It’s always the days they have to wake up the earliest that Taehyung has the best dreams. He’s flat on his back, sun shining in his face, surrounding by dogs licking playfully at his face, feeling so happy that he could just die. Of course, that's when the dream breaks in the form of cold giant hands covering his entire body.
“Frost Giant!” he screams, kicking at the hands furiously. The warmth is gone, cold seeping into his body so quickly he immediately starts shivering. Where are his dogs? Why aren’t they keeping him warm? What’s happening?
“Wake up, you shithead.”
He opens his eyes. Jimin’s staring at him with a disgruntled expression, hands on his shoulders. “Ah.” He blinks at Jimin for a few seconds as the sleepiness melts out of his mind to the slow realization that he was not in doggy paradise but in his bed, covers off, Jimin letting the cold air in. Well, this blows. "This isn’t the reality I wanted,” he says rather sadly.
Jimin sneers. “Thousands of people would willingly switch places with you.”
Taehyung sighs, staring up at the ceiling. He misses the dogs already. “Let them. I’m gonna abandon society and run to the country to grow beets.”
Jimin doesn’t let him wallow in his for long, practically wrestling him out of bed and forcing him into the bathroom. Taehyung starts his skincare routine with a heavy heart, letting out dramatic sighs as he cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturizes. By the time he’s ready to brush his teeth, Jimin is ready to kill him. “Will you hurry up? Hobi hyung’s already pissed at you for waking up late.”
“I was in doggy heaven!” Taehyung protests. “Your outrageously cold hands and ugly mug were not fun to wake up to.”
Huffing, Jimin snatches Taehyung’s toothbrush and flings it at his face. Predictably, Taehyung dodges. His smug smile quickly drops when he realizes where his toothbrush is heading.
They both watch in horror as Taehyung’s toothbrush flips in the air, one, two, three times before landing right in the toilet with a quiet splash. Taehyung lets out a shriek, stumbling to the toilet in despair. “No,” he groans. Jimin’s half laughing half apologizing but Taehyung ignores him in favor of wailing “Nooo” repeatedly until a grumpy Hoseok storms into the bathroom.
“What the hell,” is all he says when he takes in the sight of Taehyung sobbing over the toilet bowl and JImin crouched next to him patting his back. “What happened?”
“Jimin killed my toothbrush!” Taehyung shrieks before Jimin can say anything.
Hoseok stares. Jimin wilts. “Are there any extras hyung?” he asks hopefully.
“Are you kidding me? We barely have enough toilet paper, let alone extra toothbrushes lying around.” Hoseok snorts. “Sorry Taehyungie, I’ll try to make sure we buy one at the end of the day. Use Jimin’s for now.”
They both let out gasps. “Hyung! That’s gross!”
“I would rather use my own,” Taehyung says solemnly. Then he looks back at his toothbrush floating innocently in the toilet bowl and makes a face. “Actually, nevermind. Fork it up Jiminie.”
Jimin looks at him helplessly. “Can’t you use Kookie’s? He’s the maknae.”
“Yeah but it’s your fault,” Hoseok reasons. “Your fault, your toothbrush.”
Taehyung looks conflicted. “This is so grossssss.”
“You could just not brush your teeth?” Jimin suggests. Hoseok’s features darken when he sees Taehyung actually considering it.
“There’s no way I’m letting you go to filming with morning breath. Brush.” Hoseok doesn’t often pull the "strict hyung" voice on them, not the way Seokjin does, so the two of them are obliged to listen, no matter how against it they are.
“I hate this logic,” Jimin grumbles as he gets up to surrender his toothbrush to Taehyung. “I can’t believe this is going in your nasty mouth.”
“It was in your nasty mouth first,” Taehyung shoots back. Hoseok leaves them as Jimin starts up the shower, shooting him one last acidic scowl before shedding his clothes and stepping in. Taehyung makes a face at his silhouette behind the shower door and turns his gaze back to the toothbrush.
“Nasty,” he mutters to himself. Cautiously, he brings it up to his nose to take a sniff. Nothing but the fresh minty scent of Colgate. It takes nearly another minute to steel his nerves, trying to get over the fact that he’s about to use somebody else’s toothbrush. Toothbrushes were sacred man, only meant for one mouth. It takes Jimin shouting a “You better be brushing, jackass!” to squeezing a dollop of toothpaste and very stiffly brushing his teeth, keeping his tongue curled back as far into his mouth as he can.
His stomach is clenching weirdly. He’s pretty sure it’s from disgust. Pretty sure.
