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we pass in front of a flower shop (and i catch the scent of roses)

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Jimin slips on his brown apron, pins his name badge onto the strap and re-arranges the collar of his simple white polo shirt before stepping out behind the curtain separating the garden and the shop.

“Morning,” he can’t help but call out to the empty shop, and he beams at the sight of all the flowers bathed in the early morning sunlight, the petals opening up towards the golden glow. He bounces forward, methodically inspecting each and every single flower to make sure they aren’t dying, that they’re all watered and they’re growing.

He’s particularly fond of the hydrangeas, having taken care of them from their small bud to their flourishing debut as the bright, colourful flowers that they are. With a small smile, he runs his thumb over the delicate petal, grinning at the feel of the gentle petal against his soft skin. They were going to grow even more, Jimin decides, and he looks around a little nervously before he begins to hum a new song- something from the charts, he figures, and something from a girl group band because the new boy bands’ tunes were erring on the wrong side of harsh, too aggressive for a flower as delicate as the hydrangeas.

He stands up, wincing at the crack of bones in his legs, and stretches, revelling in the ache that came from a good dance practice from last night.

“Pink, hot, pink, hot,” he croons to the blushing roses blooming in the corner and he laughs to himself before putting his thumb in his mouth and snapping his left hip up in the air in an attempt to mimic the dance. He has a system, anyway: girl group songs for the flowers that need more care and attention to remind Jimin to be gentle, boy band songs for the snake plants and house-plants in the corner and every so often, he’ll try to rap along to G-Dragon for the snap-dragons. It’s a little odd, but it’s his system and it works. His flowers always bloomed nicer than his aunt’s.

 

- ❀ -

 

“Jeonggukkie-ah,” Jimin says cheerily as the younger man walks into the shop, “haven’t seen you in a while!”

“Got held up in a business class,” Jeongguk says warily.

Jimin frowns. “It’s been a week since you last came.”

“A long business class?”

Jimin raises an eyebrow at Jeongguk’s abashed face before rolling his eyes and leaning across the counter, ruffling the younger’s hair.

“Come by more often, I feel like you grow taller every time I see you,” Jimin gripes. “My neck needs to get used to it.”

He pushes his school work to the side of the till, the pile of school books teetering worryingly on the edge of the wooden counter-top as he ducks under the pull-up counter to direct Jeongguk towards the lithhops weberi in the corner. Jeongguk really only ever comes in to buy weird flowers for his boyfriend, and Jimin’s particularly good at picking out the right kind for the elusive Taehyung. The younger boy does seem particularly nervous- maybe an anniversary, Jimin muses- as he gapes at each plant, each one stranger than the rest. He settles for a monkey face orchid after a while, and listens to Jimin’s lecture on how to look after it properly as they walk back to the counter, Jeongguk pulling out his wallet to pay.

On a whim, Jimin picks out a small daisy from a pre-arranged bouquet sitting near the till as he rings up Jeongguk’s gift, slipping it into Jeongguk’s hand with a bright smile.

“That’s free,” Jimin says earnestly, “so you have to come back soon.”

“Hyung, that’s really-”

“It’s fine, Kookie, it’s just a dai-”

“-small, if you’re going to give me a free flower it should be a bigger one-”

Jimin leans across the counter and cuffs Jeongguk around the head before handing over the change.

“Brat,” Jimin sniffs, “see if I care when you don’t come back for another week.”

“But I see you at dance practice tomorrow,” Jeongguk replies with a smug grin and he waves as he leaves. Jimin shakes his head at the retreating figure and cracks open his book, idly twirling a highlighter pen in-between his fingers.

After all, there were three good things about working in a florists. The first was being surrounded by the beauty of the flowers. The second was the pure aesthetic nature of it and being able to take selcas with a nice background or a close-up shot and send them to his friends on KakaoTalk. The third was that every day was relatively quiet. It wasn’t like the never-ending rush of a convenience store, and Jimin can barely hide his horror at the customer service stories that he reads about online: a florists allows Jimin time to breathe, recover from his hectic schedule at university and relax. He looks up at the clock reflexively. It’s close to the four o’clock “rush”, when people came in on their way home from class or work to see the plants and debate over taking them home to stare at.

So Jimin turns the page and begins to read, all the while singing under his breath.

 

- ❀ -

 

The bell rings and he looks up.

There’s a man, clearly slightly uncomfortable, with bright blue hair, pale skin and ripped black jeans standing by the doorway. He peers a little closer and sees a twitch at the corner of the man’s mouth.

“You okay?” Jimin asks reflexively, and the man nods.

“A cactus.” The man says, “you can’t break a fucking cactus, can you?”

“No,” Jimin says hesitatingly, “but I’d like to see someone try.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised anymore,” the man says, more to himself than anything, and he storms forward. To Jimin’s horror, he doesn’t even look at the cactus he chooses, just picking the first one he sees and practically slamming it onto the counter.

“I’ll take it,” he says and Jimin’s frozen. The man waits, one eyebrow raised and the corners of his mouth pulled back in irritation.

