The control room is bustling with way too many people for Yoongi’s liking, especially with only twenty minutes before the broadcast begins. He wrings his fingers as he darts his eyes from one screen to another, all displaying various angles of the still empty stage. He checks the distance of the cameras, the frames, the goddamned intensity of the LED lights though irrelevant, glances briefly at the sound board and back up again at the screen displays.
He leans over the com, eyes glued on the far left screen. “Camera 4, tilt up. Stop. On standby.”
Yoongi has no issues admitting he’s nervous.
Even though it’s definitely not their first run, definitely not their first broadcasting from such a big venue, definitely not his first time as a director pulling it off smoothly, nor the first time working with this company or these people.
Yoongi knows that tonight of all nights he cannot afford to fuck up. Not him, not his team, not the goddamned person in charge of catering. No one.
Which is why he’s not biting heads off left and right when the ruckus behind him becomes near unbearable and the door keeps swinging open and closed. Because Yoongi gets it – everyone’s frantic, everyone’s doing their best to have everything up and running before the show starts.
Yoongi rubs at his temples and wills himself to stay focused, shifting his attention to the camera 1 display – the general one. He squints at the screen though it’s big enough to be seen from the next room over. But there’s something off about it, something that Yoongi can’t quite –
“It’s not centered,” his producer supplies.
Yoongi tilts his head. “You think so?”
Namjoon nods, placing his coffee cup way too close to the sound board for Yoongi’s comfort. He frames the screen with his palms. “It’s imperceptible, but it’s panned slightly more to the right. Tell camera 1 to use the grid if they’re having issues.”
Yoongi sees it then and presses his lips annoyed at his own shortcoming. He stabs his pointer into the com, about to bark out the command, but then the door is violently flung open in the background. And Yoongi wouldn’t even have graced it with his attention if it weren’t for his name being called out in the most chilling of ways.
“I see colorful LED lights on that stage. Why am I seeing colorful LED lights on that stage?”
Namjoon laughs under his breath, not concerned in the least that Yoongi’s arteries are about to get clogged. He swivels slowly in his chair, com forgotten, and looks up at the artist’s manager with the blankest stare he can muster.
His body is deceivably composed, but he’s clearly crackling with stress and nerves, pulled so tightly with tension, his neck veins might explode at once with the tablet and coffee cup he’s strangling in each hand.
“Jimin,” Yoongi says slowly, enunciating each word as if he were talking to a child, still patient. “Those are mood lights. They’ll be turned off when the concert starts.”
Jimin’s eyes narrow. “They better be. This is not a kids’ show – “
“Sure as hell isn’t – “
“- and we talked about monochromatic – “
“Yes, Jimin, we know. I know – “
“And I want two Lekos, not one like initially – “
“They’re right there – “
“Also there are no close-ups, even less extremes ones. We talked about how important those are, especially with the – “
“The cameras aren’t static, Jimin,” Yoongi presses out with finality. “We’ll get all the closeups and angles we need. Now, is there something else besides you taking over my position, or -?”
Jimin doesn’t say anything, just squares his shoulders and pushes his glasses further up the bridge of his nose like some kind of unspoken ‘challenge accepted’ statement. He steps closer to the screens, scrutinizing each in turn.
Yoongi curls his tongue into his mouth before he curses Jimin’s pretty face into kingdom come, allowing it only because the sooner he does his thing, the sooner Jimin can get the fuck out of his control room.
Jimin’s not usually this annoying, he really isn’t. But if Yoongi is stressed, then Jimin is a ticking bomb by now. This night is important and Jimin has been working his ass off for the past two months to ensure things that aren’t even in his own control go smoothly. Yoongi gets it, but the pressure is high for him right now, not Jimin, and he doesn’t want to get into pointless arguments just before what’s arguably one of the most anticipated nights in the music scene.
He thinks he’s safe, but then Jimin clearly stops on one of the cameras and Yoongi braces himself for it. He presses a button and camera 1 is pulled up.
Jimin leaves it on the main screen, turning to Yoongi and Namjoon with a very uncalled for accusative look.
“The general camera is not centered.”
And Yoongi explodes, but Namjoon acts at the same time, standing up and putting his hands up in some kind of spiritual control damage.
“Now, now, let’s not lose our heads minutes before the show starts. Jimin-ah, I know you’re stressed, but we got this. We were just about to rectify it; no need to worry. You gotta trust us to do our jobs. You gotta trust Yoongi.”
Jimin visibly sags at that, glancing briefly at a seething Yoongi with something akin to an apology. He closes his eyes and pinches at the bridge of his nose underneath his glasses as he lets out a big breath. And when he opens them again, Yoongi can see that the worry is still very much there, but what’s more important, there’s blessed resignation as well.
“You’re right. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to impose. I trust both of you of course, I’m just really – Everything needs to be perfect.”
Namjoon nods in understanding. “We’re all aware, Jimin-ah. It’s his comeback, it’s different from what he did before, half of it is in English, and we’re overseas. But this is Jeon Jeongguk we’re talking about. He could be silent for three hours and the fans would still go insane.”
