Normally Jimin liked his morning class.
The familiarity of barre exercises in Joowon-nim’s class was the best way to wake up not just his muscles but also to clear his head and help him get focused on the day. But he was feeling a little off that morning. His grand battements felt sluggish, his knee was making that annoying cracking sound during his grand pliés, and Jeongyeon had been glaring at him almost constantly.
Jimin didn’t have the slightest idea what he might have done to piss her off this time. He wasn’t the one who put broken glass in her pointe shoes.
Everything about his morning felt off, which wasn’t a good omen considering that it was the first day of working on choreography for their next show.
He was in the hall drinking water and eating a banana after class, hoping the B6 and tryptophan would help boost his mood, when a soft voice came from behind him.
“You can call me hyung, Jungkook,” Jimin said, turning toward the younger man.
He could see Jungkook eyeing his pointe shoes, ribbons tied together, hanging off the strap of his duffel bag. Sure, men didn’t normally dance en pointe. Jimin hadn’t performed on stage en pointe yet, but he liked to test himself. There were a few danseurs from the US and Europe who posted videos doing barre and floor work in pointe shoes on Instagram, and Jimin was obsessed with them.
The contrast of a male dancer’s physique balanced delicately on the very tips of their toes in shoes tied with ribbon made for a striking aesthetic that Jimin found very appealing.
And he looked amazing in them, if he did say so himself. He still hadn’t gotten brave enough to post video of him dancing in them on his public social media accounts, though.
“It strengthens the ankles and helps improve balance,” Jimin said defensively.
“What?” Jungkook asked.
“You were looking at my pointe shoes.”
“Oh, I was just trying to figure out if you dyed them yourself. I think it’s cool you dance in them.”
“Sorry,” Jimin said sheepishly. “I get a little defensive.”
Even other male ballet dancers could spread their toxic masculinity among each other, especially the straight ones. Though the jury was still out on Jungkook’s interest in men or women or anyone at all.
“I understand, Jimin-ssi,” Jungkook replied, very solemnly, which made Jimin feel even worse for snapping at him.
“Hyung. And no, I bought them in red.”
Jungkook’s eyes went even wider, and Jimin could see his hand twitch like he wanted to touch them.
“Do you think Sungdeuk will let you wear them for blue jean night?”
“Only one way to find out,” Jimin said, as he nodded toward the studio where the principals were having their choreography meeting.
“I’ll see you there,” Jungkook said, “I have to change.”
“See you in there,” Jimin echoed.
Blue jean night was a favorite among the principals and it usually drew a slightly younger crowd. They could let go of their classical training and do more contemporary choreography. Sungdeuk would work closely with the principals and really collaborate with them, playing to their strengths. It was also a way to rack up choreography credits that would help them find work after their dancing careers were over.
Everything in the business of ballet was a strategic game, from the choreography to company politics, and Jimin loved it.
Though some days he loved it less than others.
Taemin was already in the rehearsal space when Jimin walked in, which normally would have been a mood-booster, but Ten was there, too.
And they were dancing.
Jimin didn’t know the song they were dancing to or the choreography, but it was more jazz than ballet, a lot of hip movement like it was choreography originally for women. Taemin looked flawless, his baggy sweater casually sliding down his shoulder, his leggings rolled up right below his knee, showing off his calves.
He would have looked sexy if he had been dancing alone, but Jimin was distracted from his ogling because Ten was in his space as they danced together. They were playing off each other, doing the choreography but not taking it seriously.
Taemin giggled when Ten pushed his ass back, and wiggled it against Taemin’s hip.
Jimin huffed and dropped his bag right beside Taemin’s. He loudly dug through his bag until he pulled out his favorite legwarmers--pretty pale lavender made of fuzzy wool. The smaller studio was always annoyingly colder than the others.
He moved to the mirrors, turning his back to the two dancers, and went down into a split, not wanting to lose the good stretch he had gotten during his morning class.
And maybe it was because his legs and his ass looked really good in a split and he wanted Taemin to notice.
It wasn’t that Jimin didn’t like Ten--what he told everyone to call him because his Thai name was quite long--not exactly. It was that he had disrupted the pecking order of the company and gotten Taemin’s notice.
Of course, Jimin knew he was still number one to Taemin. Or maybe he was tied with Jongin. The three of them had joined the company together and were all close. But Jimin was used to taking a certain amount of Taemin’s attention, and Ten had wormed his way into Taemin’s inner circle faster than anyone had before. Even Jungkook, who was so genuinely nice that Jimin had never heard a single bit of gossip about him, was still only a casual acquaintance to Taemin.
Taeyong and Jongin came in while Jimin was stretching, and then Jungkook and some of the women. Sungdeuk came in shortly after, so Jimin couldn’t even talk to Taemin.
They talked through the show, the big ensembles, then the smaller groupings that would feature the principals. Taemin had drifted toward Jimin during rehearsal, which made Jimin feel a little more at ease, a little more normal.
But then Sungdeuk announced an all-men dance with Taemin, Taeyong, Jongin, and Ten, and the joy on Ten’s face was like a sucker punch. It was great for him and Taeyong, who hadn’t gotten big solos yet, weren’t headliners. It was smart of Sungdeuk to pair them with Taemin and Jongin, but that didn’t mean Jimin had to like it, or be happy about all the time Ten would get to spend rehearsing with Taemin when Jimin wasn’t there to monitor it.
