Jeongguk's on a five-week streak going livestream. He smiles at the viewers’ counter, flattered and quite scared at the same time. He thought that the viewers would decrease, considering the frequency that he goes on Vlive now—or the fact that BTS is no longer together as a group for two years. He clearly was wrong. He's being watched by almost 31 million people at the moment.
He's been promoting his first full album for months, and now that the most tiresome part is done, he spares an hour or two of his week to make an appearance—not out of duty, simply because he wants to. Now that he grew confident and comfortable enough to not bother about some obnoxious comments, he really enjoys that. If there's an artist in the world whose love for his fans can't be put into doubt, that's him. Jeongguk loves talking to them, answering their silly questions, indulging their requests for cute antics. A couple of weeks ago, he even played some new, popular game with the fans after they begged him to do so. It honestly took a toll on him—enough for Jimin to laugh at him the whole time and pester his friend saying he wasn't on his golden days of Run BTS! anymore.
Today, he just wants to relax. Maybe sing a little, kill two birds with one stone. He starts rambling about health, stands for the importance of eating fruits, and rolls his eyes for effect when a fan states that he's literally pouring wine in a glass.
"There are grapes in it, alright?"
Time fleets in the blink of an eye. When he notices, he's already spent nearly twenty minutes advocating for Iron Man in Civil War—that until some fans complain they know nothing about that since they were 5 years old when the movie was released and he's provoked enough to change the subject.
He asks them to come up with the songs they want him to sing. He ignores the requests for his BTS solos since he still sings them on his shows until nowadays. He wants something more unusual, like some of his friends' individual songs that were only released on Soundcloud. He sings three of Seokjin's songs in a row, tries to rap "Golden", from Yoongi's latest album, but trails off in the middle of it to laugh at the notification that pops on his phone screen. It's Jimin, saying he's watching his livestream and that he's going to barge into Jeongguk's room with a bucket of cold water if he impersonates him again this time.
He sings Canvas and Photographs, his song featuring Taehyung that they never got a chance to perform and, after this one, the comment section is flooded with requests for him to sing several of Taehyung's songs. "Pierrot" is in high demand, which is only expected, since it's the title track of the album he's currently promoting. But it's the recurrence of a less expected song that leaves Jeongguk curious.
"You really want Sweet Night, huh? I haven't listened to this one in a while," he confesses, searching for the lyrics on the internet. He plays the song and smiles at the sound of his friend's voice, his mind unwittingly driving to how much he misses him. They all still talk quite often, they even go live together in a quite fair frequency, despite their not so tangled routines. They make use of birthdays, mostly, to gather all seven together; sometimes it's just two or three of them—and sometimes they have no special reason besides Taehyung wanting to show off his arms on Yoongi's livestream. Still, it's completely different now they don't live in the same house anymore, neither share the same schedules.
He shakes his head and tries to focus on the words, struggling a little to keep up with them. He was being honest when he said he hadn't listened to it in a while—if anyone could properly interpret a while as in years. So, even though he's practically fluent in English now, it's hard to say the words and match them with the rhythm of the song.
Something rings weirdly on his ear. Jeongguk swallows down a little dryly and brushes it off.
For a second, tops.
In the next, he's scratching his jaw with eyes wider than usual.
There's some weird shit going on here.
He becomes self-conscious of how he's probably looking, so he tries his best to feign normality before anyone can notice and turn him into a meme—or come up with some delusional theory. He almost laughs at himself for the irony of it all, since he's feeling pretty delusional by now.
"...Know-ow..." He pouts and elongates it exaggeratedly, now finally laughing at himself without care, aware that everyone's probably noticed at least that he has no idea of what he's doing. The muffled sound of Jimin's laugh that comes through the wall is solid evidence of that, too.
His laugh slowly and comically fades away as he moves on reading the chorus, eyes faster to catch with the second part of the song than the sound of it is to echo in his bedroom. His eyes seem to be glued to the first sentence, reading it over and over again as if it can magically be replaced with something else that won't make him feel like he's out of his mind. Quite literally, since it's like his mind is detaching itself from his body as he feels like his face is melting. His hand heads up to rub his earlobe nervously, lips parted rather dumbly. If he was any less nervous, he would practically hear those funny editing sounds from the crack YouTube videos that he's fond of. He scrolls the page to get to the end of the song hoping it would give him some answers, but it only serves to tighten the knot on his mind harder.
He quietly mouths the words, so low that the microphone probably doesn't even catch it.
Jeongguk stops the song in a halt before it can even reach that most disturbing part, in his humble opinion. He keeps singing the first verse in an attempt to look less unsettled, but he knows it will be hovering over his head like a crow until he does something about it.
First of all, Jeongguk is an incorrigible curious thing. Detaining information fills his heart with joy. But it would be an understatement to condense what's happening to a plain, impersonal desire of knowing things. Nothing is impersonal about that. Not when it involves allegedly deep feelings of one of his best friends for life.
Towards one of the others, by the way.
Who happens to be his roommate.
His roommate who is humming the melody of the song through the wall, while Jeongguk looks like the pranks that the fans used to put on him turned out to be true and there is a phantom behind him.
"That was nice, everyone," he says abruptly, forcing a smile. Taking the comments into account, no one noticed anything. Jeongguk was known for having a cute habit of spacing out on the most random occasions, anyway. Maybe it served as an alibi while he stared blankly, mind filled by white noise for not knowing where to begin with sorting his thoughts. He knows he can't bear any other minute without being alone with his own thoughts, so he dismisses himself with an ever gentle smile, "I'll see you next time, thank you for sticking with me until late hours. Love you!"
Jeongguk turns the livestream off and prays to whoever Gods that might be watching him for Jimin not to get in his room like he usually does when he ends a Vlive.
He discovers that if you think about something that sounds insane for long enough, it eventually starts to make sense, which only leads you to feel like you're just as insane as the thing itself for even considering it to be reasonable in the first place. But he can't blame himself, can't he? If anything, he can only blame himself for not noticing it sooner. Where was his head in the last six years? Or even further, maybe—in the last 14 years? How long has this been going on?
Jeongguk has a lot of questions right now. He wonders if he's erring on the side of trying to read between the lines too much. Maybe there's nothing under the surface to be unraveled and it's all vulnerably written over the outside. It's still not easy, though. It's hard to lift whatever is there to take a good look underneath when those lines hold the weight of Taehyung's heart.
Maybe he’s overthinking for nothing. What if Jimin already thought about it? What if he knows about it and Jeongguk simply doesn’t because it isn’t for him to know? Is it a secret of theirs? Because if it’s the case, he wouldn’t be offended, he swears. Throughout the years, it was quite normal that they all bonded through specific matters. He looked for Seokjin regarding things that he would comprehend better, for example. It happened all the time in different combinations. So, if anything, he’d only feel absolutely stupid for having this happening under his nose without noticing anything.
Well—without noticing anything is an exaggeration. Jeongguk noticed a lot of things, but he resorted to telling himself that it was part of the affectionate way they all grew to treat each other. Individually, Jimin and Taehyung liked to treat everyone with an excessive amount of care and physical affection, so it would be easy for those who looked from the outside to misunderstand some actions and think they were giving an excessive amount of love to people when it was actually just who they were.
But when it came to each other—it was different. That’s the only way Jeongguk can put it. Jimin and Taehyung have always suited this category of givers; when you put them together, it was quite like a supernova, an explosion ignited by the meeting of two powerful, similar energies. It was fairly expected that such devotion would pour from their meeting.
So, a stubborn bulb kept turning itself on in a suggestion that there might be something off about Jimin and Taehyung. And even though it was beautiful to watch, it wasn’t something easy to fathom. Because it wasn’t about exaggerated displays of affection, actually; neither about some sassy, jarring comments.
