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today was a fairytale

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It starts the way it always does. With a soft sigh, a few sniffles. First covered up, almost inaudible, but at some point Jimin's resolve gives and he lets a few stray tears roll down his rosy cheeks. Taehyung is used to the sight by now, it's been a loyal companion for many years. Under different circumstances, Taehyung would detest the sight of his best friend crying. He would rush to brush away the tears, pull him close and hold him until the weight crushing his heart didn’t feel so heavy anymore. He'd try to fix it if he could, and even if he couldn't he would try anyway.

The urge to reach out and run his thumbs over the tear-stained paths on Jimin's cheeks is still there. He supposes part of that feeling will always bubble up alongside the tears gathering on Jimin's lash line. But when the reason for the tears is not heartache but a movie, Taehyung holds back a little. Just for a few moments, he allows himself the freedom to admire his best friend. The way his nose scrunches up at the first hint of romantic intentions being shown on screen. The way his cheeks start to flush when the characters - animated or not - are finally sharing their first kiss. Or the way that tears inevitably start to pool in his eyes, and finally spill over at all the right moments, the big declarations and finales. Taehyung is sure Jimin is every director's favorite audience. He gets invested, his soft heart feeling alongside the characters on the screen. He barely dares to look away, not wanting to risk missing those glimpses of one of the characters baring their heart for the first time.

Although he enjoys movies just as much as Jimin, over the years Taehyung had discovered that he likes watching Jimin just a little bit more. There is something incredibly endearing about the way he got invested to the point where he couldn't hold back tears at the sight of other people's love. Part of Taehyung never got the appeal of perfectly wrapped up happy endings. The way things would fade to black after the first kiss as if that’s where things ended. But Jimin? Jimin was love personified, everything good coming together in one person. So in a way, it made sense that he thrived on love. But even though Taehyung is sure that part of it is simply Jimin being in love with the idea of love itself, he also knows there is a part of him that was hoping for a love story that big for himself.

Taehyung met Jimin when he was just seven years old. It was a Sunday, and both their families had taken them out to a playground. Jimin was new in the neighborhood, but between imaginary sword fights and too much laughter they immediately formed the kind of precious only children were capable of. By the time they had to leave, their mothers almost begging them to come down the slide to go home and have dinner, they refused to let go of each other's hand. Only after numbers had been exchanged with promises of future playdates, the two of them relented, let go of their hands, and finally, after one last hug let their mothers drag them in opposite directions. 

To this day Taehyung isn't quite sure if he remembers this day so clearly because it was important to him, or simply because of their families bringing up the story on every possible occasion. Maybe it was one of those things where your mind filled in the gaps from conversations and stories you've been told, completing the picture in your memory.

The one thing he does remember, though, is the way he kept glancing back as they were leaving the playground. The way Jimin got smaller in the distance, holding his mother’s hand while gesturing with the other one. Turn around, he had thought. If you're my best friend, turn around. They were almost around the corner of the street, and he vaguely remembered that everything was bathed in golden light from the sun setting. But nothing compared to the way Jimin turned around, shooting him one last brilliant smile. Even though he had wished for it, it still took him by surprise. At his young age, he didn't have the words to describe the feeling in his chest. But whenever he remembers that day now, the way warmth spread through his entire body as Jimin beamed at him from down the street, waving one last time, he knows it was pure and utter happiness. Young Taehyung may not have had the words to express it, but he knew he had found something special.

Luckily, their mothers had kept their promise and over the next couple of weeks the two quickly became inseparable. They met for playdates, both at the playground and at home, and when they started school they quickly turned into the teachers’ worst nightmare when they found out Jimin had been transferred to Taehyung's class. It didn't matter what the teachers did, whether the two of them were placed next to each other or on opposite ends of the classroom - they would find a way to talk. 

A few months into the new school year, Jimin invited Taehyung to a sleepover in honor of his birthday. It started a new tradition, and although their movie dates became much more of a regular thing when they grew older, that first one always remained special. They were allowed to stay up a little longer than usual, watching two movies in a row - a treat that was reserved for that day alone. The details are fuzzy now, but if he tries hard enough Taehyung can recall the sight of a chubby-cheeked Jimin puffing angrily, wrapped up in a blanket with kittens on it.

"What's wrong?" he had asked.

"Why is it always a girl that gets rescued by a prince? And gets pretty flowers?" Jimin had asked back.

And well, seven-year-old Taehyung didn't really have an answer for him. Because why was it always only the girls? Why weren't boys treated the same way? Growing up as his best friend, Taehyung made it his mission to give Jimin everything he ever needed. So if that meant playing a prince rescuing another prince then he didn't see anything wrong with that.

Momentarily they had forgotten about that dilemma in favor of watching the story unfold on screen, but those questions refused to stay silent forever and popped up again later in life. Later, when Jimin noticed that the reason he wanted boys to get flowers too was that he couldn't ever see himself going to such lengths for a girl. Later, when he realized that the world would not be as forgiving to him giving flowers to a boy as they had been when he was little and everyone thought it was adorable.

It had taken some time for Jimin to bounce back, his idea of the beauty of love tarnished for the very first time. It wasn't so much that it was ruined, but there was a stain on it, something pesky that refused to be removed. 

Still, Taehyung knew that the dream of a grand love story was something Jimin never truly gave up on. After he had come to terms with the fact that while dating would always look a little bit different for him than for straight people it didn't mean he didn't deserve the same type of magic, he started exploring what that meant for him. And so, once they got into college, he started dating. There was a lot of trial and error, trying to find what worked for him; but that was part of anyone's dating experience in college. And when they met their closest group of friends, none of them being straight, it gave him the kind of reassurance nothing else could have offered.

Jimin has changed a lot throughout the years, and Taehyung knows he has been very lucky to see him through all of his stages. From the young shy teenage boy wearing too much eyeliner and trying to act tough, to the incredible man embracing his good, soft heart, refusing to let other people's opinions of him shape his own. It was a development that never failed to warm Taehyung's heart.

Some things stayed the same though, one of them being their movie night tradition. It doesn't matter where but once a week they meet up to watch movies together. It started in their childhood homes' living rooms, then progressed to dorm rooms and now they find themselves snuggled up on the small couch of their shared apartment every weekend.

It is nothing new. Nothing had changed.

Except for the way Taehyung suddenly feels the urge to lean forward to brush away Jimin's tears. But not with his thumbs like he's done so many times before. He wants to kiss them away instead. He wants to lean closer, pull Jimin into his arms and follow the streams of tears across the pink apples of his cheeks, wants to hold them as he finally places his lips to where one stray tear rests on Jimin's upper lip.

Jimin sniffles, pulling one hand out from under the blanket and extending it towards Taehyung. Again, nothing unusual. Jimin has always been affectionate, seeking out physical contact whenever he needs it. Taehyung reaches out, blindly slipping his fingers between Jimin's for what must be the millionth time. And yet, there is something that feels brand new about it. There's a sense of familiarity, of coming home, sure. There are also goosebumps traveling up his arm, though. When he looks down he can't help but think how nice their hands look together, Jimin's cute short fingers completely engulfed by his big hands. Even their skin tones create a nice, subtle contrast. It just looks… right.

Taehyung knows Jimin is never far out of reach but somehow letting go feels like the absolute worst idea right now.

At the sound of Jimin's breathing getting louder, Taehyung's eyes snap up once more. And...

Oh.

Taehyung can physically feel his heart constricting at the sight of Jimin frantically trying to wipe away his tears with his free hand. His fingers are almost entirely covered up by his sleeve, frayed at the edges. The sweater used to belong to Taehyung back in high school, had definitely seen better days. And there is absolutely no reason for Jimin to look so gorgeous wearing a ratty old sweater like that, nose red and eyes puffy.

Taehyung is aware that nothing has changed, almost comically so. Literally nothing about this day had been unusual. They bought their snacks, he had pretended to put up a fight only to let Jimin get his wish to watch Tangled (again) , and then they snuggled up underneath one blanket that should have been much too small to cover two grown men.

Nothing had changed, except for the voice whispering inside Taehyung's head.

I want to be the one to do those things for you. I want to be the one to buy you flowers, to take you out on dates. And if it made you happy, I’d even rent a boat to put lanterns in the sky.

It should have come as a shock. Should have been terrifying to think about the possibility of ruining their friendship, of wanting to risk everything just to get a taste of Jimin's lips.

Instead, there is warmth. A feeling that spreads like hot molten lava streaming through his veins, painting his entire body golden within seconds. When Jimin turns his head for a second, offering him a shaky smile through tears glistening in his eyes, everything somehow makes sense. As if he was always supposed to end up here, on a Saturday afternoon, holding his best friend's hand as he's crying through a Disney movie. As if the promise of forever they have been giving each other for years now was supposed to encompass all shades of love.

And although the thought of confessing makes his heart beat faster and dries out his throat, he's not worried. How could he be, when Jimin is holding his hand. He knows Jimin will understand whatever fumbled mess will stumble across his lips when the time is right. 

That time is not right now, though. Partly, because Jimin's eyes are glued to their TV screen once again. And while Taehyung knows Jimin would drop everything for him, it seems cruel to deny him something so special to him.

If Taehyung is being honest, it's also partly because he wants to sit with his thoughts for a while before he opens up. Jimin is attentive, attuned to anything concerning Taehyung so he is under no illusion that he will have a lot of time to come to terms with his newfound feelings. Still, he'll take what he can get before Jimin inevitably makes him let his guard down. Because although he's not scared of Jimin's reaction, he wants a moment of peace, a moment to sort out his feelings. Maybe trying to figure out why they have decided to bubble up now. Or if they'd been there forever and he just hadn't noticed. He deserves that much, and so does Jimin. If he decides to pursue this thing, this feeling of wanting to give his best friend the world in more ways than he'd been doing so far, he wants to be prepared. 

It almost seems silly to think about the how and when of his confession just minutes after recognizing his feelings for what they were but if there's one thing he's sure of it's that Jimin deserves the love story he's always dreamed of. It starts small, but within seconds the desire to give Jimin exactly that washes over Taehyung, engulfs him until it’s all he can think about. So he watches as Jimin gets lost in the story playing out on the screen in front of them while getting lost in daydreams of his own.

 


 

Less than 24 hours after his realization Taehyung finds himself in Yoongi's living room. It's a comfortable space. Yoongi has always been passionate about interior design, and it shows. With plush sofas, bookshelves lining the walls, dimmed lighting, and a scented candle burning, it is inviting anyone to take a deep breath and relax.

Most days that works for Taehyung. When he was younger he used to have what seemed like endless supplies of energy, always bouncing with excitement and laughter. Now, though, those moments have become a rarity. It isn't that he's less happy now or enjoying life less. There's always going to be that wide-eyed kid within him that marvels at the beauty of the world. Still, he has grown up a lot over the years, mellowed out a bit. So whenever he starts craving silence, to just coexist with someone, he seeks out Yoongi. 

Yoongi has always been his person to turn to when he just needed to be for a while, no questions asked. Hanging out with Yoongi never brought on any pressure to talk, and while the invitation was always there, more often than not Taehyung would go home feeling like he just had the most riveting conversation, despite not having uttered more than 20 words his entire stay.

Sitting on Yoongi's sofa, rapidly cooling off hot chocolate clutched between his hands, he should have been relaxed. Nothing was different from his usual visits. Yoongi is curled up in his armchair, engrossed by what Taehyung recognizes as the latest book Namjoon had recommended to him last time they all hung out together. 

Still, something feels different. Usually, Taehyung will spend some time sketching in silence, sometimes editing his latest photography projects or even picking up a book from Yoongi's stuffed shelves. None of that feels right today though. Not when his thoughts keep circling back to the previous night. 

If Jimin wasn't his favorite person, it would almost feel like a curse - how he can't seem to get anything done without being reminded of him now. It feels a little silly considering Jimin has been a constant in Taehyung's life since the day they met. And although there were traces of him throughout Taehyung's entire life (both figuratively and mentally because God knows how often Jimin left his sweaters in Taehyung's room after stripping them off in the middle of the night when he eventually gets too hot snuggled up under the covers together) it never felt so overwhelming. It used to be gentle nudges here and there, thoughts of “Oh, I think Jimin might like this” or a song playing on the radio, reminding him of the time they jumped around on his parents’ bed as kids, breaking an old vase from one of his relatives.

It feels so much bigger suddenly. As if someone's walking around his head with a siren blaring and a banner in neon colors that reads Kim Taehyung is in love with Park Jimin. It's all he can think about now, and it’s taking up so much space in his head that it feels like it's going to explode any second. So instead of picking up his notepad and a pencil or even a book, he finds himself fidgeting, nervously chewing on his lips. He tries to be quiet so he doesn’t disturb Yoongi but judging from the looks thrown his way every couple of minutes he doesn't seem to be doing a stellar job.

Still, Yoongi stays quiet, doesn't put any pressure on him, something Taehyung has never appreciated as much as he does now. Maybe it's that, or maybe it's the fact that the thought seems to get louder with each passing second that finally lets the words stumble past his lips.

“I think I'm in love with Jimin.”

Yoongi pauses in the middle of turning a page, looks up at Taehyung. The seconds seem to stretch and his heart is hammering against his chest, so loud he almost misses Yoongi's reply.

“Okay.”

And while Taehyung is trying to wrap his head around the fact that that is all he's getting as an answer, Yoongi goes back to reading his book, as if Taehyung hasn't shared the most vulnerable parts of his heart and soul with him.

“Okay? That's all you have to say?” Taehyung asks, voice hoarse. It still feels like his heart is stuck in his throat. Yoongi looks back up at him.

“Yes? What did you expect to hear?”

“Well, I don't know? Aren't you surprised?”

He should be surprised, Taehyung thinks, considering he didn't know himself until last night. The thought of someone figuring it out before he had the chance to is terrifying. What if it’s been there all along, for anyone to see and he was the last one to catch up?

“I mean, not really?”

“So you knew?” 

“I didn't say that.”

Taehyung huffs in frustration.

“That doesn't even make any sense.”

“Look,” Yoongi sighs, closing his book. “I didn't know you felt that way and from the way you're acting you probably haven't known for very long either. But I'm also not exactly surprised because I never doubted there was the possibility of you two growing into something more. What you two have is special, always has been. You two understand each other in a way no one else can. I think it would be easy for both of you to grow into something more…”

Taehyung swallows, trying to take in every word as Yoongi places his book on the table with a low thump, angling his body towards Taehyung.

“You might not realize it but you orbit around Jimin. I'm not saying he's your entire world, but he's the brightest part of it. So no, I'm not entirely surprised if you found yet another way to love him.”

“Oh. Okay.” His voice comes out barely above a whisper. It was one thing sitting down and thinking about how important Jimin was to him. He didn't do it all too often, mostly in quiet moments late at night when he couldn't sleep or around special occasions like birthdays or Christmas. But that wasn't really anything special because almost everyone tends to get a little sentimental on those days. 

It was something else entirely seeing his and Jimin's relationship from an outsider’s perspective. Having it spelled out for him how others observed them, how all their little habits were something others picked up on as well. There is something beautiful about it in a way. Having a relationship so strong, a love so strong, that it makes an impression on the people around you.

“Have you told him?” Yoongi asks, interrupting his train of thought.

Taehyung shakes his head.

“No, I just figured it out last night.”

“Are you going to?”

Yoongi's tone is impossibly gentle, almost as if Taehyung is a frightened dog and Yoongi is trying not to upset him any further. It's not that Taehyung is scared, though, not really. A little nervous, sure, but mostly he is still trying to wrap his head around the fact that somewhere along the line, after years of crude jokes, endless banter, silly fights, and seeing the worst sides of each other he somehow fell in love with his best friend.

“Look, if you're worried about your friendship, I don't think you have to be. I know it's not that easy, but I seriously doubt that Jimin would handle the situation badly, even if he didn't feel the same.”

Taehyung shakes his head and says, “It's not that. I'm not scared to confess.”

“You're not?” Yoongi asks, eyebrows rising up underneath his bangs, surprise lacing his words.

“No. It's Jimin,” Taehyung shrugs. “I know he loves me. And he's endlessly caring and careful with his words, and he's just so… so good. I know he'd try his best to let me down easy and I know he wouldn't just throw our friendship away.”

Taehyung looks down at his hands, a smile blooming on his face. He's picking at his nails, and as he's taking a deep breath, he feels his smile slipping into something a little bit sadder. 

“But what you said about things being easy, about being able to take that next step easily,...” he swallows. “I don't know, it feels wrong to me. Jimin deserves so much more. He deserves flowers, planned out dates, and all the cheesy shit you see in fairytales and movies.” 

He can feel his voice growing quieter with every word, his chest caving in as if he's admitting to something much bigger now. Saying he was in love with Jimin was somehow not nearly as scary as trying to describe it. Being in love with Jimin was a fact. All the ways in which he wants to love Jimin and show him how much he's cared for is something far more vulnerable.

“I can't seem to see the issue.”

Yoongi's words make Taehyung's eyes snap back up and the real problem tumbles over his lips in a rush, his wild gestures almost knocking off the mug of hot chocolate he had placed on the table next to him.

“I'm not made for all that romantic stuff, hyung. I'm not terrible at it, but I’m romantic in different ways. Jimin deserves big gestures, he deserves being swept off his feet. He's always wanted that, always wanted a Prince Charming and I'm just… not that.

“Has Jimin ever asked you to be anyone but yourself?”

“No,” Taehyung grumbles, and even to his own ears he sounds like a petulant child.

The way Yoongi is raising his eyebrows at him, leveling him with a stare that seems to say my point exactly doesn't exactly help his frustration.

“But this is different, hyung.”

Gently shaking his head, Yoongi answers, “It's really not. You don't need to suddenly start a flash mob in the middle of the city to get his attention. You already have it . Besides, you two have always managed to make things work for you. None of us get it, all your inside jokes and the way you always seem to know exactly what the other needs but it works for you and that's all that matters. Make a plan, see what you're comfortable with, see what fits Taehyung and Jimin.”

The words make sense but they don't fully register the way they're supposed to. Maybe the past 24 hours have been too much for him. One realization after the other, maybe it caused his brain to overload and shut down completely. He knows it'll probably just take some time to settle but considering how he barely managed to conceal his feelings from Yoongi for more than a couple of minutes, he's seriously starting to worry how well he'll manage around Jimin, the one person he's used to sharing everything with. If today's example was anything to go by, he'll spit it out before their next hello .

“Yeah… I'll think about it. Thanks, hyung.”

“Good. But remember… It's Jimin, Taehyung-ah. Don't overthink it.”

Taehyung laughs weakly.

“Yeah, haven't had much success with that since last night but I'll try.”

He pulls his feet out from underneath the blanket, carefully folding it and putting it down next to him before getting up. His back cracks as he is stretching and he can tell he's been cramping too much from the tension sitting beneath his skin.

“I think I'll get going now.”

“You sure? You can stay for dinner if you like?”

Taehyung smiles gently, trying to dissipate the worry evident in Yoongi’s eyes.

“Yeah, I'm sure. I'll be fine. Kinda just wanna go on a walk, clear my head a bit.”

He walks towards the entryway, barely slipping into his shoes. If Jimin were here he'd yell at him for not wearing them properly. And suddenly the idea of Jimin popping up in his thoughts more often doesn't seem as scary anymore. He's always been there anyway, and it’s always been a source of comfort to him. Now he just seems to shine a little brighter, demanding just a little bit more attention. 

“Besides, I have dinner plans with Jimin anyway. He should be back from practice soon.”

“Okay. I'm here if you need to talk though.”

“I know, hyung, thank you,” Taehyung says, shrugging on his jacket, and moves towards the door. “I'll see you soon, love you.”

“Bye.”

Turning back around, Taehyung starts to smirk. “Say it back, hyung.”

Yoongi sighs, “Love you, too.”

Taehyung's smile only grows wider. “I know. See you.”

And as he's descending the stairs, Yoongi's exasperated chuckle and the lock clicking into place are the last things he hears.

When he leaves the building, he's hit with a blast of cold air. The leaves are crunching under his shoes and from the way a chill is creeping up his calves, maybe Jimin's constant nagging about Taehyung's choice of shoes (or lack thereof) is more justified than he'd like to admit. Not that he'd ever tell Jimin. There's something calming about the cold, Taehyung had always thought so. Even as a kid he tended to prefer the colder season, a feeling that has only solidified over the years.

As he's walking towards the park, taking the long way home, he thinks back to what Yoongi had told him. It's Jimin. Don't overthink it.

That's obviously easier said than done because how does one impress Park Jimin, lover of fairytales and all things cheesy and romantic? Luckily, Taehyung has been privy to Jimin's reactions to romance from a very young age. He knows what works for him, and what doesn't. Even if he feels out of his depth, there has to be a way to sort this out and come up with a decent plan where he can gently work his way forward.

And if it doesn't end well… 

They would survive, their friendship would be fine, Taehyung was sure of it. He meant what he had told Yoongi, that he wasn't exactly scared of confessing. It was a nerve-wracking situation that Taehyung never imagined he would find himself in, but more than anything, Taehyung trusts Jimin. He had to believe that they would be fine; that he would be fine. A little heartbroken maybe, a little bruised and battered. But in the long run, he'd be okay. And if there is one thing he's sure of, it's that Jimin deserves to know how loved he is, in every way possible. So what if Taehyung has added another one to his already existing love for his best friend. It would be worth telling him, it had to be.

As he slips through the door of his and Jimin's apartment, he's greeted by his favorite sight - Jimin sprawled out on the sofa, blond hair fluffy and spilling out like a halo. Bare face and drowning in a shirt Taehyung vaguely recognizes as one of his own.

“Hey,” Jimin says, looking up at Taehyung as he's shrugging off his coat and shoes. “You're home.”

It isn't something unusual, but when Jimin stretches out his arms making grabby hands at him, Taehyung feels a skip of his heartbeat register for the very first time. He shuffles over to the sofa, flopping down on top of Jimin, whose laughter echoes through the room shaking the both of them. 

“Yeah, I am,” Taehyung sighs and closes his eyes as Jimin wraps his arms around him. If he finds home more easily in Jimin's arms or the corners of his smile than any place he's ever lived that's just another unspoken truth for him to keep.

 


 

As it turns out, wooing Park Jimin is a lot harder than it should be. Or at least it is when you're his best friend and the lines between what is considered platonic and romantic have blurred long before you even were interested in romance to begin with. 

After going to bed the night he talked to Yoongi, he had picked up a notebook and pen. It was a beautiful set, gifted to him by Jimin for his last birthday. The notebook had gold sprayed edges, to match the design of the cover. It was a replica of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, a painting he's been lucky enough to see in real life on the backpacking trip through Europe he went on with Jimin during their first summer break in college. The pen was golden as well, the ink flowing over the page smoothly like butter. It always seemed too precious to use but if one thing was worth it, it would be dedicating a list to Jimin himself. 

To test the waters he had started out simple. On Monday morning, a day after his decision, Taehyung had to leave the house before Jimin so he decided to leave him a little note. Letters were romantic, and Taehyung knew Jimin had a little blue box underneath his bed, storing all his favorite letters and postcards he's received throughout the years. Jimin was sentimental like that, always had been. Taehyung was sure that if he had a chance to look, he'd find a few postcards from himself from various vacations he went on with his family when just two weeks of being separated from Jimin had felt like pure torture. 

With both of them sharing a space for the past couple of years, letters didn't seem to make much sense. So notes it was. It really wasn't anything big. A simple piece of paper with a quick Good morning, Jimin-ah. Hope you slept well, have a good morning. I'll see you after class, Taehyung :) scribbled down. It felt big though and maybe that's why Taehyung's heart was hammering in his chest when he clicked on a notification alerting him to a new text from Jimin, just as he was entering his lecture hall.

 

Jimin (09:12):

you're so cute?? good morning to you, too, best friend <3

 

Cute. Jimin thought he was cute. That thought made Taehyung happier than it should have. 

“Good God, Taehyung, calm down,” he muttered to himself when he sat down on his usual seat, somewhere towards the middle of the room. It was a big lecture and with how strict the teacher was, he always tried to blend in with the crowd as much as he could.

Thing is, it wasn't exactly unusual for Jimin to compliment Taehyung. No matter what phase he was going through (some of his teenage choices leaving much to be desired), Jimin never failed to point out how handsome he thought Taehyung was. In fact, he mentioned it so often and in the most random moments, that it had made their friends sigh, roll their eyes, and even make some retching noises in the background. It wasn't anything special, it wasn't. But it was the first time Jimin had called him cute since Taehyung figured out he is in love with him and maybe that's what made it special after all.

If only there wasn't the best friend. 

Though that wasn't the problem either, really. He loved being Jimin's best friend and it wasn't something he was willing to ever give up. Not even for the chance of being his boyfriend. If they started dating, boyfriend would only be an addition, not a replacement.

One thing was clear though, Taehyung thought, as his teacher was making her way through the front of the class, barking out a phones away in perfect sync with the clacking of her heels on the tiled floor. Notes were a good start but they weren't going to get him very far, at least not if he wasn't planning on spelling it out for Jimin as Hey, I'm in love with you, would you maybe wanna go out sometime?

The next day Jimin had to leave earlier than Taehyung. Placing a note on the counter for Jimin to find in the morning was not an option. 

Instead, Taehyung got up in the middle of the night to slip a piece of paper between the pages of Jimin's notebook, this time a little bolder. A decision that kept him up longer than he'd like to admit.

Maybe he made it into a bigger deal than it actually was but the thought of Jimin opening up his notebook to see a slip of paper saying Good morning, I hope your day is as beautiful as you are made his face flush a bright pink, made his heartbeat increase without anyone around to witness it. Calling Jimin beautiful felt vulnerable in a way, tender. He had called him handsome many times before or complimented him on different features throughout their entire time of knowing each other. They have always been comfortable around each other and didn't hesitate to let each other know. But beautiful, that was new. It felt bigger, like it wasn't only about his looks but his character.

Still, there wasn't a single word that fit any better. Jimin was beautiful. In every possible way. And there was no chance of moving forward if Taehyung chickened out at every possible moment that he had the chance to show Jimin that he thought of him in a different light now. So after a restless night of tossing and turning, Taehyung was finally woken up by a text from Jimin.

 

Jimin (08:12):

i don't know what I did to deserve this treatment but thank you. i hope you have a wonderful day too!! :)



Sleep still clinging to the corners of his eyes, Taehyung flopped back on his pillow wearing a smile so big it made his cheeks hurt.

Roughly two hours later he finds himself in front of Jimin's lecture hall, a cup of coffee for Jimin and tea for himself in his hand. Picking Jimin up from class had been his plan all along but the text he received that morning gave him the last push he needed to get out the door and stop by Jimin's favorite coffee shop on campus. 

And although Taehyung doesn't have class until later that day, the look on Jimin's face as he spots Taehyung outside of his classroom was worth dragging himself out of bed much sooner than he had actually needed to.

"Hey, what are you doing here?" Jimin asks, walking towards him, face scrunched up in a big smile. 

"I thought I'd come pick you up from class today." 

"That's sweet." 

Jimin tilts his head, gesturing towards the coffee.

"That for me?"

"Uh, yeah. Here," Taehyung says and thrusts the to-go cup towards Jimin. 

He tries to appear nonchalant as if he has been doing this the entire time. And it certainly isn't the first time Taehyung has brought Jimin coffee but usually, that was reserved for times when Jimin got so caught up in his studies, cooped up at the library cramming for finals, that Taehyung felt he had to take care of him and make sure he ate anything at all.

"Thank you, you're a blessing."

Jimin takes a big sip, closing his eyes. He looks tired but then again, he always does around this time of the year. Like anyone else, Jimin has his first round of exams coming up. Add his dance exams and recitals to the mix and you've got a recipe for disaster and no sleep. Still, he looks stunning. No dark circles, no lack of hairstyling could ever do any harm to Jimin's beauty, Taehyung is sure of it.

