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Taehyung wakes up to a loud knocking sound, and lazily he thinks it must be his mom waking him up for school. It takes him a moment to remember, no, that’s not right, he’s 23, he doesn’t go to school anymore, and he hasn’t lived at home in 5 years. He shakes his head sleepily, trying to shake off the stress dream he was having about forgetting to do his math homework. No matter how many years pass, no matter how much distance he puts between himself and his days as a student, he will always have dreams about overdue assignments and failed exams, and no matter what, he always wakes up momentarily forgetting what year it is. 

 

He gives his head another wag, hair falling into his face, and remembers it’s 2019, it’s the day after Christmas, and it’s the first day of something, something important. That explains the stress dream, first days of anything always get him on edge. Finally, he opens his eyes and blinks blearily at the ceiling, and when the next round of knocking starts, this time with much more gusto, making him vaguely concerned for the state of the knocker’s hand, he jolts up into a sitting position remembering what day it is. 

 

He scrambles toward the door, tripping over the shoes he carelessly toed off after Christmas dinner last night, and quickly swipes up a dish towel to hang modestly in front of his chest, incase a neighbor is passing by and gets a peak at him in just his boxers, before he flings the door open.

 

“Jungkook! Perfect timing, I was just about to head out the door.” Taehyung glances back and forth down the hall and sees no neighbors, so he tosses the towel behind him, not caring where it lands. 

 

“Hyung, you’re naked,” Jungkook says, with a noticeable lack of disbelief in his voice. This was not the first time Taehyung had failed to set an alarm and it was certainly not the first time Jungkook had to drag him out of bed, he was just thankful for the boxers this time. Their days in college were filled with such occurrences, and the amount of times Jungkook yanked the covers off his sleepy friend, only to find an extremely nude Taehyung, well, Jungkook tries to block that all out nowadays.

 

“Well, obviously I’d wear a coat, it’s freezing outside, Jungkookie, don’t be ridiculous.” 

 

Jungkook looks up at the ceiling and silently asks the heavens for the patience to make it through the day without strangling his best friend. They say to never go into business with a friend, but here he was, 6 months out of college and about to start his first job as a paid filmmaker, with his friend who refuses to set alarms because he insists his body is so intuned with the earth that phone alarms don’t compare to his internal clock. 

 

“Taehyung, it’s our first day. Please, for the love of God, put on a shirt.” 

 

“Ok, ok, I’m sorry, I had too much red wine at Christmas dinner and it knocked me out. Count to 100.” And with that, Taehyung disappears behind his door, and all Jungkook can hear is a lot muttered curses and the crash of toiletries falling to the ground, and after 153 seconds (not that Jungkook was counting), Taehyung flings the door open, a spot of foamy toothpaste still in the corner of his mouth.

 

Jungkook can feel nothing but fondness for his friend, no matter how many gray hairs he has gotten over the course of their friendship. “Wipe your face, hyung.”

 

Taehyung smiles and wraps an arm around Jungkook as they walk down the hall to get to the parking garage. “So, how are we feeling about today. Nervous? Excited? Constipated? Tell me, I’ll help in any way I can.”

 

“The best way for you to help me is to just hold the camera steady and not drop any equipment.”

 

“Ok, so constipated. Got it.” Taehyung unhooks his arm from Jungkook’s neck and waddles behind him, massaging his shoulders as they walk.

 

Jungkook huffs, but lowers his chin a bit so Taehyung has better access to his neck. “I just can’t believe we got the grant to make this film. I don’t want to mess it up.” 

 

“People love underground worlds, it’s edgy. The grant committee was probably thrilled at your proposal after reading hundreds of plans for documentaries about how technology is destroying the minds of the youth.” 

 

“Hey, technology addiction is a real problem, don’t make me feel guilty for getting the grant over someone who’s trying to save the next generation.”

 

Taehyung doubles down on his massaging. “You’re right, you’re right. Technology addiction, very edgy. I’m sorry. I hope they get a grant from a different foundation. But documenting the journey of an underground dance crew was a great idea and you should relax a little. You got the grant! Now is the fun part where we get to actually create!” 

 

Jungkook sighs and rubs his eyes, “Ok, you’re right. I just have a vision for this thing, but there’s only so much you can plan when it comes to documentary filmmaking. I don’t know what we’re about to walk into.”

 

Taehyung lets go of his friends shoulders so they can get into his car. When they settle in, Taehyung turns to Jungkook with a determined expression. “Whatever happens, we’re just flies on the wall. Whatever unfolds, we’ll find the magic in it. Fighting!”

 

                                            

 

When they pull up to the warehouse, they’re surprised to find that it actually looks quite nice. Taehyung was expecting to find a building with broken windows and barrels burning with fire outside. He’s probably watched too many movies. Instead they park outside a squat but long white building with windows lining the length that are alternating colors of the rainbow. There’s even a charging outlet for electric cars outside. And a planter by the door that in warmer months must have flowers, but right now just has a plastic santa sitting lopsided on a small mound of last week’s snow.

 

They can already hear the music, muted mostly by the thick cement walls, but with the bass still vibrating through. Taehyung unloads his huge camcorder that he’ll be filming with, as well as a tripod that he’ll set up in a corner for some stationary footage. Jungkook grabs the bag with all the mic packs and his filming notes, and looks over at Taehyung with a lot less nerves in his eyes than before, now instead glistening with excitement. 

 

“Ok, remember, this is a 3 person crew, the leader is Jung Hoseok, and he’s the one I’ve been meeting with while arranging all this. So I don’t know what the other two are like but try to get equal amounts of footage for all of them because I’d like this to be just as much about their individual journeys as it is about the crew as a whole. But today let’s get a lay of the land, we’ve got 3 months with them so there’s plenty of time to do interviews and stuff another day.” 

 

“Aye aye, captain!” Taehyung tried to salute but his hands are full so he accidentally whacks himself in the face with the leg of the tripod. “Oof.”

 

“And please remember what I said about not dropping the equipment.” Jungkook gives Taehyung’s arm a little squeeze before he turns to the door and heads inside the warehouse. 

 

The three figures on the other side of the space are stretching while listening to music, one of them propping his leg up on a cardboard box to better stretch out his hamstring. There are actually many cardboard boxes, about half the space in the room is piled high with boxes marked with labels of various office supplies. Taehyung whistles in wonder at the towering piles, and at the sound, the three dancers look over at their newly arrived film crew.

 

“Jeon Jungkook! Welcome to base camp! The home of killer moves and office goods!” One of the three spreads his arms wide and strolls over to Jungkook and Taehyung. “The owner of the building lets us practice here for free as long as we don’t damage any of his supplies. And the bulk helps with the acoustics so it’s a pretty sick deal. Hi, I’m Hoseok, or J-Hope, whichever you prefer.” Hoseok extends his hand towards Taehyung.

 

“J-Hope?” Taehyung asks in confusion.

 

“Ah, yeah, we all have street names, that’s mine. Then there’s Seokjin who also goes by Worldwide and Jimin who also goes by Chimmy.”

 

Taehyung scratches his head at all the names, trying to remember them all. “I think I’ll go with your real names for now. I’m Taehyung, no street name yet.” He politely waves at the other two members who have started walking over.

 

His wave goes a bit erratic when he gets a closer look at them. The taller of the two is quite attractive, as is Hoseok, but the shortest of them all makes Taehyung’s brain go offline for a second. He’s got light brown hair that’s mostly pushed out of his face except for a soft wave that falls over his left eye. He’s wearing a silky button up shirt that’s half tucked into slightly cropped black cotton pants that show off just enough ankle to make Taehyung wonder if he’s been transported to the 1850s, when seeing a girl’s ankles under her petticoat was something to blush about. He’s wearing a sturdy pair of black loafers and Taehyung is wondering how exactly this outfit is appropriate for an underground hip-hop dance crew practice, when he suddenly snaps back to attention as he realizes Jungkook is talking about how grateful he is that they all decided to be a part of this documentary.

 

“-and I really think that on this journey we’re all going to grow-“ 

 

Taehyung glances back at the small one again to make sure he still exists and wasn’t just a strange illusion. Taehyung did drink a lot last night, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this man was some sort of hangover mirage. But nope, still there and still extremely good looking.

 

“-We’ve got a chance here to open up a lot of people’s minds-“

 

Taehyung wonders how he himself looks, probably not great. He got dressed so fast that he’s pretty sure his shirt is backwards, and certainly his hair is a mess. He reaches up to subtly pat it down when he realizes everyone is now looking at him. His hand freezes midair. “Huh?”

 

“Taehyung, I said, do you have anything you would like to add?” Jungkook nudges his side and encouragingly nods to the rest of the group.

 

“Um,” Taehyung grapples with words, tucks hair behind his ears so he doesn’t just have his hand suspended in the air. “I hope… we all… do our best,” he ends lamely.

 

Jungkook doesn’t seem to mind his generic statement and claps his hands together and rubs them in excitement.

 

“Great, so we’ll set up and hook you guys up to mics and then you can go about your usual routine. We’ll try to interact with you as little as possible.”

 

Jungkook takes the tripod from Taehyung and hands him the mic packs, before going off to the side to find the best angle for the camera. Taehyung stares down at the mic packs and up at the guys, and decides to start with Hoseok and the tallest one first, because he needs to count to 100 before he can think about touching The Hot One. He still isn’t sure which one is Jimin and which is Seokjin, but he’s pretty sure it doesn’t matter, he’s probably always going to refer to him as The Hot One in his head. 

 

“So how long have you and Jungkook worked together?” Hoseok asks as Taehyung strings the mic wire up his shirt and clips the pack to his pants.

 

“This is actually our first official project together. I’m a freelance photographer and in college I helped him on occasion with his film projects, so when he was applying for the grant for this project he asked if I’d be his crew.” Taehyung checks the light on the pack to make sure it’s on and shuffles over to where The Tall One is standing nearby.

 

“And are you interested in the underground dance world too, or are the next three months about to be a bust for you?” The Tall One asks him, smiling at him warmly and raising his arms so Taehyung can snake the wire around. Taehyung figures it’s been 100 seconds so he glances over at The Hot One, who’s typing something on his phone.

 

“I’d say I’m very interested in the world of underground dance.”

 

“Well then you’re in for a treat because Hoseok here is the best dancer to ever grace this earth. I’m Seokjin by the way, please don’t call me Worldwide, it’s an old joke that has followed me for years.”

 

It’s time for Taehyung to hook up The Hot One (Jimin, he now knows based on process of elimination, and wow, what a perfect name), so he walks over and gives him a brief nod before reaching his hands under his shirt. 

 

“Worldwide Handsome,” Jimin says, tucking his phone in his pocket.

 

Taehyung jerks and smacks his hand against skin, extremely taught, muscular skin, and Jimin jumps at the touch. “Sorry, sorry! Um, what?”

 

Jimin waves off his apology, “Worldwide Handsome is the old joke nickname Seokjin used to go by in college, and people still insist on calling him Worldwide. It’s cute but he hates it now, which is ironic because he’s the one who gave himself the nickname in the first place.” 

 

“Hey! That’s not true, people all over campus were whispering it before I accepted it as a nickname. I’d pass by and I’d hear them say, ‘Wow, wow, so handsome, he looks like an international star’, I was just giving the people what they wanted.” Seokjin rants loudly and with a lot of hand gestures, and Taehyung thinks he’s funny and kind of wants to hug him. 

 

“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, hyung.” Jimin rolls his eyes and smiles at Taehyung when he finishes with the mic, and Taehyung smiles back much bigger than necessary, all his teeth showing and eyes getting squinty, but he can’t help it, Jimin’s smile is just so warm. 

 

Once they start practicing, Taehyung quickly understands what Seokjin meant when he said Hoseok is the best dancer in the world. The way he moves his body makes Taehyung wonder if he even has bones, or if under his skin is just muscle and cartilage, and the moves he comes up with seem genuinely new and fresh every time. Seokjin is great too, a little more timid and focused with his movements, but at one point Seokjin kneels down and hoists Hoseok so far in the air that it seems to be several seconds before he lands, and Taehyung has to stop himself from putting down his camera to applaud them. 

 

Jimin’s dancing is… something else. If Hoseok is a creative genius, and Seokjin is a powerhouse of cool, Jimin is just… lust personified. Every roll of his body, every punch of his hand, every twist and turn, Taehyung wonders how it’s possible to radiate this much sexual energy. Taehyung doesn’t think he even radiates this much when he’s actually having sex, let alone on a dance floor, hip-hop or otherwise. 

 

Jungkook is watching both cameras angles on a tablet that’s wirelessly connected to each viewfinder, and he politely whispers to Taehyung to zoom out to the whole crew, there’s enough Jimin footage for today.

 

Taehyung coughs and refocuses. Right, ok. He can do this. Taehyung doesn’t know what the number one rule of documentary filmmaking is, but he thinks it probably should be that the cameraman doesn’t fall in love with the subject of the film within the first hour of meeting them.

 

When practice wraps for the day, Jungkook shakes everyone’s hands enthusiastically and says he’ll be in touch about coming to the practice in two days to shoot some interview clips. 

 

“That went great, don’t you think?” Jungkook is buzzing as they get in the car, all the nerves from this morning finally faded. “I think even if this film ends up failing to reach people emotionally, at least everyone’s going to want to watch it for the dance moves. Did you see the way Hoseok was flying through the air? How strong must Seokjin be to do a stunt like that?”

 

“Yeah, Jimin was great.”

 

“Huh? Oh yeah, Jimin too. He seemed pretty quiet, I’m interested for what he says in the interview. Oh, it’s ok that we’re meeting on your birthday, right? I should have asked, we can still go to karaoke afterwards though, I just want to get some interview footage before we go with them to that New Year’s Eve dance battle they mentioned.”

 

“Yeah, of course. I’m a grown man, I can survive a few hours of work on my birthday.” Taehyung makes a mental note to cancel the 1pm pedicure appointment he made, but he’ll still have plenty of time for his 10am waffle brunch and 11:30am walk through the park to contemplate another year of life. “I haven’t put much thought into my birthday, anyways.”

 

“Hyung, you sent me an e-invite to call you at midnight to wish you happy birthday.” Jungkook looks at Taehyung with a mixture of disbelief and admiration, he can never decide which emotion he feels more when it comes to his friend.

 

“Well that’s the least you can do for making me work on my birthday.”

 

                                            

 

Two days later, and they’re back at the warehouse, and Taehyung is feeling great about his day so far. He decided to take his morning walk through a dog park, and he met so many puppies that he thinks he’ll probably never stop smiling. Jungkook even surprised him with a cute birthday cake when he came to pick him up, and Taehyung hugged him for so long that he started groaning about not being able to breathe properly. 

 

Taehyung also is wearing a pretty birthday outfit (definitely just because it’s his birthday, and not because he wanted to step up his game in front of Jimin). He’s wearing one of those white flowy silk shirts that he always sees men wearing on the covers of romance novels, with a pair of his tightest black skinny jeans. He’s definitely too dressed up to be a cameraman, but since they’re going out for dinner afterwards, Jungkook doesn’t find it strange. 

 

The interviews go well, they spend the most time on Hoseok since the crew is kind of his brainchild, but when they get to Jimin, he mentions most of his training has been in modern dance, and Jungkook perks up.

