Jimin cannot stand the silence for too long.
It’s not as if he feels the need to talk to fill the empty silences that always seem to find their way in his life. Just… something. The rustle of leaves. The bass of his neighbour’s obnoxiously loud voice. The chorus of laughter from an old sitcom. Anything to make him feel a little less lonely. A little more human.
It’s Taehyung who gives him the idea. He lopes into Jimin’s decrepit apartment one day, with his bright smile and impeccable mien, and says, “I have the most perfect thing for you.” He bounces on the dusty couch, rummaging through his bag for something as he chats about something mundane, knowing full well that the other boy isn’t really paying much attention. Jimin watches, the smallest of smiles creeping on his face because Taehyung is still full of vivacity and joy and colour—and Jimin is just a poor carbon copy of someone he used to be, the colours seeping through the cracks of his armour.
Taehyung thrusts something into Jimin’s hand—a music player, with the wire of the earphones tangled around it. He raises a questioning eyebrow at the silver-haired boy, who has an accomplished expression on his face, smug and eager.
“What’s this?” Jimin asks, slowly working the knots out of the wire. Taehyung rolls his eyes, draping himself all over the couch—his legs hang awkwardly off one end and he swings them in a hypnotizing rhythm.
“Why don’t you listen and find out for yourself, Jiminie?” He retorts and Jimin just shakes his head minutely before plugging the earphones in.
He presses play, and there is silence for the first few seconds before he can hear the soothing sound of the keys of a piano being struck—simple and smooth at first before it melds into a more striking complexity.
It’s captivating. The piece is beautifully composed, a melody which seeps raw emotions. Jimin doubts if he’s ever heard it before, and he wonders who has written it. Every note holds a story of pain and love and longing and emotion , and Jimin feels tears prick his eyes for the first time in months. It is nothing like he’s ever heard before. The music is a bit jarring and rough and just so… real . It’s as though someone is speaking to him through the music, reaching past the prickly walls he’s built for himself, and into his heart, looking for the deepest, darkest depths he has kept hidden from the world.
The music hits a heartbreaking crescendo before it falls back to a sparse, melancholic ending and when the silence returns and Jimin opens his eyes, he sees Taehyung’s stunned expression, mouth half-open and eyes wide.
“Jiminie, y-you’re crying,” Taehyung informs him and Jimin brings his hands to his cheeks, feeling the dampness and tasting the bitter salt of his tears with something like wonder, because it’s the first time he has cried so earnestly in a year, perhaps. It’s been quite a long time since he’s allowed himself to feel so much.
“That was beautiful,” he tells Taehyung, sniffling a bit. His friend is still staring at him dumbfoundedly. “Was that one of Jeongguk’s pieces?” he asks, referring to Taehyung’s boyfriend who majors in music at the university they attend.
Taehyung scoffs. “Nah, of course not. Gukkie doesn’t play the piano so well. No, it was his friend… his mentor, if you will. Yoongi. He’s something of a musical genius.”
“Clearly,” Jimin states, fidgeting with the small music player in his hands. “Wow, he’s really got a talent, huh?”
“Mhm,” Taehyung hums, smoothing his curls down. He flops down on the seat next to Jimin’s, his leg bouncing restlessly. Jimin reads him easily—Taehyung has something he needs to tell him.
“Did you want to tell me something?” Jimin asks, drawing his knees to his chest, staring at the wall in front of him. It’s bland and grey, completely devoid of any accessories except for the occasional cracks in the paint and a clump of dust, or two. Jimin hasn’t bothered to decorate ever since he moved in.
“U-um, well, Jeongguk and I were wondering if you’d join us for pizza tomorrow? Jin hyung is coming too… and well, we all miss you, Jiminie.” He sighs, and Jimin turns his gaze back to Taehyung, watching as his lips form a pretty pout. “It’s been so long since we’ve even talked to you properly. You’ve been so distant, and I’ve been worried sick.”
