At the end of a cold March, through the tattered blinds of the music store, Jimin noticed him.
He was hard not to notice. Tall, with a wide, kind smile that had electricity shooting up Jimin’s spine. And thighs like kkulppang. Sweet, and full, dripping with honey. Jimin found himself longing for the sight, leaning on the counter just waiting for him to water the outside flowers or bid an elderly client farewell.
Their small side street in Songpa was crowded, the opposite side of the street busier than Jimin’s. It was expected, with older buildings in contrast to new, and now welcomed with how often the man wandered outside. He always hoped he would be able to catch his eyes, even with their distance, but Jimin was yet to succeed.
At the end of a cold March, through the tattered blinds of the music store, Jimin wanted to be noticed.
“What are you looking at?”
Jimin breathed slowly through his nose before turning to Seokjin. He was reclined on a display rack, the small ukuleles looking even smaller beside his broad frame. His purple hair was at one with the vibrant hues of the instruments.
Seokjin’s nod was slow, “Right.”
“Don’t bother, hyung,” Jungkook waltzed into the room with a broom, teeth stained blue from the lollipop teetering out of his mouth. “I’ve asked, I’ve gotten nothing. It’s like he enjoys being cryptic.”
“Minding my own business is not cryptic,” Jimin threw a crumpled receipt at Jungkook, who batted it away with the broom. “Forgive me for wanting to keep something to myself.”
“We’re bandmates, Jiminie,” Seokjin dragged himself off the display rack. He draped himself over the counter, chin in his hands, “We can’t hide anything from each other.”
Jimin put his finger on Seokjin’s forehead and pushed him backwards. His lips twitched upwards at the disgruntled sound he made, and it only spurred Jimin on, “I’ll hold onto it as long as I can, and there’s nothing either of you can do about it.”
The three of them shared multiple shifts at Hwang Music. With only a few other staff it was strange for them not to, and with their band playing every other weekend Jimin rarely found himself out of their presence. It created a familiarity among the trio, something more than friendship and akin to family. With family came squabbles, and exasperation, but Jimin would not trade Seokjin or Jungkook for anything... other than maybe a free coupon.
“So, what’s the plan for Friday?”
Jungkook tapped Seokjin’s ankle with the broom, “Hello? We have a gig.”
“Since Wednesday, when Hobi texted me to say the bar had a slot open after the lead singer of another band had a reaction to a tetanus shot it was pretty bad, anyway-”
Jimin drowned them out when he noticed the florist door open. The man was wearing a white polo, and black slacks, the apron around his waist a striking blue. It complimented his bleached hair wonderfully. Jimin followed him with his eyes as he started to bring the flowers inside, Jimin having to forcefully push down his desire to help him. His left palm itched, and Jimin scratched it mindlessly, mind full of static and the man’s strained biceps.
With a quiet hum Jimin turned back to Seokjin. His eyes had softened, “You okay?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He pushed down all thoughts of the flower shop basked in honey, “What was the plan for Friday?”
If Jungkook and Seokjin noticed Jimin’s distraction Friday night, they did not mention it. Directly, at least.
But Jimin did not need them to remind him, the drumsticks in his hands proof enough. His stomach twisted whenever he sped up the tempo, or missed his cue altogether. He told himself the crowd would not notice, they were as unfamiliar with The Kumquats as the band were unfamiliar with them, but Jimin could not ignore his mistakes.
He was thankful for the end of the set, Jimin avoiding his customary bow and getting off the stage as soon as he could. Jungkook and Seokjin lingered, mingling and giving their thanks to the crowd. The bar felt comfortable, the wood sticky. Jimin collected himself there. He ordered a drink, unsure if his brain was in tune with his mouth.
Seokjin eventually sidled up beside Jimin. He watched him for a few moments before, “Talk to Taehyungie.”
Jimin looked into his vodka and lemon with a frown, “About what?” Seokjin levelled Jimin with a formidable stare. Jimin was never able to refuse that stare, “Fine.”
“We only want what’s best for you, hyung,” Jungkook muttered into his ear, coming up behind Jimin and wrapping his arms snug around his waist. He pulled him close, Jimin leaned into the touch. For a second Jimin convinced himself they were talking about the band, but he knew how wrong he was. It was a second of ignorance, not one of bliss.
They spent the rest of the night in the bar dancing around the topic of Jimin’s disarray, and dancing with each other until their necks were sweaty and their throats were parched.
Jimin spilled his heart out to Taehyung one rainy, Tuesday night.
The single, high window of their small loft apartment was littered with fluid droplets. Jimin had been counting them as he waited for Taehyung to return from his shift, the water glistening under the moonlight and colourful lights. Said cityscape below was alive with cars, and bikes, and stray pedestrians. These nights were his favourite, rainy and busy, but Jimin was too lost in his musings to do anything.
A familiar creak soon caught Jimin’s attention. He spun himself around to watch Taehyung tumbling through the door, arms full of groceries that would not fit in his tote bag. His blue hair was unkempt, his glasses rested precariously on the bridge of his nose. Jimin smiled at him fondly. The supplies fell onto the kitchen counter, as did the bag, Taehyung almost losing a jar of spices.
He let out a mighty sigh, “I’m exhausted.”
He sighed again, “They’ve cut down my shifts at the cafe, and one of my teachers has just been the worst, Jiminie.” Taehyung pouted, looking out the window with sad eyes, “It’s nothing new. How was your day?”
“I think I’m in trouble.”
Taehyung blanched, “Don’t tell me you lost your job, Jiminie. You know how difficult rent has been, we can’t lose this place-”
“Tae,” Jimin pat the spot beside him on the couch, “I didn’t lose my job. I’m okay, just come here.” Taehyung shuffled over and collapsed beside him. He rested his head on Jimin’s shoulder, his hair tickling his bare neck. Jimin started to stroke it, “It’s nothing bad, just… concerning.”
“Concerning sounds bad.”
“It does, doesn’t it?”
Taehyung peered up at Jimin through his long eyelashes, and Jimin noted a dash of purple paint smudged by his temple. “What is it?”
“You know that old florist across from Hwangs?” Taehyung nodded. Jimin continued, “They’ve finished the renovations, it’s reopened, and… I’m in trouble.” Jimin puffed out air from his nose, knowing how melodramatic he sounded.
“I’m not following, Min,” Taehyung spoke sweetly. He seemed to have relaxed, and he had that look in his eye that told Jimin he could see right through him.
There was no point in hiding now, “There’s someone working there that’s caught my eye.”
Taehyung gripped Jimin’s forearm tight, grin lopsided. “Exciting.”
“You think so?”
“I know so,” Taehyung fell onto Jimin’s lap. He was now looking directly up at him, Jimin unable to avoid his intense gaze, “When was the last time you dated, Jiminie?”
