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The quiet of the night was broken by nothing but the music coming out of his ipod and the moans of the girl underneath him.

He was thrusting hard and fast into her, chasing his orgasm. Fingers gripping her hips to keep her in place. Her legs were trembling on either side of him indicating that she was about to come once again. So he bent forward, catching a nipple into his mouth and sucking hard on it. She let out a cry, eyes squeezing shut as she came, and so he let go, his own release hitting him like a train. His thrusts slowed down until he dropped besides her, completely exhausted. She sighed contentedly.

He laid there, staring at the glowing stars he had glued to the ceiling, catching his breath. He eyed the girl, she was starting to drift off so he stood up to dispose the used condom and brush his teeth. On his way back to bed, he picked up his discarded boxers, putting them on. The girl had barely covered herself with the sheets, hair fanned on the pillow. There was something enchanting about the way the moonlight was painting her in an array of dark blue hues, in the tiny part of her lips. Without thinking twice, he grabbed his camera and adjusted a couple settings before taking a few shots.

He captured the way the sheets twisted around her long legs, he captured the chiaroscuro of her moonlit breasts. Checking the shots, he quite liked the one closing on her chest, so he moved over and pointed straight down at her. He adjusted the zoom so he could get both her lips and her belly button into the shot and snapped a couple more.

They were pretty good, who knew the girl wouldn't only be a good lay but also a great addition to his portfolio. He thought about taking a picture of her face - she was sleeping so the eyes wouldn't show and his mentor would finally leave him in peace - but quickly discarded the idea.

There was nothing there.

The thing was, he needed that kind of material. Jeongguk was one of the best photography majors in university, only surpassed by his senior Min Yoongi. He was extremely talented and all his professors praised his work constantly.

Jeongguk had only one defect, the one thing keeping him for reaching the top. He couldn't do portraits. He couldn't, for the life of him, snap a full face shot. It wasn't that he was incapable of getting the settings right. He just couldn't tolerate the emptiness of the eyes staring back at him. He hated it. It felt like working with still life. So every time a project required him to shoot humans, he would only capture silhouettes, random body parts, maybe a pair of lips. He even went as far as to capture one of Taehyung’s eyes in the corner of a waterfall shot once. But that was it.

He had managed to make it work though. The aesthetics of his work always giving him the highest scores. His photographs were usually the favorite ones along with Yoongi’s during their exhibits, but more often than not it was Yoongi that snatched the people’s favorite award. Because he was able to do humans very well. It didn't matter how many hours of suffering and how many scratches it took Jeongguk to capture the perfect kaleidoscope of his cat’s eyes, people preferred shots of people. It was frustrating.

He needed the shot though. His mentor had given him an ultimatum. No more half humans, no more animals or nature. They all knew he could do that very well. His project this year was going to be about human beauty. He had to start shooting portraits, whether he liked it or not. So he snapped a picture of the girl’s face, but deleted it immediately after checking.

He could deal with that tomorrow.

Not wanting to sleep in the same bed with the reminder of his shortcomings, he left the room and went to Taehyung’s, across the hall. They had been roommates for the longest time, ever since coming to university. He was his best friend, his special person, the only pair of eyes he could confidently say he didn’t hate.

He pushed the door open. Taehyung was sprawled in bed, Gina (Jeongguk’s cat) sleeping on his pillow with her face buried on his soft lavender hair. He padded to the bed, dropping himself in the little space left and closed his eyes. Taehyung, as if sensing him on his slumber, immediately grabbed him on a bear hug burying his face on the crook of Jeongguk’s neck. He smiled softly before drifting off, lulled to sleep by his friend’s steady breaths.

 

***

 

The next day, Jeongguk woke up to a patch of dry drool on his collarbones and a purring cat on his chest. Taehyung was nowhere to be seen, probably already gone for class.

He stretched, letting out a long groan and pushing Gina to the side. His room was empty too, indicating that the girl was gone as well. He sighed satisfied. He liked it when people was smart enough to get the hint and not be there in the morning. Nothing worst than having to get breakfast with your one night stand.

Taehyung had left a note on the fridge saying that he left some breakfast for him and not to be late for their lunch date. Jeongguk heated up the leftovers and opened a can of wet food for Gina before hitting the shower and getting ready for the day. The good thing about banging chicks was that they hardly ever left marks behind, not like guys. He only had a couple of scratches on his ass from where she was digging her nails as she came but only that. The rest of his body was in perfect condition. So he put on a clean t-shirt and black jeans enjoying the fact that he didn't have to worry about make up.

The campus was buzzing with activity while he made his way to the Arts building. The late summer sky was blue and clear, the sun filtering through the canopy of the trees creating dancing shadows on the lawn.

While most people were hurrying towards the lecture halls, some were enjoying the sun, sitting on benches or lying on the grass. Jeongguk snapped a couple of pictures here and there just for the sake of it, lazily strolling along the road. By the time he made it to his Art History lecture, most of the students were already sitting on their desks, computers out and ready. Yoongi, who was the TA for that class, glanced at him briefly, shaking his head in disapproval. Jeongguk just took his sit, smiling sheepishly.

Class was long and boring, the professor prattling on and on about who knows what. Jeongguk certainly didn't, opting to zone out as soon as the professor said the first word. He spent the hour texting Taehyung and sketching eyes on the corners of his textbook.

Jeongguk was so out of it that he didn't register the bell signaling the end of the class, only coming back to it when a book slammed on his desk, almost giving him a heart attack.

“The fuck!” he yelled, clutching his chest. It was Yoongi, a scowl in place behind the black rimmed glasses.

“How dare you,” he said murderously. “Sleeping on my class.”

“I wasn’t sleeping!” said Jeongguk, aggravated. “My eyes were wide open.”

“Daydreaming, same shit.” said Yoongi. Jeongguk stretched on his sit, grabbing his backpack before heading out of the room. Yoongi close on his heels.

“Up for lunch, hyung?” he asked him, walking towards the cafeteria of the Arts Department. Yoongi grumbled something at his phone, nodding his head and making Jeongguk laugh. He reached to ruffle his platinum hair, earning an amused ‘brat’ and a shove in response.

By the time they got to the cafeteria, Taehyung and Hoseok were sitting at their usual spot. A dazzling smile appeared on Yoongi’s face as soon as he spotted his boyfriend, so he grabbed his camera - which was hanging from his neck - to take a few shots. Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

When he said Yoongi was great at capturing people, he wasn’t kidding. He was fantastic at it. But since he started dating the dancer, all Yoongi seemed to be able to photograph was him. He had actually gone as far as making Hoseok part of his senior year project, so most of the time he was seen taking pictures of his boyfriend in different backgrounds and colours. When Jeongguk asked him about the theme, he said something along the lines of ‘the many backdrops of love’. Talk about cheesy stuff.

“Hey you,” said Hoseok, reaching for Yoongi’s hand and pulling him down for a sweet peck on the lips. Taehyung fake-gagged into his coffee cup.

“Gross hyung,” he said, making Yoongi laugh.

“You ungrateful kid,” said Hoseok. “Have I ever called you gross when you are drooling all over Namjoon?”

Taehyung made a face, opting to shut up and concentrate on his lunch. Jeongguk laughed out loud at that. It was no secret for them the huge crush Taehyung had on the philosophy major. Crush he had never acted upon because the guy had been dating a girl from the Law Department for the longest time, and so Taehyung had to settle for ogling at him every time he saw Namjoon walking by.

Yeah...love was tough.

“So Gukkie, how’s the project going?” asked Hoseok after a moment, chewing on some fries.

“Hmm….great,” he said, picking the tomatoes out of his salad. “Just peachy.”

“You got nothing, right?” said Yoongi, eyeing him sideways.

“Well…”

“He’s got a pair of nice moonlit boobs,” supplied Taehyung. ‘Nice’ said Hoseok snickering. Jeongguk raised his eyes to give him a questioning look and he just shrugged in response. “I checked your camera this morning.”

“You shouldn’t do that!” Jeongguk said indignantly. “It’s like...like reading my private diary or something.” Yoongi nodded solemnly in agreement.

“You have a diary?” asked Taehyung interested.

“No!”

“Then.”

“Ugh Tae...why are we friends again?” asked Jeongguk leaning back on his chair.

“Because I let you sleep with me even when you reek of sex.” he replied biting into his burger and giving him a wide food-stained smile.

‘Whatever’ muttered Jeongguk, throwing him a tomato and shifting his attention to Yoongi. He was going through the last shots he had taken of Hoseok. They were great. Hoseok’s eyes were shining on each and every single one of them, screaming love in big neon letters. The eyes still made him cringe a little but just like with Taehyung’s, he didn't hate them. Jeongguk didn’t get it. Why was it so hard for him to get the same results?

“How do you do it, hyung?” he said pouting. “I could never get a shot like that.”

“Sure you can. You’ve got the talent Gukkie,” replied Yoongi, looking at him. “You just need the inspiration.”

“I have inspiration.” said Jeongguk, thinking back to Gina and the whole portfolio he had on just her eyes.

“I mean a muse,” explained Yoongi, eyes traveling to Hoseok. “Someone that makes you feel the shots. Not only take them.”

Jeongguk snorted. “You’re just whipped.”

“Maybe,” agreed Yoongi, winking. “But it works.”

 

Jeongguk had a meeting scheduled with his mentor for the day after so he spent the rest of the afternoon walking around campus. A month had passed since their last meeting so he had to show her something. Anything. Maybe he should have kept the picture of the girl after all. He didn't think his mentor would appreciate the boobs’ shots as much as his friends did.

Taehyung was aimlessly strolling besides him. He was holding onto his sleeve to avoid stumbling while he read a book for his Modern Poetry class. Jeongguk eyed the students around him. There was a girl studying underneath a tree, the light was good and part of the girl’s face was covered with her hair. He took a picture. A little after, a guy was sleeping on top of a bench, one of his arms across his eyes. He liked the way his body looked, so he took another. He spent the next hour or so doing that, just capturing random students getting stuff done outdoors. They were ok. Quality was perfect but they didn’t really fit the theme he had to explore, human beauty. And, of course, he was still missing those damn portraits.

He stopped walking, making Taehyung bump into him.

“What?” Taehyung asked, raising his eyes from the book and looking around confused.

Jeongguk studied him. He was wearing a white t-shirt and a gray cardigan, his violet hair tousled by the soft wind. Jeongguk pointed the camera at him and Taehyung squawked, hiding behind his book, only his eyes visible. He checked the shot...and he actually liked it. He didn’t love it, but it would do.

“Let’s do that again.” he told his friend, aiming again. “But like...cover one of your eyes.”

“I don’t wanna do this,” Taehyung wined, closing his eyes and making a face. Jeongguk snapped a picture. “Hey! I said I didn’t wanna do it!”

Jeongguk gave him a side smile. “Just one more, please?...I’ll buy you pizza.” he batted his eyelashes in what he hoped was a cute expression.

Fine, Taehyung mumbled, raising the poetry book and covering one of his eyes. He stared right at the camera and Jeongguk took a couple shots, asking him to look at different angles.

“Thanks Tae, you are the best.” Jeongguk said sincerely, putting his camera back on his bag. Taehyung smiled at him, holding his hand.

“Of course I am!” he said, beaming at him.

Jeongguk made a face, shoving him softly.

“So….pizza and chill?”

 

***

 

The room was warm and Jeongguk was sweating, his leg bouncing non-stop.

His mentor was looking at the prints critically, especially frowning at the moonlit mountains, as Tae liked to call the boobs’ shot. He had arranged them from the full body ones, towards the close ups and ending with Taehyung’s face. He had some in full color, so she could appreciate his pretty hair, and others in B&W.

She had her lips pursed, which was making him even more nervous. He knew the shots were not his best work but he had tried. ‘Not hard enough’ said a voice in his head but he ignored it. When she finished looking at the pictures for the third time on a row, she removed her glasses sighing.

“Jeon,” she started, holding the boobs’ picture in her hand. “What was the concept I gave you?”

“Human beauty, Ms. Kim.” he replied promptly.

“That’s right.” she said. “Don’t get me wrong. The pictures are beautiful. Great quality, outstanding technique. But-”

“But…?” Jeongguk prompted her to continue, though he sort of knew what she was going to say.

“I fail to see the logic to them, the connecting thread,” she continued, leaving the chest picture and picking up Taehyung’s. “Am I wrong to assume you just took this to appease me?”

Jeongguk sighed. “I think I’m suffering of a block...artist’s block.”

She tsked. “Listen Jeon,” she said linking her fingers together and leaning forward. “You are talented, we both know that. You just need to put more sentiment into your human shots.”

“Sentiment…” he repeated, blinking.

“Yes, Jeongguk,” she said shoving the picture where Taehyung was making a face, forward. “You have to put your heart into your shots. Otherwise you can’t connect with your audience. Like this one, this is the closest you have gotten to putting some love into a picture. He is your best friend, am I right?”

“Yes ma'am.” he said, feeling gloomy.

“Good,” she said, leaning back. “So think about how you felt here and show me something better next time. It isn’t that different to what you did with your cat’s portfolio.”

“I’ll reflect on it Ms. Kim.” he said.

“You better,” she said smiling. “I’m not letting you pass my class if you don’t.”

 

He bowed, before collecting his material and getting out of the office. On his way out, Jeongguk looked at Taehyung’s picture. He looked rather silly, lips pulled down at the corners and eyes shut. It made him smile a little. He shoved the rest of the pictures into the folder and put on his backpack before walking towards the dorms. He needed help, that was for sure. Otherwise he was going to fail this class and he’d never get a chance to actually beat Yoongi...and that was a must. Jeongguk was nothing if not competitive.

 

He had a scowl in place by the time he got to the apartment. Taehyung was away for the night, gone on a date with some guy he met at a slam poetry thing the other day. He made some ramen, giving Gina a can of food and sitting on the couch to eat.

Sentiment...where the hell was he going to get that? He wasn’t a particularly sentimental guy. His friends tended to make fun of him and say he had the emotional range of a rock, and they were probably right. He was just terrible at relationships. That’s why he had such few friends and was the king of one night stands.

Jeongguk loved his friends, he knew that. Especially Taehyung, he had deep feelings for him. He would go to any lengths for him, much like he would for Gina. And that was big, considering Jeongguk wouldn’t go visit his mother unless she was in the hospital (he wasn’t a bad son, he just didn't wanna hear the ‘you have to stop sleeping around’ sermon again).

Jeongguk brushed his teeth still deep in thought. His mind replaying the conversation he had with Yoongi a couple days ago. He said that he needed inspiration. Which was ridiculous, he had tons of that but maybe not the right kind. Not the kind of inspiration that would move people. Ms. Kim had said he was lacking sentiment, that he wasn’t putting his heart into his art.

“I hate this.” he groaned, throwing himself face first onto his bed and hugging his pillow. Maybe Yoongi was right, maybe he was lacking inspiration.

Maybe it was time to find himself a muse.

 

***

 

Taehyung was holding two cups full of alcohol over his head, tongue stuck between his teeth, while he weaved his way among the crowd. They were at a frat party, though Jeongguk had no idea which fraternity. He was reclining against the wall, eyes scanning the mass of dancing bodies looking for something interesting.

“Here,” said Taehyung finally reaching his side and taking a long swig of his drink. Jeongguk did the same, grimacing at the flavor. He was more of a beer drinker, not too keen on mixed drinks but Taehyung didn’t believe in getting plastered on cheap beer. And that was the plan for the night. Getting completely wasted.

“Why are we here again?” asked Jeongguk, hollering on top of the loud music.

“I’m getting drunk out of my mind,” Taehyung hollered back. “And you are getting some ass to get away the grumpy face you’ve been sporting the whole week.”

“I’m not grumpy,” said Jeongguk scowling. Taehyung laughed.

“Yes, you are,” he said, pulling him towards the dance floor by his wrist. “But nothing a good fuck can’t cure.” he added cheerfully, screaming along a group of girls trying - but failing - to reach the high notes of the song playing.

It took them less than a song to be surrounded by a group of people, boys and girls alike. Taehyung was quite the looker, so he was never short on attention. Jeongguk himself was usually popular when he wanted to be and tonight he was dressed to kill: eyeliner, tight leather pants and a white V-neck exposing his collarbones. Having both of them on the dance floor was a recipe for lust.

Everyone was on fire.

They had a girl pressed between their bodies, her ass rubbing suggestively at Jeongguk’s crotch while she fed jello shots to Taehyung from her own mouth. He thought it would be kind of gross but he was proven wrong when the girl twisted towards him, grabbing his neck and pressing their lips together. The shots were more alcohol than jello - strong on his tongue - but the girl’s lips were soft and her ass was perfectly rounded, so he enjoyed it. A lot.

They went through almost a whole tray like that, random people offering them kisses disguised as jello shots. Jeongguk accepted them all, blood buzzing with alcohol and desire. A boy had pressed himself behind Jeongguk at some point, the double stimulation doing wonders for his body. Head spinning, he noticed Taehyung being pulled away by a guy. Taehyung waved goodbye in his direction, though his eyes were too unfocused to pinpoint his exact location, before disappearing from sight.

The girl turned to face him, immediately pulling him down on a fierce kiss, grabbing the waist of the guy behind Jeongguk and pulling them even closer. He let his eyes fall shut, lost in the feeling of hands roaming all over his body.

“Let’s go somewhere more private, yeah?” he felt the guy’s teeth grazing his ear, making him shudder. The girl grabbed his wrist, guiding him away from the dance floor towards one of the washrooms. It was a tight fit, but the three of them managed to get in and then everything was a blur. The guy was undressing him while Jeongguk did the same with the girl. He was biting painfully on his neck but Jeongguk was so drunk he didn't really mind it. When Jeongguk felt his hands trailing down his back, though, he stopped him.

“I don’t do dry man,” Jeongguk slurred pushing him away and placing the girl in the middle.

“Fine,” said the guy kissing the girl instead. She finished removing the other guy’s clothes and then she was bending forward, taking him on her mouth. Jeongguk managed to successfully put a condom on before taking her from behind.

He started slowly, too dizzy to fully ram into her but the guy in front of him pulled him into a kiss - groaning - and he lost it. Jeongguk grabbed one of his shoulders for support, the other hand holding the girl steady and he started pounding into her as fast as he could. The girl was moaning between them, legs shaking with each thrust. Jeongguk closed his eyes, going faster and faster until he had her coming with a long cry, at the same time that the guy in front of him groaned his own release. The mixture of moans was what brought him to his climax and Jeongguk simultaneously spilled into the condom and into oblivion.

 

When he came back to it, Yoongi was softly shaking his shoulder while saying his name. He opened his eyes, trying to focus on him but failing. He let his eyes travel around the room, he was still at the party, sitting on the floor outside the washroom.

“How you feeling?” asked Yoongi. Jeongguk head lolled to the side and his eyes found Hoseok and a glimpse of orange. He tried to focus on the color but Yoongi grabbed his head fixing it in place. “You wanna go home?”

Jeongguk nodded, the movement only contributing to increase his dizziness. He heard Yoongi calling for Hoseok and then he was on his feet, the world spinning around him. He swayed, heavily leaning on whoever was holding him and he was able to hear Yoongi cursing.

“Do you need help?” a voice he didn't recognize asked, and then laughter. It was such a nice, musical sound...he wanted to know who it belonged to but his eyes were not receiving orders anymore.

“It’s ok, we got this.” said Hoseok. ‘Alright then’ said the other person.

“Tae,” muttered Jeongguk softly.

“Already in bed Guk. We took him home first and then came back for you,” said Yoongi.

“Good,” said Jeongguk, promptly passing out.

 

When he opened his eyes again, he was in bed, still dressed in the clothes he wore the night before. Taehyung was snoring by his side, wearing a shirt that was not his, a number scribbled on black sharpie on his arm and missing his socks.

Grunting, Jeongguk climbed out of bed stumbling his way to the washroom, going straight for a shower to dull a bit his headache. He was holding his head, warm water relaxing his muscles, when the door banged open. He opened the curtain just to see Taehyung barely making it to the toilet before puking his guts out.

“Tae…” he groaned disgusted. “That’s gross man.”

“Shut up,” Taehyung replied, moaning in pain. “Fuck...my head is killing me.” He flushed the toilet, the smell of alcohol lingering in the air. “Oh man...this is so disgusting.”

Jeongguk rested his forehead against the cool tiles, sighing. A couple of minutes passed in silence and Jeongguk started to think that maybe Taehyung was sleeping on the washroom floor.

That until he heard a small ‘Gukkie’.

“Hmm” he replied.

“Can I...can I shower with you?”

“No.”

“C’mon Gukkie...I’m sticky all over.”

“No.”

“Pleeeeease…”

“No Tae,” Jeongguk said. “I’m not ready to see you naked.”

“We sleep together.”

“Not like that.”

“I’ve already seen you naked Guk. No biggie.”

Jeongguk stuck his face out of the shower again to glare at this friend. “What?....when?”

“Yeah… that one time I came back home and you were banging a dude with the door open...I took a peek,” Taehyung said - cheek pressed to the toilet bowl - like it was the most normal thing in the world. “Your dick is nice but not my type.”

Jeongguk gaped at him. He loved Taehyung, he really did, but sometimes he was too much.

“You...go away Tae,” he closed his eyes breathing deeply. “ I can’t deal with you right now.”

“But Gukkie…” he whined pathetically, still sprawled on the floor by the toilet.

“No!” said Jeongguk, closing the curtain.

“Selfish asshole,” said Taehyung weakly. “I’m never making you breakfast again.”

He banged the door on his way out, making Jeongguk’s brain vibrate in pain. He finished his shower as fast as his body allowed him, wrapping a towel around his waist before heading out. Taehyung was sleeping on the floor outside of the washroom, so he nudged him with his foot to wake him up. He rolled on his stomach, crawling his way in, making Jeongguk laugh painfully in the process.

Yoongi and Hoseok were sleeping in his room, so he grabbed some clean clothes and underwear and went to get dressed in Taehyung’s bedroom. By the time he was ready and heading to the kitchen, Hoseok was already making breakfast. He handed him a mug of coffee and some painkillers and Jeongguk took them gratefully.