Sungdeuk saying his name snapped him out of his thoughts. He could be professional about this.
“I thought you and Nayeon could do a pas de deux en pointe,” Sungdeuk continued.
Jimin barely heard the rest about the music or the choreography. He caught a gleeful Nayeon in his arms and fed off the excitement of the women. Mina even started a “One of us, one of us” chant.
This was a bold move on the part of the company, and Jimin understood the serious social responsibility of overtly overturning an established gender norm so publicly. But he let the feeling of excitement carry him through the rest of the rehearsal. He could panic about the pressure that came along with it later.
As they all started packing up for the day, Jimin put his hand on Taemin’s chest.
“Hey, you wanna come over tonight?” he asked, making sure that Ten was in earshot.
Taemin smiled at him, and Jimin couldn’t help but melt a little.
So maybe he was putting on a show for Ten, but he also liked flirting with Taemin. He was one of Jimin’s best friends, they always flirted. Plus, they had been watching Game of Thrones together and were now two episodes behind.
“Sure, I’ll come over after I pick up Adam and Eve from daycare.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jimin saw Ten make a very confused face.
So he wasn’t close enough to Taemin to know his dogs. Interesting.
Taemin lived in the same neighborhood as Jimin and Taehyung. They had almost roomed together, but Taehyung’s rent had gone up and he needed a roommate, and ultimately Jimin thought it would have been too much to live with someone he also worked with, was friends with, and was casually sleeping with.
Taemin and Jimin made dinner together, a basic stir-fry of mostly vegetables and one skinless chicken breast to split between them. An upcoming show meant healthy eating was necessary, and Jimin had purged most of the junk food from the cabinets already. Taehyung, being the wonderful supportive roommate he was, kept his stash in his bedroom so Jimin didn’t have to be tempted.
They talked about the upcoming show as they ate.
“This is huge, Jiminie. I’m so happy for you,” Taemin said.
“Are you sure it’s okay? I mean, we already get enough shit for what we do.”
“The Jimin I first met was out to prove his masculinity. I like this Jimin who’s confident in himself as he is a lot better.”
Jimin blushed at the compliment.
“You were a good influence.”
“Aw, Jiminie,” Taemin said, reaching over to pinch Jimin’s cheek playfully.
Jimin swatted his hand away.
They washed the dishes and then curled up on Jimin’s futon with his laptop to start the episode where they had left off.
They made it about ten minutes in before Taemin started stroking Jimin’s ankle, then moving his hand up to his calf.
“Mmm,” Jimin said. “That feels good.”
“You have a knot here,” Taemin said as he dug into Jimin’s muscle, working on the knot. He used just the right pressure, and Jimin could feel the tense spot release. He worked it until Jimin’s leg felt loose and relaxed, and then he moved onto the other one.
“Thank you for the massage,” Jimin said when Taemin’s hands finally stilled.
“Let me rub your shoulders.”
“I didn’t do that as an exchange.”
“Are you saying no?”
“Of course not.”
So they repositioned themselves until Taemin was sitting between Jimin’s spread legs where Jimin had better access to Taemin’s shoulders. When Jimin hit the right spot, Taemin let out a deep groan that hit Jimin low in his belly. So Jimin started to move his hands lower, down to Taemin’s lower back and then around stroke his thighs.
“Jiminie,” Taemin murmured as he turned around between Jimin’s leg.
“Taehyung won’t be back until later,” Jimin said confidently.
He actually had no idea where Taehyung was or when he would be home, and he wouldn’t have cared even if he did hear them, but it felt like something he should say and it seemed to reassure Taemin.
He started mouthing at Jimin’s neck, leaving a trail of wet kisses down to his shoulder as his hand slid down to stroke Jimin over his sweatpants.
Jimin got harder as Taemin applied more pressure. For a minute he was content to just feel the teasing touch of Taemin’s hands on his body, pushing his shirt up to tease Jimin’s nipples before sliding down, pulling off his sweatpants and settling between his legs.
“Ah, wait,” Jimin said, his brain coming back online.
Taemin looked up at Jimin skeptically.
“You’re turning down a blowjob?”
“Never,” Jimin laughed as he started to reposition himself, turning on his side with his head facing the other end of the futon.
Taemin caught on quickly and stripped out of his own sweats, settling back down on his side, lining his face up with Jimin’s crotch.
Taemin wasn’t hard, so Jimin didn’t waste any time, taking him in his mouth and getting him there. He knew what Taemin liked, knew he didn’t like being teased--the way he was doing to Jimin, biting at Jimin’s thigh instead of putting his mouth where Jimin wanted it.
Jimin reached down to tug at Taemin’s hair.
Taemin laughed. “Fine, fine. Impatient.”
Once Taemin actually started sucking Jimin off, it didn’t take either of them long to finish. Jimin flopped over on his back and started laughing when he heard the Game of Thrones theme song playing near his head.
“We’re going to have to restart the episode.”
“Sorry about that,” Taemin said.
“Why are you sorry? I needed that.”
“You did look pretty tense today. Everything okay?”