Jimin snorts at that. “Fortunately for us.” His eyes train on the screens like he can already see Jeongguk performing. All the inputs are off, but the fans’ screeches and chants are a distant battle cry. “I just hope they like it, you know?” Jimin admits absently. “I worry a lot about this comeback. What if it’s not well received and it backfires? Jeongguk worked so hard on this and he’s risking a lot. It would break him if – “Jimin sucks in his own words, shaking himself out of his stupor. “No, it’s going to be fine. He’ll be fine.”
Yoongi presses his lips sympathetically, his annoyance vanishing just like that. They’re all balls of stress, but they need to remain level-headed. They all have the same goal after all. “He will be. Brat’s a talented motherfucker and we’re here to make sure the whole world knows it. Now, kindly get out of my control room before – “
The door opens again and Jimin’s frazzled assistant storms in. Yoongi idly wonders why they even bother with the headsets.
“Jimin, Jeongguk is still in makeup. We might need to push the schedule by ten minutes,” he rushes out, like the faster he talks the lesser Jimin will smite him for the impending doom he’s delivering.
But to Yoongi’s absolute surprise, Jimin doesn’t go red in the face. Not even a bit. “Taehyung,” he starts oddly calm. “What.”
And there it is.
Taehyung backs away just as Jimin erupts.
“Why? How? I told him to go into makeup forty minutes ago. What was possibly more important than having his stupid face powdered?”
Taehyung grimaces. “I – I don’t know. I think Seokjin hyung kept him overdue in fitting. But if I may suggest, maybe makeup is not the priority right now? He’s gonna sweat it off anyway.”
Jimin opens his mouth, about to tell Taehyung exactly how much that isn’t an option, how these cameras are more HD than real life, and if Jeongguk has as much as a particle of dust on the tip of his perfect nose he’s gonna be chow for the media the next day. He’s about to.
But then his phone pings in the pocket of his pants and Jimin feels his blood thickening.
He huffs and pushes his coffee cup into Taehyung’s already full hands, snatching out his phone, sliding open the notification bar and –
‘don’t miss the show’
And Jimin –
He cracks his neck subtly, shutting and pocketing his phone quietly. He can feel the others’ eyes on him, Taehyung’s in particular as he waits for his wrath to be unleashed.
But it never comes and Jimin tries not to show much, smoothing his features out into something less scary.
Clearing his throat, he twists his expression into a smile. “We’re on schedule. And yes, Jeongguk will be sweating alright. On that note, I hope the paramedics are on sight.”
It’s clearly meant as a joke, but it comes out so dry that all three of his friends look at him weirdly before anyone can catch up with the fact that Jimin just meant to lighten up the mood.
But Namjoon chuckles, turning back to his screen relieved now that chaos seems to have been avoided. “That bad?” he teases.
And Jimin’s smile is genuine this time around. “I think you’re severely underestimating Jeongguk in a low cut shirt with a mic stand between his legs.”
It makes everyone laugh, mostly because it’s Jeongguk they’re talking about. The one they actually know and it’s always funny identifying him with the womanizer the media’s made him to be.
“Well, you do know better than anyone else, Jimin.”
Jimin also mentioned the paramedics for his sake, not the fans’.
Jeongguk grew up, is the problem.
When Jimin met him some six years ago, he was just a wide-eyed, round-cheeked, big-nosed scrawny rookie.
Jimin was appointed his junior manager and they grew up together one could say. Survived the ruthless environment of the industry would be the better term to use, but point is, they’ve been together since the very beginning of their careers. They shared everything – from the pride and elation that came with Jeongguk’s achievements, to the hardships and grit that came with the job. They were a team.
Which is why Jimin has always been his big brother first, friend second, and manager third.
But that was years ago.
Things changed a lot since then.
With Taehyung in toe, Jimin makes his way briskly back to the staff lounge. People scurry out of his way, bowing their heads where needed and throwing him nervous smiles here and there.
Jimin knows he can be intimidating, knows just how scary he can be with a steel-locked jaw and a rigid back. He’s not a mean person, not at all, but Jimin’s skin has grown thicker and his eyes have turned colder over these merciless years. It’s a lawless land and Jimin had to learn when to be nice and when to cut deep.
“2 more minutes, Jimin-ssi,” a staff member announces as she hurries past them.
“Is Jeongguk down there already?”
“As we speak.” The staff member gives him a thumbs up before disappearing down the corridor.
Jimin nods to himself pleased, turning to Taehyung to give him his tablet. “Here. Take only urgent emails; anything else can wait until after the concert. Arrange for the car to be pulled out in the back as soon as the concert is over. Have security at all entrances and if any media outlet, journalist, or pap is being insistent, kindly remind them of the conference tomorrow. Think you can manage?”
Taehyung salutes diligently. “Easy peasy. You’re going up there, right?”
Jimin winks, shedding off his blazer and slinging it over Taehyung’s shoulder in lieu of his occupied hands. “Always.”
Taehyung grins knowingly and they part ways – Taehyung heading for the staff lounge to watch the show broadcasted live, and Jimin making his way to the main stage.
It’s become a habit.
When Jeongguk debuted four years ago, Jimin was right there, standing on the sidelines and throwing him encouraging smiles and enthusiastic claps, though he could barely breathe himself. Jimin’s been there every second of the way and he doesn’t think he ever even saw Jeongguk live through a screen.
The stage is vacant but for the mic stand in the middle of it, the screens are playing some of Jeongguk’s old songs, the fans are a mass of deafening cries, and the LED lights are turned off as promised.