It was always about the subtlety, the tenderness. And that was exactly the problem.
It was quiet and gentle enough to go unnoticed by someone who wasn’t paying too much attention and to not seem like a joke at the same time.
Anyway, the Gods must be really angry at Jeongguk for skipping his workout session to dry a whole bottle of wine, because no one listens to him. Jimin gets in his room after a few minutes and carelessly plops his body on the bed, smiling at something he's reading on his phone's screen. Jeongguk winces at his friend rubbing on his clean sheets the dirty clothes that he was wearing outside, probably hanging out with Hoseok. He swallows down his complaint as he spots the beige sweater he's wearing. It belongs to Taehyung.
"You're wearing hyung's clothes." He points his finger at it. That's not an outstanding piece of information, truthfully. They were used to sharing clothes and accessories, especially when they lived together; imagine how convenient it would be to have seven options of different wardrobes to borrow stuff? Jimin would say in interviews that they had different clothes, but they were living the dream, really. In the actual context, sometimes what happened was just that someone forgot a piece in the other's house. If their styles were similar, they would even get mixed up and end up in a new possession. But this—
"Mhm, yeah." Jimin looks down, pinching the fabric to take a good look at it. He smiles and it's so loaded with fondness that it rings an alarm in Jeongguk's brain for some reason. The sound is still distant, though. "Taehyung left it with me while he's in China so I wouldn't miss him so much."
Now the alarm starts to wheeze with an obnoxious pitch sound.
"Oh," Jeongguk mumbles dumbly as an excuse of a response, eyes quick to dart to the other side of the bedroom as he feels his ears burn.
Jimin's so unbothered about everything that happened in the last ten minutes that Jeongguk feels like digging a hole in the ground and crawling into it.
As if he's intentionally trying to drive him mad, he says between giggles, "I was thinking about asking for some takeout. You got tipsy pretty quickly, so I assume you haven't eaten anything yet."
"Yeah. That would be nice. I would like some Tailandese food for the night. Speaking of which, have you ever listened to Sweet Night?" Jeongguk blurts out of nowhere before he can give it a second thought. Jimin lifts his torso and rests his weight on his elbows, staring at Jeongguk with a genuinely disoriented look.
"Yeah, like, several times. And a few minutes ago, when I was singing it with you." He chuckles, now seemingly amused by the question. "I mean, I was singing, you were pretending to know the lyrics—"
"Have you ever considered the possibility of the lyrics being about you?" Jeongguk throws the words at him in a haste and Jimin's smile falters. "Or directed at you—whatever, I don't know how to put this."
Jeongguk doesn't know what reaction he was expecting. Maybe he was waiting for Jimin to laugh out loud and call Taehyung so they could make fun of Jeongguk together, or to immediately throw a pillow at him and yell that he told him to stop reading nonsense in those fan forums on the internet. But the most unlikely is exactly what happens.
Jimin is astonished, at a loss for words.
"I, I—" Jimin stutters. Then, Jeongguk swears he sees the full range of possible human reactions. Jimin bats his lashes repeatedly at Jeongguk until he straightens his spine, fully sitting on the bed, and drives his gaze away. He opens and closes his mouth, seemingly regretting anything that would come out of it before it even does. He shakes his head so speedily and ephemerally it looks like the flapping of the wings of a hummingbird. He pouts, he purses his lips, he frowns and quirks an eyebrow. His fingers reach to grasp the hem of his sweater—of Taehyung's sweater, and that's what seems to flip the switch in his brain too, because in the next second he's laughing sardonically and questioning, "Why would it be?"
"The lyrics are about being in love with your best friend," Jeongguk says, his tone careful. And yet, it's tainted with something that makes him sound like he's literally saying that Jimin's dumb. He can't help it at all, the fault being more on what he's saying than on how he's doing it.
"And?" Jimin challenges, both of his eyebrows lifted and eyes too wide for someone who's holding a tranquil conversation.
Jeongguk sighs. He wishes he hadn't said anything. Not because Jimin's reaction is leading him to confirm that he was hallucinating, quite the opposite. He sounds weary when he says, "You're Taehyung's best friend."
"We're all his best friends. Is Taehyung in love with you all?"
There's something funny about the way Jimin includes himself among Taehyung's best friends but refuses to do it when he talks about the people he's in love with. Jeongguk doesn't find the time to dwell in that when Jimin looks so riled up and ready to jump down on his throat.
"Probably. But not my point here. Taehyung called you an extent of pet names that he never used with us, made a point of speaking about you as if you're something separated from the rest of us, said you're his one and only best friend with this exact words—"
"How do you even remember all of that—"
"I read a lot of interviews when I'm bored to catch up with what you say when I'm not fully paying attention," he answers with a scrunch of his shoulders.
"C'mon, hyung." Jeongguk drags himself closer to Jimin in the bed, but he only crosses his arms and looks away in a rather childish manner. Jeongguk won't be surprised if he just ends up covering his ears and singing before he storms out of the room. It's crystal clear by now he doesn't wanna hear what he's saying, and that's exactly what encourages Jeongguk to keep on doing it. He would've dropped it for a long time if Jimin had just said it didn't make any sense and whipped out his phone from his pocket to order their dinner. He feels it might be his role as a friend to make Jimin reflect on things that he'd rather not. "Don't you think it's really, really weird? Not even a little?"
He's silent for something in between one or five minutes, slowly digesting it, biting the inside of his cheek, and snorting loudly. Jeongguk damns himself for knowing his friend so well, erring only by the excess of drama and childishness he had predicted—because, after a long heavy breath, Jimin gets on his feet like he's about to leave the bedroom.
Jeongguk counts up until five and waits until Jimin stops on his track.
"You know what?" He turns back at Jeongguk, one hand in his waist as the other points a finger towards him with a maniac smile as if he had just cracked the whole code. "I think you're delusional. This was written for a show, it's a fucking OST! Maybe it is about the characters' story and you're creating this crazy scenario—"
Jeongguk rolls his eyes. He almost wants to laugh.
"I watched it. I'm inclined to say it's not."
Jimin literally growls at him.
"Why? I'm just trying to look at the possibilities here!" Jeongguk opens his arms, impatience building and boiling in his stomach for Jimin's overreaction.
"What about the possibility that he just wrote that without any meaning, huh?" Jimin crosses his arms again, but he looks less defiant now, almost like he's trying to use it as a shield for himself. He tries to reason, "It can be a fictional thing that he created in his head just to inspire the song. Our hyungs had said before that they have to use their imagination to write songs sometimes—"
Jeongguk barks out a laugh, "We both know it isn't true—"
"But it can be!" Jimin wiggles his whole body in aggravation, not ready to walk away from the room and leave Jeongguk with the idea that he ran out of excuses, which is exactly what's happening.
Jeongguk feels that sensation—the one when you feel like you're about to recall a word that you wanted to use, but couldn't remember it. There's an acknowledgment that's about to strike him like a bolt. He can feel it in the air, so close he can practically reach for it.
So, he does. He asks, "Why are you so resistant in this matter?"
"Because!" Jimin nearly yells at this time, causing his friend to flinch. He spends some seconds breathing heavily as he stares at Jeongguk and he can just see that he's radiating some anger that isn't directed at him. Beyond any expectation that Jeongguk had for this conversation, Jimin's eyes are colored in the same bright red that covers his face.
He starts to cry. Silently, as if he's using all of his will to hold it back, but he does.
"Hyung..." Jeongguk says, tilting his head to the side with his characteristic doe-eyes. His first instinct is to ask if Jimin is crying, but he bites it back. First, because he clearly is, but also for knowing that it will only serve to make him cry harder. Jeongguk haltingly goes to the edge of the bed, reaching for Jimin's hand. His friend retreats it harshly, lips jutted out in a pout. It's cute. Jeongguk can't help but giggle, but he lets it for Jimin to approach when he wants to.
