?” Jimin asks instead. 



“Nah,” Hoseok replies. “I’m always kinda wired right after work. I’ve been getting used to my schedule, though.” 



“That’s good,” Jimin says with a nod. “I know what that’s like.” 



Hoseok sinks down onto the bed, leaning over to check the time on his phone where it lay on his pillow. He turns his eyes back to Jimin, searching his face and finding something that makes him frown. “You look exhausted.” 



“I couldn’t really sleep,” Jimin admits.



“I know what that’s like,” Hoseok says with a somewhat cryptic look off toward something on Jimin’s right. 



Jimin wanders into the room and takes up a spot on the floor at a safe distance across from Hoseok. He folds his feet up under his legs, hands curling around his ankles and shoulders slumping. “Is that still… a problem?” 



“Nah,” Hoseok says with an honest, reassuring smile. “I’ve been doing a lot better. Sleeping through the night and all. I’ve even been talking to a counselor. It doesn’t help, like, a lot but it’s nice to get some of it off my chest.” 



“Yeah,” Jimin says quietly, nodding and letting his gaze fall to the floor in front of Hoseok’s bare feet. 



“You, uh,” Hoseok mumbles, pausing. “You never asked about what happened that night before you guys left.” 



“I didn’t think you wanted me to.” 



“I didn’t,” Hoseok affirms. Then he takes a deep breath, lets it out evenly. “I’m kinda glad you didn’t. I don’t know if I could’ve talked about it.” 



Jimin looks up, guilt clutching tight around his heart as he forces himself to meet Hoseok’s eyes. “Do you want me to ask now?” 



Hoseok nods. 



Jimin swallows. Then, as gently as he can muster, “What happened that night?” 



Hoseok looks calm as the question sinks in. He looks around the room, wetting his lips as he seems to think about how to word whatever it is he’s about to say. “I, uh, went to meet Jeongguk like we’d planned. He was gonna give me money to go see my family and I was supposed to get the hell outta there.”



Jimin nods. None of this is new information. He doesn’t think anything Hoseok is about to say will be. Just confirmation of what he’s already known. 



“He, um - Park. He showed up,” Hoseok continues. Jimin is surprised at how calm he sounds. He wonders if Hoseok’s ever told this story before. “He was threatening to kill us and stuff. He had a gun. And he was gonna, um. He was gonna kill Jeongguk, I think. I’m - I’m pretty sure he was gonna kill Jeongguk. That’s why - when I saw him pointing the gun at Jeongguk, I got in his car and - I - ” he stops, swallowing around the words that catch in his throat. His voice grows more and more unsteady with each word. 



“You don’t have to tell me everything,” Jimin says, practically a whisper. 



“I killed him,” Hoseok breathes. 



Jimin watches Hoseok’s face carefully. He had expected panic, maybe. Anguish or something similar. Instead, he sees… relief. 



“And then we left him there,” Hoseok says. “I don’t really know how we got away with it. I guess no one really cared about him. Maybe the cops figured it was a gang shootout or something. I just. Killed a guy and got away with it. Got away with murder.” 



“I’m glad you did,” Jimin says. “Tae and I wouldn’t have been able to get out if you hadn’t. And even if we had, we would’ve never been able to come back.” 



“I think maybe, um,” Hoseok continues, losing steam. He seems to fold in on himself, fidgeting with the bracelet on his wrist. “I think maybe it fucks me up so bad because that’s how she died.”



“Hyejin?” 



Hoseok looks up quickly, mouth parted in silent shock. “How did you - how do you remember her name?” 



“I dunno,” Jimin mumbles, looking away. “I remember stuff you tell me.” 



Hoseok seems to accept the answer, head sinking back down until his gaze is lost somewhere at his feet or on the floor. “Yeah. Hyejin. She was crossing the road and got killed in a hit and run accident. Her mom… didn’t take it very well.” 



“You know that’s not even close to the same thing, right?” Jimin says suddenly, jarring Hoseok into looking up at him. 



“What?” 