Taehyung collapses to the ground as soon as their dance instructor calls for a break, pressing his sweaty, heated cheek against the coolness of the floor, breath coming out in wheezes. The rest of them slump in a similar way to him, albeit less dramatic. Only dance line remain standing, panting loudly but paying attention to the criticism the instructor has for them.
“Five," he manages to whine out, voice nearly unrecognizable from how haggard it’s gotten. ‘Can we take five’ is what he meant to say but that’s too many words. Seokjin makes a little noise of agreement. He can’t see them but he’s sure Yoongi and Namjoon look as desperate as he feels. The instructor looks at them in a mixture of pity and amusement and tells them to take ten instead, leaving the room to make a phone call.
He closes his eyes, body still trembling, muscles burning. He thought Danger was hard. He thought Dope was hard. Fire was literally going to kill him. Hoseok was so excited at the prospect of doing a dance choreographed by the famous Kanye Madrid or whatever, couldn’t stop yapping about it when details had been finalized. In Taehyung’s humble opinion, he was ready to fly to America, find this Madrid guy, and kick his ass for the hell he’s unleashed on them. Hell. Fire. Hellfire. He snickers to himself quietly but immediately starts choking when his lungs protest at the action.
“Jesus Tae, get up.” There are solid, firm hands tugging at his sweat-drenched shirt, helping him into a sitting position. He slumps against Jimin, which is gross considering he’s just as sweaty as he is, but his body is too much like a limp noodle at the moment, unable to keep himself up. “You okay?” There’s a slight edge of concern in Jimin’s voice. Mostly, he sounds exhausted. Taehyung can relate, all too well, aching all the way down to his bones. He rests his head on Jimin’s shoulder, feeling too gross and too hot to be alive.
“Mmmdead,” is all he mumbles.
“Damn straight,” Yoongi wheezes. It takes too much effort but he opens his eyes, blinking the sweat out of them to see their ever energetic maknae crouched over their smallest hyung, massaging his back in a comforting manner. Unfair. Taehyung wants a massage too. He also wants a bath, and a new pair of legs. His are broken for good.
It’s no massage but Jimin’s running his fingers through his hair, also drenched in sweat, in that comforting manner he does. Before going on stage, when they go to bed. It makes Taehyung feel better. Just a tiny bit. “You thirsty?”
Taehyung shrugs. Or at least, he tries to shrug. Really, he doesn’t think he can move at all. Looks like this is the end of the line for Bangtan Sonyeondan’s quirky visual “V.”
“Hydration’s important,” Hoseok calls out from his place next to Seokjin. Jimin lets out a little hum, pushing off the ground with his palms to stagger back up. This is unfortunate for Taehyung, who’d been using him for support, and he flops right back to the ground at Jimin's absence. Limp noodle, indeed.
He doesn’t have to look up to know Jimin’s rolling his eyes. It doesn’t matter. Taehyung has no shame in his noodle status. Noodle pride, dude. Speaking of noodles, they sound really good right now. Management has got him on this protein heavy diet so he hasn’t really gotten to eat many carbs. He’s envisioning ramen noodles dancing around his head when Jimin walks back, giant water bottle in hand, looking down at Taehyung with twinkling eyes.
Taehyung whines. Jimin sighs. “Come on you giant baby, you gotta drink or you’ll pass out.”
I’ve already passed out, he thinks indignantly. Well, he was nearly there. Seventy percent passed out, one hundred percent unable to move. He scrunches his nose in defiance and shakes his head. Noodle pride.
Then Jimin, the colossal asshole he is, uncaps the bottle and starts to drink, right in front of him. He doesn’t drink like a normal person, no, he fucking guzzles, plastic crunching under his grip, precious streams of water running past his mouth down to his throat. Maybe it’s the heat speaking but he’s not entirely sure it’s dehydration that has him ogling the way the water trickles to Jimin’s exposed collarbones. It’s more like a thirst of another kind entirely.
A whimper is seconds away from bubbling out of his chest when Jimin smirks at him, plush mouth glistening wetly. Fueled by the heated irritation that only Park Jimin can truly bring out in him, Taehyung stumbles ungracefully to his feet, grabs the bottle from Jimin’s hand and proceeds to chug. Full on chug, head tilted back, making exaggerated noises and everything. Suck on these noodles.
His mouth was on that! a voice is shrieking in his head cutting through his smugness. Your mouth is on that!
“Silence,” he mutters once he’s finished draining the bottle. He does actually feel a bit better. Not that he needs to give Jimin another reason to be a smug shit. There’s excess water all over his mouth and he licks where he can reach with his tongue. He doesn’t notice Jimin’s lingering gaze.
