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Worth The Risk

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“I can’t stay long,” Jimin announces the second he begins to feel the drop from the high of his orgasm. The tingly, pleasure-soaked sensation that was rushing through his veins moments ago is coming to a screeching halt. And reality, his natural dopamine antagonist, shuffles in a brand new perspective. 

Actually, it’s Jimin’s old, stubborn perspective. The one he makes everyone around him painfully aware of. His view that anything that even resembles love is akin to evil. Or at the very least, foolishness. He avoids it like the plague— emotions, that is. And all gestures that can be taken as more than platonic affection. 

Like cuddling after sex. Or, apparently, staying for more than fifteen minutes after. 

He and Taehyung are pressed shoulder to shoulder on Taehyung’s full-sized bed. There’s plenty of room on either side of them, but they’re laying where they landed and now it feels awkward to shift. Still recovering, they’re both panting as they stare up at Taehyung’s plain white ceiling. Almost mindlessly, Jimin watches the wooden blades of his ceiling fan spin and spin and spin. 

Beside him, Taehyung hums in response, but it’s not much of a response at all. Neither here nor there. Not a protest or an encouragement. Just simply an acknowledgment of Jimin speaking. 

Jimin swallows thickly; the silence is choking him. 

It’s dim in Taehyung’s bedroom, only the desk’s built-in lamp is turned on to aid their navigation. But they know each other’s bodies like the back of their hands, and Jimin spends most of his time in Taehyung’s room, so truly, it’s unneeded. Outside, faint lingerings of students chatting as they walk past Taehyung’s building whisper at the blinds of his window. Jimin tips his head to the side, lending his ear for just a moment.

The drying cum on Taehyung’s stomach should be the most uncomfortable thing he’s experiencing right now, but the tension that builds after each time they do this always takes the cake. Most of the time, the two of them are free with the way they hang all over each other. Best friends. No second thought to walking with their arms around one another or napping together. But now not just best friends, best friends with benefits. So after they hook-up, they suddenly become unsure of where their hands are allowed to be. God forbid they touch or anything. 

When Jimin speaks again, he repeats himself. He says, “I can’t stay.” 

“I’m not kicking you out, relax,” Taehyung responds lightheartedly, a giggle faintly painting his tone. He shifts his weight a little so he can turn his head to see Jimin properly. But when Taehyung faces Jimin, Jimin’s eyes become glued to the ceiling again. Taehyung watches Jimin’s Adam’s apple bob slowly, swallowing reflexively. 

Jimin smiles a second later and Taehyung feels an indescribable, fluttering type of feeling in his stomach. Butterfly wings tickling the linings of his insides, reminding him that he’s in too fucking deep to be playing this game. But as always, Jimin’s smile is contagious, so Taehyung smiles back. 

“Yeah, I know that, just...” Jimin starts. He sounds a bit aimless like he doesn’t know where he’s trying to end. “But I just mean… I dunno, in case you thought I was being a dick or whatever. Just. Hooking up and leaving. It’s not like that, it’s just—“

“You can’t stay,” Taehyung supplies almost sarcastically. He closes his eyes to keep from rolling them. It wouldn’t matter anyway, Jimin’s still not looking. He can’t. 

Letting out a sigh, Jimin confirms in a whisper, “Yeah.” 

It’s a lie, though. Jimin can stay. He can, he just doesn’t want to. He can’t allow himself to. Because that would be breaking one of their many unspoken rules as friends with benefits. No strings attached. No feelings, or whatever. Which especially includes no sleepovers after sex. 

When Taehyung is honest with himself, he knows that this is silly. He and Jimin clearly have opposing views on relationships and love. If it were up to Taehyung, they wouldn’t have any rules and they wouldn’t be friends with benefits. Or fuck buddies. Or anything else they’d fit to be called. They would just be… Taehyung and Jimin. Together. Because they’re basically together now, just without the label. 

Taehyung doesn’t dare say that out loud, though. Jimin would surely cower in fear and run for the hills. He’s very stubborn about a lot of things, including his position as head chairman of the #AntiLove campaign that will apparently never waver. 

Sitting up suddenly, Jimin offers, “I’ll get you a cloth. Fuck, I’m sorry.” 

He crosses over Taehyung awkwardly. He’s straddling him for a moment, palms of his hands pressed to Taehyung’s chest, and then disappears into the bathroom. Running water sounds fill the room for only a second before footsteps begin to approach Taehyung again. 

Jimin’s holding the washcloth apprehensively in his hand and begins to ask, “Um… do you want me to—“

Stray droplets smack against Taehyung’s hardwood floor. They both know the sound is surely nearly silent, but to them, in that moment, it’s almost deafening. Because there’s a delay to Taehyung’s reply like he’s contemplating it. And honestly, Jimin sort of doesn’t know what he’ll do if Taehyung says yes. 

Jimin always offers— to be polite, of course. And Taehyung always declines— to adhere to the rules, of course. Because cleaning off your partner after sex seems a little too… intimate. Even if the gesture is sweet, that’s sort of exactly what they fear. Maybe it’s too sweet. 

“No, it’s okay, I got it.”

Jimin’s breath comes a little easier now. Taehyung finds his lungs straining just a bit to breathe. 

Taehyung takes the damp cloth from Jimin’s hand and wipes off his stomach. The coolness sends a shiver down his spine and makes him want to cocoon himself under his blankets. There’s a thought that passes through his mind that wants to pull Jimin back into bed with him. It’s gone in a second, though, and Taehyung pretends not to register it. 

Eyeing his jeans on the floor and his boxers on the edge of Taehyung’s bed, Jimin begins gathering his items as he says, “I’m gonna… get going, okay?”

An easier escape now that he’s already standing. Quietly, Jimin unfolds his boxers and sticks one foot through the fabric, beginning to dress. This part always sucks. 

No, stay, Taehyung thinks. 

“Yeah, I’ll see you later,” Taehyung says. 

It happens in a silent blur— Jimin dressing himself, slinging his backpack over his shoulder, and toeing on his boots. When he’s fully clothed, he shifts almost nervously on his feet in front of the bed. Like he’s waiting for Taehyung to say something. He fumbles with his cell phone in his hand.

“I’ll text you when I get back to my place, okay?” Jimin offers. 

Taehyung nods, his messy black hair swooping up and down with the motion. 

“Okay.”

And just like that, without a kiss goodbye, a hug, or a proper goodnight, Jimin’s gone. 

 

 

Call Taehyung lovesick or a hopeless romantic, but he refuses to believe this is going to turn out badly. He knows the statistics. Friends with benefits rarely end up happily together. Typically, the relationship becomes strained because one person catches feelings and the other doesn’t want to commit. 

Taehyung’s not an idiot, he sees the pattern. And if he didn’t, his and Jimin’s entire friend group is there to remind him. Needless to say, they don’t very much approve of the arrangement he and Jimin have. 

No one thinks Jimin’s a bad guy, or that he’s using Taehyung. Because they all know that’s absolutely not the case. They’ve all been friends with each other for years, and actually, they’re surprised he and Jimin didn’t start hooking up sooner. The tension between the two of them has always been there. But they continue to stress that the timing is all off. Jimin is at a point in his life where he’s sickeningly vocal about his theory that love is a concept conjured up by the weak and lonely. And Taehyung, well, his favorite movie is The Notebook which pretty much explains his side. He’s a sucker for romance and love. 

What no one seems to understand but Taehyung is that he and Jimin aren’t just friends, they’re best friends. Met their sophomore year of high school and haven’t detached from the hip since. They’ve been through a lot of shit together, they know each other inside and out. No secrets. 

(Well, okay, maybe Taehyung has one secret.)

Things are so much different when he and Jimin aren’t focused on the sexual aspect that their relationship has acquired in recent months. They do normal, typical, stupid best friend things. Like staying up way too late binge-watching anime even though they have class in the morning. And spending their weekends playing video games until their thumbs feel numb. They (attempt to) study together, even. They eat most of their meals together. Taehyung goes to Jimin’s house for Christmas. Very rarely are they apart. 

And Jimin, believe it or not, is a very affectionate person. He’s filled to the brim with little touches and hugs and cuddles. Just not within the half-hour window before, during, or after sex. Apparently, that’s a no-no. Because it implies more feelings than a casual hookup requires, and that’s what they’re doing. Hooking up. Casually. Like best friends do. 

Taehyung could go off on tangents about how soft Jimin’s hands are, and how beautiful he looks with his newly-dyed light brown hair. He could string together lyrics about the way he never fails to make Taehyung laugh, and how perfect his nose is, and how captivating his eyes are. Innocent, but sexy. Intimidating, yet inviting. Just like Jimin himself. 

Those thoughts stay between Taehyung and his private poetry notebook only. Those pages in his journal have witnessed him at his most vulnerable— caught in an infatuation tsunami of overflowing feelings of admiration and affection. It’s pathetic, Taehyung knows. But he can’t help it. 

His friends tell him that if he had half a mind, he’d break things off with Jimin. Not the friendship part, of course. But the part where they fuck like they need each other to live and then don’t speak for hours after because they might say something a little too tender. 

It’s a twisted game they’re playing but the truth is, Taehyung doesn’t want to quit. He doesn’t want to stop hooking up with Jimin. Superficially, Taehyung can tell himself it’s because Jimin’s the best he’s ever had and he doesn’t want to give up a good thing. Mind-blowing orgasms multiple times a week— (sometimes multiple times a night )— is hard to turn down. But under that, Taehyung knows it’s because it gives him hope. That maybe one day, this won’t just be a thing they do every couple of days. Maybe it’ll be part of something bigger. Something beyond the casual sex and the intentional avoidance of feelings. 

Their friends are protective and precautionary, but Taehyung’s a big boy. He knows how to take care of himself. He’s well aware of the dangers that allowing this to continue on may bring. But as always, Jimin’s worth it. 

Even if Taehyung gets his heart broken in the end. 

 

 

The seven of them are piled around a library table way too small to accommodate, but they don’t care. Like overgrown puppies, they force themselves to fit along the four sides. Backpacks slung over the knobs of their oak chairs and piles of textbooks varying in subjects clutter the tabletop. 

Easily, they’re the loudest in the room. They don’t mean to be, it’s just what happens when they all get together. Rarely are all seven of them in the same conversation, so they talk over and through one another in pairs and triplets. 

Jimin and Taehyung are at opposite ends of the table which is silly considering they have a project to do together. It’s a literature assignment about the analyzation of any classical poem of their choice. They have to dissect it's words and then relate it back to present times, proving that the theme in the poem remains relevant in today’s world. 

Typically, Taehyung’s interest in reading begins and ends with comic books. Jimin’s the bookworm, to be honest. But he tends to read action-adventure, suspense, murder mysteries, and of course, on occasion, some erotic works that pique his interest. When it comes to poetry, however, Taehyung definitely has more experience. With writing them, anyway. Which, according to Jimin, must mean he’s better at interpreting their underlying meanings. So Jimin lets him take the lead on this project, trusting him. 

“Hey, you wanna—“ Jimin ducks just in time to dodge a balled-up piece of notebook paper Seokjin launches at Yoongi. They’re both music majors; Yoongi’s focus is on songwriting and Seokjin’s on vocals. And apparently, Seokjin thinks Yoongi’s lyrics are just like the paper he’s thrown: trash

Lifting his arm for protection, Jimin waves in Taehyung’s direction and tries again. He says, “Wanna go to the computers to find a poem?”

It’s not much of a study-like type of environment when they’re all together, so Taehyung wasn’t getting much work done at the table anyway. And happily, he steps away from the chaos and into the much quieter computer lab across the way. 

Jimin picks a computer, steals a chair from the desktop behind him for Taehyung, and begins scrolling. Quietly, Taehyung lowers himself into the seat and pulls the sleeves of his black hoodie over his knuckles. He makes a conscious effort to stare at the screen and not Jimin’s profile. Tough, though, considering Jimin’s profile is beautiful.

“Have you thought of a poem that would be good? You know I’m useless when it comes to poetry,” Jimin comments, keeping his eyes on the screen as he types ‘poetry for university ’ hopelessly into the search bar. 

Taehyung giggles and pushes Jimin away from the computer, taking his spot. He’s saving him from himself, really. Jimin rolls only a few inches but he makes a show of it, gripping the edge of the table wildly to stop his traveling. He begins to pull himself back using the edge of the table like it’s a rope and he’s hanging on for dear life. 

“Jeez, what are you good for then?” Taehyung questions playfully, swapping out ‘poetry for university’ for the more practical ‘classic poems list'

As Jimin scoots himself back into place next to Taehyung he wags his eyebrows and says, “You know I’m good at a lot of other things, Taehyungie.” 

Naturally, Jimin’s a flirt. He’ll attempt to swoon just about any living creature in sight. Sometimes he doesn’t even mean it, it’s just him. And other times, he’s overly playful with it. But it’s mostly just to make Taehyung smile. Ever since they’ve started hooking up it’s been almost nonstop sex jokes and innuendos. But again, it’s to make each other laugh. To bring a level of comfort and humor to the slow-boiling awkwardness of the situation they’re in. 

Squinting his eyes like he’s examining Jimin clinically, Taehyung asks as a doctor doing an annual exam would, “Are you ever not horny? I’m worried.” 

Jimin thinks for a minute, a pout presenting itself on his lips as he does so. He taps his index finger against his pillow-soft lips and hums. 

“Never had a boner in AP Calculus,” he finally supplies.  

Taehyung laughs, wraps his arm around Jimin’s shoulders and says, “There’s hope for you yet, you little sex addict.”

Jimin shrugs. “Worse things to be addicted to,” he says. “And you’re definitely not complaining.”

Quickly, their poem search becomes equally as extensive as it is boring, and Taehyung finds himself supporting Jimin’s head on his shoulder. It’s not against the rules when it’s like this— in public, clothes on, no post-orgasm feelings swimming through their veins. Jimin even plays with Taehyung’s free hand in his lap as he watches Taehyung click through poetry from the 1600s. 

Taehyung tries not to overthink Jimin’s actions. It’s late and Jimin’s had a long day. Classes all morning, a tutoring session with a freshman he’s been assigned to in the afternoon, and he works part-time in the evenings at a restaurant on the east side of campus. He’s been busy since dawn and he’s now ending his night staring at a computer screen, trying to piece together a literature assignment. Taehyung doesn’t blame him, he’d want to lay down, too. 

“Almost done?” Jimin asks softly. Not rushing, just curious. He’s given up hope about thirty minutes ago. Taehyung’s been skimming poetry written by old, dead people for a while now. 

Settling, because he doesn’t care that much, Taehyung proposes, “How ‘bout we use Sonnet 18? Shakespeare.”

Slowly, Jimin’s index finger draws abstract shapes on the palm of Taehyung’s hand. Every so often, he stops, and their hands lay there. Just barely, their fingers intertwine. It takes all of Taehyung’s willpower to pretend this isn’t making his heart race. 

“Sounds pretty,” Jimin notes lightly, adjusting his head on Taehyung’s shoulder. He’s returned to mindlessly playing with Taehyung’s fingers. Taehyung’s nerves are on fire. “What’s it about?”

Just for a moment, Taehyung hesitates. 

“Love,” he explains, fighting off a stutter. His voice is so quiet he barely even hears himself. But it’s obvious, the immediate shift in their dynamic. Jimin’s muscles tense, and by domino effect, so do Taehyung’s. 

Jimin’s fingers stop moving. Taehyung’s heart stops beating. 

The face Jimin makes is an exaggerated display of disgust. Like offering a three-year-old a plate of broccoli and cauliflower. He scrunches his nose, furrows his eyebrows, and curves his mouth downward just a bit at the corners.  

