If anyone asked Jimin how he felt about Jeongguk on a normal day, he would be singing the younger’s praises. On a good day, he’d open up his phone to show baby pictures. Because he loves Jeongguk. Truly. Despite how much of a little shit he is to him, he’s one of his weaknesses. Jeongguk knows it and exploits it as much as he can. Which usually Jimin doesn’t care about. He’s used to being a sacrificing older brother; he doesn’t mind giving him the best pieces of meat when they go out for gogigui or letting him have the last of the milk for cereal. Little things like that, Jimin doesn’t mind at all.
But this? This is too much. “This” is Jeongguk’s new, older boyfriend staying over for the third time this week. Which again, Jimin doesn’t mind because he’s the coolest best friend, roommate, and hyung ever. But he has a genetics exam tomorrow at eight in the morning that he’s been studying for the past twelve hours and he needs at least six hours of sleep to function.
“Jeonggukie,” he says in a strained voice, beckoning his roommate over from where he’s sprawled on the bed with his beau. “Can I talk to you?”
Jeongguk groans, visibly expressing his displeasure at the idea of getting up. Jimin stands his ground though, keeping his eyes away from the boyfriend because, to be frank, Min Yoongi is sort of terrifying. He closes the door when Jeongguk comes over, giving him the best glare he can manage. Judging by Jeongguk’s unimpressed look, it’s not effective at all. “What, Jimin?”
Jimin frowns at his tone. “Hyung,” he corrects tersely before taking a deep breath. “Jeongguk, I don’t want to be annoying or whatever but you know I have an exam tomorrow - “
“Oh shit,” Jeongguk bites his lip in an apologetic manner. “I’m sorry, hyung, I totally forgot.”
He can feel the tension in his shoulders ebb away a little. Studying nonstop for the past week has him strung out like a tight coil. It’s relieving that Jeongguk is already understanding. “Yeah so if you could ask Yoongi-ssi to leave, that would be great.”
“You don’t have to be so formal you know,” Jeongguk pouts. “You can call him hyung too.” Jimin grimaces at the thought of calling Min Yoongi ‘hyung.’ He’s so intimidating not even his pretty pastel hair makes him approachable. No, thank you. Yoongi graduated a year ago and Jimin still has no idea how the two of them had met but he honestly doesn’t want to. The less he knows, the happier he is. He’s heard enough rumors about the older boy to warrant keeping his distance. Even if he is dating his beloved Jeonggukie. “And I’m really sorry but - “
Oh no, Jimin thinks, despair settling back into his bones as Jeongguk turns on the puppy eyes he’s so weak to. He drowns his voice out as he spins a tale of how Yoongi got into a fight with his roommates and there’s no way he could go back without getting his ass kicked so hyung if you could be so kind as to -
“I get it,” Jimin raises his hand to interrupt. He can feel a headache starting to form. This isn’t good. He should’ve been in bed ten minutes ago. “I’ll text someone, don’t worry about it.”
To his credit, Jeongguk is genuinely apologetic. “You can still sleep here, hyung! I’m not kicking you out!”
Jimin tries his best not to roll his eyes. Jeongguk’s... a very loud kisser. Amongst other things. He gets it, it’s hard to be quiet with a pair of hands down your pants but he’s not about to try to sleep in a room with shenanigans happening next to him. Especially if said shenanigans are someone defiling his honorary baby brother. He has to draw the line somewhere.
“It’s cool, it’s cool,” Jimin reassures, phone already out, walking back to the common room. “I’ll find someone.”
It’s not cool. Half of the usual suspects he escapes to whenever this happens aren’t picking up the phone. The others are sending him apologetic texts, either out for the night or also with their significant others. What Jimin’s learned from this is that he needs more single friends.
He sighs, glancing down at the group conversation he has open on his phone. It’s with his closest circle of friends though only Sungjae and Sanghyuk are replying at the moment. The rest, especially those in his genetics class, must already be asleep.
jimin: i can’t believe both of you are out gettin laid. it’s wednesday!!!
dumbhyuk: duty calls bruh.
lamejae: don’t be gross!!! sooyoung needed me for emotional support!!!
dumbhyuk: is that what they’re callin it nowadays
jimin: you guys suck
dumbhyuk: i’m not the one doing the sucking ;)
Not only does he need more single friends, he needs friends that aren’t assholes. At this rate, it looks like he’s going to be sleeping in the common room. Which sucks because the heating goes off at midnight and he’d definitely catch a cold.
dumbhyuk: i mean u can go bother my roommate if u want??? like ur welcome to crash in my bed dude
dumbhyuk: he might like, kill u tho
lamejae: oh!!! i know i’ll ask my friend taehyung he has a room to himself
jimin: SOMEONE HAS A ROOM TO HIMSELF???
lamejae: it’s a long story. he lives in rm 402 the next hall just go over i’ll text him
dumbhyuk: taehyung?? kim taehyung?? that weird space cadet????
jimin: idc who he is if he’s chill w/ it i’m going
lamejae: he’s chill dw he’s chill abt everything
That’s all Jimin needs. Quickly gathering his stuff, he shoves his phone into his pocket, and walks out of the room to brave the chilly October air. It’s been particularly cold this fall and he’s not looking forward to winter. Thanking his good fortune that this Taehyung lives in the hall close by, he walks through the doors, getting on the elevator until he eventually reaches the fourth floor.
He glances at his phone to see if Sungjae’s updated him with anything but aside from a couple of more texts from Sanghyuk about how weird Taehyung is, there’s nothing. Honestly, he’s prepared to wait another ten or so minutes to make sure Sungjae gives him the okay but upon seeing that it’s almost two, his body goes into panic mode.
Panic mode always makes Jimin more desperate. Rushing over to room 402, he immediately starts knocking loudly and rapidly. It’s extremely rude but panic mode Jimin doesn’t care about that. His six hours of sleep are gone but if it works out he might be able to manage four and half, maybe five.
He nearly cries in relief when the door opens only to take a step back at what greets him. It’s not like his friends provided any details about his appearance so he doesn't really have an image in mind. But Sanghyuk’s general disdain for the “Taeweirdo” as he dubbed him has sort of given him the impression that Taehyung was some kind of weird League of Legend-loving, Mountain Dew-drinking nerd.
Not a tall, sleepy boy in a Rilakkuma kigurumi.
Oh, Jimin thinks to himself, trying to focus on Taehyung’s face and not the outfit he’s wearing. That doesn’t help at all; he’s surprisingly good-looking, with pretty dark eyes, a soft looking mouth and an unbelievably attractive nose. Jimin didn’t even know noses could be attractive.
In conclusion, the whole package, bear onesie included, is really damn cute. What the hell?
“What’s up?” Taehyung asks sleepily and okay Jimin was not expecting such a deep voice from such a pretty face. He has half a mind to spam Sungjae with ‘YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOUR FRIEND WAS HOT ASSHOLE!!’ but then he remembers why he’s here.
“Um, hi,” he sputters stupidly. Well, that was wonderful. Such eloquence. So articulate.
Taehyung raises an eyebrow at him. “Hi.” At least he isn’t pissed - he sounds more amused than anything. Jimin's Panic Mode has been tinkered by the appearance of a hot stranger and he’s fumbling all over the place for proper words. Rationally, he knows it’s fine since Sungjae’s already contacted him that it’s “chill” but Jimin still feels he should say something. It’s the polite thing to do.
“Yeah, um. I’m Park Jimin and this is really weird but my asshole roommate has his boyfriend over and my asshole friends are out living the non-single life and I have an exam tomorrow and I really need to sleep so can I just crash here? Please?”
He’s out of breath by the time he finishes, not sure if he’s ever said so many words at once. Taehyung’s gaping at him, jaw a little slack. Oh god. He must sound like a lunatic. He’s just going to wallow in his shame and sleep in the hallway, there’s no other choice.
“Well, how am I supposed to say no to that?” Taehyung smiles at him then, lips stretching to the corners of his mouth to show all his teeth in an odd rectangular shape. It’s the most beautiful smile he’s ever been graced with. He swears on his entire life. Granted, this thought is probably affected by how gracious Taehyung is being right now, his literal savior in the dark, sad life of being sexiled, but still. It’s a good smile. Ten out of ten.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Jimin whimpers as he stumbles into Taehyung’s room. Just like Sungjae said, he has the room to himself - there’s even only one bed with a flat screen set up where the second one is usually placed. Well, he wasn’t too far from his mark of Taehyung being a nerd. It’s weird seeing the normally cramped dorm room look so spacious. “Wow, Sungjae wasn’t kidding.”
“Oh, you’re Sungjae’s friend,” Taehyung comments casually from behind him but Jimin is too busy setting his stuff on the floor to pay attention. “You can put the stuff on the desk, bro it’s no problem.”
“Ah thank you!” Jimin looks back at him sheepishly. “Sorry to ask but could I have a blanket…a pillow would be nice too…”
“Yeah, yeah hold on.” As Taehyung shuffles around in his closet, Jimin quietly vows to lecture Sanghyuk later. Aside from being in a kigurumi, Taehyung’s been nothing but super awesome and accommodating. He even presents Jimin with a little space heater to keep him warm. He could cry. Honest to god, he could cry.
“Sure you don’t want to take a shower or something?” Taehyung asks as Jimin wraps himself burrito-style in the blanket he’s given him. It’s a nice, fleecy one and when Jimin presses his head on the pillow, he finds that it’s fluffy instead of the lumpy dorm issued ones. A small tear actually makes its way down Jimin’s cheek. This is so lovely. Kim Taehyung is an angel.
“No, I just really, really need to sleep. Thank you so much though and I’m sorry again for this.”
“It’s totally chill, stop apologizing.” Sungjae was right - Taehyung really was chill about everything. He flips the light off and crawls into bed. “Got your alarm?”
“Alright, let’s rock and roll. Night, Jimbles.”
Any other time, Jimin would be wrinkling his nose at the nickname but honestly? Taehyung can call him anything he wants. “Good night.”
With that, he closes his eyes and drifts into a peaceful sleep instantly.
He wishes it was that easy. Taehyung’s pillow is nice and soft but it also smells faintly of strawberries which is pleasant but it’s distracting because - what does Taehyung use that’s strawberry scented? His lotion? His shampoo? What does he look like under that stupid bear kigurumi? Why can’t he stop thinking about this stupid shit? Five minutes of this goes by until Taehyung’s voice breaks his inner monologue.
“I can hear you thinking from all the way here.”
Imagine if he actually could. Jimin would get kicked out in a heartbeat. “I’m so - “
“Seriously, your breathing is so loud. You got test anxiety or something?”
No, I just really need to know if your hair smells like strawberries. Jimin wisely chooses to keep his mouth shut. Now’s not the time to be weird. He doesn’t know Taehyung like that. But then what Taehyung says next has him reeling.
“Wanna come sleep up here?”
Well, it looks like he doesn’t have to worry about making things weird - his temporary host has already done that successfully. He cranes his head up in the bed’s direction in shock. “W-What?!” It’s too dark to see anything but he can make out the faint outline of Taehyung’s bear ears. He’s propped his head on one hand and is staring down expectantly at Jimin. “Um I don’t think - “
“Come on, you’re clearly uncomfortable. I’ve got an electric blanket. It’s magical.”
An electric blanket? No thanks. With Jimin’s luck, he’d probably get electrocuted in his sleep. More importantly, he couldn’t just sleep in the same bed as someone he just met. He had some boundaries.
“No, thank you, Taehyung-ssi. I appreciate the offer though.”
Taehyung snorts from above. “You can drop the formal language. I’m pretty sure we’re both juniors. Also it’s like two-thirty and you’re still awake, so.”
Two-thirty!! Jimin let out a loud whine. He was doomed. He was so doomed. Eight am would descend upon him tomorrow and he’d be late to his exam, fall asleep during it, and fail. Just like that. He’s so caught up in his thoughts about ruining his academic career he doesn’t notice the shuffling until there’s a warm body next to him. “Hey, Jimbles.”
Jimin lets out a little scream. Taehyung’s eyes blink rapidly in the darkness. “Whoa, you are really on edge,” he notes calmly with a touch of concern. “You definitely need to come to bed. The floor is way too hard to fall asleep on.”
“I’ve slept on the floor before,” Jimin manages to say once his heart rate slows down. Taehyung really scared the shit out of him. He’s more awake than ever. Regret fills every pore of his body. He should’ve just slept in the common room. He’s going to fail tomorrow, he can feel it.
“The only time people sleep on the floor is when they have no choice or they’ve passed out on it. Stop being stubborn - come on,” Taehyung tugs him up despite his protests and somehow Jimin finds himself on the bed, pressed up against the body pillow along the wall, Taehyung sliding under the covers next to him.
I can’t believe I just got manhandled by a dude in a bear onesie, he thinks to himself, shocked.
“Comfy?” Taehyung tucks him in securely, sounding completely unaffected by their proximity. Jimin takes it all back - Hyuk was right, Taehyung is a total weirdo. But he has to admit, the electric blanket is magical... and the scent of strawberries is even stronger now. It’s oddly comforting.
“I guess,” he mutters but yawns despite himself. He curls up against the wall, trying to put as much distance between him and Taehyung as he can. Taehyung doesn’t seem to understand his intention because he inches even closer. It’s fine, it’s totally fine. He just has to not think about how close he is. Close enough that Jimin can feel his breath wash over the nape of his neck and his extra warmth from the kigurumi.
“...This is kinda weird,” he says quietly.
Taehyung hums in response. “Only weird if you make it weird.”
It’s the last thing he hears before he falls asleep to the gentle lull of Taehyung’s breathing.
Jimin does not wake up to the sound of his alarm. He wakes up to the smell of coffee and blueberry muffins, opening his eyes blearily. A soft, content sigh escapes him - he’s so warm and comfortable, he doesn’t want to get up ever. Just lie in bed for the rest of his life, no classes or exams to worry about.
His body immediately enters Panic Mode as he springs up, legs getting tangled in the blankets in his haste to get out of bed, rolling to the floor. “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit - “ he swears, fumbling to get up.
Taehyung’s at the doorway, an angel in sweatpants holding coffee and a blueberry muffin. Still not completely in his right mind, Jimin reaches out for him desperately with a loud groan. Taehyung laughs at him, walking in and setting the muffin on the desk, pulling Jimin up with his free hand. “You okay?”
“I’m - what - genetics!!” Jimin sputters back. Taehyung raises an eyebrow at him before handing him the coffee.
“Here - I wasn’t sure what you wanted but I figured you can’t go wrong with an americano.”
Jimin really means to say ‘thank you’ because this is so nice, so nice, he doesn’t deserve this at all but all that comes out is a strangled, “What time is it?” Did he miss his exam? Is he going to fail? Life is so terrible.
“It’s seven,” Taehyung responds easily.
Life is so beautiful... He’s not sure what kind of expression he’s making right now but Taehyung’s laughing at him again. “Your alarm was for six but it’s better for your REM cycle to get even hours of sleep, so I let you sleep in. Drink the coffee, Jimin.”
He drinks the coffee. It’s scalding and stronger than what he’s used to but it’s exactly what he needs. Jimin’s genuinely touched - if it’s seven, Taehyung got up around six thirty or so to go get him food. He doesn’t deserve such kindness. Everyone was wrong. He was right. Kim Taehyung is an angel.
