It all starts with a bet.
Well, technically it started a few days earlier, with a loud slam of the front door of Jimin’s shared apartment with Taehyung.
“Un-fucking-believable,” Jimin’s voice was bordering on a yell, loud enough to be heard over the door slamming shut as the hinges creak in protest.
Taehyung cracked open his eyes.
Uh-oh. This didn’t sound good.
Taehyung has known him long enough to know that when Park Jimin, sunshine personified, and the sweetest summer child known to humankind, cursed; shit was about to go down. Or perhaps, already did, judging by the way Jimin had unceremoniously marched into the living room, kicking off his shoes with such force they almost went flying across the room.
He fumbled with his jacket, shoving it off, before rolling it into a ball with a frustrated huff and throwing it in the general area of the coat rack. He misses it completely, but clearly didn’t care, because he plopped down on the armchair next to the couch, his eyes fixed on the tv and his jaw clenched so hard Taehyung could almost picture his teeth cracking.
“I’m gonna take a wild guess,” Taehyung said slowly, pushing himself up and sitting upright on the couch. “And say you’re… angry. That’s the feeling I’m getting, angry.”
“That is the understatement of the year,” Jimin spat, his eyes still glued to the reality TV show Taehyung had fallen asleep to.
“Okay, so. Do you wanna tell me about it?”
“No,” Jimin barked, crossing his arms over his chest. Taehyung simply hummed, hugging his knees, and waited, turning his head to the TV. He knew that it would take about five minutes for Jimin to start talking. He was never good at bottling up his emotions (not that Taehyung was any better) and sure enough, after a few moments of fidgeting and heavy huffs, Jimin reached out for the remote and muted the tv.
“Yoongi said that I have a problem with long term relationships,” he announced.
Uh-oh, yet again.
There were two ways Taehyung could go about this; he could express his utter disbelief at Yoongi’s words, indulge Jimin in bitching about their mutual friend and his outrageous claims, or he could… Well, tell the truth. Unfortunately for himself, Taehyung picked the second option.
“Jimin. Jiminie. Jim. Jimjam,” he started carefully, moving out of Jimin’s reach, just in case. “My friend. My man. My bro. My...”
“You agree with him?” Jimin cut in, sending Taehyung a poisonous look.
“I mean… your track record is not really that great.”
Jimin opened and closed his mouth a few times, glaring at him. He was clearly looking for examples to disprove it but found none, seeing as what he finally said must have sounded weak to him too:
“Well, that’s just not true.”
“It’s not… you gotta admit, he’s kinda right.”
Jimin glanced away from him, chewing on his bottom lip. Taehyung really wanted to say something comforting, but there was no denying that there was a certain pattern when it came to Jimin’s relationships. Jimin was very… romantic; head over heels with the concept of being in love itself and Taehyung always saw this as adorable, always teasing Jimin about it, earning himself glares and, on occasion, punches to the arm. But somehow, with time, it became worse; Jimin’s quest to find love stopped being a cute quirk and became more like an outlet for any masochistic tendencies he might’ve had. He’d come back to their place, all giggles and smiles, at least once every few months, singing praises about some guy that he’d met. They’d go on a few dates and a week later Taehyung would find him sobbing over a bucket of ice-cream, with Adele blaring from his speakers.
He would let Jimin vent and cry on his shoulder and just when he’d start to get over his latest heartbreak, a new guy would appear and the whole thing would start again, like clockwork. Taehyung hated it, he hated seeing his best friend hurt, but he was powerless. Jimin was just way too… pure, he always tried to see the best in people and he’d trust them right away. On one hand, Taehyung loved that about him; how optimistic and positive he was, but on the other hand sometimes he wanted knock some sense into him. Or maybe he just wanted to fight all those dudebros Jimin decided to date that never seemed to appreciate him enough.
He wasn’t sure.
“But it’s not like it’s your fault. Guys are gross, and for some reason you’re like a magnet to assholes,” Taehyung said, scooting closer to rub Jimin’s shoulder. “You’re just too good for them, man.”
“Yeah, well, Yoongi said I’m sabotaging myself,” Jimin shrugged, making Taehyung furrow his eyebrows.
"How? What does he mean?"
“Hell if I know. All he said is that there’s no way I could pull off a longer relationship.”
“Who needs them, anyway? Look at me,” Taehyung pointed at himself in a broad gesture. “I’ve sworn them off in high school and I’m doing fantastic.”