“Taehyung…”

“Just because you refuse to believe love is real doesn’t mean everyone else does,” Taehyung says with a shrug, trying to remain as breezy as possible. He and Jimin have had this conversation a billion times. It’s tiring. “Most poems and songs and everything else is about love.” 

This time, Jimin emphasizes his look of disgust with a sound effect. A gagging one. Real mature, Taehyung thinks. He knocks his shoulder into Jimin’s temple, implying he’s no longer welcome to use him as a pillow with that attitude. 

Giving in without much of a fight, Jimin sighs, “Fine, use the stupid poem. I don’t care.” 

He’s cute when he’s worked up and Taehyung can’t help but smile a bit. Forgiving, Taehyung allows Jimin to return his head to his shoulder. He takes Taehyung’s hand back, just as gentle as before, and resumes circling their fingers. 

Across the way, there’s a couple sharing a computer similar to the way the two of them are. And also similar, the girl is resting her head on the guy’s shoulder, watching him work. Something funny must appear on their screen because they both laugh at the same time. The boy looks over and kisses her on the top of her head.

Jimin spots them around the same time Taehyung does. Like a grumpy old man, Jimin sucks his teeth and mumbles, “Get a room.” 

The irony is lost on him. Taehyung holds in a laugh.

 

 ✢

 

“Wanna sleep at my place tonight?”

Jimin’s already half-asleep on Taehyung’s shoulder. He’s never quiet, but he’s been silent for the past twenty minutes as Taehyung’s been typing away. He’s exhausted and Taehyung doesn’t think he can keep resisting the urge to kiss his forehead. So Taehyung thinks maybe it’s in their best interest if they get going. 

The computer lab is relatively empty now with the library closing soon. It’s nearing midnight and it seems the only people still here are their friends in the connecting room. Taehyung can hear them chatting loudly from their table. 

“Hm?” Jimin asks. Delayed, like he’s just hearing Taehyung now. He forces himself to sit up straight. Groggy, he rubs the heels of his palms into his eyes to wake himself up and clear his vision. 

Saving the document and closing the window, Taehyung stands up and slings his backpack over his shoulder. He shrugs and says, “It’s late and you’re exhausted. My place is closer, I just figured…”

Taehyung’s voice trails off. He’s sure he sounds silly. He and Jimin have had more than their fair share of sleepovers, but they’ve tapered off in recent months. Right around the time they started hooking up. Taehyung knows it’s not a coincidence. But as far as he’s concerned, they’re still best friends before anything else. They can sleep in the same bed and it be innocent. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

Jimin scratches his knee through the decorative rip in his light wash skinny jeans. He’s paired it with a plain white sleeved shirt with red writing along the sleeves. Visibly, he contemplates the proposition. 

Then, as nonchalantly as he can muster, Jimin stands up and says, “Yeah, thanks.” 

As they walk out of the computer lab, Jimin’s got his arm around Taehyung. He’s playing up his tiredness like if he doesn’t use Taehyung for the support he’ll fall right over. Of course, Taehyung doesn’t mind. Actually, he leans into Jimin’s touch. 

Jeongguk has moved to the couch near the table everyone else is sitting at. He’s spread out on the arm of it; one leg stretched out, one bent at the knee. He’s on his side, scrolling mindlessly through his phone. Most likely on some form of social media. He loves Snapchat and Twitter. 

When he spots the pair approaching, he removes one headphone from his ear and questions, “Goin’ somewhere?” 

“You know where they’re going,” Yoongi mumbles, keeping his head down as he writes. He’s got a dark gray beanie on but his hair still falls onto his face. With the back of his pen, he sweeps it out of his eyes. 

Taehyung makes an annoyed face. “We’re going to finish our project,” he says in a matter-of-fact voice. 

Seokjin nudges Namjoon and whispers in a voice that totally isn’t a whisper at all, “Is that what they’re calling it now?” He makes air quotes with his fingers and says with a mocking bob of his head, “Finishing their project?”

Jimin’s wide awake now. Always prepared to argue and more so, always prepared to defend Taehyung. 

He rolls his eyes and says, “They’re just jealous they’re not getting laid, Taehyungie, don’t mind the sexually frustrated minions.” 

Hoseok looks up then, offended. Because he and Yoongi have been dating— officially, thanks— for over a year and he’s definitely getting laid. But he holds his tongue. Instead, he forces himself to see the silver lining that Jimin and Taehyung are defending what they have. Which proves they both know they have something. And just that alone, paired with the small dash of proudness, makes Hoseok stay quiet. 

Typically, the group likes to tease the two. In hopes that they maybe it’ll help them come to their senses. They’re either going to move forward or cut the strings on the no-strings-attached arrangement they have. As their friends, they’re brutally honest. Sometimes too honest. They never miss an opportunity to tell Taehyung and Jimin they think they’re fools. And if they’re not doing that, then they’re doing this: making jokes about them fucking around. 

Attempting to clarify one last time, because everything Taehyung and Jimin do isn’t centered around sex now, Taehyung says, “We’re gonna do homework.” 

As they’re walking toward the exit, Namjoon waves his hand dismissively and calls, “Yeah, okay, use protection!”

“Bye, lovebirds!” Jeongguk follows up with. 

It’s useless. 

When they step out into the cool night air, Jimin proposes they get new friends. And eagerly, Taehyung agrees. 

 

 

Having Jimin in his bed is something Taehyung’s used to. It happens often, whether they’re having sex or not. He’s the only one out of the two with his own place; a small apartment just off-campus. Jimin still dorms and has a roommate. So naturally, they spend most of their time at Taehyung’s. 

There was an attempt to work more on their literature project but Jimin made a beeline to Taehyung’s bed, and Taehyung couldn’t take the distance between them. No more than a few minutes later, they’re both laying side by side, stripped down to their boxers and undershirts, staring at the ceiling. 

Familiar in the way it resembles a few nights ago after they hooked up, but much different now because there’s a sense of ease that blankets them. No overthinking the way Jimin’s leg hooks over Taehyung’s. No tension in the way Taehyung runs the hem of Jimin’s shirt between his fingers. They’re leaning into each other, their foreheads brushing just so. Taehyung swears there’s an electric buzz inching its way through his body. Somehow, it calms him. 

“Don’t worry about them, okay?” Jimin says rather out of the blue. The sudden break in silence startles Taehyung; a small shock shoots through his veins. 

Blinking, Taehyung questions back, “Who?”

“The guys,” Jimin clarifies. “They don’t know what they’re talking about with us.”

He hooks his heel under Taehyung’s calf and pulls him closer. Taehyung’s thigh now sits between Jimin’s knees. Suddenly, Taehyung becomes hyper-aware of the way the back of his throat is beginning to dry. 

Brushing it off, Taehyung says, “They’re just joking around like always. It’s whatever.”

“It’s annoying is what it is,” Jimin responds, rolling his eyes. “They don’t get it. I mean… I don’t expect them to, but I’m tired of them trying to make us feel like shit for hooking up. They’re making a big deal out of nothing. It’s just sex.” 

There’s a part of Taehyung that wants to remind Jimin that sex is very rarely just sex. Especially when it’s between two people as close as they are. And Taehyung sort of finds it amazing that Jimin doesn’t see this as clearly as he does. But then again, Taehyung is the king of overthinking. Maybe he’s wrong. 

Attempting to remain neutral, Taehyung offers, “They’re just trying to look out for us. They don’t want us to get hurt.” 

“But no one’s gonna get hurt, it’s just sex. The most natural thing in the world,” Jimin nearly yells, emphasizing the word, and massaging his temples like he’s getting a headache. 

Taehyung falls quiet then. He’s not sure what to say. 

Jimin continues, though. He questions like he’s a little uncertain now, “...Right? We know what we’re doing, right?”

The point is, they have rules. Ones that are supposed to imply that they have their shit together when it comes to this. But it’s a placebo effect. Deep down, they both know they’re freefalling. It’s terrifying to face that reality, so they subconsciously decided not to. Their metaphoric parachute has a gigantic hole in it that they’ve attempted to repair with a bandaid. 

The first time they hooked up was more or less a drunken blur. They could even claim it was an accident. Because Taehyung’s a touchy drunk and Jimin’s an affectionate drunk and one thing leads to another. It was a happy, giggly, satisfying mess. But the times after that, when they were unmistakably sober, came with the need to put some training wheels on their actions. Guidelines. Precautions. So that no one gets hurt. That was always the plan. 

And so it goes like this: One, no kissing. Ever. Not even when they’re fucking, because kissing is intimate and what they’re doing isn’t. Two, no cuddling after. Couples cuddle after sex, and they’re not a couple. Three, no spending the night after either. The same reasoning applies as rule number two. Four, no labels. Everyone calls them friends with benefits. They don’t really call themselves anything. Not out loud or to each other’s faces, that is. And five, the most important rule, is no feelings. Because feelings get sloppy and complicated and that’s the last thing they need. Besides, Jimin isn’t exactly a feelings type of guy. 

Sometimes it’s all too much for Taehyung to wrap his head around. The dos and don’ts of it all. All he knows is that he can’t stop himself from craving Jimin in every way possible. And truthfully, Taehyung is fine with how they are right now. Would he like to be more? Sure. Maybe. But that’s not going to happen any time soon, so he makes an effort to keep those thoughts at bay. He saves them for his poetry journal. 

Forcing a smile, Taehyung finally says, “Right. We’re fine.” 

Rolling toward Taehyung so that he can rest his cheek on his shoulder, Jimin wraps his arm around Taehyung’s midsection and says, “It’s not like we’re gonna fall in love or anything.”

Taehyung’s heart picks up speed. He wonders if Jimin can hear it as he lays this close. 

A sarcastic giggle leaves Jimin’s lips as he mumbles, “That shit’s not real anyway.” 

There’s a twisting, wringing feeling presenting itself in Taehyung’s heart. Two impossibly strong hands twisting it like a wet rag in his chest. He closes his eyes and begins to pet through Jimin’s hair, but it’s mostly to calm himself. 

Taehyung’s cheek rests on the crown of Jimin’s head as he says back slowly, “Whatever you say, Jimin-ah.” 

 

 

Taehyung wakes up to an unmistakable pressure on his hip. Naturally, the two of them are cuddlers, so they always wake up tangled in one another. (Cuddling is only a no-go if it’s after sex. They couldn’t actually not cuddle even if they tried.) This morning, Taehyung’s flat on his back with Jimin slung over his left side like a koala. 

For a long moment, Taehyung’s brain restarts and he convinces himself that Jimin must be asleep. Morning wood is natural, so it probably doesn’t mean much, Taehyung tells himself. But then suddenly, Taehyung becomes aware of the feather-like feeling of eyelashes blinking against his neck. 

“You awake?” Jimin questions softly, almost too innocently for what’s happening below his waist. Subconsciously, Jimin grinds into Taehyung just a bit. Or maybe he means it deliberately, hinting at what he wants to happen next. Either way, Taehyung’s heart begins to beat a little quicker. 

Taehyung huffs, grips between Jimin’s legs gently and responds, “Not as much as you are, apparently.”

A chuckle softly vibrates Taehyung. He feels the spreading of Jimin’s lips against his skin as he laughs. But then the smile turns into a kiss, and a kiss into a bite. The tip of Jimin’s tongue meets Taehyung’s skin, sending a shiver down his spine. God, his touch is magical. 

They’re allowed to kiss other places that aren’t each other’s lips. That’s not against the rules. Necks, collarbones, inner thighs, torsos, all of that. So Taehyung happily tips his head to the side, giving Jimin more room. What is against the rules is them marking each other, but Taehyung always silently wishes Jimin will do it anyway. He wants the world to know he’s his. Wants to wear Jimin’s signature on his skin, even if it’s just for a couple of days. 

“That’s what happens when I’m near you for too long,” Jimin whispers, his blunt fingernails sliding through Taehyung’s hair. He kisses lower, toward the collar of Taehyung’s shirt, over his pulse between the meeting of his collarbones. “I can’t help it.”

Jimin’s voice is especially sexy within the first hour of him waking up. Stuck at a lower octave, his tone tends to drag. A daring, black-colored way of speaking that always leaves Taehyung a bit breathless. His tone keeps Taehyung on a short leash. It tugs and tugs and tugs until Taehyung happily surrenders.

It’s early, but not nearly as early as either of them wish. They both have an 8 a.m. class that they regret every morning, but especially today. Taehyung’s alarm is due to ring before they know it and they’ll have to get going. 

“Always wake up before you,” Jimin explains softly between sloppy, open-mouthed kisses to Taehyung’s sensitive skin. His hand begins gripping at Taehyung’s hipbone. “So I was watching you sleep for a while and my brain just kept thinking about… how much I wanna fuck you.” 

Trapping his bottom lip between his teeth, Taehyung bites down until the flesh turns a faded pink color and he’s got a hold over himself. He refuses to whimper. Not right now, at least. But it's pointless, Jimin’s got him wrapped around his finger and he knows it. 

With his eyes darkening just as much as they are pleading, Taehyung tells him, “Do it, then.” 

Jimin kisses up Taehyung’s neck toward his jawline. His breath ghosts over Taehyung’s skin as he whispers back almost so sweetly it’s like a comforting promise, “I will.” 

Tipping his head to the side so he can see, Taehyung’s left-hand spiders it's way down Jimin’s midsection. There’s no hiding Jimin’s arousal, an apparent bulge curving upward toward his stomach. Dragging his tongue against the roof of his mouth, all Taehyung can think about is putting his lips to work. 

“Fully hard already?” Taehyung asks, but it’s rhetorical. Teasing, almost. Implying that he hasn’t done a thing but simply be in Jimin’s presence but he’s hard anyway. Times like this, Taehyung’s almost cocky with his confidence. Jimin loves it; melts every time. 

He’s slipped his hand under the waistband of Jimin’s boxers now. His cock fits perfect and full in Taehyung’s palm as he begins to stroke him. Pre-cum slicks Taehyung’s grip just a bit, aiding his motion. 

“For you,” Jimin mumbles back, a bit delayed. He’s getting a little desperate, bucking his hips upward, chasing the feeling Taehyung’s hand brings. He can’t wait much longer and they don’t have time for games.

Changing their positions smoothly, Jimin places himself on his back and Taehyung on top of him. It’s short-lived, though. They kiss at each other’s necks a few times before Jimin’s urging Taehyung lower, seeking pleasure and much-needed friction. 

Always eager, Taehyung kisses down Jimin’s midsection. Taehyung’s lips drag prettily against Jimin’s exposed skin as he works his way lower. He pushes Jimin’s shirt up and pulls his boxers down, exposing only what’s needed in this exact moment— Jimin’s dick. 

And it’s not a secret, Taehyung’s always loved Jimin’s dick. Maybe a slight obsession. So he kisses up the length of it in a worshiping type of manner before he whispers, “So fuckin’ pretty,” and licks at the head. Under him, Jimin bites his index finger to keep his moans at bay. Taehyung would love to tease him, but they don’t have much time. 

Quickies, however, are their specialty. Between classes and working and tutoring and being social, they don’t usually have an extensive amount of time to get off. Forty minutes tops on a good day. But right now is allotting about less than half of that. 

Jimin’s worked himself up enough that he doesn’t last long anyway. Always so easily falling victim to Taehyung’s mouth, Jimin fucks upward into it until he’s panting. It’s the sight— Taehyung’s cherry red lips stretched over the soft pink flesh of his cock, the way his mouth glistens with saliva and pre-cum, the way Taehyung’s eyelashes fan out when he closes his eyes. No wonder he doesn’t last long. 

