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baby i'm the one (and you're the only one)

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Winter is secretly Jimin’s second favourite season ever, once the early months of the year hits, when the air takes the drop dramatically into temperatures below tolerable. Secretly, because he’d have an excuse to eat more (“It’s cold, I’ll burn off fat to keep warm.”), bundle up in thick layers of heavy coats without regard for his image (“There is nothing wrong with wearing two layers of socks.”), and opt to stay at home on weekends (“it’s below zero out there, there is no way I’m leaving my bed.”)

It's utter bullshit, but who's going to tell him otherwise?

Winter also means winter school, and a part time job teaching dance at an academy near his faculty. He only has classes twice a week and he loves dance, so all in all, winter is turning out to be a great time in his second year of life as a university student.

Until one morning he’s rushing out to his god-awful 8am class from hell and walks straight into a body of fur, faceplanting none too gracefully into the ceramic tiles of his apartment building hallway.

“What the fuck,” he scrambles to get up, a few choice words ready to assault whatever he just tripped over, only to pause in shock at the sight, “oh my god.”

A snow white canine stares back up at him, its beady eyes glinting in the morning sunlight, ears perked and tail wagging and Jimin is just about to keel over with delight.

“Oh my god,” he repeats in a whisper-shout, getting on his knees properly to shuffle closer, “hello.” He makes to touch its soft, soft looking fur, only to have the majestic beauty squirm away from his hold and even bark at him. Jimin swears he’s never felt his heart plummet so hard. (Other than that one time he got rejected by Jungkook in highschool so many years ago.)

But Jimin is a persistent person. And he likes to think that there is no reason why a dog would shun him. So he reaches out tentative fingers again, determination burning in his eyes. This time the lovely creature is tugged from him just when he was within reach.

“Ah fuck,” a low, rumbling voice sounds from above him, causing him to snap his head upwards, only to be assaulted by bordering offensive orange hair, “I can’t believe I left the door open. I’m sorry, was she bothering you?”

“No, she’s lovely,” Jimin answers too quickly, straightening up and trying to fight the flush of embarrassment rising across his neck, “is she yours?”

“Yes,” Carrot Top replies, his lips spreading into a strangely shaped grin, “her name is Soonshimie,” there is a pause where he sounds like he has more to say, so Jimin waits, “and my name is Kim Taehyung, and your name is...?”

“Jimin,” he answers on autopilot, “Park Jimin.”

Kim Taehyung beams like a billion megawatts of sunshine and Jimin has to struggle not to squint as he offers a smile in return. Then something occurs to him about this whole situation.

“Hey, are you new?” He’s only asking out of politeness. Jimin knows everybody on their floor by their first names. Plus there was no way he could’ve missed the orange hair. And the cute dog.

Taehyung is indeed new to their building, having moved to Seoul for university. He’s scratching Soonshim behind her ear as he tells Jimin all this, and Jimin has to resist the urge to coo at her.

Clearing his throat, he continues slowly, “you do know that our building doesn’t allow pets, right?” He sort of trails off, unsuccessfully keeping the skeptically raised eyebrow from his expression. As much as he wants to disregard rules and regulations right this moment, he has to be the civil, responsible neighbour here, but the way Taehyung’s face drops dramatically has his own brows furrowing in concern.

“Oh shit,” Taehyung gasps, eyes widening with panicked realisation, “yeah, uhm. Soonshimie usually stays with my family. But they’re all the way in Geochang. And I know I’ll miss her too much so now she’s here!” At some point, the boy has reached both his arms outwards like he was describing a particularly big imaginary circle.

Jimin tilts his head as if in thought. Taehyung takes it the wrong way, hurriedly bringing his palms to chest level and waving them defensively.

“B-but she’s really behaved! And quiet! She won’t cause any trouble, I just forgot she was here this morning and left the door open by accident when I went back in to grab my phone!” He starts chewing on his bottom lip, eyes shifting, “please, please, please, don’t report her to management,” he claps his hands together and starts rubbing them as a sign of begging, “I swear she won’t bother you again. You won’t even know she’s here.”

Jimin breaks out into a smile then. Taehyung is so loud and animated. He’s just about to tell him that he’ll keep it a secret, but only if he gets to play with Soonshim, when Taehyung speaks first.

“Your smile is really cute.”

Jimin swears he must have misheard. The tone Taehyung uses is as if he’s describing the weather. “What?”

“Your smile,” Taehyung gestures a ‘U’ shape around his face, “you’re really cute when you smile. Your eyes do this thing where they disappear.”

At this point, Jimin is reconsidering his choice of words. And his life decisions when he catches Taehyung checking him out, eyeing him as if through the layers of his winter battle gear, like he has fucking x-ray vision.

“You’re really hot.”

Sputtering, Jimin grabs the straps of his backpack tighter, ready to make a run for it. Being late to his 8am class suddenly seems like the biggest crime in the history of ever.

“Fuck, I gotta go,” he turns on his heel, “uh, nice meeting you. Bye Soonshim!” And then he’s off, only turning back around to catch a glimpse of orange down the hall before the metal doors of the elevator close shut.

Jimin is only half an hour late, ‘a commendable effort’, says Hoseok. But he tells him nothing when he’s asked what his excuse was this time.

 

-

 

He does, however, tell Jungkook. Despite having once been rejected by the Dark Prince himself, Jimin still values their friendship, occasionally marvelling at how there is a friendship at all, seeing as Jungkook is the very spawn of satan on his bad days.

“Describe quote-unquote ‘weird’ to me again?” Jungkook drawls from his seat in Jimin’s campus cafe. He’s supposedly ‘visiting’ Jimin and his friends, but really he’s here to survey schools to attend once he graduates.

“I mean, he just, outright told me I’m hot,” Jimin sucks vehemently at his iced mocha, “I was wearing my ugliest winter jacket, you know the one with the spots,” Jungkook cringes, “that’s weird, right? Saying that to my face?”

“I’m starting to think that the reason you’re telling me this is just to brag,” Jungkook stares disinterestedly at his own hazelnut cappuccino, “congratulations, someone thinks your ugly ass is cute,” his lips morph into a sly smirk as he tags on a hyung to the end for good measure.

“You are so rude,” Jimin pouts, almost desensitized after years of receiving the same treatment from the younger. Jungkook only snickers like he’s told the funniest joke in the world that only he himself is worthy of getting.

“He’s got a really cute dog, though,” Jimin sighs dreamily, “she’s so furry, and cute, and cuddly.”

“I thought your building didn’t allow pets.”

“It doesn’t,” another sigh, this time forlorn, “it doesn’t, but she’s so cute, I couldn’t possible report her,” he wails melodramatically, “but she doesn’t like me.”

“Hyung, I have a dog too, but you never want to play with it,” Jungkook points out, pitching his voice to sound indignant, while his fingers are busy texting.

“Your dog is small and weird looking,” Jimin spits, unflinching to Jungkook’s face of mock-hurt, “Soonshim is majestic and she looks like she would be so warm to hug.”

“Whatever, man, your loss. Look, it sounds like you’re in love with your neighbor’s dog,” he gets up, “maybe you should hook up with your neighbour then. That way both of you can adopt his dog as your lovechild.” Jimin grimaces really hard, to Jungkook’s delight. “I’m gonna go. Seokjin and Namjoon are taking me to tour their building.”

“I hope you trip and fall on your face in front of all the pretty pharmacology noonas.”

