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Track one: I love you

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Jungkook’s heart is practically pounding against his chest at this point. It’s racing erratically, and it’s so loud Jungkook can hear himself in his ears.

 

Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, it goes, loud and clear, and it gets even heavier, even harsher when he catches sight of the lift’s indicator that beeps before the rusty door opens with the standardised announcement. Seventh floor, he’s now at the seventh floor. Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum.

 

Everything that greets his sight right after is familiar. The dirty stairs that’s right in front, the apartment on the right that always have their shoes scattered all around while pots of plants are stacked messily outside — and the other apartment on the left that always share such a huge contrast with it.

 

The apartment’s door is painted brown, with a black star drawn on the top right corner that nobody knows but him because he drew it himself. He drew it to annoy someone, to put a smile on the other’s face because he always smiles at the silliest teases, and it worked, Jungkook remembers.

 

He doesn’t know if he’ll get to remember today as something that the other is too, going to smile at in the future.

 

He goes for it anyway, with his hand shaking as he raises it to knock at the door. God, he’s so fucking nervous his entire body’s showing it. With just one quick glance, any stranger can know, so let alone—

 

“Hey,” An unfamiliar face greets him instead, a black apron covering his bare torso and Jungkook just freezes there as all of the tension in his body suddenly goes slack. “Are you looking for Jimin? He’s in the shower.”

 

His best-friend, Jungkook breathes deeply as he reminds himself of it. Jesus, it’s Jimin. It’s Jimin who’s his best-friend.

 

What were you thinking?

 

“No, I— it’s actually nothing,” Jungkook immediately answers as he finds himself laughing all of a sudden, a hand running through his raven locks while he begins to backtrack to where the lift is. “I’ll call him later.”

 

“Do you need me to leave a message?”

 

“No, no, it’s fine.” Jungkook insists with a smile as he gestures for the other to get back into the apartment that smells like pasta and fried onions. Are they having dinner together? “It’s too late now, I can just talk to him in the morning anyway. It’s nothing important, I promise. Thanks anyway, really.”

 

The stranger looks dubious about Jungkook’s words, but it’s not like he gets the chance to question him any further. The next second Jungkook’s back into the lift again, letting the four walls trap him inside like before as he crashes down and sits like a mess on the floor, a hand clutching at his heart that isn’t racing anymore because it’s fucking sinking.

 

It feels like an anchor is dragging his heart down, and it hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

Jimin’s in the middle of brushing his teeth when he hears Jungkook shouting loudly from his room - it takes one quick glance at the small alarm clock that’s placed beside his toothbrush stand for everything to make sense, and he knows he really shouldn’t laugh, but he laughs anyway.

 

His laughter is short-lived the next second Jungkook enters the bathroom too, and weaponises a soft towel to whip at Jimin’s back (‘This is funny to you!?’) till he rinses his mouth and leaves the small space as fast as he can to Taehyung, who’s probably still snoring on the couch.

 

He’s on the floor instead.

 

“Taehyung,” Jimin deadpans as he nudges his friend who’s more like a corpse at the moment with his feet. The other doesn’t stir awake, and just roll towards his dining table instead. “… Taehyung, there’s a couch for you to sleep on. You don’t have to sleep on the floor—“

 

“There’s no way he’s going to carry on sleeping,“ Jungkook suddenly comes bursting through the living room till he reaches where Taehyung’s sprawled across at, lips open as he drools and—

 

“Jesus, Jungkook!” Jimin’s face scrunches up the instant Jungkook actually dips his feet that’s covered by a grey sock into poor, unsuspecting Taehyung’s mouth. Jimin looks away immediately, searching for a way to escape because this apartment’s about to be too noisy for him to handle the next second onwards, and he feels like his war with this hangover he’s keeping at bay is going to fail if chaos and hell are going to be raised here.

 

“What the fuck—“

 

“Exactly, what the fuck, Taehyung! We’re running late! Get up! You’re supposed to drive me to the airport and you’re still sleeping, jesus, get the hell up!” Jungkook grunts as he practically manhandles Taehyung into sitting up, like he wasn’t the one who overslept too and looks towards Jimin who reads him well, as always and instinctively passes him a bottle of water that he throws at Taehyung’s after. “Here, drink this and sober up, okay? I swear, she’s going to be so mad at me if I’m late and you were the one who insisted on drinking last night!”

 

Taehyung doesn’t even have any chance to rebuke whatever that Jungkook’s cursing at, he just stares at him in disbelief, before looking at Jimin like he needs help, but Jimin knows better than to involve himself in this.

 

He just cracks eggs into a plain white bowl as he prepares breakfast for himself.

 

“You’re biased, Jimin!” Taehyung practically whines as he comes out from the bathroom minutes later, all washed up while Jungkook mistakenly puts on a coat that’s Jimin’s, but he doesn’t correct the other. He needs a thicker coat by right for how windy it is outside anyway. “If I were to wake Jungkook up like that you’d have knocked me on the head—“

 

Jungkook snorts and just uses a squint of his eyes to warn Taehyung that he really should be wearing his shoes right now. Taehyung does, immediately and Jimin can’t help but to snicker as he almost adds too much pepper and salt into his bowl of eggs.

 

“I swear, if only Jinah knows the unorthodox way you used in order to be punctual for…. this what?” Taehyung looks towards Jimin who immediately mouths the answer back instinctively. “Yes, this eight month anniversary honey moon at Jeju that she actually planned for you? Jesus, Jungkook — this girl doesn’t know what she’s signing up for. How can anyone love a shit-head like you?”

 

Jungkook just shrugs, a smug grin plastered at his face as he sits on his luggage bag, watching Taehyung hurries around to get prepared with a satisfied expression.

 

“If you have to know right now, you can ask Jimin. He loves me too,”

 

Taehyung snorts, and halts in the middle of tying up at his shoelaces.

 

“Well, how can you love an ass like Jeon Jungkook, Park Jimin? I’m going to crash the car on purpose later on and— fine! No more whining! We’re getting out, jesus don’t you dare put that feet of yours anywhere near me for the next twenty years!”

 

The apartment that’s as noisy as a wet market, gets as quiet as a library the instant Jungkook drags Taehyung out, wheels of the luggage scratching the floorboard as a “Goodbye, Jiminnie!” becomes the last thing he hears.

 

Then it’s all quiet, and Jimin can’t help but to laugh, at how his morning is spent just like this, before he catches sight of Jungkook’s coat that’s hung over the chair at the dining table instead. His laughter ceases, but a smile still lingers on his face as he thought about how his best-friend practically raged through his morning, and how flabbergasted Taehyung is that this is the same male who has a pretty girlfriend who’s so head over heels for him.

 

“How can you love an ass like Jeon Jungkook, Park Jimin?”

 

Jimin lowers his sight, and just quickly turns away from the sight of the jacket so he can begin stirring at the bowl of eggs that his attention is no longer on. That sentence clings onto his mind, and the answer lingers even stronger as he puts everything down, and sighs a little.

 

“… How can I not?”

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

“You’re exaggerating,” Jimin says into the phone, and finds himself smiling seconds later when Jungkook lets out a frustrated grunt in protest. The younger male is almost whining at this point, and it certainly isn’t normal — one simply doesn’t behave like he’s on the brink of his sanity when he’s on a trip with his girlfriend. Maybe Jungkook does because he’s a shit-head as always, being unappreciative of Jinah’s efforts while distracting Jimin from writing (he has a submission due tomorrow, lord bless Jimin). “It can’t be that bad, right? I mean, she’s being sweet. The least you can do is to—“

 

Jungkook’s back to making inhumane noises again, and it puts an amused smile on Jimin’s face as he tries to bite back a laughter.

 

“Jimin, I swear, this is all very sweet, petals on the bed, lava cake with wine and everything but Jimin, I swear to the lights in this bathroom that are brighter than my future at the moment.” Jimin snorts. “I think she’s thinking of proposing to me or something or at the very least, she’s hinting that I should most probably get a ring, by hook or by crook to propose to her before this trip ends, Jimin, I swear. You’re not here to look at the way she’s staring at me when she suddenly talks about how we should think of our future, jesus, Jimin. A future!”

 

Jimin has pretty much abandoned his work at this point, his laptop shut in his bedroom as he sits at the balcony to look at the close knitted buildings out there. He briefly imagines all he can see is the ocean again, and right at the end is Jungkook who’s panicking. He pictures Jungkook hiding in the bathroom like a lost child, sitting in the bathtub and Jimin finally gives in to the urge, and laughs.

 

“This is no laughing matter, Jimin! I’m only twenty-five, there’s no way I’m ready to get married or anything, I swear to god. This is like telling me to jump into a grave and you got to help me, Jimin, I swear. I don’t even dare to go out of the bathroom because what if there she is, kneeling right there with a proposal ready to me?” Jungkook half-wails with desperation, and Jimin swears he can see Jungkook ruffling his own locks in exasperation if he had been there himself to watch. “I’m never ever travelling to celebrate anniversaries in the future. I don’t care if my next girlfriend’s going to sulk—“

 

“Next?”

 

Jungkook goes silent for awhile.

 

“Next, Jimin.” His voice suddenly drops a tone deeper, and it sounds like he’s sighing as he speaks. “If she’s asking of this, if she needs this — I can’t give it to her. Not right now, not in the near future and I know how much she wants this. Like you said, Jinah’s a nice girl and I can’t do this to her,”

 

“Talk about this with her, Jungkook. You don’t have to break up with her just because she wants to get married — both of you can come to an agreement,” Jimin says, and doesn’t let how odd this situation seems to be. Jungkook’s actually talking about breaking up with Jinah, who’s just across the other room with zero idea of the panic she has actually accidentally put Jungkook through. “If you love her, things don’t have to end this way—“

 

Jungkook suddenly laughs, but it’s actually more like a sigh instead, and Jimin wishes he was there so he could’ve given his best-friend a light squeeze on the shoulder.

 

“That’s the thing, Jimin. I don’t love her,” Jungkook admits, like Jimin doesn’t know, like Jimin can’t read him at all after all these years they have known each other and Jimin knows, he knows about this all along but he still gets surprised when Jungkook says it out loud. “If I did, for the slightest bit I wouldn’t have been hiding in here. I would’ve talked to her about it so that we can keep going forth until I’m ready but I’m just so ready to let her go right now instead and I think that says a lot, you know?”

 

It’s Jimin’s turn to stay quiet for seconds before he speaks. “I know,”

 

“… I’m probably going to hell though, Jimin. Here I am, fucking up all the efforts of a poor girl after wasting eight months of her life by coming to the conclusion that I don’t love her.” There’s a soft noise of shuffling over the line, and Jimin wonders if Jungkook has decided to sleep in the bathtub for the night by lying in it completely. “This is supposed to be a honeymoon, you know? I think she’s going to skin me for real later on so you have to—“

 

“Call you back in an hour to see if you’re still alive? Sure I will,”

 

Jimin knows it isn’t possible, technically, but he thinks he hears Jungkook smile on the other side of the line afterwards and it’s immediate that he too, is smiling.

 

“Jimin?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“I wish you had been the one on this trip with me instead,” Jungkook suddenly says, and Jimin goes awfully quiet the very next second. “It would’ve been fun, you know? We would’ve gone hiking, and you would’ve been complaining because DJ script-writers don’t exercise, but you would still have given in to me because that’s how things work for us. It’s comfortable, it’s silly, it’s noisy as hell but I think I want that over this,”

 

Jimin doesn’t laugh at Jungkook’s silly imitation over his voice at the phrase he always shouts in protest whenever Jungkook drags him out to exercise.

 

He holds his breath, and lets the silence hangs on the line until one of them gives in, and laughs.

 

It’s Jungkook, and he’s laughing so hard, Jimin hasn’t realized that he has been coaxed into laughing alongside with his best-friend into the phone.

 

“Yes, I’m definitely going to hell,” Jungkook declares in amidst of his fits and Jimin finds himself lowering his head as he snorts out another amused chuckle.

 

“Definitely—“ Jimin adds on, before he suddenly feels a soft fabric being wrapped over his shoulders from behind and he sits upright almost immediately, a quiet gasp leaving his lips in surprise. “— Yoongi, why are you up?”

 

Jungkook’s laughter ceases. “Is that Yoongi-hyung?”

 

“Because it’s three in the morning, it’s cold and I would like to have my boyfriend back to be my heater,” Jimin rolls his eyes, fondly as Yoongi presses a gentle kiss against his temple, a smile on his face that tells Jimin the other’s pretty proud of the joke he has just cracked. “Can I? Because he also gets grumpy if he doesn’t get enough sleep, and he has to wake up in four hours’ time so—”

 

“I don’t get grumpy—“

 

“You do, so go to bed right now,” Jungkook cuts in as Yoongi leans in close to listen to what the younger male has to say. “I’m sorry, Yoongi-hyung! I’ll be returning Jimin to you right now — please be careful tomorrow! He might bite at his toothbrush bitterly at the sink tomorrow if he feels too tired to go out,”

 

It’s Jimin’s turn to voice out his protests, but both Yoongi and Jungkook are having none of it, and just exchanged their usual greetings to each other before they decide that yes, it’s time for Jimin to sleep and it’s time for Jungkook to stop hiding in the bathroom.

 

“Enjoy your trip, Jungkook,” Yoongi says (oh, if only he knows) before pulling away with another kiss to Jimin’s cheek and makes his way back to the bedroom. Jimin stands up immediately after, and holds onto the blanket Yoongi has placed over him earlier with a small smile, ready to follow the other until Jungkook speaks.

 

“Jimin?”

 

“Yes?” Jimin shuts the door to the balcony, and stays at his place for a little longer before he returns to his room.

 

Jungkook doesn’t say anything, not for a long while until Jimin’s prompting him again.

 

“What is it?”

 

“… Goodnight, Jimin.” He simply says.

 

“Goodnight to you too, Jungkook.”

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

“You didn’t call,” Is the first thing Jungkook says once he finds Jimin’s car parked readily in the airport’s carpark, and slips inside after throwing his bags at the backseat. “I could’ve died and you wouldn’t have known—“

 

Jimin just snorts and adjusts at his car’s rear mirror as Jungkook fumbles around to buckle the seatbelt across his torso comfortably.

 

“I would say welcome back, but I really could use a day or more away from you,” Jimin decides to say after he’s done, and looks to the side to see if Jungkook’s finally done twisting around, and is greeted by the sight of a disgruntled expression that puts a smile onto his own face immediately. Such a baby, Jimin thinks to himself as he raises a hand to ruffle at his best-friend’s raven locks, and laughs when the other smacks his touch away defiantly. “Don’t be like that — you can’t afford for a cold war in between us now. You’re supposed to tell me how it went with Jinah so I can do my job as a best-friend and comfort you, if you need any, that is.”

 

Jungkook seems like he’s ready to counter all the jabs Jimin’s throwing at him playfully, with his mouth open and his eyebrows furrowed, but he doesn’t. He exhales instead, and pushes at Jimin lightly as his final retaliation before he cranes his seat backwards, and slumps his entire weight on the soft support.

 

“Of course I need you to be here for me,” Jungkook says, and Jimin picks up the tone the other’s using immediately. “Jinah’s a nice girl and I hated what I had to do to her. I feel horrible — you weren’t there to see how she just started to cry, and chided herself for being too excited. She thought she was rushing into things, and blamed herself. She didn’t say a word about me. She just thought if she changed…”

 

“You’d stay,” Jimin finishes, his voice quiet as Jungkook nods and sighs, before leaning forward to press his forehead against the glovebox as he knocks a fist onto his chest over and over again.

 

Jimin doesn’t allow himself to think back to four years ago when he looked exactly like this, with guilt gnawing deeply within him. He thinks back to when Jungkook and Taehyung were there for him, and the way they let him know everything’s going to be okay by offering a hand for Jimin to hold onto.

 

I’m here, Jimin doesn’t say, but expresses it instead as he reaches out for Jungkook’s hand that’s still hitting himself.

 

“… It hurts, Jimin.” Jungkook admits as he doesn’t reject the hand that’s slowly spreading his fist open so to wrap their fingers together, tight. “My heart hurts.”

 

“I know,” Jimin whispers as he squeezes down on Jungkook’s hand that holds so tight onto his that it almost hurts, but he knows it’s nothing compared to the feelings that are rushing through the other at the moment because guilt, guilt’s something that tears you from within.

 

Guilt’s something that makes you feel so terrible, then sinks you mercilessly by reminding that whatever you’re feeling is nothing as compared to the people you’ve hurt from your mistakes.

 

“All she ever needed was for me to just love her in return, even just for a little bit but I can’t,”

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

Jimin’s deeply asleep by now, five in the morning as his face squashes against the headrest of his seat that’s adjusted to be lying flat on the backseat. They were supposed to watch the sunrise together, but he fell asleep, as always. Jimin’s never awake when they decide to catch the sunrise, he’s always tired, always falling asleep just an hour before everything and he’s always grunting when he only wakes up hours later.

 

Jungkook can’t really fault him this time, since he knows how hard Jimin has been working for the radio station’s story time panels. Jungkook was the one who had to come back from his trip earlier than expected, and so Taehyung couldn’t find time in his schedule to fetch him hence Jimin did, even if he’s tired because he knows Jungkook would’ve needed someone the day he returns.

 

He’s right, and Jungkook has yet to thank him for this yet.

 

Maybe he will once the older male has woken up, but maybe he won’t because Jimin’s always grumpy in the morning when he doesn’t get enough sleep (his phone that has gone flat might annoy him further). Maybe he’ll talk about how Jungkook owes him his life right now because he rushed through several stories just to fetch him, and so if he gets sacked, it’d be his responsibility — which is impossible, because the short stories Jimin has written for the station to read out to the audience are always pretty.

 

Jimin’s stories.

 

His fingers are already reaching out for the glovebox before he realizes it, and whisks out a disc has all of Jimin’s short stories recorded in it.

 

It’s Jungkook who burned them all into a disc, and made sure both Jimin and Taehyung’s cars have a copy of it so he can listen to them — because sometimes Jimin himself is the one who’s reading out his own stories, and his voice always sound so soothing it puts Jungkook in a comfortable mood (even if his stories can get pretty tragic at times). Sometimes he’s not, and it’s Namjoon instead, but the contents are still good so Jungkook will take any of it.

 

So he slips the disc in, and selects track four — it’s a story about a family who forgot to be happy through their struggles to earn a lot of money so they can be happy, it’s a story about irony, it’s a story about how their youngest child brought them back to their senses, and it’s Jimin who’s narrating it.