“I don’t think it’ll come to that.”
“How do you know?”
Jimin motioned to himself. His dark clothing and hair, his piercings. The large tattoo that snaked up his arm. Jimin feared he would be kicked out of the florist before he could even introduce himself, “He works with flowers. I’m a thorn, Tae.”
“Thorns are essential to flowers.”
As Taehyung started winding down for the night, facemask firmly on as he put away their sparse groceries, Jimin could not stop thinking about what he had said. Thorns are essential to flowers. It was spoken with such confidence, and simple understanding, that Jimin could not fault Taehyung’s words. When Jimin crawled into their double bed that night, he whispered a thank you to Taehyung’s sleeping figure.
His words eased Jimin into a pleasant dreamscape, one filled with flowers and honey.
It took weeks for Jimin to muster the courage to enter Forsythia Flowers.
Taehyung was having a rough week. Taehyung had been talking about wanting a succulent. Jimin knew the location of a particular florist. It was like the universe was trying to tell him something, and who was Jimin to deny the wishes of the universe itself?
Up close it was an even more beautiful building, painted black to stand out among the sea of boutiques and cafes. Glass windows framed the entrance, and there was an array of assortments out front. Jimin was careful when he passed them, fearing accidentally knocking them over. Inside felt like a different building altogether, with white walls, a high ceiling and minimalist style. Everything had a place on the shelves, and everything felt cared for.
The florist smelled heavenly, and Jimin had not expected it. He was unsure what he was expecting, perhaps dead leaves or an abundance of fragrance, enough to have his nose twitching. Instead, it was distinctly fresh thanks to the diffusers, and so far away from the dustiness of the music store that did not hold a candle to its beauty.
But Jimin’s heart sank when he saw the face working by the counter. He was shorter, with dark hair, and very evidently not dripping with honey. He was more like bamboo, grounded and watching Jimin with curiosity. He was probably wondering why someone looked near tears in the middle of his store, and for the start of spring maybe that was not all that uncommon.
“Can I help you?”
His brain felt hot with humiliation, and Jimin was melting under the crisp air conditioning.
“Could you point me in the direction of Songpa Station, please?”
Jimin returned to his apartment red eared succulent-less.
“Can I tell you something?”
Jimin glanced up Jungkook. He was lying on his back on a park bench, his long hair fanning out around him like a halo. Jimin sat below him, jotting down lyrics in his notebook. The lake in front of them glowed, the sunset reflected gloriously, and Jimin barely felt the chill of the night air or the embarrassment of his morning escapade.
“Of course, Jungkookie.”
“I think I like boys like I like girls.”
His pencil stilled, lyrics forgotten. “Oh?”
“That wasn’t as hard to say as I thought it would be,” Jungkook’s grin was youthful. “Throat hurts a little, though.”
Jimin reached out and squeezed Jungkook’s forearm, a wave of affection consuming his entire body. Moments like these felt so fragile and already a memory, even as Jimin was still living it. “I’m proud of you, and thank you for telling me.”
“Yeah,” Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed slightly, and Jimin loathed that look on his face. It was a familiar one. “I don’t think I’ll be able to tell my parents.”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Jimin said, “or if you can’t.
“I'll think about it…” Jungkook trailed off. He took Jimin’s hand in his own, his palm warm and comforting. “You’re the first person I’ve told, hyung, so don’t tell anyone-”
“I won’t,” Jimin levelled his gaze with a fierce protectiveness, “it’s yours to tell.”
“If I do end up telling them, I might buy my mother some flowers to soften the blow.” Jungkook sighed and stared up at the stars, his dark eyes not looking too dissimilar.
And Jimin thought, with a burst of startling clarity, that diving into the deep end should not be so frightening, especially when he knew there was a safety net of opened arms underneath.
The florist was just as lovely the second time around.
He was on his lunch break, but Jimin was hungry for something else entirely. He barely had enough time to freshen up, splashing water on his face and cleaning up his remaining eyeliner from the night before. He looked just the slightest bit more awake, and Jimin was close to dislocating his arm with how quickly he shrugged on his coat. .
Said black coat was in contrast with the burst of white, but Jimin embraced it. He stood out from the other two customers, one of them having a pleasant conversation with someone hidden behind a tall shelf. Jimin sidestepped around a vase, pretending to look at a bundle of roses while he scoped out the owner of the colourful apron.
Tall, wide smile, full thighs.
Jimin’s heart swooned with victory, and he had to bite his lip to stop himself from spinning around with glee. He knew if Seokjin was present he would be grinning like a shark, ready to poke innocent fun at the blossom of his cheeks. But Jimin did not care, not even for a moment. He felt like a teenager again, giddy and drunk off a crush.
Jimin waited for the customer to check out before he dived headfirst into the murky water.
He was in the middle of the store, the shadows lighting up the adjacent wall with curious figures and shapes. It was enthralling, but even the lilies in front of him grew less interesting when Jimin heard footsteps approach. His heartbeat aligned with the steps, and Jimin spun around on his heels.
Tall, wide smile, full thighs.
Up close his bleached hair was streaked with colour. A pastel blue had been worked into the ends, faded and begging for a little love. Jimin stared for a few beats until the man’s low voice cut through his gawking. It was just as pleasant as he’d expected, perfectly suited for his face, “Hi, are you looking for something in particular?”
Jimin swallowed the hard lump of his longing with a friendly smile, “Succulents.”
The man smiled back, “Follow me, we have a few.”
A few was an understatement. Jimin felt lost in front of the endless rows, the variety dizzying. He blinked rapidly, and turned to the man who was looking at him with a knowing half smile, “What would you recommend?”
He squatted to get a closer look, and Jimin did his best to avert his gaze. His hands hovered over the bunch before he let out a small, approving noise. He picked the succulent up gently, the tip of its leaves tinged a dusty purple. “These have character,” he traced the swirled pattern, “they call them Violet Queens.”
Jimin instantly thought of Taehyung. “That’s the one.”
The man tilted his head towards the counter, but abruptly stopped before he rounded the corner, “Have I seen you somewhere? You look familiar.”
Jimin’s cheeks felt hot, unbearably so, “Yeah, I uh, I work in the music store across the street. We sell some records, also some instruments, kind of everything.”
“That’s interesting,” he hummed, sincere. “Are you busy?”
“No, no not really. Everything can be found online these days,” Jimin swept his hands up like he was swatting a bug, narrowly missing a hanging plant. “Kind of cripples smaller stores like ours, you know? But the owner, Mr Hwang, he’s stubborn. He won’t shut shop until he’s got nothing in the bank, he’s been open since the 80’s.”
“Well, tell him I respect that. It’s a hungry world out here.”
Jimin’s eyes drifted to his thighs, “Yeah.”