 

“Oh wow, was that a hard decision going from years of training in one type of dance and then switching to something totally different?”

 

Jimin shifts a little in the hot seat, “Um, not really. I mean, I still work as a dance instructor for modern dance and ballet, so the crew is kind of my night job. But it was definitely a big shift, going understanding one dance so well to throwing away a lot of the rules I had learned. But I saw Hoseok performing on the street one night and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and we’ve been on a crew together ever since.”

 

Taehyung shifts behind the camera a bit, and Jimin glances over at him. His eyes flicker down to Taehyung’s legs before going back to Jungkook and Taehyung has to hide his smirk behind the camera. 

 

The jeans are working, Taehyung thinks.

 

When they wrap up interviews, Taehyung walks over to Jimin to take off his mic, and makes sure to take his time even though he knows he should be helping Jungkook load up the car. He’s allowed to be selfish on his birthday.

 

“That’s pretty interesting you studied modern dance. I noticed your body moved a bit differently from the other guys.” Taehyung mumbles as he unclips the mic pack from Jimin’s waist. 

 

The corners of Jimin’s mouth perk up into a smile. “Oh? You noticed my body that much? I’m flattered.”

 

Taehyung coughs, trying to cover up how loudly he just gulped. “Yeah, I mean you did… you did a lot of stuff… movements… um, thrusts… I mean, not thrusts, but like um, body rolls? Yeah, you just seemed to know your body. I mean Hoseok and Seokjin did too, wow yeah, those guys are great. You’re great, too. You’re all great. But you did the... the, um... the body rolls, which were great. So.”

 

Taehyung scratches his head, not sure when he went from confident birthday boy to bumbling idiot, but Jimin’s just staring at him with an incredulous smile on his face. 

 

“Wow, ok. Thanks?”

 

“You’re welcome, Jimin.” Taehyung quickly turns around and goes to Seokjin who’s been standing behind him. He was on his phone, but now he seems to be glancing back and forth between Taehyung and Jimin like he’s trying hard to catch up on something. 

 

As Taehyung is unclipping his mic from his shirt, Seokjin’s mind seems to have finished interpreting the conversation he just heard and he smiles innocently at Taehyung. “You look nice today, Taehyung, anything special going on or are you just into fashion?” 

 

Taehyung perks up, because his favorite thing to do is talk about fashion, and his second favorite thing is to talk about his birthday. “Me and Jungkook are going to go out for dinner and then to karaoke, actually. It’s my birthday.” He grins widely because his mom used to tell him birthday boys should always be smiling. 

 

“What a coincidence, we were going to karaoke tonight, too! Our friends were going to meet us there, why don’t we make it a big group for your birthday?” Seokjin’s eyes twitch quickly behind Taehyung’s head where Jimin is staring at him quizzically because, no, they didn’t have plans, he doesn’t know what Seokjin is talking about.

 

“Oh really? Yeah, that sounds great, I mean, if you guys don’t mind us tagging along.” Taehyung glances backwards at Jimin, who masks his face into a blank stare after frantically waving at Seokjin, and then over to Jungkook and Hoseok who are walking back into the warehouse after loading up the car. “Jungkook, do you want to join these guys for karaoke tonight? They were planning on going, too!” 

 

“Karaok-” Hoseok starts to ask, confused before Seokjin cuts him off. 

 

“It’ll be great! We can all get to know each other better so the next round of interviews is a little less awkward.” Seokjin claps Taehyung on the back and starts pushing Hoseok and Jimin towards the door. “We’ll meet you at Su Noraebang at 9!” 

 

Taehyung is smiling once they’ve all departed, and turns to Jungkook to find he has his arms crossed and is tapping his foot like a mother who just caught their child coming home after curfew. “You know we shouldn’t really be socializing with the subjects, it might change the way we portray them in the film.”

 

“Sure maybe, but for the better! How are we supposed to get deep if we just ask them generic questions? If we get to know them, we’ll have better insights, trust me, Jungkook.” Taehyung pats him on the back and picks up his bags to bring to the car. 

 

“And you’re sure you’re not just saying that because you want to get Jimin in bed?” Jungkook raises an eyebrow at Taehyung, who promptly chokes.

 

“What?” Taehyung coughs, regaining control of his breathing, “What are you talking about, who is Jimin?” Ok , Taehyung thinks, that’s a bit too nonchalant. “Oh, Jimin, the small dancer who thrusts?” Nope, he thinks, pushed it too far again. “I haven’t really noticed him, is he cute? Anyways, I’m really just thinking about the quality of this film. My life is devoted to making sure your work is the best it can be.” There we go, he thinks, landed that plane perfectly. He pats himself on the back, both mentally and physically. 

 

Jungkook just smacks him on the back of the head.

 

“Hyung, just promise me you’ll keep your relationships with the subjects platonic until the end of the shoot, ok? If you start dating Jimin and break up it’s going to make things so messy, and what if he pulls out of the film? Just, please. Three months of not seducing Jimin isn’t too much to ask for, right?” 

 

“No problem! You have my word.”

 

                                            

 

After dinner, Jungkook and Taehyung head to the bar Seokjin mentioned, and as they approach it, they see a group walking up the steps to go inside. 

 

“Ah, Taehyung! Jungkook!” Seokjin paces back down the steps towards them, gesturing to the others. “Let me introduce you to our friends, Namjoon and Yoongi. They’re in the underground world too, so feel free to call them RM and Suga if you find their real names boring.” 

 

Taehyung waves to them both in greeting. “Wow cool, are you guys dancers too?” 

 

Jimin giggles and steps out from behind Namjoon. “No, but I’d love to see them join us sometime.”

 

Namjoon lightly shoves Jimin, but also holds his arm to keep him steady. “Yoongi and I rap together. But underground scenes tend to mix together so we’ve all known each other for years.”

 

“Oh, really? That’s cool, I wonder if I’ve ever seen you guys, I used to go to a lot of shows in college.” Jungkook says, squinting at Yoongi’s face where it sits in shadows under his hood. Jungkook would normally feel intimidated but Yoongi is wearing a sweatshirt with cat ears stitched to the hood, so he can only feel soft inside.

 

Yoongi twitches under Jungkook’s appraisal. “Um, yeah maybe, we do a lot of university gigs.” He pushes back his hood to reveal silver hair and Jungkook straightens his back. 

 

“Wow. I mean, yeah I definitely recognize you. You guys are great.” Jungkook blushes and then shuffles back to stand by Taehyung, tugging on the back of his shirt to indicate he needs help carrying on the conversation. 

 

“Alright, if I don’t sing Birthday by Somi in the next 30 seconds, I’m gonna throw a fit.” Taehyung puts his arms around Hoseok and Jungkook’s shoulders and pushes them up the steps toward the noraebang. 

 

After an hour of truly terrible singing (except for Seokjin who, no matter how hard he tried to be over the top bad like everyone else, just couldn’t sing a bad note), Taehyung sits in a sweaty heap next to Jimin, the first time he’s gotten a chance to get close to him tonight since everyone demanded he sing duets with the birthday boy. Taehyung finally managed to beg off, so now Hoseok and Yoongi are doing a routine to some retro Japanese song. Jimin is giggling at them, but when Taehyung sits down next to him he shifts deeper into the bench seat and turns his attention to Taehyung.

 

“Having fun, birthday boy?” Jimin’s eyes are glittering with something, and Taehyung is already transfixed. He’s pretty sure he’s had a full bottle of soju to himself at this point and he can feel himself being dragged into Jimin’s orbit. 

 

“You haven’t sung a song with me yet. I think we should sing a song together.” Taehyung yanks on his shirt a little, feigning being impatient but actually he just wanted to feel the texture of Jimin’s shirt. It was a loose cashmere sweater that hung off his shoulders in a truly scandalous way.

 

“Take a little break, we have the whole night.” Jimin pats his hand, and Taehyung can’t figure out how to stop leaning in, but he’s pretty sure he’s almost in Jimin’s lap at this point.

 

“We have the whole night?” Taehyung pushes his hair out of his face where it keeps falling into his eyes. He has to see Jimin, he doesn’t know why his hair is trying to stop him from seeing Jimin.

 

Something like pleased astonishment flashes across Jimin’s face. He wasn’t expecting Taehyung to be this forward, but if there’s one thing he likes in men, it’s someone who takes initiative. “Yeah, however long you want.”

 

At that, Jimin reaches forward and pours them another round of shots.

 

                                            

 

Taehyung wakes up to a pounding, but this time it’s not at the front door, it’s just his head seems to have a pulse, and the little sliver of light that’s making its way through his curtains is triggering some sort of erratic beat that makes his vision swirl. He tries to remember why he feels this way, when something warm shifts besides him. He opens his eyes wide, and then immediately clamps them shut, because, no, too bright, not yet. While he waits for his head to soothe itself, he thinks back to last night and can recall dull flashes of karaoke, duets, shots, more shots, and for some reason a traffic cone that he remembers shoving onto Jungkook’s head before running away with someone. That someone seems to be next to him right now, and he can probably guess who it is but he’s afraid he’ll jinx himself if he presumes and it’ll end up actually being a homeless person he drunkenly offered his bed to. 

 

He shifts to his side and counts to counts to 10 before opening his eyes again, and when he does he’s graced with a truly magnificent site. Park Jimin is sleeping with both hands tucked under his cheek, smushing it up so he looks like a mochi ball. His lips are parted a bit, and look very swollen, and Taehyung blushes at another flash of memory from last night, when he lifted Jimin onto his counter and asked Jimin if he ever wears lipstick, because lips like his should be showcased. Taehyung smiles through the blush though because he remembers how Jimin laughed. 

 

Now comes another memory from yesterday, this one less blurry because it occurred before any alcohol had been consumed: Taehyung promising Jungkook that this exact situation, the one where Jimin is in his bed with bruised lips and no clothes, would not occur during their 3 month filming schedule. Taehyung bites his lip, eyebrows furrowing together as he considers what action to take. But then Jimin’s eyes open and Taeyung forgets anything needs to be done, and instead just melts back into the pillow. 

 

“Morning. Why are you staring at me.” Jimin rasps, pushing his hand gently into Taehyung’s face. 

 

“M’not staring.” Taehyung mumbles, pulling Jimin’s hand from his eyes, and continuing to do just that. 

 

“Right now. You’re doing it right now.” Jimin tries to yank the blanket over his face, but Taehyung rolls over on top of him, planting his hands on either side of his face. “Noooo, please, my face is bloated. Don’t look.”

 

“It’s not bloated, it’s just happy to see me.” Taehyung sits back on Jimin’s stomach and pokes his cheeks, smooshing them back and forth so Jimin’s lips purse together. 

 

“112, help I’d like to report a crime, there’s a naked grown man sitting on me poking my cheeks, and not the good kind.” But Jimin just lies there in a limp puddle, letting Taehyung have his way with his face. 

 

“Wanna get some breakfast? You need sustenance for your dance battle tonight.” 

 

“It’s more of a party than a dance battle, but yeah, you’re right. Some breakfast would do wonders for my head.” 

 

Taehyung rolls off Jimin and they get up to get dressed, both reaching out to steady the other when their hungover bodies make them wobble. Taehyung is searching for his phone when it starts ringing, making it easier to find it under the pile of clothes he stripped off yesterday in a hurry. When he sees it’s Jungkook, he flinches and takes a deep breath before answering. 

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hey, I’m going to pick you up in 10 minutes so we can review footage. You ready?” Jungkook sounds like he’s getting into his car, the faint rattle of his keys coming through the phone as he unlocks it. 

 

“No!” Taehyung yells, before backpedaling, “I mean, um, no I’m already on my way to you, I felt like going for a walk this morning and I’m actually pretty close to your studio. I’ll stop for breakfast and bring you something.” Taehyung turns his back to Jimin when he notices him looking at him quizzically. 

 

“Oh, alright. That sounds great, I’ll see you soon.” 

 

Taehyung hangs up and turns toward Jimin with a sheepish expression, and Jimin is looking at him, head already tilted in confusion. “Sorry about that, um, Jungkook can’t know about you being here.” Taehyung is trying to find a better way of saying that without sounding like a dick, but Jimin is already frowning. 

 

“Um, why exactly?” He crosses his arms and looks at Taehyung expectantly, like he too is waiting for Taehyung to smooth over the situation somehow. 

 

“Well, actually, you see, I promised Jungkook I wouldn’t sleep with you? I mean, not that I had planned to sleep with you, I’m not a creep. Not that I wish I hadn’t slept with you, I definitely wanted to sleep with you. But Jungkook said we had to keep it platonic with the film subjects. Which you are. A film subject, that is. So.” Taehyung ends lamely, cringing at how shitty that sounded. He opens his mouth to backpedal, but Jimin speaks before he has the chance. 

 

“Ah, ok. So I’m gonna go then. See you around.” Jimin picks up his coat from the floor and shuffles it on while he opens the door. 

 

“No! Don’t go! Let me get you breakfast, I swear this is coming out worse than it really is, I definitely want to sleep with you again.” Taehyung smacks himself in the face at how crass that sounded, and when he removes his hand, the front door slams close, and Jimin is gone.

 

“Fuck.”

 

                                            

 

Taehyung’s morning didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked, but he’s confident he can mend things at the dance battle tonight. He and Jimin have chemistry, and he can’t let it be wasted just because he maybe made it sound like he wanted some creepy hidden relationship. 

 

The party is happening in a swanky house in a rich neighborhood, and the host asked if they could record on a smaller camera so that the other guests don’t feel uncomfortable. So Taehyung has his handheld camcorder that he used to use in highschool to make short films with his friends in his backyard, and Jungkook has the camera he brings with him when he travels. They get to the party right as it’s scheduled to start, which means they are absolutely the only people there, which is good, because they have to scout out the best angles to film. There’s a huge front hall with a split staircase that has a platform where it divides, and that’s where the dancers will be performing. There’s 8 groups that are coming, and they all come every year to do a routine in front of the familiar crowd, apparently to test out new moves before using them in competitions. 

 

The owner of the house, Bang Si-hyuk, is big in the underground community, and a lot of people think of him as a mentor figure. He was apart of the scene for years before he made it big as a producer, so he throws this party every year to stay grounded in the community that got him to where he is today. When they arrived, Jungkook asked him if he’d be willing to do an interview for the film and he agreed, so Jungkook hasn’t been able to stop smiling with excitement all night.

 

Around 11pm, people start flooding in, and since the dancing doesn’t start until after midnight, Taehyung starts weaving through the crowds, looking for Jimin. Everytime he thinks he sees familiar light brown hair through the throngs of people, he blinks and it’s gone. Finally he sees Yoongi and Jungkook talking in the kitchen and he sidles in next to them. “Hi guys, have you seen Jimin? Or like Hoseok, or really anyone, not Jimin specifically.” 

 

Jungkook jumps when he starts talking, looking flustered, probably from how many people are at the party, Taehyung thinks, Jungkook isn’t good with crowds. 

 

“Hi, Taehyung,” Yoongi smiles at him. Tonight, he’s in a leather jacket and black ripped jeans, and he should be the most intimidating person in the world, but Taehyung has seen Jimin naked, so he doesn’t think anything will ever feel as intimidating ever again. 