 

Evening,”

 

Jungkook rolls the volume down so to not wake Jimin up, before lying down on his own seat and listens.

 

The story starts exactly the way Jungkook remembers it to be, because it’s the hundredth time he’s listening to this, and somehow it still soothes him like a glass of warm honey down a sore and aching throat. Because Jimin’s voice sounds so warm, even through the speakers, because he always sounds like he’s trying to make you smile even if he’s being a little shit, and because it’s Jimin’s voice that talks Jungkook down every single time.

 

Jungkook can just listen to him forever.

 

It’s a different story by the time Jungkook realizes that he has drifted off into a half-sleeping state, and almost jerks upright if not for how Jimin’s sleeping form has changed, and that he’s facing Jungkook now with his expression peaceful and soft.

 

“You don’t know if he loves you. Neither do you know if he doesn’t,” Came Namjoon’s voice from the speaker and Jungkook didn’t have to think to know it’s the eighth track on the list. He knows this story so well like its the back of his palm too, and the dialogue shouldn’t spur anything in him anymore but it does anyway. “But there’s one thing you know, for sure.”

 

Jungkook stays put, and reaches a hand out to drag a thumb gently across Jimin’s cheek as he presses down a sigh because Jinah, her voice’s suddenly shouting at him in his head.

 

“You don’t love me? How can you not—?“ Jinah quickly reaches out to the bed when she feels that her legs are turning jelly. “You love me, Jungkook. It’s been eight months; you can’t tell me that you have no feelings at all, you can’t say that.”

 

“I have feelings for you, Jinah.” Jungkook looks at her sunken frame from where he’s standing at. “It’s just not love — I’m sorry, I truly am. I just can’t love you—“

 

She turns to look at him, and just when Jungkook thinks he can’t feel anymore terrible, he does, because Jinah’s beginning to cry, and it hurts.

 

“But you love Jimin, Jungkook?”

 

Jungkook freezes, for a long while before he meets her eyes and nods.

 

“… Yes, Jinah. I do.”

 

“You love him, oh you do. You love him so much,” Jungkook says the lines alongside with Namjoon, so softly as he looks at Jimin who’s still sleeping and Jungkook can’t help it but smiles a little. “And that’s the worst part about knowing it — because you can’t do a thing about it.”

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since Jinah and Jungkook had broken up, Jimin has been putting his schedule on a tight line. He barely meets the deadlines for his submissions nowadays because of the countless outings he’s been having with Jungkook — it didn’t seem like an okay idea to leave his best-friend all alone after a break up like that, and he knows the station’s getting a headache over his super last minute submissions, but they’ll have to tolerate this for a little while more because Jimin obviously priorities his best friend over his job.

 

It’s tiring though; he’s been catching an awful lot of midnight movies marathons with Jungkook after the other’s done with his work and they have both been pulling too many all nighters in cinemas and karaokes. Both his eyes and his throat protest, but it’s not like Jimin minds because during those nights, Jungkook laughs and smiles.

 

It’s worth it.

 

“Yoongi?” Jimin raises his eyebrows the instant he sees his boyfriend lounging on the sofa, with stacks of files scattered across his laps. He eyes the clock immediately. “It’s close to five, Yoongi. Don’t you have work tomorrow? Why are you still awake?”

 

Yoongi doesn’t answer, and just exhales a little as he tidies up the files before putting them aside as Jimin slides off his boots and socks. Maybe it’s a matter of inspiration — the other did say that inspiration for music can never wait, Jimin almost thought, as he walks over to where Yoongi is, and drops his backpack on the floor before he shifts to sit next to his boyfriend.

 

All until Yoongi moves away from Jimin’s hand that has reached out to brush at his hair.

 

“Yoongi,” Jimin blinks, too surprised (and tired) to even say anything else when his boyfriend sighs and shifts to stand by the dining table instead. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Don’t you have work tomorrow too?”

 

“I— yes, but I’ve finished the stories! No more late submissions this time—“

 

“Well, alright. If you say so,” Yoongi says, but his face remains unconvinced as he sucks in at his cheeks and clenches at his jaw. Jimin knows that expression, he knows it — Yoongi’s pretty damn displeased. “Then didn’t you have to be home for dinner tonight?”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows are pushed together as he stays at where he is, and looks towards Yoongi who doesn’t seem like he’s going to explain anything. Dinner was cancelled, Jimin wants to say, didn’t we agree a few nights ago to not have dinner on—

 

“I’m sorry, did you not feel comfortable that I was with Jungkook tonight? I— I really thought we weren’t going to be celebrating our anniversary, Yoongi, if we were planning to I’d most definitely not forget this, Yoongi,” Jimin immediately stands up and walks towards to where Yoongi is, a discomfort slowly surfacing in his chest to where his throat is. A sigh’s struggling to escape, but he bites it in, and steps close to his boyfriend who’s leaning onto the table for support. “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. I really didn’t forget that today’s our anniversary, Yoongi.”

 

Yoongi’s actually looking at him in the eyes now, his stare looks soft and that’s a good sign, Jimin thinks as he raises his hands to caress at the other’s cheeks, a small, wary smile showing on his own face to put one across his boyfriend’s.

 

“Jimin,” Yoongi just sighs, leaning backwards from his touch again before moving several steps away. “You forgot about the dinner a few weeks back then. You were supposed to head back home after fetching Jungkook from the airport. We were supposed to have dinner with my parents, remember?”

 

“Yoongi,” Jimin only manages to say as a gasp leaves his lips because fuck, fuck, fuck.

 

He forgot all about it.

 

“Nothing to say this time?”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jimin immediately asks, exasperation dripping from his words when he sighs, and runs a hand through his brown locks roughly until he realizes that his phone was flat that night when he decided to watch the sunrise with Jungkook on impromptu, all other plans forgotten at the back of his mind. Fuck, Park Jimin. “… Yoongi, I’m so, so sorry. Things have been really hectic lately, you know it — Jungkook just went through a break up, and I’m really trying my best to be there for him. I overlooked your feelings, and the plans we had, I’m—“

 

“It’s not the fact that you have forgotten about them I’m mad about, Jimin. I’m mad about how you are literally prioritising Jungkook over everything, Jimin. Everything. Namjoon told me about how listless you have been in work, because of the sleep you never get anymore and Jimin, you didn’t do that before. You love your job, don’t you?” Yoongi asks. “But it’s like none of it matters if Jungkook needs you and don’t explain, Jimin. Long before Jinah, there was Jaehyeon. You did the same — he called, and you lied about not having work when you’re in the middle of broadcasting and you pretended to be sick so you can get to him within an hour, Jimin. You don’t do that for everyone — no, to anyone,”

 

It’s too late for this conversation, Jimin concludes as he rubs at his face. “He’s my best-friend, Yoongi.”

 

“Don’t give me that, Jimin. Don’t. I’m not stupid,” Yoongi counters, and raises at his voice a little. “You never will forget about a plan you have with Jungkook and tell me, Jimin. Even if you did remember the dinner that night, if Jungkook needed you, you would’ve called me and postponed it, wouldn’t you?”

 

Yes, in a heartbeat.

 

Jimin stays silent.

 

“He’s not just your best-friend, Jimin. You love him—“ Yoongi laughs when Jimin fixes him a look. “And I know you think that you love me too, Jimin but it’s not like this. How much more examples must I tell you before you admit to me that you do? The way you put Jungkook first over everything scares me, Jimin. It scares me because I can’t see you doing the same for me even if I would for you, every time. Anytime. I love you, Jimin.”

 

“I love you too,” Jimin says sadly but he knows these three words don’t mean anything anymore to Yoongi at the moment. “You have to believe that I do.”

 

Yoongi just laughs, but he sounds so, so upset Jimin feels like someone has just punched him in the guts because Yoongi, he’s been nothing but sweet and patient with him and what Jimin had given him in return?

 

“I do love you,” Jimin insists as he clutches tight at the table’s edges. “I do, Yoongi, I do. For these three years, I did, and I still do—“

 

“But you love Jungkook too,” Yoongi cuts in, with a resigned tone to his words. “And I don’t know how to do this, Jimin. I don’t know how to love someone whose focus is on another person entirely. You might come back home to me every day, Jimin but it seems like he’s on your mind every night.”

 

Jimin’s throat clamps up as he looks away just to wipe the wetness of the corners of his eyes because damn it, he’s not going to cry because they aren’t breaking up. He loves Yoongi, he loves Yoongi, god he loves Yoongi so much it doesn’t matter if a part of him inside belongs to Jungkook—

 

“Yoongi,” Jimin just says because his heart aches too much for him to say anything else. “Don’t do this,”

 

His boyfriend just looks at him, fondly and softly as always, before the distance in between them is reduced as Yoongi presses a kiss on his forehead.

 

“I don’t know, Jimin. I need to think about it — I don’t think I’m ready to lose you just yet, but I don’t think I’m ready to just move on with this like it’s okay, like I’m not sharing my boyfriend with someone else,” Yoongi whispers and Jimin can’t even answer anymore because he fucked up, it’s he who fucked up everything and how could a relationship of his just crumbles down like this so suddenly? “We… we just need a temporal break, alright? I’ll clear my mind, and… you will think about what I said. When we are both ready… we will speak of our decisions, shall we?”

 

It’s not the end yet, Jimin finds himself breathing in easier as he nods, and forces a smile onto his face when Yoongi smiles. It’s not the end yet, he’s not losing Yoongi.

 

“I love you, Jimin.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Yoongi moves out the next morning.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

“I don’t believe in love anymore,” Taehyung dramatically declares as he looks at Jimin with a pinched expression. “You and Yoongi-hyung were like the.. most perfect couple—“

 

Jungkook narrows at his eyes before he kicks at Taehyung.

 

“Don’t talk like that— Yoongi-hyung just moved out, it’s not like they broke up or anything. Jimin said they are just taking a break, right?” Jungkook tries to play everything off cool as he glares at Taehyung who just rubs at his shin with a pained expression. “Every couple goes through this! It’s… normal! They’ll make it, I’m telling you, they will be alright.“

 

“But what happened? This is all too sudden—“

 

“Don’t answer that, Jimin.” Seokjin cuts in as he places a tray onto the table everyone’s sitting at, and Jimin’s quick to grab his own cup of coffee that he pretends to be alcohol instead because he’s way too sober for this conversation. Everything’s still so sudden, and the cut’s still fresh and he knows, he knows he has no right to grieve but god that night hurt. “If it aches too much to talk about it, don’t.”

 

Thank god for Kim Seokjin.

 

“Jin for president,” Jungkook declares before he dodges the smack that’s aimed at him and winks at Jimin smugly. “Jin-hyung, I mean, of course!”

 

“You’re going to give your cafe a bad name if your customers see you acting like this,” Jimin finally speaks anyway, since he has been silent for too long and prolonging his brood and sorrow isn’t going to help. Talking to his friends and joking around with them on the other hand? So very yes. “Isn’t a cafe’s boss supposed to be all gentle and demure?”

 

Seokjin makes a face. “What kind of stereotype is that? You never know, I might have tattoos all over my back and is seriously a scary and menacing mafia boss—“

 

Everyone snorts immediately as they pretend to be overly fascinated by the muffins Seokjin treated them to.

 

“Give me some credits, guys. I’m trying right here!“

 

“Such a perfect guy, Seokjin.” Jimin immediately plays along and laughs when Seokjin pats on his chest and pretends to be really touched by his words. “Eleven out of ten will date again.”

 

Jungkook snorts again, but he’s louder this time round. He’s so loud even Solar who’s tending the cashier at the moment looks over with a puzzled expression.

 

“You better explain yourself, Jeon Jungkook. Does that reaction mean that Seokjin is a bad catch—“ Taehyung immediately begins his art of stirring shit as he sits upright, and Seokjin takes the hint within a split second to start feigning an offended look on his face.

 

Jimin just laughs, because Jungkook seems to be so surprised at that sudden question he looks towards him for help (Jimin just mouths ‘Suffer in hell, Satan’ in return).

 

“I didn’t say anything! Jin-hyung is great, I mean. I’m your biggest fan, you know that right?” Seokjin immediately scrunches up at his face in disgust at the way Jungkook’s winking at him — Jimin had to look away because he’s suffering from secondhand embarrassment. Is Jungkook honestly his best-friend? Unbelievable. “I just find it weird, okay? Whenever you and Jimin talk about the relationship you guys had so casually. It’s times like this I remember that both of you were actually in a relationship, and not just friends this whole time.”

 

“You saw me half-naked in Jimin’s apartment once, Jungkook.” Seokjin counters, and Taehyung’s face twists immediately like he could live better without that mental image.

 

“Why were you there in the first place? You never told me,” Jimin asks, vaguely recalling the night Seokjin told him about Jungkook who came and went quickly (‘someone looked for you, but he said he’ll call you tomorrow so… are we still going to have pasta?’).

 

Jimin raises at his eyebrows when Jungkook looks away, and shrugs — a sign that the little shit is actually hiding something.

 

“What?” Jimin immediately accuses.

 

“What?” Jungkook counters, with a slightly alarmed expression now that Jimin has caught onto something odd. “How would I remember something that happened so many years ago— it’s five years ago or something, Jimin. Give me a break and… oh, oh! I remember,”

 

From the way Jungkook grabs at his bag and his phone, Jimin knows.

 

“Don’t you dare, Jeon Jungkook—“

 

“I need to go to work right now—! Let’s go, Taehyung. We’re going to be late!” Taehyung looks equally alarmed because as much as Jungkook cares about punctuality, they’d just be ridiculously early if they leave right now. “Stop looking at me like that! Grab that muffin and come with me right now!”

 

It takes a few shoulder smacks and manhandling before Taehyung’s dragged out of the cafe the next second by Jungkook to where the carpark is — and as always, everything’s done so quickly and noisily that the cafe seems awfully quiet the instant they left.

 

Seokjin just sits in the silence afterwards, and stares at the plate of muffins that’s almost empty now (Taehyung packed almost all of them) before he glances at Jimin who’s still looking out of the window with an amused smile.

 

“Jungkook’s always rushing Taehyung,” Jimin concludes his friend’s sad little fate, a smile evident and obvious on his lips until he turns back to see that expression Seokjin’s face.

 

Jimin looks away almost immediately, but Seokjin shifts next to him, taking the seat that Jungkook was sitting at, and holds at the side of his arm gently — the other seems too ready for this, and it’s like the older male has been planning for this talk ever since Jimin called and walked into the cafe.

 

“… Jimin,” Seokjin begins and Jimin sighs immediately. “You don’t have to tell me what happened, I promise. I just need to tell you something.”

 

Their eyes meet, and Jimin wishes he hadn’t because Seokjin’s stare is nothing but understanding and care, as always and it’s exactly what he doesn’t want right now because he doesn’t think he deserves them.

 

“Seokjin,” Jimin tries to dismiss, but it’s up to no avail because Seokjin just pats at his cheeks with a soft smile that makes him feel ten times worse. It reminds him of the past when they called it quits. “It’s nothing like—“

 

“But if it is, Jimin, if the situation is similar, then you have to listen to me.” Seokjin says. “You can’t hurt anyone like that anymore, Jimin. You can’t,”

 

Jimin looks downwards as he wills the wetness that’s welling in his eyes back.

 

“I know, I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It must have been difficult, no? To suppress something that’s so strong for so long — it must have been tiring,” Jimin doesn’t agree, but he doesn’t disagree with what the other’s saying either. He just sits at his bed, and watches as Seokjin load an empty bag with all of his clothes that have been next to Jimin’s in the closet. “I know it’s a scary route you chose, and hence this, you pretend to not acknowledge whatever that’s inside your heart but Jimin,”

 

Jimin can’t help the tears that slip from his eyes the instant Seokjin squats down in front of him — he sees that Seokjin’s eyes are red.

 

“I can’t walk this path with you, Jimin.” Seokjin says gently with a soft smile as he wipes tears away from Jimin’s face. “At least, not as someone who loves you in a way you can never reciprocate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“That was a long recording,” Namjoon grunts as he slouches in his seat like he’s about to melt, and doesn’t even budge when Jimin raises a hand to mess at his hair. “I’m Kim Namjoon and I’m now becoming one with the chair so please don’t separate us, Park Jimin—“

 

Jimin snorts. “Get going, hyung. Jungkook just texted me that he’s reached the pit, and Taehyung has already started the fire so they will be starting the barbecue soon. We can’t be late.”

 

“But I’m tired—“

 

“Jimin, Namjoon! Someone’s looking for you.”

 

Jimin’s half ready to launch a script that’s rolled up in his grip at Namjoon’s head when Jonghyun walks into the booth, his eyes fixed on the script for the show scheduled for him later while a hand of his gestures behind him where Seokjin appears shortly after.

 

Namjoon spurts upright immediately, and Jimin just stares in disbelief because what the fuck.

 

“Oh hey, Seokjin! Why are you here?” Namjoon leaves his seat, his headphones and microphone unorganised (Jimin silently apologizes to Jonghyun for Namjoon) as he brushes past his colleague to where the cafe owner is. “Jimin and I were just leaving actually, but he’s so bent on becoming one with the chair that it’s mission impossible for me to separate them — are you here for a lift or something? “

 

Jimin and Jonghyun exchange a look.

 

“The fuck?” Jonghyun mouths to Jimin who just shakes his head with a disgruntled expression as he packs Namjoon’s belongings for him before his lies fall apart faster than a stack of paper planes.

 

“No, no actually. I happen to be in the mall nearby to meet a potential investor,” Seokjin explains as he rubs at his nape, an usually sharp and wise man suddenly oblivious a certain DJ’s heart-eyes. “So I dropped by and see if you guys needed help, since you guys are bringing the drinks and chips over, right? If the car’s too full I can always shift some of them over to mine?”

 

“That’s too kind of you,” Namjoon actually says and Jimin can’t help the scrunch at his face.

 

Even Jonghyun decides that it’s time to escape and leaves the room with the excuse of forgetting to take out his script from his car when he’s literally holding it, but it’s not like Namjoon cares because his centre of attention is on Seokjin, and only Seokjin.

 

“Jesus,” Jimin mutters under his breath and briefly considers the option of poking himself in his eyes until Jonghyun wanders into the recording room, with a message to pass again.

 

“Jimin! Your boyfriend’s here — and jesus, please take this somewhere else.” Jonghyun says and mouths the words ‘Don’t be a Namjoon, I’m begging you’ before taking his leave to somewhere — Jimin doesn’t care where, actually.