He cleared his throat, and Jimin’s eyes found his, “Namjoon.”
Jimin tilted his head, “What?”
It was his turn to turn red, his cheeks flushed in record time. “Sorry, my name, it’s Namjoon. Kim Namjoon, I didn’t introduce myself,” he looked down at his shirt, and sighed. “And I’m not wearing my name badge…”
“It’s no problem,” Jimin’s laughter tinkled throughout the store, echoing up the high ceiling. “My name’s Jimin.”
Jimin stayed in the store even after he paid for the succulent, but Namjoon did not seem to mind. He appeared, much to Jimin’s pleasure, just as intrigued, the pair of them moons orbiting the other’s planet.
“Any plans for the afternoon?” Namjoon asked, scrawling something illegible on a notepad. His eyes were only for Jimin, the paper suffering from his tunnel vision.
“I didn’t have any plans,” Jimin leaned up against the wooden counter, putting a winning smile on his face. It hid his nervousness well enough, Namjoon not needing to be privy to the jackhammer that was the pulse in his neck, “But that can easily be changed.”
Namjoon’s hands grew white from how he strangled the pencil. He relaxed after a beat, the pencil slightly bent, “I have a late shift.”
Deflation cut Jimin off at the knees. His smile faltered, but he shrugged good naturedly all the same, “I’ve been there, I get it.”
Namjoon rubbed the back of his neck, the pencil clattering when it fell. Jimin watched the descent, almost missing Namjoon’s soft, “Bad timing.”
The distraction had Jimin’s eyes drifting higher, above Namjoon’s handsome face. He glanced at the wire sculpture of a dog, positioned snug above the counter. He could not help himself when he whispered, “That’s beautiful.” It reminded Jimin of Taehyung’s art, simple yet evocative.
After seeing the sculpture Namjoon’s eyes softened, just as his voice had. “I was born in the year of the dog, as was my grandfather,” he motioned to the entire store in one sweeping gesture. “He owned this florist before me, and before the renovations. He gifted it to me, actually, when he grew too old to run it.”
Jimin nodded along, fingers tracing the subtle crevices of the wood. “I’m year of the pig.”
“Ah, you’re younger than me.”
“Barely,” Jimin snorted. “But you don’t really seem like the type to hold that over me.”
“We barely know each other, Jimin-ssi.”
“We can change that.”
Namjoon’s eyes sparked as bright as the candle flickering to his left, “I would like that.” He pushed forward the notepad, clearing his throat, “Do you mind if I… I mean, could I have your number?”
Jimin flicked the pencil into his hand, unable to believe he had been noticed. It was hard to keep his hand steady, “Of course.”
With only a few minutes left of his break, Jimin practically ran across the road to Hwang Music , almost getting hit by a passing cyclist in his haste. It was unlikely he would feel the impact anyway. Jimin kept the succulent tucked away in his bag, knowing neither Seokjin or Jungkook would raid his belongings. They had tried it once, the consequences ensuring it was their first and last attempt.
The rest of Jimin’s shift went by in a flurry. He barely felt the money in his hands, or guitars under his hands as he cleaned their necks, mind only focused on the warmth in his chest and his number on Namjoon’s notepad. The world had tilted in his favour, and Jimin had no intention of tampering with that scale.
“What’s with that look on your face?”
Jimin blinked a couple times, Seokjin’s nose and eyes coming sharply into focus. He was gazing at him curiously, having stopped in the middle of the music store to do so.
“I don’t know, you look…” Seokjin trailed off, in search of the right word, “Happy.”
Happy, Jimin liked the sound of that.
When Jimin returned home to the apartment that night it was to the greeting of Taehyung passed out on the couch. He kept his footfalls light when he entered the lounge room, the succulent safe in a box with a purple bow on top. Jimin sat down in front of Taehyung on the floor, shaking his shoulder gently.
Taehyung stretched languidly as he woke. He softened when he saw Jimin, and went to pull him close but Jimin held up the box before he could. With a pout, he asked, “What is this?”
“Open it and see.”
Taehyung did, wrapping the bow around his wrist before peering into the box. Jimin watched as his grin formed, bright, wide and thankful. “Oh, Jiminie,” the succulent was close to being crushed when he pulled Jimin into a hug, “it’s lovely. Where did you get it?”
“You know where.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung traced the outline of one of the leaves, gazing up at him under his eyelashes. “How did it go?”
“I gave him my number.”
Taehyung let out something like a chirp, “I told you it would work out! You just had to try.”
“Yeah, well,” Jimin said, pulling himself to his feet, “he’s gotta call me first before anything else happens.”
“You didn’t get his number?”
“I gave him mine.” Taehyung stared for a long moment, and Jimin felt awfully defensive, “My head was fuzzy, I didn’t think that far.”
“Well, he’d be a fool not to call you.” Jimin must have pulled a face, as Taehyung was quick to add, “Which he will, of course he’ll call you, look at you.”
The thought had not even crossed his mind. Jimin hesitated, only for a moment. But a reminder of that look in Namjoon’s eyes had him coming back to himself, settling his anxiety before it could even thinking of overflowing.
Jimin fell asleep with his phone under his pillow.
Jimin woke to a text two days later.
He practically fell off the bed, Taehyung grumbling and pulling at the sheet in an attempt at replacing Jimin’s body heat. Jimin’s shirt had ridden up, his waist lathered with red marks from how Taehyung had held him through the night, but they were the least of his concerns. There was a text from an unknown number, Jimin unable to ignore the sorry littered among the other words in the paragraph.
Disappointment flooded his veins, thick with sludge and closing up his throat, and he hurriedly read the rest of the text to keep himself sane. Hey, Jimin, it’s Namjoon, it read, I don’t think I’ll be able to see you this week, sorry. Work is getting busier and I’m exhausted by the time I get home. What about the weekend? I’m free both days, hope to see you!
Jimin pushed himself backwards until he hit the mattress, phone balanced between his knees. He re read the text again, and again, feeling more and more ridiculous. Maybe he had overreacted. The world was not ending, Namjoon was just busy. That was all. It was fine, they barely knew each other, Jimin could wait a week. A week would not feel like a month, he would manage.
He was about to type out a response when he remembered a gig he had Saturday night. Jimin’s loud groan earned a blanket over his head, courtesy of Taehyung.
Nursing his coffee on the couch when the sun had barely risen was not how Jimin expected to start his day off. His phone remained of the coffee table, open, with Namjoon’s text taunting him. Taehyung would not join him until a few hours later, so he was left to fend for himself in mustering a response. Everything he attempted either felt too formal or too casual, and his coffee was cold by the time he managed something half decent.
“Everything okay, Jiminie?” Taehyung asked when he finally settled on the kitchen bench, hair a mess and eyes sleepy.
