Actions

Work Header

Kaleidoscope Glow

Work Text:

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Jimin is not a big fan of his job.

Well, no. He doesn’t mind it all that much.

Jimin is not a big fan of his job when he’s sent out to client outreach in Itaewon on what was supposed to be his day off. He’s head of HR, for fuck’s sake, not sales management. He shouldn’t be here on so many levels.

But he is, and he sat through too many meetings and fumbled through too many more and he wasn’t equipped for this, damn it.

At least now he can go home.

Itaewon is a blur around him, a runny watercolor in his mind’s eye that bleeds and blends and he doesn’t have the energy to decipher any of it. He shoulders through the subway like a zombie, brain fully eaten. He’s accepted that, at least. 

When the doors to the train compartment slide open in front of him, it’s unusually empty. 

He plops himself down on the first seat he finds, already shoving in his earbuds as he pulls out his phone. He needs a damn good playlist to get him through the ride home. 

Sad songs, maybe? Or should he go for something more upbeat, try to jog his energy? Or maybe something heavy and loud, something to mirror his frustration at how his day unfolded.

God. This is taking so long. 

Load, load, he needs this— Dammit, wrong playlist, he does not need Spotify’s suggested nursery rhymes, god knows why they're convinced he has a child— 

“Shit, come on.

It’s hissed, hushed, and it doesn’t come from Jimin. 

He gets the sentiment one hundred percent, though it also reminds him that he needs to get proper noise canceling earbuds.

Angry songs playlist, finally, but which one does he start with because some just don’t kick it off right. 

“Shit.” A little huff. “Please, fuck—” A pained noise, almost a whimper.

The annoyance begins to tickle at Jimin’s brain. Right in the back. He wants a peaceful, pop/rock frustration infused ride home, and he’s sure this person can keep their frustrations to themself as well as Jimin can.

But something about it has Jimin lifting his head, a tiny invisible thread that pulls and pulls until he drags his gaze from his phone and locks onto the young man sitting across from him.

Oh.

The annoyance drains away in an instant. 

The young man is hunched over, his gray hoodie enveloping him almost entirely. A pair of sunglasses pushes his fluffy black hair away from his forehead, though they look as if they’re about to slip down. 

He has his lower lip trapped between his teeth, brows furrowed, and he looks so… alone.

But the most eye-catching thing about him isn’t his big, soft eyes or reddening lips or the gentle slope of his nose, but rather the makeup and simultaneously the cause of his struggle.

Rainbow makeup, carefully brushed beneath his eyes, tracing the curve of his cheeks.

He can’t seem to take it off.

A wet paper towel is scrunched in his hand, clearly soaked through and not nearly enough to wipe the makeup away. He rubs frantically at his cheek anyway, turning the skin an angry red, and his fingers tremble when he reaches up to touch it, when he checks his face in his phone camera and sees that it’s not nearly enough.

He lets out another scared sound, squeezing his eyes tight and taking a deep, shuddering breath.

Rubs and rubs and rubs and all it does is make his skin even redder, barely fades the edges of the makeup.

Jimin’s heart clenches tight.

He fumbles through his bag, hoping for anything that might help. It’s his work bag, so it’s unlikely he’ll find anything more than a tissue, but— 

Oh. Oh, Kim Taehyung, you motherfucking insane, ridiculous, idiotic genius.

Once upon a time, Jimin’s best friend and soulmate for life had tossed a small package of makeup remover wipes into his work bag with a saucy wink. 

WHEN in the world am I hooking up at my place of work, Taehyung, Jimin had deadpanned. And staying the night. 

He doesn’t even wear makeup to work. It’s too much of a hassle. 

But Taehyung had insisted, and Jimin had rolled his eyes but never bothered to get rid of it. 

He has never been more thankful for his best friend. 

“Can I help you?”

The young man’s head jerks up so fast that Jimin’s afraid he’s cracked his neck.

His eyes are round, widened even rounder, two shining moons staring at Jimin with unadulterated fear. The sunglasses slip down onto his nose and he doesn’t bother to push them back up. He’s frozen, wide eyes now hidden behind dark lenses.

It’s then that Jimin realizes how flat his voice had come out. Residue from his shitty day, probably, and he winces.

Holds out the makeup wipes.

“I mean.” He pulls one wipe out. Flaps it, a bit ridiculously, like a limp piece of lettuce. “Do you need help?”

The reaction is visceral.

The young man’s shoulders drop, his teeth release their death grip on his lower lip. He lets out a deep breath and turns away for a moment as he rubs his arm across his eyes, pushing the sunglasses up.

When he turns back, Jimin can see the relief in every inch of his face, in the slight shine of his eyes.

“Yes, please,” he whispers.

So Jimin nods, offers a friendly smile, earns a tired one in response. The compartment is empty save for the two of them, so Jimin grabs his bag and sets himself down on the seat beside him. 

He holds out the wipe again.

The young man takes it, gentle, grateful, and goes to lift his phone. He tsks, brow furrowing as he taps the screen a couple times. Dead.

“Need a charger?” Jimin offers, already digging for his power pack. He earns another grateful smile.

“Thank you, you really have everything,” the boy chuckles, though it’s still a little quiet. Restrained. 

He rubs the back of his neck as he lets Jimin plug his phone in.

“Thank you so much.”

“It’s no problem at all,” Jimin assures him.

Jimin watches as the young man carefully wipes at his cheeks, occasionally letting his gaze drift to the floor so he’s not staring the guy down with such intensity.

“Is it gone?” he asks after some silence stretches between them. Jimin lifts his head, silently motions for the young man to turn his head.

“Ah, there’s still some left,” he murmurs. “Right—” he tilts his head — “um, it’s kind of…” 

He gestures vaguely, not really sure how to describe the way some parts are smudged and some parts remain and some have left a faint-hued cast.

The boy wipes at his cheeks hesitantly, gazing at Jimin with questioning eyes.

Jimin clears his throat and pulls out a clean wipe.

“Is it alright if I just help you?”

The young man pauses. He blinks at him. 

Round eyes widen rounder. From their proximity, Jimin can now see the way his eyes reflect the washed-out glow of the subway, fractured points of light that almost seem to sparkle.

“Oh.”

The young man looks away, looks back again, cheeks no longer red just from the rubbing.

“Oh, um, yeah, sure.” 

Jimin smiles, hoping it will calm the boy a little bit. He shuffles closer, turning so one leg is folded on the seat beside him so that he can get a better angle. Their knees brush and the young man twitches, lip trapped between his teeth once again.

He turns to face Jimin fully, mirroring his position, and Jimin lifts the wipe. 

He waits for the little nod before he begins to gently dab the makeup away.

Jimin hums softly to himself as he focuses on his task, watching the colorful hues give way to pink skin.

When he glances up, the young man is already watching him with those round, round eyes. 

He quickly averts his gaze. Jimin only smiles and continues to wipe.

His left hand is curled in his lap, but his fingers itch for something to hold onto, some way to support his movements. It’d be easier than telling the young man to tilt his head every so often, but maybe it’s too much.

“Is it alright if I touch your face?” he asks gently. “I won’t mess with anything, just for support or to direct you so I can get it all off properly. But it’d also be just fine if you’d rather not.”

The young man swallows. Nods.

“Um, yeah, you can,” he whispers. 

So Jimin carefully takes hold of his chin, hand curling gentle under his jaw. His skin is soft, smooth, and Jimin tries not to think about the small mole that his fingertip rests on or the sharp cut of a faded scar right where blue makeup melts away.

“What’s your name?” he asks. Tries to fill up the silence that’s suddenly charged, strung taut like a live wire. 

He glances up again, meets those big, big eyes. They’re so close, now. Jimin tries not to hold his breath.

“Jungkook.” His gaze slides away, soft eyelashes grazing rosy cheeks. His skin warms beneath Jimin’s fingertips and oh, he must be flustered. “Jeon Jungkook.”

Jimin offers a smile he can’t see and goes back to wiping.

Jeon Jungkook. He’s pretty. That’s all Jimin can think about. He’s pretty and he smells like warm vanilla and Jimin is so close to him, holding his jaw, knees bumping when the train sways to a halt. 

Neither of them move. It’s not Jimin’s stop, and it must not be Jungkook’s either. 

“I’m Park Jimin,” he offers. “You still heading north?”

“I’m up near Jongno.”

“Seriously? Me too!” 

Jungkook smiles a little wider at this, and Jimin discovers that the corners of his eyes crinkle as he does.

Oh. Oh, that’s so endearing.

“So, Jungkook-ssi—” Jimin gently turns his face so he can get to the other cheek— “what were you doing all the way out in Itaewon?”

Jungkook licks his lips. His skin is so so warm, still.

“I, ah.” He gestures towards his face. Clears his throat. “SQCF.”

“Oh my god, right,” Jimin gasps. “Is it really June already?”

Jungkook just gives a little shrug. 

“Well, I was there for client meetings I’m not qualified to conduct,” Jimin sighs, “so I feel like you had a better time.”

Jungkook lets out a soft snort. Shrugs again.

“It doesn’t sound like a high bar, so I guess.”

Jimin gives him a look.

“I mean, it was really nice,” Jungkook adds. “To be around so many people like, uh, like me. I’ve never been before. But then at the end there were some, ah, dissenters, and there was kind of a whole thing going on and I had to go anyway, and it kind of. Just. Reminded me of what I have to go back to and walking around with rainbows on my cheeks is quite literally branding myself as a target.”

Jimin hums, frowning, and his thumb taps Jungkook’s jaw in quiet sympathy. 

He knows that feeling, having to watch his back. Not knowing what might happen if the wrong person found out, or who the ‘wrong person’ even could be.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin murmurs. “If it makes you feel any better, you still are. Around someone like you, I mean.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen.

Warm, warm, warm. 

“Oh,” he breathes, and says nothing more.

Jimin gives one last drag of the makeup wipe, slides his thumb over a tiny smudge of purple until it transfers. He motions for Jungkook to turn his face.

“All done,” he announces, scooting back the slightest bit. Jungkook gives him a wide, grateful smile.

“Thank you so much.” He rubs the back of his hand over one eye. “Seriously, I— I don’t know what I would’ve done. I think my mask must have fallen out of my bag when I was trying to take out my hoodie really fast and I didn’t even notice and—” 

He shakes his head.

“Anyway. Just. Thank you.”

Jimin just smiles. He glances down absentmindedly to where the pad of his thumb is stained purple, tapping it against his pointer finger.

“It’s no problem at all,” Jimin assures him. He finds Jungkook’s gaze again. “I’m just glad I could help.” He tilts his head. “Did you put the makeup on yourself?”

“Ah, no.” 

Jungkook shifts in his seat, tugging his sunglasses off. His hair spills in dark waves around his face and he tucks one side behind his ear. Pretty. 

“My friend helped me. And he took me to the event, he just had something to go to right after. Promised me he wouldn’t strand me early, but it meant he couldn’t ride with me home.”

“Mm.” Jimin rests an arm on the back of the seats, still turned fully towards Jungkook. “I’m glad you were able to go, though. I’ve never quite had the conviction.” He chuckles.

“Ah, yeah, I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for my friend. He sort of, um, helped me with everything? He’s, like, the only other queer person I know, and I accidentally came out to him in someone’s laundry room because we were both trying to get away from this loud party last year and I didn’t even realize what I had said and, well. He helped me work through a lot of— stuff, so I’m really grateful for him.”

Jungkook’s gaze drops to his lap as he winces. He picks at the strings that cross the rips of his jeans, chewing his lower lip once again.

“Sorry. I kind of ramble a lot. Sorry.”

“Hey, you have nothing to be sorry for,” Jimin assures him. “I don’t mind at all. If you want to say it, I want to hear it, yeah?”

Jungkook glances up again. He gives a grateful smile, brows tilted up, and rubs the back of his neck. His cheeks are no longer red from the rubbing, only a natural rosy blush.

“Thank you,” he murmurs before he’s hoisting his bag onto his lap. 

He digs around for a moment before he pulls out a smaller, plastic bag.

“Apple?” he offers.

“It’s not red delicious, is it?” Jimin asks suspiciously. Jungkook laughs, soft.

“Who do you think I am, a felon?” He holds out the apple. “Honeycrisp, if you’d like.”

“Don’t you want it?”

Jungkook just lightly shakes the apple, like he’s admonishing it, and Jimin chuckles.

“I want you to have it. If you’d like.”

“It’s not poisoned?” Jimin jokes. “No Snow White moments about to happen?”

“I guess you’d just need a true love’s kiss on hand, just in case.”

They both blush at this.

“Fine,” Jimin acquiesces. “I’ll have some if we share it.”

Jungkook shrugs as Jimin reaches for his own bag.

“Deal.”

And Jungkook tears the apple in half with his hands.

He holds one half out to Jimin, brows lifted, already munching on his own.

“Jesus, what,” Jimin laughs, taking the apple from his lifted palm. Their fingers brush as he does, the softest slide of skin against skin, and Jimin coughs. Looks away faster than he should.

“I was going to offer a knife,” Jimin says over the thump, thump, thump of his heartbeat quickening. He’s going crazy, isn’t he, he’s already cradled the guy’s goddamn cheek, for fuck’s sake. “But I guess that works, too. If you’re the Hulk or whatever.”

Jungkook smiles, moons-bright, leaning back in his seat. His eyes slip down for a moment as he takes his next bite.

“A knife? Were you hoping to mug someone?”

“It’s a multipurpose knife,” Jimin tells him sagely, and Jungkook only smiles. 

Oh-kay. And anyway, it’s not that hard. One of my friends could do it back in high school when he was one-sixty centimeters and probably couldn’t bench press a pea.”

He pauses, one cheek plump with the fruit, pink lips shiny with juice.

Thump, thump, thump.

Jimin most certainly does not watch Jungkook’s tongue swipe it away. Jungkook runs the back of his hand over his mouth, looking at Jimin in question.

“You can eat it, I hope I’ve proved it’s not poisoned.”

Jimin blinks, then nods.

The apple gives a satisfying crunch when Jimin sinks his teeth into it, mouth flooding with the sweet juice. It must be just ripe, and Jimin immediately goes in for a second bite, holding back a groan at how good it is.

He finishes it faster than he expected. He’s disappointed by this, almost, wishing he could savor each bite a little longer. 

Jimin holds two seeds in his palm, the only remains, and thinks a little ridiculously that they’re also the seeds of something else. Something that’s just been planted, carefully tucked in damp soil by soft hands and rainbow makeup and two halves of a whole.

When he looks up again, Jungkook’s already smiling at him. He hides it with the purse of his lips.

“That was quick,” Jungkook says, ducking his head as he pops the last of his own half into his mouth. 

Jimin hums. Fingers drum against the back of the seats. 

He still hasn’t turned away.

“I haven’t eaten in a while,” he admits, checking his phone for the time. “So it was nice. Thank you.”

Jungkook scrunches his nose. Just briefly, and it comes with another smile, and Jimin is so totally going crazy.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one saying thank you for everything. You’ve been a lot more prepared than me so far.”

“Yes, a knife prepares you for a lot,” Jimin says. 