Obedient, just the way Jimin likes him to be, Taehyung stations himself in the perfect position for Jimin to fuck his mouth. With a hard grip on the front of Taehyung’s hair, Jimin grinds his hips upward, drowning in the wetness and the warmth of it all. Taehyung doesn’t have a gag reflex, one of Jimin’s favorite things about him, and drops his head a bit more. He lets the head of Jimin’s cock bump with ease against the back of his throat. He swallows around it whenever he has the chance and basks in the soft moans Jimin rewards him with every time. 

Not too long after, Jimin’s whispering out in a whine, “Fuck, Taehyung. Fuck, god, fuck, I’m gonna—“

Most people complain that their partner’s cum tastes like something awful. Battery acid, or a salty, bitter concoction. But Taehyung’s always loved the way Jimin tastes. Somehow, there’s always a hint of sweetness there. And Taehyung, without a doubt, has a sweet tooth. 

It’s funny, Taehyung has barely any time to swallow before Jimin’s flipping them back over. Taehyung’s fully hard now, spent most of his time blowing Jimin grinding down on his mattress. So there’s a pretty wet spot on the front of his light gray boxers that Jimin rubs his hand over. 

“Always so wet for me,” Jimin comments under his breath, mostly to himself, but Taehyung hears him and it makes his dick twitch. He lifts his hips then, hoping Jimin gets the hint that he wants to cum now and doesn’t want to wait any longer. 

Anyone who’s seen Jimin knows without a doubt that his mouth is a problem. A full, plump, gorgeous problem. Made to suck dick as far as Taehyung’s concerned. His, anyway. So Taehyung’s fingers quickly bury themselves in Jimin’s hair and guide him where he wants him.

Jimin always teases Taehyung and tells him he’s too sensitive. But in Taehyung’s defense, Jimin’s just… really fuckin’ good. So when the warmth of Jimin’s mouth finally encloses around Taehyung’s dick, he nearly folds himself in half. A hiss escaping as he tugs on Jimin’s hair. 

“Easy, easy,” Jimin coaches, a smile barely present on his lips. He uses his fingertips to guide Taehyung back down, flat on his back. He lowers himself back down as well and says, “I got you.” 

And fuck, yes he does. It’s the truth when Taehyung says Jimin’s the best he’s ever had. Granted, compared to Park Jimin, King of Casual Sex, he hasn’t had as much experience. But he likes to believe it’s their deeper connection— the bond beyond this— that makes them so compatible in bed. 

Plus, it absolutely helps that all of Taehyung’s sexual fantasies are about Jimin. So once he has the real thing, it’s nearly impossible for his entire body to not be on overdrive. He’s hooked, and Jimin is a very dangerous drug. 

Jimin does this thing that drives Taehyung mad. This thing where he sucks Taehyung off and teases at the entrance of his ass at the same time. No lube, so he doesn’t sink his fingers in. But lightly coated with spit, he circles the muscles teasingly. Reminding Taehyung of how good it feels to be full— to be fucked for real. And goddamn, Taehyung falls for it every time. 

Before he knows it, he’s whimpering. His orgasm just a few heartbeats away. Taehyung’s starting to sweat, his body overheating too quickly. Jimin has a spell over him, he must. No one’s ever made him feel like this before. But it’s wonderful; Taehyung wants to feel this way for the rest of his life. 

Cutely, Taehyung cums with a low-pitched whine. His breathing is stuttered, uneven for a few moments and Jimin’s tongue licks at the bundle of nerves on the underside of the head. It intensifies his orgasm almost to the point of overstimulation. Sensitive, Taehyung twitches under Jimin’s weight. 

“Okay, okay,” Taehyung whispers, calling Jimin off. It’s all he can take right now. His legs are shaking. And when Taehyung looks down, Jimin’s wearing the cockiest little smirk on his face. If he wasn’t so sexy, Taehyung would want to slap it right off. 

Before he separates their bodies once and for all, Jimin gives a small kiss to Taehyung’s thigh. It makes Taehyung smile. The spot on his leg tingles moments after Jimin’s gone. 

Taehyung, still a little naive, is half-expecting Jimin to lay back down next to him. Because that’s what normal people do after sex. But instead, Jimin pats Taehyung’s hip with one hand, wipes the back of his mouth with the other, and says, “I better get going.” 

And Taehyung, maybe a little woozy from his orgasm, doesn’t understand for a moment. 

He furrows his eyebrows and asks, “Wha— where are you going?”

Jimin looks disappointed, but only for a second. Like Taehyung’s a bit silly for asking. 

Lightly, Jimin says, “Gotta get ready for class. So do you. It’s Friday.” 

Taehyung says simply, “Oh.”

There’s an emptiness that begins to consume Taehyung as he watches Jimin gather his belongings. Taehyung asks Jimin if he’s going to shower here, but Jimin says no. Adds that he needs a change of clothes and that his class is closer to his dorm anyway. By now, Taehyung knows not to fight Jimin’s excuses to leave right after. 

“Have a good day,” Taehyung says a bit small, fumbling with the sheets on his bed that now cover his lower half. Jimin’s adjusting his backpack strap on his shoulder, fully dressed now. 

Jimin looks up, an upbeat attitude radiating off of him now. He makes his way across the room, grabs hold of Taehyung’s hair softly, and kisses just above his forehead. He ruffles Taehyung’s hair playfully, smiling as he does so. 

“I’ll see you later,” Jimin promises. 

But Taehyung doesn’t even have time to say, “Yeah, okay,” before Jimin’s out the door and he’s alone again. 

His body feels satisfied, but his heart desperately aches for something more. 

A moment later, Taehyung’s alarm clock rings. It’s time for his day to begin, but he can’t tell if it’s off to a good start or not. 

 

 

Later that evening, the six of them are scattered around the common area of Namjoon and Hoseok’s dorm. The two have been paired as roommates this year and haven’t shut up about it since. But it’s cute— adorable, even— how well they get along. Nauseatingly so.

Yoongi will never admit it, but he gets a little jealous sometimes. Also in a cute way. Because he depicts his jealousy by helplessly staring at Hoseok from across the room until he feels him staring and gives him attention. And then Hoseok showers him with kisses and Yoongi pretends to be fed up. 

Their common area is a lounge-like room with two dark gray, fluffy couches and a loveseat to match. The furniture is arranged in an expanded triangle type of shape with a wooden coffee table in the center. It’s decorated with magazines no one reads because magazines are relatively obsolete. (But still make for table toppers, apparently.)

On the wall to the left, there’s a huge flatscreen television mounted into the structure, a colorful bulletin board right next to it adorned with flyers and reminders, and to the right of that sits a dying plant in the corner. Namjoon waters it militantly when he remembers, but it goes through a drought when he doesn’t. Taehyung’s pretty sure he’s named it Moon. 

“What time does Jimin get off work?” Jeongguk asks openly to anyone who will give him an answer. His left-hand slides down his abdomen as he announces, “I’m starving.”

“You’re a bottomless pit,” Seokjin comments. 

“7:45,” Taehyung answers. 

Jeongguk sucks his teeth. 

“Fuck you. Thank you,” he says to Seokjin and then Taehyung, adjusting his head and tone of voice to acknowledge them in order. He even offers Taehyung a smile in place of the scowl he gave Seokjin. From the windowsill, Namjoon giggles at their banter. 

Seokjin shrugs. “You wish,” he says. 

In return, Jeongguk makes a gagging sound. 

They’ve hooked up multiple times, but pretend they haven’t. The rest of the group knows, but pretends they don’t. It’s an unspoken agreement. 

Everyone is scattered throughout the room. Taehyung and Jeongguk are sharing the loveseat. Seokjin is spread out on the couch across from them. Namjoon has posted himself by the window, sitting on the ledge to simultaneously watch the cars passing and the sun setting. Yoongi is busy, or at least pretending to be, on the computer. And Hoseok is slung over Yoongi’s shoulders, offering up kisses to the crown of his head every so often. 

“Taehyung-ah…” Namjoon calls too innocently to be innocent. Taehyung looks up from his phone. “Did Jimin sleep at your place last night?”

Immediately, Taehyung rolls his eyes. “Don’t start,” he says. 

“Start what? I’m just curious,” Namjoon replies defensively. He even lifts his hands and holds them palms out to prove he’s harmless. 

Wholeheartedly, Taehyung disagrees. 

Answering for him, Jeongguk offers, “They left together, didn’t they?” 

“I’m not assuming anything, so I’m asking,” Namjoon replies. He’s really playing it up here. If Taehyung wasn’t so comfortable, he’d push Namjoon right off the ledge. There’s a balcony underneath. He’d be fine. 

Focusing his eyes down at his phone again, Taehyung says, “It doesn’t matter.” 

That’s all they need to hear. It’s clearly a yes without saying yes. Yoongi even makes a pitying type of sound. He’s well aware that Taehyung’s response is going to give the rest of the guys' ammunition. Yoongi’s never been the pressing type. Not when it comes to relationships, that is. But if he’s truthful, excitement and peer pressure have resulted in him participating in a Taehyung and Jimin Intervention before. Doesn’t mean he’s proud of it.

But if they all knew how the two of them spent this morning, Taehyung thinks they wouldn’t be pitying him at all. All they see is their lack of commitment, but at least Taehyung can appreciate the benefits part of their friendship. Even if they’re not supposed to call themselves that. A perk is a perk. 

Like a concerned parent, Hoseok unwraps himself from around Yoongi and situates himself on the coffee table in front of Taehyung. He leans forward, both hands on Taehyung’s knees so they can be eye to eye, and asks, “How long are you two gonna keep doing this?”

But now Taehyung’s defensive. He pushes at Hoseok’s hands and questions back, “Why do you care? We’re not hurting any of you. It’s not even affecting, like, our group dynamic or whatever.” 

Because if that’s what everyone’s worried about, Taehyung thinks they need to have a group meeting about the various one night stands more than a few pairs of them have had. And Seokjin and Jeongguk, sometimes his and Jimin’s biggest critics, should have nothing to say considering their history. But no one holds a black cloud over their heads. Taehyung can’t fathom what the perceived difference is. 

Chiming in, Namjoon says, “It’s affecting the two of you, though. And it makes no sense to keep… beating around the bush.” 

Taehyung doesn’t even bother looking over at Namjoon. He doesn’t need to be lectured. He knows all of this. He knows he and Jimin aren’t committing. None of this is news. But their friends seem to plan a weekly arbitration. Apparently, they’ve been having these little meetings with Jimin, too. It goes without saying they haven’t made any progress with him as well.

Swallowing thickly, Taehyung promises, “We’re fine. If we weren’t fine we’d stop, but—“

“But you don’t wanna stop,” Seokjin finishes, an eyebrow hooked upward to imply a slightly questioning tone to his sentence. 

A bit caught off guard that someone is on his side, Taehyung lets out a slow breath and says skeptically, “Yeah...” 

“Because you guys are best friends?”

Again, Taehyung says defensively, “Yeah.” 

“And the sex is good?”

This time, Taehyung blushes a bit. The seven of them pretty much have a nonstop train of sex jokes. He’s not usually shy when it comes to talking about it. But when it comes to Jimin…

“Yeah,” Taehyung replies in a quieter voice, head tilted down just a bit and his cheeks burning hot. 

Seokjin sits up a little straighter. 

“And ‘cause you’re both in love?”

“Ye— shut up!” 

Taehyung really pushes Hoseok away now, slapping at his hands. And immediately Hoseok’s eyes are bulging, recoiling wildly and asking silently, what did I do?! 

He was just Taehyung’s closest victim, the slaps were actually meant for Seokjin.

Sitting back harshly, Taehyung folds his arms over his chest. Nervously now, he scratches at the cuff of his denim jacket. 

Jeongguk stands up, points to Taehyung and yells, “Ha! He said it!” 

And like two siblings bickering, Taehyung’s eyes lit with fire as he yells back, “Did not!”

“Did, too,” Yoongi finalizes from behind his computer screen. He’s not looking at it anymore, though. Now, he sits back leisurely like he’s watching a movie. Legs stretched out, arms behind his head, ankles crossed. He looks entertained. 

Standing up now because Taehyung won’t seem to let him sit on the coffee table without being assaulted, Hoseok starts, “All we’re saying is… you and Jimin do a lot of in love type of things for people who claim they aren’t.” 

He adjusts his shirt, tucking the front into his pants in stereotypical (bisexual) fashion. Today he’s sporting a white shirt, three sizes too big, with a sleeping Snoopy on the front. He has to tuck it in or it’ll basically be a dress on him. Because naturally, he’s paired it with jean shorts that barely touch his knee. 

Fashionable? Definitely. Not enough clothes for the dropping temperature outside? Maybe. Doesn’t matter though, Yoongi always offers Hoseok his jacket anyway. 

Hoseok looks over at Yoongi and asks, “Right, babe?”

To which Yoongi confirms, “A shit ton of in love behavior.” 

Narrowing his eyes, Taehyung questions, “Like what?”

A lot sooner than Taehyung’s expecting, Hoseok says, “He walks you to class.” 

“You two hold hands all the time,” Seokjin says. “It’s sickening.” 

“I don’t think you’ve spent a day apart since you met,” Jeongguk adds. 

“You share clothes so much I don’t even know which items are actually yours at this point,” Namjoon inserts with a shake of his head. 

“The two of you are more affectionate than Hoseok and me. And we’re dating,” Yoongi comments. 

And then, it’s like rapid fire. But each time, Taehyung has an excuse. 

“You know everything about each other.”

To which he says, “We’re best friends!”

“The only person you ever really open up to is Jimin.”

And Taehyung replies, “He’s a good listener!”

“There’s a heart emoji next to his name in your phone.”

Loudly, Taehyung admits, “He put it there!”, to which the group decides makes it worse. 

“You’ve memorized his class and work schedule.”

“Sue me for having a good memory!”

Then Jeongguk, “You write about him all the time in your poetry notebook.” 

But now Taehyung looks betrayed. He yells, “Who the hell told you you’re allowed to read that?!”

Jeongguk rolls off the couch with a laugh before Taehyung can push him off. He settles happily on the floor at a safe distance. He mouths a sorry in Taehyung’s direction but all he gets in return is the middle finger. 

Slowly, things begin to calm down. The first one to speak is Hoseok again. But this time his eyes have softened and his voice is gentle. He says, “We’re only doing this because we’re rooting for you two. I know if you two just have a talk you’ll—“

“Jimin doesn’t even believe in relationships, you all know that,” Taehyung cuts him off with. It’s hard to hide the bitterness in his voice. It burns his tongue to say it. His eyes drop to the floor as he adds, “Or love. So even if I did want— it’s pointless and stupid because he’d never want that.”

Moving closer from the windowsill, Namjoon shakes his head and says, “Taehyung, that’s bullshit and you know it.”

And then Yoongi, “That’s just… Jimin’s defense mechanism. But the way he looks at you—“

“Can you all just shut up?” Taehyung asks, but it’s not much of a question at all. It's nearly a beg. He looks sad now, which isn’t what they were trying to do at all. 

Hoseok feels horrible. He nods slowly and says, “Fine. We’ll drop it.” 

The rest of the group is silent, showing unity. 

Just then, Taehyung’s phone vibrates. 

 

jiminie 🐥💛, 7:53 p.m.
just got out 
shift was brutal
on my way to meet you guys!

 

Almost dreadfully, Taehyung announces, “That was Jimin.” He’s quiet for a minute, expecting a snicker or a sarcastic remark or a mumbled comment about Jimin texting Taehyung only when their entire group is going out. But still, they remain quiet. So he adds, “Says he just got out of work and is walking to meet us now.” 