Taehyung’s eyes are twinkling. “I’ve never heard that one before.” Jimin stares at him dumbly until he realizes he must’ve voiced his thoughts aloud. Oh god. He sips his coffee quickly to cover up his embarrassment only to choke and spit it back out. Too fast, too hot. He probably burned something. “Whoa, careful!”
Taehyung’s in his space now, hand rubbing on his back. That’s it. Jimin can never talk to him again. He wishes he was still in the kigurumi - it was easy to not take Taehyung seriously in it. But now he’s in normal clothes that flatter his tall, broad frame, a pair of black rimmed glasses perched on that attractive nose, brown hair mussed up adorably. Kim Taehyung wasn’t just an angel - he was a really hot one.
Jimin’s so screwed.
“You okay?” Taehyung’s brow is furrowed in concern. “Drink slowly, dude. Also I got you a muffin and a banana. You gotta eat before tests!” He pushes Jimin sit at the desk. “Hurry up, you don’t have loads of time to get to the science building.”
Right. His genetics exam. That’s still a thing that’s happening. Man, he really needs to get his shit together and stop getting distracted by tall pretty boys. Jimin stands back up, mouth set into a determined line, before repeatedly slapping his cheeks with both hands, much to Taehyung’s alarm.
“I’m alright.” His cheeks are stinging in pain but his mind feels sharper. The material he’s been studying the past week starts to trickle back into his head. Sleepy, confused, and slightly aroused Jimin is gone; replaced by focused, ready to cry as long as he passes Jimin.“I’ll eat on the way there - I gotta get a scantron from the campus store.”
“Oh don’t worry bro, I got you!” Taehyung rummages around his cabinets until he retrieves a scantron with a triumphant yell. He presents it to Jimin with a bow.
Jimin swears he starts tearing up. “Bro…”
Taehyung claps him on the back. “Go forth and murder that genetics dragon.”
Jimin salutes him, gathers his stuff, and dashes out his door. “I owe you!” he shouts behind him. Taehyung yells something back but he’s already too far to hear it.
Two hours later, Jimin finds himself weeping onto a sympathetic Nayeon’s shoulder. “There, there Jimin-ah, it’s over now,” she coos at him in a comforting manner. Jeonghan looks at them with concern.
“Did he not do well?” he asks in a hushed voice. Nayeon shakes her head.
“He’s just very emotional it’s over. Apparently he had a rough night. I’m still not sure what he’s upset about?”
“Strawberries,” Jimin whimpers at them both. “I can’t stop smelling strawberries.”
Jeonghan and Nayeon exchange a look. “Alright, Jimin…”
The three of them exit the hall, their fellow students all huddled together, complaining about the last question on the exam. Jimin had been focused during the majority of the test but when he reached the last question and realized he’d never answer it properly, last night’s and this morning’s events caught up with him.
Now he’s dying.
He can’t believe how he acted this morning. He can’t believe he called Taehyung an angel. He can’t believe he didn’t thank him. His mother would be ashamed. She didn’t raise him to be this way.
Ignoring the conversation about the exam, he lets Nayeon guide him gently away from the crowd. “Do you want some water?” she asks with concern. No, he just wants to delete himself. Is that possible?
He’s genuinely about to ask her this when somebody calls his name. He raises his head blearily to see an anxious-looking Sungjae walking towards him, followed by a snickering Sanghyuk.
“Hey assholes,” he greets tiredly. Okay well, Sungjae isn’t an asshole, he’s the one who found him a place to sleep. “Oh, Sungjae than - “
“I’m so sorry!” Sungjae wails, clasping his hands together, bowing repeatedly to Jimin in apology. He has no idea why he’s apologizing though. “Sooyoung distracted me and I completely forgot I’m sorry!”
“Wait what - “
He’s interrupted again by Sanghyuk. “So where did you end up sleeping? Or did you not sleep at all?” He seems excited to know Jimin’s answer. But he already knows? Jimin’s so confused.
“Uh...I slept at Taehyung’s?” He decides not to enclose that they slept in the same bed. He’s not that stupid to give information like that to his friends. He doesn’t trust any of them, the little shits.
Sungjae pales. “You did?!”
Sanghyuk chokes. “You did?!”
Nayeon blinks at them. “Wait, what’s happening?”
Sungjae just makes a pained noise in response. He grabs Jimin’s shoulders and shakes him. “You seriously went to his room and slept there?” Sanghyuk is laughing in the background, hands around his stomach, face turning red.
Jimin’s almost afraid to answer. “...yes?”
“Jimin,” Sungjae looks a strange combination of apologetic and constipated. “I never got a chance to call Taehyung and tell him what was going on…”
Sanghyuk lets out a loud hoot. “Oh my god, this is too good!”
Jimin feels faint at Sungjae’s words. “So Taehyung didn’t know I was coming over?”
Sungjae shakes his head morosely.
Oh my god. The embarrassment he felt earlier doesn’t even compare to the utter mortification he feels right now. Essentially, he knocked on Taehyung’s door as a stranger and asked him to sleep in his room. As a stranger! Taehyung had every right to kick him out, but out of the goodness of his heart - it’s more likely he just pitied Jimin - he didn’t.
But oh boy, does Jimin wish he did.
“It was chill though, right?” Sungjae asks weakly.
Jimin collapses backwards into Nayeon’s arms. They both topple to the ground. Sanghyuk follows suit, shoulders shaking, full on wheezing now. Sungjae looks distraught.
“I want to die,” Jimin whispers despondently. Nayeon squirms from underneath, hitting at his shoulders with her small fists.
“I’ll kill you if you don’t get off me!” she snaps back.
“Jimin? Why are you on the floor?” a familiar deep voice comes from above him. Oh no. Is this real life? Please no. Someone save him. Sungjae lets out a loud squeak. “Oh morning, Sungjae.”
“Taehyung,” Nayeon shrieks, confirming that this is indeed not a hallucination and he’s actually here in the flesh. Jimin feels his brain shut down. “Save me!”
The same hands that tugged him so effortlessly into his bed last night wrap around his shoulders and pull him up. Jimin slumps against Taehyung’s form in disbelief. He has to be hallucinating. This isn’t happening. “Jimin stop, I have to help Nayeonie up.”
“I’m fine,” Nayeon’s in Jimin’s space now, pointing at his nose threateningly. “What the hell was that, Park Jimin?!”
Jimin doesn’t respond. He doesn’t have to respond. This isn’t real life. Clearly, he never woke up this morning to take his genetics exam and this is some twisted dream. He’ll wake up soon in Taehyung’s arms. He’s failed his course but that’s alright. He’ll live.
“Nayeon - “ Sungjae’s ushering her away, whispering in her ear. He watches the anger on her face drop into pity. She mouths an ‘I’m sorry’ at him. He ignores her. He also ignores Sanghyuk, who’s laughed himself to exhaustion, shoulders shaking slightly with silent forceful giggles.
“Are you okay?” Taehyung’s hands are warm where they’re splayed on his back, still supporting him. One comes up to tilt Jimin’s chin in his direction so that he’s looking up at him. “Jimin?”
Oh no. If Jimin thought Taehyung looked good in his sweats, he looks even better now that he’s dressed properly. Why couldn’t he wear that stupid kigurumi everywhere? His hair is even styled, looking very much like the attractive hipster asshole of his dreams. Except Taehyung’s anything but an asshole.
Jimin is so screwed.
“This isn’t real,” he bursts out. Taehyung blinks in confusion. Nayeon and Sungjae both groan in the background.
“...I think you need to rest some more, Jimbles. Do you want to go back to my place?”
Jimin just moans in response.
“Jimbles!” Sanghyuk gasps out. There are tears on his face. “Fucking, Jimbles!”
Dream or not, Jimin is definitely going to kick Sanghyuk’s ass later.
The rest of the day passes by in a blur - Jimin going through the motions of his Thursday schedule mechanically, ignoring the worried looks his friends and classmates gave him. His coworkers even turn him away from his evening shift at the gym, insisting he go home and rest. So he finds himself in bed several hours earlier than usual, staring up at the ceiling with dead eyes, trying to erase the memory of the past sixteen hours.
He thinks he’s doing a pretty solid job when Jeongguk comes in, carrying two bags full of snacks. “Hey hyung,” he greets with a smile. “I brought snacks.” He must still feel guilty about last night if he’s calling Jimin hyung. Good, he should, that little brat. This is all his fault.
...is what Jimin would think but nothing’s his fault because it’s all repressed. Nothing happened. He can live peacefully now.
That is until Jeongguk pulls out a jumbo box of strawberry pocky out of the bag. Jimin’s blood freezes at the sight of the pink packaging.
“Give me that,” he demands aggressively, sitting up and extending his hand. Jeongguk eyes him weirdly.
“Okay…” he replies cautiously, placing the box in Jimin’s hand.
Jimin smiles sweetly at him.
Then proceeds to stomp over to the window, pull it open, and chuck the box outside. He watches it land on the pavement with grim satisfaction.
“Hyung, what the hell?!” Jeongguk shouts from behind him. “That was a jumbo pack! It wasn’t even on sale.”
Jimin stares at the sad looking box emotionlessly. He hopes somebody walks by and steps on it, crushing every individual stick in the box. “I hate strawberry.”
“What?! No, you don’t! Why are you being so weird - “
“Let go of me Jeonggukie - “
He gets manhandled for the second time in twenty four hours and pretty soon he’s sitting cross-legged on his bed with a pout while Jeongguk sits across from him in his chair, frowning at him.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he demands, going into interrogation mode.
“Nothing,” Jimin spits back. There’s nothing wrong. Nothing happened. He’s fine, he’s peachy, it’s all good in the Jimin-hood.
Jeongguk looks unconvinced. “...Are you really that pissed about last night?” His voice drops a little. There’s still a frown on his face but his eyes are soft with worry. Jimin’s irritation immediately melts away. He’s so easy.
“No,” he says quickly to reassure him. “It’s not that!”
Jeongguk’s shoulders slump in relief. “Oh okay.” He squints at Jimin carefully as if looking at him long enough will reveal everything to him. “So then what is it?”
Jimin shifts uncomfortably. Well, technically everything happened because Jeongguk won’t stop bringing his boyfriend over late at night but there’s no way in hell he’s saying that. It’s hard to resist though - he hates when Jeongguk looks at him like that. It makes him want to spill his guts. “I already said it was nothing,” he mutters, turning his gaze to the floor. He hears Jeongguk scoff with disbelief.
“I’m just tired,” he insists. He really doesn’t want to explain himself. Especially to Jeongguk of all people. Last night was embarrassing. Giving him sensitive information is the worst thing he could possibly do. Jimin’s got some sense of self-preservation.
He really does need new friends.
“Tired doesn’t explain why you went ballistic on my pocky. You owe me, by the way.”
Seeing an opportunity to escape, Jimin jumps to his feet. “You’re right. I’m terrible. I’ll go buy you pocky right now.”
“Don’t run away from me, Park Jimin!” Jeongguk yells but Jimin’s already out of the door. By the time he comes back with pocky – green tea flavored of course – Jeongguk is Skyping with Yoongi and has completely forgotten about it. Thank goodness for little blessings.
Later, when he collapses into bed, the day’s events catching up to him and leaving him weary, his exhausted mind betrays him and wanders into forbidden territory. Kim Taehyung territory. He falls asleep thinking of Taehyung’s warmth and dreams of bears and strawberry milkshakes.
Jimin actively avoids Taehyung for a whole two days until he realizes how stupid he’s being. The two of them never ran into each other prior to their little sleepover anyways. In reality the only thing he’s done is avoid the hall where Taehyung lives which means opting out of Junghwa’s biweekly Friday game night. She’s still not talking to him because of it. Sungjae and Sanghyuk try to bring Taehyung up, both out of teasing and concern, but Jimin is always quick to shoot them down.
It’s only when he’s going on a coffee run for his friends, Jeonghan wanting an americano, that the guilt finally hits him. It might have been strange for Taehyung to just accept him into his room no questions asked but he had been so nice. Jimin had been desperate and Taehyung opened his home to him, giving him shelter. It was one of the nicest things a stranger’s ever done for him. And he’s reacting like a cowardly asshole. This is terrible. Didn’t he tell Taehyung that he owed him one? It’s time for him to own up to it.
He keeps reminding himself of this fact when he finally asks Sungjae, albeit reluctantly: “Hey, what’s Taehyung’s favorite drink?”
Which is how he finds himself standing outside of Taehyung’s room, once again, with a large caramel macchiato (“Extra pump of vanilla, raspberry, and hazelnut,” Sungjae had said. “Stop staring at me like that - it’s his favorite drink!”) and a small bag of sugar cookies. He’d contemplated getting a muffin again but cookies were nice. Safe. You could give cookies to a complete stranger and it wouldn’t be weird. Giving him the same thing Taehyung had the last time they met? Weird. In like a romantic way. That’s definitely not the vibe Jimin wants to give off. Thankful vibes, is what’s he going for.
He’s mostly relieved to see that when Taehyung opens the door he’s in an oversized holey sweater and baggy pants, a complete one-eighty from the well-fitting outfit he wore on Thursday. He also has a black face mask on with a bear mouth design. Taehyung must really like bears. Jimin tries not to groan. It’s adorable.
Taehyung blinks at him a couple of times before his eyes crinkle up in a smile. “Jimbles!” he cheers, voice muffled from the mask.
Jimin clears his throat. “Uh, hey Taehyung,” he replies awkwardly. Alright, he could do this. Just give him the drink, apologize, promise to never bother him again and run far away. A simple, but efficient plan. He shoves the drink into Taehyung’s chest. “Here. Sungjae said it was your favorite.” He tries his best not to stare as Taehyung slides the mask down to take a sip, watching his throat bob as he swallows. Taehyung makes a little noise of pleasure. A part of Jimin dies right then and there.
He waves the small bag of cookies in Taehyung’s direction weakly. “Cookies,” is all he manages to say, tongue twisted and heavy in his mouth.
“Cookies!” Taehyung repeats delightedly as he takes them. “You didn’t have to do all this.”
Jimin frowns a little at that. “Yeah, I did. And I’m sorry I didn’t drop by earlier I just…” he doesn’t know how to explain his potato-like state of being that day after the exam. Taehyung had been so worried but Sungjae saved him from further embarrassment by tearing him out of his arms. It wasn’t easy to do - apparently he had been very clingy. He can feel his cheeks heating up from the memory. Why couldn’t he just block the memory and get on with his life? Brains were useless.
He shakes off his thoughts once he realizes that he’s just standing there staring into space. Taehyung doesn’t seem too bothered though, sipping on his drink happily. “Anyway, I just wanted to thank you again. Also apologize - I’m really sorry about what happened. I was really rude.”
Taehyung pauses in his slurping. He tilts his head at Jimin in confused manner. “What? What are you sorry about?”