“Tae, it’s Friday evening and you’re at home in your sweatpants, watching reruns of Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
“You’re killing my vibe, you know that? Plus it’s the episode where Teresa flips a table, it’s a modern classic.”
Jimin glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. After a few seconds he must have made up his mind, because he rolled his eyes and stood up with a sigh.
“Do you wanna order pizza?” he asked, flopping on the couch next to Taehyung and swinging his legs over Taehyung's knees.
“Atta boy,” Taehyung grinned at him, reaching for the remote. “Let the magic of bad tv soothe your pain. You’ll see, a few episodes of this mess and you’ll forget all your problems.”
Jimin did not forget his problems.
Throughout the whole weekend he moped around the apartment, pouting and sighing, driving Taehyung up the wall. He tried everything he could to make his friend feel better, going as far as to offer to go work out with him (which was truly a generous offer, because the last time Taehyung had tried doing that, he almost knocked himself out with a dumbbell. He really wasn’t eager to repeat that experience, although the way Jimin fussed over him the next few days was really nice). Jimin refused, choosing to sulk instead. Which is why Taehyung can sense something is very off when he comes back from his Monday classes. The second he crosses the doorstep the sweet smell of chocolate and raspberries hits his nose and he freezes with his hand still on the doorknob.
Jimin was baking. And Jimin baking was like a solar eclipse; happens very rarely, only when certain conditions are met. In this case, the condition is that Jimin has to be in a really, really great mood.
“Jiminie?” Taehyung calls out softly, toeing off his shoes.
There’s a loud noise from the kitchen and Jimin peeks his head out, beaming at him widely.
“Taetae, you’re home!”
“Uh… Well, yeah. Whatchu doin’ there, my friend?”
“Cupcakes. You have to try them, I think they’re my best ones yet,” Jimin announces and hides in the kitchen again, leaving Taehyung with a nagging feeling that something is really off. He slowly hangs his jacket on the rack and walks into the kitchen. His eyes glaze over the mess on the counter, the tray full of mouth watering looking cupcakes, before finally stopping at Jimin, who’s still grinning like a maniac. There’s flour in his hair, nicely complimenting a smudge of chocolate on his cheek. Jimin sends Taehyung an expectant look, wiping his hands on his apron.
“Um… Okay, don’t take this the wrong way, I’m super happy you’re doing better, but…” Taehyung starts slowly. He glances at the cupcakes again.
“Is there a reason you made them or is this, like, a way of coping with your feelings? Because you know, baking is great for taking your mind off things, but the last time I saw you doing that you got the scholarship and I don’t really have the money to celebrate tonight.”
“I made a bet,” Jimin says and the nagging feeling in Taehyung’s stomach gets ten times worse.
“A bet,” he echoes numbly. Jimin nods his head, before turning around, grabbing one of the cupcakes and shoving it into Taehyung’s mouth.
Taehyung tries to answer, but Jimin is clearly not concerned with his reply, because he goes on cheerfully:
“Yeah, I made a bet with Yoongi. I told him I can pull off a longer relationship and we agreed that if I can stay in one for a month, he’s gonna give me a hundred bucks.”
Taehyung tries not to choke on his own spit and the cupcake.
“You what?” he pants after swallowing all of it in one bite.
Jimin rolls his eyes, his smile never leaving his lips.
“I made a bet with Yoongi,” he repeats, handing Taehyung a tissue. “Now all I have to do is date someone for a month and I’m gonna be a hundred bucks richer.”
“Why the fuck would you… you know what, nevermind,” Taehyung waves his hand, feeling the beginnings of a headache pool at his temples. “I’m just curious, how exactly are you going to do that?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m gonna fake date my way out of this,” Jimin beams at him.
Suddenly Taehyung has a hunch he knows what the baking was for. Clearly, Jimin’s plan was to bribe him with them to agree to fake date him. He considers it for a second; it probably wouldn’t be the worst thing ever, after all they’ve known each other most of their lives and are really, really close. It’s not like Taehyung has never thought about what it would be like to date Jimin, it would be difficult not to wonder about that all those years and heartbreaks, but it’s not like he’s ever entertained that thought for real. Jimin was his best friend, his bro for life, his soul mate, all very no-homo and Taehyung was pretty sure imagining himself holding hands and doing other things with him breached a very important line. But fake dating? That’s completely different, Taehyung can do something like that for his best friend. The idea of being kind of physical with Jimin for Yoongi’s benefit doesn’t scare him. Obviously, he and Jimin have seen each other almost naked, they’ve shared a bed countless of times, they’ve cuddled. It was a given, seeing as Taehyung was very fond of every form of skinship while Jimin enjoyed the attention, thrived on it. It was something that came to them naturally. It was easy and Taehyung never paid it much attention to it.
