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it's nice to have a friend

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There has always been something indistinguishably amazing about Park Jimin. 

 

Taehyung couldn't quite fathom it from the very beginning, but he always knew that something was there all along. 

 

Actually, not all along. Taehyung didn't like Jimin for a specific amount of time that lasted for four minutes when Jimin wasn't even Jimin for him yet.  

 

The first time life put out its tricks to make their ways convene was in a cafe near their school. They were both 16 and part of the same grade, but not of the same classes. The school was crowded and big enough for them not to know each other for a while, at least not for real. Jimin was a little bit more shy back then, his eyes always glued to a book or to the tasks of his extracurricular activities to really pay attention to his surroundings. Taehyung was far more unreserved and observant, so he had caught eye of Jimin and found himself dumbstruck by his beauty and intrigued by his figure in all of the unfortunately few occasions. Taehyung felt a weird force pushing him closer, wanting to approach and make small talk, to question who Murakami was or simply ask if he wanted to be friends with, like a child in kindergarten. 

 

Taehyung thought that the odd curiosity he felt towards the boy was coming to its end when he assumed that Jimin was revealing himself to be a blatant asshole. Taehyung was sitten in a booth with Yoongi and Jeongguk, fighting with the latter for the last slice of pizza when he heard someone snapping behind him. He sprawled his arm over the rest and turned his head back, furrowing his brows at the small figure talking energetically to the manager. 

 

He could never imagine that someone that looked so soft and even fragile from afar would be so harsh to a worker. Taehyung's lips twitched a little in disappointment. His father was a driver and his mother's been a saleswoman for her whole life, being countless the nights where she got home from work with puffy eyes for crying so hard because of some rude customer that humiliated her. Despite that, even if the mistreatment didn't hit too close to home, he'd still find it hideous just because he considered himself to be a decent person. 

 

Taehyung was about to turn around with a shake of his head, worried that Jeongguk had taken advantage of his momentary distraction to win the pizza, when he finally started to unravel what was actually happening.

 

The manager said that the kid was pestering the clients, and only then Taehyung realized that there was a boy sheepishly standing at the door of the cafe, exactly where Jimin kept repeatedly pointing to as he argued. Jimin's face was colored with a bright red as he exasperatedly said that the manager only shoved the kid outside so harshly because he didn't know how it felt to not have something to eat. It looked pretty bad. The manager grabbed Jimin by the arm and pushed him out of the place too, claiming he also didn't know how it felt and that he had to stop with this habit of wanting to heal the world, all with a mocking tone.

 

The people around quickly went back to what they were doing, but Taehyung couldn't take his eyes out of the door for some seconds, even when Jimin was already gone. He patted Yoongi's arms and hurriedly told them he was going to be right back, right before getting on his feet and practically running to the street. He looked from side to side and spotted Jimin across the street, guiding the kid to another cafe with a gentle hand over his back. 

 

Taehyung got in there panting, a hand over his chest to calm down his breath—since now he literally ran to cross the street. He couldn't help but smile at the sight of Jimin bending forward to take a look at what the kid was picking in the showcase. As the kid made his mind, Jimin seemed to acknowledge Taehyung's presence and turned his head back to face him with an inquisitive and quite bewildered look.  

 

Taehyung widened his eyes and stood there with a dumbfounded expression, realizing that they didn't even know each other's names. He wasn't sure if Jimin knew who he was, but Taehyung recomposed himself and stretched his hand out with the first shy smile that he pulled out in his entire life. 

 

Taehyung would find out one day that it was only the first one on the series of first things he was going to share with Jimin. 

 

"Hey, I'm Kim Taehyung. I don't know if you know me, but we study at the same school. I've just seen what you did and I really want to be your friend." 

 

Jimin smiled and looked down. When he faced Taehyung again, Jimin was nervously biting his lower lip, but smiling, regardless. 

 

He dismissed any praise saying it was nothing but what any decent human should do, but that it would be cool to have a friend. Taehyung's heart sank on his chest as he saw Jimin's doe-eyes for the first time. Jimin sighed out of frustration for being helpless when he asked where the kid's parents were and he only said that he was used to wandering in the streets while they worked. 

 

That was also the first time that Taehyung witnessed Jimin's dismay for not being able to heal the whole world. 

 

Eventually, Jimin would find out that there wasn't an available heal for the world in his league, but Taehyung was also there to encourage him to do what was in his league. Once, back to when they were 19, Jimin was sobbing because of something hideous that happened across the world and was plastered all over the news. Taehyung only wished he could stop him from feeling so small and useless, so he patted Jimin's head that was lying on his lap and said, 

 

"The world's been a little less sick since 1995 just because you're in it, Jimin."

 

The afternoon they met, they immediately bonded and Jimin told him that the manager was also his cousin, specifically one that he absolutely despised—and Taehyung could get why. Slowly, he learned that Jimin was, in fact, a really extroverted person. He struggled to make new friends because he was extremely insecure, so it drained him too much to meet new people; since it meant he would spend the rest of his week thinking if he had said or done something wrong that would make them hate him. After spending half an hour in his presence, Taehyung couldn't even imagine how that would be possible. 

 

Jimin only opened truly to the ones he knew well, hence he would hardly stand out for an injustice if it involved someone he didn't know. He intended to change that, tired of his shyness getting in the way when he needed to speak his mind.

 

Fortunately, Taehyung helped him boost his confidence throughout the years, making his unofficial part-time job to try to put in Jimin's head that anyone would be privileged to have him around and to hear his voice—even in order to be scolded. With that Jimin disagreed, saying Taehyung was too biased.

 

Taehyung wouldn't deny that he really was, but. Still. 

 

For that, after seven years of friendship, the only thing he could put on words that came only closest to what Taehyung felt was to say that Jimin's existence was a happening. 

 

Later in that first day, Jimin easily brought his cat to the matter, proudly showing pictures of her and cooing as he pointed to her crossed-eyes.

 

"How cute!" Taehyung said, holding Jimin's phone so gently it looked like he was holding the cat himself. "What's her name?"

 

"Told You So," Jimin answered, a playful smile pulling the corner of his lips upwards. Taehyung would grow to know what exactly Jimin hides behind that smile, but since that hadn't happened at that point, his eyebrows knitted in confusion.

 

"No, I don't think you did." Taehyung shook his head lightly. "What's it?"

 

"Told. You. So." Jimin reiterated, enunciating it slowly as if Taehyung was five. 

 

"No, Jimin, you jumped right to show me her picture in the lock screen and" Taehyung stopped himself midway as he saw how much Jimin was struggling to hold back his laugh. "Oh. The cat's name is Told You So."

 

As Taehyung's expression hardened in realization, Jimin burst out laughing. Taehyung almost forgot he was the one being made fun of at the way Jimin bent over the surface and stretched his arm across the table to grab his arm. It was the first time he'd been given the honor to watch the way Jimin covered his mouth with a hand as his eyes disappeared into little crescent moons, but definitely not the last. Taehyung decided that his other unofficial part-time job (this one a little bit more self-indulgent) was to pull those heavenly sounds out of him every single day. 

 

If Taehyung had actually been paid, he would be sitting on a filthy, huge pile of money by now, since it didn't need much at all for Jimin to crack up at anything Taehyung said. 

 

Taehyung was scratching his nape in embarrassment for making a fool of himself, used to the other way around. "And I thought that my best friend addressing his cat as Cat was frisky", he joked with a chuckle. In the next second, he was widening his eyes and standing up in a jolt, startling Jimin. "Oh, God. I abandoned my friends at the other cafe." 

 

Taehyung asked if Jimin wanted to come with him and his reluctance was so obvious that he could immediately sense it. He told Jimin that he could wait outside, saying that he wasn't even sure if they were still there, assuming his uneasiness was related to stepping in and facing his hell of a cousin. Little did he know that Jimin couldn't care less about the prick and was only dismayed by the idea of meeting with new people. 

 

After a nibble on his nail and a drop of cold sweat for noticing that he'd have a hard time denying Taehyung anything if those puppy eyes were going to be the turned down ones, Jimin agreed, still seemingly stiffened. 

 

At first, Yoongi and Jeongguk were cursing at Taehyung for disappearing and leaving them hanging for so long, engaging in a chaotic jabber. Taehyung probably noticed that Jimin was feeling a little displaced and soon apologized, pulling him closer by the shoulder to introduce him without even a second thought. It caused Jimin to loosen a little, but he also couldn't hold back the way his chest oddly itched with something that would be recognized as jealousy at the first moment.

 

However, Jimin literally had no room for something so stingy to beat within his heart.

 

Jimin soon found out that what he felt towards Taehyung was nothing but admiration. He didn't want Taehyung to stop being so unstrained, nor change the way he didn't think and rethink every single step that he would take and word that he would say in beforehand. Jimin just wished he could be easy-going like that too.

 

Admiration was a road too easy to lead you to love. Step by step, Jimin left a trail of pure wonder in his path towards loving Taehyung.

 

Jimin didn't click with the other boys immediately like it happened with Taehyung, but it was just a matter of time. First, even if they'd follow baby steps for being similarly shy, they were all big softies on the inside, so it wasn't the most difficult thing in the world to like Yoongi, Jeongguk or Jimin—rather the exact opposite. Second, it was inevitable, considering that they were basically one of those sales promotions where you pay 1 and take 2 (3, in this case). 

 

When the school bell rang, Taehyung practically ran towards the exit to meet with Jimin and walk him home. In the first group conversation, they found out that they all lived near to each other, so it became a habit to walk together to their neighborhood. It was really useful for Jimin to know them better for a while and to tighten their bond, but it also worked like a boomerang. Because as soon as their intimacy had grown and they could consider themselves as friends, Yoongi and Jeongguk agreed to leave them alone once in a while because they were insufferable. Taehyung and Jimin lived in their own world in a way that was almost visible. They couldn't describe it as palpable because no one could possibly pop their bubble, and it definitely wasn't for want of trying. 

 

What Yoongi and Jeongguk didn't realize at first was how they were serendipitously doing something for themselves too.

 

Yoongi and Taehyung were childhood friends from their hometown, Daegu. They were separated when Yoongi moved to Seoul at the age of 9, but Taehyung moved as well a couple years later and they got in touch. Taehyung met Jeongguk anonymously in a MOBA game. They started to game together recurrently and went completely nuts when it came to light that they studied in the same school, Jeongguk being two grades below. As time passed, Jimin also met Namjoon and Seokjin, Taehyung's brother and cousin, respectively. The age gap between Namjoon and Taehyung was minimal, so they went along pretty well in a healthy dynamic that consisted of Taehyung worshipping him and Namjoon freaking out because Taehyung sipped a glass full of soju when no one was watching. Due to this, his presence was common not as a watchman on their parents behalf, but as a regular friend. Naturally, Namjoon's classmate (and subsequently roommate) Hoseok was introduced to Jimin.

 

So, in a blink of an eye, Jimin's friends' counting went from 0 to 6. 

 

In their first winter as friends, Taehyung offered to accompany Jimin to Hoseok's house. They were going to gather there in the first week of January to do a late celebration of Taehyung's birthday for the first time ever, since not everyone in the group was available on his actual birthday due to family events. It was needless to say that the unavailable person in question was Jimin, that being the "major" reason for Taehyung deciding on postponing his own birthday. 

 

Off the record, it was the only reason. 

 

Hoseok always offered his house to gatherings in general because it was bigger and his parents couldn't care less about what they were doing. They used to behave, mostly because the majority of the group was underage and they were too scared to do anything, but yet it was good to be comfortable enough not to feel that they had people hovering around them, ready to catch any secrets about what possibly happens behind the school bleachers. 

 

Taking advantage of the recorder being off again, Hoseok's house was, in fact, closer to Taehyung's than it was to Jimin's. If Jimin knew that, he committed himself to ignoring it. 

 

They were turning the corner to get in Hoseok's street when Jimin stopped out of nowhere, causing Taehyung to bump into him. 

 

"Oh, no!" Jimin whined, bending forward to take a better look, but everything in front of him was blindly white. "I was looking forward to going through this street because of the chalkboard drawings." 

 

"Poor thing," Taehyung said and got whacked in response, Jimin taking his answer as a nagging one. Taehyung's glaring eyes snitched that he was actually endeared. "How come haven't you anticipated the snow? It's almost swallowing my boots by now." 