"So," Jimin interrupts his train of thought, eyes snapping open. Taehyung would be embarrassed to be caught staring but luckily, Jimin doesn't seem to think about it twice. "What's your plan for the day?"

"Um, not much really," Taehyung answers as they start strolling down the corridor. "Was bored at home so I thought I'd come and see you before class."

"Missed me, huh?"

Even though Taehyung isn't directly looking at Jimin anymore he can hear the smirk in his voice. Normally, Taehyung would not have missed the opportunity to shoot back a smart remark. They know how to bicker, they always have. It is something they never really grew out of, most of their arguments rooted in silly misunderstandings or unimportant things. 

Jimin wasn't wrong though. Taehyung did miss him. So instead of teasing Jimin back, he settles on the truth.

"Yeah, I guess I did."

And Jimin stops walking.

"What?" Taehyung laughs, turning around.

"Taehyung-ah, we live together. You've seen me almost every single day for the past 16 years or so."

"Okay? So I'm not allowed to miss you?"

"No, you are," Jimin says. He takes a deep breath, shakes his head a little. "You are. It's just... unexpected?"

"Good or bad unexpected?" Taehyung can hear the way his voice shakes a little and he hopes Jimin misses it among the chatter of students around them. The last thing he wants is to suffocate Jimin, to be too clingy.

"Good," Jimin says, nodding as if trying to convince himself. "Definitely good."

"Okay, good."

"Yeah," Jimin smiles at him as they finally start walking again, leaving the building. 

Jimin has dance practice next and although his class lies on the opposite side of campus, Taehyung walks him towards the studio anyway. 

They soon fall back into step with each other, talking about nothing important at all. Bicker about who's got to do the grocery shopping and clean the guest bathroom that week ("I did it last week, Jimin-ah, it's your turn" - "You did not. Wiping the floor with a wet towel does not count as cleaning."). 

When they reach the dance studio it's time to part ways. 

“I'll see you at home?” Jimin asks.

“Yeah. Don't overwork yourself.”

“I won't, I promise.”

After a second of hesitation, Taehyung pulls Jimin in for a hug. He has hugged him more times than he can count and yet he can't help the nerves bubbling up under his skin. The way Jimin lets out a soft oof , the way his hands come up and snake around his waist… It's all achingly familiar but it still leaves him reeling. Squeezing one last time and pressing a soft kiss to the side of Jimin's head, he untangles himself from him.

“See you tonight. Have fun. Don't be late.”

There's a slight flush on Jimin's cheeks and Taehyung isn't sure if it's caused by his actions or the cold wind. As he turns around to walk back the way he came, he can't help but think how amazing it would be if he was the reason for the pink color sitting in Jimin's cheeks.

Much to Taehyung's surprise, Jimin keeps his promise. It's not that he has a bad habit of breaking promises, and especially not ones he made to Taehyung. He did have a habit of getting lost in his practice and forgetting to look after himself when he was focused though. Still, for the next two nights, Jimin actually comes home in time for dinner, even if he does look a little bit more exhausted with every passing day.

It's on the third night that he finally seems to break a little. By the time Taehyung hears the front door click into place, he has had just enough time to run Jimin a bath. After receiving a worried text from Hoseok that Jimin was exhausted and on his way home after spending the entire day at the studio, he had got to work immediately.

“Hey, you're home,” Taehyung says, walking towards the small entryway.

“'lo,” Jimin mumbles. He looks dead on his feet, stumbling while trying to get his shoes off.

“You okay?”

“I'm fine.”

“I ran a bath for you? You can relax, and then we can order in?”

Sometimes it could be hard to tell which mood Jimin was in, if he was ready to accept help. Part of him loved being taken care of, being fussed over and showered with attention. At the same time, he was fiercely independent. He was used to taking care of everyone around him, struggling to put himself first sometimes. He had made a lot of progress over the years, learned to set boundaries for himself so he didn't burn out. Still, on bad days it was easy to forget and to fall back into unhealthy patterns that had him practice until collapse was inevitable. 

“A bath sounds nice,” Jimin says quietly.

A good day, then.

“Okay. Everything's set up, I put in some lavender bath salts. Anything specific you wanna eat?”

“Fried chicken?”

“Sure. Let me take that,” Taehyung says, grabbing Jimin's gym bag. Jimin wasn't a neat freak by any means but if there is one thing he hated it was his sweaty dance clothes sitting in his bag for longer than necessary. “I got it, go rest.”

“Thank you.” His voice barely above a whisper, Jimin lets himself be pushed towards the bathroom.

Forty minutes later, the washing machine is running and Taehyung is waiting with bags of steaming food as Jimin walks out of the bathroom. His cheeks are rosy and his hair is still damp, hanging across his forehead.

“You gave me one of your sweaters,” is the first thing he says, and Taehyung feels relief flood through his body at the sound of his voice. He is clearly still exhausted, but he sounds stronger, as if the bath has seeped into his pores and given him some energy back.

“Yeah. Hope that's okay?”

“It's perfect.”

You're perfect. It's all Taehyung can think as he takes in Jimin as he shuffles over to drop down on the sofa next to him. The sweater is baggy on Taehyung already but it practically drowns Jimin. And while the circles underneath his eyes remain, his exhaustion still palpable in the air, Taehyung thinks he looks gorgeous. There's a softness to this side of Jimin, a vulnerability he doesn't like to let many people see, and it's times like these that Taehyung realizes how special their connection is.

“You okay?” he asks as Jimin is starting to dig through the mountain of food on the table.

“I’m fine.”

There is something in the tone of his voice that Taehyung doesn’t like. There's a harsh thread woven into his voice and although the words are meant to be reassuring they are anything but. Jimin is prone to shutting people out sometimes when he thinks he’s worrying people with unnecessary things. Things that just suck sometimes and there is nothing much you can do about it. Before Taehyung has the chance to call him out on it though, he opens his mouth again.

"I'm okay, really," he says, his voice much softer now. "I know you worry but I have everything under control and if it gets too much, I'll come to you."

The way he's sitting there, drowning in Taehyung's sweater and food perched on his lap, it's impossible to be mad at him.

"Promise?" Taehyung asks, raising one of his eyebrows.

Jimin chuckles.

"Promise." And with that he extends one of his pinkies, waiting for Taehyung to wrap his own around it.

"Good. I'll have you know I take pinky promises very seriously."

"Do you now?"

"Yes. My best friend is very fond of them."

"Oh really? Well, I better not let you down then."

As if there was ever any chance of that happening.

They easily fall back into their usual patterns. Between food, a movie, and a glass of wine, the tension in Jimin's shoulders seems to dissipate a little more with each passing minute.

Later, as the credits are rolling across the screen, Jimin is almost asleep with his head resting in Taehyung's lap.

"Jimin-ah?" Taehyung whispers, combing his fingers gently through Jimin's soft messy hair. "You should go to bed."

If the answering grumbles are anything to go by, Jimin doesn't want to let go of this moment any more than Taehyung does, though their reasoning is probably completely different. It's comforting to be able to look at Jimin without being questioned about his motives. Jimin is so tired, so out of it and soaking up all of Taehyung's affections, the back rubs and the fingers combing through his hair, that he's not able to take in the fondness that Taehyung can feel resting on his face.

He knows that if anyone saw them right now, it would be blatantly obvious how he feels about the guy snuggled up in his lap. It's a relief that he doesn't have to hide it. It's a relief that he can let his eyes and smile show just how enamored he is.

Jimin has always said that Taehyung's eyes show exactly what he's feeling. Even when he's able to keep a straight face in any situation, his eyes always give him away. At least to Jimin. It wouldn't be the worst thing, Taehyung thinks as he's running his fingers across the short hair on Jimin's neck. If Jimin could just take one look at him and know how he feels, that would be okay. But thinking back to the way Jimin was dragging his feet earlier that night, he knows it's not the right time.

"Hey, Jimin-ah. I'm serious. You're gonna get a crick in your neck if you sleep out here."

Jimin's grumbles are a little louder this time. As he's waking up, he starts stretching, pressing his feet against the arm of the sofa.

"Carry me," he whines, stretching his arms up towards Taehyung. His eyes are still closed but the pout on his face has the desired effect even without the matching puppy eyes.

Taehyung chuckles, shaking his head fondly.

"Fine, you big baby."

Jimin's eyes snap open.

"Wait, really?"

"Yes, now come on," he says as he's pushing Jimin up into a sitting position so he can get up from under him.

As Jimin wraps his arms and legs around Taehyung and buries his face in his neck, Taehyung panics for a second; praying that Jimin won't feel the way Taehyung’s heart is thundering in his chest where it’s pressed against his own.

For once, luck seems to be on his side because all Jimin does is snuggle in closer, rubbing his nose against Taehyung's neck.

"Mhh, this is nice," he mumbles, barely audible.

"Don't get used to it," Taehyung laughs as he pushes Jimin's bedroom door open with his foot.

"I personally think I deserve to be carried around wherever I go."

And well, Taehyung doesn't exactly disagree that Jimin deserves the world but he also loves to tease him. He can feel Jimin's smile pressed into his shoulder but it slips right off his face when Taehyung pretends to drop him a second later. Jimin gasps, reflexively tightening his arms and legs around Taehyung who just laughs at him.

"You're an asshole," Jimin yells. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

It just makes Taehyung laugh harder as he lets Jimin slide onto his mattress - gently this time.

"Love you too, sweetheart."

Maybe it's the teasing or maybe it's the sound of Taehyung's laughter, but Jimin cracks and lets out a huff before he resolves into giggles himself.

"You need anything?" Taehyung asks one more time as he tucks in Jimin's blanket around him.

"No, I'm good."

"Alright. Call if that changes, yeah?"

"I will."

There's a second of hesitation, but then Taehyung leans closer, leaving the softest whisper of a kiss on Jimin's forehead. His heart is beating wildly in his chest, making so much noise that he isn't quite sure if he's imagining the soft oh leaving Jimin's lips or not.

Flustered under Jimin's wide-eyed gaze, he quickly moves towards the door, turning off the lights.

"Taehyung-ah?" Jimin asks softly.

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

It's simple, just two words, but it's enough. It's dark and Taehyung can't see the look on Jimin's face but he can hear the gratitude and sincerity in Jimin's words.

"Anytime," he says softly. "Goodnight Jimin-ah. Sweet dreams."

"Goodnight."

As the door clicks shut, Taehyung sighs. If he wasn't careful, Jimin would catch on before he even had a decent plan worked out. It's not that he doesn't want him to know. In a sense, it would be a relief. Although he knows he's justified in wanting to keep this to himself for a bit, it feels weird keeping secrets from Jimin.

After he has cleared off the mess they made in the living room, got ready for bed, and slipped under the covers, he grabs his notebook once again.

The terribly empty list is staring right back at him. He still thinks Jimin deserves the romance of a lifetime, still wants to fulfill his every wish. But that's kind of hard to do when everything he does is not too far from the norm. They've always been touchy. They've always made people question the status of their relationship. The notes, the coffee, even running Jimin a bath, those things are all good but they're not enough. Those are all things he's done before. If he wants Jimin to notice, he has to try harder.

He grabs his phone, plugs it into the charger next to his bed, and opens his text messages.

 

Taehyung (11:23 pm):

hey, I need your help with something. you free some time this week?

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:24 pm):

sure, what's going on?

 

Taehyung (11:24 pm):

can you help me to cook something nice?

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:27 pm):

what for?

 

Taehyung (11:28 pm):

can a guy not simply want to spend time with his hyung and learn something new?

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:28 pm):

🤨

 

Taehyung (11:30 pm):

fiiiine

I wanna surprise Jimin

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:31 pm):

... what did you do?

 

Taehyung (11:32 pm):

nothing?? what the hell???

I just want to surprise him, is all.

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:33 pm):

hmm okay, not sure i believe you. but yeah, just give me a call when you need me to come over and we can work something out.

 

Taehyung (11:34 pm):

yesssss!!

you're my favorite hyung, thank you 💛💜💋🥰🌸

 

Seokjin-hyung (11:37 pm):

I know I am. 😌

goodnight, Taehyung-ah.

 

Taehyung (11:41 pm):

goodnight!! 💜

 

He puts his phone down after setting an alarm for his morning class the next day and picks up his notebook once more.

Although getting Seokjin involved and asking him to help him cook is a good first step, it doesn't feel like enough. As much as he loves Jimin, he can be a bit dense sometimes when it comes to serious romantic intentions that go past a casual flirt.

One time, a girl in high school had been trying to get his attention for months as they were working on a production of The Nutcracker. When she finally gathered the courage to ask him out, Jimin mistook it for a friendly hangout situation. Taehyung had to spell it out for him and it had been a dreadful (and in hindsight hilarious) conversation ("But I'm not into girls." - "Yeah but Jimin, she doesn't know that." - "She knows we're just friends though." - "She asked you to go see the Christmas lights. That's not a friendly hangout." - "Are you sure? We do that every year." - "I'm sure."). He had watched the conversation from afar when Jimin had to trudge back and try to let her down easy, explaining that he was very flattered but just not interested in dating anyone at the time. He'd been gesturing wildly, a flush sitting high on his cheeks and even though he couldn't hear him, Taehyung knew he was stumbling over his words. It was endearing, really. High school Jimin was anything but sure of himself, never understanding how captivating he really was. All of that had come later.

Still, as endearing as watching Jimin in that situation had been, seeing the smile slip from the girl's face was anything but. And Taehyung would very much like to avoid that situation for himself. He knows he has to be upfront and honest about it, especially since the lines between them have been blurred since the very beginning.

So as flirty as Jimin could be, Taehyung knows he has to lay it on thick if he wants to get somewhere. Subtlety wouldn't do the trick this time. Especially not if they are spending the night in their own apartment.

Dinner was a good start. But in order for Jimin to catch on, he'd have to focus on the atmosphere, too.

Ten minutes later, he snaps the notebook shut, filled with lists of things to organize for a night that makes his intentions clear. He shoves it into the drawer of his bedside table, turns off the lights, and snuggles deeper underneath the covers. His hands brush across something soft and when he grabs it and pulls, he is faced with the teddy bear Jimin gave him when they were 13, the second-best thing to hug while falling asleep. The bear had definitely seen better days and although Jimin has offered to get him a new one many times, Taehyung always refuses, too attached to the memories of Jimin winning it for him at the funfair the first time they were allowed to go on their own.

As he holds the bear to his chest, gently closing his eyes, he swears he can still smell traces of popcorn and candy in its fabric. It's comforting, always has been. He's awfully sentimental about things like this, especially when they're attached to special events and people.

The memories he's made with Jimin throughout the years remain his absolute favorite though. Even the sad ones. There aren't too many of them, most of them stemming from a time when they were both too stubborn to hear each other out, fighting for the silliest reasons. It had taken them some time to learn how to take care of each other and their friendship as they were growing up. Still, the majority of his memories attached to Jimin are good ones, and in hindsight, even the bad ones served their purpose of making them grow closer. As sleep catches up to him, he finds himself hoping that with his list and Seokjin's help, he'll manage to add another good memory to their collection.

 


 

The following Saturday, Jimin is back at the studio once again. He seemed a lot more relaxed after his night in with Taehyung, so Taehyung decides it's the perfect day to try and take things further. He's barely out of his shoes after going out to buy all he needed for dinner when the doorbell rings.

Setting down bags full of candles and some fresh flowers, he swings the door open.

"Hyung," he beams, "Come in."

"Hi," Seokjin answers, leveling him with an intense gaze. "So what's the occasion?"

Taehyung scoffs. "I'm great, thanks for asking, how are you?"

Seokjin laughs and ruffles his hair.

"Seriously, Taehyung-ah. I'm curious. You've been very... cryptic in your texts."

And yeah, he isn't wrong about that. All Taehyung had told him so far was that he intended to cook for Jimin and to please be at his place on Saturday at 5 pm. Which was now. Truthfully, he'd tried to avoid the subject a little, focusing on one step at a time. There was a lot at stake after all.

"There's no occasion. I just wanna do something nice for Jimin. He's working so hard at the moment with the recital coming up, so I thought he could use some time to relax."

"Hmm," Seokjin raises his eyebrow at him. He probably didn't believe him, but as long as he was willing to help out Taehyung couldn't care less about that right now.

"Alright then. Let's get started," he says and walks towards the kitchen, dumping the full grocery bags on the counter.

An hour later and Taehyung is drenched in sweat. Cooking was exhausting and if he had the time to think, he's sure he'd regret his decision.

He can't deny that there is something satisfying about it. The way the scents of the spices come together, the way the ingredients slowly brown in the pan. So far his culinary adventures have not ventured past the occasional breakfast dish (he does know how to make a mean blueberry waffle) but cooking a full dinner is a whole different story. There are so many things to take care of at once, so many steps to do in a specific way and he's sure if it wasn't for Seokjin he would have burned the house down by now.

Seokjin was a kind teacher, letting Taehyung do the work and only guiding him in the right direction. Keeping an eye on the stove while Taehyung was chopping away and gently reminding him when he forgot a step or two.

Still, he hadn't exactly counted on being so exhausted after trying to whip up one of Jimin's favorite meals. He'd debated going for the classic Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene but that seemed a little too over the top, at least for now. Instead, they made kimchi-jjigae and by the time they were done, Taehyung can hardly believe that he created something that looked worthy enough to be on a food blog.

After the food is done, he takes a shower while Seokjin - bless him - volunteers to clean up. Maybe it was pity, seeing how Taehyung struggled and how the sweat made his hair cling to this forehead. He had just pushed him out the door, telling him to go take a damn shower, you can't serve dinner like this, and well, who was Taehyung to argue.

When he steps out of the bathroom, dressed in simple black pants and a dress shirt he checks his phone to see he's got a new text.

 

Hoseok-hyung (06:39 pm):

Jimin is on his way home!!

 

Alarmed, Taehyung looks at the vintage clock above his desk. 06:46 pm. He has about 15 minutes left until Jimin gets home. And nothing aside from the food was done yet. If he didn't manage to be done in time, there was no way Jimin would get the memo.

Throwing his phone back on his bed after shooting a quick thank you Hoseok's way, he rushes back into the kitchen.

"Woah," Seokjin says when he spots Taehyung. "You look nice."

"Thanks." Taehyung sounds out of breath. "You need to leave."

"I'm sorry?"

"I know this sounds incredibly rude and I'm so grateful you helped me, really, and I owe you one, but I need you to go now. Jimin's on his way home."

With every word the crease on Seokjin's forehead gets deeper.

"Okay? I would like to talk to him too, though. I haven't seen him in a while."

"Then call him." Taehyung is getting desperate. The clock is ticking and he hasn't set up the table nor put on any music. "Please, hyung. I need to prepare."

"Prepare what?"

Taehyung opens his mouth, struggling to get the words out.

"Wait... is this a date?" The sound of disbelief in Seokjin's voice echoes through the kitchen.

"I don't know," Taehyung says quietly, messing with his shirt sleeves and avoiding Seokjin's eyes. He can feel the heat rising in his cheeks. "I'd like it to be. But I don't know if he does. So that's what I'm trying to find out tonight."

"Oh.”

There’s a short pause.

“Taehyung-ah, look at me."

Taehyung sighs and straightens up, drags his eyes away from a stain on the floor, and is met with a gentle smile.

"Jimin loves you."

"I know that."

"Yeah, so whatever happens, it'll be fine yeah? But I think you're very brave for putting yourself out there and giving this a chance."

Taehyung smiles half-heartedly.

"Thank you, hyung."

"Anytime. You're a catch, Taehyung-ah. He'd be stupid not to say yes."

He ruffles Taehyung's hair, effectively ruining the soft curls Taehyung had been trying to perfect in front of the mirror for longer than he'd like to admit.

"Yah," he yells. "Get out."

Seokjin just laughs on his way out, slips back into his shoes and jacket, and opens the front door.

"No, but seriously, Taehyung. Good luck. I hope it goes well."

"Thank you," Taehyung breathes out. "And thank you for your help."

"You're welcome. Text me how it goes? Or if you need anything?"

This time, the smile on Taehyung's face is a lot more genuine. The worry is evident in Seokjin's voice, and Taehyung knows he cares, never really lets him forget about it but it's still nice to be reminded sometimes.

"Sure."

After they say their goodbyes and Taehyung closes the door, he gives himself a moment to take a deep breath.

And then it's pure chaos. He has to set the table, find his favorite jazz vinyl to put on his old record player that he inherited from his grandma, light the candles, and check on the food once again - all in less than 10 minutes.

Somehow, he manages. He bumps his knee into the coffee table on his way to the record player, swears he's gonna die right there and then, almost sets his sleeves on fire as he's lighting the candles but when he turns off the big overhead lights in the room, he's happy with the result.

The flames of the candles create a soft light, and the sounds of the piano ringing through the room have a soothing effect on his frazzled nerves. He has just enough time to check his appearance one more time in the hallway mirror, messing with his bangs across his forehead, when Jimin's key slides into the lock.

Jimin pushes his way inside, gym bag slung over his shoulder. He looks tired, but happy, and stops right in his tracks when he spots Taehyung.

"Hey," he says, wonder bright in his voice. "You look nice. Are you going somewhere?"

Hi, Taehyung wants to say but it comes out at nothing more than a croak. He clears his throat and tries again.

"Hi. No, I'm not going anywhere."

He's fidgeting a little, he can tell, but if Jimin notices he's kind enough not to point it out.

"I've got a little surprise for you."

"You do?"

Jimin is turned away, slipping out of his shoes and hanging up his coat but when he turns around, he's beaming at Taehyung. And fuck, that smile alone is worth all the effort.

"Yeah. I made dinner."

"Oh. That's nice. Thank you, Taehyung."

"No I mean, I actually cooked?"

Jimin laughs. "Is that a question?"

"No! I did. Cook, I mean."

God, he's a mess.

"Okay. Show me what you got then."

Taehyung just nods, too stunned to say anything. So far, so good. He gestures for Jimin to start walking into their small living room where the set table is waiting for them.

"Oh wow," Jimin says, turning around to look at Taehyung who smiles at him sheepishly. "You went all out, huh?"

"Yeah. Figured it would be nice."

"It is. I feel like I have to get changed, I don't fit into this picture."

And well. Maybe he has a point. Clad in sweatpants, no make-up, and hair wet from a quick shower at the studio, Jimin does not look like he would have if he'd known about Taehyung's plans. Then again, he isn't aware that this is supposed to be a date in the first place.

And as cheesy as it is, Taehyung doesn't think any of it really matters, because Jimin is so beautiful on his own that fancy clothes, make-up, and styled hair wouldn't have made a big difference anyway.

"I don't know, I think you fit into my picture quite nicely," Taehyung says and gestures for Jimin to sit down. "I'm just gonna grab the food. Do you want wine? Or something else?"

"Wine sounds good."

There is a hint of wonder lacing Jimin's words, and Taehyung can't really blame him. He'd be surprised too if this was what he came home to. He grabs the bottle of wine first, filling up their glasses. Then he walks back into the kitchen, serving the food nicely in two bowls, and carries it out towards the living room.

He puts the bowls down on the table next to a steaming pot of rice, walks around, and sits down across from Jimin. There have been questions sitting in Jimin's eyes from the moment he entered the room and Taehyung has a hard time meeting his gaze.

"This is really nice," Jimin says softly and Taehyung can't help but think how beautifully his voice blends with the sound of the music playing in the background.

"It's what you deserve." Taehyung smiles shyly. "I hope you enjoy the food."

"Did I forget something?"

"What do you mean?" Taehyung asks, confused.

"Like... it's not my birthday, and I'm pretty sure I didn't forget about any anniversaries, so...?"

Jimin lets the question hang in the room.

Taehyung chuckles softly. "You didn't forget anything. I just wanted to do something nice for you. Don't overthink it."

It's Jimin. Don't overthink it. Yoongi's words echo through Taehyung's mind. It seems a little ironic that he’s throwing these words back at Jimin, when he actually wants him to read into things.

"Okay. Well then, thank you."

They quickly fall into their usual patterns, sharing stories about their day and the time they spent apart. Jimin tells him how insufferable dance practice had been with Jungkook and Hoseok who apparently couldn't keep their hands off each other.

"Look, I know they're still in the honeymoon stage or whatever, but at practice?" Jimin sounds exasperated.

He gets so worked up over it and Taehyung has to stop himself from laughing because it's quite ironic how frustrated Jimin gets when they're not any better - and they're not even dating. ( Yet, his brain supplies.)

"Besides, how long can the honeymoon phase even last, it's been months now. I'm happy for them but I don't wanna third-wheel all the damn time," he grumbles and shoves food into his mouth.

"Poor baby," Taehyung says teasingly.

"You're making fun of me." Jimin stares at him accusingly.

"Oh, I would never dare." 

Jimin tries to stay serious, leveling him with his gaze, and while he could be downright scary when he wanted to be, Taehyung knows he is just playing now. So he sits there, a teasing smile on his face and it doesn't take long until Jimin breaks out into giggles himself.

He sighs.

"I don't know," he says as he's scraping together the last pieces of food on his plate. "Maybe I'm just jealous. Anyway. What have you been up to, other than preparing all of this?"

They finish off their food as Taehyung tells Jimin about his day. Once they're done, Jimin jumps and offers to help clean up. It takes Taehyung's strongest assets (puppy eyes and pouty lips) to get Jimin to stay put. As he grabs their plates and moves into the kitchen, Jimin yells after him.

"I just don't understand why I can't help you clean up. It seems fair."

"I told you, I wanted to do this for you. Least you can do is let me do my thing and cooperate. Ungrateful brat."

He's answered with his favorite sound of Jimin's laughter.

"Fine. But only because it's you."

Even though he can't see Jimin from the kitchen, the smile in his voice is evident.

Taehyung shakes his head fondly as he walks towards the freezer, grabbing dessert. On his shopping trips earlier in the day, he figured that instead of overwhelming himself and trying to make dessert as well as cook dinner, he'd just opt for Jimin's favorite ice cream cake. It was something that they normally reserved for special occasions as the bakery was not close to their apartment and getting the cake home was always a hassle. Still, Taehyung figured it would be worth the effort.

Cutting through the spongy cake layered with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream, he wonders if this is what's gonna do the trick.

He walks back into the living where Jimin is happily sipping on his wine, places Jimin's plate down in front of him, and almost drops his own when Jimin's voice interrupts his step.

"Okay, that's it. What's going on?"

Taehyung falters and he's sure Jimin can tell. Jimin is attentive all the time but when he thinks something is wrong it's almost impossible to hide anything from him. At least that's what it has always been like for Taehyung.

"What do you mean?" Taehyung's voice shakes a little as he slips back into his seat.

"You're acting different. Have been for a while, actually. Is everything okay?"

There's no judgment in Jimin's voice, no accusation. It's gentle. It tempts Taehyung to spill everything right then and there but he thought he'd have a little bit more time. Maybe make it through dessert before breaching the topic.

"Everything is fine, Jimin. I just made dinner, it's not that big of a deal."

He's still avoiding Jimin's gaze, trying to buy himself some time by shoveling a spoon full of dessert into his mouth.

"I don't believe that. You've been leaving me these notes for a week now, brought me coffee to class when you didn't have to. Walked me home more than once, ran me a bath after practice. And now I come home to a candlelit dinner with my favorite dessert and you're telling me it's nothing?"

Taehyung swallows.

The words are right there. Sitting on the tip of his tongue, waiting to spill over. Yet, Taehyung cannot get himself to spit it out. Instead, he's fidgeting with his spoon, still avoiding Jimin's eyes.

"I-," he starts to say but immediately freezes up, shaking his head. Maybe this was stupid. Maybe he shouldn't have tried. He knows it's silly but he feels like Jimin should have understood his intentions without him having to say anything. They have always understood each other without having to say anything, why is this any different?

It feels like there's a piece of cake lodged in his throat.

"Taehyung-ah," Jimin says softly and grabs his hand across the table. "Please look at me?"

Taehyung had always been horrible at denying Jimin anything. Their eyes meet and it feels a little easier to breathe.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Jimin asks once again, rubbing his thumb gently across Taehyung's fingers.