But there has also been a few times when they got wasted together, drunk on cheap booze and youth, with their heads full of plans and hopes. They would talk about them, share their most intimate thoughts, and at one point, not knowing how, they would find themselves huddled together so close on the couch or on the floor that they could count each other's eyelashes. Taehying’s laughter would die in his throat, seeing the way Jimin’s eyes darkened, feeling the sudden buzz of something smelling like electricity in the air around them. His breath would hitch, a hot feeling pooling in his stomach as he watched (or imagined?) Jimin inch closer and closer. But always, always, one of them would finally burst out in giggles, breaking the moment and everything would go back to normal, because it had to be normal –and even if it wasn’t, Taehyung blamed it on alcohol and raging hormones.
Taehyung stirs, Jimin’s voice pulling him out of his thoughts. He shakes his head a little to get rid of that weird, coldfeeling in his chest.
“Sorry, I... “ he clears his throat. “You want to fake date, got it,” he takes a deep breath, silently praying he’s doing the right thing. “Okay, I guess I can…”
“Yeah, which is why I wanted to bake those cupcakes, to thank Jeongguk.”
Hold up. What?
“Why do you have to thank him?” Taehyung asks, unable to keep a frown from scrunching up his face.
“He agreed to fake date me,” Jimin announces happily and oh. Oh. Taehyung blinks a few times, trying to digest this new piece of information as something acidic clenches its fist around his stomach.
“Jeongguk? That guy from your dance class?”
“Yeah, he owed me for buying him booze and we’re gonna split the money. It’s a win - win.”
Taehyung feels that Jimin is looking at him, can hear the hint of uncertainty in his voice. He knows Jimin expects him to reassure him, tell him it’s a brilliant idea, but the words get stuck in Taehyung’s throat.
“And how are you planning on making Yoongi believe you?” he asks instead, opening the fridge to avoid making eye contact. “Isn’t it kinda suspicious that you’re gonna start dating… Jeongguk seconds after making that bet?”
“Well… Yoongi doesn’t know him, I can tell him we’ve been lowkey flirting before. Plus clearly everyone already thinks I date all the time, so.”
Taehyung hums, grabbing a bottle of water and taking a long sip. He can avoid looking at Jimin only for so long, so he gives himself a few seconds to compose himself before swallowing. He turns around, sees the way Jimin is chewing on his bottom lip, his fingers playing with the pocket of his apron. It makes something heavy settle on Taehyung’s chest, so he sends him a smile, hoping it looks convincing enough.
“I think that’s a good idea, I say go for it. Someone needs to take Yoongi down a peg, he’s had it coming a long time.”
Jimin’s face lights up and he nods frantically, starts moving around the kitchen again.
“Yeah, I mean it’s only a month, right? And it’s fake, so it’s gonna be real easy,” he blabbers and Taehyung isn’t sure to whose benefit he’s doing it for exactly.
He watches as Jimin packs up the cupcakes, still rambling about his plan, and with a short “see you later” stumbles out of the apartment, leaving Taehyung alone.
The sudden silence feels heavy, suffocating, so Taehyung mindlessly turns on the TV to keep him company. He can’t concentrate on it though, because there’s a small part of his brain that’s telling him to call Jimin, to make him change his mind. He knows he can’t do it, so he tries to distract himself, but that stupid part of his brain just won’t shut the fuck up, causing him to pace pointlessly around the apartment. He almost decides to talk this over with Jimin when he gets back home, but then it hits him. What exactly would he say? That he doesn’t like that Jimin didn’t choose him to fake date? Taehyung winces at this thought, cursing himself silently for his pettiness. Jimin was in such a great mood, and maybe winning this ridiculous bet is something that he needs to get back on his feet after doubting himself. Who was Taehyung to take that away from him? And maybe it was for the better, maybe this whole thing will end up in flames and Taehyung’s going to be relieved he missed a disaster by the skin of his teeth.