"Because I built a fucking basement in my brain," Jimin starts after a while, sniffing and wiping the tears from his eyes. "I put a rug in that basement, swept it all under the rug, and threw the fucking key away. And now you're here, trying to bring it all back! You can't do this to me!"
He breaks into a sob at the end of the sentence. This time, when Jeongguk dares to pull him into a hug, Jimin indulges. There were countless times where Jeongguk rested his head on his hyung's lap and had his hair caressed as he vented about whatever was bothering him. Being the younger, rarer were the occasions that he found himself in the nurturing, counselor role that suited Jimin so perfectly. This one happens to be one of those. Jimin begrudgingly straddles the bed and lays his head on Jeongguk's thighs. It might be rarer, but Jeongguk has a flair for most things—and this one isn't different. He's gentle, caring, and puts off as an outstanding listener. The latter isn't of use now that Jimin doesn't know what to say yet, so he just lets his friend pat his hair in silence until he eventually stops crying.
Or until Jeongguk mindlessly leans his head back on the wall and starts humming Sweet Night.
Jimin snaps his head at him with a threatening glare and Jeongguk winces, guilt splattered all over his face.
"Sorry. It's stuck in my head. Bad timing."
And speaking of which, just at the time Jimin's phone buzzes on his hand, catching the attention of them both.
It buzzes twice and thrice, showing that baby bear is spamming him with several messages. Jimin attempts to hide it by clenching harder onto the phone, but Jeongguk's obviously already seen it. Jimin sighs heavily and tosses it on the bed, feeling the weight of Jeongguk's stare on him.
"Is it something important?" He asks, warily.
"Probably not, he just..." Jimin huffs out a laugh, joylessly. "He just updates me about his day, kind of in real-time when he can. And when he does he spams me because he's too excited all the time. He knew he was popular in China, but he told me things are beyond insane over there. He's loving it."
Jeongguk bites his lips, pondering about bringing it up or not. He eventually asks, "When is he coming back?"
Jimin sighs again. Jimin sighs a lot since Jeongguk decided to share the possible truth behind the song with him.
"Next week. He'll fly to Japan for a photoshoot for Vogue and then he'll be back."
"I guess you still have plenty of time to think about it, then."
"Nah," Jimin says, sharply but resolutely. He gets up from his lap in a jolt and wipes his cheeks for the last time, combing his hair with his fingers in a cue of what's to come. Jeongguk knows he's preparing the outside to look like nothing ever happened, so he can do the same on the inside, too. Jeongguk finds it really pointless, if he's willing to be honest. Jimin grabs hold of his hand to give a quick peck to its back. As he starts walking out of his bedroom, for real this time, he says, "I'll have forgotten about it when he gets back. Thank you, anyway."
"You're welcome, hyung. You can come to me whenever you need," Jeongguk reminds him, aware that it will fall on deaf ears.
Jimin doesn't come to him, but neither does he forget about it.
The following days get Jimin willing to spit in Jeongguk's juice for revenge.
He was doing pretty fine for the last decade, at least. The last reminiscent he has of being different than fine in an emotional, romantic way leads back to 2016. Jealousy was a terrible way to help him decipher that he felt something more for his best friend, but yet it was how it rolled. The worst part wasn't concluding that maybe what he felt towards Taehyung crossed the (in their case, very fine) line of platonic. The worst part wasn't admitting that maybe he wanted to carry other meanings when he held his hand, to be covered by a blanket of infatuation when they cuddled together—or to kiss him. He wanted to kiss him and he wanted to write all the love songs that he always lacked the inspiration to write about.
No, the worst part was the process. It was permeated by doubt, guilt, and shame, even. Jimin's always been addressed as one of the most reasonable amongst them, so—why didn't he act like that, then? Why was he feeling things that would derange their dynamics as a whole, his friendship with his best friend and their careers? He couldn't understand why he was acting so unlike himself. Curiously, he only started to get it when he tattooed his ribs.
He hissed at the pain, claiming that the others hadn't hurt quite as much. The tattoo artist told him that the skin that we exposed less became much more sensitive, consequently hurting much more when harmed. Jimin wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve. He kept it secured, out of anyone's league. Except for—
Except for the only one that could ever get into his locker. Not like trespassing it, no. Rather through the gentleness of offering his own vulnerability, crumbling Jimin's walls with a soft blow. For that, it was nothing but expected that his heart would achingly burn when the first light of sunray touched it, so unused to the sensation.
And damn. Taehyung could love the moon and night as he pleaded, but he was the Sun personified.
It hurt more than he could bear. So, when he finally came to the recognition part, he was so exhausted he didn't let himself enjoy it. How could he even? He just put that away and followed with his life. Merrily. In the past two years, he released a mini and a full album and fitted the tons of invitations he received to work as a model in the few blanks of his routine. His priority still was the dance and the music. He loved being on the stage more than anything—but he loved it as a performer.
His name has been cheered when he toured all around the world. He was addressed as the Worldwide It Boy. People said they wanted to collaborate with him in interviews, not the other way around anymore. He was loved—by his family, by his dear friends, by his fans. Putting a thought on it, life actually was more than fine.
He was so, so fine.
Until Jeongguk intervened.
Now, it isn't an exaggeration to say that Jimin is out of his fucking mind. Usually, the only thing that keeps his mind occupied is his job. The problem's that he's on a three-week break before he has to start to work on his next Comeback, which means that he has a lot of free time to think about things he shouldn't. He even considered asking Hoseok to join his dance practice to distract himself, but he knew he would also be distracted enough to piss off his friend until he kicked him out of the studio.
It's there all the time. Whenever he is washing the dishes, Taehyung's humming comes to his mind. He even tried to watch a tutorial on YouTube to learn sewing on his own, only to huff in annoyance when he found out what the background song was.
"C'mon!" He yelled at his screen, "The song was released six years ago!"
Jimin looked at the video description and discovered it was released six years ago, too.
He dropped sewing and decided to watch a movie, only to end up hearing in his mind the sound of Taehyung's voice singing that they were ships in the night—he means, the poetic persona and whoever they're singing about.
Not to mention the countless times when Jeongguk talked about literally anything else and Jimin would misunderstand it, thinking he was speaking about the song or about Taehyung. Even the plain mention of the night got him in a state of alert. Everything reminds him of it and it's verging on ridiculous by now.
So, sticking to the old technique, Jimin stops fighting against it and does the only thing he can to take a song out of his head.
He decides to listen to it.
Jimin's standing on Namjoon's door, waiting for him to open it. He's not unannounced. He asked if he was busy or if he could come with Jeongguk because he had something really serious to talk about with him. Namjoon was busy, indeed—basically working on the composition of the whole debut album of a rookie group from their company with Yoongi. The only free time that he had was on a Tuesday night at ass o'clock. Jimin didn't care.
They chitty chat about their weeks for a while. About Jeongguk and Namjoon's weeks, at least, since Jimin hadn't had much activity other than freaking out about his unresolved feelings for his best friend. Regardless, when Namjoon asks about him, Jimin's restless enough to jump straight to that matter.
"I need to talk to you about something," he says and purses his lips. Namjoon lifts an inquisitive eyebrow, but Jimin's momentarily frozen as he ponders about whether or not to explain the whole Vlive fiasco. Truthfully, he knows that if Namjoon proves that old habits die hard, he has probably caught up with it already—and definitely not from any of them. So, he decides to just listen to the song for the first time since his talk with Jeongguk.
He plays it on his phone and drops it on Namjoon's coffee table like he's been electrified. Namjoon rests his elbow on the armrest and rubs his forehead, closing his eyes. When the song reaches the second part, his eyes snap open and he tries to cover his mouth with a hand, but Jimin knows his jaw is clenched. Just as he knows that he's already aware of what this is about. He could bet money on it.