Jungkook’s cheeks bunch up when he smiles this particular smile, Jimin notices. One that pulls his lips in and tucks the corners up, little dimples surfacing, small and soft and amused.

Jungkook glances away for a moment, glances back. He pulls his leg back onto the seat, knee to chest, and they’re close again.

The compartment is empty and the dark walls of the tunnel rush by their heads as the bright lights wash everything out.

The compartment is empty and they’re still so close and Jungkook smells like vanilla and has moles and a scar and moonlight eyes. 

Thump, thump, thump.

Jungkook’s back to nibbling his lower lip, gaze trained on the ripped denim of his jeans. 

And then Jungkook’s opening his mouth, starts, “Do you—” at the same time as Jimin asks, “So, Yonsei, huh?”

Jungkook’s mouth snaps shut. Shit. 

“Sorry, do I what?”

Jungkook waves him off. “Um, nevermind. It was— nevermind.”

Jimin frowns.

“I didn’t mean to talk over you,” Jimin says, gentle. “Go ahead.”

Jungkook’s ears are pink as he continues staring at his knee. Cute.

“No, um. I’m kind of glad you did. It would’ve been dumb.”

Jimin’s frown doesn’t leave, only softens at the corners.

“I don’t think it would have,” he murmurs, but he’s not going to push. He knows how uncomfortable it is to have words wrested from his mouth. “But all right— Yonsei?”

The train sways to a stop again, a little less smooth this time. Jimin has to brace himself on the seat to keep from toppling directly into Jungkook.

Jungkook blinks in question at Jimin for a moment before he glances down. Catches sight of the letters printed across his hoodie like he hadn’t noticed them before. 

“Oh, um, yeah,” he says as the doors slide open and people begin to file in.

Not so empty anymore. 

Jungkook clears his throat, cheeks pink along with his ears. He shifts to face forward again, both feet planted firmly on the floor. 

Jimin wonders if he worries that people can see the ghosts of two rainbows, branded on his cheeks. 

 

mood: 1950 by king princess

 

They talk about Yonsei — Jungkook graduated last year, and Jimin three years ago — and uni life and the dissonance between home and home.

They discover that they both grew up in Busan, two boys raised by the city and sea-salted air. 

And when the conversation lulls they sit in a comfortable quiet until Jimin holds out an earbud.

“No Airpods?” Jungkook teases with that little bunched-up grin.

“I’m a feudal man,” Jimin informs him, and Jungkook gives a small laugh as he puts the earbud in. Jimin’s gaze is drawn to the two silver rings that dangle from his ear, the unfilled piercing, the double helix. Pretty. “What would you like to listen to?”

“I’m kind of all over the place,” Jungkook admits. He watches his legs swing as he thinks. “I don’t know, whatever you think is good. Something relaxing, maybe. For now.”

For now. Like there might be a for later.

Jimin would like a for later.

He finds himself back at his mood playlists, the ones he’d been debating between when he first sat on the train.

And to think— if he had gotten his day off, if he had chosen his music faster, if he had noise-canceling earbuds— 

He glances over at where Jungkook’s tipped his head back against the glass, lids heavy and lips slightly parted as he drinks in the soft melody.

—He wouldn’t be sitting here, thigh to thigh with the pretty pretty boy who smells like warm vanilla and tears apples in half with his bare hands, only to share.

He’d still be having a shitty day, probably.

He’s so glad he’s a feudal man.

 

It’s just after eight PM when the subway sways to its usual stop and Jungkook’s gently tugging his earbud out with a soft thank you.

Jimin finds himself standing when Jungkook does.

“This is your stop, too?” Jungkook asks, surprise coloring his voice.

Jimin shrugs as he carefully winds his earbuds up to tuck into his pocket before holding out Jungkook’s phone to unplug. He’d usually get off on the next stop over, but he doesn’t want this moment between them to end just yet, unwilling for them to be two lives in tangent. 

He doesn’t mind a farther stroll in the dark if he can hold onto this moment a little longer. 

He’s magnetized, he thinks, in a way he can neither describe nor defend. 

When they emerge into the balmy evening, breeze tickling their cheeks and ruffling their hair, Jimin gets the privilege of witnessing Jeon Jungkook painted in moonlight.  

The sun’s only just settled beneath the horizon, the last rays faded and plunging the streets into darkness. The streetlamps are already on, warm and casting deep shadows across Jungkook’s face that leave room for the moonlight to settle in gentle silvery blue. 

Jungkook, dipped half silver half gold, eyes the same moons as the one in the sky, all swimming among stars. 

Jimin is so screwed. 

He thinks maybe the seeds have made their way into his chest, nestled in the soft soil of his heart, and they’re so ready to bloom.

“Um.” 

Jungkook’s paused at a street corner, turned the opposite direction of where Jimin had automatically started to drift. He blinks at Jimin, starlight in his lashes, glances away. Glances back. 

“Um, I’m.” He gestures. “That way.”

“Oh,” says Jimin. “Right.”

He has half a mind to offer to walk Jungkook home, but he knows it’s too soon, probably. Definitely. 

He swallows, and Jungkook’s lingering, he must be waiting for something (what is he waiting for?).

Jimin, for one, is still unwilling for them to be two lives in tangent. 

“Is it alright if I get your number?” he asks, hoping the heat of his cheeks is invisible in the uneven lights. “Or you can have mine. If you’d like.”

(He uses Jungkook’s own phrase against him. Maybe it’ll give him an edge.)

Jungkook smiles, shy, moons-bright, silver and gold.

“Yeah, um. Yeah, I’d like that.”

He seems a little frozen, so Jimin fishes out his phone, lets Jungkook take it.

Gets it back, gets jungkook :) in his contacts. Jimin feels like he’s won a marathon and this is his reward. His heart, with the way it thump thump thumps, certainly seems to think so.

“Good night, Jungkook-ssi,” Jimin tells two round round moons. “I really liked talking to you.”

He watches them curve into crescents. 

“Same,” Jungkook murmurs. “I mean, to you.” His smile stretches just a little wider. “I’m really, really glad you helped me.”

“I’m glad I could.”

“Yeah, really, it’s.” Jungkook shakes his head, ducks his chin. “I’m really, really thankful. Really, thank you.”

“Really,” Jimin teases, and Jungkook huffs, even as he bites down a smile.

“Real-ly.”

Jungkook rocks slightly on his feet.

“Goodnight, Jungkook-ssi,” Jimin reminds him, gentle. Goodnight, rainbow ghosts.

“Goodnight, Jimin-ssi.” Warm even from this distance.

“I’ll text you,” says Jimin, and they’re both nodding, smiling, waving with one hand, two; and Jungkook finally unglues his feet and lets them carry him across the street with one last smile, silver and gold.

Jimin is so so so so screwed.

He rubs over the purple stain of his thumb and starts the long walk home. 

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jimin > tae

jimin

if

hypothetically

i were to start waxing poetic about a guy like less than an hour after i met him

in my head

lol

 

tae

HELLO

WHAT

YOU TELL ME THIS AT 3 IN THE MORNING ?? ??? ? hELLO

 

jimin

tbh i thought you’d be sleeping and i’d have more buffer time before getting flamed

but i guess it slipped my mind that u have no sleep schedule

 

tae

shut it

park jimin.

 

jimin

.

this is hypothetical

 

tae

it most certainly is not

 

jimin

ok well

thoughts?

 

tae

and prayers!

 

jimin

im gonna ask jin-hyung

 

tae

hey no wait

tell me more of this prince charming, romeo o romeo

hypothetically, you should smash

 

jimin

ew 

bye

 

tae

COME ON

IT’S HYPOTHETICAL

 

 

jimin > jin

jimin

hypothetically

if i were to start waxing poetic in my head about a guy like less than an hour after i met him

on a scale from 1 to heterosexual how concerned are you

 

jin

you’re asking /me/ for the romance advice

you’re at a solid nick wilde fan edit/10

 

jimin

goddammit 

do u guys not SLEEP

 

jin

no <3

 

 

tae > jimin

tae

GET BACK HERE

 

 

jimin > hobi

jimin

if

hypothetically

i were to start waxing poetic about a guy like less than an hour after i met him

in my head

 

hobi

did u just copy and paste what u sent tae

wowwwwww i see how much you value my time :/

 

jimin

??#?!#*&

how do u know that

 

hobi

why do u think we’re up :/

 

jimin

GROSS

JESUS CHRIST

 

hobi

btw

i’m on tae’s side

if you’ve fallen that fast he has to be hot

and you should smash

:)

 

jimin

IS NOTHING SACRED.

 

 

tae > jimin

tae

i see how it is

you respond to hyung and not me

 

jimin



tae

did u just send me a blank message ???

 

 

joon > five muskequeers

joon

so everyone gets to hear about jimin’s boytoy except me

this is really homophobic

 

jin

i, for one, was unwillingly subjected

 

jimin

I REPEAT

IS NOTHING SACRED.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

So the secret is out.

Not that it was ever much of a secret, and Jimin is essentially the reason why everyone knows (though he still can’t figure out who told Namjoon), but it also means that he has one Hoseok and one Taehyung pressed up on either side of him, Seokjin and Namjoon leaning over the couch.

“Seriously, guys, it’s almost summer,” Jimin grumbles. “Tae, I can literally feel you sticking to me.”

It only makes him press in closer.

“Try the first one again,” Taehyung advises, impervious to Jimin’s half-hearted glare.

Jimin’s gaze drops back to his phone.

He never knew there were so many ways to greet someone until now.

hey!

hey.

hey

heyyy

heyyy :)

hi

hii :)

hi!

what’s poppin sexy ;)

Jimin looks up again.

“Okay, who put that last one.”

“Not my fault you decided to take a shit,” Seokjin says.

“I was blowing my nose.”

“All escapades to the bathroom are the same to me.”

“Do you shit in a Kleenex—”

“I agree with Tae,” Hoseok interrupts. “The first one is cool. Friendly.”

“It sounds like you’re intercepting him,” Namjoon points out. “Any of the ‘hi’s are cuter.”

“But we’re not going with cute, we’re going with smashable.”

“I’m going to literally cut the word ‘smash’ out of your mental vocabulary,” Jimin grumbles.

He sighs, staring down at the stupid list for a moment before he switches over to messages. Opens up a blank text with jungkook :). 

Stares and stares and stares.

God, this is so fucking stupid, he’s just saying hi. Just go for it, Jimin.

Just as he’s about to press send, Taehyung jostles his arm.

 

jimin > jungkook :)

jimin

hiikl;

 

“Good lord,” Jimin says to his phone screen.

“Sorry, I got the chills,” Taehyung says. 

Jimin sighs, rubs a hand over his eyes.

He can do this.

 

jimin

oml sorry my friend bumped into me

 

(“Way to throw me under the bus.”

“Shut it.”)

 

jimin

i meant to say hiii this is jimin but that entrance is a bit ruined

but ! it is still jimin

:)

(from the subway)

 

 

Jimin lets out a long breath, turns off his phone.

“I’m proud of you,” Namjoon says, wiping a fake tear and clapping Jimin’s shoulder.

“Sigh,” Jimin pronounces, and Namjoon only laughs.

A few minutes tick by with no response. Not that Jimin was expecting one immediately, but his friends begin to clear away, so he can finally breathe a little more.

Hoseok and Taehyung have set up a very intense Wii Fit diagnostic program with Namjoon as an avid spectator, Seokjin takes noodles off the stove. Jimin curls up in the corner of the couch, one knee tucked to his chest.

Like next to Jungkook, his brain reminds him. Close. 

God. 

Jimin has definitely been forsaken. 

Taehyung’s in the middle of discovering just how bad his balance is when Jimin’s phone vibrates.

He scrambles to check it faster than he’d like to admit.

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

hiikl; to you too :P

 

God. God. 

 

jungkook :)

haha hii jimin-ssi :) 

how are you! did you get home ok

i mean obviously you’re texting me but like you could do that from a hospital bed

ew what am i saying nvm that was very morbid um

 

jimin

lmaoo i can account for all my extremities and internal organs

but thank you for asking

 

jungkook :)

i’m just

hhhhhhhhhhhh

 

jimin

LMAO

let’s restart, how about that

hi jungkook-ssi :)

 

jungkook :)

hello :) :)

 

Two smileys. Jimin will end it all. No wonder he put one in his own contact name.

 

jimin

i hope you got home safely

 

jungkook :)

i did!

thanks to you

 

jimin

?

 

jungkook :)

yknow

for helping me get the makeup off

 

jimin

aww you know i was just happy to help

 

jungkook :)

:)

oh omg i completely forgot to ask i'm sorry T_T

what pronouns do you use?

 

Jeon Jungkook. Jimin is smiling like a fucking idiot right now and his friends are too busy Wii Fit hula-hooping to even notice.

 

jimin

thank u so much for asking! 

i use he/him, gendered terms ok :)

hbu?

 

jungkook :)

me too

:D

 

Jimin is going to melt into a puddle of goo some time in the next thirty seconds and his best friend will be too busy swinging his hips in ridiculously and impractically wide circles to rescue him from a Wicked Witch of the West-type fate.

He chews his lip, thinking. Hesitating.

 

jimin

hey would you want to meet up for lunch some time?

i really enjoyed last night

 

Oh god, that sounds like something else, he should’ve just said yesterday. But it’s too late now, and he thinks the three blinking dots will burn into his retinas from how hard he’s staring at them.

 

jungkook :)

yeah that sounds fun :)

when and where?

 

They work out the details as Jimin hides his smile in the pillow that’s clutched in his arms. 

Something flutters, something blooms.

The warmth in Jimin’s chest has nothing to do with Seokjin’s broken AC or the melt of spring to summer.

“Ooh, he’s smiling,” Taehyung says in his ear, a huge grin of his own on his face.

Jimin flicks his shoulder.

“Leave me be. I’m holding my own.”

Hoseok curls up beside him, even more sweaty from playing Wii Fit as he tries to get a glimpse of their messages.

“For a couple, you two seem alarmingly desperate for romantic drama.”

“So you admit it’s romantic.” Taehyung waggles his brows and Jimin just snorts.

“It’s going well, then?” Hoseok asks as the phone vibrates.

Jimin glances down.

 

jungkook :) 

ok!! i’m excited :D

see you thursday :) :) :)

 

Three. Three.

“You look like an idiot,” Seokjin says. Jimin flips him off without glancing up. 

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Jimin tries very, very hard not to stare at Jungkook’s arms.

He’s greeting Jimin with that moons-bright smile in a yellow button-up with the short sleeves cuffed, his hair gently parted, earrings glimmering in the sunlight.

He says, “Hi, Jimin-ssi,” and Jimin’s still trying not to stare at his arms.

What the fuck.

This is an overall what the fuck.

That Tuesday, Jungkook had been thoroughly hidden beneath his Yonsei hoodie, all soft curves of fabric and the aura of warm winter cuddles.

Well. There are still curves, just less of hoodie cotton and more of just. Jungkook.

And the tattoos. The tattoos.

His whole right arm is decorated in careful ink: pretty, swirling patterns that crowd most of his skin. When Jungkook moves and the collar shifts, Jimin swears he sees a hint of ink beneath the edge of his collarbone.