Taehyung bites his lip, trying to work out how to approach the topic. How to guide Jimin in the right direction without spoiling the entire evening and risking their friendship. The last thing he wants is for things to get awkward.

"You can talk to me about anything."

"I know that. That's not the issue." Taehyung's voice comes out hoarse and he's starting to get frustrated with himself.

"Okay well then... did you forget to send the letter I asked you to take with you on Monday?"

"No."

"Did you wash my white training shirts with colors once again?"

"That happened once," Taehyung protests. "It was an accident."

Jimin laughs softly. "I know. And it wasn't a big deal. I'm just guessing, you're not really giving me anything to go off right now, darling."

The pet name makes Taehyung's breath hitch.

"It's just," he says, leaving the unfinished sentence hanging between them. He groans, throwing his head back, his free hand coming to rub across his eyes.

"Seriously, Taehyungie, just spit it out. It can't be that bad. I promise I'll only be mad for a total of five minutes, hm?"

Jimin is trying to lighten the mood but Taehyung is still dealing with his inner turmoil.

"I can't imagine anything's worth getting this worked up about. I mean, the notes, the coffee, a candlelit dinner and you bought my favorite ice cream cake? Jeez, Taehyung if I didn't know better I'd think you're trying to woo me."

Taehyung's head snaps back, eyes wide. He's staring, his mouth open in a big O-shape, and he knows he should say something, knows that now is the time but he can't bring himself to do that when he's struggling to catch up with the fact that Jimin accidentally called him out on his intentions.

Be it the shock to his system or the situation in general, Taehyung starts to blush. He can feel the heat burning in his chest, traveling up his neck. First reaching his ears and then spreading throughout his cheeks. If it wasn't his dumbfounded stare, the blush would have given him away.

It's almost comical the way he can see it register on Jimin's face. He'd have to lie if he said it doesn't sting a little bit, the way the smile slips off of Jimin's face, a small oh punched from his lungs. In a sense, they mirror each other, both gaping at the other with eyes and mouths wide open.

Taehyung is about to pull his hand away, fingers twitching because there is no way Jimin can't feel him shaking and if he's going to do this he wants to keep at least part of his composure.

Except, Jimin doesn't let him pull away. He tightens his grip.

"Taehyung?"

Jimin sounds as breathless as Taehyung feels.

"Are you? Trying to woo me?"

Taehyung swallows and all that can be heard is the slight scratching of the needle of the record player. Obviously the music would finish playing now, adding to the rising tension in the room.

"No," Taehyung croaks out. At that, Jimin deflates immediately, and he quickly fumbles to add, "I mean, yes? Kinda? If you want me to."

Jimin squinches his eyes, tilting his head to the side.

"What do you mean?"

He's back to rubbing gentle circles onto the back of Taehyung's hand and maybe it's that which gives him enough strength to finally push through with what he really wants to say.

"Okay, look. I want you to know that this doesn't have to mean anything. We can grab the cake, blow out the candles, put on a movie like we always do. The last thing I wanna do is make you uncomfortable."

He takes a deep breath, feels Jimin giving his hand another light squeeze.

"But I know you've always wanted this. Being… courted, being treated like a prince. And it's fine if you don't want that kind of attention from me, I promise it doesn't have to change anything between us. But I would like to try. Courting you, that is."

He's met with silence. Somewhere during his speech, Jimin had closed his mouth but his eyes have not wavered. They are still wide open, have not left Taehyung's face for even a second, and at this point, Taehyung cannot tell if that's a good thing or not. The light of the candles is flickering over Jimin’s face and it makes him look ethereal. If he had to get his heart broken, at least there was beauty attached to it.

"Will you please say something? I'm sorry if I made things weird."

Jimin starts shaking his head, still at a loss for words.

"It won't crush me if it's a no, Jimin. I'll be okay. It doesn't have to be anything more than this."

And well, maybe that's only a half-truth. Taehyung may not have known about these feelings for a long time but Jimin is so damn easy to love. It definitely would crush him, at least a little bit. He wasn't worried because he knew he'd bounce back from it but he would definitely need some time for that.

"What if I want it to be?" Jimin interrupts his stream of thoughts preparing for rejection.

"Then that's okay, too."

Taehyung doesn’t let himself dare to hope. Not at Jimin’s gentle hum, or at the way he’s still not pulled back his hand. Then -

"I do."

"You do what?"

"I do want that kind of attention from you."

Taehyung can feel the air rushing into his lungs as he finally takes a deep breath, tension leaving his body.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah," Jimin confirms, and this time Taehyung can identify the look in Jimin's eyes. It's endearment. "I just... didn't know it was an option?"

At that, Taehyung has to laugh.

"Honestly, me neither. I'll be honest, it's not like I have been quietly pining for years or anything. I was fine being your best friend, and I think I would have been if that's all you ever wanted from me. But last Saturday during movie night... I don't know, something just clicked."

He shrugs, lips raising into a half-smile.

Jimin's smile turns mischievous in turn.

"So, what, seeing me with red puffy eyes getting snot all over my face suddenly made you see the light?"

"Stop laughing at me," Taehyung says, contradicting himself by joining in Jimin's giggles. "I mean, I guess so? If that's what you wanna call it sure. I know it doesn't make sense, except..."

"... it kind of does," Jimin completes his sentence. "Because it's us."

"Yeah. Exactly."

There's a beat of silence, but unlike before it's not uncomfortable. They're just looking at each other, trying to figure out what this means for them.

"So," Jimin starts, wiggling on his chair and leaning closer towards Taehyung across the table. He rests his chin on his right hand. The other one has still not let go of Taehyung's. "What exactly does this mean? You courting me?"

"Now where is the fun in me telling you, huh?"

"Well, I don't know. I'd like to be prepared in case you start recreating some ridiculous movie scene where we end up having to go to the hospital again."

"Oh my god, Jimin, we were ten," Taehyung scoffs out. "Besides, we only got some bruises, stop exaggerating."

Jimin giggles, and maybe that makes the teasing worth it.

"Fine. Keep your secrets then. Just promise me one thing."

"Yeah?"

"Always be my best friend first."

Taehyung's heart starts aching in his chest. "Of course, Jimin-ah."

It’s not hard to make that promise, and the nerves in his stomach settle a little bit knowing that Jimin’s priorities are the same as his. That no matter what, their friendship comes first.

"I'm gonna be honest... this scares me a little."

"That makes two of us. But I don't know,” Taehyung says, playing with the napkin on the side of his plate. “You're my best friend and I know that is always going to stay that way. So even if you'd said no, it would have been okay."

"I can't believe you did all this," Jimin says gesturing around the room. "You know I'm not actually that high maintenance right? I don't need all this."

"I know." Taehyung shrugs. "But you deserve it. You deserve to be treated with kindness and love, deserve to have little and big things done for you."

With that, he raises Jimin's hand and places a soft kiss onto his fingers. "And I'm happy to give it my best shot."

Jimin starts blushing furiously the second Taehyung's lips touch his skin.

He shakes his head a little disbelievingly.

"Okay," he says, sounding out of breath. "Sweep me off my feet, Kim Taehyung."

The rest of their evening progresses in a way that feels familiar but brand new at the same time. It's familiar because it's them, so there's laughter in abundance and lots of teasing. It's new because of the way Taehyung smiles shyly when Jimin runs his fingers through his hair which was all over the place by then. It's new because of the blush sitting high on the apples of Jimin's cheeks and Taehyung is dying to find out if they feel as warm as they look.

It feels like nothing and everything has changed all at once. Somehow, it just makes sense, and if Jimin is surprised at how easily Taehyung falls into this new role, he doesn't show it.

Once they finish their dessert and the kitchen is clean, Jimin's gym bag unpacked, they move over to the sofa, the last remains of the bottle of wine filling up their glasses once again.

From the way Jimin's eyes start drooping the minute he hits the plush cushions, Taehyung can tell he's not going to last long.

"Don't make me carry you again," he teases, gently massaging Jimin's legs laying in his lap.

"Isn't that your job though? Didn't you just agree to pamper me and fulfill my every wish?" Jimin smirks at him.

"I never said any of that, stop putting words in my mouth."

They start laughing, Jimin almost spilling his wine on his shirt. When they go quiet again, he speaks up once more, this time a sense of wonder lacing every word.

"You would though."

He reaches out a hand, silently asking for Taehyung to take it. As Taehyung slips his fingers through Jimin's, he answers, "Yeah. I would."

Jimin does not make Taehyung carry him to bed that night. They sit in silence for a while, occasionally sipping on their wine, neither hands nor eyes leaving each other. It's a comforting sort of silence, an opportunity to take in the moment. There is no need for talking because everything important has been said. And so the last words they mutter are sleepy wishes of goodnight and sweet dreams, whispered into each other's ear as they hug before going to their separate rooms.

As Taehyung crawls under the covers he can't stop smiling. There are several things he's learned today. One, he is not as terrible a cook as he thought he would be. Two, Jimin is on the same page and his efforts of courting are allowed, wanted even. And three, the blush on Jimin's cheeks is as warm and soft as it looks according to the tingling feeling left behind on his lips.

 


 

The next morning, Taehyung is woken up by the sun streaming through his curtains. He's never been much of a morning person, and the fact that it is Sunday means that he should be allowed to stay in bed for a while longer. Sundays are made for being lazy without feeling any sense of guilt. Under normal circumstances, he'd do just that.

Instead, he forces himself out of bed, bare feet hitting the cold hardwood floor, slips on a hoodie, and makes his way towards the kitchen. Because while he would get to relax for the rest of the day, Jimin certainly wouldn't.

With his performance being barely a week away, Taehyung knows it would be impossible to stop him from going back to the studio today. Jimin used to have a tendency to push past his limits and to overwork himself. When he collapsed during an especially taxing training period, it led to one of their biggest fights. It took them days to start speaking again, and after hearing each other out, they quickly made up. Taehyung would never dare to forbid Jimin to do anything, but whether it was because he saw reason or in consideration for Taehyung’s worrying, he had stopped pushing himself as much. 

Still, a few days before a performance, it was unrealistic to expect him to be anywhere else. And if he can’t make Jimin rest, Taehyung will help him in other ways. 

That’s how he finds himself behind the stove less than 24 hours after his last cooking experiment.

As little experience as he had in the kitchen, breakfast food was something he always managed to make somehow. He is in the middle of frying up some meat when he feels two arms slip around his waist.

"Good morning to you too," he chuckles.

Jimin only groans and presses his face closer to his back.

Taehyung has never been a morning person but there were periods of time when Jimin was even worse. Usually, he'd be the one to get up early and make Taehyung move but whenever he was practicing more than usual or had many late nights that he spent studying, it took him a lot longer to wake up nowadays.

Truthfully, Taehyung had always thought a sleepy Jimin was cute. Lips extra pouty, eyes barely open, and his hair all over the place. He turns down the stove, removes the pan, and interlaces his fingers with Jimin's.

"Coffee?" he asks.

"Please."

Untangling himself from Jimin's embrace felt a little bit like torture and apparently, Jimin agreed because he simply would not let go.

"Jimin-ah, you're gonna have to let me go if I'm supposed to make you coffee."

"Don't wanna. You're cuddly."

"It'll take two minutes." He can't keep the fondness out of his voice. It makes his heart flutter, the way they're easily able to settle into domesticity. If anyone asked any of their friends they would tell them that they have been married since they started living together. Still, barely twelve hours after Taehyung told Jimin he wanted to court him and things seemed to have shifted naturally, each touch feeling a little bit sweeter, a little bit more charged. Maybe they've actually never been that far from dating in the first place.

With a squeeze, he gently removes Jimin's hands around his waist, though not without protest. Instead of reaching for a mug immediately, he turns around and cups Jimin's cheeks.

"There you are," he says, pressing a soft kiss to Jimin's forehead at which Jimin's cheeks immediately start to take on a faint pink flush. "Beautiful."

Turning around toward the cupboard, grabbing a mug, some milk and coffee, Taehyung gets to work, leaving Jimin a little flushed, a little breathless in the middle of the kitchen. He can already tell flustering him will be one of his favorite things about this whole courting business. Jimin rarely blushed in Taehyung's presence, too used to his antics. This was different though. It felt like the most delicate flower, sitting in a bud waiting to bloom. It would take time and patience to nurture their relationship, to see what Jimin likes in a romantic setting. And Taehyung would enjoy unfolding each petal one by one.

Once the coffee is done, he steps over to Jimin who's now leaning against the counter.

"Here you go," he says, pressing the steaming mug between Jimin's hands. He's wearing a fuzzy robe, the long sleeves covering his hands. He looks incredibly soft and inviting and all Taehyung wants to do is take him over to the sofa and demand cuddles all day.

Instead, he leans against the counter next to Jimin, so close that their shoulders are touching, and asks, "When are you leaving?"

"In about an hour, I think. Don't really have any set plans, I should be alone today."

"Yeah because your friends know how to rest," Taehyung teases, bumping his elbow into Jimin's side.

"Ha-ha. Or maybe they just want to spend their day off together."

Taehyung just hums. They stand in silence for a while, Jimin enjoying his coffee, Taehyung enjoying Jimin's company. After a few minutes, Taehyung gets back to work, plating the meat, some toast, and some cut-up fruit on two plates.

He gently shoves Jimin over to their small table, making him sit down.

"Eat. If you're going to be spending your day at the studio, you gotta eat."

Instead of picking up his food, Jimin just smiles at him.

"What?"

"Thank you," he says. "For breakfast, but also for last night. I don't think I've said it yet. But it was a wonderful evening."

Now it is Taehyung's turn to blush.

"You're welcome." His voice is quiet, a little shy.

As they dig into their food, he realizes they've been here a thousand times before. Having breakfast together, even making Jimin his first coffee in the morning, it's been something so deeply rooted in their routine that it barely felt like anything special at this point. Even without Taehyung's confession the night before, he would have got up before Jimin today, would have made sure that he ate before he left the house, would have taken care of him. It's a comforting thought knowing that they already have so many ways to love and take care of each other that the possibility of this new one will not completely change their lives. It's a relief that Taehyung knows he will be able to keep his promise to Jimin, of always being his best friend first.

Once they're done eating, Taehyung takes on the task of cleaning and leaves Jimin to get ready for practice. Before he's out the door, he pops into the kitchen once more, gym bag slung over his shoulder.

"Hey, I'll be on my way then. Shouldn't be home too late."

"You better not, or else you might turn into a pumpkin," Taehyung says and shoots him a smile across the room.

Jimin starts laughing.

"I think you got your fairytale mixed up, it's not Cinderella who turns into a pumpkin."

Taehyung dries his hands on a dishtowel and turns around.

"Hmmm, I don't know. I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about, pumpkin. "

Before Jimin can answer, he presses a quick kiss to his cheek and whispers have a good practice into his ear before leaving the room.

Quick enough to escape Jimin who scoffs and shouts after him.

"You're lucky you're cute," he yells as he's walking to the front door. Taehyung can hear him slipping into his shoes, the door of the coat wardrobe opening and closing, the dangling of keys. The door opens and after a quick "See you later tonight" Jimin is out the door.

As much as Taehyung enjoys his own company, it's much too silent for his liking right now. He feels Jimin's absence stronger than he normally does, and it's silly because they are not codependent (despite what Jungkook might say) but on some days being apart didn't feel like simply being alone, it felt like being cut in half.

Plopping himself down on the sofa, he puts on the TV, deciding on a random romance drama. Worst case scenario it'll only serve as background noise and distraction but maybe he can learn a thing or two on how to make his best friend fall in love with him. 

It's a couple of hours and two episodes later when his phone starts buzzing on the table.

 

Jimin (12:32 pm):

how are you even real?

 

Attached to his text message is a picture of the small bag of snacks Taehyung had slipped into Jimin's practice bag before he left the house. He knew Jimin would forget to pack something for himself, it wouldn't have been the first time.

He had spent a good ten minutes trying to come up with a sweet message to add to the lunch package, ripping up multiple pieces of paper in the process, which are still littering his bedroom floor. He didn't want to come on too strong, didn't want to end up scaring Jimin away. Even though Jimin had said he was interested, wanted to date Taehyung, it still felt incredibly vulnerable to put himself out there like that.

Taehyung hasn't dated much. He had had a few relationships throughout both high school and college, but all of them had been long and usually originated in friendships. So he wasn't actually used to the whole dating scene as much as other people. He never really cared much, had always been content in the way his relationships had developed into something more, and never needed any big gestures.

Jimin is different though. Jimin makes him want all the big firsts. And the little ones, too. And while they certainly had a lot of history together already, he can’t wait to see what it feels like to hold Jimin's hand on walks, not just because it was comfortable but because they were dating. He can’t wait to ask Jimin to dance at silly formal events, not just to have fun but because he likes holding him close. Can’t wait to have another movie night with him, and maybe, if he was lucky, steal a few kisses. 

Anticipation buzzing beneath his skin, he picks up his phone and starts typing.

 

Taehyung (12:34 pm):

is this your way of saying I am too good to be true?

Jimin (12:35 pm):

honestly? yeah, kinda. I feel so undeserving.

 

Taehyung frowns at his phone.



Taehyung (12:35 pm):

you deserve the world, Jimin-ah. the world and more.

Jimin (12:36 pm):

:((

good thing I've got you then, yeah?

Taehyung (12:37 pm):

yeah, you've got me.



He waits a few minutes for a reply. When it doesn't come, he's not worried. Jimin gets like this, hyperfocused on his goal. The fact that he had sent a text in the first place was close to a miracle. Besides, Jimin had reassured him he would ask for help if he needed it. There was plenty of time to shower him in praise and love, after his recital. Taehyung could wait a little longer.

 


 

The next couple of days pass in a blur. Taehyung had been expecting it, the way Jimin would hyper-focus on his performance, using up every free minute to perfect his (already flawless) routine. Taehyung tries his best to keep him distracted, making sure he doesn't forget to take breaks, picks him up from the studio whenever he can to make sure he gets home safe.

And suddenly it's D-Day. When they get up, Jimin is buzzing both with nerves and excitement. As important as this performance is for the rest of his studies, he loves performing. Taehyung often thinks that Jimin was born to be on stage. Jimin is always beautiful, always knows how to capture people's attention without having to do much. But on stage? He blossoms. He thrives on the atmosphere and watching him is never anything less than magical.

Taehyung walks through the usual program - making sure Jimin eats, sneaking some snacks and extra water into his bag, leaves another small note of encouragement resting on top of Jimin's performance clothes. Before they know it, the doorbell is ringing and Jungkook and Hoseok are picking Jimin up on their way to the University auditorium.

This part has always been Taehyung's least favorite. When Jimin was already gone to prepare for his big moment and Taehyung was left behind at home, forced to kill time until it was finally late enough for him to leave. Since they were kids there was not a single one of Jimin's performances he had missed, save for one in high school when he'd been bedridden with the flu.

After running errands, cleaning up the apartment out of sheer boredom, and spending a significant amount in front of the bathroom mirror, Taehyung finally deems it late enough to leave the house. When he enters the reception hall, his friends are already waiting for him.

Eyeing his outfit and the bouquet of flowers in his hands, Namjoon raises his eyebrows at him.

"Big day, huh?"

"I... yeah. Big day."

Taehyung isn't exactly surprised that Namjoon seems to know about the developments between him and Jimin. Yoongi is a good listener and knows how to keep things a secret but if there is one person who'd have the power to make him spill every last one of them, it is his boyfriend.

It takes them a while to find good seats but they soon settle down into a row near the middle. They use the time waiting to catch up, as none of them have had any time to hang out recently. Work and school keep them all busy which made the moments they came together in a group all the more special.

And then the lights turn off and the show begins. There is probably a theme to it, there always is. And he's sure the other dancers are doing a magnificent job. But all Taehyung can focus on is Jimin, waiting for him to step into the spotlight. He's a little more attentive when Hoseok and Jungkook enter the stage for a duo performance. They move like one entity, not a single movement out of place.

Still, he can feel his nerves stretching like strings on a violin being pulled too tight, ready to snap any second. He's bouncing his legs nervously, shifting around and he knows it's probably annoying but all Yoongi does is stretch out his hand from the seat beside him. A silent offering. Taehyung grabs it, feels how clammy his own hand is in comparison, but Yoongi doesn't seem to mind.

When he looks back up, Jimin is on stage. The lights are still dimmed and he's getting into position but Taehyung would recognize him anywhere. He takes a sharp breath, squeezing Yoongi's hand. There's the faint sound of a chuckle in the background but he barely hears it, all of his attention focused on the boy on stage.

And then the music starts playing, Jimin finally being put into the spotlight. Taehyung doesn't know much about dance and he's sure his heart stops beating at some point throughout the performance, but what he does know is that Jimin is beautiful. The way he transforms on stage, capturing everyone's attention with the smallest, most delicate of movements takes Taehyung’s breath away. He isn't even aware that he's crying until he feels a single tear drop onto the back of his hand.

When the music stops playing, Jimin holding his final position for a beat longer as the lights go out, he's the one who's cheering the loudest. As the rest of the dancers come back on stage, taking their final bows, all he can focus on is the brightness of Jimin's smile. He looks happy, relieved that everything went well. The tension he had been carrying around for the past few days has finally left his body, not a single trace remaining. Taehyung knows there is no way Jimin can see past the spotlights but he swears there is a moment their eyes meet anyway.

20 minutes later he finds himself in the foyer once again, flowers in hand, somehow more nervous than before. He feels a hand squeeze his shoulder.

"It'll be fine, Taehyung," Namjoon says.

He turns around to answer but just then he catches movement in the corner of his eye. The door to the corridor leading to the dressing rooms finally opens and the dancers stream out, one by one. Jungkook and Hoseok come first, with Jungkook hanging off of Hoseok's shoulder. Things get loud as they share hugs and congratulate them on their performance.

When Jungkook spots the flowers in Taehyung's hands, Taehyung braces for teasing. Among their friends, Jungkook is definitely the one who makes fun of the not-so-platonic nature of Jimin and Taehyung's relationship the most.

Instead, he just smiles and says, "About time."

And then the door opens again and Jimin walks out. Everyone starts cheering again, giving him quick hugs and yelling over each other trying to compliment him on his performance. And suddenly he's standing in front of Taehyung who's really struggling to get any words out. 

He had prepared for this, going through exactly what he wants to say all day but now that the moment is here, his mind is blank. In his periphery, he sees the rest of the guys kindly moving to the side, engaging in conversation among themselves. He's grateful for it. With him making such a fool of himself, he appreciates a bit of privacy. Or well, as much privacy as he can get standing in a crowded foyer with hundreds of people buzzing around.

None of that matters though. Not with Jimin standing right in front of him, beaming brighter than he had even on stage.

"Hey."

"Hi." He sounds hoarse as if he hasn't spoken a single word all day.

"Are these for me?" Jimin gestures at the flowers.

"I- yeah," Taehyung stammers, shoving the bouquet in his direction. "Of course they are for you. Congrats, you were amazing up there."

Jimin's smile slips into something much gentler, his eyes glazing over with fondness. As he accepts the flowers, Taehyung can pinpoint the exact moment Jimin spots the little card attached in the middle.

"Thanks. Red roses, huh?"

"Yeah. Felt like the right time."

The truth is, Taehyung had been getting Jimin something for his big performances since the very first time he had seen him dance. Back then, when he still had to ask his mum to take him, he saw the way other people in the audience had the prettiest bouquets of flowers in their hands. Asking his mum about it, she explained to him how it's common to gift people flowers after a big performance like this. Forehead creasing in concentration, Taehyung thought he should have something for Jimin, too. So he dragged his mother out of the old school auditorium, picking flowers from the grass around the playground. It seemed sad in comparison to the pretty big bouquets people were carrying around, but the way Jimin's face had lit up when Taehyung pushed a handful of daisies towards him later made him realize it didn't really matter what kind of flowers he chose.

Except sometimes it did. 

He'd been steering away from red roses all this time, picking out bouquets with any other flower, from tulips during spring festivals to sunflowers in the fall. Never red roses though, not until now.

He can't stop his hands from trembling, clenching his fists by his side. His breath is coming out in deep puffs, throat achingly dry. He's trying to play it cool, wanted to be suave and sure of himself. Instead, he feels like a fumbling mess.

Moving the flowers to one side, Jimin reaches for his hand, gently opening Taehyung's fist and slips his fingers in between. Taehyung follows the movement with his eyes, focusing on the way their fingers look together, the familiarity of the feeling.

"Why are you so nervous?" Jimin asks softly, barely audible over the chatter echoing through the hall. "You know where I stand."

He squeezes Taehyung's hand, making him look up.

"This is important though," he answers. "You are important."

They've moved closer together, drawn to each other's presence. It's as if they're in their own bubble, everything else fading into the background.

Taehyung swallows and says, "There's a card. I think you should read it."

He can see the reluctance in Jimin's eyes when he lets go of Taehyung's hand to reach for the small card sitting between the blooming flowers.

Every second feels like it's dragging on forever, prolonging Taehyung's misery of uncertainty. His hands are shaking again, no longer having Jimin's hand to hold on to, and he swears his heart is gonna jump out his ribcage any second now.

When Jimin opens the card, eyes brushing across the words, he lets out a giggle and it's like a breath of fresh air.

He'd hoped for this kind of reaction. When he got to the flower shop earlier in the afternoon, he had completely forgotten about adding a note. A little dumbfounded when the florist asked him if he wanted one attached to the bouquet he said yes, not having thought about it before. Asking her to leave it empty for now, he paid for the flowers, spending the way home trying to come up with a way of putting his thoughts into words on approximately 5 cm of cardboard.

In the end, he'd kept it simple.

I can show you the world... So will you do me the honor and go out on a date with me?

When Jimin slips the card back into the bouquet and looks up at Taehyung, it seems like he's the one at a loss for words for once.

"So, will you?"

He knows the answer before Jimin opens his mouth from the way his eyes light up.

"Yes," he whispers, "Of course I will."

He knows the answer and still relief washes over him like a bucket of water.

"Hyung, hold this," Jimin says to a confused Hoseok, standing in a circle next to them. His eyes don't leave Taehyung's for a single moment. He shoves the flowers into Hoseok's arms, and as soon as his hands are free he throws himself into Taehyung's arms.

He's standing on the tips of his toes, arms slung around Taehyung's neck. Used to Jimin's sudden bursts of affections, Taehyung wraps his arms around his waist, pulling him impossibly close. They hug each other so tightly that they sway from side to side.

"I know I keep saying this," Jimin mumbles next to his ear, "But I can't believe you're doing all this."

Rubbing his hands gently over Jimin's back, Taehyung replies, "It's what you deserve, Jimin-ah. You were beautiful tonight. Seriously, I think I might have blacked out at some point."

Jimin's soft laughter and the way his body shakes against him soothe his racing heartbeat.

Squeezing tightly once more, Jimin starts unwrapping himself from Taehyung but he doesn't go far. Slipping back down onto his feet, he reaches one hand up to Taehyung's cheek, gently running his thumb over soft skin.

"Thank you," he says. "For being here. For supporting me the past few days. For the flowers..."

Shaking his head disbelievingly he adds, "... for being you."

Before Taehyung has a chance to respond, a voice interrupts them.

"Hey lovebirds, care to join us for dinner?"

Jungkook is wearing a shit-eating grin. It's a testament to their shared happiness that neither Jimin nor Taehyung feel the need to retaliate his comment.

They have never really cared much about how other people viewed them and all of their friends quickly got used to their affectionate behavior. So it probably wasn't much of an adjustment seeing them now, still wrapped up in each other.

"Sure," Jimin answers. "I'm starving, let's go."

He drops his arms, picking up his gym bag from the floor where he had thrown it earlier, taking back the flowers from Hoseok. Taehyung's heart skips a beat at the way Jimin's smile lights up once more as he's smelling the flowers. It skips another one when he feels Jimin's small fingers slipping between his own once more.

