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hello (your highest hopes)

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The door of his hotel room clicks behind Jimin, the sound sealing the end of another day he goes through unscathed. 

 

At least to some extent.

 

It doesn't really feel like it when every gaze and every touch linger and seem to push him closer to a shattering point. For years, Jimin could hear the sound of his collectedness cracking, but he perfected himself in patching it up pretty quickly. Recently, though, the fractures ensue at a terrifying rate, leaving new cleavages in his good judgment before he can even fix the older ones.

 

He knows he's about to crumble.

 

Because Taehyung, the one who's always ready to pick his pieces and get him together, the one whose pieces are always picked by Jimin—is now responsible for the way he's coming apart.

 

It's unsettling and quite frustrating to notice that something's different, but be unable to grasp why. And not only because Jimin is tremendously good at observing people and reading them, at latching onto their needs so he can fulfill them if that's possible. The major problem now resides in such failure involving his best friend. 

 

They've always been on the same page in their friendship, a page written with lines of platonic skinship and selfless physical touch that was never bound to serve any purposes beyond care and affection—or so he thought. It doesn't seem like it's the case anymore, and he's afraid that the detachment is on him. He can't help but wonder now if those red sentences really are new, or if they've always been there between the lines and something just hindered him from seeing it. 

 

It doesn't matter if they're in a language he can't decipher yet. They're angrily scarlet, colored with this newfound tension, and that he can pretty much comprehend. 

 

At first, Jimin was reaching for Taehyung seeking comfort as he does whenever he gets self-conscious and too caught up in his own head. And as always, Taehyung hitched on his hip and put him at ease, helping him open like a night-blooming cereus does under the influence of the moon. 

 

Then again—everything was so ordinary that he can't fathom how he got here. He's most definitely sure he'll go insane if he spends another second wondering where along the way his fingers started itching to press firmer into Taehyung's skin, when his stomach decided to swoop towards the ground whenever his best friend stepped further into his personal space, or when his eyes made a habit of flickering to Taehyung's lips for a second long enough for Jimin to scold his heart for doing a shy leap.

 

And said scold is very much needed as he doesn't think they're on the same page anymore. 

 

When they were gathering and getting ready to leave CBS studios, Seokjin asked if anyone was up for drinks. Jimin's eyes found Taehyung's as if by second nature, used to their silent conversation that if you're down, I'm down too. But it only took him a moment to realize that maybe it wouldn't be the wisest idea while he didn't sort things out, so he did something weirdly unprecedented and tore his gaze away—at least while he waited to see how things would turn out.

 

It looked like a smart decision as things fell in place despite the need for him to even say anything. Yoongi agreed, but with the condition that the group would have to split in two, arguing that after everything they shot that day he'd get migraines if he had to deal with three parallel conversations at once. Namjoon endorsed it saying they'd draw less attention to them if they weren't seven, and so they started arranging themselves.

 

When two groups of three people stood before Jimin and six pairs of prompting eyes stared at him waiting for a move, he found out it was actually quite stupid. 

 

Because all the attention was on him now and, as he chose the group with Seokjin, Hoseok, and Yoongi, one of the pair of eyes shifted to an aching confusion.

 

After spending a whole week following each other around to all possible places (even those where Jimin didn't even want to go that much, but went nevertheless because the smile that hid Taehyung's eyes behind his lids was always worth it), he knew how weird it'd look from outside. But Jimin was inside—of his deranged head that was unaccountably afraid of being inebriated and at arm's length from an equally drunk Taehyung. 

 

Deranged enough to suspect he'd end up shaking from wanting to close that distance. 

 

Jimin didn't allow himself to put much thought into how disheartened Taehyung looked while waving at him. For four doses of whiskey, he pushed aside any thoughts related to the arch in Taehyung's eyebrows and the subtle pout in his lips as they got into separate cars. And it was easy to succeed with Seokjin talking about their stay in the United States, his impressions on the people he met, and laughing when Yoongi said he wouldn't be surprised if he found out that Seokjin made a way of inviting Taylor Swift to their concert. 

 

That until a text from his best friend came along with the fifth glass. 