“Just started out the day on the wrong side of the bed,” Jimin said as he grabbed his sweatpants, pulled them on, and repositioned himself and the computer back to where they had started.
“I hope you’re feeling better now,” Taemin said, holding his arm out for Jimin to snuggle under it.
“I am,” Jimin said.
Jimin waited until the episode was over before he casually brought it up, and only after Taemin mentioned their grueling rehearsal schedule and the number of solos he had along with the pas de quatre.
“I’m sure it will be fine. You were looking pretty cozy with Ten at rehearsal today.”
Taemin made a face that said he saw right through Jimin’s attempt at casual.
“He’s not that bad.”
“I know,” Jimin said, he didn’t want Taemin to think he was a bad person, and Ten had never done anything overtly to get on Jimin’s bad side. Nothing more than a smug look here and there.
“Want to stay?” Jimin asked. They didn’t always sleep together, but sometimes it was nice to have someone to hold onto.
“Ah, I have to take out Adam and Eve one more time.”
“Oh right, sorry. You know you can bring them over here. Taehyung doesn’t mind.”
“I know, but I still feel bad about the slipper incident.”
“Adam was just a puppy. He chewed through way more of yours.”
“I can’t believe I adopted a maltese with a specific taste for ballet slippers. He’s better now, but still.”
“Well, give them a good night pet for me.”
“I will,” Taemin said, leaning down to drop a kiss on Jimin’s forehead. “Good night, Jiminie. See you tomorrow.”
“Good night, hyung.”
Taehyung still wasn’t home, and it wasn’t late enough for him to be able to fall asleep, so Jimin got on Youtube and did some sleuthing.
He found a video of Ten dancing with some guy called Winwin. It was compelling, a contemporary piece with a lot of mirroring. The other man was playing Ten’s shadow. It was two years old, and Ten was clearly a strong dancer, but he was even better now. Jimin appreciated people who worked hard, who took what were maybe natural talents and built them into something more.
But that didn’t mean he had to like Ten personally.
Jimin tried to be a good sport about the lineup for the show--he did. It wasn’t like Ten and Taemin had a pas de deux. It was a group dance with Jongin and Taeyong. Jimin was in a few of the ensemble pieces, and, like Taemin, had significant solos in them. And his dance with Nayeon was going to be the one everybody talked about, and that was the important thing.
It was what he wanted.
And he loved working with Nayeon. He still got to do lifts and give all the support during the adagio, but his grand pirouettes during his variation were en pointe, which made them all the more dramatic, and the coda ended with him and Nayeon doing side-by-side fouettes as the curtain closed. The choreography was the classical Russian style that favored Jimin’s and Nayeon’s strengths, but it had a dramatic modern twist with their casual costumes and the contemporary music.
It was a couple weeks into rehearsals when Jimin texted Taemin to see if he wanted to come over that night. He hadn’t spent any time with Taemin and they were now three episodes behind. He didn’t even care if they ended up having sex. He just missed his friend.
He might have made it up that he had an extra rehearsal and would be finishing up around the same time as Taemin, making it harder for the other man to say no.
Jimin poked his head into the rehearsal studio as they were finishing up. Jongin saw him first and waved him in.
The pas de quatre was definitely more contemporary, even a little sexual, which was also pretty boundary pushing for the company. They occasionally did neoclassical choreography--one of Jimin’s first shows they did Balanchine--but what kept their wealthiest patrons happy was classical. Precision and technique were more valuable than artistry and interpretation.
The purpose of the four men’s dance, as Sungdeuk described it, was to create interesting shapes, so they were working on some pretty intricate lifts that looked more like acrobatics than dance. All four looked sweaty and exhausted when Sungdeuk finally called it a day.
Ten attached himself to Taemin’s arm immediately. He looked wiped, so he might have actually needed Taemin’s support, but as he leaned over to rest his chin on Taemin’s shoulder, he shot Jimin a smug look.
Taemin seemed oblivious to Ten’s bitch face because he smiled at Jimin.
“What did you think?” Taemin asked, he was smiling but there was the sound of worry at the edge of his voice.
“I think it might help to film your practice so you can really see what the positions will look like to the audience.”
“That’s a good idea, Jiminie. Looking in the mirror isn’t enough. I’m going to go talk to Sungdeuk.”
He nudged Ten affectionately before he jogged over to talk to the choreographer. With Taemin gone, Ten ignored Jimin, brushing past him to grab his bag and glide out of the room.
“Did you get my text?” Jimin asked, after Taemin and Sungdeuk wrapped up their filming plan.
“Yeah, tonight’s good. I’ve been worried about Brienne.”
“I’ll get takeout. Unless you feel like cooking.”
“Oh god no, I don’t even think I can lift my arms. How’s yours going?”
“It’s fun,” Jimin said, not wanting to rub it in that he was actually having a blast. The choreography was familiar, right in Jimin’s sweet spot, and Nayeon was one of his favorite people in the company to work with.
“How’s Nayeon’s knee?”
“Oh it’s good. She’s really back at 100%.”
Tendonitis was one of the most common ailments that plagued them, but they had a good physical therapist on staff and tried to be vigilant and hyperaware of even the subtlest of changes in their bodies.
“Jongin’s ankle?” Jimin asked.