“How Park died and how your friend died,” Jimin clarifies. “It’s not the same. You killed Sangchol out of self-defense. You were protecting Jeongguk. And me and Taehyung and yourself. Because as soon as he killed Jeongguk, he was gonna come after you next and then us. Even if he didn’t kill me and Tae, he was gonna make us wish we were dead.”



Hoseok is quiet, face unreadable. Jimin is kicking himself - he knows he should shut up. But his mouth has always gotten him into the most trouble. 



“The asshole that killed Hyejin was a coward. A piece of shit. He deserves to rot in jail for what he did. But you,” Jimin says, shaking his head as he looks at Hoseok with the type of unabashed wonder he’s never let himself show before, “You helped a lot of people. You saved us.”



Hoseok is still silent, but his hands are now fists at the edge of the bed. 



“You saved me,” Jimin finishes just as his voice fades out. 



“I couldn’t stop Tae from getting beat up,” Hoseok mumbles. 



“Neither could I,” Jimin states. “And I never thanked you for that. So thank you.” 



“Don’t thank me,” Hoseok pleads, words raspy and cracking slightly. 



“No, fuck off,” Jimin says, voice raising slightly. “ Thank you . Thank you for helping Taehyung when Park kicked his ass. Thank you for being there for me when shit sucked at the club. Thank you for - for helping Jeongguk with this stupid ass plan because he would have gotten us all killed without you. And thank you for killing that bastard because he fucking deserved to die after everything he did to us.” 



Hoseok has gone quiet again, but Jimin keeps going.



“And I’m sorry for being an asshole,” Jimin continues, gaining momentum. “I’m sorry for using you for weed and sex. I’m sorry for not even saying goodbye or even a fucking thanking you until now. I’m sorry for being a dick about the - the casual sex thing. And for ghosting you and avoiding you and for not talking to you about this when I should have. And I’m - I’m sorry for leaving that morning. I - there’s no excuse. I’m just. I’m sorry.” 



He’s out of breath by the end of it. Hoseok is staring at him, still chewing at his bottom lip. Jimin can only hope this honesty thing pays off. 



Hoseok slides off the edge of the bed and sinks onto the floor so he’s right across from Jimin. “It’s okay,” he says, nodding and staring at Jimin with those giant, soft brown eyes that could simultaneously make him melt in place or float to the ceiling like his body is filled with helium. “I forgive you for all that stuff.” 



“That’s only part of the reason I came over here,” Jimin says. “Or - I, well. I didn’t even really have a plan, but I did come here to tell you something.” 



Hoseok gives an encouraging nod, shifting a bit anxiously on the floor until his legs are crossed to mirror Jimin. 



“I want to be with you.” The words come so easily now, a freshwater stream down a mountainside, tumbling and babbling and rushing. “I want to try this. Whatever you want to call it. I want to try it. Boyfriends or dating or whatever. I - I want to do it. With you. That’s why I came. That’s why I, like, couldn’t really sleep last night and then ran over here in the fucking - pouring goddamn rain. I needed to tell you and it’s gonna kinda suck if it’s too late because I mean it. I really, really fucking mean it - ”



Jimin ,” Hoseok says through a laugh. 



“What?” Jimin says, pausing and fixing Hoseok with an aggravated look. “Don’t laugh at me.” 



“I’m not - I’m not laughing at you. I promise,” Hoseok says tenderly, squeezing his shoulders in and then relaxing them with another soft giggle. Jimin might be able to keep his look of irritation in place if Hoseok’s smile wasn’t so goddamn infectious. “You’re just so cute.” 



“That’s not my point - ”



“Right, right,” Hoseok says, still giggling as he clambors to his feet. “I get it. You’re finally admitting that you’re crazy, head-over-heels for me and want to be with me.”



Jimin swats away Hoseok’s hands as he reaches down to help him up. “Fuck off, that’s not what I said. I take it back.” 



Hoseok is still laughing, but it’s easing up now. “Come on. Come here.” He wiggles his hands in front of Jimin’s face to make his point. 



Jimin grabs Hoseok’s hands and lets himself be pulled to his feet until they’re standing face to face, tips of their bare toes inches apart. 