“Ah,” he says exasperatedly, “can you hurry up? I need to get back to something.”

“Sorry,” Jimin says, and he would go through the proper care that the grumpy man needs to give to the cactus to let it bloom properly but he can feel his mouth go dry and his throat close up, so he holds up a hand, signalling to the older man to wait as he scribbles the instructions down on a scrap piece of paper, signing off with his name and a quick doodle of a smiling cactus as a signature before handing it over along with the man’s change.

“Have a nice day!” he says chirpily, and the customer nods tiredly in response, not even looking at the scrap of paper Jimin had shoved in his hand.

 

- ❀ -

 

The grumpy man doesn’t come back for another three days.

Jimin’s interest has been piqued, okay? It’s not every day someone storms into the shop, buys a cactus because they can’t break and then leaves, and it makes a welcome difference from the old ladies buying seeds for their gardens.

 

- ❀ -

 

He’s singing “Oh Boy” under his breath when the man returns days later, staring idly at the corner. He stops, almost falls off his chair at the sound of the bell ringing and he jumps off his seat to greet the customer. A smile spreads across his face as the irritable man from days ago stares back at him, his cheeks slightly flushed.

“Annyeonghaseyo,” Jimin says brightly, “how’s the cactus?”

“What?” the man replies, and Jimin feels his smile falter slightly. Surely he hadn’t forgotten?

“You bought a cactus three days ago,” Jimin says a little quieter, “the one with pink flowers?”

“Oh,” the man says. “Yeah. It’s fine.”

Jimin quirks his head to the side. “Did you water it?”

There’s a few beats of agonising silence and Jimin holds his breath.

“You wrote in the note not to,” the man says confusedly and Jimin exhales forcefully, a big sigh of relief.

“Good,” Jimin says and he leans forward, resting his head in his hands as he bends over the counter, his eyes fixed firmly on the man.

“What’s your name?” he asks and the man frowns.

“Why?”

“I need to know my new favourite customer’s name,” Jimin says bluntly and the man huffs.

“Min Yoongi,” he says and he takes a step deeper into the shop, almost drawn to Jimin. He’s stepped into the light from the windows and Jimin can really see him now: he’s pale, almost ethereal, and his bright blue hair is flattened down with a beanie, a shock of colour against his otherwise monochrome clothing (black jeans, loose black shirt, black trainers, even black frames balanced on his nose,).

“Park Jimin,” Jimin replies easily. Min Yoongi returns Jimin’s smile with a cautious twitch of his pale pink lips.

“So,” Jimin starts, “what do you want?”

Yoongi raises an eyebrow. “In life?”

“In a flowershop, Yoongi-hyung.” Jimin says patiently, and he can tell that Yoongi’s picked up on the slight sarcasm.

“I need flowers,” Yoongi says shortly.

“Just flowers? Nothing in particular?” Jimin prods a little further, and Yoongi narrows his eyes. Jimin feels a slight thrill at trying to wind up the older- well, he hopes he’s older, he’s already called him hyung- man.

“Flowers and less of the sarcasm,” Yoongi says brusquely and Jimin can’t help it: he laughs, short and high and sweet, and he pulls himself upright again.

“Fine,” he says, “tell me why you need them.”

 

- ❀ -

 

Jimin learns a lot about Yoongi.

He learns that he’s a 3rd year music major, focusing in production, but that he’s also a well-known underground rapper- “Suga? What a cute name, Yoongi-hyung”- who performs at sold-out shows each weekend. He learns that he lives across the road, near the record shop where he works part-time, and that he bought the cactus for his friend Namjoon who had tripped over his potted orchid that was meant to be for his boyfriend to celebrate their first year anniversary. He can feel himself wince as Yoongi describes the carnage in detail, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth as he watches Jimin flail as he recounts the ripped petals and dead leaves.

Jimin also learns that Yoongi needs flowers for his friend, to help him give a nice present to his sister for her birthday. His first thought is to arrange a bouquet for her, something that Yoongi seems happy with, so he pulls out a stool for Yoongi to sit on whilst Jimin flits around the shop, pulling out flowers from their vases and placing them gently down onto the table, all the while babbling to Yoongi about school.

He’s not sure if Yoongi’s listening, but he’ll occasionally look up from the growing bouquet of purple and red flowers and see Yoongi either scribbling in a small brown notebook or staring straight at him with an intensity that he can feel himself preen under.

He doesn’t pay enough attention and snags his thumb on a thorn somewhere and he inhales deeply through his nose. It doesn’t hurt- the throb of pain is gone within a second- but he sucks at the small cut as he scrabbles in the drawer for the supply of plasters they keep for that very reason. After fishing them out, he struggles to open the plaster: he can’t do it one-handed, since he’s keeping the small cut as far away from the bouquet as possible to avoid (god forbid) any blood spilling onto them.

“I’ll do it,” Yoongi says lowly. Jimin’s barely got time to thank Yoongi before it settles somewhere in his throat. Yoongi’s centimetres away from him and he’s wrapping the plaster around his finger with quick hands, his tongue sticking out of his mouth slightly as he works and Jimin can’t help but think it’s one of the cutest things he’s seen.