It’s the last thing Jimin allows himself to take note of before he focuses on the platform with an increasing heartbeat, forgetting about anything and anyone else. A floor manager approaches him, offering him a headset for the sake of communicating with the control room, but Jimin just shakes his head, dismissing the offer politely.
Because Jimin is no longer the manager – he doesn’t cater to guidelines and schedules and people anymore. Jimin caters only to Jeongguk in this moment. He’s there for him and only him, eyes and ears and whole being attuned to Jeongguk.
Right now he’s only Jeongguk’s friend, Jeongguk’s supporter, Jeongguk’s biggest fan.
The lights dim suddenly and there’s precisely half a second of complete stunned silence before the crowd erupts into ear-shattering chants. Even so, Jimin can’t quite hear anything beyond the thundering of his own heart.
The screens black out and Jimin crosses his arms tightly, swallowing air. He’s nervous like he’s never been before, feels his palms already start sweating and –
The first strings of the bass resonate around the stadium.
The screams grow louder against all nature.
Guitar and drums follow, setting up the rapid tempo of the first song.
Jimin digs nails into his upper arms.
The backdrop panels slide open, revealing the four-man band.
Jimin spares them only a quick look, because the moment Hoseok winks at him and steps closer to the keyboard, fingers sliding over the keys –
The platform shifts and Jimin holds his breath.
Because there he is.
Lifted up on the platform, Jeongguk’s already a lot to take in.
He’s not even regarding the audience yet, doesn’t even look like he noticed the presence, nor rumble of thousands of people screeching his name. He’s slouched on one leg, adjusting his in-ear piece, head nonchalantly turned to the side like he doesn’t have one care in the world.
But it’s not why he does it.
Jeongguk always starts like this. It’s routine, a habit to –
Jimin’s heart seizes when their eyes meet. Jeongguk doesn’t wink like he does in his smaller gigs, where there are no cameras and his face isn’t on 15 foot screens. But the corner of his mouth lifts up almost imperceptibly and Jimin’s stomach drops just a bit.
Jeongguk on stage is a Jeongguk that Jimin never met face-to-face. Never talked to, only interacted with through intense looks, teasing winks, and honest smiles. Because Jeongguk performing is an entity that lives and exists only under the blinding spotlights.
Which is why seeing Jeongguk in the plainest black graphic tee, wearing Jimin’s orange tinted glasses no less, is like seeing him for the first time that day.
Because Jimin could be giving Jeongguk an earful about staying up late again while he’s in the makeup chair, but he wouldn’t notice the way the shape of Jeonggu’s eyes is shimmering with light gold or the way his lower eyelashes are lined with dark brown.
Jimin could be parroting Jeongguk’s schedule while he’s getting changed, but he wouldn’t notice the way the leather pants mold around his upper thighs, nor the way the collar of his shirt is a bit too wide.
Jimin could be right outside the recording booth, but he could only focus on the way Jeongguk’s voice makes him feel, not on the fire in his eyes that comes with it.
So yeah, right then and there, that’s when he sees Jeongguk for the first time.
Jimin tips his chin confidently and Jeongguk finally honors the crowd with his attention.
And it goes wild from there and on, beats exploding all at once.
Jeongguk yanks the mic from the stand and surges forward, throwing himself into the first song, which is one of the new ones, more dynamic, edging on rock. Flames are spit up from the edges of the stage in tandem with the bass, but Jeongguk pays them no mind, jumping way too close to them, like he’s immune to fire.
And honestly speaking, Jimin’s wouldn’t be surprised. Fire doesn’t hurt fire after all.
Jeongguk’s all energy, no stopping to even breathe, but his voice is unwavering, low, yet loud and all encompassing. Jeongguk sails through the song seamlessly, working the crowd in the way only Jeon Jeongguk knows how to. Crouches right in front of unsuspecting fans, blows kisses at mothers, growls when you least expect it, quite unnecessarily thrusts into air, empties water bottles over the crowd, dances like it will end too soon, and sings like his lungs are burning coal and he’s spitting flames.
Jimin feels it himself – the rush of it all, Jeongguk’s timbre rattling his core, the speakers booming so loudly it’s the only thing Jimin’s body knows.
It ends too soon, the song coming down to a halt, and before Jimin can catch his breath, Jeongguk’s adjusting his mic back on the stand. He’s already worked up a sweat, wavy hair stuck to his temples and stray strands clinging to the sides of his jawline too.
He’s smirking this time, watching the crowd like he’s seeing an old lover after a long time. He pushes his glasses up his head, hair pushed off his face completely and Jimin regrets everything.
Leaning into the mic, Jeongguk’s nothing but coy. “I hope everyone warmed up enough?”
It’s so raspy it hits Jimin straight into his lower regions. He bites at his lip, distracting himself with the crowd that’s going just as berserk as his inside are.
Jeongguk chuckles pleased into the mic. “Good, good,” he trails off, purposefully pausing to take in the inhumane screams. He straightens up, still gripping the mic, and cracks his neck. “I sure worked up a sweat and it’s only the beginning,” he teases with promise.
Jimin shakes his head to himself, amused more than anything. Jeongguk enjoys riling up fans like it’s engrained in his blood to have everyone on the brick of fainting.