At that, Jungkook smiles pleasantly, “oh fuck you.”

 

-

 

Jimin doesn’t scare easily. He’s worked too damn hard to achieve this ‘tough guy’ image, honing his body and slicking his gestures in public. He really doesn’t scare easily. In public. But behind closed doors, he’d always vote for the Avengers rather than Saw VII. Jungkook ends up marathoning Saw on their movie nights anyways.

Like right now, when there are scratching sounds coming from the direction of his dark living room, he tells himself he’s hearing things, turning up the volume of the drama he’s watching on his laptop. But the scratching is undeniably real, and insistent. When he finally decides to not send the ‘dude im freaking out’ text to Jungkook, he takes a deep breath and tears open his front door with his eyes scrunched shut.

Nothing happens for about ten seconds before he chances a peek through one eye. There’s nobody at his door, but there is an adorable Soonshim on his crummy faded welcome mat, looking every bit like a pet calendar spread of his favourite month. All thoughts of fearing a machete wielding psychopath disappear as he drops to his knees, immediately cooing.

This time, Soonshim doesn’t yelp at him, but she does squirm every which way when he tries to pet her, hardly staying still enough for Jimin to run his fingers through her fur for more than fleeting moments. Even so, Jimin is over the moon. He’s always liked animals, cats and dogs alike, but he’s never had the luxury of owning one. It’s a nice thing to have, he thinks, a companion always waiting at home, to keep him company during the loneliest of times.

He sits there on the step of his front door, watching Soonshim for a few long moments before realising that she’s alone outside, and their building hallways aren’t heated. Even in his favourite comfort hoodie and sweats, the winter chill is undeniably seeping in through his clothes.

There is no response when he rings Taehyung’s doorbell multiple times. He even knocks obnoxiously and calls out for good measure. Nothing.

“Where’s your owner, hm?” he says more to himself, successfully scratching behind Soonshim’s ear as she lets him, “where is your strange, orange-haired, slightly socially imposing owner.”

He ends up shrugging on his winter coat and thick socks and putting a throw over Soonshim as he sits outside his door, waiting while trying to beat Yoongi’s high score on Timberman. It’s 8:23pm. Taehyung’s gotta come back at some point, right?

 

Taehyung comes back at around 9:45pm, Jimin notes the clock on his phone when he spots a dash of orange appearing down the hall. He’s bundled up in a green coloured scarf that clashes horribly with the bright shade of his hair, humming to a tune in his ears, a spring in his step. When he draws nearer, Soonshim dashes out from Jimin’s hold and nearly crashes into Taehyung’s legs, tail wagging excitedly.

As bitter as he really feels, Jimin tries to tell himself that he’s not jealous. Soonshim is Taehyung’s dog, after all. But he does nothing to dampen down the annoyance bubbling in his gut at the owner who left this precious creature outside in the cold.

“Soonshimie?” Taehyung starts, pulling his earphones out hastily. “What are you-” He then looks from Soonshim to Jimin straightening up in front of his door, and then hangs his mouth in shock.

“I think you left her outside, she was scratching at my door,” Jimin chuckles drily, shoving his freezing fingers into the depths of his coat pockets, “I put a blanket over her for a bit and gave her some water.”

“Oh my god,” Taehyung scrambles to get his door open before ushering Soonshim inside without saying another word, leaving Jimin to stand awkwardly outside.

“Ooh-kay,” Jimin frowns, shaking his head slightly, turning to enter his own door and muttering, “you’re welcome.”

“Jimin wait!”

He reflexively whips around at the sound of his name to find that Taehyung has re-appeared from his apartment. He’s shredded the scarf and heavy coat, leaving him in a light grey turtleneck and jeans.

“Hey, thanks a lot for taking care of Soonshim earlier,” Taehyung starts, rubbing the back of his neck, “I must’ve left her outside by accident when I went to work. Ah, sorry if she bothered you.”

Jimin watches as Taehyung takes his own bottom lip between his teeth, eyes shifting, “I know I told you she won’t be any trouble, but she was and it was my fault, so coule you please not report her?”

He can’t help the chuckle bubbling up his chest at how distressed Taehyung looks. So he decides to have a little payback, purses his lips up and looks to the side, “I don’t know…” The panicked whine that escapes Taehyung has him cheering with victory inside.

“I’ll make it up to you,” Taehyung says quickly, “I’ll buy you lunch, how’s that sound? As an apology,” when Jimin continues to play dumb, Taehyung rattles on, “and dessert, free coffee and cake at the cafe I’m working at!”

At that, he finally relents. Watching the other struggle so hard for his forgiveness proved much too fun while it lasted. Jimin drops the act with a warm smile, “I’m just playing, I won’t tell.”

Taehyung’s shoulders slump in relief following Jimin’s cackling. “But I’m serious, about lunch.”

Jimin arches one eyebrow at him as he considers the boy before him. Large twinkling eyes, an impressive nose, heart shaped lips, tall and lean too, judging from the way his turtleneck hugs his stature. He isn’t bad looking, Jimin supposes, but there is an odd air surrounding him that would require some getting used to.

“Jimin?” Taehyung prompts, head tilting to the side.

“Sorry, uh,” he tries to pitch his voice as nothing but polite, watching as Taehyung’s face continues to shine with confidence, “sorry, winter school is taking a lot of my time, and I have work too, I don’t think I could take time off.”

To Jimin’s horror, Taehyung pouts. And it’s ugly.

“You gotta eat lunch sometime, come on, I’m buying! It’s free food!”

There it is, the extreme forwardness, causing a headache to creep up the sides of Jimin’s temples. “Maybe some other time, okay? Thanks for the offer, though. Good night, Taehyung.”

He thinks nothing more of his new neighbour that night, instead falling asleep to dreams of petting Soonshin’s soft, white fur in his hands.

 

-

 

“You are fucking kidding me,” Jimin groans, turning around on his heel and completely disappearing behind Hoseok, the one time he’s grateful for his unfortunate height.

“What, what?” Hoseok darts his head this way and that, “why are you hidi-oh.”

As if there was a big, red homing target placed on Jimin’s very being, Taehyung spots him anyways, his face lighting up in recognition.

“That’s him, isn’t it, orange-haired neighbor with the cute dog,” Hoseok says over his shoulder, eyes blatantly scanning the subject of their conversation, “you didn’t tell me he was hot, too.”

“He’s not hot,” Jimin hisses, “hyung, quick, head in a direction away from him, act natural.”

“Too late, he’s making a beeline towards us,” Hoseok actually laughs at Jimin’s misery, before he’s waving and turning his signature smile towards the newcomer, “hi.”

“Hi,” Taehyung says, peering behind Hoseok’s shoulder, “hi, Jiminnie. What are you doing.”

“None of your business,” he huffs, “and the answer is ‘no’, Taehyung.”

Over the past few days, Taehyung has been nothing less than persistent. Almost every day without fail, he’s managed to catch Jimin either leaving or right before entering his home. And every time, he’s offered to buy him lunch. And Jimin has come up with an excuse to each attempt. Frankly, it’s creeping him out.

He had not anticipated Taehyung to be going to the same university as himself. But of course he is. Their building is the only place closest to campus renting to single occupants at a student-friendly budget. He’s too busy sulking and spacing out when introductions are exchanged and acquaintances are made.

“Taehyung is on campus to clear up some administrative work with his transfer and enrollment,” Hoseok chimes, turning towards Jimin, "he’s done and says he would like to-”

“I said ‘no’.”