 

Taehyung made his statement by purposefully burying his foot in the snow. Jimin watched the whole scene with furrowed eyebrows, predicting the only possible outcome. His boot got stuck and Taehyung lost balance as he tried to free his foot, his sock landing on the soft—but also wet and kind of dirty snow. Jimin laughed at the way he winced and reached for the boot, getting his glove all soaked by the melted snow underneath in the process.

 

"Ewww." Jimin handed Taehyung his boot, shaking his hand in disgust as if it would magically dry his glove.

 

"Alright, so here's the deal," Taehyung said and nonchalantly leaned his whole weight on Jimin's shoulder, bouncing on one foot as he guided them to a bench. "You'll give me one of your dry socks and I'll give you one of my dry gloves." 

 

"And why would I do that if you're only wet because the stubborn prick had to make a point?" 

 

"Because the stubborn prick's foot is freezing." Taehyung took his sock off in the middle of the sidewalk and Jimin could swear his foot was getting colored in shades of purple. "And if the stubborn prick's foot freezes, the stubborn prick will die of hypothermia and you'll never be able to show the sidewalk chalk to him when the spring comes." 

 

Jimin was already smiling at his overdramatic rambling, but when Taehyung manifested his interest in seeing the drawings, he started to beam. 

 

"You swear?" He pleaded for reassurance, although already taking his own boot off to give his dry sock to his friend. 

 

"Of course I do.” Taehyung raised his pinky and Jimin intertwined his own in it promptly. "Have I ever broken any promise to you?" 

 

Jimin smiled fondly.

 

It was kind of funny how Taehyung talked like they knew each other for a lifetime. It was even funnier how they felt exactly like that.

 

Everytime someone mentioned a certain event that happened before they had met, Jimin asked himself what he was doing at the moment and found it weird that Taehyung wasn’t in the picture when he belonged to it so perfectly. 

 

Jimin couldn't remember life before Taehyung anymore. 

 

As a matter of fact, Taehyung kept his promise, obviously. When spring came, he was the one to take Jimin by the hand and run to that specific street to check if the chalk drawings were there. They were so excited about them that in the fourth or fifth time when they passed by to catch up with the new ones, the artists even asked if they wanted to try it. Jimin drew a beautiful tree with pink leaves and a new promise was born as Taehyung told him that one day they'd watch the cherry trees blossoming in Japan. Taehyung drew a heart-shaped figure with plump lips and firmly denied that it was Jimin. 

 

Anyway, back to their shenanigans in the snow, Taehyung exchanged their socks and took his glove off, handing it to Jimin. He took it, trying his best to fight back a smile and obviously losing the battle. He replaced the glove and raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. "And what is the stubborn prick planning to prevent his hand from freezing?" 

 

Taehyung darted his eyes at him, a playful and slightly wicked smile painting his lips. "I guess you know what to do."

 

Jimin engulfed Taehyung's bare hand with his, burying them inside of the pocket of his coat all the way towards Hoseok's house.

 

Later that night, Taehyung witnessed Jimin's first big awakening—but, then again, not the last. 

 

There was a specific moment where everything couldn't be more normal. They were just chatting and laughing in Hoseok's living room, but then Jeongguk and Seokjin decided on mimicking the characters of some game and Jimin couldn't even explain how it started. The only thing he knew was that Hoseok was clapping fiercely from how hard he was laughing and Namjoon was pretending he didn't want to see it. That was the exact sight when something glistened differently in Jimin's eyes and Taehyung's been the only one to tell.

 

It wasn't the first time he trailed off by watching Jimin, though.  

 

But it was the first time when he figured out that the big awakenings do not necessarily happen in the big moments. They're most likely to blow up in the ordinary, where he grew to think that was where the majority of life's beauty resides. 

 

"What's it?" He bumped his shoulder on Jimin's lightly, yet on purpose to catch his attention. Jimin shook his head, seemingly a little taken-aback.

 

"S'Nothing," he answered with a weak smile. Taehyung eventually learned it was a code for when he wanted to talk about something, although not there, neither at that moment.

 

A few hours later, they were laying on mattresses disposed of on the floor, side to side. If they did the slightest movement, their knees would brush together, the only thing effectively separating their bodies being the pillow that Taehyung was clutching onto. Taehyung's eyes roamed around the room to find out that the others were heavily sleeping and met with Jimin's again, in a silent message that he could talk about anything that he wanted to.

 

"You were my first friend ever," Jimin blurted out in a whisper and Taehyung's brows lifted a little. He's never been one to feign his reactions, so it was pretty clear that he wasn't expecting that. "And now I have a lot of friends. Today I was watching them and I couldn't help but think about how fond of them I am and to feel thankful…" Jimin stopped for a second and his smile weakened a little, in a way that frightened Taehyung momentarily. If he had the understanding at the time, he'd recognize it properly as amazement. He finally added with a sigh, "And it all comes back to you. It all revolves around you."

 

"Of course it doesn't, Jimin." Taehyung reached for Jimin's hand beneath the blanket, feeling a nonsensical urge to retract it as he watched the way Jimin's face blushed furiously when their fingers touched. Jimin caught his hesitancy, so he hurriedly searched for it and gave it a squeeze that only tightened as Taehyung went on with his train of thought, "It revolves around you." 

 

Jimin pulled their hands closer to his heart. He shut his eyes to prevent Taehyung from seeing the tears pooling on it, wishing he could keep forever in his memory the unusual feeling of being cherished. 

 

Jimin eventually found out that Taehyung would never let it be just a distant memory.

 

The next big awakening that Taehyung witnessed was two winters later. They were sitting on the couch of Jimin's house playing some car video game, Taehyung's leg sprawled over his best friend's. That, specifically, was a common scenario at that time, but the general action was unremitting throughout the years. They used to engage in the most random activities just to spend some time together. If Jimin became obsessed with american football, Taehyung would agree to watch the matches of the whole season with him, although he couldn't even get over the shape of the "ball"—including the air quotation marks. Taehyung didn't miss a chance to remark how he didn't understand why it was addressed like that in the first place, but. 

 

Taehyung's mindset was basically that anything Jimin wants, he would have it.

 

Jimin wasn't much different at all. So there he was, hitting the controls of a control that he literally never touched when Taehyung wasn't with him (but if you asked if Jimin bought it only to play it with his best friend, he would deny it frantically), wincing as he watched his car hopelessly drifting off the road. When the match ended, Taehyung mocked him saying he lost count on how many races Jimin lost in a row, but his mind was somewhere else. He rolled his eyes playfully just for the sake of giving him a response, too busy pondering if that would be the best moment to come with the subject that led him to invite Taehyung over in the first place. 

 

Before he could warn him to wait, Taehyung was already setting the game to start a new match and promising to take it easy on him. Jimin's thoughts were too loud for him to hear anything else. 

 

It's Taehyung, Jimin. What are you so afraid of?

 

Just spit it out.

 

Ready, set… Go!

 

The narrator's voice announced the car race began.

 

Say it. 

 

It's Taehyung. Just say it.

 

He even forgot to hit the accelerator, his car left behind Taehyung's in an embarrassing slow pace that was borderline comical in juxtaposition to the speed of Jimin's mind.

 

Dammit, you chicken, big baby, excuse of a human

 

"I kissed a boy today," he blurted out. 

 

Taehyung's car hit the retaining wall of the road.

 

"Oh." He did his best to play it cool, reversing his car to get it back on track in silence like nothing had happened. "Cool. Was it good?"

 

"Yeah, it was fine. It was… Wet," Jimin said and if it wasn't for the loud sound effects of the game, maybe he'd be able to hear Taehyung gulping. After a while of excruciating silence, Jimin decided on breaking it himself, thinking he'd probably faint if he waited for Taehyung to say something any longer, "I think I might be into boys." 

 

Taehyung stood silent for a moment, processing it. He couldn't go through an entire thought, feeling like when you're trying to come up for air but another wave comes and plunges you underwater again. A whole ocean of the endless possibilities presented by the new information, while drowning in the uncertainty brought by that reasonable part of his brain that kept questioning—

 

What possibilities? 

 

He finally reached the sand, coughing the water, but at least grasping onto the solid ground—

 

Jimin's your best friend.

 

"That's good, I kinda am into boys too." His peripheral vision caught the way Jimin hastily turned his head at him and he couldn't even blame him. Taehyung didn't know if it's been a Freudian slip or just the fast pace in which he talked when he got nervous, but he panicked immediately regardless. Worried that Jimin would've got it wrong, he tried to amend it, "I mean, that's good because we… We understand each other. Not for any other reason."

 

"I see," Jimin answered in a low voice and deflated, drawing his gaze back to the screen. "Why didn't you tell me, though?" His tone wasn't accusatory, neither did he sound angry or something. He just genuinely wanted to know, since they shared every single piece of their minds with each other. He believed that was one too big to let slip like that. 

 

"I guess I didn't consider I needed to? I mean, I cried like a baby when we watched Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

 

That did wonders to dissipate the tension between them, as Jimin threw his head back laughing as the final results of the match loaded. He ended up winning that match and did a cute victory dance in front of Taehyung, wiggling his butt playfully and only getting a weak smile in response. For some unknown reason for both of them, Taehyung didn't strive to fire back with a sassy retort. 

 

Taehyung couldn't explain why, but something was stinging inside of him.

 

Maybe he was just sorry for missing this first time. 

 

On some afternoon in the winter of Taehyung's 21st birthday, the sky was colored with the same shades of Jimin's hair strands. Taehyung addressed it as pink, simply, Jimin said it was called blorange. Taehyung was still getting used to his new appearance, not only because it was too different from the natural color he displayed for his whole life; it was hard to look at him for too long because Jimin was stunning .

 

When you literally grow with someone and they are part of your daily routine, some changes can go unnoticed. You might only realize them when you bump into an old photo and compare what it used to look like to what you see now. 

 

What Taehyung sees has always been the same. 

 

What he looks at definitely hasn't.

 

Even back when he was a little bit more shy, Taehyung has always found Jimin beautiful and kind of intriguing. There was an unexplainable captivating aura around him that just pulled people closer when he allowed them to—the closer he got to an answer was when Namjoon mentioned he had a natural charm due to his solar sign of libra or whatever. Taehyung couldn't say two entire lines about astrology to save his life, but he agreed that the only explanation had to be something otherworldly. For that, the teenager Jimin had the potential to be dangerous somewhere, hidden behind a cute countenance with his round cheeks, cap back and tiny hands always grasping on his backpack strap like his life depended on it. 

 

When he unleashed his potential, the adult Jimin became a menace. 

 

What's always been there remained the same; the enchanting personality that was always ready to care for others, the gentle touches and the smiles that made you feel like you were his personal barycenter. The new, lethal element was confidence. He discovered the style to feel more comfortable on his own skin and it was a spectacular process for Taehyung to watch, feeling proud and delighted as Jimin smiled in front of the mirror checking how good he looked in those black skinny jeans and mustard and beige colored V-neck shirt. 

 

It was sweet and sour. Taehyung also knew it meant he was doomed. 

 

The moment Jimin learned the power he held in his eyes, everyone around him got in trouble, struggling to say no to the tenderness carried by them. Taehyung was in a thousand times worse situation, because he wasn't only affected by his tender part. He also met with the tempting version of his eyes that showed up when he got tipsy and they were forced to dance too close to each other amongst the crowded room, or when he turned around with a wicked smile that exposed that he knew Taehyung's been staring for too long. 

 

Anyway, he had a suspicion that his most dangerous eyes were ones that only made an appearance in rare occasions. He believed he knew Jimin enough to read them and to know that they said,

 

I like to be loved. Love me, then. Please.

 

Jimin didn't need to ask twice. He didn't need to ask at all.

 

Anything you want, you will have it. Always.

 

Jimin was giving him one of these glares when they were lying on his roof, resting their weights on one elbow as they faced each other. It became a habit, covering the floor with a blanket and lying over it to look at the sunset—or the sunrise if they lost notion of time, spending all night watching the stars as Taehyung made up names for the constellations and Jimin pretended to buy it. 

 

But at this time, the pink shades in the sky had given place to the darkness of night and it was too cold to lay there without a thick blanket, so the fabric got in the way between them and the stars as they covered their whole bodies, including their heads. The improvised tent protected them from the outside, keeping them in their own world that was already too dishevelled as they tried to recover from one of their fights. 

