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“Why don’t you go outside, sweetheart? You’ve been stuck in the house all day, some sunshine will do you some good. You might even make a new friend! I think a new family moved in down the street. Maybe you could go take your bike up and say hi!”

Crossing his arms, Yoongi pressed himself further into the couch, small pout on his lips. He shook his head, a whine coming from the back of his throat. His mother crouched down in front of him, gently trying to coax him off the couch, but he wouldn’t budge. He didn’t want to ride his bike, and he certainly didn’t want to make any new friends.

"Yoongi, I’m telling you to go outside until dinner is ready. Summer is almost over, and I want you to spend your time outside before school starts again,” his mother said, tone more resolute.

With an overexaggerated sigh, Yoongi finally hopped off the couch, grumbling as he sat down on the floor to tie his shoes. His mother smiled softly as she watched her son, thankful that he’d finally agreed. Sometimes she worried about how little he was interested in going outside and making friends with the other neighborhood kids. She counted this a small victory.

“Be safe, sweetheart,” she said as he climbed up from the floor, “Dinner will be ready by six o'clock so be home by then, okay?”

“Yes, mother,” and with that, he closed the door behind him. He didn’t exactly mean for it to slam shut, but maybe then his mom would understand how much he really didn’t want to do this. Maybe he could just sit on the porch steps until it was time for dinner, just to spite his mom.

So he plopped himself down on the top step, elbows on his knees with his chin in his hands. He was perfectly content to just watch the cars drive by and listen to the birds sing in the trees. Maybe being outside wasn’t so bad. He knew his mom was only trying to do her best, especially since his dad left when he was a baby.

With another sigh, a little less exaggerated this time, he rounded the house and found his bike propped up against the back wall by the trash cans. Swinging his leg over, he climbed on, pedaling down the driveway before turning up the sidewalk towards the rumored new family’s house. Maybe making a new friend wouldn’t be so bad. Ever since Namjoon moved away last summer, the only person he ever really hung out with anymore was Jinnie-hyung.

His mom might scold him for not wearing his helmet, but what self-respecting nine-year-old wore a helmet? Especially when one of the neighborhood kids might see him! Not that he really cared about what the other kids think of him; he knew they thought he was a weird kid, usually opting to stay inside instead of playing with the other kids.

So lost in his thoughts, Yoongi almost didn’t see the uncontrollable bike barreling towards him until it was too late. Metal collided and he ended up on the ground with a heavy thing on top of him. Turned out that heavy thing was another kid who didn’t know how to properly ride a bicycle.

“Ugh, get off!” he called out, trying to push the other kid off. But then he heard the telltale sniffles of oncoming tears, and he decided to take a gentler approach. “Hey kid, are you alright?”

Gently pushing so they were both sitting in an upright position, Yoongi’s arm still around the other kid, he reassuringly rubbed his shoulder. He let the kid (up close, he decided he must be younger than him) sniffle quietly for a few more minutes before speaking up again.

“Are you hurt anywhere, um…?” he trailed off because he realized he didn’t even know the kid’s name.

Wordlessly, the kid pulled up his shorts, revealing a bloody knee. Yoongi sucked in a sharp breath; the other kid’s knee did not look so hot, but what was he supposed to do? He didn’t know where he lived, but Yoongi supposed he could take him back to his house.

Standing up, Yoongi put the other kid’s arm over his shoulder, wrapping his arm around the younger’s waist. “We’re going to walk down to my house, okay? Can you do that?”

Vehemently shaking his head, more tears streamed down his cheeks. He was biting his bottom lip, and Yoongi thought it was because he was trying not to cry even more than he already was. Unwrapping their arms from each other, Yoongi stood back up, but the younger grabbed for his hand.

“Hey, I’ll be right back, okay? I’m gonna run down to my house so I can get stuff to tell clean you up,” Yoongi said, giving his hand a squeeze before letting go. “Can you tell me your name, though?”

“’s Jimin.”

“Okay, Jimin-ah, I’ll be right back. I promise!”

Before Jimin could cling onto him again, Yoongi took off down the sidewalk, scaring his mother when he burst in through the front door and ran up the stairs to the bathroom. She called up to him to ask if everything was okay, and he just answered with “Gotta help Jimin!” before hastily grabbing the things he thought he’d need. Taking the stairs back down two at a time, he didn’t even bother closing the door on his way back out.

