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romance is (almost) dead

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“I could do that,” Jimin mutters as he passes a boy with a guitar strung across his back. He and Jungkook struggle through the mass of people that gathered in the hall to watch one of their classmates play his musical request for a girl to come to prom with him. Jungkook rolls his eyes and pushes Jimin forward through the throng towards the cafeteria.

“You don’t know how to play guitar,” Jungkook says, and Jimin gives him a stink-eye even though he’s right. So what if Jimin didn’t have an instrument? His voice isn’t half bad, and he could probably write a song in the several weeks he has to plan his grand prom proposal. Originality isn’t that important to him, and Jimin has been watching couples pair up day after day as they get closer and closer to the big day, waiting for inspiration to hit. He’s not sure what he’s going to do, but has to do something.

“Why are you even doing anything?” Jungkook asks as they finally arrive at their destination, the lunch line beautifully short as people are still crowded around the double doors, discussing the upcoming dance. Jimin shrugs and mumbles something about tradition, even as Jungkook argues that a ‘hey, let’s go to prom’ is far more time and cost effective than a ridiculous, gaudy show that really only serves to make kids who haven’t been asked or were asked in less ostentatious ways jealous.

“What if I made a cake?” Jimin interrupts Jungkook halfway through his rant about pointless social customs, bursting with enthusiasm, “What if I bake a cake and use different flavors so instead of writing it on the cake, it’s written in the cake.”

Jungkook sighs, heavily, and reminds Jimin that he doesn’t know how to bake, before informing him that, even if he could, that would be hard and how would you even be able to read the inside of the cake if you were eating it.

x

“I think it’s cute,” Hoseok decides as Jimin sits across from him, scrolling pinterest for ideas.

“It is cute,” Jimin agrees, pinning a couple interesting suggestions for later research.

“It’s dumb, but it’s cute,” Hoseok continues, unnecessarily, “He’s not going to care. You should just ask him normally.”

Weakly, Jimin tries to argue that it’s important, but he’s distracted by his phone. With a rush of excitement, he turns it so Hoseok can see the screen, showing off a picture of a baseball painted with the word ‘Prom?’ in nice script, “What if I did something like this?”

“Does he even like sports?” Hoseok gives Jimin a suspicious look, and Jimin nods frantically. Technically, he’s more into basketball than sports as a whole, but, Jimin could always tweak the idea to fit his intended date’s tastes.

Waving his electronic in Hoseok’s face triumphantly, Jimin grins, “This is perfect.”

“What are you going to do,” Hoseok snorts, “throw it to him? Throw it at him? Are his reflexes fast enough for that? What if you break something? Your aim isn’t the best. Remember when we played baseball in Taehyung’s backyard?”

“That was eight years ago,” Jimin whines, pulling his phone back to cradle it protectively against his chest.

“You haven’t changed much since then,” Hoseok replies, punching Jimin playfully in the shoulder as he stands. He ruffles Jimin’s hair, too, despite Jimin’s best efforts to duck away from the offending hand, “Good luck. Don’t do the baseball.”

“You break one window,” Jimin mutters even though Hoseok is walking away and can’t hear him. Even with his friend gone, Jimin stays in his seat and continues to scroll through the site, reading every single post.

Baseball or not, Jimin is determined to find the perfect way to ask someone to prom.

x

Jimin watches Jin’s eyes travel warily over the items as he slides them across the scanner, occasionally glancing up to look nervously at the purchaser.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” He asks, holding up a pack of various colors of glitter glue to confirm that Jimin definitely wants them before he drops them into the bag.

“It’s a great idea,” Jimin promises, making a vague hand gesture at the rest of his supplies that Jin understands to mean ‘keep going’.

“Maybe for someone,” Jin concedes, tapping in the number for the pile of thick, white paper Jimin had spilled onto the counter when he can’t force the barcode to scan, “but for him?”

Wishing everyone would just trust him, Jimin nods for a long time, Jin watching him like he doesn’t believe it. Jimin glances around at all the aisles he’d skipped, the store far bigger than it seemed from the outside. He’d been in a few times, mostly to visit Jin, but once he actually started shopping, there were more products than Jimin expected, and he didn’t have to time to look at every single one, “Do you sell flowers here?”

Jin looks like he wants to say something, staring at Jimin with an unreadable expression and slightly opened mouth. Eventually, he sighs softly, pointing over Jimin’s shoulder towards a corner of the store Jimin had ignored on his first walk through, “fake ones.”

Jimin thanks him and Jin shakes his head. As he walks away, he hears Jin mutter, “If you really think he’ll want that.”

Jimin does.

x

Taehyung lies on Jimin’s bed, head hanging over the edge while Jimin sits on his floor with crossed legs and a pile of poster board spread out in front of him.

His best friend is unusually quiet, but Jimin is so focused on stenciling the letters he needs, he doesn’t complain about the foreign silence. Taehyung’s eyes follow Jimin’s pencil as it slides along the edge of his ruler, tracing the lines Jimin makes to read the words he’s slowly drawing.

Jimin carefully outlines what he needs, making light marks so he can erase them and end with a beautiful end product, all errors absent. He gets so engrossed in what he’s doing, he starts to forget Taehyung is even there, watching him work.