“-take his dog for a stroll in the park,” Hoseok finishes, snickering at the surprise flashing across Jimin’s face.

“Oh.” It’s then when Jimin finally notices Soonshim sitting obediently at Taehyung’s feet. His heart immediately flutters. He’s ‘bumped into’ Taehyung a few times (a lot) outside his door, but all of those times were devoid of Soonshim.

“Do you want to come with?” Taehyung offers, eyes hopeful.

Jimin stares from Soonshim to Taehyung to Hoseok and back to Soonshim. His fingers are itching to pet her, so much so that he gives in and agrees. It won’t be so bad, right? Hoseok would be there. Yup.

Somehow, Hoseok reads his mind and excuses himself so smoothly that he’s already halfway down the block before Jimin could process the situation.

 

This is how he ends up walking side by side with Taehyung, trailing behind Soonshim. Early February is still ridiculously cold, but Soonshim looks utterly ecstatic once Taehyung unhooks the leash from her collar. She canvasses the expense of the small park within minutes, barking curiously at every plant and wagging her tail at other park-goers.

And Jimin can’t stop the damn smile taking over his face when Soonshim rounds back to the both of them seated on a bench, peering up at them expectantly. He brushes his fingers through her fur, delighted that she doesn’t shy away.

“You could come on her walks more often,” Taehyung’s voice startles Jimin out of his trance, “she gets agitated when cooped up in the house for long periods of time.”

Jimin hums in response.

“You could also come out to dinner,” he prompts with a hint of caution, “with me. And Soonshim. Tonight. I found a nice chinese place when taking Soonshim for a breather the other day.”

At that, Jimin heaves a sigh, eyes not leaving his latest infatuation. The sun is already setting. He feels the late winter chill pick up, and looks up to find the tips of Taehyung’s ears bright red. They won’t be able to stay out for very much longer. He considers his options. Either he eats dinner for free with Taehyung, or ventures on a solo date with instant ramyun, again..

“Fine,” he jumps when Taehyung whoops in victory, “you’re paying.”

 

-

 

When the semester starts, Jimin has actually pondered about the chances of them crossing paths on campus ever, coming to the conclusion that the engineering building is on the far side of the grounds opposite from his lawschool.

It doesn’t play out according to the scenario in his head. Taehyung is double-majoring in engineering and business, so half of his classes end up being in the building right next to his. They’ve met so many times that Taehyung is already initiated into Jimin’s whole gang, having worked out a free hour in their schedules in which they all coincide to have lunch twice a week.

Jimin hmphs from his seat between Yoongi and Seokjin. It's only the second time they’re all hanging out together with Taehyung, but it seems as if they’ve been friends for years. He’s being childish, he knows, watching Namjoon laugh at something dumb Taehyung says until there are tears in his eyes.

Get over it, he decides to tell himself, taking a bite of his kimbap with a scowl.

 

-

 

“Jimin?”

Now he is certain that the universe is playing a joke on him. Today, he has taken three subway trains to arrive on the other side of Seoul, visiting a few favourite apparel stores. He’d been looking forward to spending some alone time.

“Lay it on me, Taehyung, are you following me?” He’s joking, but there is very little humor in his voice.

Taehyung’s undeniably low laughter sounds behind him. When Jimin finally turns around, his eyes widen in mild shock. Gone is the obnoxious orange hair, but in its place is the lightest platinum blond, shimmering under the soft spring sunlight, almost too difficult to stare at for long moments. He eventually has to lower his eyes to meet Taehyung’s smiling ones.

“What a coincidence,” Taehyung says without answering his question, “I read online about a good pet store around here, so I’m checking it out.”

Soonshim announces her existence there as if on cue. The suspicion dissipates into adoration when Jimin kneels to greet the pup. He is over the fucking moon when Soonshim seems to recognise him and allows him to cradle the soft fur around her neck.

“It must be destiny, Jimin, we’re Destined.”

Jimin rolls his eyes so far back he might lose them in his skull.

"You should come with us, we're gonna go look for some toys," Taehyung announces, nodding his head sagely.

Jimin wants to refuse, he had a Plan coming out today. Even so, he finds himself following in the direction of the pet store Taehyung mentioned, taking Soonshim's leash from Taehyung's hand naturally when offered. He watches with mild fascination as Taehyung converses with the store attendant, asking questions and comparing products. By the time they’re at the cashier, it’s slightly past 4pm.

“Fuck,” Taehyung exclaims the moment they leave the store, “fuck, fuck, it’s four, my shift starts at four-thirty, oh my god.”

“At the cafe near campus? It’s twenty minutes away, you’ll make it, chill out.”

“No, they don’t allow pets indoors!” Taehyung wails, disregarding the side-eying from passerbys while Jimin’s head dips constantly in apology. “I don’t have time to leave Soonshim home and then come back out-Jimin,” he slams one large palm down on Jimin’s shoulder, making him jolt, “could you do me a favour.”

No, Jimin wants to say, but instead, “what?”

“Can you please take Soonshim with you while I work my shift? She doesn’t seem to hate your guts anymore.”

Ouch. He’s ready to decline Taehyung, the words poised on the tip of his tongue-but then he looks down at Soonshim, her glistening canine eyes peering up at him and he knows he’s defeated.

 

Taehyung texts him three hours later.

 

bring my baby over
i still owe u coffee and cake ;)

 

Jimin scoffs, quickly packing up his books from his spot in a park nearby. The weather is finally warm enough for him to study (take naps) outdoors. Plugging his earphones in, he tugs gently on Soonshim’s leash to guide her towards the cafe.

True to his word, Taehyung appears in a flourish, apron tied to his hips, cradling a coffee in one hand and a slice of cake in the other. After setting them down on a table outside, he bends over to nuzzle his nose into the top of Soonshim’s head.

“Caramel macchiato and cheesecake for you,” Taehyung grins at him, “the cheesecake is fantastic, that’s the last slice today, you better appreciate!”

Jimin wordlessly shoves a fork of cheesecake in his mouth as he watches Taehyung coddle Soonshim on the pavement. “Is your shift over?”

“Mmhm,” Taehyung straightens, chuckling as he unties the straps of his apron, “thanks, for taking care of Soonshim. You seem to have to do that a lot.”

Jimin shrugs, “it’s cool, I don’t mind it.” He finds that those words are true as he looks up from Soonshim to meet Taehyung’s eyes, a genuine smile in place, “you’re so lucky you have her, you’re never alone.”

Something flicker across Taehyung’s expression, but Jimin doesn’t notice it, turning his attention back to Soonshim curled up by his feet.

“Soonshim can be there for you too, Jimin,” Taehyung teases, his grin turned cheeky, “all you have to do is come over.” He's wagging his eyebrows ridiculously so Jimin smacks him right across the chest with the back of his palm.

There is more caramel than there is coffee in Jimin’s drink, but he downs all of it anyways.

 

-

 

Taehyung meets Jungkook two days after what Jungkook unilaterally terms as their 'impromptu coffee date', at the dance academy Jimin is an assistant teacher at, that Jungkook also attends. He had positively begged to come along, once he found out about what it is Jimin actually goes off and does on the days when he catches him at his door, sweat evaporating on his skin, face flushed a healthy pink from exertion.

Jimin figures there was no harm. At this point, he’s convinced that Taehyung is just a super friendly person who really, really loves his dog.