Don’t make me say it out loud, he groans to himself. “For barging in on you like that! At one in the morning! I’m sorry, I really thought Sungjae told - “
“Ohhh,” Taehyung says with sudden clarity. “Didn’t I say not to worry about that? Besides, it was Sungjae's fault.” His face lights up with his strange rectangular smile and Jimin feels the rest of his apologies die down. Two days later, devoid of desperation and insomnia, it’s still the most beautiful smile he’s seen. “So how'd your test go?”
“Uh,” Jimin’s a little taken aback at the sudden subject change. That’s it? He was anxious about apologizing to him for nothing? “Okay, I think. None of us got the last question so hopefully Cho grades on a curve.”
“Cool,” Taehyung takes another long sip before stepping back, opening the door up more. “Wanna come in and watch One Piece?”
Of all the ways Jimin thought Taehyung would react, dismissing his apology and asking him to watch anime is not one of them. It seems like he has the tendency to do the exact opposite of what Jimin expects. It’s really giving him mental whiplash.
“Um,” Jimin doesn’t know what to say. He wasn’t planning on getting another invitation. He just wanted to apologize and run away. So mature, he knows. “I’m not sure - “
“You don’t like One Piece?” At this Taehyung frowns, like Jimin’s said something wildly offensive. Of course, he’d react more to this than Jimin storming into his room early in the morning.
“No, I like it but - “
Taehyung relaxes. “Okay then.” Before Jimin can even think to respond, Taehyung’s grabbing his wrist and pulling him inside. He sputters in protest as Taehyung guides him to the bed. His laptop is open and paused on an episode. “Are you all caught up?”
Jimin can’t believe this is happening. “Um, no,” he responds automatically. Taehyung looks back at him with a raised eyebrow.
“So what arc are you on then?”
“…impel down?” he answers unsurely. He actually has no idea. He vaguely remembers Luffy in a giant jail. Jimin doesn’t watch a lot of anime. That was more of Jeongguk’s thing.
Taehyung’s frown is back. He even looks a little upset, like Jimin’s let him down somehow. Wow, this guy is a total weeb. “I’m disappointed, Jimbles.”
“I’m pre-med! I don’t have time to watch anime!” Jimin defends. Taehyung just huffs, crawling on the bed, sitting up against the body pillow. He pats the spot next to him in invitation. Jimin stares for a moment. Does he really want to do this? He still has the chance to run away. Of course, if he did he’d probably hurt Taehyung’s feelings. Which would be terrible. He doesn’t want to be a jerk.
That’s why he climbs in after Taehyung, making sure to kick his shoes off before settling in. Because he doesn’t want to be a jerk. It’s a perfectly valid reason. His intentions for staying are pure and innocent.
Taehyung grins at him widely, adjusting the laptop so that it’s half on Jimin’s thigh and his own. “Want a sip?” he offers his strange drink to him. Jimin face contorts with mild disgust and Taehyung laughs. “It’s good I promise! I have great taste.”
He pushes the drink so that the straw is poking Jimin’s cheek. He sighs a little, leaning to take a very small, hesitant sip.
“I told you,” Taehyung sounds smug. He takes his drink back and takes another long sip, licking his lips with an exaggerated moan. Jimin tries his best not to stare, he really does. It’s just, Taehyung won’t stop licking his lips. It’s very distracting.
He scrunches his eyes shut when he realizes that what he just did was considered an indirect kiss. Calm down! he scolds himself. What was he, twelve? Getting excited over something like that… he’s shared more with Sanghyuk.
That thought sobers him up fast.
One episode turns to five, one hour becomes three. Jimin barely notices the time ticking by, comfortable in his spot, shoulder to shoulder with Taehyung, focused on the show. They finished all the cookies, their energy levels boosted from the extra sugar, so each episode is filled with lots of yelling and lots of Jimin slapping Taehyung’s shoulder.
It only makes sense for them to crash.
Jimin wakes up later to a loud scream. He blinks blearily at a crying, bloodied Luffy on the screen. When did this happen? Spoilers, do not want. He reaches over to shut the laptop off only to find that he can’t move.
How, he wonders when he realizes the problem.
Taehyung is literally sprawled on top of him, arms splayed across his chest, legs tangled around his. Somehow they moved from sitting up to half-lying down and Taehyung is heavy. Jimin tries to wriggle out from under him but his efforts are in vain. He only succeeds in laying down properly, bringing Taehyung down with him.
He sighs. Craning his neck to check the time on the laptop, sighing again when he sees that it’s close to four am. He can’t believe his “pure and innocent” intentions resulted in another sleepover. He’s still in his jeans! But, well, he doesn’t really want to wake Taehyung up. He’s sleeping so peacefully. It would be a shame. It’s not like he has early class on Monday anyway.
This is fine, he tells himself, reaching over backwards to pull the pillow against his head. Totally fine.
He didn’t have early class in the morning but apparently Taehyung does. The room is filled with a loud, cute, Japanese-pop song, immediately waking him up. He groans, tugging the pillow over his head to drown out the noise. Taehyung continues snoozing, dead to the world and his annoying alarm. Jimin didn’t really experience this last time but apparently Taehyung’s a goddamn cuddler and has his arms wrapped tightly around Jimin’s torso like a snuggly octopus.
A few minutes go by with no sign of Taehyung waking up. The alarm’s already gone through the entire song once and when it starts up again, Jimin’s had enough. He tosses the pillow aside and starts to poke viciously at Taehyung’s cheek. “Get up,” Jimin croaks. “Taehyung. Taehyung. Taehyung!”
Taehyung lets out a loud whine. “Eomma, no, five more minutes…” Taehyung’s voice is husky with sleep and his words are rough with satoori. Daegu, maybe? He snuggles into Jimin even more. Maybe it’s his sleep-addled mind playing tricks on him but suddenly the scent of strawberries is overwhelming. He can feel his blood pressure starting to rise.
“If you don’t get up, I’m gonna push you off,” he threatens. He could do it too. Taehyung might be heavy but Jimin’s pretty confident in his upper body strength. It was sort of a requirement to work out regularly as a gym employee.
There’s a bunch of nonsensical whines and groans from Taehyung as he slowly starts to get up, rolling off of Jimin and staggering to his feet. He looks down at him, eyes crusty with sleep, hair spiked up in several directions. “You’re not my eomma.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” Jimin grumbles back at him. Taehyung yawns loudly, pulling his arms back and stretching. His sweater lifts up a little, exposing tan, soft-looking skin. Jimin pointedly looks up at the ceiling. “Who even has that as an alarm?” he complains further.
“It’s Love Live!” Taehyung protests. “Everyone loves Love Live!”
“I should’ve known you’d be a giant nerd.” Even though he’s grumpy from waking up too early, painful crick in his neck from Taehyung’s weight, he feels surprisingly content. Could still go for another few hours of sleep but this is nice. It’s still kinda weird but definitely less so the second time around.
Again, it might just be the lack of sleep talking.
“Love Live is eternal!” Taehyung hobbles over to his desk to turn off his alarm and lets out a little curse. “Oh shit, I've got lecture.” Jimin watches him flail around with amusement, grabbing his toiletries and a change of clothes, mumbling to himself the whole time.
He seems to forget that Jimin’s still in his bed, already opening the door before he realizes and backtracks to the bed. “Hey, I’m gonna be gone for a couple of hours. You can like. Stay here if you wanna?” He shrugs his shoulders. “It’s no biggie. Sleep some more.”
Jimin really should just thank him for the offer, kindly refuse, and make his way back to his own bed. Instead, he burrows under the covers and waves Taehyung off with a loud yawn. “Mmkay. Bye. Have fun in lecture.”
Taehyung snorts as he ruffles his hair in farewell. “Rest well, princess.”
“I’m so kicking your ass when you come back.”
Jeongguk’s watching him suspiciously when he makes his way back to their room in the afternoon, stuffed to the brim with the waffles Taehyung insisted on getting when he returned from class. (“Monday is waffle day,” he tells him solemnly. “Nobody knows because literally half of campus sleeps through their morning classes but they have like five different berry sauces and ten syrups. It’s awesome.” It was awesome. Taehyung had gotten strawberry, of course. Jimin had cut at his own waffle rather ferociously in light of that.)
“Where the hell were you?” he demands as Jimin starts to strip into more comfortable clothing. There are red creases on his skin from the jeans. He’s never passing out in them again. He looks over at Jeongguk with a sheepish smile. It looks bad, he knows, still in yesterday’s clothing, just walking in at two in the afternoon, right before his afternoon lab. It’s very unlike him.
“You know. Here and there,” he responds vaguely, spraying himself with deodorant before throwing on a long sleeved tee. He sends a mental apology to his lab partner in case he stinks too much.
“Park Jimin? Model student? Screwing around on a Sunday night?” Jeongguk sounds incredulous. Jimin’s so glad that he has to be in class in thirty minutes. He doesn’t want to deal with an interrogation.
“There’s a first time for everything?” he offers him, packing his notebooks into his bag quickly.
Jeongguk’s opening his mouth, probably to complain about how Jimin had lectured him for a solid twenty minutes the first time he’d stayed out all Sunday night with Yoongi. Granted, Jeongguk at class at seven in the morning so he deserved that. It had been for his own good.
Jimin doesn’t give him the chance to speak. He leaves with a cheery “See you at dinner!” before slamming the door shut. On the way out, his phone goes off indicating a text. He squints down at the unfamiliar number but a happy, warm feeling swarms him when he reads the text.
unknown: download love live
unknown: no it’s park geunhye
jimin: ah yea it totes makes sense for the president to be txting me abt love live
unknown: LOVE LIVE IS ETERNAL
unknown: DOWNLOAD IT
jimin: fine u weirdo
He laughs a little to himself, opening a new contact and saving it as “Taehyung” with a bear emoji. The warm feeling stays with him all day.
“You know, you’re the ones who asked us to come early. And yet, here you are, still not ready,” Jimin grouses from his spot on Junghwa and Namjoo’s couch. The girls are fixing their makeup in the mirror, decked out in the shortest Halloween costumes he’s ever seen. Junghwa is supposed to be a sexy Minnie Mouse. Jimin thinks it’s a crime against humanity.
“Perfection takes time,” is all Junghwa says as she puts on mascara. Namjoo hums in agreement.
He had no time to prepare for Halloween this year so he’s wearing a matching wizard Mickey outfit at Junghwa’s insistence. It’s hard to hold anything with the gloves though, so he’s already kind of regretting it. Junghwa won’t let him take them off though. She takes Halloween way too seriously.
Namjoo’s shoved Sanghyuk in a weird butler get-up to accompany her sexy maid costume. He’d grumbled the whole time but now he’s staring unabashedly at her legs so Jimin guesses it’s a win for him. He glances down at his phone, frowning when he sees three missed calls from Sungjae.
“Park Junghwa,” he snaps at her. “That lipstick is gonna come off when you drink your weight in beer tonight now let’s go.”
“Actually,” she informs him as the four of them exit her room. “It’s Etude’s new line so it’s supposed to last – “
“Nobody cares, Junghwa,” Sanghyuk mutters. He gets two kicks from both girls for his trouble. Jimin sighs in relief when they reach the house, already tired of Namjoo and Sanghyuk’s bickering.
Sungjae is waiting for them with Sooyoung at his side, along with a few of their other mutual friends. "What took you so long?” he complains, greeting Jimin with a slap on the shoulder. He and Sooyoung look disgustingly adorable as Prince Eric and Ariel. Sooyoung manages to make the tacky red wig she’s donning look good. Jimin and Sanghyuk gag loudly.
“Jimbles?” Jimin jumps at the familiar deep voice, turning around to see a tall, attractive vampire walking towards him. Tall, Dark, and Handsome. Wow. Jimin is ready to get his game face on - game face for flirting that is - but then he pauses.
Wait. Wait, that’s Taehyung.
“Oh,” Jimin says dumbly not expecting to see him here. He must be wearing insoles or heeled shoes because he seems even taller than normal, hair slicked back handsomely, lips red with fake blood and a black choker to complete the look.
Junghwa elbows him discreetly. “You’re drooling,” she whispers in his ear. Jimin immediately slams his mouth shut, the tips of his ears reddening in embarrassment.
Taehyung blinks at him, eyes dark with smudged liner. He looks good. He looks so good. Jimin might be drooling again. He hasn’t seen him since their encounter last week even though they’ve slowly started to text. Jimin doesn’t even have a lick of alcohol in him and he feels his body burning up. He realizes Taehyung’s waiting for him to say something but he just can’t words at the moment. Sorry, try again in five minutes.
“Sup, Taeweirdo?” Sanghyuk greets him callously, waggling his eyebrows at him. “Wasn’t expecting to see you here.”
Taehyung’s head swivels towards him, smiling sharply. “Hey, Manhyuk. I didn’t know you were allowed out after six.”
They’re both just joking around and Jimin knows that this is Sanghyuk being his normal, slightly dickish self but he can’t help the sudden irritation he feels. Sanghyuk doesn’t even know Taehyung, just this stupid idea of the kind of person he thinks he is. He knows that Taehyung’s more than capable of defending himself but the smile on his face is stiffer than usual and Jimin’s not having it.
“Hey Hyuk,” he begins, fixing a glare on his friend. “Could you maybe not be an asshole for ten minutes?”
There’s an awkward silence after he speaks. Everyone’s glancing at the three of them. Sanghyuk looks a little startled at being called out. Taehyung’s just looking at Jimin with wide eyes. Jimin has his own eyes on Sanghyuk, staring him down expectantly.
Taehyung clears his throat. “Jimin, it’s okay – “
“Nah,” Sanghyuk seems to have gotten over his shock, shaking his head. “It’s not. Sorry dude – I’m an asshole like ninety percent of the time.”
At that, the rest of the group starts clamoring at him indignantly, demanding apologies for past grievances.
“Enough,” Sungjae roars over the chatter. “If we don’t go in now, all the good stuff will be gone!”
As everyone starts making their way inside the house, Taehyung tugs on Jimin’s robe to hold him back. “Thanks for that. You didn’t have to, but thanks.” His eyes are curled up, his familiar brilliant smile back on his face.
“Oh it’s really – really no big deal,” Jimin stutters, turning a little pink at the thanks. There’s an odd look in Taehyung’s eyes as he stares at Jimin for a while longer. Then it’s gone, replaced by a wicked mischief.
“Don’t worry, I know one of the hosts of this party so we won’t get any shitty alcohol.” He has to raise his voice once they step inside, music blaring loudly, bass thumping. “I’m actually gonna go say hi to a couple of people. I’ll meet you later, okay?”
Jimin can only nod. “Okay!” he shouts back as Taehyung leaves him with a wave.
He’s almost instantly cornered by Junghwa and Nayeon, both of them grinning at him wildly. He makes a face. Oh no.
“Jimin-ah,” Junghwa starts sweetly. “What exactly was that?”
“I didn’t know you guys were still talking. I thought you decided to avoid him forever?” Nayeon adds.
“Yeah, what’s up with that?” Junghwa echoes. The two of them are getting more and more into his personal space. He can feel his palms start to sweat inside of his gloves. “Also why am I just hearing about your little pow-wow with Kim Taehyung just now? I thought you told me everything?”
“I need a drink!” Jimin shouts loudly, hoping somebody will hear his plea and come save him. Count Dracula (he’s pretty sure it’s actually Choi Seungcheol) swoops in to his rescue, holding a bottle of vodka and shot glasses.