Jimin was still where he left him (as he thought he would be), dropping onto his knees next to him. He whispered to Jimin in hushed tones as he went about cleaning up the younger boy’s cuts and scrapes, a frown steadily growing on his face as he listened to Jimin’s whimpers. Once he was finished, he looked up to find Jimin’s tears mostly gone.

“Are you feeling better, Jimin-ah?” Yoongi asked, sitting back down on the sidewalk next to him.

It took a few beats for the younger to respond, but a small “yeah” made its way to Yoongi’s ears. Not wanting to press Jimin, he was content to go back to counting the cars that drove by and listening to the birds. His presence seemed to calm Jimin down because eventually he gave out a huff and fell back so he was laying in the grass of whoever’s house they were still in front of.

Turning to look down at Jimin, Yoongi found him already looking back at up him. It startled him so he quickly looked back out into the road, hearing soft giggles coming from next to him. The ever-growing need to hide back in the safety of his room was starting to crawl back. But his mother wanted him to be out here so he swallowed down the feelings.

“What’s your name?” Jimin’s voice was soft, like kitten’s fur. If Yoongi didn’t know any better, he might ask his new neighbor if he was an angel. But he kept that to himself.

“Yoongi.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Yoongi,” Jimin said, sitting back up with a slight wince and readjusting his leg. “Thank you for helping me.”

Yoongi gave him a noncommittal grunt, looking him over out of the corner of his eyes. "How old are you?”

Jimin immediately perked up. “I’m seven! I’ll be starting first grade next week!”

Yoongi found himself nodding; he was going to be starting third grade next week, something he wasn’t really looking forward to all too much. At least he’d see Jinnie-hyung again.

“You don’t know how to ride a bike very well,” Yoongi pointed out. He could visibly see as Jimin deflated, picking at some weeds growing through the cracks in the sidewalk.

“My dad promised me that he’d teach me, but when he comes home from work, he always says he’s too tired. So I thought I’d just teach myself,” Jimin said, voice sounding even smaller than it had before.

A wave of sudden anger coursed through Yoongi at Jimin’s father, and perhaps at his own too. Maybe he’s just always been mad at every single dad out there because he’s only met ones that are bad at parenting. He didn’t even realize he was clenching his fists until he felt a hand on his arm.

“…Yoongi?”

With the way Jimin was looking up at him, Yoongi decided then and there that he’d be a good hyung to Jimin. That he’d help fill the gap that the younger’s father couldn’t. And that started with teaching Jimin how to ride his bike.

“Alright, get up,” he said, picking up both his and Jimin’s bikes. “Time to learn.”

“What?”

“Hyung will teach you.”

Seeing the way Jimin’s face lit up at that, Yoongi knew that all of this was going to be worth it. So they spent the rest of the afternoon together, Yoongi holding onto the back of Jimin’s bike until he could balance himself. There were a few more tumbles, but more laughter instead of tears. Time flew by because before long Yoongi’s mom was calling for him to come in for dinner.

“But I’m still helping Jimin,” he pouted, walking up to the porch steps, Jimin just behind him.

“And who might Jimin be, and what has he done to get so much of your help, sweetheart?”

“I’m Jimin, Mrs. Yoongi’s mom. I fell off my bike earlier, and hyung helped clean it up,” he explained, pulling up his pants leg to show off Yoongi’s handiwork. “I kinda don’t know how to ride so he was teaching me.”

“That was very nice of you, Yoongi,” his mom said, and he preened under her praise. “If you want, you can stay out until dark, but then you have to come in, okay? I’ll have dinner on the table for you.”

“Thanks, mom!” Yoongi said before grabbing Jimin’s hands and running back towards their bikes.

They stayed out until the street lamps came on, and Yoongi heard his mom calling for him again. But they didn’t part ways until they promised that they’d do the very same thing again tomorrow.

__

Yoongi prayed Jimin couldn’t tell how sweaty his hands were. Or if he did, he was appreciative that he didn’t say anything about it. Maybe he could play it off as it being hot outside, that it wasn’t exactly the best time to be holding hands with someone. But that’s what you do when you’re about to get married.

Well. At least, fake married.

When Jimin had brought the idea up to Yoongi, he’d almost spit out his chocolate milk, dissolving into a coughing fit that left Jimin looking very concerned. After Yoongi had assured the younger that he was fine, Jimin believed him. (Somewhat.) He had ended up agreeing — because who was he to say no to Park Jimin — so that’s how he found himself standing underneath the big tree in his backyard, holding hands with his best friend.