Still, when Jimin comes home with the biggest smile on his face and tells him how much Jeongguk had loved the cupcakes, Taehyung can’t help but feel a nauseating sting of something dangerously close to jealousy.
It’s a few days later when Jimin announces that he’s going to bring Jeongguk to the café where Taehyung works.
“Why?” Taehyung asks before he can stop himself. It’s early, he’s getting ready for work and he hasn’t had his coffee yet, so his brain-to-mouth filter is practically non-existent.
“Because Yoongi’s going to be there?” Jimin rolls his eyes, like it’s the most obvious thing ever. “He’s always there on Thursdays.”
Taehyung spits out the toothpaste and glances at him in the mirror. Jimin is leaning against the doorframe with his arms folded, a smug grin on his lips.
Tell him no, tell him no, tell him no...
“Okay,” is all that Taehyung says, because during the past couple of days, he’s done some thinking. Clearly, Jimin must’ve had his reasons for not choosing him. Taehyung’s going to be a good friend. He’s going to respect Jimin’s decision and all that, even though the whole idea still seems ridiculous to him, but whatever, if that’s what Park Jimin wants, then that’s what Park Jimin is going to get.
Taehyung walks into the tiny cafe located just around the corner from their campus. The sharp sound of the doorbell makes Hoseok look up from behind the counter and beam at him cheerfully. Taehyung answers with a quick wave of his hand, before changing into his work clothes and joining him behind the bar.
“Yoongi’s not here?” Taehyung asks, looking around the empty room.
“Nah,” Hoseok says, leaning back against the wall. “He said he’s running a bit late.”
“Can I…?” Taehyung sends him his best puppy eyes look, the one that makes people want to give him anything he asks for (Taehyung for years thought it’s his secret superpower. Jimin thought it made him look like a jackass).
“Go on,” Hoseok says, rolling his eyes, and Taehyung skips to the laptop, throwing his hands up into the air in satisfaction. He quickly plugs in his phone and suddenly the cafe is filled with the sound of “Ok” by Crayon Pop blaring from the sound system (Taehyung could almost picture Yoongi’s disgusted frown if he walked in right now).
“Ah, I needed that,” he sighs blissfully, nodding his head to the beat of the music. “This week’s been hell.”
“Uh… just school, you know how it is,” Taehyung waves his hand, trying to change the topic. “Midterms are coming up and I’m thinking of starting my fulfilling career as a stripper.”
“You as a stripper? Please, as if you could pull it off,” Hoseok raises his eyebrow and oh boy, it’s on.
“What the fuck?” Yoongi asks softly when he walks into the cafe some fifteen minutes later, greeted by the sight of Taehyung grinding on a broom to Jay Park’s “Mommae”. Hoseok is bent in half, desperately trying not to suffocate.
“Tae found his true calling,” he manages to wheeze out through his giggles, while Taehyung walks up to Yoongi, swaying his hips and grabbing him by the collar of his coat.
“Seriously, how much would you pay me?”
“To get away from me? My life savings,” Yoongi grumbles, prying Taehyung’s fingers off. He ignores his pout and walks up to the bar, sliding his bag to the floor before taking his usual seat near the hand off.
“You’re absolutely no fun,” Taehyung whines, leaving the broom in the staff room and going behind the bar. He leans on it, tapping his fingers on the surface, staring at Yoongi with a squint. Yoongi graces him with a quick glance before pulling out a notebook and a pen. He starts scribbling something down, ignoring Taehyung leaning even closer.
“Got it,” Taehyung says suddenly, straightening up. He moves to grab a pitcher with milk and an empty mug.
“Latte with half white chocolate, half caramel,” he announces, starting to steam the milk. “Plus some cinnamon sprinkles on top.”
“That is not how I take my coffee,” Yoongi mumbles, his eyes never leaving his notebook. “And you know it.”
Taehyung sticks his tongue out at him (but not before making sure Yoongi isn’t looking. He doesn’t have a death wish) and starts preparing his drink. He always tries to figure out what Yoongi might enjoy when he visits, and always ignores Yoongi’s boring order of black brewed coffee, because he’s the barista here, goddamn it, he knows better.
Hoseok simply sighs, goes to lower the volume of the music and disappears in the back room, muttering something about getting actual work done.
Taehyung places the mug on the hand off with a theatrical bow. Yoongi spares it one quick glance before shrugging.