“Shots!” he yells loudly. Jimin takes advantage of the distraction and escapes, making a beeline for kitchen where most of the alcohol is. His friends all have beers in their hands. Sooyoung hands him one with a smile. Jimin and Sanghyuk glower at each other for about five seconds until they break into grins and slap each other’s shoulders. Boom, tension gone. Just like that.
They’re in the middle of a game of Rage Cage when Taehyung sneaks up behind him. “You’re losing,” he murmurs in his ear, making Jimin shriek and lose his concentration, ping pong ball bouncing haphazardly.
“Stack him!” Sungjae howls.
“Finish him!” Sanghyuk cheers.
“Damn,” Jimin groans when Namjoo lands the ball in her cup successfully. “Okay, I’m out. The room’s starting to spin.” He takes the cup of beer he’s supposed to finish and shoves it at Taehyung. “You distracted me – you drink.”
Taehyung wrinkles his nose with disgust. “Peasant’s beer.” Still, he drains the cup easily, chucking it at Sungjae’s head once it’s empty. “I told you we’d get good stuff. Do you want?”
“Good stuff!” Sooyoung cheers enthusiastically. “Oppa let’s go!”
Taehyung beams at her. “Let’s go, let’s go.” He wraps his fingers around Jimin’s gloveless wrist – he’d lost the right one sometime during the game. He’s trying not to think about how Junghwa is gonna kill him. Taehyung’s fingers are long and pretty and if Jimin wanted to he could lace his own fingers with them. If he wanted. Which he doesn’t because boundaries.
He lets Taehyung guide him through the crowd, his friends hot on their heels, as they make their way upstairs. Upstairs is always where the good stuff’s at; Taehyung wasn’t lying when he said he knew the hosts. Sooyoung and Namjoo let out little shrieks of delight when they enter the master bedroom to see a small table filled with jolly-rancher vodka shots, a bottle of actual good vodka in the center of them.
“Kim Taehyung! Kim Taehyung!” Sungjae and Sanghyuk chant, pushing Jimin away from him to wrap Taehyung up in a happy chokehold.
A dude dressed as Darth Vader by the table looks over at them with an exaggerated pout. “Why are you praising Taehyungie? I’m the one that made them.”
Taehyung tries to free himself from their hold. He fails, pretty badly. Jimin’s laughing at him openly. “Shut up! Oh, that’s Jung Hoseok, he lives here. Thank him, I guess.”
“Disrespectful brat!” Hoseok snaps at Taehyung, coming over to tweak his nose. He flashes the rest of them with a blinding smile. “I’m your father, I’m your hope!”
“Jung Hoseok! Jung Hoseok!” Sungjae and Sanghyuk release Taehyung and they all gather around Hoseok, cheering and clapping enthusiastically. Jimin rubs a wheezing Taehyung’s back.
“You almost let me die in there,” he accuses, eyes narrowed with betrayal. Jimin shrugs.
“What can I say, I’m only here for the alcohol.”
“You little – “
“Taehyungie, who’s this?” Hoseok is front of them, looking between the two of them, grinning wildly. Jimin’s friends are already gathered at the table, downing shots.
"Oh right. Hobi hyung, Jimbles. Jimbles, Hobi hyung. Yay introductions!”
"You suck at introductions,” Jimin rolls his eyes, extending his hand to Hoseok. “It’s actually Park Jimin. Thanks for letting us crash your house and drink your booze.”
Hoseok’s eyebrows rise high as he scrutinizes Jimin. “Oh, so you’re Jimin.” His grin widens even more, shaking Jimin’s hand firmly. What? What is that supposed to mean? Jimin’s ready to ask but Sungjae’s forcing a shot in his hand, dragging him and Taehyung to the table.
Twenty minutes and about six shots later, they all stumble back downstairs, giggling madly. Taehyung and Jimin are leading the pack, arms linked much to everyone else’s amusement. Jimin stays blissfully ignorant as the two of them decide to hunt down every single person they know at the party to see how many mutual friends they actually have.
The next few hours of the party pass by in a vivid blur. Jimin and Taehyung run around the house boisterously, taking shots whenever they run into mutual friends. Taehyung’s introduced several people to Jimin but the only people he remembers is this Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy duo as well as an underclassmen named Minjae.
Sungjae drags them to another table to play King’s Cup with the rest of them but it only ends in disaster. Taehyung keeps forgetting to drink when he should which sets Jimin off in a fit of laughter that takes about five minutes to calm down from. This repeats several times until Namjoo throws the cards in their faces and kicks them out of the game.
They scramble to the couch and pull out their phones to see who can get the highest combo on Love Live while drunk. Needless to say, they both fail all of their songs.
At one point, all their friends somehow vanish from their sight. It’s the just the two of them on the couch, next to a couple that sat down five minutes ago, making out intensely. They’re pressed close together to keep their distance, Taehyung’s head resting on Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin feels relaxed and boneless, body slipping so that his face is close to Taehyung’s head. Along with the scent of beer wafting from where Taehyung spilled it, strawberries assault his senses again. Emboldened by the liquid courage swirling in his veins, he buries his nose in Taehyung’s hair and takes a tentative sniff.
“Whatcha doing bro,” Taehyung slurs at him, tapping on his thigh for attention.
“Did you know,” he replies slowly, nose still in Taehyung’s hair, “did you know you smell like freaking strawberries?”
Taehyung makes a pleased sound. “That’s awesome. I love strawberries. Best berries. Top berry. Korea’s Next Top Berry.”
“I’m a blueberry man myself,” Jimin mumbles back. At this, Taehyung sits up, pressing his face against Jimin’s neck.
“You don’t smell like blueberries though?” Taehyung’s lips brush gently against the skin above Jimin’s Adam apple and he swallows, mouth suddenly very dry.
“What do I smell like then?” It’s surprising he’s able to say anything at all. Taehyung hums, vibrating pleasantly against Jimin’s throat.
“Like….” Taehyung raises his head then, eyes twinkling, and Jimin’s struck by how pretty he looks, even in the low light with his flushed cheeks and lips still wet from the beer. Just as his alcohol addled mind is about to make him do something stupid, like tell Taehyung how pretty he is, he ruins the moment with a cheeky: “You smell like a Jimin.”
Jimin stares dumbly for a moment, eyebrow twitching a little at how Taehyung’s giggling to himself, clearly satisfied with his joke. “You little - “ He reaches over to grab him in a loose chokehold. Taehyung squawks in protest, wriggling around to escape his grip. His movements just cause Jimin to crash backwards - right into the couple making out.
“Oops,” Taehyung mutters from where he’s sprawled against Jimin’s chest. Jimin makes eye contact with the girl who looks five seconds away from kicking their ass.
“Sorry,” is what Jimin means to say; what he actually says is: “Why are you kissing on the couch?” Funny how people are the most honest with vodka in their system. Well, not so funny right now.
“Oh boy,” Taehyung laughs with disbelief at the anger in the girl’s eyes. The guy she’s straddling looks both sheepish and horrified. “I think that’s our cue, Jiminie.” With that, he shuffles off of him and seizes his wrist, waving a little to the couple as they go.
“So that happened,” Jimin states casually once they’re safely against the wall. The party is winding down a little, less packed than it was an hour ago. There’s a chill electronic track blasting from the speakers, people in the crowd dancing slowly to it. They exchange a look before bursting into raucous laughter, holding onto the wall to keep themselves up.
“I can’t – believe – you said that!” Taehyung shoves at Jimin’s chest almost making him fall over.
“Shut up! Who even makes out on a couch at a party!” Jimin complains. Taehyung lets out a thoughtful hum.
“Couches are actually very nice places to make out.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows at him. “Oh really?”
Taehyung confirms with a nod. Jimin’s ready to ask him exactly how he knows that and maybe if he wants to go test that theory on some other couch but a very drunk very happy Sangyuk is suddenly in their space, arms around their shoulders, pushing them together.
“You guys are still here!” he shouts happily. Jimin can’t really reply with his cheeks smashed against Taehyung’s. He can feel the vibrations of his laughter echoing through his body. “You totally missed it – Sungjae took off his pants. It was hilarious.”
Jimin wrinkles his nose at the strong smell of alcohol on his breath. “Hyuk, you’re wasted,” he complains, trying to push him away. “Vodka breath, ew.”
Sanghyuk starts to make kissing noises in his direction, puckering his lips up. Jimin shrieks and flails, pushing at his face. Taehyung’s snorting at them both.
“Aren’t we all wasted though?” he ponders. Sanghyuk changes direction and lands a smooch right on Taehyung’s forehead. It’s Jimin’s turn to laugh at the bewildered expression on his face.
“Yeah but there’s normal wasted and Hyuk-wasted.” Jimin pinches Sanghyuk’s stomach, letting out a sigh in relief when he releases them both, staggering backwards. He grabs Taehyung’s wrist on impulse, “Hurry let’s escape.”
Taehyung’s eyes are twinkling. “Lead the way, my liege.”
With that, they stumble through the hallway, and out the door, the cold crisp air refreshing and slightly sobering. Taehyung squints down the road. “Which way should we go?”
“Housing,” Jimin replies, looking around to figure out which direction they need to go. He points to the right uncertainly. “That way?”
“That way!” Taehyung agrees enthusiastically.
“That way” actually leads to campus instead of their dorm buildings. Jimin lets out a groan of despair while Taehyung laughs in delight, suggesting that they break into the psychology building to sleep. (“First floor’s couches are the comfiest ones on campus!”)
Sometime on the way back to housing, Jimin’s hold slips from Taehyung’s wrist to his hand. Taehyung's fingers are long and slender and feel impossibly nice slotted in between the gaps of his own. They stay hand in hand the entire walk back, giggling loudly in the emptiness, caught up in each other's presence.
They get to Taehyung’s building first, shushing each other loudly as they stumble through the hallways. “It’s Halloween, nobody’s asleep, why are you shushing me,” Jimin complains when they reach his door.
“We still gotta be polite,” Taehyung insists, struggling a little with his keys. “Why won’t this open – “
“You fail at life,” Jimin pushes him aside and twists the key easily, opening the door. He smirks at Taehyung. “I rock.”
They continue to bicker as they walk in, too preoccupied with calling each other names to notice one of Taehyung’s Kermit plushies on the floor in front of them. Taehyung trips over it with a loud yelp, grabbing on to Jimin to steady himself. He only ends up pulling him down and they both tumble to the ground with a loud groan.
“Damn,” Jimin says after a moment. “We’re Hyuk-wasted.”
Taehyung raises a fist solemnly in response. “No, we’re hardcore.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, propping himself up on his elbows, patting at Taehyung’s shoulders lightly. “Okay Mr. Hardcore, get off the floor.”
He groans in protest, nuzzling his cheek onto the floor. “Don’t wanna. It’s comfy.”
“That’s a lie and you know it.”
“Why would we get up when we could just stay here?” Taehyung turns his head a little to pout at Jimin. “Lie down with me for five minutes?”
Jimin groans, relaxing his elbows and scooting over closer. Taehyung grins widely, throwing an arm around Jimin’s waist. “Okay, just five minutes. I gotta walk to my building too.”
Taehyung frowns at this. “Don’t leave meeeee,” he whines, winding his other arm around Jimin’s shoulder, pulling him in closer. Jimin winces in pain as Taehyung’s nose hits his chin. Taehyung’s got a pointy nose. An attractive nose, but very pointy.
If normal sleepy Taehyung is a cuddle-monster, drunk Taehyung is a cuddle-demon. He ends up throwing his leg over Jimin’s, tucking his head under his chin. Jimin can see the sleep start to overtake him so he shakes Taehyung lightly. “Don’t fall asleep Taehyung.”
“I’m wide awake Jimbles,” Taehyung mumbles tiredly in response. “See? My eyes are open.” He looks up then, widening his eyes as much as he can. Jimin just scoffs in response.
“Why Jimbles?” he asks suddenly, recalling the first time Taehyung had called him that.
Taehyung yawns loudly in response. “Why not Jimbles? You’re meant to have a nickname. Jim Jam. Minnie. Oh no, you’re Mickey today, I’m sorry. Jiminie? Oh, I like that one.”
Surprisingly, Jimin likes it too. Taehyung’s settled back against his chest, cozying up to him even more. His face is only inches away from Jimin’s, eyes starting to flutter close. If he were sober, he would probably be freaking out at this proximity. Instead, he ogles Taehyung’s face unabashedly, taking in the moles on the tip of nose, at the top of his upper lip, on the corner of his eye. Jimin wants to connect them all and see what kind of picture they’d make.
While he’s observing his moles, Taehyung’s drifted into a peaceful sleep, shoulders rising gently with the lull of his breaths. His eye makeup is smudged even more, red lips faded to a pink. Like this, with only the moonlight creeping in from the window to illuminate his features, Taehyung looks breathtaking.
Jimin kinda wants to throw up.
Trying to calm his breathing, his eyes focus in on Taehyung’s eyelashes. They’re dark and soft-looking, long enough to cast delicate shadows on his cheeks. Jimin falls asleep trying to count them.
“Jimin. Jimin. Jimbles. Jiminie. Jim Jam. Jimbles. Jimin!”
Jimin groans, covering his ears in protest. His head aches and his back is stiff. He needs to sleep for another ten hours.
Taehyung’s persistent though, continuing to call his name, while poking at Jimin’s back with his foot. Finally, Jimin flops on his side glaring up at Taehyung from his place on his bed. His makeup’s still on but he’s changed out of his vampire costume into a sweater and athletic leggings. His legs look unfairly, wonderfully long. Jimin forces his gaze to his face.
He grins. “Hi.”
Jimin scowls. “Fuck you.”
“Oooh, grumpy,” there’s a teasing lilt in Taehyung’s voice. Jimin chooses to ignore him as he gingerly sits up, wincing as his joints crack with the movements.
“I can’t believe we passed out on the floor,” he groans, rubbing his sore neck. “My back’s killing me.”
Taehyung looks smug. “I told you the floor sucks.”
“It’s your fault we fell asleep on it!”
“Huh. You’re right. Let me make it up to you?” He gets off the bed and tugs Jimin up to a standing position. “Ice cream?”
Jimin gapes at him. “It’s ten in the morning.”
“What’s your point?”
“…Are you buying?”
Taehyung beams at him. “Is that a yes?”
So that’s how Jimin finds himself, hungover and still in his Mickey Mouse wizard robe, in a small ice cream parlor that’s about ten minutes away from campus via bus. It’s cute and quaint, modern with its boxy designs and neon colors.
“I didn’t know this place even existed,” he admits to Taehyung as they peruse the menu. Taehyung is shocked at his words.
“Where do you get your ice cream then?”
Taehyung looks positively revolted. “I can’t believe this. You’re a junior and you’ve never been here. Disgrace, Park Jimin. Disgrace on your fields, on your cows, may your village never thrive – “
“Quit it, Daegu boy,” Jimin retorts, letting his Busan satoori roll into his words. Taehyung sticks his tongue out in response.
They make their orders separately, taking a seat by the window as they wait for their ice cream. “Apparently Sungjae took his pants off,” Jimin starts conversationally as he goes through his group chat, filled with embarrassing pictures and wild testimonials. He passes it over to Taehyung who takes a quick glance at the picture before bursting into giggles.