Jimin sipped on his coffee, the coldness not enough to douse the heat that spread behind his rib cage, “I’m going on a date Sunday night.”
Sunday night arrived in a whirlwind.
The week passed smoothly, Jimin keeping his eye out for Namjoon who in return seemed to keep an eye out for him. He had waved a handful of times, and despite knowing he would not be seen through the tinted windows Jimin waved back gleefully. It kept him on his feet during the day, the few customers he had on the receiving end of the best service they had ever had in their lives. Seokjin kept quiet, and Jungkook kept curious, neither of them pushing Jimin to spill.
As a thankyou for their silence, Jimin told them about his date just before he rushed out of the double doors, their shouts thwarted by the loud slam.
Jimin had two outfits planned for the night, laid out on the bed just before he had left for his shift. He was unable to choose, both similar with their monochromatic black, the only difference really the jackets: leather or a blazer. Taehyung had vouched for the leather jacket, but Jimin thought that it would be too much for a first date. Taehyung had argued it was what he liked to wear, and that he should wear it. Looking at the two jackets hours later, Jimin agreed with him.
Currently sitting in the corner booth of the busy restaurant, Jimin regretted even choosing a jacket. He was sweating, and constantly fiddling with his neckline, the turtleneck constricting. Jimin came to the conclusion he had settled for fashion over function, but the desire to make a good second impression won over logic. But Jimin did look good. He had parted his hair, smudged eyeliner around the corners of his eyes, and lined his ears with elaborate silver.
Jimin was scrolling through his phone when a familiar voice greeted him. He looked up.
Namjoon was wearing a large grey trench coat, hair styled like he had simply run his fingers through it, and yet it still settled attractively. He matched his rings to the current colour of his dyed tips, purple, his fingers scattered with an assortment of gems. Jimin could not see his thighs, but his smile was dripped in enough sweetness he did not mind. Not in the slightest.
“I almost couldn’t find this place,” Namjoon settled into the booth with a short laugh, unknowing or uncaring with how Jimin was openly gaping at him. “Almost couldn’t find you.”
Jimin cleared his throat, “Well I hope you’re happy you did.”
Namjoon’s gaze lingered up and down his body, “I think I am.”
They were quick to order their food and a half bottle of expensive wine, Jimin floundering at the thought of having to pay for it. Namjoon waved off his concern with an easy shrug, “I’ve been saving up for a night like this. Don’t worry, Jimin-ssi.”
“You don’t need to keep calling me that,” Jimin spoke after a long sip, eyes averted. “We’re well acquainted.”
“After one conversation?”
“After tonight we will be.”
They spoke for a long while, about everything and nothing at all. Jimin learned Namjoon loved candles, and that he had aimed at making a living out of making them and selling them online. It had fallen through when he acquired the florist, but he made sure to keep them around the store and his home. Namjoon learned about Jimin’s motion sickness, and how commuting around the city without his medication was the bane of his existence. He offered his sincerest condolences.
Namjoon had long since taken off his trench coat, exposing his arms, and Jimin was finding it hard to speak through his dry throat.
“I used to play violin, back when I was young,” Namjoon poured the last of the wine into Jimin’s glass, hand a little less steady than it was an hour ago. “Do you sell them at your store?”
“I think we have two, and neither have been touched in years.” The wine was a relief, Jimin’s lips feeling looser, “They’re the dustiest things in that place. We focus more on guitars, got a lot of them in there.”
“So it’s more suited to old school rock and rollers?”
“I mean, yeah, although it wasn’t where we brought our instruments.”
Namjoon quirked an eyebrow. “What?”
“Oh!” The wine almost spilled from the glass with how Jimin slammed it against the table, too airy to send the surrounding tables any kind of apology. “I play in a band, there’s three of us. We didn’t buy our instruments from Hwangs, way too pricey for us.”
Namjoon was dazed for a long moment. He sounded breathless, “You’re in a band?”
Jimin tapped the tabletop with his fingers, drumming away a tune they had been working on. He hummed along, keeping it high and charming, “You’re looking at the drummer.”
“The drummer…” Namjoon repeated the words quietly. He blinked a couple times, then a few more times, swallowing hard enough that Jimin watched his adam's apple bobbing up and down. “You drum... in a band?”
“That’s what drummers do,” Jimin tilted his head, gnawing at his lip slowly. Namjoon looked awfully flustered, his hair astray from where he had run a shaky hand through it. “Are you okay? It’s a little hot in here.”
“A little?” Namjoon took a deep breath and closed his eyes, reopening them to catch Jimin’s amused ones. “Sorry, I’m usually more eloquent.”
“I do that to people.”
Namjoon’s eyes glistened, “Yes, you do.”
The evening was paid for entirely by Namjoon. Jimin had protested, only for a moment, quite liking the feeling of being cared for. The night was cold when they stepped into the bustling street, Jimin keeping close to Namjoon to stay warm. It was also an easy excuse to breathe in his cologne, whatever it was earthy and oh so fitting for the florist.
“Why the hair?” Jimin asked.
They had perched themselves on a park bench overlooking Seokchon Lake, and Jimin saw flashes of his night with Jungkook, confessing secrets and instilling confidence in one another. Namjoon looked content near the water, and surrounded by trees. It was like he belonged, had never existed anywhere but this exact moment and this exact place. Jimin wondered what he would look like in the sun, haloed by the cherry blossoms.
“The bleach, or the colour?”
“I wanted a drastic change,” Namjoon answered. “It felt fitting while taking on the florist, so much was changing I needed my appearance to catch up. As for the temporary dye, it’s wax. That was my friends idea. You might have seen him around, he works at Forsythia.”
Jimin had definitely seen him around, crushing his heart and giving him directions to a station he already knew the location of. Instead of mentioning that failure Jimin quickly changed topics, “Why Forsythia Flowers?”
Namjoon looked off into the lake, wearing a resigned smile. “It was my grandmother’s favourite flower.”
He did not need to elaborate, especially not with that look on his face. Jimin carefully rested his fingers over the top of Namjoon’s, tapping his fingers to the rhythm he had been drumming a mere half an hour ago. He did not say anything, and Namjoon did not pressure him to. The drumming seemed to be enough, and Namjoon held his wrist firmly, urging him to continue.
At one point he looked down at Jimin, so much emotion in his eyes Jimin feared he would fall off the bench. He held himself upwards, only barely, Namjoon’s hand grounding him to the spot.
They followed the path back to the station, the silence not an uncomfortable one. Jimin kept himself close, able to feel Namjoon’s arm hovering by his lower back. It was enough to have his lips curling, Jimin keeping his chin to his chest to smother his happy, wine induced giggle.
Namjoon’s stop was before Jimin’s, but his goodbye did not feel like one. It felt more like a beginning.