There's a flush sitting high on Jimin's cheeks that even stage makeup can't cover up. Warmth spreads in Taehyung’s chest as if his heart caught fire when he realizes he's the cause for it. He's made Jimin blush before but suddenly it seems like the biggest achievement of his life; getting into the art program of his dreams or his last contribution to the art department's gallery being recognized by his favorite local artist paling in comparison.

He'd be fine for the rest of his life as long as he could make sure Jimin never stopped looking like that.

Fifteen minutes later they all find themselves squeezed together at a small table at their favorite restaurant just off-campus. It was a small place, barely drawing any attention if you weren't aware of its existence. But it had the best authentic, homemade food in their area. 

It is another tradition of theirs - whenever there is something to celebrate, whether it's performances like today, Yoongi getting that internship at a record label, Seokjin graduating and opening a small coffee shop, they find themselves here. Throughout the years, they had become acquainted with the owner, an old lady named Mrs. Yoo, who always had space for them and made sure to never let them leave without full bellies and warm hearts.

"What's the celebration for?" she asks warmly once they're all seated.

"Dance recital," Jimin says.

"Well that, and the love birds finally making things official," Jungkook pipes up.

The way Mrs. Yoo's eyes flicker over to Taehyung and Jimin immediately makes something flutter in Taehyung's belly.

"Oh? About time," she teases.

Jimin just groans, burying his flushed face in Taehyung's shoulder. Sliding his arm around Jimin's shoulder, Taehyung pulls him in closer, laughing gently as he places a soft kiss on his temple.

"Yes yes, we're stupid and you all knew before us. Can we move on now?" he asks, trying to take the attention off of them.

"As long as you know," Seokjin smirks at him. "I think we'll just go for the usual?"

Throwing a questioning look into the round, he's not met with any complaints, and so there's a mountain of food sitting on the table twenty minutes later.

There's a familiarity about the evening, a comfort that can only come from being around people who truly know and love each other. A pang echoes through Taehyung’s chest when he realizes how much he had missed this, being around his friends and forgetting about everyday worries for a while. It's nobody's fault really, they've all been busy, he gets it. But there's a bittersweet feeling rising up within him, not knowing when he'll get the chance to spend time with all of them together again.

He drinks in the atmosphere, soaks up every second of it. Taehyung has always been the kind of person who thrives in the company of his closest friends. There's nothing unusual about the evening - they share stories of what they've been up to, there's lots of foods and drinks, and even more laughter. It’s like any other time they all come together but that doesn’t make it any less special.

When the evening comes to an end, he feels full of love. It's truly amazing how simple moments like this can sneak their way into his heart, planting roots, growing to be one of his most treasured ones.

Although there are surely more of these nights to come, Taehyung knows this one will always stand out to him. With the weight of Jimin's small hand resting on his thigh throughout the majority of the night, the sound of high-pitched laughter still ringing in his ears, the promise of a first date in the near future, the night is tinted golden. Sparkling like champagne, flooding his entire body with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Pressing a kiss to Jimin's cheek in the middle of their small living room before they part ways for the night feels a little bit like paradise.

 


 

The rest of the weekend is spent lounging in front of the TV. Jimin is understandably exhausted, the past week of little sleep and too much training finally catching up to him. Taehyung tries his best to take care of him, making sure he gets the rest he needs. He doesn't even have to play dirty, only pulling out the puppy eyes once when Jimin insists on getting up from the sofa to clean the dishes piled up in the kitchen sink.

It is a nice weekend, much more of a resemblance of how they usually spend their time. By the end of Sunday night, they have both recharged on sleep, and most importantly each other's company. The cuddles along the way didn't hurt either.

So when Monday rolls around, it's surprisingly easy to get out of bed, the promise of a shared morning luring both of them into the kitchen before Jimin has to leave for class. The sound of music and laughter fills the kitchen, as Taehyung grabs Jimin's hand to spin him through the room.

"Hey Jimin," he says, arms extended and twirling Jimin back into his arms, "You free on Saturday?"

"Yeah, I am."

He barely gets the words out through his giggles.

"Let me take you out?" Taehyung asks.

And Jimin stumbles, Taehyung catches him just before he hits the counter. Honestly, it was close to a small miracle that neither of them had bumped into the furniture to collect bruises yet.

"You know, I didn't think you meant it literally when you said sweep me off my feet, but clearly I got that covered either way," Taehyung laughs.

"Shut up."

There's no trace of malice in his voice.

When he's safely back on his feet, he looks flustered and breathless.

"You're a pain in the ass, Kim Taehyung. But yes."

Taehyung smirks at him but before he can open his mouth there is a small finger pressed to his lips.

"Don't even think about it, or else I'm taking it back," Jimin says sternly but his eyes betray him. They're sparkling, crinkling at the edges. 

“Besides, I don’t put out on the first date anyway.”

“What a shame. Second, then?”

He’s joking, clearly. While Taehyung is definitely very interested in Jimin putting out (because wow, hello, he’s far from immune to how attractive Jimin is), he is trying to take things slow after all.

“You seem awfully sure of yourself, darling. Talking of second dates before taking me out on a first one?” Jimin’s eyebrows rise up so high they almost disappear behind his brushed down hair.

“Well, that’s what I’m trying to settle here. So, Saturday?" Taehyung asks, growing a little bit more serious and squeezing Jimin’s hips.

"Saturday. If you’re lucky, I might let you kiss me."

There's something in the air, a feeling of excitement buzzing like electricity. It's almost tangible but just a little bit out of reach. It doesn't leave. It doesn't leave when they make their way to campus, separating once Jimin reaches his classroom and Taehyung keeps moving towards the library. It doesn't leave when they're having dinner that night, feet brushing together under the table. It doesn't leave over the next few days when Taehyung keeps surprising Jimin in a million little ways - with the all too familiar little notes left in the most ridiculous places ("The sock drawer, Taehyung? Really?" - "What can I say, you knock my socks off."), a cup of coffee waiting every morning without fail even when Taehyung is barely awake yet, and casual compliments thrown into everyday conversations. It never leaves.

Instead, it feels like a dial is switched higher and higher with every show of affection. There are moments that Taehyung is tempted to throw his whole plan overboard, to pull Jimin in and kiss him senseless. It happens in the most random moments, quickly becoming a problem. It's not as obvious when they are cuddled up on the sofa together once more, Jimin's eyes focused on the TV screen while Taehyung's are resting on Jimin the entire time. The way he tends to zone out and stare at Jimin's lips as he's trying to talk to him though, now that is worrisome.

He can sense the tension under his skin rising with every moment that he forces himself to hold back, to wait, to do this right. And although he is nervous about his plans going wrong, there is a feeling of relief rushing through his system when Saturday finally arrives.

Jimin has been bugging him all week about where they're going, trying to get details out of him and not shying away from playing dirty. It was one thing when he tried pleading. It was a whole different thing when he had straddled Taehyung out of nowhere. Running his hands over Taehyung's chest, he leaned in close, lips hovering only centimeters away, and whispered, "Taehyung-ah, baby, tell me where we're going." And well, it had been a while since Taehyung had been this tempted to spill. In more ways than one.

Somehow, he resisted. Which doesn't stop Jimin from trying once more when they're having lunch on Saturday, hours before their date.

"I'm just saying, how am I supposed to know what to wear?"

He's whiny, poking his food with his chopsticks. But no matter how adorable the sight is, Taehyung is too close to give up now.

"It doesn't matter what you wear. You can wear PJs for all I care."

"So we're not leaving the house?" Jimin asks, eyebrows creasing in confusion.

"I didn't say that," Taehyung responds. "I just said it doesn't matter."

He takes a sip from his water, puts his glass down, and grins at Jimin.

"Because you're beautiful either way."

It is completely over the top. Not a lie by any means but so cheesy that it almost makes him shudder.

Jimin drops his chopsticks.

"You're so annoying," he groans and rolls his eyes.

Taehyung breaks out in laughter because despite his behavior Jimin flushes bright red in seconds.

"You're cute," he simply retaliates. "But seriously, it doesn't matter what you wear. Pick something comfortable."

A few seconds pass and with the color slowly fading from his face, Jimin finally nods.

"Alright. I can do comfy and cute."

"I know you can. On that note, we're gonna leave around 6. Don't leave me waiting."

"I won't. I promise."

The sincerity in Jimin's voice almost takes Taehyung aback. It was meant to be teasing and Jimin seems in no way upset but the tone he uses makes Taehyung realize how serious is about their first date, about them.

Around 4:30, Jimin excuses himself to his room. It's cute, the way he seems to feel the need to put in a lot of effort for Taehyung when he could have walked out the door in his sweatpants and Taehyung would still have the best time.

In a way, it is a blessing because it gives Taehyung time to take care of last-minute preparations - checking he's got everything he needs, taking a shower, slipping into comfy black pants and a sweater. Going through the motions helps, keeps him distracted from his nerves that keep bubbling up.

At 6 pm sharp, he knocks on Jimin's door. The first thing he hears is a bang, followed by a yell.

"You okay?" he asks through the closed door.

"Fine, 'm fine. Gimme a second," Jimin answers frantically.

The clock above the TV is ticking, the silence almost deafening. And then the door finally swings open.

Jimin is dressed in skinny jeans and a soft-looking grey sweater. His hair is parted to the side, but from the looks of it, there is barely any product in it; his makeup is kept minimal as well. The small hoop earrings have been switched out for dangly ones and a few more rings adorn his fingers.

He's clutching the side of the door and beams at Taehyung.

"Hi."

"Hey," Taehyung says breathlessly. He clears his throat. "You look stunning."

If at all possible, Jimin's smile gets even wider. He tilts his head, not even trying to conceal the way he's looking Taehyung up and down. It makes him wanna fidget. Before he can react, Jimin is reaching up, gently brushing his bangs to the side.

"Thank you. So do you," Jimin answers, completely unaware of the fact that Taehyung's breathing stopped for a second right there.

"Are you ready to go?"

"Yeah, let's go."

Once they've put on their jackets, Taehyung opens the front door, letting Jimin lead the way. On their way down, he tells Jimin part of his plan.

"So, I borrowed Seokjin-hyung's car. He parked it here earlier today."

"That's nice," Jimin says and smiles at him.

With every single step they take, Taehyung gets more nervous. He thought the worst part would be the anticipation before he got to see Jimin but there is a ball of nerves sitting in his stomach, telling him that something is going to go wrong tonight.

When they reach the car, he unlocks it, opening the door for Jimin before moving around to the other side. As he slips into the driver's seat, he reaches back for his seatbelt. But when he tries to buckle himself up, he misses. Three times.

He tries a fourth time when suddenly there's a gentle hand stopping him.

"Taehyung-ah. Breathe."

It's as if that reminder was exactly what he needed, the permission to halt for a moment. He takes a deep breath, feels the air rushing through his throat into his lungs.

"Hey," Jimin says softly and reaches up to cup his cheek. He forces Taehyung to look at him and the smile on his face is so tender, it almost makes Taehyung whimper. "Everything's okay. It's just me."

"There's nothing just about you, Jimin-ah," he rasps out somehow.

Jimin runs his thumb over his cheekbone.

"What I mean is... you're safe with me."

"I know that." Somehow Taehyung is able to put a little more strength into his voice. "I just want everything to be perfect."

He bites on his lower lip, a nervous habit he's never been able to shake. Jimin slips his hand down, gently running his thumb over it, forcing him to release his hold.

"It will be. You've put a lot of thought into this and that's all that matters to me. You don't have to be anyone but yourself. I know it's a lot to take in but I'm not worried. Not when I'm with you."

Taehyung closes his eyes, letting his head hit the headrest. He takes a couple of deep breaths.

"Okay," he says, turning towards Jimin once again. "Let's do this."

"Okay."

There's a second where they just look at each other, careful smiles taking over their expressions. Then, Taehyung finally buckles his seat belt and starts the car.

"Still no hint where you're taking me?"

"Seriously, Jimin-ah, can't you let a man try to impress his date?" He tries to sound exasperated but the big smile on his face betrays him.

"Worth a try," Jimin says and reaches for his phone, connecting it to the car.

"You'll see soon enough."

It takes them a while to get out of the city, but Taehyung had planned for that. The streets are busy, cars honking every couple of minutes. The drive helps settle the last bit of remaining nervousness settled in Taehyung's stomach. When Jimin pulls up his early 2000s playlist and starts singing along off-key on purpose to get a laugh out of him, it works embarrassingly fast. The further they get out of the city and the greener the scenery gets, fading from grey sky-high buildings into constellations of trees, the more he's reminded of driving through their hometown when they first got their licenses. They'd go out on drives every weekend, playing their favorite songs and belting the lyrics out at the top of their lungs.

Almost an hour later, Taehyung starts slowing down, pulling up to their destination. The ache of laughter is still sitting in his belly but the way Jimin grows silent would be funny if Taehyung weren't so stressed about his reaction. He's surprised, that much Taehyung can tell. He can hear the gasp, watch Jimin's eyes widen in slow motion.

"A drive-in theater?" His voice is barely above a whisper.

"Yeah. Is that okay?"

Jimin turns over to look at him and there are stars in his eyes.

"Of course that's okay. I've always wanted to do this."

Taehyung should focus on driving, on making sure he stays in the right lane to pay and to not crash the car into the one in front of him. Seokjin would have his head if there was as much as a scratch on the car by the end of the night. It gets increasingly harder though when Jimin is looking at him like he hung the moon in the sky.

"I know," Taehyung answers softly.

For the moment, there is no need for anything else. He pays for their ticket, parks the car with the perfect view on the screen. By the time he cuts off the engine, Jimin has not moved one bit, still staring at him with wonder on his face.

Taehyung unbuckles his seatbelt and shifts himself towards Jimin.

"I can't believe you remembered." Jimin's voice mirrors the expression on his face. "I'm sure I haven't mentioned this since high school."

With a sheepish shrug Taehyung reaches out to tuck a stray piece of hair behind Jimin's ear. His heart aches a little at the way Jimin is unconsciously leaning into his hand the slightest bit.

"Open the glove box."

The moment it unlatches, snacks start spilling out. They fall into Jimin's lap and onto the floor of the car and the surprise on his face makes Taehyung chuckle. He brought all of Jimin’s favorites - a colorful collection of chocolates, chips, and chewy candy; reaching behind their seats, Taehyung pulls out drinks and a blanket he brought in case they get cold.

"You really thought of everything."

When he hands Jimin the blanket, Jimin reaches for his hand.

"Thank you," he says with a gentle squeeze. He lets go to unfold the blanket, carefully draping it over both of them. They snuggle up, as much as the car will allow without one of them straight up climbing into the other's lap.

The movie has not started playing just yet, different advertisements flickering across the screen instead. They have the volume of the radio hooked up to the screening low for the time being. It creates a nice background noise in the otherwise quiet car.

"What, aren't you gonna bug me to tell you what movie we're watching?" Taehyung interrupts the silence.

"Nah," Jimin says, opening a bag of snacks. "I'm trying to let my man impress me."

Taehyung knows those are essentially his exact words but the way Jimin changes it slightly from a man to my man almost makes him choke on air.

"That- I- yeah okay," he stutters out dumbstruck. "Okay."

As Jimin turns towards the big screen, there is a satisfied grin on his face.

It melts into something softer the moment he recognizes the opening credits flickering across the screen.

"Ironic, huh?" Taehyung asks, eyes still fixated on Jimin's smile. "That they would choose to play one of the movies we watched together on our very first movie night?"

"A little bit, yeah." Jimin turns to look at him again. "Maybe the universe is trying to tell us something."

As the movie starts unfolding in front of them, he puts down his drink, moves as close as he can get, and lets his head drop onto Taehyung's shoulder. It's a shame how the middle console in the car prevents them from getting any closer. Taehyung much prefers their sofa in comparison. It might be small, barely holding two fully grown men but at least there was nothing dividing them.

Still, there were many nights to come when they could move closer than this, and for the time being the way Jimin reaches out and entangles their fingers is more than enough.

Aside from the location, watching the movie ends up not being very different from their usual experience at home. They still snuggle, occasionally whispering their favorite lines under their breath. Taehyung still watches as Jimin gets emotional and a few tears spill over. This time, though, he reaches out, gently wiping them away with his thumb. As he presses a soft kiss into Jimin's hair, his heart constricts when Jimin chuckles slightly and burrows his face deeper into Taehyung's shoulder.

Shortly after, the ending credits roll across the screen and Jimin sits up, wiping under his eyes with his sleeves.

"You could have told me you were gonna make me cry today, I would have gone for waterproof makeup instead."

He's not really mad though, Taehyung can tell. When he reaches out to wipe away the slightest bit of smeared mascara where his face had been pressed into Taehyung's sweater, Jimin's smile matches his own.

"You still look pretty."

Instead of answering, Jimin just lets out a quiet laugh.

"Do you want to go home? Or are you okay with staying out a little bit longer? I don't really have anything big planned but I was thinking we could park somewhere along the riverside, go on a walk."

"That sounds perfect, actually."

"Great."

With each passing minute, the warmth inside Taehyung extends, reaching into every last cell of his body. He doesn't want this night to end just yet, wants to make more memories with Jimin, and it's a relief that he doesn't seem to be the only one feeling that way.

When he starts the car again, the atmosphere inside is quieter than on the earlier drive. It's not awkward, though. Jimin doesn't hook up his phone, instead choosing a radio station playing soft piano music. He doesn't hesitate to slip his fingers in between Taehyung's when he takes one hand off the steering wheel, and even though his mind is racing much like the cars around them, Taehyung doesn't feel the need to fill the silence.

They park the car a short drive away from home but still far enough outside of the city center to not have to deal with the bustling drunk crowds that frequent the streets on a Saturday night. Walking down the riverside they talk about everything and nothing at all. It's lighthearted. It's fun. It's comforting. They grab some street food on their way; they're mostly still full from all the snacks they devoured during the movie, but it was past 9 pm now and neither of them had much to eat after their shared lunch earlier that day.

At some point, Jimin stops, resting his arms on the railing protecting pedestrians from slipping into the river. Despite being closer to the city, it's colder here, a fresh wind blowing across the water. Jimin shivers and when Taehyung steps up behind him to wrap his arms around his waist, Jimin wastes no time to press back against him.

He sniffles a little, his cute button nose red from the cold.

"It's a shame you can't see the stars out here," he says, voice tinged in sadness. "I miss that between all the city lights."

"Yeah, me too. Was definitely a lot easier back home."

Jimin just hums, both of them fading into silence. They stay there for a couple of breaths, taking in the moment and basking in each other's company.

When Jimin starts shaking from the cold, despite Taehyung pulling him even closer and wrapping his own scarf around Jimin's neck, they accept their fate and slowly make their way back to the car. The last thing Taehyung needs is Jimin getting sick on their first date. He'd never live that down.

As soon as they get back to the car, he turns up the heating. Jimin's fingers are bright red and shaking as he holds his hands in front of the air vents. Taehyung probably shouldn't find it as endearing as he does but as he takes sneaky looks whenever he can without compromising their safety, there is fondness spreading through his body like fire as he watches the color of Jimin's hands fade back to normal, only the tips remaining a soft pink.

It takes them around twenty minutes to get back to their place and soon enough, Taehyung puts the car in park, opening Jimin's door for the very last time that night.

When he slides his key into the lock of their apartment, there is a moment of hesitation. Under different conditions, this would be the point where he kissed his date goodnight; at least after a date like the one they’d just shared. It had been a perfect night, cold weather aside. Under normal conditions, he'd make his way inside to flop down on Jimin's bed telling him how his night went.

It's different now that his date shares his living space.

Once they're inside, and get rid of their coats and shoes, Taehyung moves into the kitchen to make Jimin a cup of tea. Steaming mug in hand, he walks the few meters into the living room where Jimin is waiting for him. It takes everything in him not to start cooing. Jimin is wrapped up in a blanket, only his face still peeking out.

"You okay?"

"Yeah," Jimin sniffles in response. His nose is still slightly red. "Come warm me up."

"Give me one second."

Taehyung moves over to his record player, picking up a Sinatra vinyl. A few scratches later and the room is filled with soft music.

As soon as he sits down, he opens his arms; an invitation for Jimin to seek out the warmth he so desperately craves. It takes him no time to fall forward against Taehyung's chest.

"This is nice," he says, keeping his voice low. It's almost as if he doesn't want to disrupt the atmosphere.

"Yeah, it is," Taehyung agrees.

Jimin shifts slightly, lifting up his head so he can look at Taehyung properly.

"Tonight was nice."

"Just nice?"

Jimin smiles. "Mhh, maybe even better than nice. Not sure yet, though. The jury is still out on that one."

Taehyung chuckles.

"Tell me, then. What do I have to do to make this night perfect?"

He sees the way Jimin's eyes are flickering. He looks down for a second, fiddling with the collar of Taehyung's shirt.

He was speaking softly to begin with but when he finally finds the words he wants to say, they barely come out above a whisper.

"I believe a kiss was mentioned?"

Taehyung hums. "Really?"

"Yeah," Jimin replies and finally looks back up at him. And god, the expression on his face makes Taehyung's breath hitch. There's a slight flush sitting high on his cheeks which Taehyung thinks has nothing to do with the remaining cold. He's biting the inside of his cheek, and his eyes are wide with hope.

Taehyung rests his hand against his cheek.

"Well, who am I to deny you, then?"

He sees a glimpse of relief flashing through Jimin's eyes before he gently pulls him in and closes the gap.

It's soft at first. Impossibly soft, lips barely touching like a brush of a feather. The first touch feels like all that electricity that's been humming underneath his skin is unleashed. Then, as Jimin softly sighs against him, breath washing over his face, he slips his hand into the hair at Jimin's neck. Shifting slightly, he deepens the kiss. All he can focus on is how soft Jimin's lips feel against his, how his recent daydreams about kissing Jimin paled in comparison to the real thing.

He barely notices the way Jimin moves a hand towards his waist. But then his cold fingers graze Taehyung's back where his sweater had risen up a little. It makes him jump, breaking the kiss.

Opening his eyes, he chuckles slightly at the sheepish look on Jimin's face.

"Sorry," he whispers.

"It's okay."

They're still so close that their noses brush, and after the slight moment of shock passes, Taehyung wastes no time to pull Jimin in again.

This time, he's not quite as hesitant. He's still keeping it soft, still being gentle with the way he's cradling Jimin's neck. But when he tilts his head to the side, their lips slot together in a way that makes a tingling sensation sneak up his back.

He holds Jimin's plush lower lip between his own, teases him by slightly pulling on it. Jimin sighs in response, tightening his hand that is still resting on Taehyung's waist, and it makes his heart flutter in a completely unknown way. He had hoped Jimin would be like this.

It's been mere minutes, a few brushes of Jimin's lips on his, and Taehyung is a goner. There's something intoxicating about this, about the way Jimin moves - almost immediately in perfect sync with him. About the way that this up close the scent of his peach shampoo slightly wafts through his perfume and something else that is entirely Jimin. And the little noises he makes are enough to make Taehyung want to wax poetry, comparing them to the most beautiful pieces created in classical music.

It's been minutes, and Taehyung knows he's utterly ruined for kisses from any other person for the rest of his life.

It should be frightening but it's not. Despite the new feeling, and despite the way his heart is thundering away in his chest, something about this seems oddly familiar. As if they'd been here before, maybe in a different life.

It's a lovely thought. That they might be fated in every lifetime. It makes his heart burst with happiness, his cheeks rising in a soft smile. He can't contain it, forcing himself to break the kiss once more.

Jimin huffs against his lips, slipping his other hand up to cup Taehyung's cheek.

"Stop teasing," he complains and moves right back in, killing the laughter that's about to spill over Taehyung's lips.

With each time their lips connect, there's a rising intensity behind it. It's slow and languid, almost lazy as if they're taking their time. But when he finally brushes his tongue over Jimin's bottom lip tasting a hint of strawberry lip balm, he can't suppress the sound rising up his throat.

For a second he feels Jimin's lip twitch as if he's the one trying to suppress a smile this time. But then Jimin slowly opens his mouth, giving Taehyung permission to deepen the kiss. Taehyung can feel the sigh of relief as Jimin practically melts inside his arms when their tongues meet for the very first time.

Neither of them is leading the kiss; it's a gentle push and pull. There's a short moment where Taehyung asks himself why they haven't done this sooner if one single kiss from Jimin can get such an intense reaction out of him but suddenly Jimin is biting his lip gently before soothing over the slight sting with his tongue and Taehyung’s mind blanks right then and there.

He fumbles, trying to pull Jimin closer, even though he is almost in his lap already, even though he can feel Jimin's heartbeat pressed against his side.

It's a little tiring, the angle at which they're sitting, and even though Taehyung would love a repeat action of Jimin straddling his lap with less innocent intentions in mind, tonight is not the night for that.

Instead, he forces himself to slow down the kiss. It fizzles out the way it started, with soft pecks that leave his heart fluttering in his chest.

Their foreheads are still pressed together, neither of them wanting to move too far apart. Once their breathing slows down, Jimin interrupts the silence.

"Now it's perfect."

"Yeah? You happy then?"

"Very. I'm gonna give you a five-star review on yelp."

They both start giggling at the absurdity of the moment but there is something comforting about the way they can still joke around even during important moments like this.

"Are you saying you wanna share me?" Taehyung asks, pulling back slightly to look at Jimin with mock-hurt.

Jimin hums, pretending to think about it for a second.

"Hey," Taehyung laughs, pinching Jimin's side gently.

"Nah," Jimin beams and pecks him once more. "I'm gonna keep you all to myself."

"Oh thank god," Taehyung exclaims dramatically, making Jimin giggle and bury his face in Taehyung's shoulder for the second time that evening.

They sit in silence for a while, the record having long since stopped playing. Taehyung is gently running his fingers over Jimin's arm when a thought pops into his head.

"So," he says, hating the way he can't hide the slight tremor in his voice. "About that second date?"

He shouldn't be nervous at this point. There's no reason after the night they'd shared. But that little whisper inside his head telling him that this is a dream he's gonna have to wake up from at some point is attempting yet another impressive crescendo.

"Of course, Taehyung-ah," Jimin interrupts him before his thoughts can go down that spiral. "I'd love a second date."

He presses a soft kiss to Taehyung's jaw, laying his head back down to rest against him once more.

A few moments later, a soft yawn escapes his lips.

Taehyung snickers, gently patting Jimin's thighs. "Come on, off to bed with you."

"I don't wanna go. Don't want this to end."

Taehyung can't see him, not with the way he hides his face, but he doesn't need to when the pout is so evident in the tone of his voice. He reaches down to cup Jimin's jaw, lifting his face up to meet his eyes.

"It doesn't have to end. I’ll still be here tomorrow."

And for good measure, and maybe because he's also impossibly weak for the way Jimin's lower lip juts forward, he gives him another soft kiss.

"Okay then," Jimin agrees reluctantly.

They get up to move to their separate bedrooms and the irony of the situation is not lost on Taehyung when he thinks about how often he's fallen asleep in Jimin's bed and Jimin in his; but on the night of their official first date, they choose to part ways for the night.

"Goodnight, Jimin-ah," he says as he wraps him up in a tight hug. Jimin's hands sneak up his back as he squeezes Taehyung back just as firmly.

"Goodnight, Taehyung-ah." As he leans back, he adds, "Thank you for the best first date I've ever had."

Taehyung pulls him in even closer; so close that Jimin has to rise to his tiptoes to meet his lips.

It takes them an embarrassingly long time to pull away from each other.

When Jimin finally slips through the door to his bedroom, a teasing dream of me, Taehyungie, and a wicked smile on his lips, the door locks into place before he can hear Taehyung's whispered answer.

"Oh, you know I will."

 


 

There is a moment of awkward silence when they both step out of their rooms at the same time the next day, facing each other on opposite sides of their small apartment. One break of a smile though, and they're back on track.

Jimin goes out to meet up with Namjoon that day, and Taehyung wants to complain but then Jimin presses a soft kiss to his lips on his way out, and well, maybe saying goodbye isn't the worst thing when it involves kisses.