“Good, I think. He’s icing it a lot but hasn’t been complaining about any pain.”
“How are Taeyong and Ten doing?“
“Great,” Taemin said brightly. “They’re so energetic. It makes me feel old.”
Jimin laughed. One year difference in age was like five in ballet years.
Talking about Ten seemed to energize Taemin. He launched into a story about something funny that Ten had done during rehearsal, and Jimin felt a knot start to form in his stomach. It was a funny story, but Jimin couldn’t help but feel stung by it.
“Are you sleeping with him?” he asked when Taemin finished.
Taemin gave Jimin a thoroughly unimpressed look, to which Jimin just jutted out his chin.
“You and I agreed we wouldn’t be exclusive,” Taemin said.
“Don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not asking you to be exclusive. I’m asking if you’re sleeping with him.”
“It’s really none of your business who else I sleep with. I’m always safe.”
“So that’s a yes.”
“Jimin,” Taemin replied softly.
“Would you put him on the list if I asked?” Jimin asked.
Jongin was off limits to Jimin because he and Taemin had a whole history--some of it fairly recent--that Jimin didn’t know a lot about and didn’t ask. But he and Jongin were too good of friends at this point to fuck anyway, and Jongin had started dating some guy at Universal Ballet named Lucas and seemed pretty smitten.
Taehyung was off limits to Taemin because Taehyung was Jimin’s best friend and Taehyung fell in love too easily.
Baekhyun was on both their no lists for very different reasons and an incident during a regional tour in Gwangju that they agreed to never speak about again.
It was as close as they got to a commitment. Jimin even kept the list on his phone, which really just meant he had a few guys’ contact info saved as things like “Baekhyun (don’t fuck)” and “Jongin (really don’t fuck).” Jongin was absolutely delighted when he found this out.
Taemin raised a judgy eyebrow at Jimin.
“If you had a good reason I would.”
“I do have a reason.”
“You being jealous is not a good reason.”
“I’m not jealous.”
Jimin didn’t get jealous and neither did Taemin. It was one of the reasons why their situation worked so well. The last thing Jimin wanted was to be tied to one person. And part of the fun of sleeping with Taemin was picturing him with other guys. Taemin was sexy, and Jimin’s imagination was vivid. When you knew how someone fucked, thinking about them fucking was way better masturbatory fodder than porn.
But there was something about Ten that just rubbed him the wrong way. Maybe it was the ease at which he seemed to fit in. Maybe it was that he had the potential to be a better dancer than Jimin. Maybe it was because he commanded the stage in a way that was so rare. Maybe it was because he was a brat to Jimin and Jimin saw too much of himself reflected back.
“Well, you sound jealous.”
Jimin knew how it sounded, but he didn’t think it was jealousy really. It was just Ten particularly that he had a problem with.
“Well I’m not. I was just asking.”
“Okay,” Taemin said, clearly not believing him.
“Okay,” Jimin said. “Sushi?”
He was determined to not bring up Ten to Taemin again. It was a sure way to annoy Taemin and drive him toward Ten even more, and the two of them spent enough time together as it was.
But he couldn’t stop thinking about Taemin fucking Ten. It was becoming an intrusive thought. One morning in the shower, he was thinking about the time he accidentally saw Taemin giving Jongin a blowjob at a party years ago and somehow the Jongin in his fantasy morphed into Ten.
If his thoughts weren’t bad enough, apparently he couldn’t stop talking about Ten either.
Taehyung had taken to throwing things at Jimin whenever the word “Ten” came out of his mouth. And Taehyung did not always have soft and harmless things within arm’s reach.
Jimin’s class and rehearsal schedule in the lead up to blue jean night had lined up more with Jungkook’s, so they had been spending more time together--a point which Taemin pointed out when Jimin huffed about him already having plans to get dinner with Ten after one of their big group rehearsals. Taemin had even invited Jimin to join them. The nerve.
Not to mention, Jimin would never sleep with Jungkook. Jungkook was spectacularly hot, but he practically had “serial monogamist” painted on his forehead. Plus, he kind of reminded Jimin of his kid brother.
It turned out that Taehyung had also befriended Jungkook after they bonded over some video game thing, so Jungkook was around for some of Jimin’s rantings, too.
“Have you ever thought that you’re obsessing over him because you think he’s hot,” Jungkook suggested one evening when he and Taehyung were sitting on the couch side by side and shooting things on the TV.
“Oh,” Taehyung had said, going so far as to pause the game to stare at Jimin. “Oh.”
“Ten’s not hot,” Jimin insisted.
He wasn’t really. He was pretty in an ethereal kind of way and he could move better than almost anyone Jimin had ever seen. He carried himself well, Iike he was comfortable being in his body, which was generally an appealing trait. But that didn’t mean he was hot .
“He’s not,” Jimin repeated.
“Keep telling yourself that,” Jungkook said.
“I regret befriending you.”
“You really don’t.”
Jimin left the room with a dramatic flounce, but Jungkook just cackled after him.
Though, after his adamant denial, Jimin had to make sure there wasn’t any truth to it. He had to make sure that Ten wasn’t actually hot. For science.