“My knight in shining armour,” Jimin croaks out when Yoongi’s done, his voice cracking in his nervousness. Yoongi smiles properly, big and gummy with his eyes crinkling at the corners, and Jimin giggles.

“Just don’t be an idiot,” Yoongi says teasingly, “and cut yourself. On a flower, jesus christ, how old are you.”

He adds the last sentence on as an afterthought.

“I’m a legal adult, hyung,” Jimin says with a pout and oh. The blush that spreads across Yoongi’s cheeks is adorable, and the man scowls as he tugs his beanie down over the tips of his reddening ears.

“Same height as a twelve year old,” Yoongi mutters and Jimin scowls. He did not deign to defend himself, nor point out that they were pretty much the same height, so he huffs, turns on his heel and leans over to get a ribbon.

“So, Mr Min,” Jimin says pointedly as he ties the bouquet together, “you’ve got your roses, your lilies, and your carnations. It should be-”

“What about those?” Yoongi asks, pointing at a large pink flower settled near the middle of the expertly arranged bouquet.

“That’s peony,” Jimin says, pronouncing the flower in careful English.

“Pee on me?” Yoongi repeats with a disgusted expression on his face and Jimin laughs as he hands the bouquet over to Yoongi.

“Here,” he says. Yoongi takes it apprehensively, as if holding a bomb, and Jimin wants to take a picture of him, maybe hang it on the wall with a plaque that would read “World’s Grumpiest Man, with Flowers”. It would probably win awards for the stunning composition, maybe one just for the disgruntled expression on Yoongi’s face.

“How much?” Yoongi asks, pulling out his wallet one-handedly  and Jimin pauses, knits his eyebrows together in thought.

“It would be 10,000 won,” Jimin says slowly, “but I’ll give you a discount.”

“I don’t need a discount, I can pay-”

“A student discount,” Jimin clarifies.

“Oh.”

“Also maybe a special Jimin discount,” Jimin continues, and he winks at Yoongi. He ducks his head down immediately after, too shy to see the mint-haired man’s reaction, and he fiddles with his apron before looking up again.

“So how much?” Yoongi asks again and Jimin smiles broadly.

“Free,” Jimin says decisively. “Think of it as my birthday gift for Mr Hoseok-hyung’s sister.”

“You don’t even know Hoseok.” Yoongi points out and Jimin sniffs.

“You’ve told me all I need to know.”

“I wouldn’t give him free flowers.” Yoongi says matter-of-factly and Jimin rolls his eyes.

“I’m not giving him free flowers,” he says patiently, “I’m giving you free flowers.”

“Besides, I’m giving him the flowers, so it’ll be free for him. I might as well- oh.”

Yoongi stops speaking Korean halfway through the sentence, trailing off into nonsensical babbling as he tries to regain control of himself. Jimin’s watching him with an stifled smile, and Yoongi can feel himself turning the same colour as the pink peonies in the bouquet.

“Okay.” Yoongi says, but he still fishes the money out of his wallet and practically smacks it on the table.

“What-”

“A tip.” Yoongi says. “For some fucking amazing customer service.”

He turns on the heel of his black Converse and strides out of the shop determinedly, and Jimin’s eyes widen before he leans against the wall and turns his head to face the roses next to him.

“Hey,” Jimin says to them, “I think I like him.”

The flowers don’t reply.

 

- ❀ -

 

The next time, Yoongi catches Jimin singing.

It’s nothing really, just a little hum under his breath as he re-pots the shrubs that have grown too big. He’s kneeling down with his back to the door, too engrossed in his work to hear the bell ring.

His singing stops immediately when he hears a cough and he stands up quickly, spinning around as he does so.

“Morning,” Jimin says, flustered at being caught.

“Morning,” Yoongi replies and his voice is thick from sleep. He's probably just woken up, Jimin realises, and he raises an eyebrow.

“You're early,” he accuses and Yoongi shrugs.

“There’s was a nice view here,” he explains blasely and Jimin nods before he notices the corners of Yoongi mouth pulling back in a smirk and he flushes as he realises Yoongi was referring to him on his knees.

“Oh my god,” Jimin says to himself and Yoongi’s smirk only widens.

“You sing nicely,” Yoongi says after a few beats of tense silence and Jimin ducks his head, hiding his deepening blush from the praise.

“Thanks,” he mutters under his breath.

“Seriously,” Yoongi continues and his voice is gentle, “it's nice. Pretty.”

“Pretty,” Jimin repeats dumbfoundedly. “Hyung, I don’t think I could ever be called pretty.”

“Don’t get used to it,” Yoongi says but he still smiles softly as he brushes a finger over the soft petal of the rose Jimin had just re-potted, the compliment lingering in the air like the sweet smell of the flowers.

“Besides,” Yoongi continues, “I’m a music major, remember? I know what’s good and what’s bad.”

“And I’m good?”

“And you’re better than good.”

Jimin’s smile lasts the whole day.