 

“I’m not sure where they are, I can help you look.” Jungkook starts putting his beer down on the kitchen counter, but Yoongi puts his hand on his shoulder to stop him.

 

“They’re upstairs warming up, third bedroom on the right.” Yoongi waves Taehyung on, and if it were different circumstances he might question why he’s being rushed off, and he might even stay to ask Jungkook if he wants some water because his face is looking pretty flushed, but he doesn’t do any of that because he needs to make things right with Jimin. 

 

Taeyhung gently knocks on the bedroom door upstairs, but the house is too loud and there’s no way anyone would be able to hear such a soft sound. He’s gearing himself to knock more aggressively, when the door opens up. Jimin’s looking back over his shoulder, saying something to Hoseok, so he doesn’t see Taehyung, and he jolts when his body makes sudden contact with Taehyung’s. 

 

Taehyung reaches down to his hips to steady him, but Jimin is already pushing away, “Sorry about that.” He doesn’t make eye contact with Taehyung, and before he can say anything else, Jimin’s slipping past him and disappears down the dark hallway.

 

Taehyung’s turning to go after him but next out the door is Hoseok, who sees him and smiles widely. “Taehyung! Ready for us to go on? We’re the first crew tonight, so should be just after midnight.” 

 

“Yeah, all systems are go. I’ll be front and center and Jungkook will be getting high angle shots from the balcony. Try not to kick me in the face.”

 

Hoseok wraps his arm around his shoulder and walks with him to the staircase. “Don’t worry, I’ve got full control over these gams. If anything, tell Seokjin not to throw me too far, sometimes he goes full hulk mode.” 

 

“No promises, I think it’d be a great addition to the routine if you ended up in Taehyung’s lap, could be great for the film.” Seokjin ruffles Taehyung’s hair before jogging down the stairs, where Jimin is waiting. 

 

Taehyung perks up when he sees him, but once Seokjin reaches him, Jimin turns and cuts through the crowd with Seokjin in tow. 

 

Hoseok feels Taehyung deflate, and squeezes his shoulder. “Uh oh, trouble in paradise already?” 

 

Taehyung whips his head to Hoseok, question apparent on his face.

 

Hoseok smiles, “Jimin’s my roommate, so I know when he doesn’t come home at night. And when y’all disappeared at the same time last night, well, I’m not an idiot.”

 

Taehyung looks sheepish. “Oops. Did other people notice…? Like Jungkook?” 

 

“Nope, you shoved that traffic cone on his head and it took Yoongi a few minutes to get it off. Speaking of, have you noticed something between them?” 

 

Taehyung is too full of relief to listen to Hoseok any further. “Thank god, ok, Jungkook wants to keep things professional with you guys until the shoot is over, could you not mention this to him? Please?” 

 

“Yeah, no problem. My lips are sealed.” 

 

“Thank you, I owe you, all your drinks tonight are on me.”

 

“It’s an open bar.”

 

Taehyung is already jogging down the stairs, noticing the time and realizing he needs to get his camera ready before the performance. “Treat yourself to anything you want, you’ve earned it!”

 

                                            

 

Their performance is incredible. Just after midnight, the lights dim, and a green spotlight floods the stage, and Hoseok, Seokjin and Jimin jump onto the stage right as the music starts. It’s a new Steve Aioki song, and even though Taehyung saw them practice it the other day, nothing compares to the actual performance. Their energy is turned up to a decibel that makes their practices look like a lazy sunday in bed. The crowd goes crazy, and afterwards, as they make their way through the party to give way for the next crew, everyone slaps them on the back in congratulations, and Taehyung follows them out, filming it all. They spill outside for fresh air, hugging and complimenting each other’s performance, and Jimin makes eye contact with the camera before blushing and turning away. Taehyung lowers it and turns it off so the group can celebrate properly. 

 

Jungkook comes running out of the house with Yoongi and Namjoon in tow, and stands next to Taehyung beaming. “How great was that?!” 

 

Taehyung smiles and hugs Jungkook sideways while the other guys dogpile on top of each other. Seokjin is groaning about how he’s too old for this, and Jimin snakes his hand through the mess of the pile of bodies to smack Seokjin’s butt, telling him to stop saying he’s old. Namjoon is pinching everyone’s cheeks one by one and wishing them a happy new year, and Hoseok is trying to tug the bottle of champagne out of Yoongi’s hand so he can have a sip, while Yoongi groans but then smiles in submission. 

 

Taehyung and Jungkook look on and both think the same thing, though neither says it out loud. They are so lucky to have found this group of people. 

 

                                            

 

They have a gap in filming for the next few days while the crew goes home to visit various families they didn’t have time to see during the holidays. Since Taehyung saw his family for Christmas, he stays in Seoul, in his apartment, thinking about the rest of the night after they finished filming on New Years Eve. 

 

Jimin had managed to avoid talking to him the entire night, but also somehow was within his line of sight the whole time. And whether Jimin knew Taehyung was watching him or not (he definitely knew , Taehyung thinks half bitterly), he succeeded in stomping all over Taehyung’s heart by flirting with every person at the party that wasn’t Taehyung. 

 

First there was the guy in the kitchen, who Jimin did shots with and helped him wipe off his shirt when he spilled tequila on himself. No stain is deep enough to have warranted the amount of time Jimin spent rubbing away at that guy’s chest. Next was the DJ, who let Jimin come up into his booth and held his hips while he showed Jimin which buttons to push. Taehyung had thought the music was shitty that night, and clearly this guy was lazy if he couldn’t even be arsed to push his own damn buttons. And finally came the moment when the remaining guests learned that Bang Si-hyuk had a lap pool installed in his basement, and Jimin let himself be dragged in by some muscle head who didn’t even ask him if he wanted to go in or not. Taehyung doesn’t care if Jimin had already pulled his own shirt off in preparation to go swimming, if Mr. Beefy was a gentleman, he would have asked.

 

So sure, after all that, it might seem like Jimin was trying to send a message to Taehyung, especially because of all the prolonged eye contact he managed to make with Taehyung while he was in the hands of these other men, but Taehyung refused to hear that message. He wouldn’t let Jimin push him out, he would just have to try harder. He just might need a miracle to get Jimin to stay in the same room with him long enough to hear him out.

 

                                            

 

Perhaps the gods were listening to Taehyung’s plea for a miracle, because a few days into the new year, Taehyung is looking through his closet for his favorite wool cap when he remembers the last time he wore it was at the warehouse last week. He knows he can just wait for tomorrow, when they’ll be there to film more practice footage, but he had really planned to wear that cap with his outfit today. It’s supposed to snow and he wanted to go for an evening walk, and how was he supposed to go on an introspective stroll without a thinking cap. 

 

So he drives over to the warehouse, and when he’s walking up to the door, he can hear the familiar sound of Hoseok’s speakers blaring through the space, which is weird because he’s pretty sure Hoseok said he wouldn’t be back from Gwangju until early tomorrow morning. Taehyung peaks around a tower of cardboard boxes, half afraid to find some kind of dance obsessed burglar, but all he sees is Jimin lying in a heap of sweat and exhaustion, looking like he just finished practicing a routine.

 

Taehyung subtly points up towards the heavens and whispers thank you. 

 

But doing things subtly isn’t something Taehyung is good at, so what actually happens is when he begins to point upward, his arm brushes up against a stack of precariously placed boxes and what can only be described as an avalanche ensues. 

 

In some twisted act of fate, a domino effect occurs and 3 stacks of boxes about 10 feet tall each tumble into each other and loudly collapse to the ground, contents spilling out everywhere. On the way down, one determined box, this one perhaps sent by Satan, flies through the air and smashes into the door handle, breaking it clean off.

 

Once the clattering calms down (the boxes were filled with metal pencil holders, now rolling in every direction on the floor), Taehyung notices that Jimin is screaming.

 

Taehyung peaks his head out from behind the piles of boxes that still stand, and gives a sheepish wave to where Jimin is now crouched on the ground, in some sort of ninja pose. 

 

“Fucking shit, Taehyung, what are you doing?!” Jimin stops shouting and clutches his chest.

 

“Um. My hat. I left my hat here. Sorry.”

 

“Oh god, we’re not supposed to disturb the boxes, that’s the one rule the owner has,” Jimin groans as he stands up straight, coming over to inspect the mess.

 

“Yeah, uh, I think we have a bigger problem.” Taehyung points with one hand to the door handle, scratching the back of his head with the other. “I’m not sure how that happened.” 

 

Jimin paces over to the door and tries pushing it, but to no avail. He tries sticking his fingers into the hole left by the missing handle, but the bolt is stuck shut, with no way to move it except the handle on the other side of the door.

 

“Well, shit.”

 

“Yeah.” 

 

Jimin takes a deep breath, trying to control the situation. “Well, go on, call someone, they’ll be able to open it from the outside. Or Hoseok can call the owner to open the garage doors.” 

 

“I can’t, I left my phone in the car. Use your phone.”

 

“My phone’s busted, it got all wet in the pool the other night.”

 

Aha! Taehyung thinks, Mr. Beefy was a jerk after all. No way would Taehyung have thrown Jimin in without checking his pockets first. Some people have no class.

 

“Why do you look so smug, we’re stuck.” Jimin shoves his shoulder.

 

“Oh.” Taehyung is now fully understanding their predicament. Without phones, there was nothing to do except sit here and wait for 10am tomorrow when everyone else would be arriving for practice. “Oh, fuck.”

 

“Yeah. Unless you have any other ideas.” Jimin slides down against the wall and sighs deeply, defeated.

 

Taehyung looks around, surely there must be some way out. But nothing new appears, no random tool chest, no secret windows, not a single hidden bookcase leading to an exit. Just a room full of boxes, a boom box, a locked mechanical garage door and one very busted door handle.

 

“Well, first things first, we should probably clean up this mess.” 

 

Your mess,” Jimin mumbles from behind his hands, rubbing his face in a way that makes Taehyung think he didn’t expect to be in this particular situation today, maybe ever.

 

“Yes, my mess. But it would be very nice if you could help me out. I’ll buy you cookies.” 

 

“I’ll take a raincheck on that, I don’t think there are any cookie vendors inside this warehouse. Although…” Jimin gets up and goes over to his bag that’s sitting next to the speakers. He gasps and pulls out a handful of granola bars. “Thank god for Hobi, always shoving these in my bag so I stay nourished.” 

 

“Hobi?” Taehyung asks, already jealous. He should be the one making sure Jimin was well fed, not some jerk named Hobi.

 

“Hoseok. It’s his nickname. Short for J-Hope.” Jimin throws Taehyung one of the bars and sits down on the ground, beginning to stack the pencil holders one by one on top of each other. Taehyung hurries to join him.

 

“So...” 

 

“Ugh, please, can we not talk about it.” Jimin stacks the cups a little faster, refusing to look up at Taehyung.

 

“No, we have to, I messed up and I feel awful, and I keep making it worse and worse and I swear I’m not a bad guy, Jimin.”

 

“I know you’re not a bad guy,” Jimin mumbles to the pencil holders.

 

“Thank you.” Taehyung smiles, but tries to tone it down, knowing he’s not in the clear yet. “This film means a lot to Jungkook, and if he felt I was jeopardizing it in anyway, it would really upset him. And I know he’s a big boy and would probably eventually understand, but I just can’t add another thing to his plate right now. I just want to be a supportive friend who isn’t doing the exact thing he promised not to do.” 

 

“Well, couldn’t you have thought that before you slept with me?” Jimin stops stacking the cups finally and crosses his arms at Taehyung.

 

“That would have been a great option, you’re right. But also, if I could travel back in time, there is no way I wouldn’t have done the exact same thing. You’re too hot. And I’m a big dummy.”

 

“Sheesh, thanks.” Even as he says it, Jimin’s mouth is curling upwards. But he forces it back down. “I’ve been in too many relationships where I’ve been a secret, I promised myself I wouldn’t do it anymore.”

 

Taehyung heart breaks, not for himself, but at the thought that Jimin has ever been unhappy or sad or confused. “You shouldn’t have to. I’m sorry I made you feel like you were back in a shitty situation. And in 3 months, maybe I can take you on a date, but until then, can we be friends? I would really, really like that.”

 

Jimin looks at him in doubt, weighing the pros and cons in his head. But at the end of the day, Taehyung seems nice, and honestly, they’re about to be stuck in a room together for 14 hours, so it probably would be nice if they weren’t avoiding each other the whole time.

 

“Alright.” Jimin continues to stack the pencil holders again, handing them to Taehyung so he can put it in the box next to him. Taehyung smiles as he takes them from him, feeling so much relief he lets a giggle escape.

 

“Oh my god, you did not just giggle because I said we can be friends. Who are you?” Jimin shakes his head, but Taehyung just scoots closer and helps him with the next box.

 

                                            

 

After 3 hours of stacking, they’ve finally finished all the boxes, and once they pile them into short towers by the door, they collapse in a heap. 

 

“I never want to see a cardboard box again,” Jimin moans from the ground.

 

Taehyung blindly reaches from where he lays next to Jimin, and covers the other’s eyes. “Keep your eyes closed then, because I hate to break it to you but we’re surrounded by them.”

 

Jimin sleepily shakes his head so Taehyung’s hand slips off. “What do we do now? There’s nothing left to pack and we can’t have sex.” Jimin sounds petulant and Taehyung smacks him.

 

“If we’re gonna be friends, you can’t talk about us not having sex, because then all I can think about is us having sex.” 

 

“Ok, no more sex talk. What do we talk about instead?” Jimin rolls over on his side, and Taehyung has to work hard to not imagine that they’re in his bed again.

 

“Your family,” Taehyung stutters out. “Tell me about your family.”

 

So they talk about their families, and where they grew up. They talk about their first kisses and their favorite classes. They talk about moving to Seoul for college and never leaving. They talk about their favorite comic book cafes, and which webtoons they like. They talk until Jimin can hardly keep his eyes open, so Taehyung fashions them a bed out of ripped up cardboard boxes and pulls his coat over them as a quilt. He puts his wool cap over Jimin’s head so he won’t get cold, because even with the space heater that they keep in here for winter practices, it’s still nippy. 

 

Taehyung tentatively puts his hand on Jimin’s hip, seeing if he’s ok with it, and Jimin just responds by sleepily nudging forward so they can wrap around each other to conserve body heat. 

 

Even though Taehyung will most certainly wake up with a stiff neck and sore back, he thinks this might be the best night sleep he’ll ever get. 

 

                                            

 

They wake up to a metal screech as the door haphazardly opens, broken handle dragging against the ground.

 

“What the he-” 

 

Taehyung opens his eyes blearily to see Hoseok rapidly looking between them and the broken handle, trying to understand what scene he just walked into.

 

“Morning,” Taehyung hums, unraveling himself from Jimin and stretching out his back. He shoves Jimin’s shoulder to wake him up but Jimin just groans.

 

“Gross, did you guys come here to fuck?” Hoseok is holding his hands out to block their bodies from his view, looking at anything but them.

 

“Hyung, we’re clearly not naked.” Jimin grumbles, pulling the coat off Taehyung, and wrapping it more securely around himself.

 

“Yeah, we’re just friends. We got locked in here last night.”