What he doesn’t expect, is the 180 degrees complete flip in character displayed by one Jeon Jungkook. Jimin stares in mild horror and amazement as Jungkook chatters away with Taehyung about everything and anything. His brows are pinched tightly together by the time his name comes up in their conversation.

“Jiminnie, Jungkook says he has a puppy too, look!” He shoves Jungkook’s iphone in Jimin’s face, Gureum’s beady eyes stare back at him, “so cute!”

While Taehyung continues to coo, Jungkook takes the chance to turn an innocent smile at Jimin, causing the older to balk wordlessly.

“Who are you and what have you done with Jeon Jungkook,” Jimin hisses.

“What are you talking about,” Jungkook laughs heartily, “I’m normally this charming.”

His little devil horns come out to play anyways. Jimin narrows his eyes into slits. “Your dog still looks weird.”

 

Soonshim is allowed to sit near the back of the studio with Taehyung while Jimin works. Out of the corner of his eye, he takes in the awe in Taehyung’s expression, the anticipated reaction he hopes to achieve in every person whom he lets watch him do what he’s good at. The follow up words of praise that tumble from Taehyung’s excited mouth are also expected, and Jimin allows the glee that fills him as he watches Jungkook sort of falter at Taehyung’s enthusiastic gushing, arms flailing, complete with sound effects.

He’s long since gotten used to that.

 

-

 

Jimin flops onto his bed that night after his shower to find a series of texts from Jungkook.

 

hyung
taehyung hyung and i are hanging out tomorrow
do u wanna come

 

That wasn’t completely unexpected. From personal experience, Jimin knows that Taehyung really gets straight to the point in a friendship. The two of them had hit it off pretty well. He hasn’t seen Jungkook open up to someone new so quickly.

And then of course, they bonded over their dogs.

Jimin scrunches up his face at the image of Jungkook’s dog, turning onto his back. He’d initially planned to hang out with Jungkook tomorrow anyways. Just as he’s about to reply, Jungkook’s text bubble indicates that he’s typing.

 

don’t be jealous we’re just getting food
;)

 

Jimin bristles. The little shit still won’t drop it. Ever since day one, Jungkook has been teasing him about Taehyung’s displays of affection, sometimes making immature kissy faces as if they were children in grade school.

 

i will hurt u jeon jungkook

 

Jungkook replies with a series of gleeful emoticons before they decide on a place to meet up.

 

Hanging out with the addition of Taehyung isn’t that much different. Taehyung just seems to be able to go on and on about anime or video games with Jungkook, leaving Jimin to peacefully shower Soonshim with all his attention. Honestly, it warms his little heart, a sort of pride blooming, to see two of his friends finding great company in each other.

 

(Jimin does, however, frown when he bumps into them at the convenience store just as he was leaving one day. Jungkook’s arms are slung casually around Taehyung’s shoulders, supporting himself from falling over with how hard he’s laughing. Soonshim is nowhere to be seen.

Something bubbles in his chest cavity, dull and unsuspecting. He doesn’t know why he turns on his heel and leaves before he’s discovered.)

 

-

 

In summer, Taehyung’s hair is a creamy lavender, like the ice cream cone rapidly melting in his hand, trailing long lines down his elbow. Jimin has to stop him from touching Soonshim’s fur with his sticky sweet fingers, watching with distaste as Taehyung licks the sugary goodness off by curling his tongue around every digit, equipped with a very stupid grin.

“That’s so fucking gross,” Jimin spits, hugging Soonshim close to his chest. Taehyung just smiles wider.

Their entire little group decide to hit the beach one mid-July day. Once the shimmering blue waters come into sight, those opting to swim excitedly strip down into trunks, Jimin included.

“Wow.”

He whips his head to the side when he hears low whistling, a little taken aback by how blatantly Taehyung is gawking at him. Jimin follows his eyes as they move slightly, intensely tracing the lines of his torso. Jimin is very proud of his body, he’s worked overtime and then some to achieve this, skin pulled taut against defined muscle, and normally he has no problem pulling off his shirt in public.

But right now, he feels the urge to cover up, incredibly self-conscious.

“Remember what I said on the first day we met?” Taehyung starts, still transfixed below Jimin’s face level, “I was right,” he meets Jimin’s eyes then, gaze unwavering, “you’re really hot.”

It comes as unexpectedly as the first time he had said it, throwing Jimin off kilter for a few brief moments as he stares back blankly at Taehyung. He tries to fight the flush of heat rising through his whole body, forcibly laughing and slapping Taehyung’s shoulder, just for the sake of having something to do with his hands.

“You’re really weird sometimes, Tae,” is all he manages to say before he has to turn away, racing Jungkook across the beach.

Unsurprisingly, the cool seawater doesn’t help dampen the memory of Taehyung’s heated stare, still clear in Jimin’s mind. It doesn’t go away when he’s taking Soonshim on a walk along the sand later in the evening, while everyone else is crowding the barbeque, not even when he’s curled up in bed that night.

 

-

 

Nothing really changes after that. Jimin packs a duffel bag and gets on a train together with Jungkook, heading home to Busan for the first time since coming to the Seoul for highschool. He’s finally saved enough money for the trip, and very little aside from his family occupy the next few weeks.

On the last day before he has to leave home, Jimin scrolls down their group chat, lazily trudging through everyone updating about their holidays. He’s about to turn off his phone when a photo of Soonshim loads and he coos aloud despite himself. A few minutes later, Taehyung sends a short video of himself, crouching in what Jimin assumes is the front yard of his home.

He says he’s too lazy to type, so he figured a video would be faster. Jimin snorts, typical Taehyung logic. Taehyung talks about his home, with an overexcited Soonshim jumping around him, dead set on interrupting his monologue, and Jimin finds his lips twitch into an uncontrollable smile, just as Taehyung is knocked over from his crouching position, landing squarely on his butt.

“Hey!” Video!Taehyung yells, “behave!”

At this point, Jimin is rolling on his side, wracked with giggles, his Note 2 held loosely in his palm.

“You miss Jiminnie too, don’t you?” Jimin sits up then, grip around the device tightened. In the video, Taehyung has moved on to talking about other things, finally bidding goodbye before the image stills, the replay button appearing at the centre.

The chat carries on, moving onto Seokjin spamming them with photos of his own dog. Within minutes, it spirals into an impromptu dog show, and Jimin realises he’s the only person without a dog.

You miss Jiminnie too, don’t you?, echoes in his head again. Before he could change his mind, he types and hastily hits send.

‘yah i miss you too’ is swept away between photos of Jjanggu and a short video of Micky too quickly and Jimin finds himself sighing in relief. Maybe nobody caught it.

A few moments later he sees the banner at the top of his screen indicating a text from his private chat with ‘TaeTae’.

 

jiminnie misses me? lol

 

Jimin frowns, fingers flying over his keyboard.

 

i meant i miss soonshim stupid

 

And it’s true, that’s what he meant. Mostly. Taehyung just sends a bunch of ugly winking emojis in reply and Jimin flings his phone to the other end of his bed, cursing under his breath.

 

-

 

Autumn is Jimin’s true favourite season. He senses the change in the seasons when there are more cool breezes than scorching sun, more cloudy grey afternoons than 5:30am sunrises.

Not so much his favourite is the workload. His second semester kicks off with a barrage of written assignments, his calendar marked magnificently with red circles screaming deadline!!! Jimin finds himself more often than not drowning at the bottom of his coffee mug, holed up in the lawschool library.