Namjoon gestures with his hand for Jimin to stop the music and leans forward, now resting his elbows on his thighs and his chin on his intertwined hands. He seems contemplative for some seconds, only resorting to staring at Jimin while he holds back the urge to throw a cushion at him and beg for him to say anything.
"Okay," he finally says. His eyes are kind like he's speaking to a confused child. It worries Jimin. "What do you want to talk about?"
"I want your opinion..." Jimin starts, averting his gaze. "If you think that there would be the slightest minimal chance that maybe this song might be possibly about me."
"That is a lot of markers of possibility in the same sentence," he says, peaceful as ever.
Jimin finally throws the cushion at him.
"Hyung!" He stresses, getting on his feet. "Please, this is a yes-no question."
"I don't know, Jimin," he admits, calmly. "Why are you considering it now?"
Jimin darts his eyes at Jeongguk like he would kill him if he could. The man sinks further on the couch, mourning for his hope that he could go through that conversation without being spoken to. He imagined that Jimin wouldn't bring him to let him pass unscathed.
"I suggested it to him the other day," Jeongguk mumbles. "I think that it might be."
"It couldn't, right? Tell him, hyung. The song was only written to be part of an OST. Right? " He pushes, but Namjoon stays quiet. Jimin doesn't back down, "C'mon, what are the odds of him writing a song about me and I not noticing it? It's ridiculous, I swear."
"It took you 3 whole years to find out that 4 O'Clock is about you," Namjoon says steadily as if the answer was ready from the very second Jimin opened his mouth.
"This isn't funny."
"Do I look like I'm joking?"
They hold their gazes for a moment, the tenseness in the atmosphere thick enough to be cut with a knife. Jimin truly can tell that he isn't.
"No. You look like you know something that I don't."
Jimin's voice comes out lower now like he's losing all of the confidence he gathered to speak about it at each second. Namjoon tilts his head to the side, studying Jimin's features. He probably notices the change in his demeanor.
"I know nothing, Jimin," he says with more honesty this time, dropping the rhetorical resources. "It's just that being outside of a situation sometimes allows you to see through lenses that may seem less efficient in a distance, but are actually more focused because of the detachment."
Jimin takes a deep breath before he gives some insolent answer.
Not that it works, anyway.
"I'll never stop admiring your ability to speak a lot of words without saying anything at all."
"Sometimes we're saying things, but people just don't want to hear it."
"Give me some solid answers here!" Jimin yells, bouncing a few times at the same spot. Namjoon and Jeongguk widen their eyes in surprise, but after a few seconds of staring at each other, they all burst into laughter at the same time.
When it dies down, Jimin whines loudly and throws his body back, leaning his head on the backrest to stare at the ceiling.
"There's only one person who can give you the answers you want," Namjoon insists. Jimin grimaces at the suggestion and the older sighs. "I'm serious, Jimin-ah, I know as much as you. Do you want a straightforward opinion? Okay, but I'm not sure if you'd like to hear it, because yes, I agree that there is something about the song. Just as I always thought that there was something about you, to a great extent."
Jimin raises his torso, threateningly getting closer to Namjoon's personal space like he's about to grab the collar of his shirt. "And why have you never talked about that with me?!"
"Why haven't you?"
"That's different." He's stubborn, slowly getting back to his position.
"It is, but. It wasn't my place to say anything. I always recognized that whatever was shared between you and Taehyung was too singular and went beyond words. Even beyond mine." He smiles at himself for the pun. "I told you that when you came to me to compose 'Friends', and I still think I was right. What you had was too special for me to risk ruining it being nosy. I could be wrong and mess with your head for nothing." Jimin immediately looks at Jeongguk, who's staring at the floor with comically bulged eyes. Only when Jimin almost falls off the couch it comes to Namjoon what he had just said. He hurriedly turns to Jeongguk with a hand on his thigh in apology, "Okay, this was totally unintentional, and I'm truly sorry."
Jeongguk starts laughing at him too and draws near to him until he's pushing Namjoon's head to his chest and resting his chin on it.
"That's fine, I kinda deserved that."
That officially seals the topic. Jimin pesters Namjoon until he gives him details about the concept of the rookie group debut and stretches their stay long enough they start to yawn.
Jimin's body might be done, but his mind sends him a clear message that it isn't. He goes to bed replaying his conversation with Namjoon over and over in his head. He eventually gives up when he realizes that overthinking it won't make it gain any new meaning as if by magic, but he seemingly forgets that the same is up to the song itself. Jimin contemplates the lyrics for the thousandth time in that week. The reflections that follow stay the same.
Jimin's a clever man. He knows how to interpret songs, texts, books, or movies. He knows that the metaphor of ships in the night represents two people that meet on an occasion and then part ways, so it could be about literally anyone else. Well, he never parted ways with Taehyung. He was there on every single important or trivial occasion of his life since they met. But maybe—just maybe it makes sense looking at the bigger picture, putting it together with the whole song. Maybe they didn't part ways totally, only as lovers—and it would make sense, considering the regret that drops in their lines where he asks how he could know.
How could he know back then, when a window was open, apparently. Does that really mean that Taehyung felt the same at some point? He says that he still hopes the door is open and that the window opened one time—
Jimin may be clever, but it is slightly harder to interpret the lyrics when they might be about him. So, he doesn't know anymore if it actually makes sense or if it's just his mind finding meanings that it wants the song to carry. Does it really mean that Taehyung thinks Jimin opened a window of opportunity to him once? Does it mean that he hopes that the door is open like it would be another opportunity for them? Or at least he hoped, back when he wrote it?
He said he had already reached the shore. Does that convey his helplessness? Did he accept that he had nothing else that he could do—
Did he give up?
Fuck—what does any of that even mean?
Jimin blatantly chooses to ignore the part that talks about the best friend, simply because he's sure he'll end up screaming onto his pillow if he spares more than five seconds of his attention to that.
So, the part that makes him restless the most is the one where Taehyung wants to ask him if it was all just in his head. How many mixed signals did Jimin unwittingly give to him? He's a spontaneous person, he does things merely because he has a kind, affectionate nature. When it came to Taehyung, it obviously didn't only resort to that, but. Still. He can't count how many times he possibly opened a window without purpose, only by lingering his eye on Taehyung for too long while they lied on their sides, facing each other on the same bed. Jimin can't stand thinking about how many times Taehyung rested his head on his pillow to sleep and—
Well, at least they're even. That he fully understands now. The sun is almost rising in the sky and his pillow can't get him tired at all.
Jimin relentlessly bounces his leg, sitting on the couch of his living room. His eyes are looking at Jeongguk and Seokjin playing Just Dance on their Nintendo Wii, but they're unfocused. He wouldn't be able to tell you which movements they're making, nor the song they're dancing to.
He's obviously thinking about Taehyung.
His best friend, whose texts started to be left on read without an answer for longer periods by each day. His best friend, who was back in Seoul for two days now and seemed to be oblivious to the way Jimin was wittingly avoiding him. His sweetheart of a best friend, who kept putting his effort into finding the perfect date that could match their agendas as Jimin came up with lame excuses.
While he was avoiding him, he was only lying by omission. Now he was blatantly lying. Taehyung knew he was on a break.
Jimin wasn't doing this because he didn't want to talk to Taehyung or to face him. The problem was all the times he found his fingers hovering over the screen, on the cusp of asking Taehyung if they could talk. The only thing that stopped him was the chance to give it a second thought. He wouldn't have that if they met in person and he would probably spit it out right away. Staring into Taehyung's eyes, seeing all honesty they held, Jimin would remember that his friend wouldn't ever deal with the situation the way he's doing if he were in his shoes.
