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someone's gonna paint you another sky

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The countdown on his arm tells him that in less than five days, he’s going to finally meet his soul mate.

--

Jimin is nineteen and he feels like his nerves might just kill him. He’s so fucking nervous, can hardly keep himself still on most days. What if he’s not what his soul mate’s expecting? What if his soul mate expected somebody else – someone completely the opposite of him?

But weren’t soul mates supposed to be as the name suggested? Soul mates – two souls tied together for an inexplicable reason for the rest of their lives.

He has heard of the countless tales, has seen it through his parents and some of his friends whose lives had flourished at the appearance of their soul mates. Jimin is only nineteen and nineteen is considered early for some but for Jimin, it feels like he’s been waiting his whole life.

Sometimes, on the days leading up to the day, he foregoes sleep to lie on his bed and stare at his ceiling. He pictures out just who he’s going to meet, wonders if he’ll immediately take a liking to them or if it’ll take time.

He wonders if it’s going to be like the movies – love at first sight, heart beating crazy fast, and the whole world just stopping for that one single moment when their eyes first meet.

Maybe it’ll work like that, maybe it won’t.

Some people had expressed that it felt like they were falling, and falling, and falling their whole lives until the day they met their soul mate.

For Jimin, it’s more of a matter of noise, not quite falling.

It’s constantly noisy wherever he goes and on the rare times that he does find himself alone and in a quiet place, he still hears it – that soft buzzing noise in his head. He’s never had a quiet moment to himself but he supposes it’s a small price to pay. Besides, one day the noise will end and the only thing he’ll be hearing is a beautiful melody playing on repeat, the best love song he’ll ever hear in his life.

Jimin is excited – and that’s an understatement. He’s looking forward to the day he'll finally meet his soul mate, whoever they are. He’s long since stopped obsessing over what they looked like and had settled on the thought that whoever they may be, they’re his soul mate, and are probably just as excited as he is that they’re finally meeting.

--

He was fifteen when the countdown appeared. It doesn’t always appear the same time for everybody else. He remembers it clearly, the faint “04:02:18:2:10” still clear in his mind.

Four years, two months, eighteen days, two hours, and ten seconds.

Immediately, he’d scampered off the bed to show it to his mother who had engulfed him in a tight hug, relief clear on her face.

--

Some people don’t get to meet their soul mates at all.

Their countdown will appear and before it even ticks down to the last second, it'll stop, and in a few weeks it'll be completely gone. It could only mean one thing.

Sometimes, the thought of his soul mate disappearing off the face of the Earth terrifies him.

On nights when he sleeps fitfully, he wakes up cold and immediately glances down at his arm to check if it's still ticking. 

--

Once, when Jimin was seven and had first met Taehyung, he’d run home and proclaimed that he’d met his soul mate.

His mom had laughed, ruffled his hair, and with pursed lips said, “Maybe.”

When his mom tucks him into bed and presses a kiss to his forehead, she tells him, “Sometimes our soul mates end up as our best friends. It doesn’t matter who they are,”

Taehyung has been his best friend ever since but not exactly his soul mate. But it's okay, they're practically brothers, anyway. 

--

It doesn’t matter who they are, Jimin decides. It won’t matter.

Two days away and he repeats it, over and over again. It won’t matter, it won’t matter.

It’s more to himself than anything.

He pushes down the rising anxiety of what ifs – what if he isn’t good enough, what if they won’t like him, what if he wakes up the day before they finally meet to find that the countdown’s stopped and is already showing signs of fading?

Nobody’s ever had a good day by worrying themselves to death, so Jimin pushes all thoughts of self-doubt to the back of his mind and glances down on his arm.

Two more days.

--

“I got us tickets!” Taehyung says excitedly when he walks through the door. “I’ll accept thank yous in IOU cards,”

He brandishes the tickets in Jimin’s face and Jimin, mouth popped open and eyes wide, grabs for them immediately. “I can’t believe this, you’re amazing,”

Taehyung smiles smugly at him, “Yeah, I know. A friend was selling them because his date bailed,”

The concert will be tomorrow, Jimin notes.