“What a night, huh?” Hoseok said conversationally, while frying some bacon.

“I can barely remember half of it,” replied Jeongguk, sipping his coffee.

“I think you had a threesome,” supplied Yoongi gleefully, coming out of his room. “No worries though, nothing was dripping out your ass when we got you in your pants.”

Hoseok laughed out loud, making Jeongguk whimper in pain. “Oh god...shut up, hyung.”

“See?” added Taehyung coming into the kitchen and taking the painkillers Hoseok was offering. He took Jeongguk’s coffee, having a long swig before handing it back. “I’m not the only one that has seen your sorry dick.”

“Not memorable,” agreed Hoseok, putting a plate of eggs and bacon in front of everyone.

“You guys are the worst,” muttered Jeongguk, head propped on the table. “I feel terrible.”

“Nothing that fat cannot cure,” said Yoongi, shoving a forkful of eggs on his mouth and chewing happily.

They spent the next few minutes eating and trying to piece last night’s events together. Jeongguk and Taehyung only managed to come up with the details of the first two hours. Everything after that was a blur which prompted Taehyung to declare the night a success.

Jeongguk helped Hoseok clean the dishes, still feeling sluggish but at least more alive than before. Yoongi and Taehyung were already installed on the living room, the initial credits of Iron Man playing on the tv.

“So guys,” said Hoseok, plopping himself next to Yoongi on the couch. “I have a recital coming up. You should come.”

“When?” asked Taehyung, scratching his stomach absentmindedly.

“Next Friday,” replied Hoseok. “It’s one of the big ones. All the best dancers of our department are performing.” Taehyung seemed to perk at that.

“Is the cute one performing?” he asked, craning his neck to look at Hoseok.

“Who?” said Jeongguk, having no idea what they were talking about. Taehyung made a dismissive gesture with his hand. Jeongguk scowled.

“Of course he is! He’s like...the star of the department.” said Yoongi excitedly. Hoseok glared at him. “After my handsome boyfriend right here, of course.” Yoongi added smiling sweetly. ‘Traitor’mumbled Hoseok.

“I’m in.” said Taehyung.

“What about you Guk?” asked Hoseok. Jeongguk made a face, a recital wasn’t exactly his idea of Friday fun.

“I don’t know hyung,” he replied.

“You should come,” said Yoongi. “It would be good for you and your project, you know. To get some inspiration.”

Jeongguk considered his words. He didn't have anything to lose by going and he didn’t have any plans for that day anyways. And maybe, just maybe, he could actually find some inspiration by looking at a bunch of sweaty kids on stage. Besides, dance was a form of art and he loved everything that was - in the words of his Art History professor - ‘a projection of the soul’.

“I’ll think about it.” he said, laying down on the floor to watch the movie.

Taehyung, as the human version of an octopus that he was, immediately threw his legs and arms around him, crushing him. He didn’t even try to push him away, still exhausted from last night. Gina also came around, settling by his head.

Taehyung was warm and soft and Jeongguk felt his eyes drifting shut.

They ended up sleeping through the whole movie.

 

***

 

The week passed in the blink of an eye. Midterms were getting closer and the professor were burying them on essays and last minute projects. Jeongguk and Taehyung were spending so much time in the library that the later started bringing a kettle and blankets to make their study nights more comfortable. The librarian was not very happy but they were in the study area so there was nothing she could do but curse them with her beady eyes.

“Why am I taking this philosophy class again?” moaned Taehyung, his face resting on the open book in front of him.

“Because you were thirsting over Namjoon’s ass and he’s the TA of that class,” supplied Jeongguk, bullshiting his was through the conclusion of his essay. Taehyung threw him an eraser.

“Ass,” he said, checking his phone, it was Friday and they had promised to attend the recital. “We should get going Guk,” he continued, gathering his stuff. “The recital starts in half an hour.”

Jeongguk raised his head surprised. “But I wanted to change...I have to change!”

Taehyung gave him a once over. Contrary to Taehyung, who believed life was a catwalk and never left their apartment looking less than fantastic, Jeongguk loved comfort. Especially if he was going to be holed up in the library. And comfort meant his favorite black sweatpants and an oversized white t-shirt. He wasn’t dressed for a recital. Not at all. At least he wasn’t wearing his ratty converse, small mercies.

Taehyung tsked. “That would have to do, we have no time,” he said. “Besides it isn't like you’re going to meet the love of your life or anything.”

“True,” said Jeongguk, shoving the books on his backpack and following him outside.

 

 

The university’s auditorium was full of people waiting to get in.

They had to push their way through the crowd, looking left and right for a mop of platinum hair. Jeongguk was starting to feel frustrated when Taehyung spotted Yoongi. He was waiting by the door, clad in a black suit and a white shirt.

Jeongguk felt extremely underdressed.

“Hyung!” shouted Taehyung, waving wildly and capturing Yoongi’s attention. Up close, Jeongguk noticed that he was also holding a flower bouquet.

“Cheesy as fuck,” said Jeongguk as a greeting, smirking at the flowers.

“Homeless as fuck,” retorted Yoongi pointing at his sweatpants.

Taehyung laughed, giving him a high five. Jeongguk stuck his tongue out at them, opting for taking his camera out. He didn’t even have time to take a couple of pictures when Yoongi was ushering them inside. Jeongguk adjusted his camera around his neck only to be stopped at the entrance by a person pointing at a sign, indicating that cameras were not allowed during the recital. Jeongguk looked sharply at Yoongi, eyes screaming betrayal, but the other just shrugged in response. It was so unfair. How was he supposed to get inspiration if he couldn’t even snap a single picture? It wasn’t that he couldn’t appreciate beauty without the camera but he was used to seeing the world through the lenses. He was able to focus better, to catch the smallest details that made something special.

Pouting, he followed his friends inside. They had great seats, right at the front in the middle. He huffed. From that spot he could have captured even the drops of sweat rolling down the dancers’ skin.

“What’s with you?” asked Taehyung nudging him with his elbow.

“Stupid camera policy,” complained Jeongguk, crossing his arms.

“Shut up,” scolded Yoongi, pointing towards the front. “It’s starting.”

The lights went off then and the head of the Dance Department appeared on stage. He said a few words, introducing the theme of that night’s show, Fluidity. Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at Taehyung but didn’t say anything. The music started right away and the first group of dancers came on stage. Judging from the way they danced, Jeongguk assumed they were freshmans. They were not bad, but they were not outstanding either so he sank on the seat, playing with his phone.

Soon enough, it was the sophomores’ turn and things got a little better so he pocketed his phone and actually started paying attention. Fifteen minutes later and after all the juniors, Yoongi was finally leaning forward with a smile in place, so Jeongguk assumed it was Hoseok’s turn to come on stage.

A heavy bass started playing and the lights focused on Hoseok. His movements were precise and effortless, one after the other in an accurate rendition of the fluidity concept. Jeongguk smiled, he kind of got it now, why Yoongi was so smitten and why Hoseok was the main focus of his senior year project. When Hoseok was done, they all clapped loudly, Taehyung going as far as to whistle in appreciation. Jeongguk was starting to gather his stuff but the head of the department was once again on stage, introducing the last number of the night.

Jeongguk looked at Taehyung. He was beaming, phone angled so that he could record the performance without being caught. Jeongguk gave him a questioning glance but Taehyung just shook his head.

“Wait for it,” he said, eyes focused on the front.

The lights dimmed a little on the stage and soft tunes starting playing. Suddenly a figure was leaping across the floor, coming out of the shadows. He landed effortlessly, twirling in place and ending in what Jeongguk recognized as an arabesque position. The boy was dressed completely in white, with a shock of orange hair and arms on display and Jeongguk couldn’t take his eyes off from him. He was mesmerizing, sliding on the floor in movements that seemed to ripple from his body. Boneless, like a stream of water. Fluid whispered his brain.

Jeongguk exhaled in awe...it was beautiful.

The boy had reached the edge of the circle of light, a sudden expression of pain crossing his features and then he was dropping backwards (Jeongguk sucked in a breath) only to land in the arms of another figure, dressed completely in black. Jeongguk gaped. The second boy on stage seemed to mold perfectly to the smaller one, lifting him effortlessly from the ground, aiding him from one jump to another.

Something tightened in Jeongguk’s chest, his fingers itching to capture the dance, the way the dancers moved so in synch...the way the smaller boy seemed to glow under the lights.

The act finished with both dancers curled into each other on the floor, lights going out immediately. The roaring of the applause brought Jeongguk back to his senses and he looked at Taehyung. He had tears in his eyes and he was not the only one. A group of girls at the front were openly crying and throwing flowers to the stage.

Yoongi made a sign for them to go outside, so they could wait for Hoseok and Jeongguk followed his friends still completely dumbfounded. The images of the boy flashing on his mind. Hoseok appeared after a couple of minutes, smiling at Yoongi’s flowers. They took their time congratulating him, praising his dance and taking silly pictures with the flowers.

“So, what you guys thought about EMS’s number?” asked Hoseok.

“EMS?” said Taehyung.

“Yeah, Edge of my Soul or something. The last number, it’s their unit’s name.” he clarified.

Taehyung clutched his shirt mimicking a crying face as a response.

“It was quite something,” said Yoongi, holding Hoseok’s hand and pulling him along so they all could go grab a bite. “I was moved.”

“I cried,” agreed Taehyung, fake drying his eyes.

“What about you Jeongguk?” said Hoseok. “Got any inspiration out of all the numbers.”

Jeongguk looked at him, pondering on the question. He, once again, recalled the way the orange-haired boy moved...his weightlessness.

Nodding, he said. “I think so.”

Yoongi flashed him a thumbs up. “Told you so.”

 

Later on that night, while Taehyung was taking a shower, Jeongguk sneaked into his room and sent a copy of the recorded video to his phone. He spent at least and hour watching it on repeat, closing in and taking snapshots of the parts he liked the most. He then printed the snaps, arranging them together on a collage. They were not the best quality but they would do for now.

Once he was done, he reclined on his chair admiring his work. Something stirred deep inside his chest, he hadn’t felt such a strong need to photograph someone or something since he was obsessed over Gina’s eyes. He needed to find this guy and convince him to pose for him. It was a must.

Seemed like he had finally found his muse.

 

***

 

Of course, finding the guy was easier said than done.

Hoseok didn’t know him in person. He only knew that his name was Park Jimin and that his partner was Im Jaebum, both of them juniors, like Taehyung and Jeongguk. According to Hoseok, they spent most of the year outside of Korea, training with instructors around the world. Something about Jaebum being loaded and the professors too smitten to care that they missed so many lectures.

And that was it, he didn’t have more information on the matter. Jeongguk had spent every day, the whole week after the recital, scanning the campus for a mop of orange hair, and every night memorizing every single detail of the recording. The only proof that he had actually found inspiration on a human being. Damn...life could be so frustrating at times.

A little demoralized, he strolled into his Art History class that Monday through the back door, waving at Yoongi and taking a seat. Grabbing his camera, he started checking the last pictures he had taken on the past days, not paying attention to the professor starting the class. After a couple minutes though, the sound of the door opening and a voice startled him out of his reverie.

“I’m sorry Mr. Song, I got the lecture hall mixed up.”

Jeongguk looked towards the entrance out of habit, only to find none other than Park Jimin standing there. He was looking at the professor in an apologetic way, lower lip caught between his teeth. Jeongguk stared at him. The professor stared at him. The whole class stared at him. Everyone knew Mr. Song hated to be interrupted after he had started his class. He had told everyone on their first day that semester that he wouldn’t tolerate people walking in after the bell rang.

“Mr. Park,” said the professor, clearing his throat. “I was told you were going to join us. Please have a sit and in the future... make sure you are on time.”

Said Park Jimin smiled, bowing politely. A girl beside Jeongguk sighed, totally smitten, while Jeongguk gaped at the professor. Because what the actual fuck. Was it any other student coming late, they would have been kicked out not without a lecture on punctuality. Talk about favoritism. Maybe Hoseok was right.

Jeongguk’s eyes trailed after Park Jimin, all the way until he was taking a sit. He had to fight the whole lecture to avoid openly staring at the dancer. At the way his fingers flew over his computer while taking notes, at the way he tilted his head when (Jeongguk guessed) he didn’t get a concept. By the end of the class, Jeongguk was pondering if secretly taking pictures of someone would be considered stalking.

When the bell rang, Jeongguk scrambled to grab his stuff to follow Park Jimin. Sadly, he wasn't the only one with that idea. The poor guy was surrounded by girls in seconds, all of them talking to him at the same time. So Jeongguk stayed behind, studying as many details as he could get. From the distance, he could make out the curve of his shoulders and the sharpness of his collarbones exposed by the wide neck of his navy blue sweater.

Jimin was smiling softly at something one of the girls was saying. It was such a sweet gesture, Jeongguk found himself smiling back. He raised his camera, about to snap a picture of him (screw manners and consent) when a figure appeared on the side of Jimin, easily parting the group of girls.

Jeongguk lowered his lense to look at the guy. He was dressed fully in black and Jeongguk recognized him as Jimin’s dance partner, Im Jaebum. He said something to the girls, flashing them a killer smile that made them giggle, before taking Jimin away. He had his hand on Jimin’s lower back and by the way the other was leaning into him, it seemed like they were more than just dance partners.

Jeongguk took a picture of their retreating forms, something about the arch of Jimin’s neck calling to him.

He didn’t even get a chance to talk to the guy.

Defeated he headed back to his apartment to grab some books he needed for an assignment, before heading out again. Yoongi and Taehyung were already on their usual table when he made it to the library.

“Yoongi told me Park Jimin has Art History with you!” said Taehyung clasping his wrist. “You must get me an autograph.” Yoongi laughed.

“No.”

“But Gukkie!” he whined, pouting. It was funny how he still tried to convince Jeongguk with that face. It might work on strangers but Jeongguk knew better, Taehyung was the devil.

“Listen, I don’t even know him,” said Jeongguk pulling his computer out. “How am I gonna get that for you, huh?”

“Asking?” said Taehyung as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Jeongguk mouthed a No, turning to his assignment. “You suck man. I’m never letting you sleep with me again.”

Jeongguk smiled, pinching his cheek. More often than not it was Taehyung sneaking under his covers so he didn’t feel threatened at all. They worked in silence for the rest of the afternoon, only taking a break when Hoseok came to the table with a tray of coffee cups. He couldn’t stay because he was working on a choreography so he gave Yoongi a long kiss on the mouth before leaving, making both Taehyung and Jeongguk complain.

Thoughts of choreographies and dance studios poked at Jeongguk’s concentration and soon enough his mind was once again consumed by Park Jimin. He started sketching on the edge of his notebook: the curve of a neck, the ghost of a smile.

By the end of the night he had half an assignment done and a full on study of the curve of Park Jimin’s neck. Taehyung eyed his drawings, giving him a quizzical look, but didn’t say anything. He knew Jeongguk well enough to know that he was probably just obsessed with a new project. He got like that sometimes. So fixed on an idea that he had to get it out of his brain. Somehow. Taehyung still could remember the thousand copies of cat eyes staring at him from every corner of the apartment last year.

 

“Get back to work,” he told Jeongguk, patting his back.

 

***

 

Midterms were at its full blown and Jeongguk was close to a mental breakdown. It was way past midnight and he was still stuck in the library trying to cram as much as he could for his upcoming tests. Aside from the actual midterms, he had to finish an essay for his ‘Special topics in Studio Arts’ class, a sketch of a human arm for his ‘Life in the round’ class and an outline for his yearly project with Ms. Kim. He was so screwed.

He closed his eyes leaning back on the chair considering the idea of getting more coffee or going straight for some energy drinks. He would have to stay up all night if he wanted to finish the sketch and study enough for the upcoming Art History midterm. He was starting to drift off when a voice startled him.

“You have Art History with me, right?”

Jeongguk jumped on his chair and looked up, temporarily blinded by the ceiling lamps. When he was able to focus on the person, he had to fight the urge to curse. It was Park Jimin, looking at him expectantly.

“Huh?” he managed to say. It was unbelievable. He had spent a couple weeks trying to talk to him, but every time that Jaebum guy would show up out of the shadows leaving him with nothing. He had asked Hoseok and his friend had confirmed that they were always together.

“In Art History?” said Jimin cocking his head to the side. “I’ve seen you on that class, correct?” he raised his eyebrows expectantly and Jeongguk’s brain finally, finally, went back to normal.

“Oh...yeah,” he said scratching his neck. “Sorry, I was...I’m a little tired.”

Jimin smiled, dropping his books on the table and taking a seat. “I’m Jimin. Park Jimin.”

“I know,” said Jeongguk, grimacing immediately. Jimin laughed. “I’m Jeon Jeongguk.”

“You mind if I study here with you? My roommates were driving me crazy and I’m already behind on this class.”

“...Sure,” replied Jeongguk eyes back on his book. “No problem.”

God, why was he so awkward. This was the perfect opportunity to ask the guy to model for him but he just couldn’t get the words out. Now that he was face to face with the object of his latest obsession it felt weird, they barely knew each other.

Jimin fell silent, fully concentrated on reading his lecture notes while Jeongguk struggled not to stare. He had a marker stuck between his lips and now Jeongguk could fully appreciate how plump they were. How pink and silky they looked under the harsh lights of the library. His eyes roamed over the smoothness of his skin, the sharpness of his jaw line. He wanted to sketch it...the way his hair curved around his ears. It could have been just his imagination but he felt feverish.

“You are staring,” said Jimin softly, turning to look at him. Jeongguk exhaled, eyes staying just a little bit longer, trying to memorize the exact shape of his nose.

“Sorry,” said Jeongguk fixing his eyes on his book instead. “I’m a photography major, with a minor in painting...I tend to stare at stuff.”

“Stuff you like?” asked Jimin, amusement on his voice.

Jeongguk felt a blush threatening to stain his cheeks but he pushed it down. “Just...stuff.”

Jimin made a noise in understanding but didn’t say anything after that. Miraculously, Jeongguk managed to concentrate enough to finish his read and to start sketching the arm. He was using his own as a model, so he had removed his jacket to get a clear view of it. He was giving the finishing touches to the fingernails when Jimin spoke again.

“You’re really good,” he said eyeing his drawing and pushing his chair away. Jeongguk looked up to see him gathering his stuff. He checked the clock, it was 5 am.

“I’m better with my camera,” he replied stretching.

“You should show me next time,” said Jimin grabbing his bag.

“Next time?” asked Jeongguk. Jimin blinked at him, before grabbing Jeongguk’s phone. His own phone started vibrating on his pocket and Jeongguk recognized the tune as the melody from the recital.

“Next time,” said Jimin more firm, giving him a smile before disappearing around the bookshelf.

 

By 7am, Jeongguk had completed his first sketch of Jimin’s profile.

 

***

 

After that night Jimin started sitting besides him during the lecture they shared together. It was nice, but it wasn’t helping Jeongguk to pay attention. Not only because he was dying to point his camera at Jimin, but also because the later kept distracting him with texts and pictures of puppies. He would giggle softly, making Jeongguk’s lips twitch and earning them a glare or two from Yoongi.

But outside of class, it was impossible to interact with Jimin. As soon as he was stepping out of the classroom, Jaebum would show up, give Jeongguk a nod, and take Jimin away. Jeongguk had commented on that, in one of the rare moments they took a break from studying at the library. Jimin had given him a tight smile saying that they were only dance partners but that it was complicated. Jeongguk had allowed them to have just a couple minutes of uncomfortable silence before changing the subject.

So it was a surprise that day, when the bell rang and Jimin stayed behind, fidgeting besides Jeongguk. They left the room together as always, chatting about the lecture and Jeongguk was expecting Jaebum to appear at any moment when Jimin grabbed his sleeve, stopping him.

“Do you…” he started, biting his lip. “Do you wanna have lunch?”

Jeongguk stared for a minute or so before opening his mouth. “Lunch?”

“Yeah...you know...with...me?” there was a soft blush on Jimin’s cheeks and Jeongguk’s brain was screaming at him to capture the moment, but he pushed the desire to do so aside and smiled at him instead.

“Sure thing. I just wasn’t expecting it...you know... since-” he waved his hand in a random gesture but Jimin got the idea.

“Jaebum is away for the week,” said Jimin, starting to walk towards the cafeteria. “So you’ll have to take care of me this week. Keep the girls away.”

Jeongguk chuckled. Even though the whole department knew Jimin and Jaebum were an item, girls and boys alike were still drawn to him like bees to honey. They were always crowding him, asking for dance tips or offering to get him coffee or whatever. Some dared to come closer seeing Jimin walking around without Jaebum, but a glare from Jeongguk was enough to send them away. He kind of understood the other guy now, it was pretty irritating.

Taehyung almost choked on his wrap when he saw Jimin sitting in front of him. Yoongi was there as well, along with Hoseok, which helped reduced the awkwardness of having Taehyung staring at Jimin.

“He isn’t always like that,” said Jeongguk grimacing. Taehyung closed his mouth at that, clearing his throat.

“Sorry,” he said. “I just had no idea you were friends with Gukkie. I’m Kim Taehyung, totally your fan.”

Jimin shook his hand, giving him a huge smile. “I’m Jimin.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Yoongi and this is Hoseok, my boyfriend.”

“Yeah I know,” said Jimin nodding. “I loved your hip hop choreography hyung, you should give me some pointers. I don’t have much experience with it.”

“Are you kidding?” said Hoseok gaping. “You are way better than me!”

Jimin shook his head, even adding his hands for emphasis. “No, no. I never get to practice anything that’s not ballet or contemporary. I need the help.”

“Why?” asked Jeongguk, munching on his fries (he had to stop eating fries all the time, jesus).

“Jaebum doesn’t like it,” he replied, lowering his eyes and playing with his salad. “So…”

Jeongguk scowled. As if sensing the shift in the mood of the table, Taehyung leaned forward, catching Jimin’s hand. “So….is it true ballet dancers have to wear G-strings?”

Jimin stared at him for a couple of seconds before laughing out loud, while Yoongi guffawed slapping the table. What! Taehyung was saying, though he was smiling too. Jimin visibly relaxed at the change of topic, immediately throwing himself into the story behind the ‘dancer’s G-string’.