“Is-” Yoongi hated the way his voice cracked. “Is this okay to be doing?”

Everyone always said that marriage consisted of a man and a woman. Even though Yoongi had seen two boys and two girls holding hands before, he still knew that it wasn’t exactly an okay thing to do. Some people might get mad if they see others doing that, especially if it was two boys. Plus, they were still only kids anyways.

But with the way Jimin was smiling at him, gently squeezing his hands to reassure him, Yoongi felt all of his worries melt away. The anxious feeling inside him was replaced with something warm, and Yoongi wished Jimin would look at him like that forever.

“We’ve got each other, hyung. Everything will always be okay if we’ve got each other. I promise.”

Deflecting from his feelings and the way his heart was pounding in his chest, Yoongi said, “You’re too young to be making promises like that.”

“I mean it, hyung. I promise,” Jimin insisted, gripping his hands even tighter.

There was a brief moment where they just stared at each other; Jimin staring at Yoongi like he was trying to will Yoongi to believe him while he held his breath. And then he let it go and believed Jimin.

“Do you even know how this works?”

“Of course! I saw it on one of the dramas my mom watches!”

“Right. I’m totally convinced,” Yoongi deadpanned.

“Usually there’s a third person doing all the talking, but I like it better with just us two.” The way Jimin said it so casually had Yoongi’s heart clenching. It almost scared him. “They say a lot of things — reading out of a big book, I think, and we’d repeat some of them,” Jimin continued on, “But I don’t remember what they were.”

“We can make it up, if you want.”

“Okay, I’ll go first,” Jimin said before clearing his throat, “Yoongi-hyung, thank you so much for teaching me how to ride my bike and cleaning me up every time I fell. I’m so lucky to have you as my best friend, and I hope we stay friends forever.”

Yoongi felt his mouth dry out. Jimin’s words made the warm feeling spread all throughout his chest, and now he really hoped Jimin wouldn’t say anything about his sweaty hands.

“Jimin-ah, I…” he started before realizing what he didn’t really know what he wanted to say. “I’m not really good with words, and I’m not really good at making friends. So… thank you for sticking around even when it might get a little hard. I, uh, hope we’re friends forever too.”

“I think this is where we’re supposed to kiss now.” If Yoongi was drinking chocolate milk, he definitely would’ve spit it out this time.

“We what?”

“It’s okay, though, we can just hug,” Jimin said as he pulled Yoongi closer and wrapped his arms around his waist. Yoongi was kind of frozen in place for a second before he slowly lifted his arms and pulled Jimin closer.

“Guess we’re married now,” Jimin mumbled into Yoongi’s shirt.

With a small grin, Yoongi replied softly, “Yeah, I guess we are.”

__

“Shush, you gotta be quiet!"

Jimin’s giggles filled his room, both he and Yoongi sitting on the younger’s bed with the blanket pulled over their heads. They had a small flashlight on so they could see each other in the darkness, looking over the new comic book Jimin had gotten earlier that day.

"Do you want us to get caught?” Yoongi whispered, reaching over to lightly smack Jimin on the leg (which only made him laugh even harder). “Alright, that’s it. Hyung says we’re going to bed.”

“That’s not fair! You’re always pulling the hyung card,” Jimin pouted, crossing his arms.

“Because hyung always knows best,” Yoongi smirked, turning the flashlight off and moving around Jimin’s bed until he got comfortable. “C'mon, Minnie, it’s time for bed.”

Grumbling, Jimin laid down next to Yoongi, leaving enough room between the two of them to move around with touching each other. “Just because you’re two years older than me doesn’t mean you always know what’s best.”

Yoongi chuckled, saying softly, “Yeah, I’m in sixth grade, you’re in fourth. Take a guess at who knows better.”

He heard Jimin let out a small huff, arms still crossed over his chest. Yoongi already knew the younger was still pouting. Reaching over, he pulled Jimin’s arms off of his chest, muttering for him to get comfortable. Finally, the younger relented, allowing himself to get snuggled into bed next to Yoongi.

They’d been doing this for years now, and even still Yoongi got a funny feeling in his stomach every time he fell asleep in bed next to Jimin. He still didn’t know exactly what it meant, but at least it didn’t scare him anymore. He’d come to expect and accept this feeling; it left him feeling warm and fuzzy. Especially when Jimin would gently wrap his arm around Yoongi’s middle, thinking he was fast asleep.