Taehyung doesn’t speak until Jimin has started cutting out the letters he’s so precisely planned. The sound of his voice startles Jimin so badly he nearly cuts through the first line, “You really think he’d want something like this?” Taehyung asks, just as full of disbelief as the rest of their group of friends.

“Everyone wants to feel special sometimes,” Jimin murmurs, “even Yoongi.”

x

“Isn’t it weird?” Namjoon asks as he rolls pieces of tape into small cylinders, handing them to Jimin so he can press them into the back of his decorated letters in preparation for hanging them.

Jimin glances sideways at his older friend, features shifting to show his confusion, “I’m pretty sure it’s not weird to ask someone to prom.”

“I meant,” Namjoon pauses as his fingers get tangled up in the tape dispenser, tugging out a long, mangled piece before he rights himself, “you’re not even allowed to go without someone who’s graduating.”

“That’s why I’m asking someone who’s graduating,” quieter, Jimin tacks on a ‘dummy’ that earns him a rough hit on the arm and a short lecture about respecting elders.

Namjoon continues to argue, but he continues to help Jimin set up his carefully constructed prom proposal the entire time he does it, so Jimin doesn’t mind much.

“Does he even want to go?” Namjoon asks as they finish taping the last word to the fence that lines Jimin’s yard.

It occurs to Jimin for the first time that he didn’t think about the possibility that his potential date wouldn’t want to go, with or without him.

“Yes,” he decides, after a short period of silent deliberation.

“Did he say that?”

“No.”

Namjoon stops fixing the question mark he’s just taped up to stare at Jimin for a full minute. At the end, he shakes his head, exasperated, looking back towards the glitter covered punctuation and says, quietly, “I guess you know him better than me.”

x

After walking through his house several times, following the paper posted on his front door, into the house towards the stairs where the first word lies, through the halls that slowly lead past the second, then third, then fourth word into the back yard where the fence holds the last three, Jimin adjusts the ‘will’ three times, the ‘to’ five and the ‘with’ once before deciding everything is perfect and he’s ready to implement his plan.

He sends a text inviting the boy he’s questioning over, rushing to change into the slim white t-shirt and tight black pants that he hears show off his carefully toned muscles quite well before bounding into the yard to take his place partially in front of the ‘me’ that finishes off the big question, ‘Will you go to prom with me?’

Jimin only has to stand outside, holding the small bouquet of fake white roses he talked Jin into giving to him for free, for ten minutes before he hears a voice from the house float out the open patio door.

“Don’t you know how dangerous it is to leave a sign just telling someone to come in,” it shouts, frequency wavering as it moves through the hall. It starts to say something else, but cuts off abruptly, presumably because the first word has been discovered. Jimin hears nothing but the wind blowing gently around him for the three minutes it takes to wander the house finding the first four words, before a body appears in the doorway fifteen feet away from him.

Jimin grins widely at the figure, looking at his wide eyes and flushed cheeks as he takes in the ‘prom with me’ written behind Jimin and the flowers he holds.

“Hey, idiot,” Yoongi calls from the door, making Jimin smile bigger, “you know I’m your boyfriend, right?”

Jimin nods as Yoongi shuffles towards him, “Of course I know that.”

Holding out the flowers as Yoongi comes within arm’s reach; Jimin pouts until Yoongi stops staring at them with disdain and takes them.

“I kind of assumed,” Yoongi starts, glancing over Jimin’s shoulder at the word ‘prom’, decorated obnoxiously with glitter and hearts, “that we would be going together, consider we’ve been dating for two years.”

He gathers his bouquet in one hand, pulling an envelope out of his back pocket with the free one. In an odd, slightly impressive maneuver, he slides two small pieces of paper into view with just his thumb, showing enough that Jimin can see they’re two prom tickets. With a little more trouble than he had getting them out, Yoongi manages to shove them back into his pocket, waving vaguely towards Jimin’s work with his roses, “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble.”

Jimin steps into Yoongi’s personal space, leaning against his chest. Automatically, Yoongi brings his arms up to embrace Jimin’s shoulders, pulling him in closer. In return, Jimin holds Yoongi around the waist, tucking his forehead into the space where Yoongi’s shoulder curves into his neck.

“Of course I didn’t have to,” Jimin agrees easily, and Yoongi scoffs quietly during his short pause, “I just wanted to.”

Yoongi doesn’t respond for a long time, reading ‘prom with me?’ over and over again while he and Jimin remain in a tight hug and Jimin rubs small circles onto his lower back with his thumb.

Yoongi will joke endlessly about how he can’t believe Jimin thought he had to ask, and he’ll tell all their friends that there was no point in doing something so grand for someone that obviously wasn’t going to go with anyone else, and he’ll act like he doesn’t give a shit about prom or any of the excitement leading up to it, like he’s only doing any of it because he knows Jimin wants to, but, in that moment, standing in Jimin’s back yard with his stupid prom proposal and his fake flowers and his adorable boyfriend in his arms, Yoongi feels affection pumping through him like blood, a warmth in his chest that only Jimin could cause, and he murmurs, “Thanks.”