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of all the shots in all the world

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“Fuckin’ damnit, my phone’s all sandy.”

Taehyung clicks his tongue, pinching the cursed thing between his fingers and futilely shaking it to and fro. He doesn’t know if it’s working. It’s dark. Too fucking dark. The sky’s inky and moonless and swallows most of the stars that try to blink. Taehyung sighs aloud. Everything’s too fucking dark at 3 a.m.

Star-fished out a few feet away from him is Jimin, who has lost his shirt sometime somewhere somehow at the party and is now blissfully topless. Taehyung kind of recognises the tune he’s humming. He squints at the dark shape, wills his eyes to see better.

“How’s the sand?” he asks.

The answer comes in a split second of illumination that flashes and turns the sky bruise-purple. A distant telltale rumbling of thunder follows suit, reverberates in Taehyung’s ears and chest.

“Holy moly,” Jimin mumbles. “It’s gonna pour.”

Somehow, a brilliant idea wriggles through the gelatinous fuck-fuzz in Taehyung’s mind. “Dude. I can wash the sand off with rain water.”

“What? Why would you?” Jimin’s usual silvery tinkle is laced with a slight up-and-down husk. Was it... four shots he took? Lame. “The fucking ocean’s right there.”

“Oh, shit. Fuck, you’re right.”

“Fuck, I’m right.” Jimin lets out a sigh. “Are you drunk?”

Between the witching hour and the two hours after that Taehyung managed to consume six shots and finish all but half a bottle of Guinness pilfered from the hand of some freshie that seemed to have had Quite Enough of drinks for one night. In retrospect, Taehyung saved the kid’s fucking life. In further retrospect, he probably only shortened his own. But in even deeper retrospect, he’s mostly at peace with that.

“I am so drunk.”

“That’s chill.” Jimin groans. “My poor head. Remind me to never have more than two shots.”

Taehyung snorts. “Easier said than done.”

Jimin swats at the air in front of him. “Shh.” He extends his hand, angles his head so he’s facing his way. “Join me, brethren.”

“Join your. Alcoholism.”

My alcoholism.”

"Yeah." Taehyung sidles up closer and rests his head on his upper arm. “You alcoholic.” There’s sand in his hair and rough down his neck and along every inch of exposed skin but it doesn’t really fucking matter. It doesn’t really fucking matter because Jimin pulls his head along to lay against his chest, pulls the top half of his body to recline across his torso, and granted it’s not much better because it’s sticky-cold sweat against sandy skin but Taehyung’s bones are too full of pre-twilight exhaustion and alcohol for things to start mattering.

“That’s hefty, coming from you.” Jimin’s right there but he sounds so far away.

Taehyung grins into the gentle thud-thud-thudding of his heart against his cheek. “S’not the only thing that’s big that’s coming from me.”

Jimin laughs out a small ‘fuck you’.

“You don’t believe me? You unbeliever.”

We know the fire awaits unbelievers, all of the sinners, the same,” Jimin belts out in sudden abandon.

Taehyung groans. “Oh, what the fuck.”

Girl, you and I will die unbelievers, bound to the tracks of the train.”

“Is this – one of your – what is it? Some arctic weekend?”

I know I love you,” he goes on, getting increasingly louder, “and you love the sea.”

Taehyung gives in to the hollow vibration in his ribs as he sings.

But what holy water contains a little drop, little drop for me?

Taehyung only starts talking once he’s sure he’s finished. “That’s nice. Cool. Best headache in the world.”

Jimin pats his head, continues humming whatever the rest of the song is. Taehyung vaguely recalls that song sounding like some indie folk tambourine concoction when Jimin played it aloud one distant day. Who fucking knows.

The humming ceases abruptly and melds into the sloshing of the waves.

“Oh, shit,” Jimin whispers.

“...What.”

A fleeting pause. “Nothing.” Then, a laugh. “Did you see me make out with that dude?”

Taehyung’s sluggish excuse of a brain scrambles to catch up. “What?”

“That guy with the dragon tattoo on his bicep.”

“No, what the fuck.”

Maybe it’s the six shots or maybe it’s the Guinness thinking, but Taehyung's finding it hard to not let himself suddenly slip into flashes of Jimin covered in sweat and sheen, of his flushed lips moving to the beat of another person’s, of roaming palms and breathy gasps.

He surmises it’s the Guinness, just because.

“There’s one for the books,” he says.

“Did you get with anyone?”

A scoff. “Did you see me get with anyone?”

“That’s why I’m askin’.” A hand comes down to land a gentle smack on his butt. “Duh.”

“I didn’t.” And he’s not pouting. “Who would wanna.”

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” Jimin retorts. “Don’t be pathetic.”

“Mm.”

“Shut up. Right now.”

“Shutting up.”

“Good.”

The water capers peacefully on.

I would wanna.”

And Taehyung stills.

“You would wanna,” he echoes. “You would wanna anything.”

Another smack, this time on the small of his back. “I’m trying to make you feel better, jack ass.”

He counts to two and a half. “Repeat that.”

“Repeat what.”

“What you said before.” A deep thrumming has started in his sternum. “You said – you would wanna. With me?”

At this, Jimin gives a laugh. Taehyung props himself up on his wrists, hands on either side of Jimin's chest so he’s looking down at him, at his face half-obscured with an arm. “What?”

“Nothing,” Jimin answers. He retracts his arm, places a hand on Taehyung’s shoulder. It burns, somewhat. “Shit, I’m way too drunk to not let this slip.”

The flutter in Taehyung’s stomach should not be there and the feeling should not be right but it is. It is and suddenly Taehyung doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries.

“Let what slip.”