“Oh man I can’t believe we missed that.”
“Right? I wish I could’ve seen the look on Sooyoung’s face.”
Taehyung shifts uncomfortably then. “Is it just me, or are your thighs killing you?”
Jimin rolls his eyes. “We did walk like three miles last night.”
“You don’t remember? We went to campus first before housing.”
“Holy – wait, why don’t your thighs hurt too?!”
He blinks at the question. “I run like three miles every day.”
Taehyung groans out loud. “Oh my god. You’re a muscle pig! No wonder you didn’t know about this place before. I bet you don’t even eat ice cream.”
“Hey I resent that! Ice cream is a treat I indulge in on a monthly basis.”
Before Taehyung can continue to voice his outrage, a worker comes out with their orders, placing them on the table. “Enjoy!” she chirps.
Jimin ordered a root beer float extreme with double vanilla scoops and an obscene amount of whipped cream. He figures mainly getting soda is better for his stomach. Taehyung on the other hand…
“Strawberry.” He stares at Taehyung’s Strawberry Sundae Delight with dread. There’s a mischievous look on Taehyung’s face as he bites into the strawberry, waggling his eyebrows at Jimin. His face starts to heat up in embarrassment, last night’s conversation coming back to him. Oh god. He told him. He told him he smelled like strawberries. Jimin, noooo.
At a loss for words, Jimin takes a spoonful of whipped cream and launches it at Taehyung’s nose. The inhuman shriek Taehyung makes at the cream on his nose is almost enough to erase his embarrassment. Almost.
Jimin hates being That Asshole but today with his notes spread all across the table, textbook open in front, scribbling into his lab book, he is indeed That Asshole taking up more room than necessary. Luckily for him it’s a Friday night so there’s literally nobody in the library to glare at him for being said asshole.
Usually he has more important and fun things to do around this time but he’d procrastinated a lot no thanks to the new tall annoyance in his life. It turns out that he and Taehyung have polar opposite schedules, one of them either in class or working when the other was free. They spent the week texting memes at each other, Jimin screenshotting his progress of Love Live, Taehyung making fun of said progress. Honestly, he had spent more time texting him than actually studying,
So that's why he's here, phone turned off and in his backpack, catching up on all the work he neglected to do. A hellish first semester had taught him to break up his work into even amounts every day rather than suffer through it all at once. Past him was so smart. He was definitely suffering right now.
He’s in the middle of writing up his abstract when he feels a small prick of…something at the back of his neck. Puzzled, he reaches up to feel around the area only to find nothing. Mosquito bite? It was in the middle of November though. Shrugging it off as nothing, he goes back to his work.
Ten minutes later, he feels another sharp prick on his neck. He turns to the table next to him suspiciously but there are only a couple of stressed looking girls, frantically typing on their laptops. He rubs the back of his neck again to check if there are any bumps or scratches but comes up empty yet again.
Annoyance is starting to bubble in him. He takes a deep breath, relaxing his mind and muscles the way Namjoon hyung taught him when he went through his tai chi phase. That didn’t last very long when he broke the lamp in his apartment.
Just when he’s got some semblance of chill back, he’s hit with several more tiny sharp things, a bigger attack than before. Someone was definitely throwing shit at him, and if it wasn’t from beside him, it had to be from behind.
He whips his head back, eye twitching in annoyance, ready to quietly give this person a piece of his mind when he meets the gaze of the reason why he’s in the library to begin with.
His eyes shut close. “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” From his place, two tables behind him, Taehyung’s shoulders shake with silent laughter. What a little shit. Jimin flips him off with a scowl and turns back to his lab.
Not even a minute later, Taehyung bounds over to his table with a sunny smile, messenger bag slung over his shoulder. “Why aren’t you answering your phone,” he asks in lieu of a greeting.
“It’s off because I gotta focus on lab,” Jimin mutters without looking up from his papers. Taehyung ‘hmm’s loudly, leaning down to look at what he’s working on. “What the hell did you even throw at me?”
He snickers. “Staples.” Jimin looks up at this, eyebrow twitching again. Of all things, staples. Incredible. No wonder they hurt so much. Taehyung bursts into silent laughter again at Jimin’s expression, sinking to his knees, slapping Jimin’s shoulders. Jimin looks up to the ceiling, quietly praying for patience.
When Taehyung rises, he’s about to take a seat next to him, but Jimin reacts faster, quickly propping up his legs so that he can’t. He meets Taehyung’s incredulous stare with grim sternness. “No.”
“Are you serious?”
“Taehyung, I need peace and quiet. Both of which you are not. So no, you can’t sit here.”
Taehyung’s mouth twists into an exaggerated pout. “I can be quiet!” Jimin just purses his lips thoroughly unconvinced. The quietest Taehyung’s ever been around him was when they were asleep. “Jimbles, come on!”
Jimin sighs. It was probably better to give in than try to argue with him. “Fine but if you make any noise, I will kick you to the ground. Alright?”
Taehyung nods seriously. “Got it! One zipper special, coming up.”
He has no idea what that means but if it ensures that Taehyung will stay quiet, he’ll take two zipper specials, thanks very much.
True to his word, Taehyung stays silent for the next two hours, attention on his own reading. Every now and then Jimin will glance over. Taehyung's got an interesting studying expression: eyebrows knitted in concentration, tongue sticking out as he skims the pages, muttering things to himself occasionally. It's actually pretty endearing. Jimin always ducks his head back to his own work right when he thinks Taehyung's about to look up.
Focus, Park Jimin. How embarrassing to have told Taehyung off for being distracting when he's the one who can't look away? That tongue of his is too damn much.
The time passes by relatively quietly, only the sounds of Jimin's pencil scratching and Taehyung turning the pages filling the air. Taehyung starts to squirm impatiently at the three hour mark. Jimin figures that must be his limit for sitting still.
“Are you finished yet?” he whines, nudging at Jimin’s arm with his pencil. Jimin smiles in response.
“You know what? I actually am.”
Taehyung lets out an excited whoop, jumping out of his seat, scattering his papers everywhere. Jimin watches, resigned, as Taehyung breaks out into his version of a victory dance combining several dance moves that should never be combined. Jazz hands and the dougie? No. The girls at the table next to them have stopped working, looking over at them with matching annoyed expressions.
Jimin starts to pack up quickly. "Come on, Tae, let's go." The nickname slips out without much thought and he looks at him in alarm. "Uh, I mean -”
"I like Tae," Taehyung cuts in merrily. "Though it's not as good as Jimbles."
Jimin laughs under his breath, momentary anxiety squashed once again by Taehyung's lackadaisical nature. "Taetae, then."
"Ooh, much better!" Taehyung turns to him expectantly as they walk out of the library. "Pizza?"
He frowns a little. "You're so unhealthy. Do you ever eat vegetables?"
"Pizza is a vegetable."
"Maybe to stoners."
"Come on, muscle pig, one night of pizza isn't gonna do anything to you," Taehyung coaxes, putting his hands together with a pout. "Fridays have a special beer discount -”
"Pizza and beer?"
“- and my coupon expires in a couple of weeks! Let's go, let's go!"
Jimin can't believe how easy it is to give into him. "Alright," he acquiesces with a sigh. "But you're jogging with me tomorrow."
He ignores Taehyung's whines and protests, looking down at his phone to send a quick text to Jeongguk.
jimin: gonna grab food u want anythin?
gukkie: nah im good hyung and i ate already
jimin: k. ur not going out tonight right? i dont have my keys
gukkie: dw i'll be here
jimin: cool! see u in an hour
To be fair, he did tell Jeongguk that he would be back in an hour. However, he's starting to realize that things with Taehyung never go according to plan. The coupon he has for the pizza and beer discount is for a karaoke place. Jimin had refused at first but Taehyung had gotten on his knees in public begging to go for a couple of rounds. That’s how they ended up spending two hours singing old trot favorites, along with coupon-ed pizza and beer. So when Taehyung walks Jimin back to his room, four hours later, he's not surprised to find the door locked. Dismayed, but not surprised.
"One sec," he mutters, fishing his phone out of his pocket to call Jeongguk. Taehyung watches him with a little concern.
"You don't have your keys?"
"My dumb ass forgot - shit," he hisses when Jeongguk's phone goes straight to voicemail. He must be out with Yoongi. Again, Jimin isn't sure what his roommate's boyfriend does for a living but they often frequented clubs on their nights out. "He isn't picking up." He leans forward to bang his forehead on the door with a sigh.
Taehyung pats his back consolingly. "Hey, it's no big! We can go back to my room."
Jimin bites his lip. They could. He'd already slept in Taehyung's bed with him twice, not including the time they passed out after the Halloween party. It's really not that weird anymore - sleeping with Taehyung is actually pretty nice. That's weird though – thinking that it was nice. How comfortable it was. Plus he’s not sure how he feels about voluntarily sleeping over. All the other times were on accident. It’s different to actually decide to go there with the intention of sleeping in bed with him. Intention makes it weird.
But he takes one look at Taehyung’s eager face, so much like an excited puppy, and it’s too hard to consider saying no. “Okay.”
Once they’re in Taehyung’s room, Jimin remembers that he’s still in his jeans and lets out a discontented groan. Taehyung throws him a questioning look. "Something wrong?"
Jimin just shakes his head. "No it's just," he grimaces remembering how uncomfortable it had been the last time he slept over in his jeans. It's too cold to strip down to his briefs; not that he would want to anyways. The sleepovers have been PG-13 thus far, both of them always fully clothed and he's determined to keep it that way. "I don't really wanna sleep in my jeans again."
Taehyung lets out an 'ahh' in understanding. "That's alright - you can borrow some of my clothes!"
Jimin scrutinizes his tall frame with a sigh. “You’re like a million feet tall though."
"It's not my fault you're fun-sized.”
His eyes narrow dangerously at that. He was not short – Taehyung was just a giant. “You say that, but I could probably flip you in ten seconds.”
Taehyung bursts into laughter. “You’re so on!”
Thirty seconds seconds later, Jimin’s got Taehyung pinned to the bed, arm twisted behind his back, head in the pillows. “Okay, okay I get it!” he yells. “Uncle, uncle!”
Jimin lets out a victory shout as he lets Taehyung go. “Told you so,” he tells him smugly. Taehyung looks good even when he’s winded, panting heavily, eyes glittering with something that makes Jimin’s stomach flip.
They stare at each other for a while, the sound of Taehyung’s harsh breathing filling the silence. Then, Taehyung grins at him wickedly. "That took more than ten seconds."
The tension dissipates from his body. "Don't be an ass."
"I'm just saying!" He walks over to his closet, fishing for clothes for Jimin to sleep in for the night. "Also, you took me by surprise. I could totally take you any other time."
Somehow, Jimin knows that Taehyung's not bluffing. He's cuddled with the guy - he knows that there's somehow a magic layer of muscle despite the fact that Taehyung eats like a twelve year old and exercises like a toddler. It doesn’t make any sense but it exists. He would still win though. He actually eats his goddamn vegetables.
"Doubtful,” he replies haughtily, taking the time to flex his biceps at Taehyung. He gets a pair of sweatpants thrown at his face in retaliation.
On top of being fairly tall, Taehyung likes to wear things baggy. Jimin finds himself swimming in the sweater he’s given him. At least the pants fit pretty well. Taehyung bites back a laugh when he looks at him. “Wow, I guess I am a giant huh?”
“Shut up,” Jimin scowls as he attempts to roll the sleeves up. Right now they’re extended past his wrist, extra fabric flopping around uselessly. Taehyung’s still staring at him, the glint from before back in his eyes. Jimin blinks at him. “What is it?”
He shrugs in response. “Nothing. You just look cute.”
Cute?! Jimin gapes at him as Taehyung begins to set up a movie on his laptop. “You know, I’ve always wanted to Netflix and chill but Korea doesn’t have it yet. Can you believe it? Korea, of all places, doesn’t have something.”
Netflix and chill is a euphemism for sex! a hysterical voice in Jimin’s head reiterates. Despite his internal freakout he manages to respond pretty calmly. “I hear they’re launching in January.”
“What are you serious?! Dude! I can’t wait!” Taehyung looks genuinely excited at the prospect. Jimin concludes that no, he wasn’t trying to hit on him via ‘Netflix and chill.’ He’s relieved. Mainly because, according to the internet, people who did that were total fuckboys. Taehyung’s not a fuckboy. Jimin wouldn’t like him this much if he were.
“Jimin? Are you coming to bed?” This words trigger another internal meltdown and Jimin excuses himself to the bathroom to pee. He splashes cold water onto his face, staring at his reflection. Being called cute, Netflix and chill, and ‘are you coming to bed?’ If he didn’t know any better, he would think that he was getting hit on.
He’s not though. From what he’s gathered, Taehyung is a very upfront, straightforward kind of guy. If he were interested in something like that, Jimin would know by now. Right?
Friends, Jimin repeats in his head as he heads back, doing his best to bury his tragic attraction to Taehyung. You’re just friends, that’s it. This is a bromance.
It’s this thought that keeps him from freaking out when halfway through their movie, Taehyung wraps an arm around Jimin’s shoulder in a classic ‘reaching for popcorn during a date’ fashion. Only there’s no popcorn and this isn’t a date. It’s this thought that lets Jimin curl up against him with ease when he’s unable to keep his eyes open for any longer.
(He doesn’t even flinch when Taehyung turns around to spoon him. It’s way more comfortable to lie in this position than lying down on their stomachs or backs anyway.)
Jimin’s not expecting to be woken up by the door slamming open and female voices filling the air. “Taehyung-ah, are you awake – oh.”
The covers have been ripped from them unceremoniously and Jimin winces at the sudden light. When he can see again, there’s a duo he vaguely recognizes as the Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy he met at the Halloween party. Taehyung’s friends – Wheein and Hyejin? Something like that. He’s too sleepy for names right now. Both of them are wearing similar expressions of sheepish delight. He groans unhappily, kicking at Taehyung’s calf to wake him up.
“No,” Taehyung grumbles in response. They’ve shifted in their sleep so that they’re facing each other but Taehyung’s still got his arms around Jimin’s shoulders.
Jimin avoids eye contact with Wheein and Hyejin. He doesn’t want to show any weakness. “You have company,” he mutters.
Taehyung lets out a long suffering sigh as he strains his eyes open. His face falls when he sees the girls, throwing an arm over his face. “How did you even get in,” is all he says to them.
Hyejin shrugs. “You left your door unlocked. You really need to stop doing that.”
“Yeah, did we…interrupt something?” Wheein’s trying to look serious but her lips keep twitching into a smile. It’s not like that, Jimin wants to protest but he’s definitely too groggy to think about speaking real human words.
“Yeah, you interrupted our sleep,” Taehyung mutters grumpily. Hyejin raises her hands up in the universal ‘we come in peace’ sign.
“Hey, we just need your psych notes. Then we’ll leave you two lovebirds alone.”
Jimin’s ready to tell them that they’re definitely not “lovebirds” but loses his chance when Taehyung points to his backpack with a grunt and pulls him back under the covers. “Don’t come back,” he snaps. Wow, Jimin’s never seen Taehyung this grumpy. Unsurprisingly, it makes him all the more endearing.