 

They fought a lot and it wasn't always serious, neither meant they loved each other any less, just that they were too passionate about their opinions. This one in particular had been more heated because they didn't fight over Taehyung's favorite anime or while playing uno; instead, Jimin got upset that Taehyung scolded him for being so wasted he almost got his nipple pierced at a party. 

 

Taehyung knew that people tried to make Jimin insecure about the way he changed, so it broke him to even consider that Jimin could think that he would shame him for his decisions. They soon made up as Taehyung explained that he wasn't trying to dictate what Jimin should do and wouldn't do it ever. He was only worried about his well-being. 

 

And about the possibility of an infection.

 

Jimin understood his point and realized that if he was in his shoes, he'd probably assume the same overprotective attitude. Jimin laughed—a little nervously when Taehyung admitted he had recorded a video of Jimin drunk, saying he was sorry as they fought.

 

"You're unbelievable." Jimin shook his head in disbelief, although failing to hold back the way his lips curved upwards.  

 

Taehyung's own smile slowly faded. He questioned, "Did you forgive me for real? Aren't you lying?"

 

"That's an outrage to me and to our friendship," Jimin said, his tone becoming suddenly somber as he told him, "I could never lie to you." 

 

"Why?" 

 

Jimin sticked his tongue out for a second, playfully. He placed a hand over his chest and declared dramatically, "The part of you that lives in me would know immediately."

 

"That was so cheesy." Taehyung whacked him, smiling widely as Jimin's giggles filled his ears. 

 

Eventually, the giggles faded as well. Biting his lower lip in an inner battle to decide on saying it or not, he put out a weak smile in an attempt to look more frisky than he'd probably sound and finally said, "Doesn't mean it isn't true, though."

 

"I know, moonchild." 

 

Taehyung didn't even bother to hide the earnestness, to the point it became too hard for Jimin to bear the feeling that he was going to do something he'd regret later at any given moment. So, he lied on his back again and freed his head from the blanket, finding it safer to stare at the actual stars than at the one carried by his best friend's gaze. 

 

Taehyung followed his motion and they stood like that for a couple more hours, shoulder to shoulder. It didn't come to them that they were caressing the palms of their intertwined hands under the blanket. Not until the moon fell asleep and the blue light that made them company disappeared, giving place to all unavoidable truths brought by the sunlight.

 

They did a pretty good job fighting it and avoiding a lot for a while, though.

 

It's their 7th spring when Hoseok invites them to spend some days at his parents' vacation home at Gapyeong-gun. He immediately convinces them by saying he wanted it to be basically a Secular Spiritual Retreat—title borrowed from Namjoon. He feels too tired to spend a whole week insanely drinking soju for breakfast in a packed house like they used to do a few years ago. They all do, actually.

 

Seokjin and Yoongi have been too caught up in their jobs for this. Seokjin's currently filming a movie in which he plays a starring role and had encouraged Yoongi to apply for a job opportunity in the team that would produce the soundtrack. His abilities easily caught the attention of the recruiting team, but he's been overworking himself in order to impress the crew and guarantee they'll want him in other future works, or at least recommend him. 

 

Namjoon and Hoseok are not any better, perhaps they're even worse as they try to conceal work with the final stretch of their degrees in law school and fashion design, respectively.

He throws his bag over his shoulder, proceeds to walk away with his head turned at Jimin all the damn time, in a silent question if he'd expected something different.

 

Even if all Jimin can see is his shadow, he can tell Taehyung is smiling—and he can tell Taehyung knows the answer for that question, too.

 

The water feels cold against Jimin’s skin in ways that have nothing to do with its physical, actual temperature. It runs down his body, washing off of him the dreadful realization that he wants things he can’t afford to have and taking it down the drain.

 

And yet, he feels terribly dirty. 

's the only one that's not on the verge of tearing his own hair out, his major problem being not knowing which path he wants to follow in his career after he finishes the media & communication school because he has a lot of options. Recently, he discovered a particular inclination for directing and editing videos, leading him to what he hopes that isn't an impossible dream of directing a movie starring Seokjin. 

 

Everytime he brings the scenario where his boyfriend will be the one producing the soundtrack to make everything perfect, his friends tease him saying it would be nepotism. 

 

All restlessness of his routine considered, Yoongi's craving for some quality time with Jeongguk, causing him to be up for going out and doing stuff that he usually wouldn't. What he didn't count is that in the exact moment when Jeongguk's showing him pictures of the Garden of Morning Calm and begging for them to go, Taehyung would be eavesdropping by accident. Yoongi thinks it's already bad as he offers himself to join them, but it obviously gets worse as he shows up hours later with an arm linked to Jimin's. 

 

Yoongi hates double dates. But the only thing he hates more than a double date is a double date where one of the couples doesn't know they're a couple and consequently doesn't know they're on a double date.  

 

Jeongguk and Yoongi have been together for two years now, so, naturally, they grew used to each other's presence. They're obviously still touchy and overly affectionate, but when in public they display their love as shyly as their own souls are. On the other hand, Jimin and Taehyung look like they're living the honeymoon of a wedding that didn't even happen, giggling at their inside jokes all the time, leaning against each other as they do it and halting their steps when Taehyung yells that the light is perfect for him to take a picture from Jimin with his analogical camera. 

 

Which happens every two minutes.

 

Seven years later, Jeongguk and Yoongi still think they're insufferable. 

 

Especially when they keep constantly being left behind in the trail because they're too busy roleplaying the romantic scene of some drama. 

 

Yoongi's grumpiness is mostly feigned with teasing purposes, though. Nothing can kill his mood as he walks among the colorful lights that paint the trees, probably the second topic on the list of the most beautiful things he's ever seen. The first one's clearly Jeongguk's big black eyes glistening as they reflect them.

 

Ironically enough, after only a few minutes that they get home, all the lights go off out of nowhere. A drizzle started to hit the windows of Yoongi's car and got thicker as they rode their way home. By the time they arrived, it had improved considerably to a frightening storm. Hoseok apologies, telling them the blackouts are unfortunately a common thing when it rains like that, but they dismisse it saying it's no one's fault. 

 

They stay in the living room for a while, drinking wine and pestering Seokjin to give them a snippet of his performance on the movie—which he only gives when he's drunk enough to do so. But not drunk enough to forget to beg them not to put it on the internet, otherwise his germinal career will die before it can even be born properly. 

 

Hours pass and, as usual, Hoseok, Taehyung and Jimin are now the only ones left in the dim light of the living room, saved by some candles that Hoseok found in the kitchen and an emergency light. The cuckoo clock announces it's 3 AM and startles the house's owner, making him jump two meters away from his former spot. Taehyung and Jimin can't help but laugh at that, but when Hoseok decides it's time to go to bed and tells them he'll bring the emergency light to his bedroom, they only coo fondly. Jimin crawls on the floor to reach for Hoseok's leg and grabs him as he wiggles it frantically to get rid of his friend. He's smiling widely, anyway. 

 

Jimin finally lets him go and gets a pat on his head in response. As he turns around, Taehyung's staring at him with one of those looks. One that starts with half-lidded eyes, puffed cheeks and a close-mouth smile that only lasts until Jimin glares black at him, stretching it to a wide one instead. The effect should be to hide his eyes even more, also keeping all of the secrets that are unyieldingly snitched by them in a safe place, but—the thing is that there isn't such a thing as a hidden place for Taehyung's secrets when it comes to Jimin. He can always catch the way Taehyung's eyes glare as he looks at him so wholeheartedly; so that it makes Jimin aware of how whole his own heart is for the way he feels— 

 

seen.

 

Jimin thinks there's a difference between being looked at and being seen. When people look at you, they look at what you're allowing them to, only. When they see you, they see what you want them to, but also what you don't. 

 

And, still, they love you fully.

 

Jimin smiles back unconsciously, wondering why the pace his heart beats is speeding up so fast.

 

Maybe it is too excited to know—to feel that Taehyung loves him fully.

 

"What?" He always questions and he never gets an answer, since what follows doesn't really tell him anything.

 

"Nothing." 

 

And Taehyung shakes his head slowly, his countenance softening back to the loose tender smile.

 

Jimin crawls back to join his side again. They sit on the floor, resting their backs on the couch, shoulder to shoulder, which incredibly is far less physical contact than they're used to share. Jimin tilts his head, staring at him with a mischievous smile. "It's my third, you haven't finished your first yet." He pushes Taehyung's glass delicately in his direction. "C'mon, let's finish this bottle so we can go to sleep." 

 

"You want to?" Taehyung asks, lifting his eyebrows. He sips the wine, more to accompany Jimin than anything else. He attempts to wipe his lips with the sleeves of his white hoodie, but Jimin promptly reaches for it to prevent him from doing it for the fifth time that night. Taehyung huffles off a laugh sheepishly and admits, "I'm not sleepy." 

 

"Oh, aren't you?" Jimin shifts and throws his legs over Taehyung's. It's less comfortable in some ways and much more in others, mostly when it comes to familiarity. "We can stay here, then. I just thought there wasn't much that we could do." 

 

He gestures openly to the dark living room, emphasizing the television that's turned off and the fact that they're all alone. Taehyung snorts, thinking it's never been a deterrent. 

 

"And? We can always come up with something." He knocks the wine down to put a quick end to his suffering and pats on Jimin's leg. "You've got the best ideas, hit me." 

 

Jimin taps his chin, knowing what Taehyung's referring to. Jimin likes games. Q&As, board games, card games, drinking games, any sort. Taehyung knows well that he likes them because he's good at them. Any game that you could imagine, Jimin not only knows, he also has probably played it once—and won it. 

 

In truth, everyone ends up winning.

 

Jimin likes to be praised for his abilities when he easily wins, Taehyung likes to have an excuse to praise Jimin.

 

"Scattergories?" He suggests. What he gets as a response is Taehyung bringing the back of his hand to his mouth to mimic a fart sound. 

 

"Boring!" Taehyung complains and Jimin whacks him with a hand, as the other uselessly tries to hide that he's laughing.

 

"Okay, then. I have another, but I think it's no use for us." Jimin twitches his lips and Taehyung frowns inquisitifully. "It's called 20 questions."

 

"I wonder what it would mean," Taehyung deadpans and melts as Jimin pinches his belly. 

 

"As the knows-it-all can imagine, we basically ask 10 questions each, 20 in total, out of all honesty. It can be anything and we obviously can't lie."

 

"Haven't we been playing this game for the last 7 years?" Taehyung asks only half kidding and Jimin leans on his direction as he laughs. 

 

"Unofficially." Jimin shrugs and reaches for the bottle on the coffee table. "And with no booze, most of the time." 

 

Taehyung sighs defeated as Jimin pours some more on his glass. He knocks half of the content when Jimin's still filling his own and declares excitedly, "I'll start, then. Would you rather take a look at some point in the past or in the future?" 

 

"What? That wasn't the kind of question that I had in mind," Jimin says through laughter and Taehyung crosses his arms, insolently. 

 

"Can you show some respect here? This is a classic," Taehyung defends dramatically and Jimin rolls his eyes. "What kind of question do you have in mind?" 

 

Jimin's smile immediately disappears and he thanks the blackout for preventing Taehyung from seeing the way his cheeks blushed so violently. He wants to take it slow as he already feels his body warming up for the alcohol, but he drinks a little anyway to gain extra time. 

 

"I don't know how to answer this." He opts to ignore what Taehyung questioned, retorting to the original matter. Something crosses his mind and he smiles coyly as he says in a low voice, "I guess I already know what I'm gonna see in both of them, anyway." 

 

Taehyung's eyebrows knit in confusion for the whole four seconds that it takes for him to comprehend what Jimin means; but when he finally does, his face brightens up like fireworks. 

 

"Stop it." He smiles in a way that Jimin would read as shy if he didn't know him better than that. "Your turn."

 

"What really happened to Namjoon-hyung's sneakers?" Jimin asks and Taehyung's eyes widens so much it looks like they're going to pop out.

 

"So this is where you were trying to get with this game?" He leans back as if he's trying to get away from Jimin, but it only causes him to snuggle closer onto him if anything. "I didn't even know you knew about this!"

 

"Of course I do! Hyung complained he only wore them twice for at least four weeks!" Jimin says as he manages to get them to the original position. When they sit straight, his arm keeps holding Taehyung's shoulder for some unknown reason.