Rehearsals took up a lot of Jimin’s mental space. And he was absolutely professional at work during their group practices, but he paid more attention to Ten than he had before. Instead of pretending the other man didn’t exist, he watched him. He watched him move. He watched the way he confidently inhabited his body. He watched the extension of his limbs. He watched the way his stomach flexed when he lifted up his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face.
Jungkook coughed and waggled his eyebrows at Jimin when he caught him mid-stare. Jimin shot him a glare, which just made Jungkook laugh.
“I miss the days when you were afraid of me,” Jimin hissed.
“No you don’t, hyung,” Jungkook whispered back. “You love me.”
“Take that back.”
Jungkook just laughed again until Sungdeuk shushed him.
Okay, so maybe Ten was hot.
That didn’t mean anything. Jimin worked with a lot of hot people and he certainly wasn’t attracted to all of them.
It was just an objective appreciation of Ten’s body control and the way with the tiniest subtle movement he could take a classical move and make it edgy, sexy.
Just an appreciation.
Jimin didn’t have time to dwell on it anyway. The only real breaks they got as the show neared was for the press. There were short interviews with some of the major newspaper arts sections to promote the upcoming show.
There was also--rather unexpectedly--a spread in GQ Korea , which was a seriously big deal. The spread was a group of male ballet dancers from a few different companies with a short interview about the changing perception of masculinity.
Jimin tried to not seem too excited when he got to the photo shoot set, but he was vibrating on the inside. He never in a million years dreamed he’d be in GQ .
They were briefly introduced to the other dancers, which meant he finally got to meet Lucas, who was constantly looking at Jongin like he hung the moon.
“You would find another giant,” Jimin grumbled to Jongin.
“He’s not that tall. I’m not that tall. You’re just--”
“Don’t you dare,” Jimin said. “175 centimeters is not short.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ten watching their conversation, but he didn’t jump in. Ten was even shorter than Jimin, so maybe he was sensitive about it, too. Though generally height didn’t make or break a career for men the way it could for women. Baryshnikov was only 168 cm, and Nureyev was 173.
After hair, makeup, and styling, they did the big group shot first. Arranging twelve men just the way the photographer wanted was an exercise in patience, but he finally seemed to get the shot he wanted.
Then he started pairing the dancers off into smaller groups while the interviewer asked the others questions. Jungkook went off with Taeyong and some guy named Hoseok from Lucas’s company. By the time they were done, Jungkook was staring at Hoseok like he wanted to eat him, which Jimin filed away for later teasing purposes.
The photographer looked over to where the rest of them were waiting off to the side.
He pointed at Ten and then at Taemin. Jimin tried not to seethe.
They both walked over to the set, which was pretty bare. The concept was really to show off how good their bodies looked in designer clothes.
Jimin tried to not look interested in their shoot, but the photographer had made a good choice aesthetically. They looked good together--both delicate but strong, walking the line between feminine and masculine. The photographer had Ten sit on a stool with his legs spread apart and then instructed Taemin to sit down between them.
He took a few shots. Jimin fidgeted with his outfit and then pretended to be engrossed in something on his phone, all the while really watching Ten drape himself over Taemin.
The photographer didn’t seem quite satisfied, though.
“This is missing something,” he announced. Then he looked over at where the rest of the dancers were waiting and pointed right at Jimin. “You.”
“Me?” Jimin asked, already having resigned himself to probably getting paired with Jongin and Lucas and looking tiny in the photos.
The photographer nodded and Jimin tried to walk over as coolly as possible. If it had just been Taemin, Jimin would have been perfectly comfortable, but for the next twenty minutes he had to drape his arm over Ten’s shoulders and stand pressed up next to him, trying to ignore the fact that he smelled like Jimin’s favorite cologne.
It was all a blur until the photographer clapped, and shouted “perfect.” And then Jimin was being whisked away for close-up headshots and then into an alcove where a reporter asked three generic questions that Jimin parroted back rehearsed--though relatively honest--answers to.
Something about the whole experience made Jimin disoriented, and he was glad they had a late rehearsal that day so he could work it out through his body.
Jimin always got antsy the closer to opening night they got. He loved being on stage more than anything, but he was always a bundle of nerves until he got up there under the lights.
Jimin got to the theater extremely early for their first full stage rehearsal. They had remodeled some of the backstage area at the theater since their last show, and Jimin just needed to get a feel for it again. It was always a little different the first time practicing on the stage, and Jimin liked to over-prepare.
Of course, when he went into the men’s dressing room to put down his bag he heard what sounded like crying coming from the toilets.
Ugh, Jimin thought.
He didn’t mind consoling other dancers. it was part of being older, a principal. Some companies were cutthroat, but their company actively tried to create a friendlier culture. It was still competitive, but it was a healthier competition. Of course it didn’t always work out, people still butted heads--whatever anyone thought, Jimin really hadn’t put glass in Jeongyeon’s pointe shoes. But Jimin wasn’t going to just ignore someone crying.
He knocked on the door to the toilet.
“Hello? Are you okay?”
There was no response but the sound of someone blowing their nose.
“I’m coming in,” Jimin said.
There wasn’t any objection, so Jimin pushed open the door.
He was shocked to see it was Ten leaning over the sink. His eyes were red and puffy.
“Sorry,” Ten said immediately.