 

- ❀ -

 

It goes on like this: painfully shy flirting that evolves into something shameless. Jimin grows more careless in giving away flowers to Yoongi who always accepts them begrudgingly. After a while, Yoongi learns not to try to even tip because Jimin always ignores the crumpled won that Yoongi’ll leave on the counter, even sliding it back whilst asking more about him.

Of course, his aunt does ask where the flowers go. She’s a little stressed when she asks though, but that’s from having to talk to Jimin’s dad about his only son and how he’s doing very well at university, won’t you please try to talk to him, can’t you try to support him, you’re making a mistake.

Her small frame shook as she loudly asked where the money for the daffodils went, loud enough to cover the quiet chime of the door opening to signal a customer, and Jimin turned, back to the door, and fumbled through an explanation before receiving a cuff on the head, a tear-stained but teasing “make sure he’s worth it” and a hug from her.

Jeongguk complains a little when Jimin charges him the full price for a  bouquet when it nears another one of their anniversaries but he winks as he sees Jimin light up as Yoongi enters the shop, nodding in understanding.

“You’re giving free flowers again,” Jeongguk says under his breath and Jimin blushes in response. Jeongguk grins and leans in a little closer to Jimin, turning on his elbow so he can look at Yoongi appraisingly.

“He’s not your usual type, is he,” Jeongguk says amusedly as Yoongi looks at some flowers questioningly, as if confused by the very existence of sunflowers.

“What would my usual type be?” Jimin asks faintly. He’s not denying anything because Jeongguk can read him like a book, would call out on his bullshit so fast.

“Tall,” Jeongguk says with a shit-eating grin. slightly louder this time, “younger than you, muscular-”

“-you’re an asshole,” Jimin interrupts and he smacks Jeongguk on the arm hard enough for Yoongi to turn and quirk an eyebrow. He only responds with a beatific smile, the one where his eyes disappear into crescents, and he can hear Jeongguk inhale a sharp breath as the corner of Yoongi’s mouth twitches in a ghost of a smile before remaining impassive in response.

“Well,” Jeongguk says lowly. “You did always like them hard to get.”

He gets another smack for that one.

To his disappointment, Yoongi doesn’t stay for their normal talk. He seems preoccupied and Jimin chalks it down to school as the mint-haired man leaves with a sunflower in one hand and a firm set of his jaw.

“Come back soon,” Jimin calls to the retreating figure, and Yoongi doesn’t look back as he gives a thumbs up to Jimin in affirmation.

 

- ❀ -

 

And then he doesn’t.

 

- ❀ -

 

For one week Yoongi doesn’t come at all. Jimin brushes it off, assuming that Yoongi really doesn’t need another large bouquet of flowers for his studio or his home- he can see the flowers beginning to crowd the older man’s window for god’s sake, and the bright colours almost seem obnoxious against the dull brick of his apartment that he absolutely doesn’t peer into every ten minutes, thank you very much.

 

Then Yoongi drops by again, lurks by the door with a sulky look on his face and Jimin hides his thankful grin by ducking his head. He opens his mouth to say hello before he’s cut off.

“Stop giving me free flowers.”

Jimin’s head snaps up at the rough, slightly muffled voice and his smile falters.

He knows Yoongi’s tired just by watching the older man take off his plain white facemask with slow fingers, usually so quick to move. He knows he just woke up from the plain white shirt, the leather jacket and the ripped jeans that were undoubtedly pulled up off from the floor of Yoongi’s bedroom, and the shock of pink converse tells him that Yoongi didn’t care to look at his shoes. He knows Yoongi’s voice is raspy because it’s a Sunday and he had a gig last night. It sounds slightly sore, and Jimin winces at the growl whilst also ignoring how hot it sounds.

By now, he knows Yoongi like the back of his hand, but he doesn’t know what’ll happen next.

“Do you not want them?” Jimin asks, his tone fake-offended to hide his confusion.

“I want to support your flower-shop,” Yoongi says brusquely, “but you keep giving me stuff.”

Jimin looks at Yoongi amusedly.

“If you want to support the shop, you should come more often.” He suggests innocently and Yoongi snorts.

“You know what I mean,” Yoongi says snappishly and Jimin frowns.

“You're not the only customer we get,” he says slowly, “and we're the only florists for a couple of miles. We can afford a free flower now and again.”

“Jiminie, this is a fucking bouquet.” Yoongi says dryly.

“A bouquet is just more flowers.”

Jimin runs his hand through his brown hair as he explains. He’s beginning to feel a little nervous at the steely look in Yoongi’s eye and the upset twitch of his mouth and he cocks his head slightly.

“A bouquet is more than just flowers.” Yoongi says a little harshly and Jimin frowns at the twisting of his words before it clicks in his head and he takes a miniscule step back.

“Listen, Jimin,” Yoongi begins and scratch that, Jimin’s beginning to feel extremely nervous. He manages to think up ten different upcoming scenarios where Yoongi reveals he knows about Jimin’s flourishing crush and rejects him in ten , excruciatingly painful ways

“If you really insist, you can pay for it,” he interrupts, his voice a little too hurt and a little too quick to mask his anxiousness, “I just thought it would be nice for you to get a bouquet every now and then because hyung, I think you don't give yourself enough me time, you know? Not me like, me, Jimin, time, but me time like, “wow I appreciate myself for the awesome genius producer that I am”-”

“You've literally never heard any of my songs.”