What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck.

So yes, he’s doing his very best not to stare, but it’s difficult. He catches sight of Jungkook’s earrings, shaped delicately like butterflies’ wings in translucent purple and blue, dangling happily from thin gold chains. He watches them instead.

“Should we go?” he asks, and Jungkook nods, fingers tangled together in front of him.

They stroll through Cheonggyecheon, browsing the different street vendors, talking all the while. 

They end up with cup chicken for Jimin and lamb skewers for Jungkook, though Jimin eyes the walnut cakes sadly as they pass by the vendor. It’s been so long since he’s had any, and the scent has his stomach rumbling; but he’s a couple thousand won short, and he doesn’t want to stop at an ATM. Ah well, next time. 

The conversation comes easily to them. Even though Jungkook seems nervous at first, enough reassuring smiles from Jimin has him loosening up.

“Hey, let’s walk down to the river,” Jimin grins, resisting the urge to reach out. 

Jungkook nods, but doesn’t move. Jimin tilts his head.

“Wanna go?”

“Ah, yeah, um.” Jungkook rubs his neck briefly. “There’s something back there that I wanted to do really quick. I’ll be fast.”

“Oh, yeah, sure.” Jimin nods. “I can come with you.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Jungkook says, and his eyes are cast down. Either it’s just Jimin’s imagination, or the general heat of the oncoming summer, or Jungkook’s ears are pink. “I’ll just be right back, um, you can either wait here or go down and I’ll meet you there?”

His gaze flicks up to Jimin’s, away. Back. 

A habit of his, it seems. When he’s nervous, probably. Cute.

So Jimin nods, agrees to wait right here, and Jungkook hurries off with a little glance over his shoulder.

Jimin’s not far from the river at all. He can just catch the sight of it over a line of dense shrubs, the gentle flow of water reflecting points of mid-afternoon sunlight. People stroll along the banks: couples, joggers, families, friends. A few people dip their feet in, chatting to those around them. A young person with their earbuds in and a blissful smile on their face, walking slow by the edge, gaze lazily tracing the current. 

Jimin wonders what song they’re listening to, if they’re having their main character movie-moment, if the earbuds are noise-canceling or if they’ll meet a pretty boy with rainbow cheeks.

Jimin hopes not. There aren’t a million Jungkooks out there, and he wants his story to be his own.

“Hey, sorry,” comes a soft voice, and of course it’s Jungkook, “I hope you weren’t waiting too long.” 

Jimin smiles, says, “Not at all. Just enjoying the view. Are you ready to go now?”

Jungkook nods, but he’s rocking slightly on his feet, eyes shifting.

“I, um, I was actually getting this?” He holds out a small bag. Clears his throat. “Getting you this. Since, um, you were kind of eyeing the stand but it seemed like you didn’t have enough to get them? I just thought…”

He trails off, paper bag clutched in his fingers, outstretched. 

Jimin takes it, peeks inside. Walnut cakes.

There it is again. The warmth blooming from the seeds in his heart. 

Maybe the silence is too long, or he can’t read the giant smile on Jimin’s face, because Jungkook’s already continuing:

“I— Sorry if that’s, like, kind of weird, that I saw you didn’t have enough. Or maybe you were just looking and didn’t want any in which case please don’t worry, I can eat them, but I just thought…? Um, yeah, again, I’m sorry if it’s weird, I didn’t mean to, like, peek into your wallet or something— that sounds so creepy—”

“Jungkook-ssi,” Jimin interrupts. He almost reaches out for Jungkook’s arm, but he’s not sure if Jungkook would like that, so he settles for channeling every ounce of his feeling through his gaze.

He’s not sure how well that works, but he’s doing his best. 

“You have nothing to apologize for,” he emphasizes. “Thank you for these. You were right, I was craving them, and it’s not weird that you noticed. It means a lot. You’re good, yeah?”

He’s sweet.

Jungkook nibbles on his lower lip and his ears are definitely pink but he’s smiling again, nodding, and Jimin relaxes. He holds out one of the walnut cakes in offering.

“Why don’t we go down to the river now?” 

 

The stroll along the riverbanks is pleasant. A nice breeze picks up, so at least Jimin doesn’t have to worry about sweating off all of his makeup. They weave around the other people that walk by, savoring their food and splitting the walnut cakes.

(By splitting, Jimin means that Jungkook only accepts one walnut cake. He never said it was an even split.)

Jungkook looks around a lot as they walk, Jimin notices. 

He watches the shrubs and the trees and their vibrant greens, the gentle ripples of swaying legs in the river, the irregular gray stones that line the pathway. He takes in the soft stretch of puffy clouds, the flicker of city buildings, the blue blue sky.

It’s like he’s committing every detail to memory, every vein decorating the underside of each leaf, every stone tossed to the riverbed by warm hands or the tumble of nature. Every detail that he surely can’t see, but it seems like he can in the way his round eyes take in everything.

Jimin sees these things too, he thinks, if only because he’s watching the delicate way Jungkook does.

Their shoulders bump lightly as they walk, sometimes, and neither of them make a move to fix it.

 

Before Jimin realizes it, the sun is starting to creep towards the horizon. Not sinking, yet— summer is soon enough and sunset is later and later, but it’s almost seven and he hasn’t even noticed the time slipping by.

As it nears dinnertime, the people gradually disperse until the two of them are nearly the only ones lining the banks. 

The wind picks up for a moment in the gentle pause of their conversation, and Jimin lets his eyes fall shut. He inhales deep, savors the cooler air and the warmth of contentment that’s settled over him ever since they got here.

“Jimin-ssi?”

Jimin’s eyes flutter open.

Jungkook’s looking at him, looks away when Jimin meets his eyes. The wind is ruffling his hair, blowing dark strands into his eyes and across pink cheeks until he tucks them behind his ear to the best of his ability. 

Jimin watches the sway of butterfly-wing earrings.

Pretty, pretty. 

“You—” 

Jungkook glances around, takes in the world. Sees that there’s no one around, not where they are; they line the streets of the dining districts instead. He sneaks a glance back at Jimin. 

“You, uh, you said that you were like me.” Cheeks, ears, flushed. Eyes darting, fingers tangled. “Um, that night on the subway.”

Jimin smiles, soft. He can’t imagine being anything but soft around Jungkook.

“I did.” He hums, tilts his head. “What about it?”

“Nothing, it’s just—” Jungkook considers it for a moment, watches his feet instead of the world. “How… much?”

Jimin blinks at him.

“How much?”

Jungkook worries his lower lip.

“How much are you like me?”

His voice is so quiet and his cheeks are so red and he’s stopped watching the world. 

Jimin remembers when it was like that, at first. But it’s been a long time.

“I’m… not entirely sure what you’re asking,” Jimin says with a laugh. Soft, soft, soft. “I’m not entirely sure, but… I like all genders, if that’s what you’re asking. Bi.”

Jungkook’s breath catches, the smallest sound. Jimin wouldn’t have noticed if the wind hadn’t mellowed out at that moment. 

“Oh,” he says. “Oh.”

Jimin quirks a brow.

“Mhm.” 

Jungkook’s watching his fingers instead. Not much of an improvement. 

“What’s that… like?”

Jimin is taken aback for a moment, but he recovers quickly. Shrugs.

“I don’t know,” he admits. “My attraction to different genders feels different, in some ways. But I know I like them anyway.”

“Oh,” Jungkook says again. 

It’s quiet for a moment.

Jimin doesn’t want to prod, so he lets the silence settle.

“I don’t know either,” Jungkook whispers. “But… I think I might be just, um.” He clears his throat, staring resolutely at his hands. “Just.” He licks his lips.

It was hard to get the words out, long ago, even if they come easily to his tongue now. He imagines it’s just as hard for Jungkook, who doesn’t seem to have many people to talk to about this.

“Gay,” Jimin murmurs for him, earns a little nod and flushed cheeks. 

“Yeah,” Jungkook breathes. He meets Jimin’s eyes, finally. 

His throat bobs. 

“Gay,” he tries.

Jimin smiles and Jungkook mirrors it, a little shyer, a little more relieved. 

“Thank you for telling me,” Jimin says, honest, and Jungkook positively glows. 

The sun is sinking, sinking, and Jungkook glows gold with the sort of quiet happiness that comes with setting a little piece of your real self free. 

Jimin wants… 

He wants to reach out, to touch, anywhere. To feel that quiet happiness as the warmth on Jungkook’s skin. To absorb it, to add a little piece to his own heart. 

They’ve stopped walking. It feels like they’re alone in this bubble of the world.

Jimin’s heart is blooming, and the blossoms look like four o’clock flowers— unfurling white in late afternoon, sweet under the moonlight of Jungkook’s gaze. 

“Thank you,” Jungkook whispers back, all smiles, now. 

Jimin wants.

He does reach out, almost involuntarily. He doesn’t know what he’s reaching for, where he’ll go— maybe a brush of fingertips over rainbow ghosts, or a safer touch to an ink-dipped elbow, a clothed shoulder. 

Jungkook blinks when Jimin decides to adjust his collar, careful. 

When Jimin looks up they’re close, warm vanilla and butterfly wings and snow-white flowers, blooming. 

There it is again, that heavy thump, thump, thump. He doesn’t think it ever left. 

Jungkook’s only watching, but they’re close, and fingertips to fabric don’t feel like enough.

Still, maybe the atmosphere is just getting the better of him, and maybe Jimin wants more than Jungkook wants to give.

So he chances another moment of gazing into Jungkook’s eyes, holding the moonlight close to his chest.

And then he steps back, lets the air grow cool between them with no more than a split-second graze of a pinky across a delicate collarbone as he pulls away.

Jimin drags a hand through his hair, just to give himself something to do, just as Jungkook looks away and tucks his own hair behind his ear.

Jimin watches the rise and fall of Jungkook’s chest, heavy in the evening quiet.

Jimin wants, wants, wants.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

“So it went well, then,” Taehyung is saying, his voice a little distorted through the receiver. 

Jimin nods, holds the phone to his ear with his shoulder for a moment as he digs through his pantry for a cereal bar.

“Clearly,” he says, a bit belated at the mental reminder that Taehyung can’t see a thing.

“Not clearly! Tell me more, you never really said what he’s like.”

Jimin sighs as he flops onto his couch, bar in hand. He puts Taehyung on speakerphone, one arm tossed over his eyes.

“He’s…” Jimin trails off, trying to find the words.

He’s not sure that words are enough for all that Jungkook is. All that Jimin’s discovered in their short time together.

“He’s really sweet,” Jimin settles on. Not enough. “He listens well, really listens. And he’s easy to talk to— He picks up on little things I’m saying and when he’s not as nervous, he guides the conversation like that. It’s like he takes in every detail of the world with such… care.”

“That’s cute.” 

“Yeah.” 

Jimin fiddles with the bar’s wrapper, unopened.

“I don’t know how to describe him, Tae,” he says after a moment. “He’s just… unlike anyone I’ve met.”

“Sounds like you’re in L-O-V-E,” Taehyung giggles.

“Ha ha.” Jimin glances at the nutrition facts. Twenty grams of added sugar. Great. “I’ve only hung out with him twice.”

“And texted him constantly in between. Don’t think I don’t notice how distracted you are on your phone all the time.”

As if on cue, a text vibrates Jimin’s phone.

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

hii jimin-ssi!

i just realized that i completely forgot to tell you thank you for yesterday

i really enjoyed it

so thank you :)

 

“You’ve gone quiet. Oh god. He texted again, didn’t he.”

“Shh.” Jimin’s grinning, fingers already flying across the keyboard.

 

jimin

ahh nothing to thank me for!

if anything, thank /you/ i had a great time as well 

 

jungkook :)

i hope we can hang out again soon? maybe?

some time

 

Oh, he’s initiating. Oh, this is wonderful.

“Park Jimin.”

“Kim Taehyung.” 

 

jimin

i’d love that!! 

just let me know whatever works for you

 

jungkook :)

ok :)

i need to check my work shifts but i’ll get back to you asap

 

jimin

sounds gooood

 

“Jimin, I swear to god.”

“I’m done, I’m done,” Jimin laughs, dutifully turning his phone off. “Sorry, he was just asking me to hang out again.”

“Yeah, I can hear your smile. That’s great, though—”

There’s another voice on the line, a little too far away to be heard.  

“Ah, Hobi-hyung says, speaking of hanging out, the three of us should soon. It’s been a little while.”

“Okay, one, I just saw you three days ago, and two— is he listening in on our conversation?”

“Yeah, yeah, nothing is sacred,” comes Hoseok’s voice, closer this time. “Hey, there’s a bowling alley that opened up a couple blocks away, just a few years ago, I think. We should check it out.” 

“Sounds good,” Jimin hums. “I hope you’re ready for me to mop the floor with you.” 

And just like that, the conversation spins towards who has the best bowling scores and whether the granny shot is a valid indicator of skill (Jimin and Hoseok won that one, in favor of the granny shot). 

Jimin finds himself almost instinctively checking for any new notifications, but nothing appears, so he lets himself fully immerse in the playful argument with his friends.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

“Loser has to cover the game,” Taehyung announces as he pushes the door to the bowling alley open. 

“Get ready to pay up, then,” Jimin shoots back. 

Hoseok makes sure the door closes gently behind them. “Well, someone has to do the initial payment, and it’s not going to be me.”

“Tae!” Jimin grins, taking hold of his best friend’s shoulders and directing him towards the cashier. 

They bicker about it for a bit, jostling each other forward until Taehyung winds up back at the front. He shoots a glare back at the two of them as the woman there swipes his card.

“Let me guess how massive your feet are…” Jimin grins over his shoulder as he walks towards the counter to pick up shoes. “...315?”

“Fuck you, Mr. 200,” Taehyung laughs. “You know what they say about big feet…”

“Big socks,” Jimin supplies, earning a shove to the shoulder that has him spinning to face the counter and meeting two moons-round eyes.

Jimin stares.

“Hi,” Jungkook tries after a moment, pushing some of his hair behind his ear. He has stud earrings, this time.

“Hi,” Jimin echoes. He blinks. Shakes himself out of it, and lets a smile grow on his face. 

His gaze flicks over the ugly yellow and brown polo uniform before he meets Jungkook’s eyes again.

“I like the fit.”

“Shut up,” Jungkook laughs with a shake of his head, scrunching his nose as his gaze slides away. “What sizes?”

Jimin gets the shoes and bowling balls for his friends, teases Hoseok for using a lighter one.

“At least my fingers fit in the holes,” Hoseok retorts. “I bet you can’t even reach them.”

“Oh, my fingers can fill the holes just fine,” Jimin says with a crude gesture and a greasy smile that garners a loud shriek and another shove, courtesy of both of his friends. 

He just cackles and sends a glance back towards Jungkook, who quickly looks away.

“Is that him?” Taehyung says none too quietly. Jimin wrinkles his nose and elbows him away. 

“Shut up. No.”

“It is,” Taehyung says, sharing a delighted look with Hoseok. Jimin very determinedly marches over towards their lane.