“ I didn’t think you would care, ” is at the tip of Jimin’s tongue, but he refrains from blurting it out. He can’t bear to hurt Taehyung again: not when Taehyung has been nothing but kind and welcoming towards him, staying even when Jimin was at his lowest, checking up on him regularly and always greeting him with a bright, affectionate smile and enough love to smother Jimin. He’s the brightest sun Jimin has ever seen and he basks in the warmth.
“Yeah,” Jimin says. He forces a small smile. “Yeah, I’ll come. I miss Guk and Jin hyung too.” He sighs. “Yeah, I’ll be there, Taehyungie. Don’t worry.”
Taehyung beams, blindingly and pulls Jimin into a hug, before jumping up and grabbing his bag. “Okay then, see you, Chim! You can keep the iPod, by the way. Jeongguk has added a bunch of songs he thought you’d like. Mostly Yoongi’s. He figured his songs suit your taste.”
Jimin manages a ‘thank you’ before Taehyung is rushing out of the door, bidding him goodbye at the top of his voice.
He grabs the earphones and starts the music before the silence can close in on him again, suffocating him in its vice grip.
The streets of Seoul are busy, loud, and a blur of colours and faces. Jimin ducks his head, burying himself in the depths of his warm jacket to ward off the cold that seeps through the wind. His legs feel stiff like they’re freezing in the chilly winter air, as he breaks into a swift jog, dodging the sluggish crowd with a certain dexterity born from living in the city for far too many years. His eyes dart about, trying to find the name of the restaurant Taehyung had sent to him over text and he quickens his pace as he finds it, slipping into the warm embrace of the softly lit room, engulfed in soft chatter and overpowering aromas of spices.
Taehyung spots him first and Jimin catches the sight of his silver hair as he waves Jimin over exuberantly, a grin stretching from ear to ear. Jimin smiles back, but there is a nervousness hidden in the gesture, his gaze skittering over the crowd of people in the restaurant. There’s so many of them, their voices loud, their faces blurring in Jimin’s slightly panicked vision.
Fuck, he can’t do this.
The noise doesn’t help silence the screaming monsters in his head. If anything, they become louder, more aggressive. Jimin can feel the sea of dread rising in him, sick and slow.
Jimin squares his shoulders and approaches the table with shaking hands and numbness seeping through his bones. He tries to ignore the dull roaring in his ears and the voices that seem to be louder and more vicious in his head, with every passing second.
He can do this. He can.
He spots a few more friends as he gets closer—Jeongguk, his eyes sparkling with the light of a star as he wraps an arm around Taehyung; Jin, as breathtakingly beautiful as ever, charisma and confidence radiating off him in waves.
They are a familiar and comforting sight. Jimin has hung out with the three of them quite often in the very same booth, laughing and joking without a care in the world. But now, everything has changed, their routine feels foreign. Now, Jimin feels distant, detached from the pretty picture of friendship and vivacity they paint.
A few months ago, when he was a portrait of quickly fading colour, he would’ve jumped right into the fray, laughing along as he teases Jeongguk and Taehyung and gossiping with Jin about his highly interesting and dramatic love life. But now, he’ll just be a blot of colourless dampness in the middle of their vibrancy, dull and grey.
They don’t need you.
The poison spreads through him like syrup, sweet and toxic.
There is a chorus of ‘ Hello’s!’ and a ‘Long time no see, Jiminie’ from Jeongguk (who still refuses to call him hyung, the little shit) and Jimin returns the greetings with half-baked enthusiasm. Jin pulls out a chair for him and Jimin perches on the edge gingerly, a cautiously polite smile etched into his features. It’s so familiar, so alien, and Jimin’s head begins to throb thinking of what he’s gotten himself into.
This was a bad idea.
He senses the floaty, unhinged feeling of panic setting in—his brain shutting down in a desperate attempt at protection, hands damp from an excess of cold sweat—when he notices the fourth person at the table. Jimin does not know him, but the stranger immediately has his attention.