“That’s not the point! I just think you work too hard. And remembering to water your flowers would be a good enough reason to take a break, or something.”

Jimin exhales, his rant over. It's all true: the dark circles stand out against Yoongi’s pale skin, and Jimin knows from previous conversations that Yoongi treasures his sleep like Jimin treasures a flowering rose bud.

“I just don’t want you to get in trouble, ” Yoongi says irritatedly, “you’re giving me bouquets that should cost more than you charge me. If you even charge me, that is.”

“I’m not going to get in trouble.” Jimin says and he stands up a little straighter as he says it, looking Yoongi straight in the eye. He can feel himself wilting under Yoongi’s unimpressed stare and he sets his jaw, copying a move he's seen Jeongguk do countless times.

“You already have.” Yoongi counters. Jimin frowns.

“I saw your manager get mad at you,” Yoongi explains and Jimin opens his mouth, tries to respond but falters because there's no short explanation he can give that would explain everything

Yoongi takes the silence as a victory and pushes the crumpled notes towards Jimin, sliding them across the counter as he gently takes the bouquet of flowers- blue this time, to match his redyed hair, but not that Yoongi had noticed- with his other hand. Jimin remains silent as he gives him his change and Yoongi’s halfway out the door when Jimin calls to him.

“Yoongi-hyung,” he says and Yoongi turns around, raises an eyebrow.

“I have to go,” Yoongi says weakly and Jimin rolls his eyes.

“If you saw my aunt get mad at me, you must have missed me explaining.”

“Your aunt?”

“My aunt owns the shop,” Jimin says bittersweetly and because he can’t keep his mouth shut around Yoongi, he keeps talking, “and she lets me work here so I can pay for university because my dad kicked me out. He didn't like his only son being a gay dancer, you see?”

“No, I don’t see.” Yoongi responds brusquely, rubbing at his forehead in tiredness. “My family don’t think I’m worth shit, and I don’t give you free songs. It’s not related.”

“Yoongi,” Jimin says slowly, “my aunt likes me happy. Giving you flowers makes me happy.”

He breathes out as Yoongi breathes in, carefully watching the realisation dawn on the elder. It’s like watching a slow sunset, rose reds bleeding into violet purple, clouds blocking the rising sun. He’s not sure it’s meant to ache though, a quiet pang of unknowing rejection somewhere underneath his ribs.

Jimin’s eyes flutter shut before he opens them, plastering on a smile as he sees a new customer brush past Yoongi who’s rooted by the doorway.

“Good morning,” Jimin says brightly, wrenching a smile onto his face,“how can I help?”

 

Yoongi leaves once Jimin directs the old lady towards the sprigs of forget-me-nots for her husband’s grave. He has to scribble a note and stick it to the door claiming an early lunch for the first time in three years, the first time since his aunt took him in, locking himself in the garden and sitting down on the wooden deck floor, winded from his confession.

It's a quiet garden, relatively small. It's where they grow the plants before taking them outside into the actual shop to sell, so the green grass is full of budding roses and lilies, and the occasional weed.

The sun shines brightly that afternoon, and Jimin can feel sweat begin to gather under the neck of his collar as he begins to crumple in on himself, his hands shaking from adrenaline.

“Do you think it was too much?” Jimin asks a shrub, his voice wavering. He finds comfort in the lack of response and nods to himself.

“Stupid,” he mutters bitterly, before leaning his head back against the wall of the shop.

 

- ❀ -


Yoongi doesn’t come back.

 

- ❀ -

 

“Jimin,” Jeongguk says worriedly, “the flowers are wilting.”

“No, they’re not,” Jimin says shortly but he still hurries over to where Jeongguk is standing and tilts his head to the side in an exact replica of Jeongguk, both of them squinting at the purple hyacinths that, to Jimin’s chagrin, were leaning slightly to the side.

“Well.” Jimin says. “That’s a first.”

“I think it’s because you sing.” Jeongguk suggests faintly.

“I sing nicely, Jeon Jeongguk.” Jimin says affrontedly.

“You’re singing sadly, Park Jimin.” Jeongguk replies and Jimin opens his mouth to protest but he frowns as he can’t think of a comeback quick enough. Whilst it’s true that he’s been subjecting the flowers to less Taeyang and more Yui, he wouldn’t have thought that it would’ve resulted in the plants flagging alongside Jimin.

“Also, you can’t sing in Japanese.” Jeongguk adds thoughtfully and Jimin laughs half-heartedly, smacking the maknae on the arm. Jeongguk winces in response, somehow also laughing at his own joke, then cracks the bones in his knuckles and shaking out his shoulders.

“Okay,” he says and Jimin snorts at the seriousness in his voice, “who do I need to talk to?”

“What,” Jimin says flatly and Jeongguk rolls his eyes.