Reaching for the jacket draped over the back of the computer chair, Yoongi stands up and says, “Let’s go.”

“We’ll be civil at dinner,” Seokjin promises, rubbing Taehyung’s shoulder apologetically. 

But all Taehyung replies with is a grunting sound. He’ll believe it when he sees it.

He’s the first one out the door. As he approaches the steps, Taehyung responds: 

 

taehyung, 7:56 p.m.
we’re on our way too
see you soon!
you can tell me about your shitty day

 

And Jimin, almost immediately texts back:



jiminie 🐥💛, 7:56 p.m.
can’t wait to see you
missed your face 



Taehyung adjusts his thumbs to type back when Hoseok breaks his train of thought by saying, “Y’know, it’s really not convincing if you smile at your phone like that when he texts you.”

Small giggles erupt from the group. 

Instead of answering, Taehyung shoves his phone into his back pocket. 

“Blow me,” Taehyung grumbles. 

As he’s rounding the corner, Taehyung hears Jeongguk make a comment. Something along the lines of none of them needing to, because Jimin’s got it covered. 

Seokjin slaps Jeongguk’s ass, then puts his arm around him and says, “I’ve taught you well.” 

 

 

The restaurant they pick is a moderately crowded place with uncomfortable wooden chairs and a very distinct ginger scent to the air. Luckily for the rest of the customers, the host has sat the seven of them in the back. They must look like they need to be separated from everyone else. And it’s true. Just like always, they’re bound to be the loudest table. 

Jimin and Taehyung are sat next to one another with Namjoon on Taehyung’s right. Across from them sit Yoongi and Hoseok. Seokjin and Jeongguk are placed at the head of the table on either end. It’s a bit of a challenge with all seven of them together to have one conversation at a time, but they do what they can. 

As always, they order their meal family-style. Seven different meals and various side-dishes clutter the center of the table. Hands and arms and chopsticks cross over one another clumsily in the attempt to build their plates. Jimin’s closer to the food Taehyung wants, so he offers to make his plate for him. Across the table, Taehyung intentionally ignores the face Hoseok makes at him. 

Jimin sets Taehyung’s meal in front of him and says softly, “Be careful, the rice is still really hot.” 

To that, Hoseok shoves his plate in Yoongi’s face and says, “Babe, can you pass me some sushi?”

Obnoxiously, Hoseok bats his eyelashes in Yoongi’s direction, playing up his request. Taehyung sees the way Hoseok keeps cutting his eye in his direction, making sure Taehyung is watching. Yoongi’s out of the loop, but Taehyung knows what Hoseok’s trying to imply. Something along the lines of couples make each other’s plates, casual fuck buddies don’t. So if Jimin’s making Taehyung’s plate, Yoongi should make his, too. Because that’s what boyfriends do, apparently. 

Taehyung could easily argue that normal friends do each other simple favors like passing one another food, but it’s pointless. He’s learned by now that he fights a winless battle when it comes to this topic. He and Jimin are always wrong and everyone else is always right. 

Off guard a bit, Yoongi takes Hoseok’s plate apprehensively and says, “Um… sure?” 

Hoseok rests his hand on Yoongi’s thigh, squeezes it, and says breezily, “Taehyung and Jimin here are giving us a run for our money for the best couple at the table.” 

Jimin sucks his teeth. “You’re the only couple at the table, hyung.” 

He emphasizes the word, and Taehyung can’t lie, it hurts a bit. Because he knows for a fact he and Jimin aren’t dating, but whenever Jimin completely closes off the possibility, Taehyung feels a small piece of him break somewhere. His heart, maybe. He’s not too sure yet. 

Hoseok scratches the side of his head as he mumbles out, “Coulda fooled me.”

Both Taehyung and Jimin’s eyes shoot daggers at Hoseok, but presumably for different reasons. Taehyung is clearly begging Hoseok to stop stirring the pot, but Jimin’s message is a little unclear. He’s intentionally a mystery when it comes to this topic. It’s part of his persona or whatever. 

From the other side of the table, Seokjin loudly mumbles a reminder about everyone remaining civil at dinner. Namjoon clears his throat obnoxiously and then asks for Jeongguk to pass him the water pitcher. 

“If that’s not like… overstepping our boundaries or anything, Jeongguk-ah,” he’s sure to add. It’s impossible for him to hide the triumphant smile tugging at his lips. Nervously, like he’s afraid Jimin will take the pitcher and dump it on him, Jeongguk passes the glass. 

Everybody’s a comedian. 

Rolling his eyes, Taehyung says dryly, “Haha.” 

Eventually, like always, the conversation shifts and the tension subsides and they become the seven easy-going best friends they usually are. Taehyung and Jimin know the five of them are only teasing. Brutally sometimes, sure. But teasing nonetheless. They’re used to it by now, so it’s not hard for them to let it roll off of them. Besides, no amount of passive-aggressive comments is going to stop them from being them. Everyone knows that. 

As the night goes on, topics range from current school work assignments to planning their dream vacation next summer, to debating over who would win in a fight between Hulk or Thing from Fantastic Four. 

Seokjin and Jeongguk end up arm-wrestling over the last piece of steak. Namjoon and Hoseok cheer them on, but then steal the meat and split it amongst themselves instead. Yoongi manages to flag down their waiter and asks him to take away some of their plates before their table becomes a madhouse. 

And by the time dessert is served and Jimin’s feeding Taehyung spoonfuls of brownie and ice cream, everyone is all out of comments. They notice it, of course. But no one says anything. There’s no point. 

Besides, they’re really fuckin’ cute. And Hoseok meant what he said earlier, they’re all rooting for the two of them to get together for real in the end. 

He’s confident they’ll get there someday. 

 

 

Namjoon and Hoseok are out shopping, but the only shopping Yoongi does willingly is through a computer screen, so he’s stretched out on Taehyung’s couch. Jeongguk is planted in front of Taehyung’s flat-screen television, so close he’s going to ruin his eyesight, with his tongue hanging out in concentration. He sits criss-cross, hunched over, and completely engrossed in the virtual action. Typically, Taehyung would be right beside him playing, but he’s preoccupied with his poetry journal at the moment. 

Yoongi takes notice, lifts his eyebrows and questions, “Writing Jimin-themed love letters?” 

From the other couch, Taehyung’s eyes peek over the top of the journal and furrow in Yoongi’s direction. It’s black with a pretty, golden-colored, stitched-in string bookmark. Custom made, too. Taehyung’s initials are also pressed in gold italic letters into the bottom right corner of the cover’s material. 

Protectively, Taehyung’s fingers tighten around the sides. His nail beds fade in color to a pale pink and he traps his bottom lip between his teeth. 

Unconvincingly, Taehyung mumbles, “No.” 

Yoongi chuckles, lighthearted and fond. He can’t lie, he thinks the two of them are kind of adorable. Their determination to not identify their relationship as what it obviously is annoys him just as much as the rest of their friend group. But if he’s honest, he remembers vividly the string of unspoken hookups he and Hoseok had before they were ready to move forward. Yoongi knows all the two of them need is time. 

“Y’know,” Yoongi starts, sitting up so he can see Taehyung properly, “the best lyrics come from the heart. And all lyrics are poetry. I bet you’ve got a nice song there.” 

Taehyung closes the journal, presses it firmly against his plain white t-shirt, and says, “Dunno what you’re talking about, hyung.” 

Yoongi sucks his teeth and rolls his eyes. He holds his hand out and says, “C’mon, I won’t tell him. I’m sure you’re great. You never let us read anything you write.” 

The look Taehyung gives Yoongi is one that lets him know he thinks he’s insane. In a matter-of-fact voice, Taehyung confirms, “Yeah, because it’s private.” 

Like an announcer, Jeongguk says, “Number one smash hit Marry Me Jimin by Kim Taehyung stays at the top of the charts for its fifteenth week in a row.” 

Actively, both Yoongi and Taehyung ignore Jeongguk. He’s improvising lyrics that are definitely to the tune of Hey There, Delilah, swaying back and forth with his arm up and an imaginary lighter in his hand. He’s portraying himself more as a crowd member during Woodstock and not in the audience listening to a chart-topping hit of 2020. But it’s funny, and even as Taehyung is throwing a pillow at the back of Jeongguk’s head, he’s giggling. 

Sighing, Yoongi says, “All I mean is… if you spend so much of your time writing about him, maybe it’s worth telling him to his face. Song or no song.”

Truthfully, Taehyung appreciates Yoongi’s approach. Typically, from the rest of their friend group, they just go off on a tangent about how silly he and Jimin are for letting this go on for so long. And still, Taehyung knows they’re doing it with good intentions, but it’s still a bit annoying. Yoongi, however, has always been able to word things nicely. He’s less aggressive, and Taehyung can appreciate that. 

So instead of coming up with a snarky remark he usually needs to defend himself, Taehyung simply leans back onto the couch and says, “Maybe one day, hyung.” 

And to that, supportively, Yoongi promises him, “You’ll know when you’re ready.”

 

 

As a literature major, Taehyung’s always been encouraged to have a muse. Someone or something that continues to spark artistic inspiration. A source of creativity and uniqueness. And for Taehyung, Jimin has always been that. 

Even before they became this, Jimin was always someone Taehyung found intriguing. Physically, Jimin’s stunning. Taehyung could— (and has)— write pages upon pages describing every toned muscle and perfectly sculpted bone in his body. Intellectually, Jimin’s razor-sharp. Valedictorian in high school. Currently the president of their university’s Honor Society. Math tutor. Science tutor. All-around genius. Easily, Taehyung draws from Jimin’s brilliance to create his own. Emotionally, Jimin’s ambivalent and mysterious. He loves fully, but carefully. Jimin’s protective of himself when it comes to love and Taehyung understands that. He respects that. And it’s because of that, Taehyung doesn’t push as hard as their friends want him to. Jimin’s heart is gigantic, but it’s fragile. He never admits it, but Taehyung knows. 

And all of those traits are wrapped up in one person. A million different moods, a thousand different faces. A novel-long list of talents. Attributes mixed with downfalls. Opposites harmonizing continuously to create the person Taehyung considers himself extremely lucky to, at the very least, call his best friend. Jimin, in short, is an enigma. A conundrum. 

So of course, Taehyung never runs out of things to take note about. No wonder the ink in his pen is infinite. 

The problem is, Taehyung’s mind is constantly in a whirlpool-like state of thoughts about Jimin. It’s maddening, he thinks about him all the time. And so the only way to calm his stream of consciousness is to write them down. 

Poems and short stories and paragraphs trying desperately to paint Jimin on paper with his words. His grace as he dances on stage, his finesse as he scores a goal during a soccer game, his attentiveness as he tutors. The crinkles beside his eyes when he laughs too hard, the way his nose flares when he gets angry, the tenderness of his fingers when he touches Taehyung. All of it. Taehyung needs to keep it forever. So he writes. 

He writes and writes and writes and writes. 

 

 

Admittedly, there’s something about sneaking around that’s very sexy to Taehyung. The feeling of doing something he knows he’s not supposed to, but not being able to fight the urge. Or, in their case, not caring enough to. Not that he and Jimin aren’t supposed to be together— but it’s more of where they decide to be together. 

Jimin’s daring and Taehyung’s bold, so together they make quite the pair. Quickly into their friends with benefits-hood, they’ve made sex in rather public places their thing. It’s hot, plain and simple, and adds to the theme of their relationship. Everyone around them treats them like what they’re doing is taboo, so they figured they might as well prove them right. 

They've blown each other in bathroom stalls all over campus, Taehyung's rimmed Jimin in the locker room after his teammates have left, gotten off on the couch in the common area of Namjoon and Hoseok’s dorm minutes before everyone comes home, Taehyung's fucked Jimin in the backseat of his car in the mall’s parking lot, handjobs in the movie theater… anywhere, really. There’s sort of no place that's too public to scare them away. They've learned that the thought of getting caught turns both of them on.

And maybe that’s the problem. They give in to temptation so easily it’s getting hard for Taehyung to know where to draw the line. He’s starting to lose his sense of judgment for when he’s wanting Jimin too much. As far as he’s concerned, though, there’s no such thing. Because these quickies before Jimin’s soccer games, or right before Taehyung goes in for an exam isn’t enough. They’re pleasurable and mind-blowing, of course. But they’re not enough. 

What Taehyung finds himself longing for is the handful of times they’ve had in his apartment. In those instances, there wasn’t a feeling of needing to hurry. No worries about someone walking in on them. And definitely no need to be quiet. They were free to do whatever they wanted in as much time as they needed. 

But mostly, what Taehyung thinks he’s craving about those times, is how right they felt. How perfectly Jimin’s lips slotted into the space on his neck. How the muscle of Jimin’s thigh fits perfectly in his hand. How sweetly his name sounds dripping slowly off of Jimin’s mouth. 

It’s difficult to explain, but Taehyung swears he felt something more during those times. Like that’s where they were meant to be. And he doesn’t think it’s foolish of him to hope Jimin felt it, too. Because he knows he did. Even if he’s not willing just yet to say it. 

Because those times weren’t just sloppy handjobs in some random place. There was a connection that went past the physical touch. Something higher, something more. Something that Taehyung can’t quite put his finger on, but knows it’s real. 

And there’s something about the look in Jimin’s eyes when it’s over. A mix of emotions too shaken up to be defined with a singular word. But perhaps it was a craving being pleaded through his eyes because his mouth isn’t quite ready to say it yet. 

Something about the way Jimin always tells Taehyung, “I can’t stay,” when it’s over, but stares at Taehyung like he would if he asked him to. Like there’s a part of him that would wrap himself up in Taehyung if it was allowed. 

It’s true, Taehyung’s bold, but he’s also cautious. So he finds himself walking on eggshells when it comes to this— Jimin and emotions and labels. There’s a huge part of Taehyung’s heart that knows the truth. He’s just not too sure what that truth is yet. 

So until he figures it out for sure, Jimin keeps leaving, and Taehyung keeps letting him. 

 

 

“Hey, losers,” Jimin greets as he enters. He tosses his gym bag on the floor, the university’s tiger mascot stitched into the front, and then turns toward Taehyung. He changes his tone of voice and says, “Hi, Taehyungie.” 

It’s hard, but Taehyung manages to hide his smile behind his notebook. The spine of it bumps under his nose and the pages tickle his cheeks. For a moment, he keeps his eyes downward, but then he thinks maybe it’s rude if he doesn’t say anything back. So he looks over in Jimin’s direction and replies back, “Hi, Jiminie.” 

Seokjin pinches at his own skin, looks over at Namjoon with exaggerated confusion, and asks, “Are we not here?” 

With Jimin’s busy schedule, he’s usually the last one to arrive. They all live in different sections on campus, but they all consider Taehyung’s apartment home-base. They all meet up here at all hours of the day and night, and each of them has had their fair share of nights on his living room couch as well. 

So it’s no surprise that after their classes and club meetings and work shifts, they all ended up here. Taehyung doesn’t mind in the slightest. He loves being around people— especially them. Actually, he really hates being alone. He keeps trying to convince Jimin or Jeongguk to move in with him. 

They always complain it’d be hard because this apartment only has one bedroom. Jeongguk isn’t particularly picky, but he doesn’t want to live on a couch if he doesn’t have to. Same with Jimin. Nowadays, Taehyung can’t help but think the one-bedroom problem wouldn’t be much of a problem if he and Jimin just—

“There’s a party Friday night,” Jimin announces, breaking Taehyung’s train of thought. He’s handing each of them a piece of decorative paper that displays the time, date, and location of the party. 