 

Not that they really need one.

 

"Alright." Taehyung closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose, taking a deep breath. Jimin chuckles at the whole drama. "I threw up on them." Taehyung admits and hurries to say as he spots the astonishment in Jimin's countenance, "But it was obviously an accident! I thought it was a good idea to sip from my father's glass of whiskey, but it tasted terrible. I really don't want to go on details about what happened next." 

 

"For God's sake, you said it was his little brother!" 

 

"Excuse me, it's also my little brother." Taehyung willingly takes a sip from his glass, hoping the alcohol can drown his embarrassment. "When you put it like that, it seems like I blamed some random kid. I blamed my kid."

 

"Does it make a difference?" Jimin squeaks.

 

"Of course it does. My parents gave me the terms of use and conditions of having a little brother when Jeongin was born and the fine print totally granted me the privilege of blaming him for my mistakes."

 

There was a time when Jimin felt flustered for laughing at literally anything Taehyung said. Abashed, even, worried about what he would think. Fortunately, that was left in the past, giving him security enough to currently be bending his body in half as he wiped away his tears.  

 

"My turn. If it's how we're going, then..." Taehyung rubs his hands together, staring at Jimin with an exaggerated wicked smile. "Did Hoseok-hyung really get that tattoo?"

 

Jimin reaches blindly for a cushion on the couch behind him. What he yells comes out muffled as he buries his face on it, "No!" He feels Taehyung's hand on his leg after a while as a sign for him to cut the drama off. Jimin frees his face and lashes out, "This isn't fair, you confessed your own secret! I'll confess other people's secrets!" 

 

Taehyung jerks at his position and raises his index finger proudly. 

 

"So there is a secret to be confessed!" 

 

Jimin lets out a strangled whine.

 

"I hate you!" Jimin almost growls and ignores when Taehyung says he doesn't. He signs and finally explains what happened, "He got scared of the sound of the needle and gave up." After a torturously long time of Taehyung cracking up, Jimin hides his face on the pillow again, grumbling, "I'm an untrustworthy bitch." 

 

"You're not untrustworthy, you only can't be trusted when it comes to me." Taehyung states with a victory smile and Jimin raises his head from the cushion to look at him with a feigned sulk. Taehyung ruffles his hair and recalls, "Your turn."

 

"I'm done with this confessing shit," Jimin says, trying to settle the strands of his now blonde hair back into place. "If you want silly, I'll play silly." Jimin cocks his head and looks at the ceiling, thinking. Then, he snorts on his own and covers his mouth, trying to recover before he asks, "Why do you think the movie is Alvin and the Chipmunks and not Alvin and the Squirrels?" 

 

"I've got at least another 20 questions about all the paths your brain followed to get to this very specific question." Taehyung tries his best not to break his grave face as Jimin rests his head on his chest, still cracking up. "I don't know, maybe it's because chipmunks are tinier." 

 

"But why did they have to be tinier?"

 

"Maybe to fit their voices," Taehyung says and starts to sing Bad Day, impersonating the higher pitched voices of the Chipmunks. The smile that he's been fighting finally wins over his face when Jimin tightens his grip on Taehyung's arm from how hard he's laughing. 

 

Jimin recomposes himself and straightens his torso. "What has one thing to do with another? Just because they're tinier their voices need to be high" Jimin cuts himself midway as he catches the way Taehyung's brow quirks. He raises his index finger and warns, threateningly, "Don't you dare."

 

"I didn't even say anything." Taehyung swirls one fist like he's wagging a surrender white flag. "My turn. Would you rather die in a fire or drown?"

 

Before he can finish his sentence, Jimin is pulling an outraged face with a yelp. "What the fuck, Taehyung?"

 

"It's a fair question! I think about it a lot." 

 

"Why." Jimin frowns even harder and rubs his temples, failing to see how amused Taehyung is. He knows it, regardless. "Alright, I guess I… Would rather… Not… Die?" 

 

"That wasn't an option, but since I'm reevaluating it and concluding I'd rather you not to die as well, I'll accept it," Taehyung declares and Jimin giggles, knocking the wine down. He shakes the bottle to find out that it's almost empty, but he's glad. He's already slurring his speech a little and, judging by the warmth in Taehyung's hand—too warm in the cool temperature of the night—, he's tipsy as well. He thinks about his next question while he pours the remaining content of the bottle on his and Taehyung's glasses. 

 

"Pick an ability: dancing or painting?" Jimin asks and Taehyung ponders.

 

"None? I'd rather sing," he concludes and Jimin seems reluctant for a second, but more like a child that's deciding whether to do something naughty or not. 

 

"You already sing very well." Jimin looks down and something in Taehyung's chest tingles funnily. 

 

Once in a while, there's occasions like that. Occasions when Jimin gets so shy that Taehyung remembers that after seven summers and cold winters, Jimin's still the same. Taehyung couldn't say that Jimin wears a mask of confidence; the boldness that he attained throughout the years, beyond genuine, was an endeavor. So it would be more accurate to say that he had layers —and behind those layers of self-assurance still lived a shy boy that feared being caught.

 

On those occasions, he feels silly and reprimands himself for even thinking that Taehyung would be trying to catch him in the first place. 

 

"Huh?" Taehyung blinks at him, taken by surprise. "How do you know that?" 

 

"Sometimes you sing. When I'm waiting for you to get ready to go out or… When you cook breakfast." Jimin scratches his nape, bashfully. "I think it's always when you think I'm not hearing it, so I'm sorry, I guess…?" 

 

Taehyung's heart stops tingling and starts fluttering. 

 

Obviously it isn't a problem that Jimin hears it, like Taehyung would keep any sort of secret from him. The actual problem is that, "I don't think it's really good. It's not a problem that you hear it. C'mon, you're you." Jimin's urge to protest is suppressed as he smiles at that. "I'm just embarrassed because I think it's not something good to hear."

 

"I can't believe that not only I have to wish that you could see yourself as I do, now I have to wish that you could hear yourself as I do, too." Jimin's tone comes out cheerful, but there's a blatant honesty along it.

 

Taehyung narrows his eyes at Jimin and fires at him in a not very subtle way of changing the subject, "One Piece or Dragon Ball?"

 

Jimin sees his life passing by his eyes as he almost hits the glass and drops its content on Hoseok's rug, which would be just one more accident caused by the way he laughs with his whole body. His luck is that Taehyung's faster to prevent the misfortune from happening, leaning on Jimin to reach the glass quickly. He moves slightly to settle it on the coffee table, but shifts his hand back to Jimin's side at the floor, practically caging him. 

 

It should feel normal. It is normal, that kind of proximity is something that they experience on a daily basis at that point. But, still, something hits Jimin in the exact button responsible for cloudening his senses. He shouldn't say it, but the moon that barges in through the window, the wine that he can smell in Taehyung's warm breath—

 

something about that is affecting him like the Devil.

 

He thinks he shouldn't be comparing his best friend's effect on him to the Devil, to start with.

 

It doesn't sound really friendly at all. 

 

"One piece, of course," Jimin splutters and clears his throat almost angrily, hating how nervous he sounds at sudden. "Do you really consider yourself as my best friend?"

 

"I'll give you to that, this question was for nothing." Taehyung sighs dramatically and leans back, retreating his arm and causing Jimin to feel like the sky was cleared, just as his mind. He nonchalantly beckons with his head, "Your turn."  

 

"Pick another country to live." It's the best that Jimin manages to come up with, feeling too self-conscious to do better. 

 

The only thing worse than being aware of how affected he feels right now is being aware of how unaffected Taehyung seems to be.

 

"Chile," he promptly answers. Promptly enough for Jimin to furrow his eyebrows in surprise.

 

"Is it something that you have in mind?"

 

"No. I just like how the word sounds," Taehyung says and Jimin knows he's serious. Jimin throws his head back and rubs a hand over his forehead. He doesn't even try to pretend he doesn't want to laugh as Taehyung goes on, "Chi-le. Sounds like chill. I'd love to chill in Chile." 

 

"This wordplay would be enough to fuse the next World War." 

 

"Alright, I've got the next one." The flagrant excitement betrayed by his tone is enough to make Jimin feel sorry even before he says anything. "Would you rather eat bibimbap that tastes like earwax or earwax that tastes like bibimbap?" 

 

Jimin sticks his tongue out in disgust. "Taehyung!"

 

"You're gonna tell me it's something that never crossed your mind?"

 

"Of course it didn't," Jimin fires back, his face still retorted in a grimace. He sighs and admits, "Alright. I think I'll go with the earwax that tastes like bibimbap."

 

"Gross." Taehyung winces for this time. "It's literally earwax, Jimin. That's disgusting."

 

Jimin widens his eyes and reaches to the collar of Taehyung's shirt, yanking it playfully. "It tastes like bibimbap. Bibimbap it is." 

 

"How would you look at ear wax and eat it anyway?"

 

"Fine! I choose the bibimbap that tastes like earwax!" Jimin gives up, letting go of his grip.

 

"Ewwww. The taste would stick to your tongue for days." Taehyung reproves with a shake of his head and Jimin growls. 

 

"What the fuck is the right answer?"

 

"There's no right answer." Taehyung crosses his arms pompously with a smug smile. "This is like Sofia's Choice, but make it gross."

 

"I can't believe you."

 

"Because I'm too good to be true?" He wraps an arm over Jimin's shoulder, pulling him closer into his embrace. Jimin unwittingly reaches for the fabric of Taehyung's pants, rubbing the fabric between the fingers and feeling like it is the epicenter of the electricity that spreads to his whole body. 

 

"That too," Jimin says, voice shaking. He tries again, more steady, "Are you even keeping track of the questions?"

 

Taehyung looks up as he ponders and Jimin envies him. 

 

He feels a strange envy for the fact that Taehyung is thinking while he wants to do the same so much but he can't. Jimin wants to think about all of the uninvited urges that are building up in his chest but he can't because the very source of them is currently brushing a finger over his arm ever so gently and preventing him from thinking. 

 

"You'll do the 10th now," Taehyung tells in a low voice. Jimin nods, rummaging his brain for something easy. Something safe.

 

"Aretha Franklin or Frank Sinatra?" 

 

"Now you wasted your question for nothing." Taehyung tsks and throws a leg over Jimin's, hoisting it closer. "Aretha, obviously." 

 

"Go on then, smart ass. Enlighten me with your wisdom." Jimin crosses his arms and Taehyung buries his face on his neck for a second, enough for Jimin's whole body to stiff. The atypicality of it doesn't let it go unnoticed for his best friend, who fails to hide his bewilderment in the millisecond that he glances at Jimin. Taehyung recalls Jimin suggesting them to go to bed, so he makes the choice of believing he's just sleepy instead of dwelling on it. 

 

"Did you stop believing in God?" Taehyung asks, softly. 

 

"Oh my God, how do you go from earwax to religion?" Jimin jokes, but Taehyung can see his smile doesn't meet his eyes.

 

"I have range." Taehyung shrugs and notices how the atmosphere shifts as Jimin begins to ruminate. He looks attentively at Jimin; Jimin looks attentively at the ring he's sliding over his finger back and forth. He glances back at Taehyung and a wave of regret washes over him as he spots the guilt in Jimin's eyes.

 

"I did," Jimin admits, quietly. He takes a deep breath and says, borderline apologetic. "To be honest, how couldn't I?"

 

Taehyung pulls him impossibly closer with unbridled gentleness and care, like he's manhandling the most precious thing his arms ever held. Jimin stirs, fitting his head on where his shoulders and neck meet. Taehyung kind of expected that Jimin would admit it since he went along with all of his crises about that matter, but he didn't expect him to do it so straightforwardly. He was there every time he cried; not because he had a fight with his religious parents like young people usually do when they're going through some awakening, rather because he didn't want to disappoint them. Even if his parents eventually forgive him, the hard time that Jimin lives due to the religious issue resides in the fact that he's unable to forgive himself.

 

"You know you have the right of not wanting to fit in something that blames you for existing, just because you're wrong at their eyes. If I learned something, it’s that we can refuse to be called a sinner if we think that the sin itself doesn't exist." 