 

All he cares is that Yoongi is actually right here and he suddenly feels ten times more awake even if he has been recording for three to four hours.

 

“Yoongi,” Are they alright? Are they back to normal? Please, please, please. “What are you doing here?”

 

Seokjin’s conversation with Namjoon dies down (sorry, Namjoon) the instant he sees Yoongi, and doesn’t waste a second to leave the room with Namjoon because it’s running late and he should drive them both to the pit first in case the others wait for too long and it’s so obvious it’s a lie but you’re very welcomed Kim fucking Namjoon.

 

After Namjoon has left the room in bliss with Seokjin, Yoongi takes his hands out of his pockets and fiddles with them like it’s awkward — it’s never been awkward between them.

 

“Are you free now?”

 

“Yes,” Jimin answers readily, even if he’s not, even if there’s a barbecue outing waiting for him because Yoongi, it’s Yoongi. “What is it?”

 

Yoongi offers a hand, just like the old times, and Jimin swears his heart swell that instant immediately.

 

“Walk with me?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

“Stop staring at your phone, Jungkook. This is an outing with your friends! Now without Jinah you don’t have any excuse anymore to keep your head down!”

 

Jungkook frowns. “You know, I really miss the first three weeks when I just broke up with her. You were so much more careful when it comes to bringing her name up—

 

Taehyung sneers as he flips at the meat that’s getting a little charred at the middle and every single cell of Seokjin is literally offended when he sees it. ‘No one’s going to burn any food if I’m right here!’, he declares before pushing Taehyung out of the way by a push at his arm and takes over, just as Taehyung has planned.

 

Namjoon just watches as Seokjin begins to take over the entire pit, and doesn’t look away even as Taehyung takes his bag of chips away. Taehyung just declares that the DJ is a lost cause when he walks over to where Jungkook’s sitting at, the corner where the heat of the pit’s flames can’t reach, and flops down beside him to offer the bag of chips that’s half-full.

 

“Now that privilege is Jimin’s, except that he didn’t break up with Yoongi, and it’s almost a month since they stopped living together.” Taehyung shrugs as he props his chin up with Jungkook’s shoulder and looks at his phone. “But Jimin’s always nice when he’s not biased towards you so he gets special treatment,”

 

Jungkook half chuckles at Taehyung’s words, because he can’t find it within himself to return a jab to Taehyung’s seemingly playful words and forces himself to not look at his phone anymore instead because yes, Taehyung made a point. He can’t be watching his screen throughout the entire outing.

 

But he can’t help that bad feeling that’s pressing at his heart like something’s wrong.

 

“… Do you think he’s okay?”

 

Taehyung shrugs. “I hope he is. Things are probably picking up, right? I mean, Yoongi-hyung went to find him. Things are probably fine now that they both have suffered long enough from being far away from each other.”

 

Jungkook doesn’t answer, and gives his phone one last check to see if Jimin called instead, because it’s been an hour, but there’s nothing, and Jungkook feels even worse because it feels like something is really wrong.

 

“But he’s not picking up my calls, and a talk can’t take that long, can it?”

 

“You never know — your break up with Jaehyeon lasted for over two hours because he can’t get you to admit that you’re cheating and you can’t get him to admit that he’s screwing everyone he sees anyway.”

 

Jungkook pinches at the bridge of his nose at that horrible memory. The break up was only settled when Taehyung got tired of waiting for Jungkook to be done because their favorite hamburgers are going to be sold out, it’s peak hour, and Taehyung just stomped in grumpily and declared that he’s Jungkook’s new boyfriend the hungry fucking Tae.

 

“No, this is different, Taehyung I—“

 

“If you’re this worried, go look for him.” Taehyung suddenly suggests as he digs his hands through the bag of chips for the crumbs, and Jungkook just looks at the other for a long moment because when did his colleague get so clever? He’s usually full of the absurd ideas like ‘hey, let’s put grapes into the microwave and watch them explode!’ and ‘you know what, jungkook? i’m going to put on a wig today to channel my inner-rocker’.

 

“… I shall.”

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take Jungkook long to find Jimin. All he needed to do was to text Jonghyun if Jimin’s car is still in the building — and it is, so the places the other could be are narrowed down to the park right beside the station, the marvel-themed cafe opposite of the building and the cafeteria. Because these are the places Jimin always like to go, because they are usually quiet — and Yoongi likes quiet places so there’s that.

 

And when he can’t find Jimin in either places, he goes straight to the carpark, to where Jimin’s car is.

 

He finds him.

 

“Jimin,” Jungkook says once he steps close enough to the car to take a good look at his best-friend who’s sitting at the driver seat. Jimin’s frame is sunken, almost like Jinah’s when Jungkook asked for them to break up roughly two months ago and it’s like something is squeezing down at his heart because he doesn’t like the sight of this. Jimin’s just sitting right there, his hands holding tight onto the steering wheel as he cries. “Jimin, open the door."

 

Jungkook’s eyes meet with Jimin’s red ones the instant he pats lightly against the window, and Jungkook finds himself getting mad at Yoongi all of a sudden even if he doesn’t know what has happened yet because fuck anyone who dared to hurt Jimin like this. It’s been long since he had seen Jimin crying like this — the last time was when he broke up with Seokjin, and it wasn’t even this bad because whatever Seokjin had told him, it seemed to be a mutual agreement at the end.

 

“No,” He sees Jimin saying as he just leans forward to cover at his face with his hands instead.

 

“I’m not leaving you here alone, Park Jimin,” Jungkook grunts as he knocks onto the window a little harder this time as he raises at his voice, and literally hears the way his words echo in the carpark that’s barely occupied. “I’m not letting you deal with whatever happened alone either so open up, Jimin or I’ll pick the doors—“

 

Jimin just turns away instead and Jungkook instinctively tries to open the door even if he knows it’s locked. He tries to pull it open, several times before resorting to raining his fists against the glass window yet again and Jimin’s having none of it; his best-friend just covers at his ears and refuses to look at him.

 

“Park Jimin, I swear to god,” Jungkook says almost warningly as he instinctively thinks of the different ways he’s going to break into the car because yes — anyone who hangs out with Taehyung who forgets his car keys once every two week knows this particular trick and Jimin knows Jungkook’s pretty good at it. “I’m counting to three—“

 

Jungkook winces when the car door actually opens, before he can say anything and hits him right at his torso, reeling him a few step backwards — and he almost falls, but it’s not because of the car door that slammed onto him.

 

Jimin’s out in a moment, and he’s pushing him away with all the strength he has.

 

“I told you to fuck off, why won’t you listen?!” Jimin hisses as he continues to shove at Jungkook’s chest, and now that he has his balance back, Jungkook barely moves more than three steps every time Jimin lunges his hands at him and pushes. “I needed you to leave me alone, Jungkook, and this is not like all the times we’re fucking around so you can ignore whatever I say because I really do need you to leave me alone, Jungkook—“

 

“There you go,” Jungkook says when he decides that Jimin’s far away enough from the car to run back inside and lock Jungkook out again before throwing his arms over the other’s frame to drag him in for a tight hug that Jimin tries to pull away from instinctively, but that’s okay, because it’s in Jungkook’s expectations too, and he just holds on tighter. “Cry it out, Jimin.”

 

“Let me go—“

 

“It’s alright, Jimin,”

 

“I said let me go—! Just leave me alone, I swear. I just want to be alone,” Jimin grunts in amidst of his tears. “Just leave, just leave me. I’m fine with it, I’m really fine, I’m used to this fucking shit — just leave me like how my parents did, just go if you’re going to leave in the future because Yoongi did, god. He left me, he left me, he fucking left me and so will you—“

 

Jungkook brushes at the back of Jimin’s head gently as he runs his other hand up and down his best-friend’s back to coax more tears out — the other has to let it out, he has to or he’s just going to wallow in despair anyway when he gets back home. Better now with Jungkook than later alone.

 

“I won’t leave you, Jimin.” Jungkook mutters in response immediately because that idea’s fucking ridiculous. “You know I won’t.”

 

“Bullshit—“

 

“I’ve been here for you since forever, you know it’s not bullshit, Jimin.” Jungkook just pulls Jimin closer when he feels the other’s beginning to grab at his clothes instead of pushing him away. “I’m here, Jimin. I will always be here for you and I know whatever you’re thinking of is always to easier to believe in but just listen to me instead of your own voice right now, okay? Do it for me, Jimin just — listen to me, I won’t leave you, I never will because you’re always going to be important to be, okay? Now can you repeat it to me? What I promised?”

 

“… You won’t leave me,” Jimin utters.

 

“Yea, I never will. Ever since you decided to drop a bowl of noodles over my laps in the first day of school, it’s decided that I won’t so too bad for you because you’re stuck with me, alright?” Jungkook says, and though he’s smiling unknowingly at the memory he hears the other beginning to cry even more — and he feels the hold that Jimin has on him. It’s tighter, and at least he’s not pushing anyone away anymore. “… So just let me be here for you? Is that okay?”

 

Jimin doesn’t respond, not for a long while as they just stayed where they are — but when he finally does, minutes later, it’s a light nod of his head and Jungkook just smiles as he squeezes Jimin in his arms and tells the other to cry everything out because it’s going to be okay. Jungkook’s here, and it’s all going to be okay.

 

And Jimin cries.

 

 

 

 

 

(“I told you to leave me alone,” Jimin stubbornly says, more like a child this time as Jungkook looks at his shirt that’s practically stained with wetness, then to him with an unimpressed look. “I could’ve cried my heart out comfortably and… I had tissues with me but you forcefully volunteered, so suck it up.” Because I told you I wanted to be alone.”

 

“Nope. You didn’t want to be alone,” Jungkook concludes. “And I know I’m not wrong, so you suck it up.”

 

Jimin frowns a little as Jungkook buckles at his seatbelt before he responds, seconds later with his vision downcast.

 

“… Yeah, I really didn’t want to be.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|  |

 

 

 

Jimin’s been staying with Jungkook for the past few days — even if Yoongi had already moved out a month ago and he should’ve plenty of time to be used to that. The separation will feel too real, and Jimin doesn’t know if he’s ready to tell himself that yes, this is it, Yoongi isn’t going to come back home anymore and no one’s going to cook a bowl of noodles for him whenever he’s rushing stories in the middle of the night that warms him up all the way from his stomach to his heart. Yoongi’s not going to be there for him anymore.

 

That thought still keeps him up at night, and Jimin finds himself digging out thick albums of Jungkook and Taehyung’s photography portfolios to browse through so to not think of anything else. If he does, he might pick up his phone and call Yoongi and honestly, Jimin doesn’t want to be selfish anymore.

 

He knows he has no right to be grieving like he’s the one who’s hurt when Yoongi’s practically bleeding inside thanks to him. He also knows he has no right to throw that fit in the car, nights ago and cried about how Yoongi left him like he’s the victim because it’s not like that.

 

Yoongi didn’t leave him —  it’s Jimin who made it impossible for Yoongi to stay with him.

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

“We can still give things a try one more time, Yoongi. I know it’s hard for you, I know, I’m so sorry you have been feeling like that so let me make it up, I promise this time round I can prove it to you that you’re just as important to me — Yoongi,” Jimin breathes out, a surprised expression evident on his face as he looks at what his boyfriend has just dug out of his pocket in the middle of his pleas. A plain, silver band sits in a navy velvet box and Jimin’s heart would’ve skipped a beat if Yoongi didn’t tell him that they should really break up for their own good just minutes ago. “This is—“

 

Yoongi shrugs, with a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and the look of his face is so, so soft when he runs a finger across the ring and Jimin swears he sees tears pricking at his boyfriend’s eyes.

 

“This was what I wanted to give you after dinner with my parents, Jimin.” Yoongi says, and sniffles a little as he tries to laugh his tears off and everything about that sight is twisting a knife deep inside Jimin’s guts. “This was what I wanted to give you too, on our anniversary. I’m sorry I got angry at you that night. I know I told you that we aren’t celebrating. It’s just—“

 

A tear just slips past the corner of Jimin’s eye before he realizes that he has been tearing up, and he quickly wipes it away as he finishes the sentence for Yoongi that the other can’t finish anymore because Yoongi’s actually crying, his boyfriend’s crying and it’s all because of Jimin.

 

“You had a surprise planned that night,” Jimin says so softly before he bites down at his bottom lip, trying his best to not cry but it’s too late, because something is squeezing at his heart and it hurts, it hurts so much Jimin begins to feel something sour within his chest. “Yoongi, I’m so sorry—“

 

Yoongi presses the heels of his palms against his eyes that are wet when he shakes at his head, and stops Jimin in the middle of his apology — it probably is way too overused, his apology probably has no effect anymore because everything just sounds so futile now.

 

“I thought of us a lot after I  moved out, Jimin. I missed you — I missed the way you’d always greet me when I get back home. You would be so… adorable, Jimin, you would smile, and you would warm my cheeks up with your hands and I just really missed everything about you. Even your grumpy mornings, the way you’d brush at your teeth bitterly and rinses your mouth with a sulk. I missed you,”

 

“I missed you too,” Jimin whispers quietly as he looks away, because looking at Yoongi hurts too much right now, and he just looks at the trees instead, breathe, then he tells himself, breathe.

 

Yoongi’s hand places the box in between them, on the bench before he reaches out for Jimin’s hand that fits right in as usual.

 

“I love you so much, Jimin but I can’t do this. I can’t look at Jungkook and pretend that you don’t love him, because I know, and I can’t tell you to stop seeing him because I know how important he is to you and I don’t want to be that person who does things like that — and you can’t look at me and pretend that you love me just as much as Jungkook, because deep down you know you’ll never love anyone like you love Jungkook and that’s just… too much, Jimin. I can’t handle this, it hurts too much,” Yoongi admits through his tears as he utters his words shakily. “You are my everything, Jimin. I’d die for you in a heartbeat and I’d do anything for you — but I can’t stay with you if you don’t feel the same way. I can’t do this to you and I can’t do this to myself,”

 

“Yoongi,” Jimin’s words are coming out like a series of desperate pleas, but it’s not like he cares because god, this feels like the end, this feels like the end and they can’t just end like this. “You have to believe me when I say I love you—“

 

“I do, Jimin. Maybe you do love me but you’ll always love Jungkook more, isn’t that right?”

 

Jimin thinks back to the time when the both of them spent almost half an hour in the school’s toilet just to wash away the soup stain that’s practically imprinted in Jungkook’s shirt. Jimin thinks back to how Junglook laughed instead of throwing a punch at him, and Jimin thinks back to the times when they’d spend nights in each other’s house to study, but ended up talking about dreams or wrestling instead. Jimin thinks back to how Jungkook has been there for him ever since, even up to this very moment and Jimin nods his head, because that’s the fucking truth.

 

He does, he does, he does.

 

“And that’s the issue here, Jimin. You’ll forever love him more and I’m so sorry I can’t accept that,” Yoongi actually fucking apologizes like it’s his fault. “I can’t love you forever knowing that I’m not your priority, and I really hate to do this but this is it, Jimin.”

 

“No,”

 

“Be happy, Jimin,” Yoongi says, and brushes tears away at Jimin’s cheek like Seokjin did years ago and Jimin only cries even more because he can’t wrap the idea of Yoongi leaving around his mind. Yoongi, leaving him — no, no, no. “You’ll find the courage with Jungkook someday, right?”

 

“I love you,” Jimin’s voice breaks, and he sees the way Yoongi’s smile fade.. “Yoongi, I really do—“

 

“I love you so much,” Yoongi tries to laugh, but it just sounds so awfully sad instead as he leans in close to press a brief kiss against Jimin’s lips and god, please don’t let that be their last kiss, please don’t. “But I have to let you go now, Jimin.”

 

“No,” Jimin inhales sharply when Yoongi stands up from where he is, and untangles their fingers. Yoongi’s warmth. “No, Yoongi, no, don’t leave me—“

 

Yoongi just offers him a sad look, and shakes at his head so gently as he looks at Jimin’s face like he’s trying to memorise it as much as he can because he won’t get to see him anymore in the future — and then he turns, and he leaves.

 

He leaves Jimin right there in the park, together with the ring that could’ve been a beautiful promise to the both of them and it’s almost like Jimin can’t breathe afterward. He’s practically a mess and maybe Yoongi is, too and that’s why he made his way out so hastily and Jimin’s there, and he’s alone.

 

Jimin grabs the velvet box, and squeezes down at it so hard his palm starts to ache, before the curious stares people who are passing by cast at him get too much and he runs, he runs past groups of families who raise their eyebrows at the sight of his eyes, and he dashes across the red lights, igniting a series of cars honking at him before he reaches back to his building, third floor where the carpark is and locks himself in his car.

 

He foolishly thought he’ll be able to breathe better then, but he doesn’t.

 

His phone begins to ring, it’s Jungkook, and Jimin needs him here, he needs his best-friend here but he’s crying so hard then he can’t even say anything. He just casts his phone aside and clutches at his own brown locks as he leans downwards to cry his heart out because god damn it, this is exactly what Yoongi has been on about and he’s right, Yoongi’s right.

 

“Jungkook,” He cries, as his hands shift to cover at his face that’s wet with tears. “Jungkook, help me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

“Go back to sleep, Jimin— shit, Jimin. Are you crying?” Jungkook’s voice shakes Jimin out of his thoughts, too suddenly and he accidentally drops the wedding album of a sweet couple that Jungkook was responsible for onto the floor. Shit, shit, Jungkook’s always especially proud of this work of his, the photographs all turned out so great and shit, did he scratch it?

 

“I’m so sorry,” Jimin says instead, because for some reasons he hears whatever that Jungkook’s saying but he just can’t process them. His mind’s just weighing down at his heart from all the memories he’s beginning to recall that have Yoongi in. “I didn’t mean to—“

 

Jungkook fixes him a look, and just throws the album aside before he pushes the coffee table away, and sits down on the carpet in front of Jimin who’s on the couch — and narrows his eyes so he can take a better look at Jimin.

 

That’s when Jimin realizes that he has been crying.

 

“Shit,” Jimin immediately grunts, but Jungkook’s faster — he brushes the tears away at Jimin’s face, and looks almost angry. “I’m sorry—“

 

“Why are you apologizing? I’m not mad at you,” Jungkook says, and the furrow between his brows begins to cease as his stare softens a little. “I just hate it when you cry because it does horrible things to my heart. It makes me feel like hitting Yoongi-hyung—“

 

Jimin makes a face.