Not much changes in their everyday lives over the next couple of days. They still joke around doing the dishes, splashing each other with soapy water. Jimin still listens and tries to help Taehyung when he's struggling with one of his assignments, stopping him from working himself into a frenzy.

Except there are kisses now. So many kisses, kept within the safety of their own four walls. It's not like either of them wants to hide this thing growing between them but for now, it's only theirs. It's fragile, and they handle it with care; almost like they’re cradling it between their intertwined hands.

Most of the kisses stay soft. Except for that one time Jimin sets Taehyung's head spinning when he walks through the door after class, only to be pressed against it immediately. The surprised oof barely leaves his lips before he's silenced by Jimin's kiss. His hands are fumbling for a second, as Jimin wastes no time prying his lips open. Hands buried deep within Taehyung's curls, he pulls, and Taehyung honest to god whimpers into his mouth.

He's playing with fire; knows he shouldn't give in, shouldn't pull Jimin in by the hips but at this point, all rational thought has left his brain. He's completely zeroed in on the feeling of Jimin's hands in his hair, the way his tongue runs teasingly behind Taehyung's teeth, the soft moans he releases every couple of seconds. When Jimin pulls away, only to pepper small kisses down his cheek, his head slams against the door behind him. He's panting by now, the sounds echoing through the empty apartment.

There's a hint of a smile he can feel against his skin as Jimin starts sucking in a bruise into the skin just under his jaw. It’s only when Jimin slips his thigh between Taehyung's own, that the volume of his own moan breaks him out of his stupor.

It takes every ounce of willpower he can muster but he pushes Jimin away slightly. Still within reach but far enough to not risk popping a boner any second. There's a wicked grin on Jimin's face.

"What the- What the hell?" Taehyung stutters out, chest still heaving.

"Welcome home," Jimin says, giving him the softest kiss. It's such a stark contrast to the one before that Taehyung can barely hold back a whimper. "I missed you."

And as if nothing at all had happened seconds before, Jimin steps back to move back into the living room, leaving a dumbfounded Taehyung standing in the hallway.

After that, he's made sure to keep his distance. If one slightly more intense kiss from Jimin can get him so worked up, there is no way he stands a chance if he lets things go even a little bit further. There are moments he hates himself for trying to prolong this whole thing; especially when Jimin walks into the kitchen one morning wearing nothing but a towel slung around his hips. It makes Taehyung choke on his orange juice, satisfaction is painted into the glint of Jimin's eyes.

They stay busy throughout the week, the onslaught of midterm assignments and exams not leaving much room for anything besides food and sleep, so when Taehyung asks Jimin for the second date he had been promised, they settle on the weekend again. Saturday nights are their nights anyway, sometimes spent in the company of their friends but at the very least spent together.

So Taehyung gets to work, planning to make this date even bigger and better than the first. He books a small nighttime boat tour, spending almost all of his savings from his last few photography projects on it. It stings a little bit but the pain is soon forgotten when he pictures the look on Jimin's face when he realizes what they're doing.

He works it all out perfectly, considers what kind of food and drinks to bring. He spends an embarrassingly long time curating the perfect playlist to set the mood. The pile of blankets sitting by his laundry hamper soon joins the bags of snacks he keeps hidden in his closet just in case Jimin goes snooping. He makes sure to tell Jimin all the details of when they're supposed to leave, knowing Jimin has plans earlier in the day.

The nerves that he had been dealing with leading up to their first date are completely replaced by excitement. Unlike before, he is not worried about messing up or Jimin not having a good time. He's proud of his plan, committed to give Jimin an experience he's never had before.

It's perfect.

And then it starts raining.

When the first drops start to hit the window, Taehyung is merely annoyed. He is home alone, Jimin out to meet Hoseok for breakfast and a short visit to the dance studio just for fun. And although the weather isn't great, it's just after 10 am.

Around noon, the slight pattering against the window has changed into persistent drumming. With each passing hour and each raindrop collecting against the glass, Taehyung's mood gets worse.

At 3 pm, he gets a call from the company he'd booked their boat tour with. It's canceled due to the storm raging outside. Taehyung's heart instantly gets heavy, dropping almost as if made out of stone. The woman on the other end of the line sounds apologetic, promising a refund or the possibility of rescheduling, and Taehyung is not mad at her, not really. But his plans got ruined, he's not able to give Jimin what he'd been promised. There's a pit of unease sitting right below his ribcage when he thinks about letting Jimin down.

It's a suffocating feeling. It is only their second date, and Taehyung can throw all of his plans overboard. Literally. He feels stupid; he should have taken this into account and planned an alternative just in case. But the hands on the clock keep creeping forward, getting closer to the time of Jimin's arrival, and he's got nothing. No plan B, no way of salvaging the night.

By the time he hears Jimin's key sliding into place, the telltale click of the door opening and closing again, he's curled up on the sofa, a ball of misery hidden underneath a blanket.

"Taehyung?"

He's kept it together pretty well so far but the sound of Jimin's voice makes tears bubble up. He doesn't have the strength to answer, angrily wiping at the corners of his eyes.

"Taehyungie?" Jimin asks again, this time a hint of confusion woven into his question. "Are you home?"

Taehyung just grunts.

He can hear the way Jimin slips out of his shoes, the clanging of the coat hanger as he's taking off his jacket. Then there's the sound of soft steps padding towards the living room.

"Hey."

"Hi." Taehyung's throat is so dry that it barely comes out in a croak.

"Is everything alright?" Jimin asks as he moves closer. Taehyung doesn’t look at him, still curled towards the sofa cushions. There's the slightest stain on the upholstery from when he made Jimin laugh so hard he spilled a little bit of his wine. Luckily it was barely noticeable in the dark green fabric but now he uses it as an anchor, focusing so hard on that one spot in order not to face Jimin.

There's a dip behind his back as Jimin sits down, followed by a soft touch to his shoulder.

"Taehyung? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

"You don't sound fine to me. What happened?"

Taehyung sighs. He knew lying wouldn't work and that Jimin would see through him the second he stepped through the door. Maybe that's why he didn't bother hiding it better to begin with. Besides, he'd have to tell Jimin that his plans fell through anyway.

"You're worrying me. Please look at me?"

Pushing himself up into a sitting position he turns to face Jimin. There's concern edged into the corners of his eyes, his forehead creased in a deep frown. His hair is a mess, wet from the rain that's still beating against the windows.

"I messed up. We can't go on a second date."

Jimin tilts his head, his eyebrows furrowing even further.

"What do you mean?" he asks, voice tense.

This is exactly what Taehyung had wanted to avoid. He's playing with a loose thread on the sleeve of his sweatshirt, still not able to look Jimin in the eyes.

"I didn't think about the weather. I had a boat tour booked for us, there are bags of food and blankets sitting at the bottom of my closet. I swear I thought of everything but I didn't check the forecast and now my plans fell through."

"Oh." At the sound of relief in Jimin's voice, Taehyung's eyes snap up. "I thought you meant we can't go on a second date at all. That you had changed your mind."

"God, no, Jimin. Of course not," he says, grabbing Jimin's hand. "I'm sorry, I should have said it differently. And I'm sorry the night is ruined."

"The night isn't ruined, what are you talking about, silly," Jimin laughs gently and reaches forward to tuck Taehyung's hair behind his ear. Instead of pulling away, he keeps his hand on Taehyung's cheek. "We can still spend time together, maybe watch some movies."

Taehyung pouts.

"That's nothing special though. We do that all the time."

"Maybe," Jimin agrees. "But this is new."

And before Taehyung can ask what this is supposed to be, Jimin is kissing him. It's soft and slow as if Jimin knows about the tornado of dark thoughts wreaking havoc inside Taehyung's brain. As if he's trying to slow it down. Taehyung wouldn't be surprised if that's actually the case.

When Jimin pulls away, there's a small smile on his face.

"So? What do you say? Distract me from watching a movie?"

There's both a challenge and a promise hidden in his question and despite the lingering disappointment sitting in the pit of his stomach, Taehyung can't help but match Jimin's smile with one of his own.

Once Jimin has showered and Taehyung has grabbed the bags of snacks from his room, they get comfortable on their little sofa. Jimin suggests watching a fantasy movie, something dark and eerie to fit the mood outside. Taehyung doesn't care much, mind occupied with the way Jimin sits pressed against his side, fitting perfectly into his embrace.

40 minutes in, and Taehyung hasn't really caught much of the plot. It's confusing, and not really well made so he soon goes back to his favorite distraction - watching Jimin. Today though, Jimin doesn't seem to be that invested either.

Playing with the fingers on Taehyung's free hand, he mumbles, "I'm sorry we didn't get to do what you had planned."

"Me too. I'm sorry I let you down like that."

Jimin huffs and sits up, putting distance between them so he can look at Taehyung properly. It makes Taehyung's arm slide down from around his shoulders to his waist.

"You didn't let me down. I'm not disappointed Taehyung," he says, a frown covering his forehead. "I appreciate the gesture but being with you is more than enough."

Taehyung just hums in acknowledgment, focused on their intertwined hands in his lap. It's easier than looking Jimin in the eyes. It's not that he doesn't believe Jimin, but his own disappointment is still sitting too deep under his skin.

Jimin squeezes his hand before letting go, tilting Taehyung's chin so their eyes meet.

"I don't care about the when and where or even what we're doing. I care about you. "

"I know," Taehyung sighs.

"Good, so please try not to worry too much?"

"I can try?"

The smile on his face is a little shaky but the fierce sincerity on Jimin's face helps settle some of his nerves and frustration.

"Thank you," Jimin says and kisses him carefully.

It's reminiscent of their first kiss, a light brush of lips only. There's a little less hesitation, a welcome sense of familiarity now that their soft simple kisses have become part of their daily lives. Jimin is heart-achingly gentle, placing little pecks on Taehyung's lips whenever he has to pull away a little so they can catch their breath. His thumb is gently rubbing across Taehyung's cheekbone. It's slow and languid, almost lazy.

When Jimin pulls away, he's wearing a soft smile as he moves in to press a kiss to the tip of Taehyung's nose. There's something so sweet about the action that Taehyung can't suppress a small giggle.

It dies promptly on his lips when Jimin moves in to kiss him again. This time, it’s different. There's more force behind it, and although it's still pretty tame in comparison to the attack against their front door the other day, Taehyung can feel Jimin has different intentions than simply reassuring him. He keeps taking Taehyung's bottom lip between his own, sucking lightly. When Jimin slides his hands up to Taehyung's hair, pulling slightly just when he's biting down on his lip, a moan fights it's way up to his throat. It's the invitation Jimin needs and suddenly his tongue is in Taehyung's mouth, teasing his own.

As Jimin keeps gently pulling his hair, clearly enjoying the soft whimpers Taehyung is letting out, Taehyung's own hands are fumbling. Jimin runs his tongue behind Taehyung's teeth, making his head spin. And then suddenly he's shifting, throwing one leg over Taehyung's lap. It punches a surprised sound out of Taehyung's chest, makes him hold on to Jimin’s hips a little too tightly, and maybe it's that or the need for air, but Jimin moves away slightly.

When Taehyung opens his eyes, ready to beg for Jimin to come back if he needs to, he's in no way ready for the sight that greets him. Jimin's sweater has moved, revealing an awful lot of neck and collarbone that is practically asking Taehyung to paint pretty constellations of bruises on his skin. His lips are red, even poutier than usual and his pupils are wide. He's panting, much like Taehyung who's still trying to catch his breath.

"This okay?" Jimin asks, and he sounds so wrecked already that Taehyung is close to moaning just at the sound of his voice.

"Yes. Of course, yes," he nods frantically, desperate to have Jimin's lips on him again.

Judging from the ferocity with which Jimin moves back in, wasting no time to shove his tongue back into Taehyung's mouth, he's not the only one. They're pressed close, Jimin's arms wound tightly around his back. The only thing separating them at this point is the fabric of their shirts. Taehyung can feel the racing beat of Jimin's heart reverberating against his chest, in sync with his own.

With each passing second their kisses seem to get faster, more intense. Jimin's breath comes out sharply against Taehyung's face. It's the only thing he can hear, the movie long forgotten. It's like all his senses are attuned to Jimin. To the slight taste of the chocolate he was eating earlier lingering on his tongue, the softness of his lips against Taehyung's, the way his entire body moves. It's addictive, the way Jimin responds to the things Taehyung does.

Taehyung moves his hands down to grab Jimin's ass, and if he'd known about the reaction he'd get, he would have done it a lot earlier. Jimin whines and rocks against him. And although Taehyung loves all of Jimin's sounds from his squeaky laughter to his sleepy morning voice, this one might be his new favorite.

Jimin bites his lips sharply, disconnecting their kiss but staying so close that his lips brush Taehyung's as he speaks.

"Took you long enough."

He moves back in but Taehyung pulls back, staying just out of reach for Jimin’s lips.

"Excuse me, I'm trying to be respectful here."

It earns him a snort and a tug on the curls at the nape of his neck.

"Respectful, my ass. You've been staring for years now."

And okay, maybe Jimin had a point but Taehyung hardly thinks anyone could blame him. Instead of trying to strike back, he squeezes Jimin's ass, making him hiss out in surprise.

"And what a nice ass it is."

Jimin laughs, and it seems much too soft for the situation they're in.

"You're ridiculous." His voice is oozing fondness.

Taehyung doesn't get to respond, successfully shut up by Jimin's lips. It's a little slower now, a little more drawn out and it makes something deep inside Taehyung's stomach flutter. It's not any less sensual though, with the way he keeps squeezing Jimin's ass, swallowing up his soft sighs like a starved man.

With a last gentle bite to his bottom lip, Jimin starts kissing down his neck. Taehyung has never been too big of a fan of too much attention on his neck but leave it to Jimin to reduce him to a moaning mess within seconds. He'd be embarrassed by the way he's straining his neck to offer more skin, or how he's arching into Jimin if he were able to form any coherent thought. There's static in his brain and his vision is getting fuzzier with each little nibble and kiss.

And then Jimin finds his sweet spot right below his ear. Taehyung doesn't recognize the sound that comes out of his mouth, a groan broken from the way his breath catches in his chest. When Jimin bites down and soothes the slight sting with his tongue, he tightens the hold on Jimin's ass, rutting up into him. It's an automatic response. There's a second in which he completely freezes, feeling something hard against his thigh. And if the way Jimin sighs against the wet patch on his skin weren't enough to make his dick twitch in interest, the feeling of Jimin's own pressing against him definitely would be.

Jimin is back to nibbling on his skin, working another bruise into his neck; with the way he's writhing in his lap, Taehyung really doesn't stand a chance. Heat pools low in his belly and he can practically feel all his blood rushing south as he starts to get hard against Jimin's thigh.

When Jimin rolls his hips once more, their confined half-hard dicks brushing against each other. It sends a shock of electricity down his back; it's that and their loud unified moans that make him snap out of his daze.

"Jimin-" he pants.

Jimin hums.

"Jimin, wait."

Jimin immediately stops his ministrations on Taehyung's neck and leans back. He looks debauched, like temptation personified. There is a string of saliva hanging off his lips which he unceremoniously wipes away with the back of his hand. That alone is almost enough to make Taehyung moan, throw caution to the wind and pull him back in. Almost.

Because although Jimin's eyes are hooded, even though he is shifting in Taehyung's lap, clearly uncomfortable with the way his dick is straining against his pants, there's concern on his face.

"Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?" His voice is hoarse, making Taehyung shiver when he thinks about how much worse it would be if they had gone any further.

"You didn't. I'm fine," he says. His hands are resting in a safer place on Jimin's hips, and he squeezes them gently. He hates himself a little bit for what he's about to say.

"I just think we should slow down."

Jimin tilts his head to the side, furrows his brows in confusion.

"Look, it's not that I'm not interested. I mean, clearly," he says, gesturing to the tent in his pants. "I just... we were supposed to take things slow. I don't want it to happen like this, not when we've been out on one date and this is just a make-up plan for our ruined plans. Is that okay?"

Jimin's face melts into something softer.

"Oh, Taehyungie. Of course that's okay."

He cups Taehyung's face in his hands, rises up a little onto his knees, and places the softest whisper of a kiss to his forehead. Then he swings his leg back, moving out of Taehyung's lap until he's in the same spot he had started their evening in. There's a pang in Taehyung's chest when he realizes how empty he suddenly feels without the weight of Jimin anchoring him. He hopes that future Taehyung will thank him for this one day.

There's a moment of awkward silence. Both of them are still reeling a little, breaths still a little heavier than they would usually be. There's really no need to be embarrassed about how hard he still is in his pants, not after he had felt Jimin pressed against him - clearly just as affected. But there is a moment of irrational thought where Taehyung is tempted to pull a pillow across his lap to cover himself up.

When he looks at the TV screen, he has to smile.

"So," he says, and clears his throat. "Mission accomplished, then."

"Huh?"

Gesturing at the ending credits rolling on the screen in front of them, he answers, "I'd say you were plenty distracted."

Jimin laughs, flinging himself to the side. And just like that the bubble of tension bursts. He groans as he rests his forehead against Taehyung's shoulder.

"You're insufferable."

"You still like me though."

Jimin lifts his head, a playful glimmer in his eyes. "Maybe a little bit."

He presses a kiss to Taehyung's cheek and gets up. As he's lifting his arms, his sweater rises, showing the tiniest hint of skin. Taehyung's mouth goes dry.

"I'm gonna go to the bathroom real quick. Can you order dinner?"

"I- yeah", Taehyung clears his throat. "Yeah, of course."

Jimin leaves the room, and Taehyung allows himself a moment to take a few deep breaths. It had taken every ounce of strength in his body to push Jimin away. He's still not quite sure it's the right decision, not when his dick stirs in his pants and he's out of breath just at the sight of Jimin walking away from him.

With a shake of his head, he gets up to place their takeout order. 30 minutes later they are sitting back where they started with food containers taking up almost their entire coffee table. Somehow, they manage not to give in to temptation, even though Taehyung can see Jimin's eyes lingering on the impressive work he'd left on Taehyung's neck. If it hadn’t been for the sound of the doorbell going off right when he'd spotted the constellation of red and purple bruises in the bathroom mirror earlier, nothing would have stopped him from shoving his hand down his pants.

There's tension crackling in the air, and it's rising with every single touch of skin. It's odd, having to keep their distance; it would have been anyway but it feels especially strange now that they've started dating. Taehyung is not risking it though. Clearly, he can't trust himself with Jimin's lips attached to his, so they keep physical contact to a minimum.

When it gets late and Jimin's eyes start drooping, all Taehyung allows himself is a soft kiss goodnight. He keeps it short, even when Jimin chases after his lips. It's intoxicating enough with the way his lips are still sensitive from earlier. It sends a chill down his spine.

There's a moment when he's tucked into bed and staring at his ceiling that he starts to wonder. Wonder about what would have happened, if he hadn't stopped them. Would they have gotten off in their pants like horny teenagers? Or would they have taken it further, clothes littering the floor to one of their bedrooms?

If there's one thing he knows for sure, it's that he wants all of it with Jimin. The whole package. He wants the sex, sure. But he also wants the Sunday mornings spent curing hangovers, wants to carry a whiny sleepy Jimin to bed a thousand times more. He wants the fights about nothing important at all, and he wants to bicker about what's for dinner that night and who's supposed to do the laundry.

There's a flicker in his heart when he realizes he already has so much of that.

Maybe their friends were really on to something when they said the two of them were the strongest couple out of all of them, despite not even dating. Maybe they saw something before either of them was ready to. It's funny, he thinks as he turns to the side and pulls up the covers. How life works sometimes.

As sleep pulls him under, his last thoughts of the night are fixated on the way Jimin looked at him earlier when he had teased him. Maybe a little bit.

His eyes were telling a different story; as if he had wanted to say something different altogether.

Maybe a lot.

 


 

As soon as Taehyung pulls the heavy door to one of his favorite restaurants open, he's hit with a wave of sounds and smells. It's not as busy as it is around dinner time but there is light chatter buzzing through the room. The smell that wafts through the air from the kitchen is enough to make his mouth water.

He's here to meet Namjoon for lunch, a plan they'd made earlier that week. As Taehyung walks further into the room, bowing to the waitress standing behind the counter, his eyes flicker across the room trying to find Namjoon. He is running slightly late, to no fault of his own. He'd been ready to go twenty minutes ago but then Jimin intercepted him on his way out, pulling him in for a kiss, and well... there are many things Taehyung is immune to but Jimin's mouth is not one of them.

He spots Namjoon near the back of a restaurant, tucked comfortably into a small secluded corner.

"Hey," he says when he gets closer. "I'm sorry I'm late."

"Hey, it's alright, don't worry about it. Jimin's bad habits finally rubbing off on you, huh?"

Taehyung freezes in the middle of taking off his coat. It must look ridiculous, how he's standing there with his arms still half-tucked into the sleeves. Namjoon's question is entirely harmless if a little teasing. He can't know that Taehyung's mind immediately goes back to the night before. Something of Jimin's was rubbing off on him alright, but it certainly wasn't his bad habits.

Clearing his throat, Taehyung finally pulls his arms free and sits down.

"They're not," he says lightly and rolls his eyes. "Have you ordered already?"

"Just drinks, they should be here any minute now."

After a waitress comes to bring their drinks and take their orders, they fall into a comfortable conversation. They catch up, talking about what they've missed in each other's lives recently. Namjoon tells Taehyung how he's thinking about moving in with Yoongi, both of them slowly outgrowing their small one-bedroom apartments. Taehyung fills Namjoon in on his latest classes and how exams have been kicking his ass.

When the steaming bowls and plates of food are placed in front of them, Taehyung finally also removes his scarf. He drapes it over the back of his coat on his chair, hearing Namjoon make a noise.

"What?" he asks as he turns back.

There's an all too knowing smirk on Namjoon's face, one eyebrow raised.

"Impressive."

"Huh?"

Namjoon laughs. "Your neck, Taehyung-ah."

Taehyung's eyes go wide and heat rises up his chest, soon making him flush bright red. He slaps a hand against his neck, belatedly trying to cover up the evidence of the previous night.

"Um."

Namjoon is still chuckling. "It's okay, nobody else can see. So I take it, things with Jimin are going well?"

He's teasing but there's a softness in his question that tells Taehyung he's also genuinely interested.

"Yeah," Taehyung answers a little out of breath. "Yeah, things are great actually."

"I'm glad, Taehyung." This time there is not even the slightest hint of a joke in his voice.

"Thank you. Me too. We were supposed to go out on a date yesterday, actually. But then the weather ruined our plans."

"And so he decided to attack your neck instead?"

"Hyung!" Taehyung protests, averting his gaze to pick at his food. "It just kinda happened. Besides, it's not like we did anything past making out."

When he lifts his eyes to look at Namjoon, he's met with a look of surprise.

"What?" he says, shoving food in his mouth.

"Nothing. So you really are trying to take it slow, huh?"

Taehyung snorts, swallows his food, and replies, "Emphasis on trying. Jimin is..."

"Jimin," Namjoon nods understandingly.

Taehyung hums in acknowledgment.

“I was just… kind of upset about our plans falling through. I had this super romantic boat tour at night planned. And I didn’t really check the weather… rookie mistake, really. And so I felt bad when Jimin came home and I had to cancel on him.” Taehyung grows a lot more somber now; despite how well the night had turned out in the end, the disappointment still kind of stings.

“Hey,” Namjoon says gently. “Things like that happen, Taehyung-ah. It’s not your fault. And I’m sure Jimin doesn’t mind. He cares about you, it won’t matter to him what you do or where you are.”

Taehyung smiles softly and lifts his face to meet Namjoon’s eyes. “That’s what Jimin said as well.”

There’s a beat of silence.

"You know," Namjoon adds, "he seemed really happy when I saw him last week. Was gushing all about your first date."

Taehyung just smiles sheepishly, feeling his cheeks heat up for an entirely different reason than before. He knows Jimin had been happy on their first date; he wasn't his best friend for nothing, he's rarely not able to read Jimin like an open book. Even so, there is a certain thrill in knowing that Jimin had been happy to the point of sharing it with someone else. That he felt the need to gush about it.

"It's good," Namjoon says after putting down his chopsticks, "What you two have. It's really good."

"I know," Taehyung says quietly.

"What I'm saying is... don't worry too much, Taehyung. Obviously take all the time you need but I don't think you have to waste any thought on Jimin not enjoying every single moment with you."

Taehyung feels a lump in his throat. It's funny in a way. Because not even 24 hours before, Jimin had told him pretty much the same thing. He knows Jimin wasn't lying when he said that, wasn't just trying to calm him down. But there is something about hearing it from an outside source that makes his disappointment and frustration calm down. He didn't know how much he needed this, needed someone else to talk to because while he loves every second with Jimin and knows they can talk about anything, it's freeing to have someone else to listen to him. It seems innocent somehow, like talking about his first crush.

"Thank you, hyung," Taehyung says and by the look in Namjoon's eyes, he can tell he understands it was not just meant for the food or the company.

Once they've paid they make their way to the record store Yoongi works at a few blocks away. It's a nice day, still chilly but the sun is painting beautiful pictures on the sidewalk.

When they arrive, Yoongi is standing behind the counter, sorting through a stack of vinyl records. But as soon as he hears the chime of the doorbell as they're stepping in, he looks up. His gaze swiftly moves over Taehyung, settling on Namjoon. It's the way his face morphs from something somber into the gentlest smile at the sight of his boyfriend that makes Taehyung's heart constrict. 

Namjoon and Yoongi had the quietest kind of relationship Taehyung has ever witnessed. There was an understanding between them, forged by years of friendship and communication to the point where words seemed redundant. They had a tendency to support each other silently, with gentle touches and understated gestures.

"Hi," Yoongi says, practically sighing. His eyes have not left Namjoon's even for a second.

"Hey," Namjoon replies. Same voice, same lovestruck expression on his face.

Taehyung wants this. He wants this with Jimin and he wants it so badly that his heart is aching.

"Yeah, hi," he interrupts, finally making Yoongi's eyes snap back to him.

"Hi, Taehyung-ah."

Just then the bell chimes again, and Jungkook walks in.

"Hi hyungs," he says and moves towards the staff room.

"So what brings you here?" Yoongi asks as Jungkook gets ready for his afternoon shift. He had started working at the record store shortly after Yoongi. It was a blessing for both of them really, two introverts with a passion for music. Taehyung and Namjoon fill Yoongi in on their days as they wait, and a few minutes later, Jungkook walks back out with a nametag pinned to his sweatshirt.

"Where's thing two?" he asks Taehyung.

"Huh?"

"He means Jimin," Yoongi says.

"I just figured," Jungkook says with raised eyebrows, "since neither of you goes anywhere alone at this point."

"That's not true!"

"I mean, it kinda is," Namjoon supplies. 

"See, you say that but who was the one who suggested coming here to see his boyfriend?" 

Taehyung knows it's a weak comeback but it's better than none at all.

"Right," Yoongi says, "his boyfriend. "

"Whom he's been with for years now," Jungkook adds helpfully.

Taehyung just levels him with a gaze that is meant to be intimidating but he knows it holds no heat. Jungkook is just teasing him anyway.

"Point is, you and Jimin have been acting like this for just as long. Why not make it official?" As opposed to the previous part of the conversation, Namjoon's voice sounds soft, coercing almost; as if he's trying to gently drag the truth out of Taehyung.

Taehyung just shrugs. There's not much to say. He knows they have a point.

"We're taking our time," he says almost petulantly.

"The state of your neck begs to differ," Jungkook laughs.

Taehyung groans as he realizes he had forgotten to tie up his scarf properly, and despite the fact that he's been in this situation before that day, he feels a slight flush creep up his neck once more.

"Look, I'm not gonna discuss that now. Speaking of Jimin though," he takes a deep breath and adds, "he’s been complaining about not hanging out together, all of us. There's this new club downtown he's been wanting to go to. You guys down? Friday maybe?"

Namjoon and Yoongi share a quick look. "Sure."