After all, there is still a chance that Taehyung has been hiding the fact that he wrote a romantic song about him for years.
It should make Jimin feel better, shouldn't it? It doesn't. Every video call he refuses saying he's on the street and every meeting he "postpones", he knows he's getting near to the breaking point where Taehyung will corner him and ask him about what is wrong.
Maybe he should just let it happen and use that as an encouragement.
"Where's Taehyung? My stomach will eat itself if he doesn't arrive soon," Seokjin nonchalantly announces and Jimin almost tears his neck in half at the mention of his name.
"What?" He questions, maybe too sharply. He can't tell, his heartbeat is too loud on his own ears to let him hear how he's sounding. His fingers curl around the fabric of a cushion as he uselessly tries to slow down the pace of his breath.
Jeongguk's already looking at him with bulged eyes like a deer caught in the headlights, but Jimin can't fathom if it's out of surprise or if he's been literally caught. Seokjin seems completely unaware of the sudden shift of atmosphere.
"Taehyung. He's coming over. He should be here already," Seokjin grumpily tells him, attention more focused on the TV screen.
"You agreed to that?" Jimin asks Jeongguk quite hysterically. The worst part is that he knows he can't even blame him.
First, because there are several messages from Taehyung on his phone excitedly telling him he's heading there for the last half hour. Jimin was just too detached from reality to consider checking his phone.
Next, it is an unfortunate mix of bad timing and emotional constipation. Jeongguk spent more time out of their house than inside for the past days, trapped amongst friends' birthdays, attendances at variety shows, and a video about his music for Genius. Jimin took advantage of it to keep all he was feeling to himself. He didn't update him about his emotional meltdowns, neither about the fact that he hadn't seen Taehyung yet since he returned.
"Kind of. I thought it would be no problem—"
"Jeongguk." Jimin buries his face in his hands, already feeling tears prickling on his eyes in utter despair. He gets up in a jolt and starts gathering his belongings. "We had agreed that we would tell each other when we invited people over since the Yugyeom incident."
Jeongguk follows him while Jimin paces around the living room, impatiently looking for his wallet. He's aware they agreed to that, but, "It's not other people, hyung. It's Taehyung."
Jimin darts him a meaningful look that says yeah, that's exactly the fucking problem.
He lets out a breath in relief when he finds his wallet. The last sight he catches before sprinting out of the house is Jeongguk staring at him with eyebrows arched in an apologetic look.
He's near Hoseok's house by the end of the street when he hears a familiar engine roar and a shiver runs down his spine. He almost wants to laugh at himself for being able to recognize even that, but he's busy holding his breath until he's sure the car won't stop, following oppositely.
"Taehyung-hyung's coming over."
Maybe living with Jeongguk was a bad idea all along.
"Alright, you need to stop this." Jimin tosses the dishcloth on the sink and turns to Jeongguk, smoke coming out of his ears. "The first time was a terrible coincidence, okay, I get that. I wasn't mad at you. But now you know I can't see him, and—and despite all things, he just came back from overseas! He must be thriving on spending some time with his family and you're leaving him hanging by bringing him here!"
Jeongguk wearily rubs his temples. Sometimes he wishes he wasn't involved in all this, but then he remembers that it kinda wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for him in the first place. He has made his bed, so he has to lie on it. With all patience he can muster, he tells Jimin, "I didn't invite him over. He asked if he could come."
That's a million times worse.
"Great," Jimin grunts, taking his apron off. "I'll be in my room pretending I don't exist like I’m a fucking teenager avoiding his uncles. To all effects, I'm not home."
"Jimin, c'mon, now," Jeongguk calls for him and Jimin spins on his ankles before he can reach the corridor. "This is getting out of hand, I swear. You can't avoid him forever, don't you think about how this must be affecting him?"
Jimin definitely does. Jeongguk isn't even aware of the exact extent of the situation and already is lecturing Jimin like that. If he truly knew the coward he has been, Jimin would be scolded for five hours straight. The last thing Jimin wants is to get Taehyung nervous under his own skin, asking himself if he did something wrong, but—he isn't ready yet. And making things in the spur of a moment without thinking straight can lead to a bigger catastrophe.
"I do, Jeongguk. It's all I do, every second of every day. So what else do you want me to do other than pitying and blaming myself?"
"I want you to talk to him!" Jeongguk says, right at the time the doorbell rings. Jimin immediately pales and hides his figure behind the wall by instinct, as if Taehyung could see him through the wooden door. Jeongguk rolls his eyes and points a finger at him, "You know what? If it was the other way around, you would already have intervened ages ago."
The doorbell rings again and Jeongguk doesn't make a move. Jimin narrows his eyes at him, recognizing and disapproving the menace splattered all over his countenance and behind the tone of his last words, too.
"I'm coming!" Jeongguk yells without taking his eyes from Jimin. "Alexa, please play Sweet Night by—"
He's cut off as Jimin runs towards him to tackle him to the ground.
"I'm going to literally kill you," Jimin threatens in a whisper-shout. They're used to listening to music at a volume loud enough that they can't hear each other from different rooms. If he had started, Taehyung surely would've been able to hear it through the door. Thankfully, it didn't. The only background noise is the man singsonging a plea for Jeongguk to let him in. It's hurtfully endearing. Jimin wants to smile and to explode at the same time. He maneuvers Jeongguk up, whispering angrily at him, "What the hell was that? Are you fucking insane?"
"I'm trying to help!"
"You'll help a lot if you simply don't mess it up!" Jimin starts stomping to his bedroom without looking back at him. "I don't trust you anymore, I'll leave through my fucking bedroom's window for a walk. Text me when he's already left."
Soon, as promised, he's sneaking his body through the window, torn between feeling pathetic and wanting to cry at the distant sound of Taehyung's voice in person for the first time after weeks.
The next morning, he oddly wakes up first. Jeongguk usually is up first to prepare his breakfast and head to the company's quarters to work out, so he's surprised when he spots Jimin's silhouette on the couch. He's sitting with his legs up to his chest, arms embracing them as tightly as his hands clutch onto a mug. Jimin didn't exactly wake up first. He just grew tired of tossing and turning on his sheets and got out of bed.
Neither of them says anything. Jeongguk just walks towards the couch and plops on his side, snuggling into Jimin in a silent apology.
Jimin inhales deeply, letting go of his legs so he can pat his head. Softly, he says, "I know you're doing this with good intentions, but please. Don't do this anymore. You know I've always been the wisest among the three of us, so if I'm running from dealing with it, it's because the situation is… Unbearable."
He feels Jeongguk quietly nodding against his shoulder. After a while, he offers, "I'm sorry." Jimin tsks like it isn't necessary and rubs a hand on Jeongguk's arm for reassurance. He can practically hear the sound of his hesitancy before he finally says, "Hyung asked me about you."
Jimin hums in agreement. It comes out kind of strained. He questions shyly, small as he feels, "Does he hate me?"
"You know he would never hate you, don't be stupid." Jeongguk giggles, but Jimin pouts. "He asked me if something happened to you while he was in China that you're trying to hide from him. He's worried about you."
Jimin's heart somersaults in his ribcage. That kind of thing reminds him why he's going through this all in the first place. The reminder that he's in love with sweet, lovely Taehyung, the purest soul in the universe, who worries about his well-being first instead of being mad at him for being evasive. How could he feel anything other than this ripping sensation that his heart is about to pour love through his pores and get his feelings all over the place if he doesn't do anything about it? If he doesn't give it to Taehyung, to whom it belongs in the first place?
How couldn't Jimin love him?
"I just need some time. It's just… It was so long ago, you know? Things were fine until now. I'm scared that I'll be rummaging something unnecessarily, that I'll be making a rod for my own back."
It's the first time he speaks his mind about it clear and undeviatingly. It's the first time Jeongguk's finally given the chance to understand Jimin's behavior.