Jeongguk looked at his friend grateful. It was the first time that he was able to share with Jimin after class and judging from the few things he knew about the dancer, Jimin didn’t have many friends at the department. Too many hours spent practicing didn't leave much time for socializing.

They spent the rest of the week like that, sharing lunch with Jeongguk’s friends and studying for their midterms. Much too soon, Jaebum was back and so their opportunities to talk went back to just during class and some random texts. Jeongguk found himself sketching more and more. He had filled half a block with drawings of Jimin’s lips, jawline, his profile. He even had attempted to sketch his eyes but ended up ripping the page out.

Too soon.

Still, it was an improvement. He had never been so fascinated with a face before. He wanted to shoot Jimin so badly, to capture him mid leap, suspended in the air. But still he felt that it was not the right time, that it was weird. He didn’t have the guts to ask him to be his model...it felt too intimate.

 

Model that is because even if he didn’t want to admit it, he was already his muse.

 

***

 

It was a windy Wednesday afternoon that got Jeongguk sipping some coffee, flipping through a camera's catalog he had gotten on the mail. The first colours of Fall were staining the campus in shades of orange and brown and it reminded Jeongguk of Jimin’s hair so - given that he had a free period - he zipped his jacket and stepped outside.

He took the path leading to the library and started playing with the camera, capturing pictures of the trees and the few people braving the cold. There was a tiny mushroom growing at the foot of one of the trees so he moved closer to get a better view. He was so immersed into getting the right angle and settings for the close-up that he didn’t notice Jimin looking at him, the hint of a smile on his lips.

“Is that mushroom the kind of ‘stuff’ you like?” he asked. Jeongguk looked at him through the lens of the camera, his finger almost pressing the shutter. He lowered the camera smiling.

“Sometimes,” Jeongguk said. Jimin crouched besides him, studying the mushroom.

“Well...it’s a very fine specimen,” he said. His hair was wet, sticking to his temples so Jeongguk assumed he had just finished dance practice. “For a mushroom that is.”

Jeongguk chuckled, going back to adjusting the camera and snapping a couple of pictures. He stood up, motioning for Jimin to follow. They walked in silence, the only noise the click of the camera every time Jeongguk took a picture. They had made it all the way to the library when Jeongguk considered that it was enough for the day. He put the camera back on his bag, facing Jimin.

“Where’s Jaebum?” he asked, for some reason the name always left him with an unpleasant aftertaste.

“Class,” said Jimin, shivering a little. Jeongguk took in his rosy cheeks, the way his lips were slowly turning the softest shade of blue. “He’s doing a minor in economy so-”

Jimin trailed off noticing Jeongguk’s intense stare. He swallowed, cheeks darkening while murmuring ’you are staring’. Jeongguk blinked. He hadn’t noticed, too focused on Jimin’s face. He cleared his throat.

“Sorry...I,” he started, looking behind Jimin. He could see his apartment from there. “Do you wanna come to my place?” he asked, hand going to his neck. Jimin let out a small ‘oh’ so Jeongguk hurried to explain. “You look cold, that’s why. I live close...like 5 minutes? You can have some hot chocolate, you know….to warm up?”

Jimin blinked at him. It was something he did a lot, when he wasn’t sure of what to say. Jeongguk didn’t know if he should feel proud or ashamed of noticing that. So much staring was paying off.

“Yeah...yeah, thank you,” he replied. “Sounds great.”

Jimin gave him a bashful smile, crossing his arms in front of him. Something jolted inside Jeongguk at the sight, he wasn’t sure if it was his stomach or his heart or some other random organ. It wasn’t unpleasant but it made him feel a little uncomfortable, on edge.

 

It took Jeongguk almost ten minutes to convince Jimin to take a warm shower while he made hot chocolate for both of them. He finally relented, accepting the change of clothes Jeongguk offered him as well. Jeongguk busied himself in the kitchen, heating up some leftover pastries Taehyung had left as well. He was sitting on the couch, idly switching channels on the TV when Jimin came out of the washroom. Jeongguk’s sweatshirt was too big for him, coming down to his fingers and brushing the top of his thighs but he looked warm and soft and maybe it would be a good idea not to look at him now.

“Here,” Jeongguk said, giving him a cup. For some reason, this situation, this taking care of Jimin, made him feel content. Like the feeling he got when his professor were gushing over one of his shots. Like he accomplished something.

“Thanks,” said Jimin, looking around the apartment. “Did you take those?” Jeongguk followed his line of sight. He was looking at Gina’s pictures. The only ones Taehyung allowed him to left behind after last year’s crazy spree.

He nodded.

“That’s Gina, my cat...she must be hiding somewhere. She isn’t good with strangers.” Jimin hummed, standing up and studying the shots more closely.

“Would you teach me?” he said out of the blue.

“What?” Jeongguk followed Jimin with his eyes. He had left the cup on the floor so he could reach for Jeongguk’s camera.

“How to take pictures?”

Jeongguk smiled, taking the camera from his hands.

He started with some basic concepts like aperture, shutter speed and ISO and then gave Jimin a 10 minute crash course in ‘how to adjust your camera to take awesome pictures’. He was listening intently, eyes fixed on the camera as if to absorb every single detail.

“Got it?” Jeongguk asked.

Jimin took the camera again slowly adjusting the settings as Jeongguk taught him. Jeongguk corrected him a few times but for the most part, he got everything right. His first victim was the empty hot chocolate cup. Satisfied with the quality, he started taking pictures all around the house. He was muttering softs uhs and ahs and give me more making Jeongguk laugh. He giggled along, laying on his side on the floor and taking pictures of Jeongguk’s socks.

Jeongguk was so absorbed in studying the way his hair fell across his brow that he didn’t notice Jimin pointing the lens at him until last minute. He hastily got out of the way, at the same time that Jimin was pressing the shutter-release button.

Jimin checked the picture, a little pout on his lips making them stand out more than usual. Jeongguk was so tempted to sketch them like that.

“It came out blurry,” Jimin said, deleting it. “Why did you move?”

Jeongguk made a face. “I’m not a fan of portraits.”

“Why?...isn't that like a...must for photography majors?” he asked, putting the camera down and taking a sit besides him.

“Yeah, it is. I’m just not good at it,” Jeongguk replied, fiddling with the hem of his t-shirt. “I can't seem to capture the emotions or something.”

Jimin looked at him confused. “Can I see some of your pictures?”

Jeongguk nodded, disappearing down the hall and coming back with the last batch of pictures he took. The ones his mentor considered ‘not enough’. Jimin looked at each one of them in detail, eyes staying longer in those of Taehyung. He took the one where his best friend was making a face, leaving the rest on the table.

“This one is pretty good,” he said, fingers tracing Taehyung’s face softly, the sight making Jeongguk’s stomach tighten.

“Yeah...it’s the only one my mentor liked. She said it was the only one with ‘heart’ on it” he finished, making air quotation marks for emphasis.

“I think she’s right,” said Jimin. “Most likely you took this picture because you thought he looked cute or because he made you smile, right?” Jeongguk considered the question, nodding in response. “It’s the same with dance, if I don't feel the melody, the steps...if I don’t put my heart into it...it’s impossible to move the audience-”

Jeongguk smiled at Jimin. He kept talking about how important it was to be connected with your art, to really feel it inside of you. He looked so passionate, earnest making him glow.

How to capture that on camera?

“-so in summary I think you need to find your inspiration, you know?” Jimin finished looking at him expectantly. Jeongguk blinked.

“Yeah…” he said. “That’s exactly what my mentor said. Yoongi hyung also suggested I should find myself a muse.”

Jimin seemed to perk at that, looking him straight in the eye. “A muse…”

“Yeah…” confirmed Jeongguk slowly, the light in the room was making Jimin’s eyes sparkle and that in combination with his wispy orange hair made him look faded around the edges - tender - like taking a shot with soft focus. He couldn’t take his eyes away from him. A blush started to color Jimin’s cheeks and Jeongguk’s chest ached. He raised his hand, fingers ghosting over Jimin’s temple.

“I’d like…” he swallowed, heart racing.

“Have you found your muse?” whispered Jimin, eyelashes fluttering. Jeongguk could feel his breath on his own lips.

How did they get so close? When?

He licked his lips. “I…”

Jimin closed his eyes and Jeongguk was leaning forward when the former’s cell phone started ringing, making them jump. Jimin climbed out of the couch, hastily crossing the room to get the call. It was Jaebum and by the look on Jimin’s face, he wasn’t very happy.

“I gotta go,” said Jimin after hanging up, grabbing his bag. Jeongguk nodded following him to the door. “Thanks for tonight.” he said, raising his eyes to meet Jeongguk’s, both of them gravitating closer. Jimin inhaled sharply, giving him a hurried smile before running down the hall.

Jeongguk stayed by the door dumbfounded. What the hell had happened? He had been so entranced by Jimin, his brain going through every single known filter just to do him justice and then...then he’d been so close.

“Damn it.”

Sighing, he went straight to bed, willing his brain to shut down, willing the buzz on his veins to die down. Had it been real?

Had he been that close to kissing Park Jimin?

 

***

 

He had barely made it into the studio when strong hands were grabbing him, lips pressing against his neck. Jimin gasped as Jaebum started to tear his clothes away, motioning them towards a corner and before he could even register what was happening, he was being pressed against a wall, Jaebum’s body flushed against his back.

“Jaebum...” he said breathless, desire tightening his throat. “...what…”

“I need it Jimin,” said Jaebum, slick fingers pushing against his entrance. “I need it.”

Jimin’s eyelashes fluttered shut, forehead resting against the cool mirrors as Jaebum trusted into him, hard and fast. Movements efficient. After so many years, he knew Jimin’s body as well as his own and so it didn’t take much for both of them to reach their climax, moans echoing on the empty studio.

“Jaebum,” said Jimin, trying again, legs still shaking after his release.

“They said no Jimin,” replied Jaebum, voice tight, forehead pressed against his shoulder blades. “I can’t quit economy or they’ll stop funding us.”

“...I’m sorry…” said Jimin as Jaebum retreated, he made an attempt to hug him but Jaebum just passed him his clothes.

“Get ready...we are practicing in ten.”

 

***

 

Jeongguk wasn’t one for house parties. No. They were never a top priority on his list when it came to down time. Parties were more of a Taehyung kind of thing. The few times he had been seen at one it was definitely because his friends had dragged him to it. Or because it had been a while since he had sex and he was desperate. But even that wasn’t really accurate since he preferred bars as ‘hunting’ territory.

However, school had been a bitch to him the whole week even though midterms were finally over. And he just had another horrible meeting with his mentor full of ‘you’re lacking passion’ and ‘Do I have to send you to portraits 101 or something?’. He was frustrated, to the point that life itself was getting on his nerves.

So, when Jimin had texted inviting him and Taehyung to a party that very same night, he had said yes (even though he had said no to Yoongi, when he invited him to the same party couple days ago, but Jimin didn’t need to know that). They’d been ok, Jimin and Jeongguk. Normal. None of them mentioned their weird exchange at Jeongguk’s apartment the week before, so it was as if nothing had happened. Nothing had, right?

If Jeongguk was truthful to himself, he would admit that it wasn’t quite like it. Something had happened, that something being Jeongguk waking up at 3 am with trembling fingers and the unbearable need to draw Jimin’s face. Just as he had seen it in his dreams. He’d been at it until five when his brain decided that it was enough and he had passed out on his desk. He hadn’t told anyone about it. It was normal. He’d had episodes like that before….just not at 3 am, not with another human being and most definitely not ending with him in need of an underwear change.

He opened the door of his apartment to find Taehyung lounging on the couch, Gina playing with the strings of his sweatshirt.

“We are going out,” Jeongguk announced, dropping his backpack on the floor. “Get ready.”

“Party?” asked Taehyung, raising his eyebrows and moving Gina away from his chest. Jeongguk nodded in confirmation and Taehyung whooped.

‘Finally!’ he yelled racing to his room, ‘SexyBack’ immediately playing loudly (it was his ‘getting ready’ song). Jeongguk chuckled going into his own room...which was a disaster. He seriously needed to clean at some point.

Rummaging through his closet, he found a pair of decently clean ripped jeans and a black t-shirt with a wide neckline. He was in the process of styling his hair in the washroom when Taehyung came in, looking stunning on a electric blue sweater. He spun around for Jeongguk and he wolf whistle in approval.

“So...is it a yes?” he asked indicating his clothes.

Jeongguk nodded. “I’d totally suck your dick man.”

Taehyung beamed at him.

“We’re so getting laid tonight,” he said cheerfully making Jeongguk snort. Not that he was wrong, after the week he’d been through he kinda needed it.

 

They had decided to meet up with Yoongi and Hoseok in their apartment for drinks, so by the time they were reaching the party, Jeongguk was already feeling a little wild. He wasn’t exactly drunk but he could feel his inhibitions starting to drop. Taehyung was already in the zone, winking left and right as they weaved their way to the dance floor.

They started slow, Jeongguk swaying to the rhythm while Taehyung twirled around him in circles, like a predatory snake. Yoongi and Hoseok were in their own world already, slow dancing to a faster tempo song and kissing passionately.

Taehyung, as the party connoisseur he was, knew exactly what to do to attract attention to them. Soon enough a boy was sneaking in between them. He was small with pixie-like features - totally Taehyung’s type - so Jeongguk grabbed him by the hips making him face his friend. Taehyung winked at him mouthing a ‘thank you’ before pressing the three of them closer.

The boy’s ass was rubbing against his crotch so Jeongguk closed his eyes to enjoy the sensation. When he opened them again, the world was spinning a little, so he allowed them to roam around the room in hopes that it would help with the dizziness. That’s when he spotted Jimin and right behind him, Im Jaebum. Jeongguk had to purposefully force his jaw to remain in place.

Jimin looked amazing.

On a regular basis, Jeongguk always saw him sporting dance wear: loose sweatshirts and shorts over his dance tights. He liked it well enough but this...this was something else. He was wearing tight black jeans, ripped all over his thighs and a soft gray sleeveless t-shirt exposing his collarbones. His hair was styled away from his face and if that wasn’t enough, the way he was leaning back on Jaebum - the column of his neck exposed- was sinful enough to make his knees go weak.

They were barely moving but Jeongguk could tell Jaebum was drawing slow circles with his hips against Jimin’s ass, his hands gripping his hips. He was trying to force his eyes to look away when Jaebum lifted his gaze, locking eyes with him. He gave Jeongguk a smirk and then leaned forward to lick a fat strip along Jimin’s neck. Jimin’s lips parted, body arching slightly at the feeling of Jaebum’s hand inching closer and closer to his crotch.

Jeongguk’s mouth went dry, dick twitching in interest. And it would have been fine. It would have been ok, really. Just an asshole showing off his attractive ‘boyfriend’ or whatever they were. But then Jaebum had turned Jimin around, pulling him into a hungry kiss while still staring at Jeongguk, and something in him snapped.

He detangled himself from the limbs holding him close, exhaling shakily. Taehyung gave him a confused look but Jeongguk just shook his head before walking away. His heart was beating so hard against his chest it hurt. He wasn’t sure what this feeling was but he was desperate to get rid of it...to get away.

Before he made it to the door, a hand closed around his wrist and he turned around to see the guy he hooked-up with at his last house party. He was smiling, a promise of a night submerged into oblivion on his eyes. So Jeongguk let himself to be dragged away, stumbling along the university trails until he was pressed against a mattress, the guy pounding into him at a fast pace.

He came with his eyes firmly shut, his brain screaming Jimin’s name.

 

 

Taehyung stumbled himself into his apartment at some point that night. Jeongguk had texted him not to wait for him so he locked the door, heading straight to bed.

What a great night it had been, he had a cluster of hickies along his neck and a new contact on his cell phone as proof (he was so calling that Baekhyun guy again). Taehyung was about to go into his room when he noticed Gina sitting by Jeongguk’s bedroom. He had left the door closed and it was her favorite spot to sleep, followed by Taehyung’s pillow.

“Aww baby girl,” he cooed, opening the door. “I’m sorry we left you out.”

Gina trotted inside, tail high in the air and Taehyung peered in. The room was a mess, clothes and crumpled paper all over the floor. He spotted Jeongguk’s favorite black sweatshirt on the floor and then Gina going straight for it. Black clothes and a white cat where a terrible combination and even drunk Taehyung was able to see the disaster approaching, so he went in to pick it up before Gina could make herself comfortable.

“Sorry hun!” he chirped, opening the closet door to throw the sweatshirt in, and freezing on the spot.

The clothes had been moved to the side, revealing the back wall. And there, organized in a dizzying array, were several sketches of Park Jimin. Most of it were just isolated features - his jawline, his nose, his neck - but some others were almost full-detailed drawings of his profile, of the way his hair curled tickling his neck. And at the center of it all, an unfinished portrait of his face.

Taehyung moved backwards, closing the door. It wasn’t that he didn’t know Jeongguk got like this. He knew. He knew it very well. Jeongguk was his best friend after all.

It was that he had never, ever, done anything like that with a person. Jeongguk would draw silhouettes, detached limbs in exquisite details. He would bury Taehyung in thousands of pictures of Gina’s eyes. But he would not go for a face. Never a face.

It was so disconcerting and so...intimate - the way he had placed them all together, hidden from the world - that Taehyung felt horrible. He felt bad at witnessing a part of Jeongguk’s heart that he so obviously didn’t want to share. It felt worst than going through his camera roll without his consent.

Because if he was not mistaken, and Taehyung was almost never wrong with this kind of stuff, his friend had a big, big fat crush on Park Jimin.

And that was a first.

 

***

 

Jeongguk was used to see the world through his camera, the lens not only a tool to capture what he liked but also a shield against what he couldn’t face.

It had been a mistake not taking pictures of Jimin and going for sketches instead. It has been a mistake to take his mentor’s advice and start focusing on faces. It had gotten too close, too real. He had avoided Jimin the entire week, even going as far as to miss his Art History class earning a good scolding from Yoongi. He couldn’t face him, not after coming to his image burning behind his closed eyelids. It was weird, and unsettling and maybe this ‘finding a muse’ deal had been a mistake.

It clearly wasn’t working for him.

He felt a little crazy already, the image of Jimin always dancing around, ready to attack him as soon as he was distracted enough not to block it. Stupid Yoongi and his ideas. If this was how a muse felt like then he didn’t want it. Not at all. He needed to get Jimin out of his head and find someone else to inspire his art. Maybe he could convince Hoseok to let him into one of his dance practices so he could find another dancer to stare at.

Sighing, he pushed the doors of the Dance Department open, searching for the room Jimin had texted. As much as he wanted to avoid him they were still taking Art History together. And they had decided to do the final project together, way before the awkwardness settled in so...no way around it. As soon as he located the right studio, he pushed the door open to find Jimin and Jaebum in the middle of dance practice.

The song had a faster tempo than the one he had previously seen them perform and somehow it felt more angry, more raw. There was a lot of jumping and push-pull patterns and at some point it seemed like Jimin was supposed to spin but he slipped on the floor, landing on his butt.

“God damn it Jimin!” cursed Jaebum. “When are you going to get it right?”

Jimin, still on the floor, sighed. “I’m tired Jaebum. Let’s end it here.”

“The hell we are ending anything,” he spat. “Get on your feet and go to first position. We are doing it again.”

“I said I’m tired!” said Jimin angrily, standing up. “I can’t jump anymore!”

“Maybe if you stopped eating so much crap, you’d be lighter on your feet!” retorted Jaebum. “You’re freaking heavy!”

Jeongguk winced, this was definitely something he wasn’t meant to see.

“Asshole!” screamed Jimin, trembling from head to toe. “You’re such an-”

Jimin trailed off mid sentence, eyes fixing on Jeongguk awkwardly standing at the door. Jaebum whirled around too, giving him a death glare.

“Is this a bad moment Jimin?” he asked, pointing with his thumb towards the hallway. “Should I...come back later or something?”

‘No’ said Jimin at the said time that Jaebum was spatting and angry ‘Yes’. He glared back at Jimin with such intensity that Jeongguk cringed a little.

“Jimin…” said Jaebum menacingly. But the former ignored him, going for his water bottle. Jaebum stared at Jimin’s back, before angrily crossing the room to get his bag. He grabbed Jimin’s arm saying something Jeongguk couldn’t hear, but he was able to see Jimin wincing before shaking him off. Jeongguk felt his hands ball into fists.

Rejected, Jaebum turned around stalking towards the door and giving Jeongguk a shoulder shove on his way out. As soon as he was out of the door, Jimin sat on the floor, exhaling heavily. Jeongguk walked towards him, dropping his bag unceremoniously before sitting besides him.

“You ok?” he asked him after a while. Jimin nodded without looking at him. There were red marks on his arm and Jeongguk wanted to erased them. Kiss them away (what a stupid idea brain, thanks for nothing). “We can do this another day, you know...we could chill or something.” he offered.

Jimin breathed deeply before looking at him. He was actually giving him a once over, making Jeongguk squirm on the spot.

“What?” he said, finally breaking.

“Do you dance?” Jimin asked. Jeongguk shrugged in response. “Do you want me to teach you?”

“Teach me?” he asked smiling.

“Yeah,” confirmed Jimin. “You taught me how to use a camera, I’ll teach you how to use your body.”

“Oh, I know how to do that,” said Jeongguk wiggling his eyebrows suggestively and Jimin laughed pushing him slightly.

“C’mon, on your feet!” he said cheerfully, jumping up and walking towards the barres.

“Are you serious?” said Jeongguk, taking his shoes off before following. Jimin shoved a pair of spare ballet shoes on his chest, nodding. He sighed, putting on the shoes and shrugging off his sweatshirt. Good thing he was wearing sports clothing.

Jimin was very patient and kind, walking him slowly through the basic ballet positions and correcting any mistakes in the process. Jeongguk was trying to follow but ballet was definitely not for him. He was trying the best he could but soon enough, he got distracted. Jimin was a warm presence by his side, the touch of his fingers sending little jolts of electricity throughout his body. And if he was being sincere, he was actually making mistakes just for the pleasure of seeing him pout. He had tons of sketches of that same gesture hidden on his room.