"Yeah, I think that works," Jungkook says. "I'll ask Hobi-hyung later."

"Cool," Taehyung says and walks up to the classical music section. He's been collecting for a couple of years now. Although he appreciated modern technology and the way he could listen to all kinds of music at the touch of a button on his phone, there was something special about listening to records. It filled the room differently, beautiful melodies accompanied by soft scratches of the needle on the vinyl. His collection wasn't massive by any means but he was constantly adding to it.

Flipping through the different records, he vaguely hears Yoongi assisting a customer. Namjoon is nowhere to be seen but that isn't anything unusual. Despite not working here he knows the place almost as well as Yoongi does.

"Hey," Jungkook says, walking down to the row of shelves. "You know I was just teasing earlier, right?"

Taehyung couldn't help the soft smile taking over his face even if he wanted to. Jungkook and he have always had a playful relationship, partners in crime in many ways. Part of that was teasing each other and egging each other on. Still, the core of it was soft and most importantly full of unconditional mutual support. He hadn’t doubted his intentions for a second but it filled him with warmth knowing Jungkook was looking out for him like that, making sure there were no misunderstandings between them.

"I know," he says and glances up at Jungkook.

"Good, good."

There's the slightest break of silence, only interrupted by the sound of Yoongi chattering in the background and the flipping of records between Taehyung's hands, before he adds, "I'm happy for you."

Taehyung's hands freeze. He drops the records he had been holding, lets them slip back onto the shelf. They settle with a quiet bump.

When he shifts to look at Jungkook, this time properly and not just a fleeting gaze, he's met with round eyes and the softest smile.

"I know you are, Jungkook-ah. Didn't doubt that for a second."

It happens rarely but it's moments like this when Taehyung is reminded of the wide-eyed, shy kid Jungkook used to be when they first met. It had taken some coaxing to get him out of his shell, a little encouragement to fully be himself. Over the years, he's grown a lot more confident. The one thing that has stayed the same is his soft heart.

There's nothing else that needs to be said. It's all settled between the smiles they share.

Just then, Taehyung's phone vibrates in his pocket. It's Jimin, asking him to pick up some juice on the way home. He barely notices the way his face immediately quirks up in a smile.

"Jimin?" he hears Jungkook interrupt his typing of a rushed reply.

"Yeah," he answers, slowly making his way to the door, "I think I'll be on my way then."

"Alright. Have fun with your boyfriend."

There's the slightest hint of teasing in his voice once more but it's obvious from the fondness in his eyes that he doesn't actually mind Taehyung leaving already.

"He's not my boyfriend," Taehyung laughs and shoves his shoulder gently.

"Yet."

Taehyung's breath hitches and he stops in his tracks. His hand is hovering somewhere above the door handle.

"Yet," he agrees. His heart flutters gently in his chest when he realizes how that reality is within reach. A reality in which Jimin is his boyfriend.

He grabs the door handle, swings the door open, and turns around.

"Bye, hyungs," he yells, Namjoon still out of sight while Yoongi is ringing up someone's purchase at the counter. "See you on Friday."

"Bye."

He makes a quick stop at the grocery store, picking up Jimin's requested juice. When he gets home, there's music echoing through the apartment. He smiles when he hears Jimin tinkering around the kitchen, softly singing along.

Once he's taken off his coat and shoes, he walks towards the sound of the commotion. Jimin hasn't heard him enter, and Taehyung takes that as his invitation to simply watch him for a second. Arms crossed in front of his chest, he leans against the wall separating their kitchen from the small living room area.

Jimin is dressed casually, clearly having no intention of leaving the house today. He's wearing old sweats he's kept since high school, and if he's not mistaken Taehyung recognizes the baggy t-shirt as one of his own. His blond hair is pushed back from his forehead, still a little damp from the shower he took when Taehyung had left for lunch. There's something inherently warm and cuddly about this Jimin, and it makes Taehyung's heart flutter knowing he gets to see him like this.

Jimin isn't superficial by any means but he takes pride in his appearance. It's special when he lets his guard down like this, no makeup on his face, hair wet, glasses perched on top of his nose.

He's not my boyfriend... yet.

The words seem to echo through his head, much like they have done the entire way home. The yet was promising. Taehyung knows that at this point it is more of a formality than anything else, and the sight of Jimin dancing through the kitchen as he's putting away dishes is just further confirmation of that.

"Hey, gorgeous."

The sound of his voice makes Jimin jump for a second but as soon as he spots Taehyung resting against the door, a smile takes over his face.

"Hi. How long have you been watching me?"

Taehyung hums as Jimin wipes his hands on the dish towel, drops it onto the counter, and walks up to him.

"Not very long."

Just long enough to fall a little bit more in love.

Jimin slips his arms around Taehyung's neck, rises to his tiptoes, and places a soft kiss on his lips. It's nothing big, nothing compared to the night before but it makes Taehyung feel like he's floating anyway. It's an automatic response, the way his hands find Jimin's waist. As if they were always meant to rest there.

"Creep," Jimin mumbles against his lips.

Their next attempt to kiss fails miserably because they're smiling too much. It's a small sacrifice to make.

"How was lunch?" Jimin asks. He's back down fully on his feet but his arms are still around Taehyung's neck, gently playing with his curls.

"Good. We've made plans to go out on Friday. To that club you wanted to check out."

"Oh really? What a shame. I kinda liked having you all to myself."

Taehyung just laughs, knowing that whether they've got company or not, Jimin will have all of his attention.

"You've got me. You know that," he says and places a kiss on Jimin's forehead.

They don't say anything else for a while, just holding each other in the middle of their kitchen, slightly swaying to the music playing in the background. They’re so close to having the kind of familiar comfort Namjoon and Yoongi find in each other, so close to having the bright-eyed romance Jungkook and Hoseok have.

He's itching to make it official because the longer he waits, the more he realizes that his hyungs were right - in many ways they already had what it takes to be in a relationship. Now he just needed to make it official. And he needed to do it soon. He can feel the words bubbling up his throat whenever he has a quiet moment with Jimin, harder to hold back each time, getting closer to spilling over his lips.

It's a relief that he knows Jimin's answer. It shows in the smiles Jimin sends him across the living room when they’re working on their assignments, or how he lets his gaze linger a little longer, even when Taehyung catches him staring. 

He knows he could ask him right here, right now, standing in their small kitchen with horrible pop music ringing through the room. But he has more planned, wants at least one more proper date and a silly setback like the day before won't stop him from giving Jimin another big gesture. Just one more.

So he restrains the words sitting on the tip of his tongue, swallows them back down once more, his mind already five steps ahead, working on a plan to create the perfect situation where he won’t have to hold back anymore.

 


 

A satisfying weight settles on his fingers as Taehyung slips on a few of his rings. He loves jewelry, has a thing for finding standout pieces and loves to accessorize his outfits in ways that seem unconventional to most people. Still, for everyday purposes, he usually sticks to understated pieces that won't get in the way when he's trying to get work done.

On a night like this though, he brings out the big guns. There's a collection of eye-catching rings sitting on both his hands, a necklace resting between his collarbones. He's left the first few buttons of his shirt open, switched out his usually oversized pants for black skinny jeans. And although he doesn't bother wearing make-up most days, there is something about the way a smokey lash line gives him a sharper look.

The phone buzzing on his nightstand alerts him to a text from Jimin. They decided on getting ready separately but somehow they still managed to be done at the same time.

Taehyung unplugs his phone from his charger, slips it into his back pocket along with his wallet. When he opens his door, Jimin is already waiting for him, checking his phone. A rare occurrence.

"About ti-," Jimin starts but when he looks up, the words get stuck in his throat.

He looks gorgeous. It’s Jimin, of course he does. His hair is parted to the side, earrings dangling prettily. The way they gently tap against the sides of his neck makes Taehyung hyper-focus, suddenly having to fight the urge to put his lips against the soft skin. There's way too much neck, way too much collarbone exposed for him to handle, and he's beyond grateful that Jimin's own little moment of panic is giving him a second to calm down. Although most of that calm goes straight out the window when his gaze swoops down and sees the tight leather pants with rips on the knees glued to Jimin's legs.

"You um...," Jimin starts, "you look..."

Taehyung just smirks, happy with having reached the desired effect. Jimin is staring at him like a deer in headlights as he walks up to him, pressing a soft kiss against open lips.

"Thanks, angel. You too," he whispers, something soft and teasing in his tone.

If he weren't so close, he might have missed the sharp intake of breath from Jimin's lips. It makes him want to close the gap once more, their plans be damned. Jimin looks delectable, and Taehyung would not be opposed to giving in to that treacherous voice inside his head telling him that taking things slow is overrated anyway.

Instead, he pulls away and walks towards their front door. There's a certain confidence in his step, something almost cocky. When he reaches for the door handle and pulls, Jimin is still rooted in place, staring after him. The way his eyes snap up from where they have been very clearly fixated on Taehyung's ass would be funny if Taehyung weren’t struggling himself.

"You coming?" Taehyung asks, eyebrows raised.

With a shake of his head, Jimin finally snaps out of it and walks up to him. There is determination in every step he takes.

Instead of slipping through the door, he stops in front of Taehyung, pulls him into a quick kiss.

"You look incredible and I make no promises of behaving tonight."

He turns around, finally walking out into the hallway, and this time it's Taehyung who needs a second to catch his breath. To his dismay, Jimin produces his wire-framed glasses from god knows where and slips them onto his nose. It takes every bit of restraint for Taehyung to not pull him back in and knock those damn glasses off his face. There’s a self-satisfaction on Jimin’s face that lets him know he’s been found out at some point over the past few days, but he can’t find it in himself to care. He likes those glasses, maybe a little bit too much.

If this is how they act at home, after less than five minutes in each other's company, it's going to be a long night. And with his self-restraint already running low, Jimin's threat of misbehavior might make him unravel completely.

Somehow they had got through the week without any repetitions of their so-called movie night. The bruises on Taehyung's neck have faded to a light yellow tint, invisible if you didn't know what to look for. It should have helped them slow down, take their time as they had promised, but if anything it had only made the tension rise. Taehyung is strung tight like a bow, ready to snap; and from the husky sound of Jimin's voice and the intense look in his eyes, he isn't faring any better.

There is something tantalizing in the air, the possibilities of what the night could bring teasing him as they make their way to the club. They'd agreed to meet everyone else there, skipping pre-gaming, knowing that Taehyung was a lightweight and Jimin could easily drink his own bodyweight in a short amount of time once they arrived.

The music is loud but luckily Seokjin had pulled some strings, securing them a booth in the corner of the club. A little secluded from the rest of the party scene, their little group is already huddled together around a table. Nobody bats an eyelash when Taehyung and Jimin arrive hand-in-hand, or when they only take up half the space the others left for them.

It's comfortable, Taehyung thinks, as they easily fall into conversation. They're lucky they have this corner to themselves, the volume of the music not overpowering and giving them a chance to talk. He lets his gaze wander around the room, taking in the high ceiling, the walls covered in murals that separate them from the dancefloor. There's a certain charm to the way the club combines modern elements like the art on the walls with antique ones like the chandelier glittering above them.

His focus is drawn away from where it was resting on the bar when a weight settles high on his thigh.

He yelps, making six heads turn his way. He's met with five confused expressions... and one awfully smug one.

"You okay, hyung?" Jungkook asks.

"Yeah, Taehyung-ah, you okay?" Jimin asks as he's rubbing circles into his thigh. There's a dare in his voice, almost like he's taunting him.

"'M fine," he rasps out. "Just thirsty."

"Poor baby," Jimin says. "I'll go get us drinks."

And with a last squeeze to Taehyung's thigh, he lifts himself up from the plush lounge seats. There's a swing in his step, asking for Taehyung to look after him. Jimin knows what he's doing, there is no way he doesn't. He's always been like this on nights out, always flirting without any ulterior motive to it. But there is a difference between seeing it directed at other people, objectively knowing Jimin is attractive and knows how to use it, and having it directed at him. It makes heat coil in his stomach, makes him want to walk after Jimin, and drag him into a bathroom stall, wherever the hell those are located.

When Jimin turns around to look over his shoulder, shooting him a smile and a wink, Taehyung knows he doesn't stand a chance.

It's both a blessing and a curse when Hoseok ropes him into a conversation, asking about his latest photography assignment. Taehyung has always loved talking about his projects, excitement making it hard to express his ideas sometimes but his friends were nothing but supportive. They listened when his ideas were only in their baby stages, rough concepts without much explanation. They helped him out when he got stuck sometimes, and just like everyone shows up for Jimin, Jungkook, and Hoseok's dance recitals, they will put on dress shirts and ties to look at Taehyung's art hung around their small university gallery whenever he got a spot in the exhibitions.

So he gets into it, tells them how their latest assignment is centered around light, about how he's been struggling to come up with something innovative recently. He's not exactly worried, he knows his patterns and that inspiration is likely to strike at the most random times. Still, bouncing ideas back and forth has helped him before and so when Jungkook offers to come over during the week, he takes him up on it immediately.

The conversation drifts to other topics, and it's then that Taehyung notices Jimin is still not back from getting drinks. When he lifts his gaze to the bar, he has no trouble locating him.

Taehyung knows a small part of it is his own doing, the way he's constantly aware of Jimin - now more than ever. The rest is all Jimin, though. There is something about him that lures people in, demands attention. He gets it, especially now that he's been the subject of Jimin's flirting himself. So he can't really blame the guy leaning against the bar who's letting his eyes travel down Jimin's body.

He's not worried. Jimin knows how to handle himself after all. But there is something about the look in the guy's eyes that doesn't sit right with him. It makes him feel queasy, has him squirming in his seat, dying to get up and force himself into the small gap between them. He would if there were any signs of discomfort in Jimin's posture. There isn't though and so he stays put, waiting for Jimin to come back with their drinks instead.

He's barely able to retain a scoff when he sees the way the guy watches Jimin as he walks away from the bar. Jimin has barely placed the drinks on the table and sat down when Taehyung pulls him in for a deep kiss, swallowing the surprised sound leaving Jimin's lips. It's short but intense, the way he's gripping Jimin's waist, almost making him bend backward a little with the force of it. When he pulls back, he can't keep his eyes from flitting towards the now deserted place at the bar. Jimin's shock fades into laughter when he follows Taehyung's gaze.

Once their eyes meet again, he grabs Taehyung's cheek.

"You're ridiculous," he says, voice shaking with laughter.

"And you're annoyingly hot," Taehyung retorts. "I can't let you out of my sight for two seconds."

There is no heat to it, and he knows Jimin can tell he's only joking by the way he fondly shakes his head and pulls Taehyung back in for a much softer kiss this time.

"Relax," he says when they pull apart and the fondness in his eyes renders Taehyung speechless for a second. "I'm here with you. I'm not going home with anyone else."

It's close to a miracle that the only reactions they're getting from their friends are questioning gazes and raised eyebrows on Seokjin's part. They join the conversation which has somehow moved on to a heated discussion about unfriendly customers in retail jobs.

This time Taehyung doesn't flinch when Jimin's hand finds its way to his thigh once more. He's sipping happily on his cocktail, something fruity that masks the taste of alcohol, and with the weight on his leg, Jimin's laughter in his ears, and the warm buzz the drink sends running through his veins he settles deeper into the cushions of the seat as the minutes pass.

At some point, Jimin squeezes his thigh.

"Come dance with me?" he whispers into Taehyung's ear. His tone is tantalizing, just loud enough for Taehyung to hear. It's not the first time Jimin has asked him to dance but it's the first time he's asked like this, and Taehyung knows it'll test his already low restraint. And yet, he's not able to say no when he turns around and sees the look in Jimin's eyes.

Instead, he nods, and the smile brightening up Jimin's face alone is worth it. As soon as they're standing up, Jimin reaches for his hand, gently dragging him towards the dance floor. He hasn't paid much attention to the music until now, focused on catching up with his friends, but as he gets closer to the dancefloor he groans. There is no way he's going to make it out alive once Jimin starts moving to the RnB music blasting through the speakers.

The dancefloor is packed, people grinding against each other to the beat but as Jimin pulls him further into the middle of the crowd, he's all Taehyung can focus on. He bumps into people, almost loses his balance a couple of times but he barely notices. And then Jimin stops walking and turns towards him. The look in his eyes tells Taehyung that Jimin's focus is as fixated as his own.

They're already standing close together, the crowd on the dancefloor leaving them no choice. But then Jimin lets go of his hand, slips it around Taehyung's waist, and pulls him in until they're chest to chest. He lifts his head slightly until he's within earshot. He has to move in close to have any chance of being heard above the volume and the way his breath hits Taehyung’s skin sends a shiver down his spine.

"I told you, I wouldn't make any promises of behaving tonight."

It punches a weak chuckle from Taehyung's chest.

"And you're not making it easy," he says and presses a kiss under Taehyung's jawline, lingering against his skin.

"I never asked you to behave."

For a second he thinks Jimin hasn't even heard him over the music, but then he feels a smile pressed against his skin.

"Good," Jimin says, gently biting his neck just where he had painted pretty constellations of blue and purple less than a week ago.

There's something weirdly exciting about it. How Jimin lingers in the same spots, knows exactly where to lick and bite to reduce Taehyung to a quivering mess inside his arms. All despite not having pressed kisses below his jawline since the night he first did. It had been a challenge for Taehyung to restrain himself all week, and judging from the attention his neck is receiving now, Jimin hasn’t been doing much better.

With a last gentle lick to one of the lingering bruises, Jimin kisses his way up until they're face to face. He's leaning in close, breath puffing out against Taehyung's lips. It makes him feel a little bit better when he focuses on the way Jimin's chest is moving against his in short staggered motions and the way he can feel Jimin's heartbeat keeping up with his own.

"I thought you wanted to dance?"

Instead of answering him with words, Jimin's lips quirk up in a devilish smile before he drops his hands from around Taehyung's waist and in one swift motion turns around to press his back against Taehyung’s chest. It all happens so quickly that Taehyung barely has time to react before Jimin starts moving to the beat.

And, well. Jimin is a dancer, and it shows. But where he's graceful and elegant or fierce on stage, here under the dim lights he's downright sinful. He knows what he's doing, that much is clear from the way he's rolling his hips, ass pressed tightly against Taehyung's crotch.

It's the sweetest form of torture. Taehyung feels a light layer of perspiration gathering on his neck, the collar of his shirt sticking uncomfortably to his skin. He knows it has little to do with the heat of the crowd. He's struggling to keep up with Jimin, and just when he thinks it can't get any worse (or better), Jimin takes his hands and slides them to where he wants them. His left hand rests right on Jimin's sternum keeping him close. Sure. Fine. Whatever. But when Jimin takes his right hand and slides it lower and lower, until it rests curled around Jimin's thigh, he swears he's going to go mad.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he says leaning forward.

Jimin leans back, arching his back so he can answer him and Taehyung isn't sure if he wants to curse or praise him for the way he pushes his hips back. From his vantage point, the few centimeters he has on Jimin, there is way too much exposed neck in his field of vision.

"Dancing," Jimin says but there's something dangerous lingering in his voice.

"More like torturing me."

Jimin laughs, and it's almost ridiculous how much the sound stands out against the music. He shouldn't be able to hear him that well.

"Oh trust me. If I was trying to torture you, you'd know."

"I don't know if that's a promise or a threat."

Just like he had minutes before, Jimin spins around until he's facing Taehyung once more. His lips are glistening, a light pink gloss making them look even more inviting than they normally do.

"Why don't you try to find out?" Jimin asks, and crashes their lips together, not giving him any time to answer.

He wastes no time, immediately prying Taehyung's lips apart with his tongue. It's fast and wet and heavy, remnants of juice and bourbon on his tongue. And even though he can barely hear the soft whimpers Jimin lets out against his lips, he can feel them reverberating through his entire body, and maybe that's even worse.

He's so responsive in Taehyung's arms, starts shaking when Taehyung bites down on his soft bottom lip. And when he finally, finally, slides his hands down to grab Jimin's ass the way he's been wanting to since the moment he let go last time, he's not disappointed with Jimin's reaction.

He trembles, his grip on the back of Taehyung's shirt tightens, effectively pulling him in even closer. So close that he can slip his thigh between Taehyung's legs, putting some pressure on his half-hard dick. Taehyung groans into Jimin's mouth and it takes everything in him to not start dry humping him right then and there.

When he returns the favor, tightening his hold on Jimin's ass to pull him onto his thigh, Jimin shudders and breaks the kiss. It's ridiculous really, Taehyung thinks as he's kissing down Jimin's neck, not willing to part for a second, the way Jimin is still grinding to the beat, keeping up the pretense of dancing as if they're not two seconds away from tearing each other's clothes off in the middle of the dancefloor. As if he's not moaning melodies of his own into Taehyung's ear. As if his cock isn't pressed tightly against Taehyung's leg, hardening just a little bit more with every roll of his hips.

He starts patting Taehyung's back, trying to get his attention.

"Taehyung," he croaks out.

"Hmm."

"Bathroom?"

Taehyung stops nibbling on the skin on Jimin's neck, pulls back slightly to get a good look at him. Jimin's lips are red, kiss-bitten, and his cheeks are flushed pink. He looks disheveled, a wild gleam in his eye. There's hope, too.

So Taehyung just nods, grabbing Jimin's hand, and starts pushing through the crowd towards the back of the club where he believes the bathrooms are located. Jimin has a death grip on his hand and there is something frantic about the way they're trying to leave the dancefloor.

They find the men's bathroom deserted and Taehyung wastes just enough time to send a small prayer to a God he doesn't believe in as he pulls Jimin into one of the stalls. Before the lock has fully clicked into place, he's back in Jimin's space, crowding him against the door. Picking up right where they left off, they're pressed together from head to toe. With the sound of the music muffled through the thick bathroom door, Taehyung can finally hear all the soft gasps, the moans and whimpers leaving Jimin's mouth when he tightens his fingers, runs his tongue behind his teeth, leaves bites on his lips. It's addictive, all the little ways in which Jimin responds to him. The way he tightens his grip on Taehyung's hair (something he seems to be incredibly fond of but Taehyung files that information away for later) with every brush of his tongue.

There's a fraction of a second in which Taehyung considers lifting Jimin up, making him wrap his legs around his waist. But then Jimin starts pulling on his shirt, tugging it until it's free from his pants. And then Jimin's hands are on his skin, leaving a trail of fire where they rake across his back and it's like his mind has been wiped completely. Leaving him helpless, reacting on instinct as he grinds harder into Jimin. He's hard, almost painfully so, and from the way Jimin writhes against him, he is right there with him. Jimin twists slightly to the right, making their dicks brush together through too many layers of clothing.

Their lips disconnect, unified moans leaving their lips as they pant into each other's mouths.

"Shit," Taehyung groans. He starts kissing along Jimin's cheekbone right when Jimin's hands start traveling around his waist to his belt buckle.

He has to pull his hips away slightly to give Jimin more room to work with and he would curse and whine at the loss of friction if he weren't occupied kissing his way down Jimin's neck. The smell of roses and Jimin's peach-scented shampoo lingers in the air. It's intoxicating, almost making Taehyung's mouth water. He wants to devour him, scatters gentle kisses across Jimin's skin.

It feels a little ironic, honestly, the way they wanted to take things slow only to end up here - in a bathroom in a club somewhere across town, with heaving chests short of breath and Jimin's hand almost down Taehyung's pants.

The absurdity that this is how they finally give in makes him laugh into Jimin's neck.

"What?" Jimin asks as he's unbuttoning Taehyung's pants and shoving down the zipper. His hand is almost exactly where Taehyung needs it, lingering at the waistband of his underwear.

"This is so unromantic," Taehyung forces out through his giggles as he slams his forehead against Jimin's shoulder.

There's a split second where they're just holding each other, light chuckles replacing moans. Taehyung's open pants are momentarily forgotten. Jimin pinches his side teasingly before he answers him.

"Well, if someone hadn't cockblocked us last week, we could've done this at home."

Taehyung doesn't have to see him to know he's smiling.

He huffs. "Excuse me for trying to be romantic."

Jimin hums and then there is a soft pressure against Taehyung's temple where Jimin kisses him. "And you're doing fantastic."

There is no hint of laughter in his voice when he continues, just sincerity. "Seriously, do you wanna stop? Go home? We can wait."

Taehyung snorts, pulls away from where he's been hiding his face in Jimin's shoulder. "Jimin, honestly, if you don't get your hands on my dick in the next two minutes, I might actually cry."

Jimin's eyes go wide for a second before his lips spread into a devilish grin. And without any warning, he shoves his hand down Taehyung's pants.

Taehyung groans, a desperate fuck leaving his lips when Jimin starts rubbing circles with the palm of his hand. There's not much room to move, his hand trapped between the jeans and underwear but it doesn't matter. The pressure is so good, such a relief from all the teasing he's been subjected to over the past couple of hours and days, that his knees are close to giving out, his hands fumbling as they try to find something to hold on to.

"You were saying?" Jimin quirks an eyebrow at him. It's a challenge and Taehyung has never been one to back down.

"I think you missed," he groans out, the way he's grinding his hips against Jimin betraying his words. There's a wet patch forming against the fabric of his underwear. And then suddenly the pressure is gone.

And Taehyung whines. His eyes flutter open, vision fuzzy around the edges but Jimin's face stands out crystal clear. Especially the pursed lips, the taunting hint of a smirk.

"What the hell? No, come back." His hips move forward in desperate motions, meeting nothing but air.

"Say please."

Jimin's voice is teasing, but there is a hint of something authoritative, almost stern underneath it. And okay. Maybe that's a bigger turn-on than Taehyung had previously thought it would be. He wants to argue, wants to find out how far he can push Jimin, how rough he'd get with him. It's the way his cock is straining against his boxers, the way his legs are starting to shake that makes him give in for now.

"God, Jimin-ah," he groans, "please, fuck, do something. Please."

"Good boy."

Jimin gives him a swift kiss, merely a peck, before he pulls him in closer, cradling Taehyung's head back into his neck. It's almost the same position as before but then he pushes Taehyung's pants and underwear down in one motion. Instead of letting Taehyung's cock slap against his stomach, inevitably staining his shirt, Jimin grabs it and immediately closes his fist around the base. The sheer domesticity of the action, making sure Taehyung's clothes wouldn't be completely ruined, would have made his heart flutter if it weren't for the relief, for the delicious pressure of skin on skin. Instead, he lets out a sob into Jimin's neck. It does little to muffle the sound, and there's a small part of his brain that hopes nobody has entered the bathroom while they were too busy to notice, potentially hearing the moans and whines echoing between the tiled walls.

And then Jimin starts moving, lightly trailing his fingers up, up, up, until he reaches the head. He's barely applying any pressure and Taehyung is not exactly surprised that Jimin's a teasing menace when it comes to sex or any other kind of intimacy. He acts as if he has all the time in the world, fingers traveling slowly to collect the precum at the top, while Taehyung is already reduced to a shivering, mumbling mess.

"Jimin, I swear to god..." he starts to complain, earning him a soft chuckle and another soft kiss pressed to his sweaty, sticky temple.

"Okay, okay."

Finally, Jimin stops playing, closes his fist just underneath the head, and starts moving. His fingers barely close around Taehyung's cock but none of that matters when even the first slide makes Taehyung feel like he's floating. It's slow at first, careful almost. As if Jimin is watching him closely, taking in every gasp, every whimper leaving Taehyung's lips.

With each stroke, he gets faster, surer of his movements. Any thoughts of hesitation have left Taehyung's mind by now, and there's a voice in the back somewhere that tells him he was dumb for not getting here sooner.

"Fuck, Jimin-ah," he pants out when Jimin runs a thumb over his head.

Heat is pooling in his stomach, rising with every touch of skin on skin. It's like Jimin is playing a game, figuring out how Taehyung likes to be touched and he's awfully good at it. It's no surprise that Jimin can read him so easily really, considering how long they've known each other, but it turns Taehyung into a whimpering mess almost embarrassingly fast. Jimin's grip is just right, and Taehyung can't stop himself from chasing it with every move. It's a push and pull like it's been all night.