There’s some giggles and hushed whispering as the girls grab what they need, the gentle shut of the door indicating their departure. Taehyung’s still grumbling under his breath about rude friends and interrupting sleep when Jimin remembers.
He sits up suddenly despite Taehyung’s protesting whines. “No, stop that, you said you’d run with me.”
Taehyung looks absolutely devastated. “I thought you were kidding!” he wails as Jimin slides off of the bed and starts rummaging in his closet for the athletic wear he knows Taehyung owns. He’s pretty sure he buys them for the aesthetic and not actual exercise since they all look new. “Jimbles, please. Come back to bed.”
“When was the last time you went running Taetae?” Jimin asks, completely ignoring his objections. He lets out a triumphant yell when he finds two pairs of exercise shorts.
“Voluntarily? When was the last year you had to do gym in high school? Jimin, please put the shorts down.”
He tries a peaceful approach for almost ten minutes until his patience runs out and Jimin nearly tears Taehyung’s sweater off, immediately regretting it when he gets more than an eyeful of tanned, smooth skin. Taehyung’s too busy shrieking about his virtue to notice Jimin slapping his face repeatedly to get a hold of himself.
It takes almost an hour but they manage to go running. Taehyung collapses when they’re heading back to his building, demanding Jimin piggy-back him back to the room. Jimin complies only because he’s so genuinely delighted at seeing the normally unfazed Taehyung reduced to a sweaty sobbing mess.
“I know running is good for you,” he complains loudly, resting his head against Jimin’s. “But at what cost? At what cost?”
“You totally stole that line from somewhere,” Jimin snickers, adjusting his weight on his shoulders. “By the way, since we already ran, no waffles for breakfast. Time to eat your vegetables.”
He’s never heard Taehyung sound so distraught. “I let you sleep in my bed and you force me to run at an ungodly hour – “
“It’s nine in the morning.”
“ – and now you’re taking away waffles from me? You’re actually the devil, aren’t you? Come to torment me for my past sins.”
“Stop being dramatic.”
He doesn’t know how it happens but from that point on things gradually change between them. Instead of accidental sleepovers, they actually start initiating them, both of them aware of the comfortable air around them but never discussing it aloud. Jimin starts spending more time in Taehyung’s room than he does his own, even on nights when Jeongguk doesn’t have Yoongi over. He can’t help it – being with Taehyung is fun.
Most of the time, they’re just lazing around. Case in point – Jimin’s sitting up against the headboard with Taehyung’s head in his lap, the both of them on their phones, playing their respective games. Taehyung’s Love Live-ing it as he always does while Jimin’s tapping away on Piano Tiles, determined to beat Taehyung’s high score. Taehyung’s decided to start a game of ‘twenty-five questions’ but really it’s just forty questions and Jimin’s the only one answering.
“Chicken or pizza?”
“If there’s beer, pizza. Any other time, chicken.”
“Boxers or briefs?”
Jimin misses the next tap by a second. He reaches down to flick Taehyung’s forehead. “Why are you such a pervert? Briefs.”
Taehyung yelps in pain, scrunching his nose up at him. “How do you let the little guy breathe?”
“I’m not dignifying that with an answer.”
“Fine. Pokemon Gold or Pokemon Blue?”
“Good answer. Star Wars or Star Trek?”
“Star Wars,” Jimin answers absentmindedly as he loads up a new game. Taehyung’s quiet for more than thirty seconds, a rarity when the two of them are together, so Jimin looks down to see what’s up only to be met with an outraged Taehyung’s hands slapping at him. His phone falls to the bed.
“I can’t believe you!”
“Tae, what the hell, I almost beat your score!”
“Star Trek is eons better than Star Wars!”
Jimin lets out a huffy sigh. “Star Trek also has a thousand episodes. No, thanks.”
“A thousand episodes of thrilling adventure and space!”
“They both take place in space, Taehyung,” he deadpans back. Taehyung takes no notice of him, continuing to express his disbelief over Jimin choosing Star Wars. "Listen," he cuts in. "Star Wars has lightsabers. It's an automatic win."
Taehyung looks positively disgusted with him. “You didn’t tell me you were uncultured swine, Jiminie.”
Jimin echoes him, lowering his voice comically. “I didn’t know you were uncultured swine, Jiminie.”
His mouth flattens into a grim line. “Final question. This will determine whether or not we can stay friends, so you better answer properly.”
Jimin straightens up in mock seriousness. “Give it to me, I’m ready.”
“Who’s the best girl?”
Jimin resists the urge to roll his eyes. Love Live. Of course. “Hanayo, obviously.”
There’s silence for a moment before Taehyung tackles him to the bed, forcing him on his back. Briefly, Jimin wonders if he’s going to strangle him for the wrong answer but then he realizes Taehyung is hugging him. “What’s with you, weirdo?”
“You answered Hanayo,” Taehyung’s voice is emotional. “I’m so proud. I was ready to kill you if you said Umi.”
“Hey! Umi’s voice is nice!”
“Umi’s voice is nice,” he agrees looking up at Jimin with twinkling eyes. “But you said Hanayo. I’m the Rin to your Pana!”
Jimin scrunches his nose. “Alright, but Rin is like ten times cuter than you.”
Taehyung smothers him with his sleeves, shouting indignantly.
Jimin’s known from the start that he couldn’t keep Taehyung a secret from Jeongguk forever. His roommate had finally started demanding answers to his whereabouts. (“You haven’t slept here in a week!” he accuses. Jimin pragmatically decides not to tell him that it’s actually closer to a month. He doesn’t need to know. It’s really for the best.)
But still, when he and Taehyung run into Jeongguk and Yoongi on a Saturday at the entrance to Jimin’s favorite tofu house, the other two clearly on a date, Jimin’s first impulse is to run.
“Taetae, let’s go somewhere else,” he urges, ready to turn the opposite direction, ignoring the confused expression on Jeongguk’s face. He could deal with this later. But of course, Jeongguk ruins it all, heading over to Jimin in determined steps, dragging Yoongi along with him
“Jimin hyung!” he exclaims through clenched teeth. “What a coincidence! I thought you were studying?” Jimin winces a little at the sharp tone. Earlier when Jeongguk had asked what his plans were for today, he had said studying. He and Taehyung had actually gone into the city. Jeongguk’s gaze travels over to Taehyung. “Who’s this?”
Taehyung doesn’t have to answer because Yoongi does it for him. “Oh, Taehyung.”
Jeongguk’s eyes narrow suspiciously. “Taehyung?”
“Yoongi hyung!” Taehyung yells back excitedly.
“Yoongi hyung?” Jimin repeats in alarm.
Jeongguk’s gaze flickers between Taehyung and Yoongi. “Hyung?”
Yoongi scratches behind his head, clearly uncomfortable from being put on the spot. “Ah, Taehyungie is my annoying dongsaeng neighbor from Daegu.”
“Rude!” Taehyung thumps his fist into his palm in a sudden realization. “Oh! Jimbles! Hyung’s boyfriend is your asshole roommate? What a small world!”
Jeongguk’s mouth drops open in shock. Jimin avoids his affronted gaze. “Asshole roommate? Jimin, what the hell?”
“Sorry?” Taehyung shrugs weakly when Jimin elbows him. He said ‘asshole roommate’ one time and it’s come back to bite him in the ass. “Well I mean you did sexile him the morning of his big exam. Not cool dude.”
“I didn’t sexile him! Wait – how do you even know all this?”
Taehyung beams. “I offered my bed to him while you were getting it on with hyung.”
Yoongi’s face splits into a grin. Jimin gawks unabashedly. Min Yoongi could smile? He didn’t even know he had the facial muscles to smile.
“You’re cheating on me?!” Jeongguk yells at Jimin. “This is why you’re never home?!” Jimin’s too shell shocked to respond to Jeongguk’s rudeness. Yoongi is smiling. Yoongi is smiling. At Taehyung, of all people. Did he somehow transport to an alternate reality?
“What is even going on,” Jimin wonders out loud. Jeongguk shouts out an outraged “that’s what I want to know!” before Yoongi is dragging him away in the opposite direction.
“Come on, Jeonggukie let’s leave the two of them alone.” Jeongguk’s still babbling about Jimin’s betrayal. Yoongi eyes Taehyung seriously. “I expect a phone call, Taehyung.”
“Who even calls anymore?” Taehyung laughs at him, linking arms with Jimin, guiding him into the restaurant. Jimin’s still in shock. “Bye hyung! Enjoy your date!”
Neither of them hear Yoongi calling “you too” back at them.
“So,” Sungjae starts casually, looking at Jimin with an expectant look on his face. It’s the week right before finals so the only time any of them can hang out is during meals at the cafeteria. Jimin meets his gaze with a questioning grunt. Sungjae stares at him for a moment, coughing lightly. “So,” he says again. The rest of them roll their eyes. “Taehyung.”.
This gets everyone’s attention, turning towards Jimin with keen expressions. Jimin doesn’t understand why. All his friends are so weird. He takes his time chewing his chicken before answering. “What about Taehyung?”
Sungjae huffs with annoyance. “Don’t pretend to be cute.”
“I don’t have to pretend – I am cute.” Jimin winks at them cheesily. Nayeon throws a carrot in his face.
“You like him,” Junghwa states firmly after slurping up a mouthful of noodles. This is met with various murmurs of agreement. Jimin gapes at them, bewildered.
“Of course I like him. We’re friends.” He stresses the ‘friends’ as firmly as he can. Nobody responds to that. “You guys!” he whines, pounding on the table with his fists. “It’s not like that!”
“Hey Jimin,” Jeonghan cuts in, pulling out his phone. “Did you know Seungcheol and Taehyung both went to the same high school in Daegu? I have pictures.”
Jimin squints when his vision is suddenly assaulted by bright orange. It only takes a second for him to realize that it’s from Taehyung’s hair. A skinnier, baby-faced Taehyung but still. Orange hair.
“Oh my god,” Jimin gasps in delight, seizing Jeonghan’s phone from his hand. “Oh my god, look at his hair! What a mess! You have to send these to me.” He cackles to himself for a moment, looking up to wave the phone at his friends. “Guys look – “ he trails off at the various expressions of disdain and amusement. Jeonghan coughs from next to him.
“You see that? I reacted like that when I saw pictures of Seungcheolie’s blonde hair. You don’t react like that to anyone.” Seungcheol and Jeonghan have been dating for a while now. Everyone’s sure they’re going to get married.
Jimin’s cheeks burn nervously. Oh god. They planned this. “Anybody would react like that,” he protests. “Look at his hair.”
Sanghyuk lets out an incredulous snort. “I hear you sleep over there every night.”
“What, not every ni – “
“He brings you coffee to genetics. Every class. At eight am.” Nayeon interrupts indignantly. Jimin gulps at her words. He can’t refute that. Despite their conflicting schedules, he and Taehyung make it a point to visit each other at work and class, Taehyung being his savior in the early mornings with coffee and Jimin dropping off lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Taehyung’s stuck with his back to back classes.
“Okay but – “
“You’ve skipped game night two times already because of him,” Junghwa accuses with a deadly glare.
“Um – “
“I bet you even have a toothbrush at his room,” Jeonghan adds on. He actually does but that doesn’t mean anything! He likes brushing his teeth first thing in the morning! Sue him for wanting to be hygienic!
“You so like him!” Sungjae cries out. Jimin sputters, reaching over to cover his mouth, looking around in case any of Taehyung’s friends are around to hear. He doesn’t need this right now, on top of finals stress? Again, he reminds himself to get better friends.
“Speak of the devil and he shall appear,” Sanghyuk mutters under his breath. Jimin pauses in choking Sungjae, turning his head to see Taehyung stumbling into the cafeteria. He perks up – they haven’t properly hung out all week – but his excitement dies when he notices how haggard he looks.
“Be right back,” he mutters, getting up without sparing his friends a second glance. Sanghyuk pretends to gag on his food. Junghwa slaps him.
Taehyung paints a dismal picture where he stands in line, shoulders slumped, eyes dead like a fish, hair unkempt. Jimin slides beside him, nudging his hip against Taehyung’s. “Hey.”
He slowly turns his head in Jimin’s direction. “Jimbles,” he greets tiredly, his smile a pale imitation of his usual, voice raspy with sickness. Jimin frowns at him.
“You look like shit.”
“Aren’t you a sweetheart,” Taehyung replies dryly. Even his sarcasm is half-hearted. He lets out a soft sigh when Jimin presses a hand to his forehead.
“Tae, you’re burning up.” Taehyung whines when Jimin pulls his hand away, looking over him in alarm. He doesn’t understand, the last time they met up for a quick coffee he had been completely fine.
“Mmfine. I just finished a paper and came to get food when I realized I didn’t eat since like….eight.”
“Eight am?” It’s almost six in the evening right now. “Have you even slept?!” Jimin demands.
He blinks at him, looking down at his fingers. “I got…two – no wait, three? I got three sleep.”
Jimin hopes he means hours. “Tae, you’re sick.”
“I’m fine!” Taehyung waves off his concerns. “I’m the picture of perfect health. My body is a temple.”
“You eat Hot Cheetos for breakfast.”
“That happened one time.”
Jimin sighs a little. “Come on, we’re getting you soup.” He drags Taehyung to the ‘healthy’ section of the dining hall, taking no mind of Taehyung’s whimpers for pasta. He grabs an extra-large to-go container of kimchi stew while Taehyung fills his arms with bottles of orange juice. He bites back his comment about how it’s only effective to drink it before getting sick.
“Let me get my stuff and we’ll go, okay?”
Taehyung nods miserably. Jimin tries not to react at the smug expressions on his friends’ faces as he makes his way to the table. “Uh, I’ll see you guys later,” he mumbles, sliding his backpack over his shoulder.
“Oh don’t let us keep you,” Junghwa simpers, batting her eyelashes. Nayeon giggles.
“Hey Taehyung!” Sungjae shouts, waving at where Taehyung is waiting for him by the door. Taehyung waves back tiredly. Jimin glares at Sungjae. “What? I can’t say hi? He was my friend first.”
“Ooh, possessive,” Sanghyuk teases.
“I hate all of you,” Jimin laments, flipping them all off before stomping away.
He should’ve known this would happen but Taehyung is a shit patient. He was agreeable in public but getting him to drink the stew as well as some cold medicine is a nightmare. “I’m not sick! I need to edit!” He shrieks in protest as Jimin forces the pills in his face.
“Edit tomorrow, you need to sleep!” Jimin argues back. They struggle for a little longer until Jimin predictably overpowers him. “Take the pills Taehyung,” he says calmly. Taehyung swears at him the whole time.
It’s only later when the pills kick in and Jimin makes Taehyung tea that he shows any gratitude. “You’re an angel,” he whimpers, slightly delirious, as he takes small careful sips. “A muscly angel.”
Jimin snickers under his breath. “You know, that’s what I thought of you too when I first met you?”
Taehyung lights up. “I remember that! So cute.”
Jimin nods, blatantly ignoring the ‘cute’ comment. Taehyung’s delusional right now, his words can’t be trusted. “Yeah, but now I actually know you.”