“Ok,” said Jimin suddenly, walking towards the stereo. “Let’s try something else.”

He shuffled through his ipod until a song started playing. It had a heavy bass, something Hoseok would dance. Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at him. “I’ve been working on this with Hoseok-hyung. Wanna try it with me?”

“Sure,” he replied, shaking his limbs to loosen up.

This was more his thing, so he moved confidently towards the center of the studio.

The choreography wasn’t easy, not at all, but it was better than the ballet and Jeongguk found himself enjoying it. He was even able to give some pointers to Jimin, his movements too soft for a hip hop choreography. They went at it for about an hour , sweat rolling down their temples, until in one pattern Jeongguk didn’t put his legs where they were supposed to, landing himself on the ground, and pulling Jimin along with him, laughing hard...breathless.

They stayed there, lying on the floor, chests heaving for air. Jeongguk could feel the heat rolling off Jimin’s body right beside him, so he turned his head to look at him. Jimin had his eyes closed, skin damp with sweat. A drop was rolling down his temple and he thought it would actually make a great shot, coupled with his profile. His hair was fanned on the floor sticking out at odd angles and under the lights it looked a little like spun sugar...although softer...maybe cotton candy?

He wanted to feel it. He wanted to run his fingers through the glowing locks and take a picture of it.

He wanted to paint Jimin in watercolors...

He wanted to draw his retreating silhouette in carbon pencil...

He wanted to capture the texture of his lips, such a vivid pink on golden skin...

He wanted to recreate the sound of his laughter with vivid flashes of light...

He wanted to touch him...

He wanted to hold him...

He wanted…

“You are staring.”

Jimin opened his eyes languidly, turning his face to look at him, blinking slowly. He was so beautiful Jeongguk felt his chest constricting.

“I want to shoot you Jimin,” Jeongguk whispered, reaching out to touch his cheek.

Jimin’s lips parted under the pressure of Jeongguk’s thumb sliding over them.

“Please let me photograph you.”

“Ok,” said Jimin, voice breathy.

They stood up slowly, eyes still trained on each other. Jeongguk went to pick his camera out from his backpack, hands trembling. He exhaled trying to calm his racing heart. Turning around, he saw Jimin standing in the middle of the room, waiting for him.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked. Jeongguk thought for a minute, evaluating possibilities. He could go straight for the portrait but it would come out wrong. He was too nervous, too anxious to even attempt a close up.

“Dance for me,” he said, voice rough.

Jimin blushed but he went to his ipod and a soft instrumental song started playing. He moved slowly back to the centre of the room, eyes closed, body swaying to the rhythm. The song felt like a breeze on top of the mountains, light and airy. And so was Jimin sliding across the floor. He was jumping and spinning and dropping, taking his breath away. The shutter going off repeatedly on his effort for capture every second of it. Jimin was so fluid...so delicate...mesmerizing.

The song ended with Jimin on his knees directly in front of the camera, his chest rising and falling, his cheeks stained a beautiful pink.

Jeongguk lowered his camera in awe. Jimin was staring at him now and for the first time, Jeongguk thought that he could very much fall in love with such pair of eyes.

 

 

Taehyung made it home that night (after spending the afternoon with Baekhyun) feeling rather well with himself. He had had a fantastic day and was ready to spend the rest of the night studying for his Modern Literature class.

Life, however, had other plans for him.

The apartment was cloaked in shadows, the only light coming from Jeongguk’s room. He made his way there, an uncomfortable feeling settling on his stomach. He pushed the door open to find Jeongguk sitting on the floor. He was surrounded by several pictures, all of them of Jimin. Leaping in the air, crouched on the floor, a blur of movement. Jeongguk craned his neck to look at him, eyes shining.

“Tae,” he said, looking troubled and confused. Vulnerable.. “I think...I think I-”

Taehyung closed the door behind him, sitting on the floor. He picked one of Jimin’s shots. They were amazing, like he was still dancing in all of them, never still.

“I know.” said Taehyung, pulling Jeongguk close, resting his cheek on top of his head.

“What am I gonna do…” asked Jeongguk, voice muffled against his chest.

Even though he hadn’t said it, Taehyung could hear the actual question ‘How do I get rid of this? How do I stop it?...He already has Jaebum’. If this were just a silly crush, like the one he had on Namjoon, he would have made fun of Jeongguk as payback for all those hours of interminable mocking. But it wasn’t. So Taehyung stayed silent, just holding his friend close.

“I don’t want to have a muse anymore,” said Jeongguk softly, though both of them knew this was not about inspiration.

 

It was about love.

 

***

 

Jeongguk was working on an essay for his elective psychology class when Hoseok appeared out of thin air, plopping himself on the chair right across from him.

“Library on a Saturday?” he said amused. “That’s new.”

Jeongguk grimaced. He had rolled out of bed and into his shoes, going straight to the library, the amount of work he had neglected was catching up with him and so, he didn’t have many options but to spend the weekend with his nose buried on his books.

“I’m so late on this class, hyung. Not even kidding.”

Hoseok hummed but didn’t say much so Jeongguk went back to work. Or tried to do that, because Hoseok kept shuffling around. Restless. Like something was bothering him.

“Is everything-” he started to ask.

“Taehyung told me about Jimin,” Hoseok blurted out biting his lips afterwards. Jeongguk gaped at him. What a traitor he had for a best friend. “Don’t get mad, he was just worried.”

“Because I like someone?” he asked incredulous.

“Because you never like people,” said Hoseok, continuing a little softer. “Not like that.”

Jeongguk grimaced. Yes, he had been a little overwhelmed a few days ago. And yes, maybe he had had to sleep with Taehyung for like a week to get away of the stupid amount of Jimin flooding his room, but he was better. So much better….at least he liked to tell himself that he was.

His mentor had been delighted with the pictures he took for their last meeting. They were mainly the ones he took of Jimin dancing but he had included some of his friends to balance it out. He even went as far as to include a self-portrait with half of his face visible behind a door frame.

“I can see you have tried this time Jeon,” she had said smiling. “I would even venture and say that maybe your theme will be friendship or maybe dance oriented?”

He had just mumbled a ‘something like that’ before gathering his stuff and leaving the room. A cold sweat already in place.

So yeah, all in all, things were pretty good.

“It’s not as bad as Taehyung described it hyung,” Jeongguk said, leaning back on his chair. “It’s just a crush.”

Hoseok gave him a smile, the one that meant ‘I get it’, before reaching for his hand.

“Listen Guk,” he started. “I’m glad is not more than just a crush...but even if it is, it’s fine. You are allowed to feel that. Just...keep in mind that Jaebum is there, ok? They might not be officially dating but they’ve been dancing and fooling around together for long and that creates bonds. Strong ones.”

“I know, hyung.” Jeongguk mumbled, lowering his eyes.

“And Jimin is adorable but Jaebum is a prick and he’s very possessive,” continued Hoseok. “What I’m getting at is...I don’t want to see you hurting, alright.”

Jeongguk released a shaky breath. He knew all that. He did. “Don’t worry hyung. It’s just a stupid crush. I just really like to take pictures of him, nothing else. Just art.”

Hoseok squinted at him, pursing his lips before nodding. “If you say so.”

 

It wasn’t that he was lying to his friends. Not at all. It was art, even Jimin had said so.

The day after their impromptu photo shoot at the dance studio, he had texted Jeongguk asking to see the photos. He had loved them, face glowing like a child with a new toy. Jimin had praised Jeongguk so much that he had turned red like a tomato, making the other giggle.

Of course, Jimin hadn’t stopped there, immediately asking why Jeongguk wanted to take pictures of him, not only curiosity but mischief on his eyes. So Jeongguk had pulled on his best poker face, lying through his teeth and telling him that it was for a project about dance.

And that was it for Jimin. He wanted in. He had prattled on and on for an hour about how terrible some of their photographers were and how excited he was that Jeongguk was interested in capturing movement. Jeongguk had only nodded, almost choking on his fake smile.

That was how - now - Jeongguk was usually found at the dance studio more often than not. Using every single opportunity he had to be present for Jimin’s dance practice, snapping away for hours on end. Of course Jaebum had been there too, scowling ninety percent of the time but not saying a word. He had tried to complain the first day but Jimin had brushed him off with a ‘it’s for art’ (Jeongguk had smiled like an idiot the whole week after that).

Jeongguk tried to keep himself from taking pictures of Jimin outside the studio. Tried but failed because after he started photographing him, he couldn’t seem to stop.

Up to date, Jeongguk was the proud owner of thousands of photos of Jimin in several scenarios. Dancing was the most common one, but also walking, studying, taking notes in class (which ended up with Jeongguk banned from bringing his camera to the lecture again) and struggling to get a book from a top bookshelf (when Taehyung asked, he shrugged saying that it was adorable). He even had some of Jimin eating, he had been fascinated by the way his lips pursed while he was chewing so he had taken his camera and snapped a couple pictures. When Jimin asked, of course, he told him it was because he looked ridiculous and he needed something to laugh at on bad days.

“It’s like you don’t even look at me anymore,” commented Jimin one day, while stretching on the dance floor - they were at the studio, waiting for Jaebum. “Not without the camera in between.”

“Does it bother you?” Jeongguk asked, lowering the camera.

“No,” Jimin said, a blush creeping on his cheeks. “But I kinda miss your staring.”

Jeongguk opened his mouth to reply but Jaebum decided to come into the studio at the exact same moment, so he just smiled opting for checking his pictures instead. Jaebum seemed to be on a bad mood, growling and cursing when he couldn’t get the steps right. Jeongguk was taking pictures of Jimin, also sneaking one or two of Jaebum so it wouldn’t be so suspicious, when the guy asked Jimin to refill the water bottles. Jimin stared at him for a second before grabbing them, leaving the studio without saying a word.

Jeongguk was in the process of changing his memory card when he was being pushed to the wall, hands fisting on his sweater.

“I know what you are doing,” Jaebum said menacingly. “You don't fool me.”

Jeongguk was startled by the sudden action, but managed to put a smirk on his face. “And what is that if I may ask?”

“I know this is some lame excuse to get close to Jimin but you’re a fool if you think you can do that,” he continued, he was all teeth and blazing eyes. “Jimin is mine. He belongs to me. I made him what he is right now. You have no chance.”

The words made Jeongguk’s blood boil, so he pushed him away with his free hand, voice low.

“First of all, Jimin is not a thing so you can’t own him. Second, fuck you. It’s his talent that has brought him this far not you. And third,” Jeongguk grabbed a handful of Jaebum’s tank top yanking him closer. “Do not touch me again or I swear I’ll beat the crap out of you. I would now, but Jimin is coming back and I value my camera, so -” he trailed off letting the other go. Jaebum opened his mouth to say something but Jimin was opening the door already, eyeing them suspiciously, sensing the tense atmosphere.

“Everything ok?” he asked. Jaebum went to him, grabbing his water bottle and moving towards the stereo without saying a word. Jimin shifted his gaze to Jeongguk and he nodded.

“Gotta go Jimin,” said Jeongguk. Jimin lifted his eyebrows at that surprised.

“We’re just starting…”

“I have to finish some assignments and stuff so... see you around, ok?”

“Yeah…” replied Jimin following him with his eyes. “Around.”

 

 

The very next day, Jaebum took Jimin on an impromptu trip to China and Jeongguk received a text message from an unknown number.

 

“This is just a taste. Stay away from him.”

 

***

 

Shanghai was a jewel glowing in the middle of the night, the light reflecting on Jimin’s face as he stood by the floor to ceiling windows of the hotel room. He was tired, muscles aching after long days of practice but he couldn’t sleep, his mind was too full to even attempt to rest.

“What are you doing?” said Jaebum, coming out of the washroom.

“Just...thinking,” replied Jimin. Jaebum came to stand by his side, eyes scanning the view. His hair was damp after the shower, his skin cool against Jimin’s still feverish one.

“About?”

Life, dreams, the stage, Jeongguk...Jeongguk, Jeongguk, Jeongguk. “Dance.” he said.

“What about it?” asked Jaebum looking at him. Jimin sighed.

“Don’t you…” he started. “Is there anything else you want in life? You only ever talk about dance...like...don’t you dream about something else?”

Jaebum looked amused at the question. “Something like what? Graduating? Couldn’t care less. Friends? They just want me for my money. A relationship? I’m not even gonna comment on that…”

“Why?”

“Because it’s stupid and it won’t take you anywhere, that’s why” he replied, a tinge of annoyance in his voice. “Besides, I have you.”

“You have me...what are we, Jaebum?” asked Jimin, a whisper against the window.

“We are dance partners of course!” said Jaebum, matter of factly. Jimin turned around facing him, his eyes unconsciously traveling to the bed that just moments ago saw him coming apart under Jaebum’s will.

“Right,” he said, making a move to walk away. Jaebum caught him by the waist, pulling him close.

“You are special to me Jimin, ok?” said Jaebum reassuringly. “You are the only one that gets it, the only one that understands. You embrace the dancer’s life just like me, right? I told you before and I’ll repeat it again, together we’ll reach the stars. Just like you wanted. Yeah?”

Jimin should have felt comforted at his words, they should make him feel loved like before, but they didn’t. He just felt hollow. Empty but for the stupid desire of being sitting in his Art History class, sending puppy pictures to Jeongguk just to see him smile...Jeongguk.

“What about settling down Jaebum?” he asked, cheek pressed against Jaebum’s chest. “Don’t you dream about a home?”

“Home?” laughed Jaebum softly, kissing his hair. “Jimin...the world is our home, why would I want to settle down?” he added, letting go of him and walking towards the bed.

 

“Yeah…” said Jimin, following him. “Why would you…”

 

***

 

“Should I go for the ‘boyfriend material’ or the ‘I still got it’ look tonight?”

Taehyung was standing in the hallway, wearing only his underwear and holding two set of clothing, one on each hand. Jeongguk eyed both critically for a couple minutes.

“Do you like him or do you just want to bang him?” asked Jeongguk, putting on some light wash jeans.

They were heading to a party, it was Baekhyun’s birthday bash and since Taehyung was actually trying to get somewhere with the guy, Jeongguk was attending as moral support. He was also attending because he had been ‘stuck on a sexual rut’ (or that’s how Taehyung described it) since the ‘thing’ happened and his friend was worried about his mental health.

Taehyung was the one naming Jeongguk’s acceptance of his feelings for Jimin the ‘thing’, so Jeongguk wouldn’t cringe and try to hide for days every time they talked about it. Which wasn’t much because Jeongguk was not one for sharing stuff he couldn’t control. Stuff another word for feelings.

Taehyung considered the question. “I like him...a lot.” Jeongguk gave him a toothy smile, pointing to the ‘boyfriend material’ attire.

“You should do both then,” said Hoseok, passing a beer to Jeongguk. “Keep the leather pants but wear the nice shirt.” he continued, grabbing the items out of Taehyung’s hands. “Never fails.”

Both Taehyung and Jeongguk looked at the outfit appreciatively. It was good.

“Is that how you got Yoongi-hyung to like you?” asked Jeongguk teasingly.

“That and a wicked tongue, yeah.” confirmed Yoongi, coming from the kitchen with a tray full of shots. Taehyung made a disgusted face making Hoseok guffaw.

Yoongi handed each of them a shot. “For a night to remember!”

‘Cheers!’ they said.

Jeongguk drank his shot, going immediately for another one. Yeah, this was going to be his night. No more Jimin, no more complicated stuff lurking on his stomach. Tonight he was going to hunt.

 

Whoever said Baekhyun’s celebration was going to be an intimate affair was a filthy liar.

It was huge, the house filled to the brim with people. Finding the actual birthday boy proved to be quite the quest, since they had to navigate among a sea of alcohol-fueled, lust-driven party goers. By the time they made it to the kitchen, Jeongguk had lost count of how many times his butt was groped and he was smiling like a cheshire cat. The party was heaven for his troubled soul (yes, he was being dramatic but hey...he’d had his share of alcohol already).

Fortunately, Baekhyun was in the kitchen among a group of people doing body shots. Taehyung beamed when he saw him, waving shyly, a blush on his cheeks. Hoseok cooed by Jeongguk’s side, and he had to agree. Seeing his friend so smitten was nice, it made him happy.

“So glad you guys could make it,” said Baekhyun, taking a hold on Taehyung’s hand. “Only rules for the night: enjoy the party and don’t fuck in the rooms.” he added before taking his friend away. Hoseok snorted.

“Drinks?” asked Yoongi.

Cups in hand, they headed back to the main area. It was weird to be doing this without Taehyung, they’ve been partners in crime for so long that Jeongguk was feeling a little nervous. Nothing that liquid courage wouldn’t fix though.

Yoongi and Hoseok were chatting animatedly with Namjoon and his girlfriend, plus another broad-shouldered guy Jeongguk didn’t know. He wasn’t really in the mood for chatting so he made his way to the dance floor, scanning for something he might like. He was settled on getting a girl for the night, so he ignored all the hungry gazes the boys were throwing his way, searching for softer curves.

It didn’t take him long to find her. She was a sight to behold. Long wavy hair, generous hips and a dress that gave the ‘little black dress’ a run for its money. She had a pretty cute face too but his brain was all about ‘hips, hips, hips’. He had stopped in the middle of the room, eyes fixed on her. She gave him a coy smile, one that he returned and just like that they were dancing. She was putty on his hands, twisting and turning at his own will, her back pressed tightly against him.

Jeongguk was dragging his hands across her hips, towards her thighs, provoking….testing how far she was willing to go. She had reclined her head on his shoulder and he was nipping and kissing her throat, when he felt observed. Like he was on the spotlight. With his nose buried on the girl’s hair, he opened his eyes...only to find Jimin staring at him.

Jeongguk’s heart jumped.

Jimin was looking at him but there was no happy recognition on his features. He looked...shocked?...disappointed?...maybe, with a hint of nostalgia. Which didn’t make sense, not when he was in Jaebum’s arms, not when the other boy was holding him like he belonged there.

Jimin’s lips parted, like he wanted to say something, and the girl in Jeongguk’s arms turned around, cherry lips finding his. Jimin’s eyelashes seemed to flutter and Jeongguk tightened his grip on the girl’s hips, returning the kiss. He tried closing his eyes, tried to fall into the pleasure of lust, but he couldn’t so he was able to see the light going off in Jimin’s eyes. He was able to see him lowering his gaze, moving away from Jaebum, leaving the room.

The girl sighed into his mouth and Jeongguk sighed into realization.

This was not what he wanted.

This was not what he needed.

He detangled himself from the girl’s arms, apologetic. She seemed confused at first, but annoyance won and she just huffed when she understood things were not moving forward. He left her on the dance floor, moving to the kitchen instead. Hoseok was there laughing at something Namjoon was saying, smile turning into a worried expression after seeing Jeongguk.

“All good, you look a little sick?” he asked him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

“The smoke…” said Jeongguk. “Someone started smoking in the other room... Got me dizzy.”

Hoseok hummed in acknowledgement. Namjoon offered him a beer and he accepted it, watching in amusement as Yoongi and ‘broad shoulders’ got plastered on a beer pong game. Yoongi was swaying on his feet by the end of the first round, so when he made a motion to start a second, Hoseok decided to intervene.

“Alright babe,” he said, holding Yoongi by the waist. “Time to go home.” Yoongi gave him a sloppy kiss, sighing into the crook of his neck, making Hoseok blush.

“Do you need help hyung?” asked Jeongguk making a motion to leave his beer on the side but Hoseok shook his head.

“I got it Guk. Enjoy the night.” he winked at him, before dragging Yoongi out of the kitchen. Namjoon close on his heels doing the same with his friend.

Jeongguk stretched, it was still early, party at its peak but he didn’t feel like staying anymore. He searched for a washroom, the walk home wasn’t long but he had drank enough to make the stop necessary before heading back. The first washroom he found, by the kitchen, was currently in use, as was the one by the stairs. He could hear the moans coming from the closed door, making him frown.

“You assholes, the washroom is not for fucking!” he hollered at the door, banging on it, only to get another moan in response.

‘Horny bastards’ he muttered to himself, which was a rather shameless thing to say, considering he’d done the same countless times. But he was feeling pety and rather on edge with the alcohol buzzing on his veins.

Looking around, the only option left was going upstairs and hope for a better outcome. The first couple doors were bedrooms (empty, thank you life) but the third one was finally a washroom. At first glance it looked empty so Jeongguk pushed the door open all the way...only to find Jimin lying in the bathtub, one leg dangling from the side. He had his eyes closed, hands folded on top of his stomach.

“Jimin…?” he said, approaching the tub slowly. From up close, he could see that there were tear tracks on his cheeks. “Are you ok?”

Jimin opened his eyes, sighing softly in recognition. “No…”

Jeongguk debated on what to do, his brain telling him that he ought to go find Jaebum to deal with this. His heart on the other hand was begging him to gather Jimin in his arms and kiss the tears away. He swallowed, brain winning the battle.

“Do you want me...should I get Jaebum?”

Jimin smiled sadly, shaking his head. “I don’t think he wants to see me now.”

Jeongguk sat on the edge of the tub, hand moving on its own to dry the tears. Jimin’s eyes fluttered shut. “Why?”

“We fought…” somehow Jeongguk’s hand was cupping his cheek and Jimin leaned into the touch. Breathing deeply.

“What about?”

“....Russia,” Jimin replied, looking at Jeongguk. A tear escaping from the corner of his eye. “He wants to go...I don’t.”

Jeongguk considered the answer. It didn’t seem something they would discuss at a party but Jimin didn’t look too keen on sharing, so he didn’t pressure.

“C’mon, let’s get you home, ok?” said Jeongguk.

“What about her…” mumbled Jimin.

“Who?” asked Jeongguk, though he knew who Jimin was talking about.

“You know…” Jimin trailed off, looking at his lap.

“There’s no one else.” replied Jeongguk, grabbing his hand.

Jimin pushed himself up, climbing out of the tub. They made their way out of the party and into the night in silence. Jimin wasn’t wearing a jacket so Jeongguk took his off, wrapping it around him. Jimin was quiet by his side, his feet dragging on the concrete the only sign that he wasn’t completely sober.