 

taetae 💚 [23:14:23]: 

chiminaaaaaaaa

i mss youuuuuuuuu

i wjsh you wrre hereeeee

😢😢😢😢

its not the sqme without my jiminie

 

Jimin's first reaction was to lock the screen and pretend there wasn't an amalgamation of alcohol and unresolved feelings wreaking havoc inside his chest. He could hear Seokjin and Yoongi quarreling about booze and Hoseok's distinct laugh, but it faded in the background as his mind insisted on dragging his attention back to the fact that Taehyung was drunk texting him. 

 

It wasn't even the first time it happened, probably wouldn't be the last but—it was the first time it happened under these circumstances. Back when things were normal and simple, Jimin would answer Taehyung with a fond grin dancing around his lips for the lightweight that he is, would say he loved him and wish him to take care and have fun. But nothing about this was normal and much less simple when Jimin's body reacted by sending rushes of heat through his veins, when his heart began to gallop at the sight of new incoming messages from his friend. 

 

taetae 💚 [23:17:53]:

hyung said he ll shpve the whole botrle of wine down my trhoat if i whine about you pne more time

told him im not afriad 

because my jiminie is strong and he gpt my back 😎😎

strong jiminie with his strkng arms

and strong thighs

have you ever noticef how your thighd glisten wheb you come out of the showr?

so softtttt 

makes me wanna feel it

 

Jimin's eyes grew thrice in size at that, in so much awe he nearly tousled his glass over the table. Fortunately, none of his friends paid much attention to that, thinking it'd be only due to the clumsiness that worsens whenever he goes a little overboard with his drinking. In the back of his mind, a voice bit back with the question "have you? ", begging him to type the words to Taehyung, but the potential answers scared him in any possible sense. 

 

But there's one that stood out, the same one that's been haunting him since he started musing over the chance of a shift in the air between them. 

 

Jimin and Taehyung have always mastered every possible love language there were for them to show their affection, but Jimin's not so sure if craving the feeling of his best friend's thigh when it's bare and wet could really be one among them.

 

And if it's not—

 

If it's not—

 

Ever since they met, they've always loved each other in every available way and went the extra mile to find new ones.

 

So if it's not—

 

Then Jimin will finally have found the only and first way that's unilateral.

 

His phone buzzed again.

 

taetae 💚 [23:20:32]:

Muscles 😳

 

Jimin would've laughed at the randomness of this one if he wasn't so agonizingly distressed. The overwhelming muddle of conflicting feelings stirred his urge to go home, but in no time his friends were yawning and making a mention of paying for their drinks so they could leave, returning to the comfort of his bedroom sooner than he imagined.

 

As he replays the past events in his mind, he realizes that he's not as unscathed as he'd thought. Jimin takes off his boots and carelessly drops them by the door, dragging his body towards the bathroom with such effort it seems he's walking on the scalding hot sand of the desert at noon. To be fair, the walk is longer now they're more famous, richer, and able to book fancier hotel rooms, which he finds unnecessary.

 

The only treat he wanted was that someone could give him a bath and a deep baritone voice to sing him to sleep. 

 

Jimin showers on his own for long enough so the excess of inebriation can go down the drain, leaving only the necessary for him to feel pleasantly light-headed and numb without feeling dizzy or sick, focusing on the lyrics of his playlist to sing on the shower to prevent any thought from popping up.

 

When he's done, he wraps a black robe around his body because he feels lavish and beautiful in it, not bothering to wear anything else. Lacks the patience to do so, always reprimanding his past self for disheveling his luggage and making it difficult for his present self to find anything in this tipsy state. 

 

Or in any state whatsoever.

 

He graciously plops his body on the bed, grimacing to count how many hours of sleep he'll be able to get—but then his features contort for another kind of pain. He feels something hard under his ribs, and it's easy to figure what it is as the room gets suddenly brighter. Jimin shifts until he takes the remote from under him, squinting to find the right keys now he's disposed of his lenses. 

 

He gives up on trying to turn it off when a voice catches his attention and nearly topples him over the bed.

 

It's the host of the late-night show where they made an appearance earlier. 

 

Normally, Jimin would switch channels in a haste. He hates watching those interviews. He always cringes at the terrible and superficial questions, cussing at the best answers he can come up with now that it's done. But, this time, he extraordinarily gropes the nightstand for his glasses and keeps watching, because the host says he's buffer lately and Jimin has a vague idea of what comes next.