But when the second wave of roaring calms down, Jeongguk stops his teasing. His face lights up and he smiles, genuine this time, ear-to-ear, bashful and grateful. “Thank you for coming out tonight. I’m really thankful I get to do this. Really honored I can do what I love and perform in such a big venue. I don’t believe it – “Jeongguk cuts himself off, bursting into an incredulous laughter. “Look at this. There’s so many of you,” he exclaims in awe, arms expanding around him and eyes glimmering excitedly.
Jimin’s eyes soften, pride and fondness overwhelming. Jeongguk never changed. He always remained modest and grounded, but also had this insecurity that he doesn’t deserve all the fame and acclaims. Always thanked other people for his success – his family, the company, his coaches, the producers, the choreographers, his band, the damn marketing department, Jimin.
But he did it all on his own. His hard work and sleepless nights are no one’s but his.
Jimin wishes Jeongguk would understand once and for all that it’s all him.
Always has been.
“I hope this new album will be received well. I worked hard on it. I worked hard to stay true to myself and to make sense of this mess we call life in the process. I hope you will also find meaning in it and if not, hey, at least dance it out. Enjoy and let’s have a great night tonight, yeah?”
And Jeongguk’s back to his rowdy persona, sliding the glasses back on his nose and shouting into the mic only, “Let’s get it,” before diving straight into the next song.
The night goes on like that, passes in a blur, but not quite. It’s like blacking out sometimes, transcending, easy to forget about real life and let yourself have fun for once, and Jimin certainly missed that.
And seeing the fruition of two months of preparations and four months of Jeongguk’s hard work come to life is more than gratifying. It reminds Jimin why they do this, why it’s all worth it in the end. Proves to Jimin just how much it can be achieved. Confirms that there’s no way to go but higher and higher for Jeongguk.
And yet, when the break before the last two songs comes, that’s when a dormant dread starts churning in Jimin’s stomach.
Jeongguk’s lowered again on the platform, waving at fans and promising to be back soon. He’s going into changing and he has five minutes for that and makeup retouching. Jimin doesn’t bother going down to him, knows it will only distract him.
But he does shoot him two quick texts.
‘you’re doing great Jeonggukie’
‘hyung is proud’
Jimin doesn’t expect Jeongguk to reply. He’s not even expecting him to check his phone, but he usually sends him texts anyway because he knows Jeongguk secretly basks in them. Loves to keep them; reads them and re-reads them later when he’s alone. It’s always for later, for late nights or early mornings when Jeongguk goes to bed.
So when Jimin feels his phone buzz not thirty seconds before Jeongguk’s supposed to be on the stage again, he’s nothing short of surprised.
‘got my good luck charm with me’
Jimin flusters, cheeks flaming up and he has to press a palm over one of them, hoping no one notices him. Jimin doesn’t want to let it get to his head, doesn’t want to think Jeongguk means –
Because Jeongguk always teases him, always loves riling him up. Jeongguk probably meant the glasses. Or the –
Jimin startles, head whipping up to the stage where Jeongguk’s standing over the mic stand again.
And Jimin gapes.
It’s not like he hasn’t seen the stupid shirt before – Jimin personally went with Seokjin and picked it up himself. It’s not even that he hasn’t seen Jeongguk wear it before – Jimin was there in fitting right next to Jeongguk whining about Seokjin leaving the shirt half unbuttoned each time. It’s not even the way Jeongguk’s overgrown hair falls into his eyes, curling around the wing of his eyes.
It’s all that and then some more.
Because as Jeongguk starts the next song, Jimin sees things he couldn’t have possibly noticed before.
How the stupid black shirt falls open in the front, but just the right amount – classy, yet alluring. The glimmer of the small embroideries scattered on the shirt; the light play that makes it look like Jeongguk carries hundreds of stars, yet he shines brighter than all of them. The way it’s all loosely tucked into the waist of his fitted pants, the way the material clings to his legs as he rocks from side to side. The way Jeongguk’s hips brush against the mic stand even though Jimin is sure it’s just the natural pull of the song.
But that’s just it.
Jeongguk pulls it together, gives it life, gives it a story.
Makes Jimin want to throw his head back and moan, because that kind of sex appeal is poison and Jimin might just be willingly on death row.
And if the Jeongguk before was all about wearing out his crowd through dancing and physical exhaustion, then this Jeongguk is all about half-lidded come-hither eyes, gentle sway of hips, and painted fingers tightly wrapped around the mic.
And somehow, Jimin feels his knees buckling way more than before.
It starts off slow, like a prelude and Jimin’s toes curl in his Chelseas, anxieties momentarily forgotten.
Thing is –
Jeongguk’s eyes flutter closed, his hand slides down the pole.
Thing is that Jeongguk’s not exactly a newcomer in the indie scene. He’s well-seasoned and renowned by now. Plenty of attention and certified credentials. He’s long earned the trust and loyalty of fans. He’s a household name in the entertainment industry. A veteran on the charts.
But Jeongguk’s been slowly orientating himself towards the American indie scene and Jimin has feared it then and again. Especially now, when Jeongguk has taken to performing covers of their famous indie bands.