“You’ve been quiet each time I’ve visited,” Jeongguk says, “you’re singing that sad Japanese song to your flowers, and the flowers are dying.”

“They’re not dying, it’s been three days-”

“They’re dying, Jimin-hyung.” Jeongguk interrupts. “It’s obviously because of someone, and so, as your friend, it’s my duty to find them and punch them very hard in the face until they apologise.”

“Kookie.”

“To talk to them until they realise they’re wrong and apologise.”

“You’re so cute,” Jimin coos, and he leans forward to pinch at Jeongguk’s cheek. He ignores the flare of jealousy at how quickly Jeongguk grew out of his baby fat whilst his lingers, clinging to his cheeks stubbornly despite the hours he put into working out, instead choosing to tease Jeongguk in an effort to make him forget.

Because he knows Jeongguk well. If Jimin gives a name and a reason then he knows Jeongguk would do something, either with his fists or with the sharp tongue that he doesn’t exercise often. He’s also smart enough to know that it’s not something that can be blamed on Yoongi: it’s Jimin’s fault for revealing too much too early, for being too obvious, for trying too hard.

 

- ❀ -

 

“You can tell me,” Taehyung says idly on one of the increasingly-common visits he takes to the flower-shop without Jeongguk. He knows he can, having fallen into a strong friendship with the purple haired man straight away.

Maybe he’s good at falling, he muses.

“Just a name and why,” Taehyung continues, “and I wouldn’t tell Kookie.”

“I know,” Jimin replies simply and he waters the flowers with care. Taehyung knows to wait, not to force an answer out like Jeongguk but to let it come on its own.

“Min Yoongi,” Jimin mumbles. “I think I really liked him.”

“True like,” Taehyung says wisely. “It’ll work out.”

“If you say so,” Jimin shrugs, spilling some water onto his apron in his carelessness. Taehyung clicks his tongue disapprovingly and hands him a tissue from his desk.

“I have faith,” Taehyung says assuredly and Jimin smiles to himself.

 

- ❀ -

 

The world carries on. The sun still shines, the flowers still bloom, Jimin still dances and the sun sets once more.

He’s probably being melodramatic- almost a week had passed since Jimin’s impromptu confession to Yoongi- but everything seemed slightly more stilted, more grey. The colours of the flowers only serve as a harsh reminder: the blue of the hyacinths were less vibrant than the blue of Yoongi’s dyed hair and the white lilies were just as pale as Yoongi.

He ignores how they’re beginning to wilt.

 

- ❀ -

 

A tall, pink-haired man with dimples and sunglasses on the top of his head comes in and buys a cactus, smiling embarrassedly as he explains that he managed to snap one of the arms of his old cactus when tripping and that he should probably replace the plant before his hyung noticed it had broken. Jimin laughs hard at the story until he’s practically wheezing, and he watches him leave and enter the house across the street that he knew belonged to Yoongi.

The window was still full of the flourishing flowers and Jimin purses his lips. Even if Yoongi doesn’t come by to buy any more flowers, regardless of Jimin’s feelings or not, at least he hadn’t binned the bouquets.

 

- ❀ -

 

Jimin’s hair is orange when Yoongi comes back.

He decided on the color on a whim, taking inspiration from the new lantana delivery they had received a few days ago. Taehyung had advised him to do it, telling him about how dying your hair makes you feel different, but Jimin still feels like him, just with orange hair.

He’s running his hands through it, unsure of whether it looked nice, and staring at his reflection in the counter-top when he hears the tinkle of the bell above the door and that familiar low voice.

“I like your hair,”  Yoongi says sheepishly and Jimin looks up, takes in the relatively put-together appearance of the older man, before standing up straight. He doesn’t trust the next words out of his mouth to not crack embarrassedly, so he waits for his heartbeat to slow down, digging his nails into his palm to stop them from tapping against his thigh, a nervous tic he never quite grew out of.  Yoongi saunters towards the counter with practiced ease and Jimin feels a little like prey, pinned down by the determined gaze and

“Hi,” Yoongi says quietly as a greeting, and he ignores the butterflies in his stomach from the man just saying his name.

‘Mr Min,” Jimin replies shakily and he's not sure if he's said the right thing- he did decide to be more professional, anyway- and Yoongi’s lip curls a little at the formality.

“Is there anything I can help you with?” Jimin continues, practically quoting the customer service handbook word for word.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says, “accept my apology.”

Jimin blinks.

“Listen, Jimin,” Yoongi says and he leans forward onto the counter, resting on his forearms. Jimin remains ramrod straight though, remembering the last time Yoongi said that, but his hands curl out from the fists against his own will so he allows himself to relax slightly, his hands landing on the counter in front of Yoongi.

“I like you.”

And Jimin’s heart stutters.

“I’ve been flirting with you for a long time,” Yoongi says and Jimin watches how Yoongi taps one long finger- pianist's fingers, he thinks- against the counter as the older man sorts through the words in his head, compares the delicacy and elegance of Yoongi’s fingers to his own small, chubby ones.

“I know,” Jimin hears himself say, “I flirted back.”