 

“Just friends, huh?” Hoseok looks at them doubtfully, but looks back over to the broken handle, lying at the base of the closed door. “How’d you manage to break the handle? Wait, fuck-” Hobi runs over to the closed door, “Now we’re all locked in, you idiots!”

 

“Hey, we didn’t tell you to close the door.” Taehyung is pawing at the edge of his coat, trying to get under again. Jimin lifts it up an inch and Taehyung worms his way back into its warmth.

 

“Why aren’t you guys freaking out, we’re trapped!” Hoseok is frantically looking around the room for exits, just as Taehyung did last night.

 

“Relax, Seokjin or Jungkook will be here in a few minutes. We’ve been here for hours, a few more minutes won’t kill us,” Taehyung hums as Jimin pets the side of his head, smoothing down his bed hair.

 

They both grunt as Hoseok lays down on top of them, wriggling to get in between them. “If I die here, someone tell my sister I’m sorry for cutting her bangs that one time. I never apologized and it took months for them to grow back out. I should have been a better brother.” Hoseok bites his fist dramatically, stifling a sob.

 

Taehyung and Jimin beat him with pieces of cardboard until Seokjin comes through the door a few minutes later.

 

“HOLD THE DOOR,” they all yell at once.

 

                                            

 

After that day, Jimin and Taehyung establish a nice routine. They exchange numbers once Jimin gets a new phone and text on the days when there’s nothing to film. They talk about how they can’t wait until winter is over, and how they plan to go to see the cherry blossoms in Namsan Park once they bloom. Taehyung talks about going to Kyoto when he was younger to see them, and he promises to take Jimin there one day, too. Taehyung secretly thinks it would be a great spot for their honeymoon. 

 

They text while Jimin is at his day job, teaching little kids different ballet positions, and Jimin sends videos of himself practicing their hip-hop routines in the mirrored studio, still dressed in tights and leg warmers from the class he just taught. Taehyung saves all those videos.

 

Even when they’re at practice, sometimes Jimin will text him during a brief break, some wisecrack about something Seokjin said, and Taehyung has to stifle his laughter so Jungkook doesn’t ask who he’s texting. 

 

At a practice a few weeks into Taehyung and Jimin’s newfound friendship, Jungkook has to rush off after they wrap up filming to make it to another appointment on time, so Taehyung agrees to take a taxi home and waves him off. As Jungkook pushes through the door, Taehyung notices soft clumps of snow drifting down from the sky, and clasps his hands together in excitement. After missing the last snowfall because he was locked in the warehouse all night, he has been waiting impatiently for the next time it would snow. He looks over to where Jimin is scrolling through his phone, wiping his face with a towel after the long practice. 

 

Taehyung pulls out his phone and sends him a text.

 

it’s snowing

wanna go

for a walk

?

it's SNOWING


Jimin looks up at Taehyung at the sudden influx of texts, brows creased in confusion before looking back down and reading them. A grin spreads across his face. He nods at Taehyung and holds up a finger to indicate he needs a minute.

 

Taehyung slows down as he packs his bag, to the point where he looks a bit ridiculous. How many more times can he unzipper his bag to check what’s inside without looking like he has some form of amnesia? 

 

Seokjin claps him on the back as he walks out, “See you tomorrow, Taehyung!” He waggles his fingers under his chin in a flirtatious wave, a glint of knowing in his eyes, and Taehyung realizes he must look pretty obvious about why he’s lagging behind. 

 

Next, Hoseok pinches his side as he passes him. “Well, I guess I’ll be heading out then. Just gonna go back to my apartment, all by myself! Definitely don’t want to walk in the snow with my friends! Just gonna make some instant noodles and think about the slow passage of time!” 

 

Jimin arrives at Taehyung’s side and they both blink at Hoseok, innocently waiting for him to leave.

 

Hoseok scoffs at them, “Fine. Bye, losers.” He flips them off as he exits the building.

 

Jimin is giggling as he tugs Taehyung forward so they can also leave. 

 

“Aw, now I feel bad I didn’t invite him to join us.” Taehyung frowns as he watches Hoseok trudge off towards the bus stop. 

 

“Don’t, he hates the snow, he would have complained the whole time and made us find a cafe to sit in. He just likes being difficult sometimes, it’s a hobby.” Jimin says it so lovingly, Taehyung wonders to himself if Jimin sounds like that when he talks about Taehyung. Probably not, but all in good time.

 

They make their way toward Han River, the snow beginning to stick to the sidewalk and settle on the leaves of the trees that line the street. Taehyung points to every dog they see and asks Jimin what he think their name is, and at every answer Jimin gives, Taehyung nods deeply and calls out a greeting in their direction. “Hello, Peppermint”, “Good boy, Fish Cake”, “See you later, Poopy”.

 

Jimin giggles at the last one, dog owner giving them a weird look as they pass by. 

 

“Poopy is a cute name for a dog, maybe I’ll name my dog that one day,” Taehyung considers to himself. 

 

“Please don’t, Taehyungie.”

 

Taehyung smiles at the nickname, hiding his face under his cap as he looks down. “Alright, you can name my dog when I get one. I give you full naming authority.”

 

Jimin’s eyes dart off to the side when he notices a bungeonppang cart nearby. “Yes, yes, yes! I hope they have cream filled ones,” he says excitedly, grabbing Taehyung’s arm and pulling him towards the cart, “You can buy me one since you locked me in a warehouse overnight.”

 

“I thought we agreed to stop making me feel guilty about that,” Taehyung lightly smacks Jimin’s hand where it’s holding onto his arm, but he walks faster, excited for the sweet fish bread. 

 

“This is the last time I’ll bring it up, this treat will exponge you of all debt,” Jimin taps his arm impatiently, “Cream filled, please.”

 

Taehyung gets them both a pastry and they walk down the length of the park that lines the river, passing by couples enjoying a stroll through the snowy twilight. Taehyung has always wanted to have someone to go on walks through the snow with, but Jungkook gets cold too quickly so he usually just goes by himself. Having Jimin with him is nice, it changes the way he sees the snow. Usually wrapped up in his own thoughts, he thinks of snow as source of dulling out the noise, an aid when he’s trying to work through his thoughts, a friend you go to when you want to have a serious talk about your emotions. 

 

Instead, now as he’s walking with Jimin, the snow is lighthearted, a trickster that makes Jimin slip a little and grab onto Taehyung for support, a burst of laughter when Taehyung forms a snowball and tosses it at Jimin’s back, only to be chased in circles under a tree until they’re both out of breath and can’t see through the fog their warm breath makes in the chilly night air. 

 

Taehyung hasn’t seen this version of his old friend snow since he moved to Seoul from down south, since his mother used to chase him around their backyard at the first sight of snow, since his friends would pelt him with snowballs after school until they all collapsed in laughter. He missed this, so while Jimin is still trying to catch his breath, Taehyung looks up into the sky, smiling and thanking the snow for returning to him in this way.

 

Wet snow hits his chin while he’s looking up and Jimin is already stepping backwards once Taehyung brings his head back down. “Come here, you brat!”

 

Jimin is hiding behind the trunk of the tree, peeking his face out in mock outrage, “Yah! Who you calling a brat? I was on this earth 2 months before you were born, show your elder some respect!” 

 

“Forgive me, hyungnim.” Taehyung bows at his waist and Jimin comes back around the tree laughing, pushing at Taehyung’s shoulder to bring him upright. 

 

“Let’s get going, my nose is numb.” Jimin picks up Taehyung’s hand and pushes at his sleeve to get to a bit of skin between his glove and coat, and presses his frozen nose to it.

 

Taehyung yelps, “Yeesh, I get it, I get it.” Taehyung’s cheeks are flushed too, but mostly from the warm feeling that has spread through his chest and body. 

 

“Wanna share another bungeonppang before we go,” Jimin says, looking at him with a smile that would indicate that they were two kids sneaking in some cookies before dinner, rather than two adult men who could eat as many pastries as they please. 

 

His smile is mirrored on Taehyung’s face, and at the same time they both bolt off towards the food cart, glowing in the distance as dusk takes over Han River. 

 

                                            

 

Jungkook wants to record some footage of their lives outside the crew, so they divide up the work, Jungkook will follow Seokjin around for a day at his job at his brother’s ramen restaurant, while Taehyung goes to Jimin’s dance studio, and the next day they both will shadow Hoseok. Taehyung hugs Jungkook when he says he can have Jimin’s slot, and whispers a crude joke about slots in his ear, prompting Jungkook to smack him.

 

On the morning of Taehyung’s day with Jimin, he picks them up coffee and muffins on the way to the studio Jimin teaches at. Jimin says he gets here early most days for some peace and quiet before his first round of 3 year olds come toddling in at 11am. Taehyung didn’t want to intrude on the only bit of solitude Jimin gets in a day, but he insisted he didn’t mind, which Taehyung takes to mean Jimin is comfortable with Taehyung, so he smiles all the way to the studio. The lady at the cafe finds it charming and gives him one of the muffins for free. 

 

When Jimin opens the studio door for Taehyung at 10am, he’s wearing an oversized fleece and black tights, not yet wearing his ballet slippers, and Taehyung gives him a big hug because Jimin looks so soft, it’s unbearable.

 

“Good morning to you, too,” Jimin chuckles, waddling backwards to bring them both into the studio and nudging the door shut. 

 

“Can I borrow this fleece sometime, I’ve never felt something so soft.” Taehyung nuzzles his nose into Jimin’s shoulder, who giggles and pushes him away.

 

“You’ll never give it back if I give it to you.” 

 

“Says the person who still hasn’t given me back my wool cap,” Taehyung says as he crosses his arms, though he doesn’t mind that Jimin has his cap, he likes the idea of Jimin wearing it much more than he cares for the hat himself. 

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jimin smiles innocently, taking the coffee and muffins from Taehyung’s hands. 

 

Taehyung sets down his bag in the back of the room, and finds an angle that will capture Jimin without the mirror reflecting him filming. He finally settles on a position, still watching Jimin through the lens of the camera while he does stretches, and Taehyung can’t help following his movements with the zoom. He’s in a deep lunge, stretching out his hip flexors, and Taehyung can’t help but focus in on his butt. Thank god the camera isn’t recording yet because Jungkook would not appreciate this footage.

 

“Kim Taehyung, if you’re filming my butt I swear I’ll throw that camera out the window,” Jimin shouts over his shoulder.

 

Taehyung jerks the camera up and chokes a bit. “I wasn’t!” But he’s already blushing, and Jimin gives him an exasperated look.

 

“It’s so easy to tell when you’re lying. Your eyes tell it all.” Jimin switches to a sitting position and stretches out his neck.

 

“Alright, if you can read me so well, what am I thinking right now?” 

 

“Yes, you can have the other half of my muffin.” Jimin rolls his eyes.

 

Taehyung barks out a laugh, because now that he thinks of it, he is still a little hungry. But the real reason he wheezes away is because what Jimin misread as hunger for food was actually a much different kind of hunger, but Taehyung doesn’t think Jimin will appreciate him making that correction. Their friendship has settled into something warm and comfortable, and Taehyung doesn’t think bringing up sex would be the best idea. He thinks about the end of the 3-month shoot, which is now only 4 weeks away, and the comment he made that he would ask Jimin out on a date then. But that was before he got to know Jimin really, got to rely on him so much. If things went sour for them, Taehyung wouldn’t just be losing a lover, he’d be losing one of his best friends. The thought stresses him out, so he pushes it away for another day.

 

“What’s up?” Jimin is looking at him in the reflection of the mirror, knees curled up to his chest underneath the fleece. “You look like you’re thinking pretty hard over there.” 

 

“Nothing,” Taehyung gives him a boxy smile, putting the camera down and sliding on his socks over to where he sits. “Want me to start filming yet?” He plops down and nudges Jimin with his foot.

 

“Not just yet,” Jimin scoots onto his side and lowers his head into Taehyung’s lap. “Hoseok had a bunch of college friends over last night so I slept on Yoongi and Namjoon’s couch. My neck is all stiff.” Jimin reaches over his shoulder to tap Taehyung’s hand, and Taehyung gets the hint and starts massaging him. Jimin hums and slumps his head deeper into Taehyung’s thigh.

 

“You should have called me, you could have slept in my bed.” Taehyung digs his thumb into a knot at the base of Jimin’s neck, which prompts him to groan deeply. Taehyung shifts in his seat, trying to think of anything other than the sounds coming out of Jimin’s mouth so close to his groin.

 

“Didn’t want to bother you. Plus, Yoongi didn’t get home until like 2am so I at least got a few hours of sleep in his bed before he kicked me out. He hates sharing beds, he probably was at someone’s place and snuck out once they fell asleep.” 

 

Taehyung would never do that to Jimin. “Is Yoongi seeing someone?”

 

“I think so, the last few weeks he’s ditched a lot of our hangouts to go off to some mystery man. Yoongi is definitely the type of person to choose hoe time over bro time. We don’t mind though, we know he loves us.” Jimin shifts into a sitting position in front of Taehyung so he has better access to his neck.

 

“We should see him perform some time, when is the next time Yoongi turns into Suga?” 

 

“Actually I’m planning on going to see him and Namjoon this weekend, they’ve got a gig at a club nearby. I’ll text you the details later,” Jimin rotates his necks and sighs in bliss. “You’re a miracle worker, Kim Taehyung. Alright, class starts in 10 minutes, let’s get going.”

 

The classes go by in a flurry, and Taehyung has to stop himself multiple times from dropping the camera to coo over the toddlers. He’s never seen such tiny ballet slippers, and when one little girl walks up to his camera to offer him one of her ballet shoes since he doesn’t have any, he has to stop himself from outright crying. He doesn’t do a good job though, because Jimin subtly passes him a tissue the next time he’s on Taehyung’s side of the room. 

 

By 4pm, all the classes are over and they both sit slumped against the mirrored wall. “How do you have the energy to do this everyday, that was utter chaos.” 

 

Jimin laughs, “Not everyday is this many toddler classes, tomorrow I actually have some pre-teens, and it’s modern dance so it’s a little less monotonous than toddler ballet.” 

 

“I think I understand a little bit of why you like hip-hop so much, it feels like a lot more freedom than this.” 

 

“Yeah, between ballet and hip-hop, it’s no competition. Modern gives me a lot more freedom though, which is why I studied it in school, but hip-hop… I don’t know, maybe it’s me rebelling from years of training, but it just feels good.” Jimin shrugs and picks at a thread on his pants.

 

Taehyung pats his hand, stilling his fidgeting, “I’m glad you found something that makes you happy. You deserve it.”

 

Jimin pushes at his shoulder, “Shut up, oh my god, you’re always so sincere.” But he’s smiling and looks pleased that he opened up a little.  

 

“Alright, I should be going. I’ll see you tomorrow though, we’re starting Hoseok’s day at your apartment. I can’t wait to see what Park Jimin’s bedroom looks like.”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows shoot up and he rushes to start packing his bag, “Shit, my room is a mess, it’s gonna take me forever to clean it.” 

 

Taehyung laughs, “You don’t need to clean up for me, silly.”

 

Jimin pelts a mitten at Taehyung’s head, “I’m not cleaning for you, loser, but if there’s about to be a camera crew in my apartment, my mom will faint if she hears I didn’t tidy. She didn’t raise a slob.” 