He does notice a fuming Hoseok stomping over to him, grabbing his ear and yelling at him for getting water all over the floor. Every single one of his aching muscles cry in agony as he gets down on his knees to wipe it dry, Jimin cackling at him in the background.
The Jeju air is cold in the morning of their photoshoot, stylists shoving them in ridiculous Gucci sweaters and shorts. Shorts, in this weather. Taehyung’s too busy shivering to actually complain about it, gritting his teeth and sending smoldering gazes at the camera when it’s his turn. He likes photoshoots a lot, making faces at the camera, imagining how fans would react to him, drinking in the praises on the photographers.
But, he also likes keeping his body temperature at a normal level. He likes being able to layer like regular people when it was cold. He likes being alive.
“I swear to god we’re going to get sick,” Seokjin hisses as he cradles Taehyung and Jeongguk on either side of him, trying to conserve warmth. The sky is cloudy, air biting, and Jeongguk’s teeth chattering. “And we’re supposed to film at night too?”
“At least there’ll be a campfire,” Taehyung points out wryly. His sweater is fun in an eccentric, hippie grandma way but it’s shit at keeping him warm. Doesn’t help that he’s not wearing anything underneath either.
Jeongguk makes a little noise of despair. Seokjin abandons the arm he has around Taehyung to fully embrace the maknae. His expression sours but the photographer is already waving for him to come sit on a ratty couch thing, covered in blankets. There’s a log too. Real campy of them.
He’s tempted to ask if he can wrap himself in the blankets but the photographer laughs at him, clearly seeing it as a joke. He bites his lip, crying quietly inside. Why did they have to wear shorts.
It’s only been about a minute of shooting, Taehyung opting to focus on biting his lip partly because it was sexy and they liked it, mostly because he needed something to distract him from the cold, when Jimin stumbles over. He mutters something to the photographer, who nods in response, giving Taehyung a ‘stay-right-there’ gesture as he walks away.
“We’re not shooting together,” Taehyung says in confusion as Jimin flops next to him.
“I know. Just thought you could use a break,” he admits sheepishly.
“We could all use a break,” Taehyung sighs. Jimin hums in agreement, tugging the blankets off the seat to drape them on their laps, scooting close so their thighs are touching. Heat instantly blooms in his chest, his cheeks, and he looks down bashfully, tugging at his lip with his teeth again. “Tae, don’t,” Jimin chides, tapping at his chin. “You’re gonna break the skin.”
“It’s sexy,” he grumbles defensively. Jimin just laughs at him, a touch teasing.
“Blood isn’t sexy, Taetae.”
“It is on vampires.”
“Is that what we’re going for here?” Jimin’s amused, propping his cheek on his hand as he leans close to Taehyung, eyes glittering. Today they’ve taken away that stupid beret abomination, black hair styled neatly. He’s tempted to run his fingers through it, mess it up so that it’s the way Taehyung likes best, towards the end of the night right before bed after Jimin’s pushed it back countless times.
“Our concept’s ‘Young Forever.’” he says solemnly. “Vampires live forever. Young Forever. It fits.”
“Not all vampires are young.”
Taehyung makes a face. Point to Jimin. “You’re right. Some got saggy balls.”
Jimin lets out a surprised bark of laughter. “Saggy vampire balls. No more theories about Jin hyung being dead, it was all about saggy vampire balls after all.”
The two of them burst into laughter, poking at each other and hissing “balls” probably louder than they should. A makeup noona walking by gives them both a look, silently communicating with them to behave. They quiet down then, Taehyung biting his lip instinctively.
Jimin slaps at his hands. “Stop! You’re gonna make them chapped.” He digs in his pocket, procuring a small tube of lip balm with a satisfied smile. “Here.”
Taehyung huffs but accepts it, twisting the cap and applying a generous amount. “Happy, mom?” he asks sarcastically.
There’s a pleased smile on Jimin’s face when Taehyung passes his lip balm back to him. “Very.” Then, Taehyung experiences a sensation in his chest similar to cardiac arrest as Jimin uncaps it again, to apply it on his own lips.
“I just used that!” he squeaks out. Jimin blinks at him.
“Yeah…and I used it an hour before?” His eyes narrow. “You okay Tae?”
Taehyung laughs. It sounds strained and weird. Maybe a little hysterical. “Fine.” It’s no biggie. Sharing lip balm isn’t a big deal.
Well, maybe it kinda is when Jimin’s lips look that red and that soft and a strange crawling feeling is all over his body at thinking that there’s only a layer of chapstick between their lips. Not literally, but that’s the sentiment he feels.