After scanning the paper, Yoongi squints his eyes and critiques, “₩5,000 to enter?” 

Jimin’s face scrunches back. “It’s an end-of-the-season fundraiser for my team. But we get to drink and party. A win-win situation, hyung.” 

Personally, Yoongi thinks it’s ridiculous that he has to pay to get into an apartment he’d typically get into for free and to drink with acquaintances he deliberately avoids. But. He’s a supportive hyung before an anti-capitalist hyung. So he thinks he can spare the admission fee. 

Hoseok enters from the kitchen with a glass of water in his hand. He massages at Yoongi’s shoulder with his free hand and says, “Shut up, it’ll be fun.” 

It’s true that Yoongi prefers to be alone, but if he’s going to be with anyone, he rather it to be them. As an attendee of university, going to parties isn’t anything new. Yoongi goes and he has fun, but by midnight he feels exhausted. The tales of an introvert, he supposes. Which is coincidentally the opposite of his very outgoing, very energetic, very extroverted boyfriend. They’re quite a sight to see on the dance floor, though.

Hoseok keeps pestering Yoongi to join his dance team. Even tries to persuade him by offering him the co-captain spot— which is Jimin’s spot. It’s kind of cute that Hoseok doesn’t seem to care whenever Yoongi explains that’s both nepotism and betrayal.

Even before these recent months, Jimin and Taehyung usually pair off at parties. All of Jimin’s teammates know him, so they usually make their rounds and say hello to everyone. And then usually, by their second drink, they’re somewhere dancing and laughing. 

Looking over his shoulder suddenly, Jimin asks Taehyung, “You’ll come, right?” 

There’s uncertainty in his voice and apprehension in his eyes. 

And this is what Taehyung hates about their situation, that it’s somehow implied that some things about them have changed. Jimin wouldn't have asked if this was before they started hooking up. It sort of breaks Taehyung’s heart that he thinks he has to ask now. But in his defense, it was a drunk night at a party that started this whole thing. He doesn’t blame Jimin for checking, he just resents the fact that it feels necessary. 

Taehyung smiles. “Of course,” he tells him. “It’s a party for you and your team. Where else would I be?”

There’s a look of relief in Jimin’s eyes that Taehyung’s first instinct is to kiss away. But kissing on the lips is against the rules. So Taehyung simply writes another poem about the curve of Jimin’s lips instead. 

And like always, it’s not nearly enough. 

 

 

It’s Thursday, so Seokjin’s waiting for Taehyung outside of his class around 1 PM. They’re the only two whose class schedule matches on this day, so they usually grab lunch together before finding something to do for the rest of the day. Sometimes Seokjin has to work, sometimes Taehyung has to meet up with friends for a group project. But today, they’re both free. 

They eat lunch on campus, typical cafeteria food paid for by their university card, and share an elevated table by the window. The two sit on rotating wooden bar-like chairs as they eat. Strategically sat by the window so they can people-watch from the second floor as they chat.

“So what’s going on with you and Jimin?” Seokjin asks, always getting to this subject one way or another. And Taehyung swears he loves his friends for the effort to push them forward, but it’s frustrating to talk about it almost every day. 

Feeling a little snarky today, Taehyung steals a french fry from Seokjin’s plate and responds, “Same thing that’s going on with you and Jeonggukie.”

Seokjin almost chokes on his soda. He coughs, brings his fist up to his mouth to cover it, and blinks. 

“Not the same,” Seokjin finally says, wiping his mouth with a napkin. He’s dressed today in a baby blue cardigan that complements his skin tone, and a plain white shirt underneath. Thankfully, the shirt was spared a Pepsi shower. 

Tipping his head to the side, Taehyung disagrees, “Absolutely the same. You guys are hooking up. Jimin and I are hooking up. Nothing more, nothing less.” 

Seokjin squints his eyes. “Now say it again like you mean it.” 

Taehyung rolls his eyes in response. 

“Hyung…”

“No, I’m serious,” Seokjin begins. “I know what you’re getting at and you’re wrong. Jeongguk and I have hooked up. Many times. Fine, sure. But we’ve talked about it and we both agreed we don’t want anything more than that right now. You and Jimin hookup every... day it seems like, and you two are obviously not on the same page about it. And if you are, you’re terrible at showing it. Because both of your Facebook relationship statuses still say single.” 

It fucking sucks to admit, but Seokjin’s right. Even though it’s an unspoken rule to pretend Seokjin and Jeongguk haven’t hooked up, everyone knows they have. And naturally, Jeongguk and Seokjin have both talked to Taehyung about their situation. So he knows they’ve talked about what it could possibly mean with each other as well. And he knows they’ve come to the conclusion to just remain friends for now. Besides, they hook up with other people quite often anyway. 

But Taehyung doesn’t want to admit that. So he sips his soda and says instead, “No one uses Facebook anymore, old man.” 

There’s a kick delivered to Taehyung’s shin. He sucks his teeth in pain and crosses his legs, trying to move out of the way of Seokjin’s deadly daggers for boots. 

“You know what I mean,” Seokjin tells him softly. “And you know I’m right, I see it in your lying eyes.” 

Letting out a slow breath, Taehyung admits, “I just don’t wanna ruin a good thing. Or push him too hard and scare him away.” 

And it’s there that Seokjin knows the apprehension truly lies. With both Taehyung and Jimin. The last thing they want to do is ruin their friendship over something as frivolous as sex. But at this point, they both know it’s not just sex. So now the question that hangs in the balance, is whether they risk their friendship for a relationship. And that’s not trivial at all. In fact, it’s critical. Seokjin absolutely understands their hesitation. 

But he knows Taehyung and he knows Jimin. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a relationship expert to be able to dissect and analyze the situation. 

“This good thing can turn into a great thing, Taehyung,” Seokjin tells him. “And Jimin… I know he’s tough to talk about emotions with but I also know he loves you. And you know it, too. I think he could use a little push.” 

Softer now, Seokjin reaches across the table and places his hand on top of Taehyung’s. He says, “One of you has to be brave.” 

Taehyung is a lot of things. Brave included. But this, he can admit, absolutely terrifies him. 

 

 

The majority of Friday is filled with ill-timed flashbacks of the first time Taehyung and Jimin hooked up. Taehyung doesn’t mean to, but the thought of going back to another party with Jimin has a domino effect on all of his other thoughts. And coincidentally, his mind’s default setting is Jimin, so, therefore… flashbacks. 

Vivid, blood-rushing flashbacks at places where he definitely shouldn’t be thinking about sex. Like in Photography club around all of his peers, or in traffic driving to the grocery store across town. But he can’t help it. As arbitrary as it sounds, this is only happening because Taehyung’s nervous. He’s overthinking the little things, as always, such as going to the party tonight, and it’s connecting his train of thought to the party where this all began.

It’s so easy for Taehyung to remember that night. When he closes his eyes, the images just appear. In vivid color, in 1080p, on the HD television in his mind. It’s a third-person, out-of-body experience when he thinks back. He sees his entire self as easily as he sees Jimin.

They were in the tiny, poorly lit bathroom of someone Taehyung didn’t know at the time and still doesn’t now. Like good best friends, they had implemented the buddy system to use the bathroom. Neither of them had to go, Jimin just needed a quieter space to try to call his teammate who had been texting him all night, apparently trying to find him. 

Jimin had stood with his back to the mirror, butt against the sink, spine hunched and thumbs tapping away at his phone. Effortlessly, Taehyung can picture what Jimin was wearing— an oversized black sweater with rips on the shoulder that emphasized his collar bone, skinny black jeans so tight they might as well have been painted on, and a bright red beanie on his head to contrast his dark outfit. He had arrived to the party with big, black sunglasses. But when Taehyung thinks back to that exact moment, Jimin didn’t have them. He must’ve lost them somewhere in the madness beforehand. 

And as Taehyung was watching Jimin type, there was a recurring thought in his head. One that— now he can admit— he’s had before, but at the moment was impossible to ignore. At the time, Taehyung blamed it on the alcohol and what it does to his body and his brain. It makes him horny and it makes him dynamic and it makes him fearless. 

So when all of the thoughts about Jimin’s pretty lips and his toned thighs and his tight abs had consumed him, Taehyung had stepped forward right into Jimin’s personal space and made himself known. Or, at least, the part of him that was suddenly on a mission. Jimin had looked up at him with a luminous, but slightly confused face. His eyes sparkled and the bridge of his perfect nose glistened. 

“What are you doin’, Taehyungie?” Jimin questioned, a soft laugh had followed shortly after. Jimin’s cheeks blush a deep red when he’s tipsy, and his face glowed even in the shitty bathroom lighting.

The two of them are both happy, giggly, flirty drunks. All smiles and muffled laughs and curious hands.

Taehyung remembers trying to be suave. He had whispered, “Call your friends later, okay?” and meant to slide Jimin’s phone out of his hand smoothly. But Taehyung’s forehead bumped against Jimin’s and his fingers twitched as he slid the device out of his palm.

Slipping from both of their grips, the phone had fallen to the floor with a loud smack muffled by the overpowering music beyond the bathroom door. Instantly, Taehyung thought Jimin was going to be angry, so he looked up at him sheepishly. But Jimin had giggled, and so did Taehyung. They couldn’t help it. 

Looking back, Taehyung still has trouble defining the look in Jimin’s eyes following that, though. Impressed, maybe, by Taehyung’s boldness. But also… intrigued, ecstatic. Jimin also looked cocky. With his tongue poked against the inside of his cheek, he watched Taehyung move closer and closer. His eyes were daring Taehyung to come and get what he apparently wants. And Taehyung has never backed down from a challenge. 

Even with being in brand new territory, the hesitation between them was minimal. Split-second long apprehension as Taehyung tipped his head and kissed down the side of Jimin’s neck. Slowly, at first, making sure it was okay. But then with determination and tunnel vision to make Jimin feel good when he nodded, telling Taehyung to continue. Jimin's pulse slammed hard against his lips, and his ringed fingers found their way into his hair, urging him on.

Taehyung can remember the way Jimin’s hands cautiously placed themselves on his hips a few minutes later, but soon found fearlessness and moved their way to his ass instead. Fingertips kneaded into Taehyung's flesh, causing him to whimper tenderly. He allowed himself to be pulled forward gently, starting a grinding motion between Jimin's legs. Jimin set the pace; sliding one hand into Taehyung's back pocket and the other on his hip, he rocked Taehyung forward into him. 

There was salt on Taehyung’s tongue as he licked over Jimin’s skin. But the sweet taste of sugar, like victory, at the back of his throat at the same time. Even at that moment, Taehyung can remember feeling triumphant. 

Taehyung remembers him speaking first, asking breathlessly in Jimin’s ear, “What do you want?”

But Jimin has always been more about showing than telling, so he had flipped their positioning and lowered himself down onto his knees. Black skinny jeans on the white tile floor. There was a small purple-like rug right under where they had situated themselves in front of the sink, acting as a cushion for Jimin’s joints. 

And fuck, Jimin’s undoubtedly beautiful all the time, but especially at the new angle Taehyung was able to experience that night. He had rid Jimin of his beanie, tossing it to the right and letting it land near the tub, to have full access to his hair while he got to work. 

Jimin had blown him, tentatively to start, but then with toe-curling expertise once he got comfortable. Skilled hands working as magically as his mouth; Jimin had made Taehyung see stars. With his head tossed backward toward the mirror, Taehyung can recall being a few breathtaking seconds away from finishing right when Jimin pulled back. 

And Taehyung still swears the next words out of his mouth were going to be begs for Jimin not to stop. But then it was Jimin’s voice in his ear, painting his thoughts a bright green color, asking raspily, “Can I fuck you? Do you want that?”

Taehyung thinks only a fool would’ve turned down that offer. And he doesn’t know what kind of parties Jimin usually goes to, but he was thankfully fully prepared for this moment. A condom from his wallet and a few large drops of lube from the miniature bottle in his back pocket put them in business. 

It was otherworldly. Jimin had fucked Taehyung hard and fast against the sink. Taehyung gripped the edges of the white marble for leverage and let his forehead bounce limply against his arm as he melted in all of Jimin’s pleasure. He had attempted to watch themselves in the mirror, knowing they looked porn-worthy, but Taehyung’s eyes kept rolling to the back of his head. He couldn't stay focused for long enough to study their bodies connecting through the reflection. 

And Taehyung thinks maybe his mind forgot how to think for a little while— everything felt too good— because he only remembers the next parts in snippets. 

It went like this:

Jimin pulling the back of his hair so hard it stung. But it felt good. So, so good. Then, Jimin grunting pretty sounds in his ear. Telling Taehyung sexy, praising things like look so fuckin’ beautiful and take me so well and so tight, fuck. Taehyung’s fingers burning as he held onto the sides of the sink. The faded music blasting just outside the door, shaking the tile floor under them. Taehyung fucking back, rocking his hips to meet Jimin’s halfway. Jimin falling forward, panting helplessly as Taehyung pushes back on him. The fingerprints and fog on the mirror. Jimin fucking into him harder, harder, harder, mumbling to Taehyung how good he feels. Taehyung jerking himself off to climax; spilling partly on his hand but mostly into the sink. Jimin following shortly after, releasing into the condom. Taehyung remembers it all, but it blinks. Snapshots. Evaporated memories. It’s there and then it’s gone. 

When they were finished, nothing felt different. Actually, things felt better. Taehyung’s shoulders felt noticeably lighter, and he knew even then it wasn’t just the post-orgasm happy chemicals inducing the feeling. Like they have been waiting forever to do that and now they finally have. 

They had giggled as they dressed, and Jimin finally got around to calling his friend. After they cleaned themselves up, they left the bathroom to go find him, and the rest of the night went perfectly as well. It went normal. And Taehyung and Jimin went home together. Like normal. 

But the next morning, when Jimin woke up in Taehyung’s bed, there was an obvious shift in their dynamic. Tension, as thick as a stone wall, put up between them. It was hard to look at each other; not because they were ashamed or regretful, but because they didn’t know what to say. In a way, there was too much to say and neither of them had the words for it. 

On the tip of Taehyung’s tongue, even after the first night, was I think I love you.

But Jimin had something else to tell Taehyung. In fact, it was the first time Taehyung heard Jimin say, “I can’t stay...” 

And they didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of the end. 

 

 

Valuing their relationship and respecting each other over everything, they eventually talked it out. It might’ve taken them a couple of weeks, but they got there eventually. 

In between their first hookup and their conversation about it were plenty of other hookups. Ones that happened just hours after being alone with one another and not being able to hold back. Like a spirit took over their bodies and only allowed them to act, not think. It was amazing each time, but they both knew they needed to work through this verbally, not just physically. 

So exactly fifteen days and seven hookups later, Taehyung texted Jimin and asked him to come over. There was something that made him feel like he needed to pre-warn Jimin. So he was sure to add in his text that he was asking him to come over to talk about what’s been happening, not for sex. 

It was obvious that they both were on the same page about wanting to continue hooking up, and maybe they weren’t ready to talk about why it was so easy for them to transition into this type of relationship, but they both understood there needed to be some type of mutual agreement. After a lot of awkward tailspinning, they came to the conclusion that having some rules might help. Simple guidelines to keep them on track.

“To be safe?” Taehyung had questioned, trying to wrap his head around rules regarding upgrading their relationship to friends with benefits. He guessed it made sense. They both needed to be on the same page.

And for a while, they were. 

For a while, it was sort of a dream type of situation. A best friend and a sex partner all wrapped up in one. They could jerk each other off while watching anime, honestly, who wouldn’t want that? It was perfect. But almost too perfect. Taehyung should’ve known. It’s like Robert Frost wrote, nothing gold can stay. 