 

“Don’t you dare, Jeon Jungkook. It’s not his fault,” He says, and Jungkook just looks at him like Jimin will finally tell him what happened between them for the break up to happen so suddenly. Too bad for him because Jimin will never reveal anything about it. “I… I was just trying to look at your works so that I can get distracted but everything seems to be reminding me of him anyway, it’s… so ugh.”

 

“You were looking at wedding albums, Jimin—“ Jungkook presses on before he quirks an eyebrow upwards. “… Did Yoongi-hyung pop the question?”

 

Jimin hasn’t meant to, but he looks way too alarmed at the sudden assumption of Jungkook that ends up to be fucking accurate and by the look on his best-friend’s face, oh now he knows something about it.

 

“… He really did?” Jungkook breathes. “Then what went—“

 

Jimin doesn’t waste a second more, and just begins to place the albums back to the boxes he dragged out previously because fuck, fuck. He’s not ready to share, he’s not ready to take that ring out and talk about it like it’s nothing, and Jungkook’s not supposed, he’s never supposed to know.

 

“I’m trying to not think of him right now, Jungkook, so don’t, just don’t let me talk about him because I can’t. I need distractions and talking about him is not one,” Jimin sighs, but offers a small smile anyway when Jungkook’s expression switches into an apologetic one immediately. “I’m sorry, I just really need to get away with anything that has to do with Yoongi. Anymore and I’m afraid I might call him,”

 

Jungkook doesn’t say anything, at least not for awhile until Jimin stands up, and decides that he should keep the box back into Jungkook’s study room before hitting the sack because he’s way too tired for reminiscing and deep-soul chatting already.

 

His best-friend just drags him back down, and makes him sit right at where he was, on the couch and Jungkook reaches for both of his hands.

 

“Jungkook?”

 

The other just squeezes down at his hands, before he looks at Jimin in the eyes and says.

 

“Call the station and pack your bags — you’re going on a vacation with me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

 

Turns out, Jungkook’s plan for the both of them was to go on a road trip to anywhere. They followed the maps and recommendations from people online to different shops to try out different sorts of food from different cities — the shaved ice with peanut butter was a little over, but they still managed to finish it out by making the loser over a game of scissors paper stone finish it. Jungkook lost (‘Jimin, please, don’t make me do this, you look so handsome today’) — and that’s not it.

 

“My luck’s so great right now, I’m impressed by myself.” Jungkook grunts, and Jimin knows he shouldn’t laugh, but he breaks into one anyway at the other’s sarcasm as he tears a strip of the plaster’s packaging off before picking it out (the spots of elsa’s and anna’s faces printed on it making the other wince). “Let my fucking ass go—“

 

“Kids like that.”

 

“You like that—“

 

Jimin snorts and slaps the bandaid over Jungkook’s hand harder he’s supposed to and the other springs upright at his seat immediately.

 

“Fuck my life on a freaking chopping board — Park Jimin!“

 

“What?” Jimin manages to stifle a laughter, but not the amused expression that shows evidently on his face as he pretends he hasn’t just attempted to murder his best-friend and curls at a finger of his to signal the other to bend down so he, who’s sitting on the floor instead of the stool, can reach his forehead. “C’mere, let me check that cut out. The uncle says you’d survive that, but let’s just put something over it in case of infection,”

 

Jungkook abides, surprisingly, but sulks anyway to express his displease over Jimin and if he thinks that’s going to make Jimin treat him better, well, he’s in for a really fun ride.

 

“How can someone fall every time he cycles?” Jimin doesn’t even wait for a second more to throw a jab at Jungkook where it embarrasses the other. “And this badly too, seriously — next time, let’s just rent a dual bicycle. You’ll sit at the back and if you fall, again, I’m going to leave you there, I swear.”

 

“There was a snail on the floor! I was trying to avoid it,” The way Jungkook’s voice suddenly dips into a higher pitch just tells Jimin that yes, this is a lie and there was no snail. Only Jungkook’s unfortunate lack of talent in balancing on a bike. “… Why do you not believe me—“

 

Jimin’s placing a butterfly strip over a cut at the side of Jungkook’s forehead when he just makes a face in response, and from how close their faces are at that very second Jungkook’s literally looking at the other’s unimpressed expression at him in 1080p.

 

“The first time I fell was because there were children running everywhere in front of me! You were there, you saw them!” The children were literally like metres away from him. Jimin snorts again. “ Park Jimin,”

 

Jungkook literally whines and Jimin can’t help but to laugh yet again — it’s not every time he gets to embarrass his best-friend like this and so yes, he’s never going to let the other live this down until they are both eighty. Maybe he still will, but that’s only if he still remembers.

 

“Alright, alright, I’ll stop!” He pretends to give in (if Jungkook thinks Jimin’s not going to tease him tomorrow, he’s so wrong) and only smiles when the other looks at him with a skeptical expression as he smooths his fingers gingerly across the white strip over Jungkook’s wound to secure it on its spot. “Remember when you fell the first time? You were this embarrassed too, and you were so close to bursting into flames, I think. I just sat here like this and tried to reassure you, but you won’t stop being annoyed at yourself so—“

 

Jungkook continues for Jimin with his words soft and quiet, and that’s when Jimin looks at Jungkook in the eyes at realizes the close proximity for once.

 

“You distracted me by making me show you things that I was proud of myself for having, and so I showed you the photographs I’ve taken.”

 

It was the first time Jungkook showed anyone his works.

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook feels like his chest’s about to explode as Jimin looks through the album that’s filled with his half-assed photography. He practically took pictures of everything randomly; an empty bus stop, a crowded ice-cream stand,  his classroom, his own messy study table, his brother’s back view as he plays the guitar and hell, even a paper cup that’s lying in the middle of the pavement — they literally have no meaning to them and Jungkook’s beginning to panic because if Jimin actually laughs at them, he doesn’t think he’ll have any more pride left to survive.

 

“Actually, Jimin, you know what? I do have some science tests I scored particularly well for last year. They count as something I can be proud of, right so just—“

 

Jimin swats his hands away from the album, and holds them close to his body like it’s precious to him, like how dare you for stopping me in the middle of something important and Jungkook stops. He stares in surprise instead because Jimin’s supposed to laugh.

 

He’s supposed to laugh like his brother did when he told him that he loves photography.

 

“What?” Jimin frowns as he flips to the next page, and starts looking at his works again. “I like them, Jungkook. They look pretty and don’t tell me they are not, or I’ll end you because they really are. You should have more confidence in yourself, silly. You take photographs of them in a really nice angle — do you have more? I’d look at them too, and I promise you I’m not lying. I really like them! You should totally go for your dream,”

 

“You’re too kind with your words,” Jungkook responds awkwardly as he begins to rub at his nape, feeling self-conscious all of a sudden because how does one answer to compliments like this? “I’m still very much amateur in this—“

 

Jimin just makes a face before he chuckles at Jungkook’s reasoning like it’s baseless.

 

“Well, I don’t know much about photography, so maybe you are. But you have passion for this, and that’s good enough of a reason to not give up on it, isn’t it? I just think it’s really beautiful — this is beautiful, this book. This album literally contains your passion, so don’t tell me it’s ugly or anything. I think it’s the start of your dream, and I think it’s great.” Jimin pats at a page, his fingers grazing across a photo of a kitten sleeping beside a pot of plant. “Be a photographer Jungkook, if that’s what you want. Continue to be proud of what you love.”

 

Close to a year after knowing each other over a spilled bowl of noodles, a night in Jungkook’s house with Jimin flipping through his album lets Jungkook realize how his heart swells for the other.

 

“Alright,” Jungkook says quietly and bites back a small smile.

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

‘It’s thanks to you I have these,’ Jungkook suddenly realizes, as Jimin’s in the middle of posing like a guy did in his graduation shoot that he found by looking at Jungkook’s past photoshoots in the camera he’s brought along earlier. They were browsing through the photos like years ago (and began to reenact some of them because they got too creative for their own good), but unlike the pictures with shaky fingers and shabby lightings Jungkook first took, now the pictures he freezes into frames are done with precise. Jungkook’s really proud of them now — he helps put people’s happy moments like graduations, weddings, birthdays, performances and births of newborns into memories and he can’t be anymore proud. ‘It’s all thanks to you I’m right here at where I am.’

 

“How did he do it again?” Jimin asks and snaps Jungkook back to attention — Jimin’s sitting in the bed, and he’s holding a bolster like it’s his graduation certificated as he sits with his legs crossed on the bed. It’s not supposed to be like that, the guy in the photo had his legs open a little instead, but all reenactment’s out of Jungkook’s concern as he takes a step close, dips his weight onto the bed alongside with Jimin and kneels right in front of where his best-friend’s sitting at. “I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to take it so close—“

 

Jungkook swears, he’s so, so close to just pushing the other down for a tight hug, but at the very last minute as he leans in, he backs out (like always) before pulling a pillow into his own grip and smacks it right at Jimin’s face.

 

“I— you’re going to get it from me!”

 

 

 

Thank you, Park Jimin — thank you, for being here with me.

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second week into the trip, Jungkook brings Jimin to a beach — they played beach ball for as long as two persons can actually play with each other before they called it quits and swam for a really long time. The sea’s cooling, and it makes the both of them feel so much better for the torture they had been through just now that came in the form of a spicy hot pot in a kind old granny’s shop (oh the irony) that burned both of their tongues off. At least this is comforting, each time Jimin dips into the water he feels the comfortable soothe that comes with it and he swears it’s the most exercise he has done for the last ten years.

 

It’s also the first time Jungkook gives up first in the middle of something that involves sports instead of Jimin — he only got out of the water when Jungkook solemnly swears that the next time he dives into the water, he’s not coming back up.

 

To allow Jungkook’s lungs to breathe better and to allow Jimin to stay in the beach for a longer time, they both opted for sandcastles building. How creative.

 

“That’s not a castle at all, Jimin.” Jungkook actually fixes him a disapproving look for real and Jimin bites back the urge to throw a handful at sand  on the other’s head. “It’s more like a pregnant lady’s stomach instead — look at the way it curves, jesus. Where are your outlines and—“

 

“This is art,” Jimin hisses and finds himself getting oddly defensive over his precious pregnant lady’s stomach that he has to build only because Jungkook couldn’t swim anymore and he’s actually complaining over his hard work right now? As always, Jimin sulks bitterly as he thinks back to all the times they celebrated Christmas together and Jungkook nearly strangled himself over the way he was ‘destructing’ the snowman. As always. “And are you saying that a castle can’t be built based on a pregnant lady’s stomach? They are strong women who are going through a lot just to push out brats like you who don’t even realize their importance. I say they deserve castles built out of their—“

 

Jimin’s the one who gets thrown a handful of sand instead, and he laughs immediately despite pretending to look annoyed.

 

“Jesus, Jimin.” Jungkook groans. “You didn’t become a writer just to come up with lame excuses like this.”

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

“Is that how you’re gonna be once you start writing stories? Be full of shit and pass it all off as your art?” Jimin frowns defiantly at Jungkook who’s obviously judging the way Jimin’s snowman’s head is about the same size as its body and Jimin doesn’t hesitate to flip a finger at him bitterly. “And starting to be crude, Jimin. You would think that after graduating from high school—“

 

Jimin huffs. “Is that how you’re gonna be every time you finish a movie that has an ending you don’t agree with?”

 

Jungkook visibly winces at the mention of the movie they caught earlier, with popcorns and nachos placed over their laps that they agreed to share, and Jimin embarrassingly felt his heart skip every time their hands accidentally touched. Both his heart and mind are in a complete mess until Jungkook headed out the cinema, turned to him and said — “That ending’s ridiculous. Close-friends like that don’t just get together.

 

Jimin can’t stop thinking about it afterwards, with a hand in his pocket gripping a bracelet he bought for Jungkook tight.

 

“Well, maybe? That movie was a complete disappointment anyway. I was hoping that they would be more realistic, you know? They are good friends, you know — knew each other since they learned how to speak their first word and you’re expecting me to believe that they are okay with just.. suddenly confessing to each other about their feelings? Don’t they think?” Jungkook frowns and rambles on while he twists a branch into the side of his own snowman as Jimin’s finger traces the outline of the metal that’s in his palm. “I mean, if I were them I’d most likely not do it. It’s just ridiculous. If I have a friend who’s so important to me, I’m not going to risk it all by entering a relationship with him or her. What if we broke up? Then I’ll lose someone who knows me so well who I could’ve be with forever by being friends. I mean who knows? Maybe we will be happier as friends, you know?”

 

Jimin doesn’t answer, because he can’t. He just shrugs instead, fidgeting at where he stands as he slowly slides his hand out of his pocket and decides that yes, maybe he shouldn’t give Jungkook this after all because the other made sense.

 

What if he lost Jungkook? He doesn’t want to.

 

“No romance movie with you ever again,” Jimin playfully says after a long while, and pretends there was never a bracelet in his pocket that he worked everyday in Baskin Robins despite needing to study for the finals just so he could buy for Jungkook as he fucking confessed like a person who didn’t think through anything. “You read into everything way too much,”

 

Jungkook just smiles.

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

“What?” Jungkook asks, and Jimin knows he’s been staring at the other’s wrist for quite awhile.

 

“Nothing,” Jimin answers, quietly as he lowers his head and doesn’t tell Jungkook about the bracelet that’s still in his drawer even now.

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

Just to try this shop that sells amazing pancakes and closes un-amazingly before ten a.m, Jimin’s been driving for two to three hours half past midnight. All thanks to Jeon Jungkook and his sudden wish that’s so impromptu to have pancakes for breakfast and god, his best-friend can be stubborn if he wants to. What happened to this trip being Jimin-centric?

 

“Their pancakes better taste like gold or else, Jungkook.” Jimin makes a face as he looks to the side where he can see that Jungkook’s struggling to stay awake. “… You’re going to fall asleep, aren’t you?”

 

Jungkook’s practically all curled up at his seat, all too ready to sleep when he blatantly lies and says, “No.”

 

“Shameless little—“ Jimin snorts as he half considers the option of letting Jungkook be since they’ve both had a long day today just by hiking here and there, but if Jimin’s going to suffer, he’s not going to do it alone. Jeon Jungkook’s going to wake up, and suffer alongside with him because that’s what best-friends do. “Wake up—!”

 

Jungkook’s body jerks upright the instant Jimin pulls a hand of his away from the steering wheel to poke at the side of his hips, where he’s the most ticklish at and he almost slips off his seat if he hasn’t snapped back into attention in time.

 

Jimin just grins smugly in response to Jungkook’s frustrated sigh.

 

“But I’m sleepy,” Jungkook almost whines and props his legs up onto the glovebox as he lifts the hood of his jacket over his head like it’s going to shield him from Jimin’s tickles. “Be a kind soul and—“

 

“I’m sleepy too, Jungkook. You’re going to have to talk to me so to keep me awake-“

 

Jimin stops when Jungkook suddenly shifts in his seat, sitting upright with his body leaning towards him. Now that spells trouble, and Jimin pretends to be overly into the road ahead even if it’s empty and dark and Jungkook’s probably a much better sight to look at.

 

“It’s been awhile, actually, Jimin.” Jungkook says, and a smile is curling up on the other’s lips when he looks at Jimin like he’s staring at his freaking sun, like a child immersed in a new thing his parent has bought for him and it’s embarrassing. “Talk to me,”

 

Jungkook asks of him, just like before.

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

“Talk to me,” Jungkook curls at his hands as he gestures towards himself at Jimin who’s standing on the bed with a cucumber in his hand, his expression frozen with embarrassment and awkwardness. “C’mon, Park Jimin! You can do this.”

 

Jimin feels like dying and he doesn’t hesitate to express his inner thoughts to the other. He just continues to groan at where he stands, and fidgets for a really long time before he gives up and squats down — this is it, he can’t do this, he can never do this.

 

“You have to be confident in your own voice, Jimin.” Jungkook frowns as he takes several steps forward before he sits onto the bed, inches away from Jimin who looks like he’s about to break the cucumber into half just by how tightly he is holding onto it. “They just need you to read it, and I’m sure you can so quick, talk to me. I’m your first audience ever, and I’m your biggest fan ever since you began writing—“

 

Jimin smiles a little despite the way his heart is racing in his chest because of how nervous he is for tomorrow. It’s going to be the first day of work in a radio station that he tunes in daily to from before and he just can’t believe he will be the one who others will listen to from now on and well, fuck. He just made himself more nervous.

 

“It’s not my own stories I’m going to be reading, though.”

 

“Someday you will, I’m pretty sure and just saying, I’m going to record all of your stories down then because like I said I’m the biggest fan of Park Jimin’s works and don’t give me that face, I’m not kidding — oh! How about this, Jimin?” Jungkook’s expression literally brightens as he stands up all of a sudden, and backtracks till he reaches a short drawer that barely reaches his hips. “How about you read your own works right now for a try? Maybe you’ll feel more comfortable that way and wait, let me get it for you,”

 

Jimin’s half skeptical, yet half-agreeing over the idea as he begins to sit down onto the bed, waiting for Jungkook to fetch the yellow book that’s filled with his messy handwriting until he realizes what else is in the drawer — and Jungkook’s holding onto it by the time he looks up with an alarmed expression.

 

It’s a disc with the words ‘track one’ written neatly on it.

 

“So you already started practicing? Then that’s even easier, Jimin, we can just play it right now and I can tell you how I think about it—“

 

Jimin drops his cucumber microphone and literally pounces on Jungkook the next second as he claws the disc out of Jungkook’s grip, his heart racing uncomfortably fast in his heart as panic literally occupies his mind entirely because what the fuck Jeon Jungkook did not just say that.

 

“Hey!“ Jungkook frowns when Jimin literally buries the disc into the last drawer, where his briefs and boxers are folded neatly at.

 

“I didn’t even get to finish the entire reading in that disc so let’s not listen to my very own embarrassment,” Jimin grunts as he grabs the closest book to start fanning at himself with because damn it is hot here and he’s so not panicking right now. All is cool, and all is good. “I’ll read to you, okay? I’ll read this pretty story from Wheein instead, and isn’t it better? I’m going to have to do the reading live tomorrow — this is better,”

 

Jimin’s pretty sure Jungkook knows he has something to hide, but his best-friend doesn’t press on about the disc and Jimin’s so, so fucking relieved.

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

Jimin’s in the middle of reading the fifth story to Jungkook, purely based on memory when Jungkook suddenly smiles with a proud expression and raises a hand to ruffle at his hair. The action’s so gentle and soft Jimin begins to hold at his breath, and only speaks when he realizes that it’s only going to seem pretty weird if all he does in response is to keep his silence.