He has blue hair, peeking out from under his beanie, shockingly bright against his porcelain-pale skin and the dark charcoal shirt he wears. He is quite short, perhaps shorter than Jimin himself, but there is something about the way he holds himself (even as he folds his shoulders inwards making him appear smaller than he already is) that makes him seem far greater than his size as if he could make the wind stop and ground shake if he made up his mind to do so.
His whole persona screams at Jimin to stay away but his smile is all gums and teeth as he laughs at Jin choking on a sip of coke. Everything about him is such a contradiction, curiously beautiful in a way, that Jimin is wrenched away from the crashing waves of his panicked thoughts. He slowly tugs his twisting hands apart and takes a deep, shaking, calming breath.
He turns to Taehyung, a question etched in his raised eyebrow. Taehyung immediately catches on and hurries to make introductions. “Jiminie! This is Min Yoongi. Do you remember the bunch of songs I gave you last week? He’s the genius behind all of that,” Taehyung says, beaming at Yoongi, who has a shy smile gracing his soft features.
“Hey,” Jimin says, his voice muted. He can’t take his eyes off the blue-haired boy sitting across him, unable to look away from his almond eyes glinting like gimlets in the dim light.
“I heard that you liked my songs,” Min Yoongi says. He sounds gruff, but there is a gentleness hidden in the depths of his voice that is soothing. His smile grounds Jimin, an anchor that stops him from digging his nails in his palms until they bleed, keeps his mind from drifting away into the frightening places of his nightmares.
Jimin smiles back, shakily. ‘Yes, very much.” The three words aren’t enough to express how much Yoongi’s music means to him, but he seems to get it, his eyes softening to an expression of understanding.
And just like that, Yoongi fits into his life, like a hidden piece of a puzzle that he never knew he needed until it showed up. He is a steady presence, never asking much of Jimin, except for his company and opinions on his compositions. Perhaps he understands Jimin, the way he craves company over the silence, but still flinches away from large crowds and too much noise.
He feels safe, happy, with Yoongi around.
(He blushes when Jimin admits it, on a late-night they spend in the studio, with nothing but ramen for dinner. Jimin pretends to ignore the rising warmth in his own cheeks.)
And slowly, surely, Jimin finds the colours returning to his world. It starts with a brilliant blue. The clear sky on an unusually warm winter day. The pointlessly abstract painting that Taehyung lugs into his apartment one day, proclaiming that he needs to liven up the place. And of course, Yoongi’s hair, which he will not stop grumbling about. The story behind his rather bold choice of colour is a funny one, involving a drunken dare from his friend, Hoseok, and a very grumpy hairstylist at 10 pm on a Friday night.
Jimin does not realise how long it’s been since he’s laughed until he falls off the couch in Yoongi’s studio, tears in his eyes.
It’s when Taehyung asks him that he realises it.
They are curled up in Taehyung’s living room, binge-watching anime and Jimin feels like they are back in high school—the two of them against the world, when Jimin was happier and louder and brighter. He wonders if he’ll ever be the same person again, but decides he’s content with who he is now, as long as he’s happy. Or something like that.
“You like him, don’t you?” Taehyung’s smirk stands out against the flashing lights of the TV, and Jimin knows exactly what he’s talking about but he hates to give in to his best friend so he stalls for a bit.
“Come on, Jiminie, you know who I’m talking about.”
“No, I really don’t.”
“ Jimin, ” Taehyung whines, giving him the best puppy eyes he can muster. And Jimin has to admit the silver-haired boy is good at coaxing things out of him because he is already giving in, Taehyung’s big, endless brown eyes chipping at his resolve. “You know I’m talking about Yoongi hyung. Come on, I’ve seen the way you look at him.”