 

Jimin smiles weakly. Usually, he's the one to advise his friend—and to be playfully mocked for talking like a wise old man. But he knows that Taehyung thinks he's one of the smartest people he's ever met, since he insists on pointing out whenever he can the powerful speaker that Jimin is. Each time that they switch roles, Jimin's glad for knowing that they actually share a balanced connection that works like conjoined trees where they have different roots, but find their ways to help each other grow. 

 

"The problem isn't only about me, Taetae. What bothers me is what isn't done to the others." Jimin sighs again and Taehyung can feel on his skin how exhausted he is. "You know I tried really hard." Jimin says after a while and Taehyung knows indeed that he did. And the way that he's trying to justify his beliefs tells him that there's still something holding him back, like he can't let it go. Taehyung wants to understand better why it is, but as if he's reading his mind, Jimin adds, "I feel bad for not believing anymore, like it was my last string of hope and I gave up on it."  

 

"I know you're wise enough to know it on your own, but I'll say it anyway because I know how resistant you are to absorb things when they're anywhere near to a proof of the outstanding example of human being that you are." 

 

"C'mon. Now you put a lot of effort into that," Jimin sneers and Taehyung shushes him.

 

"Not believing in it doesn't make you a bad person, Jimin. I know it's hard to assimilate that when you heard the opposite your whole life, but there's no inherent relation between hope and religion. You can find it in mundane things, in mundane people. And if you want proof that it is really possible, just know that you're literally my major source of hope." 

 

Jimin didn't expect to end up crying when he suggested that game, but there he is wiping the corners of his eyes anyway. He lifts his torso and rests his back against the couch again, craving to look at Taehyung's eyes as he says, "You didn't need to. Thank you."

 

"I know I didn't. That's how you know I mean it." 

 

Jimin shakes his head, biting a smile. "Alright, then. I've got a good one for you too. Do you believe in destiny?"

 

Taehyung opens his mouth to say something, but it looks like he's changed his mind as he shuts it, pursing his lips. His chin and eyebrows lift as he gives back defiantly, "I do. How couldn't I?"

 

Jimin's lips part and he blinks frantically a few times, watching Taehyung's challenging posture turn into an amused one for seeing his confusion. Jimin has the slightest idea of what he meant, but he finds it better to be safe than sorry and checks anyway, "What do you mean?"

 

Swiftly, Taehyung's countenance changes to a serious one. He sounds disheartened when he says, "It's such a shame the little faith you have in yourself. I meant exactly what you think I did." 

 

Jimin pleads above a whisper, "Just tell me."

 

The silence falls heavily as he waits for the answer and Jimin can swear his heart skips a beat to sync with the rhythm of Taehyung's breath.

 

"Of course I believe in destiny, have you ever looked at us?"  

 

He reaches for Jimin's hand, intertwining their fingers. Jimin's eyes inadvertently drop to look at it, always entranced by the way it looks like Taehyung's hands were shaped to engulf his. 

 

He hopes he isn't being too dramatic, but as Jimin sees Taehyung's pinky finger fondly caressing the mole of his own pinky, he thinks that maybe they were fated to hold each other's hands. 

 

"So you really think there was a higher force working things out with the very intent of bringing our ways together?" 

 

"Don't you?" Taehyung retorts only half jokingly. "You must agree that there's some unexplainable things here." Jimin hopes his eyes didn't bulge so visibly like he feels they did. It's revealed that he's unluckily right as Taehyung's own eyes widen and he hurries to clarify, "I mean, for the way we bumped into each other and got along so well and so quickly."

 

Jimin nods frantically, so that the spot behind his eyes starts to ache. 

 

"Yeah, yeah, I think exactly like you, I just wanted you to say it," he admits and Taehyung whacks him with their intertwined hands. "At this point, I'm more than convinced that we're a mystery." 

 

Something crosses Taehyung's eyes so fast that Jimin fails to catch it. He snorts at himself, feeling silly for thinking it was like a shooting star. 

 

He's even dangerously close to making a wish. 

 

Taehyung drags him out of his reveries, "Let's go to the next one. What's your biggest fear?" 

 

"Jesus, Taehyung, this was supposed to be a fun game." Jimin laughs and Taehyung gapes, outraged.

 

"I am having fun! And for your information, I missed having these long, deep conversations with you. We've been so wrapped up lately that I can't even recall when was the last time we talked about things like this." 

 

"Yeah, deep conversations about earwax," Jimin deadpans and Taehyung pretends he'll stand up. He doesn't let go of Jimin's hand, nonetheless. Jimin pulls him back, placing his free hand on his shoulder. "I know, I'm just bugging you. I miss it too." 

 

Being that close, it's impossible not to notice the way Taehyung's eyes trail down to his lips. Jimin wonders if the same destiny that allegedly brought them together is trying to tell him something when the cuckoo clock sings and breaks them a few centimeters apart. 

 

"It's 4 AM already. Answer it or we'll finish this game watching the sunrise." 

 

"You say it like it's a bad thing." Jimin smiles, but it falters as he remembers what the question was. "Oh, my biggest fear. I guess it's giving up."

 

"Do you want to elaborate?"

 

"It's just," Jimin sighs for what it feels like the twentieth time now. "I'm so afraid of losing my will to do things and just… Surrender." 

 

"You know that giving up doesn't mean you'll be necessarily surrendering about everything, right? It's all about changes, I guess. It may feel like you're a surrender, but you're just trading something for others that make more sense at that moment. Closing a door to open a window or something like that." 

 

Jimin considers that for a while. Finally, he concludes, "I promise I'll think about it and learn it fifteen years from now."

 

"Wow. That's way sooner than I imagined." 

 

Jimin leans on him as he laughs again and Taehyung smiles, taking a deep breath to enjoy the scent of his peachy shampoo. Taehyung's free hand reaches to caress the hair on the back of his head, but it hovers uselessly in the air until he gives up and retracts it, feeling like a fucking hypocrite. 

 

"My turn, let's go on." Jimin straightens his back and announces as he wiggles his body, seemingly excited. "Communism or anarchism?"

 

"Is that what you take as a deep question?" 

 

"Yes?"

 

Jimin cracks up again as he sees the confused grimace on Taehyung's face. He can feel his cheeks aching at this point. 

 

"Anarchism," Taehyung answers and readily raises his index fingers as he sees bewilderment taking over Jimin's features. "Nah-ah-ah. We're not gonna stay up all night discussing this. My turn. Do you like your job?" 

 

"Finally an easy one. I do, I love working with refugees. I'd just like it even better if I was paid." Jimin chuckles and elaborates, "No, really, I do. It's just frustrating to know that everything that I can do in order to help others at this point is voluntary. I worry that I'll have to seek some white collar job when I graduate because I want to help people, but I'll also have to pay my bills. It will eat me from inside out."

 

"I'm sure you'll make it, you stand out in every single thing that you set your mind into."  

 

Jimin smiles weakly. "I worry that sometimes it isn't enough. But nevermind, I've already came up with the next one and it's really good and well-thought. Listen to me: let's do what we can call a... Synesthesia exercise. My classmates from college suggested it when they were high once. You gotta relate something from one sense to another thing from another." Jimin winces at his own words, at how confused they sound to his own ears. 

 

"This is not a question."

 

Jimin puffs his cheeks. "Can you do it?"

 

Taehyung giggles. "Now that is a question."

 

"I'm serious, do you get it? I don't know if I made it very clear." 

 

Oddly, Taehyung does. So it's unexplainable even for him that he hears himself saying, "This is hard." 

 

Maybe it's the fact that he's lightweight for alcohol and drank too much wine for his standards. Maybe that's the reason why he can feel his sense of judgment a little compromised, his tongue a little too loose and causing to say things without thinking much. Saying it's hard was clearly a lie as in the next moment, his mind is wandering with no difficulties at all.

 

Listening to your voice is like running to the bus stop and catching it right in time.

 

Touching your soft skin is like smelling new books.

 

Opening my eyes and looking at you in the morning is like slowly drowning in a bathtub filled with hot water.

 

"Can't you think of anything?" Jimin questions, his lips jutting out in curiosity when the pause stretches for too long.

 

You.

 

You're everything I can think of.

 

Taehyung breaks. His heart starts beating too fast and Jimin probably notices he's crashing. If not for the way Taehyung's staring at him like his whole world's been turned upside down, it certainly is for the way Taehyung's hand relaxes around his. 

 

Damn.

 

"Looking at something new for the first time feels like coming home and taking my heavy backpack from my shoulders," he mumbles and Jimin frowns. 

 

"If you say so. That was unexpected, but it was a good one," Jimin praises, although still a little wary. "It's your turn."

 

Taehyung nods, but it's like he's out of tune. He feels an impending urge to stand on his feet and literally flee to the bathroom. The honest part of him is willing to say he just wants to run away. Not exactly from Jimin, since he doesn't quite know what Jimin wants. But he knows what he wants. And what he wants makes him feel a need to at least splash some water on his face, hoping it'd also wash all of the madness that's taking over his head down the drain.

 

"Hey." Jimin touches his arm gently and Taehyung almost wants to laugh at how immediately it pulls him back to Earth, away from the turbulence of his mind. "It's your turn."

 

He wants to tell Jimin that he can't do it anymore—unsure of what it even means by now. However, the reasonable part of him that's still there somewhere, floating amongst treacherous abstractions of how Jimin's lips must feel against his, thinks that it would be better to distract himself from it. Giving a poor excuse to cease the game and head to bed would only leave him with an empty head with plenty of room to think about it over and over.

 

"So," he attempts, sounding too low and nearly fragile. "What would you do if you weren't graduating in Political Science?" 

 

"That's a really good one. I have no fucking clue." Jimin snorts. "I used to dance when I was a kid and I liked it a lot. But it was so long ago, I can't even picture myself doing it anymore. Seems like another life." 

 

Taehyung's glad he's decided to stay, as Jimin's dreamy tone works to put him back at ease. He even manages to feed the fantasies, "Who knows there isn't an alternative universe where you dance. Maybe you're an idol, I'm a rapper and we meet backstage at some award show."

 

"Why can't you be an idol as well? There are idols that are rappers." Jimin teases him. They stay in silence for some moments, just letting themselves drift to another life and wondering if maybe things are easier there.  

 

"It's your turn. And think wisely, I think it's your last but one," Taehyung says and it causes Jimin to startle from the position in which he's been, resting his head on his fist and his elbow on the couch behind him. He suddenly looks nervous, wetting his lips and tossing his hair back with a hand. Jimin even extends his arm out to get the glass and pulls a face as he drinks all of the content at once to make the warmth of it more tolerable. 

 

"I guess I'll mimic you. What would you do if you weren't a photographer?" Jimin asks and Taehyung leans back, resting both of his folded arms on the couch as he faces the ceiling.

 

He huffs out a laugh and says, still not looking at Jimin, "I thought we had agreed that I'd be a famous rapper to meet you in our alternative life." 

 

"I'm not talking about our other life, I'm talking about this one." Jimin rolls his eyes playfully. "You say it like we wouldn't meet despite what we did for a living. You could play the violin on the subway and we'd still become friends after I gave you some coins and praised your redemption of some Norah Jones' song."  

 

"C'mon, you'd blush like a tomato and I'd have to make the first touch," Taehyung says and his smile slowly retreats, as the path that the conversation is following comes to him. "I guess I still would like to be an artist. A painter, a writer, I don't know. I don't see myself in a white collar job as well, you know." 

 

Jimin nods and they share a silence that's buzzing too much in their ears to be a comfortable one. 

 

"Your last one," Jimin announces and Taehyung slides a little on the floor until he's too close to lie on his back, resting his head on the couch.

 

"Will you miss me when you become a diplomat?" 

 

It's the lowest and deepest his voice gets until now. He fidgets the braid of his hoodie as he waits anxiously. He's already regretting that he stepped into that subject after a hard work to avoid it since the very day when Jimin said the major goal of his career was to become a diplomat, gifting Taehyung with a white elephant that lived since then in a corner of his brain, always remembering him of the fact that Jimin was going to leave eventually.  

 

"What do you mean by miss you? You'll be with me." 

 

That definitely does wonders to stab the poor elephant.

 

Jimin says it and not even he knows for sure if it's a joke, mostly because he’s too altruistic to ever ask someone to leave everything behind and do something exclusively for his indulgence. Taehyung jerks his head at him, brows knitted in awe, "Wait, what?"