 

“What are you doing?” Jimin tries to sound as annoyed as possible, but an amused chuckle defiantly slips from his lips in the middle of his question anyway. “I’m driving, Jungkook—“

 

“Remember when you got your first job and was panicking so much you can’t even read a single line to me, who should honestly be easier for you since I’m your best-friend?” Jungkook says, and Jimin can’t help but feel oddly embarrassed over his old-self who waddled around on his bed with the cucumber like a fucking fool. “Now you read to people at ease, and you’re doing so well. I told you they’d love your voice and your stories — I bet that even if you aired your track one to the audience right now, they are going to be impressed.”

 

Jimin almost steps onto the brakes because Jungkook still remembers, he still does and Jimin’s so very fucked.

 

“What track one?” He pretends, because he’s a little shit who lies.

 

“It’s just a recording of your story, Jimin. I think you shoved it somewhere so deep, you lost it when you moved. It’s a pity though, I mean. It’s your first recording ever and I’d have loved to listen to it,” Jungkook shrugs and doesn’t know the way his words is squeezing at Jimin’s heart uncomfortably. “Do you still remember any of it?”

 

“… No, I don’t, not anymore.”  Jimin shakes at his head.

 

He still remembers how shaky his voice is when he first recorded it. He remembers it so well, he doesn’t think he’ll ever forget anything about it.

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the sixth time that Jimin’s looking into the mirror to make sure that his dark rings are not as visible anymore, his sweater fits well with his jeans, his boots are clean of any dirt and his hair’s not sticking in any weird direction at all that he realized Jungkook has messaged him — he doesn’t even bother to hide that smile that shows on his face (he probably should do something about it when they meet later).

 

‘Hey, butt! I’ve reached your apartment — wait, no. Your n e w apartment. I’m already inside, and I brought wine and food for celebrations so just come over directly! You don’t have to go to the grocery store on the way and don’t be too late or I’ll finish all the chicken and cake by myself, I swear and… yeah. I should probably end this politely in case your parents read your messages again. Goodbye, Jimin! Congratulations on getting your own place! <3’ - Junkasskook

 

It’s then he looks at his own reflection and sees how dumb he is that he immediately clears at his throat, feeling embarrassed over himself all of a sudden as he stops grinning to his phone and places it aside when he picks up a box that’s resting on the bed beside his backpack instead.

 

Just touching it is making his heart pound in his chest. Jimin thinks he most likely can’t breathe by the time he passes this to Jungkook, because he’s an awkward turtle like that and — this bracelet and disc have been staying inside his drawer for way too long. It’s time they are right where they are always intended for.

 

“Here I go,” Jimin whispers to himself as he wills himself to breathe a little deeper so he isn’t that nervous. Jungkook’s been dropping all sorts of hints over making this dinner special so how can this go wrong, right? It’ll all go as planned, it will. “You can do this—“

 

The door creaks open behind him.

 

“Jimin?”

 

“Dad? I though you were out to fetch mom from the airport—“ Jimin places the box aside the instant he sees the shaky way his father’s breathing, like his legs can give out on him anytime and rushes immediately by the older male and helps him to where his bed is. “Dad, what’s wrong? Do I need to call the ambulance? Wait, I’ll get mom, give me a second—“

 

Jimin drops back onto his bed, sitting right beside his father when he feels a strong grip pulling at him. “Dad?”

 

“I’m not sick, Jimin. I’m just,” Jimin finds himself getting even more anxious the longer it takes for his father to speak because he’s usually not like this, his father’s usually full of smiles and jokes. Never this gloomy, never this upset, never this shaky. “Your mom and I are getting a divorce.”

 

“… What?” Jimin makes a face before he pretends to laugh over the idea because how else he is going to fucking react to this sudden bomb his dad just launched at him. “Don’t joke about this—“

 

“It’s not a joke, Jimin. We’ve decided on this a few years ago, but we didn’t want to affect your studies — now that you’ve gotten yourself a stable job, and even a new apartment… it’s time, Jimin. You have got your life on track, now it’s time for us too.”

 

Jimin breathes, because he often forgets to whenever he feels like his world’s getting wrecked — he breathes, and breathes before he tries to recall all of his parents’ interactions for the previous years. They are always smiling, always having an arm around each other’s shoulder, always having breakfast together and always encouraging Jimin to go for what he wants.

 

“Why are you only telling me now? Why not earlier? I could’ve done something, dad. I could’ve helped—“ Jimin springs to his feet as he tugs at his collar, and it feels as though the sweater’s three sizes smaller than it was. It’s squeezing him down, and it’s so hard to breathe because what the fuck, his life’s always perfect so why the fuck is this happening right now? His family’s not splitting up. “Dad, please. There has to be a way, right? You guys obviously couldn’t keep up with all that act if you hated each other which means there has to be some feelings left—“

 

His father just smiles sadly. He smiles so, so sadly, Jimin feels the tears welling in his eyes that very instant. His dad looked so alone — without his wife, who’s going to watch out for the times he’s going to kick his blanket off in his sleep and shakes from the cold? Without his wife, who’s going to offer a hand to let him hold when he has downtimes because his ego is way too strong for him to confide in his friends and child?

 

“Dad,” Jimin shakes at his head when his father just gestures for him to sit right back beside him. “Dad, you’re not okay with this. I know, I mean — you love mom. You always do, and it’s so obvious so why aren’t you trying? I swear maybe she’s waiting for you to—“

 

“She has another family she wants to belong to,” His father suddenly says and Jimin’s throat clamps down entirely because that doesn’t make sense. This is her family so where the hell is she going to? “She has been wanting to leave for years, Jimin. I told her to give you a few more years, at least till you’re legal and that you can stop relying on us so she did, Jimin. It’s time for us to let her go.”

 

Jimin shakes at his head.

 

“Where is she? She should be here, telling me about her decision as well. It doesn’t make sense that you’re the only one who’s breaking this news to me. What about her? She needs to tell me—“

 

“She’s not coming back,” He says and the realisation hits Jimin — the way she’s sniffling a little as she packed her bags a week ago, and disguised it all as a fear for not having taken the plane before at all. She told Jimin she was sorry for leaving him alone, and Jimin laughed because he obviously is going to be okay for taking care of himself when she’s away for the trip. It’s a goodbye, it’s a fucking goodbye and Jimin hasn’t realized it. “I’m so sorry, Jimin. We tried, we really did but it just can’t work out and please, please don’t blame your mother for this. Both of us agreed that she should leave that way — she wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to you if you knew the meaning behind it.”

 

“If she doesn’t have the guts to say goodbye, then why does she get to leave just like that?” Jimin asks, and he doesn’t even bother to try hiding his tears anymore because his father’s starting to cry too, and he knows he should be understanding because his father’s the one who should be hurting the most but he just can’t help it. His mother just fucking left and Jimin hadn’t know the last time they met was literally the last time. “Where did she go, dad? Where did she go, I want to see her again—“

 

Jimin pulls away when his father tries to get him back to sitting down instead of answering.

 

Where is she?

 

“I don’t know, Jimin.” His father says, his voice loud and clear of the pain that the older male’s feeling within and Jimin stops pacing around. “Don’t you get it? She left, Jimin. She left,”

 

“I’m her son, dad. She’s not going to abandon me like this—“

 

“Well, she did because she left nothing behind! Not a number, not a destination of where she’s going, and not even an address so I can mail her or anything. Nothing!” His father hisses and Jimin presses the back of his hand against his lips to stifle a quiet grunt. “I’m sorry, Jimin.”

 

Jimin just shakes at his head again as he just sits right there on the floor because even taking a few steps in front to the bed where his father’s sitting at seems too far for his legs that are giving out.

 

“But you love her,” Jimin says. “I love her.”

 

“… You have to know this, Jimin. Whenever you choose to love someone, there will always be a chance that they will hurt you. Let them even closer, and the wound’s always going to be deeper.” Jimin doesn’t react to the way his dad’s brushing at his hair now because breathe, Jimin thinks to himself. Breathe. “Don’t make the same mistake as I did, Jimin. Don’t let anyone this close — especially not the person you really do love because it hurts.”

 

Jimin doesn’t move. Not even after his father has left the room — he just sits there, and lets reality slowly sink because what else can he do? He can’t even breathe properly, and his tears won’t stop falling like a fucking running tap.

 

He doesn’t answer the phone that’s been ringing quietly from the corner and locks himself in his room the entire night.

 

 

 

|

 

 

During the last day of the vacation with Jungkook, Jimin dreamt of his parents again. He dreamt about the day his father broke the news to him, and the dream was on its way to becoming a nightmare when he too, dreamt that his mother’s back, and she hugged him for an hour long before brushing at his hair the same way she did ever since he’s born until she hid away from him. He dreamt that his father hadn’t drunk himself into despair ever since his mother left, and he dreamt that his father was sitting on the couch with a grin ready as always. He dreamt that his father didn’t disappear one night and never returned, with police searching for months up to no avail. He dreamt of Jungkook being there, as always, and was just right there beside him throughout with their hands never straying far—

 

A car honk down the streets suddenly pierces through the serenity of the night, and Jimin jerks awake immediately and yes this, this is the reality.

 

He’s sleeping in a worn down motel that reeks of vomit and alcohol, and the walls are so thin Jimin can literally hear the room next to him laughing at a television show and another room further away doing some sort of inappropriate shit Jimin wants no more knowledge of. He’s also sleeping on a bed that he has to share with Jeon Jungkook, the culprit behind everything because he misread a fucking word.

 

‘Ah, so it’s Hwangmyeon and not Hwangyoung—‘ Jungkook claps at his hands once in realisation but it doesn’t make a difference anymore because it’s too late to book a room in the hotel they had wanted originally, and since a room’s already prepared for them here, it’s time to rest their tired bodies, even if they have to share a bed because Jungkook’s attempt to ask for two single beds became a pathetic request for a double bed and no one knows how it happened.

 

“That honk got you too, huh?” Jungkook suddenly asks, and Jimin’s sight flickers back at Jungkook’s eyes that are staring at him with concern. “I’m sorry—“

 

Jimin shakes at his head, and doesn’t let the realisation of how close they are actually lying to each other affect him. It’s comfortable anyway, the bed’s soft, the sheets are clean, and Jungkook looks so at ease just being there, sleeping on his side as he faces Jimin so he doesn’t want to correct anything.

 

“It’s alright like this,” Jimin says with a small smile. “I was having a pretty bad dream anyway.”

 

“What did you dream of?”

 

“My parents,” Jimin says and Jungkook goes quiet. “I dreamt of them all being right there with me and… I don’t know. Thank god for that car because it’s only going to be ridiculous when I wake up feeling attached to the dream. It’s better that I’m used to being alone—“

 

Jimin jerks a little when Jungkook suddenly kicks at his legs. “What was that for?!"

 

“I told you that you’re not alone, Park Jimin.” Jungkook corrects and he looks way too reassuring, like he’s someone who Jimin can have faith in and the worst thing of all is that, he probably is. “You have me, so don’t you dare talk like you’re someone who’s left with no one again because I’ll always be here. Have you forgotten about what I’ve told you in the—“

 

Jimin’s mind briefly flashes back to that evening in the carpark.

 

“You’ll never leave me,” Jimin says quietly and it’s instant that a faint smile tugs at his lips as he repeats. “You’ll never leave me.”

 

“I never will,” Jungkook says, and his voice dips a little way too softer than it should and that’s when Jimin notices the way his best-friend’s looking into his eyes, all of his attention shifting to Jungkook and nothing else.

 

Not the laughters coming from both rooms beside them, not the noisy footsteps that patter down the corridors and not the air-conditioner that’s whistling like a boiling kettle.

 

His attention is all on Jungkook, and Jungkook only.

 

Jungkook’s stare is so, so soft and gentle and Jimin hasn’t even realized it but a hand of his has shifted upwards to caress at the other’s raven locks the instant Jungkook’s hand holds at his shoulder, drawing his best-friend whose stare is gradually lingering at his own lips nearer as he himself begins to close at his eyes, unknowingly—

 

Until a second honk wrecked through the thin walls for the night, and Jimin backtracked so fast that he literally falls off the bed, and he can feel Jungkook’s hands reaching out for him to get him back to his seat but he’s having none of it — he just picks himself up instead as he brushes the other’s hands off, as quickly as he can before scrambling his way into the bathroom and locks himself in there just like Jungkook did in Jeju.

 

He doesn’t see the way Jungkook’s cursing at himself for trying something that’s so risky and stupid just like years ago.

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

It’s the fifth time Jungkook has called and Jimin’s still not answering — it’s almost like he knows what’s about to happen and backed out last minute. Could that be the reason? Maybe it really is the reason, Jungkook thinks to himself as he remains seated on the new sofa he picked with Jimin in a vintage store last week. Maybe Jimin knows what he’s about to do, and that’s why he got cold feet. There’s no way the other didn’t know, Jungkook was getting pretty obvious by the hints he’s been shamelessly dropping to the other. It’s supposed to be a special evening, yes?

 

“Maybe Jimin didn’t want that,” Jungkook suddenly says to himself as he just forces a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes onto his face because no, there’s nothing to be sad over. “Maybe this has all been a really bad idea,”

 

Jungkook blows out the candles and bins all decorations he has prepared — the flowers, the balloons, and the strings of lightbulbs. He cleared the table, all the food back into boxes because Jimin’s new place doesn’t have a fridge yet, and shifted everything to its original place so that it looks as though as Jungkook hadn’t been here four hours earlier just so he can finally try to be brave for once to Jimin and talk about his feelings.

 

Now the apartment looks like how it always has been, and Jungkook just laughs a little dryly and awkwardly at the same time all to himself because it really looks like nothing has happened and—

 

If nothing has truly happened then why does he feel like the spot beneath his chest’s about to burn and crash?

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

The trip back home is oddly quiet — things have never been quiet in between the both of them. They don’t break into silly love songs in the middle of the trip like they did on the way to the beach, and they don’t laugh over photographs that were taken as they relive the fond yet hilarious memories. They just stay quiet, and the car would’ve been dead silent if not for the radio that’s playing at the moment, loud and noisy music that contrasts with their situation entirely.

 

Jungkook has tried to speak to Jimin, of course he did, but it doesn’t seem like the other wanted to talk about whatever that’s nearly happened the previous night. He just greeted Jungkook morning like they hadn’t nearly kissed, and he just packed his bags humming to music like he didn’t hide in the bathroom all night and slept on the bathtub as if it’s his bed.

 

It’s then Jungkook stopped trying to talk to the other, because every time he speaks, he can taste the fucking awkwardness because he doesn’t know how Jimin’s able to do this, to just pretend like everything’s okay.

 

Their silence lasts, because it seems like Jimin secretly wants them to not talk — he doesn’t even say a thing when Jungkook just abruptly decides to stop talking in the hotel, and lets the silence prolongs so much it now lingers heavily in the car, and by the time Jimin’s car reels to a stop almost hours later at Jungkook’s building, a frustration begins to fill at Jungkook’s lungs and he doesn’t even know why.

 

“Are you asleep? We reached, Jungkook.” Jimin says, and talks like he doesn’t know Jungkook’s been looking outside of the window, wide awake because his mind won’t let go of last night, the way how Jimin has his fucking eyes closed, his hand on his cheek and his lips so close to his own. “Wake up—“

 

“I’m up,” Jungkook answers, and sounds even grouchier than he intended to before he plays along and rubs a hand at his face, pretending to be biting back a tired yawn while in fact, all he’s thinking of is if Jimin’s coming up with him. It doesn’t make sense for him to not to — it’s been a long car trip, and they didn’t even take any breaks since they had been in this awkward cold war that barred them from speaking and had it been the past, Jimin would’ve driven them both straight into the carpark. It would’ve been decided without words that Jimin would be sleeping in Jungkook’s place first before deciding where to go but the car’s parked right by the road this time round and Jungkook feels like he should ask Jimin to go up with him so he can catch a wink, but he doesn’t. He listens to the frustration within him instead. “Thanks for the ride,”

 

Thanks for the ride? How long have they known each other? Ten fucking minutes or more than ten years?

 

“No problem,” Jimin actually responds with and Jungkook doesn’t look back at all once he gets all of his bags and leaves.

 

 

| |

 

 

Pretending that nothing has happened was easy after they had some days to themselves, alone (Jungkook spent his days chiding at his own reckless and stupid actions that caused his temporary awkwardness int he first place) — this is precisely what Jungkook’s been doing ever since Jimin sat by his side years ago, flipping through his album of ugly photographs and this is what Jungkook can keep doing if it’s better for them.

 

He cracks shitty jokes at Jimin as usual the next time he sees his best-friend who’s setting up the props for monopoly with Taehyung, both not even paying attention to the disastrous movie that’s playing on the television, with aliens sprouting out from a spaceship with absolute no explanations. He steals food from Jimin’s bowl like he always does and grins shamelessly when Jimin fixes him a glare. He doesn’t stop himself from using Jimin’s laps as a pillow when he’s tired, and doesn’t budge even if Jimin complains about how heavy his head is.

 

Everything goes as planned and Jungkook honestly just needs a few more days before that night becomes another almost memory of theirs that they will soon disregard entirely. Just a little while more of this play-pretend both of them are ready to engross themselves in—

 

Until three weeks later after the trip, Jungkook sees Jimin sitting with someone at the table in Seokjin’s cafe.

 

“Who’s that?” Jungkook asks, and he didn’t mean to sound grouchy, it was an accident but it’s not like Taehyung and Seokjin noticed. They just keep staring at his best-friend who’s now laughing at something the other has said, and Jungkook looks away as he shifts his attention briefly to Solar who’s been expecting his gesture for awhile. ‘One iced latte coming up!’, Solar declares and that’s only when Jungkook allows himself to look back, to where the other two are still looking at. They didn’t even answer his question. “Guys? Stop looking, jesus. Give them some privacy—“

 

Taehyung wrinkles at his nose. “What privacy do they need?”

 

Now that’s what a grouchy sentence does sound like when intended to, Jungkook thinks to himself as he raises at his eyebrows almost immediately and that’s when he realizes that Taehyung’s not even looking at both Jimin and the stranger like Seokjin is, curiously — his colleague’s just outright staring at the other guy with a small frown.