“He’s cute,” Hoseok says as they hurry to catch up. Taehyung nods.

“Really cute,” he agrees. “I see why you’ve got it so bad for him already.”

“Waxing poetic,” Hoseok reminds him.

“Oh my lord,” Jimin grumbles, but he can’t help but smile anyway. Hoseok holds up his hands.

“Hey, your words, not mine.”

“Whatever. Do either of you losers need the bumpers?” 

 

They launch into the game, which is almost certainly conducted wrong and maybe they’re being louder than they should be, but Jimin’s having fun.

He sneaks glances back towards Jungkook, sometimes. And Jungkook’s helping out a woman and her daughter, a couple, a party of ten. Or he chats with his coworker beside him, or cleans bowling balls.

Or watches Jimin, and looks away with pink cheeks when he’s caught. 

 

At one point in the evening, Jimin is on a confidence high from his three spares and two strikes, and maybe also a can of peach soju and all the glances Jungkook's thrown him.

He turns to Jungkook, meets his eye, and doesn’t let it go. He lifts his chin, points. 

Mouths, This one’s for you.

He faces forward again with a grin on his lips and cracks his neck.

He gets into position.

And promptly throws it right into the gutter.

Taehyung and Hoseok immediately burst into laughter as Jimin crouches with his head in his hands in defeat. Hoseok’s thrown over the couch, a hand over his eyes, the other smacking the cushions while Taehyung shakes Jimin’s shoulders dramatically. 

“Oh my god,” Taehyung laughs in his ear, almost toppling onto him. “This is so fucking hilarious, hold on, hold on—”

“Why didn’t I film this, no, no,” Hoseok laments, wiping tears from his eyes.

“I am going to cry,” Jimin proclaims. His cheeks are on fire.

When Jimin glances over his shoulder, he catches Jungkook smothering his laughter behind his hand, eyes swimming with mirth as he shakes his head slowly. 

For me, Jungkook mouths, and then laughs again, and Jimin can’t do anything but smile stupidly back. 

 

A couple rounds later, Jimin ends up winning it all anyway, though Hoseok is a close second. Taehyung is not reimbursed. 

Jimin feels good, a little floaty, giddy less off of the wins and more off of the eye contact and smiles he’s shared with Jungkook throughout the evening. It feels a little juvenile, maybe, but he still savors the little bursts of warmth in his stomach. 

“Did you have a good time?” Jungkook asks as they turn in their shoes again, and though Jimin’s sure it’s his typical service line, he’s still smiling big.

The three of them nod and give their thanks, but Jungkook stops Jimin before he can walk away.

“Hey, Jimin-ssi,” he says, and Jimin pauses. His friends at least have the tact to give them some space, and Jungkook watches his own fingers as he talks. “Hey, um. I just wanted to tell you that my shift is over in ten? I don’t know if you were planning on doing stuff with your friends, but. If you don’t mind waiting, we could, I don’t know. Hang out after, if you’d like.”

Jimin grins, and another burst of warmth fills his chest. 

“Yeah! Yeah, totally. Should I just wait here, or…?”

“Um.” Jungkook peers behind Jimin, who turns to realize that a few other customers are waiting behind him. “I think there’s a few benches near the front? Sorry, I didn’t think this through…”

“Ah, yeah, I’ll find something,” Jimin assures him with a smile. “See you soon, then, Jungkook-ssi.”

He gives a little wave and hurries to catch up with his friends, who latch onto him immediately.

“What was that? Was he asking you out?”

“He totally was, he was all heart-eyed, don’t be silly.”

“Jimin, oh my god?” 

“You guys are terrible,” Jimin laughs. “He wasn’t asking me out. Just… to hang out. When his shift is over.”

Taehyung and Hoseok exchange knowing looks.

“He totally wanted to ask you out,” Taehyung says matter-of-factly. “The word ‘hang’ is just a deflection.”

“Alright, alright, no conjectures.”

“How are you going to get home?” Hoseok asks. Jimin shrugs.

“Kakao Taxi, probably. It’ll be fine.”

Hoseok grins, gathering Jimin in a hug before taking his hands and swinging them with such genuine excitement that Jimin can’t help but laugh.

“Jimin is going on a date, I can’t believe this!”

“Not a date—”

“I’m so proud,” Hoseok says over his protest, and Jimin laughs again. 

 

Ten minutes later, and Jimin’s shoving his friends out the door as Jungkook rounds the corner.

“Hey,” Jimin calls, hurriedly patting his hair down. He’s sure Taehyung and Hoseok are watching from the other side of the glass.

Jungkook just smiles, like everything is easy, and Jimin thinks that maybe it is. 

He holds up a pair of shoes.

“Do you think you’re up for another game? On me.”

 

mood: head first by christian french

 

They end up ordering more soju (peach again for Jimin, and green apple for Jungkook) and some pajeon and fried chicken and playing another game.

And another.

And another.

Jungkook’s rather good at bowling, Jimin discovers, which must be advantageous for someone who works at a bowling alley. 

Jungkook seems to be rather good at a lot of things.

So maybe Jimin asks Jungkook to help with his form, maybe he’s purposefully a little off so when he pushes and pushes Jungkook finally asks, “Is it okay if I touch you?”

He does it all so innocently, too, so determined; the earnest look on his face splashed in cool hues by the strobing lights of the alley. 

When he does touch Jimin to correct his form, it’s feather-light, but every brush is electric.

It’s getting late and the place is nearly empty when they wind up on the couch, muscles a little sore, stomachs warm with food and something else.

They’re perched next to each other, a polite distance apart, but they face each other fully.

Like that day on the train.

“I think you’re a little too good,” Jimin declares, chin resting on his knee. Jungkook bites his lower lip even as he smiles, almost like he’s trying to hold it down. 

“No, no, I just have a lot of practice. I play a lot after work with one of my friends. He’s also my coworker, ah, the one I told you about.”

“Mhm. Maybe I’ll just have to come in to practice more, then. If I want to beat you.”

Jungkook laughs with a little shake of his head. He absentmindedly pushes up his sleeves, revealing the ink that graces his skin.

“It’s pretty warm in here,” Jimin notes. “Is there a reason why you wear that under your uniform when no one else does? Or just ‘cause?”

Jungkook glances down at his arms and shrugs as he hugs his knee to his chest.

“Company policy. I can’t show my tattoos.”

Jimin frowns.

“That sucks.”

Jungkook shrugs again.

“I guess. It’s not that bad, really, so I don’t mind.”

“They’re very pretty,” Jimin murmurs. He doesn’t want to outright stare; he’s sure Jungkook’s gotten more than enough of those looks for a lifetime. 

Jungkook smiles, holds out his arm for Jimin to see anyway.

“Thank you. I didn’t ink them, of course, that was a friend of mine— but I designed most myself.”

Jimin’s brows raise in surprise and he shoots Jungkook a look before tilting his head to take in the designs a bit more carefully.

There are various flowers, leaves, constellations. A tiger’s tail peeks out near the crook of his elbow. A pair of koi. Various looping organic shapes tie the designs together. 

He touches a fingertip to butterfly wings, and Jungkook doesn’t flinch. 

“They’re beautiful,” he breathes, because he doesn’t think the compliment was enough the first time.

"Thank you."

Jungkook smiles with reddening cheeks. When he ducks his head and hair spills into his eyes, he doesn’t brush it away for a moment. 

“You drew them yourself?”

Jungkook nods with another one of those bitten-down smiles.

Jimin hasn’t moved his finger. Why isn’t he moving his finger?

“I, uh, I really like art,” Jungkook says with a shrug. “I went to school for electrical engineering, but I didn’t really feel it, you know? It’s what my parents wanted. They’re already disappointed enough that I refused to get my masters, but… I don’t know. I think they’d be a lot more disappointed about other things if they knew more about me.”

He mumbles the last sentence, and Jimin’s heart breaks for him.

He withdraws his fingertip only to hold his hand out, loose, undemanding. 

Jungkook glances at him for a moment, sees that it’s an invitation. 

His hand slips quietly into Jimin’s.

Just as warm, just as soft as the rest of him, and Jimin’s sure that his heartbeat echoes in the space between their skin.

“I took a lot of art classes outside, though,” Jungkook goes on after a moment, watching their hands. “I like doing it on my own, too. If I could just do art, I would, but I can’t even do electrical engineering, so.”

Jimin runs a sympathetic thumb over Jungkook’s wrist, over butterfly wings. He feels the pulse there, for a moment, as if the wings themselves are fluttering.

“I’d love to see your art sometime, if you wanted to show me,” Jimin murmurs. “I can tell just from these that you’re very talented. What kind do you like to make?”

“Oh, thank you,” Jungkook says with red cheeks and red ears, once again. “Um, a lot of types? I like sketching what I see, or what I remember. Watercolor, too. But I also like acrylic or gouache for… less realistic pieces.”

What he sees. What he remembers.

No wonder he always looks like he’s absorbing every last drop of the universe.

He tells Jungkook this, a little more plainly, and earns another smile. 

“How about you?” Jungkook asks with a small tilt of his head. “All I know is that you were in Itaewon for… client meetings? An office job, then?”

He remembers. Another burst of warmth, fluttering like butterfly wings.

“Ah, yeah,” Jimin says. “HR at an office supply place. Nothing big, really. I got a degree in business and ended up there. It’s— fine. You know?” He shrugs. “Fine.”

Jungkook hums in understanding.

“What were you hoping for at first?”

Jimin shrugs. “I was looking into marketing, or, like, information systems, but ended up in HR. Maybe I’ll go further, maybe not. Ah, I don’t know, HR is…”

“Fine?” Jungkook supplies with a small smile.

“Yeah,” Jimin chuckles. “Fine.” He shrugs again. “You know, recruitment is interesting, sometimes. Payroll is a monster. And— god, some of the things I’ve gone through regarding work conduct or disciplinary actions… They’d make good Reddit posts, probably, but in real life?”

He groans.

“No way.” Jungkook grins, shifting so his head rests against the cushions. “You have to tell me then, come on.”

Jimin laughs, then nods, then launches into the stories of the guy who brought a yedo sword to take customer service “into his own hands,” the woman who faked an entire pregnancy to follow a band around the globe, the person who continually and unapologetically farted onto people’s desks (Jimin really scrambled to find a policy that covered that one).

And then there was the man who brought a snake into work to harass his least favorite coworkers only weeks after Jimin got the job. The man proceeded to legitimately contest him about it because there was no quote unquote ‘Snake Policy’ in place already, and Jimin had to slap him with common sense under Duty of Care.

“‘You can’t just go around scaring your coworkers with a snake,’ I tell him. Obviously, we want employees to feel safe in their workplace, not scared, especially with an animal. So I tell him to knock it off.”

Jungkook hums at this, an intrigued little frown on his lips. His hand hasn’t left Jimin’s the entire time, and now Jimin’s grown used to it. Like they’re just meant to fit together.

“And then,” Jimin snorts, “he looks me dead in the eye, and says: ‘Seyoung’s desktop picture is her ugly little baby. And it scares the shit out of me. So what’s the difference between that demon and my pet?”

He rolls his eyes to the ceiling, rubbing a hand over his face as Jungkook stifles a laugh behind his hand.

“I’m ashamed to admit, I actually hesitated for a second.” He lets out a long sigh. “And then I looked right back and told him, ‘Kindly shut the fuck up and get your snake out of the office.’”

Jungkook’s eyebrows tilt up as he laughs, a surprised sound, high pitched and a little dorky.

Jimin fucking loves it.

 

They exchange more stories as the evening flows on, another drink or two between them, and Jimin can practically see the gradual relaxation that takes over Jungkook.

How he looks at Jimin more openly, how he doesn’t look away. How his laughs are less restrained, a little louder, less tailored. 

Every laugh is late-afternoon sunshine that helps the flowers bloom and Jimin is in so, so deep already.

Jungkook is still resting his head against the cushions, a soft smile stretching his lips as he blinks slowly up at Jimin.

His face isn’t dipped silver or gold this time. No— he’s awash with pink and purple and blue, the shifting lights of the alley, and Jimin is proud to have his colors painting someone as pretty as Jungkook.

He wonders, then, if Jungkook paints people, too. 

Jungkook gazes at him in pink and purple and blue and Jimin gazes right back.

He wonders what Jungkook sees, with eyes that are friends with the details. 

If he sees the uneven eyelids, the moles, the smatter of freckles that come with the summer, the hints of acne scars that no doubt show through his makeup.

If he likes what he sees.

Jimin watches the way the lights glint off of Jungkook’s earrings. Pink, purple, blue stars.

“You’re beautiful,” Jungkook breathes, and it’s so quiet beneath the low pulse of music, so unguarded and raw and sincere, that Jimin’s breath sticks in his chest.

Fluttering, blooming, thriving at the two simple words.

Jimin pretends not to hear, stuck, still.

“Hm?”

Jungkook’s gaze slides away.

Back again.

He's pink, pink, pink. Purple, blue.

He clears his throat.

“I— really like your makeup,” Jungkook says, louder, clearly fighting to keep eye contact. “It’s really nice.”

Jimin smiles, Jungkook stares.

Crooked tooth. Detail.

“Thank you.”

Jungkook chews his lower lip.

“Do you do it yourself?”

“Mhm.”

“Oh.”

A beat.

“It’s very nice.”

“So you’ve said,” Jimin teases, and Jungkook cracks a small smile. 

“How, um, how did you learn?” Jungkook asks after a moment.

“A little from stylists for dance performances, but mostly YouTube.”

“Oh.”

Jimin tilts his head and regards him, amused.

“Jungkook-ssi,” he says, “do you want me to show you how to do your makeup?”

Jungkook flushes, pink (purple, blue). You’re beautiful. He stares down at their hands.

“Ah, maybe.”

“So yes.” Jimin lifts a brow. 

Jungkook shrugs and snuggles a little closer to himself.

“I’ve always liked how it looked, the few times someone did it for me,” he mumbles. “But I’m kind of trash at it and I feel like I’d look a bit more like a kid who got into his parent’s makeup bag, or maybe a racoon after a color run than… like you.”

“Ah, Jungkook-ssi, there’s the problem.” Jimin resists the urge to tap Jungkook’s nose. “You don’t want to look like me. You want to look like you.

Jungkook stares at him for a beat.

“That’s so fucking cheesy,” Jungkook says, and Jimin bursts out laughing. Jungkook cracks a smile, faint dimples and moonlight.

“Yeah, yeah.” Jimin rolls his eyes, still grinning. “I’ll still show you, though. If you’d like.”

Jungkook narrows his eyes.

“Are you co-opting my phrases?”

“Perhaps.”

Jimin grins wider. 

“Wouldn’t you like, though?”

Perhaps,” Jungkook laughs, “I really would like.” 

“Then it’s settled.”

 

Every time Jungkook’s gaze lingers, Jimin’s mind echoes, You’re beautiful. 

Every time Jungkook looks down at their hands in each other’s, Jimin’s mind echoes, You’re beautiful.

Every time Jungkook laughs and the little creases of sunshine emerge in the corners of his eyes, Jimin’s mind echoes, You’re beautiful, in his own voice.