"Hyung, have you tried looking at the odds? If it isn't about you, I'm sure you will just laugh it off, forget about it and go back to where you were. If you lived this whole time being fine with being his best friend, don't you think it will be easy to go on with that?"
The silence that follows speaks volumes.
"I'm not afraid of ruining our friendship or anything like that. I'm not afraid that he'll say it is not about me."
"So what are you afraid of?" Jeongguk questions, frowning. Jimin looks at him with a smile that might be too, too sad to even be properly addressed as that—and Jeongguk's features relax at the comprehension. "Oh."
Jimin's afraid Taehyung will say it is about him.
"If he says it has nothing to do with me and I make a fool of myself, alright, I can survive that. But if it's true and I find out that he grew tired of waiting and moved on—then what? Do you know how it will hurt to think about what could've happened?"
Jeongguk gets it, he truly does it now. But after everything he witnessed for more than a decade, he still tends to think that Jimin's wrong. Not for what he's feeling, but for his very-likely-to-be-wrong assumptions.
"Doesn't it hurt too to think about what could be happening while you're sitting here talking to me?" Jeongguk questions and Jimin scoffs, letting go from the hug.
"Well, yeah, congrats for enlightening me with the conclusion that everything hurts at this point," Jimin sneers and gets whacked in response. They start laughing, despite the unyielding tears that insist to prickle on Jimin's eyes.
"I'm serious, though." Jeongguk smiles sassily and tilts his head as he singsongs, "If you never try, you never know..."
"Now that was a really low blow." Jimin giggles in the middle of a sob, wiping the tears from his eyes. "I thought it would be better to think there was never an open door than to know it was open for a while and I was just too dumb to step in, Jeongguk-ah."
"Wouldn't it be amazing if you found out that you could still do it?" Jeongguk gives his hand a squeeze and Jimin smiles without showing his teeth, looking down as he tries to come to terms with the talk he needs to have.
"Yeah. Maybe it would."
Jimin spends his day brainstorming about what would be the best approach to Taehyung. He feels like he should do something special; not for the occasion itself, he doesn't want to prepare a cheesy candlelight dinner and end up scaring him. Or even worse—making him feel pressed to reciprocate his feelings out of pity, just because of his effort. Jimin wants to do it for the weeks he spent worrying himself and Taehyung by proxy for nothing. He considers buying a present, showing up at his door with his favorite meal, recording an offhanded cover of one of his favorite songs, but—
They were never about that. They were never about big gestures.
They were not a stomp on the door. They were about having it open due to a soft blow of the breeze.
They were about subtlety brushing pinkies, sharing earphones, and exchanging glances when no one was looking.
They were about meeting in a park to make amends at ungodly hours.
When the sky is already painted in a poetic navy blue and the city is asleep enough to leave them to be, Jimin realizes that. He texts Taehyung asking if he's awake.
Jimin arrives first. It's his first time at the same park where he and Taehyung made up after their remarkable incident. Jimin smiles at the sight like a movie is passing right in front of his eyes, but it wasn't quite like a movie at all. Only if it was a low-budget one, perhaps. They were drunk—in fact, Taehyung was tipsy and Jimin was wasted. Enough for Taehyung to record it all, and Jimin curses at him for remembering that he always refused to show it to him. He thinks it's fine—both of them have their eccentricities. Jimin, for instance, never wanted to come here again afraid that it would taint the memory in some way.
Maybe it's time to make new ones.
It only takes a couple of minutes for Taehyung to arrive too. It takes a lot of heartbeats for Jimin to process he's walking towards him.
Taehyung looks peaceful. Jimin can discern it by his eyes, even though a black mask is covering his face. The summer's in the corner by now, so he's wearing comfortable sweatpants and a hoodie. The hood itself isn't on, so the wind gently wipes his hair out of his face. It looks like he just got out of his apartment the way he was at when Jimin reached to him. It wouldn't be a surprise.
One of his hands carries a box. Jimin's heart shrinks in his chest at the sight, fingers clasping the edge of the bench where he's sitting.
Taehyung comes closer, closer, and closer.
He sits at Jimin's side and takes his mask off. They don't speak for a moment that seems longer than it probably is, stretched by that feeling. That some life-changing event is about to happen.
"Hi, Jimin-ah," Taehyung greets him. The corner of his lips perseveres and pulls in a soft smile. It's discreet, but contagious regardless.
"Hey," Jimin takes a breath that sounds too loud in the quietude of the night, smiling too. The silence lingers and he grimaces, offering in a tone that verges on an apology, "Finally, huh?"
Taehyung only nods, dropping his eyes to the package on his lap. He looks cautious like he's never had to be in Jimin's presence before. Jimin hates it. After another elongated pause, he says, "I've been wanting to meet you to give you this."
"I guess this is my fault. I'm sorry," Jimin says in a low voice, staring at Taehyung's profile. Jimin's hand unwittingly tugs towards his, wanting to hold it. Instead, he holds it back. He decisively settles it on his own lap, like his hand is going to intertwine their fingers on its own will if he doesn't.
"It's okay," he says, handing the box to Jimin. Something tingles oddly inside of him for knowing he isn't lying. "It's a gift. I just saw it and it reminded me of you for obvious reasons."
As Jimin unties the knot of the package, another one tightens in his throat. He takes a look at what's inside of the box before pulling it out and he has to bite his lower lip real hard to prevent himself from crying. He glances at Taehyung for a second, taking the risk that it would break him for once and all. He's smiling so fondly that it never would. If anything, it helps Jimin to keep his pieces in place.
He takes the heart-shaped lamp out of the box. He immediately recognizes it from a Run! BTS episode where they recorded their own drama and Taehyung gave it to him. Jimin pestered him for years, saying he wanted to get that lamp for real, but Taehyung always said it wasn't needed.
"Maybe it's useful now that we travel apart quite often."
He doesn't need to explain it, Jimin gets it. The lamp has a replica that will be kept in Taehyung's possession. Every time one of them misses the other, they can turn the lamp on. The replica will turn on at the same time, letting them know about the longing they're feeling.
It wasn't needed before, indeed. They were together all the time, anyway.
It's perfect, now.
Jimin wants to thank him. He wants to promise they'll never be apart. That he'll hide Taehyung in his suitcase and carry him around to all places. He knows that's not even possible, but the heart wants what it wants, right? And his is frantically beating in his chest for the urge of telling Taehyung that he wants to hug him, to say he loved it, that he loves him, but instead—
"Is Sweet Night about me, Tae?"
He blurts out, out of nowhere.
Jimin expects him to laugh. Not to chuckle, but to burst out laughing to the point he bends over and belly hurts. To widen his eyes and stutter, asking if Jimin lost his mind. He expects him to joke, to say that it depends. He does none of that. His only reaction is a lift of his eyebrows so subtle that Jimin barely misses it. With all serenity in the world, he plainly admits, "Yes. It is."
Wow. That's a lot more honesty in one second than Jimin had touched for the last weeks.
"Okay," Jimin answers above a whisper. They stare into each other's eyes for whole minutes while Taehyung leaves him to process that—and Jimin leaves himself to do that, too. He places his hand back on the bench and sees Taehyung's eyes following the motion. Jimin can almost hear the gears in his brain working, pondering if he should do something.
God, he hates the cloud of uncertainty that hovers over them.
Taehyung opens his mouth and shuts it again thrice, at least. Resolutely, he confesses, "To be honest, I'm just intrigued that you didn't find it any sooner."
"What?" Jimin asks with widened eyes, hating how shrill his voice sounds. "I—you wanted me to know? You wrote it on purpose?"
"No, of course not!" Taehyung retorts, a hint of offense on his tone. "I didn't do it to get you to talk to me. I didn't expect it to happen, but I took the risk that it would."