“Thank you for tonight, Jimin-ssi-” Namjoon shook his head, correcting himself, “Jiminie. It’s the best time I’ve had in a long time. I hope we can do it again sometime.”
“Hopefully our hours align,” Jimin leaned into Namjoon’s space, looking up at him with hopeful eyes. “I’d like to see the cherry blossoms during the day.”
The train stopped moving.
“Have a good night, Namjoon-hyung.”
“I already have.”
The doors closed on Namjoon’s face, and Jimin sighed. He fell onto the closest seat with a huff, legs stretched out in front of him. He clicked his boots together, once, twice, and drifted home lost in the high of his joy.
On the seventh of April, Namjoon entered Hwang Music.
Jimin, unfortunately, was in the store room when the bell by the door chimed. He did not think much of it, more than relieved for a customer with how quiet the morning had been. But Seokjin’s loud exclaim had him freezing in place, Jungkook’s clap even more incriminating. He flew down the hall in record speed, an album clinging to life in the crook of his arm.
“Jimin-ah!” Seokjin pointed at Namjoon, who looked slightly baffled with their attention. “Is this your guy?”
“Jin-hyung,” Jimin hissed and coiled his spare arm through his, dragging him away from Namjoon. Jungkook followed them. “You’ll scare him off.”
“I think he can handle himself,” Jungkook waved at Namjoon, who waved back. “He’s nice.”
“Not to mention if you end up dating him he will have to deal with us eventually,” Seokjin pried Jimin’s hand off his arm, stretching it for show. “We’re a package deal. Does he like loud music?”
“He used to play the violin.”
Jimin’s head whipped to the side, “How the hell did you know that?”
Jungkook shrugged, “He told me.”
“The other day,” Namjoon spoke behind them, having drifted closer as they bickered. “I came on Wednesday, I don’t think you were working.”
Jimin’s face fell. “No, I wasn’t. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologise. It’s no problem, I’m here to make up for it.”
Jimin’s face twisted, “I’m working now, Namjoon-hyung.”
“Jiminie,” Seokjin gripped his shoulders, spinning him around the empty store. “I think this is a two man job, we’ll be fine.”
“But if Mr Hwang sees that I’m not here-”
“He’s in Busan for the week,” Jungkook’s voice quashed any doubt Jimin had. “Remember? He said he’d try to find our parents, and you told him to fuck off.” Namjoon stifled a chuckle, and all the tension inside Jimin was drifted away.
Namjoon’s outstretched hand was an easy thing to take, firm and welcoming, and the dominos falling into place felt premeditated. He sent Seokjin and Jungkook a weighty look before they left Hwangs, the pair of them waving with wicked grins on their faces. They were Cheshire cats, Jimin wondering briefly if Namjoon was the cream.
He did look nice.
Namjoon was striking, as always, clad in a long beige jacket and a flowing scarf. The ends of his hair were dyed a vibrant pink, so bright that it must have been done early in the morning. Namjoon noticed Jimin’s stare, “I wanted to colour coordinate.”
The morning had been overcast, but by some miracle when they reached Seokchon Lake they were greeted with the sun. It poked through slivers of the clouds, giving the cherry blossoms an enthralling glow. It made the pink flowers appear almost white, and Jimin could not help but draw comparisons to Namjoon’s hair.
Jimin punched Namjoon’s arm lightly, boisterous, “Clever.”
“I knew you’d like it,” Namjoon was gazing at Jimin like he was the only person in the massive crowd, and Jimin feared his heartbeat was as loud as a cymbal.
They eventually made their way to the food trucks. There was a large variety of food, all had Jimin’s mouth watering. Chicken skewers, roasted sweet potato, fish cakes. Jimin found himself transported back to his childhood, thinking of the markets and festivals his family would attend on weekends. His fingers would be sticky all day, his mother bearing the brunt of his loving hands getting tangled in her hair.
One food truck stood out, hosting a myriad of sweet treats. Jimin had gravitated towards it, and Namjoon had followed, looking over his head at what the eldery woman was offering. Jimin only had eyes for one dessert in particular.
“I don’t remember the last time I had kkulppang,” Namjoon had his arm slung over Jimin’s shoulder, an easy grin on his face. “My aunt had a flair for making them, although my cousins always seemed to eat them all before I ever had the chance.”
Jimin caught the attention of the woman, and ordered four to go.
They sat on a bench a family had just vacated, overseeing a street performer and taking in the pleasant notes of her guitar as they ate. She played left handed, just like Jungkook, and Jimin could not help but go over their routines in his head. With a mouth full of honey bread he created his own tempo, keeping it slow and simple to blend with the busker.
Namjoon’s attention was locked onto his hands, “I’d love to see you play.”
“We have a gig tomorrow.”
“When and where?”
Jimin’s lips quirked, “You sure you aren’t working?”
“For once, no, I’m not,” Namjoon said, rising to Jimin’s challenge. “My co-worker offered to man the store this weekend. He wants me to have a break, says I’ve earned it.”
“Is this the same co-worker who told you to colour your hair?”
“Well, tell him I said thank you.”
Jimin let his hand wander to Namjoon’s thigh. He kept it subtle, knowing there were strangers milling about, but the instinct to touch Namjoon was too great to push down, wandering aghast eyes be damned. He squeezed, and bit into his second kkulppang, the filling spilling down his lips.
Namjoon bouncing knee stilled. In one quick movement his thumb was by Jimin’s lip, dragging the sweetened paste onto his finger and into his mouth. He licked his lips, and looked away from Jimin, the latter taking a shaky inhale.
“I feel like a walking talking romcom,” Namjoon laughed at himself, loud and unrestrained and Jimin fell in love with the sound.
Jimin squeezed his thigh again, “Lucky that’s my favourite genre.”
A deep conversation about the importance of cinematography was interrupted by a sharp tug on Jimin’s sleeve. Expecting the worst Jimin tensed, ready to leap into action and swing at whoever had a problem with them, but all fighting instinct was drowned by the sight of a small, teary eyed child. Her eyes were puffy, nose covered in snot, and Jimin’s heart ceased to beat for a moment.
“I can’t find my mummy,” she sobbed, wiping her tears with her purple cardigan.
Jimin glanced up at Namjoon who was just as alarmed. They both kneeled down to her level, using their bodies to protect her from the biting wind that had picked up.
“What’s your name?”
The girl sniffled, “Dahee.”
“When was the last time you saw her, Dahee?”
“I don’t know,” Jimin could see her shaking, either from the cold or fear, he was unsure. “Mummy was here, then she was gone.”
He didn’t think twice when he removed his overcoat. Jimin was only wearing a shirt underneath, but the girl clearly needed his jacket more than he did. He could tell Namjoon was staring at his revealed sunflower tattoo, black and white and winding up his bicep to his shoulder. In any other circumstance his face would have reddened, but his protective nature won the day.