His face falls. “Meaaaaaanie. I take it back.”
“Too late. I’m your angel,” Jimin jokes, flicking Taehyung in the forehead. Taehyung yelps, bringing the covers over his head to protect himself. “Okay seriously, stop fighting the meds and go to sleep.”
He slides down the blanket so that only Taehyung’s eyes are uncovered, peering up at him equal parts sleepy and defiant. “Don’t wanna.”
“Tough luck.” Jimin begins tucking Taehyung in, even folding the blanket underneath his feet. When he’s all finished, Taehyung’s eyes are already half closed.
“I take it back again,” he yawns. “You’re an angel. The Bones to my Kirk.”
“You wish you were as cool as Captain Kirk.”
When Taehyung finally falls asleep, Jeonghan texts him the orange-haired pictures from before as well as Taehyung with lavender hair during freshman year. Jimin nearly throws his phone against the wall when he opens them. The image of Taehyung in dark eyeliner, a leather jacket and soft lavender locks haunts him for the rest of the week.
Finals week is brutal. Jimin’s unfortunate enough to have two exams on the first day and already accepts his fate with relative calm. Forget passing his other two finals, he’s not even going to make it alive through the first day.
After his second exam, he doesn’t even feel like a real human being, going past the point of exhaustion to entering a sort of zen that can only be achieved through the dangerous combination of sleep deprivation and caffeine overdose.
It’s almost funny that even now, body feeling light and electric, mind buzzing into a dull numbness, that he thinks of Taehyung. He takes out his phone, blinking tiredly at the brightness of his screen.
jimin: is it ok if i come over?
He doesn’t even wait ten seconds for the reply to come, very enthusiastic with multiple exclamation points and emojis.
taehyung: im waiting for u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s like all the tension is squeezed out of his body as soon as he walks into Taehyung’s room, the other boy looking just as dead as him but still smiling brightly, fully recovered from his cold. He practically collapses against Taehyung, letting him wrap his arms around his waist and drag him inside.
“I hate genetics,” he mumbles as Taehyung tugs him into bed. Taehyung laughs gently in response, ruffling his hair, fond and affectionate.
“You don’t ever have to think about genetics again. Unless you take a follow up class. In that case – I’m sorry.”
“Please shut up,” Jimin tries to sound angry but he just pushes his head against Taehyung’s hand in a quiet demand for more pets. He mimght be dead inside but he's not going to pass up cuddling. Plus he's come to learn, in the accidental moments when Taehyung does these kinds of gestures, that he's got magic fingers. It’s like this, with Taehyung gently stroking his hair, inhaling strawberries that Jimin drifts to sleep.
A stress dream startles him back up an hour later, panic overtaking his mind as he blinks awake, where am I what’s happening did I miss genetics rushing through his brain. He takes several deep breaths to calm down as soon as the features of Taehyung’s bedroom sharpen in his vision. He’s fine, no tests missed, it’s all good.
Arms looped around him tightly, drooling onto his pillow, Taehyung continues to snooze. Jimin bites back a laugh at his slack, open-mouthed expression, carefully maneuvering for his phone to snap a couple of pics. So ugly, he thinks gleefully. Taehyung looks unreasonably handsome from all angles so it gives him a sick sense of satisfaction to be able to capture the rare unflattering moments.
Taehyung lets out a little moan, shifting a little, pulling Jimin in closer. He wants to grimace at the sudden proximity to his spit but it’s overcome by a warm fluttering feeling that spreads in his chest. He is just so fond of the other boy, it’s unbearable. The fluttering intensifies along with his heart beat until he’s pretty sure he’s going to choke just from staring at Taehyung.
The moment is broken by Jimin’s phone, ringing loudly with an incoming call. He swears quietly to himself as he fumbles with it to decline the call but Taehyung is already starting to wake. It takes a moment for him to gather his bearings but soon he’s smiling softly at Jimin. “Hey,”
Jimin swallows. Get a hold of yourself. “Hey sleepyhead.”
Taehyung laughs, the sound rough with sleep. Jimin’s heart continues to pound heavily in his chest. “Very sleepy. What time is it?”
He glances at his phone quickly. “Um, five.”
Taehyung makes a displeased noise. “It's barely been an hour.”
“Yeah,” Jimin shifts a little in an attempt to get out. “I should probably go study some more…
Taehyung’s grip around his waist tightens. “Stay?” he murmurs hopefully, eyes peeking open just a bit. “Just for a few hours?”
Jimin’s hesitant. “My next final is in two days…”
Taehyung’s bottom lip juts out. “Please? I always sleep better when you’re around.”
Jimin’s heart flutters again.
“Hey Jimin, are you staying for winter session?” Jeongguk asks him from his side of the room. Jimin turns to him with a frown.
“It’s hyung,” he protests. “And yeah, actually I am. Gotta take anatomy.” He makes a face. Jeongguk mirrors it.
“That sucks, dude. You gonna stay here or with Taehyung hyung?”
“First of all, I can’t believe you call him hyung and not me. Second of all – why would I stay with him when I live here?”
Jeongguk looks at Jimin like he’s said something very stupid.
“Obviously you’d stay with your boyfriend and not me.”
“Boyfriend?” Jimin sputters. Taehyung is a boy and his friend but not his boyfriend. Sure, there were cuddles on a weekly basis and sometimes they even held hands but no. Totally platonic. Like, the most platonic. Really. “Taehyung’s not my boyfriend, Gukkie!”
“Wait, you’re not dating? Like, seriously?” His voice is genuinely shocked, totally devoid of his usual sarcasm.
“We’re just friends,” Jimin insists weakly, feeling a little self-conscious under his incredulous stare. He tries to turn it around on him. “We just clicked. You know how that happens? I know you have like three friends including me and Yoongi hyung but still.”
Jeongguk rolls his eyes, ignoring the dig at his social skills. “There’s a chance I might have maybe believed you if you guys weren’t constantly having sleepovers. That’s not friendly. That’s Gay, with a capital g.”
His cheeks heat up. “We aren’t doing anything!” he protests hotly. “We really are just sleeping!”
“Uh-huh,” Jeongguk drawls. Jimin doesn’t know what else he could possibly say so he resorts to the one thing he knows works every time – violence. He throws one of his erasers straight at Jeongguk’s forehead, letting out a triumphant yell when it hits its mark, catching Jeongguk off-guard. “Hyung, you asshole!”
Jimin just huffs at him before turning back to his desk. He doesn’t have time for this. He has finals to study for.
The thing is, in the deep recesses of Jimin’s mind, he knows that everyone’s right. He likes Taehyung a lot. A lot, a lot. He’s never connected with anyone as easily as he has with Taehyung and while he’s definitely best friend-platonic-soulmate material, he is also, tragically so, boyfriend material. So boyfriend material that Jimin wants to die.
Speaking of which, his phone lights up with a message from Taehyung.
taetae: hey im at sbux do u want anythin???? i can bring food too just lemme kno. HOPE STUDYIN IS GOIN GOOD
Jimin lets out a little whimper. Boyfriend material.
“I hate schooooool,” Taehyung yells loudly as they make their way to class. Winter break came and went all too quickly. Jimin had enjoyed a cozy Christmas with his family – his mom’s cooking was so good he actually cried a little bit. Jihyun had it filmed, the little shit. Taehyung sent him Snapchats over the break detailing his hectic Christmas, complete with his huge extended family. Jimin’s favorite video was when Taehyung had tried to wish him a Merry Christmas only to be bombarded by several small children and one large dog. He had it saved, much to Taehyung’s dismay.
“I can’t believe it was just Christmas yesterday,” Taehyung continues with a deep sigh. “Whose sick idea was it to have winter session start the day after?”
“Well it was our sick idea to take winter session in the first place,” Jimin reminds him.
Taehyung puffs his cheeks out, swinging his arms around Jimin’s neck. “At least we’re together!” he says cheerfully. “I still need to get you a Christmas present.”
Jimin grins at Taehyung’s thoughtfulness. “You don’t have to get me anything, Tae.”
“But I want to!” he whines. “What do you want?”
He pretends to think about it. “Hmm. Do my laundry for all of the next year?”
“You’re just asking me to screw with your clothes.”
“What about you?” he asks, bringing the focus to Taehyung. “If you get me something, I have to get you something too.”
“Oh, I don’t really get Christmas presents. Since my birthday’s only a few days after, my parents usually get me one huge present. My grandma gets me presents for both though. It’s what grandmas do.”
Jimin’s taken by surprise. “Your birthday? When’s your birthday?”
“What!” Jimin squawks, shoving at Taehyung’s chest. “What the hell you didn’t tell me anything!”
“It says so on my Facebook profile!” Taehyung defends. “Stop hitting me!”
“That’s in four days,” Jimin complains with a final smack. “What am I supposed to do?”
Taehyung’s expression softens. “Aw, you don’t have to do anything, Jimin.”
Jimin’s not paying attention to him, phone already out, going on Amazon. “I could buy you a body pillow of your waifu.”
“…What kind of sick pervert do you think I am?!”
“A pervert that likes 2D girls.”
Their ensuing wrestling match makes them both late to the first day of their winter classes. Neither of their professors is very amused.
Later that night, Jimin refuses to stay in Taehyung’s room, spending the night frantically searching for a present that’s relatively inexpensive and will ship by Friday. Also something that’ll actually suit Taehyung. Jimin doesn’t like to cop out on gifts that don’t have any meaning to them. Call him sentimental but stuff like this has to be personal.
So of course it’s close to two am when something finally catches his eye. It’s just a black jacket but the hood has an odd design – a monster’s face baring its teeth. It's no bear but it's weirdly cute in its own way. Perfect for Taehyung.
Telling himself that he’ll make sure to buy Taehyung food on his actual birthday as well, Jimin adds it to his cart and makes the purchase, whimpering a little at how the shipping price bumps up the total. Then, he passes out right in front of his laptop.
Friday comes with little fanfare though Jimin goes out of his way to buy several noisemakers to wake Taehyung up with. “Happy birthday!” he crows loudly, jumping up and down on his bed. “You’re 21 now, how does that feel? If you were born literally two days later, you’d have to call me hyung! Be grateful, brat.”
“It’s four in the morning,” Taehyung shouts back, hiding under his body pillow. “For the love of God, shut the hell up.”
When he’s fully awake, Taehyung’s beyond excited though, taking time to go through every single text, voicemail and social media message wishing him happy birthday. Jimin watches his eyes get shiny with tears, affection blooming in his chest.
He lets Taehyung take control of the first half of the day, the birthday boy wanting to engage in a bunch of ridiculous activities: getting ice cream for breakfast, skateboarding through the mostly empty campus, kicking Jimin’s ass in Mario Kart. He lets him win, of course.
Closer to evening, Jimin presents his terribly wrapped present to an ecstatic Taehyung. “It’s not much,” he warns as Taehyung starts ripping the paper off. “Delete all your expectations.”
“Jiminie!” Taehyung wails happily when he pulls the jacket out of the box. “This is awesome!” He quickly sheds his own sweater to put it on, zipping it up all the way and tugging the hood over his head. “Does it look sick? Don’t lie, dude.”
Jimin laughs as he gives him the thumbs up, pleased that Taehyung is so happy with his gift. “Looks totally sick dude.”
Taehyung starts digging again in the box. “What else is here?”
He blinks. There’s something else? He only ordered the one jacket. They’re both surprised when Taehyung pulls out another one, identical to the one he’s wearing except maybe a size smaller.
Oh shit. Jimin’s heart sinks down to his stomach when he realizes. There are two. Two. It wasn’t pricey because of the shipping, it was pricey because it was a set. He just got Taehyung couple jackets for his birthday.
“Oh my god,” he mumbles out loud. Taehyung’s still peering at the second jacket curiously, turning it around to see if it looks any different from the first one. “They’re the same, Tae. I thought I was buying just one but – “ he trails off with a groan. How did he fail so badly? He’s never doing anything sleep deprived ever again.
“No it’s perfect!” Taehyung insists as he pushes the jacket in Jimin’s hands. “We match now. It’s awesome. We’re like Jessie and James.”
“Of all the characters to compare us to…” Jimin mumbles, looking at the jacket forlornly. He still can’t believe this. Couple jackets. Goddamn couple jackets.
“Put it on, put it on,” Taehyung urges. Jimin sighs heavily as he strips of his original jacket, slipping on the matching one. He zips it up, tugging the hood on as well. Taehyung lets out a gleeful shriek. Jimin sighs again.
It fits perfectly.
He indulges Taehyung for ten minutes of selcas, ignoring the hysterical little voice in his head repeating couple jackets, couple selcas, couple jackets, couple selcas until he’s finally had enough. He seizes Taehyung’s phone, sliding it into his pocket to hold it captive.
“Come on, time for part two of your birthday.”
Taehyung practically vibrates on the spot. “Meat?!” he asks excitedly.
Jimin confirms with a nod. “All you can eat.”
Later, with their bellies stuffed to the brim (This is the first and last time Jimin’s going out alone with Taehyung for all you can eat. He’s genuinely shocked at the amount consumed today and sends a quiet prayer to Taehyung’s mother, bless her heart. Plus their matching outfits had garnered a lot of attention.) they collapse into bed, facing each other, stinking of pork belly and grease.
Taehyung enters into his food coma quickly which doesn’t surprise Jimin. That boy can sleep anywhere in any position. It’s remarkable really. Jimin traces his face gently with his finger, from the mole on the tip of his nose down to his cheeks. Taehyung has really nice bone structure, sharp jawline and defined cheekbones. He stares at his face for longer than necessary, an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach that he knows is not from overeating. It’s squirmy and coiling, heat and dread all mixed up together in some pathetic lovesick package.
There’s a brief worry that Taehyung will wake up to see him poking at him like a complete creep. “Yah,” he whispers quietly, tapping Taehyung’s shoulder very gently. Just like he thought, Taehyung doesn’t budge, lost in a sound and heavy sleep. He relaxes again.
Taehyung’s hair is getting long, the fringe covering his eyes. Jimin brushes the hair back so tenderly, he grimaces a second afterwards. That’s the perfect word to describe his feelings though; tender, heart going warm and gooey every time Taehyung’s face lights up in a smile.
This is not a bromance. This is terrifying.
Jimin, who has always been friendly but cautious, can’t believe how easy this is; to lie in bed with a guy he’s only known for a few months and feel more at ease than in bed by himself. Every second with Taehyung is intoxicating and he’s addicted to the warm, thrilling vibes he’s been giving off since day one. It’s terrible how much he wants to sink his teeth into even more.
He takes a shuddering breath.
“Yah,” he whispers quietly in the dark. “I think I really like you.”
Taehyung snores loudly in response.
They only get one day off for New Year’s so neither of them go home. Yoongi’s having a small party at his place so that’s where they end up going for the night (Jeongguk spams them both with angry emojis, roped into family obligations so unable to take the train up to celebrate with them), bundled up in coats and scarves, two bottles of cheap wine in their hands as offerings.
Jimin throws a fit when they reach their apartment. For whatever reason, Jimin always expected that Yoongi lived in some shitty apartment with shitty roommates in a shitty neighborhood. This is not the case at all. “Your place is nice, hyung!” he shouts, pointing at an amused Yoongi “So much nicer than our dorm room! Why the hell do you stay over so much!”