“Don’t I know it,” Yoongi says and his hand twitches towards Jimin’s.

There’s a beat of silence and Jimin lets his shoulders relax further as he takes in Yoongi’s fond expression, the small tug at the corner of his rose pink mouth, the expanse of smooth, pale skin that’s revealed as the shoulder of his baggy white shirt slips down slightly.

“You mentioned an apology,” Jimin says and Yoongi’s nose scrunches up in thought.

“Don’t rush me,” Yoongi mumbles and Jimin giggles. He doesn’t need to wait for very long though, Yoongi thinking through what he wants to say and how he says it quickly enough.

“I don’t like people easily,” Yoongi begins quietly, “and you seem like you do. I heard you and the other customer talking about me once, and he said something about you giving out free flowers a lot, so I didn’t think I was that...special.”

Yoongi says the last word distastefully, his eyebrows furrowing together as he fails to find a better word. Jimin would respond, probably babble on about how Yoongi-hyung is special and deserves nice things but he doesn’t, doesn’t want to stop Yoongi’s flow of words.

“So I didn’t visit for a while.”

“Because you didn’t think you were different from Jeongguk?” Jimin asks and Yoongi shrugs.

“I had work and study as well,” Yoongi says, “but I’d normally make an effort to come. I didn’t that week.”

“Okay,” Jimin says and he thinks he gets it now, but he still tilts his head to let the older man keep speaking.

“When I came after that,” Yoongi says, “I was kind of hungover.”

Jimin snorts. He wasn’t surprised, but it was still startling to think that might have been the reason the older man was so cranky that day.

“Don’t laugh,” Yoongi says with a small pout.

“Sorry,” Jimin says, obviously not sorry at all, and Yoongi narrows his eyes but continues anyway.

“I didn’t understand why you kept giving me free bouquets because I wasn’t different from anyone else in any way, and I still thought you were in trouble. I kept thinking, why would you waste them on me? So I tried to get you to stop and pushed you too far.”

“You didn’t,” Jimin interrupts but Yoongi shakes his head.

“You shouldn’t have felt like you needed to tell me like that,” Yoongi says and Jimin huffs because he doesn’t see the problem but he decides to tell Yoongi another time.

“You shouldn’t have avoided me for a week,” Jimin says pointedly and Yoongi grins.

“Yeah,” he says, “but I’m sorry and I’m here now. Is that enough?”

“Depends,” and Jimin sniffs. He did always had a dramatic flair. “Are you going to buy anything?”

“No, I just came in here to pour my heart out to you then leave.” Yoongi says dryly. He motions towards a bunch of lavender near the counter.

“I’ll take that,” Yoongi says and Jimin nods, takes the bunch in his hands and rings up the order, punching the numbers into the till. Yoongi watches Jimin as he does so and Jimin almost stutters when he tells Yoongi the price because fuck, is Yoongi licking his lips .

“See you,” Yoongi says as he leaves, his fingers brushing across Jimin’s as he takes the lavender. He winks as he looks over his shoulder when closing the door. The younger boy blushes from the eye contact and shakes his head as he turns around to fetch the watering can from the back garden. He thinks he might get emotional whiplash from Min Yoongi, but he’s enjoying the ride.

 

- ❀ -

 

Jimin starts as he hears the bell tinkle. He’s in the back  He sighs as he drops his trowel, leaving it in the dirt and he grabs a white towel to wipe his muddy hands with as he heads inside. It probably wasn’t the best day to wear his white cotton shirt, but his usual polo was in the wash after he had spilled jajangmyeon down the front one late evening.

“Oh, hey, Yoongi-hyung,” he says as he spots the man loitering by the herb section. He’s still wiping his hands and internally bemoaning the fact that his shirt was wet from watering the plants. It’s worth it though when Yoongi looks up to greet Jimin, only for him to gulp.

“You know what you want or do you need my insightful detective skills?” Jimin asks teasingly and Yoongi huffs as he ambles towards the counter with familiarity.

“I know what I want,” he says decisively and it’s Jimin who’s got a dry mouth this time.

He half-expects Yoongi to say “you” so he leans in, resting on the counter with his head tilted upwards, in the perfect position to tease the older man.

“A bouquet,” Yoongi says, and Jimin would say he’s completely unaffected if it weren’t for the lick of Yoongi’s lips and the faint dilation of his pupils.

“A bouquet.” Jimin repeats disbelievingly. “You’ve never wanted one before.”

“It’s not for me.” Yoongi says bluntly and Jimin leans back. The pang of rejection rattles around his ribcage as he dutifully notes down the flowers Yoongi wants on a notepad that he leaves on the desk for this very purpose. He still laughs and still jokes around, still blushes when Yoongi pokes fun at Jimin’s childish handwriting, but when the older man leaves he turns around and blows loose strands of orange hair out of his face in upset.

 

- ❀ -

 

Jimin takes the day off when he finishes the flower arrangement.