Jimin’s eyes are hooded, solemn, lips pensive, and for a minute Taehyung thinks he’s going to – he doesn’t really know what he’s going to do – say something heavy, maybe, announce that he's suddenly moving away forever or whatever, or even kiss him, wow, imagine that – but suddenly he splits into a grin and he’s back to covering his face and shoving Taehyung off.

Jimin lets out a sound between a yell and a laugh, sitting up. “God, this is so –” He groans, rubbing his face with vigour.

“What the hell,” Taehyung accuses. “You were gonna say something.”

“Ugh,” Jimin whines. “Fuck you, man. I’ve been – it’s been three years. God.”

“What? Of what?”

Jimin peeks through the fingers plastered over his visage and muffles out something incoherent.

Taehyung crawls closer, and he turns away. “What?”

Another incomprehensible muffle.

“Dude, what.” He shoves him. “C’mon.”

“–Liked you, idiot,” he churns out.

And it’s. Only the tail end of whatever the hell he was trying to say, but it’s enough and it sends a jolt behind Taehyung’s chest, and he may be off his goddamn face but he’s sure as hell he heard that right. And – shit. Shit.

“What the fuck.”

The corners of Jimin’s lips curl up, bashfully. “I’m sorry?”

Three years of this roundabout, higgledy-piggledy bullshit. Three years of restraint and self-animosity and secretive smiles. Taehyung shoves him again, shoves him three years of pent-up feelings, of barely-there moments, of could-have-beens and what-ifs, and anchors him down onto the sand below, eliciting a yelp.

“You absolute fuck."

"Dude, fuck, lose some weight."

"You left me hanging for goddamn three years?”

Jimin pokes him square in the collarbone. “You never fuckin’ told me!”

You never fuckin’ told me!”

“I was fuckin’ scared, geez!”

“Fuckin’ – so was I!”

“Fucking cool. Then we’re even.”

“Great.”

“Awesome.”

“Fantastic.”

A loose, light laughter. “Wow.”

Taehyung grabs hold of Jimin’s hand that’s splayed out onto the side, pins it gently above his head. “So – what are we?”

“Kinky.”

Taehyung feels his cheeks smouldering. “Seriously.”

Jimin giggles. “Or?”

“Or I’ll kiss you," he snaps. "With my sandy, chapped-ass lips.”

“Funny thing is that I wouldn’t mind.”

“Yeah, you’re just a sleaze.”

This earns him a hefty slap on the abdomen. He hisses, curling up into himself. “Watch it.”

“Or?” He grins.

“Or I’ll kiss you. With my sandy, chapped-ass lips.”

Taehyung snorts. “Do it, then.”

The hand he’s got pinned down moves to hold his upper arm, and it happens in a flash, a quicksilver press of the lips that leaves Taehyung starry and wanting a little bit more.

Jimin smiles up at him. “Like that?”

“Fucking –” Taehyung's eyes flitter from the top of his head to the bones under his cheeks. “I guess.”

"Your turn."

"What is this, fucking musical chairs?"

"Just. C'mon."

Taehyung exhales. Leans back in and –

- kisses him. With soft, steady breathing. With careful sweetness as he traces out new spots on his mouth. The sand pierces into his shins and knees and elbows but Jimin’s finally, finally got his lips around his and it’s warm and slow and glorious, chapped skin and all, and it’s enough to offset whatever the fuck else exists outside of this moment, of them, of him.

It’s not long before three years kick in and jumpstart a fire in their limbs, not long before they toss caution to the wind, not long before Jimin takes him over. And, shit, Taehyung’s always gleaned that Jimin would be a great kisser, always let the thought occupy him in the most inconvenient of times, and – God, if it isn’t true. From the plush mold of his lips as it works against his; the clever curl of his tongue when he swipes it across the roof of his mouth; the feathery scrape of teeth across his lower lip; Taehyung feels everything and nothing all at once. Taehyung’s hand flutters to his cheek, pinky finger resting along his jaw, and as if on cue Jimin’s palm trails a path from his shoulder blade down towards his sides, firm and sure. Taehyung shivers.

“Dude,” he mumbles, teeth clacking against teeth.

Jimin hums and hooks his arms and fingers around his neck, pulling him closer, pulling him flush, and Taehyung can’t help the noise of surprise as his thigh brushes against the denim outline of his crotch. And suddenly, with Jimin’s hands cradling his nape, with his small gasps in his mouth, with the heat of their bodies, Taehyung finds it overwhelmingly hard to breathe and he has to let go.

Three years earlier and it would’ve been –

He doesn’t think he’d be able to stop.

Taehyung pulls off and to the side, flopping onto the sand beside him. Catching his breath. Collecting himself. Collecting Jimin’s hand and clasping it in his own. He takes a huge gulp of air, puffing his chest out.

“I think I love you,” he exhales.

Jimin’s cachinnation mingles with the hissing of the sea.

“What?” Taehyung glances his way just as he looks towards him, gaze flicking towards his lips pursed into a smile. “I’m trying to be romantic.”

“Well, you're failing,” Jimin says. He turns away and up at the sky. “I think I love you, too.”

It's quiet, a punctuation, but it's louder than the waves. And it's all Taehyung needs.

Taehyung follows his gaze. “And not a single raindrop. Thanks, Zeus.”

“The fuck?”

“Zeus,” Taehyung reiterates. “He, like, lives there.”

“He's the god of – he’s not the rain god.”

“Dude, whatever, man. Poseidon, whatever.”

“He’s the god of the ocean!”

“Whatever.”

“Jesus Christ.”

Taehyung bubbles out a giggle. He knows Jimin’s grinning, too.

“We good?” Jimin asks.

The spaces between Jimin’s fingers are a little bit clammy and a little bit gross, but Taehyung’s mapped it out countless times before for it to feel like home. And though his head is quite not, the conclusion is clear and unflappable.

He presses their palms together.

“We’re fucking amazing.”