Yoongi shrugs. “I care about Jeongguk’s education,” he responds snarkily. Jimin lets out a shrill little scream.
“You care – don’t start – I’m gonna – “ Taehyung drags Jimin away to the snacks, leaving behind a cackling Yoongi.
“I can’t believe you used to be scared of him.” Taehyung watches Jimin stuff cheese and crackers into his mouth aggressively. He pours Jimin a cup of the plum wine they brought to wash down the alarming amount of food he has in his mouth.
It takes Jimin a good thirty seconds to swallow everything. “I was never scared!” he snaps back. Taehyung raises his eyebrow at him. Jimin chugs down the wine, ignoring him. He winces at the taste. “Oh man, that tastes so cheap.”
“Let me try?” Taehyung takes a swig, face going sour instantly. “Jesus, we can’t let anyone else drink this. We’ll never be invited again.”
“Agreed,” Jimin pouts as he fills up another cup. May his liver rest in peace. Taehyung gets his own cup and they knock them together in a gloomy toast before downing them quickly.
They’re already halfway drunk by the time dinner is served. Yoongi’s roommate, Seokjin, cooked most of the food and it is absolutely amazing. Taehyung and Jimin literally cry at the first few bites and take a minute to get down on their knees and bow to the flustered Seokjin.
“Don’t tell my eomma this, but you cook way better than her,” Jimin tells him with a mouth full of sweetly marinated beef. Seokjin laughs squeakily at that.
The night continues on merrily, Yoongi much more sociable with alcohol in his system, taking the time to introduce Taehyung and Jimin to the other guests. Jimin finds out that every single thug rumor about Yoongi is completely untrue and he’s a perfectly respectable up and coming music producer at a relatively well known studio. He should introduce Namjoon hyung to him.
“I could’ve told you that,” Taehyung guffaws when Jimin whispers his realizations in his ear. “Yoongi hyung is like a cat. Soft and cuddly.”
“I heard that,” Yoongi shouts from the other room, making a threatening gesture towards Taehyung. Taehyung just grins.
“Wait until he gets some tequila in him.”
Jimin’s almost afraid to ask. “What happens with tequila?”
He finds out what happens with tequila just as it hits midnight. “Happy new year,” Yoongi shouts drunkenly. “I miss you, Jeonggukie!”
“Oh my god,” Jimin whispers in absolute wonder as Yoongi tries to climb on the table, waving his sparkler around, singing an old trot song very loudly. A frazzled Seokjin is behind him, trying to tug him down “watch out for the food, watch out for the food!” He’s too drunk to take a video of this but he doesn’t need it – he’ll remember this for the rest of his life. He’ll pass it on to his children. This moment, sponsored by tequila, will never die.
“I know right?” Taehyung doesn’t let him look for too long, spinning Jimin around and catching him tight in a bear-hug. He squeezes tightly and Jimin positively melts into the embrace
“Happy new year, Jiminie,” Taehyung’s eyes are twinkling when he pulls away. Jimin’s whole body is buzzing – from the alcohol, from the warmth of Taehyung’s embrace, from everything.
“Does this mean you’re discarding Jimbles?” he asks quietly. Taehyung moves in closer to hear him, arms still around Jimin’s waist. Jimin’s are splayed on the middle of his back but if he wanted to, it would easy to loop them around Taehyungs neck. One quick, easy movement. Pulling their faces that much closer together.
He can feel the vibrations of Taehyung’s laugh through his whole body. “Maybe. New year, and all that.”
“New year, new me,” Jimin tries to joke back but Taehyung’s staring at him with a strange, soft expression, default boxy grin absent from his face. His mouth is red and wet from the plum wine and Jimin is struck by how much he wants to lean and press against it. The strobe lights are lighting his face up in an array of colors, Jimin’s drunk vision painting him as some sort of crazy beautiful, ethereal creature.
Makes sense to see him that way. He’s always thought Taehyung was too good to be real.
He licks his lips nervously, heart pounding loud in his chest when he watches as Taehyung’s eyes darken at the motion. This is it, this is the moment, the one that movies always build up to, the one that has people leaning on the edge of their seat with anticipation even if they know exactly what’s going to happen. He half expects the rest of the room to burst into song Little Mermaid style as he gets on his tiptoes, leaning up to Taehyung, closer and closer…
Jimin watches Taehyung’s lips part and his eyelashes flutter, head moving towards Jimin’s so slowly, as if time and space have frozen just for this moment to happen. He wants this, he wants this bad.
The only question is, does he want it like this?
He stops for just a sliver of a second. Then Jimin changes course, tilting his head, sticking his tongue and sliding it down Taehyung’s cheek. He lets out a shaky laugh at Taehyung’s aghast expression, backing away from him. “Happy new year, Tae.”
Taehyung’s eyes narrow as he wipes the saliva off his cheek. “Come here. Right now.”
He laughs for real as Taehyung starts to give chase, running around the living room drunkenly, crashing into several guests. They accidentally start a dogpile, with Yoongi at the very bottom. Seokjin watches it all happen from the kitchen with a pained expression, glass of whiskey in one hand. It’s a good way to start off the New Year.
Neither of them bring up New Year’s again and the last two weeks of winter session are spent peacefully with the two of them spending early hours in the library getting shit done and the evening hours dedicated to karaoke. Jimin’s surprised at the lovely timber of Taehyung’s voice and forces him to do several ballads in a row for him. Occasionally, they’ll meet up with some other friends but for the most part it’s just the two of them.
It’s getting close to the end of winter session when Jimin starts thinking about the almost kiss again, incoming finals lowering his mental defenses. He doesn’t want to admit it but it’s totally messed with his mojo, waking up in the middle of the night after a particularly heated dream, desires fueled by the warmth of Taehyung’s sleeping body and the constant smell of strawberries. It’s hard to keep things platonic when he wants to shove his tongue down Taehyung’s throat.
Right now, Taehyung’s taking a cat nap as Jimin lies stiff beside him, agonizing over his thoughts. He’s been attracted to Taehyung since their very first encounter but it’s been easy to just repress all of his inappropriate feelings and ignore everyone’s comments. But ever since New Year’s, Jimin can physically feel everything he’s been pushing down, start to resurface, fighting against his lid, threatening to spill over.
It’s overwhelming him. So even though he really, really does not want to, he knows it’s time to do something about it. For his sanity. Otherwise, he just might end up doing something to Taehyung in his sleep. Ending up in jail.
Jimin rolls to his side so that he’s facing Taehyung. He takes a moment to admire his sleeping features. He pokes at his forearm incessantly muttering “hey, hey, hey,” until Taehyung opens his eyes blearily.
“What,” he rasps out, voice rough with sleep. Jimin likes this voice. He likes all of Taehyung’s voices but this one is especially nice. No lie, he wants to hear it rough with something else. Okay, time to stop this train of thought.
“Um,” he wets his lips nervously. “Can we talk about something?”
“Something,” Taehyung deadpans before sliding his eyes close again. Jimin groans and shakes his shoulder.
“No, I’m serious! Listen to me!”
Ugh. Taehyung is the worst. Jimin gnaws at his lip, anxiety building up inside him as he tries to figure out how to broach the subject delicately. Of course when he opens his mouth, what comes out is far from delicate: “Does it feel like we’re dating?”
Taehyung’s eyes fly back open. “Uh,” the sleep is gone from his voice replaced by some high pitched anxiety. His eyes are wide with something and Jimin despairs to find that he can’t identify it. “I don’t know? Does it?”
Jimin flushes. It’s not a good kind of flush either. The kind he gets when he fucks up during a presentation and has to babble for five seconds to get back on track. Only now, he doesn’t know how to do that. “I don’t know,” he mutters back. “That’s why I asked you.” His throat’s closing up on him. This was so stupid. A mistake. Time to google how to leap back in time.
“Sorry, this is awkward. I’m gonna go - “
“Hey wait,” Taehyung’s hands are grabbing at him, keeping him still, preventing his escape. Jimin looks away, face turning redder under Taehyung’s intense stare. “You said you want to talk about it? We can talk. Let’s talk. Talking is good.” He shifts so that he’s sitting up, pulling Jimin with him so that they’re face to face.
“This is weird,” Jimin groans out loud, burying his face in his forearm. One of Taehyung’s hands move to the back of his head to stroke at it, hesitant but comforting.
“It’s only weird if you make it weird.” Jimin remembers how Taehyung said it to him the first time they met. It’s different now, the words soft and shy. Tentative. A sudden thought occurs to him that maybe, perhaps, he’s not alone in this?
“Um,” Jimin keeps his face buried, not sure if he can look at Taehyung while he says this. Taehyung continues to stroke his hair. “It’s just that. The shit that we do – Junghwa says it’s domestic, did you know that? I don’t know if your friends give you any shit but they’ve been teasing me since that Halloween party and I – “
He takes a deep breath here, steeling his nerves, summoning all of his courage. “I really like you.” Taehyungs hand stops and he hears his breath hitch. This propels Jimin forward. “As a friend of course, you’re great. I don’t have anyone like you. But it’s also more than that?”
Wow, this has got to be the worst confession in his history of living. Worse than at fourteen when he wrote a cheesy letter to the pretty co-captain of his dance club and compared her to seaweed because she dyed the tips of her hair green.
Seize the day, you imbecile, a voice sounding too much like Yoongi scolds him. Jimin exhales shakily as he lifts his head up to lock gazes with Taehyung who’s been completely silent and still throughout his failure of a confession. Time to give it to him straight.
“I like you, Kim Taehyung. Not just as bros.”
There’s a moment of suffocating silence. Taehyung is staring at him intensely and Jimin can feel his heart accelerating to an unhealthy rate. He just needs Taehyung to say something, anything, before he dies of cardiac arrest right on his bed.
“It’s the same for me,” Taehyung’s the quietest he’s ever heard him, words a low rumble. “I have a lot of friends obviously, but nothing like how we are. The past few months have been really fun.”
Oh god, Jimin thinks wildly. He’s gonna reject me. Time to book it out of South Korea and live his life as a hermit out in the Himalayas.
Taehyung places his hand on Jimin’s knee, squeezing gently. “Hey, Park Jimin,” he whispers. “I only have you.”
Jimin’s face burns at that implication. What? “What the hell does that mean?”
Taehyung’s forehead wrinkles. “I like you too, dumbass.”
His shoulders relax. “Oh.” Then it hits him, his body freezing in a sort of euphoric shock. “Wait wha – why didn’t you say that then, idiot?!”
Taehyung frowns. Looking closer, Jimin can see beads of sweat on his forehead. “I was trying to be romantic!”
“Great job, Casanova. I thought you were rejecting me.”
He sputters for a moment at Jimin’s response, nails digging into the skin of his knee. “Let’s see you try to be romantic.”
Jimin laughs at him then, a bubble of relieved elation rising through him. He can’t believe this shit. “Come here.”
Taehyung huffs at him but leans in when Jimin does, lips pressing together in a careful, chaste kiss. They pull away quickly, staring at each other, measuring each other’s reactions. “Okay?” Taehyung asks carefully.
Jimin fixes a look of grave disappointment. “That was like kissing your grandma.”
“Oh, you wanna play that game, do you?”
Before he can even blink, Taehyung’s got him pinned to the bed, hands pushing on his shoulders, looking very determined. “I’m gonna kiss the shit out of you,” he declares.
Jimin scoffs a “Bring it on” right as Taehyung swoops down, sliding his mouth against his insistently but still gentle. Jimin’s body is still taut with nerves but Taehyung rubs at his shoulders reassuringly until he melts until his touch and his mouth, sighing happily into the kiss. Taehyung hums in approval, tongue swiping subtly against his bottom lip.
It’s over all too soon, Taehyung pulling away with flushed cheeks, Jimin panting below him. “Does this mean we’re boyfriends or….?” he trails off hesitantly, cupping Jimin’s cheek. Jimin gives him an incredulous look.
“Shut up and kiss me again.”
Taehyung’s grin is absolutely shit-eating. “That’s a yes, isn’t it.”
The next kiss is more aggressive, Taehyung licking into his mouth, pressing his body against Jimin in ways he's only ever dreamed about. Hot, feverish dreams. He's surprised to find as he slides his tongue against Taehyung's that he doesn't actually taste of strawberries. He would be more disappointed about this but then Taehyung does something with his tongue that has Jimin moaning low in his throat.
Several sweet, heated kisses later, a flustered Jimin finally pushes Taehyung off, claiming that they both need to study. Taehyung groans in protest but complies, the two of them sitting up in a familiar position against the wall with their respective textbooks in their laps. The only difference from earlier sessions is their linked hands. Jimin’s sure that this will be counterproductive to studying but he’s too giddy to actually do anything about it. This is real, this is actually happening. He pinches his thigh to be sure. Then he pinches Taehyung. He's never been so happy to hear Taehyung shriek like that.
Not even ten minutes pass and Taehyung's already turning away from his textbook, bumping his shoulder against Jimin's to get his attention. “So, do you wanna maybe be my date for Hobi hyung’s graduation?” he asks cheekily.
“I’ll be your date to everything,” Jimin responds without thinking. When he realizes what he said, he cringes so hard he can feel his face start to cramp. He immediately buries his face into his book, trying to drown out Taehyung’s cackling. If he’s lucky, he’ll suffocate.
“Cute, you’re so cute!” he crows with delight as he pulls a red-faced Jimin up. Jimin groans, unable to meet his eyes.
“I’ve changed my mind. We’re breaking up. Right now.”
He changes his mind again after some very convincing kisses from Taehyung. It’s hard to say no to that tongue.
(On the first day of spring semester, Jeongguk wakes up to the sound of the door slamming open. It’s dark in the room but the light of the hallway is coming in, lighting up what he thinks is Jimin at the entrance. “What’s happenin?” he mutters groggily. Yoongi remains blissfully asleep from next to him.
Jimin’s grinning cheekily. “Get out.”
Jeongguk rubs at his eyes tiredly as he sits up. “Huh?”
Taehyung pops his head from behind Jimin with a cheery, “You’re being sexiled!”
That wakes him up. He stares at them both for a moment, trying to gauge if they’re kidding or not. Their grins don’t disappear. “Are you serious?”
“This is revenge.”
“Revenge – Taehyung has his own room!!” Jeongguk squawks. The two of them have walked in and are tugging the covers off him. He shivers, covering his naked chest instinctively.
Taehyung shrugs at his comment. “Yeah but, it’s the principle of it all. Right, Jiminie?” He turns to face his boyfriend. Jimin nods with solemn agreement.
“You’re absolutely right, Taetae.”
Jeongguk’s starting to think that he liked it better when they were still dancing around each other. “I hate both of you,” he seethes. Clearly, this was a mistake.
His point’s only proven when the two of them wrestle him out of bed and toss him outside in his boxers. They push Yoongi out a little more carefully, being sure to drape a blanket over his shoulders. Jeongguk watches this happen in disbelief, half convinced this is all a dream.
When the door slams shut and Taehyung shouts, “Let’s rock and roll baby!” he realizes with dawning horror that this is just the beginning of a nightmare.)