"Taehyung, this is insane." Jimin rubs his temples, a fog of shame spreading over his lungs and leaving him in shortness of breath. The mere picture of Taehyung holding his own every time Jimin entered his bedroom after the song was released gets him wanting to scream in despair. "When I didn't talk to you—what did you—?"
"I thought you had ignored the song," Taehyung jokes and Jimin snorts, not having it on him to find anything funny at the moment. His friend notices his sternness and explains, "I just supposed that you loved me enough to pretend you didn't notice it, so you wouldn't hurt me. That's all."
"That's—" Jimin mumbles and completely loses his line of reasoning, getting more distressed by the second for how unbothered he seems to be, mainly after saying something singlehandedly painful as that.
Staring at Jimin's dumbfounded countenance for too long, Taehyung gives up on waiting for him to finish his sentence and asks, his eyebrows knitted out of curiosity, "How did you get to this?"
"I didn't. Jeongguk suggested it to me." Jimin is sincere. Taehyung giggles and he frowns, unsettled between confusion and outrage. "What?"
"I imagined," he clarifies and that definitely takes Jimin by surprise. "Daiyu-noona came to me smiling ear-to-ear, saying he sang it on the Vapp. She was really disappointed when we watched it, you know. She expected to hear him actually singing it." Taehyung darts a meaningful look at Jimin and he feels his cheek getting warmer. "Well. You can imagine I figured it out. It was a pretty curious timing for you to start dogging me, huh?"
"Oh," he nearly grunts, and now his face is definitely burning. His first instinct is to avoid the boldness in Taehyung's countenance, so he drops his eyes to the lamp while he tries to sort his thoughts out. He doesn't even know where to start. "Sorry, I couldn't talk to you properly. I felt like I was always at the edge of asking you about this while you were literally in another country. It was a delicate issue to bring up from afar and—it was—it was a lot. A lot to think about. I had a lot to dwell on, like—" He trails off and snaps his head up again, borderline angry. "When did I open the window, Taehyung?"
Taehyung smiles like he's amused and doesn't skip a beat.
"When we had our big fight. Much later after we sorted things out, there was a moment," Taehyung pauses, studying Jimin's already terrified expression. "You leaned on me and held my chin, and then—then, you said you could see the sweetness of the night reflected in my eyes. I chuckled nervously and called you cheesy thinking you'd back off and whack me, I was about to piss myself out of panic, honestly. But you just smiled and traced my lips with your index finger, like it was—like it was the easiest thing to do. And out of nowhere, you laid your head on my lap saying you were sleepy and I took you home. You passed out right after."
Jimin understands more than ever how it feels to have a river rushing through his mind. He feels like he's being carried by the relentless flow, tossed and thrown at rocks as he tries to catch his breath. He crawls to the bank, fingers grasping the solid land of his realization, "Is that why you never showed me the video?"
"I assumed that maybe you regretted it and was pretending that nothing happened. Or maybe it wasn't important to you if you couldn't remember it."
Jimin wouldn't expect this unreasonable train of thought from Taehyung. From himself, when it comes to Taehyung? Yes. Very likely. But not from Taehyung. He should know better and remember that Jimin complained more than once about missing some slices of his nights—or missing the nights altogether. For God's sake, he only had some fragments from the day they won their first Grammy, the whole group being thoroughly wasted by noon on the occasion. And it definitely didn't happen because it wasn't important to him.
"I didn't, oh my God." Jimin shakes his head frantically. He runs a hand on his hair and puts the box aside so he can turn his body to Taehyung. "Of course it was important. I'm so, so sorry."
"Don't be. It's okay."
Jimin takes his tranquility as a bad signal. He swears he can hear his own heartbeat drumming on his ears, fingers itching to caress Taehyung's skin that glows under the moonlight. He doesn't consider it possible for him to be this calm if he's feeling the same about Jimin. Looking at the peaceful pace of Taehyung's breath, Jimin compares it with his own and decides that there's no chance he's feeling the same expectation tainting his veins.
Taehyung looks like he's resigned. Jimin feels obstinate. It's a doomed match, he thinks.
He already had his confirmation. That part was easy, truthfully. The hardest is yet to come—to check with Taehyung if he doesn't feel the same way he felt back when he wrote the song anymore.
"So," he starts, carefully embracing all his courage before he can surrender. "You remember pretty well the last time we were here, right?"
"How couldn't I? The songs that were born because of that incident." He giggles at himself, and Jimin freezes on the spot when the idea strikes him like lightning. He barely can believe his luck. If he's willing to be hopeful and superstitious enough, he can believe that the universe is giving him a cue to go on. If it's all bullshit, at least Taehyung certainly is doing it.
He doesn't give it a second thought when he says, "I am kind of hoping that we can make other songs from this time around."
He's not sure if Taehyung comprehended it in the way that Jimin intended. He doesn't know for how long he'll be able to keep the flame of his bravery alight if he has to provide him a better explanation.
"What?" He questions, jaw slack and parted lips. He bats his eyelashes repeatedly at him, as he did before plenty of times when he hadn't understood or heard well what Jimin said. And in a lot of those occasions, Jimin found himself giggling and needing some seconds to recover before he could answer him. It's endearing. He's so, so beautiful. Jimin takes these thoughts and memories as an incentive to take a deep breath and say—
"In case you want to know, the door is still open, Taehyung. You just need to come inside."
"What are you talking about?" He asks after some seconds, but he doesn't seem confused as before. He grins only for a moment like he can't fight it, but Jimin sees it and his heart does a funny thing. The grin isn't derisory or nervous, it is—
It is hopeful.
"I really don't know how I haven't seen it before," Jimin shares with him what was a trending topic in his mind for the past weeks.
"Honestly?" Taehyung shakes his head and looks away from Jimin, smiling widely by now. "I don't know either."
There's a visible shift in their atmosphere. The dark cloud of uneasiness and wariness has moved away, but something took over it. It's not fully covering the moon and stars. But it's enough for Jimin to feel the tenseness, the eagerness to properly take a good look at it.
"Why didn't you say anything?" He shifts on the bench, agitated.
"Why didn't you?" Taehyung retorts and Jimin rolls his eyes, feeling like he's having a déjà-vu of Namjoon's words.
It surely makes sense, but just—not entirely.
Jimin hadn't secretly written a song about him, had he?
His fingers reach to touch Taehyung's hand that's resting on the wood but halts the movement midway when it comes to him what he's about to do. Taehyung notices—of course, he notices, and grabs hold of Jimin's wrist. He can't tell if it's purposeful or not, but he feels Taehyung's hand sliding over his at an excruciatingly slow pace until it is engulfing it.
"I felt guilty, you know," Jimin starts, gyrating his hand so he can caress the palm of Taehyung's hand with his thumb. "Like I was doing something wrong, for a lot of reasons. So I shut it all off. I didn't spare myself the chance to have something to talk about."
Taehyung cocks his head to the side, slowly nodding. Jimin wants to take it all back when he notices the melancholy conveyed in his eyes, regretful for making him feel that way. But maybe that's what it all is about. Maybe Taehyung isn't sad because of him—he's just hurting for knowing that Jimin was hurt, too.
"I've never said anything because I got used to it. That was the only available option—I never even considered the possibility of you corresponding it." He laughs, humorless. He must notice the objection in Jimin's outraged expression, as he tries to elaborate on that, "I wasn't joking when I said you're too good to be true, Jimin-ah. You always seemed so good, so out of my reach that I wouldn't even know what to do if I had you."
"But I know," Jimin says, too hurriedly. When he speaks again, it's smoother, but—it's earnest, nonetheless. "I want you to kiss me."
"What?" Taehyung mouths and Jimin sees it, that incredulity in his eyes. He wants so, so bad to make him believe.