"Goodnight, husband,” Jimin would always whisper, and Yoongi would always lean a little further back into Jimin’s arms.

__

Once they got into high school, it was something they heard almost daily. It didn’t bother them much at first, just harmless jokes here and there. Nothing they couldn’t handle. But then they started getting mean.

Sure, Jimin was openly gay and fine with it, but Yoongi hadn’t come out yet. Still wasn’t sure what his feelings were, and he never liked labels anyways. But Jimin eventually stopped holding his hand and hugging him while they were at school, only being affectionate when they were in the safety of their homes.

So it wasn’t a surprise whenever Yoongi heard that familiar phrase while he and Jimin were at the mall one Saturday. “Is that your sweetheart?”

Looking up from the sweater he was looking at (it’d be perfect for Jimin), Yoongi found the older store attendant gazing at him expectantly. “Uh…?”

With a very grandmotherly roll of her eyes, she pointed over to Jimin looking through the jewelry section. His latest fashion obsession was rings — and lots of them. “Him.”

Yoongi felt his cheeks heat up under her stare. “O-oh, no, we’re not together. I mean, we are, but not like together together.” She didn’t seem convinced. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Well, then neither of you have been paying attention to the looks you’ve been giving each other. I see the way you watch him. There’s a love in your eyes you can’t hide, dear,” she said, patting him on the arm. “And I think this sweater would be lovely for him.”

Yoongi was still in the same spot, mouth hanging open slightly when Jimin found him again. “You alright, hyung?”

Snapping out of it, he grabbed the sweater off the hook, making his way towards checkout. “Hyung’s fine, let me buy those rings for you.”

Jimin protested all the way to the cash register, the same old lady giving him a knowing smile. Eventually he relented, setting the rings down with the sweater so Yoongi could pay.

“You didn’t have to do that, hyung,” Jimin pouted, hanging off of Yoongi’s arm.

“I know,” Yoongi replied, handing Jimin the bag with the rings and sweater, “But I wanted to.”

__

It had been another bad day, another day where Yoongi found it almost impossible to pull himself from his bed and get ready to face the world. Just as he was slowly sitting up, much later than he should’ve been (his alarm went off an hour ago), Jimin was gently pushing him back down onto his bed. It was almost as if Jimin had a sixth sense for when Yoongi needed to take a mental health day.

Crawling in after him, Jimin pulled the covers over both of them, wrapping his arms around Yoongi and pulling him close. He knew he should protest; Jimin still had to go to school, he shouldn’t have to miss out because of him, but he couldn’t find it in him to push his best friend away.

“Everything’ll be okay, hyung,” Jimin said softly, running his fingers through Yoongi’s recently dyed hair. “Well, maybe if you use some moisturizer for your hair.”

That brought a much-needed smile to Yoongi’s face, turning into Jimin’s embrace and pressing his face against his chest. “Maybe we can do one of those hair masks that you’re always talking about later.”

“I think that’s a great idea, hyung, but for right now, you’re going to be confined to this bed. Because I am fully prepared to cuddle the shit out of you.”

“What if I actually have to get up to shit?”

“Well, then you’re shit outta luck."

Somehow that led to the two of them cracking up to the point tears were collecting in the corners of their eyes. But apparently that was all Yoongi needed to finally let go of all the tears he’d been holding inside for so long, his laughs quickly morphing into choked sobs.

"Let it out, hyung. It’s okay, I’m here,” Jimin said, humming softly and rubbing his hands over the tense muscles of Yoongi’s back. “I’m not gonna leave you.”

Yoongi allowed himself the rare moment of vulnerability, feeling safe in the darkness of his room and in Jimin’s arms. Thankfully, the younger hadn’t drawn the curtains before getting into bed with him. Yoongi didn’t think he could handle this if Jimin would be able to see his face. It undoubtedly was all red and blotchy, probably getting snot all over Jimin’s shirt. He’ll apologize and do his laundry for him later.

After a while, Yoongi finally was able to get his emotions under control but didn’t move out of Jimin’s arms. Even though he was older, and even though they were about the same size, Yoongi liked how small he felt in his best friend’s arms.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

His first reaction was to shut Jimin out, to bury those emotions once again and try to forget they even existed. It was such a mess inside his head, he didn’t know where he would even start anyways. He’d been thinking about his dad again, he’d been thinking about finally coming out. At least to his mom, even though he was pretty sure she already knew.