They were nearing a crossroad, so Jeongguk looked up to find the right path to Jimin’s residence. He was starting forward when Jimin stopped him by the wrist, his touch making his skin tingle. He looked at him.

“I don’t wanna go home…” Jimin said. Jeongguk frowned, not catching the meaning right away, the alcohol making his brain slow.

“What.....oh,” he said, finally understanding, his heart going immediately into overdrive.

Jimin started walking backwards, eyes never leaving Jeongguk. “Take me to Gina…,” his fingers traveled down Jeongguk’s wrist until he was able to lace their fingers together. “I wanna see her.”

Jeongguk nodded, suddenly incapable of uttering a single word.

They walked to his apartment in silence. Jimin’s hand was warm on his and at some point he had moved closer, laying his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder. Jeongguk didn’t say a word, Jimin was just upset. It didn’t mean anything…please don’t let it mean anything.

He opened the door, still holding Jimin’s hand. The apartment was dark, Taehyung was not coming back for the night so they were alone. He was terrified.

Jeongguk crossed the room to turn on the lights, leaving Jimin by the door to remove his coat and shoes. He took his own sweater off, staying only in his undershirt since the apartment was warm, and turned around to find Jimin staring at him.

Jeongguk cleared his throat. “Uh...you can crash in my room. Tae isn’t coming back so...I’ll take his bed.”

Silence.

Averting his eyes, he started towards his room. Jimin had never been so quiet before and it was making Jeongguk nervous...unstable...like balancing on the edge of a precipice. It made him distracted enough to push his door open turning the light on, completely forgetting that he still had some of Jimin’s pictures scattered on top of his desk.

Jimin opened his mouth surprised, making a beeline to the pictures. He took them in his hands like if they were something delicate, like porcelain. Jeongguk could feel a blush creeping up to his cheeks, sweat dampening his brow. How had he been so careless? At least the door to his closet was firmly closed. Jimin traced the corners of the photographs with his fingers, some indecipherable emotion softening his features, making Jeongguk’s heart stutter .

“You’re missing the portraits,” he said, voice wavering.

Jeongguk licked his lips. “Yeah...I...I have to work on it.”

“Take them,” Jimin whispered, putting the picture back on the desk and turning to face Jeongguk. “Take me.”

“Jimin…” said Jeongguk, breathing deeply. “You’re drunk...I don’t think -”

“Please,” Jimin interrupted, coming closer. “I’m here...why wait.”

Jeongguk bit his lip. The things Jimin was saying were warming up his skin, his brain running wild with possibilities. He wanted him so much. So much some days he felt like his chest was going to explode.

“I don’t -”

Jimin took his hand, his breath ghosting over Jeongguk’s lips. “I want you to,” he murmured. “I want you.”

Jeongguk shivered, taking a step back trying to get away from Jimin’s intoxicating orbit, to clear his head. He knew then that Jimin was aware. That he had read him like a book but he couldn’t find it in him to care. Not anymore. He was already losing his mind just by breathing him in.

He nodded.

“Ok,” Jeongguk said, focusing on the task at hand rather than how close he had been to Jimin’s lips.

The light in his room was not optimal but he could work with it. He moved hastily around, adjusting lamps here and there, pointing the light in the direction he wanted them. Clearing the floor, shuffling some pillows around.

An idea was growing in his head: dreams, slumber, the soft curve of Jimin’s lips. He was alright, he was quite excited actually, as he always got when it was time to shoot. He loved it, the satisfaction of finally capturing a moment, making it his.

It wasn’t until he faced Jimin that his nerves took the best of him. He had been waiting silently for Jeongguk to arrange everything and when he sensed that all was in place, he moved to the middle of the room without saying a word, completing the picture.

Jeongguk exhaled, eyes following as Jimin sat on the floor, waiting expectantly. Jeongguk moved, the heavy air slowing him down. He grabbed the camera, getting closer and closer, until he was kneeling in front of Jimin. He played with the settings for a little bit, taking pictures of the background to both check the lighting and calm his trembling hands.

“What should I do,” Jimin asked looking straight at the lens. There was something lurking in his eyes, something thick and gooey like molten lava. Spilling and gleaming. Hypnotizing.

“Just...be you.” said Jeongguk reaching out to fix his hair. “I want to see you.”

He started easy, to give himself some room to breathe. The first couple shots only capturing Jimin's collarbones, his jawline....a close up on his lips that made Jeongguk wet his own. Then he moved to the eyes, just as a test, to see if he would recoil at them looking through the camera. But the uncomfortable feeling never came and so, feeling brave, he zoomed out - adjusting a couple more settings - and aimed. Jimin’s lips were slightly parted in anticipation and Jeongguk released the shutter taking his first portrait.

His heart skipped a beat.

It was like opening the gates of a dam.....the need to capture Jimin’s face, his eyes - everything that made him Jimin - flooding him. He wanted to take it all, make it part of him, show the world the unbearable wonder that was Park Jimin. Jeongguk took shot after shot, moving around him to capture as many angles as possible: his side profile, the way he turned around to look back at him. He was fascinated.

“You are…”

“What…” asked Jimin, eyelashes soft as butterflies.

Perfect. Beautiful. Gorgeous.

“Breathtaking.”

Jimin was breathing slowly, his scent heady in the air, when he leaned back, lying flat on the cushions. Jeongguk faltered for a second, the view was fantastic - Jimin looking up at him, a blush coloring the apple of his cheeks - but to be able to get the perfect shot he would need to be so much closer, almost on top of him. Jimin blinked, a smile teasing his lips, and Jeongguk allowed himself to fall into the abysm. He straddled him, supporting his weight on his knees, and pointed straight down. His blood roaring in his ears, almost deafening.

He took shot after shot while Jimin trailed his fingers across his collarbones, exposing his neck, touching his lips. He buried his fingers on his hair, closing his eyes, his other hand going feather soft over the front of his chest - popping the first button of his shirt open. Jeongguk could feel heat pooling at the pit of his stomach. He could feel his arousal growing, his fingers twitching to be the ones touching Jimin’s golden skin. But he didn’t stop taking pictures, concentrating in capturing every moment until Jimin’s shirt was fully open, body exposed.

Jeongguk was drunk in the moment, in need...in love.

Taking the chance, he sank on top of Jimin’s hips, rolling against his erection. The shutter going off resonating in the room. Jimin gasped, hands digging on Jeongguk’s thighs, pleasure rippling through his body.

“Jeongguk…” he said, voice breathy. “Look at me.”

Jeongguk swallowed, lowering the camera slowly. He felt naked. Exposed.

Jimin moved, pushing Jeongguk back and away so now it was him straddling Jeongguk’s hips. He put the camera away, taking Jeongguk’s face between his hands. They were both breathing hard, gone with desire.

“Have you…” he said, voice shaking. “Have you found your muse?”

Jeongguk kissed him.

It wasn’t an innocent brush of the lips, not a tentative touch. It was a full on kiss, loaded with pent-up desire and longing. Jimin keened into it, lips falling open so Jeongguk could lick into his mouth, stroking his tongue. Jeongguk’s arms sneaked around Jimin’s waist pushing him closer, pulling his hair to allow him access to his neck...the same neck he had spent hours sketching. He scrambled to stand up, lifting Jimin from the floor and carrying him to bed, taking his own t-shirt off before falling into him.

Jeongguk moved down, lips capturing one of Jimin’s nipples while he palmed him through his jeans. Jimin moaned low on his throat while Jeongguk kissed his way down until he had him devoid of clothing. Taking a moment to drink in the image of Jimin - exposed on his bed - eyes roaming over his muscular thighs, the sharpness of his hipbones, the art of his torso and, lastly, his face...the fire on his gaze. Calling for him, consuming his heart.

He removed his pants slowly, Jimin’s breathing accelerating with each layer left behind. Tasting, licking and biting, memorizing his body. Jimin’s hands fisting his hair when he took him on his mouth, when his fingers slowly worked into him. Each of the sounds escaping through Jimin’s lips pushing him closer to the edge, driving Jeongguk a little bit more crazy.

“Please…” begged Jimin and Jeongguk pressed in slowly, in what seemed like years and seconds at the same time, until he could feel Jimin’s breath tickling his neck, his heartbeat resonating through his chest. He moved then, a dance that felt new even though he’d done it countless times before. Bodies sliding against each other, ragged breaths and soft words murmured against hot skin. Jimin’s hands finding purchase on his shoulders as Jeongguk rocked into him and out of his fear.

Because if this was how love felt like, then he wanted it, he wanted it all.

Jimin was murmuring his name like a prayer, hands curling in pleasure, his whole body shuddering with his release. And Jeongguk’s throat constricted around his sharp inhales, his brain screaming for him to capture this moment, the exact moment when light exploded inside Jimin, making him glow like a star.

 

 

And Jeongguk came, falling apart...falling in love.

 

***

 

It had been more than a month already but the sight of Jimin sleeping in his arms still managed to take his breath away. Every single time.

After the first night they spent together, Jeongguk thought that nothing in this world could compare, nothing would be as beautiful as Jimin coming apart in front of his eyes. But he had been proven wrong the morning after.

Upon opening his eyes, Jeongguk was faced with a whole different Jimin. A Jimin deep in sleep, lost in dreams, the sun filtering through the curtains lighting his hair on fire. Lips relaxed and features soft, he looked ethereal, making his heart throb.

They had spent that whole first day holding hands, afraid to let go. Like if what they had was still too fragile, too delicate, easily severed. Jimin’s giggles illuminating the apartment every time Jeongguk was caught staring, every time he had captured Jimin’s lips, kissing him reverently.

That was how Taehyung had found them, curled around each other watching a rerun of some variety show. He had stopped at the door gaping, taking in Jeongguk’s stupid smile (what is this sorcery?!) and Jimin wearing his friends favorite black sweatshirt and pajama pants that were too long to be his (they did it!!!), and then hurried down the hall to his room.

Jimin had raised a questioning eyebrow, jumping when they heard a very loud ‘OMG!’ coming from Taehyung’s room. Jeongguk laughed wholeheartedly, hugging Jimin closer. Taehyung had reappeared a couple minutes later, wearing his own pajamas and throwing himself on top of the couple, the impromptu puppy pile completed by Gina coming out of her hiding place. She had sniffed Jimin first, nose twitching, before settling on his lap.

“I think she likes you,” murmured Jeongguk, lips against his neck.

“Does that mean I’m allowed to stay?” asked Jimin turning to look at him, twinkling lights on his eyes. Jeongguk nodded, kissing his nose.

“As long as forever.”

“Gross.” muttered Taehyung, burrowing closer against his best friend, a smile in place.

 

All things considered, Taehyung had taken the news of their relationship pretty well.

Yes, he had screamed but after that he had been back to normal, annoying Jeongguk and adoring Jimin. Yoongi and Hoseok had been a little shocked but happy nonetheless. Hoseok’s jaw had dropped way past the floor when Jimin had been the one opening the door that weekend, still wearing Jeongguk’s clothes, but Yoongi had shoved him inside smiling and that was it.

His friends have not been a problem at all. They liked Jimin and so they were happy things were working for them, after months of having to wipe Jeongguk’s drool every time Jimin would show up (details gently provided by Taehyung over fried chicken and beer).

The real challenge was the rest of the student community...and of course Im Jaebum.

The first Monday they stepped outside of the magic cocoon of newly found love into the real world, they had earned more than a surprised stare, some with nothing but jealousy and one or two of pity (most likely from the ones foreseen Jeongguk’s death by the hands of Jaebum). It was uncomfortable, especially for Jeongguk since he wasn’t used to the attention. But really, the fact that he had Jimin by his side, happily talking about his upcoming choreo was enough to make him forget all the people judging them.

If anything, Jeongguk should be grateful that Jimin’s fangirls were so happy about the change. Jeongguk was far less scary and a lot more understanding than Jaebum so they liked him better. Even going as far as to bring coffee and pastries for him as well. And really, by now, they were old news, everyone used to see them together.

Im Jaebum was an issue on his own. They had bumped into him that same Monday, while Jeongguk was walking Jimin to his Advanced Jazz class. He had zeroed in on their linked hands right away, only holding Jimin’s eyes for a couple seconds before disappearing into the studio. He hadn’t said anything. He hadn’t threatened Jeongguk like he did months ago. He had been surprisingly quiet and sometimes Jeongguk couldn’t help but feel that there was something he was missing. The only reaction they’ve gotten from him so far was to increase the amount of hours him and Jimin spent practicing. Jeongguk did his best to be there as much as possible, but school always managed to get in the way.

Still, every night, Jimin would show up at Jeongguk’s door taking his hand and kissing him until they were both panting and seeing galaxies behind closed eyes.

 

Jimin stirred bringing Jeongguk back to the present. He sighed before opening his eyes, a yawn escaping from his plump lips making Jeongguk smile fondly.

“Hey handsome,” he said, voice rough with sleep, leaving a kiss on Jeongguk’s chest.

“Morning,” Jeongguk replied, brushing his bangs away from his eyes. “Do you have time for breakfast?”

Jimin reached over for his phone, groaning after checking the time. “No...Jaebum expects me at the studio in half an hour.” he replied, nuzzling into his neck.

“That’s plenty of time,” reasoned Jeongguk, heat stirring in the pit of his stomach as Jimin started grinding against his thigh.

“I have a better idea…” said Jimin nipping at his collarbones and Jeongguk had to close his eyes so his brain could keep part of its sanity. “Besides I’m on a diet.”

“Jimin…” said Jeongguk, annoyance filtering in his voice as he firmly grabbed the other’s hips to stop him. “I hate it when you starve yourself.”

“Just two more weeks,” he said softly, kissing and licking Jeongguk’s neck. “Just for the showcase and then I’ll go back to eat normally, ok?”

“Promise,” said Jeongguk, giving up on stopping Jimin and caressing his thighs.

‘Yeah’ came Jimin’s breathy response, kissing him hungrily.

 

He was late for practice anyways, Jaebum was not amused.

 

***

 

The week of Jimin’s recital was hectic.

The event was extremely important for all the dance majors since the biggest dance companies from the country would be attending in hopes of finding new talents. Everyone was on edge, polishing steps and working their bodies so they resembled less and less of a human and more of ethereal creatures gliding on stage. Jimin was exhausted, dark circles under his eyes and prominents ribs making him look fragile like a porcelain doll.

And he wasn't the only one.

Yoongi had been on a terrible mood the whole week, grumbling that Hoseok hadn’t been able to sleep more than two hours every day, the pressure making it impossible for him to eat anything.

“Can’t wait for this to be over,” he groaned, dropping his head on the cafeteria table. “I want my boyfriend back.” Jeongguk sighed in agreement, he hadn’t seen much if Jimin either.

“Just a couple more days,” said Taehyung, rubbing Yoongi’s back.

 

Jimin had showed up surprisingly early at Jeongguk’s apartment that day, making a beeline for the shower. He had plopped himself on the couch besides Jeongguk after he was done, hair smelling like coconut.

“Take me somewhere,” he said, holding Jeongguk’s hand. There was emotion on his voice, making it tight and Jeongguk wanted to ask him about it, but he knew better. Jimin only shared when he was ready to and now it didn’t seem like he was.

“Okay,” he said, standing up and pulling Jimin along. He grabbed their coats, wrapping a thick scarf around Jimin’s neck before heading into the night.

They had stopped by their favorite cafe and he asked Jimin to order something while he sent a text, waiting anxiously for the response. Jimin came out just in time with the reply giving him the green light, so he grabbed Jimin’s hand pulling him along.

“Where are we going?” Jimin asked.

“Surprise,” said Jeongguk smiling.

He had toyed with this idea for a while now, ever since Jimin had commented how he had considered doing a minor in astronomy but was incapable of doing so because dance consumed most of his time. He knew it was cheesy...hell he was already feeling the blush slowly creeping up his neck but he wanted to do it anyways, especially since Jimin seemed a little on edge.

They arrived to the Astronomy Department in no time. Seokjin, the broad shouldered guy that he met through Namjoon, was waiting for him at the door. He smiled at them, handing Jeongguk the keys before waving goodbye. It wasn’t until they were at the doors of the familiar auditorium when Jimin turned to him, eyes like saucers in recognition.

“No you didn’t!” he almost screeched throwing the doors of the planetarium open.

Jeongguk laughed, following him inside. A soft blue light illuminated the vast space, empty but for the two of them. Jeongguk pulled Jimin to the middle on the room, making him sit on the plush carpet before going to the control panel. Seokjin had left everything ready, easy to follow instructions on the text he had sent to Jeongguk, so after a slight last minute change, he was able to start the program without problem. He made his way back to Jimin quickly, the first stars already showing on the dome.

“I can’t believe you did this,” said Jimin, connecting their foreheads.

“I would do anything for you,” said Jeongguk, leaning back.

They watched the show in silence, lying down on the carpet, fingers intertwined. A soft melody was playing as a background and Jeongguk’s heart was beating almost erratically as the end of the show was getting closer.

Was it maybe too much? Too soon? Is there a timeline for love? Something he missed while growing up? He didn’t know, after all, he was never one for feelings. But everything had changed so much since the very first day he saw Jimin dance. Everything that he so obliviously tried to disguise as inspiration morphing into something sweeter, warmer than the sun.

Maybe it was too soon and he was being reckless, baring his heart for the first time to someone he still didn’t know as he did the back of his hand. But as the room was left once again in darkness and the stars started to light up, shaping themselves into the closest thing to the words he so badly wanted to say, he felt at ease. Because the feeling had been all too consuming and overflowing to keep it contained on his chest. And because Jimin’s face at the particular moment, when the stars finally spelled ‘I like you’ like a shining galaxy on the dome, was brighter than all of them combined. How many more favorite images of Jimin could he stitch to his heart? Another thing he didn’t now…

Jimin turned to him, the stars reflecting in his warm brown eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, closing it as his eyelashes fluttered. Jeongguk sighed an embarrassed laugh, hugging Jimin, and kissing the crown of his head.

“I...I like you Jimin,” he whispered. “A lot”

“I like you too,” breathed Jimin, lips trembling against his throat. He moved away, eyes searching Jeongguk’s, pressing a kiss to the corner of his lips.

“Promise me you’ll never let me go.”

Jeongguk’s heart jumped but he promised all the same, because of course he wouldn’t. Why would he let go?

He would never let go.

 

***

 

“Jeon, fancy to see you. It’s been a while,” said his mentor, motioning for him to take a seat. Jeongguk smiled, dropping his backpack on the floor and plopping himself on the chair.

“How are you Ms. Kim?” he asked politely.

“I’ve been better. End of the year projects are very stressing and organizing the exhibition plus mentoring students is not easy,” she replied adjusting her glasses. “But we are almost there.”

“Yeah...a month.”

“Exactly,” she confirmed, fixing her eyes on him. “So, how are things going?”

Jeongguk digged into his backpack for the outline of his final project. He wanted to create and exhibit with both his pictures and drawings of Jimin, so he discussed his idea with her. She was listening intently, asking some question here and there when he seemed to hesitate around a particular point. Jeongguk was putting his heart into the presentation and for once Ms. Kim was giving him a true smile. When he finished, she sat back studying him, fingers interlocked.

“I must admit I’m gladly surprised Jeon,” she commented. “I was starting to worry that you would never get the concept of human beauty right.”

“I’m a little slow sometimes,” said Jeongguk embarrassed. She nodded.

“Actually, I even think that if everything goes as you explained, then you have a good chance of beating Min this year.” she smiled, satisfied.

“Thank you Ms. Kim.”

She gestured for him to indicate they were done and Jeongguk gathered his documents before standing up.

“Oh Jeon, I almost forgot,” she said. “Title. I need a title.”

Jeongguk looked at her, mind blank. He hadn’t thought about it, too concentrated in getting enough material for his project to think about anything else (that wasn’t Jimin).

“Uh…” He stood still for a minute, thinking about his idea. The project had started like nothing more that a headache until Jeongguk had met Jimin. Now after so many months, he had a very solid idea, and a very good one at that. Jimin had changed his life not only as a human being but also as a professional and, at the end of the day, this project was nothing more than Jimin. All about him.

“You can get back to me later if-”

“No I got it,” said Jeongguk, exhaling before meeting her eyes. “It’s him.”

“Pardon?”

“The title,” he clarified smiling now. “The title is ‘Him’”

 

 

Jimin’s and Hoseok’s recital was that very same night. Since it was an opportunity for companies to scout new members, the doors were closed to the public and so Jeongguk and his friends were outside, waiting for the news. It was nerve wracking, not because Jeongguk was afraid Jimin would fail but for Yoongi. He wouldn’t stop pacing, nervously alternating between biting his nails and checking the clock.

They were sitting at the cafe right beside the auditorium, the cups full of dark liquid forgotten on the table, stomachs too full with concern to have room. Taehyung was chewing on his lower lip, eyes following Yoongi maniacally, and it really was rubbing Jeongguk off the wrong way. He was about to tackle Yoongi when the doors of the auditorium flew open and the first couple of crying dancers came out. Yoongi whimpered, dropping onto the closest chair, dangerously close to falling off.

“Oh god,” he said under his breath, hand gripping the closest coffee cup.

“Easy there hyung,” said Taehyung, softly patting his arm. “You gonna pop a vein.”

“This is killing me,” croaked Yoongi taking a swig and grimacing at the cold beverage.

“It’s gonna be ok,” reassured Jeongguk. “They’ll make it.”

“Of course they will,” scoffed Yoongi, eyeing him.

“Then why are you so worried?” said Taehyung confused.

“Because...I don’t know how far he’ll have to move,” he replied quietly.

Jeongguk raised his head sharply, staring at him. Yoongi was right. The companies attending the showcase were from all over Korea, nothing guaranteed that Jimin and Hoseok would be staying in Seoul.

A cold dread settled on Jeongguk’s stomach. Technically Jimin, much like Taehyung and Jeongguk, still had a year before graduation, however things in the Dance Department worked differently. All students, from sophomore year and up, were given a chance at the recital. If the companies considered you were talented enough then the school wouldn’t hold you back. They would just accommodate for the student to get the diploma around their schedules. And Jeongguk knew Jimin was going to get scouted, he and Jaebum were among the best.