“You already know how I feel,” Hoseok says, tone low and deep - the way that’s always drove Jimin kind of senseless. He steps even closer, until their faces are close and Jimin can smell the mint on Hoseok’s breath. “You’re not too late. You’re right on time.” 



“Oh.” 



Hoseok takes Jimin’s chin in his hand, tilting his face up to look into his eyes. 



Jimin swallows, battering away nervousness and anticipation and everything else that storms inside him at the look in Hoseok’s eyes. Hoseok is unfairly calm, like he’d been waiting for this moment to happen, for Jimin to come around, and now that it’s here, he’s just basking in it. It makes Jimin realize how ridiculous he’d been, harboring this irrational fear. 



This is Hoseok . Embarrass himself dancing just to earn a smile Hoseok. Share his last joint to make your day less shitty Hoseok. Kiss your cheek after a casual hookup, drunk-stumble off to the bathroom for a self-peptalk, trip over his own feet going up the stairs, do you wanna play cards Hoseok. 



His Hoseok. 



The moment is about to come to a head, and - overwhelmed, heart beating so hard it aches - Jimin panics. His eyes dart over to where he’d deposited his wet backpack by the doorway. “I brought something.” 



“Yeah?” 



“Yeah, hold on. Let me get it,” Jimin mumbles as he practically lunges for the backpack, thankful to be able to turn away as he feels his face burning red. Being out of Hoseok’s space is both a relief and a bit of a tragedy. But he’s determined to show Hoseok what he brought all this way. He struggles with the zipper and digs around in the contents of his backpack until he finds the plastic DVD case. He feels a pang of nervousness as he takes it in hand and stands back up, turning around to present it to Hoseok. 



It takes Hoseok a moment to figure it out. He takes the case into his hand, trailing his fingertips over the light pink lettering of the title.



“It’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Jimin says on the off chance that Hoseok still isn’t sure. “I thought - I guess if you have a DVD player, maybe we could watch it. Like, you know.” 



“A date?” Hoseok questions, looking straight up at Jimin. 



“Um,” Jimin stammers, suddenly parched. “Yeah. Um. A date.”



A giant smile lights up Hoseok’s face, lights up the entire room, really. “You brought Breakfast at Tiffany’s so we could have our first movie date?” 



“Yeah,” Jimin says, nodding slowly. “Is that stupid?” 



“No,” Hoseok says, shaking his head. “It’s awesome. It’s - kinda perfect.” He lets out a burst of laughter, shoulders shaking with the bright sound. 



“Oh, good,” Jimin sighs, deflating with relief. “Like I said, I didn’t really think this through that well.” 



“Maybe we both do better when we don’t think too much.”



“Yeah,” Jimin agrees. “Maybe so.” 



They go into the living room to plug the DVD into Yoongi’s player and have to fiddle with the remotes and switch around some cables to get it to work. But a few minutes later, the melancholic instrumentals of Moon River fill the apartment alongside the chatter of heavy rain from outside. They settle in on the couch, first at opposite ends, and then coming together after they both agree to get past the awkwardness sooner rather than later. They whisper to each other about Hepburn’s iconic Givenchy dress, about how sad the opening scene truly is. They both agree not to talk about Mr. Yunioshi and somehow end up in a giggling bicker about how Hoseok doesn’t think ‘Cat’ is an appropriate name for a cat and Jimin doesn’t see a problem with it at all. 



That’s how an hour later finds them tangled in a sleepy pile on the couch, Jimin wedged between the back cushions and Hoseok’s side, head cradled on his chest. The rain outside has transitioned into a full storm, thunder rolling and lightning flashing through the slats of the blinds. Hoseok’s heartbeat is a low, steady thump under Jimin’s ear as he watches the movie, unable to hear most of what’s being said. He’s seen it enough times to know what’s happening, anyway. 



His heavy eyes drift from the flickering television screen to Hoseok’s face. He realizes that Hoseok has dozed off, as to be expected since he should have been sleeping all this time since he’s been home from work. 