They talk and talk until the employees start closing up, and Jungkook reluctantly withdraws his hand from Jimin’s. 

Jungkook insists on waiting for Jimin’s taxi with him after Jimin waves off his offers to drive him home.

You’re beautiful.

Under washed-out fluorescents and city lights, too. Not just pink and purple and blue. 

Jimin finds a pen in his pocket, and thinks it might be his chance to draw a detail that Jungkook can’t see with his own eyes.

“Hey, can I have your hand?”

And of course Jungkook complies without question, only lifts his hand with a small tilt of his head.

Jimin takes it, draws his detail onto the palm.

He curls the fingers up, slow. 

“Don’t look until I’m gone, okay?”

And Jungkook only nods, says goodnight and promises to text with a moonbeam smile as Jimin clambers into the taxi.

Jimin lets his breath fog the glass as the car pulls away and Jungkook grows smaller and smaller.

He thinks he sees Jungkook open his hand in the distance, to read Jimin’s painting.

You’re beautiful, too.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Jimin may have made a mistake.

Jungkook is too pretty in his bathroom, sitting in his chair, in front of his mirror, and Jimin has definitely made a mistake.

“I think this should be your shade,” Jimin says over the swell of his pulse in his ears, holding the foundation up to Jungkook’s jaw. “Is there anything in particular you want me to do?”

Jungkook shrugs, eyes fixed on Jimin.

"Ah, I'm not really sure? I don't really know what... looks good." He shrugs again. "Whatever you think would look good for me."

Anything, Jimin thinks. Everything.

"Okay," Jimin hums. "You've just placed too much power into my hands."

Jungkook laughs, and Jimin hides his grin in his makeup bag.

Truth be told, he does have some ideas for what could fit Jungkook. He's more than pretty enough already, and Jimin knows just the thing to accentuate his features.

He scoots his chair a little closer, trying to get the best angle.

Their knees brush, legs interlocked, and Jimin stares determinedly at the foundation bottle and blames the heat of his cheeks on the lack of AC in his bathroom.

"Is it alright if I rest my hand on your face?" Jimin asks, putting a bit of foundation onto the beauty blender.

Jungkook smiles, a small tug of his lips to a little dimple that pops in his cheek.

"Yeah. I mean, you've done it already."

Right. Right, the train.

"Well, this time I'm putting your makeup on instead of taking it off."

"Character development," Jungkook supplies, and Jimin snorts before he's shuffling a little closer (still) and taking Jungkook's cheek in his hand.

The skin is so warm already. Jungkook leans into the touch.

Jimin works quietly at first, patting a thin layer of foundation onto Jungkook's face. His skin is already nice, and Jimin doesn't want it to get too cakey, hoping to let most of Jungkook's natural skin shine.

They're close, the closest they've been since Jimin gently wiped away the rainbows.

There's the scar, the moles dotting his skin. Jimin leaves them all uncovered.

"Do you like art?" Jungkook asks as Jimin brushes a rosy blush over the apples of his cheeks, an addition to the pink that already sits there.

Jimin hums.

"For fun, sometimes. Nothing more than doodles. Why do you ask?"

"I dunno." Jungkook chews his lip, then makes a face when he tastes foundation. Jimin chuckles. "I dunno, like, isn't makeup a form of art? You already know the contours of the face, where the shadows and highlights should sit. Color theory, too, maybe, knowing what hues go well together."

Maybe he does do portraits.

"I guess, if you look at it like that," Jimin murmurs. "A different form of art. But I like using my face as a canvas more than paper, or, you know. Canvas. I don't have to draw any features or proportions, at least."

"That's fair."

Jungkook watches carefully.

Watches Jimin's eyes, his nose, his lips, back up again.

Jimin wonders if he's remembering for later, or just observing, seeing the way Jimin's face is a canvas, too.

"You said you dance, right? Danced?"

A small detail, said in passing. Jimin nods.

"Fifteen years. On a team, at least. I did it a little for fun in university, but that was it."

"Ah, I see." Jungkook's fingers drum on his leg. He doesn't say, That's too bad, or, You should get back. Doesn’t push, like most people did. "Do you like it, still?"

"Yeah, I mean, for fun. The whole competitive aspect got a little much for me, I got burned out. But I still like just messing around with friends or in my kitchen or something."

His cheeks heat a little at the admission, dancing alone in his kitchen. Dorky.

But Jungkook only smiles, meeting Jimin's eyes.

"It is fun, isn't it? Making things competitive can sometimes take that aspect out, I guess. Not for everyone, of course, but there's just something about dancing for yourself, even when no one's watching — or especially if no one's watching — that just makes you a lot happier."

"Yeah?" Jimin tilts his head with a teasing grin. "You dance for yourself a lot?"

"In the kitchen, like you," Jungkook says. At Jimin's amused look, he continues, "What! It's fun. You just get into the music and you have to show your stove top how much you're enjoying it."

"Ah, yeah, performance for the kitchen appliances."

"And they never applaud. How rude."

Jimin laughs and shakes his head.

"But you are into art, then," Jungkook says after a moment. Jimin gives him a questioning look. "I mean, maybe not physical art beyond makeup, but dance is an art, too. Self-expression."

"Of wiggling to a tune in front of your kitchen appliances."

"Seriously," Jungkook laughs. "We're humans. Funky little creatures who like expressing themselves so everyone can feel their happiness, too."

"Or sadness," Jimin points out.

"Or anything else, yeah." Jungkook shrugs. "I'm just... not the best with words, usually, but with art? I feel like I can say a lot more."

"That's nice," Jimin murmurs. "I'm glad you have that outlet, then."

"Mhm."

Jungkook's fingers twine in front of him, now, accidentally brushing across Jimin's thigh.

"You know, it makes me kind of sad when people say they can't sing or can't dance or can't do art. What was it that one dude said? Something about how the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

He pauses when Jimin signals for him to close his eyes.

Jimin can really take him in, now, can fully trace the curves of cheekbones and dark brows and pink lips without feeling seen in the way he does when he looks into Jungkook's eyes and galaxies stare back.

He likes feeling seen, in Jungkook's careful way, but he also wants to enjoy Jungkook's face without getting caught being a creep.

"Anyway," Jungkook goes on, eyes still closed, "I think that we were born to create, in our own ways. Even if we think it isn't good, or if we aren't ready to display it to the world."

Jimin hums, and he's so, so warm.

"I like that," he whispers, and it's still loud in the slight echo of the bathroom.

I like you.

 

When Jimin finally pulls away, his breath is stuck again.

He'd been too focused on the individual elements of Jungkook's face, the discrete, but together?

"How is it?"

Jimin's gaze flicks up to meet Jungkook's.

He smiles.

"Why don't you look?"

They get up together and face the mirror.

"Oh," says Jungkook.

Jimin chose a deep red for the eyeshadow, darkest near his lashes and blended carefully outwards. His lips, a rich rose, careful around the cupid's bow. His cheeks, blushing pink.

Even through all the colors Jungkook's been painted, red suits him the best.

Jimin catches his eye in the mirror.

The dark eyeliner and mascara accentuate those moons-round eyes, as if to say, Look here, I am beautiful.

Oh, indeed.

"It looks..."

Jungkook trails off. He turns to Jimin, takes Jimin in fully, as if he doesn't have someone as stunning as himself to look at in the mirror.

"You're really good at this," he says, and for some reason, that makes Jimin laugh.

“Thank you,” he says with a smile, “but really, you gave me the best canvas.”

Jungkook’s smile is poorly hidden. He glances back at the mirror for barely a moment before his gaze finds Jimin’s again.

“You know, as wonderful as it is, this involved very little of you showing me how to do it myself.”

Jimin laughs again, gives a shake of his head.

“Ah, god. You’re right. Sit here, I’ll show you how to do it on me.”

 

If Jimin thought he made a mistake before, he’s made an even worse one now.

Jungkook insists on sitting closer — “I can’t paint details from an arm’s length away, Jimin-ssi, I’m not one of those people” — until he nearly straddles Jimin’s legs, too focused on his tasks to even realize what he’s doing.

What he’s doing to Jimin.

Every direction is carefully noted when Jimin traces the planes of his face where different products should go.

He holds Jimin’s face, careful too, and Jimin wonders if Jungkook notices how warm his skin is. 

Each brush is delicate, hesitant, unwilling to ruin the canvas. But Jimin can catch his own reflection in the mirror from here and he assures Jungkook that he’s doing fine, tells him when to go higher, when to apply more, where to blend. 

Jungkook touches him like he’s touching spun glass, like Jimin is dusted gold.

With the way Jungkook looks at him, Jimin feels like it, too. 

The eyeliner— the eyeliner is the worst.

Jimin tends to do his with his eyes open because he has monolids. But it also means that he has to sit nearly nose to nose with Jungkook, who is once again so focused on getting a clean line that he doesn’t even notice the way his warm breath, smelling faintly of watermelon gum, brushes over Jimin’s lips. 

Jimin stares and stares into his eyes, utterly entranced (look here) and dizzy with watermelon and warm vanilla and Jungkook doesn’t even notice.

Jimin chances a glance down to rosy lips, to the sharp point of a cupid’s bow.

Can I kiss you? he thinks.

“Ah, Jimin-ssi—”

Fuck. He noticed.

“—wait, I still need to see where the line ends up when your eyes are open.”

Oh. Of course. Looking down had changed the line of his eyelids. 

God, his face is warm, surely Jungkook can feel it now. This is a nightmare.  

 

Jimin’s changed his mind. He’s not sure if the eyeliner is the worst, or the lipstick.

Because Jungkook’s holding his jaw (careful) and he’s still so close. His eyes are locked on Jimin’s lips, and the way he brushes so so soft over the plump skin has those butterfly wings tracing a path down Jimin’s neck, his spine, circling his ribs and coming to a rest atop his heart. 

Jimin’s lips are tugged slightly by the applicator as Jungkook slowly, slowly fills them in, and Jimin’s gut is on fire.

Watermelon and warm vanilla and space-black eyes framed in red— they feed the flames.

Jungkook thumbs away the slightest excess, catches pink on his thumb the way Jimin once caught purple.

He glances up before painting one more swath of pink, careful. 

Jimin wonders if he kisses careful, too.

Shit.

 

“You did well.”

Jimin assesses himself in the mirror. It’s not a lie by any means— clearly, Jungkook’s artist hand knows what it’s doing.

“Only with your help,” Jungkook insists. “If I ever had to do this to myself, without someone telling me the adjustments I need…”

He winces.

Jimin turns to him with a little smile, brushes invisible dust off of Jungkook’s shoulder because he itches to touch the warmth, once again.

“You’ll get used to it with practice. We’ll just have to have you do your own next time, hm?”

Jungkook smiles at the promise of next time.

“I think it was easier because I was doing it on you,” he murmurs. Jimin nods.

“I’m sure. If you’re used to painting people, it’s like you said— you already know where the shadows and highlights go, or how to paint a steady line.”

Jungkook tucks his hair back.

“And… you gave me the best canvas, Jimin-ssi.”

Jimin knows it’s only the echo of his words, but— god, it’s so warm in here, and the pale flowers fill his chest. 

“Hyung,” he says after a moment, dragging himself out of the trance. “You can call me hyung. No need to be so formal when we’ve both tenderly cradled each other’s faces.”

Jungkook giggles at this, and nods, gaze tracing the details of his handiwork (he’s left Jimin’s freckles uncovered, and the acne scars, too).

“Okay, good call.” His grin stretches wider, he lifts a brow. “Hyung.”

Jimin flushes, scrunches his nose.

“No need to get cocky, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook snorts and looks away, and Jimin—  

He wants and wants and wants.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Jimin gets swept up with a hitch in accounting, Jungkook gets swept up in his own job. But they text constantly, since they can’t meet up, and every sweet message keeps Jimin afloat. 

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

hyung! i hope you’re able to eat well today!

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

ah it’s so hot out, please drink lots of water :)

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

it sounds like it’s been a long week, i hope you can get lots of rest <3

 

Jimin gets back to him when he can, in the breakroom or during lunch or as he walks to his car. 

The one time Jimin admits that he isn’t feeling the best, but is grateful for the message, Jungkook asks if it’s okay to call only seconds later. As soon as Jimin says it is, his phone vibrates.

“Hello, I just faked diarrhea for you, and I think all my coworkers think I have IBS now.”

His voice echoes slightly, and Jimin figures he must be in the bathroom.

“You’re crazy,” Jimin laughs, his chest already feeling lighter. “Can’t you just step outside or something?”

“Hyung,” Jungkook sighs, “I don’t think you’ve worked at a bowling alley before.”

“You would be correct.”

“My next break is in three hours. No moving from my post until then, except to speedily dash to the bathroom as I just did. But enough about me. What’s up?”

Jimin grabs an apple just to give himself something to do, inching toward the corner of the breakroom. 

“Ah, it’s not a big deal, really,” he hums. “I didn’t mean to make you concerned, let alone your coworkers for you.”

Jungkook chuckles, but when he speaks again, his tone is serious.

“Just because it isn’t a big deal doesn’t mean it isn’t a deal. If you wanna talk about it, I’m here. If not, we can talk about something else. I think my diarrhea will take a long time, so don’t you worry.”

Jimin laughs again and pulls himself a chair, leaning into the phone with a quiet sigh.

“Um, I don’t know. I’m just kind of stressed because some more shit got messed up at work, and we keep having to stay late. I don’t really know why I’m feeling this… bleh. It’s a pretty normal thing for shit to get messed up.”

“Considering a guy once wanted to take customer service into his own hands with a sword, I can see that. But hey, you don’t have to have a reason. Those feelings come sometimes, we can’t help it, but I’m sorry that it’s happening. I hope it passes soon, hyung, and I hope you can go back to your regular hours, and take whatever time you need to take care of yourself.”

He pauses.

“When do you think you'll be home, by the way?”

A slow smile spreads over Jimin’s face.

“Why?”

“Uh. No reason.”

Jimin laughs, then tells him he's not sure but he'll text when he leaves, and earns a happy little hum in response.   

Jungkook distracts him with stories about his day (This guy threw four gutter balls in a row, hyung, he’s outdoing you) and texts him videos of his friend’s foster bunnies until he determines that his diarrhea is lasting a little too long and his coworkers might phone an ambulance soon. 

Jimin agrees, and adds that he’s probably taking too long of a break as well, and when they hang up he feels light enough to walk among the clouds.

That evening, Jimin is greeted by a small basket of ice cream and walnut cakes and peach soju and a handwritten note from Jungkook that has Jimin’s cheeks hurt from smiling.

He’s sure his heart will burst, and then his chest, and then a million white flowers will spill forth. 

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

hyung

 

jimin

whats up?

 

jungkook :)

oh

i was kind of hoping you were asleep so i could chicken out

 

jimin

lmaoo i've tried that tactic with my friends

it does not work unfortunately

what did you... not want to talk about?

 

Jimin watches the three blinking dots pop up, disappear. Pop up, disappear.