 

“I don’t know, it kinda sounds like she did-” Taehyung gets cut off as another mitten hits him in the head.

 

                                            

 

When Jungkook and Taehyung enter Hoseok and Jimin’s apartment the next morning, it’s spotless and exactly how Taehyung imagined it. In the entrance hall is a little mat that has Mickey Mouse winking on it, and the selection of house slippers are every color of the rainbow. The living room has a bookshelf, but instead of books, there are rows and rows of stuffed animals, puzzles, figurines and other stuff you could imagine Hoseok spotted at some street vendor or thrift shop and just insisted on bringing home.

 

The room has a very warm atmosphere, and Taehyung opens his mouth to compliment it, but somehow his brain hasn’t yet connected with his mouth, maybe he needs more coffee, because instead he says, “Where’s Jimin’s room?”

 

Jungkook raises an eyebrow at him but Hoseok just chuckles and points at a closed door at the end of the hall. “He spent the whole night cleaning, he’s a real slob so honestly, thank you guys for coming, he never listens to me when I tell him to tidy up. Jimin! We have company!” 

 

“Coming!” They can hear him moving faintly behind the closed door, there’s some shuffling and then a sharp crash, followed by a long silence. “.....I’m okay!”

 

Jimin finally opens up his door, wiping his hands on the front of his shirt, “Sorry about that, was trying to fix my lamp but it’s too tall and decided to fall on top of me.”

 

“I’m tall, I can help,” Taehyung excitedly strides over to Jimin’s room, too impatient to wait any longer. 

 

“Yah! I didn’t invite you in, you brat!” Jimin is trailing behind him, and smashes into his back once they get to his room because Taehyung stops short in the doorway.

 

“Oh my god,” Taehyung breathes, “It’s so ... cute.” 

 

The bed has a cloud like white comforter, patted down and made perfectly tidy. On the walls are garlands of paper flowers with photographs clipped on it of probably every person Jimin has ever met. Pictures from childhood, pictures from adulthood, pictures from Busan, pictures from Seoul, pictures from abroad. On the shelves next to his bed are trophies, little ones from when Jimin himself was in toddler ballet, and bigger ones from college competitions in modern dance. There’s one that looks like it was handmade by a friend, probably Hoseok, and scribbled at the bottom is “World’s Sexiest Dancer”, and Taehyung most certainly agrees with that one. A desk that must have been previously used for studying in his school days, now acts as a vanity table, with bowls of rings and stands to hold his dangly earrings, with a small square mirror propped up against the wall with even more photographs tucked into the corners. Taehyung sees one photo of the crew on New Year’s eve, he knows because he’s the one that took it for them on Hoseok’s phone. And another catches his eye, a selfie the two of them took the morning after their night in the warehouse. Having finally gotten his phone out of his car, he insisted they take a picture so they’d always remember the start of their friendship. Jimin had told him he was embarrassing, but he still swiped Taehyung’s phone so he could email himself the photo.

 

All over the room are objects that were given to Jimin from people he holds dear, symbols of love that he wants to surround himself with, to remind him that not only does he give love, but he is loved. From what Taehyung knows of his past relationships, he thinks that’s something Jimin treasures greatly.

 

“Do you like it?” Jimin asks, timidly, standing behind Taehyung as he inspects the room.

 

Taehyung can’t talk because a sudden realization has hit him and he can’t shake it out of his head. He can’t believe he let himself do this, after deciding he didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize their friendship. After their day together yesterday, Taehyung laid in bed thinking about a life without wholesome texts from Jimin saying he misses his mom’s kimchi, without his random head pats that soothe Taehyung so deeply, without the smile that means Jimin is about to say something particularly crude. Taehyung felt so sorely empty at the thought of losing all those little things that have added up to be something much greater. A source of happiness that seems immeasurable. 

 

So, he told himself that they would just stay friends, he didn’t have the courage to take the next step, plus, what if Jimin wasn’t even interested anymore! Taehyung never took that into consideration! Maybe at first glance Taehyung is tall, dark and handsome, but once you get to know him he’s a bit too silly, talks too slow, too clumsy, not boyfriend material. Just because Taehyung’s feelings got deeper doesn’t mean he should expect Jimin’s to, as well.

 

Taehyung scratches the back of his head. Last night, this all made sense, but now, standing in Jimin’s bedroom, looking at relics of his past, Taehyung only knows one thing. He’s in love with Park Jimin.

 

Jimin prods his shoulder, “Gosh, if you hate it, just say so. I mean, I know it’s a bit cluttered, I should really get rid of all those old trophies, it’s ridiculous I’ve even kept them all this time. Who needs a Most Improved trophy from 1st grade, anyways?” Jimin laughs in a self deprecating way, and crosses in front of Taehyung, reaching over to the trophy shelf. 

 

Taehyung’s hand bolts out, shaking himself from his reverie, and yanks Jimin’s hand away from the cute golden ballerina. “Don’t you dare. I would never forgive you if you got rid of her.” Taehyung pats the trophies head and avoids Jimin’s eye contact, hoping he can’t see the love in his eyes.

 

But Jimin just smiles, “Alright, if you say so. I’ll keep it just for you.”

 

Taehyung coughs a little bit, still feeling flustered from him revelation. “Alright, I should start filming. Are you gonna stick around?” 

 

“No, I’m gonna head to the studio. But we’re on for this weekend, right? The hyungs’ club gig?” Jimin grabs his bag from his perfectly made bed, and looks at Taehyung expectantly.

 

“Yeah, definitely. I’ll meet you there.” 

 

“Great,” Jimin beams, and then crashes a hug into Taehyung, “Have fun with Hobi, I’ll talk to you later!” 

 

And with that, he’s out the door, Taehyung’s arms falling limp to his side, feeling a little bit colder without Jimin’s presence. 

 

                                            

 

The next night, Taehyung shows up to the venue, game face on for some good ol’ fashioned bro time. He won’t let himself think about how in love he is. It’s just two pals, hanging out, zero sexual tension. Sex? Between bros? Nope, Taehyung would never even think of it. 

 

When Taehyung heads inside and spots Jimin through the throngs of people who have already shown up in the small venue to see RM and Suga perform, he shakes out the nerves in his hands and puts on a warm smile. Jimin pushes through a few people waiting by the bar, and when he arrives in front of him, Taehyung can’t remember how Platonic Bros greet each other. Surely not a hug. A hand shake? Too formal. Fist bump? Yes. Yes, perfect. 

 

He pushes out his fist in between them, and Jimin looks down at it and cocks his head in confusion. 

 

“Are you trying to fist bump me?” Jimin asks, a giggle threatening to escape his mouth.

 

“Um,” Taehyung looks down at his fist in confusion too, trying to rewind time 10 seconds. 

 

The giggle escapes Jimin’s lips, and he pushes Taehyung’s fist the the side, reaching up onto his tiptoes to wrap his arms around Taehyung’s neck in a warm hug. “You don’t have to seem edgy just because you’re at an underground rap concert.” 

 

Taehyung instinctively reaches his hands down to Jimin’s hips, bending down a little so he doesn’t need to stand on tiptoes. Jimin squeezes the back of his neck and pulls away a little, “Shall we get drunk?”

 

A ping in the back of his mind reminds Taehyung what happened the last time they got drunk together. He blinks, and he sees a flash in his mind of waking up to Jimin’s rumpled hair and soft smile and bare chest. 

 

“Um…” Taehyung realizes at this point in their conversation, that all he’s actually said so far is ‘um’, and he works his brain to think of other words, literally any other word. Before he can come up with one, Jimin grabs his hand and pulls him to the bar, signalling the bartender for 4 shots of tequila. Jimin picks up two and passes one to Taehyung, picks up a salt shaker and licks his hand so the salt will stick, before gesturing to Taehyung to do the same. Taehyung has to snap his jaw closed, because he’s pretty sure the time space continuum just got fucked up, as he’s almost positive he just watched Jimin lick his hand in slow motion. 

 

Jimin flicks his nose and Taehyung realizes he’s still holding the salt out for him to take, so he sprinkles it on the back of his hand, pouring half of it onto the floor. Jimin is watching him with warm eyes and reaches his shot glass up to clink with Taehyung’s, “To tonight, your first experience seeing RM and Suga, a night you’ll surely remember forever.”

 

Taehyung squeezes his eyes shut at the burn of alcohol going down his throat. Jimin shoves a lime wedge in his mouth, and Taehyung blindly accepts, sucking at it until it’s just pulp and rind. Jimin picks up the next round of shots and passes it to Taehyung. As Taehyung accepts it, there’s sounds coming from the stage and they look over to see the lights flick to a red glow. 

 

“Hurry, it’s starting!” Jimin slings back his shot and heads toward the stage, and before he can reach back to make sure Taehyung is following, Taehyung flings the shot over his shoulder, emptying it out onto the dark sticky ground, and pushes the empty glass onto the bar top. When Jimin looks back and sees the empty glass he smiles, “Wow, look at you, you’re not even flinching, I’m so proud.” 

 

Taehyung just smiles a little self consciously, but knows that if he’s going to survive tonight, and the rest of their friendship for that matter, Taehyung can not get drunk, under any circumstances. Alcohol leads to giggles in a corner and that leads to slutty dancing and that leads to them in each other’s beds the next morning. 

 

They make their way as close to the stage as they can get, and Taehyung is impressed by how many people there are who seem to be genuinely excited to see Namjoon and Yoongi, and didn’t just drunkenly stumble into the bar. When they come out onto the stage, a beat starts up right away and Suga starts a whirlwind verse, rapping faster than Taehyung’s ever heard. By the second song, Taehyung is jumping up and down so wildly that he could probably be mistaken as their biggest fan, though it’s definitely heading in that direction. Namjoon is doing a whisper rap right now and Taehyung can feel a high pitch scream crawling to get out of his throat, but he tries to subdue it to seem like he has an ounce of chill. 

 

Jimin goes to get them beers, and while Taehyung is standing there by himself his eyes wander around the crowd, noting that most people seem to about college age. He wonders if they perform at a lot of venues near universities, and got most of their following that way. 

 

His eyes suddenly stop at a dark figure leaning against the wall just to the right of the stage, sees the flash of a familiar smile, and squints his eyes, wondering if the one shot of tequila was enough to mess with his vision. But no, his vision is fine, and that’s Jungkook standing in the crowd, cheering now as the latest rap comes to an end. 

 

Taehyung pushes his way through the crowd, confused by his friend’s presence, but excited to see him because now maybe there can be a more natural barrier to keep him from looking at Jimin as anything more than a friend. 

 

“Jungkook! What are you doing here?” Taehyung claps him on the shoulder and Jungkook jumps so violently that he spills half the beer he’s holding onto the floor.

 

“Taehyung?” Jungkook is looking at him, startled, a blush slowly taking over his face. 

 

“Did Jimin invite you to come, too?” Taehyung says, smiling at his friend and looking over his shoulder to see if Jimin is still at the bar, but he can’t see from this angle. 

 

“Jimin?” Jungkook looks like he’s trying to process a lot of information at once, and Taehyung idly thinks maybe his friend has had a bit too much to drink. 

 

“Yeah, Jimin invited me to come see Yoongi and Namjoon perform, how did you know about it?” Taehyung asks, patiently.

 

“Um,” Jungkook is glancing between the stage and Taehyung, “I-”

 

“There you are, I thought I lost you,” Jimin is saying suddenly, coming up from behind Taehyung, “Thank god you’re tall- oh, hi Jungkook, I didn’t know you’d be here!” Jimin smiles brightly at Jungkook, scooting next to Taehyung for space in the crowd, and Taehyung takes a step back, giving Jimin room so he isn’t crushed by the group of teens who are now jumping in sync to what sounds like the last song of the night.

 

“I didn’t know he’d be here either. You should stay out with us after this, Namjoon is taking us to his friend’s bar nearby, said he’ll give us a discount on drinks.” Taehyung smushes a thumbs up into the side of Jungkook’s cheek, his face still in a state of slack jawed confusion. 

 

“Um, I don’t know, I really just came for the set, I’ll probably head home aft-” The rapping from the stage comes to an end, and the crowd is cheering as Namjoon and Yoongi wave and make their way off the stage, jumping off the side of it rather than going backstage first. They make their way over to the rest of the guys, and Taehyung is already rushing forward to hug them both at the same time. 

 

“I had no idea you guys were so good! I think I cried at one point, when Yoongi-hyung did that really fast rap I punched Jimin so hard he almost fell on the ground,” Taehyung is rambling, and Namjoon just pats him on the head and smiles, while Yoongi riggles out of his arms.

 

“Thanks, Taehyung, I’m glad you could make it,” Namjoon says, “Now let’s get out of here before this crowd crushes us.”

 

As they snake their way through the crowd, Jungkook stumbles at one point and before Taehyung can reach out and grab him, Yoongi is there, holding onto his hips and guiding him forward. Taehyung slips on the same spot and he feels a set of hands on his waist too, small hands that hold him firmly and send a shiver down his spine. Taehyung looks over his shoulder and sees Jimin smiling up at him. 

 

Once they spill outside, they make their way up the street to the bar they’re going to, and Taehyung notices that Yoongi’s hand is still on Jungkook’s hip, and Taehyung thinks to himself that Jungkook must be wasted if he’s wobbly even outside, away from the crowds.

 

And then he sees Yoongi’s hand drift down and rest on the back on Jungkook’s pants, thumb hooking into the waist of his jeans. Taehyung tilts his head in confusion and stops in his tracks. 

 

Jimin crashes into his back, “Yah, what are you doing, we aren’t there yet.” He pushes Taehyung forward but he keeps his feet grounded.

 

He lifts his arm and points at Jungkook’s ass, now 10 meters in front of them. He looks down at Jimin and makes a sound to indicate a question mark.

 

“What, Jungkook and Yoongi? You haven’t noticed?” Jimin looks him in the eye and laughs at how flabbergasted Taehyung seems. “They’ve been so obvious! I mean, admittedly, I didn’t realize they were actually a thing, but I mean they definitely went home together on New Year’s eve. How did you not notice, they literally got in a cab together.”

 

“I thought they just lived near each other and wanted to conserve gas! That’s what Jungkook told me!” Taehyung gapes, both in shock at the truth and also that he believed Jungkook’s blatant lie.

 

“Wow. You’re a bit oblivious, aren’t you?” Jimin nods to himself like this makes sense, and finally manages to push them forward. “Come on, honey, let’s have a drink.”

 

The worst part is that Taehyung can’t even get drunk to dull his mind from this sudden new information. No matter how much he wants to drink so that he can ignore the fact that Jungkook is finally dating someone after years of saying he was too focused on his studies to be in a relationship, Taehyung can’t indulge himself because now Jimin is sitting on his knee at their booth in the bar, and it’s taking every bit of his energy to not wrap his hands around his waist and drag him into his lap. 

 

Jimin keeps shifting, leaning forward to shove Namjoon’s shoulder or to grab another drink from the table. Taehyung can’t stop staring at his ass, face going slack at the memories he has of his one night with that ass, very personal, intimate memories that he’ll keep locked in his brain until he dies. He doesn’t even know why Jimin is sitting on his knee, there are plenty of perfectly empty seats, but Taehyung is too sadistic to point that out. If only he weren’t too much of a coward to do something about it. 