Tomorrow is the day he’ll finally meet his soul mate.

He looks up at Taehyung, brows furrowed in confusion. “Tomorrow’s the day,”

He’s met with a grin, “I know the concert’s tomorrow,”

“No, no, I mean tomorrow is the day. What if going to this concert means I won’t get to meet my soul mate?” Even saying the words has him flushing slightly in embarrassment.

Taehyung catches on to it and laughs, “Nah, I think going to the concert will be the right thing to do. You know what they say about these things, right place and right time, that kinda thing,”

Jimin contemplates it for a while before resigning himself to the fact that Taehyung’s right.

The countdown doesn’t change no matter what.

Call it destiny, fate, hell, call it magic, even, but it always works without fail.

“Okay, I’m in!”

--

When two people are meant to cross paths, they do. There’s no going another way about it.

--

There’s barely two hours left on his countdown and Jimin is feeling on edge. He ends up gripping Taehyung’s hand a little too tight, blunt finger nails leaving marks on the boy’s arm.

“Stop it,” Taehyung says, pulling his hand away from Jimin. “Just, relax, okay? Don’t worry yourself sick,”

It’s easy for him to say. Jimin can’t quite stop his worrying, not when his heart is racing and his mind is filled with that soft white noise that he knows will be gone later on tonight.

He forces himself to calm down, though, and swallows pass the lump in his throat. The line is awfully long and the place is packed but somewhere within this concert hall is his soul mate.

Somewhere within this concert hall is somebody who’s just as excited as he is to finally meet him.

--

The concert starts and there’s barely an hour left on his countdown. Jimin finds it incredibly hard to enjoy himself when he’s always looking over his shoulder.

With just twenty minutes left, Taehyung gives him a light smack on the back of his head, “Hey, I didn’t find these tickets on the ground. Pay attention,"

The band plays a familiar track that Jimin has heard at least once every night over the past year. For a moment, the white noise in his head is replaced with the song and he lets himself enjoy it, tries not to stress out too much.

All things happen as they should.

--

Fifteen minutes left and Taehyung has to place two heavy hands on his shoulders to try and stop him from jumping around too much.

--

Ten minutes and he looks at his best friend for support. Taehyung smiles, all too fond and gentle, face practically glowing underneath the many different lights. “If they won’t fall in love with you at first sight then they’re a dick,”

--

Five minutes left and Jimin has to contain himself to the side of the hall.

A part of him wants to run and go home. He can’t do this, maybe he’ll meet his soul mate tomorrow, or maybe never, but a bigger part of him tells him that if he chickens out, finds a way to cheat the system, then he’ll only be cheating himself.

So he sticks it out, breathes deeply, and focuses again on the band who comes positively alive on stage.

Jimin smiles to himself just as the countdown on his arm tells him that there’s less than three minutes left.

--

Less than a minute left and Jimin starts to feel like he’s suffocating. Everything is suddenly closing in on him and Taehyung is nowhere to be found. The noise inside of his head drowns out the singing of the band and he’s dizzy, the world is spinning, the lights are too bright, and Jimin is about to vomit.

He doesn’t feel like he’s standing up anymore but he hasn’t exactly passed out, not yet. He’s short of breath and can hardly make anything out from in front of him – everything is a blur of motion and colour.

And then it all stops, as sudden as when it had first started.

The countdown on his arm glows faintly against his skin, a sign that it’d done its job.

0:0:0:0:0.

Someone bumps into him, hard, and Jimin almost falls but a hand on his elbow catches him, pulls him back up and waits as he finally gets his footing back.

The first thing he sees is the most beautiful pair of eyes, ever.

The second thing he notices is brown hair, flushed cheeks, and pretty pink lips.

The third thing he notices is the faint mark on the boy’s arm, 0:0:0:0:0.

Their eyes meet and it’s an instant connection, Jimin just feels it.

Suddenly, the noise inside his head goes quiet and is replaced by the softest melody he’s ever heard. The colours are brighter and his heart has slowed down yet his hands are still shaking.

Looking into the boy’s eyes, Jimin feels familiarity. He feels warmth and kindness. They don’t know each other but Jimin feels like they already do, somehow, someway. 