 

“Now I really do want to know who he is,” Jungkook bites back an amused expression and nudges Seokjin once he’s seated in between them. “Hyung, what’s going on? You have to share! You’re usually not this nosy about other people’s affairs—“

 

Seokjin raises his hands defensively immediately. “I’m not trying to be nosy! Taehyung told me to watch the both of them so I can offer the best, unbiased opinion about them to him. Taehyung thinks he’s going to looking at them with clouded judgement—“

 

“No shit sherlock,” Jungkook snorts and almost can’t make it in time to dodge the smack that’s coming from his colleague. “Where do you know him from? Why is he talking to Jimin if he’s here and knows you?”

 

At that question, Taehyung finally looks away and leans to the side a little when Solar comes approaching with Jungkook’s beverage — she places down a plate of cake too, and Jungkook’s pretty sure his usual sign to the other hadn’t involved an order for comfort food but the next second, she pushes the plate towards Taehyung and actually sighs at him sympathetically.

 

“It’s on me,” Solar pats at where her heart is located at and Jungkook nearly laughs out loud because Taehyung’s expression is just priceless. “You’ll be strong right, Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung only manages to regain his composure seconds later after being rendered speechless by Solar who just dropped a bomb out of nowhere and he immediately sits upright, waving at his hands in denial as he tries to find the right words for an explanation she doesn’t bother to stay long enough to listen to (Seokjin just laughs somewhere at the side while being super proud of his staff who performs exceptionally well as always).

 

“I— it’s not like that! I’m not in love or anything, ugh, Jungkook! Stop laughing! I’m just curious, like Seokjin-hyung I swear and no, no! Stop laughing! Hoseok’s just someone I met while you’re on your stupid trip with Jimin, alright? I took up your jobs too and he was one of them — he teaches in a dance academy for the kids and wants to meet Jimin once I told him about his job. He needs Jimin to… write a cute musical for his kids to dance to or something. I don’t know, I mean. I’m sure they did talk about work at first but it’s been an hour, so… I don’t know. Maybe they are planning for their first honey sweet date.” Taehyung’s frowning again and Jungkook swears he’s not going to laugh this time round, but even Seokjin looks like he’s going to laugh and he just really can’t hold anything in anymore. “Jungkook! Stop laughing, you shit! You should be the bitter one here!”

 

Jungkook just continues to wiggle his eyebrows at Taehyung because it’s fucking fun to tease Taehyung at times (especially right now), and laughs so loud when Taehyung begins to breathe in deeply just so to calm himself down, Jimin looks over.

 

Jimin gives him a small smile, and before Jungkook can even smile back, Jimin’s back to looking at Hoseok and at the piece of paper that’s on their table.

 

Never said I wasn’t bitter, Jungkook thinks to himself briefly before he just looks back at Taehyung who’s now teased by Seokjin, and pretends to laugh like he’s been listening all along, like that sight of Hoseok and Jimin didn’t remind him of the times he had to watch Jimin slowly fall in love with somebody else and like the idea of Jimin beginning to feel something for Hoseok doesn’t press at his heart uncomfortably. Pretend everything’s okay, Jeon Jungkook. Pretend.

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

“Jimin— shit,” Jungkook almost slips on his way down the stairs, but Jimin’s hands are quick as they grab at his shoulders, pushing him back into a firm balance and despite Jimin looks unimpressed and even surprised, Jungkook finds himself laughing anyway. “Well, for the first time it’s not you who needs—“

 

His best-friend then decides to let him go that instant, but not before he gives a playful push that almost trips Jungkook for real.

 

“Is this how you treat your best friend?” Jungkook feigns a sorrowful expression once he manages to balance (Jimin didn’t use much strength anyway), and although he’d have loved to prolong his act a little more, it all dies down the instant Jimin fixes him an unimpressed look and  a silly grin’s on his face by the time he steps in front of his best-friend with a hand of his outstretched. “Here, you left some of your files on the chair next to you, as always.”

 

“Not always,” Jimin’s quick to counter, but the sheepish expression his face gives it all away as he hurriedly picks the files out of Jungkook’s hands and gives his files a quick look. “I didn’t even realize at all, my god — thanks a lot, Jungkook. I won’t know what to say to Hoseok if I actually lost these outlines,”

 

Ah yes, Hoseok.

 

“You never said that you were going to do a script for him,” Jungkook says, and tries to sound as casual as he can about this while he rolls a pebble he suddenly feels beneath his sneakers. “How… is it going so far?”

 

“We’ve actually been texting for the previous weeks over the theme of the story. It’s a pretty big thing, a singing academy and a dancing one collaborating for the founder’s fifty five years old birthday so Hoseok’s pretty particular over the storyline… there’s even instances we had to talk through the night over some corrections,” Jimin shrugs as he slides his backpack down a shoulder, and stuffs the files in like his words wouldn’t kill Taehyung if he’s here (thank god Taehyung isn’t here). “It’s actually all wrapped up, actually. I’m just meeting him today to go through the details again—“

 

Jungkook snorts. “It took you guys two hours or more, Jimin. Are you sure it’s just a simple discussion?”

 

Jimin looks like he’s almost about to laugh in return at that question, but he pauses midway like he senses the accidental sourness that’s in Jungkook’s words and Jungkook winces inwardly immediately because fuck, it’s all because of Taehyung. His colleague’s blatant bitterness and jealousy totally rubbed off on him. It’s all Taehyung’s fault, it’s all his fault.

 

“Maybe it is something more,” Jimin actually says, and he says it so seriously it’s a fucking good thing Taehyung’s not around, because Jungkook knows Jimin’s lying. “But it’s nothing bad, is it? I mean, I don’t know. I have to get to the station now so… thanks for the files! I’ll see you next week at Solar’s birthday party, yes? Bye, Jungkook!”

 

“Bye, Jimin.” Jungkook mutters quietly, as he lets Jimin’s words circle in in his head. It’s all lies, and he knows it — but how ironic it is that Jungkook’s only feeling all sorts of twisted inside when Jimin’s actually lying about having something more with Hoseok? He should feel relived, he really should but instead he just can’t stop thinking about the fact that Jimin felt like there was a need to lie, like Jungkook needed this so he can move on easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

“Jimin! You came!” Solar’s voice is higher than it usually is and Jimin barely has a moment before he reacts to her arms that are flung around his neck, his body crashing against hers when she squeezes at his frame. She’s already drunk, Jimin thinks to himself as he doesn’t bother pulling away from her grip that’s getting even tighter. “Thanks for coming, thanks for coming, thanks for coming—“

 

Definitely drunk, Jimin almost laughs to himself as she finally releases him, an adorable smile evident on her face that’s already blooming red and she almost trips and falls when she takes a step backwards if not Jungkook and Namjoon who manage to catch her just in time.

 

“No problem, no problem, no problem,” Jimin snorts as he answers, and is honestly expecting someone to at least laugh at his attempt of humour, but no one does, not even Solar who’s drunk (she’s usually more cheery and excitable when she has too much alcohol). Her eyes are squinted, but not crinkled because she’s smiling so much. It’s like she’s staring at something with much efforts, and it’s only when Jimin follows Jungkook’s stare he realizes that they are all looking behind him — oh, oh. “Anyway, urm, oh! I’m sorry, this is your birthday present, Solar! You said you liked this the last time we met, right?”

 

Jimin quickly turns behind him, and takes the huge life-sized teddy bear away from Hoseok who actually offered to drive him here after they altered the script (then offered to take the bear up for Jimin after laughing at how it’s almost the same height at Jimin, damn).

 

“I love you,” Solar declares, with her lips pursed like she’s about to plant a huge smacking kiss on Jimin’s cheek when she stumbles forward to hug the soft doll into her own arms. “You’re the best, Jimin, you’re the best, Namjoon only gave me a stupid paper,“

 

Namjoon feigns an offended expression and messes her hair up intentionally. “I made a card for you, it’s full of good intentions so how dare you—“

 

“You talk too much!”

 

Solar shushes Namjoon immediately by throwing the bear into his arms before pressing the plush’s face against Namjoon’s, and Jimin would’ve laughed, honestly if not for how Jungkook isn’t. He’s just standing there, like he doesn’t want to be, and Jimin swears Jungkook was going to turn and leave if not for how Taehyung comes scrambling to the door the very next second.

 

“Hey, Kookie,” Oh god, is Taehyung drunk too? Jimin swears he’s only late by an hour. “We were in the middle of drinking! I told you Jimin is going to be okay and oh! Look, Jiminnie, my dear Jiminnie is here and what the fuck—“

 

“What? What’s going on?” Namjoon asks with an alarmed tone, and Jimin’s pretty sure he’d be snorting if he could see Namjoon’s expression, but his face’s covered by the bear and all he can see is the way Taehyung trips after trying to escape from the door at the sight of Hoseok. “Did someone die? Did Solar tear my paper— what’s going on?”

 

Jimin laughs for real now, and immediately steps forward to pick his friend up who literally mouths ‘I’m not wearing my best shirt today’ in the cutest way ever and Jimin just wants to squeeze his friend’s cheeks right there and right then, but then Jungkook’s at the other side to pull Taehyung up to his feet and everything’s just a fucking mess, really.

 

“Hoseok drove me here since I’m running late,” Jimin quickly explains as he looks at Taehyung who’s trying to flatten the non-existent creases on his shirt before turning to look at Hoseok who just smiles politely at everyone before gesturing that he should most probably leave now until Solar suddenly steps forward to drag the other into her apartment. “Solar, what are you—“

 

“No one leaves! And definitely not you, not you. You drove Jimin here? Good for you! Go get a drink, it’s on me, get a drumstick or something, it’s on me too!” Solar turns entirely deaf to Hoseok’s protests as she snaps at her fingers at her roommate Wheein to pass a glass of champagne over. “Get this young man a drink because the party is getting started!”

 

Jimin can’t even save the other — he’s just dragged away by Wheein who springs into actions on cue and Solar’s stumbling back the next moment, and Jimin doesn’t get how she is so adorable yet frightening at the same time.

 

“You’re welcome,” She actually fucking says to Taehyung who gives up ironing his shirt with his palm and throws an arm around his neck, pulling him with her to the living room where some people are actually dancing at (god, Seokjin?) before turning back to look at Jungkook sympathetically. “I’m sorry,”

 

Jungkook groans, and Jimin doesn’t look at him as he pretends to not know what Solar meant by her words.

 

“What the fuck is going on,” Namjoon just says again as he snuggles into the teddy bear Jimin has bought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

The party’s supposed to be fun — they have all been looking forward to this party for awhile. Seokjin is so bent on making today a memorable birthday for his dearest who’s like a sister to him, and Solar’s obviously enjoying her party. She’s biting apples out of a bucket of water, she’s taking a piggy-back on Namjoon’s back, she’s making Wheein dance with a pot on her head and she’s using permanent market to draw on people who she thinks are being a party pooper.

 

Hoseok almost got drawn on, but shining knight Taehyung came to his rescue by dragging him to the dance floor — go for it, Taehyung (if only Jimin can tell him about how Hoseok made use of their meetings just to talk to Jimin more about Taehyung who he wants to know more about).

 

Well, Jimin thinks to himself as he watches Hoseok and Taehyung dance and whisper into each other’s ears while Solar laughs and draws on Jackson’s face. At least some of them are actually enjoying, and happily oblivious to the misfortunes that are happening everywhere that’s all too clear in Jimin’s eyes (why isn’t he drunk yet if all he’s been doing is to drink?).

 

Namjoon seems to be sulking at a corner, sitting with the bear he’s been fighting to keep by his side (‘I will kick you if you take him away from me, Jungkook’) ever since a really drunk Seokjin actually took part in spin the bottle and kissed Moonbyul. Jonghyun’s just sitting beside him and mourning over the death of his relationship because Jinki hasn’t replied him for the past few hours and Jimin? Jimin’s sitting in the kitchen because he doesn’t want to head out to look at the way Jungkook’s been talking to Joy. 

 

They practically occupied the whole of Solar’s couch as Jungkook sits at an end, with Joy’s legs propped up on top of his laps as she lies on the remaining space, her sight never once leaving Jungkook who laughs at everything she says and Jimin finishes another glass of whiskey when he thinks about what drove him away to hide in the kitchen. Jungkook was actually drumming his fingers across her shin as she held onto his other hand.

 

‘He’s drunk too,’ A kind-hearted Taehyung tried to say, but Jimin doesn’t think it matters.

 

Drunk or not, that will never be them — and there it is, he hears Jungkook chuckling at something she has said again.

 

He needs to go.

 

Jimin gets up from where he’s sitting at immediately and runs to where the dance floor is.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin says to Solar once he drags her to the corridor where he can give her a hug she’s already too dazed to reciprocate, and gives her a quick kiss on the forehead before he peels his bag off Jonghyun’s grip and leaves the place that’s booming with music — the place that all he can hear are Jungkook and Joy’s laughters. “I don’t feel so well, I’ll leave now, okay? I’m so sorry, I hope you have a blast today, I’ll call you tomorrow so have lots of fun okay? I love you, see you again!”

 

“You’re leaving?” Namjoon who’s still sitting by the door asks, and Jimin ruffles at his hair briefly as he responds with a quick nod before he leaves and dashes down the stairs.

 

Jimin slips into a taxi as fast as he can and flees like he always does, and he doesn’t feel any better as usual, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin barely has enough time to set his bag down onto the couch and takes his jacket off when he suddenly hears the door to his apartment open, and the instant he turns as he drops his outerwear onto the chair he’s standing beside, he inhales in surprise.

 

“Jungkook?” His best-friend’s standing right there, raven locks sticking to his forehead like he’s been running and his face dimly red from all the alcohol he had been drinking earlier in Solar’s place. Jimin doesn’t know if he wants the other to be here. “What are you doing here?“

 

“Why?”

 

Jungkook’s rather drunk too, from the way he’s almost stumbling forward like Solar did — but when he grabs at Jimin’s hand and looks into his eyes, it’s all too clear. He’s rather sober, he’s still sober, but the alcohol’s working its effects on him and Jimin begins to feel his heartbeat picks up because no, no. Not now.

 

“What why?” Jimin simply answers and tries to pull his hand away from Jungkook — his best-friend simply tightens his hold and continues to look at him in a way that’s way too similar like the way he did a few weeks ago in that hotel room. “Jungkook, you know what? You’re drunk, kind of. I’ll get a cab for you downstairs, alright—“

 

“Why did you leave the party?” Jungkook suddenly asks.

 

“Why are you asking?” Jimin asks in return, and pretends Jungkook isn’t demanding for honesty. He just pretends, like he always does and forcefully pulls his hand away with much more strength when he finds the need to turn away, to fidget about and to look at anything but his best-friend’s eyes. “Why did you leave too is the real question — I was feeling uncomfortable and so I left, but what about you? Why did you leave?”

 

“I asked you the question first—“

 

“I told you I was unwell!” Jimin insists, and feels oddly defensive all of a sudden as he looks at Jungkook who seems like he’s the brink of just losing his temper — but what for, Jimin would never have an idea. Jimin’s the one who should be on the verge of losing his temper and yet here Jeon Jungkook is, just blatantly being stern and cold towards him like Jimin’s the one who was flirting with someone earlier — no, no, no.

 

He can’t think like that, Jimin suddenly panics to himself at the realisation of what he’s been thinking because no, of course not. The both of them absolutely have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want and like right now? Jimin’s going to walk right back into his room and Jungkook’s going to let him (he feels uncomfortably positive that they are both going to get into a quarrel that’s so much more worse than their usual squabble and Jimin doesn’t want it).

 

“Go wash up, Jungkook. You can sleep on the couch tonight if you’re this drunk.” Jimin mutters, quickly as he turns away entirely and starts making his way to where his bedroom is and every step weighs on his chest. “I… I’ll be turning in now. I don’t feel that good—“

 

Before Jimin manages to push the door to his room open, Jungkook steps right behind and drags the door back shut. The loud slam of the door echoes within Jimin’s apartment that very instant, and Jimin would’ve chided the other for causing such a noisy ruckus in the middle of the night but he doesn’t.

 

He instead finds himself looking at Jungkook who’s actually inching him closer to where the door is and traps him there, right in between the door to his room and his best-friend.

 

“Jungkook,” Jimin tries, but the other’s quick to cut in.

 

“Tell me, Jimin.” Jungkook’s suddenly soft, speaking like there wasn’t a tension so thick in between them that a knife can literally slice it. “Tell me.”

 

Jimin presses himself nearer to the door like it’s going to take him further away from Jungkook’s warmth that a part of him just honestly wants to lean in closer to.

 

“Tell you what?” Jimin sighs, and makes up his mind this time round. He uses both of his hands to push at Jungkook’s torso, so that the other’s going to leave, but his best-friend doesn’t budge, just like that evening in the carpark and Jungkook just shoves his hands away before he actually shouts.

 

“Tell me you’re jealous, Jimin, what else!”

 

Jimin goes silent, for a long moment. He just stays there, and wills himself not to speak. At least not now, at least not when everything that’s within him is telling him to just drag his best-friend down for the kiss he’s been wanting for years and Jimin can’t, he just can’t because Jungkook’s so much more than just a reckless kiss that’s done when the both of them are influenced by alcohol pretty badly.

 

Jungkook’s so much more than anything that Jimin has ever felt for in his life and Jungkook’s everything he wants but at the same time he can’t have.

 

“I’m not jealous,” Jimin says quietly and he doesn’t miss the way Jungkook just laughs so bitterly like he’s been expecting the answer.

 

“Stop lying, Park Jimin—“

 

“I’m not lying—“

 

“You are lying!” Jungkook insists with a grunt as he bumps a fist of his against the door Jimin’s leaning against, and Jimin can practically hear how heavily Jungkook’s breathing as his best-friend suddenly decides to cranes his torso downwards, and leans in close. “You’re lying.”

 

Then he gets soft, again, like he’s reassuring Jimin that it’s okay and truth is, Jimin wants to believe in Jungkook when he says it’s okay. He wants to believe it’s okay to not hide in the bathroom weeks ago when they almost kissed. He wants to believe it’s okay if he wants to walk out of the bathroom in the middle of the night, and kisses Jungkook so the other will stop sighing in both embarrassment and frustration. He wants to believe it’s okay if Jungkook kisses him right here, right now so that they can both stop running but at the same time, he believes in his father too—

 

And so when Jungkook actually dips so close their lips are almost touching, Jimin ignores the clench at his heart as he says, “Don’t do it.”

 

Jungkook stops.

 

“Don’t cross the line,” Jimin whispers and he’s practically digging his nails into his palms by now and it hurts, but it doesn’t hurt as much as what he feels at that moment and what he sees. It looks like tears are welling at his best-friend’s eyes. “Jungkook—“

 

Jungkook turns away, and doesn’t even allow Jimin a single chance to hold onto his arm — he shoves his hand off and hastily makes his way out of the apartment like he’s giving up on Jimin.