Problem is that, currently, Jeongguk’s the only independent South Korean artist overseas and people are simply put, shit. Jimin fears judgement and unfair accusations of Jeongguk westernizing his act for the sake of attention and popularity, especially when Jeongguk was brought up as an idol, ultimately having decided that he wanted to become an artist instead, the love for his craft boundaryless.
Jeongguk only wanted to perform and entertain, widening his horizons and believing in artists supporting each other and in fans enjoying different takes on music.
That’s always been somewhat of Jeongguk’s fall, his weakness. He stayed innocent in ways, almost gullible, trusting and optimistic, often seeing only the good in people. Which is why Jimin had to always hold his ground for the both of them, growing ruthlessly protective of Jeongguk and viciously weeding out threats and risks of the kind before they even reached Jeongguk.
But seeing the crowd nearly going blue in the face from so much screaming, red cheeks stricken with tears, Jimin can sigh in relief. At least his fans will always have his back.
Plus, Jimin’s pretty sure most of them are just happy they get to see a sweaty Jeongguk making love to a mic stand while crooning out one of Arctic Monkey’s older songs.
Jimin knows, because Jimin can relate.
But he puts a lid on his worries, willing himself to enjoy Jeongguk in his most natural element. He eyes the big screens and Jimin can’t deny the way his heart skips a beat when he sees the promised closeups of Jeongguk.
He’s mesmerizing, there’s no other way to put it. There’s an ease to his body that’s mellow. Makes Jimin think of laying bare and wide awake at 4 in the morning, doing nothing but soak up his presence. Jeongguk’s always had something comforting about him, always made Jimin feel safe.
And the way he cradles that goddamned mic between the rings of his fingers reminds Jimin of just that.
It’s a beautifully crass juxtaposing – how gentle Jeongguk is with his mic, as opposed to how his body treats the song.
Because Jeongguk rides the song.
He rides the fuck out of it, grabs it by its neck and forces it into submission. If Jin were next to Jimin right now he would say, ‘JK made that song his little bitch.’
And not to be vulgar, but when Jeongguk thrusts, dips, and sways a certain way, Jimin gulps and thinks Jeongguk can make him his little bitch any hour of the day.
It’s sensual though. The kind of languid moves that only come with seduction. Jeongguk knows what he’s doing when he’s dropping his head back. Knows the effect he has when he just parts his lips and smiles. Knows how much he’s causing just by breathing a bit harsher. Knows why the fans’ screams increase when he’s sliding a hand down his neck. Knows to sigh into the mic. Knows to groan just a bit during the interlude, hand dipping down his chest, down, down, until it stops, hooking around the hoop of his belt.
Opens his eyes and smirks because he knows exactly what he’s doing.
And he’s damn good at it.
If this is what people call sinning, then Jimin is more than eager to bite into the apple of Eden.
Jimin’s skin is tingling. He feels hot, too warm, but somehow the good kind. He sees the flush of Jeongguk’s cheeks on the big screen and can’t help but think how much it reminds Jimin of a post-coital glow. Pink, damp, healthy, happy.
Jeongguk’s eyes are darting to his left suddenly and Jimin’s stomach drops.
He dares to move his eyes back to the real Jeongguk and his breath gets stuck in his throat.
Jeongguk is looking directly at him, shameless, one eyebrow cocked like saying, ‘And what about it?’. Jimin can’t find it in himself to glare, too frozen to even blink. He just stares with his heart crawling up his throat.
Jeongguk turns back to the crowd in the next second, leaves Jimin like that, gawking and twitching in his YSLs.
Jimin’s long lost his composure.
And that’s another reason he never watches the show from the staff lounge. Somehow this – experiencing the show this way, with Jeongguk right there, interacting with him sporadically – it feels intimate. Like a shared secret. Exhilarating. Where Jimin turns into a teenager, desperate to hide his hard-on. It’s embarrassing, but so raw and real that Jimin wouldn’t have it any other way.
It continues being a daze until the very end.
Like Jimin’s been edged for three hours straight only to be finally fucked at the end of it and cruelly interdicted from climaxing one last time.
At the end of it, Jeongguk puts a stop to the massacre. He sheds himself of his stage persona. Becomes a real human being and that’s always worse.
Jeongguk beams at his fans, waves his arms, drowning in waves of cheers and applauses and screams and girls asking to be impregnated. He thanks them over and over again, reluctant to leave, but the platform’s already lowering again. He bows deeply and when he straightens up again, his eyes are shining brilliantly. “Thank you! I love you all! Drive home safely and have a good night!”
And just before he disappears completely, Jeongguk looks up at Jimin knowingly.
He winks and Jimin rolls his eyes, twisting on his feet and hurrying back to pick up their stuff.
Taehyung comes skipping after Jimin, handing him his belongings. “No urgent emails, though Jeongguk’s mother has been very insistent you go back with him when he returns to Busan next week – “
Jimin presses his lips regretfully, already pulling out his phone as they make their way to the back exit. “I’ll talk to her.”
“Everything is secured, no issues. I’ve had a few noisy reporters sneaking in backstage, but harmless, and Seokjin hyung already dealt with them – “
Jimin snorts. “Hope no one is pressing charges.”
“Unfortunately no. The car will pick you guys up tomorrow at 9 a.m. sharp. Here’s Jeongguk’s bag and that should be it. I’ll deal with the rest here.”