The boy continues to stare at him, a look of mild surprise on his face.

They both glance down on their arms at the exact same moment and look back at each other again. In a few weeks it will fade completely.

Finally, Jimin manages a small, nervous smile. The boy returns it and, god, if it isn’t the prettiest smile Jimin’s ever seen.

It doesn’t quite go exactly as all the movies do but Jimin thinks this is just as good, if not better, because this is his soul mate and this is their story – nothing else can come close, Jimin thinks.

There isn’t an explosion, the world doesn’t stop, no white doves come flying over their heads but the boy’s smile does ease his nerves and settle his heart. The boy had stopped the noise in his head – Jimin doesn’t need fireworks, no, this is fine as it is.

They’ve stared at each other for quite some time, Jimin doesn’t even know how long, but a new song is being played, a slow, mellow love song that he can finally sort of understand.

Staring at him makes Jimin feel like he’s at a garden, flowers abundant and everywhere. Staring at him is like looking at the sky just as the sun slowly starts to set – when it’s pink, and purple, and orange, and beautiful until it all fades out into the night.

Just as he’s about to open his mouth to finally speak, the moment is shattered.

Another boy, slightly taller, swings his arm around the brunette’s shoulders and pulls him to his side, all wide grin and bright eyes.

“This is our song,” He hears the other boy say, face far too close to the brunette to even be considered friendly.

His soul mate looks at him one last time, his eyes an open window to his soul – and it’s a beautiful soul that Jimin can see, that he can understand. – before he turns to the other boy, arm slinking around his waist to lean against him.

They kiss right in front of Jimin and Jimin wonders if the rest of the crowd can hear his heart breaking.

--

He later learns after the concert that his soul mate’s name is Yoongi.

“I’m really sorry,” Yoongi tells him, all soft brown eyes and upturned lips.

Jimin had dreamt about this moment ever since the timer had first appeared on his arm. He’d thought up of words that he could say, played out conversations in his mind and scenarios, over and over again, but he had never seen this coming.

“Jimin?” His name rolls off easily on Yoongi’s tongue, the boy still looking quite worried for him, a knowing sadness in his eyes. “Are you okay?”

His hands are shaking and his heart feels light, like the contents had just spilled out and he was left with a hallow one.

No, he isn’t okay.

Behind Yoongi is the boy he’d introduced as his boyfriend, Hoseok. Jimin can’t even glance at him without feeling betrayed. Hoseok’s taken his soul mate away – how is that fair?

Again, Yoongi apologises, the words heavy and absolutely crushing to Jimin’s ears. He places a light hand on top of Jimin’s shoulder and it sends sparks down his arm. Briefly, he wonders if Yoongi had felt it.

“I’m so sorry, Park Jimin,” And Jimin can see that he really means it because they’re soul mates, however laughable that is right now, and Jimin understands him. It’s strange, peculiar, and totally unfair.

Just before Yoongi leaves, he offers another sad smile, “I’m glad we finally got to meet, though.”

He watches as Yoongi grabs for Hoseok’s hand, their fingers curling together.

--

Taehyung finds him after the confrontation, the saddest, most broken look on his face when he finally catches up to Jimin.

“Jimin,” He says, voice heavy and cracking on his name. 

Without saying anything else, Taehyung reaches out for him and pulls him into a hug, arms holding onto Jimin as he clung tightly onto his shirt trying his hardest not to end up in a shaking, sobbing mess.

He does, but Taehyung holds him through it.

--

Some things, Jimin learns, don’t exactly work out the way you want them to.

--

It’s been a week and every morning when he wakes up he hears the sweetest melody playing in his mind. The sun still rises and sets, the ocean and the shore in a constant cycle of hello and goodbye, and the mark on his arm is already starting to fade. 

Taehyung slides beside him, their shoulders brushing. “Are you okay?”

He looks at his best friend, the stupid little idiot smiling at him. Taehyung is warm and familiar beside him, his smile almost like a promise for tomorrow.

Jimin doesn’t say anything, just smiles and shakes his head.

He isn’t okay and that's alright, he knows that he will be eventually.