 

“Jungkook,” Jimin tries again and almost runs after Jungkook, but the next second his best-friend turns to look at him and Jungkook’s laughing, he’s laughing but he’s also fucking crying at the same time and Jimin just stops immediately because that sight literally freezes Jimin because he’s hurting the one person he never, never, wants to hurt. “… Jungkook, please—“

 

“There was never a line, Jimin.” Jungkook’s voice actually breaks as he tries to speak in amidst of his chuckles and tears, and runs a hand through his locks while looking so frustrated like this isn’t what he signed up for. “Even if there is, we’ve already crossed it.”

 

 

 

 

Jungkook slams the door on his way out, and that’s only when Jimin slides onto the floor and starts crying.

 

 

|

 

 

 

Jimin remembers their biggest fight. Almost all of the interviews Jungkook had gone to turned him down, despite the praises and compliments they might’ve given initially. Everything turned out to be false hopes, and Jungkook was on the brink of giving up the dream of living in the city, of being all that he wanted to and he was on the brink of just finding a simple job and let it be forever because there’s no time for passion if that’s how society had in plans for him.

 

Jungkook almost threw his camera away, if not for Jimin who stopped him in time and called him out.

 

The fight that night was pretty terrible; Jungkook’s actually angry for all the reasons that he shouldn’t, finding all sorts of ways to vent the anger that he has inside of him and Jimin made it easy, he drew the other’s fury out as he purposely pressed on and didn’t shelf his lectures for another day. They ended up yelling, annoyed and angry at each other over nothing before Jimin threw the camera at the couch and told Jungkook to do whatever he wants since if giving up was going to be his last option then nothing else should matter.

 

Jungkook was the one went knocking at Jimin’s door hours later, because he hated the idea of them going to sleep while being mad at each other, and it wasn’t hard for them to find back the way to be laughing around each other again. It never was hard because it always is that simple when it comes to the both of them.

 

But it’s not that simple tonight, Jimin can’t just go knocking at Jungkook’s door hours later and expects everything to be alright.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin whispers as he switches off the camera, blocking out the video of Jungkook laughing as he smears buttercream across Jimin’s face. “I’m so sorry, Jungkook.”

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

Jimin only does look for Jungkook almost a week later, when the idea of standing before Jungkook no longer shakes his heart and presses down at his lungs — but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier when his best-friend’s  exhausted eyes meet his hesitant ones. It brings back the image of Jungkook with his eyes red, staring at Jimin like he’s so, so disappointed and all of a sudden it’s hard to breathe again as his mind decides to cave in that very second, just fixed on chiding him over his own mistakes and Jimin can’t speak even if he’s spent every minute on the way here repeating to himself over the lines he wants Jungkook to hear, the words that actually convey his fucking feelings.

 

But as he sits here, with Jungkook just right beside him staring at the busy traffic on the road just right in front of them, it’s like his tongue is frozen and he can’t say a thing at all. It’s been ten minutes and all Jimin can do is to just sit still and Jungkook doesn’t rush him, he just waits, like he knows the turmoil Jimin’s mind is in and it should reassure Jimin so much more, but it doesn’t because every time Jimin opens his mouth and tries to speak, nothing comes out.

 

Say something, Jimin urges himself as he breathes, gripping tightly at the edge of the bench they are both sitting on. Just like you’ve planned, just like you just did in the car. Say it, say it, say it.

 

“About—“

 

“It’s okay, Jimin.” Jungkook actually cuts in, and looks at Jimin then like he understands. “We’d probably have been terrible together anyway.”

 

Turns out that he doesn’t understand, but Jimin doesn’t correct him.

 

“You’re such a blanket hogger anyway and I can’t stand the cold. I won’t be able to share a bed with you for long before my toes all drop off and jesus, you always like to cook breakfast when you can’t do it. Fuck you and your sunny side ups anyway,” Jungkook adds on, and Jimin finds himself smiling anyway at the other’s way of finding a way to at least make this fucking hopeless situation a little bit better. “I’d… have been a terrible boyfriend too. I won’t let you stay up late when your inspiration hits. I’ll drag you back to sleep because life sucks as a light-sleeper. I can’t go to bed if I know someone’s out there still busy doing something and I’d have tried to interrupt you by listening to classics you never liked.”

 

Jungkook’s smiling too by now, and Jimin doesn’t continue looking at his best-friend’s face even if the smile curls the corners of his lips upwards even more — because he sees the tears that are prickling at the other’s eyes, and Jimin really doesn’t want to see his best-friend ever crying again because it fucking hurts.

 

“You try to eat healthy way too much, and I want fries after dinner no matter what if the cravings kick. I’d have been a living hell to you,” Jungkook continues and as much as Jimin wants to say no to all to that, he doesn’t. He just listens, and pretends to not notice the way their hands are almost touching on the bench. Just a little more and Jimin can curl his last finger around Jungkook’s one, and if he’s slightly more braver he can actually grab his best-friend’s hands to interlock their fingers together like they fit perfectly. But he doesn’t. “We’d probably quarrel so much over the smallest things, because I won’t wash the dishes, and you won’t fry me an egg that isn’t burnt, and.. I don’t know. We probably wouldn’t have made it that long anyway,”

 

Jimin looks down when he suddenly feels tears slipping the instant he blinks, and forces a quiet snort out as he looks at their hands which are so, so close, and maybe this is all that they will ever be.

 

“You cook shitty food too, what are you talking about,” Jimin counters as he finally speaks coherently, in amidst of his tears and smiles anyway when he hears Jungkook laughing at his words. “I can’t even count on you to cook me something decent if I have to burn the midnight oil for an important submission,”

 

Just way too close, just by the fingertips — and only by the fingertips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(“Move on,” Jimin decides to say at the end when they have both ran out of insults towards each other and the relationship that has never happened, and all that’s left are the almost helpless chuckles and quiet sniffles. “We can do that, right?”

 

Jungkook doesn’t answer him.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

“You look like shit,” Taehyung concludes as Jungkook brushes past him to set his coat down on the hanger that’s right beside their couch and on normal circumstances Jungkook really would’ve dragged the other down with a headlock, but he doesn’t because his colleague is probably right about how he looks. That’s what weeks of insufficient sleep does to him. “There’s no need for such a packed schedule, Jungkook — Jihyun-noona told me to pass the message that you can always take a break if you’re feeling urm, you know. Still horrible or something. There’s no need to overwork yourself like this—“

 

Jungkook sighs and just flops onto the couch with a hand plastered across his face.

 

“But then I won’t be able to stop thinking, Taehyung.” He quietly says. “I have.. never tried to move on from Jimin and I just don’t think I can. I don’t think I want to. It’s just… it’s been more than ten years, Taehyung. I can’t just let it go like that I— can’t let the idea go, it’s still… eating into me. Like a part of me is still telling me to not give up but Jimin has—”

 

He doesn’t fight it when his colleague sits right by him, and leans his head onto his shoulder. “I don’t think he’s given up, Jungkook. He’s just afraid—“

 

“I’m afraid too, Taehyung and I can’t keep being the brave one right here but I don’t want to just stop right here because moving on is such an easy idea to suggest but where the fuck do I go?” Jungkook mumbles. “I’ve been so used to just feeling so much more for him and how can I ever just let that go? I’m not ready,”

 

“One of the reasons why you can never move on is…. I don’t know, Jungkook. Maybe it is because of how none of you have actually expressed your feelings outrightly—“ Taehyung raises a hand to shush Jungkook like he’s expecting him to pull away and try to protest. “I know, I know you guys have acknowledged that there are feelings, but none of you have actually said it out loud and Jungkook, I think you guys honestly just need to allow yourselves to really just… let all of it out for once in order to move on.”

 

Jungkook knows he probably shouldn’t feel this way, but every time he’s reminded of how he should be moving on from Jimin, he feels ten times more miserable.

 

“Thrashing it out means more than just acknowledging the feelings, Taehyung. We wouldn’t have spaces in between for us to… I don’t know. Make up excuses, lame reasons and to just… hide, you know? It becomes the truth if I actually said it out loud and what if Jimin runs? I can’t do it, I can’t—“

 

“Do you want to move on, Jungkook?”

 

Jungkook looks down as he thinks back to the times when all they ever did was to laugh together and Jungkook  loved every single second he spent with Jimin. He loved every single thing of Jimin ever since, and he still loves all of him even now.

 

“I don’t want to,” Jungkook admits bitterly as he sighs because how can he actually fucking move on from Jimin who will forever be special to him? Life doesn’t work like that — just because he wants out, doesn’t mean he can actually just back out like he never invested all his feelings and emotions in Jimin. “I can’t.”

 

“Jungkook,” Taehyung sighs and he knows, he knows. This is just fucking pathetic.”If all you guys want to do is run, it’s going to be tiring — hell, it’s going to be forever. You know you’re going to keep loving him, and you know he will never stop looking at you the same way and it’s just so fucking ridiculous because why in hell’s sake should you two still be afraid if you’re both in love with each other? For more than ten years, Jungkook. How does this even fucking work?”

 

Jungkook doesn’t answer.

 

“You know it’s going to be an endless cycle, right?” Taehyung asks softly and Jungkook closes his eyes with a sigh threatening to slip from his lips when he nods. “That kind of thing is going to hurt the both of you inside in a long run — I mean in fact, you’re already hurting, Jungkook and do you see what I’m talking about? All the both of you have ever wanted is to protect each other and the friendship that practically means more than you guys’ wellbeing but this thing right here? It’s already going exactly opposite of how you both want like jesus, when I came back home from Solar’s party you were practically lying on the floor like someone fucking shot you—“

 

“Taehyung,” Jungkook groans because he doesn’t want to think back to that fucking night.

 

“Just listen to me, Jungkook. If he doesn’t want to stop running, you’d have to let him know that you will get tired one day too. I can’t let you continue being hurt like this, Jungkook — you’re the closest person I have who’s like a family and it just really sucks when I have to see you both like this.” Taehyung squeezes at his shoulder tightly. “We all know Jimin’s going to be in your life forever. But what we don’t know is if the both of you will be unknowingly just hurting each other from now on to forever — both of you don’t deserve that, and especially not from each other because that’s just fucked up.”

 

Jungkook looks at Taehyung who actually looks serious for once, and for the first time in the long while Jungkook finds himself smiling from his heart.

 

“… Thank you, Taehyung.” Jungkook says, sincerely and Taehyung just ruffles at his hair as he stands up, with a light nod his head before picking up his bag and walking to where the shoe stands are. “Wait, Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung turns and raises an eyebrow. “What is it?”

 

“Please remember to always use a condom with Hoseok-hyung when doing anything tonight— what the fuck, I know! I’m sorry, Kim Taehyung, no you stop that!” Jungkook swears he sees his entire life flashing across his eyes when Taehyung actually comes charging forward towards him after dragging the carpet off the floor like a fucking warrior. “Okay, I said I’m sorry! Kim Taehyung! I’m sorry!”

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

Jungkook knows what Taehyung, Namjoon are Seokjin are thinking every time they hang out — he knows they think that it’s odd. Seokjin would never have dragged Jimin into a corner for a long talk if they hadn’t thought that it was weird, because Jimin and Jungkook are always together and they are always at a complete ease around each other. That’s how they usually are, always prepared to jab each other with snide remarks and playful teases and this awkwardness that now sits in between them? It never existed but now it does, and it lingers so heavily it’s almost choking him.

 

He doesn’t throw a pillow at Jimin if he happens to walk about in front of the television — he stays still, and he waits for the other to be done with whatever he’s doing and he doesn’t even call the other out if he happens to stop just right in front. Namjoon does, however, and just looks at Jungkook like his shining knight in armour for dramas marathon has disappeared.

 

Jimin becomes fucking polite, and even Seokjin who usually frowns at the presence of rudeness thinks it’s awfully out of the place when he thanks Jungkook for every little things the other does — be it a glass of water Jungkook instinctively gets for Jimin when they are having thai food, Jimin’s pen that accidentally rolled off the table Jungkook picks up or just something as fucking simple as turning on the fan. Jimin thanks Jungkook throughout, and Jungkook doesn’t say a thing, but Seokjin does, and he uncharacteristically does it by mouthing ‘what the fuck’ to Namjoon who chokes on his drink afterwards.

 

Jungkook can’t help but to be careful around Jimin — he doesn’t know what his best-friend is comfortable with at the moment. After all, they sort of agreed to move on from each other (even if Jungkook never said yes to it) and he knows Jimin’s trying.

 

Jimin’s trying his best, and it’s so fucking obvious it kind of hurts, because Jimin keeps pretending like he’s fine and he’s going to be okay and every time Jungkook gets convinced that Jimin’s going to be okay with moving on from him, Jungkook finds his throat clamping shut uncomfortably because he doesn’t think he can ever do what Jimin’s trying to do.

 

Jungkook barely manages to survive through his pretence, to be honest.

 

And his mask almost slips, almost as he now wakes up to Jimin who’s hovering over him with a blanket that’s all spread out and open, ready to cover him who’s actually sleeping on the floor — fuck, where the fuck is everyone, fuck.

 

“Where’s Taehyung?” Jungkook asks immediately as Jimin pulls his hands away, and let the blanket sits on the couch like it wasn’t meant for his best-friend in the first place and honestly, Jungkook would’ve felt guilty but he isn’t seeing his colleague anywhere in Jimin’s place. Please, please don’t tell Jungkook that he’s actually alone with Jimin. It’s been way too long since he is. “Did he—“

 

Jimin rubs at his nape awkwardly and doesn’t even look at him in the eyes. Great.

 

“Taehyung was actually waiting for you to wake up, actually — he only left awhile ago when Hoseok came over to fetch him and can you believe it? I think they are dating at the moment,” Jimin says with a small smile and it almost feels like things are back to normal if not for how Jimin’s looking at everywhere that isn’t his own pair of eyes.  “And urm, I wanted to wake you up so Hoseok could give you a lift but Taehyung told me not to wake you up since you’ve been working so hard. You’ve been running the midnight shoots I heard? You should probably get more rest then—“

 

He’s really alone, fuck.

 

“No, no. I should go,” Jungkook says and doesn’t miss the way Jimin forces a smile to show at his lips when he nods and just steps away so to fetch Jungkook his bag and coat that he’s shifted to the dining table. “Thank you,”

 

Jungkook says, and honestly the unnatural way of this politeness is gnawing at him uncomfortably because the next second as Jungkook slips into his coat hurriedly and pulls on his boots, he hears Jimin muttering a quiet ‘no problem’ and since when have they actually gotten to this point?

 

“All the both of you have ever wanted is to protect each other and the friendship that practically meant more than you guys’ wellbeing but this thing right here? It’s already going exactly opposite of how guys want like jesus,” Jungkook stops at the doorway as he thinks of Taehyung’s words all of a sudden, and just looks back at Jimin who doesn’t catch the look in his stare and just comes forward to actually fix at his fucking coat.

 

“Are you sure you’re alright? You actually got a few buttons wrong,” Jimin says as he keeps his sight on Jungkook’s coat throughout, while Jungkook finds himself just looking at his best-friend because it’s been awhile since he’s close and honestly, it takes all within him to not just raise a hand to caress at the other’s cheek. Well fuck, that goes for trying to move on from Jimin because all it takes is one stupid coat-fixing and it’s like he’s back to square one. To think he was actually proud of himself for doing so well but truth is: he hasn’t been, he probably won’t either. “Now it’s all okay! Be safe on your way home—“

 

Jimin stops when he looks up, finally and their eyes meet after so fucking long Jungkook begins to hold at his breath, and he doesn’t even know when he has begun to start inching real close to the other, the tips of his boots grazing against Jimin’s slippers and it’s only after Jimin suddenly pulls away so quickly that he snaps back to attention.

 

“You should get going now, it’s about to rain. Do you need an umbrella?” Jimin just asks, like nothing has ever happened, again, like always and fuck, Jungkook just watches with his heart sinking as his best-friend opens the door, and all of a sudden he’s outside now, he’s outside like years ago when he wanted to let everything within him out but saw Seokjin instead.

 

Now it’s just Jimin, but the words die at his tongue.

 

“Jungkook?”

 

“I— no, it’s nothing.” Jungkook says, and he says it so instinctively that the realisation of it just stops him at his steps because yes — this is exactly what’s been wrong about them. Everything’s always nothing to them, and whenever something happens, it’s still nothing. Always, always. Just an endless cycle that they are actually both putting themselves through knowingly. “… Actually,  you know what, Jimin? It’s not nothing. This can’t be just another thing we’re going to disregard yet again just because it makes things difficult. We have something to talk about and yes, actually. Let’s talk about it now.”

 

Jimin looks surprised, genuinely, and Jungkook can’t fault him for that because honestly, he’s surprised by his sudden frustration too. And he can try all he wants to blame it all on his work that’s been exhausting him out lately but he knows, oh Jungkook knows. It’s been this stagnant cycle that’s been pressing down at him and suffocating him.

 

“What are you talking about, Jungkook—“

 

“I’m talking about this, Jimin. I’m talking about us — I’m just tired, okay? I don’t even know what’s going on anymore, Jimin I can’t keep up with this act without knowing where it is going to take us, honestly. I keep telling myself it is to keep our friendship intact but really how is that working out for us so far?” Jungkook gestures in between them as he runs a hand through his hair briefly. “We’re using fucking formalities when we never did and really, no problem? I know pretending’s always easier for you but I can’t do this anymore, Jimin. If all we have been doing is just to lead us to this very step when none of us can even be comfortable around each other anymore then why are we still doing it?”

 

Jungkook keeps his sight fixed on Jimin who’s just looking at him that moment, his stare soft like he’s about to follow his heart but the next second he glances away, and Jungkook releases a quiet sigh unknowingly at the same time because he knows what that means.

 

“Leave it be, Jungkook.” Jimin says, just like Jungkook has expected but that doesn’t mean the words don’t hurt any less. “We agreed on this and it just.. it just takes time, okay? We’ll be fine soon, I’m sure. We’ll—“

 

Jungkook huffs a laughter out humourlessly.

 

“This is what I’m talking about, Jimin. Look at how quick you are to just shut things down so you can run away to find a peace of mind for yourself and look, Jimin — this is why I’m saying that we have to talk things out. We’ve been running for far too long. I’ve been trying to avoid my feelings for years, Jimin. I’ve been trying for more than ten years and enough is enough. I want to stop being careful around you like my feelings are only emotions that will cut you like because that’s just fucking ridiculous, Jimin.”