 

"I'm kidding," Jimin says too hastily, a shiver running down his spine at the prospect of scaring Taehyung and his unprisoned soul. Taehyung seems to deflate and Jimin's desperation grows, eager to straighten things out, "But I guess I'm not, at the same time? I mean, you love to travel and you're a photographer. Would it be so bad? It wouldn't be for me, it obviously would be for you."

 

Taehyung's jaw slackens and he feels fucking ridiculous.

 

Because he had never, ever thought about it and it hurts to face how it seems painfully obvious now. But how could he consider that possibility when he was too busy freaking out on his own for something that had no prospect of happening in the near future?

 

"It makes a lot of sense, actually," he mumbles, having a hard time to focus as his mind is immediately flooded with delusional scenarios of all the possible places where they could go. Together. To any corner of the whole world, as Jimin's dream comes true—and he questions himself if he drank too much wine, because he's starting to think that maybe keeping their friendship going would mean his own dream coming true too. 

 

The worst part is that he knows it should be scary. It should be toe-curling, hair-of-your-nape-stranding-to-its-end kind of scary, in the same way it was when the past people Taehyung dated said they needed him. Maybe it wasn't even a big deal, just something they said without meaning it, but still it tingled something weirdly in his free soul. He was frightened by the idea of having someone depending on him and depending on someone, but—Jimin is different. He doesn't feel like he needs Jimin in a way that not being with him would drive him insane; he wants to be around him because he loves him and that is it. It's hard to understand how it can be so light and intense at the same time, but nonetheless he feels with every inch of his being how greatly easy it is. And maybe the tranquility of it is exactly the key to begin to understand the singular nature of what they share. 

 

Oh, no.

 

"It's my turn, right?" Jimin asks and Taehyung knows him well enough to see he's unsettled for the lack of a more elaborated answer, but he's far too overwhelmed to give him a proper one. "It's the last one, isn't it?" His voice trembles a little and Taehyung feels an odd urge to caress the gap between his eyebrows in order to relax it, rattled by the way that Jimin looks almost in pain.

 

Taehyung always had a weird 6th sense to unravel what Jimin wanted without the need for him to verbalize it. He just feels an unwavering force driving him to do or say something and, for some reason, it turns out to be exactly what Jimin needs.

 

This time is no different when he simply says, "It's your last shot. Go ahead." 

 

Taehyung barely catches Jimin's lips moving as he questions if he went insane, because the exact words that reach his ears can't be true. 

 

"Have you ever thought about us in a different way?" 

 

There's a moment of excruciating silence where Taehyung can swear he distorts all realistic notions of time and relives his last seven years in what feels like an endless second. 

 

It isn't an easy question to answer—because the answer is yes. 

 

And just as endless as that second are the possibilities of what will come next when he finally opens his mouth to present Jimin with the truth. 

 

He knows Jimin is anxiously waiting for his answer as his chest goes up and down like he just finished a marathon, but Taehyung doesn't feel like thriving on saying anything; not when his mind is busy with the reminiscents of every single possible occasion where he did think about them in a different way. 

 

Taehyung fails to prevent the wave that overflows his mind with every single glaze that lingered too long, every touch that pressed a little too firm on his skin, every word that sounded too much like a promise or every kiss that felt a little too much like a miss, too distant from where he wanted it to be, but—

 

He wonders if he wants to prevent his mind from thinking about it now, when it's so oddly satisfying the feeling of drowning in the acknowledgement that he's been right afterall. 

 

Taehyung's always muffled all the whispers in his head that tried to tell him that maybe what went on between them was different, immediately. When it lasted for long enough than the unwelcoming second and started to affect him, he tried to come up with reasonable excuses to explain the unmatched essence of what they have. Obviously it was different from everything he's ever seen, but it didn't mean that he wanted to kiss his best friend.

 

Except that he actually does. 

 

Looking at Jimin's reddened lips from the wine, looking at the way his eyebrows are joining in a mistakeful reading of a rejection that definitely isn't in Taehyung's eyes, it becomes too exhausting for Taehyung to keep pretending that he doesn't want to kiss him.

 

He did it for too long now. 

 

Jimin bashfully opens his mouth to speak, but it seems like he regrets it as he looks down and rubs his forehead with his hand. He's smiling when he faces Taehyung again, but he knows better and sees the strive he's putting to force it. 

 

"It's just a stupid question out of curiosity, I swear. It doesn't have to mean anything," Jimin says, still smiling too nervously and voice too shaky for it to sound truthful. 

 

"What if I want it to mean something?" Taehyung asks in a spur of courage.

 

Jimin's smile falters. 

 

"Taehyung," Jimin warns in a low voice, looking completely taken-aback. "What are you saying?"

 

Taehyung lets out a deep breath and fails to hold back a laugh, finding everything in the situation so alike them it is funny. Because nothing would fit them better than Jimin being the one to bring the matter to surface and also the one to panic about it now that Taehyung's gathered the guts to speak up for what he wants.  

 

The nerves of both of them are clearly in Taehyung's possession, as he reaches for Jimin's hand and slowly slides his palm over his until he threads their fingers together. It should be ordinary; they did it just a few minutes before.

 

Except that it isn't. 

 

"I think this answers your question," Taehyung says and raises their hands, gently placing his lips on his best friend's. It's so soft that it's barely a kiss, but Jimin feels like everything on him is narrowing to the exact spot where lips and skin meet anyway, watching it enthralled as Taehyung closes his eyes and sighs. More like a statement than a question, Taehyung asks, "Is it supposed to feel like this?"

 

Although Jimin doesn't want to run from Taehyung, he drops his gaze anyway, feeling like his emotions are on the verge of overflowing. It's already too much to know exactly what he means as his whole body tingles and stomach boils for being linked to him in such an innocent way; the mere sight of his eyes would be enough to be the last drop, pouring his feelings all over the place.

 

"To be honest," Jimin starts, when he judges that he has recomposed himself. He bites his lower lip, eyes glaring and barely gone from how hard he's smiling. "I think this is exactly like it's supposed to feel, Taehyung." 

 

Taehyung nods slowly, as if he's registering what's about to happen. He lets go of Jimin's hand, just to gently run the tip of his fingers over his arm until he reaches his nape and strongly steals his breath. 

 

"There's something else that I wanna know how it feels," Taehyung whispers, leaning in. 

 

Jimin's been subtly leaning as well, unmindfully taking his own hand to grasp Taehyung's hair, caressing it. Their mouths are only centimeters apart when he gives in to the heaviness in his eyes and to all of his desires with a plea, "Show me." 

 

Their foreheads meet before their lips do. There's a smile in complicity that takes over both of their faces like they're mirrored—and maybe the loud drumming of their hearts and their free hands clenched in a fist are proof of their expectancy being reflected on each other. It's impossible to say who was waiting longer for this, but Jimin's definitely the one to take the space between them away.

 

It's soft at first, what would be seen as hesitancy, but it definitely doesn't feel like it. They feel like they're experimenting, enjoying the new sensation of brushing their lips together. When Jimin slides his hand over Taehyung's chest and caresses his cheek, Taehyung parts the soft kiss to give him a peck once, twice, thrice, until he's kissing Jimin's smile instead. 

 

Taehyung opens his eyes when he hears Jimin giggling, unable to resist and join him. He wants to question him, but when their giggles die down, he forgets about everything that isn't the fresh eagerness in Jimin's eyes. He's had glimpses of this version of his best friend from the outside, but never directed to him. Taehyung wondered more times than he's proud of about how it would feel to be at the receiving end of Jimin's attention, being the reason for the way he licked on his lips and his eyes were hooded in lust. 


And now he's there he knows he feels fucking blessed.

The tender way he's been holding Jimin's hair gives place to a fiery one as he pulls him closer again and tongues finally clash together, unleashing years of restrained desire. It's sloppy at first but no one can really blame the other, knowing it's due to how desperately they both want this. As they seem to calm down, they find a rhythm that starts to taste and feel good like it never did before. 

 

The muffled moan that lands right on Jimin's mouth certainly comes from the back of Taehyung's throat because it feels right like it never did before.

 

It seems to affect Jimin more than Taehyung could ever dream of. Jimin lets out a whimper himself and Taehyung knows his eyes would be rolling to the back of his head if they weren't closed, just judging by his little noises alone. Taehyung can't help but imagine what other sounds Jimin's going to let out when he does what he's intending to—

 

The dangerous path that his mind follows causes him to shiver in anticipation, and if Jimin doesn't catch it, he definitely feels it by the way Taehyung desperately reaches for his thigh and gives it a squeeze. Jimin bites his lower lip in response and throws the leg over Taehyung's hips, almost getting on his lap. His lips stop midway for a second, eyes snapping open as Taehyung follows and does the same, his brows furrowed in concern.

 

"Did I do something wrong?" He asks carefully and Jimin shakes his head frantically. 

 

"No, I was worried if I was going too far because I was, you know," Jimin babbles and Taehyung would find it endearing if he wasn't on the verge of crying for the lack of his lips on his. "Pretty close to literally straddling you." 

 

Taehyung shamefully breathes out in relief. He leans closer and slowly trails his hand down on Jimin's side, placing both on his hips. He asks with a smirk, "Yeah?", and slightly pulls Jimin closer, just as a cue for him to understand that he's free to do so. Jimin gets it and promptly sits on his lap, sighing deeply and dropping his head on Taehyung's shoulder when their cocks brush together over the thin fabric of their sweatpants. Taehyung notices it and tightens his grip on his hips, "Like this?" 

 

His smugness gets back at him as Jimin grabs his jaw with the exact amount of strength to be arousing instead of hurtful, trailing his open lips up his neck. He starts to roll his hips slowly and smiles with Taehyung's earlobe trapped between his teeth as he feels Taehyung's fingers digging even deeper on his skin, hearing a crying groan. With feigned innocence, Jimin retorts, "Exactly like this." 

 

"I guess I forgot who I'm dealing with," Taehyung surrenders and Jimin breaks, throwing his head back laughing. 

 

Taehyung does his best to pretend that his cock is twitching because of the alluring display of Jimin's neck, not because of the sound of his laugh. 

 

Regardless, he gets other reasons to squirm as Jimin's expression swifts so quickly it takes Taehyung off guard. He stares at him deeply, eyes narrowed as he says, "Don't do this again, then. It's such a shame." It's tantalizing when he smiles for this time before he says, "I'll never forget who I am with." 

 

His mere words are enough to pool heat on Taehyung's stomach. He pulls him closer again and they kiss for so long they lose track of it, tongues swirling languidly and following the motion of Jimin's hips on his lap; when Taehyung bites Jimin's lower lip as an excuse to catch his breath, Jimin pins himself harder onto him and Taehyung raises his hip to meet him. The only thing capable of making him place his hands on Jimin's waist to halt the movements is realizing that his toes are curling due to the orgasm that's starting to build. 

 

He doesn't have it on him to feel ashamed for being too worked up already. Not only because he's busier trying to get on his feet with Jimin's legs tangled around him, so they don't need to separate their mouths; but also because Jimin looks just as eager, one hand crumpling Taehyung's shirt as it desperately runs over his back and the other fidgets with the hem of his waistband. 

 

Taehyung blindly gropes on the wall to guide them to the room they're sharing. He almost laughs at the absurdity of the fact that one of the bedrooms with a double bed was offered to them because they allegedly don't bother about having to share the same bed—the truth being that Taehyung actually likes to sleep next to Jimin. 

 

He doesn't hold back the smile, though, as he realizes that he won't have to hide it anymore. 

 

Different from the living room, their bedroom is practically pitch dark, the moonlight being an scarce excuse of source of light. Taehyung carefully lays Jimin on the bed and whips his phone from his pocket, turning the flashlight on. He winces for seeing that the battery will run low soon, but draws his attention back to Jimin, who's crawling up on bed until his head is resting on the pillows.

 

It's frenzying how Jimin's eyes shift from avidness to endearment; how he looks at Taehyung's like he's about to tear his shirt off in a second and then he's holding all the affection of the world in his irises in the other. Both of them drive Taehyung crazy all the same. He slowly crawls until he's hovering over Jimin and makes a motion to take his shirt off, as Jimin raises his torso and arms to help him through. He hooks his fingers on the waistband and glares at Jimin like he's waiting for allowance, which he promptly indulges with a hectic nod of his head. Taehyung smiles proudly at his desperation and takes both his sweatpants and briefs down at once. Taehyung hears Jimin gasping and nearly drools at the sight of his freed cock slapping against his skin.