“No it’s--are you--is everything okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine,” Ten answered, still sniffling, trying to pull himself together.
“Look, I know that maybe I haven’t been the nicest person to you, but I’m really not an asshole. I’ve been through it all and everyone knows all my shit, so you can tell me, if you want. If you think that might help.”
That just made Ten sniffle more.
Jimin was a touchy person, and he knew that Ten was, too, at least around Taemin and Taeyong, so he put an arm around his shoulders.
“Come sit with me,” he said.
Ten let himself be led out of the toilet to the bench in the dressing room.
“It’s stupid,” Ten said after a few more sniffles and Jimin rubbing his back. “I’m just homesick.”
“That’s not stupid. You’re from Bangkok, right?”
Ten seemed surprised that Jimin knew that, but he nodded.
“It must be hard being away from home. I’m just from Busan and sometimes I get homesick.”
“It’s one year since my grandmother died and no one in my family can come to see me dance and I just miss them a lot.”
Ten blurted the words out in a rush and then started to cry again. Jimin hated seeing other people cry, partly because he was a sympathetic crier. But he willed away his own tears and sat rubbing Ten’s back gently until the other man’s sobs quieted.
“I’m sorry for crying all over you,” Ten said softly.
“It’s really okay,” Jimin replied. “I mean it. I’m sure your family loves you and misses you, too.”
Ten sniffled and nodded.
“I’ll leave you alone to get cleaned up before rehearsal,” Jimin said, knowing how much it sucked when people could tell you had been crying.
“You won’t tell anyone, will you?”
“Of course not,” Jimin said. Even he had limits on what was okay to gossip about.
He stood up to leave and Ten reached out and grabbed his wrist.
“Thank you,” Ten said quietly.
“Any time,” Jimin replied gently.
After that, something shifted in the way they interacted. Their silent judgment and traded glares turned into petty bickering, but it was playful--punctuated by teasing smiles. It was almost like the way Jungkook teased Jimin, but it was always a little more charged.
Jimin caught Taemin looking between them curiously, but there was no time to talk about it in the lead up to the show, as their lives became full of costume alterations, extra run throughs, then media previews, and finally opening night.
The whole show went pretty well, a few bobbles, one missed music cue so minor the audience probably didn’t notice. As performers, they were all in pursuit of perfection, but for a first night it was considered a success.
Jimin’s pas de deux with Nayeon got the most applause.
A beautiful photo of them together--an overhead lift where Nayeon’s back was arched and Jimin had gone up en pointe--made the media rounds the next day, and Jimin soaked up the attention.
The flower bouquets after shows started to pile up at the studio. They weren’t all for Nayeon and Jimin, but a significant portion of them were. Jimin and Taehyung’s apartment had never been so full of fresh flowers.
And before Jimin knew it they were giving their final bow on closing night.
Per tradition, Sungdeuk and his wife threw a post-show party that none of the company directors or instructors were allowed to attend. It was just him and the dancers, and respective spouses and partners, so they could all cut loose a little.
Jimin was among the first to arrive, sharing a toast with Sungdeuk and Nayeon before the others got there.
By the time the party was in full swing, Jimin was just a tiny bit tipsy, very happy, and a lot horny. He was chatting with Jungkook when he saw Ten arriving late to the party.
Of course, Ten, the brat, went over to Taemin and plastered himself up against his side. And Taemin let himself be plastered against. He slung his arm casually around Ten’s shoulders and kept talking to Sana like it was no big deal.
Seeing them together, not dancing, just smiling and talking made something in Jimin snap.
“Jimin-hyung, don’t start something,” Jungkook said, once he realized what Jimin was reacting to.
“I’m not going to start anything!”
He sauntered over as sexily as he could with Jungkook literally clinging to his arm telling him to chill out.
He managed to shake off Jungkook and ignored Taemin, who was also giving Jimin a “don’t start something” look, which Jimin tried not to be offended by--when Jimin wanted to cause a scene he would cause a scene, thank you very much. Ten looked a little defensive, like he was going to start something, but no one said anything to him--rude.
Jimin pointed his finger right in Ten’s face.
“I finally figured out why I don’t like you.”
Instead of acting affronted, Ten crossed his arms.
“Because I’m sleeping with Taemin and you’re jealous.”
“See, that would make sense. That would be the logical explanation for this--and you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
He didn’t give Ten time to answer. He also didn’t look at Taemin, unwilling to see how mad he was and, in turn, how much groveling Jimin was going to have to do if this blew up in his face.
“But the thing is, what I figured out is that I’m actually jealous of Taemin,” Jimin continued.
“What?” Ten asked.
“What?” Taemin echoed.
Jimin ignored Jungkook’s “I told you so.”
“So that means you--”
“We should fuck,” Jimin interrupted.
“Wait a--” he heard Taemin say. They almost never fucked the same people, even people who weren’t on the list.
“The three of us,” Jimin clarified.
“Oh,” Taemin exhaled.
There was a pregnant pause where Jimin could hear Ten breathing through his nose and feel Taemin tensing beside him.
“What if I’m not attracted to you?” Ten said.
“Oh come on. You’re really going to stand there and say you don’t want this? That you haven’t been watching my practices with Nayeon, like you haven’t thought about these thighs wrapped around you.”