Wave after wave of dancers came coming out of the auditorium, some were crying, some seemed more collected, but all of them sharing the same defeated expression. Nearly an hour later Youngjae - one of Hoseok’s classmates - came out, somber expression in place. Yoongi, upon noticing, scrambled to stand up running up to him, Jeongguk and Taehyung close behind.

“Youngjae,” he said, clasping his arm. “How did it go?”

Youngjae just shook his head looking down. “Almost made it but...got cut out.”

“Sorry man,” said Taehyung apologetic. Youngjae just shrugged.

“What about Hoseok?” asked Yoongi, eye twitching.

“He got called back,” Youngjae replied, smiling. “At least half of the people inside is getting a position.”

Yoongi sighed a little relieved, thanking Youngjae for the information. Minutes later, a wild-eyed Hoseok was pushing his way out, stumbling at the door. Taehyung cried out, slapping Yoongi’s arm to get his attention, unable to say a word.

“Hos-” started Yoongi, face pale as ever, only to be interrupted by Hoseok flinging himself at him, kissing him hard.

“I made it Yoongz,” Hoseok said, between a laugh and a sob. “Korea national contemporary dance company...I made it.”

Taehyung screamed, holding Jeongguk by the neck and bringing them all to a group hug, while Yoongi bawled his eyes out kissing Hoseok. They jumped in circles for a while, laughing and crying and just being completely happy. Hoseok had made it to one of the biggest companies of the whole country and that meant he was staying in Seoul, he didn’t have to go away.

It was such a relief.

“What about Jimin?” asked Jeongguk when they separated, cheeks wet with someone else’s tears...most likely Yoongi’s. Hoseok looked at him with a weird expression and was about to say something when Jaebum was pushing the doors open, stepping into the night. He walked straight towards them and Jeongguk could feel Taehyung hand tightening on his arm.

“Jeongguk,” he said. “Do you have a moment?”

Jeongguk nodded, following as he moved towards the side. Jaebum’s hair was wet and sticking to his temples, a clear sign of the intense competition that had happened inside. Jeongguk tried to find any signs of things going wrong for them but Jaebum looked strangely pleased so he guessed it was safe to assume things went well.

“Where’s Jimin?” asked Jeongguk, crossing his arms.

“He’s still inside, talking with the recruiters.” replied Jaebum.

Jeongguk smiled relieved. “You guys made it...that’s awesome man.”

“Yes,” confirmed Jaebum. “We actually got into the biggest one of the companies.”

“Korea’s national ballet?” said Jeongguk, hopeful heart beating fast. “Whoa that’s fantas-”

“New York city ballet.” interrupted Jaebum, looking him straight in the eye.

Jeongguk looked at him confused. New York? That was impossible, only Korean companies came to the recital.

“There were recruiters from outside Korea as well and we made it,” continued Jaebum. “ Just the two of us. This is one of the biggest companies in the world and they’ve been fascinated by our work ever since we trained there. We even got an offer to finish out training at Juilliard...problem is...Jimin’s being stubborn-”

Jeongguk dropped his eyes to the floor. “What do you mean stubborn?”

“He doesn’t want to go,” replied Jaebum. “Because of you...Listen Jeongguk, I’m sure you know how great of an opportunity this is for Jimin. He can’t let this pass...not for a barely there relationship.”

“This is not a barely there relationship Jaebum…”

“Well, you can really be objective on that, right?” said Jaebum. “But I’m sure you’d agree with me that he must go.”

Jeongguk nodded. Of course Jimin had to go, it was New York, Juilliard. He would have the best training and exposure and with his talent, Jimin would conquer the world. Jaebum patted his arm condescendingly.

“I’m sure you’ll do the right thing,” he said, turning to leave.

“You did this, right?” said Jeongguk staring at him. “You invited the recruiters...you wanted this to happen”

Jaebum smirked, readjusting his bag.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you Jeon,” his eyes travelled to the door of the auditorium, from where Jimin was coming out. “ I always win.”

 

Jimin was quiet on their way home. He hadn’t wanted to go for dinner with everyone else to celebrate and their friends, sensing that something wasn’t right, didn’t question. Jeongguk saw Jimin shedding his clothes, one piece at a time, on his way to the washroom, closing the door quietly behind him. Jeongguk sighed, shrugging off his sweatshirt and falling face first on his bed, Jaebum’s words replaying on his mind like a broken record.

Jimin had entered the room at some point, curling around Jeongguk without a word. And they had stayed like that, quietly breathing the same air, until Jeongguk couldn’t resist it anymore. He wasn’t as patient as Jimin.

“Jimin…” he started, turning around.

“What did he tell you?” Jimin interrupted, eyes fixed on Jeongguk’s chest.

“He told me about New York,” he replied quietly, fingers reaching to move his bangs away. “Congratu-”

“Please don’t,” Jimin said, closing his eyes tight.

“Jimin, this...it’s a great opportunity you-”

“I’m not going,” said Jimin, tuning onto his back and pressing the heels of his palms against his eyes. “I’m not.”

Jeongguk sighed. “It’s New York we are talking about, it isn’t some small company...Jimin, it’s your career-”

“I can make it here,” he said stubbornly. “I’ll make it work, I don’t-”

“It’s not the same,” said Jeongguk, rubbing his palms on his face. “You love dance Jimin, it’s-”

“I like you more,” Jimin countered.

Jeongguk’s heart jumped at that. He wanted to say that he was right, that Jimin would make it anywhere. But he couldn’t do that to him, not after seeing with his own eyes how hard he worked. How talented and passionate he was. He deserved the stage, the biggest one. He deserved the opportunity to outshine every star.

Jeongguk exhaled. “You can’t let the opportunity go Jimin, I won’t let you. You deserve this, you have to go. We...we can make it work, we’ll figure it out. It doesn’t-”

“Why are you doing this?” said Jimin angrily, a few silver tears running down his cheeks. “Why are you listening to Jaebum?”

“Because he’s right Jimin!” said Jeongguk, a little harsher than intended, his throat constricting. “He’s fucking right, I can’t do this to you!” his voice wavered. “I can’t...I-”

Jimin moved towards him, arms circling his neck. “You promised…” said Jimin a little desperate, voice muffled against Jeongguk’s skin. “You said you wouldn’t let me go…”

“I’m not,” Jeongguk said, arms tight around his waist. “I’ll be here Jimin...I’ll-”

Jimin moved, holding his face and pressing his forehead against his, shoulders shaking in contained sobs. “Please don’t listen to him...please, please...just,” he exhaled shakily, kissing him lightly on the lips. “I can’t go...I-”

“I know…” said Jeongguk kissing him once, twice. Deepening the kiss as his hands roamed over the Jimin’s naked back. “Me too…”

Jimin shivered on his lap. “Don’t make me do this Jeongguk…” he whispered against Jeongguk’s lips. Jeongguk’s hands slided up his thighs, hips slowly grinding upwards, throwing the towel once wrapped around his hips to the floor. A soft moan escaped through Jimin’s parted lips, muscles tightening. “I just got you...you can’t-”

“We’ll make it work,” said Jeongguk, flipping them so Jimin was lying flat on the bed, tears barely concealed by the blush of arousal. He kissed him long and slow, hands running up and down his sides until the tears stopped, until his breath was hitch not because of sadness but for desire...until the shadow of Jaebum was no longer between them.

 

***

 

“Is he really going to New York?” asked Taehyung, small pout on his lips.

“Yeah…,” replied Jeongguk. “He’s leaving in two weeks.”

“The day of the showcase?!”

“Yeah…”

“....Why are you doing this to yourself?”

“Tae…I can’t ask him to stay.”

“Why?... you love him.”

“That’s why…”

 

***

 

“Jeongguk….ask me to stay.”

“Jimin…”

“If you ask me, I would….You know I would stay, right?”

“I know.”

“Ask me...please ask me.”

“No.”

 

***

 

“Are you sure about this kid?”

“There’s no other way hyung”

“Are you...are you gonna be ok?”

“I don’t know hyung...he’s still here but I already feel like I can barely breathe.”

“Jeongguk…”

“You get it, right hyung?... You’d do it for Hoseok hyung?”

“...Yeah...yeah I would.”

 

***

 

“I’m not letting you throw our future away Jimin! Not for a relationship that will never last!”

“You have no idea!”

“Dance is our life Jimin. Dance!!”

“I hate you Jaebum....I fucking hate you”

“No... You don’t.”

 

***

 

Jimin crossed the campus in silence. Spring was upon them and the night was warm, the fragrance of blooming flowers still lingering in the air.

Since Jimin started dancing, when he was a chubby-cheeked little boy, his life revolved around the stage, the practices. Hour after hour of training and sweat, sore muscles and bleeding feet. It was tough, when he was a little kid. Being one of the few male dancers in the ballet school in Busan didn’t give him a chance to make a lot of friends. He was made fun of among the boys and not particularly liked among the girls when his arabesque was better than theirs. It was lonely, but Jimin’s love for dance made everything worth it. Every tear, every birthday spent alone in a dance studio.

Maybe that’s why he had held onto Jaebum with such a force. They had met when Jimin was 14, having recently moved to Seoul. He had been in the middle of trying a grand jete, legs splitting in the air, when someone had grabbed him from behind, effortlessly lifting him. He had turned around, surprised to find a boy.

“What are you doing?” he asked flustered. The boy was handsome, with the kind of beauty that was intimidating.

“You have talent,” was all he said, completely dismissing his question.

“Male dancers are not supposed to have support-” sputtered Jimin, a blush darkening his cheeks

“We should partner up,” the boy had said, extending his hand. “Im Jaebum.”

“Did you not hear what I said?” Jimin said incredulously, ignoring the hand. “Or did you miss the fact that I’m a dude?”

Jaebum had reached out, grabbing Jimin’s wrist purposefully and engulfing his hand almost completely with his own. “I don’t care about rules, I just care for talent….and success.”

Jimin pursed his lips, trying to get the boy to let go but the grip was too strong for his lithe body. “This is ridiculous-”

“You and I,” said the boy yanking Jimin closer until he could feel his breath fanning over his cheeks. “We can rule the world.”

Something jolted inside Jimin at the words. “I don’t think…”

“Im Jaebum,” said the boy again, the intensity of his eyes finally winning Jimin over.

“Park Jimin,” he murmured, heartbeat picking up.

“Jimin,” said Jaebum, the name like honey on his lips. “We will reach the stars.”

 

And that’s exactly what they’ve done so far.

 

With Jaebum, he had access to everything. They had trained with the best teachers out there, performed along the best dancers. Jaebum had shown him the world, a world that as a kid, Jimin only knew in dreams. He had been everything, the only companion Jimin had had for the longest time.

The fact that they had decided to dance together had been revolutionary and not free of conflict. Their teachers were not happy, some of them even refused to train them. It was a scandal in Korea, two boys attempting to do partner work. Never seen in ballet before. The opposition from their peers and superiors had been the first thing that prompted Jaebum to seek training abroad, where the world was more understanding. That and the fact that he was not satisfied, for Jaebum it was never enough.

Jaebum always wanted more, so much more. He didn’t want to be part of the crew, he wanted to be the center of it all. He wanted the stage with such intensity that for the longest time Jimin thought it was his only dream too. That until he met Jeongguk. Jimin had seen him the night where they were presenting their latest choreography at the recital, right at the beginning of the year. Jimin had been absorbed in the music when his eyes had landed in a pair of dark eyes. Eyes that were looking at him with such intensity that he found himself stealing glances during the whole performance.

That’s why he had talked to him that day at the library, mustering what little courage he had to appear calm and collected, while dying on the inside. Jeongguk’s eyes. He had a quality of his gaze, on his stare, that made Jimin feel naked. Like Jeongguk could see right through him - into him. When Jeongguk looked at him, it was like Jimin was shattering, his very own soul bare open as an offering. He made him feel unique and beautiful, but not like Jaebum….never like Jaebum.

When Im Jaebum looked at Jimin, he felt beautiful in a sculpture sort of way. Cold and calculated, all details taken care of. When Jeongguk looked at him, he felt beautiful like sunrise would be considered pretty. Natural and effortless, the quality given by the eyes peering at him.

For the longest time Jimin thought that what he had with Jaebum had been love. After all, he had been there in the toughest moments of his life, holding him through acceptance, through hate and envy. He had been a constant. Jaebum, who appeared cold and uncaring to everyone else, hugging him to sleep when things got rough. Jimin didn’t know when they started to be more than just dance partners, it just happened and he didn’t stop it.

What else did he have if not Jaebum?

How different were things now. How much had changed since he crossed paths with Jeongguk. He had been so blind, thinking that he was in love with Jaebum when they were no more than two lonely boys trying to make it better, to compensate for what they were lacking. Jimin didn’t know better, until now. He was never one for attachment to places, until now. But Jaebum was not making it easy and the baggage of the years spent together - two boys in a too big hotel room on the other side of the world - was a cold weight in the pit of his stomach.

Jimin pushed the doors of the Arts Department open, a heavy sight finding its way out of his chest. Jeongguk was waiting for him on the other side. He wordlessly took Jeongguk’s hand pulling him along. They made their way towards the Dance Department, only stopping when they were in the studio where Jimin used to practice. The same studio where Jeongguk had photographed him for the first time, changing everything.

Jimin pushed Jeongguk to a sitting position, removing his own sweatshirt slowly, eyes fixed on the ones of the beautiful raven-haired boy in front of him.

“What are you doing Jimin?” Jeongguk asked, his gaze tracing soft patterns over Jimin’s form.

“Do you remember what you asked me here?” said Jimin walking towards the stereo.

Jeongguk hummed in response. Of course he remembered. “Yeah…”

A soft melody started playing, and Jimin walked slowly back to the middle of the room. “Say it again...”

“What?”

“Ask me again…” said Jimin, his t-shirt joining the sweatshirt on the floor.

Jeongguk swallowed, camera in hand. “D...dance for me.”

Jimin closed his eyes, the sultry melody deafening in the silent space, each word burying under Jeongguk’s skin. Jimin’s moves were far from controlled and precise, he was a wild animal, his emotions taking control of his body and Jeongguk tried to capture it all. He tried, but failed when Jimin opened his eyes. He danced with his eyes fixed on Jeongguk as if trying to convince him that this dance was for him, that it was theirs, his way to let him know the storm raging inside.

Jeongguk knew...he knew it very well.

Jimin finished on his knees, right in front of Jeongguk and he lifted the camera slowly, adjusting the settings by memory, and releasing the shutter.

 

He knew that, once in print, Jimin’s tears would look like silver pearls on his eyes.

 

***

 

They spent the night curled around each other in Jimin’s room. Jeongguk writing a love letter against his back with his fingertips. They didn’t say much, after all Jeongguk refused to say the only words Jimin wanted to hear. He just needed him to ask, just that and he would drop the trip….he just needed to know that he was wanted, that he wasn’t risking his future for nothing. Jimin knew that Jeongguk wasn’t Jaebum, he knew that for Jeongguk he meant more...but it was hard and scary to believe on it.

Fear was the enemy, getting in between them...or maybe it was cowardice. Jimin was so used to do what others said….what Jaebum said. Only the idea of making this decision on his own was terrifying, especially after so many years of sacrifices.

Much too soon the morning was upon them and with that Jaebum’s constant calls. Jimin turned off his phone, turning around and facing Jeongguk.

“You never showed me your final project,” he said, fingers trailing along his back.

“Yeah...it’s missing the final touches,” Jeongguk replied.

“You said the main theme was dance, right?” Jeongguk nodded, eyes fixed somewhere else on Jimin’s room. “I would love to see it...even if not in person.”

“I’ll send you a video,” said Jeongguk looking at him. Jimin studied his face, taking in the contrast of his dark hair against pale skin, the depth of his eyes. His heart twisted painfully knowing that for at least a year he wouldn’t get a chance to kiss him, to hold him...to see himself on Jeongguk’s eyes. Tears welled in his eyes and Jeongguk kissed his forehead.

“Don’t,” he said. “We’ll be fine, ok?”

“I know, it’s just…”

“We’ll skype every day, I promise,” said Jeongguk re-accommodating so Jimin was on top of him. “And maybe I could even go visit you. I’ve never been to New York…”

Jimin smiled, while Jeongguk kept saying how things were going to work, how everything was going to be fine. He knew Jaebum though, and he was not going to make it easy, Jimin was sure he would try and schedule practices on the few times Jimin could catch Jeongguk awake. It wasn’t that what was bothering though.

If Jimin was sincere to himself, and hell he should start doing that, he was tired. As simple as that. He was tired of sacrificing so much but afraid of saying it out loud. Jimin loved dance, he did. There was no better way for him to express what he was truly feeling and for the longest time, dance was all he had. But despite the many wonderful things he had gotten out of it, there was so much that he lost on the way. The few friends he managed to have in Busan, his family - he barely had time to see them - his hobbies, everything. And meeting Jaebum, though a great addition to his career, hadn’t helped to fill the gap in Jimin’s chest.

Jaebum was much too hungry for fame to care about anything else.

And Jimin was fine, he truly was, until Jeongguk appeared in his life to swept him off his feet. Just looking at him, his body seemed to vibrate, emotions flooding him. If Jimin loved dance...what he felt for Jeongguk was something more, that something he craved for so long. He wanted to create millions and millions of choreographies, each dedicated to all the little details that made him Jeongguk. He wanted to dance for the darkness of his eyes and the emotions hidden in them. He wanted to dance for his smile and the fluttering it awakened on his stomach. He wanted to dance to the beauty of his heart, to his passion, to his love.

“Jeongguk…” said Jimin, the words getting stuck on his throat.

“This is your dream, right?” said Jeongguk, eyes searching and Jimin opened his mouth to reply when someone started banging on his door.

“Jimin!”

It was Jaebum.

Something like rage flashed in Jeongguk’s eyes but it was gone as soon as it came. He just sighed, defeated. Jimin went straight into the washroom and so it was up to Jeongguk to open the door.

“Jaebum,” he said, blocking the entrance. “I thought we agreed on you not stopping by this room anymore. What are you doing here?”

“Jeon,” Jaebum was smiling, teeth sharp like a shark’s. “I was on my way to the studio and just thought, why not take Jimin with me already, you know, so we could warm up nice and early...just the way he likes it”

“Don’t test me Jaebum, you don’t wanna perform with a purple eye, right?”

“Oh...did I say something that bothered you, Jeon?” he said mockingly. “Was I too suggestive with my choice of words? Not that I’m bluffing though...you and I know he likes mornings the best...”

Jeongguk bristled, grabbing Jaebum by his pullover to bring him close. “Fuck you…”

Jaebum batted his hand away, taking a step back. “I told you since day one, told you to stay away from him...but you didn’t listen and here we are...at the end I won, I’m taking him away. He’s mine”

“You’re delusional…”

“Me?” Jaebum laughed, throwing his head back. “You really think he loves you, don't you? God you are so pathetic...do you think this is the first time he’s been with someone else? Do you really think it’s the first time he has had an affair? Because believe me, this-” he said making a gesture with his hand. “This is nothing more than an affair for him and so, just in case you didn't know, the answer is no. You are not the first one, not even the second. And guess what, every single time... Every. Single. Fucking. Time. He came back to me just like this time. Exactly like this time...”

Jaebum made a move to get closer, voice dropping as if sharing a secret.

“And you know why?...”

“Shut up Jaebum or I swear-”

“Because I fucking own his ass…”

Jeongguk swung, he was so blinded by rage that he didn’t even look to see if he was getting at his face, but Jaebum dodged him, pushing him hard, almost making him trip over the chair by the desk.

“Save it Jeon,” said Jaebum, wiping a drop of saliva from the corner of his mouth. “I have no time for this now.”

Jimin threw the door of the washroom open at that moment, hair wet after the shower, t-shirt still clinging to his damp skin. Jaebum turned to him smiling as if nothing had happened and Jeongguk crossed his arms over his chest, looking at the floor.

What if Jaebum was right? What if this was nothing but a fleeting moment in Jimin’s life?

“Jimin,” said Jaebum. “I just came to take you to practice, we have only a week left before the trip.”

“I know that, you didn’t have to come all the way-”

“Also,” interrupted Jaebum. “I wanted to offer to take you to the airport myself...again...you know in case you changed your mind.”

“Jeongguk is taking me,” replied Jimin, face blank.

“Oh, I know but since he will be busy with the showcase and everything-”

“I don’t think that would be necessary Jaebum,” said Jimin through tight lips. “We have plenty of-”

“He’s right.” said Jeongguk, anger winning the battle raging inside his chest. He couldn’t get the image of Jaebum kissing Jimin, fucking Jimin out if his head.

Jimin looked at him so fast his neck cracked. Jaebum smirked in triumph.

“What?”

“You should go with him,” said Jeongguk, face neutral. “I’m not ever halfway done and-”

“Are you serious?” asked Jimin crossing his arms. ‘Oops’ said Jaebum, making both boys turn to look at him.

“I’ll be outside,” said Jaebum, closing the door behind him. Jimin stare at the door for a couple of minutes before turning towards Jeongguk.

“What did he say?”

“He didn’t-”

“Oh yes, he did.”

“Jimin, I have the showcase and-”

Jimin moved, palms coming up to cup Jeongguk’s cheek. “Don’t let him get in between us Jeongguk,” he said. “He doesn’t know me, he-”

“He knows you better than me.”

“No he doesn’t Jeongguk,” said Jimin, voice pleading. “Whatever he said, it’s not real, he’s just-”

“Is not real that you’ve had other lovers before?” asked Jeongguk and Jimin froze dropping his hands. “Is not real that you still went back to Jaebum every single time?”

Jeongguk knew he was being stupid, he knew Jaebum has said those things only to upset him but he couldn’t let it go. He never asked Jimin about it before, he just stupidly assumed it was a first for both of them. He knew it was foolish, yes, but the words were still eating away his confidence.

“Please don’t listen to him…”

“Is it true or not Jimin? Did you go back to him every fucking time or not?”