It’s when he’s dozing off in the middle of bullshitting a constitutional law essay that he gets startled by something cold pressed to the back of his neck.

“Fuck!” He hisses quietly, jolting upright. The culprit plops down next to him, snickering behind one palm not as discreetly as Jimin would’ve liked.

“Don’t fucking do that, Tae!” Jimin whisper-screams, before realising the cold object was a can of iced coffee. It’s definitely not as good as the fresh stuff, but he makes a grab for it anyways, hushed words of gratitude tumbling from his lips.

For the next hour or so, Taehyung just hangs out at his desk, doodling onto the margins of Jimin’s con-law notes and updating Jimin on Soonshim’s most recent trip to the vet. He has no reason to be here on a Saturday night, but Jimin has long since stopped questioning the workings of his mind anyways.

“Your birthday is soon, right?” Taehyung asks, eyes not leaving Crossy Road in his hands, right when Jimin is reaching the concluding paragraph. For some absurd reason, he’s exclaimed a week ago that he’d wanted to reach a high score of 601. Jimin thinks he’s plain crazy.

“It’s in October,” he makes a face, blanching like he’d just tasted something nasty, “near finals season.”

“I’ve been thinking about your birthday present, early, because I’m an awesome person like that,” Taehyung grins like the smug creature he is, “and I’ve got tickets to Big Bang’s Seoul gig next weeken-”

“Shut the front door,” Jimin cuts him off, eyes going wider than Taehyung has ever seen them, “how did you get tickets? They sold out weeks ago.”

“I know a friend,” is Taehyung’s ambiguous reply, “who knows someone.”

“Taehyung if you’re implying what I think you’re implying, then I fucking love you, my man my homie my brother from another mother.”

Taehyung’s grins, but there is reservation behind the usual light in his eyes. Jimin senses it, and as tactful as he is, which isn’t very tactful, calls him out on it.

“What is it, are these black market tickets? Are you in trouble, Tae?” Jimin squints until his eyes are mere slits of suspicion.

“No, stupid,” Taehyung huffs, locking his phone, “I only have two tickets, and I know how much Jungkook has a boner for G-dragon.”

Oh. That’s nice of him, Jimin thinks. So fucking nice. He shakes his head slowly.

“Whatever, Jungkook can see GD some other time, he’s young and loaded,” Jimin feels considerably less remorse than he should as he declares this. Whatever. It’s every VIP for themselves.

Taehyung straightens up then, turning a curious expression on Jimin. Something akin to disbelief and hope colour his tone, “really?”

“What?”

“So we’re going to a BB concert next weekend together?”

Together. Alone. Without Soonshim.

Suddenly Jimin realises that all of their interactions have included someone else at the time, either their mutual friends, or Jungkook, but revolving mostly around Taehyung’s beautiful canine companion.

Jimin gulps, reluctant to think about it any more than he needs to right now, “yeah, man! I still can’t believe you have tickets, oh my god.” He lightly punches Taehyung’s shoulder to dissipate a strange vibe hanging between them, “thanks.”

Taehyung’s face scrunches up into his box-like grin in response, declaring it a ‘date’, to which Jimin rolls his eyes at.

 

-

 

By the time the following Saturday comes around, Jimin is positively hyperventilating. Taehyung had managed to get them into the mosh pit, right near the front quarter of the audience. As the lights dim and the crowd starts screaming, Jimin is chanting loudly so that Taehyung can hear him just barely above the steady reverberation of noise.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, i love you i fucking love you, Tae-,” and then the opening beats of ‘Alive’ tear through Taehyung’s eardrums, drowning out Jimin’s voice.

(Later, Jimin will tell Jungkook that he felt like he has seen the light of God smile down upon him, when in actual fact it was just Taeyang.)

Halfway through ‘Ringa Linga’, Jimin turns to his right to where he last saw Taehyung only to find him nowhere in sight. Instead, he hears the familiar baritone of his voice from behind him, right next to his ear, singing along. He’s instantly aware then, how close Taehyung is, pressed up against his back. It’s not uncommon in a riotous mosh pit, but the heat radiating from Taehyung’s body, through the layers of their t-shirts, is scathing.

He misses it when Taeyang tears off his flimsy tank, and promptly loses his footing when the crowd starts pushing frantically. He’s mid-curse when Taehyung’s right arm wraps securely around his middle, saving him from a potentially life-threatening fall.

“Ok?” Taehyung mouths, flashing a concerned smile, retreating his arm to lay a hand loosely on Jimin’s waist instead.

All Jimin could do was nod dumbly, gulping when Taehyung’s hand stays there on his hip the remainder of the song, way too warm for comfort.

 

“Hold on, hold on,” Jungkook stops him mid-sentence fawning over Taeyang’s Superior Splendour, “you’re so whipped.” His jaw is hanging slightly, eyes shining bright with mischief.

“Like you’re not whipped by GD!” Jimin retaliates.

“No, no, hyung, you just spent five minutes telling me about how Taehyung hyung broke your fall,” Jungkook gets out of his seat and oh no, he starts dancing right in the middle of the library, what Jimin recognises as his Victory Dance, “Five minutes. I totally called this. You’re screwed.”

“Jeon Jungkook,” Jimin hisses, slapping his palm futilely against Jungkook’s thigh, “sit the fuck down, you’re embarrassing!”

Long after Jungkook has settled down, Jimin still can’t shake the image of Taehyung’s smile appearing and disappearing under flashing strobe lights, how his voice sounded next to his ear chanting along to ‘Fantastic Baby’, how intensified the heat was trapped between his front and Jimin’s back.

And then he realises Jungkook is probably right. He’s certified fucked over.

 

-

 

Over the past months, Jimin has become unphased to scratching coming from his front door. Taehyung has accidentally left Soonshim outside more times than he can count. He’s used to hanging out with her until Taehyung would knock on his door hours later, shrugging his shoulder and grinning sheepishly.

He’s passing through his living room, freshly showered, when he detours towards the front door and opens it. Jimin drops his eyes to Soonshim’s level automatically, the usual fondness blooming in his chest.

“Hi.”

Only then does he notice the shoes behind Soonshim, following the path up skinny-jean-cladded legs to meet Taehyung’s twinkling eyes. His hair has changed once again to a soft chocolate that blends in with the colour of dying leaves.

“Hi,” he straightens up, leaning casually against his door frame, a wry smile on his lips, “Soonshim escaped again?”

“Nope,” Taehyung pops the ‘p’, grinning gleefully, clearly pleased with himself. “I let her out, because she seems to like you a lot.”

Jimin’s normally droopy eyes widen a fraction, mouth dropping open with realisation that his neighbor had just used his dog to trick him into coming outside. And he fell for it.

“Are you gonna let us in? It’s cold.” Taehyung reveals the six pack he’s holding in one hand, “I brought an offering.”

“Tae-hey!” Soonshim dashes into his house from between Jimin’s legs, heading straight towards the cushion that Jimin has designated to be her spot every time she stays over.

Taehyung naturally strides in after her, kicking off his shoes and flopping onto Jimin’s couch like he owned the place. Jimin stares after him, before shutting his door with a slow shake of his head. It is really cold outside.

They spend a few good hours marathoning Haikyuu!! on Taehyung’s insistence. Between the two of them, the beer as well as a few bottles of soju from Jimin’s stash steadily disappear. By the time Jimin is properly tipsy, he’s watching Taehyung with great amusement - the other is considerably more shitfaced than Jimin is.