Jimin’s still looking at him oddly. “Are you sur - “
But the photographer is yelling for him to get off the set, effectively interrupting him. Taehyung leaps on the distraction, shoos him away, hastily putting the blankets back into place. He settles into a model pose again, smiling sweetly at the photographer.
It takes all of his restraint not to bite his lip again.
“Hyung you’re gonna get sick,” Jeongguk warns as Taehyung slurps his popsicle with unbridled enthusiasm. Their comeback was only days away and Namjoon, good judgement slipping in this time of stress of sleep-deprivation, had allowed the maknaes to go to the convenience store. He and Jeongguk are sitting outside with a small bag of snacks, mostly for the hyungs. Jimin’s a couple of feet away, talking to his mom on the phone. Jeongguk had been vehemently against buying ice cream but Taehyung didn’t care. He hadn’t eaten anything sweet in ages and probably wouldn’t after promos either. He deserved to treat himself.
“It’s fine Gukkie,” Taehyung says, licking his lips clean. “It’s just one. I’ve eaten five of these in one sitting.” Jeongguk, predictably, doesn’t look very impressed. Taehyung doesn’t care much. He’s floating in his happy ice cream place. He sucks it slowly, savoring every bit that melts into his tongue.
Jeongguk’s face turns an alarming shade of red. Taehyung looks over mid-suck, eyebrows raising in concern. “Alright, Guk?” he asks after pulling off the popsicle with a loud pop. “You want some after all?”
“That’s not - “ Jeongguk shakes his head, staring at Taehyung in disbelief. “You know I’m on a diet.”
The air dampens a little. Management’s ban on Jeongguk going to the gym and the diet he’d been put on was a sore subject. Taehyung felt bad for bringing it up, however unintentionally. Jeongguk’s legs had already slimmed down, frame shrinking as a result of his efforts. It made Taehyung a little sick.
“At least eat your shrimp chips,” he offers gently, digging through the bag to offer the snack-size chips to the youngest. Jeongguk stares at the bag with pursed lips before accepting it.
Taehyung bares his teeth. “Hey, wanna see me put this whole thing in my mouth?”
Jeongguk chokes on a shrimp chip in response. “I don’t - “ But Taehyung’s not listening, relaxing his throat, and pushing the treat all the way in. Jeongguk watches in horrified fascination as Taehyung hums around the entire thing before pulling it out triumphantly.
The effect is ruined by all the spit he gets on his face. He frowns a little. “Oh, ew.”
“Hyung you’re so gross,” Jeongguk hoots with laughter. Taehyung laughs back, the weird mood from earlier dissipating for good.
“Who’s gross? Taehyungie?” Jimin’s walking back to them with a fond smile. “We already knew that though.”
Taehyung sticks his tongue out, well aware the blue of his ice cream’s still there. Jimin makes a disgusted noise. “So gross.”
A wicked, gross thought crosses Taehyung’s head. Acting on it, like he does with most of his gross thoughts, he offers his popsicle to Jimin with a benign smile. “Want a lick?”
There’s no way he’s gonna take a lick. Jimin’s even stricter about his diets than Jeongguk is. Taehyung’s just gonna tease him a little, then he and Jeongguk will cackle about how he practically deep-throated the thing and -
His thoughts come to a halt when Jimin makes a considering noise as he leans over to take a small bite, lips closing in around the tip and sucking first. Jeongguk’s jaw drops as he watches Jimin sigh happily over the bit popsicle that was literally in Taehyung’s entire mouth not even five seconds ago.
Taehyung stares too, but for entirely different reasons. His whole body’s gone still, focusing on Jimin’s mouth as he licks at the last meager traces of ice cream with a content moan. His stomach clenches. His spine crawls. His mouth’s freezing from the ice cream but somehow he’s uncomfortably hot all over.
Then, Jimin turns to look at them, blanching a little at their expressions. “What? It was only a little,” he defends immediately, cheeks coloring. “I really like the flavor okay? Don’t judge me - “
Jeongguk’s horrified “Gross!” interrupts him. Taehyung snaps out of his reverie, placing his hand over the maknae’s mouth before he can blab.
“Shut up Gukkie,” he threatens pleasantly. Jeongguk licks his palm in retaliation.Jimin watches them in confusion. “You little shit - “
Jeongguk’s already up before Taehyung can give chase, sticking his tongue out cheekily, calling out “gross!” one more time as he runs off.
Jimin’s staring at Taehyung now. “What was he talking about?”
Taehyung shrugs, pointedly not looking at him. “Puberty,” he says lamely.
“Taetae, your ice cream’s melting.”