Every couple of strokes Jimin moves the palm of his hand over the head of his cock, making sure to collect all of the precum gathering there. It's those moments that almost make Taehyung's knees give out - when Jimin runs a finger around the ridge, trails up the veins.

"'M close." He's shaking, and there's a wet patch forming against Jimin's skin where he is breathing into his neck.

"Shh, I got you," Jimin mumbles, left hand coming up to the back of Taehyung's head. It's hazy and heavy, and he wishes he had enough brainpower to kiss Jimin, to do anything but whine at the way Jimin's grip tightens once more.

"Holy shi-"

Jimin keeps adjusting his movements, responding to the way Taehyung's soft whimpers turn into louder, more desperate moans when he tightens his grip a little or switches up the speed. He's close, feels the pressure in his belly rising with each stroke and it's all Taehyung can do to try and hold on a little while longer. It's a little silly, the way he doesn't want this moment to end even though he knows this is not a one time off.

Once the hand cradling his neck leaves to join Jimin's other one, he stands no chance. His right hand is moving at a breakneck speed by now, to the point where Taehyung doesn't even manage to chase his grip. So he just stands there, sobbing into Jimin's neck, mumbling an incoherent string of words. It's when Jimin runs his other hand softly over the head of his cock, slightly digging into the slit once more, whispering a husky come for me, Taehyung right next to his ear that he finally gives in and lets go. His entire body freezes up as Jimin strokes him through it, never once slowing down. It feels like the heat coiling in his tummy is unleashed, traveling through his veins until he's completely consumed.

He could swear he blacks out for a second because the next thing he knows is Jimin peppering soft kisses on whatever clammy skin he can reach, his hands still moving on Taehyung's now slowly softening dick. Each slide feels like a shot of electricity shooting up his spine, and it's only when Taehyung whimpers from oversensitivity that Jimin lets go.

"You good?" he murmurs into the side of Taehyung's face.

Taehyung chuckles weakly, breath still coming fast.

"Fantastic," he answers, patting Jimin's hips. "Just... Gimme a second."

Jimin does as he's asked, not moving, simply going back to his previous ministrations of covering Taehyung in kisses. Once Taehyung's heartbeat has slowed down significantly and his knees no longer feel like they're gonna give out underneath him, he pulls back to get a good look at Jimin. He's greeted with a smile much softer than he had anticipated.

"Holy shit."

Jimin throws his head back laughing before reaching past him to wipe off his hands on some toilet roll. Taehyung hadn't really thought about it, too caught up in the moment, but somehow Jimin has managed to keep him from spilling all over their clothes.

"You're ridiculous," he says fondly, discarding the used sheets while Taehyung pulls up his pants again.

"Oh really?"

Jimin isn't ready for the way Taehyung grabs him and pulls him in, that much is clear from the way his eyes pop wide open. He yells in shock but then Taehyung kisses him, not wasting any time to push his tongue past Jimin's lips, making sounds of indignation fade into moans within a split second.

He soon disconnects their lips but only to leave kisses down Jimin's neck as he pulls his shirt free from his pants. The moans and sighs leaving Jimin's lips and Jimin’s hands buried in his own hair are almost enough for his dick to stir in interest once more, but this is not the time.

He presses a soft trail of kisses as far as he can go down Jimin's chest, unbuttoning his shirt as he goes, watching the way Jimin's eyes are closed in bliss as he throws his head back against the door. It's only when Taehyung is down on his knees, hands swiftly working Jimin's belt buckle that his head snaps forward, eyes landing on Taehyung in front of him.

"Fuck."

He sounds breathless, wrecked even, and Taehyung is dying to find out what he is going to sound like once he's done with him.

"Ridiculous, huh?" he says, tone light and teasing.

Before Taehyung moves on though, he rests his hands gently on Jimin's thighs.

"This okay?" he asks.

Jimin just laughs fondly, hand sliding down to cradle Taehyung's cheek.

"More than."

Taehyung answers with a small smile and a quick peck to the palm of Jimin's hand before he moves to unbutton his pants. Now that he's got the okay, he wastes no time. Hooking his fingers into the band of both Jimin's pants and underwear, he pulls them down in one swift motion and-

"Oh."

Taehyung isn't quite as careful as Jimin, not quite as elegant with his movements, and so Jimin's cock springs free and slaps up against his stomach, punching a moan from Jimin's throat. It leaves a trickle of precum on his abs, and Taehyung can't do anything but stare. He vaguely registers the way his mouth waters at the sight of Jimin's cock right in front of his face as he's contemplating what to do first, where to touch first.

"What?"

Jimin doesn't even try to conceal the impatience coloring the tone of his voice, and it sends a shot of heat down Taehyung's back. He tears his gaze away from Jimin's cock, eyelashes fluttering a little bit as he looks up at Jimin.

"Pretty."

Jimin snorts in disbelief, shaking his head a bit.

"God, Taehyung."

"I'm serious. Your dick is very pretty."

He is serious, would never lie about this just for the sake of it. But he would be lying if he said he doesn't repeat himself in order to get a reaction out of Jimin, too. He tries to cover it up, but Taehyung can see the way Jimin practically preens under his praise.

"Yeah, okay, thanks," he mutters. "As much as I appreciate it, would be nice if you could do something other than stare at i- ohmygod. "

His complaint turns into a filthy moan, head slamming back against the stall door with a loud thump and Taehyung would be worried about Jimin being in pain if he weren't so preoccupied with swallowing him down in one swift movement. He lingers for a second, relaxing his throat, slowly tracing the vein on the downside of Jimin's cock before he pulls back. He flicks his tongue across the head once, earning a whimper from Jimin's lips before he pulls back a little further, only keeping his fingers wrapped around the base as he sinks back onto his heels.

When he looks up, Jimin's eyes are closed, his glasses having slid down a bit on the bridge of his nose, as he's trying to catch his breath.

"You were saying?"

His tone is smug, and he knows it, so he can't exactly blame Jimin for the sharpness in his voice when he answers.

"Shut up."

Taehyung laughs and lets himself linger for one more moment, taking in the picture before he shakes himself out of it, finally putting Jimin out of his misery.

When he moves in next, he takes his time. He presses a soft kiss to the tip, smiling faintly at the whimper Jimin lets out. Then, he slowly moves forward, peppering more kisses all the way to the base before letting his tongue travel up the vein once more. He can hear Jimin's breath catch when he gets to the head, runs his tongue along the ridge slowly, before finally closing his lips around the tip.

Staying there for a moment, he lets his tongue explore; watches the way Jimin's abs ripple underneath his skin when Taehyung digs his tongue into the slit, effectively lapping up all the precum. Listens to the way Jimin’s moans get louder when he sucks a little, Jimin's hand finding its way back into Taehyung's hair. He's not pulling, not really, more like softly running his fingers through the dark curls, and Taehyung moves back slightly.

"It's okay, you can pull a little."

Jimin doesn't answer aside from a small jerk of his head and the way his fingers tighten when Taehyung moves back to take his cock into his mouth again.

This time, he moves a little faster, doesn't linger as much, as he starts building up a pace that draws the sweetest sounds from Jimin's throat. Jimin's hand stays tangled in his hair but he doesn't push, just gently guides Taehyung to move his head the way he likes, loosening his hold every now and then to give him time to catch his breath.

Taehyung is about to sink down once more when the bathroom door bangs open, loud music filtering into the room. For the first time since Taehyung had dropped to his knees, Jimin's eyes snap open, meeting his own.

The guy who entered seems to be drunk based on the sounds and curses leaving his mouth. Taehyung has to suppress a laugh at the ridiculous situation but his smile soon fades into something more wicked.

He sees it register in Jimin's eyes as he frantically shakes his head, mouthing a silent don't you dare.

But Taehyung dares. Wetting his lips once more, he sinks back down on Jimin's cock, further and further until it hits the back of Taehyung's throat.

"Oh god," Jimin whimpers quietly, and finally pulls on Taehyung's hair.

It punches a quiet moan from his own throat, making Jimin buck his hips at the vibration on his dick. Taehyung gags a little, tears stinging in his eyes but he stays a second longer before he has to pull back for air.

There's an apology written in Jimin's gaze, in the way he runs his hand down Taehyung's cheeks but Taehyung doesn't need it. He smiles up at Jimin, presses another soft kiss to his hand when the door opens again and the guy finally stumbles out of the bathroom.

Jimin opens his mouth, probably to apologize for real now that they're alone, but Taehyung isn't having any of it. So instead, he moves back in, starts bobbing his head faster, lets his hand cover what his mouth can't at this speed.

"Close," Jimin mumbles out through moans, his free hand fumbling to find something to hold on to. Taehyung moves his unoccupied one up, entangles their fingers, and moves back until only the tip is left in his mouth.

He runs his tongue over the head another one, two, three times, then sucks once more. He can see the way Jimin's abs contract, vaguely feels something hitting the top of his head, before Jimin spills down his throat with a wretched moan. Taehyung works him through it, swallows as quickly as he can, laps up every last bit of cum before he moves back.

All throughout, he keeps his fingers entangled with Jimin's, an action so soft it makes his heart skip a beat despite the filthy situation they find themselves in. It hurts a little bit when he has to pull away to pull Jimin's underwear and pants back up.

When he looks up, Jimin is leaning against the door, body limp and eyes hazy. There's a lazy smile on his face and he clumsily pats Taehyung's cheek as he's trying to catch his breath. It's a beautiful picture, one Taehyung would like to frame and burn into his mind. Something about it seems different though, and it takes Taehyung's fuzzy brain a second to realize that Jimin's glasses are missing.

Looking around, he finds them on the floor a few feet away from him. He swiftly picks them up and rises to his feet, a smug smile painting his lips.

"I think you dropped this," he says, crowding Jimin's space.

Jimin's brows furrow in confusion, but when he recognizes his glasses dangling between the tips of Taehyung's fingers he groans. He tries to reach for them, but Taehyung pulls back. Instead, he holds on to the sides of the frames, quickly wiping them off before he gently pushes them back on Jimin's nose. He hovers close, mere centimeters away from Jimin's lips.

"So," he asks teasingly, "That was good, right?"

Jimin huffs out in disbelief.

"Shut up, you know it was."

Taehyung is just playing, doesn't exactly need the praise. He figures the knocked off glasses, Jimin's flushed and sweaty cheeks, and the blissed-out expression on his face are all the confirmation he needs. So he closes the gap, presses a kiss much softer than any other they have shared tonight to Jimin's lips.

Still, his heart flutters a little when Jimin pulls back, whispering into the kiss.

"Very good, actually. Definitely wouldn't mind repeating this at some point. Maybe at home."

They linger for a moment longer, sharing gentle kisses until the heat dies down completely. Once Jimin's shirt has been buttoned up, everything put back right where it belongs, they leave the bathroom hand in hand.

When they plop down back at their table, huddled a little bit closer than at the beginning of the night, there's a tray of shots lined up and five pairs of eyes, ranging from exasperated to proud, waiting for them.

"Hyung, I bet you won't make it through at least five of these shots," Jungkook says, looking at Taehyung.

He's probably right. But maybe it's the energy in the air, maybe it's the lingering effects of the afterglow that make him raise his eyebrow at Jungkook.

"Oh really? Watch this."

 


 

Taehyung is woken up by the stream of sunlight filtering through the curtains, shining right onto his face. Somehow, he'd forgotten to close the curtains again. Then again, he doesn't remember much about getting home last night in the first place so maybe it's not that big of a surprise.

He lets himself bask in the warm sunlight for a couple more minutes, refusing to give in to his wake up call. It's Saturday, he doesn't have anywhere to be, and he intends to use the day to be lazy to the fullest extent.

There's a slight pounding in his head, nothing too bad, but persistent enough that it tells him the shots he did with Jungkook after Jimin and his little bathroom excursion had been a bad decision.

With a sigh, Taehyung's eyes flutter open, immediately landing on the opposite wall. It was painted a light blue color, covered in art he had created and family pictures. Only, it wasn't his family.

His brows furrow, and it takes his sleepy brain a second to catch up. This isn't his room. It's Jimin's.

Immediately, his heart starts racing. It's not exactly unusual for them to end up sharing a bed, but ever since they started dating they had kept away from each other's bedroom. It was a tough but necessary unspoken decision, knowing that they wouldn't be able to keep their hands off each other and take things slow as they had intended to.

His breath hitches a little when his hands slide across his naked torso. He's in nothing but his underwear. Did they...?

"Relax," Jimin's soft voice interrupts him. He hadn't even noticed Jimin was awake but now, at the sound of his voice, his head snaps around, settling on a sleep-rumpled Jimin. His hair is a mess and there are remnants of eyeliner lingering on his lower lashline. It's Taehyung's favorite sight to wake up to and his heart aches when he realizes how long it has been since he'd been privy to it.

Taehyung's fingers are twitching, playing with the blanket covering him. Only when Jimin's hand reaches up to cover his cheek, thumb running beneath his eye, is he able to take a deep breath and calm down a little.

"Nothing happened, I promise."

Taehyung swallows.

"Oh," he croaks out. "That's-... that's good."

It's not all he means to say but he's overwhelmed and Jimin seems to get that so he waits.

"I mean," Taehyung starts and clears his throat, "it's just that... I don't remember much about last night? After the shots, I mean. It's all kind of blurry."

Jimin smiles understandingly.

"Then let me fill you in, yeah?"

Taehyung nods and waits for him to continue.

"You took those shots, as you said. Jungkook was actually bickering with Seokjin-hyung all night and I honestly don't know why you got roped into that but somehow it was you who ended up the drunkest. Honestly, not too much happened after that. You got kinda tired, almost fell asleep on my shoulder, so I called us a cab and took you home. You didn't want to sleep in your room, kept complaining about me leaving you."

If possible, the look in Jimin's eyes gets even fonder. Taehyung feels the blood rushing to his cheeks, the thought of an inebriated version of him clinging to Jimin making him feel strangely exposed and vulnerable.

"So I took you here. Took off your clothes because you said it was too warm. I got you a glass of water but by the time I came back, you were already passed out. And that's all that happened."

Jimin waits a couple of moments for things to settle, for Taehyung to gather his wits and he's never been more thankful for Jimin's ability to know exactly what he needs at any given moment. It's important to him to find the right words and sometimes that takes a little longer. Especially when his hangover is pushing forward, the first moment of shock having evaporated.

He turns towards Jimin, takes the hand resting against his cheek, and pulls it down to rest between them.

"Okay," he whispers. "Please don't think I don't want to have sex with you. And I don't want you to think I have any regrets about last night. It's not that. At all."

Jimin squeezes his hand gently.

"I know, baby."

"It's just..."

"Not like this?"

"Yeah," Taehyung lets out a deep sigh at the understanding tone in Jimin's voice. "Not like this. Not after a night out when I'm stupid drunk and running the risk of not remembering the next morning. I don't want it to feel like a one night stand, even when I know that’s not what this is."

He swallows.

"It's too important to me. You are too important to me."

Jimin is silent for a moment before he moves in to press the softest kiss to Taehyung's lips.

"I agree."

"Good," Taehyung whispers against Jimin's lips, too enamored to say anything more.

"Yeah."

When he kisses Jimin again, he takes his time. To pull him in closer, to slide his hands underneath the fabric of Jimin's t-shirt, settling on warm skin. To run his tongue over Jimin's lips and slip into his mouth. It's tender and comforting, the little pocket they have created for themselves, completely neglecting the outside world for the remainder of the morning. Too enraptured with each other, with holding and kissing each other. Taehyung swears he could get drunk on the sound of Jimin's giggles alone as he peppers kisses all over his face.

They end up leaving the bed at some point, but only to relocate to their small sofa in the living room. Instead of cooking, they order mountains of greasy food to combat the hangover that keeps plaguing Taehyung. Still, it's the best lazy day Taehyung has had in a very long time.

It's when he slips into his own bed that night, missing Jimin's warmth immediately, that he knows he doesn't wanna wait any longer. There’s an aching need in him to call Jimin his boyfriend, now more than ever before. So he pulls out his notebook once more, opening it to the page where he’d scribbled down the number for the boat tour company. It doesn’t sting anymore to look at it. They’ve made better memories along the way and if Taehyung plays his cards right, their next date will be the best one yet.

 


 

Between classes and Jimin's dance practice picking up once more, there isn't much time for them after that. Most days, they'll have dinner and simply settle watching TV which more often than not ends up with Jimin passing out with his head resting in Taehyung's lap. It should have been disappointing but Taehyung really didn't mind, perfectly content with running his hands through Jimin's soft hair as he caught up on the sleep he so desperately needed.

Besides, Taehyung needed the spare time to prepare his last official courting date. The date that seems to matter more than the ones before because he finally wants to make things official. Truthfully, it was more a challenge in terms of organization than anything else; Taehyung had known how he wanted to go about this since their very first date, keeping track of everything in his little notebook.

By the time Friday morning rolls around, he's done. Everything is settled and he's ready. Or at least as ready as he can be. It's early morning, and even though he could have stayed in bed a little longer, he wants to see Jimin before he has to leave for class. It seems a little silly, the way his nerves cause his tummy to cramp almost painfully as he slides a little note underneath Jimin's closed bedroom door. They've been here before.

The bundle of nerves fades into butterflies immediately as soon as he hears the sound of Jimin's soft giggles through the door. Then there's the padding of feet on the hardwood floor, followed by a moment of silence before the door swings open and Taehyung is faced with bright eyes and an even brighter smile.

Jimin is half-dressed, with only one sock on his feet, t-shirt pulled on hastily and leaving his hair looking like a bird's nest. There's steam coming from his little ensuite bathroom, the scent of Jimin's shower gel lingering in the air.

"Yes, I'll go out with you again."

He sounds a little breathless and when he opens his mouth, Taehyung finds that his tone matches Jimin's perfectly.

"Amazing. Wear something warm."

He can tell Jimin is intrigued by the way his eyebrows scrunch together quickly.

"Alright? I'll see you after class then?"

"Yeah, there's no rush. We're not on a schedule this time."

"Okay," Jimin says and moves back towards his bed, pulling on the second sock. Once he's done brushing his hair down in front of the mirror on top of his dresser he grabs his bag and makes his way to the front door to put on shoes and a warm coat.

Only after he's wrapped up in a massive scarf does he pause for a second, leaves a soft kiss on Taehyung's lips, then scatters more across his cheeks.

"Good morning, by the way," he mumbles against Taehyung's skin.

"Morning, angel."

Taehyung leaves a kiss of his own on the tip of Jimin's nose. He opens the door, trying to usher Jimin to leave but not before pushing a travel mug of coffee into his hands. It's not that he wants Jimin to go to class but the sooner he's gone the sooner he'll be back home.

"I think you're the angel here," Jimin says looking at the coffee in his hands.

"I know," Taehyung smirks and pushes Jimin towards the door once more. "Now go, before I keep you here. I'll see you tonight."

With one last kiss, Jimin finally leaves.

Trying to prepare his breakfast turns out to be a bigger challenge than anticipated. Even though it's only a bowl of cereal he settles with in front of the TV, he drops his spoon more often than he should; the giddiness of anticipation and remaining sleepiness making it harder to concentrate even on the simplest of tasks. He pulls up Netflix, puts on the drama he's been watching recently, but if asked he wouldn't have been able to say what happened. He's going to have to rewatch the episode at some point but he can't say he minds too much when his thoughts are lingering on soft morning kisses and the scent of peach and vanilla.

He moves through the day on autopilot. Checks his list for the date one more time, goes to his afternoon lecture, and even stops by the library to pick up a few books for an upcoming assignment. It feels like time is dragging on forever, and only when the door opens at 5 pm to reveal an exhausted but happy looking Jimin, does it feel like it's picking up again.

With a huff, he dives right into Taehyung's arms.

"Hey," Taehyung chuckles, leaves a soft kiss on Jimin's temple as he wraps his arms around him.

"Hi."

Jimin's voice is muffled from where his face is pressed into Taehyung's neck. His breath hits Taehyung's skin and sends a shiver down his spine.

"You okay?"

"Mhh."

"Tired?"

"A bit, yeah."

Jimin pulls back, lips pouty, and holds up his hand to show Taehyung three lines of angry red marks.

"A cat gave me scratches today. It was stuck in a tree and I tried to help, and it thanked me like this."

"Poor baby," Taehyung teases but then takes Jimin's hand and leaves the softest whisper of a kiss on his irritated skin.

"You still up for going out tonight? We can wait until tomorrow, too."

Truthfully, Taehyung doesn't want to wait. It feels like he's done nothing but wait. Today as he was waiting for Jimin to come home; the past few weeks, trying to take things slow and enjoy the process of turning their friendship into something of a different nature. And truthfully, in a sense, it feels like he has been waiting for years for his brain to catch up and finally recognize that Jimin is everything he's ever wanted in a boyfriend. Every second he has to wait to make things official feels too long now, but for Jimin, he'd wait even longer if necessary.

"No, it's fine. Let's go out tonight. I've been looking forward to this all day."

There's not a single hint of doubt in his eyes.

"Just let me take a quick shower and I'm yours."

It's a harmless statement and Jimin doesn't know about his plans for the night but Taehyung's breath hitches a little at the casual declaration. If all goes well, by the end of the night, Taehyung wants to be able to call Jimin his for real.

He forces himself to let go of Jimin's waist, lets him move towards his bedroom so he can get ready. Waiting for him the past few hours had given him plenty of time to gather everything he needed for the date, so all that was left for him to do was put on a jacket.

It doesn't take Jimin too long to get ready and Taehyung wastes time scrolling mindlessly on his phone until the door to Jimin's room opens.

"You know how hard it is to dress cute and warm at the same time?"

He looks frustrated, tugging at the sleeves of his oversized blue sweater.

"I think you're doing just fine," Taehyung smiles at him. "Ready?"

"Yeah, I think this is as good as it's gonna get."

Taehyung rolls his eyes fondly, gets up, and walks towards him. Once he's standing in front of Jimin, he cups his cheeks and leaves a kiss on pouty lips.

"You look great."

Jimin tries but fails miserably to stop the smile spreading across his face.

They slip into their coats, wrap scarves around their necks and close the door behind them. There's a certain ease now, the feeling of Jimin's small hand slipping into Taehyung's, a welcome anchor as they walk down the corridor.

Taehyung had borrowed Seokjin's car once more, parked it near their building, and just like the first time, opens Jimin's door for him. This time though, he has no trouble fastening his seat belt. And when he entangles his fingers with Jimin's once more, it's not because he's nervous but because every inch of separation feels like too much.

"Aren't you gonna ask me where we're going?" Taehyung asks after a couple minutes of driving.

Traffic is moving kind of slow, and it is going to take a while to get out of the city. He'd prepared for this, made sure they had food to snack on and a new playlist to listen to to pass the time.

"Nah," Jimin says with a full mouth, "I kinda like these surprises."

It's sweet, the way Jimin puts his trust in Taehyung, would let him whisk him away to the end of the world and not question it. The way he just goes along with Taehyung's plans and lets himself enjoy the experience.

It takes them another 45 minutes until they get to their destination. It's quite a long trip for a date but when they're together, the drive passes by quickly.

It's only when Taehyung stops the car in the middle of nowhere, far away from any civilization, that Jimin gives him a questioning look.

"Should I be concerned?"

Taehyung laughs.

"Don't worry, I did not drive out here to dispose of your dead body."

"Sounds like something a serial killer would say," Jimin says, tone dry.

Taehyung's smile deepens and he gives Jimin's hand a squeeze as he leans across the console to press a kiss to his cheek.

"Guess we're gonna test your faith in me tonight then. Wait here for a second, yeah?"

Jimin nods, and Taehyung opens the door, a gust of cold wind rushing in. He quickly moves towards the trunk, pulls out an insulated picnic blanket, along with a bunch of pillows and his duvet cover. Next is a bag of food and a thermal jug of Jimin's favorite tea. When everything is arranged neatly, he walks up to the passenger seat door.

"Ready?" he asks and extends his hand towards Jimin who unbuckles his seat belt and slides his fingers between Taehyung's.

He doesn't say anything, simply lets Taehyung guide him towards their makeshift bed for the next couple of hours.

"Isn't it a bit cold for a picnic?" he asks, and even though he's right, his tone is light-hearted. He follows Taehyung's lead to sit down on top of the blankets and pillows without any hesitation.

"Maybe, but that's why I brought these," Taehyung says and pulls a few heating pads out of the bag he had placed on the corner of the blanket.

"And," he adds as he slides down and opens his arms, "there's always me?"

All he gets as a reply is a fond huff but nevertheless, Jimin grabs the duvet, pulls it up to their chins, and settles in Taehyung's embrace.

It's peaceful out here, quiet except for the slight ruffling of the trees from the cold wind. With the heating packs, blankets, and shared body heat the temperature is no longer a concern.

"Not that I don't enjoy cuddling with you but why did we have to come all the way out here for that?"

Jimin's voice is low, and if they weren't pressed so closely together, Taehyung would have trouble hearing him. He chuckles, feels an answering smile pressed into his neck, an automatic response to his own happiness.

He shifts a little until he can look into Jimin's eyes. There's a strand of hair falling onto his forehead and Taehyung takes his time brushing it away before answering.

"Look up."

It's like time slows down. He watches closely, as confusion paints Jimin's expression, the way it fades again once he's shifted onto his back and is replaced by realization.

"Oh."

His answer is thick with emotion as if there's something lodged in his throat.

"You brought me the stars."

Taehyung doesn't answer, just breathes in the moment. The fascination on Jimin's face as he's bathed in silver moonlight, eyes never straying from the starry sky above them. He's not quite sure how much time passes; could be minutes, could be hours.

But then Jimin turns towards him and the expression on his face knocks the air out of Taehyung's lungs. Jimin's eyes are glistening with unshed tears.

"You brought me the stars," he repeats and rests his hand against Taehyung's neck. "I can't believe you."

Taehyung is still frozen in place, heart aching at the gentleness that Jimin uses to hold on to him. He hadn't planned on doing this now, wanting to wait until they were safe within the comfort of their shared home. But when Jimin looks at him as if it was he who put the stars in the sky, he can't help himself. Finally asking the question that's been building for days now.

"Hey, Jimin-ah?"

"Mh?"

"Be my boyfriend?"

He wants to say more than that. Wants to tell Jimin how much he cares for him, how much fun he's had on this new journey with him. How Jimin's smile makes his heart feel full to the point of bursting and how every second spent away from him seems torturous. He wants to tell him how glad he is, that at some point over the years he has had the privilege of falling in love with his best friend without even noticing.

Choked up with emotion, none of those words make it past his lips. But maybe that's okay because they have all the time in the world, especially if Jimin will have him. And when Jimin laughs softly, a single tear spilling from his eyes it feels like he already knows all those things anyway.

"Of course," he whispers back, "I would love nothing more."

When Taehyung first pulls him in for a kiss, they fail miserably. Too big are the smiles painted on their faces. Instead, Taehyung peppers kisses down the tear tracks on Jimin's face like he had wanted to when he first realized his feelings.

"You win, by the way," Jimin forces out through his giggles. "This is by far the best date I've ever been on. Consider me successfully swept off my feet."

"I'm glad," Taehyung mumbles into his skin, letting his lips travel across Jimin's cheeks until they finally land back on his lips.

This time, the giggles fade away in favor of quiet sighs. They spend their time lazily making out underneath the starry sky and Taehyung feels like his happiness alone could light up the darkness around them. Kissing Jimin is intoxicating; the soft sounds he gets to swallow down, the way Jimin's entire body seems to respond to the slightest hint of tongue. 

The mood ebbs and flows as they kiss, barely moving away enough to catch their breath. It's when Jimin twists onto his back, pulling Taehyung on top of him and sliding his hands underneath his thick sweater, that Taehyung forces himself to pull back.

"Wanna go home?"

He sounds wrecked even to his own ears but there's no room for embarrassment when Jimin doesn't sound any different.