“I’m gay,” Yoongi decided simply.

Jimin seemed surprised for a second like he was going to question why Yoongi was telling him something he already knew, but then realization washed over his face. This was the first time Yoongi had ever addressed his sexuality out loud — to anyone. It just felt right for the first person to be Jimin.

“Thank you for trusting me, Yoongi,” Jimin said, pulling him even harder against his chest like he was trying to transfer every ounce of love and acceptance he had to offer into Yoongi.

It felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off of Yoongi’s chest like he could finally breathe easily for the first time in years. He hadn’t realized just a couple words would bring him such relief, but he had an inkling that it wasn’t just the words. That instead it was because of his best friend that was currently pressing kisses against his hair.

“Hyung, as soon as you’re feeling better, like as soon, I’m putting one of my hair masks on you,” Jimin said, twirling some of Yoongi’s hair around his finger.

Only humming in response, Yoongi gripped Jimin’s shirt loosely in his fingers, not quite ready to leave Jimin’s embrace just yet.

__

“HYUNG!”

The sound of rocks hitting Yoongi’s window, along with someone screaming, was loud enough to be heard over his music, pulling his headphones off. Pushing away from his desk, he rolled over to the window, more than ready to yell at whoever was disturbing him. But instead, he found a familiar head of orange hair jumping up and down, waving at him.

Opening his window, he called down, “What do you want?”

“Get off your ass and come down!”

Yoongi scoffed. “Is that how you talk to your hyung?”

“Pretty please get off your cute ass and come down here so we can ride bikes,” Jimin said, and Yoongi could tell from the window that he was giving him the biggest puppy-dog eyes he could muster. “Please, hyungie?”

“You’re lucky your my best friend,” Yoongi grumbled, but Jimin must’ve heard him regardless because Yoongi could hear his squeals.

Shutting down his laptop, Yoongi quickly changed into something more presentable than the old sweater he’d been wearing all weekend before joining Jimin outside. He followed behind Jimin as the younger lead them to the park they’d usually end up at on their bike rides, leaning their bikes against the big oak tree.

“So what did you drag me out of my room for?” Yoongi asked, looking up from where he had his head in Jimin’s lap. The look on the younger’s face was uncharacteristically serious, fingers absentmindedly combing through Yoongi’s hair. Carefully moving Jimin’s hand to the side, Yoongi sat up, tapping his best friend on the leg. “Everything okay, Minnie?”

“How you ever liked someone before, hyung?” Jimin still had a far-off look in his eyes, and Yoongi’s breath caught in his throat. It took him a second before he could gather all of his thoughts together.

“Honestly, Jimin-ah, I don’t know. You know how bad I am with feelings,” Yoongi admitted truthfully. He could tell that Jimin wasn’t looking for anything sugar-coated right now. “But I do know that whoever’s caught your eye must be a really lucky guy.”

Jimin’s cheeks colored at that, hiding his face behind one of his hands. He mumbled something, and Yoongi was sure it was something along the lines of disagreeing with him. But instead of arguing, he just reached over and pulled Jimin’s hands into his, leaning back against the tree.

They sat together like that until Jimin finally decided to break the comfortable silence. “I’m just nervous, hyung.”

“Nervous about what, Minnie? Talk to hyung.”

Jimin was quiet again for a little while, playing with Yoongi’s fingers before saying, “I have a date coming up soon.”

The words completely caught Yoongi off-guard. This was his best friend, how could he not realize that Jimin was interested in someone? But it only made sense, he reasoned. Jimin was turning into quite an attractive young man, he had girls and boys falling all over themselves at school. Yoongi couldn’t find any words to say so he just hummed for Jimin to continue.

“I think I really like him, hyung, and I want this date to go well. I’m just scared. What if he tries to kiss me?"

"Well, kiss him back, Min. Don’t make it feel like he’s kissing a wall.”

Smacking Yoongi’s thigh, Jimin whined. “Hyung! I just… I don’t know how. I’ve never kissed someone before…”

"That’s okay, I’ve never kissed anyone either. Don’t fall into that line of thinking where if you haven’t had your first kiss by a certain age that means something’s wrong with you or that no one wants to kiss you,” Yoongi reassured.

“You’ve never kissed anyone?”

“No? Why, did you think I had?”