The apartment is anything but perfectly silent. The storm outside is loud and raucous, wind howling and rain slapping violently on the glass panes. The television is muffled garble, Holly and Paul’s rapidfire dialogue lost somewhere in all the white noise. Hoseok’s breathing has gotten heavier, deeper, but his heartbeat is still an even thrum. 



Jimin falls asleep, fading out like a ripple on calm water.









He opens his eyes sometime after the storm has passed and left the afternoon sun to slip through the clouds in its wake. Normally he would grab his camera and draw back the curtains, check the lighting to see if there’s a worthy photograph out there somewhere. Right now, though, his bed is warm from the two bodies in it. His mind and limbs are pleasantly heavy with sleep, and everything about that pleads with him to stay put. He does turn over, though, nuzzling into the soft pillowcase and adjusting it so he can peek at the man lying next to him. 



The man who is, objectively, the most beautiful person in existence. 



He checks the time on the nightstand clock and groans at how late they’ve managed to sleep. It’s rare, though, for the most objectively beautiful person in existence to sleep past eight in the morning. He wonders how long this will last, taking every ticking second to memorize the peaceful features of the man next to him. 



The apartment - home - is exactly as it should be. An empty coffee mug sits on a stack of fashion school applications and a brochure for a five-star resort in Kyoto. A few feet to the left is a dresser and its surface, starved of a free spot to put anything else under all the makeup and jewelry organizers. In the top shelf of one of the boxes, right at the front along with the rest of his favorites, is a black jaguar ring and a gold choker. There’s a pair of slacks and a suit jacket that costs more than several months’ rent draped over the back of a chair to keep it from wrinkling too badly. And by the front door, there’s a plain pair of Oxfords set neatly side by side, and next to them, a pair of Gucci loafers haphazardly slipped off and pushed out of the way. There’s an empty bottle of merlot on the highest tier of the bookshelf in the living room, anime box sets and romantic comedy DVDs competing for space with business journals and nonfiction literature on the rest of the shelves below. 



The man next to him stopped smelling like cigarette smoke so long ago it’s hard to imagine a time when he didn’t smell like Dior aftershave and taste like French roast coffee. And the man’s hair has gotten a bit longer, but he still parts and neatly styles it the same way as part of his morning ritual before work. But he’s the same person he’d fallen in love with - stubborn, willing to discuss anything under the sun with utter diplomacy except his own feelings. The same person who’d risked his life for nothing in return, and who would do it all over again without blinking an eye. Things are vastly different now, though, in circumstance and setting and in them . They’ve grown and changed and are still growing and changing, undergoing a constant metamorphosis and coming out better each time.



He’s spent his entire life rebricking and reconstructing, reslabbing the mortar and laying the brick of the four falls inside him, protecting something and trapping it in the same space. But the person lying next to him, stirring from sleep now and rubbing his eyes, has taken those walls down in the gentlest of ways. Taken them down to the foundation one by one, until there’d been nothing left but a beating heart and a stray vein of hope that the hands taking hold of it will be careful.



Jeongguk turns over onto his side to face Taehyung. He looks so young like this, puffy eyes and and mussed hair and not at all like a CEO with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Jeongguk, one of the wealthiest and most eligible bachelors in the country, one of the most brilliant minds in the world of business finance. Jeongguk, who takes his coffee black and speaks three languages fluently and is working on a fourth, who commands the attention of every person in the room without so much as speaking a word but inspires mountains to move when he does. 



Jeongguk, who sends a sleepy smile and murmurs, “G’morning, babe.” 



And Taehyung, who counts his blessings and wonders at this surreal alternate universe he’s found himself in, smiles back. 



“Hey, handsome.” 









Jimin wakes sometime in the afternoon, a bed sheet tangled around his naked hips and Hoseok’s dead-weight arm slung across his chest. His arm tingles where his circulation is cut off from being trapped underneath Hoseok. With a groan, he pulls at his arm until Hoseok rouses from sleep with a soft noise and lifts up so he can get free.



Hoseok yawns, turning over and stretching out on his back, chin still turned to face Jimin. He peeps open an eye, the slightest smile crooking at the corner of his lips. “Hey,” he says in a sleep-wrought voice. 