 

He almost wants to reach for a drink, just to give himself an excuse to pull Jimin closer. Jimin is several drinks in, and his laughter has become more and more boisterous, back arching and head falling back onto Taehyung’s shoulder as he cackles at something Namjoon says. Taehyung smiles shakily, because Jimin makes him happy, but also horny, and his face can’t choose which emotion to land on. He wonders if there’s a word mashup for being happy and horny, maybe “horppy”, but he’s pretty sure most people just call it love.

 

He shakes his hair over his face, hoping to disguise some of the blush that has risen to his cheeks. Jungkook keeps nervously glancing at Taehyung like he knows he’s been caught, and Taehyung is glad at least Jungkook doesn’t think he’s a complete clueless fool, because Yoongi’s hand has been on his thigh all night and if Jungkook thought he could slip that past Taehyung, then he’d be truly insulted. 

 

Seokjin and Hoseok spill into their booth a little while later, waving glow sticks from the rave they’ve just left and they’re so drunk that Namjoon slips a glass of water into Hoseok’s hand and tilts it into his mouth while he continues to chatter on about how he got a unicorn painted onto his stomach by a stranger, and would Namjoon like to see? Namjoon just patiently nods along and grips the bottom of Hoseok’s shirt to prevent him from flashing the entire bar. 

 

During this bit of chaos, Taehyung nudges Jimin off his knee and clears his throat. “I’m going to go to the bar to get a drink, would anyone like to join me?” Jimin opens his mouth to answer and Taehyung flaps his hand to cover Jimin’s mouth. “Jungkook, did I hear you say yes?” 

 

Jungkook looks up at Taehyung with wide eyes, shifting his glance from Yoongi to Taehyung, back and forth, back and forth, until Taehyung sighs loudly and yanks his hand to pull him up.

 

They shuffle over to the bar, Taehyung walking behind Jungkook with both hands on his shoulders, making sure he can’t escape. When they get to the counter, Taehyung signals for 2 beers, even though he’s not drinking. They stand in silence for a beat, and then Jungkook jerks his body to face Taehyung and rushes to speak in a way that makes it seem like he’s been rehearsing it in his head all night.

 

“I know I didn’t tell you about Yoongi-hyung but it was all so sudden seeing him that night at karaoke, and I didn’t say anything to you because I was embarrassed but I used to go to Yoongi and Namjoon’s shows when we were in college and I had a huge crush on him and it was so silly but I was practically one of their groupies and after one of their shows Yoongi chatted me up at the bar and I know I had that whole ‘no relationship policy’ during school but he was so cute and I was such a big fan so when he asked to take me home I said yes and after I was annoyed at myself for breaking my focus from my studies so I stopped going to their shows and then when we saw them on your birthday it took Yoongi a bit to recognize me because I used to have pink hair but when he did we started talking and he asked why I stopped going to the shows and then one thing led to another and now I think we’re dating even though we haven’t made it official because I said I have to focus on this film project but he’s been coming over every night and I think he likes me? And I like him a lot. So.” 

 

Jungkook fizzles out and his shoulders slump like he’s been pent up with stress and now that Taehyung knows he can finally relax. He’s been avoiding Taehyung’s eye the whole time, scratching at a scuff mark on the bar counter. He finally glances up and his eyes widen in shock. “Hyung, are you crying?”

 

Taehyung reaches out and pulls Jungkook into a tight embrace, rubbing his face on his shoulder to get rid of the tears. “I’m just so happy for you, you’ve been so lonely all these years and now you’re finally done with school and you’re so grown up, I just love you so much.” 

 

“It’s ok, you don’t have to cry, everything’s alright,” Jungkook shushes him gently, rubbing circles into his back until Taehyung hiccups out his last tears.

 

They pull apart and Taehyung pats Jungkook’s shoulder one last time, “Ok, you return to your man, I’ll just gather myself over here. Remember, I’m proud of you.”

 

“Stop saying you’re proud of me for dating someone, you make me sound like I’ve been a hermit all these years,” Jungkook says, but he’s blushing and looks happy.

 

“I’m proud of you!” Taehyung calls after him, before turning back to the bar and slumping against it, tired from the outpouring of emotions. He feels a hand spread across his back and Jimin’s face is suddenly in view, peaking at him over the bartop. 

 

“My baby, why are you crying?” Jimin wipes at his cheeks, “Are you secretly in love with Jungkook and hearing that he’s dating Yoongi sent you spiralling?”

 

Taehyung slaps at his hand. “No, I’m not in love with Jungkook.” I’m in love with you, Taehyung thinks, but gulps it down. “I’m just happy for him. He’s grown up since I met him when he was 18, it’s a lot to take in.” 

 

Jimin rubs Taehyung’s earlobe, and murmurs, “The way you switch between mother figure and absolute baby is constantly giving me whiplash.” He tugs at his ear and smiles, “Come on, I want to hear you interrogate Yoongi about his intentions.”

 

Taehyung smiles at him and lets himself be led back to the booth, where Seokjin has turned his glow sticks into nunchucks and is telling Jungkook that if he’s not a coward he should fight him. Taehyung lets warmth bloom through his chest, thinking the same thought he did on New Year’s eve, but this time more sharply. He’s so thankful that he’s found this group of friends, and he’s going to hold onto them as long as he can.

 

                                            

 

It’s the final week of shooting suddenly, and they’ve got a packed schedule. A few days of intense practice, followed by Spring Clash, the annual dance battle that takes place every March where crews from all over come to perform their most intense routines. There’s a cash prize, and last year Hoseok’s crew placed third, and they’ve spent the past year upping their game and learning new tricks. Hoseok keeps saying that if they win, he can finally get serious about opening his own studio instead of being a freelance choreographer. Seokjin and Jimin have been working themselves to the bone, hoping not to disappoint their leader. 

 

After a particularly grueling practice, Taehyung is filming Jimin where he’s collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily with a towel draped over his face, and Taehyung feels a pang of guilt for filming him instead of being at his side. When Jungkook gives him the clear to stop filming for the day, Taehyung packs away his camera as fast as he can and hustles over to Jimin with a bottle of water.

 

“Come on, sit up, you need to hydrate.” He puts his hand under Jimin’s neck and gently lifts him up. 

 

Jimin groans but allows himself to be pulled into a sitting position. “I’m fine, I just need to sit for a second. Hobi kicked my ass today.” Jimin pulls the towel off his face and huffs out a breath. 

 

“Ready, Taehyung?” Jungkook calls from the other side of the warehouse.

 

Taehyung looks back at him over his shoulder and hesitates, but Jimin pushes him away. 

 

“Go, go, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Jimin waves him off, prodding him until Taehyung finally stands.

 

“You sure?” Taehyung looks doubtful, taking in Jimin’s flushed face, sweat still dripping down. 

 

Jimin flashes a smile at him and throws the towel at his head. “Yes, mother, I’m good.”

 

Taehyung follows Jungkook out, feeling bad that he can’t comfort Jimin anymore. He’s been pushing himself a lot harder this week, the weight of the competition finally catching up to him. Taehyung had noticed a shift in his mood, he was quieter at practices, silently moving to the routine even while they were taking breaks, and getting visibly frustrated when he slipped up on a move, no matter how subtle the mistake was. 

 

Taehyung is laying in his bed at home later that night and decides he should get Jimin to relax and watch a movie. There’s truly nothing like a romantic comedy to get you out of your own head. So he grabs his laptop and heads over on the bus to Jimin’s apartment, picking up candy and instant noodles from a convenience store on the way. Hoseok answers the door and smiles when he sees him, seeing the noodle cup in his hand and grabbing it.

 

“Wow, you must have been reading my mind, I was just looking through the fridge for something to eat.” Hoseok walks happily towards the kitchen to boil some water.

 

“Woah, woah, slow down, that’s for Jimin. I wanted to make sure he’s eating.” Taehyung reaches out to grab the cup from Hoseok but he’s already ripping the lid off.

 

“Jimin’s not here. You snooze, you lose.” Hoseok bobs his head happily, reaching in the drawer for chopsticks. 

 

“Huh? Where is he?” 

 

“I don’t know actually, I kind of figured he was with you since you’ve got this whole friends with benefits but without the benefits thing going on. Seriously, what is up with you two?”

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes and ignores him. “I haven’t seen him since practice. Did he come home with you afterwards?”

 

“No, he stayed behind to stretch,” Hoseok says, and exasperation dawns on his face, “Fuck, I bet he’s still practicing, he was annoyed he kept getting the timing of his flip off. Bastard, I should go get him.” Hoseok puts down the noodles and starts looking for his keys.

 

“No, no, I’ll do it, I wanted to see him anyways. You stay and have the noodles. And make sure you stay hydrated!” Taehyung yells as he closes the front door in Hoseok’s face despite his protests. 

 

Practice ended 3 hours ago, and Taehyung wonders if Jimin really could still be there. If he was, Taehyung had underestimated just how much pressure had gone to Jimin’s head. He takes a cab to the warehouse, not wanting to waste time on the bus ride, and when he sees the lights of the warehouse still shining through the multicolor glass windows, he knows Hoseok was right. 

 

It’s quiet inside, and when Taehyung comes through the doors, he sees Jimin lift his head up from where he’s folded up on the ground, scrolling through his phone.

 

“Taehy-” Jimin starts in confusion but Taehyung cuts him off.

 

“No more practicing. You are amazing, and the competition is going to be great, and you won’t let Hoseok down, and you are going to sit down for 2 hours and watch a movie with me.” Taehyung drops down to sit against the wall with Jimin, and pushes his knees down so he can lay half his laptop on Jimin’s thighs.

 

“I’m fin-” Jimin starts again, but Taehyung puts his hand over his mouth.

 

“Stop saying you’re fine. You’re stressed out, and that’s alright, you’re allowed to be. Just let me help you relax.” Taehyung looks Jimin in the eyes and waits until he hesitantly nods before he removes his hand from his mouth. Jimin continues staring at him, and Taehyung feels a blush taking over his cheeks. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have cut you off.”

 

Jimin continues looking at him seriously, opens his mouth like he’s about to say something, but then closes it and gulps. He shakes his head and settles back against the wall, pulling the laptop securely onto his lap.

 

“It’s ok, it’ll all be over soon. I just need to get through this week, and then everything will get better. Right?” Jimin looks at Taehyung again, question in his eyes, and Taehyung just nods and passes him the candy.

 

“The competition will all be over soon and you can relax again. Cherry blossom season is right around the corner.” 

 

Taehyung puts on a random Taiwanese romantic comedy that he’s probably seen about 15 times, but one of the characters reminds him of Jimin, and every time he comes on the screen Taehyung whispers, “That’s you,” to Jimin, and Jimin just grumbles that he’s much more handsome than the actor. By the end of the movie, Jimin is folded over laughing because he hears Taehyung sniffling at the happy ending. 

 

“Don’t make fun of me! I’m just happy for them!” Taehyung blots away his tears with the neck of his shirt, and closes the laptop so he can kick Jimin’s leg. 

 

“You’ve seen this before, you knew they would get together!” Jimin is still laughing, but now lays limp on the floor, sighing in contentment. “Such a baby,” he says, fondly.

 

Taehyung hits him again but is grinning now, feeling triumphant in his quest to get Jimin to not think about dance for a little bit. “Come on, let’s get to the bus stop. It’s late and you’ve got toddler ballet in the morning.”

 

Jimin rolls over and starts getting up. “You know my class schedule? Oh my god, you’re obsessed with me,” Jimin preens at Taehyung.

 

“I know all my friends’ schedules. You’ve got toddler ballet, Jungkook has a meeting with me about editing, Hoseok… will probably be dancing somewhere…” Taehyung ends lamely, assaulted again by Jimin’s knowing laugh. 

 

“Ok, sure buddy, you seem to really know everyone’s schedule. You’re definitely not obsessed with me.” Jimin hooks his arm through Taehyung’s and they leave the warehouse, strolling slowly through the cold night air. 

 

I am obsessed with you, Taehyung thinks, but he keeps it to himself.

 

Taehyung calms his rapidly beating heart and escorts his tired friend on the bus ride home, holding on too long at the quick hug Jimin gives him before getting off at his stop. 

 

“Only a little bit longer,” Jimin murmurs into his shoulder, and Taehyung thinks he must be talking about the competition again. 

 

“You’re gonna be great, I’ll be cheering for you.” 

 

Jimin pulls away and bites his lip, same serious expression he had on before the movie, but before he can say anything else, the bus doors are open and he has to get off. 

 

Taehyung leans his head against the wall of the bus, and sighs in defeat. His plan to stop being in love with Jimin isn’t going smoothly, but it’s hard to be mad at himself when being in love feels so good. He doesn’t feel mopey like he has with past unrequited crushes. Sure, he feels overwhelmed and a bit confused, and he has to look away from Jimin’s eyes when he thinks it must be so obvious, so blindingly clear that Taehyung’s in love with him. But it also feels like it’s what he’s supposed to be feeling, like the universe made people like Jimin so that you could feel love and joy and lust without any complications, without having to try very hard. A free cupid’s arrow to use on yourself when your heart is running on empty. 

 

Even with the stress of knowing he has to be careful to not overstep if he wants to keep their friendship as it is now, he doesn’t mind the little bit of internal tension. The pros outweigh the cons, and he’d be a fool to let a phenomenon like Jimin slip through his fingers just because he got greedy.

 

                                            

 

The night of the Spring Clash arrives, and Taehyung and Jungkook get to the venue an hour early to set up their equipment. It’s in a huge warehouse, practically the size of a football field, tucked away on the river on the outskirts of Seoul. There’s a huge stage set up with rafters for lighting and speaker systems as tall as Taehyung. Compared to their performance on New Year’s eve, this is 100 times bigger, and Taehyung starts to understand why Jimin was getting so nervous. 

 

They do a short interview with one of the organizers, who tells them that probably about 2,000 people will show up tonight, and they’ll have a DJ set going on for about an hour to get the crowd riled up before they start the competition. There’s 12 groups that will dance tonight, some crews consisting of only 2 people, and some as many as 14. 

 

Feeling nervous for his friends, Taehyung texts Jimin a series of messages wishing him luck, followed by a flood of emojis that he associates with Jimin, smiley faces and dancers and baby chicks and snowflakes and more. Jimin only sends him back a fingers crossed emoji, and a “find me after”, and Taehyung blushes a little at the request. Of course he’s going to find Jimin after, but hearing Jimin tell him directly, order him to, made him feel something deep in his stomach, something halfway between feeling cherished and aroused. Instead of saying any of this, he just sent back a heart-eye emoji.

 

The first hour is madness. People start trickling in in the first few minutes the doors open, but within 10 minutes, the place is already packed, and the DJ starts his set once there’s about 500 people present. Taehyung prowls around while they wait for the main event to begin, and people keep walking up to him to ask if he wants to dance and he just has to point back at his camera station where Jungkook is standing guard and just shrugs apologetically. It’s been a while since he was out alone in a party environment and not in a booth tucked away with friends, so he forgot that people seem to see him as an alluring figure. A few months ago he would have been shameless and danced with people while Jungkook yelled at him from the sidelines to focus, but he doesn’t really feel like flirting with people who aren’t Park Jimin, it’s just not an intriguing offer to him anymore. 