It’s funny, Jimin thinks, for his Saturday night to end up like this, getting drunk in his apartment with his neighbor, whom he recently realises has been sending him strange, confused signals for a long, long time.

 

What he could have never have anticipated is for Taehyung to tug his shoulder around to face him, and press his lips sloppily onto the corner of Jimin's, before colliding their foreheads together, giggling uncontrollably. Just as suddenly, Taehyung backs up to his spot on the floor and comments casually about how cool Oikawa is.

It doesn’t go as well for Jimin. He’s struck dumb in place, his muddled mind trudging sluggishly to catch up with the development of events. The skin where Taehyung touched is tingling still, Taehyung’s light laughter echoing in his head. For a few long moments, all he could hear was his pulse racing, feeling his whole body heat up as his eyes roam Taehyung’s profile.

He takes in the way Taehyung’s newly coloured fringe falls into his glazed over eyes, the straight slope of his nose and spit-slicked lips, the curve of his Adam’s apple down to his sharp collar bones, bared by the low neckline of his sweater. Jimin gulps. Never before has he felt desire curling low in his gut so quickly. His throat clamps up when Taehyung catches him staring just as he flicks his eyes back up. There, in Taehyung’s pupils, the same want is mirrored.

As how unexpected everything with Taehyung is, Jimin finds himself just as suddenly kissing Taehyung, the other crashing into him with enough force to knock him backwards onto his carpet. Jimin would be lying if he said he didn’t kiss back, tongue curling hotly over Taehyung’s, or that his body wasn’t reacting to Taehyung’s every touch, keening and urgent.

They don’t make it to Jimin’s bedroom. Jimin’s worn leather couch seemed good enough right at that moment. Taehyung makes quick work of their clothes, tugging Jimin’s shirt up high, his lips following and worshipping every strip of skin revealed. He finally meets Jimin's eyes after raising his head from his position sucking a bruise onto Jimin's neck.

Jimin stares back, his pupils blown, the normal soft brown only a thin ring around dark pools of yearning. He doesn't ponder for long, can’t anyways with his intoxicated mind. All he’s sure of is the pure black want, wrapping his arms around Taehyung's neck when the other dives back in, claiming his lips like second nature.

Taehyung fucks him like that, facing each other, his large hands burning on Jimin's thighs, pushed up and bent at his knees. It's incredibly, unnervingly intimate to Jimin, to be held that way, and it's all Jimin could do to cling onto him tightly. It’s been a while for him, but it’s the first time he’s felt such electric in someone’s touch, rendering him incapable of any rational thought outside of how Taehyung feels against him, inside of him, steady and unreserved.

When Jimin comes, messily between their stomachs, phasing in and out of his high, he vaguely hears Taehyung chanting his name, over and over against the column of his neck before finishing.

 

Sounds of someone trying to move around quietly shakes Jimin from the grasps of sleep. He cracks his eyes open and promptly panics a little. He's still lying on his couch, sore, and there's a blanket pulled up to his shoulders.

Jimin doesn't know why he makes no indication that he's even awake, an irrational sort of fear bubbling up inside him. He settles for watching Taehyung silently, who's pulling on his coat and shoes, humming a tune softly under his breath. Soonshim trots over to his feet and he bends to blow raspberries on her nose, his smile uninhibited, the kind Jimin feels is reserved behind closed doors. He looks away, feeling strangely intrusive. Then he hears his front door swing open, footsteps and hushed coaxing, and then the door clicking shut again. He stays in place until he hears the same sounds repeated, muffled this time as Taehyung enters his own apartment.

A glance around the room tells him that Taehyung had cleaned up the beer cans and soju bottles. Sitting up, he notices that Taehyung had even wiped him down from the mess last night. A ping from his phone indicates a text from Taehyung and he swipes to unlock it with shaking fingers.

 

had fun last night! take it easy today
we should hang out again soon :)

 

He groans at the dull pounding in his temple, before dropping his head into his hands.

What the fuck happened. He had been convinced that Taehyung is just a super touchy-feely, clingy, flirty, generally affectionate friend all this time. Jimin had seen it for himself, the way Taehyung treats everyone around him. Never could he have dreamed that Taehyung was the type of person to fuck and forget, leaving him feeling ridiculous, frustratingly confused.

But mostly angry, furious that Taehyung had done that to him, and livid that he had let himself do the exact same thing.

 

-

 

Unsurprisingly, Jimin starts to avoid Taehyung. Which he quickly realises is a massive task, considering how much time he’s used to spending with Soonshim over the months they’ve known each other. Still, Jimin holds down the yearning in his gut and steels his resolve, even when the image of Soonshim’s sad puppy dog eyes keep haunting the back of his mind.

He was fine before Soonshim, before Taehyung, he’ll be fine now.

It’s a wake up call to Jimin, when a few days later, Taehyung shows up at his door, nonchalantly begging Jimin to ‘go get ice cream with Soonshim?’. He sees through it with such clarity, how Taehyung had basically used Soonshim as an excuse to get to him since day one. He tells him no, his tone icy, congratulating himself when he doesn’t even spare Soonshim a glance.

For once, Jimin is thankful for finals season. His days become a routine spent away from his apartment. Longer hours in study groups with Namjoon in the campus library, volunteering as a student mentor in his faculty, hitting the gym, throwing himself into dance with Hoseok at the studio, and repeat.

Life is so busy, that Jimin neglects his favourite dongsaeng completely, until said boy practically rams down his front door on the Saturday of his birthday week and drags him out to celebrate at their favourite barbeque house.

“So, Jungkookie,” Jimin starts, guilt tinting his tone, after the waitress leaves with their order, “what’s up?”

He’s not going to say it, but avoiding Taehyung somehow involved avoiding Jungkook too, since the younger has been spending more time with him as of late.

Jungkook sneers at him, his pretty little face scrunched up unpleasantly, “alright hyung, something is wrong, what is it, spill.”

“Nothing is wrong,” Jimin sputters, refusing to meet the younger’s eyes because he knows he’ll cave once he stares into those huge orbs of- “alright, alright.”

The little shit had the audacity to smirk at him, leaning forward onto his elbows, waiting for Jimin to continue.

“I,” he pauses, “miss Soonshim. A lot.”

Jungkook scoffs, his head rolling backwards following the intensity of disbelief in his voice. “Right,” he narrows his bambi eyes at Jimin, “you miss Soonshim.”

Jimin sinks into his seat. He does, though, miss Soonshim. But he looks up and Jungkook is still expecting an answer from him, so with a sigh, he tells him everything. Jimin is an open book. He’s never been very good at hiding anything, and even less so from Jungkook.

By the time the meat is done cooking, Jungkook is positively annoyed with Taehyung, jabbing at a piece of pork belly with his chopstick. Jimin stares on quietly. Recounting the events also brought a lot of the confusion and anger he’d been ignoring so diligently, back to the surface, only now he could pinpoint other things in the mix, mainly hurt and disappointment.

All this talk is making his chest squeeze in an ugly, twisted way. He drops his face into his hands, moaning in frustration, “I just feel like he used Soonshim to get into my pants, and that really pisses me off, you know?”

“I’m going to rip off his balls,” Jungkook grinds out, “and feed it to his own dog.”

Jimin’s face morphs into one of abhorrent alarm, and he keens weakly, “Jungkookie please.”