Jimin takes the bag from Taehyung and tips his chin in gratitude. “Thank you, Taehyung-ah. I’m sorry I’m leaving you with all of this. But I have to get back with Jeongguk – “
“Shut up,” Taehyung waves him off, pushing him to leave already. “I don’t think you slept a wink these past months. The least you can allow yourself is leave early. Go.”
Jimin chuckles, but does as told, thanking his friend again and again, insisting he calls anyway in case he needs anything. They arrive in the underground garage and Jimin’s about to step into the car, when Taehyung calls out for him.
Jimin halts and turns to him in question, apprehensive of his sly grin.
“If you want to sleep in, I can always cover for you – “
Jimin flounders for a brief second, but then he pulls himself together. “There’s no need, Taehyung. We’re gonna be on time.”
Taehyung only shrugs, but he’s pulling out his phone as soon as Jimin’s out of sight.
Jimin’s usually with Jeongguk when they walk to whatever car they have for the night, but there’s the odd occasion, like now, where Jimin will be already inside.
Picking up Jeongguk is always a hassle and Jimin will never learn how to deal with it anxiety-free. The driver pulled as close to the exit as possible, but there are enough people and paps to increase Jimin’s blood pressure. There are already flashes, the photographers desperate to not miss even a second of Jeon Jeongguk leaving the venue, and Jimin frets because he’s as blind as a bat with so many lights and people.
But Jimin knows Jeongguk will be surrounded by security – men and women Jimin hand-picked himself – and that he’ll be safe. And if anything, maybe it’s a good thing he’s not by his side for once.
Because people liked talking and people loved scandals. Him and Jeongguk were joined at the hip 24/7 and with the way their line of work was, being seen together day in and day out was unavoidable. Magazines and tabloids used them as an infinite source for racy headlines, the prospect of ‘Heartthrob Jeon Jeongguk being in a same-sex relationship’ being a never ending taboo subject. Fortunately, it wasn’t Jeongguk that got heat for it, but Jimin for “stealing” him, and it made him more than happy to take the bullet. One of his many jobs, after all, was to keep Jeongguk’s image as clean as possible.
When the screams outside increase in pitch, Jimin knows it’s time.
He leans over the seat, swiftly unlocking and opening the door. Jimin hears the incessant irrelevant questions, the shutters going off triple the amount compared to earlier, fans chanting ‘oppa’, security shouting at people to move out of the way, and Jimin’s had enough.
He’s about to get out of the car himself, but then the door is opened and Jeongguk’s hauling himself in, dropping his backpack between his feet before rolling down the window and waving at his fans excitedly.
Jimin reaches a hand out, but stops mid-way, pressing his lips resigned. He sighs, but lets Jeongguk do his thing as he pulls out his phone.
Thankfully, the car starts moving and it’s not long until Jeongguk rolls his window back up. Jimin hears him sigh contentedly as he falls bonelessly against the chair.
“Good?” Jimin asks, eyes never stirring from his long list of emails.
Jeongguk grunts in acknowledgment and when Jimin finally turns to look at him he can see that Jeongguk has his eyes closed. He looks satiated, body lax and pliant, but still thrumming with the post-concert haze. Jimin notices he didn’t change from the stupid shirt. He takes a closer look at Jeongguk’s eyes too and sees that he didn’t take his makeup off either, the brown smudged all over the place. Jimin smiles to himself. His Jeonggukie – a true rockstar.
He’s about to tease Jeongguk about being impatient to get to the hotel, when the driver is suddenly addressing him through the rear view mirror.
“Red Rue, Sir?”
Jimin stares for a second, mind connecting the implied answer to the right question. He balks in the next second, outraged in a split second. “Red Rock,” he corrects, willing to keep his tone neutral, but clearly failing with the way his teeth gnash annoyed.
The driver’s eyes go wide and he apologizes profusely, though Jimin doesn’t get half of it anyway. He resets the GPS and apologizes once again before changing directions.
But Jimin’s already fuming, briefly cursing Americans as he tries to remember who the fuck managed the transportation, because he can’t possibly overlook everything, but this is exactly the reason why he should, because what if they ended up in the middle of fuck-nowhere and Jeongguk’s safety -
There are fingers splayed on his knee all of a sudden.
Jimin stares at the hand wide-eyed and then at Jeongguk who still has his eyes closed.
It makes tension ease from his shoulders, because yeah, Jimin might be one of the most intimidating, stuck-up, unforgiving managers in the industry, but there’s one person who Jimin never fooled.
“It’s okay,” Jeongguk says under his breath. “Don’t stress, yeah? Almost there.”
Jimin slumps against the chair, his hand finding Jeongguk’s on his knee “Yeah. Almost there.”
Freedom is near; it’s a good reminder.
The hotel room is all museum-like, luxurious and way too much. The kind both him and Jeongguk were reluctant to even touch back when they just barely started affording hotels above three stars.
But today Jeongguk doesn’t think twice about plopping down face-first on the bed sheets, dirty shoes and sweat-damp clothes and all.
Jimin closes the door behind them, peeling his shoes off with some difficulty.
The silence of the room is almost weird. Unfamiliar to both him and Jeongguk.
Jeongguk draws out a muffled satisfied groan.
Jimin chuckles, happy, cause Jeongguk’s happy.