 

Once they finish the DJ set and introduce the first crew of the night, Taehyung feels a buzz in his pocket and pulls out his phone to a series of texts from Jimin.

 

Park Jimin (loml <3)

 

how does it look out there

the crowd seem nice ?

they don’t seem like they’ll boo right

tell me it’s gonna be alright

 

Taehyung

 

ur gonna be great

ur the most fantastic person i’ve ever met

my brain explodes every time u dance

i worship the ground u dance on

 

Park Jimin (loml <3)

 

ur not just saying that bc i’m cute right

 

Taehyung

 

i’m saying it bc ur cute AND it’s true

don’t think just dance 

if they see what i see then u guys r sure to win

 

Park Jimin (loml <3)

 

ok i trust u


Taehyung has to stop himself from saying “I love you”, the urge is so great that he can’t even respond to Jimin’s last text, he just pockets his phone and tries to focus on the competition. 

 

After 9 more crews perform, it’s finally time for Hoseok’s crew. The previous groups had been good, but in the back of Taehyung’s mind he knows, he knows, that none of it is on the same level as what Hoseok, Jimin and Seokjin are capable of. 

 

Taehyung sees the shadow of their three forms huddled next to the stage, heads bowed together, and he can tell which one is Jimin, his petite frame reaching out and gripping the back of Seokjin and Hoseok’s necks like they’re his lifeline. At that moment, he glances up, head still bowed but tilted sideways, and through the dim glow of the room, and through the throngs of people who stand between them, Taehyung knows Jimin can see him. He raises his fist, in a silent cheer, and then the three of them are gone behind the speakers, and then up the stairs of the stage and settling into their positions. 


And… it goes off without a hitch. Taehyung holds his breath the entire time, and he’s thanking Jungkook in his head for assigning him with the static shot rather than fighting to zoom in at all the right moments like Jungkook is doing on the other side of the crowd right now with the handheld camcorder. He has no doubt in his mind that he would have dropped the camera and ruined the whole film, because Jimin just did a jump kick so high in the air that Taehyung gasps suddenly and realizes he hasn’t inhaled in 2 minutes. The crowd is gasping with him though, and he shakes his head a little bit to get out of his stupor, and he realizes they’re cheering, and whooping, and shouting with glee every time they nail another sequence. 

 

When it ends they make so much noise that Taehyung can feel the bones in his toes vibrating, and he watches as his three friends hug on stage, grabbing onto each other, out of breath and laughing. Then they’re pulling each other off stage and the next group is announced and it takes every fiber of Taehyung’s being not to sprint over to them. He’s got to pack up his station and quickly load it into their car before meeting Jungkook by the stage to film the results with a smaller camera. 

 

He’s never packed up so quickly in his life, he’s not 100% sure he even turned the camera off, he’s just detaching the tripod and shoving it into his bag before picking up the rest of his stuff in a heap in his arms and jogging to the car. He can hear the cheers from outside, and by the time he makes it back to the warehouse after the long stretch from the car, the last group is performing, and Taehyung nearly breaks his leg jumping around people to get to the back of the stage. He sees Jungkook first where he’s standing at the base of the stairs on the side of the stage, ready to film the announcement of the winner.

 

“Ok, ok, I’m back, where are the guys?” Taehyung says, before bending over, huffing out deep breaths, wishing he were in better shape.

 

Jungkook nudges his foot with his own, “Thanks for running, it’s almost time. They’re in the back corner trying to cool off. They were great, right?” Jungkook smiles excitedly, and Taehyung mirrors it back at him. They both are thinking the same thing, but neither wants to say it out loud in case they jinx it.

 

Taehyung weaves through the crowd of performers nervously waiting just as the last crew finishes to the loud cheers of the audience. He can hear the MC saying that the winner will be revealed in a few minutes, when suddenly there’s someone grabbing him, squeezing the air out of his lungs and breathing hotly in his ear. He has hugged Jimin enough times at this point to know it’s him, so he just holds on as tightly as he can, rocking him back and forth, Jimin chattering away breathlessly in his ear.

 

“I don’t even care if we win, that was amazing,” Jimin pulls his head away a little, standing on his tiptoes to rest his forehead against Taehyung’s. “Did you see the end? I kept messing it up in practice and I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to get the footing right, but I did it! It felt so good, I feel like I’m vibrating out of my skin-”

 

Taehyung cuts him off suddenly with a kiss, surging forward recklessly and pressing his mouth firmly against Jimin’s, like he’s wanted to do every day for the past 3 months. He thinks he must be having an out of body experience, because he can’t really remember the moment he let his guard come crashing down, doesn’t recall allowing himself to even consider doing this. All he knows is he had felt Jimin’s breath against his face, and his hand on the back of his neck, and he looked so happy, and Taehyung couldn’t stop himself from leaning in the extra few inches. 

 

It’s awkward for the first second, because Jimin was in the middle of speaking, so his mouth closes over Taehyung’s lips in a weird way. But then his breath catches in his throat, and he’s slotting his lips against Taehyung’s in the most perfect way, and Taehyung has to squeeze his eyes shut even tighter, afraid that if he opens them he’ll realize he’s dreaming. They breathe each other in, like a sudden breath of fresh air in the dark, damp warehouse they’re crowded inside, and Taehyung pulls him closer, pushing against the arch of his back to remove the space between them. They kiss sweetly, nothing like the lust that filled their first time together. Taehyung is too dazed to even think about lust, he just knows that this is Jimin, Jimin is kissing him back and leaning into him and fighting back a smile, and suddenly Taehyung is smiling too and their teeth are clacking together, but neither of them care. They slow to a stop, huffing out laughter in each other's mouths.

 

“Woah there, cowboy. Where’d that come from?” Jimin whispers, leaning back the slightest bit, their noses still brushing together, and Taehyung touches his finger tips to Jimin’s jawline, eyes roaming his face, trying to soak it all in.

 

“I-,” Taehyung starts, but he’s cut off by Hoseok tugging on his arm, an urgent look on his face.

 

“Sorry to interrupt this truly wonderful display, but Jungkook is watching you and they’re announcing the winner any second.” 

 

Taehyung twists his head in Jimin’s grip to look over his shoulder, and sure enough, Jungkook is staring at him, gobsmacked.

 

“Fuck,” Taehyung squeaks out, letting go on Jimin’s hips abruptly and fumbling with his satchel to get his camera out.

 

He takes a big step back and manages to get his camera on and angled correctly right before the MC yells through the mic, “And the winner of this year’s Spring Clash is…… Bangtan Sonyeondan!” 

 

The crowd erupts and loud victory music blasts over the speakers, and everyone is jostling each other to pat Hoseok and Seokjin and Jimin on the back in congratulations. Hoseok has already started crying and Seokjin is just laughing, laughing and patting Hoseok’s cheeks and screaming up toward the ceiling. Jimin stands there shellshocked, still staring at Taehyung in a daze, hand suspended in the air from where he had been touching his lips before the MC announced their win. Seokjin grabs his shoulders and brings him into a hug, and he seems to snap out of his trance because he cracks a smile and grips onto his brothers and starts jumping up and down. Soon they’re all jumping and spinning in a circle and Hoseok stops crying and starts laughing along with them. 

 

Taehyung realizes he’s laughing too, and tries to stop so the camera won’t shake. He follows them as they make their way towards the stage, stopping at the bottom of the stairs so they can have their moment of glory without Taehyung trailing behind them. He stands next to Jungkook as they walk onto the stage and lift up their trophy. He feels his smile slip a little when he notices the set of Jungkook’s shoulders, wrought with tension. 

 

He clears his throat to say something, but Jungkook just gives him a brisk shake of his head, cutting him off before he can begin to speak. They stand there filming for a few more minutes, watching as Hoseok starts to cry again, and Seokjin picks Jimin up and shakes him around like a child with their favorite doll, and even though Taehyung is so happy, so ecstatic for Hoseok and Seokjin, over the moon for Jimin, he can feel Jungkook standing next to him, mood sour because of Taehyung’s actions.

 

“That’s enough footage. Let’s go.” Jungkook says coolly, clicking his camera off and striding to the exit of the venue. Taehyung looks between the stage where the celebrations are winding down and the door where Jungkook just slipped out, and gulps before squaring his shoulders and following Jungkook.

 

Jungkook is already packing away his camera in the trunk by the time Taehyung gets to the car, and Taehyung edges forward nervously, not sure if he should speak first. 

 

“I had one thing I asked of you, Taehyung. One rule, and you broke it. Not only did you break it, but you jeopardized the film by almost missing the reveal of the winner!” Jungkook slams the trunk of the car shut, huffing as he crosses his arms over his chest. “What were you thinking?”

 

“I know, I know, I fucked up, but it’s fine! I got the footage! The film is fine!” Taehyung reaches out to touch Jungkook’s arm, just wanting to soothe his friend, but Jungkook jerks away.

 

“I let you be friends with them! Even though I knew it was unprofessional, I let you be friends because I know it’s your personality to love everyone around you, but I thought you would respect my judgement and keep some distance.” Jungkook walk around the car and goes to the driver’s door. “How long have you been sneaking around with him? I’m surprised this is the first time you slipped up, I just wish it wasn’t during what should be the climax of our film.”

 

“We haven’t been sneaking around! I just kissed him for the first time! Well…” Taehyung blushes when he realizes Jungkook doesn’t know about the original act of indiscretion. “Well, technically I slept with him on my birthday. But that was it, in between now and then there’s been nothing!”

 

Jungkook widens his eyes in disbelief and he chokes out, “Your birthday? You’ve been keeping this from me for 3 months?”

 

“I didn’t want to tell you because I knew you would be upset. But it was really just that one time. We’ve just been friends since, there was nothing else to hide!” Taehyung spreads out his arms in a placating manner, taking another step towards Jungkook.

 

“Stop lying to me! Clearly there was something to hide! I don’t care if you hid it from him too, but clearly you have feelings for him,” Jungkook’s voice cracks, and he turns away, facing the river. “Whatever. As long as you got the footage.”

 

“Jungkook, it’s not whatever. I broke your promise and I thought of you as my director rather than my best friend. I should have told you.” Taehyung looks at the ground and scratches the back of his head. “Though, to be fair, you didn’t tell me about you and Yoongi-hyung.” 

 

Jungkook shifts sideways to glare at Taehyung. “Me tentatively dating Yoongi is different from you sleeping with the subject of our film and you know it.”

 

Taehyung nods and lets his shoulder slump in defeat. He’s not sure exactly how to amend the situation. 

 

“Are you going to leave me here or can I have a ride home?” Taehyung asks glumly, scuffing his foot against the ground and kicks some gravel, trying to look as pathetic as possible.

 

He hears Jungkook sigh, and can imagine him rubbing at his temple, trying to regain his calm. 

 

“Of course I’m not going to leave you here, I’m upset but I’m not a dick.” Jungkook opens the car door and slides inside, but before he can shut the door, Taehyung is reaching in and hugging him sideways. 

 

“I love you and I’m sorry for almost ruining your footage. It won’t happen again.”

 

“There’s only one day of filming left, Taehyung. That’s not a very impressive promise to make.” 

 

“Well, the next time you have me on your film crew, I promise not to repeat this situation.”

 

“I would hope not, you ass. Now get off me.” Jungkook shoves him away, but his face is softer now, and Taehyung can feel that it’s going to be fine between them soon enough.

 

                                            

 

Taehyung gets home and as he’s dropping his keys in the bowl by the door, he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket.

 

Park Jimin (loml)

 

u left

 

Taehyung

 

ya

i’m sorry

 

Park Jimin (loml)

 

ok

 

Taehyung

 

jungkook was upset

i think it will be ok

i’m sorry

congrats

i

i’m sorry


Jimin doesn’t respond and Taehyung lets his phone slide out of his hand and onto his pillow. This is not how he expected his night to go. He figured he would be out with Jimin, hugging him and congratulating him and buying him drinks and laughing and celebrating with his friends. He didn’t expect to be alone in his apartment, with a best friend upset with him, and now with the love of his life thinking he kissed him and then ditched him. He’s not sure what to say though. A few hours ago he was dead set on staying friends with Jimin, but now he’s gone and had the best kiss of his life and he’s pretty sure he either just fucked up their friendship irreparably or fucked up his chance to actually date Jimin by jilting him. Either way, not good. Instead of dealing with it at 2am, he decides to sleep.


                                            

 

The day after the competition is their last day of filming, and instead of going to the warehouse they usually practice in, they’re just meeting at the studio Jungkook rents out as his editing bay. They’re interviewing them about their final thoughts on winning the competition and next steps for the crew, just as a way to wrap things up. 

 

Taehyung gets there early to check in with Jungkook to see how he’s doing after last night’s messy ending. Jungkook is setting up a white cloth backdrop with a stool in front of his tripod for the interviews, and Taehyung clears his throat to break the silence of the room.

 

“So…” he starts, putting his bag on the ground by the door and shoving his hands in his pockets.

 

“So,” Jungkook wipes his palms against his thighs, finished with the set up, and puts his hands on his hips waiting for Taehyung to continue.

 

“I’m in love with Jimin,” Taehyung blurts out, and then cocks his head to the side, startled as to why that was the first thing he chose to say.

 

“Oh? Ok…” Jungkook cocks his head too, mirroring Taehyung, looking like a pair of confused puppies. “Have you told Jimin that?”

 

“No.”

 

“Ok. Well, you probably should. And, um, why are you telling me?”

 

“Because,” Taehyung shuffles over to the stool next to Jungkook and gingerly sits down. “Because, I don’t want you to think I took your promise lightly. If it were just some cute guy, I would have ended things after that first drunken night together. But, Jimin… He’s not a one time thing. And I need you to know I tried really hard to control my feelings.” 

 

Taehyung is looking at him with such a pitiful look on his face that Jungkook can’t help but crack a smile. He puts his hand on Taehyung’s face and pushes it away.

 

“Alright, you fucking sap. I get it, you’re forgiven. Let’s just move on, I can’t stand you looking at me like that.” 

 

Taehyung gets up and scoops him into a hug, rubbing his face in the crook of Jungkook’s neck. “I love you, thank you, let’s never fight again.” 

 

“Taehyu-,” Jungkook starts, but Taehyung squeezes him harder at the sound of his protest. At last, Jungkook sinks into the hug. “Ok, we’ll never fight again.”

 

At that moment, Hoseok and Seokjin come chattering into the room, Hoseok holding some coffee and muffins even though it’s 3pm. 

 

“Good morning, everyone! Beautiful day, beautiful day!” Hoseok hands Jungkook the muffins and claps Taehyung on the back. 

 

“How late did you stay out last night that you think it’s morning right now?” Jungkook chuckles, putting the muffins on a table.

 

“I was out celebrating years worth of effort and sacrifice! Got laid too, turns out there’s a lot of people who find my movements on the dancefloor to be very seductive.” 

 

“He’s talking about Namjoon, they’ve been fuck buddies for years. I’ve tried to explain to him that it’s not impressive to sleep with your fuck buddy.” Hoseok looks affronted and Seokjin just laughs in his face.

 

“Of course it’s impressive, have you ever seen Namjoon? That’s one tall tree that everyone’s trying to climb.” Hoseok smirks, Seokjin gagging in the background.