Jimin sighs, chewing on his lip as he watches the burst of colours on the screen. He knows. He knows how far gone he is for the boy with the soothing music and gimlet eyes and gummy smile. He knows he must look like a fucking idiot when he’s around Min Yoongi—an idiot in love. He just hopes Yoongi hasn’t figured it out yet because Jimin isn’t sure his anxiety will survive that embarrassment.
But knowing his luck, Yoongi already knows and he hasn’t said anything because, well, that would be an awkward conversation.
Oh my god, he knows, doesn’t he? He knows. He must know, I’m so fucking obvious. Fuck. I’m a complete mess around him, he’s figured it out. And he just hasn’t said anything because I’m fucking pathetic and he pities me. Fuckfuckfuck—
The ugly monster in Jimin’s mind rears its head again, taking over his thoughts with a vengeance. It has been gone far too long and Jimin doesn’t know how to handle it. He curls up into a ball, tears blurring his eyes as he buries himself in the darkness of his own embrace, the floaty, panicky feeling something like a sick comfort. He hasn’t felt like this in a while, hasn’t let the monster take over so completely in the past few months. Scenes of him and Yoongi, holed up in his cosy studio flit past his vision and of course, Yoongi fucking knows he’s completely, sickly in love with him. It couldn’t be more fucking clear, he can see it all now—Jimin’s stuttering, stumbling, blushing self and Yoongi’s somewhat endeared, but pitying smile. Fuck, he knows.
His heart wrenches with embarrassment and rejection and the silence is loud in his ears, and so are the voices in his head. Jimin whimpers and waits for it to stop, waits for anything to break the silence, to shush the voices in his head because he feels like he’s drowning in his own thoughts but there is nothing but the silence and the fact that he’ll never love you and that he’s all alone again and he is digging his nails into his palm until he draws blood and he’s thinking he’d do anything for a voice right about now, pleasepleaseplease—
He feels a warm hand on his back, Taehyung’s deep voice in his ears—the calm of the gentle waves at the brink of an ocean of screaming voices in Jimin’s head. The voices are quiet as Taehyung fills his senses—his warm touch, baritone voice, the smell of lilac from that moisturiser he adores. It feels like home. Taehyung feels like home.
“Hey, Jiminie, I’m here, I’m right here, I’m never gonna leave you, ‘kay?” Taehyung shushes him, prying his fingers apart with gentle hands, just to intertwine them with his own.
And it’s like the final wall holding the ugly parts of him hostage cracks and splinters and sets him free, because he is crying into Taehyung’s chest, bawling incoherently and Taehyung is crying with him and it’s cathartic because Jimin hasn’t cried so much in… fuck, he doesn’t even know.
“I-I don’t want him to leave,” he sniffles. “H-he knows, and he’ll leave, like everyone else does, Tae. He th-thinks I’m pathetic. I don’t want him to leave .”
“Hey.” Taehyung’s voice is calm, firm. “Jiminie, no one’s gonna leave, okay. I know you feel like you’re alone, I know you can’t stand it, can’t stop the voices in your head, but we’re all here for you. Through everything, whatever you might think. And so is Yoongi. He cares about you, you know. A lot. And no matter what happens, he’ll stay by your side.” Jimin hiccups and Tae smooths his hair, lovingly. “I know you say you hate the silence, Jimin, but perhaps it’s because you’re so lost in your own cruel mind, your thoughts too loud in your mind as you put yourself down, that you crave something to save you from yourself .”
Taehyung’s smile is sad. “I wish you’d be kinder to yourself, Jiminie. I wish you’d see yourself for the lovely, amazing, beautiful boy everyone else can see, but you .”
And it’s the way that Taehyung knows him inside out, even as Jimin convinced himself that he could care less about him that breaks Jimin’s heart more and he spends a few more hours sobbing into the soft wool of Taehyung’s sweater, the younger boy’s arms unwaveringly strong as the hold him tight—a reminder that he’ll always be there, no matter what Jimin convinces himself to believe.