 

jungkook :)

i was just thinking

 

jimin

unusual

 

jungkook :)

shut up sdkjfsd

i may or may not have been having a middle of the night crisis

because i couldn't sleep

probably due to my middle of the night crisis

 

jimin

and you came to me ;)

 

jungkook :)

well yeah

 

Jimin's chest warms, something unnamed curling soft in his belly.

 

jimin

okay

whenever you're ready

 

Pop up, disappear.

 

jungkook :)

i guess there's no good way to say it

just

how do you know if you like women

 

jimin

i have to admit

usually people ask me the opposite question

 

jungkook :)

:(

 

jimin

i'm sorry i'm sorry

is it okay if i call you? i feel like it's better if we can talk out loud

 

Pop up, disappear.

 

jungkook :)

okay

 

It takes a few rings for Jungkook to pick up. 

"Jungkook," Jimin murmurs. He's propped up in bed, having been more than a little caught up in reading a book, and he takes a quick glance at his clock. 2:23 AM.

"Hyung." 

Jungkook's voice is quiet, a little rough in the late hour. There's a soft rustle of sheets, a soft sigh. Jimin can picture him curled up in bed, the phone pressed to his ear.

"How was your day yesterday? Did you have work?"

Jungkook's silent for a moment, perhaps taken aback that Jimin doesn't dive in right away. But he talks a little bit about his day, how he went swimming with his friend, and Jimin can practically hear the nerves slowly leak away.

"That sounds fun," Jimin says.

"It was nice."

The line is quiet for a moment.

"How do you know, hyung?"

Jimin bites back the question of whether Jungkook's asked his other friend this, and if he has, why he's asking Jimin. If he's asking out of the blue, or if he thinks he likes someone.

Unnecessary. 

"Well, it's like I said before," Jimin says. "I'm not entirely sure how to describe it, but I'll do my best." He takes a deep breath. "To be honest with you, I've had a girlfriend, and I loved that relationship. Loved her. So that's a pretty, you know, solidifying indicator that I like women, at least a little bit."

"Oh."

"That doesn't mean you have to get a girlfriend to be 'sure of yourself,'" Jimin adds, "though you can certainly give less... weighty things a try. But you shouldn't ever do something you don't feel comfortable with. Even before her, I knew, because there were girls who I had a crush on, who I wanted to be around all the time and made me feel happy and excited and all that. I could — and would — picture futures with them, doing intimate or romantic things. It's never just about looks if it's romantic, even if it starts that way, you know? I feel drawn to their personality, their thoughts, the way we interact."

Quiet, again, except for another rustle of sheets.

"That sounds like... like how I feel about men, I think. I mean, I do."

Jimin chuckles.

"Me too, Jungkook-ah."

"But you said it was... different? For different genders?"

Jimin hums, fingers absentmindedly playing with his comforter. 

"Well, a lot of it is the same. A lot of it... I can't really put into words. Subtle things, mostly— like, if I like them, I tend to be more confident with women, more flustered with men, though gender is kind of funky so obviously there are no 'hard rules.'"

"Oh." A pause. "Just a little different?"

"People in general experience attraction differently," Jimin murmurs. "So my experiences might not match yours. That's what can make it difficult, sometimes. A lot of people just go with the flow, you know? But it's up to you."

"Okay. Okay, um, can I? Just tell you what I'm feeling? I know you don't have all the answers, just— can I?"

Jimin flicks off his bedside lamp, snuggles deeper into the blankets. This feels like a delicate moment, cradled in the palms of his hand.

"Go ahead."

"So I, uh, used to identify as bi." He clears his throat. "Not that I was really telling anyone until that one friend, but. It's... it's so hard to tell which of my thoughts are my own, and which are threaded into my mind by someone else. The expectations of everyone else. And... when I finally heard these other perspectives, I realized that maybe it's not the same.”

Jimin hums. I'm listening.

"I think I started realizing my attraction to boys at the end of middle school, and. Well, you know how it is, I don't have to tell you. And I thought I had crushes on girls, I mean— how can you not, right? But every time I look back at them..."

There's a brief silence as Jungkook takes a deep breath. Gathers his thoughts. 

"I actively picked the prettiest girls in my classes. I don't think I even once imagined even... doing anything with them. I never pictured dates. Even thinking about holding hands would make me cringe, but I thought that was just the brain of a dumb teenage boy who fake-gags at romance. All I wanted to do with a girl I supposedly liked beyond talking and all was... Sit there. And look at her."

He coughs at the end, and Jimin imagines a blush creeping up his cheeks. 

"Which sounds, um, kind of awful. I don't mean like objects, or something, just. Ahem. My point is that even before I realized I liked boys, I never really thought about relationships as any more than an abstract, 'I want a girlfriend.' No... fantasies of what that actually entails, no thoughts of the future." He chuckles. "Part of it was probably because I was a kid and couldn't process anything past my next homework assignment, but still. When it came to boys, or men, now, I actively desire that closeness, the details of romance. It's not some amorphous entity labeled 'wife,' it's a physical man in my dreams for the future and every aspect that comes with it."

Another rustle, another sigh. His voice is muffled, at first, when he speaks again.

"And... and there was one girl, one time. High school. I thought she was my ideal type, someone I truly thought I had a huge crush on— she was pretty, kind, she had the exact same sense of humor as me, she was easy to talk to. I had fun being around her. But then she asked me out and I felt so... sick. Like, overwhelmingly nauseous. I said yes anyway because I thought it was just nerves but it plagued me constantly, I couldn't stop thinking about it and that bad bad feeling in my stomach wouldn't leave.

"The date was fine when we stayed on the side of friends, but that sinking feeling stayed. I didn't want to be there. And... at the end, she asked to kiss me, I said yes. I still thought I was just nervous, but I kissed this beautiful, kind, funny girl and felt... nothing. Well, worse than nothing, I felt maybe like I might throw up. So I summoned literally every ounce of courage in my sad, sad body to tell her I didn't think I could do it anymore. And I... haven't really tried since. I don't know if I want to."

The silence is loud between them, for a moment.

"That could've been an isolated incident, though," Jungkook adds weakly, and Jimin has to stifle a laugh.

Another pause.

"I know I don't need a label, but... I don't know. I constantly think about it, when maybe I should just let it go, but I can't. I don't know. I feel like being able to confidently say that I'm one or the other would make me feel more... secure. It's dumb, I don't know."

"It's not," Jimin assures him. "A lot of us enjoy that stability."

He takes a moment to choose his next words carefully. 

"I... don't want to decide anything for you," he murmurs into the darkness. He wonders if Jungkook's curled up just like him, if he's watching the faint glow of his phone screen or if he faces the darkness and pictures Jimin on the other side. "I know you might want me to tell you the answer, but as disappointing as it is, I can't do that for you. I can help you, but in the end, only you know what you feel."

"I know." It's a whisper. "That's what my other friend tells me, too." 

Jimin chuckles.

"And you want a second opinion?"

"I dunno. You said you experience attraction differently, so maybe it was the same-different as me. And... and I trust you, hyung."

Jimin chews his lip, brows furrowed at his phone, that something soft in his tummy.

"Not for the Answer, though."

"I know."

"For the record," Jimin says, "it is not, in fact, the same-different."

Jungkook lets out a quiet laugh at that.

"Do you think maybe you only have aesthetic attraction to women? Like, you enjoy their beauty, like you said— if you could just admire them. You can appreciate how other people might want a relationship with them, but you personally have no desire for it beyond friendship."

"Um. Um, maybe. I think." 

"'I think' is good. We're getting places. Do you think part of it might be that you're worried your experience doesn't line up with gay men who have never mistaken any feelings for women as anything but platonic?"

And so they talk, and talk, and talk. Jimin tells him stories, Jungkook gives them back. They whisper more personal details to the darkness, more intimate, just for the two of them. It veers off course, sometimes, but they're in no rush to get it back. 

This different warmth, the soft-something, is a gentle, deep-rooted feeling. This trust, that Jungkook is placing in his hands, something.

At some point, they end up switching to FaceTime ("Can I see you, hyung?") and Jimin gets to see Jungkook's sleepy sleepy face in orange lamplight. 

His hair is a mess, cheeks creased red from the pillow, lips a little sluggish as his words begin to blur. The blanket is pulled to his chin, cocooning him, and one eye seems to be stuck shut.

He's beautiful.

He's pouring his heart into Jimin's palms, and he's beautiful.

 

When they hang up, it isn't with some grand declaration. No, Aha!

Just, "I think I need to get to sleep, hyung," and "Thank you for everything, hyung," and an endlessly fond smile from Jimin. 

Jungkook will think about it, he knows. He doesn't have to tell him to. He'll probably keep thinking about it for a long time, but Jimin hopes that this helped at least a little bit.

He glances at his clock. 6:01 AM. 

Oh, no. He has work tomorrow.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Their texts seem to have a different sort of energy to them, now. Like they've just completed something together, a silent shift that's tugged them closer.

It feels like they have a secret between them— and not Jungkook's sexuality, but a different secret. A nameless, wordless secret. A feeling-secret. 

Jimin will protect it with his life.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

After much hounding, Jimin invites Jungkook to one of his friends’ dinners.

Jimin is always thankful for those Saturday nights, the perfect end to a long week of work where he can just bask in his friends’ presence. 

And now, Jungkook’s.

Jimin insists on being the one to open the door when the knock comes, wary of how strong his friends might come on.

“Hi,” he says the moment the door swings open, and then chokes on his words.

Hi, Jungkook’s eyes say back. Look here. 

His smile is shy, fingers tangled in front of him, and he gives a little wave.

“You… did your makeup,” Jimin says dumbly, because god, Jungkook already knows that, why does he have to point it out?

Jungkook’s cheeks are rosy, and Jimin can’t tell how much is from blush, or how much is from his blush.

“Hardly,” Jungkook dismisses, “I don’t think I could figure the rest out. But I’ve been practicing the, uh, the eyeliner.”

Pretty pretty pink. Jimin wonders if his cheeks are soft as rose petals, too. 

“It looks good,” Jimin assures him immediately, and Jungkook’s smile grows. 

“Thank you.”

They grin at each other until there’s a general clamor from down the hall and Jimin jolts back into action.

“Right! Right, come in.” He steps back from the door. “You said you already had dinner, right?”

“Yeah, something funky from work.” Jungkook makes a face, and Jimin chuckles. “Oh, and you said I could bring a friend…?”

It’s only then that Jimin really notices the other man by Jungkook’s side, previously a nondescript blob in the corner of Jimin’s vision.

This is so embarrassing. 

“Right, yeah, I’m so sorry.” Jimin turns to the man, who has dark hair and pretty, tapered eyes. “Thank you so much for coming, we’re glad to have you here.”

“This is Yoongi-hyung,” Jungkook introduces. “He’s the one who—” He stops himself. Clears his throat. “He’s my friend,” he finishes lamely.

Jimin raises a brow but bows in greeting, introducing himself as well.

“Ah, I know who you are,” Yoongi says with a small smile. “And what Jungkook was trying to say was, I’m his one queer friend.”

“That's not what I was going to say,” Jungkook protests, the tips of his ears pink now, too. “Besides, I wasn't going to say anything, ‘cause. You know. You’re not out to everyone.”

Yoongi just grins a fond little grin and ruffles his hair.

“Not everyone, but I have a feeling Jimin-ssi doesn’t mind.”

“Why— why do you say that?” Jungkook blusters. Yoongi only raises a brow.

“Yeah, I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.”

Jungkook looks genuinely lost, and Jimin chuckles.

“I think my friends might pass away if we don’t join them. Come on, I’ll introduce you.”

Jimin’s heart is a happy-warm now, thinking about what Jungkook must’ve (could have) said to Yoongi. If he recounted that day on the subway, when Yoongi asked if he got home all right. 

What details he shared. What details he kept for himself.

Clearly, he hadn’t said anything about Jimin’s sexuality, just as he’d kept Yoongi’s assistance anonymous. But Jimin wonders what else he divulged. Walks by the river and peach soju, or something more… abstract.

His heart warms, flutters at the possibility.

Unsurprisingly, Jimin’s friends are immediately taken by Jungkook. They’re tactful enough to do their best not to overwhelm him, but Jimin can tell that they want to talk to him, if not to drag out any embarrassing stories about Jimin.

Jimin rolls his eyes at them and spends a good amount of time talking to Yoongi while they’re all distracted.

He’s easy to talk to, Jimin finds. Quiet, but well articulated, a calming counterpart to whatever wildness is going on behind them.

But he also hasn’t had much of a chance to talk to Jungkook all evening, despite his perhaps unsubtle attempts to sidle up close to him. He’s glad that Jungkook meshes well with his friends, but he also wants, still, wants to touch the warmth and have those eyes on him, only. 

To share a look, we share a feeling-secret, and feel the tenderness bubble up inside of him.

He’s a little disappointed when his attempts fall short, time after time, no matter how often Jungkook glances his way. 

Then finally, finally, they all settle down to watch a movie.

Jimin purposely settles away from the edge of the couch, leaving two tantalizing spots open instead of one.

Seokjin quickly fills the space to his right, and Jimin watches his own fingers curl in his lap.

And then there’s that warmth, nestled between Jimin and the arm of the couch, and Jimin just knows.

“I caught you, hyung,” Jungkook murmurs with a lazy smile, and Jimin is destroyed.

It’s almost midnight, already, and Jungkook must be tired from work. Maybe also from unpaid sleep debt after their phone call.

He settles easy in that space next to Jimin, in that space in his heart. Pressed warm together. 

“Mm, are you having fun?” Jimin asks. 

Jungkook shifts. Closer. He blinks slow, another smile on his lips.

“Mhm. Your friends are really nice.” He giggles. “I didn’t realize how gay they are, hyung.”

Jimin laughs, surprised, a different sort of warmth blooming at how he says the word more easily, this time. Proud.

“Yeah, they really are. How embarrassing.”

Jungkook laughs again, buries the laughter in Jimin’s shoulder, and Jimin never stood a chance.

He stays like that for a moment, cheek resting against Jimin.

“You know,” he mumbles, and the words are just for Jimin, “as nice as they are, I wanted to talk to you. But I’m kind of drained now.”

Jimin hums, sympathetic, seeking the warmth with an arm around Jungkook’s shoulder.

“You wanna go somewhere quieter?” 

“Mm, no,” Jungkook hums. “I’m okay here. For th’ movie.”

He shifts closer still, fluffy hair tickling Jimin’s cheek, sleep-laden and soft.

Jimin tentatively reaches up, threads his fingers through his hair, earns a quiet hum of approval as he draws little circles with his fingertips.

“Thank you, hyung,” Jungkook whispers. He tucks his face in Jimin’s neck for a moment.

The warmth is golden honey, dripping slow and sweet across Jimin’s skin, seeping down to his bones.

Someone starts the movie.

Jimin doesn’t retain a damn second of it.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

mood: here with me by elina

 

It’s late.

It’s late, and they’re half an hour from home, strung out on the grass that overlooks the Han River.

Jungkook had texted Jimin, late, saying that he meant it when he said he was hoping to spend more time together.

Jimin had responded, late, to pick him up and drive them here.

They drove with the windows down, wind muffling the music that rumbled through the speakers, and now Jimin watches the city lights sparkle across the dark river.