“But, hyung,” Jungkook puts on his serious tone, “you know this means you do like him, right? Or else it wouldn’t upset you this much. It’d be just like another casual fuck.”

Jimin chews on his bottom lip, brows furrowing. He doesn’t want to admit it out loud because that would make it real, but Jungkook has known him long enough that he doesn’t have to.

Jungkook sighs deeply then, pinning Jimin with a Look. Jimin gulps. Uh oh. Jungkook means business.

“You’re not angry at him, hyung, not all angry anyways,” he emphasises ‘all’, “you’re afraid.”

When Jimin doesn’t say anything, he continues, “only you know how you feel. Running from it isn’t going to make it go away, stupid.”

Jimin can’t even find it in himself to be mad at the younger for disrespecting him.

“You know,” Jungkook says after a long silence, “I really admired you when you confessed to me in high school,” he shrugs sheepishly, a smile lifting at the corners of his lips at the memory, “even though you were a stuttering mess and it was embarrassing as fuck, you had guts.”

Jimin had been a graduating senior, and Jungkook was in his first year. Jimin had known him for nine months through club activities, and crushed on him for seven of those months. It had been bad enough that Jungkook was so young, but Jimin had also been 200% sure that Jungkook didn’t swing that way. He thinks the finality of graduation was what gave him the courage to come clean those years ago, and even when Jungkook had rejected him, as he expected, he still graduated high school.

It had hurt, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Jimin stares across the grill at his best friend and realises how much more mature Jungkook has become, from the snot-nosed kid he had longed for, to this, all grown up and coming to his university next spring. A sort of pride fills up his chest then, only to deflate when it hits him that he’s listening to a kid two years younger than him telling him what to do.

 

-

 

As effective as finals season is, it comes to pass. Despite their Talk, Jimin successfully continues an entire stretch avoiding Taehyung. Once Seokjin’s final paper is done, the gang gets together to celebrate at Namjoon and Seokjin’s shared dorm. Everyone is in high spirits, even Jimin feels lighter than he has in the past weeks. He avoids the alcohol, though, in favour of keeping Jungkook company as the only ‘responsible, sober hyung.’ Yoongi scoffs and flips him off at that, taking another swig of his beer.

“Hey, where’s Taehyungie?” Seokjin asks and the way Jimin freezes up is only noticeable to Jungkook, who has his side pressed up against him.

He tries for a nonchalant shrug, “beats me, he’s my neighbor, I don’t keep tabs on him.” He chuckles, but the sound is dry and unconvincing, judging from the frown on Seokjin’s pretty face.

“Tae hyung is still studying for his last paper tomorrow,” Jungkook takes pity on him and cuts in, “he told me when I texted him to come.”

Jimin casts him a grateful look, only to receive a stinkeye in return. Apparently, Jungkook disagrees with his coward ass, and Jimin honestly doesn’t blame him. At around 1am, Jimin declares that it’s passed Jungkook’s curfew, pulling the younger to his feet and bidding his goodbyes before the older kids start getting rowdy. He walks Jungkook back to his own place a few blocks away, despite Jungkook’s protests of being treated like a child.

Right as he’s turning to leave, Jungkook takes hold his elbow in one firm hand, grabbing his attention.

“Jimin, this has to stop,” is all he says before he retreats into his room, leaving Jimin to make his way back home, the early winter chill colder than he remembers.

 

Once the front door clicks shut behind him, Jimin stands in his dark, empty living room. It’s really, really quiet. After kicking off his shoes and shrugging out of his coat, he plops onto his couch, bringing palms up to rub at his eyes.

The silence is all consuming, one that he hasn’t been used to in the past months. Sitting up, he perks his ears. No sound of Soonshim at all. Before this, he could always hear Soonshim’s excited yipping near meal times, and Taehyung’s muffled voice would filter through, trying to shush her. No padding of paws across Taehyung’s floorboards, no whining at his door.

Jimin is worried despite himself. He hasn’t seen Soonshim for weeks now. What if she got caught by management? Taehyung is the type that would get careless like that.

He makes a decision and opens up his personal chat with Taehyung, cringing at the last text sent from Taehyung a few days ago asking him to hang out because i’m boreddddddddddd. Jimin chews on his bottom lip, feeling guilt eating at his insides and Jungkook’s words ring in his head telling him to man the fuck up.

 

hey tae sry ive been busy
how’s soonshim?

 

He locks his screen in record speed after the little tick appears next to his text, just so he can’t regret having used Soonshim as a conversation opener. This is stupid. He feels like some pubescent teenager, heart pounding abnormally loud in the silence of his apartment.

Almost immediately, his phone lights up a small halo in the darkness, vibrating consecutively with texts. He scrunches his eyes shut and swipes at his screen.

 

i hate finals
last paper tomorrow ;;;
im out of coffee can i go over to borrow some

 

Jimin is perplexed. Taehyung sounds like how he always does, as if Jimin hadn’t just ignored him for forever. He quickly types a reply in the affirmative and gets up to flip on some lights. When he hears the familiar sound of Taehyung’s door opening and closing, he starts to panic a little, recalling the events the last time Taehyung was over.

Fuck. It’s too late to back out now. Fuck.

There is a knock and he bravely pulls open his door to Taehyung’s smiling face. The other sidesteps him quickly as if Jimin would slam the door in his face if he waited any longer, and heads straight to his kitchenette, opening cabinets with practiced familiarity. Jimin watches him as he really does make himself coffee first before settling next to Jimin on the floor, cradling Jimin’s favourite mug like it was holding the liquid of eternal life.

Jimin clears his throat, hugging his knees to his chest. “You still haven’t told me, how’s Soonshim?”

“My parents came down to visit last week,” Taehyung explains, blowing gingerly at the steam wafting from the surface, “they took her home, said she’d be a distraction during finals.” He makes a face of distaste, which Jimin mirrors.

“It’s so quiet without her,” Jimin chuckles into his elbow, “I kinda miss her.”

“Yeah, I miss her too.”

They fall into silence, but not the good kind. Taehyung is staring intently at his mug when Jimin gives in and chances a glance at him. He hasn’t seen Taehyung in a while; he unsurprisingly looks like death, the product of too much caffeine and one too many all-nighters, but still so, so attractive in Jimin’s eyes.

Oh no. The yearning he feels is very real, and Jimin is just scared out of his fucking mind, listening to his own pulse thrumming under the skin of his wrist he has pressed to his lips.

Taehyung isn’t scared, though. He turns his head to the side and grins at Jimin, light rekindling in his eyes, “I missed you a lot too, Jiminnie.”

Jimin goes very still when Taehyung shuffles closer.

“I’m sorry if you felt like I was messing with you,” his lips twist into a shy smile, “Sorry for using Soonshim to get your attention too. You just seemed like you liked her a lot, and wouldn’t have spared me a second thought if I didn’t have her with me.”

It isn’t untrue. Soonshim had been the catalyst of their friendship, even if Jimin still disagrees on the notion of using her as all.

“You’re so stupid,” he huffs.

Taehyung puts down his mug at a safe distance, fingers moving to peel Jimin’s crossed arms away to reveal his face, already flushed a deep fuschia. “Sorry,” he’s still smiling when he presses hushed words of his confession onto Jimin’s lips, chuckles when he feels Jimin shake like a leaf in the wind.

“I’ve got you,” he croons, reconnecting their lips, coaxing Jimin into the kiss until the tremors leave his body, and he’s pressing back eagerly.