Ten swallowed audibly.
“Who does this?” Jimin heard Jungkook ask from somewhere behind him.
“Park Jimin,” Taeyong answered.
Jimin ignored them.
Ten stared at him for what felt like an eternity, but Jimin wasn’t about to break eye contact, wasn’t about to flinch or show any kind of weakness. But then Ten’s eyes flicked up and down Jimin’s body and he knew he was victorious.
“Okay, yes,” Ten said.
“If he is okay with it,” Ten said, nodding at Taemin, who was looking between Jimin and Ten like he didn’t quite know what to do with Jimin’s semi-public revelation that he wanted to have a threesome.
“Jiminie, are you sure?”
It would probably change things between him and Taemin and their arrangement. It would definitely change things between him and Ten. Depending on how it went, it would maybe mean that Ten and Jimin would start an arrangement on their own. It could create some actual jealousy.
And, sure, there was an invisible line between people who have group sex and people who don’t, but Jimin had never considered that he wouldn’t cross that line at some point.
“I’m always sure about sex,” he answered.
Taemin looked at him in that annoying way he had where he was really considering Jimin’s feelings and how this could all go very badly. But Jimin knew they’d be okay regardless. They made it through all kinds of serious real life shit by each other’s side, they could make it through a potentially awkward threesome with a coworker.
“Okay. This is better than you glaring at each other.”
Ten and Jimin huffed in tandem.
“Your place?” Jimin asked, not dignifying Taemin’s comment with an actual response.
“You want to do this now?”
“We can’t just leave now. Everyone will know exactly why we’re leaving.”
Jimin forgot sometimes that Taemin could be a little shy. It was cute. So Jimin smiled at him innocently.
“Okay, sure. Come on, Ten. I’ll get you a drink.”
Ten’s eyes lit up immediately, catching on to Jimin’s plan.
Oh this was going to be fun.
Ten draped himself over Jimin while they talked by the table that was being used as a bar. Out of Taemin’s earshot, they talked about the show, the audience response, about Ten’s family, about Jimin’s family, about Game of Thrones, but the whole time they were leaning into each other’s space, touching each other, making sure to stay in Taemin’s line of sight.
When someone turned on some music, an inevitability at a party full of dancers, they went into the middle of the room to grind on each other. Even though they were dancing with a specific purpose, it was actually fun dancing with Ten. Jimin almost forgot they were trying to rile Taemin up.
But then from the corner of the room, Jimin heard Jongin say, clear as day, to Taemin,
“It’s like there’s two Jimins. You’re fucked, man.”
Taemin’s sense of decorum didn’t last much longer after that. Luckily most of the people at the party were too drunk or too distracted to really take note of them leaving.
When they finally got back to Taemin’s place, Taemin insisted on taking the dogs out, which Ten joined him in doing. Jimin had learned that night that Ten’s family essentially ran a kennel, and Ten wasn’t allowed any pets in his current apartment.
So Jimin made himself at home, checking to make sure the party hadn’t made him into too much of a mess. He had taken off most of his stage makeup after the show but had left some liner smudged around his eyes.
He grabbed lube from Taemin’s bathroom, then stripped out of his clothes, tossed them onto the bedroom floor, and made himself at home on Taemin’s bed.
He was already half hard just from thinking about what they were going to do, and he was very glad he hadn’t had very much to drink at the party. Not one to waste time, Jimin slicked up two of his fingers and then laid back against the pillows.
He heard the apartment door open followed by the scrambling noise of Adam’s and Eve’s paws on the tiles.
“Jiminie?” Taemin called.
“In here,” Jimin called from the bedroom, as he pushed a finger inside his hole.
He was working the second one in when Taemin entered his bedroom.
“Started without us?”
“Mmm,” Jimin agreed, not stopping.
Taemin was used to Jimin, had seen him naked, had fucked him, showered with him, even rimmed him on occasion.
But Ten hadn’t.
And his jaw was hanging open as he watched Jimin touch himself, spreading his legs indecently to make it easier for the other two to see his fingers disappearing into his hole.
Taemin started undressing, tutting at the pile of clothes Jimin carelessly discarded. Ten seemed frozen on the spot, still watching Jimin, eyes hungry.
He swallowed hard before speaking.
“Does this mean you get Taemin first?”
Jimin shook his head and smiled sweetly at Ten.
“You don’t top?”
“Well I do. And I’m good at it.”
“He is,” Taemin confirmed. It wasn’t usually what they did together, but sometimes Taemin would ask him to and Jimin was happy to comply.
Ten’s expression turned into something calculating, but excited.
“Want to fuck you. While he’s fucking me.” He pointed at Taemin, who was looking at Jimin with a fond but exasperated look.
Jimin knew he had to take some control of the situation. Taemin would be too concerned about making sure Ten was comfortable with what was happening that he might make things awkward.
But not only did Ten not object, he was looking at Jimin like he wanted to eat him and couldn’t decide which part to start on first.
“Come here,” Jimin demanded, ignoring Taemin’s teasing “bossy.”
Ten bit his lip coyly but then stalked toward Jimin, peeling his shirt off on the way.
“I’m going to kiss you,” Ten announced, as he crawled between Jimin’s legs.