“That’s not how I take my coffee,” he repeats, so Taehyung goes to grab the cup, but Yoongi is quicker, his hand shooting out to knock Taehyung’s out of the way.
“But since you’ve already made it,” he says, pulling the cup closer to himself. “It would be a shame to let it go to waste, right? Plus it’s not like I’m paying for this anyway.”
“Actually, we should really talk about that,” Taehyung leans over the bar again. “I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to pay for what you drink. Capitalism, man. Exchanging goods for money and all that jazz. We’re all just meaningless cogs in this horrible machine of consumerist lifestyle, but still, you should start paying.”
“Fuck capitalism,” Yoongi announces, before taking a sip of Taehyung’s newest concoction. He grimaces, muttering something about diabetes, but doesn’t let Taehyung take it away from him. Seriously, Yoongi is so transparent.
Taehyung’s just about to call him out on that, when the doorbell rings. It makes him snap up his head, his natural customer-friendly grin already on his lips. But the sight in front of him makes his grin falter just ever so slightly.
“Hello!” Jimin’s voice is loud, with just a hint of smugness Taehyung can make out under the layers of cheerfulness. But it’s nothing compared to the blinding smile he sends their way, at least Taehyung guesses that he’s smiling, because he’s too busy looking at the guy Jimin is linking arms with to pay attention.
The guy is… damn, he’s attractive. Tall, muscular, with broad shoulders and ridiculously good hair (Taehyung mindlessly runs his fingers through the knots on his head; he really needs to get a haircut). He looks slightly terrified, but Taehyung supposes it’s a given, seeing as even Hoseok ditched his work to join them in the staring-at-the-new-kid contest he’d started.
Jimin and his date make their way over to the bar, and Taehyung can’t stop gaping. In all those years he’s never met any of Jimin’s boyfriends. He has a feeling that’s actually uncommon to come across, but then again, Jimin’s boyfriends never stuck around long enough for the meeting friends and family phase. Even though Taehyung knows it’s all fake, it feels weird. Sure, Jimin loves physical contact, he hugs and touches everyone he’s close with, but for some reason seeing him all over this guy causes Taehyung’s skin to itch. Maybe that’s the problem; Jimin does it with people he’s close with, and their circle of friends overlaps pretty much completely. So it’s probably because Taehyung doesn’t really know the guy; that’s why his stomach drops when he notices how tiny Jimin’s hand looks when Jeongguk gently catches it, interlocking their fingers together.
“This is Jeonggukie!” Jimin says, practically dragging him closer to the bar. “We’re dating,” he adds with a giggle that makes Taehyung want to bash his head against the coffee machine.
“But…” Yoongi’s gaze flickers from Jimin to Taehyung. Taehyung tries his best to keep his poker face on, and Yoongi gives him a confused, almost accusatory look (what the fuck did he do now), before turning around to Jeongguk and shaking his hand.
“Yoongi, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” Jeongguk says in a small voice. Jimin rubs his shoulders, guiding him towards Taehyung. Taehyung suddenly wants to disappear.
“Hi,” he says instead, his voice a little too loud, too overexcited. “I’m Taehyung, and this is Hoseok, my coworker.”
Hoseok waves at him, leaning over from the backroom. Jeongguk answers with a nod and a wave of his own, before focusing on Taehyung again.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” he announces with a soft, almost shy smile. Damn it, he has really nice teeth. Even his teeth were nice? Taehyung was always damn proud of his smile, but this kid seems to be a pretty great candidate for the posters in dentists’ waiting rooms.
“Really?” Taehyung asks politely, but Yoongi waves his hand, dismissing his comment.
“Jimin here has been keeping you a secret, though,” he says, watching Jeongguk like a hawk. A very concentrated, deadly hawk.
“Did you two just meet?”
Some awful part of Taehyung’s soul jumps up with glee; clearly Yoongi is suspicious and suspicious Yoongi means a cross examination from hell. No one makes it out alive without breaking down in tears and confessing every little sin. Maybe this whole mess will go away sooner than he’d expected.
“Oh no, we know each other from dance practice. It just took me some time to gather the courage to ask him out,” Jeongguk mutters, his ears and cheeks turning a subtle shade of pink. Jimin pats his shoulder with such gentle affection and Taehyung wants to gag. They’re overdoing it, he thinks, waiting for the inevitable moment when Yoongi calls them out. It’s too perfect, and any second now Yoongi will tell them nice try, but nope, you’ve been voted off the island.