 

“Where’s Jimin?” Taehyung finally pipes up, ignoring the rest of the conversation going on. 

 

“Oh, um,” Hoseok coughs, “Jimin isn’t feeling well so he said if you really need a soundbite from him, he can just send it over.” Hoseok looks up at the ceiling as he says it, like he’s reciting a script..

 

“Taehyung, what did you do?” Jungkook turns to Taehyung, squinting at him with judging eyes. 

 

“I didn’t do anything!” Taehyung crosses his arms, self conscious of everyone’s eyes on him.

 

“You kissed him and then when he tried to find you after, all you did was send a text saying you’re sorry!” Seokjin exclaims from where he’s standing by the mirror to check his hair before they start filming, disapproval on his face while he looks back at Taehyung through the reflection.

 

“It’s Jungkook’s fault for storming off!” Taehyung yelps, and then retraces his words when he sees Jungkook’s stormy expression, “And by that I mean, it’s my fault for not telling you the truth, and then for kissing Jimin during the competition, and then I of course followed after you because you are my number one best friend in the world and I couldn’t live with myself if I knew you had felt I betrayed you.” 

 

Taehyung waits for Jungkook’s face to soften again before he continues. “I should have called him this morning to apologize for leaving but… I don’t know, I was just scared once the adrenaline from last night left him he might regret kissing me back.” Three sets of hands smack him at the same time and Taehyung raises his hands in surrending, “Ok, ok, I’m stupid, I know! I’ll go talk to him.”

 

“He left the apartment right before I left, so he won’t be there.” 

 

“Where’d he go?”

 

“I don’t know, he just said he was going for a walk.” Hoseok pushes him toward the door, “Go find him, it’ll be romantic if you have to run all over the city hunting him down! A great story to tell your grandkids one day.” 

 

“But-” Hoseok closes the studio door in his face, cutting him off. It opens a moment later, Seokjin’s hand shoving Taehyung’s bag into his arms before the door shuts once more. Taehyung looks dumbly at his bag and then the door, not sure how he’s supposed to go about finding Jimin. 

 

He starts by going to the bus stop, and he sits their for 20 minutes considering his options. In romance movies, the lead character always just seems to know where their love interest is going to be. But Seoul is such a big city, the odds of just running into someone is so stark. Half the time, Taehyung can’t even find Jungkook when they’re meeting up at a cafe, he has to do a few loops of the tables before he spots his friend. 

 

He tries to think about Jimin’s favorite spots. He likes the bubble tea place near his dance studio, he likes walking along the river near the warehouse, he likes the street food carts near Hongik University that he used to frequent in his college days. Taehyung hears a ping from his phone, it’s a news alert saying the cherry blossoms have bloomed a week earlier than average. He thinks about their conversations about spring, about how they love when everything starts to finally bloom. He sits there for a moment, squinting up at the sky, trying to see if God is floating behind a cloud, winking down at him. 

 

He takes a deep breath before he makes his decision, flagging down a taxi and ordering it to Namsan Park. He gets out at the beginning of the main cherry blossom path, and starts a slow jog up the path, regretting making plans to visit a park with such a steep incline. He jogs for 20 minutes, dripping sweat in his warm parka and contemplating ripping it off and just abandoning it on the side of the road, when he sees a figure sitting under a tree, wrapped up in a soft fleece jacket that Taehyung immediately recognizes as Jimin’s. 

 

He stops in his tracks, still 10 meters away, and tries to catch his breath before he gets any closer. As he’s standing there, chest heaving, Jimin looks up and sees him, and yanks his headphones away from his ears.

 

“Taehyung?” Jimin calls out, looking confused, and starts standing up from where he’s leaning against the trunk of the tree. 

 

Taehyung gulps, wishing he had thought of something romantic to say, but all he could think about on the jog was how his lungs felt like they might burst. He makes a mental note to start exercising more, maybe if today goes well Jimin can help him create a fitness routine.

 

Jimin is standing in front of him now, looking at him timidly, waiting for Taehyung to say something.

 

Taehyung opens his mouth, and then closes it. He gulps again, searching for words. 

 

“Did you run here? Your face is flushed.” Jimin looks concerned, and Taehyung blushes more, embarrassed by how he must look, like some brute just standing there silently, out of breath and staring at Jimin with wide eyes.

 

“Yeah. I- you didn’t come to the studio.” 

 

Jimin looks down, shaking his hair in front of his face, “Oh, yeah. Um.” He looks up, not sure how to proceed.

 

“I’m sorry I left like that,” Taehyung rushes to say, suddenly feeling like he has too much to say and if he doesn’t say it all Jimin will leave him forever. “I’ve been trying to keep it cool around you for a long time, but last night you did so well, and you were so happy, and you looked so good, and I kissed you, and it was an impromptu decision, but I need you to know that even though it was spur of the moment, the feelings behind it weren’t. I really like you. A lot. And it was so shitty of me to leave you like that, but I had to sort things out with Jungkook, and I know this friendship started out with me hurting your feelings, and I did it again last night, but I think if we were just dating, we could make each other really happy.” 

 

Jimin blinks up at him, seemingly speechless. Taehyung looks down to the ground, shifting his weight from foot to foot. 

 

“I mean, that is, if you want to date me. I-” Taehyung gulps, trying to maintain his confidence, “I think we both enjoyed the kiss last night? I mean, I did. And, I don’t know, we have a lot in common, and you make me feel really good. I mean, not physically, I just mean I feel really good when I’m with you. That’s not to say you don’t make me feel good physically, I mean, man, that night we spent together, some of the stuff you did, jeez Jimin, has anyone told you how flexible you are-”

 

Jimin shoves a hand over his mouth, blushing as he glances furiously at the people strolling near them. “Taehyung.” He swallows and lowers his hand. “You’re not gonna run away again if I kiss you, right?”

 

“No! I won’t ever run from you ever again. I don’t care if I get a call my house is on fire, I’m staying by your side-”

 

Taehyung stops his rambling when Jimin reaches up and kisses him solidly on the mouth, clutching the back of his neck to bring Taehyung to his level. He pulls away after a few seconds to whisper against Taehyung’s lips. “You’ve got to learn when to shut up, babe.”

 

Taehyung nods impatiently, pushing back into Jimin’s space, reaching up between their bodies to bring his hands to Jimin’s face, gently cupping his cheeks in his palms. They kiss for long stretches, coming up for air only when necessary, and Jimin discovers that Taehyung has a remarkable ability to hold his breath for lengthy periods of time. After a few minutes, Taehyung pulls back suddenly, a frown between his eyes.

 

“I can’t believe you came to see the cherry blossoms without me.”

 

Jimin smiles at him, eyes so warm Taehyung feels his body temperature go up a degree. “I wanted to feel at peace because the boy I liked was yanking my heart around.” 

 

“Sorry about that.” Taehyung wrinkles his nose.

 

“Also, I thought it would be dramatic of me.”

 

“It was dramatic of you,” Taehyung dips down and kisses his nose. “Sorry, always wanted to do that.”

 

Jimin kisses his cheek, right where Taehyung has a little freckle. “Sorry, always wanted to do that, too.”

 

Taehyung giggles and kisses him again. “Oh my god, we’re so cute together.” 

 

They kiss again, Jimin swallowing Taehyung’s giggles, only to start giggling himself moments later, until they’re just smiling at each other, faces an inch apart, like a pair of lovesick teenagers.

 

“Ok, we have to go to the studio. You need to do your final interview so that Jungkook doesn’t get mad at me again.”

 

“Fine, if you say so.” Jimin sighs, reaching up to grab Taehyung’s hand from where is cups his face, bringing it down to swing it back and forth between their bodies. 

 

Taehyung giggles again, giddy. “We’re holding hands, you’re so cute!” 

 

Jimin blushes, tugging Taehyung down the path back toward the park entrance. “You’re such a sap, is our entire relationship going to be you giggling whenever I hold your hand.” 

 

“Park Jimin is holding my hand! Park Jimin is my boyfriend and he’s holding my hand!” Taehyung starts calling out to the trees that surround them, and a few couples turn their heads, disgruntled by the sudden noise. 

 

Jimin shoves at his shoulder, but he’s laughing and his face is flushed and Taehyung just smiles back at him, feeling whole for the first time in a while.

 

They take a cab back to the studio, and Taehyung sits in the middle seat the whole time so he can keep his side pressed up against Jimin. The lovey dovey atmosphere that was heightened by the cherry blossoms is replaced by something much more fiery, and he has to work hard to keep from climbing into Jimin’s lap during the car ride. Jimin keeps his head in the nook of Taehyung’s neck, and he puts his hand on Taehyung’s upper thigh when he can’t seem to stop jiggling it restlessly. It only makes Taehyung twitch more. 

 

Before they open the door to the studio, Taehyung tugs at Jimin’s hand to stop him, flipping him around and pressing him up against the door. 

 

“Do we have to go in? What if we just go back to my place?” 

 

“Taehyung, you’re the one who insisted we come so I could do my interview for Jungkook! Get your mind out of the gutter.” But even as Jimin says this, he pulls Taehyung closer, slotting his legs in between Taehyung’s, blinking up at him innocently.

 

Taehyung rushes to bring his head down, kissing Jimin feverishly, biting his bottom lip and working his hand under his shirt. Jimin strokes the back of Taehyung’s neck, tugging at his hair and gasping when Taehyung yanks one of Jimin’s thighs up, wrapping it around his waist, so Jimin hooks his heel into the back of Taehyung’s leg. 

 

Taehyung breathes harshly into Jimin’s mouth when Jimin ruts up against him, and he’s about to pull away and insist they go home, he can’t wait any longer, 3 months is a long time, when suddenly the door that Jimin is pressed up against opens. 

 

“What’s all that noise-” 

 

Jimin and Taehyung crash backwards, flopping onto the ground in front of Seokjin, who has just opened the door. Jimin groans, and Taehyung scrambles to bracket his legs around Jimin’s hips, taking his weight off Jimin’s body. 

 

“Hey guys, I think they made up!” Seokjin calls over his shoulder to the rest of the room. “God, Jimin your face wasn’t even that flushed during the competition yesterday, how hard were you exerting yourself out there?” 

 

Jimin just silently covers his face with one hand, grabbing onto the front of Taehyung’s shirt to pull him closer to shield himself from the speculating eyes.

 

“Wow, uh, congrats?” Jungkook is holding his hand out to block their entangled bodies from his view, squinting up at the ceiling as he speaks. 

 

Taehyung smiles beatifically up at his friend, not embarrassed at having been caught. “Thanks, Jungkookie, that means a lot.” 

 

“Woah, what’s going on here?” 

 

Taehyung looks over his shoulder to see Yoongi standing in the open doorway, Namjoon behind him peering over his shoulder, holding a case of beer and a bewildered expression on his face.  

 

Jungkook tiptoes around their bodies to get to the doorway. “Taehyung finally confessed he’s in love with Jimin. Hi babe.” He dips his head and pecks Yoongi on the lips in greeting.

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen and he whips his head back down to look to see if Jimin heard what Jungkook said, only to find Jimin staring back at him with his mouth agape, his hold on Taehyung’s shirt becoming vise-like. 

 

“You love me?” Jimin whispers reverently, eyes wider than Taehyung’s ever seen them. 

 

“Oops.” Jungkook says behind them, and Taehyung can hear them all quietly creep away from their laying forms and over to the couches on the other side of the room. 

 

“Um.” Taehyung stares back at him, weighing his options. Sure, he could lie and wait for a more opportune time to tell Jimin, like not when they’ve only been dating for 20 minutes. But, he’s pretty sure Jimin already knows the truth. “Yeah. Yeah, I love you.”

 

Jimin lets go of Taehyung’s shirt, and shuffles himself up on his elbows, so his face is right in front of Taehyung’s. “You love me,” Jimin says as his face opens up into a smile, eyes creasing closed. 

 

Taehyung smiles back, laughter in his chest as he says it again, feeling relief from a weight he didn’t know was holding him down. “I love you.” 

 

They kiss, both shaking with a giddy kind of laughter that doesn’t make any sound. Their teeth bump against each other, both of them unable to completely close their mouths. 

 

“I love you, too,” Jimin mumbles, his mouth still pressed against Taehyung’s. Taehyung can feel fireworks go off in his heart.

 

“God, this is sickening.” Seokjin cracks open a can of beer, sipping at it and looking around at his friends. “I can’t believe I’m the only one not sleeping with someone in this room. You guys are so horny.” 

 

Taehyung helps Jimin up, not letting go of his hands once they’re both standing, and they walk over to the couch to join the rest of the group. They’re both still smiling, and Taehyung doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

 

“Hey Jimin, we can do the interview another day, it’s no problem.” Jungkook says from the couch, where he’s got a Yoongi perched in his lap.

 

“He’s saying that because your mouth looks thoroughly bruised.” Yoongi snickers, reaching out to hand Jimin a beer, and clinking his own against it. 

 

“You guys better be planning on going back to Taehyung’s apartment tonight because I do not want to be around when you guys relieve 3 months of sexual tension.” Hoseok slumps deeper into the couch and cradles his beer on his chest, his face a mixture of disgust and pride. 

 

“Says you, the guy who made so much noise last night that not even my headphones could block it out.” 

 

“Oh, that wasn’t me.” Hoseok smirks from behind his beer can, and Namjoon punches his arm, blush blooming on his face. 

 

“Sorry about that, Jimin.” Namjoon has the grace to look abashed, while Hoseok looks nothing but boastful.

 

“Don’t be sorr-” Hoseok begins to squawk, but he’s cut out off by Namjoon shoving half a muffin in his mouth. 

 

Jungkook clears his throat and nudges Yoongi off his lap as he stands, lifting up his beer for a toast. “I know I’ve still got to film a bit with Jimin, but for the most part, today wraps up our filming. I just want to thank you all for agreeing to this, and for working so hard. I promise I’ll do the best I can in the editing phase, and hopefully I do your journey justice. And,” Jungkook looks shy at this last part, looking down to Yoongi, and then at the rest of the group. “I really do hope we continue being friends, even when I’m not forcing you to dance on camera.”

 

Seokjin raises his beer higher in the air, “You’re stuck with us now. To Jungkook, our fearless director.” 

 

“To Jungkook!” Everyone cheers in unison, cans sloshing out beer onto their hands as they all jam them into the center of the circle. 

 

Jungkook is blushing, and Yoongi pulls him back down into his lap, smiling brightly while he whispers something in Jungkook’s ear. Seokjin has pulled a bottle of soju seemingly out of nowhere, and is saying that now it’s time to make a toast to himself, the true leader of this group. Hoseok is pinching Namjoon’s cheeks, talking to him in a baby voice, while Namjoon sits there utterly resigned, but with something like love in his eyes. 

 

Taehyung tightens his arm around Jimin’s waist, prompting Jimin to look up at him, smile already brightening his face before Taehyung can speak. Taehyung gazes down, excited for their future, happy with their present, and accepting of their past. He grins as he leans down, pressing his forehead against Jimin, his boyfriend, the love of his life, his best friend. And he finally speaks the words he’s thought so many times over the course of the past few months.

 

“What a relief we’re all together. What a relief I found you.”