“Well, you’re just so… cool that I thought you already would’ve…”

Yoongi chuckled. “I’m also the same person who’s still not entirely out to everyone, even though most can probably guess. So no, I have not had my first kiss because I’m definitely not gonna be kissing any girls.”

“We… could kiss?” Yoongi choked, instantly sending Jimin into a panic. “Oh my god, hyung! I’m so sorry, forget I said anything!”

“No no, I just… wasn’t expecting you to say that.”

“Forget I said it, please,” Jimin pleaded.

“Minnie, it’s fine. I promise,” he insisted, before adding nervously, “We… we could.”

“What?”

“I mean… it’d be good practice, right? For both of us?” Yoongi scratched the back of his neck, looking at the sunset instead of Jimin.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’d be good practice. Hyung’s so smart." Yoongi balked at his words, still insistent on looking everywhere but Jimin. “You know, you can’t kiss me if you’re not looking at me.”

"Maybe I’m nervous,” Yoongi muttered.

Feeling a hand on his cheek, Yoongi reluctantly allowed Jimin to turn his face towards him. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, hyung.”

“Maybe I do want to,” Yoongi whispered back, slowly leaning closer to Jimin.

When their lips connected, Yoongi didn’t feel any fireworks or electricity like some people claimed a first kiss felt like. But the way Jimin’s hand rested on his cheek while the other fisted his shirt was enough to convince him he was in heaven.

Tentatively, Yoongi brought his hand up to tangle in the hair at Jimin’s nape. And when his best friend moaned at the touch, Yoongi almost jumped out of his skin. It felt like he was having an out-of-body experience, feeling the way Jimin pressed up against him. Their lips slowly moved together, kitten licks at each other’s mouths and little hums of contentment.

Slowly they broke apart, still close enough to feel each other’s soft pants against their cheeks. Yoongi didn’t immediately move his hand away, and neither did Jimin. His heart was thundering in his chest, and Yoongi was afraid it would break right out of his ribcage.

He just had his first kiss. With Jimin. Yoongi still didn’t have his mind wrapped around it when Jimin was suddenly pressing his lips back against his. His breath hitched in his throat, grip tightening slightly on Jimin’s hair, making him moan again. Yoongi felt like he was going to lose his mind.

Yoongi didn’t know how long they continued like that, content to just feel each other, committing to memory the way they felt against each other. As soon as he was back in his bedroom, Yoongi knew he’d be able to fill up an entire notebook of lyrics about the way Jimin tasted, the way his lips molded against his own.

“It’s getting dark,” he finally mumbled against Jimin’s lips, despite wanting to spend the rest of forever pressed against him.

“Mkay,” Jimin replied without bothering to move away from Yoongi. They kissed for a while longer before Yoongi finally gathered up the self-control to break away from Jimin. They rode back to their house in silence led by the street lamps, dumb smiles on both their faces.

__

Picking up his phone, Yoongi sighed. No new notifications. At this point, he wasn’t even surprised anymore. It used to be that his phone was constantly blowing up with messages from his best friend, but now he wasn’t even sure if he could call Jimin that anymore. Ever since he’d started dating Taehyung, Yoongi hardly saw Jimin anymore.

He supposed that was bound to happen; Taehyung was the same age as Jimin, he probably wouldn’t want to hang out with someone older than him anymore. Especially since this was Yoongi’s senior year, and he’d be off to university in a few months. He’d gotten his acceptance letter last month from the school he’d really wanted to get into and had called Jimin to celebrate. But he’d hardly gotten two words out of his best friend, hearing Taehyung in the background.

So slowly Yoongi began giving up, not putting as much effort into their friendship. He watched with a sinking heart as he and Jimin grew apart, despite there being only four houses between them. Sometimes he’d see them outside when he went out to grab the mail, watching them make-out on the hood of Taehyung’s car. It made Yoongi sick to his stomach.

Somewhere along the line, Yoongi had finally pulled his head out of his ass and realized his feelings for Jimin. He was sure he’d been in love with the younger for years now, the realization a long time coming from when they kissed in the park last year.

Now he felt like a major dumbass; if he’d known back then, he never would’ve let Jimin go on that date with Taehyung. He would’ve saved himself the heartbreak of watching his best friend drift away and into the arms of another.