“Hey yourself,” Jimin sighs, shifting around until he’s comfortable and ignoring the prickling sensation of the blood rushing back to his arm. 



“Sleep good?”



“Really good.” 



Hoseok smiles. “Me too.” 



Jimin can’t really help but smile either. His eyes tiredly roam Hoseok’s bare chest, over the subtle marks mottling the skin down his neck, across his hipbones. 



They had already broken one of Yoongi’s rules by using his DVD player, so they’d at least had the decency to obey his no couch-fucking rule. Sometime long after the credits for Breakfast at Tiffany’s had rolled over the screen and the storm had passed, Jimin had woken to Hoseok pressing kisses to his temple, his hairline, warm hands soothing up and down his spine. It had started innocent enough, but the two of them have never really been keen on self-restraint when it comes to each other. 



So they’d fallen into bed together yet again, but this time with an unspoken promise that Jimin would be there when they woke up. And there hadn’t really been a question in Jimin’s mind about that, anyway, because by the time Hoseok had started taking him apart, gasp by gasp and each other’s names on their lips, Jimin couldn’t remember a place that wasn’t this bed with Hoseok in it. It had been slow, languid, lazy even, because there would be a next time and a time after that. 



Afterward, sweat cooling on their skin and bones heavy with exhaustion, they’d wrapped up in each other and curled together at every angle. Whispered more things to each other about their options for their next movie date, about how this all started with Jimin trying to bum a cigarette, about how they’d both missed each other when Jimin was overseas. 



Then Hoseok had slipped off into sleep during a gap in one of their scattered conversations. Jimin had taken the opportunity to run his fingers through Hoseok’s too-long hair, tucking it behind his ear and pushing it away from his forehead because he likes being able to see Hoseok’s face. 



Now, as Hoseok seems to be drifting off to sleep again already, Jimin does it again, fingertips catching on silky-soft brown hair and curling behind the shell of Hoseok’s ear. 



“Seok?” 



Hoseok’s eyelashes flutter, tongue peaking out to dampen his lips. “Mm, yeah, whassa matter?” 



“Nothing, I’m - ” Jimin cuts himself off, trying to get his racing heart back under control before he finishes his answer. It comes out mostly a whisper. “I’m still kind of… scared.” 



Hoseok’s eyes stay shut as he smiles. “Just kind of?” 



Jimin rolls his eyes and hides his face under one of his hands. 



“Hey, it’s okay,” Hoseok mumbles. “M’kinda scared, too.” 



Jimin drags his hand away from his face. Hoseok’s eyes are still closed and his mouth is slack, cheek squished into the pillow. Jimin lets out a relaxing breath and nestles back down into his own pillow, closing his eyes and taking a few calming breaths to ease himself back to sleep. 



Hoseok’s voice surprises him a moment later. “Night, baby.” 



Jimin flushes at the endearment, heart skipping and eyes snapping back open. But Hoseok is the exact same as before, halfway asleep. There’s a fading hint of a smile on his lips, though, and Jimin lets out a short exhale of a laugh. 



Hoseok is already asleep by the time Jimin finds a way to speak again. 



“It’s the middle of the afternoon, dumbass.” 



Sleep comes easier than Jimin expected with all the thoughts swimming around in his mind. Overthinking had never really been his thing, but he doesn’t think he’s ever had anything worth losing sleep over to think about. Now he has an entire 180cm problem on his hands - a problem that is a teddy bear of a cuddler, drools in his sleep, fidgets and stutters when he’s nervous. A problem who looks a lot less like a problem right now and more like the best thing that’s ever happened to him. 



Falling for someone - crossing his fingers and hoping for the best - had never been part of the plan. But there had never really been a plan to begin with, anyway, because plans still aren’t Jimin’s thing even if a relationship suddenly is. 



So he falls asleep again, as easily as before, with just one last thought as his heart rests in the hands of the boy sleeping next to him. 



It’s yours now, so please be gentle with it. 








 

 

 

[the end beginning]