In hindsight, Taehyung understands that their plan was solid, it was their execution that needed work. Their bodies followed the rules, but their hearts didn’t. At least, not Taehyung’s.

Jimin had nodded in confirmation. “To be safe. So no one gets catches feelings or gets confused. It’s nothing more than sex.” 

Looking back, Taehyung sort of wishes he had recorded this conversation because fuck, this didn’t work out how they planned at all. No one was supposed to get hurt, and no one was supposed to be confused. Most importantly, in the words of Jimin, no one was supposed to catch feelings. But Taehyung thinks he’s in the midst of all of that right now. 

Like a business meeting, he and Jimin had talked over what they thought was most important to keep in mind about this— like respecting each other as best friends first, and keeping in mind that the sex is secondary. And eventually, they broke it down to a few very simple rules. Some of which were implied, some of which were said straight out. 

But their ending result was this:

  • No kissing on the lips. 
  • No handholding during sex. 
  • No pet names during sex either. 
  • No cuddling after.
  • No spending the night if they’ve already had sex. 
  • No labeling themselves as anything. 
  • And most importantly… no feelings. Also read as: don’t fall in love


Taehyung thinks it’s safe to say he didn’t quite adhere to the last one especially.

(But in his defense, Taehyung also thinks he was in love way even before they started hooking up.)

 

 

By the time Friday night comes, Taehyung’s overthought enough for a lifetime and now he just feels tired. Even as he and the rest of his friends are first entering the party, Taehyung is thinking about how much he misses his bed. He’s exhausted himself with his anxiety over these next few hours and he thinks maybe he’s ruined it for himself. He doesn't want it to be ruined, though. The last thing he wants is to be in a shitty mood on a night that's supposed to be celebrating Jimin (and his teammates). 

The party resembles the ones Taehyung’s seen in movies that feature college house parties and it sort of makes him chuckle. Sweaty, drunken bodies swaying and jumping and dancing to the deafening hip hop music playing over the surround sound system. The partygoers squish in the living room, in the kitchen, throughout the hallways, inside the dining room, and even scatter in groups of two and threes up the spiral stairs to the second floor. 

Everything smells like liquor and smoke. Both of which are banned from campus, but that among other things are disregarded tonight. When Taehyung looks up, he sees a disco ball-looking decoration hanging from the ceiling and flashing rainbow lights all around the room. 

If Taehyung was drunk, he thinks he’d fall in love with the atmosphere. He knows he would. Because Taehyung loves people and he loves dancing and he loves music. Parties are always a mix of just about all the things that make him happy. Being a little buzzed just intensifies his happy feelings and disguises all the things that aren't as naturally pleasing. Like headache-inducing loud music, and bad breath, and body odor. But he’s just arrived and he’s painfully sober, so all he can think about is how sloppy everyone looks. It’s a bit off-putting. He needs a drink. 

Taehyung follows closely behind Jeongguk who’s already bobbing back and forth to the music. He loves parties, too; loves the music and the mix of people and the freeness. So does Hoseok, who’s smiling widely and singing along to the music right in Yoongi’s face. To shut him up, Yoongi kisses Hoseok. Hoseok walks backward to keep moving but to also continue kissing Yoongi at the same time. Master of multitasking. 

The six of them move like a train, holding on to the back of each other’s shirts to move through the crowd. As they do, off-balance dancers and oblivious couples knock into their shoulders and complain when their drinks tip over their brims and wet their hands. Each time, Taehyung mumbles an apology, even if it wasn’t his fault. 

When they reach the kitchen, it’s a little less populated, but not by much. It’s an expensive-looking kitchen— stainless steel appliances, newly-built ceiling fan, three-section refrigerator, extended cabinet space, double sink, an island in the middle of the room, and checkered tile flooring. It’s funny, but the only thought Taehyung has is how much he knows the owner of this house must regret agreeing to this fundraiser party. The place is a mess already and it’s only started about an hour ago. 

Namjoon hands Taehyung a beer, bumps their shoulders against one another, and asks, “Hey, you sick or something? You’re quiet.” 

Taehyung knows for a fact he’s not sick, but he isn’t quite sure how to pinpoint his mood. He’s not in a bad one per se, but he knows he’s standoffish. He feels nervous, for a reason he’s not too sure of yet. And his palms keep itching like he’s anticipating something. There are a million people around him, but he just wants to find Jimin. He thinks once he sees him and talks to him, it’ll ease his worrying. Even if there’s nothing at all to be worried about. It's hard to explain, but Jimin always brings him comfort.

Taehyung shakes his head. “I’m fine,” he says.

It’s not a lie, but it’s not exactly the truth either. He knows it’s obvious something’s up with him, but honestly, he’s sure it’ll pass once he sees Jimin. Taehyung thinks he just needs to know that he and Jimin are still able to get through a party without any life-altering things happening. 

So he asks, lifting one of his eyebrows curiously, “Hey, have you guys seen Jimin yet?” 

Yoongi’s got Hoseok pressed against cabinets above the corner of the counter. He sits on the edge with Yoongi’s slotted between his legs, arms around Hoseok’s waist. It’s innocent, for now, but Taehyung doesn’t miss the way Yoongi’s lips slide against Hoseok’s neck. 

Despite that, it’s Hoseok who gestures toward the front and says, “I think the team is upstairs still. He’s probably there.” 

Taehyung thinks he’s too far for his thank you to be heard, so he simply nods in Hoseok’s direction. Soon after, he leans into Namjoon again and tells him, “I’m gonna go find Jimin. Wanna come?”

Namjoon smiles, rubs Taehyung’s shoulder, and tells him, “Nah, you go. We’ll stay here.” 

With that, Taehyung adjusts his hold on his beer and heads for the stairs. 

 

 

The second floor is like a whole different party. It’s much rowdier up here— untamed, loud, and a bit chaotic. The soccer team, Jimin included, are putting on an arm wrestling show for the crowd in the huge open area immediately after the stairs. There’s a large, belligerent circle formed around the two members versing each other. The audience jumps and screams and cheers. 

It’s easy, Taehyung finds Jimin in seconds. His eyes are naturally drawn to Jimin. Like a compass, and Jimin’s always north. Without even meaning to, Taehyung is always bought right to him. 

Jimin spots him, too. Through the noisy, rambunctious crowd, Taehyung sees Jimin’s eyes light up in recognition. He sticks his hand in the air and waves for Taehyung to join him. 

Like a star, Jimin absolutely glows when he’s happy and Taehyung finds his heart daring to stop beating at the sight of his smile. Bright, glistening white, even in the dimmed, grungy light of the party. And his eyes shimmer; big and excited, as he calls for Taehyung to come closer. And like a fish on a hook, Taehyung feels himself being blissfully pulled and pulled and pulled until he’s tucked under Jimin’s arm and he’s yelling, “There you are!”

Instantly, Taehyung smells alcohol on Jimin’s breath, but he’s not drunk. Not even in the slightest. So Taehyung assumes he’s taken a celebratory shot or two with the team when the night began. But Jimin’s not even holding a cup, so Taehyung doesn’t think he’s had anything since.

“Was downstairs looking for you!” Taehyung says back. He has to yell it for Jimin to be able to hear him over the music and the cheering. 

Smiling, Jimin says, “I texted you that I was up here, silly!” 

Oh. 

Taehyung hadn’t even checked his phone since he got here. Maybe that’s why Hoseok knew where Jimin was. It makes sense now. 

Truthfully, Taehyung responds, “Didn’t check my phone, sorry!”

Jimin’s hand tightens around Taehyung, pulling him closer. He says, “Doesn’t matter! You found me anyway!”

Always find you, Taehyung thinks. 

But before the thought can even be entertained with crossing his lips, Jimin’s grabbing his wrist and saying, “Let’s go say hi to the guys! They were asking about you!”

Over the years, Taehyung’s become pretty good friends with Jimin’s teammates. Taehyung’s made a habit of surprising Jimin (and the rest of the team) with snacks at practice every now and again. That really got him some points with the team. But Taehyung’s easy to get along with, and Jimin’s friends are kind, so it was a smooth relationship to build. When they pass each other on campus they say hi, and Taehyung’s even given a few of them a ride to places in town when they didn’t want to walk. 

Jimin keeps his arm around Taehyung the entire time, even when they’re talking to his friends. And that’s how they’re known around campus— attached at the hip most of the time. They bring each other comfort, and it’s obvious when people watch them behaving naturally. 

The pair bounce around the party for a while. Jimin’s popular and Taehyung’s popular in their own respects, so people keep calling their names from various directions. Classmates, and club mates, and Honor Society members, and team managers, and random acquaintances. Within an hour, Taehyung thinks the two of them have made so much small talk he’s all out of words. 

Eventually, on their second lap down the hall, Taehyung mentions being thirsty, to which Jimin says mischievously, “We should take a shot!” 

Shots are Jimin’s specialty, definitely not Taehyung’s. But attending college and coming to parties semi-regularly has improved his tolerance for alcohol just enough to handle two, maybe three shots a night. And Taehyung hasn’t had one yet, so he thinks it sounds like a good idea. 

“Wanna mix it or drink it straight?” Jimin asks, twisting off the cap to the half-empty bottle of vodka. It’s got a bright blue top and a pale white animal on the front that Taehyung doesn’t care enough to decipher. 

Just the thought of drinking vodka straight has Taehyung’s face twisting. 

Sarcastically, Taehyung says, “What do you think?”

But instead of mixing it, Jimin hands Taehyung a cut lime in one hand, and a cup of apple juice in the other. 

He tells him, “Chase it instead?” with a smirk on his face. 

Taehyung trades the lime for the shot glass and mumbles, “I’m gonna kill you,” before he and Jimin count down from three and swallow the fiery liquid. Even before it begins to touch his tongue, Taehyung’s guzzling a mouthful of apple juice to equalize the burn. 

Jimin’s giggling at Taehyung’s struggle when he opens his eyes and comes back to reality. He can barely hear Jimin over the music, but mostly because he’s laughing so hard he’s doubling over and Taehyung can’t read his lips anymore. But it’s easy to understand he’s laughing at Taehyung trying to take the shot. Playfully, Taehyung pushes Jimin’s shoulder. But Jimin’s balance is weakened when he’s laughing, so he stumbles. Taehyung reaches his hands out to catch him.

Regaining himself, Jimin hooks his arm around Taehyung’s and says, “The team’s playing beer pong in the master bedroom. Wanna be my partner?”

Taehyung lifts his eyebrow in feign suspicion. He squints his eyes, pouts his bottom lip, and questions like a detective, “Isn’t your partner supposed to be someone from the team?”

But Jimin just shrugs. 

“I’m captain, I do what I want,” is his answer. 

Fair enough. 

As they’re walking to find Jimin’s team, Jimin adds, “Besides, it’s us. They should’ve seen it coming anyway.” 

Taehyung smiles. Says casually, “Yeah,” but inside, he feels himself melting. 

He knows it’s silly, and probably meant nothing, but Jimin’s voice calling them "us" rings in his head for the rest of the night. 

 

 

Jimin’s good at a lot of things, but beer pong apparently isn’t one. Even after six rounds, he and Taehyung only win two games. It’s fun, though. And Taehyung spends most of his time being mesmerized by Jimin’s smile and the simple art that is his hands as he tosses the air-light plastic ball. 

Eventually, when they’re sick of losing, he and Jimin quit. Jimin’s friends teases them, telling them they’re not as good of a team as they think they are. But Jimin just rolls his eyes. He playfully nudges his way through the crowd, holding Taehyung by the wrist to keep him close. 

“Can’t lie, we were impressively bad just now,” Taehyung giggles. 

Feigning betrayal, Jimin dramatically lets go of Taehyung’s hand and yells, “Who’s side are you on?!”

But then a moment later, Jimin’s hooking his arm around Taehyung’s shoulders and saying, “C’mon, dance with me.” 

The list of Jimin’s talents is endless. He’s a fantastic dancer along with just about everything else. Taehyung keeps telling him he should switch his major to performing arts and focus on dancing, but Jimin says he’s determined to have a stable career after university, so he keeps his degree geared toward mathematics so he can teach. 

Truthfully, the music is irrelevant, he and Jimin will dance to anything. Besides, Taehyung isn’t listening, he’s simply watching Jimin move to the beat. 

Uptempo house music blares over the speakers that calls for more jumping and fist-pumping than it does for any skilled dance moves. So he and Jimin do just that. They jump and spin and laugh as they let the vibrations of the music massage their stress away. 

This is exactly what Taehyung loves about parties— how everything else outside of this exact moment feels irrelevant and small. Nothing exists other than the two of them and the music. Not even the hundreds of other partygoers right beside them. It’s effortless for Taehyung to tune everyone out when he’s got Jimin in his sights. 

Eventually, the two of them make their way back to the open area of the second floor for another drink. Jimin’s twisting off the top to his beer and gesturing for Taehyung to grab himself one out of the cooler. 

Taehyung shakes his head. “I’m good,” he declines softly.

Jimin squints at him. “What’s up with you?”

Suddenly, Taehyung feels his heart racing. He swallows around nothing and asks, “What do you mean?”

Taking a sip, Jimin says, “You’ve been off all night, I can tell. What’s wrong?”

Shaking his head, Taehyung tells him, “Nothing, I just don’t wanna drink.” 

“This has nothing to do with you not drinking, Taehyung, I know you’re not much of a drinker. I’m talking about the way you’ve been acting tonight. Something’s bothering you,” Jimin explains. His voice remains gentle, not attacking. Always loving. Always caring. 

Taehyung sighs. He’s frustrated at himself that, despite how hard he tried, Jimin was able to pick up on his off mood. But he should’ve seen this coming. Jimin is his best friend after all. They’re best friends before anything else. They notice everything about each other, even when they try to hide it. 

Feeling trapped between not wanting to worry Jimin but not wanting to lie, Taehyung settles for, “It’s nothing to worry about.” 

But that obviously just makes Jimin worry even more. So he rolls his eyes, puts his beer down, grabs Taehyung by the wrist, and says, “Come with me.”

 

 

The bedroom Jimin finds for them is a decent-sized one at the end of the hall and far away from all of the commotion. It’s decorated simply, like it’s used for a spare bedroom, with white walls and a beige carpet. The door is a heavy white one with a silver doorknob that Jimin makes sure to lock once he closes it. 

Taehyung walks a few steps inside, stands somewhat in the middle of the room, and faces back toward Jimin. He waits quietly, hands nervously in his pockets, hoping Jimin starts this conversation first because he has no idea what to say. He knows what he’s feeling, but he’s terrified of saying it. 

When Jimin turns around, his eyes depict a form of worry and Taehyung sort of hates himself for that. He sees it in the way Jimin’s eyebrows angle upward just slightly and in the way his nose begins to scrunch. 

It’s quiet here, like a completely different world from the party just on the other side of the door. The music can be heard, but only faintly, like attending a concert with earplugs in. There’s a light on, right beside the bed, illuminating the room just enough to see the dark brown furniture and to note the distance between the two of them. 

Jimin lets out a breath. “Gonna tell me what’s going on with you?”

But Taehyung’s consistent. He shakes his head and says, “It’s nothing. It’s… it’s stupid.” 

“Hey,” Jimin calls, offended on Taehyung’s behalf that he’d ever think anything bothering him was stupid. “It’s not stupid, okay? Whatever it is. It’s not stupid.” 