The walls began closing in on him; he needed to get out of his room. On instinct, Yoongi let his body carry him around the back of his house to his bike. He stared down at it, wondering if he should even keep it anymore. All it did was remind him of better times with Jimin, times he obviously wasn’t going to be getting back.

But Yoongi pushed all of those thoughts and feelings aside, swinging his leg over the seat and climbing on. Letting the bike roll to the end of the driveway, everything in him told him not to look up the street at Jimin’s house, but he couldn’t help it. Looking up, he wished he could’ve gone back in time to never let him step foot outside the house again.

Taehyung’s car was in the driveway again (no surprise), but the windows were fogged up. It took a second for Yoongi’s mind to catch up, putting two and two together when he saw that the car was rocking slightly.

Feeling like all of the air had been sucked from his lungs, Yoongi hastily climbed back off of his bike, letting it fall to the ground at the end of the driveway. He tripped over it in his hurry to get back inside, willing the tears at bay until he was back in the safety of his room, suddenly craving that darkness that he could hide in.

Once back under his covers, Yoongi let his emotions crash over him like a tsunami, doing nothing to help himself from drowning. He let himself cry everything out, every ounce of heartache poured out into the emptiness of his room. His life had taken on its own sense of emptiness now that he didn’t have Jimin to fill it up.

In the darkness, Yoongi finally accepted that he lost Jimin. It ripped his heart apart to believe that he really wouldn’t have his best friend in his life anymore, but he seemed happier with Taehyung. And who was Yoongi to deny Jimin whatever made him happiest?

__

“Where are you going, sweetheart?”

Yoongi’s hand was inches from the front door handle, hoping to slip out of the house unnoticed. But he hadn’t taken into account that his mom would be tracking his every movement in the house because he was leaving for university in the morning. She’d be hovering around him all day as he was finishing up his packing, her eyes looking glassy.

Turning towards the living room, Yoongi found his mom looking at him expectantly from the couch. “Just… wanted to go on one more bike ride before I leave.”

“Oh, are you meeting up with Jimin?” she asked, perking up but her smile instantly fell when she saw the way that Yoongi tensed. She seemed to realize that he didn’t want to explain further, conceding with a, “Just be careful, sweetie. I’ll see you when you get home.”

Yoongi offered her a small wave before slipping out the front door, quickly heading straight for his bike. He’d spent the last hour working up the courage to even come out of his room in the first place; he had to be on his bike and on his way to the park before he was able to talk himself out of it.

Reaching the end of his driveway, he looked both ways — he didn’t want to take out a kid, you know? — and did a double-take when he saw a familiar figure coming down the sidewalk towards him. He almost didn’t believe it, almost convinced that his still heartbroken mind was playing tricks on him.

But this wasn’t a trick of the mind, Jimin was actually pedaling towards him, stopping a few feet away from him. It took everything in Yoongi to look his former best friend in the eyes, but he couldn’t say anything. Words couldn’t express the pain that Yoongi had been carrying around with him for years.

So he silently started biking towards the park, not even bothering to check if Jimin followed. But he knew, somewhere deep in his heart, that he was relieved when he heard the sound of Jimin’s bike chains clicking as he rode behind Yoongi. He led them to the park, back to the tree where they had “practiced kissed”.

Sitting down with his back against the tree, Yoongi watched Jimin out of the corner of his eyes, the younger fidgeting like he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to sit down next to him. But after a few moments, apparently deciding whatever internal war he was fighting, he quietly sat down on the ground, leaving more than enough room between them. Yoongi couldn’t help but see that as a physical representation of how their friendship was now.

Letting Jimin follow him to the park, there were a lot of things Yoongi expected might happen. Maybe they’d just sit in silence until it was too dark to stay out anymore, just enjoying this last opportunity to enjoy each other’s company before Yoongi was gone. Maybe they’d talk, keeping it to pointless small talk that wouldn’t mean anything when they woke up in the morning.

But what Yoongi didn’t expect to happen was for Jimin to immediately burst into tears. It caught him so off-guard that he was already reaching for Jimin before he could stop himself. Feeling like this was a deciding moment in how everything went tonight, Yoongi pulled Jimin into his arms, letting him cry into his chest.

It reminded Yoongi of the time Jimin held him while he cried, using that as a terrible segue into coming out. Despite the reservations Yoongi still had about letting Jimin close, he figured this was the least he could do for everything Jimin’s ever done for him. He gently petted Jimin’s hair, holding him tighter when the younger whimpered.