"You have me, Taehyung. So I'm telling you what to do. Please, please, kiss me."
The sky begins to clear. The moon and stars are free and uncovered as the clouds drift in opposite ways, in contrast to them.
Taehyung and Jimin draw near to each other at each second.
Their hands clumsily bump in a desperate search for their necks, shoulders, hair, faces—it doesn't quite matter. They've waited for so long they will gladly take anything the other is willing to offer.
They're willing to offer everything.
They meet in the middle and it feels like they're meeting for the first time and for the millionth, all the same. When his lips touch Taehyung's, it's like they were specially designed for that. The fit is so flawless he already finds himself longing for his mouth, even if they haven't even parted yet. Taehyung tugs his hair tightly to bring him impossibly closer and Jimin literally pants at the sensation. They detach for an irrelevant moment, only for Jimin to grasp onto Taehyung's hoodie so he can pull him closer. Right after, they are greeted with open, hungry mouths and—
Their tongues find each other.
Jimin's always been fascinated about how the high seas look calm for a distance when they're actually capable of turning ships upside down.
That's exactly what kissing Taehyung feels like.
Like a ship in the night, being tossed and turned in the most intense and yet peaceful waters he had the chance to navigate in. It would be a frightening thought, but he wants to drown in Taehyung's existence.
And exactly because it is Taehyung, it doesn't scare him not even a little.
Their hands channelize the impatience of their restrained desires, exploring their bodies passionately. One of Jimin's hands trails up his chest until it settles on Taehyung's shoulder while the other keeps grabbing his hair for dear life, and Taehyung—he ends up cupping Jimin's face with such care of someone who's holding the mystery of the whole world. Their tongues work at a completely different pace, much more unhurried and languid.
Taehyung kisses like he wants to make a point. He kisses like he wants to leave him with a permanent mark, and he definitely accomplishes that. It almost gets Jimin wanting to sneer in the middle of the kiss. As if he wouldn't be printed on his memory forever anyway.
Jimin finds the perfect timing to hold Taehyung's lower lip between his teeth and pull back, getting a hiss in response from him. They take advantage of it to catch their breaths and make the mistake of opening their eyes only for a second. A second is all that's needed. When they stare into each other's eyes, it feels like all the reality of what's happening comes crashing down over them and they start giggling against each other's mouths.
With the same certainty that the moon will fall asleep, it was certain that they would break their kiss to laugh. Jimin knew there wasn't a possible reality where it wouldn't happen.
They take their time for it to fade away and, at some point, they're just beaming. They give each other pecks between the smiles until it's getting too heated for it to be enough and tongues need to clash together again. Jimin's so devoted to the kiss he hardly notices when Taehyung's hand lets go of his cheek, trailing down to his thigh. He lets out an audible groan when he feels his large hand tightening around his jeans—and the thought about how much he wants that off makes him realize that maybe they're already too heated for where they're at. Taehyung doesn't seem to care, though, using his other hand to pull Jimin's head back so he can make his way down his neck.
Jimin's about to warn him that they need to stop when he feels Taehyung's lips gently brushing on his earlobe, sweeping any sense out of his mind. But he definitely isn't expecting what comes next when Taehyung murmurs,
"I love you."
A smile immediately takes over his face and he drops his forehead on Taehyung's shoulder, utterly entranced. When he manages to get his heart back to a pace that doesn't feel like killing him, he turns his head so his lips can place a gentle kiss on the skin of his neck.
"I know," he says and feels Taehyung's body shaking on his embrace as he laughs.
They stay like that for a while, just breathing each other's atmospheres—that until Jimin's hand sneaks under Taehyung's shirt. His fingers dangerously touch his lower belly and he smiles a little too pleased, feeling it writhe under his touch.
"Can you come home with me?" Taehyung pleads and Jimin's fingers curl around the fabric of his shirt. "Please?"
He truly doesn't have to ask twice.
Jimin feels nervous, but definitely not in a bad way. It's more in a delicious way, in a way so good that he wants to bottle it and save it forever. But he knows it isn't needed, not when it's Taehyung, the person that certainly can make him experience that kind of exhilaration for the rest of his days. Sweet, lovely Taehyung, his best friend, soulmate and—
Jimin smiles at the thought in the middle of the kiss again. He does that a lot.
He probably notices Jimin's tenseness and does his best to vanish that away, taking the lead. He places his hands on the back of Jimin's thighs as a cue and he's quick to take impulse, involving his waist with his legs. Taehyung doesn't let the kiss linger for this time, so he can see the way while they cross his penthouse to reach a courtyard.
Taehyung stops at the door, darting a meaningful glare to the futon and, then, to the starred sky. When he looks back at Jimin, he's biting back a smile and shaking his head in disbelief, eyes in a crescent shape just as the moon above them.
"I love you," he's the one to say now.
He already knows what's next when Taehyung purses his lips and wiggles his eyebrows to him.
Taehyung gently lays Jimin's back on the futon and right there, looking at the sky, Jimin feels Taehyung exploding inside of him—and he swears he can feel stars exploding all over his body, too.
Jimin's struck by the inspiration to write all the love songs in the world. But there, staring deeply at the same stars in his eyes that made him fall in love God knows when, Jimin realizes that Taehyung already is the embodiment of a love song. He couldn't ever write a love song that would make justice to him. That would make justice to what that feels like—to what being granted with the privilege of loving him feels like.
He's glad he will have a lifetime to try.
They wake up a couple of hours later, Sun violently welcoming them under the bare sky.
Jimin smiles as the familiar strawberry shampoo reaches his senses, now mixed with the brand new scent of sweat and sex. It's incredibly pleasant. The funniest part is that Jimin feels like he's done that countless times before—like that's how things are supposed to be.
How could he ever feel guilt for thinking about waking up next to him like that?
Taehyung loudly yawns under him and even that gets Jimin smiling. Taehyung gives a soft kiss to the crown of Jimin's head, which still is resting on his chest. They remain like that for a while as Jimin focuses on the sensation of Taehyung's fingers drawing unrecognizable things on his naked back.
"Thank you for letting me in," Tehyung suddenly says, voice still hoarse from sleep. Jimin shifts on his spot, pulling Taehyung by the waist so they can lie facing each other, and holds him tight.
"My house is your house," he playfully answers, wondering if the tingling in his fingers can be a side effect of allowing yourself to be in love. He stares intently at Taehyung and his first instinct is to trace his features with his index finger, mindlessly heading to his lips when his smile fades away.
Taehyung dramatically grimaces at that.
"War flashbacks," he deadpans and Jimin burst out laughing.
"Stop it!" He protests, snuggling onto him to hide his face where Taehyung's shoulder and neck meet. "It's different now."
"Yeah? Prove me, then," he challenges and Jimin smiles against his skin. He looks at him again and gives Taehyung a prolonged peck, splattering kisses all over his face next.
"Speaking of which," Jimin starts, propping his weight on an elbow. "I need to call Joonie-hyung later."
"For what?" Taehyung questions and Jimin remains impassive, trying his best not to spoil his shenanigans.
"I guess I need help with a song," he says as seriously as he can.
"Isn't he growing tired of it?"
"I guess he is, but this one will be different."
Taehyung stares at him with a suspicious countenance, one of his eyebrows quirked in a funny manner. When he gives up trying to unravel whatever Jimin means, he hums, "Mhm?"
"Well. This one will be a song about my boyfriend."
Taehyung almost mirrors the silly smile that captures Jimin's lips, but he forces a solemn face and narrows his eyes at him.
"Will it be rated explicit?"
"Shut up!" Jimin manages to say in the middle of his laughter, leaning on him. He takes a deep breath to recover himself and says, mimicking Taehyung's previous tone, "Maybe."
With slippery skins and tangled legs, they yield to the inspiration brought by the melodies of each other's laughs.