“That’s cute,” Yoongi says instead and Taehyung’s entire worldview shatters right in front of his eyes. “Well, I’m not gonna interrogate you, kid. You can chill out. Take a seat, don’t be so scared. We’re not gonna bite you.”
“We just dropped by to say hi and get some coffee,” Jimin interrupts, as Jeongguk grabs his hand and squeezes it gently. “We’re going to the movies, so I’m probably going to be home late.”
“Oh, okay, that’s cool,” Taehyung says, before turning around and grabbing two paper cups. “So, the usual for you?”
“Yeah, and an Americano for Jeonggukie, please,” Jimin beams at him, causing Taehyung’s stomach to drop once again. For some reason the fact that Jimin knows Jeongguk’s order is just... gross and cute at the same time. He briefly wonders if there’s a word for that, but he nods and walks over to the coffee machine. He watches them out of the corner of his eye while preparing the drinks. Jeongguk is talking with Yoongi and Hoseok while Jimin hovers over them like he wants to make sure Jeongguk stays comfortable while in the spotlight. Finally he catches Taehyung’s gaze, climbs on his tiptoes (of course the height difference is… Gute. That’s going to be the word he uses until he thinks of something better) and whispers something to Jeongguk before strolling down the bar.
“You okay?” Jimin asks in a quiet voice when he’s face to face with Taehyung.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?” Taehyung answers with a question of his own, smashing the on button on the coffee machine. “Fucking stupid thing keeps jamming.”
“You look… I don’t know,” Jimin shrugs slightly. “Pissed off?”
“Yeah, well, I kinda need it to work so…”
“I’m not talking about that,” Jimin cuts in. He takes a few seconds to gather his thoughts and adds softly:
“Tae, he’s not one of those assholes I normally date, okay? You don’t have to be hostile. I mean, it’s sweet that you’re… protective or whatever, but seriously, it’s fine. He’s a great guy.”
“I’m not…” Taehyung starts, ready to defend himself, but Jimin clearly doesn’t have the patience for his explanations.
“Yes, you are. I can see it. You’re my best friend, remember?”
Taehyung bites down on his lip to stop himself from frowning. Fuck. Is this why he’s been feeling so weirded out? And is he really that obvious? Then again, it’s Jimin. He had years to learn Taehyung’s body language, he probably knows it better than Taehyung himself. If it wasn’t so cool it would be almost scary how sometimes they can have whole telepathic conversations just by looking at each other.
“I’m sorry, man, I just… I’m sure he’s awesome, he’s your buddy after all. I got a bit carried away, sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Jimin cracks him a tentative smile. “Just help me win this bet, all right?”
“All right,” Taehyung says with newly found determination, handing him his cup of coffee. Jimin reaches out for the second one, but Taehyung turns on his heel, walking towards Jeongguk.
“Here you go,” he chirps, making sure the smile on his face is noticeable from where Yoongi is sitting. “An Americano to go.”
“Thank you, how much…” Jeongguk starts, reaching for his wallet, but Taehyung interrupts him, holding up his hands and shaking his head.
“It’s on the house, man. Just make sure my Jiminie’s happy and you never have to pay for coffee as long as I work here.”
Yoongi huffs something that sounds very much like “what about capitalism” under his breath, but Taehyung ignores him, watching the way Jeongguk slightly bows his head, his blush making an appearance again.
“Thank you,” Jeongguk says again, taking the cup from Taehyung. “I really want him to be happy too.”
“You’re both disgusting,” Jimin announces, lightly smacking Jeongguk’s arm, but the pleased smile he doesn’t even try to hide isn’t fooling anyone. They exchange their goodbyes and walk out of the cafe, arm in arm, talking about something in hushed tones.
“Well…” Yoongi says, following them with his eyes. “This was certainly interesting.”
“What do you mean?” Taehyung asks.
Yoongi stays silent for a few moments, watching Taehyung. There’s something in his eyes that Taehyung can’t define. It makes him feel uneasy, almost as if Yoongi was trying to read his mind. And knowing Yoongi, Taehyung wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he could actually do that.
“Nevermind,” he sighs finally, pulling out his notebook again. “I guess if Jimin’s happy that’s all that matters, right?”