Yoongi wasn’t sure how much time had passed before Jimin’s sobs quieted but didn’t try to untangle himself from Yoongi. The longer he had held Jimin, the more Yoongi realized that he didn’t want to let him go. And that was messing with his head more than Jimin bursting into tears unprompted.

He had thought that he’d dealt with all of his feelings regarding Jimin, but apparently that was the farthest thing from the truth. Holding Jimin so close after so long had Yoongi thinking about all the times they cuddled during sleepovers when they were younger, all the times Jimin would hold his hand throughout high school. Well, that was until Taehyung was in the picture. He knew he was only hurting himself the longer he held onto Jimin, but Yoongi couldn’t find it in himself to let go.

Yoongi thought he heard Jimin mumble something, but he didn’t know if it was just his mind trying to fill the silence. “Did you say something?”

Leaning away, Jimin wiped his snot on his sleeve, and Yoongi tried not to think about the snot that was probably on his shirt now. “I said I was sorry.”

“You drop me for two years, and that’s all you have to say?” Yoongi said, almost incredulously. He could feel years of pent up anger quickly bubbling up in him, but he willed it away. He was not going to take it out on Jimin, no matter how much a small part of him wanted to.

“You deserve better than any apology I could ever come up with, hy- Yoongi. Nothing that I say could ever make up for what I did. I got so caught up in Taehyung; I stopped caring about school, so many times I almost did things I never wanted to do, and I lost the most important person in my life. I still haven’t forgiven myself for ruining everything, so I wouldn’t expect you to either. But I just… I wanted to try, to even just see you before you left,” Jimin said, his tears returning to fill his eyes and slip down his cheeks. “Yoongi, I lost everything by dating Taehyung because I lost you.”

Yoongi could feel the tears slipping down his cheeks, leaning into Jimin’s touch when he reached over to wipe them away. He was finally hearing the words that he’d been dreaming of hearing, and now he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“That doesn’t make everything better, Jimin. That doesn’t erase all the pain,” Yoongi said, his voice cracking slightly and he hated it. “Don’t expect me to let this go so easily.”

“I will spend every day of the rest of my life trying to make it up to you, even if none of those days combined equal the love you deserve. I was stupid, and it wasn’t until it was too late that I realized I was dating the wrong person. That I wasn’t dating the person I was actually in love with, but I was already in too deep, too addicted. But Yoongi, I finally got away from Taehyung, he’s gone,” Jimin said, scooting a little closer Yoongi so he could one of his hands.

“What are you trying to say?” Yoongi felt it was foolish for him to grasp onto that thread of hope, no matter how thin.

“I’m saying that I love you, Yoongi. I’ve loved you for so many years, but I just never knew it. I’m kicking myself in the ass for putting you through what I did, and I will completely understand if you want nothing to do with me. I don’t deserve to be allowed back into your life, especially with this shitty job I’ve been doing at trying to right things. But please—”

But Yoongi didn’t let him finish, instead grabbing a fistful of Jimin’s shirt and pressing their lips together. It was messy and off-target; their teeth clacked together and their cheeks were still tear-stained, but Yoongi wouldn’t have had it any other way. Without breaking the kiss, Jimin somehow managed to climb onto Yoongi’s lap, latching onto him like he was afraid something would tear him away.

Yoongi could feel the years of bottled up emotions they each were pouring into the kiss, like their practicing kissing all those years ago set on fire. Every missed apology, ‘I love you’, and tearful confession; so much emotion that Yoongi could feel himself ugly crying into Jimin’s mouth, but the younger wouldn’t have let him pull away even if he tried.

Jimin was drinking up everything Yoongi had to offer; every tear, sob, and drag of their tongues against each other. Yoongi felt himself drowning in everything that was Jimin, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. They lost themselves in each other, creating their own little world where nothing else mattered except for them.

Sure, they were going to have to have a proper talk at some point. They couldn’t let this be the only thing that they did to rectify years of pain and heartbreak, but it was a good place to start. Yoongi didn’t know how everything was going to work, with him leaving for university in the morning and with Jimin still with two years left of high school, but they’d figure it out. They’d spent far too long apart to let things fall through without a fight.

“I love you too, Minnie. My entire life I’ve loved you,” Yoongi mumbled against Jimin’s lips, relishing in the way the younger moaned into his mouth.

It was underneath those fading lights that Yoongi finally felt at home for the first time in his life.