Jimin let him lead the kiss. He always liked kissing, liked kissing new people, learning the different ways people used their tongues, their teeth.
And Ten was a good kisser. Jimin thought that he would be happy to just leisurely makeout with him in other circumstances. But his fingers were still buried inside his hole, he was still riding the high from the end of the show’s run, and he wanted to fuck.
He was hard now and pushing his hips up to try to get friction against Ten, still in the trousers he wore to the party. Jimin started pawing at his belt, impatient.
Ten laughed but complied. As he finished undressing, Taemin took the lube from Jimin and stepped up behind Ten. He kept his eyes locked with Jimin as he kissed the side of Ten’s neck, who closed his eyes and tilted his head to give Taemin more room.
Jimin couldn’t see what Taemin’s fingers were doing, but Ten seemed to be enjoying himself, and Jimin was enjoying the show. The two had been striking to watch while they danced together, but they were even more appealing like this, their naked, sinewy bodies pressed together, Ten getting hard as he pressed his hips back.
Jimin impatiently started stroking himself as he watched the show being put on for him.
With his free hand, Taemin reached for Ten’s chin, turning them both so they could kiss. There was a familiarity in the action, but now that Jimin knew how Ten kissed, too, instead of jealousy he just felt desire.
“Are you ready?” Taemin asked as he pulled away.
“Very ready,” Ten replied.
“Don’t you dare ask and just get back over here,” Jimin said.
Luckily both men did what they were told without Jimin having to resort to begging or asking nicely.
They quickly figured out it worked best if Ten was on his hands and knees, Jimin kneeling behind him at the end of the bed with Taemin standing behind him. Finding a rhythm was a little awkward, but Ten was laughing with Jimin about it, which seemed to set Taemin at ease.
“How can we all do perfect penchés but not be able to figure this out?” Ten asked.
“It would be fine if Jiminie would just let go and relax a little,” Taemin said, biting playfully at Jimin’s shoulder.
The trouble was that Taemin was right. And once Jimin stopped trying to focus on topping and started moving with Taemin it got good--and Ten’s giggles turned into low gasps that seemed to urge Taemin to thrust even harder.
It was sticky and sweaty with the way Jimin was sandwiched between them. The force of Taemin’s thrusts pushed him deeper into Ten, who pushed his hips back in response, and Jimin could feel Taemin’s warm breath on the back of his neck. He dug his fingers into Ten’s hips while he let himself be overwhelmed, feeling more than thinking, enjoying the stretch and pull of his body being worked over from two directions.
It felt so good that Jimin knew was going to come first, and he couldn’t have that at all. He rebalanced himself so he could reach around to stroke Ten, who jumped a little in surprise when Jimin’s hand touched his cock.
It was futile, though, the shift in position was just enough to be the perfect angle that Jimin was a goner. He barely voiced any warning before he started to come, pressing forward with one last thrust deep into Ten’s ass.
“Oh fuck, Jiminie,” Taemin groaned behind him, his thrusts growing erratic while Jimin clenched around him.
Jimin supported Taemin’s weight as he shuddered through his own orgasm, but Jimin’s abs started to give out. Not wanting to crush Ten under their combined weight, Jimin pulled out gently and then told Ten to roll onto his back.
Ten, who looked like an absolute wreck, did as he was told, and Jimin didn’t hesitate before leaning down and swallowing Ten’s cock, Taemin still clinging to his back, coming down.
Ten swore a blue streak as Jimin took him deep in his throat and pushed two fingers inside his loose hole. It didn’t take long before Ten was coming down his throat.
After he caught his breath, Jimin got up on shaky legs and went to the bathroom to clean up. When he came back into the bedroom, Ten was sitting up on the bed cross-legged looking a little bewildered, and terribly cute.
“You’re good at that,” he said to Jimin.
“At blow jobs or topping?
“Both,” Ten replied.
“Told you,” Jimin said smugly.
“Don’t compliment him too much or he’ll start to like you more than me,” Taemin said.
“Oh is that how it works?”
“Yes,” Taemin answered for Jimin, who wasn’t going to deny it. He liked it when people complimented him--who didn’t?
“So we could have done this a lot sooner if I had just been nice to you in the beginning?”
“You thought about this before?” Jimin asked.
“I’ve had a crush on you since the first day,” Ten admitted. “I just couldn’t figure you out. You’re so sexy, you know?”
Jimin couldn’t hide his surprise.
“Yes. You must know this.”
Jimin never really thought of himself as sexy--cute maybe, but not sexy.
“No, no, you have to stop,” Taemin said, wrapping his arms around Jimin and pulling him down onto the bed. “He’ll get a big head.”
“I will not,” Jimin said, trying to squirm out of Taemin’s grasp. “Keep going. Please keep going.”
Ten just laughed and smiled at Jimin and Taemin warmly before he scooted off the bed and padded into the bathroom.
“Admit it,” Jimin said to Taemin, who finally released him from his grasp. “It was a good idea.”
“It wasn’t your worst,” Taemin admitted. “Took you long enough though.”
Jimin’s jaw dropped, and the only thing that saved Taemin from getting hit with one of his own pillows was a triumphant Adam bounding into the room with a ballet slipper in his mouth.