They’re pretty, streaks of color that bleed into the water.

Jungkook quietly lays a blanket out and they stretch out on it, shoulder to shoulder, chins on arms. 

There’s a slight breeze, still, but summer is almost here. The soft t-shirts are enough, especially when they’re pressed close.

“It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve been to this part of Seoul,” Jungkook mumbles. 

He blinks slow and heavy when he stares out at the silent river.

“It’s pretty, though,” he whispers. “I like it.”

Jimin watches the faint moonlight, white street lamps, on Jungkook’s skin. Bare, again. Silver, again. Soft.

“Pretty,” Jimin echoes. 

Jungkook turns to rest his cheek on his arms, watching Jimin, too.

Which details will he remember, this time?

“It feels like it’s only us here,” Jungkook whispers. “Even though there’s probably hundreds of thousands of other people.”

“Yeah.” Jimin’s cheek meets his arms, too, and they’re wrapped up in this bubble around the blanket, around the breath between them. “Just us here, though.”

The grass tickles his feet, the wind tickles his hair. 

Jungkook has no earrings, this time around. The faintest hint of mint toothpaste, this time, and warm vanilla. Always.

They’re close, close, and suddenly Jimin has no interest in watching the beauty of the great river before them. 

He only watches Jungkook, the shimmer in his eyes, the silver in his hair.

The flowers bloom big and bright in the moonlight. Sweet, paper-white, beautiful.

“You know,” Jungkook says after a long while, staring somewhere near his elbow, “that day in Cheonggyecheon.” His gaze flicks up to meet Jimin’s for a moment. “That was the first time… that I admitted, out loud, that I’m gay.”

He says it a little more easily than before, and Jimin feels that glow again, bright and all-consuming.

“Really?” Jimin whispers.

Jungkook chews his lip. Nods, as he slowly sits up, Jimin following his lead.

Their legs tangle together.

“I, um, I've been thinking about it a lot.”

He picks at the grass, his words nearly swallowed by the breeze if Jimin wasn’t leaning closer.

“After that phone call. I was pretty sure, before that, so- so I was trying the way it felt on my tongue, in Cheonggyecheon. With someone who didn't know, not the way Yoongi-hyung did. But even after telling you and sealing that piece into the world, it was... it was still really hard to admit to myself that I really might not ever love a woman. Not in the way I feel for men, at least. It feels so dumb that I keep going back and forth, all of these 'but' or 'what if' moments when I think deep down I know which one is right."

He clears his throat and goes quiet for a moment. Jimin doesn’t prod, knows this is a difficult thing to talk about.

“It’s just— you know. What I told you. Women are so lovely and I get flustered easily and I couldn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t fall for them, but. But I’m here, and I think I've accepted the feeling— it’s not the same. What I actually want out of it is not the same. Not like how you said your attraction is different, I don’t think. But even now, I feel like a piece of me is still clinging to the possibility, so I—”

He shakes his head.

“Even now, even after all of this, I don’t… I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t do this all wrong,” Jungkook admits in a whisper. “Like— what if one day I might find the right woman and just add to some harmful idea that gay people can be… I don’t know. Turned? I kind of clung to the ‘bi’ label for so long, just waiting, even though I knew deep down that it didn’t feel right. Maybe because, in the same way, I would be adding to the harmful idea that bi people just haven’t chosen yet. I don’t know. What if I do find the right woman and I’ve messed up?”

Jungkook’s cheeks are pink, from the cold and something more.

Jimin watches his profile in the pale light. The set of his eyebrows, the worry of his lower lip.

This is something Jimin’s been lucky to never struggle with. He’s known he likes women since forever, he’s known he likes men since age twelve, he’s known he likes everything in between and beyond and just. People. 

Jungkook’s not as lucky, not like this.

“I think,” Jimin says carefully, “that it’s a process. Maybe it’s a lifelong process. I know just saying ‘you don’t need a label’ may be true, and you can talk to Joon-hyung about that if you’d like, but I know it’s also not fulfilling for everyone.”

He’s a bit hypnotized by the shifting patterns in Jungkook’s eyes, even when they avoid Jimin’s.

“But here’s the thing, Jungkook— it’s okay if you’re wrong. Your label is not meant to be a box. It's meant to be a guide, to help put a word to your feelings that you can share with others. It represents what you best feel in the moment, and if something happens or shifts and that feeling changes, that’s okay. Things change, life changes. You shouldn’t have to worry about dodging ‘harmful ideas’ or entertaining ‘what ifs,’ just… do you know what I mean? Just be who you are, and the rest will follow. Whatever you feel right now, it’s okay.”

Jungkook meets his eyes, finally. Finally.

“It’s okay,” Jimin repeats, and Jungkook nods slowly. 

“It’s okay,” he echoes into the wind.

It’s quiet for a moment.

“I think,” Jungkook whispers, “I think that I’ve just been hoping and hoping that I’ll fall for a woman so that I never have to tell my parents.”

He looks at Jimin with shiny, shiny eyes.

“Isn’t that awful of me?”

“Oh, Jungkook,” Jimin murmurs. 

He wants to spread his warmth to Jungkook, now, to press back some of what he’s borrowed. 

So he does, he shifts a little closer, holds both hands out for Jungkook to take. 

“I think,” Jungkook whispers again, “that it won’t happen. It was just hard for me to say, but. After that night...”

He swallows, gaze darting away before it finds Jimin’s and he continues:

“I’ve talked about it with Yoongi-hyung a lot, but I’ve never said it out loud. Until you. And when I said— When I told you I’m gay, instead of bisexual, I felt— I was relieved. No matter what insecurity ate at me afterwards. I liked how it felt, and how you responded, and everything felt just... right."

“I could tell,” Jimin murmurs. 

Jungkook looks at him.

“I remember thinking,” he tells the wind and moonlight eyes, “he’s glowing.

Jungkook positively beams, and Jimin is beyond helpless.

“Yeah?” he breathes.

“Yeah.” Jimin reaches for the silver warmth, tucks a lock of hair behind Jungkook’s ear. “It suits you, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook gives a bitten-down smile.

“Being gay?”

“The glow,” Jimin laughs, and Jungkook laughs too, crinkled at the corners, and the world is dazzling.

Jimin’s never felt this full, of blossoms and butterfly wings and honey-gold light. 

Like this, Jungkook is painted every color of the rainbow, thousands of invisible brushstrokes of color, glowing.

He can see it in the grin on his face, the crinkle of his eyes, the little scrunch of his nose. The relief and happiness and truth. Intangible and brilliant.

They shift on the blanket, a quiet agreement of soft rustles until Jimin lies on his back, Jungkook’s cheek to his chest.

He wonders if Jungkook can feel the thump, thump, thump. If that’s another detail. If his heart syncs to it, to the slow lull in the night.

“Thank you,” Jungkook whispers to the night air, to his chest. “I— you’ve always just made me feel so comfortable, hyung. I don’t think I could admit all this otherwise.”

Jimin smiles. He curls an arm around Jungkook’s waist, cuddles closer.

“I’m glad you’re able to.” Fingers trace shapeless patterns, invisible and unstudied. “You make me comfortable, too.”

He has the warmth pressed fully to him, now, and he thinks he might be set on fire from within. 

 

When they drive home, Jimin takes his hand over the console and lets his heartbeat swell in the space between their palms, once again.

 

Before he drops Jungkook off, he paints another picture into Jungkook’s tired palm.

Curls it up slow, again, tells Jungkook not to look yet. Again.

He waves a happy happy goodbye, a see-you-soon, Jungkook already wilting with sleep but radiant, still.

Your glow is beautiful. I hope you know that.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

idk if you remember that first day on the train

when i was gonna ask you something but i said i was glad you interrupted

 

jimin

oh yeah

 

jungkook :)

lolll its so dumb but

you'd said you were hungry and it was past dinnertime

so like

i was going to ask if you wanted to have dinner together

but i chickened out because we'd only just met

and you're really pretty

so i was kind of scared

lol

 

Jimin's stomach twists with tingles, a slow grin spreading on his face. You're really pretty you're really pretty you're really pretty his mind screams, rereading the message a million times. No longer a secret whisper under pink, purple, blue lights, but solid. Permanent.

 

jimin

lmaooo omg

that's so cute

we could've had dinner together

 

jungkook :)

i think i wouldve passed away first

 

jimin

cute

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Every moment with Jungkook is stretching slow in a patch of golden sunlight, is gazing sleepily at silver stars. 

Jimin’s heart is a heavy thump thump thump, calling out, hoping and hoping for a reply.

In between pink cheeks and shy smiles, Jimin thinks that Jungkook must feel the same, must have the same blossoms and butterfly wings filling his chest. 

Still, he falters when the words crawl to the tip of his tongue.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

“Wait, there’s a new bookstore down the street,” Jungkook gasps, already grabbing Jimin’s hand and tugging them both down the sidewalk. 

Jimin protests, careful not to jostle the coffee in his hand, but follows Jungkook with a sickening smile anyway.

“Yoongi-hyung tells me it has our type of books,” Jungkook tells him excitedly once Jimin finally falls in line with his steps.

Our. A soft thread between them, maybe the one that tugged Jimin’s gaze up from his phone, back then. 

“That’s unusual.”

“It is, but it’s great, isn’t it?” 

Jungkook smiles around the straw of his iced coffee before pausing to take a sip.

Jimin’s gaze involuntarily drops to rose-pink lips.

Can I kiss you? he thinks, and looks away. 

Jungkook is a marvel as he strolls around the bookstore, a perpetual smile on his lips. The store is well air-conditioned and cozy, almost vintage in its deep brown bookshelves. Jimin trails helplessly after him, not paying one speck of attention to the books that surround him.

“Hey,” Jungkook says, “you know what could be fun? We should pick books for each other. And then when we read it, we annotate it and give it back for the other person to read.”

“One of our books?” Jimin teases, and Jungkook nods with pink cheeks.

It’s a cute idea, so Jimin goes along with it. He takes his time thumbing through the shelves of the little section that’s been subtly marked with rainbow stickers, reading the synopses until he finds the perfect one.

They make their purchases separately, and exchange smiles along with their books.

Jungkook gives one last fruitless suck of his straw and earns nothing except for the grating sound of a mostly-empty cup. He pouts a little, unconsciously, with a scrunch of his nose as he throws it away.

Can I kiss you?

They spend another hour together, sticky with the heat but standing close anyway, and Jimin would spend forever like this.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

hyung!

how far have you gotten in the book

 

jimin

lolll like one chapter </3

it’s really good already though, i keep trying to read it during my breaks

 

jungkook :)

ooh yay that’s good to hear :))

i’m only a few chapters in too

i really like this one hyung

 

jimin

i’m glad

<3

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

It’s cute. This book is so Jungkook that Jimin can feel it, and he wonders if he’s read it already.

Set in an alternate universe, with immaculate story building that has Jimin reading late into the night, the book perfectly balances the pain of reality and the beauty that can be found in the most mundane of places. 

Found family, childhood friends to lovers, self-discovery. Slow, slow burn in the most gorgeous way, the spark of their love like torches in the inky rubble that is their reality, settling heavy on Jimin’s chest and curling tight around his heart. 

He finishes it in three days.

He could’ve done it faster, probably, if he wasn’t taking his time to write little notes in the margins for Jungkook to find, asking if Jungkook felt it, too. 

 

The moon is nothing but a flick of white paint, a pale, pale imitation of his beauty, when he looks at me like this. It is a mere embellishment, the supporting role to all that he already possesses.

He puts the moon to shame, and if Ji strikes me down for this declaration, I say let it come. 

The wrath of all the gods in the universe is not enough to keep me from him, I think as I watch his silver silhouette, smiling at me.

Funny. That silhouette is the exact shape of the space in my heart. 

And I’ll tear my way out of Magul, brick by rotten brick, until I stand atop the flaming rubble if anyone tries to keep us apart. God, demon, human. It’s all the same, if it means keeping him.

 

The story is hopelessly romantic, Jimin thinks as he underlines silver silhouette. Even between the battles of the world and the magic and the class tension and the grapple for survival— it’s so beautifully, wholly romantic.

So Jungkook.

He writes, Moonlight looks good on you, and thinks it might be a confession.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jimin > jungkook :)

jimin

um so

i may have finished the book already

 

jungkook :)

hyung

it’s four am

me too

 

jimin

LMAO

well

 

jungkook :)

it was so good omfg

should we exchange soon then ??

 

jimin

i can drop by your work tomorrow?

i need to wipe tae and hobi-hyung again

 

jungkook :)

lmfaoo ok i’ll bring it

im excited !!

see u tomorrow :)

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

Jimin does not, in fact, end up wiping Taehyung and Hoseok.

Taehyung comes in first, with an unexpected streak of spares at the end. Hoseok grasps a narrow second, and Jimin a narrow third.

He blames it on distraction, on his excitement to read the other book.

He catches Jungkook smiling at him, time after time.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

He discovers right away that Jungkook hasn’t annotated in the same way that Jimin did.

On the inside title page, beneath the bold type, his neat handwriting proclaims: A Book That Made Me Fall In Love With Love, And Also The Idea Of Loving Myself.

Fuck. Jimin is so, so, so not prepared.

It’s more of a contemporary book, Jimin knows, of a young man’s journey to self-acceptance in an unforgiving world, finding solace in unlikely people— including himself. Angst, and inner turmoil, and so so so much pining. Wonderful representation across the board. A collection of vignettes, seemingly random, until they begin to meld together. 

The style is dreamy, almost poetic, each scene vivid in Jimin’s mind, each emotion vivid in Jimin’s heart.

Reading what Jungkook’s ink has left behind is a whole story on its own. He’s doodled in some of the margins, anything from simple stars to a whole scene he’s imagined in the space at the end of a chapter.

An artist, through and through. Jimin’s never seen Jungkook’s work before now, but he knows.

Jungkook’s handwriting changes, too. Neat when he’s focused, Jimin imagines, when he’s alert and awake and has time. More slanted, characters blending together, when he’s sleepy, when it’s late but he can’t put the book down.

Sometimes they’re just little comments, like Cute! Or, I AM SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF I WILL EAT MY ENTIRE FIST RIGHT THIS SECOND !!!!!!!!! 

A hundred hearts dance around the paragraph where the two characters first hold hands.

:D :D :D says Jungkook’s pen, and Jimin can picture it perfectly— Jungkook’s fingers scrunched in his blanket, grinning from ear to ear.

There are a lot of those smiley faces throughout the book, Jimin finds, and he can’t help but mirror them.

Sometimes, Jungkook manages to fit a short story in, something from the book that reminds him of his own life. 

Sometimes they’re just arrows. This. 

 

Though my end is certain, I desire only to meet it with open arms knowing I’m the greatest me I could’ve been. 

 

Arrow. This.

 

I want to be by him all the time, this quiet, magnetizing tenderness. I am everlastingly fond and I’m not sure how I could have seen it any other way.

How could anyone feel what I feel for him, to see what he has done to my life, and not think it to be anything but earth-shatteringly beautiful?

 

Scattered throughout the book, certain words are circled; stranded, with nothing else to accompany them.