“How are you feeling, superstar?”
Jeongguk twists on his back, staring at the ceiling with the dopiest of smiles and shiniest of eyes. “The best, hyung. They really loved it, right?”
Jimin snorts cause that’s an understatement. He eyes the minibar in front of the bed and goes in for the kill. “They really did, Jeonggukie. You were amazing. Expect the headlines tomorrow.”
There’s a brief silence and then –
“Then why are you so worried?”
Bacardi in hand, Jimin freezes. He straightens up, cradling the bottle to his chest, staring at the painting in front of him blankly. “I’m not worried, Jeonggukie. I’m – “
“Look at me.”
Jimin lets air leave his lungs before turning to face Jeongguk. He’s sitting up on his elbows, watching him unimpressed, with just a tinge of suppressed worry.
Jimin huffs, not liking being cornered like that. “Jeongguk, I’m your manager. Worrying is in my job description,” he tries, but Jeongguk hums calmly, like he got Jimin exactly where he wanted him.
He gets up from the bed and Jimin watches him close the distance between them apprehensively, because when Jeongguk looks at you like you’re prey it never ends well.
Jeongguk stops when there’s little to no space left between them and looks down at Jimin patiently, but still –
There’s something –
Like it was an hour ago, when Jeongguk was –
“It’s your worst habit, Jimin-ah,” he whispers and that familiar Busan drawl crawls into the lowest pits of Jimin’s stomach.
He missed it.
He misses it every day.
He misses Jeongguk every day, like –
“Why do you worry so much?” Jeongguk wonders and then his fingers are around Jimin’s glasses and he’s pulling them off slowly, giving time to Jimin to stop it.
But Jimin only shivers, feels small and exposed, but eager, anticipation bubbling in his stomach as Jeongguk throws the glasses on the table behind him. He idly thinks what would anyone think if they saw big scary manager Park Jimin turn to putty just from this.
In Jimin’s defense though, Jeongguk could be breathing his way a certain way and he would still be a puddle on the floor.
“Answer me,” Jeongguk says in a shushed tone, thumb grazing down the hollow of Jimin’s cheek.
It’s not a demand, but it feels like one and Jimin inhales sharply. There’s something about tonight that’s worse than the rest. It’s the cumulation of good and bad nerves, the concert endorphins, Jeongguk’s intoxicating energy, the anticipation, the post-concert buzz, everything.
And none if it released.
Jimin’s so wound up already and Jeongguk keeps on pulling him taut.
“I always worry about you, Jeongguk-ah. You know this – “
“It’s a bad habit of yours,” Jeongguk fills in contemplatively, eyes following his own thumb as it slides along the edge of Jimin’s jaw, down to the cut of his chin.
Jimin’s breath hitches and he grips the bottle tighter in his hands before he drops it. “It’s just how I’m made. You can’t change it – “
Jeongguk presses his thumb against his lower lip, effectively shutting him up. “Any bad habit can be rectified,” he comments absently, eyes drawn to Jimin’s lips.
On a good day, Jimin would swat his hand away and tell him to cut the crap, they have work to do. On a good day, Jimin would have the power and presence of mind to do so. On good days, Jimin is more in charge.
So with the little control he does have left in him, Jimin blindly places the bottle behind him. He hears it topple over, but he pays it no mind, reaching for the collars of Jeongguk’s shirt. He clutches them steadily, eyes drawn to the chains clinging to his chest, skin still sticky.
Jimin wets his bottom lip, tongue darting over Jeongguk’s thumb. “You might be a bad habit,” he says between them, eyes finally meeting Jeongguk’s, “but I don’t plan on making it right any time soon,” and with that Jimin leans up –
But Jeongguk captures his lips before he can.
And it’s still new to Jimin.
Every time they kiss it still feels like the first time all over again – barely five months ago in the shittiest bar Jimin could find in Dallas, filled with people old enough to not give a flying fuck about who Jeongguk was or what he looked like. When both him and Jeongguk were shit faced beyond recognition as a celebration for Jeongguk selling out his first stadium.
Just the two of them for once, when it felt offensive to be anything but truthful towards each other. When an uncountable number of beers and tequila, and years of repressed feelings and tension drove them straight into the closest bathroom stall. It was dirty in all the ways, but Jimin had no care for his designer clothes getting soiled. Not when Jeongguk was pushing him up a wall with a hand buried deep in the back of his briefs.
Jimin moans in Jeongguk’s mouth just at the reminder of it, pushes closer into him because it still feels surreal. Jimin doesn’t think he can ever get used to this, doesn’t think reality will ever catch up to him.
Jeongguk pulls back and when Jimin opens his eyes, Jeongguk’s looking at him reverently, the same thumb stroking his cheek so softly it makes Jimin blush all over again. He can never get used to this – Jeongguk’s undivided attention, Jeongguk looking at him like that, Jeongguk loving him back, Jeongguk –
He’s smiling all of a sudden, lazily, but full of mischief. He kisses Jimin’s forehead before he’s suddenly sinking to his knees. His belt is tugged open and Jimin’s hands fall to Jeongguk’s shoulders, anchoring himself before he can even comprehend what’s happening
“Jeongguk-ah, you don’t have to – you’re tired, you should – “
Jeongguk huffs out a laugh, pointedly zipping Jimin down.” You know I’m always restless after a concert.”