Taehyung has told Jimin about his childhood; how people in school used to make fun of him because he did things differently. How he used to be called dumb, even if he got the right answer his own way. And how for a while, Taehyung was convinced that they were right— maybe he wasn’t as smart as everyone else. He told Jimin about how insecure he still gets sometimes, trying to validate his thoughts and his intellect. 

But Taehyung believes he’s smart nowadays, and not just because Jimin tells him so. He believes it because he knows people tend to be mean to things and people that are different. And Taehyung, in the best way possible, has always been different. But even still, sometimes he finds himself putting himself down. 

When he sees Taehyung’s not budging, Jimin crosses the room and sits down on the floor. He uses the side of the bed as support for his back and leans his neck against the mattress. Invitingly, he pats the open carpet next to him and asks, “Tell me?”

So Taehyung sits, crosses his legs, and puts his head down. He’s not sure where to start. He doesn’t even know what he’s going to say. 

He opens his mouth, but he doesn’t have words. Can’t think of what to say or where to begin. So his mouth closes with an audible click of his teeth a second later. 

Prompting, Jimin asks, “Did something happen with your family?”

Taehyung shakes his head. 

For a moment, Jimin thinks. His eyes trace the lines in the ceiling before he asks, “Did you get in a fight with one of the guys?” 

Trying to joke, Taehyung says, “Not this week.” 

Jimin doesn’t smile. Taehyung wants to smack himself in the face. 

Trying again, Jimin asks, “Is it about school?”

And still, Taehyung shakes his head. He feels like shit making Jimin go through a list of guessing, but his brain can’t quite think of how to start the conversation that he thinks he’s in love. In fact, he knows he is, which makes it even scarier. Because he’ll be respectful if Jimin says he doesn’t feel the same, but if he’s honest, he can’t promise he won’t cry. 

Jimin’s patience is running thin. Taehyung can tell by the way he’s dragging his nails up and down the stitching of his jeans like he’s trying to keep calm. Taehyung keeps his eyes on the carpet, plays with his hands. 

Then nervously, like his mouth is too dry to even say it aloud, Jimin asks slowly, “Is it… about us?” 

Taehyung’s body language must give it away before his voice even has a chance to. Something in the way his shoulders stiffen, or his breath hitches, or his eyebrows twitch. Something in the way he digs his fingers into the carpet, or the way he pushes his big toe against the lining of his boot, or the way he closes his eyes for a moment. 

Before Taehyung says anything, Jimin runs his hand through his hair and whispers, “Fuck, okay.” 

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung whispers back. The first thing out of his mouth in so long, it feels like it’s been a year since he’s spoken. His voice sounds foreign to his own ears. He bites the inside of his lip anxiously. 

Not understanding, Jimin asks, “For what?”

That’s the million-dollar question, because, in his heart, Taehyung knows he has nothing to be sorry for. But all of his anxiety and uncertainty has him apologizing for all the possible pain and confusion this might cause them. He’s sorry if this ruins their friendship or makes it weird. He’s sorry if Jimin doesn’t want to be around him anymore. He’s sorry if Jimin doesn’t love him back. 

Taehyung’s leg is bouncing now, a nervous habit. And like always, Jimin’s hand is on his knee a second later, stilling the motion. Slowly, Jimin’s thumb pets over the fabric of Taehyung’s jeans as he waits.  

Keeping his voice quiet, Taehyung tells him, “I think I did something wrong.” 

Jimin’s quiet then, trying to piece together what Taehyung’s getting at. And he’s usually the master of solving Taehyung’s mysteries, but this one has him stumped. 

Back to guessing again, Jimin asks, “Is this about, like… do you wanna stop?” 

He doesn’t say it, but Taehyung knows exactly what he means. And no, he doesn’t want to stop hooking up. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. He wants to do it all the time, but with clear cut labels and intentions. Truthfully, Taehyung is just tired of being in the gray area. Either way, Taehyung needs to know what this is. 

At that, Taehyung shakes his head, he says, “No. No, I don’t, actually.”

Exhausted, Jimin shakes his head and says, “Then you’re gonna have to just say it, Taehyung, because I don’t think I understand. You said what’s bothering you is about us, but it’s not about you wanting to stop hooking up so… I don’t know. I’m sorry, I don’t get it.” 

Taehyung can hear the frustration in Jimin’s voice and he doesn’t blame him. If the tables were turned, Taehyung would act the same way, too. But confessing to someone that you love them is difficult enough. And even more so when the person you’re confessing to has made it very clear that they don’t believe in love. Taehyung thinks his apprehension is understandable. 

Biting at his lip, Taehyung asks, “Promise you won’t get mad?” 

“I’ve never been mad at you a day in my life,” Jimin tells him so quickly it makes his heart flutter. Fuck, Taehyung wants to kiss him so bad. So, so bad. 

Seokjin’s voice rings in Taehyung’s head, then, reminding him that one of them has to be brave. And Taehyung guesses now is as good of a time as ever for it to be him. 

So Taehyung doesn’t think, he just talks. In one long breath, he says, “I know that we’re supposed to keep this casual and it’s not supposed to affect our friendship but that’s kind of like… impossible. You said sex is just sex, and maybe that’s true for you but I don’t know if that’s true for me. And maybe it’s been this way since even before we started hooking up and I’m just noticing it now but I don’t think I can keep this to myself anymore…”

Taehyung’s voice trails off because his chest is tight and he’s run out of air. He’s still too nervous to make proper eye contact with Jimin, but he feels Jimin staring at him. 

Trying to piece everything together, he asks, “Been like what, Taehyung?” 

And Taehyung thinks there’s no way around it. Not anymore. He’s gotta just say it. He’s gotta just say it. He’s gotta—

“That I’m in love with you.” 

There’s silence. 

Deafening, painful, chilling silence. 

A silence that most likely only lasts a few seconds but Taehyung swears he spends lifetimes floating through white noise and quiet oblivion. He feels like now, more than ever, he’s skydiving without a parachute at all. It’s terrifying. He can’t breathe. 

And when he can’t take it anymore, Taehyung finally lifts his eyes up and looks at Jimin. To his surprise, there are tears glistening in Jimin’s eyes. He tries so hard to blink them away, but he can’t. 

Scared now, Taehyung’s eyes widen and he asks, “Why are you crying?”

Jimin shakes his head. “I don’t know.” 

But Taehyung asks him again, petrified that he’s flipped Jimin’s world upside down so hard he doesn’t know how to handle it, “Why are you crying?”

Jimin tells him again, stress apparent in his voice, “I don’t know.

By now, Taehyung’s apologizing, because he didn’t foresee Jimin crying during this confession. He says, “I know you’re probably angry at me because you think love is fake or whatever, but I’m sorry. I don’t wanna ruin what we have but— I just had to tell you. I love you, I’m sorry.” 

The only thing Jimin manages to say, with his cheeks wet and his chest panting is, “I’m not angry.” 

Taehyung swallows hard. He asks, a bit dumbfounded, “Then what?”

And this time, Jimin’s truthful. 

“Nervous,” he says, “because... I don’t know how to do that.”

The questioning look on Taehyung’s face is enough for Jimin to continue. As best as he can through stuttered breaths, Jimin explains, “Be in love. I don’t know how to do that. I can’t— I don’t think I can. I say love isn’t real because it’s easier than saying—“

Jimin’s voice cuts off, he closes his eyes. With his left hand, he covers his face, wiping away tears. 

Taehyung urges him on. Pets at Jimin’s thigh and says, “Than saying what?” 

When Jimin takes his hand away, the tears are back. He blinks and they fall from his eyes and he says, “That I don’t wanna get hurt.” 

It’s different hearing it straight from Jimin’s mouth. In a way, this isn’t news. They all know Jimin distances himself from love and projects that he’s better off without it as a defense mechanism. If Taehyung’s truthful, he’s always known that. But it doesn’t change that Jimin’s mindset has always been different from his. And they’ve always viewed love differently. Taehyung sees all of the securities of love, Jimin sees all of the dangers. 

“I told myself for so long that it’s easier to just… be by myself, hook up with whoever, and keep moving. And for so long that was okay. For so long I truly believed I could live my life like that, and then… you happened,” Jimin says, voice getting smaller and smaller as he talks. 

Taehyung moves closer now. They’re knee to knee, leaning forward toward one another. Taehyung wants to reach out and hug Jimin. Wants to tell him he understands, but he resists the urge. He doesn’t want to overwhelm him. So he tries humor. 

Smiling through his tears, Taehyung says, “Well I’ve never been in love before and then you happened, too. So… I guess we're even.” 

And Taehyung can see that Jimin wants to smile, but all of his negative thoughts are keeping that from happening. He reaches forward and cups the side of Taehyung’s face. His thumb strokes over Taehyung’s cheek and it’s chilling the way he’s looking at Taehyung. Like he’s made of gold. Like he’s the best thing in his life. Taehyung doesn’t feel worthy. 

Whispering now, Jimin confesses as his eyes shimmer with tears, “I don’t wanna break your heart.” 

“So don’t,” Taehyung tells him. 

Because if they try, maybe it can be that easy. Taehyung will love Jimin, and Jimin will love him back, and they’ll figure out the rest along the way. 

“I don’t trust myself not to. I don’t know how to be in love, Taehyung. And you deserve someone who knows exactly how to love you,” Jimin tells him. 

Taehyung could laugh because no one in this world loves him better than the way Jimin loves him. And it’s crazy to him that Jimin doesn’t see that. Maybe it’s true that Jimin’s never had a serious relationship, or dated someone before, or opened himself up to love. But he’s perfect at it already. Even without trying. Taehyung’s heart has always been in the palm of his hand, and it’s never felt safer. 

Leaning forward, Taehyung presses their foreheads together. He reassures Jimin, “I trust you. And believe me, you already love me the way I want you to.” 

Jimin lets out a breath and closes his eyes. Still petting over the side of Taehyung’s face he tells him as his voice breaks, “I love you so fuckin’ much, Taehyung.” 

Taehyung nods with his head against Jimin’s. 

“I know you do.” 

And then both of Taehyung’s hands are holding Jimin’s face as well. They’re nose to nose, staring so deep into each other’s eyes, Taehyung swears Jimin is looking into his soul. He wonders if he sees himself there. 

Visibly gathering up courage, Jimin whispers, “I’m... in love with you, too. But I’m scared.” 

Then there’s Seokjin’s voice in Taehyung’s head again. 

One of you has to be brave.  

So Taehyung adjusts his gentle grip on Jimin’s face and tells him, “I’m not scared. Don’t worry.” 

Jimin closes his eyes then. He swallows visibly hard and Taehyung can’t imagine what’s running through his head right now. Taehyung wasn’t prepared to do this tonight, so he can only imagine how off-balance Jimin’s entire world feels right now. Or maybe it’s the opposite, maybe he feels right on track. In a way, Taehyung knows his world does. 

Taehyung’s been staring at Jimin’s lips for a while now, and resisting this for months, so he doesn’t think he can hold back anymore. He bumps his nose against Jimin’s to get his attention and asks, “Can I kiss you? Please?” 

At this point, Taehyung thinks it’s silly to ask, but he’d rather be safe than sorry. And his reward is a kiss that truly takes his breath away. Just like the rest of their bodies, their lips fit perfectly together. Jimin’s mouth is as soft and as inviting as Taehyung’s always imagined it would be. And something about kissing Jimin slows his heartbeat. Calms him. Makes him feel like he’s home. 

They kiss for a long time. Exploring each other in a way that’s new to them, but extremely exciting. Jimin bites at his lower lip, and Taehyung licks at the inside of Jimin’s mouth playfully. They fall into a nice give-and-take pattern, chasing each other’s mouths when the other threatens to pull away. 

And by the time they finally pull apart, they’re panting and laughing. Happy tears still painting their faces. Taehyung rests his head against Jimin’s, breathing in his air. He can’t help it, he stares into Jimin’s eyes and slides his fingers through his hair. 

“I love you,” Taehyung tells him, because he can’t stop saying it now. It’s constantly on the tip of his tongue, fighting to be heard. It tickles his lips on its way out, and dances around Jimin’s ear. 

Shyly, Jimin smiles. He says back, “I love you, too.” 

They lay there for a while. About an hour, in mostly silence. Jimin lays on his back and allows Taehyung to rest his head on his chest. The sound of Jimin’s heartbeat has always been Taehyung’s favorite song. It’s been his lullaby more times than he can count.

Taehyung sits up a bit, positioning his chin on Jimin’s chest and asks like he’s in a dream, “Is this real?” 

Massaging his fingers against Taehyung’s scalp, Jimin replies with a smile, “God, I hope so.” 

Laughing now, Taehyung asks, “What do you think the guys are gonna say when we tell them we’re official now?” 

At that, Jimin raises his eyebrows. He says, “They absolutely have a running bet going on so someone’s winning money. But mostly… I think they’re just gonna be happy. They’ve been pushing this for months.” 

Taehyung kisses Jimin’s lips. Twice, because just once isn’t enough and he’s allowed to do that now. Then, staring into Jimin’s eyes, Taehyung tells him, “I’m happy. You make me happy.” 

And Jimin, lifting his head to press a tender kiss to Taehyung’s forehead says, “I’m happy, too.” 

They stay on the floor like that until the music outside their door begins to die down and the party’s over. 

 

 

It’s late by the time they walk home. They do so hand in hand, swinging their arms happily as they go.

The night sky is a deep indigo color with tiny gold accents. The moon is bright and full, acting as their personal spotlight as they walk. The campus is eerily vacant this time of night, but it’s perfect. Makes them feel like the only two people on Earth. 

Giggling a little, Taehyung says seemingly out of the blue, “It’s always at a party.” 

Jimin pulls his attention away from the stars and questions, “Huh?”

“Us,” Taehyung says. “Went into one party best friends, come out of it friends with benefits. Went into this party friends with benefits...” he looks down at their hands, and then back into Jimin’s eyes as he smiles and finishes, “...came out of it boyfriends.” 

This time, Jimin laughs. He agrees, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” 

Taehyung’s quiet for a minute and then says, “Wonder what the next party will bring.” He pretends to gasp and asks playfully, “Wedding bells?” 

Nervously, Jimin’s face burns hot. He’s still painfully a rookie at this whole love thing, but Taehyung’s getting a kick out of teasing him. Besides, Jimin’s taught Taehyung so much, he thinks it’s his turn to teach him something as well. 

Holding Taehyung’s hand a little tighter, Jimin says, “Slow down, Romeo. One step at a time.” 

At that, Taehyung shrugs breezily. He leans over, kisses Jimin’s cheek, and says, “I guess I can wait.” 

 

 

By the time they get on the other side of Taehyung’s apartment door, Jimin’s pinning him against the wood and kissing him like both of their lives depend on it. 

And it’s amazing because the passion and the attraction are the same as it’s always been when they do this, but this time there’s… a love that spirals around them rapidly like a protective bubble. It shelters them and traps them in a love-filled oxygen tank, forcing it down their lungs and into their nervous systems. Like a sedative, it calms them. Taehyung’s never felt more content. 

They kiss and kiss and kiss and Taehyung feels drunk on Jimin. His head spins and he’s dizzy and he could swear he’s weightless at the moment. With his eyes closed, he allows himself to just feel. His brain registers Jimin’s hands on his waist, holding him still; and Jimin’s thigh between his legs, adding just the right amount of pressure. Taehyung feels Jimin’s lips pressed perfectly against his and feels the way his heart slams with anticipation in his chest. 

“Up,” Jimin mumbles in instruction against Taehyung’s mouth and taps, prompting, at his thighs. Giggling as he kisses, Taehyung lifts himself up and wraps his legs around Jimin’s midsection allowing himself to be carried. 