 

"You're beautiful," Taehyung whispers as he finishes pulling his clothes off Jimin's body. He plants several kisses up Jimin's legs, alternating kisses and praises until he gets to his thighs. His hands gently sprawl Jimin's legs further and he exchanges the peck for a bite on the inside of his thigh. Although light, it's enough for Jimin to arch his back off the bed and seek for Taehyung's hair to give it a tug. Taehyung kisses where he's bitten and goes up, kissing each of Jimin's hip bones. He finally holds the base of his cock with a hand and smiles, feeling it twitch before his lips are even in touch. He places a kiss on the head and Jimin squirms as Taehyung's breath hits the sensitive spot, "You're so beautiful, Jimin. All of you." 

 

Mapping Jimin's body it's Taehyung's favorite part of it. His own cock's undoubtedly leaking inside his pants and begging for attention, but he feels like he could go all night just finding the right spots to kiss and bite, savoring the discovery of what makes him whimper, shudder or run his feet over Taehyung's back in desperation to bring him closer. He could go hours licking Jimin's cock from the base until the slit, tenderly massaging his balls, just to see him unwittingly kicking his leg and crying his name. 

 

"Taehyung-ah, plea" Jimin starts, but he chokes on his own words as Taehyung takes his cock as deeply as he can with devotion. 

 

Anything Jimin wants, he'll have it.

 

Taehyung keeps holding the part that he can't swallow, rhythmically pumping his fist with the motions of his head. He backs off a little to twirl his tongue around the head; he sinks again, taking his hand off and giving him place to go further. He only retracts when his eyes are prinkling with tears and Jimin's being loud enough for the poor soul across the wall to wake up. 

 

He reaches for his hand to give it a squeeze, hoping Jimin will get the message and shush down. Jimin definitely doesn't, since he lets out a loud moan as Taehyung's tongue travels down to his balls. Taehyung climbs over him and stops right above his face with the intent of scolding Jimin for being too loud—even though he wants to hear him for the rest of his life, their friends certainly don't, but he loses focus as the flashlight goes off. 

 

"Shit. My battery probably ran low," he curses, almost unable to see Jimin anymore.

 

"Mine's long gone too," Jimin almost purrs and Taehyung can feel him squirming under him, seeking for touch. "Can you go on? Please? Not to be dramatic, but I'm about to die here." 

 

Taehyung chuckles and nods, using the small pecks on Jimin's skin to guide him down. He halts his movements when he assumes he's reached Jimin's belly and changes his mind, going back to his previous position. He gropes until he's cupping Jimin's cheeks with a hand and confesses, "Jimin, I… I don't think I wanna do this."

 

"What?" He answers in a low voice and Taehyung can hear his heart breaking in the dark. He doesn't sound upset, obviously. He's rather dazed and Taehyung hates himself for a moment for making Jimin sound so small from the prospective of a possible rejection. 

 

"No, it’s not like that, it's just…" Taehyung squeezes his eyes shut in regret, thinking he must be sounding and looking ridiculous. Then, he remembers Jimin can't see him and that's actually the whole problem. "I know it’s silly, but… I wanna see you. When we do this, I want to be able to see you," he clarifies and he feels Jimin's chest deflating under him as he sighs out of relief.

 

"Oh. God. Oh, okay." Taehyung feels Jimin shifting to drive his hand to his hair, tossing it back. "You're unbelievable, you know that?" He can hear the smile in Jimin's voice. Before Taehyung can answer, he adds, "And for this time it's because you're too good to be true, indeed."

 

"Stop it," Taehyung whines and feels the remaining blood that isn't flowing to his cock rising to his cheek. He drags down to give a kiss to Jimin's neck and says, "I'm sorry."

 

"Don't be." Jimin's hand searches for his chin to pull him to a gentle kiss. "Actually, I think I have an idea. The candles were almost out when we left, but Hobi-hyung’s room is unlocked, he sleeps with the door open. Maybe I can take the emergency light and bring it here."

 

"Hyung will literally kill you."

 

"I know." Jimin smiles playfully, already picturing the way Hoseok will yell at him the next morning. He thinks his afterglow will prevent him from bothering anyway, so. "But I won't mind because I'll be the happiest slash dead man ever." 

 

"Jimin," Taehyung whines again, burying his face on the crook of Jimin's neck.

 

"What? What am I doing?"

 

"Saying those things." His voice comes muffled and he sighs before leaning himself on his elbows to clarify, "Like you love me and you have no intention to stop."

 

Jimin giggles at that and takes his hand to trail Taehyung's spine up and down, the touch of his fingers light as a feather. "I didn’t know I was doing that, but I guess you put it quite right." He attempts to give him a peck, but kisses the tip of his nose instead. Taehyung smiles wholeheartedly anyway and it grows bigger and bigger at Jimin's following words, "Because I've been loving you since I've met you and I really don’t have any intention to stop, ever."

 

Taehyung really wishes he could've seen Jimin's eyes while hearing that. 

 

"Okay, then." It's all he manages to say, feeling like he's about to burst from all the happiness that's piling up on his chest.

 

"Wait for me, I'll be right back," Jimin tells him and Taehyung hums in agreement, but doesn't make a move. "Get off me!" Jimin tries to toss him to his side cheerfully, but Taehyung cages him more decisively between his arms, planting kisses all over Jimin's face.

 

"Now you can go. Chop-chop." He concludes with a final peck on his lips and a playful slap on what he hopes is Jimin's butt when he gets on his feet. 

 

Jimin goes and returns like wildfire, proudly bringing the emergency lamp with him. He places it on the dresser and Taehyung's eyes bulge as he realizes and asks in awe, "You went there naked?" 

 

Jimin just shrugs and points to the towel that's been wrapped around his waist. "Hyung's a heavy sleeper, anyway. Didn't even move." Taehyung shakes his head, laughing in disbelief as Jimin starts to crawl on the bed. "There's something more important now. Do you have, mmh. You know. Anything?"

 

Taehyung huffs out a laugh in disbelief that the same man who was so desperate to get banged to the point of going half naked to his friend's room in order to steal a lamp is too embarrassed to ask if he has condom and lube. 

 

"Yep. At the bottom of my bag."

 

Jimin smirks as he rummages on it. It doesn't take long for him to find it and go back to bed, dropping it carelessly as he grabs Taehyung's ankles to spread him open. "I'll just save you from making fun of you for being prepared because I'm too busy wanting to eat you out." 

 

The smile in Taehyung's face immediately disappears and he mumbles, "Oh, God."

 

Taehyung's amazed by how his words alone hold power enough to make his cock almost entirely hard again. Jimin's definitely more hurried than Taehyung, but he can't really blame him after everything they'd done until now and the interruption. He pulls Taehyung's pants and underwear down like his life depends on it and sits back on his ankles, jaw slack as he blatantly scrutinizes his cock. 

 

Taehyung plops himself on his elbows and asks, quirking an eyebrow, "Are you keeping your promise or admiring my dick?"

 

"Why not both?" Jimin sassily retorts and spreads his legs open, stealing Taehyung's breath away and causing him to fall back down on the pillows. Jimin slides his palms over Taehyung's thighs until he's on all fours. He's not even properly touching Taehyung yet, still looking at his cock in awe as he rubs a hand inside of his thigh and gives it a squeeze every time his fingers get close enough to his hole—and at this point Taehyung doesn't even know anymore if he's doing it on purpose or not. He doesn't complain, though, amazed by the sight of Jimin resting his elbows on the mattress with his bare ass up. 

 

Jimin languidly licks the slit and Taehyung immediately clenches his fingers around the sheets. Taehyung mumbles under his breath, "Fuck, Jimin."

 

"Not yet," Jimin sneers and Taehyung draws one of his hands to the back of his head. Jimin circles the head with his thumb and sighs, saying as he ghosts his lips from the base to the head, "You're so wet already, is it all for me?" Taehyung groans in response and Jimin smiles against his cock, trailing up to twirl his tongue around the slit. "Taste so good, babe. I can't wait to see you leaking all over yourself as I dig my tongue on you." Jimin smiles mischievously when their eyes meet, proud at the positive response of Taehyung's hips jerking up. "Huh? Would you like that?"

 

It finally serves to achieve what he wanted, to see Taehyung getting out of his head and allowing himself to get lost in the moment. Taehyung's been holding back afraid to end it too soon or to wake the whole house up, but he failed to consider that Jimin would be willing to abuse practically all of his senses at the same time. He's already a blabbing mess of incoherent words as Jimin's strokes his cock at a painfully slow pace. He's so gone that he almost misses the way Jimin manhandles the back of his thighs, folding his legs to get a better angle as he travels his tongue down to his ass.

 

Taehyung nearly yelps as Jimin's tongue circles his rim tentatively for the first time. Jimin grabs hold of his ass cheeks to have better access and smiles at the sight of his hole clenching and unclenching around nothing, begging for him. Jimin indulges, hoisting his arms around Taehyung's thighs both to keep him in place and to help in order to sink his tongue deeper inside, deliciously stretching him, with the right amount of pain to spread waves of warmth through his body. Jimin sucks on the rim and Taehyung tugs on his hair warningly.

 

"ShhJimin, shit, Jimin, I'm close," he whines, reaching Jimin's hand in an attempt to stop it from jerking his cock, but Jimin slaps it away. Taehyung pants and squeezes his eyes shut to gather some self-control, dismayed at the discovery that being slapped only worsened the knot of arousal in his stomach. Even though that's something that he wants to explore, he thinks it's better to save it for later and warns again, "I'm serious."

 

Jimin lets go of his hole with a squelching sound and raises his head to stare at him with swollen lips and hair completely disheveled, "Do I look like I'm not serious?"

 

Taehyung helplessly flips his head to the side and rubs his temples, as his other hand still tries to bring Jimin up by gentle pulls on his hair—too gentle to match what he thinks his wicked mouth deserves. If Taehyung was aware of the things that he's capable of saying in bed before, and even more of the way he says them with a husky voice and hooded eyes, they'd probably have fucked the tension out a thousand years ago. 

 

But deep down he knows that's the arousal speaking. The reasonable Taehyung would never change any trace of their road, because the exact way in which everything happened makes them them . Every single step is theirs and led them to that very moment where he's now grinning like a fool as Jimin's stares at him inquisitifully. 

 

"Come here," Taehyung pleads tenderly, stretching his arm to him. Jimin melts right away and crawls over him, tugging the hem of his hoodie to take it off. He kisses Taehyung from his navel to his collarbones like they have all the time in the world—and maybe they do. The realization that they will be able to do it over and over again, not only today but whenever they want to for the rest of their lives, makes Jimin's ear buzz in anticipation. He's overcomed with a wave of affection and takes it out by placing a delicate kiss on Taehyung's cheek, taking him by surprise for the sudden swap in the atmosphere.

 

Jimin lowers his hips until his ass is sitting on Taehyung's lower belly. They both watch attentifully each other's responses, their faces only centimeters apart as Taehyung slides his hands down on Jimin's waist. Jimin starts grinding on him again, but it's a million times more intense now they're both completely naked. There's no piece of fabric separating them when Jimin rolls his hip back a little further and brushes against Taehyung's cock, causing them to pant on each other's mouths. Taehyung palms to Jimin's back until he's cupping his ass, giving it a squeeze that flips them back to the previous eagerness. 

 

Their tongues desperately clash again and they hum in contentment at how their tastes blend together. Taehyung probes a finger over Jimin's rim experimentally, that being enough for him to break the kiss and stiff his body, halting the movements of his hips.

 

"I haven't done it before." Jimin's body relaxes as he tells him, hiding his face on his neck. "Like this, I mean." 

 

"Oh," he answers, bringing his hand to caress Jimin's lower back. "We can switch if you want, I don't mind at all."

 

"No." Jimin shakes his head and brushes his nose behind Taehyung's ear, nibbling his earlobe before he whispers, "I want you inside of me. In all ways, beyond the ones you already are." 

 

"Jimin." Taehyung grabs his chin to guide him into a soft kiss. When he looks at him, he can see that there's tears pooling in the corners of Jimin's eyes. He coos and gently wipes it away with his thumbs, but it causes a few more tears to fall as he giggles. Taehyung's not exactly worried as he's used to his best friend being too emotional, so he just rolls them until Jimin's lying on his back and he's hovering over him, kissing his tears.