The TV falls silent after a while, but the silence does not make Jimin flinch anymore.
The voices in his head are quiet.
Yoongi’s studio is located in the heart of the music department, buried under layers of soundproof walls, almost unrecognisable from any other room in the corridor, if not for the bold carpet that has ‘ Go Away’ emblazoned on it, with a cat flipping the visitor off.
Jimin lets himself in, hesitantly and smiles softly as his eyes land on the huddle of blankets on the small couch in the corner, soft snores filling the room. He is reluctant to interrupt Yoongi’s sleep—partly out of fear of his temper, partly because he still needs time to calm his nerves and work up the courage to actually have that conversation with the blue-haired boy .
Taehyung has been egging him on for weeks now, encouraging him to get the words off his chest because he’s tired of listening to Jimin gush over his squishy cheeks and gentle voice and his grace as he plays the piano. Jimin points out that those aren’t the only things he likes about Yoongi and his best friend immediately cuts the call, claiming he can’t take any more of ‘this sappy bullshit’.
Jimin laughs it off, but he knows he has to get it off his chest, if only for the sake of his own peace of mind. He pads across the small studio, curling up in the swivel chair in front of the workspace, trying to calm the fuzzy feeling of panic rising in his chest. It isn’t as intense as the panic attack he had a few weeks ago, the talks with Taehyung and Namjoon (Jin’s boyfriend, who has this wonderful, calm way about him and always knows exactly what to say) have helped immensely, but the fear of rejection still haunts him. The fear of being unwanted, lonely.
It has plagued him for a while now, Jimin realises, whether he was aware of it or not. A fear that was seeded in his insecurities and grew in the toxicity of his mind, filled with anxiety and dark thoughts. Jimin can remember the numbness, the dull hurt that hung over him like a heavy cloud and the voices. The voices who tell him he’s unworthy of everything good in his world, the voices which made him shy away from the silence, from his own company, but also from the company of his friends. He had turned himself into an unsolvable paradox, trapped in his own mind and diffidence, pushing everyone away when they tried to help.
He promises Taehyung he will never let himself spiral down like that again, after a liberating conversation and enough tears to fill the oceans.
He feels better, now. He feels free.
“Jimin?” Yoongi’s voice is slurred and sleepy. Jimin jumps a little and kicks the floor with the heel of his foot to make the chair turn to face the couch.
“Hey, hyung.” Jimin grins, nervously. “Um, I hope I didn’t wake you up.”
It’s incredibly awkward, the way it has never been between them. They are both naturally reserved, but there has never been an unpleasant silence between them; they work together perfectly.
“No, no, don’t worry about it, I’ve slept far too long anyway and um, I wanted to show you something.” Yoongi is blushing, Jimin is sure of it. There’s the slightest bit of pale pink on the apples of his cheeks.
Yoongi just smiles, pulling up his laptop and patting the couch, gesturing for Jimin to take a seat. Jimin immediately complies, frowning in confusion when Yoongi hands him a pair of headphones.
“Uh, I composed something for you,” Yoongi says, answering Jimin’s unvoiced question. “Taehyung told me you were going through a hard time, and well, music always seems to help me if I’m not feeling too great. So, um, I hope this helps you.”
Jimin smiles, brilliantly, because Yoongi has made this piece for him, to help him and there isn’t a greater feeling than knowing someone you maybe-kinda-have-a-crush-on cares enough to make something just for you.
He slips his headphones on, waiting for the music to start, and when it does, it feels like he’s listening to Yoongi’s music for the first time all over again. The piano is painfully sweet, almost too raw in its simplicity. The music seems to speak of pain and healing and new beginnings and Jimin imagines Yoongi’s long, pale fingers flying over the ivory keys as he plays, only for him, because the melody seems too personal to be heard by anyone else. Jimin knows, in the way the music is sweeter than anything he’s ever heard from Yoongi, in the way he sees the elder’s hands shake slightly as he slips his own fingers through the spaces of his that this means something. Something Jimin has hoped for, something that makes Jimin’s heart soar and the symphony so much more special and beautiful.