 

“… Jungkook, it’s not like that—“

 

“No, don’t. You don’t get to dismiss this. We’re talking about right this right now and Jimin,“ Jungkook shakes at his head when he notices the look that’s on Jimin’s face. “Don’t pretend you don’t know I love you because I do, Jimin. I love you.”

 

Then there it is, it’s out and Jungkook should honestly feel better he’s actually allowing himself to speak the truth, but he doesn’t. He lets his mind get filled with how distraught Jimin actually seems that moment, over the fact that Jungkook’s actually fucking things up by being honest when in fact, all running has ever done for them is to hurt them.

 

“I’ve wanted to say that to you for so long, I — god, it’s almost pathetic because I tried so many times, but backed out even more just because I’m afraid to lose you and it’s ridiculous. I didn’t want to lose you, and so I had to swallow all my fucking feelings down like its nothing and lost you to Seokjin, and then Yoongi — all I could do was to watch you fall in love with others and it’s just fucking unfair, Jimin. It’s unfair how everyone can love you if they want to but I can’t, I can’t just because you love me? It’s just unfair and you know it — it doesn’t make fucking sense that I have to keep shelving my feelings away like it means shit. Why do my feelings of all have to be hidden?” Jungkook says, and even though he has been bracing himself for the pain that might hit at the memory, nothing’s ever enough to sugarcoat all the frustrations he made himself to swallow bitterly. “I was here, Jimin — I had been standing right here, so many times, wanting to tell you I love you, but I can’t, I always can’t and every time I go back down in that stupid elevator that suffocates me with its fucking four walls and not this time, Jimin. I’m not going away until I’ve said it all because if not now, when? Till you get another person to be in a relationship with — not then, I swear, not then. I don’t think I can watch it happening again because it fucking hurts.”

 

Jungkook takes one look at Jimin who’s still looking like this is all too much and he just laughs, in disbelief when he says, “You know what, Jimin I— I’ve said it all. I can’t go on anymore, I don’t know. I don’t even know if we’re something or we’re nothing — hell, I don’t even know if you’re holding onto me just purely for the friendship or something more it’s a fucking mess. I just need you to tell me where we stand, Jimin because I’m tired, I can’t just… keep guessing. When do I stop pretending? When do I stop trying? Tell me, Jimin just… tell me.”

 

And that’s when the silence sets in, because it’s always quiet when it’s Jimin’s turn, because Jimin never wants to say anything and Jungkook will never know what the other’s thinking.

 

It takes seconds of just staring, Jimin trying to speak (but nothing coherent’s coming out) and his best-friend looking away with a resigned expression that Jungkook decides that he’s done.

 

“I can’t believe you,” Jungkook just concludes, his words too bitter to even sound like himself as he turns away from Jimin to where the lift is and he doesn’t allow himself to think of that night when he nearly kissed Jimin, and left like a mess crying angry tears all the way in the lift till he’s back home on the floor. “Run if that’s all you want to do, Jimin I’m tired—“

 

“Jungkook,” Jimin almost sounds like he’s asking for him to stay, a hand on his arm but Jungkook knows better than to fucking stay because any second more and he really might just throw a punch at the nearest wall.

 

“Don’t do that, Jimin  I’m just doing what you want — this has always been what you wanted, no? Safe keeping this… fucking line,” Jungkook utters as he shoves away his best-friend’s hand, turning back but only to gesture to the floor like there’s indeed a fucking line he’d burn down if he can. “It’s what you fucking want and I’m giving it to you, Jimin. From now on I’m going to make sure this line stays in between because don’t you forget — you’re the one who asked for it.”

 

 

 

 

‘Doors closing’, the speakers in the lift say and Jungkook’s back, to clutching at the railings, feeling battered and bruised all over within.

 

 

|

 

 

  

 

 

Even the sky’s taking the chance to mock at how pathetic he is, Jungkook muses to himself bitterly as he looks up at the dark clouds thick drops of rain are pouring down from and it’s only when he dashes across the road for a better shelter, splatters of water tainting his sneakers that his ringtone begins to chime — it’s Jimin, he knows just by the designated ringtone Taehyung has set for him like a shit-head he is.

 

Jungkook rejects the call.

 

He’s said too much, honestly and he wasn’t lying when he told Jimin he’s tired. He swears he’s okay with having to be braver for the both of them but he doesn’t even know if it's all going to be worth it because Jimin won’t stop running and… he’s tired.

 

Jimin calls again for the second, third, and fourth time, and Jungkook rejects them all as he watches the queue for the taxi gets horribly longer — he’s pretty sure by this point that someone’s just out to make his life miserable.

 

He just wants to go home, to be honest, to where he can just hide beneath his sheets and maybe squeeze right beside Taehyung as he sleeps so he doesn’t feel so fucking alone when everything within aches. He just doesn’t want to be alone when his emotions blow over and the reality of what he has done hits him and he just doesn’t know what to do either because Jimin’s calling again.

 

Jungkook’s finger hovers over the red button, ready to hang up on the other before shutting his phone if not for how he sees Jimin the next second, standing way too close to the road as he checks to see if Jungkook’s one of the people who’s queueing for taxis under the pouring rain.

 

He really does want to reject the call and turn away, he does but he also sees shaken expression Jimin’s face  as he stands right there without a fucking shelter and he caves in, like a fucking loser as his finger taps onto the green button instead.

 

“What are you doing?” Jungkook scolds immediately as he watches the way Jimin’s just wandering down the line, along the road like he fucking owns it. The traffic is busy, the rain’s heavy and his best-friend is obviously not thinking. “Get back under the shelter, jesus what the fuck, Jimin?”

 

Jimin just fixes his attention on the crowd even more because he’s an ass who never fucking listens and Jungkook just sighs inwardly as he wills himself to not go out there because he can’t, he just can’t.

 

“Where are you, Jungkook?”

 

“For fuck’s sake, Jimin!” Jungkook hisses into the phone when Jimin actually walks out of the shelter to take a good long look at the queue to spot if his best-friend’s actually hiding there somewhere away from him. “Go back home, seriously.“

 

Jimin stops at his steps when he reaches the front of the alley in between the bakery that sells his favorite toast and the flowers’ shop that’s always blooming with colors. Still no sight of Jungkook and there Jimin stands, all drenched by now and Jungkook immediately looks away.

 

“Go home, Jimin. I’m leaving now—“

 

“Track one, Jungkook. The disc you thought to be a recording of my practice, remember? I still have it in my drawer, actually I never threw it away because I thought maybe one day I’d finally find the courage to let you listen to it.” Jimin says, and Jungkook doesn’t know if his best-friend’s voice is shaking from the rain, or from emotions that Jungkook doesn't have it in him at the moment to feel hopeful over. Not yet. “But I never found the right timing to — or maybe I just never intended to because I’m afraid, as usual and I just keep hurting you when all I ever wanted to do is to just protect you but of course I’m going to be bad at that too. Keeping that recording safe, however—”

 

“Jimin, what are you trying to—“

 

“Track one’s not just a recording, Jungkook.” Jimin admits. “It’s just me trying to tell you that I love you.”

 

Jungkook holds at his breath immediately as he glances back at where the other’s standing at, but he doesn’t get to see Jimin’s expression since the other’s not facing him anymore. He manages to hear Jimin though, the way the other’s breathing heavily into the phone like he’s running out of breath, like he’s about to suffocate at how much courage it took just to say those words.

 

“Why are you telling me now?” Jungkook asks, and watches out for the traffic as he begins to cross the slippery road and submits himself under the pouring rain that feels cooling against his skin, but does nothing to calm his heartbeat that pace is beginning to pick up.

 

The raindrops are practically getting into his eyes every single second, but he doesn’t look away — he just keeps his sight fixated on Jimin.

 

“I’m tired too,” He explains softly. “I want to stop running but I never knew how to and I’m so sorry I hurt you, Jungkook. I just thought that through this way we’d be safe, you know? Close to each other, but never close enough for the wounds to run deep but I keep hurting you, and I just don’t think I can do this anymore because it’s actually been simple, it has always been simple but I’m the one who’s making it all difficult and I don’t want us to lose this chance. I don’t want to be the one who’s ruining it all for us—”

 

“What changed?”

 

“I just told myself to believe in you because I love you, Jungkook.” Jimin actually laughs into the phone like he’s laughing at himself, but Jungkook hears the way he’s holding back at his tears despite how loud the rain is and he knows if he just takes a few steps forward to turn the other to face him, he’ll see red eyes with tears mixed with raindrops. “It’s not nothing, Jungkook — it’s never been nothing.”

 

“… Say it to me again, Jimin.” Jungkook murmurs quietly as he allows himself to take a few steps close. “… Say it right to my face,”

 

“I don’t even—“

 

It’s then Jimin actually turns, right upon realisation and Jungkook hangs up right there, looking at Jimin whose eyes are indeed red and fuck, the sight of it will always, always unsettle Jungkook in the worst way. Silence takes over, and all that Jungkook can hear for awhile is the rain and nothing else but this time round it doesn’t last long.

 

“I believe in you, Jungkook.” Jimin finally says and not for a second Jungkook allows his vision to waver anywhere else that isn’t Jimin’s eyes. “I love you.”

 

Jimin stands there, and he doesn’t run like all the times before and he stands right fucking there, even as Jungkook walks forward, nearer, hands hovering close to his cheeks as he glances downwards, at Jimin’s lips, then back at Jimin’s eyes.

 

Jimin nods, gently, and it’s all Jungkook needs before he closes the gaps in between them entirely and kisses him.

 

 

 

 

|

 

 

 

 

Jimin swears he can hear his own heart pounding against his ribcage in his chest as Jungkook keeps his stare fixated on his face like there’s nothing wrong with it and honestly, there isn’t but it makes Jimin feel all kinds of weird inside, even if they are just sitting on the bed and facing each other after Jimin offered to towel his hair dry for him. But the stare keeps going, and it makes Jimin even more nervous so he twists at his lips and frowns before he stops trying to dry Jungkook’s hair and uses the towel as a weapon to give the other’s shoulder a light smack instead.

 

“Stop staring at me like that,” Jimin urges and grows even more frustrated when Jungkook only smiles in return like a little shit. “Jungkook, I swear. It’s making me uncomfortable—“

 

“What? I’m just looking, Jimin. I just realized I can kiss you from from now on anytime I want—“

 

Jimin literally groans, and Jungkook laughs because he knows how awkward they still actually are, all uncertain about where to go and how to behave from now on. It’s like they are still treading on eggshells right now around each other, but it’s not that bad this time — at least Jungkook’s not thanking him politely for drying his hair, and although Jungkook’s purposely being a cheesy little shit just to tease him, he’s also smiling at him so softly he should be the one photographed instead .

 

“I don’t kiss someone on my first date, I’m sorry. You might have to wait for a few dates more in order to unlock that feature,” Jimin snorts, and says it like they hadn’t kissed almost a few hours ago, in a shabby alley and under a heavy downpour. “That is if we actually can go on dates, Jungkook. Look at the way I am,  just… I don’t know. I’m going to fuck it up, I’m telling you. I’lll be way too awkward, and you’re going to—“

 

Jungkook makes a face and drags Jimin’s hand down from his wet strands of raven locks, and holds it tight as he rests both of their hands on his laps.

 

“We’ll go slow, Jimin.” Jungkook reassures and Jimin sees the way the other fidgets at where he sits, almost like he’s embarrassed over what he’s about to say. “We’ll… go cycling, and we’ll pick out a dual bicycle because this time, I’m not going to fucking fall, okay and… we’ll visit the beach one day too, Jimin and this time you’re going to stay awake, because we’re going to play stupid board games to kill time. I want to pop into photo booths with you and take the silliest shots, kisses on the cheeks like every other gross couples, try out the oddest dishes in the neighbourhood and I want to just take things slow. Take long walks with you with your arm around mine until it’s late and it’s practically freezing. Catch the latest movies even if we have to take the first rows, and ride the last subway train together so we can listen to each other’s favorite mixtapes. Kiss you on the forehead every time you have to leave. Hold your hand throughout a date. I want to do all of that, and I want to do all of that with you.”

 

Jimin inhales. “You’ve been thinking.”

 

“I’ve always been thinking, Jimin. I thought of them a lot, actually. Always. Pictured how they would go, and the things I’d want you to do with me. The way I can press a kiss against your temple whenever you crack a joke you think nobody will laugh at, but gets amused at yourself anyway. I’ve been wanting to do all of that for years, Jimin.” Jungkook admits as he lowers at his head quickly, and although he’s fast, Jimin still manages to catch that sheepish expression on the other’s face he tried to hide. “But well, I mean—“

 

“We’ll do it all,” Jimin agrees to immediately as he pulls their hands which are still pressed together to leave a gentle kiss against Jungkook’s hand before his sight lingers a little longer than it should across the empty space that’s around Jungkook’s wrist. He pauses. “And… there’s something I want to do, too.”

 

Jungkook looks up when Jimin suddenly pulls away from his hand, and gets up from the bed to get to where the drawer is.  “Jimin?”

 

Jimin returns shortly after, and climbs right back into the bed, knees dipping against the softness of his bed as he clutches at his fist lightly because his heartbeat is picking up yet again, and Jimin wonders if Jungkook can hear it as he reaches out with his other hand for Jungkook’s, and there it is.

 

The bracelet wraps around Jungkook’s wrist even better than he thought it would.

 

“Had to work under the shitty Seungcheol everyday in Baskin Robbins so I’d get enough money to buy you this,” Jimin says, and it still feels all so surreal because Jungkook’s wearing it. “Wanted to give it to you as I tell you all about my feelings after the movie we caught on Christmas but—“

 

Jungkook raises at his eyebrows, before he laughs like he know what Jimin’s on about. “But I made that stupid speech that scared you, didn’t I? God, I was an idiot, I knew there’s something wrong when you kept working even if you didn’t have to—“

 

“We’ve all been idiots, haven’t we?” Jimin shrugs, and watches as Jungkook looks at the bracelet like it means something, and warmth squeezes down at his heart so much a smile immediately begins to show at his face, and this time when Jungkook suddenly leans in close to kiss him on the lips, he doesn’t hear his own heartbeat going erratic as he reminds himself to breathe.

 

He just kisses back, hand slipping back into Jungkook’s because yes, yes.

 

Too long.

 

 

 

 

 

(“What happened to not kissing on your first date?” Jungkook actually asks later on like the little shit he is, as always and Jimin just snorts and pinches the other at his ribs.)

 

 

 

 

 

| |

 

 

 

 

 

 

They do everything as Jungkook has wanted. They cycle, and Jungkook doesn’t fall this time because he sits at the back, where all he needs to do is to just pedal as Jimin shows him how it is to cycle with balance without falling (Jungkook pretends to not be impressed, of course). They go to the beach, and build ugly sandcastles yet again that Jungkook will never acknowledge and Jimin falls asleep this time, yet again but so does Jungkook, as they both lie messily on the sand with Jimin’s head on Jungkook’s abdomen, the board games scattered somewhere behind them. They slide into photo booths, with odd hats and heavy, dramatic spectacles and they laugh through the entire session because Jimin can’t handle Jungkook’s impression of blue steel that just doesn’t work, and at least they managed to take one properly with all the props cast aside, because then Jimin just angles Jungkook’s face away so he can press a quick kiss to his cheek that the camera snaps in time.

 

Long walks around the neighbourhood, naps in cinemas, impromptu karaoke session in subway trains and random kisses on the cheeks, they’re doing it all.

 

They also shocked the living lights out of Namjoon when they pranked him by having Jungkook moping around for minutes (‘Nah, Jimin still doesn’t want to try so we’ve both decided to move’) before Jimin comes in to kiss Jungkook on the lips with a smile and the cutest hello that makes Jungkook smile immediately. His reaction’s nothing like Taehyung who shouts ‘Halle-fucking-lujah’ loud and clear in the middle of the streets where kids are around, though (he’s so embarrassed and guilty he buries his face at Hoseok’s chest, and if Taehyung purposely makes himself comfortable right there even after the emotions subsides, no one has to know).

 

“Seokjin-hyung’s no fun, though. One look at us and he knows what the fuck’s up,” Jungkook thinks back to almost two months ago as he cranes the carseat backwards so he can lie on it entirely because it’s three in the morning, because they are trying for the sunrise yet again and god he thinks he’s going to be the one who’s falling asleep this time. “If he’s that smart, do you think he knows how Namjoon-hyung feels for him?”

 

Jimin’s in the middle of pulling off his jacket when he stops and thinks about all the times when Seokjin and Namjoon conversed over the counter, smiles and chuckles, and the increasing amount of times Seokjin appears at his station.

 

“Maybe not, but they will be fine, I’m sure.” Jimin shrugs, and drops his jacket over Jungkook’s face playfully as he flips open his bag to retrieve what he’s been looking for. “Look at how we turned out — we’re fine, aren’t we?”

 

“I don’t know,” Jungkook playfully says as he pulls the soft fabric that’s covering his eyes away. “My boyfriend just tried to suffocate me and— what are you doing?”

 

“I was trying to cover you up in case you’re cold, you douche,” Jimin counters and adjusts at the radio’s volume — the songs that were previously playing have stopped, and the car’s suddenly quieter, but Jungkook doesn’t pay attention to that. He looks at Jimin’s hand instead, and like always he can’t help but to smile at the memory of how surprised Jimin was when he realized Jungkook’s been spending weeks just to find a bracelet that looks similar to the one Jimin bought. “And… yes! It’s processing.”

 

“What are you playing? I swear if it’s some weird—“

 

Jimin rubs at his nape, and for awhile Jungkook’s almost convinced it’s opera songs that his boyfriend’s about to play until the other lifts a case up with a string of neat, and simple black words written across it.

 

“I know you’ve always wanted to listen to it and I’m sorry for always being embarrassed and saying no to it but hey, you know, I think I want you to listen to it tonight.” Jimin says quietly and Jungkook sits upright immediately because Jimin has been putting this off, because in his opinion it sounds too stupid, too childish and too cheesy but he’s playing it tonight. “… Happy birthday, Jungkook, and I—“

 

“I love you too, Jimin. I love you too.”

 

Jungkook grins as he just drags his best-friend in for a kiss, that would’ve lasted longer if not for the sharp noise that’s scratching against the speakers. Jungkook hears Jimin fumbling around, he hears his nervous breathings, he hears it and he listens to it, with his hand squeezing down tightly at Jimin’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey, Jungkook.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

track one: i love you — f i n