 

It isn’t long before they’re crashing together like waves melding into one, kisses turning urgent and hungry as they stumble into Jimin’s bedroom. It feels familiar, but also distinctively different. This time neither of them are drunk. Jimin is infinitely conscious of Taehyung’s touches, gentle and warm against his skin one moment, and searing the next, leaving a trail of fire from his sternum, down the tensing lines of his hard stomach, to just under the back of his muscular thighs.

He feels every miniscule sensation when he sinks down onto Taehyung, mouth falling open and cheeks colouring at how much he wants it. “Oh god,” comes out breathy and staccatoed.

Taehyung sits up, arms circling Jimin’s middle tightly, pulling them flush together as he thrusts upwards, littering words of praise until Jimin has to shut him up with his lips, flushing beyond embarrassment.

But he just smiles at Jimin from under his fringe, his eyes twinkling crescents, and Jimin can’t look away, staring straight into him as he feels the buildup inside him rise quicker than he can push it down, until he comes in streaks over his own hand, white heat exploding behind his eyes.

Taehyung lays him down on his back then, hips unrelenting, intertwining the fingers of one hand with Jimin’s, and looping his other arm around his waist, lifting the small of his back slightly off the bed. He breathes Jimin’s name, voice low and gravelly, against the back of Jimin’s palm when he finishes, riding out his high with a few long, lazy thrusts.

“Wow,” Jimin says into the silence when he finally catches his breath.

Taehyung doesn’t stop what he’s doing, dabbing at the mess the best he can before tossing the tissues towards the general direction of Jimin’s wastebin. He misses. Then he places a quick kiss to Jimin’s belly button before resting his chin there on the back of his palms, sprawled over Jimin’s legs.

There is a shit-eating grin on his face. “I know.”

 

Jimin wakes up shivering, puffs of cold air slipping in through gaps in his comforter. The temperatures dropped sharply overnight, and his heating wasn’t turned up enough the night before. He turns over to burrow deeper into Taehyung’s side, pulling the edges of his comforter up around them to try and trap as much body heat as possible.

He observes Taehyung’s sleeping face, so still in contrast with his usual animated personality. The warm chocolate of his last hairdye is fading, dark roots creeping up behind. He hasn’t changed his hair colour for months now. Jimin idly thinks that’s a record. He reaches out one finger to trace the shape of his eyes, cross the peculiar slope of his upper lip, and deliberately pokes the small beauty mark on the tip of his nose.

When Taehyung stirs, he simply stares straight back at Jimin for a few full minutes, and Jimin realises that he too, might, maybe just a little bit, have missed Taehyung more than he missed Soonshim.

“Hi,” his morning voice sounds hoarse and his tongue feels like sandpaper, but he presses on, “I think I like you a lot.”

Taehyung snorts, pushing himself onto his forearms and slinging one leg over Jimin’s hip. He trails the tip of his nose up Jimin’s neck, delighted by the goosebumps he leaves in his wake, before pressing a kiss to the corner of Jimin’s mouth, grinning, “it happens.”

 

(Taehyung nearly misses his paper later than afternoon. He jolts upright in Jimin’s bed and declares, “oh right, I have macro-econs finals in twenty minutes.”

“What?!” Jimin shrieks, violently kicking him out of bed.

“Chill out, Jiminnie,” Taehyung whines, picking up articles of his clothes littered around the room and pulling them on, “I’ve got this. Can I borrow a pen?”

Jimin can hardly believe it, but Taehyung strolls into his exam in yesterday’s clothes, barely salvageable bed hair, and way too much confidence for someone who spent the night before a paper rolling between the sheets. )

 

-

 

Exiting the automatic doors of the dance studio, Jimin hurriedly stuffs his hands into his coat pockets, grasping a hot pack he keeps there like a lifeline. He’s waiting for Jungkook to emerge with Hoseok when he gets a twitter notification. Sliding his frozen fingers across the screen, his jaw drops open in shock.

Taehyung has attached photos of one of his favourite plush toys, a cartoon cat he’d received as a gift years ago, to a tweet, tagging him in it. The poor cotton doll is wedged into a clothes hanger and strung up against the corner of his bedroom door.

why don’t you come home, is the caption.

“Fuck,” Jimin hisses, stricken, he should have never given Taehyung a key. Nobody knows about this doll. Except maybe Jungkook. Nobody.

Speaking of the devil’s child himself, Jungkook appears then, snickering over his shoulder. When Jimin looks back, he’s received another mention on twitter.

you should doodle nipples on it, hyung, jimin will implode :P Of course it’s Jungkook.

“I am going to hurt you,” Jimin growls, gripping his iphone until his knuckles turn white, “after I skin that son of a bitch Kim Tae-”

“Hey Jiminnie, you sure do look cute in this picture,” Hoseok cuts him off, brandishing a photo on his phone screen in his line of vision.

And Jimin pales, the blood from his cold-bitten cheeks seemingly rushing from his face. He vaguely registers Jungkook cackling behind him, maybe even falling on his ass onto what he hopes is really dirty, grey, slushy snow.

Taehyung has tweeted another photo of him, asleep without a shirt on. It’s an ugly, unflattering photo, but Taehyung captions it, my sleeping jiminnie <3

“God, you guys are so cute. But you look dead tired in this,” Hoseok chides good-naturedly. Kind, caring Hoseok hyung, “tough week? Take it easy, man.” He pats Jimin’s back comfortingly, but Jimin is anything but comforted.

“Haha, yeah,” his smile is rigid. He’s not about to tell them that the photo was most probably taken after he and Taehyung had gone a second round the night of Taehyung’s birthday a few nights ago.

 

“Kim Taehyung!” Jimin bellows as he bursts into his room, taking wide, purposeful strides towards his swivel chair, which swivels around to reveal a smiling Taehyung with a lapful of Soonshim, both staring up at him as if he owned two dogs instead of honorarily owning one.

Jimin’s anger simmers down into a discreet annoyance. Even after all this he still allows Taehyung to use Soonshim to get what he wants from him.

“Welcome home,” Taehyung chirps, “I wanted to show you what I found.” He turns back towards Jimin’s macbook, pulling up a tab amongst the shitpile on his desktop as Jimin reluctantly settles in the spare chair they had brought in from the dining area.

“It’s a few blocks from here, but there’s a bus stand right outside. Rent is a little high, but between the two of us I think we can cut it pretty fine,” Taehyung glances at Jimin, and whispers lowly, “they allow pets.”

Taehyung’s eyes are shining expectantly, reflecting artificial light from the laptop, Jimin knows, but still, he’s completely breathtaking like this, sitting there in one of Jimin’s old concert t-shirts and basketball shorts. His hair is a dark, granite brown colour now that makes his skin seem almost ethereal in contrast.

And Jimin can’t help it when he leans over Soonshim, squished between their torsos, to cup Taehyung’s cheeks and mould their lips together. He quickly gains access and drags his tongue across Taehyung’s teeth, pressing insistently against Taehyung’s own tongue, until he’s drawing quiet mewls from the boy beneath him, breaking apart only when the angle gets too awkward.

Soonshim yelps for attention then, and Jimin’s eyes disappear with his smile as he drops a kiss right on her head. Turning his attention back to the real estate page, he casts a fond look at his boy before intertwining their fingers, picturing coming home to not only Soonshim’s comforting presence, but Taehyung too.

Bright, loud, stupid, sunshine Taehyung.

“Yeah ok, let’s do it.”