The ending comes quietly, as it does in all of Yoongi’s compositions, and Jimin feels calm, content, despite the quick fluttering of his heart. The only sound he can hear is his own heartbeat thundering in his ears and Yoongi’s quiet breathing, and Jimin looks up to see a small, shy smile gracing the usually stoic features that he has come to love over the past few months. Jimin smiles too because he’s happy, truly happy after what seems like an aeon of darkness and misery.
“Did you, uh, like it?” Yoongi asks. “I-I hope it helps you heal, y’know, I know it sounds a bit rushed ‘cause I didn’t really have much time to put it together and it could definitely use some work, but I just wanted you to know you’re not alone, and that well… I, um, care about you and stuff. And well, Tae said you were really sad and you said music always helps— my music always helps so, um, yeah, it’s totally fine if you didn’t like it but—”
He shuts up as he watches Jimin lean towards him, his slanted eyes widening slightly as he looks at Jimin’s small smile and rising blush. “I like it, hyung. I really, really do,” he whispers, delicately brushing the mint-green hair out of Yoongi’s eyes. “Now if you’d stop talking, I kinda really wanna kiss you, right now.”
Yoongi looks speechless, his lips parting in surprise. Jimin’s mind is preparing for the inevitable rejection after the silence has stretched far too long, but before he can get tangled in the web of his own insecurities and self-pity, Yoongi nods, almost imperceptibly.
Jimin beams, leaning impossibly closer, his action agonisingly slow until their breaths are mingling and Jimin can see that Yoongi’s eyes are so dark that they are obsidian in the dim light and that his skin looks impossibly pretty with his blush staining the usually pale canvas like a soft splattering of rosy tints. He is a work of art, a splendour of colour and beauty that brought Jimin back to life.
And that’s when the realisation hits Jimin like a speeding train.
Fuck, I love you so much.
Jimin instantly knows it’s one of those cliche moments where he unknowingly voices the one thought he definitely did not want to reveal, because Yoongi’s breathing stops and his eyes find Jimin’s, almost pleading for his sincerity—as if those words could be anything but true.
Jimin has never heard Yoongi sound so small and fragile, his voice miles away from the usual gentle strength it possesses. He rushed to reassure the older man that yes, he’s very much head-over-heels to-the-moon-and-back in love with him, with a blinding smile and a kiss to his cheek. Jimin doesn’t really have any words left to express himself anymore, but Yoongi must understand.
He gifts Jimin with the loveliest smile to ever exist, before he’s leaning in, lips brushing against Jimin’s, long fingers tangling in his hair and soft giggles escaping him as Jimin’s fingers glide over his neck (he’s very ticklish, as Jimin finds out later, as they cuddle on the couch, blissful and sweet).
Their first kiss is perfect, soft and loving and healing and Jimin feels Yoongi tremble underneath his touch, gasping against his mouth as he holds Jimin in his delicate grasp.
Jimin doubts he’ll ever feel more loved than he does in Yoongi’s presence.
And Yoongi confesses that he can’t quite get the three little words Jimin really wants to hear to dislodge from his throat—because he has been broken in the past by people he trusted and loved and watched plenty of them leave without sparing him a single glance.
So Jimin wraps him in a hug and places a hand over his heart as Yoongi chokes over the words, the demons of his past lurking in his eyes and whispers in his ear until he’s calm enough to intertwine his own fingers with Jimin’s as they sit in silence, too content to say a word.
The voices are gone, now. They don’t bother Jimin anymore. The silence is a welcome comfort, and so is Yoongi’s warm presence wrapped around him as he presses a kiss to Jimin’s forehead.
( “You know that I know that you love me, right?”
“Yeah. Yeah I know.” )