"Yeah. Sure, let's go home."

They untangle themselves from each other and the blankets covering them, slip into their shoes, and hastily grab everything and shove it into the trunk of the car. There's anticipation lingering in the air and even though Taehyung can feel the tension buzzing underneath his skin, he still takes a moment to simply look at Jimin once they're seated and buckled in.

"What?"

He shakes his head.

"Nothing. I'm just really happy."

"Me too."

There are tender smiles on both of their lips, and then Taehyung forces himself to look away and start the car. The trip back into the city doesn't take as long as their trip outward but it still feels like time is stretched thin when all he wants is to feel Jimin's lips back on him.

Once they arrive, he throws the car into park and doesn't even bother giving Jimin shit for the way he jumps out of his seat despite Taehyung having opened his door on every other occasion. He's not much better, not bothering to grab his coat from where he had dumped it on the backseat. Although their hands intertwine as soon as they round the car, it almost feels like they are racing each other up the street and all the way up to their front door. Halfway there, Jimin starts giggling and Taehyung can't help but join in. He feels a little ridiculous, like a wide-eyed schoolboy with his first crush.

He fumbles a little when he tries to open the door but soon enough, they make it inside. It's the sound of the lock clicking into place that makes him hesitate in his step. Jimin has moved past him, having taken off his shoes and coat in the process, and is now hovering on the threshold towards their living area.

He doesn't say much, only extends his hand in an open invitation. There's a reassuring smile on his face, and it's all Taehyung needs to slip out of his shoes and entangle their fingers once more. He lets Jimin guide him through the living room until they are standing next to Jimin's bedroom door.

"Thank you," Jimin says gently, "for tonight."

"You don't need to thank me, Jimin-ah."

"I know. I want to, though. You've done... so much over the past few weeks. And I'm really lucky to have you." He takes a deep, trembling breath, shakes his head a little disbelievingly. "I'm lucky that out of all the people I could have fallen in love with, it ended up being my best friend."

Taehyung's entire body freezes up. All he can hear is his own blood rushing in his ears. When he attempts to say something, all he can come up with is a broken "Jimin-ah..."

He's gaping like a fish, making Jimin shake his head once more and put him out of his misery.

"You don't have to say anything. It's okay if you don't feel the same yet."

The words barely have enough time to spill out of his mouth before Taehyung moves in to kiss him. It's desperate, and he tries his best to convey all the things he's lacking the words for. It must be a little painful, his tight grip on Jimin's hips as he pulls him in closer.

When he pulls away, he takes a moment to catch his breath and rests their foreheads together.

"When I first realized I looked at you as more than just my best friend, I went to Yoongi-hyung," he says quietly. "And you know what he said?"

Jimin shakes his head softly, their noses accidentally brushing against each other.

"He said that I orbit around you," Taehyung chuckles. "Regardless of the nature of our relationship."

He takes a deep breath, and then adds, "And that he isn't surprised if I found yet another way to love you. He wasn't wrong, Jimin-ah. I think if I had enough time, I could figure out all the ways there are to love you. Of course I feel the same. How could I not? When you're so damn easy to love."

He feels Jimin trembling in his arms, feels the way his heartbeat is gaining speed from where his own fingers are pressed into the soft skin underneath Jimin’s sweater.

"Of course I love you, too."

Jimin sobs, flings his arms around Taehyung's neck, and when he reconnects their lips, they're wet with tears. Taehyung can taste the urgency in Jimin's kiss, feel it in the way he presses his entire body against Taehyung's. There's white noise in his head, everything overridden by the feeling of Jimin, still struggling to wrap his head around the events of the night. That Jimin is his boyfriend, that Jimin loves him, in the same shade of love the walls of Taehyung’s own heart are painted with. 

They cling together so tightly that they're running the risk of losing their balance. When Jimin pulls away next, he puts some space between them. It's not much, still allowing for Taehyung's hands to remain on Jimin, doesn't force Jimin to entangle his hands from Taehyung's hair either. It takes everything in Taehyung not to pull him back in immediately, every inch between them feeling like an endless chasm.

Jimin's lips are plump, colored a bright shade of red, and his breath is coming out in puffs.

"Do you...," he starts, pausing to catch his breath. "Do you maybe wanna come inside?"

Jimin's eyes are filled with hope, his throat moving as he swallows nervously. Taehyung traces his face with his gaze, follows the rise and fall of his chest. It's the easiest yes he's ever given.

As if connected, both their lips quirk up in a small smile, and then they both move back in. Picking up right where they left off, their lips come together almost painfully. Somehow, Jimin manages to reach behind him to open his door, pulls Taehyung with him, even though he doesn't really need to. Taehyung follows his lips like a starved man, only vaguely registering the sound of the door falling shut behind him.

Jimin's bedroom is bathed in soft light from the string lights he had wrapped around the headrest of his bed, allowing them to avoid any injuries as they stumble towards the bed. It's perfect really, feels like their own little world.

There's a hunger in Jimin's kisses now, an urgency in the way he pushes Taehyung back until he feels his legs hit the mattress. He lets himself fall down, lips disconnecting as he looks up at Jimin who's standing right in front of him bracketed by his thighs. Jimin is breathing heavily, hands reaching for the seam of his sweater but before he even registers his own movements, Taehyung's hands catch his.

"Let me?" he asks quietly, watching the slight confusion on Jimin's face fade into fondness. He nods, climbs into Taehyung's lap, and raises his arms.

Taehyung takes his time peeling Jimin out of his sweater, letting his fingers trail across hot skin at a snail's speed. Watches the way Jimin seems to tremble when he's touching the small of his back, drinks in the soft chuckle when the sweater gets stuck on his necklace for a second.

And then the sweater drops to the floor, and Jimin is shirtless in his lap. He's seen Jimin in various states of undress throughout the years, even helped him shower when he had pulled a muscle during dance practice and couldn't stand up on his own long enough. This is different, though.

It's different because Taehyung knows he's the reason Jimin's breath is coming so fast, knows his lips are kiss-bitten because Taehyung's own held them captive just minutes ago. He lets his hands settle on Jimin's shoulders, takes his time to let them wander across delicate collarbones, down his chest and abs, until they settle on his back.

"I know this is awfully cheesy," he says in a low voice, "but you're beautiful."

Jimin huffs out a weak laugh, bites his lower lip, but there is nothing he can do about the color rushing to his cheeks. His hands come to rest on Taehyung's neck, thumb caressing the soft skin.

"Thank you."

It's barely above a whisper, a touch of shyness lingering in his voice, and Taehyung's heart aches at the sound of it.

"May I take this off, too?" Jimin adds softly, fingers playing with the collar of Taehyung's own sweater.

He doesn't answer, simply lifts his arms and lets Jimin strip him, his green sweater swiftly joining Jimin's own on the floor.

Taehyung isn't exactly shy about his body, never really cared much about how much skin was on display when he was at home. Jimin had seen him like this a million times before but there is something in his gaze that makes Taehyung feel brand new. His eyes are hooded, hunger written all over his face, and Taehyung's breath hitches when Jimin's hands start exploring.

Every time he lingers in a spot, it feels like a shot of electricity rushing through Taehyung’s veins, and he can feel his heartbeat picking up when Jimin's hand comes to rest against his heart. There's a twinkle in Jimin's eyes, almost as if he can't believe he's the one making Taehyung's heart race like that.

"Taehyung-ah, I-," he starts, but then shakes his head.

"I know," Taehyung says, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of Jimin's mouth. And he does. He knows what Jimin is thinking right now, how overwhelmed he is, how big this all feels. He just stays there for a second, lets their cheeks rest against each other.

It's a far cry from the neediness that bubbled up whenever things got slightly heated before, the moment seeming fragile and important and Taehyung wants to drink it all in, to savor it and make sure he doesn't forget a single second of it.

"I love you," Jimin mumbles into his skin, "and I'm really happy right now."

Taehyung smiles, feels the way Jimin's cheeks bunch up against his own.

"That's good, angel. Me too." He pulls back a little until he can look Jimin in the eye. "I'm really happy, too."

He leans up slightly to finally connect their lips again. There's a sense of familiarity laced into their kisses by now. Taehyung knows that running his tongue behind Jimin's teeth will earn him the sweetest sighs, knows Jimin likes when he bites his lower lip, going all pliant in his arms.

It doesn't take long until their breathing gets heavy, Jimin starting to writhe in his lap. Taehyung lets his hands wander across the expanse of Jimin's back, pulls him in close until their chests are touching. The moan Jimin lets out into Taehyung's mouth at the feeling of skin on skin is borderline obscene, as he rolls his hips down to meet Taehyung's own.

There's a small feeling of déjà-vu when Jimin starts kissing down Taehyung's neck, stopping at his pulse point, punching moans from Taehyung's chest with each bite and lick. Taehyung's fingers clench around Jimin's hips, not even to guide or help him along, but simply to have something to hold onto. His dick is half-hard by now, has been since the first time Jimin's hips twitched, really.

It's not a conscious decision, the way Taehyung's back suddenly meets the mattress, pulling Jimin with him. There are a million things he'd like to say right now to sing Jimin's praises, but his mind is blank. All he can focus on is the rhythm Jimin has built up, teasing and slow, the new angle making the drag across his confined cock even better. His mind is fuzzy, and he vaguely recognizes the moans filling the room as his own.

"You're- fuck , " he croaks out, "you're way too good at this."

Jimin giggles into his neck, breath hitting wet skin and sending a shiver down his spine.

"Thanks. Do me a favor, though?"

"Hmm?"

"Be a bit more disrespectful."

Jimin levels him with a teasing gaze, and it takes Taehyung a couple of seconds before he catches on. He almost wants to laugh when he remembers the last time they had found themselves in a similar situation, but Jimin's lips are back on his, tongue slipping between his teeth immediately.

Then, without any warning, he slides his hands down from Jimin's hips until they cover his ass. Just like last time, Jimin's reaction is instant, lips disconnecting as he lets a high-pitched whine escape his lips. His lips quirk up in a short grin.

"Better."

He writhes against Taehyung a bit longer, letting him feel just how hard Jimin is in his own pants. It's a little painful at this point, the confinement and the continuous slide against the cotton fabric of his underwear but Taehyung doesn't have it in him to stop.

Luckily, Jimin doesn't seem to be doing much better, starts scattering kisses down Taehyung's neck once more, lingering in places that feel tender and raw. This time, he doesn't stop there. He paints constellations of kisses all across Taehyung's chest, takes his sweet time, leaving no place uncovered.

By the time Jimin reaches his tummy, Taehyung is a mess. Jimin is unbelievably gentle with him, and it has his head reeling a little bit. His breath is hitting Taehyung's skin in light puffs of air, contrasting the little bites and nibbles he leaves across his tummy.

"Love your tummy, it's so soft," Jimin whispers into the skin.

Taehyung is so focused on the feeling of Jimin's lips that he doesn't even catch the way Jimin unbuckles his belt, opens the fly of his pants, and pulls down the zipper until he moves back, tucking his fingers into the waistband.

"Lift up for me?"

Taehyung complies wordlessly.

It feels good to get out of his jeans, to leave the stained pair of underwear forgotten on the floor. His dick slaps against his stomach, a little bit of precum painting splatters on his skin where Taehyung still feels traces of Jimin's lips. The feeling of momentary relief hits him so hard that he doesn't even see Jimin getting rid of his own pants in the process.

"Fuck."

Jimin bursts out laughing, body flailing a little bit.

"That's the plan, yes," he squeezes out, walks over to his bedside table to pull out a bottle of lube and a condom, and throws them onto the mattress.

Taehyung sits up, shuffles over until he's resting against the pillows, and reaches out a hand. Once Jimin's hand is in his, he pulls hard, making Jimin yell out in surprise. He stumbles forward, falls against Taehyung's chest with a groan. His eyes are wide and Taehyung can't help the laugh leaving his lips.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Jimin asks but joins in with Taehyung's laughter after the shock has worn off.

"You were too far away."

Jimin snorts.

"You could have just asked."

"Now where is the fun in that?" Taehyung smirks up at him, and before Jimin has any chance of replying, he lifts his leg where it's resting against Jimin's cock, effectively cutting off any complaints with a moan.

"You're so- ngh - annoying," Jimin says through gritted teeth but the way he's rolling his hips against Taehyung's leg betrays him.

"And yet," Taehyung says, grabbing Jimin's leg and twisting him onto his back, "you love me."

It's something he says to tease Jimin, in a way they've always done. Jimin is supposed to bicker back, to give him shit for teasing him like that. He's not prepared for the way Jimin's eyes get misty, his hand reaching up to cover Taehyung's cheek.

"I do."

Taehyung's heart sings as he rushes forward, kissing Jimin with every ounce of love he has stored inside his heart. Jimin flings his legs around his waist, bringing them even closer together as he builds up his pace, spurred by each and every whine and moan leaving Jimin's lips.

There's a heavenly pressure on his cock, the way it lays pressed tightly against Jimin's between them. He feels heat coiling in his stomach, feels the pressure rising, and when Jimin pulls away slightly, asking him to stop, he's almost embarrassed with how close to the edge that had pushed him already.

"Everything okay?" he asks, worried eyes scanning Jimin's face, looking for any hint of discomfort.

"I'm fine," Jimin reassures him. "But if you don't stop, this whole thing is gonna be over embarrassingly fast for me."

"Oh," Taehyung says, and there's a sensation of relief rushing through him, "yeah, of course."

Jimin smiles at him, cheeks flushed red and then he lifts his head a little to place another soft kiss on Taehyung's lips.

"So," he says once he's laying down again. There's the crinkle of foil and then he's holding the condom he had placed on the bed earlier between their faces. "Preference?"

"I literally don't care."

Jimin's smile gets even wider. "Cool. Me neither."

He reaches down with his free hand, wraps it around Taehyung's cock and Taehyung can feel his answering groan ripple through his body.

"For now, though..." Jimin says, moving his hand up and down tantalizingly slowly with nothing to ease the slide except for the little bit of precum he spreads with his hand. "I would really..." he stops, leaving the softest kiss on Taehyung's open lips, "really like to have you inside of me. " For good measure, he runs his tongue along Taehyung's bottom lip. As if Taehyung isn't gone enough for him already.

"Okay. Yeah, okay. Sure."

The words stumble out of Taehyung's mouth, dissolving into a guttural groan when Jimin runs his thumb across the head of his cock.

"You're gonna have to get your hands off my dick then, if you want this to last more than five minutes."

The gratifying pressure is gone almost immediately. Taehyung is still perched over Jimin, hand blindly reaching until he finds the bottle of lube.

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah," Jimin breathes, head bobbing up and down as he untangles his legs from around Taehyung's waist.

Taehyung sits back on his knees, always keeping one hand on Jimin's skin, whatever part he can reach. He snaps the bottle open with his thumb, reluctantly pulls his hand away from where it was resting on Jimin's waist and squeezes the lube onto his fingers.

Jimin's skin looks soft against the subtle light of the string lights and the moonlight filtering in through the window and Taehyung can't stop himself from pressing soft kisses all over his thighs as he's warming up the lube between his fingers.

He lets his hand trail up until it reaches Jimin's hole. Watching Jimin closely for any kind of discomfort, he rubs his thumb across it softly, just barely applying any pressure.

"Okay?"

"Yeah."

When he twists his hand and slowly pushes the first finger inside, Jimin wriggles on the mattress, his thighs coming to dig into Taehyung's hips where he's sitting between them. He's unhurried, dragging out the moment, absorbing every whine he's offered, every clench of fingers in the duvet cover.

"More," Jimin gasps out after a couple thrusts, and Taehyung is in no position to deny him anything right now.

So he complies, sliding a second finger along with the first, still torturously slow.

"Faster, please."

Jimin is beautiful, the way he's flushed all the way down his heaving chest, a light layer of sweat coating his skin. His eyes are squeezed shut and his head is thrown back, making Taehyung want to leave a trail of hickeys all the way down his neck.

Taehyung picks up speed, scissoring his fingers, making Jimin push back onto Taehyung's hand. It doesn't take long until he's begging, asking for one more, please.

When Taehyung adds a third finger, changing the angle a little bit, Jimin freezes up for a second, a filthy moan echoing through the room. It's the loudest one yet, and keeping at it, Taehyung has Jimin reduced to an absolute mess within a few moments.

"Holy fuck," Jimin gasps, "right there."

His hands are fumbling, trying to find something to hold on to. His cock is bobbing on his stomach, neglected, trails of precum covering his skin. Taehyung leans down, swiftly licking up a stripe before he sinks down, all the while keeping his hands moving. Jimin's fingers find their way into his hair, pulling and pushing, never quite knowing which feeling to chase.

"Shit, Taehyung, you gotta-"

Taehyung runs his tongue underneath the head, humming lowly.

"Stop, you gotta stop," Jimin pulls at his hair. He bobs his head one more time before letting go of Jimin's cock with a loud pop.

Jimin groans, covering up his face with his hand.

"Fuck," he hisses out, trying to catch his breath. Taehyung still has not moved his hand, frozen with his fingers still inside of Jimin.

"One of these days, I'd love for you to continue but right now..." he says, holding up the condom once more, eyeing Taehyung questioningly.

"Okay."

Taehyung presses one last peck to Jimin's thigh, then pulls out his fingers. He soothes Jimin's soft whimpers with a kiss to his chest, right over his hammering heart.

Jimin rips the foil open, wasting no time to roll the condom down on Taehyung's achingly hard cock. He can't contain the hiss bubbling up from his throat when Jimin's fingers are brushing across him.

"I know, baby, " Jimin says softly, "almost there."

He reaches for the lube, squeezes out a decent amount, and spreads it evenly. He jerks his hand a couple of times and then removes it, wiping off the excess lube on a spare pillow.

Pressing a burning kiss to Taehyung's lips, he says, "I'm ready."

Taehyung reaches down, lines himself up, a shaky gasp escaping him when the head of his cock catches on Jimin's hole.

Despite their proximity and despite the situation they find themselves in, Jimin suddenly seems too far away. So his free hand is fumbling, searching, until Jimin meets it in the middle, entangling their fingers and letting him press it back into the mattress. Then, with a last look into Jimin's eyes, finding no hesitation there, he starts moving.

It's overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. It's wet and hot, and so, so tight that it makes his toes curl, his chest heaving with his attempt to savor this, to take it slow. His heart is beating at a breakneck speed as he sinks further into Jimin; as if it's attempting to jump out of his ribcage and into Jimin's, to meet its match there. He'd throw his head down into Jimin's neck if he weren't so intent on taking in every single second, watching as Jimin's face shifts from a lingering fondness to pure bliss. Once Taehyung bottoms out, Jimin's eyes roll back until they close, and he stays right there, giving them both a moment to adjust.

His chest is aching, desperate to somehow be even closer to Jimin, so he scatters kisses all over his face, letting the flood of emotions wash over him.

When Jimin opens his eyes again, Taehyung can't help but smile.

"There you are."

A smile mirroring his own grows on Jimin's face. He takes a couple more deep breaths, then pulls Taehyung in for a searing kiss.

"You can move," he whispers once their lips part.

And so Taehyung does, starting slow and gentle. It doesn't take him long to build up a good pace, to find a way to draw the prettiest sounds out of Jimin. Each slide pulls him a little bit closer to the edge, a little closer to a point of no return and it's almost hard to bear paired with the flickering smile on Jimin's face, the pure adoration shining in his eyes. Never straying away from him.

Taehyung is panting by now, sweat covering his body, making his curls stick to his neck. The kisses he's trying to give Jimin turn into nothing but hopeless gasps. Taehyung's arms are growing tired, shaking a little more with each thrust as he's trying to hold himself up.

"Fuck," he groans, when Jimin clenches his muscles around him, making the drag that much sweeter.

Somehow, despite the way he's working with Taehyung, rolling his hips upwards, Jimin finds the composure to brush his hair away from his face.

"Hey," he says, slowing down his own movements, "lay back for me."

Taehyung doesn't have to be told twice, pulling out as gently as he can. When Jimin lets out a low hiss at the feeling, he kisses his cheek apologetically. He lets Jimin move out from under him, then turns around and lays down on his back, waiting as Jimin straddles him.

In one swift motion, Jimin reaches behind him, and sinks back down onto Taehyung's cock.

"Oh my god," he cries out, vaguely registering the way Jimin's own moan spills into a soft chuckle once he bottoms out again.

"Fuck, are you serious?"

He stares at Jimin, almost losing his mind at the picture in front of him. The way Jimin is just... sitting proudly on his dick, satisfied smile on his face. Hair dishevelled and sweaty. Taehyung watches the way Jimin crawls forward until he's close enough to give Taehyung a filthy kiss.

"Very. I got you, baby."

Then he sits up again, bracing his hands on Taehyung's chest and starts bouncing on his cock. He doesn't ease them into a gentle pace, immediately giving it all he's got. It's much deeper from this angle, Taehyung hitting Jimin's prostate dead-on, punching out whine after whine after whine.

It's a maddening picture, one Taehyung can't look away from, trying his best to keep his eyes from rolling back at the intense pleasure. The way Jimin's chasing his own release, abs and thighs rippling underneath his skin. His cock bouncing pathetically neglected between them, angry and red.

"Taehyung, I'm-," he gasps out, "I'm close."

It's obvious from the way his moans get more desperate, his fingers digging into Taehyung's skin.

"Me too," he somehow manages to get out, reaching for Jimin's cock between them.

He moves his hands in tandem with Jimin's hips, jerks him off one, two, three times. When he runs his thumb across the head, Jimin cums with a high-pitched whine. He spills hot on Taehyung's chest, clenches around him, and even if Taehyung hadn't been trying to hold off for the past couple of minutes already, the look of pure euphoria on Jimin's face would have given him the rest either way. With a deep groan he buries himself deeper into Jimin, back arching as his orgasm washes over him.

Seconds later, Jimin collapses onto him, snuggles his face into Taehyung's neck as they both try to slow their rapid breaths and racing heartbeats. Taehyung is completely blissed out, painting soft patterns onto Jimin's back. Thinking that that's it, can't get any better. But then Jimin pulls his head up, sends him a smile full of love and joy, and proves him wrong.

They take the time to kiss softly for a moment, but then Jimin whimpers. He gently moves his hips until Taehyung slides out, and the disgruntled look on his face is so cute that Taehyung places a kiss on the tip of his scrunched up nose.

"Lay down, angel, I'm gonna get something to clean up."

Reluctantly, he pulls away, rolls out of bed, and patters over to Jimin's bathroom.

When he returns with a wet washcloth in his hands, Jimin's eyes are watching him closely.

"What?" he asks as he settles back on the bed, running the wet fabric across Jimin's skin.

"Nothing," Jimin whispers.

There's something lingering in his voice, something Taehyung can't quite identify, but he lets it be for now. Once they're cleaned up, he discards the washcloth, throws off the mountain of extra pillows on Jimin's bed, and pulls the duvet free to cover them both.

Jimin is quiet, uncharacteristically so, and the longer it stays that way, the more anxious Taehyung gets.

"What is it?" he asks again, facing Jimin. He reaches up to hold his face, heart clenching a little bit at the way Jimin instinctively leans into it. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Jimin says immediately. "I promise. I'm great. Nothing's wrong. I'm just thinking."

"About what?"

"You. Me."

He pauses for a second.

"Us."

"What about us?"

There's a tiny flicker of fear in Taehyung's chest. He refuses to entertain the thought of Jimin changing his mind now, after everything they'd shared. He would never do that to him, but it's unsettling, each second dragging out Taehyung's misery.

"I just... never thought we'd end up here," Jimin says, swallowing heavily. "It's not a bad thing. I'm glad we did. I just don't understand how neither of us ever saw it coming."

Taehyung hums, trying to calm his racing heart.

"Not gonna lie, for a second there, I thought you'd changed your mind," he gets out somehow, followed by a weak laugh.

Jimin's eyes go wide, a gasp leaving his mouth.

"What? Oh god, no, Taehyung-ah. I wasn't joking when I said I love you."

"I know," he answers and pulls Jimin in for a short kiss.

He takes a deep breath, trying to come up with an explanation. He turns up empty-handed.

"Honestly, I can't tell you what it is that brought us here," he says with a shrug. "I don't know if there is an explanation. But do we need one? Isn't this enough? That somehow, this works, and makes sense?"

Jimin is quiet for a second, watches him intently. Then, a slow smile spreads across his face.

"Of course it's enough. It's always enough."

Taehyung feels exhaustion washing over him as Jimin softly combs his fingers through his hair. He doesn't know how much time passes like that, enveloped in their own little world.

"Taehyung-ah?" Jimin whispers sleepily.

"Mhh?"

"Thank you."

"What for?"

"For giving me a love story better than the movies."

Taehyung just moves in closer, settles his head on Jimin's chest, right over his heart.

"It's an honor."

It feels like a dream, a little floaty and dizzying, being wrapped up in Jimin's arms. Being able to call him his boyfriend. Knowing he finally got to use all the colors in his palette to paint a picture of their love. Or at least all of the ones he's currently aware of. Taehyung has no doubt that with Jimin by his side he'll discover new shades every day.

He knows they're gonna have rough patches, get angry at each other and fight over stupid things sometimes. He knows that there's a story to be told after the end credits roll, sequels that nobody gets to see, after being left with the impression of a perfectly happy ending.

For once though, he finds he doesn't mind as much. How could he, when he gets to explore that part of the story with his best friend by his side? The boy who asked him a simple question out of childish anger at seven years old, planting a seed in his heart, then nurturing it throughout the years until it was ready to bloom in all its beauty.

They speak in hushed voices until the fall asleep, about everything and nothing at all.

When Taehyung opens his eyes the next morning, light once again streaming in from the wrong side of the room, the clock on Jimin's wall only shows 9 am. Much too early for a Saturday.

"Ngghh," he grumbles, burrowing his face deeper into the pillows.

Behind him, Jimin chuckles softly.

"Sorry," he whispers, "I just got up to get some water."

"Mh. Come back."

He turns around, arms reaching out blindly, only satisfied when Jimin crawls back under the covers and into his arms. Sleep pulls him under once more and the next time he wakes up it's to soft fingers drawing patterns into the skin on his back. He blinks his eyes open slowly. Jimin is right there in front of him, the light streaming in through the window behind him illuminating his hair. He looks cute, a little sleepy with his lips pouting.

"Morning," Taehyung sighs contently, placing a soft kiss to Jimin's lips.

"Good morning, baby."

Jimin wakes him up slowly, with gentle kisses and caresses, until keeping his eyes open doesn't feel like too much of a struggle.

"Your phone was going off earlier," Jimin interrupts the silence at some point, reaching behind himself to hand Taehyung his phone.

Confused, he stares at the screen, multiple notifications waiting for him in the group chat.

"It's Seokjin-hyung. He wants to know if we're joining them tonight for game night. What do you say?"

"Sure, let's go."

Taehyung hesitates for a second, then smirks.

"What?" Jimin asks.

Instead of answering, he angles the phone so Jimin can read over his shoulder.

 

Taehyung (10:42 am):

I'm in!!

also, I'm gonna bring my boyfriend

 his name's Jimin

I have a feeling you're gonna like him

 

Jungkook's reply arrives within seconds.

 

Jungkook (10:43 am):

fucking finally!!!!!!

 

Taehyung locks his phone before any of the other messages have a chance to stream in. Their hyungs are probably just as excited as Jungkook but they will see everyone tonight; and besides, Taehyung has better things to do when there is a warm, giggly Jimin next to him in bed.

He thinks of the day they first met, the way Jimin turned around bathed in golden sunlight to send him one last smile. It felt like fate back then, a fragile beginning of something bigger than they could have imagined.

This morning feels eerily similar. The clouds shift, rays of sunshine hitting the pillows Jimin is resting on, and nothing seems brighter than his smile. It hadn’t changed one bit since the day Taehyung first saw it. When Taehyung closes the gap between them, it tastes like that first summer day. A promise, but this time there is nothing fragile about it. With Jimin by his side, he’s ready for a million sequels.