Taehyung thinks the roles should be reversed because he’s taller and overall bigger. But Jimin spends time in the gym for fun, even when it’s not mandatory for soccer. So Taehyung thinks he just likes showing off his muscles. And honestly, Taehyung’s always had a thing for muscles, so he doesn’t mind at all. 

Clothes shed as Jimin walks them to the bedroom, like a trail of breadcrumbs from the front door to the back of the apartment. Beanies and shirts and belts littering the hardwood floor, left carelessly until morning. 

Taehyung’s bedroom is cold, but their bodies are warm, and soon their heat equalizes the air. Gently, Jimin places Taehyung back on the bed and doesn’t waste a second kissing down his body. Plump, eager lips peppering kisses and bites over his sensitive skin. Every nerve of Taehyung’s is on fire as Jimin’s tongue spells his name over his lower stomach, teasing. 

Anxious, wanting more, Taehyung lifts his ass off of the bed and whines, “Jimin.” 

But Jimin’s demeanor stays calm. Loves getting Taehyung worked up, and Taehyung falls for it no matter what. He smiles up at Taehyung with a fond look in his eyes as his thumbs massage at his hip bones. 

Kissing over Taehyung’s navel, Jimin whispers to him, “Patience, baby.”  

Naturally, conditioned to how things were just yesterday, the first thing Taehyung’s brain does is set off alarms in his head. Loudspeaker messages bouncing around in his mind saying THAT’S AGAINST THE RULES! NO PETNAMES!

But then a soothing, calming thought arrives next. One that reminds Taehyung that things are different now and it’s okay. It’s actually very, very okay that Jimin did that. And even more so… it’s okay that he liked it. Because he did. He liked it very much. Both his heart and his dick apparently, because he’s positive they’re both extra hard right now. 

He needs to hear it again.

A little breathless, Taehyung pushes Jimin’s hair out of his face and tells him, “Say that again.” 

Jimin’s lips smear against his inner thigh now. Stripped of his jeans and his boxers pushed up to expose the skin. And fuck, Taehyung’s so lightheaded, so dizzy with anticipation, but he needs to hear it. Craves it in the pit of his stomach. 

Raising his eyebrow curiously, Jimin asks, “Say what?”

His lips are somehow even fuller now that he’s been using them for a while. A blood-red color, like lipstick, but glossed over. They shine prettily in the moonlight’s cast through the blinds. The sight makes Taehyung’s heart skip a beat— Jimin’s too pretty to be real. 

Blushing a bit now, Taehyung squirms under Jimin’s hold and says in a softer voice, “Call me that again.”

And the cockiness and pure satisfaction that floods Jimin’s face lets Taehyung know right then and there that he’s created a monster, but he doesn’t care. He watches Jimin smirk, taking in Taehyung’s words and mentally slotting away that piece of information. 

When he speaks again, his voice is deeper and more charming. Gentle, but jagged. Jimin’s hand spiders under the fabric of Taehyung’s boxers, fingers at the base of his cock, and mumbles with his lips against Taehyung’s thigh, “You liked that, baby? Like when I call you that?”

Taehyung’s head falls back against the pillow, hair dangling freely. He closes his eyes as he feels his last piece of clothing being removed and the warmth from Jimin’s mouth getting closer and closer to where he wants it to be. 

Between slow kisses to Taehyung’s skin Jimin whispers, “Baby, baby, baby…”

They break all of their rules, and they’ve never felt freer. And it’s in those moments that Taehyung realizes how much they’ve been holding back for the past few months. Because just this one night of doing and saying what they want makes Taehyung feel so light. He breathes a little easier, his heart beats a little stronger, he feels just a little bit more happiness flowing through his veins. 

Eventually, when Jimin’s mouth starts to feel too good and Taehyung feels an orgasm approaching, he switches their position. Smiles as he guides Jimin onto his back and instructs him to keep his knees to his chest. Jimin’s panting and looking up at Taehyung curiously, but does what he’s told. Even hooks one arm under his thighs to hold his position. Just faintly, Taehyung sees the way Jimin’s cheeks blush at being so on display. But as always, Taehyung thinks he’s beautiful— stunning. 

“Stay just like that. That’s good,” Taehyung tells him, a confident smirk washing over his face as he begins kissing down the back of Jimin’s thigh. Against his lips, he feels Jimin’s muscles twitch in anticipation as he goes lower. Over Taehyung’s head, Jimin’s toes begin to curl. He’s terrible at following directions, Taehyung thinks it’s adorable. 

Taehyung is inches from Jimin’s ass when he feels Jimin’s body moving, trying to guide him lower quicker. So Taehyung pulls back, looks down at Jimin disapprovingly and tells him again, more stern this time, “Stay, babe.”

Exasperated, Jimin plops is head back on the mattress and whispers out a bit desperately, “Sorry.”

And when Taehyung starts eating Jimin out, Jimin’s flinches with pleasure. Short, staccato contractions of his muscles and joints when Taehyung’s tongue licks over just the right spot.

Then, the prettiest sounds Taehyung’s ever heard fills his bedroom. Sweet whimpers and slow moans fall from Jimin’s lips, urging Taehyung to keep going. Taehyung’s mouth goes to work, licking and kissing at Jimin’s entrance until it sounds like he’s about to explode. Jimin’s nails dig into the sheets, he starts to overheat. Taehyung hears him trying to speak, beginnings of praises and profanity spilling from his lips. Jimin bites down on his own fingers in an attempt to keep himself quiet, but there’s no use, Taehyung’s sure his neighbors have already heard them.

When he’s had enough— literally cannot take anymore because his body is shaking— Jimin guides Taehyung onto his stomach and fingers him open. By now, Jimin’s fast with his movements, like he can’t wait anymore. He kisses at Taehyung’s back as his lube-slick fingers slide into Taehyung with an impressive, skilled pace. 

It’s true, Taehyung teases Jimin’s hand size for a lot of things, but never for this. When it comes to this, they’re absolutely perfect. Like they were made for Taehyung. They’re short, but just the right length to reach that perfect spot inside of him and make him want to beg for Jimin to fuck him for real. Jimin’s fingers are thick, and by the time Taehyung has two of them inside of him, he feels the intoxicating stretch. And just like with every other part of his body, Jimin knows exactly how to work his fingers. He’s a master at making Taehyung melt. 

“I’m ready, I’m ready,” Taehyung moans into the pillow, signaling to Jimin that he needs more than his fingers inside of him now. 

This time around, when Jimin fucks him, they hold hands. All the way through. Jimin flips him over, lines up with Taehyung on his back, and they stare into each other’s eyes as Jimin pushes inside. 

As common as it is, missionary has always been a position they’ve avoided in the past. Too intimidate, maybe. Terrified then that they’d get too caught up in a moment and kiss. But now, all they want to do is look into each other’s eyes as they give one another pleasure. Taehyung purses his lips, asking for a kiss. And Jimin happily complies. 

And they’ve done this a million times but Taehyung always hisses at the stretch. Bites his lower lip and closes his eyes as he adjusts, regulating his breathing and relaxing his muscles. He shifts his hips, getting comfortable. Then, a content sigh falls from his lips.

There’s a kiss to the tip of Taehyung’s nose. Then a kiss to Taehyung’s lips. Then to his cheek. 

“Good?” Jimin asks softly in his ear, checking. They’ve done this too many times to count, but he always checks. Always. Just in case one day Taehyung's answer is different. 

Smiling, Taehyung tips his chin upward to kiss Jimin again. Fuck, he loves that he can do that now. Whenever he wants, he can kiss Jimin. Because he’s his boyfriend. And it’s not against the rules anymore. Each time Taehyung remembers, his heart flutters. 

Petting Jimin’s cheek with his free hand, Taehyung promises, “Better than good.” 

Typically, when they do this, everything feels rushed. Fast, deep strokes and heavy grunts in each other’s ear. But that was when there was an attempt to keep a disconnect between their bodies and their hearts. Tonight, however, feels completely different. Magical, almost, as they take their time. 

Jimin’s slow and precise with the way he pushes into Taehyung. Holds both of his hands over his head and fucks into him deeply, hipbone to the back of Taehyung’s thighs, and then pulls back. And it’s that pace that Jimin keeps up for what feels like an eternity. But it also keeps Taehyung breathless, barely able to keep his eyes open. It takes all of his effort to rock his hips in motion with Jimin’s. Fluid, steady grinding down on Jimin’s cock to take him deeper.

As Jimin pushes into him, Taehyung studies Jimin’s face. Lightly damp with sweat, a crease in his brow, tension in his jawline. His skin is perfectly clear, nose carved by angels and topped with the cutest knob at the end, cheekbones defined and dangerous, lips enticing and full. 

Taehyung, mesmerized by Jimin’s beauty, tips his head to the side and begins kissing at his neck. He moans out, “Mine,” between bites to Jimin’s neck. 

A little selfishly, Taehyung’s sure to leave a hickey on Jimin’s skin. Partly because that was against the rules before, but mostly because he wants everyone to know Jimin’s his. Wants to have Jimin walk around campus with his marks on his flesh and feel that confident, self-assured feeling in the pit of his stomach as he watches others take notice. Wants to kiss over it tomorrow and remember this exact moment. 

To that, Jimin kisses a line down the side of Taehyung’s hairline. Starting at just above his temple and finishing by Taehyung’s ear. He traps Taehyung’s lobe between his teeth, sucks a little, and then says back, “Mine.” 

They go as slow as their bodies will allow for as long as they can, feels like hours, but it comes to a point where they can’t take it anymore. A point where all their minds and bodies are craving is the release they’ve been keeping at an arm's length away for too long. Because even now, they’re moving in shaking, stuttered movements, knowing anything too rough or too fast will send them over the edge before they’re ready. They don’t want this to end, but they can’t fight it anymore. 

But they’re ready now; Taehyung’s been whining at Jimin smacking his hand away from his dick for too long and he can’t take it. Begs so pretty in Jimin’s ear for him to be allowed to cum, and Jimin didn’t even stand a chance. He’s never told Taehyung no a day in his life.

So Jimin wraps his hand around Taehyung’s dick and strokes him in quick, short movements. His wrist twists, paying extra attention to the bundle of nerves on the underside of the head, and watches as Taehyung falls apart under him. He squirms and tosses his head from side to side until it’s all too much and he’s cuming over Jimin’s hand and onto his stomach. 

It’s a mental rule of Jimin’s that will always stay: Taehyung finishes first. Doesn’t matter which position they’re in, or who’s topping who at the moment, that’s something Jimin always sticks to. So once he knows Taehyung’s satisfied, he allows himself to be a little more selfish with the way he fucks into him. 

Not too long after, Jimin’s hit his limit as well. Taehyung always thinks his orgasm face is cute— he squeezes his eyes shut, lets his mouth fall open, and sometimes even scrunches his nose. He always whines; high-pitched sounds as he doubles over and lands onto Taehyung’s body. And when he’s finished, he stays there for a few moments, coming back down to Earth. 

Soothingly, Taehyung rubs circles on Jimin’s back with the tips of his fingers. Jimin’s skin is soft and his heart is pounding and all Taehyung can think about is that he’s in love. He’s absolutely in love and Jimin’s in love with him back and this is the best night of his life. 

Taehyung kisses Jimin’s head, and with his lips lost in Jimin’s disheveled hair whispers to him, “God, I love you.” 

And Jimin’s still a little lost in his post-orgasm high, but he manages to reply, “I love you more.” 

Taehyung doesn’t think that’s possible, but it’s cute and he’s not in the mood to argue. 

They only stay like that for a few minutes before Jimin volunteers himself to get a cloth, just like always. But this time, when he returns, there’s no hesitation to the way he begins cleaning Taehyung. There’s a faint smile on his face as he runs the warm washcloth over Taehyung’s stomach. 

Giggling a little, Taehyung says, “Thanks, babe.” 

When Taehyung nods his approval, Jimin then uses the cloth to clean himself, and then tosses it into the hamper across the room. And just for a second, Jimin freezes. He looks at the door, and then back at Taehyung. 

Taehyung swears his heart stops. Cracks. Begins to break into a million pieces. Helplessly, Taehyung thinks he’s leaving again.

But then something nothing short of a miracle happens. Jimin climbs back into bed and settles next to Taehyung. He situates the blankets, adjusts their pillows, and lays down. He even puts his arm around Taehyung’s midsection, holding him close. 

Quietness paints the room for a long while. And Taehyung can feel both himself and Jimin thinking hard about his. About how this night didn’t go how all of their other nights used to. And about how this is a million times better. Taehyung thinks about how silly were they to put rules on a relationship that thrives off of being so free with their emotions and actions. 

Not wanting this night to end, but admittedly too sleepy to keep his eyes open, Taehyung says, “Wanna go to bed?”

In his peripheral vision, Taehyung sees Jimin nod. 

He mumbles with his nose pressed against Taehung’s cheek, “Yeah, I’m exhausted.” 

A small smile tugs at the corners of Taehyung's mouth. 

He says, “G’night, Jiminie.” 

And Jimin, a second later, “Night, Taehyungie.”

Taehyung swears he’s never slept so peacefully. 

 

 

When Taehyung wakes up the next morning, Jimin sleeping peacefully next to him solidifies that last night wasn’t a dream. It sure felt that way, but Jimin’s here and Taehyung’s body is pleasantly sore and his heart is full. Unmistakable evidence from the night before. Proof that Taehyung's wide awake and this is his life now.

Just looking at Jimin makes Taehyung’s heart race with happiness. He can’t hold back, he kisses him awake. Quick, loving pecks to his lips. Jimin pouts into Taehyung's kiss, still half-asleep, and Taehyung's heart squeezes. 

Jimin wakes up smiling. Taehyung falls in love all over again. 

“Morning, my love,” Taehyung greets, petting Jimin’s hair. 

Still gaining a grip on his surroundings, Jimin takes a moment to reply. But when he does, he delivers a kiss to Taehyung’s lips first before he whispers groggily, “Hi, baby.” 

God, Taehyung’s never going to get tired of hearing that. His stomach does cartwheels; his heart flutters. And he swears his cheeks blush just a bit. He tries to hide it by covering his face with his bedsheets. He sinks down and pulls the sheets over his head, taking shelter. From under the fabric, he hears Jimin giggling. 

Poking playfully at Taehyung's side, Jimin calls to him. Then, warmth wraps around Taehyung. Jimin's arms pulling him into a hug. Even through the sheets, Taehyung feels Jimin pressing a kiss to his forehead. Jimin says to him, "Come back, I miss you already."

Taehyung can’t stand not looking at Jimin for even a second more, so he pulls the blankets down a moment later and just stares. Studies the shape of Jimin’s eyes, and his nose, and his lips. Takes notice of the way his hair falls, and his breathing pattern, and the way he swallows. Taehyung swears he’s the luckiest person in the world. 

Catching him staring, Jimin smiles and asks, “What?”’

Taehyung shakes his head slowly, pretty black strands getting tangled in his eyelashes. “Nothing,” he says. 

“Liar,” Jimin replies. Then, nudging Taehyung under the blanket, requests cutely, “Tell me.” 

This time, Taehyung’s kiss is slow and deep. Full of all of the love he has to give and then some. He’s filled to the brim with happiness and contentment. And feels lucky to be in love with Jimin. 

“Just… thank you for staying,” Taehyung says. 

And to that Jimin smiles. He hugs Taehyung closer and whispers, “No, thank you for letting me.” 

Now that it’s not against the rules, Taehyung looks forward to waking up next to Jimin every morning. 

In fact, he might make it mandatory that they spend the rest of their lives like this.