“Yeah,” Taehyung says, because it’s true. Jeongguk seems like a really nice guy, not the typical fuckboy with infidelity issues that Jimin’s usually drawn to. Plus it’s not like that’s even important because it’s all going to be over in a month.
It’s all going to be over in a month, he repeats to himself, when he gets home and instead of Jimin, he’s greeted by the silence of their empty apartment. Only a month, he thinks, throwing himself across his bed and staring at the ceiling, how bad can it be?
Turns out, it can be bad. Really bad.
Taehyung tries not to be petty; he honestly, truly does, cross his heart and hope to die. But it’s difficult because suddenly Jimin and Jeongguk became quite literally attached by the hip or something, judging by the way it’s impossible to see them apart. They hit it off in a truly astounding way; they keep visiting Taehyung at work, all giggles and shared knowing looks, they keep walking around the campus in matching clothes (which actually offended Taehyung because when he proposed that to Jimin as a fun idea for bros, Jimin at first had only sent him a very concerned glance and asked if maybe he needed a hug). Even at home, if Jeongguk isn’t physically there sitting in Taehyung’s usual spot as if he owns the damn place, he’s with Jimin in spirit, through his phone, hanging over his head like a cloud. And seriously, Taehyung is getting worried for Jimin’s eyesight because of the amount of time he spends squinting at his screen, furiously typing away.
“Are you even paying attention?” he asks one evening, when his patience finally runs out.
It’s Saturday, and Saturday is their sacred Marvel Marathon Night. Usually they’d be lying on the couch in their Avengers onesies Hoseok got them for Christmas, stuffing their faces with popcorn and chips, playing “fuck, marry, kill” with the characters of the movie. Jimin would fall asleep at some point, worn out by his morning dance class, and Taehyung would let him sleep with his head on his lap while gently running his fingers through Jimin’s hair. He’d wait until the credits rolled, and he’d softly wake Jimin up, never getting bored of the pouts and sighs sleepy Park Jimin was famous for.
This time, however, Jimin is wide awake, huddled away on the other side of the couch, his face lightened up by the screen of his phone.
“Hm?” he mumbles, his eyes never leaving that damn thing.
“Dude, are you… are you two actually properly dating or what?” Taehyung blurts out. That finally catches Jimin’s attention, because he looks up from his phone with wide eyes.
“Did this fake dating thing turned into a fanfiction realness and now you’re dating? Like, for real dating?”
“What? Jesus, Tae, no, we’re not,” Jimin stammers out, but even in the darkness of their living room Taehyung can see the faint blush on his cheeks.
“Oh my god,” he says slowly. “Do you have a crush on him?”
“You’re being ridiculous right now,” Jimin mumbles, turning his phone in his hands. Suddenly it buzzes, lighting up the room, and Taehyung throws himself at Jimin, snatching the phone out of his hands.
“Oh, this is gross,” Taehyung raises the phone over his head with one hand, pushing Jimin off himself with the other one. “You have him saved as Gukkie, this is even worse than Yoongi saving our numbers as Tall and Short Dumbass respectively.”
“Give it back,” Jimin growls, clawing at Taehyung’s arm.
The sudden pain causes Taehyung to lose balance and he stumbles to the floor, pulling Jimin with him, landing in a mess of limbs and curses on the rug.
“That fucking hurt,” Taehyung groans out, rubbing the back of his head. He’s pretty sure he cracked open his skull in at least two places.
“Get off me, you weigh like a ton.”
“Screw you,” Jimin spits, pushing himself up on his arms, still straddling Taehyung’s thighs. “That’s all muscle, you jerk.”
“Yeah, well…” the snarky comment Taehyung has on the tip of his tongue seems to have glued itself to the roof of his mouth because when he looks up, he finds himself speechless.
Jimin is leaning over him, breathing heavily, his hair a mess, a blush still high on his cheeks. There’s a pissed off look in his eyes that transforms into something softer, more vulnerable with each blink and suddenly Taehyung becomes aware of each point of contact; Jimin’s skin burning into his even through the layers of clothing, Jimin’s thigh muscles flexing over his own. His eyes flicker down to Jimin’s mouth and he watches, hypnotized, as he darts out his tongue to wet his lips. There’s that familiar smell of electricity again, but it’s different this time, because they’re not wasted. They’re very much sober and yet Taehyung’s breath still catches in his throat when he sees the way Jimin’s Adam’s apple moves when he swallows thickly.