 

"I'm sorry." Jimin giggles again, heart fluttering every time Taehyung's lips meet with the wetness of his skin. "It's just..."

 

"Don't be, I know." Taehyung kisses the corner of his eyes for the last time and looks at him, feeling like his heart is beating on his ears. He gets exactly what Jimin's trying to say. "It's too much, I know. It's us."

 

"It's us." Jimin echoes and Taehyung kisses him again, feeling like they're overflowing all of those feelings of elation in each other's mouths through the lazy motion of their tongues. 

 

"Alright," Taehyung says, after breaking the kiss. "Let me take care of you, then." He reaches for the lube that's been carelessly resting on the bed and pours some on his fingers, rubbing them against each other. Jimin watches it in delight, toes curling in anticipation for wondering how it'll feel. Taehyung allignes his finger on his entrance and tells him, "I can be gentle and tender if you want me to."

 

"As if you weren't going to be like this anyway." Jimin rolls his eyes playfully and wiggles his hips, eager to get Taehyung inside of him. "Don't get too easy on me."

 

"I wanna make you feel so good," Taehyung says next to Jimin's ear, starting to slide the first finger in. "Never wanted something so bad before, angel."

 

Jimin doesn't know if it's the deepness of Taehyung's voice, the pet name or the delicious stretch, but his vision starts to blur and it gets unbearable to keep his eyes open.

 

He doesn't recognize his voice as he pleads, almost as a cry, "More, Taehyung-ah, please." 

 

Taehyung slides another finger in and Jimin has to bite the back of his hand to prevent a loud moan from coming out. Taehyung can't help but stare in awe, pretty sure that he'll get addicted to how responsive Jimin's in bed, to the way his back arches and hips drop down to meet his fingers, desperately craving for more. Luckily for him, he knows he'll always be able to satisfy his addiction. 

 

He scissors Jimin with all the patience he can muster, willing to spend all the time in the world prepping him if necessary. Taehyung's always been an attentive partner in bed, but it's completely different from the other times when he was satisfied by giving people a good time. Now he's more exigent, not accepting less than making Jimin feel good as he literally never did in his life. 

 

That's the difference that resides on having sex with someone you actually love with your whole being. 

 

Jimin chants for more again and Taehyung obliges, taking it slowly since the slide isn't as easy as before. He lets out a prolonged groan that Taehyung fails to fathom as if being of pleasure or pain, but whatever it was doesn't matter anymore as he bottoms out and Jimin rolls his hips— 

 

The crying sound that he lets out for this time definitely is out of pleasure. 

 

"There you are." Taehyung smiles and kisses his neck, working his fingers to find that sweet spot again. Jimin sobs when he finds it again and again, clutching his nails on Taehyung's shoulder in a way that's certainly leaving a mark tomorrow, but he doesn't have it on him to care. If he's willing to be honest, the idea of being marked by Jimin is spreading waves of heat from the spot where his skin's being scratched to the rest of his body. 

 

His fingers fuck into him for a little longer until Jimin's inadvertently drooling and crying and begging for him to stop before he comes. Taehyung carefully takes it out and Jimin immediately whines in complaint, missing the feeling of being full.

 

"I know, I know. It will feel even better now." Taehyung soothes him, wiping his tears away with one hand as the other rolls the condom down his cock. He sits back to pour some more lube, his peripheral vision catching the way Jimin nervously tosses his hair soaked in sweat back, uselessly trying to recompose himself.

 

"What the fuck is even that." Jimin breathes out and Taehyung can't help but laugh, endeared by his lightheartedness. 

 

Taehyung positions himself and gathers all his willpower not to thrust into him right away, taking a second to adjust Jimin's legs around his waist and to whisper to his ear, only half playfully—while the other half really thrives on giving him anything he demands him to—, "Any other request?"

 

Jimin seems to take it seriously, cupping Taehyung's face until they're staring deep into his eyes. He presses their foreheads together, smiling with what amazes Taehyung to be a perfect mix between wicked and endearing. Above a whisper, he pleads, "Fuck me like you love me." 

 

"That won't be a challenge at all. I do love you, Park Jimin." 

 

Jimin giggles at the way he says his full name, but his chest and cheeks are burning so much from fondness. He tries to answer; he tries to tell him that he loves him back, but the words stop midway on his tongue, because in the next moment he's hissing as Taehyung slowly eases himself in. 

 

Watching Jimin close his eyes and bite his lower lip, Taehyung halts the movement immediately, terrified by the idea of hurting him. He searches for Jimin's hands and intertwines them on each side of his head, both for balance and to give him something to hold onto. He gives soft pecks all over Jimin's face, asking him to relax. It seems to work as Jimin opens his eyes again and presses a leg on his back to sink him down further.

 

Taehyung stills when he's as deep as he can, kissing him just as deeply as he waits for him to adjust. Jimin squeezes their hands in encouragement, not wanting to break the kiss to tell him to move. It happens anyway when he does, as Jimin gasps and his head falls helplessly back to the pillow. The movements are perfectly slow, Taehyung keeping his promise of being tender and treating Jimin like he's the most delicate thing ever. He keeps that rhythm until Jimin's impatiently working himself to reach deeper and faster, the pace of his moans increasing to match the pace of his hips.

 

"M'Okay." Jimin moans in frustration. "Give me" He starts, but it goes to nowhere as Taehyung finally indulges with a particularly hard thrust and his eyes roll to the back of his head. "More, Taehyung-ah. Give me all of you."

 

Jimin whines again as Taehyung goes back to the previous slow pace. When Jimin hears his words, he knows it's on purpose, "So demanding, my beautiful angel." As if he's trying to punish him back, Jimin clenches around him and Taehyung's head literally starts to spin. "How many times I'll have to say that I'll always give anything you want?"

 

Those are his final words before he starts fucking Jimin restlessly as he pleaded. He knows he won't last much, everything about it being too much to handle; the tightness of Jimin's walls around him, the obscene sounds of their hips clashing together, the muffled moans that comes out of Jimin's mouth as he bites his shoulder, the familiarity in the smell of Jimin's shampooand the way he knows he hit the right spot because Jimin lets out an attempt of blabber to tell Taehyung he loves him. Everything about it being so intimate, so indubitely them, that he almost wants to slow down and make it last a little longer.

 

But judging by the way Jimin keeps pleasingly and now unwittingly clenching around him, he's too close for that. 

 

It is confirmed when Jimin lets go of one of his hands to reach for his cock, but Taehyung softly brushes it off to do it himself, stroking it and taking both of them closer and closer to the edge. And because it's Jimin, Taehyung isn't embarrassed to say that what throws him off and makes him come is the words that finally leave Jimin's mouth entirely as he reaches his climax, "I love you so, so much

 

Taehyung's weight drops on top of Jimin and the latter smiles stupidly in his afterglow, enjoying the intimacy embroiled in having him so close, skin on skin, separated only by the coat of sweat. They remain like that for a while until Taehyung pulls out slowly and carefully, but Jimin sucks the air through his teeth anyway. He apologizes with a long peck on Jimin's forehead, tracing his jawline with his thumb, but he tells him not to worry because he's fine. More than fine, actually.

 

Jimin lies on his side, unable to keep his eyes open any longer as Taehyung gets off the bed to discard the condom. He smiles, feeling the bed dipping on his side, and then there's someone throwing a leg over his hip and pulling him closer by the waist. It's still too hot to wear any clothes, but not to tangle their limbs, it seems. 

 

He peeks with one eye open just to find Taehyung studying his face. One of his boxy smiles takes over his lips like he's been caught in the act, but he doesn't back down. Instead, he takes his hand to Jimin's face and traces Jimin's jawline with his thumb. He traces his cheeks, nose bridge and then his lips with his index finger. Taehyung's eyes keep up with the motion until his hand drops weakly between them. Jimin reaches for it and intertwines their fingers, wondering if that's what levitating feels like. 

 

Lulled by the serene sound of Taehyung's breath, Jimin slips into the most peaceful sleep he's ever had. 

 

❀ 

 

There is something indistinguishably amazing about Park Jimin. 

 

He still thinks that he'll never fathom it entirely, and that the closest he could get is to know that his existence is a happening. 

 

Regardless, Taehyung unravels new discoveries of amazing happenings as he watches him now, thinking about the fortunate event that was the meeting of their souls. Maybe there's something indistinguishably amazing about them, too.

 

But that can be fathomed by the infinitude of paths that they followed to love each other.

 

Ordinarily, where the majority of life's beauty resides. 

 

It resides in Jimin standing on his feet, facing the window. Taehyung can only see his profile, but what holds his attention the most is his figure adorned by the thin sheet, his curves perfectly visible through the transparent material against the light. Judging by his reactions and by the way his lips jut out in dismay, he's probably catching up with the news on his phone, which is charging now. The electricity probably came back while they were sleeping, but he has no idea of how much time had passed in the meantime. Neither can he assume what time it is by the sight. It's cloudy outside, which perfectly frames his image wrapped in the white sheet. Jimin looks like he's too beautiful, too sublime to be real. Like he doesn't belong to his world. 

 

Taehyung beams, glad that he does.

 

Induced by this thought, Taehyung wraps himself in a brown blanket and gets off the bed, slowly drawing near him. He embraces Jimin's waist from behind, resting his head on his shoulder. Jimin immediately puts his phone down and Taehyung can see his smile in the window's reflection.

 

"Morning, angel," Taehyung whispers to his ear. Jimin shivers and slides one hand over Taehyung's forearm, raising the other blindly to caress the back of Taehyung's hair. 

 

"Morning, baby," Jimin answers, softly. "It's 2 PM, though. You tired the shit out of me." Taehyung's neck burns at the mention of last night, the memories flooding his mind unwittingly. Jimin seems to be going through the same, the hand that's been gently stroking his hair giving a tug on it. He shakes his head and says, "And just so you know, Hobi-hyung wants us both killed. He's mad for having to postpone the hike because we slept in." 

 

Taehyung just growls in frustration and rests his forehead on Jimin's shoulder. After a while, he places soft pecks on Jimin's nape and shoulders, stopping a little flustered when he notices that Jimin's been watching them by the reflection. They stay like that for countless seconds, now watching the birds and bees with a light sway of their bodies.

 

Taehyung breaks the silence, asking above a whisper, "Can I ask you what made you change your mind?"

 

"What do you mean? Change my mind about what?" 

 

"I mean, to ask that question. I consider that as you taking the first step," Taehyung clarifies and Jimin seems to ponder. He turns around until he's facing Taehyung, eyes glimmering as he looks through years and years of unanswered questions in his mind. 

 

"What gave me the courage, you mean?" Jimin asks, freeing Taehyung's eyes from the strings of his curly hair so he can properly look into them. "I've been afraid that I would lose you for too long, because you were my first friend. More than that, you're still my best friend. You basically taught me what friendship is and I didn't want to risk that. But I guess I realized that nothing can change us. I mean, this is different, but at the same time… Is it really?" Taehyung giggles and Jimin raises his eyebrows inquisitifully, "Hey, why are you laughing?"

 

"Because I thought the exact same thing."

 

"Of course you did." Jimin rolls his eyes and bites his lower lip.

 

"I'm serious. I've been thinking about this for a while, to be honest. I can't even remember since when." Taehyung pours his heart out and Jimin blushes at that. "But it was easier for me to admit it when I realized that it wouldn't change much. It's always been us, anyway." 

 

Jimin nods and they smile at the same time when a bird flies near enough for them to hear it singing. His thumb strokes his cheek and he whispers, "And it always will be, Taetae. No matter what happens from now on, no matter how, it will always be you and me. I trust us enough to know that." 

 

Taehyung sniffs and Jimin cups his cheeks, getting on his tiptoes to kiss the corner of his eyes for this time.

 

"I love you so much, you know that?" Taehyung kisses his forehead and then trails down to the tip of his nose until he finally meets with Jimin's lips, feeling his stomach swooping funnily. He parts the fond kiss to whisper against his mouth, "It's nice to have you, Jimin." 

 

Jimin leans back a little and there's a smile that resembles a playful one in his lips. He's literally beaming like Taehyung can swear he's never seen before, eyes shining like the stars that they used to watch from his roof. He takes a deep breath and answers, "It's nice to have a friend, isn't it?"