“I…” said Jimin, swallowing around his words, his lies supplied Jeongguk’s brain. “It’s not the same Jeongguk...you...you’re especial, this is not…” Jimin let out a shuddering breath, god he was so bad at voicing his emotions. “It’s not real, what he said ok, I like you...I…”

Jeongguk grabbed his sweatshirt, yanking it on along with his jacket. He was angry and sad and a little overwhelmed. He couldn’t deal with this.

“Where are you going?” asked Jimin, a little bit of desperation filtering in his voice.

“I have a showcase Jimin,” he said. “And you have a very important practice it seems.”

“It can wait.”

“Oh yeah?” said Jeongguk, laughing bitterly. “Can it really? Because it doesn’t look like that to me considering that it takes just one call for you to go running back to him, one call Jimin!”

“You don’t understand-”

“No? What is it then, explain it to me,” said Jeongguk running a hand through his hair. “What is this dependency you have, uh? Do you love him, is that what it is?!”

“What?... No, no I don’t. I don’t Jeongguk-”

“Well, news flash Jimin, it doesn’t fucking look like that.” said Jeongguk angrily.

“Why are you letting him win?” said Jimin after a moment, the first taste of grief decorating his words. “Why are you believing him and not me?”

“Why should I believe you, huh?” said Jeongguk, his heart constricting in protest. This was not how things were supposed to go. “What are we doing here? What does this mean to you, huh? Tell me….How can I be sure? How, if during all this time I still had to share you with him?”

“Share me...What?!” said Jimin, disbelief plain on his features. “You think...you believe I’ve been…” he let out half laugh, half sob and Jeongguk was regretting everything he said right away. “You think I’ve been sleeping with you and him at the same time?”

Jeongguk deflated. He wanted to take it all back. “I don’t know, I -”

“Go away” said Jimin, covering with face with his hands.

“Jimin,”

“Go!” he yelled, pointing at the door. A few tears flying with the force of the motion. “Fucking go!”

Jeongguk curled his hands into fists, inhaling deeply and letting it all out before sidestepping Jimin to get to the door. Jimin was looking at the floor, avoiding his gaze, so he just grabbed his bag, stepping outside.

Jaebum was playing with his phone, leaning on the opposite wall.

“Nice yelling in there,” he said, stretching. “I think you guys woke up a roommate or two...guess you pissed him off buddy.”

Jeongguk didn’t say anything, following him with his eyes as Jaebum got closer to the door, grabbing the doorknob.

“You should go...I’ll take it up from here,” he said, before letting himself in.

 

***

 

There were very few scenarios in which Taehyung could picture Jeongguk calling him upset this early in the morning.

Those few scenarios included his pet passing away and something happening to himself. Since the later was not an option - because he was feeling fantastic, thank you very much - and since Jeongguk’s dog had been dead for over a year then he had no clue. He didn’t know why he was running across campus, clad in pajama pants that were not his, on a Sunday morning...before noon. But Jeongguk had called and he was upset, very upset. So here he was, wheezing in the chilly morning with sex hair and bunny slippers (because Baekhyun was cute like that, he owned bunny slippers).

By the time he made it to the Arts Department he was out of breath and disgustingly sweaty. He found Jeongguk in one of the photography studios where he was working on his project. He was sitting on the floor, legs crossed, eyeing his drawings of Jimin. At first, Taehyung thought that maybe it was his project going the wrong way what had prompted his friend to call him that early but then, this was Jeongguk...calm and collected Jeongguk .

“Gukkie,” he said, letting the door close behind him. He shuffled forward to sit besides him and studied his face. Jeongguk didn’t look at him but Taehyung was able to see the redness in his eyes all the same which put his system in alert. Had he been crying? That was not possible, Jeongguk didn’t cry. “Are you ok? What happened?”

“Tae…” he said sniffing. Oh lord...did he have another pet? Was it his mom?

“Yeah, I’m here. Is everything ok? Is your mom ok?” Jeongguk nodded, eyebrows furrowed. Maybe… “Is...is Jimin ok?”

A single tear slipped down Jeongguk’s cheek and Taehuyng’s chest sank, alarms blaring at the back of his head. He moved forward wrapping his arms around his friend's shoulders, to try to comfort him. But Jeongguk was not sobbing or anything, it was a single lonely tear but it was enough to worry the hell out of Taehyung.

“Do you want to tell me?”

“I screwed up Tae…”

“What did you do?”

“Jimin is mad at me...like...really mad.”

“Like Hoseok-after-we-scared-him mad or like Yoongi-when-woken-up-before-noon mad?” Taehyung asked brushing his hair with his fingers.

“Like mad Tae. I...I ruined it.”

“I’m sure you didn’t Gukkie, no one could be-”

“I told him I thought he was sleeping with Jaebum.”

“What?!”

“I basically told him I didn’t trust him...that I didn’t think this was real.”

“Oh…”

“Hmm…”

“Yeah...you fucked up.”

Jeongguk sighed and Taehyung tightened his hold on his friend.

“Well...go back and apologize, just tell him that you were angry and that you don’t really think-”

Taehyung stopped to look at his friend, who was looking at the floor instead of him. Jeongguk was not stupid, if he didn’t think that what he said was possible he would have said something already.

“Wait...do you...do you think that it might be true?”

“I don’t know Tae, I-”

“Why would you think that? Jimin really likes you, everyone can tell”

Jeongguk sighed, he was sighing a lot lately.

“Jaebum came over to the room and he said some stuff-”

“And you are believing what he says?”

“You sound like Jimin now…”

“Of course I do, Jaebum is an ass. He would say whatever to-”

“But he knows him better Tae, better than me.”

“That doesn’t mean-”

“It does. It does when they’ve been together for so long.”

Taehyung huffed. “They aren’t together Gukkie, they are dance partners.”

“They are more than that and everyone and your mother knows it. And they have so many things in common and Jaebum has such an easy time controlling Jimin that I…”

They remained silent for a couple minutes, the only noise the tick tack of the clock. Jeongguk was idly tracing the contours of Jimin’s profile in one of his drawings and it was such a Jeongguk thing to do. Leave the world out and just concentrate on your passion...too bad the focus of his passion was also the focus of his problems.

“What are you afraid of Jeongguk?” asked Taehyung softly.

“This,” said Jeongguk slapping his chest. “I am afraid of this. I’m afraid to opening up just to have Jimin walk on top of my heart when he realizes I’m not Jaebum. That I will never be Jaebum and that he needs him more than he needs me.”

Taehyung studied his friend. He looked like a little stubborn kid, lips pursed in a pout.

“That’s how love works Guk,” said Taehyung. “We are supposed to take risks.”

“Well, it sucks.”

“It does. But it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it, if Jimin is worth it...don’t let fear stop you from having something great.”

“I should have stuck to one night stands…” said Jeongguk rubbing his eyes.

It was Taehyung turn to sigh, his friend could be such a moron sometimes, but there was no point in arguing. Jeongguk was upset and it would be just a waste of time trying to talk some sense into him.

“C’mon,” said Taehyung getting on his feet and extending a hand to pull Jeongguk up. “Let’s go get breakfast.”

“Breakfast?”

“Yeah…” said Taehyung. “You know what Yoongi-hyung says, ‘nothing that fat can’t cure’.”

Jeongguk smiled half heartedly at that.

He was pretty sure that no amount of food could fix what he just broke.

***

“I assume I’m taking you to the airport, right?”

Jimin nodded, wiping the sweat out of his face. It had been two days without any contact from Jeongguk and he was going crazy, regretting all the yelling and cursing his inability to put his feelings into words.

He had just two more days before his scheduled flight to New York...maybe it was for the best at the end. A clean breakup instead of a slowly dying relationship if Jaebum had anything to do with it.

“You wanna go once more?” asked Jaebum.

“No...I’m tired Jaebum, I wanna go back to the dorm.”

“Alright,” said Jaebum. “Give me a sec and I’ll walk you-”

“I can go by myself just fine,” said Jimin grabbing his bag.

“Jimin…”

“Look Jaebum...don’t pretend that you had no hand on this.”

Jaebum looked at him, expression blank. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Yes you do,” said Jimin tiredly. “New York, this fight with Jeongguk...it’s always you. I was stupid enough to not see it before but it’s always been you. Every single time...they all leave me because of you.”

“That’s because we are meant to be together.”

“No it’s not!,” said Jimin, anger slipping into his tone. “We’ve never been together. Not in the way that matters Jaebum...and it was fine. I didn’t care before but now-”

“Now we’re closer than ever to actually making it Jimin,” said Jaebum walking forward and holding his head. “One step more and we’ll be at the top, where we should be. Why are you like this, huh? How can you not see it?”

“How can you not see it Jaebum?” said Jimin, moving his hands away. “This is not everything I want...this is not the only dream I have...I really like him...it’s different this time.”

“I said it before and I’ll say it again,” said Jaebum, a serious expression in place. “I’m not letting you ruin your future for an affair Jimin, not after everything we’ve been through.”

“That’s the thing Jaebum,” said Jimin looking at the mirrors, the ones that have seen him through endless nights of practice. “It’s not for you to decide...it was stupid from me to let you take control like that, but not anymore. No more.”

“Jimin…” said Jaebum as he started to walk towards the door. He didn’t turn to look at him, one chance and the other dancer might get his way again.

“Enough for tonight Jaebum,” he said opening the door. “I still have to pack.”

 

It wasn’t even close to winning the war...but Jimin would count it as a victory nonetheless.

 

***

 

Taehyung was getting desperate, and that required drastic measures.

Jeongguk had been mopping the whole week, camping on the Arts Department with the excuse of finishing his project on time. He hadn’t let anyone see it, not even Yoongi and that was a tell tale that things were closer to terrible than what he expected.

They had all taken turns to talk to Jeongguk, begging him to seek Jimin and talk things out. But he had refused saying that it was better this way, that he was leaving anyways.

“He’s leaving because you’are not giving him a reason to stay!” said Taehyung exasperated. God, Jeongguk could be one of the most talented students on his department but he sure was retarded when it came to relationships.

“And because you basically called him a whore,” pointed out Yoongi. Taehyung shot him a glare mouthing shut up.

“You guys had a fight,” said Taehyung trying again. “All couples do, it’s not the end Gukkie, not if you just go and talk to him.”

Jeongguk sighed wearily, discarding the sandwich he had been trying to eat for almost half an hour.

“Look guys...I appreciate it ok? I do...but I made up my mind and this is the best outcome for us. We weren’t serious anyways, it was not going to last.”

“You don’t know that,” said Hoseok. “But Jaebum would put up a fight, that for sure.”

It was the wrong thing to say, Jeongguk’s face fell and Taehyung cursed under his breath. Their friends knew the basics of what had happened but not that Jaebum had played an important role and so they were not aware of Jeongguk’s insecurities.

Jeongguk grabbed his backpack. “Gotta go guys, I...I gotta finish my project.”

“Gukkie…” whined Taehyung but his friend just gave him a tight smile before disappearing back to his hiding place.

“Did I say something wrong?” asked Hoseok and Taehyung just huffed before stomping out of the cafeteria.

 

It was frustrating, the whole situation. It was so obvious that they wanted to be together, the way they looked at each other, the way they were always gravitating towards each other. How could they not see it? It was stupid, they were being super stupid and it was bothering Taehyung way too much to not do something about it.

Trying with Jeongguk proved to be fruitless so maybe it was time to try and catch Jimin. Which wasn’t easy either since he was not answering his phone and no one had seen a mop of orange hair on campus during the whole week. Taehyung was nothing but determined though, so he decided the best way to catch him would be to camp outside the Dance Department. Jimin was bound to show up at some point and Taehyung would be ready to catch him. So he got some coffee, found a spot where he would not be spotted easily and settled to wait. Jimin’s flight was scheduled for tomorrow night...it was now or never.

 

He was starting to doze off when someone stepped out of the building, the noise of the door closing waking up Taehyung. Just by the way the person was walking, he could tell it was Jaebum, which meant Jimin would be coming out soon. A few minutes later, Jimin was pushing the doors open - soaked hair plastered to his brow - immediately walking towards his dorm.

Taehyung scrambled after him. “Jimin!”

Jimin stopped, looking back. “Tae?”

Taehyung jogged towards him. “Yeah...Hi. How are you?”

“I...ok, I guess. What do you want?” he shifted on his feet uncomfortable and Taehyung didn’t blame him, after all he was Jeongguk’s best friend.

“I need you to come with me,” said Taehyung.

“I...I’m a little busy Tae, I fly tomorrow and-”

“That’s why,” said Taehyung more firmly. “You have to come with me.”

“Does this involve Jeongguk?” he said and though he tried to sound nonchalant Taehyung could see the sadness in his eyes. “Because I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to see him now.”

“Not directly,” replied Taehyung, trying to sound reassuring. “It has to do with him...both of you but he won’t be there, I promise. I just...you really need to see something.”

“Alright...yeah ok. Where are we going?” asked Jimin, falling into step with him and Taehyung hesitated. The chances that Jimin would bail if he told him they were going to his apartment were high so he latched onto his wrist, to avoid having to chase him.

“The apartment.”

Jimin stopped walking right away. “I don’t think that’s a good idea Tae.”

“Believe me, it is.” said Taehyung pulling him along again, Jimin tried to break free but he was too tired from dance practice and Taehyung was too determined to get his way.

They ended up crossing the campus in silence which was ok for Taehyung, he was nervous as well. What he was about to do could very well be a breaking point in his relationship with Jeongguk if things didn’t go the way he planned, meaning if his friend decided that tonight was a great one to finally come sleep home. But he highly doubted it considering that a) Jeongguk had been nothing but a hermit holed up on the Arts Department and b) he was wearing his lucky underwear.

“What are we really doing here Taehyung?” asked Jimin tiredly while Taehyung wrestled with the front door to open.

“I just have to show you something,” he replied, pulling Jimin along into the apartment, not even bothering to turn on the lights. Jeongguk’s bedroom door was open as always so he went in, stopping right in front of his closet , gripping the doorknob tightly.

“I know Jeongguk will not say anything,” he started, feeling a little nervous. What if this was not enough? Still he had to try. “Because he’s stupid like that...but I’m not. So I will.”

Jimin gave him a puzzled look. “I don’t understand”

“No, you don’t.”

Taehyung threw the door open, turning on the light inside. What had been a few sketches the first time Taehyung discovered Jeongguk’s secret, had grown into some sort of shrine, a mix of drawings and pictures in different filters and colours. Taehyung opened his mouth to say something but he was a little shocked himself.

Jimin went into the closet slowly, like if afraid he would break something. Taehyung had to admit that it was a little eerie, seeing Jimin’s face reproduced so many times, but it was also beautiful because he knew this was Jeongguk’s way to take stuff out of his head. When inspiration was too much, when he was too full of ideas, haunted by whatever was the driving force of his work, he did this. He took it all out and spread it around so it would be easier, so he could think about something else.

This was just confirmation that Jimin was all he could think about.

Jimin struggled to take it all in, fingers slowly caressing the edges of his own face. A single tear slipped down his cheek and Taehyung held his hand.

“He won’t ask,” said Taehyung, emotion bringing his voice lower. “But I will...don’t go Jimin...please, don’t go. Jeongguk can be stupid and stubborn and he’s not that good at interacting with people. But he’s a great guy, passionate and kind and seriously, he likes you so much...so much, I’m not even kidding, well after this you know I’m not-”

“Tae…”

“I’ve never seen him like this before Jimin,” Taehyung said hurriedly, knowing his time was up. “And I know he made a mistake but believe me you guys separating….that’s the biggest mistake you can make. You guys are good together. Don’t go Jimin...please be the sensitive one and don’t go.”

“I’m not so sure about that Tae,” said Jimin walking out of the closet, Taehyung faced him. “He doesn’t trust me, he’s-”

“He’s afraid,” interrupted Taehyung. “He’s just afraid...please give him a chance.”

Jimin looked at him sadly.

“How can I...he hasn’t even asked for it.”

 

***

 

It was 9 am on the day of the showcase and Jeongguk was finally done. He had worked the whole night on his project, having to move each section one by one to the building where the exhibit would take place and then assemble everything the way it was supposed to. It had turned out exactly the way he wanted and it was making his chest hurt with longing so he covered it with a sheet and then sat down on the floor exhausted.

 

It was around 2 pm when someone woke him up from his impromptu nap on the floor. It was Yoongi, a steaming cup of coffee and a muffin on tow.

“Eat up kid,” he said handing him the items. “Better go home and get ready. We start at 5 remember?”

“What time is it?” Jeongguk asked, still bleary eyed.

“It’s 2 pm.”

“Shit,” muttered Jeongguk getting on his feet and grabbing his bag.

“Also Gukkie,” said Yoongi. Jeongguk looked at him. “Jimin is leaving today, you know. You remember right?”

“Yeah...I know.” he replied. Of course he did, he couldn't stop thinking about it.

“Yeah well...don’t leave things like that kid. Say a proper goodbye. You’ll regret it if not.”

Jeongguk hummed in acknowledgment before heading out. The bright light of the afternoon hurt his eyes and his head was pounding so he kept his eyes low, trying to avoid the glare. He was almost sleepwalking when he bumped into someone.

“Jeongguk!” said a cheery voice. He squinted at the face of the stranger taking a couple seconds too long to add a name to it.

“Ah...Seokjin-hyung... Hi.” he said smiling, or trying to.

“Hi, it’s been a while,” Seokjin said, readjusting his backpack. “School’s rough it seems.”

“Yeah…” said Jeongguk running a hand through his messy hair. “Final project showcase is today. It’s been kinda crazy.”

Seokjin chuckled. “I bet. Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you - not that I ever see you but still - How did it go?”

Seokjin was looking at him expectantly and Jeongguk’s brain was blank. “Uh...what exactly?”

“The confession,” said Seokjin still smiling. “At the planetarium? You know...the one I helped you with?”

Jeongguk’s heart sank, this wasn’t really something he wanted to talk about. “Oh, it went well I guess...yeah.”

Seokjin eyed him knowingly. “You know...I couldn’t help but notice that you changed the message though. When I went there it was programmed to say I like you instead of...well….the other.”

Jeongguk scratched his neck a little embarrassed. “Yeah, I...I chickened out hyung.”

“You weren’t sure?”

“No, I was...I just.” Jeongguk shuffled on his feet uncomfortable. “I wasn’t sure if he would feel the same so...I don’t know.”

Seokjin hummed tapping his chin.

“Jeongguk, I know we don’t know each other really well but I’m older so, let me tell you this.” he said with a serious expression. “A confession is called like that because it’s supposed to be you saying the words, not because you expect the other to reciprocate but because you need to share it. When you love someone - oh c’mon don’t cringe we are adults - so, when you love someone those feelings don’t belong to you anymore, they belong to the other person.”

“What if they are a burden to the other person…” said Jeongguk, mind as always going to Jimin.

“Love is never a burden,” said Seokjin. “It only can become one if you put pressure on it, jealousy and all of those bad feelings.”

“I’m just...afraid I guess.”

“That’s because you are giving your heart - your love - away,” Seokjin patted his arm. “But if you look at it this way, like you’re doing it for the other to cherish on it - not for you to selfishly get something back - then what is there to be afraid of?”

Something clicked inside Jeongguk. He had been so stupid - making all of this about him and his fears and his need to have Jimin - that he didn’t notice he was doing the same that Jaebum had been doing all these years.

He had been treating Jimin like a thing to have, like an object he didn’t want to share when it should have been the opposite. He wanted him to be happy, he wanted to see him smile and thrive. And if for that to happen Jaebum had to keep being part of Jimin’s life then he would have to suck it up, right? He just wanted to love him...he loved him.

Jeongguk sucked in a breath at the realization, wildly searching for his phone. “Hyung... what time is it?”

“Umm...around 3:30?”

“Shit….hyung, thank you but...I have to go.” he said before sprinting across campus, his backpack slapping against his shoulder blades.

Jeongguk cursed all deities while he ran, why did Jimin have to live in the furthest dorm on campus?

He arrived panting and sweating, throwing the doors open and taking the stairs, not bothering to wait for the slow elevator, murmuring please like a mantra under his breath.

He was about to bang on the door when Wheein, one of Jimin’s roommates, threw the door open, gasping when she saw him.

“Fuck you scared me!” she said, clutching her chest.

“Sorry... Wheein….is.. Jimin... here?” Jeongguk said struggling to catch his breath.

She looked at him surprised, pouting a little. “No...no love you just missed him. Jaebum came to get him like...10 minutes ago?”

Jeongguk’s face fell. He was late. “Oh...damn.”

“But he’s flying at 6, you could still catch him at the airport, right?” she said smiling tentatively.

“Yeah...yeah, I’ll do that. Thanks Wheein.”

Jeongguk waved goodbye, leaving the building defeated. He was late...he’d been stupid and now he was late. He couldn’t even go to the airport because that would mean failing his class and he couldn’t afford an extra year.

“Fuck…” he muttered biting his lip.

He started searching again for his phone until he found it, settling on a bench under the trees. He dialed Jimin’s number several times but he wasn’t picking up. Nervous but finally determined, he decided to leave a message, at least that way Jimin could call him back if he wanted.

He waited for the signal, taking a deep breath.

“Hey Jimin...it’s me, Jeongguk. I…I wanted to say...I’m so sorry, I was an idiot. I’ve been an idiot all of this time, I just didn’t know how to handle this and I hurt you and...I’m so sorry Jimin, so fucking sorry...I’ve been so consumed by what I feel for you that I didn’t stop to think about how you felt and it was a mistake. I made it all about me and this need...this thing I feel when I see you, I...It’s just that I’ve never felt anything close to what I feel for you before….Jimin, you’re everywhere, everything goes back to you and you make me so happy and-”

The call dropped so Jeongguk called again and again, continuing where he left.