Free

Comfort

Smile

Sunlight

Touch

Warm, warm, warm, a thousand times.

Safe.

Jimin wonders what it means.

He wonders if it’s Jungkook’s own confession.

 

As he reaches the end, hot tears drying on his cheeks, Jimin finds a little piece of paper tucked in the back of the book.

He snorts out a watery little laugh.

Jungkook has printed himself a faux book review, with a picture of himself grinning like it’s some sort of profile image and everything.

Ten stars out of five, he rates it, and goes on to give his thoughts.

Jimin’s seen most of them inked out already, this is just more succinct. Well put together. 

He tucks it carefully into his desk. 

When Jimin flops into bed, he physically aches. It was like Jungkook had said. He thinks he’s fallen a bit in love with the idea of being in love, and only one smiling face pastes itself on the inside of his eyelids.

The flowers, now in full bloom, are so close to bursting from his chest.

He wants to show Jungkook what a beautiful garden he’s made.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

jungkook :) > jimin

jungkook :)

i will perish right now

 

jimin

LMAO i feel the same

 

jungkook :)

its so :( :( :( 

ahhh and i love your little notes

 

jimin

and i love yours

and the drawings !!! you have to show me some of your other art some time omg

 

jungkook :)

i will <3

 

jimin

hey i saw they’re doing a bunch of events in a row for sqcf

june 27th is when they start the actual events, 26th is just an opening ceremony

so this sunday

do u wanna go? you can bring yoongi-ssi

 

jungkook :)

oh that would be nice

i probably can't go to all of them cause of work and stuff but the 27th works! 

when's the last day?

and i’ll ask him

 

jimin

:))

the film festival extends until the 18th of july which is also a sunday

and they're doing a closing parade that day too

i can do your makeup again if you wanna go

and take it off for you after ;)

 

jungkook :)

ewsdlfkjsdk whats with the winky face— 

but that all sounds good <3

 

jimin

i’ll meet you in front of your apartment for sunday :) be ready at 9!

 

jungkook :)

i will!

 

jimin

okayy i’m excited :)

 

jungkook :)

:D

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

The films are lovely.

They're from all over the world, all sorts of stories, tones, lenses, subject matter.

It's so beautiful to see stories like his, like Jungkook's, like their friends', told like this. 

Delicately. Preciously. Not the butt of a joke, or mockery, like in so many other films that Jimin has suffered through.

Their stories are only celebrated. Cherished. 

Loved.

There are too many ways to describe how Jimin feels, and no words to express them.

But when he glances to the side and Jungkook's face is lit by the screen, a picture of awe and reverence and joy, of sadness and deep deep connection, it is everything.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

mood: feels like this by maisie peters

 

It’s the night before the SQCF Parade. 

Late, again.

The last couple of weeks have been a haze of endless and quite frankly terrible yearning on Jimin's part. He can't help it— how is he supposed to deal with the existence of Jeon Jungkook otherwise?

The flowers that bloom from his heart and twine around his ribcage reach and reach for the moonlight to bask in. The happy glow of Jungkook's round round eyes is more than willing to oblige.

They meet at least once a week, text every day. They video chat, too, soft and sleepy in the evenings but they're both eager to make it work. 

And now they’re in Jungkook’s apartment this time, having spent the better part of the evening making dinner, then ice cream, and laughing as it drips down their fingers— not quite frozen enough.

“My hands are sticky,” Jimin had frowned, and Jungkook only grinned and laced their fingers together.

“There,” he said, “now we’re both sticky. Sticky together.”

And now they’ve finished a movie, and a very intense round of two-person Egyptian War. 

Jimin’s hands still sting a little.

They’ve made their way to the floor, settled on the carpet in front of Jungkook’s couch. Jungkook’s sleepy, clear in the droop of his eyelids and the way each movement is a little slower, a little heavier. Still, he listens carefully as Jimin relays some mundane story about some issue with the vending machine at work, a small smile on his lips.

When he’s done, the silence settles comfortably between them.

The muted sound of cars filters through the open window along with a soft breeze, pale moonlight and the city alike splashing the floor with color.

The lights are dim.

“Hey,” Jungkook murmurs after a moment. “I almost forgot. I wanted to show you something.”

“Sure,” says Jimin, and then Jungkook’s getting up, padding quietly to his room.

When he emerges, he’s wearing a hoodie, the same as the one from the day on the train. He’s also carrying something, clutched behind his back.

He carefully settles across from Jimin again, knees brushing. He holds out a canvas.

The sight draws a sharp intake of breath from Jimin’s lips.

It’s stunning.

A portrait of a man — Jimin, he realizes — with his palm lifted by his cheek, painted in careful lines of pink, purple and blue. Eyeliner the way Jimin always likes to do it, pointed slightly down at the corners. Fingers curved like a dancer doing port de bras.

Rainbow strands crisscross between his cheek and his palm, blended carefully between the two color themes as if he’s pulled a part of his cheek with him like sticky putty. 

A butterfly, wings the same as Jungkook’s earrings, perches atop the ring finger. 

Details of his that Jungkook memorized, physical and not, plain as day on stretched canvas.

“Oh,” Jimin breathes. 

It takes a lot for him to lift his gaze to Jungkook’s, who only watches him with a nervous little smile.

“It’s so beautiful, Jungkook,” he whispers. With every second, he realizes more and more of what each element means.

Jungkook chews his lip, cheeks flushed even in the cool evening. 

“I want you to have it.”

Jimin blinks at him.

“Jungkook, I—” 

He falters.

“I want you to have it,” Jungkook repeats, a little more firmly this time. “I made it for you.”

Jimin stares and stares at him, then at the painting, and he thinks maybe he can see Jungkook’s heart threaded into each brush stroke.

“Okay,” he murmurs. He puts it gently a short ways away from him, unwilling to part, but not wanting to crush it unwittingly.

He looks at Jungkook again, searching.

Jungkook’s throat bobs, but he holds his gaze.

Jimin wets his lips.

“Moonlight looks good on you,” he whispers. 

Jungkook’s eyes widen a little.

“I want to be by you all the time,” he whispers back. 

Jimin’s heart pounds in his ears.

Thump thump thump thump.

He moves a little closer, reaches for the warmth.

He’ll take hold of it, this time, wrap his fingers around it slow.

Jimin finds a pen in his pocket. The same one from the day at the bowling alley, maybe.

“May I?” he asks, and Jungkook already knows.

Jimin takes the offered hand. Gentle. Always gentle.

Their legs tangling together, familiar, the short stubble of just-shaved skin scratchy against Jimin’s thigh, his calf.

Can I

He pauses. Glances up at Jungkook, who only meets his gaze with a soft smile and those moons-round eyes.

Can I kiss you

Can I kiss you.

Can I kiss you?

Jimin’s heart is decorated across Jungkook’s palm in midnight-black ink.

He wonders if Jungkook could feel it. If he knows already, either from the patterns of pen pressure or the way Jimin looks at him. The way Jimin’s always looked at him, when the question was Can I help you instead. 

He curls the fingers up slow anyway, just like always. Kisses the knuckles, blows it away.

Thumpthumpthumpthump.

Jungkook’s still smiling, fluffy hair ruffled and eyes a little sleepy at the edges. He just watches for a moment. Lets his gaze flit across Jimin’s face as Jimin does the same, both watching the same moonlight on different skin. 

Then Jungkook opens his hand, slow. Reads the ink, traces the outline of Jimin’s heart, slow. 

Reaches out, slow.

Can I kiss you?

He presses the words, gentle, into Jimin’s cheek. Tangles the words in Jimin’s hair. 

Leans in in in until he’s slotting the answer between Jimin’s lips.

And— here’s the moment where the flowers burst forth, in full, gorgeous petals that fill the space between them. 

It smells like warm vanilla.

Jungkook smiles against his lips and Jimin’s gone lightheaded.

They pull back for a second, just smiling at each other.

Jimin has wanted and wanted and now that he’s gotten a taste, he only wants more.

Jungkook is so soft, so careful, just as Jimin predicted. And Jimin is content to keep it like this, this gentle press of their lips that makes his heart positively soar.

Jungkook’s drifted closer, naturally, kneeling almost to either side of Jimin’s hips as Can I kiss you? settles (careful) around his jaw, the other hand sliding into his hair. 

Jimin’s own hands trace the curves of fabric, find the curve of Jungkook. Of his waist, fingertips sneaking beneath the soft hoodie. 

He wonders if Jungkook will remember the details of this kiss, too. The quiet honk in the background, the feeling of Jimin’s hair between his fingers, that exact spark in his belly when Jimin sucks gently on his lower lip.

Jimin knows he will. He’s doing his best to memorize it, the seep of it into his bones. 

When their lips separate with content sighs, Jungkook doesn't move away. He only settles a little more comfortably onto Jimin’s lap, arms looping around his neck. 

And he beams. 

“What?” Jimin laughs, and Jungkook buries the smile in his neck. 

Jimin hugs him close. 

“What do you mean what,” he tells Jimin’s neck. “What do you think?”

Jimin just chuckles, the vibration shared between their chests. 

“You know,” Jungkook mumbles, “that’s the first time I’ve kissed someone I actually like.”

“Actually,” Jimin gasps, mock offended. Jungkook laughs. Jimin can feel the smile against his skin.

“You know what I mean.” Jungkook pulls back, keeping his arms around Jimin’s neck. “The first was that girl in high school.” He groans. “And then, like, stupid stuff in uni.”

“Stupid stuff,” Jimin echoes. He lifts a brow. Jungkook flushes and avoids his eyes.

“Yes. Trying to, y’know… figure out the more, uh. Enticing side of things.”

“Enticing,” Jimin laughs.

“Boys!” Jungkook shoves his shoulder, cheeks pink. “Stop just repeating what I say. It makes me realize how dumb I sound.”

Jimin grins and leans in to peck his nose.

“You could never.”

Jungkook tries to look stern for barely a moment before his smile breaks through. 

"I really do like you, hyung," he murmurs, coy, fingers playing with Jimin's collar. 

Jimin finds those warm lips again — "I really do like you too, Jungkook-ah" — and everything is right.

 

✧ ❀ ✧

 

mood: good life by onerepublic

 

The parade is beautiful.

There are colors everywhere, all sorts of flags and signs and makeup looks. Yoongi and Taehyung in pink, yellow, and blue. Seokjin in shades of purple, green, and gray. Namjoon in pink, white, blue. Hoseok and Jimin in pink, purple, blue. 

Jungkook, with colors from each of them. A rainbow.

Jimin had taken his time with their makeup, maybe a little longer than he could have— but who is he to say no to a kiss (or two, or twenty) from Jeon Jungkook?

And now Jungkook looks at him, pretty, with eyes that say, Look here, I am beautiful.

One pair of butterfly wings on one ear, a rainbow chain on the other.

The prettiest rainbow eyeshadow, sparkles at the corners, cheeks a rosy pink. 

Jungkook had nearly squeaked when he saw what Jimin had done for himself, a fragment of a certain portrait on canvas.

They hold hands almost the entire time, as soon as Jimin caught Jungkook eyeing another couple and quickly laced their fingers together. 

Jimin is giddy, protected in the middle of the crowd, surrounded by his friends and so many other people like them.

People demanding to be heard, to be seen, to be loved. Hearts that scream to be held, people who walk the line between saying, We’re just like anybody else, the need to be accepted; and being unapologetically themselves through and through.

Jimin wonders why he’s never come before.

 

Something makes a loud pop, and confetti of all colors rains down on them.

Jungkook watches in awe, a giant grin on his face, moonlight in his eyes, and Jimin watches him. 

He’s so happy he feels like he may burst and rain down in a million tiny pieces of rainbow confetti, just for Jungkook to enjoy. Just to see that smile a million times over.

He's bursting, already, with four o'clock flowers and butterfly wings and golden honey and pride.

He squeezes Jungkook's hand, and Jungkook squeezes back.

“Happy Pride!” someone in the crowd yells, and a cheer rises up. “Be who you are, I love you all!” 

Be who you are, and the rest will follow.

Another cheer echoes through the crowd, smiles hurting their color-stained cheeks. A few couples share a quick kiss, like the countdown on New Year’s. 

Jimin catches Jungkook eyeing them again.

He tugs Jungkook forward.

“Can I kiss you?” he asks, and is met with a shy nod.

Another pop, another bright burst of rainbow confetti drifts down around them. 

Jimin pulls him close, gives him a kiss, short and sweet and wonderful. 

Jungkook is grinning impossibly wide as their friends whoop and throw confetti at them, the pieces clinging to their hair and their arms and one even managing to stick to Jungkook’s lashes. 

It may not last forever, this little bubble, Jimin thinks as he carefully brushes the red paper from Jungkook's eyes. But he is determined not to waste it.

 

 

“Oh crap, I missed a spot hold on— Close your eyes—”

They’re tucked in the corner of the subway train, on their way home. 

The compartment isn’t empty, this time, even beyond their friends. Jungkook’s Yonsei hoodie makes yet another reprise to cover his rainbow button-up, and Jimin has a sweatshirt of his own. 

There’s a little splash of color, still, on Jungkook’s eyelid. Jimin hadn’t quite noticed somehow, and he carefully dabs it away with a surreptitious glance towards the person sitting across from them.

“This is a little familiar,” Jungkook murmurs, smiling.

Jimin chuckles. He taps a thumb to Jungkook’s cheek.

“All done.” He tilts his head. “Got any apples, perchance?”

“Wait,” Jungkook laughs, “I actually think I do. In case I got hungry.”

He rifles through his drawstring for a moment before emerging, triumphant, with a honeycrisp.

“Wanna try splitting it this time, hyung?” Jungkook teases. “Still have that knife?”

Jimin rolls his eyes, fond.

“Yeah, whatever, Hulk. Just do it.”

“I will,” Jungkook proclaims. 

He does, and holds one half out to Jimin.

Their thighs are pressed warm together, and when Jimin hoists his bag onto his lap, he holds Jungkook’s hand beneath it.

They may not be able to show their connection to the world, but they keep pushing forward. They show their affection in secret ways, hidden behind canvas bags and knowing smiles. 

Jimin finishes his half of the apple, and is left with two seeds.

The flowers are still there in his chest, full and beautiful, turned lavender with time. The last color of the rainbow, of queer empowerment, patiently waiting for him at the end.

Maybe Jimin will just have to plant these new seeds along with the first. Maybe he already has been, with each new smile, blooming under moonlight eyes.

Jungkook is the boy, the treasure waiting for him at the end of the rainbow, swathed in lavender petals. 

Jimin feels so at home here, even half-hidden, hand in hand with the pretty pretty boy who smells like warm vanilla and plants tender seeds in his heart.

“Can we be boyfriends?” Jungkook whispers to his shoulder. Jimin presses a thumb to his cheek, the pad once stained purple, too. 

“I’d like that.”

Jungkook beams. Glows, every color of the rainbow.

There are no more rainbow ghosts, hastily scrubbed away.

Just this kaleidoscope glow, invisible to most. Shifting and evolving and breathtaking.

Jimin is so glad he’s a feudal man.