There are not enough words to describe how he feels. The rush of being on stage, the excitement thrumming through his veins, the anxiety in the back of his throat. And his heart. So full, overflowing with everything he’s feeling, it’s like it could burst. This is a dream, the sweat and tears and aches of the years, finally accumulating in standing on their dream stage. This is a dream and Taehyung’s too afraid to blink, afraid it’ll all disappear.
It’s then, he lifts his gaze to meet Jimin’s. Jimin always knows to look back, blinding smile in place, eyes curved in gentle crescents.
That’s how Taehyung knows it’s real.
There are not enough words to describe how he feels, so he pours everything he’s got on stage. Every emotion into the notes he belts out, all of his resolve into the roll of his hips. Smiling, winking, bowing to the cameras. The air is electric with seven hearts, seven minds, seven souls.
And the crowd cannot stop screaming.
Even if there were enough words to describe how he feels, how this entire moment feels, he’d fuck it up anyways. Never been good with words, better with his eyes, with his smiles. But still, lips trembling and hands shaky, he steps to the mic and tries his best to thank everyone that played a part in this happening.
It’s better when it comes time to throw the balls to ARMY. Taehyung’s always liked doing this, as cheesy as it is, feeling like he’s tossing a bit of his heart out. It’s easier than trying to explain how much they all mean to him, how grateful he is. How he’d do it over and over, just to stand on stage again.
Besides, Taehyung’s always been free with his heart.
It’s easy, to sing and smile and goof off with the crowd, screams erupting in whichever direction he turns, ball in hand. He’s about ready to throw own, cheeky grin in place, when Jimin slides up next to him. He blinks, startled, at the ball Jimin shoves in his face. He opens his mouth to say something but Jimin presses the ball against his lips. Their eyes meet for a split second, something dark swimming in Jimin’s.
Then, just as quickly as he’d pushed it in his face, Jimin brings the ball back to him. He keeps his eyes locked on Taehyung’s, turning the ball in his hand and quickly kissing the spot where Taehyung’s lips were before throwing it into the crowd. The most direct indirect kiss in the history of indirect kisses.
Taehyung blanks. Jimin smiles. Mischievous, hesitant, and affectionate all at once. Taehyung can’t tell what kind of smile that is - he’s shit with words remember? - but he does recognize the heat licking up inside his belly, the tightness constricting his chest.
Jimin turns on his heel, flitting away to the other side of the stage while Taehyung stands rooted in his spot, only moving when Hoseok bumps shoulders with him. He lets the kiss sink in, down to the pit of his stomach, seeping into his veins until it’s buried deep within.
And he keeps performing.
(Taehyung doesn’t have time to think about the kiss, not even for the second day. Pre-jitters from the first day mostly gone, he throws himself into the thrills that come with being on stage, loses himself in the fans shouts and cries, succumbs to his tears when he thinks of his parents watching him from the crowd. There’s too much going on - there’s no room to think about kisses right now.
But there’s always room for Jimin.
Every glance they share, every smile Jimin gives him, every brush of their shoulders, sends this ridiculous bolt of heat throughout his entire body. Adding that to his overall high energy for the concert, he finds his heart pounding too hard to be healthy.
There’s too much. So Taehyung keeps on going and going and going until he can’t go anymore.
Somehow he keeps it up even when he’s in the car, waving to the hundreds of fans screaming for them, exhaustion pricking at the corner of his eyelids but maintaining his bright smile.
“Bye!” he shouts. “Bye, bye, bye - oh!”
His elbow connects with a much more subdued Jimin next to him. There’s high pitched shrieking as he laughs at the absolutely done expression on Jimin’s face. “I’m sorry,” he gasps out through his giggles, hands cupping Jimin’s cheeks and squeezing hard. “I didn’t notice - “
“Asshole,” Jimin mumbles tiredly. Taehyung laughs again, quieter this time. They’re driving away, Hoseok shouting loudly from where he’s standing, head sticking out of the roof window. He’s finally succumbing to his exhaustion but here, staring at Jimin’s face, their bodies close together, the heat is crawling back in.
It’s different this time thought. It’s softer, a pleasant burn that’s making his heart titter in the grossest way possible. Somehow, he doesn’t dislike it. But then again, there’s nothing about Jimin that he dislikes in the first place. Including the dumb movie-cliche bullshit he makes him feel.
Taehyung grins wildly. “Hey asshole.”
Jimin’s eyes snap back to meet his. “Who the hell are you calling asshole - “
His thumbs circle Jimin’s flushed cheeks fondly as he rants at him. He really has never been good with words. Takes a deep breath. Leans in.
There’s only a brief pause before, like always, Jimin meets him halfway.)