Dahee was swallowed by the size of the jacket, but her shaking eased a little. Namjoon informed a passing security guard of their situation, all the while Jimin was telling Dahee about the fairies he always saw skimming across the lake. Her crying soon stopped, the little girl too busy asking questions about the creatures, Jimin’s lies easily flowing off his tongue.
It took fifteen minutes for a woman to come rushing towards them, security in toe, a small coat in hand and tears in her eyes. Dahee shrieked when she saw her, completely forgetting about the fairies and Jimin and falling into her mother’s arms. Jimin was not bothered, too relieved at the reunion to care. Namjoon was in a similar state, the hard line of his shoulders eased.
The mother thanked them both profusely, Jimin bowing before retrieving his overcoat from a waving Dahee. He slumped back on the bench with a sigh, having the oddest feeling of adrenaline receding from his bones.
Namjoon sat down next to him, keeping quiet, until, “You keep on surprising me.”
Jimin blinked up at him, the cherry blossoms a backdrop to Namjoon’s wide, glossy eyes. It looked an awful lot like adoration, and if Jimin was in trouble before he had no idea what kind of mess he was in now.
It should have frightened him, but it did not, Jimin happy to return such devotion.
“So, two dates and you’re in love?”
Hoseok was polishing a glass, beaming at Jimin who had only asked for water and not advice on his dating life.
“You know I can come around there and pour one myself.”
“I’m just saying,” Hoseok started to fill the glass, looking as electric as the neon signage behind him. “Be smart, Jiminie.”
“When am I not?”
“When you offered to climb over my bar and pour yourself a drink when I know you don’t have any kind of license.”
Jimin swiped the glass off the bar, spilling the contents onto the wood. “I don’t need a license to pour water.”
His laugh was infectious, and it took all of Jimin’s effort not to give Hoseok the satisfaction of laughing along. “What does he look like again?” At Jimin’s silence Hoseok rolled his eyes, “Just so I can give him a discount, I’m not Jin-hyung.”
“No, you’re worse,” Jimin took a sip of his drink. “He’s tall with bleached hair and coloured tips, they’re pink.”
He slipped away without hearing his response, heading for the back room where they were waiting for the other set to finish. The audience for the night was small, and Jimin was yet to see Namjoon. He had texted, said he would be running late because of a train delay, and Jimin hated the way his heart had sunk. Currently his anxiety was a bubble in his stomach, waiting to burst, and Jimin feared for the life of his drum kit.
“Hey,” Jungkook clicked in Jimin’s face, “game face on, now. You’ve gotta shine for your boyfriend tonight.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.”
“Then what is he?”
“Someone I go on dates with.” Someone I cannot stop thinking about, someone I want to hold and touch and listen to for hours on end.
“Right…” Jungkook nodded, unconvinced. “Whatever he is, he deserves to see you at your best. And we know how good your best is, right, hyungie?”
Seokjin threw Jimin his drumsticks, “Nauseatingly good.”
Jimin stepped onto the makeshift stage scanning the audience for Namjoon. The crowd was teeming with life, restless with anticipation. Jimin was in a similar state. He settled behind his drum kit and cracked his neck, drumming a couple of drags to pass the time. The mic crackled to life under Seokjin’s booming welcome, and he hugged his bass guitar like it was an old friend. Jungkook’s welcome was a dreamy riff, Jimin’s mouth was too dry for him to speak.
Fire soon licked under Jimin’s fingertips when he noticed a familiar face nestled by the bar, looking heavenly under the neon glow. They locked eyes, and Jimin ran headfirst into the opening beat, his bandmates rushing to catch up.
He threw himself into the song, Jimin not knowing where his heartbeat started and the rhythm ended. He found himself out of his seat, hair stuck to his forehead with sweat, wrists stinging and thighs screaming. The intensity had Jungkook’s voice going up an octave, but he accepted the challenge. Seokjin lowered his voice for the hell of it, the accumulation of experimental sounds burning hot under Jimin’s skin.
Jimin downed a beer during a short break, Seokjin wandering over to him while Jungkook played with the crowd. “Slow down,” he said, cheeks a rosy pink. “My fingers are hurting.”
Jimin huffed a strand of hair out of his eyes, “It’s karma for being nosy.”
Seokjin tightened his grip on the neck of the bass with a smile. Jimin imagined it was his throat.
He did slow the tempo, only barely, and only because the veins popping on the back of his hands were starting to irritate him. Seokjin lead them into the transition to a slower love song, one they’d created with Jimin’s recent lyrics as a foundation. Jimin closed his eyes, able to play it in his sleep, and all he saw were flashes of Namjoon behind his eyelids. Jimin’s harmonies were subdued, but he hoped Namjoon heard them all the same.
They were dedicated to him after all.
Their set ended at ten, but Jimin was wide awake. He stumbled off stage and made a beeline for the bar, Namjoon there waiting for him. He was dressed in all black, mimicking Jimin’s outfit. He looked so out of place in the grime of the bar, and yet so perfect, Jimin drinking him in like was the only kind of reprieve in a vast desert. Fresh and welcomed solace.
“You were amazing,” Namjoon breathed, sweat adorning his temple. “I can’t even think right now, Jiminie, it was just… amazing.”
Jimin blinked up at him, still in a daze. He wound his fingers around Namjoon’s wrist and dragged him backwards, avoiding his bandmates eyes as he made his way into the back room. Namjoon allowed himself be led away, relaxing his body without realising Jimin could pull his full weight. It was endearing, and it made Jimin’s head spin.
The only noise in the back room was from a battered radio in the corner, playing some pop ballad Jimin did not know the name of. He struggled to remember his own name, especially when Namjoon was looking at him like that. It was an answer and a question, flood and fire, the first rays of sunlight in the morning and the final dregs at sunset.
Jimin hooked his drum stick into Namjoon’s belt loop, tugging him close, “I want to kiss you.”
Namjoon’s hooded eyes drifted to Jimin’s lips. His inhale was sharp, “I want you to.”
Teeth clattered upon impact. It felt like a first kiss, and in a way it was, new mouths discovering a new way to communicate. Namjoon’s hand rested on Jimin’s neck, thumb gentle where it rested on his adam’s apple, guiding his head this way and that. Jimin hummed low in his throat when they found the right angle. He tugged Namjoon even closer, the buttons on their jeans colliding with a sharp clang.
The kiss was salty with sweat, and bitter with the aftermath of warm beer. But there was a sweet note, something Jimin tasted the longer he stayed wrapped in Namjoon’s embrace. Jimin worked his mouth open, keeping the kiss languid, wanting the sweetness to last a lifetime. He craved it when they drifted apart, Jimin biting at Namjoon’s lips for one final taste.