Arousal clouds Jimin’s mind and he doesn’t know why he still fights it. “You mean you’re always horny after a concert,” he rephrases half-heartedly, completely lost in the vision Jeongguk is in that moment – kneeling in front of him, eyes hidden by curls, deft fingers pulling him out of his briefs.
Jimin hisses when Jeongguk wraps a hand around him, though it’s barely a touch. Jeongguk doesn’t rush, but Jimin’s painfully hard as it is and every lazy tug is fire down his spine.
Jeongguk looks up to him then, but it’s with a sort of awe, like Jimin’s the current global sensation. “Yoongi hyung tells me you gave him grief,” he comments casually, like his lips aren’t inches away from Jimin’s pretty pink cock.
Jimin swallows, wets his lips, tries to wade through the fog of his mind. “I didn’t give him grief. I – I was just – “Jeongguk thumbs at his slit innocently and Jimin muffles a moan. “I was just being thorough,” he rasps out.
Jeongguk makes a dismissive noise, fingers tightening beneath the head just so. “Hyung told me I should keep you on a leash. “A sharp tug, Jimin sees white. “Would you like that? Hyung?”
Jimin whines, but doesn’t grace Jeongguk with an answer, though he got it loud and clear. His fingers twist in Jeongguk’s hair, forcing him as gently as he can to look up at him. “Gguk-ah, just – just, please.” He pulls him closer and Jeongguk grins full of satisfaction.
“Worked so hard baby, didn’t you?” Jeongguk nibbles at his thigh then, reaching around him to slide his pants and briefs lower.
Jimin nods in a daze, cradling Jeongguk closer to him.
“Baby deserves a reward, doesn’t he?” Jeongguk asks and the warm swish of air against his cock makes Jimin twitch painfully.
“Jeongguk,” he whimpers, feeling wrongfully teased and all kinds of impatient. The whole night has been a big fat edging and Jimin’s sure he could burst just from the right wrist flicker.
Jeongguk chuckles to himself, but he doesn’t tease anymore.
Before Jimin can suck in enough air, Jeongguk takes him in his mouth to the hilt. Jimin doubles over, a silent scream scratching his throat open, everything too hot and too tight and too perfect all of a sudden.
He tries catching his breath, but Jeongguk’s doesn’t give him any chances, vigorously starting to bob his head up and down, hand following to twist and pull in its wake. It’s messy and already sloppy, and Jimin stumbles back against the table, bringing Jeongguk with him. He hears the Bacardi bottle roll off the table, the distinct sound of glass breaking following immediately.
Jeongguk laughs around him and Jimin pulls at his hair weakly, mewling in faux-protest.
“Jeongguk. Jeonggukie – “he starts panting out, but putting words together when Jeongguk has his tongue pressing on that one sensitive spot only he knows so intimately is a bit of a feat.
Jeongguk hums in acknowledgement, but he only speeds up, pushing Jimin further down his throat, harsher, until –
Jimin squeezes his eyes shut, yanking at Jeongguk’s hair hard enough that he knows it must sting. “S-slow down, slower, or else I’ll – “
Jimin’s too high-wired, it’s been too much, too much of everything, too rough and too sensitive, and Jeongguk’s not slowing down in the least, his rosy cheeks hollowing out and his fingers sopping with precum and spit.
Jimin doesn’t last long, he’s not bound to.
He comes right down Jeongguk’s throat not two minutes later, but Jeongguk doesn’t pull off. Keeps on swallowing around Jimin even after he’s completely spent, bones liquid and muscles tingling.
Not by far having come down from it, Jimin pets Jeongguk’s hair out of his eyes, its ends curled up even more in the dampness of the room. His smudged makeup is nearly dripping down the apple of the cheeks with his exertion and Jimin can’t help but smile lovingly.
“So good for me, Jeonggukie,” he praises softly when he finds his vocal cords again.
It makes Jeongguk finally pull off of him. He smiles lazily, content, and leans on Jimin’s thigh, staring up at him through half-lidded fucked out eyes. “Do we have to get up early, hyung?”
Jimin’s heart swells inexplicably and he traces Jeongguk’s abused lips dazedly. “We do, baby.”
Jeongguk snorts, nuzzling into Jimin’s gradually softening cock. “No.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows amused, ignoring the way heat pools in his abdomen again. “No?”
Jeongguk leaves a sweet kiss on the crown of Jimin’s cock before pulling back and starting to tug again at both his pants and briefs. “No,” he confirms. “We earned this night, hyung,” he argues as he wrestles Jimin’s garments off of him. “And I’ll be damned if I let you leave this room before noon.”
Jimin laughs, he’s endeared, but the more responsible side of him is quick to spring out. “We can’t afford to sleep in, Jeonggukie. We need to be up and early. There’s – “
Jeongguk’s suddenly in his face again, close, a challenging glint in his eyes. He nudges at Jimin’s nose with his own, lips barely brushing together. “Where’s the fun in doing what you’re told?” And then he’s claiming Jimin’s mouth, hoisting him up on the table and spreading his legs wide.
And when Jeongguk pulls back only to dive right between his legs again, Jimin can only agree: responsibilities are boring and Jeon Jeongguk’s mouth is the best thing second to his heart.