It’s his best: the red of the roses and the blue of the forget-me-nots are arranged so that the colours don’t overwhelm each other, the colours bleeding into the shorter, purple sweet Williams that are kept in the middle where they stand out. It’s pretty and romantic- he’s a florist, he knows what the flower meanings are- and he has to text his aunt an apology and a promise to make up the rest of the shift some other day. He doesn’t really want to be there when Yoongi picks them up, probably with a gummy smile and someone to gush about.

 

He doesn’t live in the flower-shop anymore- that was one thing he insisted on when his aunt agreed to take him in, that he didn’t want to mooch off her anymore than he was. So he takes the long bus journey home to his tiny apartment on campus and tries to think nothing of the bouquet when he falls asleep after a long night of feeling sorry for himself with a bowl of instant ramen, the soppiest k-drama he could find and the knowledge that he had the next few days off.

 

- ❀ -

 

On Tuesday, he stays cocooned in his bed until he goes to class.

On Wednesday, he has dance practice.

On Thursday, he’s called into the shop to help with the weeding and is greeted with Yoongi’s bouquet sitting on the front desk.

“Ajuma,” he calls, knowing that his aunt is in the back, “why is Yoongi-hyung’s bouquet still here? Did he not come to collect it?”

“Is your Yoongi-hyung the handsome one?” she shouts back questioningly and Jimin makes a noise of agreement. He walks slowly towards the counter and stops on the customer’s side, the heels of his feet together out of habit, and he spies the cream of the note attached to the ribbon of the bouquet.

“He came in yesterday, paid for the bouquet, asked where you were then left it here,” his aunt explains.

Jimin furrows his eyebrows in confusion as he begins to play with the ends of the ribbon.

“That doesn’t make sense though,” Jimin says and his aunt tuts.

“It does if you saw how sad he was that you weren’t here yesterday.” she says. “Is he why you’re taking the week off?”

“No,” Jimin says automatically, “I’m really busy with school.”

“And you run here to help me pull out some dandelions,” his aunt says disbelievingly.  

“I’m not busy right now-

“Just read that note,” his aunt says exasperatedly, “then continue with your week off.”

“What about the dandelions?”

“Park Jimin, I have been handling these dandelions before you were born, I can handle them when you’re off having romantic adventures.”

“I’m not having romantic adventures, where-”

His protests die somewhere in his throat as he notices the “ For You” written on the cream card in messy hangul. There’s a knowing chuckle that he ignores as he slides the bouquet closer with trembling fingers and opens the card, the weight of the fancy card familiar on his clammy hands.

He reads it quickly as the message is short, and then keeps re-reading it, engraining the two sentences into his brain. He looks up with big eyes, his mouth open in shock and his aunt nods.

“I’m gonna go,” Jimin says.

“Oh really?” his aunt asks teasingly and Jimin whines, stamps his feet impatiently. He’s itching to run across the street and find Yoongi, take him up on the offer, but he waits for permission from his aunt first. She looks him up and down with an appraising gaze before rolling her eyes.

“Wash your face, you have sleep in your eyes,” she says sharply, “and tell your Yoongi to come by for dinner this weekend. He’s too skinny.”

 

- ❀ -

 

Jimin buzzes the doorbell to the innocuous block of flats, practically bouncing up and down with excitement. The intercom is fuzzy, crackling with noise, and there’s a shouting in the background as a low voice- but not his low voice, Jimin thinks to himself- asks who’s ringing.

“Park Jimin,” Jimin chirps, “I’m here for Yoongi-hyung!”

“He’ll come down in a second then,” the man says and the intercom cuts off. Jimin rocks back and forth on his heels as he waits, looking behind him to see his aunt waving at him through the large glass window. He grins and waves back before turning back around as he hears the door open.

“Jimin?” he hears Yoongi say, and Jimin practically melts at the sleepy tone. He’s obviously just been woken up

“I got your flowers,” Jimin says and Yoongi scratches the back of his head. His baggy grey sweatpants barely hide the Kumamon socks he’s wearing and the thin white cotton t-shirt he’s wearing rides up to show the thin waistband of his boxers and smooth skin, and his nose scrunches up in thought before his eyes widen, suddenly awake.

“Ah,” Yoongi says, “I wanted to give them to you in person but you weren’t there so I-”

Jimin fists a hand in Yoongi’s shirt and pulls him down off the step and into a kiss.

It’s not perfect: Jimin’s hands are still in Yoongi’s hair and Yoongi’s not sure where to put his, and Jimin’s too nervous and Yoongi to sleepy for it to be anything more than a gentle press of their mouths, but then Yoongi angles his head slightly more to the side, inhales against Jimin’s skin and lets his hands fall to Jimin’s waist. He nudges a little against Jimin, swiping his tongue over his full bottom lip and swallowing the small gasp that comes from Jimin’s throat.

They break apart, Yoongi resting his forehead on Jimin’s as they both recover. Yoongi’s eyes dart down to Jimin’s slightly swollen lips.

“I got your flowers first,” Yoongi says with a smug grin and Jimin rolls his eyes as Yoongi leads him in.

 

- ❀ -

 

For You

 

I figured that since you’re a florist, no-one really buys you flowers. Don’t worry though, I’ll buy you dinner as well.

 

Min Yoongi