“And I feel so many things, like… I have your face burned behind my eyelids Jimin, you’re so beautiful, so special... and I’m so full of you that sometimes there’s nothing I can do but sketch you for hours until I can think about something else... it’s scary, I’m scared and I messed up, I messed up big time, I know but... let’s try again...please let’s try again...I miss you, I miss you so much I feel like I’m going crazy. I can’t even sleep in my bed anymore because it smells like you and I can’t stand it and-”

fuck

“And I know this is ridiculous and I should have told you this face to face but I just didn’t want you to leave thinking that I don’t care...because I do, I really do...it’s all I care about lately to be honest... And I know you didn’t do anything with Jaebum, it was stupid to say that...but even if it were true I don’t care Jimin...I can’t bring myself to care anymore, I just wanna have you again...please call me, ok? Please...just...have me again, I-”

“I just,” Jeongguk exhaled shakily, wiping the tears away with the palm of his hand. “I love you Jimin...I know it’s a shitty way to say it but...I love you...I do.”

 

***

 

Jimin’s phone had been vibrating for almost half an hour but he couldn’t bother to check it. He was sitting at a cafe in the airport, Jaebum finishing his coffee in front of him.

“We should get going Jimin,” said Jaebum, dropping some bills on the table. “I don’t want us to get stuck in security.”

Jimin nodded grabbing his bag and following Jaebum. He looked around the airport for the upteempth time that night...hoping. But so far there were not known faces in sight. His phone vibrated once again and he took it out of his pocket a little annoyed...almost dropping it when noticing that he had 13 missed calls and 4 voice messages....all of them from Jeongguk.

“What are you doing Jimin?” said Jaebum turning around.

Jimin jumped, clutching his phone. “I...I gotta make a call. It won’t take long.”

Jaebum growled an ‘ok’, walking away and Jimin went back to staring at his phone, heart hammering. His thumb hovered over the call button but he was much of a coward to press it so he settled for listening to his voice messages first.

He waited impatiently for his voicemail to connect, listening to the tedious voice announcing he had four new messages. His palms were sweating by the time he pressed number one, prompting the phone to play Jeongguk’s first message.

Hey Jimin...it’s me, Jeongguk…

 

The world fell silent and all that was left was Jeongguk’s voice saying I love you

 

***

 

Taehyung was pacing up and down the lobby of the Arts Centre waiting for Jeongguk. There were only 10 minutes left for the showcase to start and he was nowhere to be seen. All the pieces were already in place and Jeongguk’s was still covered with a sheet. Yoongi was besides him chewing on his lip.

“Where’s the kid?” he asked and Taehyung shrugged in response, biting his nail.

“I don’t know...he’s not answering his phone. Where’s Hobi hyung?”

“Getting coffee…” said Yoongi. “He’s coming right? He’s not gonna go crazy and drive to the airport last minute, right?”

Taehyung sighed.

“He will come hyung, because one, he doesn’t have a car and two, he’s so emotionally constipated I highly doubt he has the guts to do it.”

Yoongi hummed in agreement, both of them turning sharply as someone came crashing through the main doors.

“Guk, what the fuck!” said Taehyung while Jeongguk panted in place, palms on his knees. He had his tie looped around his neck but the knot was horrible so Taehyung removed it so he could fix it.

“Sorry...I...ran...out of time.” Jeongguk said, wiping the sweat from his brow.

“We tried calling,” said Yoongi grabbing him by the wrist and directing them to their respective spots.

“...Left it home...out of battery,” replied Jeongguk while allowing Taehyung to adjust the tie back around his neck.

“Hmm...ok, breathe kid people coming in soon.” said Yoongi checking his wristwatch. “In 5 to be accurate.” he added going to his own exhibit.

Jeongguk nodded moving forward to remove the sheet from his project, Taehyung going to the other corner to help.

They struggled a little but once they finally managed to get it off, Jeongguk had enough time to fold it and put it away when the bell indicated people would start coming in. He was distracted fixing his suit and his hair when he heard Taehyung suck in a sharp breath, making his eyes go to him and then at his project.

Right...it was the first time that Taehyung was seeing it...that anyone would see it.

He followed Taehyung’s eyes to his own creation. Jeongguk was quite proud of the end result, he felt like for the very first time he had been able to put his feelings into something. His project, ‘Him’, was a collection of photographs and sketches of Jimin in different filters and styles, all of them arranged so they resembled a figure dancing if looked from afar. The edges mostly in chiaroscuro while the center, closer to the heart, was a burst of color. There was also a soft melody playing in the background making the whole work beautiful and ethereal.

“Jeongguk…”

Taehyung opened his mouth to say more but he wasn’t really sure what to say. Jeongguk’s work was like actually seeing Jimin, in each and every second, from waking up to falling asleep. He looked lovely in all of them, so real he felt like he could touch him. A storm of mixed emotions settled on Taehyung’s chest, it was like he was looking at Jimin for the very first time, on a totally different light...it felt like looking at him through Jeongguk’s eyes. He felt happiness and desire but also sadness, longing and love...so much love.

“I…”

Taehyung looked at his friend, eyes watering a little. Jeongguk raised his eyebrows surprised reaching out to wrap an arm across his friend’s shoulders. He had expected a good reaction, maybe some praise, but not tears. Not at all.

“Hey what’s up? You ok?” he said concerned.

“Yeah...it just,” Taehyung said laughing shakily. “It’s beautiful Guk, I’m really moved...you did a great job.”

Jeongguk gave him a bashful smile, scratching his neck.

“Thanks Tae...I really poured my heart into this.”

“It shows, Taehyung said reassuringly. “I’m sure you are winning this year, there’s no way you won’t...I even feel a little in love myself.” he joked.

Jeongguk smiled sadly. “Yeah...yeah that’s exactly what I was trying to convey...what I feel.”

Taehyung was going to say something else when people showed up to look at Jeongguk’s work so he stepped aside to let his friend work.

Jeongguk looked at ease answering questions and explaining some details here and there but mostly people just stood there, taking it all in as he had done moments ago. Some sat down for a long time, before standing up and leaving without a word. Some smiled. Some had tears in their eyes just like him, but none of them failed to press the button giving Jeongguk a vote, the ones that would grant the ‘people’s favorite’ award of the night.

Taehyung left his friend to deal with the attendees and the occasional emotional ‘fan of his work’ (more like the occasional stalker to be honest), opting for roaming the showcase himself. He checked the other exhibits with interest, asking question here and there and stealing glasses of champagne every time he could, until he found Yoongi.

He knew Yoongi’s project was about Hoseok and it was beautiful too, though different than Jeongguk’s. This one also screamed love, but a love accomplished and settled and comfortable. Like your favorite sweater or your pillow. Soft in all the right places, molded to you. It was easy to tell that they were a couple that has walked for a long time hand in hand. And it was very colorful, just like Hoseok.

“Don’t I look fantastic?” remarked Hoseok, coming to stand by his side.

“Dashing,” confirmed Taehyung smiling. “Did you go see Jeongguk’s?”

“Yeah,” said Hoseok, a soft smile in place. “I was shocked...I didn’t know he was so into Jimin, like...I felt it right here.” he added, touching his heart.

Taehyung nodded in agreement.

“Yeah...he’s deep into it.”

“Do you know if he made up with Jimin?”

“No,” replied Taehyung looking back at Hoseok. “I didn’t want to upset him by asking but...I really hope they did, I really do.”

“Me too,” said Hoseok sighing. “Me too.”

 

***

 

Jeongguk’s feet were killing him by the time the showcase was over and they were walking towards the reception for the awards to be handed out. His mentor had stopped by at some point of the night by his spot. She had looked at his work for a long time, making some notes and then she had turned to Jeongguk and hugged him. Jeongguk had been so surprised that it took him a moment to return the embrace awkwardly, but he did all the same.

“I’m proud of you Jeon,” she said, emotion making her voice rough. “This is a wonderful piece.”

“Thank you,” he said bowing a little. “I just followed what you suggested, I found inspiration.”

“Yes, I could tell,” she said smiling. “I’m glad you did...I’m glad you found him.”

It had been an emotional night. Jeongguk hadn’t really expected so many people to be moved by his work to the point where he was hugged by strangers and asked if he would work for them but he was happy all the same. Even if he didn’t get any awards, he already got recognition and some wedding’s to photograph for. He would call his exhibit a success.

“Are you nervous?” whispered Taehyung, nudging his arm.

Jeongguk considered the question. At this time of the night - last year - he had been sweating, waiting with bated breath for the results but now he was calm. He didn’t really care if he was getting the award or not. Not anymore. He’d had enough with so many people recognizing his effort and really, the only thing he wanted right now, he couldn’t have it. So he shook his head.

“No, I’m not.”

Taehyung eyed him thoughtfully, before grabbing his hand. “Just in case…” he said, when the head of the Arts Department was getting settled behind the podium.

The man cleared his throat before speaking. “Ladies and gentleman, artists and students, friends...thank you for stopping by tonight. As always, the annual showcase of the Arts Department is an instant for us to rejoice in the beauty of art and the creativity of the professionals we continue to form in this wonderful institution-”

Besides Jeongguk, Taehyung snickered never one to keep quiet during ceremonies, so Jeongguk elbowed him trying to pay attention.

“As every year, we are pleased to reward some of our outstanding students and I’m pleased to announce the winners for this year’s occasion-”

They spent at least 15 minutes, Taehyung growing even more restless, going over the different award holders for sculpture, painting and drawing until they reached the photography major.

“...It is my pleasure to announce that the holder of the ‘photographer of the year’ award for this particular session is non other than,” he took a dramatic moment to open the envelope, eyeing the audience. “... Our senior student Min Yoongi, who will be graduating in a matter of weeks! Mr. Min please.”

Jeongguk and Taehyung clapped loudly for him, while Hoseok dabbed at his eyes. Yoongi looked surprised but happy walking to the podium to receive his award. It was an award that only senior students could get and it was great for credentials at the moment of graduation. Yoongi deserved the award more than anyone in Jeongguk’s opinion and he was very happy for him.

Yoongi received it with a smile, bowing politely to everyone while flashes went off immortalizing the moment. The head of the department shook his hand before sending him back to a glowing Hoseok, who didn’t waste even a second to plant a kiss on his cheek.

“Congratulation Yoongi,” said the head of the department, bringing everyone’s attention back to the front. “I’m sure that we can expect nothing but great things from you as a professional photographer.”

He smiled before continuing. “ And now for one of the biggest awards of the night. This award is not the most important because we give it, but because is given by the audience in recognition of your abilities to communicate and connect, two things we should strive for as artists-”

Jeongguk felt Taehyung hand tighten on his and he squeezed back. He had to admit that he was a little nervous. After all, this was an award he had been wanting to achieve ever since he started his studies. He’d been close before, but Yoongi always managed to beat him.

“I must say I was surprised by this year’s results but after seeing the piece myself, I’m not so anymore. The artist receiving the award truly deserves it for the emotion he was able to communicate and without delay, the holder of ‘the people’s favorite’ award for this year is the photography major...” Taehyung hand was squeezing his so tight it was painful. “Jeon Jeongguk! Mr. Jeon please.”

Jeongguk barely registered Taehyung screaming in his ear when he was being ushered forward to receive the award, he smiled and allowed himself to be manhandled into picture after picture and hug after hug, even landing himself a sloppy kiss on the cheek for an over enthusiastic ‘fan’.

He was still a little dazed when he noticed there was a flute of champagne on his hand and a pastry in his mouth courtesy of Taehyung.

“For the most soulful artist of the night!” said Yoongi, clanking their glasses together.

“Cheers!” yelled enthusiastically Taehyung in response. Jeongguk smiled.

“Thank you, hyung,” he said. “Cheers to you too Mr. “I expect nothing but great things’.”

Yoongi shrugged, a soft pink tinting his cheeks.

“Ah hyung is blushing!” said Taehyung laughing a little too happy for someone that just had a glass of champagne...at least that was his claim. Baekhyun, who had appeared mysteriously for the reception, held him firmly by the waist, probably to avoid him to topple over.

“Shut up!” said Yoongi but he smiled all the same.

The reception was nice, lots of food and drinks and influential people in search of talent. Just like Jeongguk, Yoongi was constantly approached by people interested in his work and in offering him a position. It was a good and fun night and Jeongguk should have felt happy. He was, in part, the award was something he had craved for so long and now it was in his hands but he couldn’t help but think that it was at a very high price.

His friends were having a great time and since he was not in the mood for getting plastered on expensive champagne, which seems to be the plan according to Taehyung, he decided to call it a night.

He was on his way out when a hand on his arm stopped him.

“Where are you going Gukkie?”

Jeongguk turned to face Taehyung.

“I’m heading out Tae, just gonna stop by the Arts Center to cover my project and then go to sleep.”

“But the party is just starting…” said Taehyung pouting a little. Jeongguk smiled.

“I know but...I’m not in the mood and I also want to check if...if Jimin called me.” he mumbled the last words.

“Called?” said Taehyung confused and then his face lit up. “Did you call him? Is that why you were late? What did he say?!”

“Yeah, I did but...he didn’t answer.” Taehyung seemed to deflate a little but he perked right back up.

“I’m sure he left you a message,” he said enthusiastically, though the emotion didn’t reach his eyes. They both knew there was a chance that he wouldn’t call, since he was already on his way to the other side of the world but - as Jeongguk kept telling himself - it was worth a try.

“I hope so Tae,” said Jeongguk morosely and Taehyung hugged him. He held him against his chest, planting a kiss against his ear. Jeongguk complained, trying to wiggle free but Taehyung just hugged him tighter.

“I’m proud of you Gukkie,” Taehyung murmured, voice a little slurred due to one to many flutes of champagne. “I love you.”

Jeongguk cringed a little but he nuzzled back against his friend’s neck, grateful for having him. “I love you too, Tae.

Taehyung sniffed a couple times before pushing him away. “Ugh, you’re gross...what happened to my friend with a rock for a heart.” he was grimacing but a hint of a pleased smile was still visible.

Jeongguk laughed. “He met Jimin...that happened.”

 

***

 

The Arts Centre was mostly empty, considering that the majority of the attendees were at the reception but there were a few students still lurking inside, mostly covering their projects so they wouldn’t be ruined by the light or dust. He hadn’t had time before to look at any of his peers work, too busy at his own spot so, instead of going directly to his exhibit, he spent some time, walking the aisles on the opposite direction.

 

Though some pieces were already covered, most were still in visible and he enjoyed his time, trying to guess what the others’ inspiration was, what were they trying to convey. For some it was easy, others...not so much.

There was one he particularly liked, the main theme being laughter. It was a collection of people doing silly faces in front of the camera. He found himself laughing wholeheartedly at some and considering the comments left by the attendees on the message section on the wall, the attendees liked this exhibit as much as him.

Jeongguk found Yoongi’s wall a little after and he couldn’t help but admire his friend’s work. It was an explosion of colors and Hoseok’s smile reproduced so many times that it was impossible not to smile back. On the side, someone had already placed the award ribbon indicating that Yoongi was the recipient of ‘photographer of the year’ which meant that his award would be on display too.

Excitement ran through his veins and Jeongguk allowed himself to be happy.

Sure, this was not the way he imagined to be celebrating but he had made it anyways. He felt like he had overcome the obstacle that had been stopping him from being better. All thanks to Jimin...Jimin and his beautiful, twinkling eyes and his heart. The only heart he wanted.

Jeongguk sighed, slowly walking to his spot. If Jimin would have him back, he would go right away. Somehow he would buy a ticket and fly to New York just to be able to hold him...to tell him to his face that…

He stopped on his tracks, on his brain, on his heart - eyes fixed on a person sitting on the bench right in front of his exhibit, right in front of ‘Him’. His heart jumped a little in recognition but his brain refused to let hope fill him so he stayed put taking it all in.

It was not necessary though for he would be able to pick out the slope of the shoulders, the tilt of the head even if the place had been crowded. Hell, by now he was able to do a full body sketch of him with his eyes closed, of course he could tell it was him, even with that oversized hoodie hiding most of his features. Jeongguk didn’t need his eyes, his brain to tell him it was Jimin….every cell in his body was already begging for him to move, to get close.

Jeongguk was just a few steps away - so close that if he were to stretch his arm, his fingers would brush against the back of Jimin’s head - when the other cocked his head slightly to the left, as if sensing his proximity.

“You made a lot of people cry tonight Jeon Jeongguk,” said Jimin. “At least, that’s what I was able to gather from the comments they left you.”

Jeongguk walked around the bench, taking a sit besides Jimin, he took a deep breath before bracing himself and looking at him. His stomach dropped like if he were riding a rollercoaster, just like the first time...just like every time. Jimin was so beautiful...so so beautiful.

“It wasn't me,” he said, his eyes caressing the curve of Jimin’s cheek. “It was you...it’s always been you.”

Jimin’s eyelashes fluttered, the corners of his lips lifting a little. “Is this how I look to you?” he asked, voice thick with the brewing emotions. “I can’t possibly look like this, I-”

“No,” interrupted Jeongguk, swallowing thickly. “No this isn’t...it’s not even close. You are more...so much more that I could spend a lifetime trying to capture you and still I would fail because there’s no way I can create anything as wonderful as you.”

Jimin exhaled sharply finally turning to look at him, making Jeongguk’s heart beat so fast that it was dangerously close to painful.

“You are blinded,” he said smiling softly before standing up, Jeongguk following right away.

He got closer to the pictures, running soft fingers along the edges, appraising the effect of the mix of sketches and photographs. The soft light of the fixtures on the ceiling were casting shadows on his face and Jeongguk couldn’t help but reach out and run his fingers, feather soft across the shell of his ear.

“Funny because when I met you I felt like I was seeing for the first time,” murmured Jeongguk. Jimin turned his head, nuzzling into his palm.

“Tell me again,” murmured Jimin with his eyes closed. “What you told me on the phone...tell me again.”

Jeongguk moved even closer, bringing their foreheads together, breathing him in...honey, wildflowers and stardust...Jimin.

“I love you,” he said, just a whisper.

Jimin shivered, his hands coming up to cup Jeongguk’s cheeks.

“Again.”

“I love you.”

Jimin’s lips pressed against the corner of his mouth.

“Again.”

“I love you.”

Jimin kissed him, soft and slow, Jeongguk opening up like a sunflower starving for the sun, sighs and words and love flowing between them. Bodies molding against each other, fingertips dancing over skin. Jimin was warm in his arms and Jeongguk was finally able to breathe properly again, all pieces clicking in place...their hearts together, at last.

 

“I love you too Jeongguk. I do.”

 

***

 

Jeongguk opened his eyes to the sun in his arms, Jimin’s hair fanned over the pillow. And just like always he found himself breathless, giddy at the sight.

Jimin opened his eyes slowly, dreams still threaded through his eyelashes.

“Morning,” Jeongguk said softly, lips pressed against Jimin’s temple.

“Hey,” Jimin stretched, back a perfect arch and Jeongguk used the opportunity to kiss his neck, making him giggle. “Hmmm…”

They kissed lazily in bed, warm hands over soft skin.

“So…” said Jeongguk brushing Jimin’s hair out of his eyes. “You never told me how did you manage to get here.”

Jimin smiled, finger ghosting over Jeongguk’s collarbones and the marks he had left there.

“Not that you gave me much time to speak last night.”

Jeongguk hummed in response, bringing him closer.

“I was about to go through security when I listened to your messages and...I just ran. I ran for the exit with Jaebum screaming after me.” Jimin chuckled a little, a blush creeping up his neck. “He was angry...by the time he caught up with me I was already inside a cab just muttering sorry over and over...I don’t think he’s very happy with me right now.”

Jimin smiled sadly and Jeongguk kissed the tip of his nose.

“He’ll come around.” he said reassuringly.

“I don’t know…”

“Of course he will, he’ll be fine once you make it there safe and sound in a couple of days,” said Jeongguk, oblivious to the way Jimin was looking at him. “He just has to suck it up for a week. I, on the other hand, have to wait at least until Christmas to-”

“Jeongguk…” said Jimin interrupting him, a laugh escaping through his lips. “I’m not leaving...Im staying.”

“What?” said Jeongguk propping himself on his elbows to look at him better, a smile teasing on his lips.

“I’m staying...at least for the next year,” said Jimin reaching up to pull him close to his lips. “At least until graduation, I’ll be here...I’m staying with you.”

Laughter bubbled up in Jeongguk’s chest and they kissed, laughing in bed until Jimin was slapping him on the chest, to get up.

“So we’ll be spending lots of time together,” Jimin said getting out of bed. “Better get used to it.” he added winking.

“Oh I’m ready,” said Jeongguk following with his eyes. “I’m so ready.”

Jimin laughed some more, going to the closet. “I’m gonna borrow a shirt, all my clothes are currently on the other side of the world.”

Jeongguk let out something very close to a screech, throwing himself out of bed. “Wait!” he yelled making Jimin jump. “Don’t”

He stood in between the door and Jimin, looking flustered. “You don’t need a shirt, umm….Tae isn’t here actually so..”

“But I’m naked…”

“It’s ok,” said Jeongguk, avoiding his eyes. “I love naked.”

“I saw it already.” said Jimin, smiling softly.

“Huh?”

“I know...about the closet,” explained Jimin, reaching around him to open the door and there it was, the little corner filled with pictures and sketches of Jimin. They were not as artistically arranged like the others in the Arts Centre but to Jimin they were even more perfect, special...like a secret for them to share...and well, Taehyung.

“How?” asked Jeongguk cheeks aflame.

“Tae,” said Jimin and Jeongguk frowned so he hurried to explain. “He just wanted to help...he wanted me to stay.”

Jeongguk looked at the pictures grimacing a little. “I know it looks creepy but I swear I’m not weird...it’s just that sometimes I’m...I can’t.”

Jimin stood on his tip toes to kiss him, Jeongguk’s arms coming automatically around him.

“I know,” he said. “Sometimes you’re too full...I get it...I love it.” he kissed Jeongguk again. “I love you.”

He turned around looking at the pictures, especially at the one that was now in the centre. It was a picture of Jimin sleeping, a scarf around his neck...probably from a day way back when he fell asleep at the library...when he and Jeongguk where still nothing but a whisper...a dream.

“Jeongguk...” Jimin said quietly.

“Yeah?” murmured Jeongguk turning him around so he could see his face, so he could see himself on his eyes.

“Have you found your muse?” asked Jimin, lips full of promises.

Jeongguk chuckled, allowing himself to finally get fully and completely lost in the wonder that was Park Jimin.

“I found something better,” he replied, kissing him softly.

“What…”

 

 

“...I found love.”