With a chest heaving like he had been running, Namjoon laughed. It was a joyous sound, one that had Jimin’s toes curling, “That was somehow better than I thought it would be.”
Jimin tapped Namjoon’s thigh with his remaining drum stick, the beat parallel to the steady thrum of want in his stomach. “You think about me?”
Jimin’s eyes fell shut when Namjoon took hold of his chin, tilting it upwards. “How could I not?”
He felt the ghost of Namjoon’s lips by his own when a knock at the door interrupted them, “Do you two have clothes on?” Jimin’s eyes flew open, irate, and Namjoon smothered his chuckle with his hand. Without a response he kissed Jimin again, and again, until Seokjin gave in and left them alone.
Namjoon went home that night with a hickey below his neckline and two drum sticks resting in his back pocket.
Namjoon was napping at the counter when Jimin entered the florist.
They were well into April, and with the sun came customers, and with customers came Namjoon’s increased hours. Jimin could admit he was proud of him, his work effort second to none. Jimin could also admit he missed him, their time spent together diminishing.
It was what lead to Jimin’s rash decision.
Taehyung had not said much about it, simply eyeing it off and shrugging. Jungkook was not able to say anything, neither was Seokjin. The two would be given the news during their shift… depending on how the gift went down. Jimin told himself repeatedly that it would be fine, that if worst came to worst Namjoon would let him down easy. Jimin had fallen enough times to be able to handle it.
Jimin shook Namjoon’s arm, his expression going slack when Namjoon opened his eyes. He yawned, and stretched, the weight of the world taking a moment to settle on his shoulders. He stilled, “Did I seriously fall asleep on the job?”
“Seems like it,” Jimin ran his hand through his rain damp hair. “Don’t worry, Yoongi-hyung is sweet talking a group of elderly women outside, there’s no one else around.”
“For once,” Namjoon took Jimin’s hand and stroked his fingers, thumb pressing on his rings. “I’ve missed you, Minnie.” It was a new nickname, one that swallowed Jimin’s entire heart and refused to let him breathe.
He took a second to compose himself, “That’s why I’m here, actually.”
They were interrupted by two customers, Jimin patiently waiting by the counter and tending to a display of azaleas with a spray bottle. He decided to watch Namjoon, absorbing each of his movements and each friendly smile. His voice was more captivating that whatever was playing on the radio, Namjoon’s lilt Jimin’s favourite song. He was in his element, and Jimin could not look away, almost drowning the pink flowers in his distraction.
“Sorry about that,” Namjoon said, wetting his lips that had dried sometime during his explanation on caring for seasonal plants. “What was it you wanted to tell me?”
Jimin reached into his back pocket, and handed it to Namjoon before he could think twice. It was like ripping off the band-aid and hoping a wound would not bleed, Jimin anticipating the red blossom any second now.
The key fit nicely in Namjoon’s hand, who looked at it with bulged eyes, “Jiminie... I can’t accept this.”
“You can, and you just did.” Jimin closed Namjoon’s fingers over the key, “My apartment is closer, you can nap there on your breaks and come straight to mine when your shift is over. It’s also for if you ever need me. Just let yourself in, Taehyungie is fine with it.”
Jimin faltered at Namjoon’s silence, face falling slowly. “If it’s too much,” he started to say, pushing down his disappointment, “I get it, I can take it back and we can-”
He let out a soft oof when Namjoon pulled him into a hug. Jimin’s limbs were made of a lead for a few seconds, unable to move and realise just how wrong he had been. His body eventually gave in, sinking into Namjoon’s arm and resting his head on his chest. He smelt like the bergamot candle he had been raving about buying, cirtusy and homely.
“Thank you,” Namjoon’s eyes narrowed like they did when he was truly happy, and Jimin felt that all too familiar warmth erupt in his chest. “This means a lot to me, Jiminie, and I know how much it means to you as well.”
“Anything that makes your life a little easier...” Jimin trailed off, feeling all too emotional all at once. It was something he adored, knowing he could make others happy in any possible way he could. His parents had instilled it in him, and Jimin was never more grateful, especially when it left him feeling overjoyed himself. It was a lightness he would not trade for anything.
Namjoon kissed Jimin’s cheek before a tear could fall.
Jimin kissed Namjoon’s lips in sheer relief.
Jimin was woken by a low curse.
He opened a bleary eye to the sight of Namjoon stood over his head, face thunderous. His anger was confusing under the haze of Jimin’s sleep ridden mind, his frown only seeming to ignite Namjoon’s ire further. Jimin shifted to sit up, and realisation dawned on him like a bath of ice cold water.
Taehyung was snuggled against him, arms wrapped around Jimin’s waist and his head rested in his neck.
“Holy shit, no! Joon-hyung, wait!” Jimin jumped into his sweatpants, almost falling on his face in his haste. Namjoon was already halfway down the stairs, Taehyung still in the process of waking up. Sleeping with Taehyung had grown to be so normal he never stopped to mention it to Namjoon, and of course, of course, the first time he used his key…
Jimin used the railing as momentum, spinning around Namjoon to get in front of him. The key was inconspicuous where it sat on the counter, discarded by Namjoon whose face was scarily blank. He was unsure if his eyes were glistening or if it was a trick of the light.
“That wasn’t what you think it was.”
“If you weren’t interested in me anymore you could have just told me.”
“We were just sleeping-”
“Don’t speak to me like I’m an idiot.”
“I’m not!” Jimin waved his hands around, desperately stopping his every attempt to leave the apartment. “You’re not, just hear me out. It’s seriously not that, I would never…” Jimin felt sickly at the mere thought.
With crossed arms Namjoon invited him to speak, a single eyebrow raised.
“That was Tae, the roommate I’ve talked about. We sleep in the same bed because we don’t have a lot of money and the loft is tiny.” Jimin hoped it was enough, hating that he was the reason for that look on Namjoon’s face. “He’s my best friend, and he likes to cuddle.”
“It’s true,” Taehyung’s voice echoed throughout the loft. He was perched above them, arms slung over the railing. “We’re just friends, and if Jiminie was a cheater I would’ve dropped him out a window a long time ago.” Jimin gestured up to Taehyung, furiously nodding, eyes pleading.
The shift on Namjoon’s face was a slow one. He went from tense, to contemplating, to calm, relief leaving his legs like jelly. He collapsed on the nearby stool, head in his hands. Namjoon’s colourful hair spilled over his fingers, a small waterfall that contrasted the white walls of the kitchen.
“This was my fault,” Jimin rubbed his back in soothing motions, “I should have explained and introduced you both sooner.”
“No, it’s-” Namjoon made his own halfhearted gesture. “I shouldn’t have assumed the worst of you.”