 

When they were getting ready, Namjoon pulled him to a corner and asked Jimin to sit by his side. He didn't understand it at first, confused by why Namjoon would find it necessary considering that it was a usual setting for Jimin to sit at his side during American interviews. He's known for years that his presence is grounding and puts Namjoon at ease amidst the nervousness carried by his role as a leader. 

 

Jimin had no idea at all why it would come in handy at the time—

 

But maybe Namjoon had. 

 

It wouldn't surprise Jimin if he did.

 

During the recording, Jimin was too absorbed in getting rid of his shyness to pay any attention to his surroundings. Added to that, was the fact that his back was facing Taehyung, hence he couldn't possibly know about how his best friend tried to speak up about his thighs not once, but three times, raising his hands and nearly poking Namjoon to make sure he translated what he was trying to say. 

 

He was definitely on a mission.

 

It's cute, the way he smiles so satisfied. But also—

 

It's not.

 

Goosebumps rise on Jimin's skin to imagine how it could've turned out if Taehyung was sitting next to him. 

 

Jimin would rather keep not making an idea of any of this. 

 

Taehyung's stream of texts makes a lot more sense now with the brand new information that he most likely had Jimin's thighs on his mind since he mentioned them in the show.

 

Or even before that.

 

He doesn't know how exactly this would be of any help.

 

If anything, it only makes things worse to know the state of elation that his thighs put Taehyung in. His best friend was into workout sessions for a while before he got bored and tired of it, so it's not impossible that he just admires him in a position of something he wants to be, instead of putting an end to that sentence two words earlier.

 

It's maddeningly frustrating to know he's going through a misery he's putting himself into. It would be so, so simple to resolve this. Taehyung's texts are still unanswered, and all it would take for Jimin is to reply to him with the question of what that fucking means. 

 

He suspects what the answer is, but every possible outcome demands an astronomical amount of courage.

 

If it's some platonic appreciation, he will be facing disappointment. 

 

But if it's not

 

He'll be facing the end of life as he knows it. 

 

Maybe it's the alcohol or his horniness or these unrelenting feelings, but whatever it is, something sneaks into his mind and drops a reminder that falls to the ground as lightly and gracefully as a feather: it's Taehyung, and it's not that deep.

 

Because if that's the case, it will only serve for them to unravel more ways of loving each other, and if this new way where his heart burns with an aching desire is one-sided as he thought, then it will be and it will be just that.

 

It won't work to shut the ways that there already are.

 

It couldn't ever.

 

A coward part of Jimin holds him back for a few minutes, trying to back off by telling himself that Taehyung might still be drunk at the bar and won't see his answer. However, that's when fate decides to intervene and sends down his screen a notification from Namjoon in the worst possible timing, letting him know that he, Taehyung, and Jeongguk have already returned to the hotel for a while. 

 

His head goes a little dazed to confront the inevitable lack of excuses. He glances down to his own body, questioning himself if he should change into new clothes, but the possibility of Taehyung falling asleep in the meantime gets him restless.

 

What truly makes him decide against it, though, is the unbidden thought that if he's lucky, his robe will be easily taken off by his best friend anyway. 

 

If he'd felt a little dazed before, now the whole room spins furiously under his feet.

 

Jimin closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, filling his lungs with the necessary air to sustain his resolve before he can change his mind about going to the room next door.

 

He practically floats to Taehyung's room, poking the doorbell nervously. He shifts on his feet as the seconds stretch, hugging his torso as his eyes roam over the corridor. Even though they have a whole floor reserved for them for security purposes, he still is standing there wearing a piece of satin fabric that barely reaches his mid-thighs.

 

Jimin waits long enough to feel his chest being slowly wrapped by a thin layer of ice like a lake when winter comes, let down by the glaring chance that Taehyung must've fallen asleep or even left to go somewhere else.

 

He's swirling on his ankles, gathering the pieces of his shattered resolve, when he hears a click behind him and his whole body goes rigid.

 

The lighting of the hallway kisses Taehyung's skin, reddish and glistening under it. Jimin's heart swells at the sight, but he's left not much time to be endeared by how blushed Taehyung always gets when he drinks. His brain pathetically short-circuits as he drinks in Taehyung's naked torso going up and down with his ragged breath, eyes flicking down the path of coarse hair that disappears under his unzipped low-slung jeans that he visibly put in a hurry—

 

If Jimin thought that only the fine print was colored before, now the page is all stained and tinted and all he can see is red, red, and red.