“I would have done the same, anyone would have.” Jimin kissed Namjoon’s shoulder blade, “I’m sorry.”
Taehyung sidled into the kitchen, watching the pair with curious intent. “It’s good that you’re talking.” They both waited for an explanation, one Taehyung gave after grabbing his peach tea from the fridge, “Couples don’t work when they don’t talk through their issues, they let it fester and it grows ugly. You’re talking, never stop.”
“With all this advice you give I don’t know how you’re single, Tae.”
“I choose to be,” Taehyung grabbed an apple and munched on it. “And I’m a student with a part time job, I don’t have time. We’ve had this discussion, Jiminie.” Jimin did not doubt it. It was probably at 2 a.m. when the both of them were drunk and dizzier when their heads hit their pillows, discussing the nature of the universe and their place in an endless galaxy.
Namjoon smiled amicably at him when he was done, “I wish we met under better circumstances, Jiminie speaks very highly of you.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Taehyung winked, “we can pretend next time is the first.”
Taehyung leaving for his shift left them all alone in the apartment. Jimin could tell Namjoon was still tense despite him trying to convince Jimin otherwise. Seeing straight through it, Jimin settled them both on the couch and put on the first movie he could find, curling into a tight ball beside Namjoon who wrapped an arm around him.
“Before all of… that happened, what are you doing here?” Jimin glanced at the clock on the wall, knowing Namjoon should be well and truly into his shift by now.
“I took the day off,” Namjoon kept his eyes on the screen, his exhaustion obvious. “Got some bad news this morning, you were the first person I thought of going to.”
Jimin’s stomach lurched. “How bad?”
Namjoon’s lip wavered. “Pretty bad.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“It’s about my grandfather and I-” Namjoon’s voice cracked, and Jimin held onto his forearm so tight he feared it would break. “I would rather not talk about it.”
“Okay,” Jimin sniffed and rubbed his eyes, in a state of despair that he had made Namjoon’s morning unintentionally worse. He knew Namjoon was thinking no such thing, so Jimin did his best to adopt that mindset. “We don’t have to, but know that I’m here if you need to talk.”
They readjusted themselves on the couch after Jimin lowered the blinds. Namjoon was laid out on his side, Jimin nestled comfortably in front of him. He was barely paying attention to the movie, too busy tracing patterns into the arm curled around his stomach. Namjoon tugged him closer every few minutes, then released him after a few more. It reminded Jimin of waves, and he felt lulled to sleep with every interval.
Namjoon’s voice woke him for the second time that morning, “Jiminie?”
Jimin twisted his body so he was facing Namjoon, “Yes?”
The hum of the television filled the silence that hung in the air between them. It was neither uncomfortable, nor tense, more tender than anything else. Jimin waited for Namjoon to break it, hanging onto his every breath, every exhale and rise of his chest.
“For coming into Forsythia and buying that succulent.”
Jimin rested a finger in Namjoon’s dimple, and sighed.
They spent the entire day wrapped up in one another, sharing comforting words and quiet glances. It was enough for Namjoon, so it was enough for Jimin. He was more than content to sit with him and let the world and its concerns slow to a dull ache, rather than a foreboding roar.
If Jimin could protect Namjoon in any way he could, he would in a stuttering heartbeat.
Namjoon went home that night with a box of kkulppang in his arms and the ghost of Jimin’s fingers across his skin.
At the start of a mild June, through the tattered blinds of the music store, Jimin noticed Namjoon waving him over.
He was back at work after spending his time with his family, and the sight of Namjoon’s face felt like cool water on flushed, summer skin. There had been a health scare with his grandfather, and Jimin had begged for Namjoon to be there for him. If the unthinkable happened there would be no sort of regret, and Namjoon had agreed, bidding him goodbye and leaving the shop in Yoongi’s capable hands.
Jimin had given him the space he needed, texting and calling whenever Namjoon asked. It worked, the long distance bearable, but Jimin had still ached for his physical presence.
He fled Hwangs in a rush, Seokjin and Jungkook watching him go without a word. Their grins said enough. Jimin’s arms were bare under the warm sun, and he did not mind, especially when Namjoon had hung a sunflower painting just by the threshold. He passed it and smiled, following Namjoon’s path into the florist and finding him perched by the counter.
“It’s been a minute,” he said. His thighs were exposed, tan skin on show, and Jimin was light-headed.
“It’s been a fucking long minute,” Jimin pulled him into a blazing kiss, rivalling the sun with how hot he was running.
“I take it you missed me.”
“The world stopped spinning.”
Namjoon stroked his cheek with a laugh, thumbing down an eyebrow that had been ruffled in the kiss. “Well, if it’s any consolation, my world is spinning again. And it feels even better now that I’m home with you.”
“I’m glad he’s okay,” Jimin had been unable to shake that look of grief on Namjoon’s face. The fact he was smiling now was a miracle in itself, “Your grandfather is a fighter.” Like you, was left unsaid.
Namjoon didn’t reply. Instead, he reached behind the counter, keeping whatever he had grabbed hidden. Jimin made to look around his body, but a stern finger to his chest stopped him.
“I told my grandfather about you,” Namjoon rocked back on his heels, bashful, arm still behind his back. It had Jimin restless with excitement, “He made you this.”
Jimin was unable to comprehend the weight of his words, as Namjoon had revealed a wire sculpture of a pig.
It was just as gorgeous as the dog above the counter, handcrafted with so much love, and care. Jimin had to cover his mouth to prevent an embarrassing noise coming out of his mouth. He took the sculpture gently, looking at it closely and taking its meaning in. A part of him did not want to even hold it, fearful he would drop it and ruin the hours of hard work.
Jimin’s voice was watery, “Oh, Joon-hyung, he really didn’t have to do this.”
“He wanted to,” Namjoon’s own eyes were teary, “wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Please, tell him I said thank you.”
“You can tell him yourself.” At Jimin’s confused gaze Namjoon continued, “He’s planning on coming down to see this place, see how I run things. I think he just wants an excuse to leave the house, but he did seem excited to meet you.”
Jimin bit the inside of his mouth, nodding, “He doesn’t have a problem with… you know…”
“You being a man? No,” Namjoon rubbed Jimin’s forearm soothingly. “I wouldn’t speak so highly of him if he didn’t respect every part of me, Minnie.”
Jimin nodded again, and stroked the ear of the pig lovingly.
Namjoon closed the florist early that afternoon.
They sat behind the counter for a long while, catching up on everything they had missed. Words flowed as easily as water, the high ceilings not enough to hold their affection. Jimin felt it in every crevice of his being, Jimin saw it with every hand that found an excuse to touch Namjoon, the man in question sending him looks in return that had him melting on the spot.
At the start of a mild June, through the sun soaked windows of the florist, Jimin understood the feeling in his chest.