He can see Jimin part his lips ever so slightly, like he was about to speak or do something, something that makes Taehyung’s stomach twist with a feeling that reminds him way too much of anticipation.
He never gets to find out what Jimin was about to do because the phone buzzes yet again, the sound of the vibrations against the hard floor making both of them jolt. Jimin scrambles to get off Taehyung, grabbing his phone and pushing his back against the couch, trying to get as far away as possible without actually leaving the room. Taehyung sits up, feeling slightly light headed.
“I’m not…” Jimin clears his throat. “I don’t have a crush on him. You’d be the first to know, plus… he’s just nice. We’re having a nice time, that’s all.”
“Oh,” Taehyung says experimentally, trying to figure out if his voice sounds as wrecked as his head feels. “All right, man, it’s cool. I’m glad you’re making friends and everything.”
“Yeah,” Jimin mumbles into the general direction of Taehyung’s feet. “It’s nothing, so… yeah.”
For a few seconds they both stay quiet. Jimin is staring at his phone, but his hands seem to shake too much, because he can’t seem to be able to unlock it. The air in the living room feels heavy, suffocating. So Taehyung jumps up to his feet, rubbing at the spot at the back of his head that still pulses with pain each time he touches it.
“I think I’m gonna go to sleep,” he announces. “If I don’t wake up tomorrow that means your ass has killed me through a concussion. Although I’m pretty sure you might’ve fractured my ribs, which in turn have pierced somevery vital organs and now I’m probably very slowly bleeding out –internally, how gross. This is not how I imagined I’d go, but at least I’m gonna die in my own bed, so small blessings and all that, I guess.”
He knows he’s rambling, but it’s the only way he can deal with the awkwardness that’s hanging over them like a cloud. Thankfully it works, because Jimin finally drags his gaze from his feet to his face and rolls his eyes.
“Your ass might just kill me with your dramatics. Get an ice pack and if you’re really gonna die, at least make sure I’m getting your saxophone.”
“You are never getting my saxophone, I’m taking my baby to my grave with me. We’re gonna be buried together, Pharaoh style.”
“Yeah, we’ll see about that,” Jimin grins, pushing himself off the floor. He glances at the tv screen and yawns, stretching his arms over his head.
“I think I’m going to take a shower and go to sleep too.”
“Good plan,” is all that Taehyung can say, because for some reason the idea of Jimin taking a shower makes something hot pool in his abdomen. What the fuck, Kim Taehyung, get it together.
“Good night, then!” he says, waiting for Jimin’s “Night, Tae”, before locking himself in his bedroom. He pushes his back against the door, takes a few deep breaths. Fuck, fuck, fuck. How pathetic is he to the point where even a small amount of physical contact can make him almost pop a boner? He really needs to get laid, and soon. He tries to block every dirty thought as he practically tears off his clothes and climbs into his bed, but it’s like trying not to think about pink elephants. He closes his eyes, hoping to will himself to fall asleep, but his body and mind clearly have different ideas. His blood feels too hot in his veins, and he’s not sure how, but he finds himself reaching into his boxers, his fingers running up and down his cock. Well, so much for not getting a boner. He might as well kiss his dignity goodbye and get this over with.
He conjures up his usual go-to fantasy of a man with a conveniently blurred face on his knees, letting him fuck his mouth, before spitting in his palm and shoving it down his boxers again. His breath speeds up as he imagines the hot wetness of the anonymous man’s mouth, his strokes becoming faster, more erratic. Suddenly, another image floods his mind; Jimin straddling his hips, his face flushed, eyes hooded. The moan that slips out of Taehyung’s mouth is nothing compared to the way his muscles tense when a wave of ecstasy ripples through them.
Taehyung’s eyes fly open and he stills his movements. Did he just… oh god, this can’t be happening. He cannot be masturbating to his best friend, for fuck’s sake. Yeah, sure, Taehyung isn’t blind; he knows Jimin is attractive with his full lips and soft features. But it’s different to know that and use it as wanking material.
He takes a few seconds to collect himself, his cock still throbbing in his palm. Some part of his brain tells him to forget this ever happened, to just give up and go to sleep, but Taehyung’s always had difficulties listening to the voice of reason. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and slowly, very slowly, starts pumping his fist again, thinking of the anonymous man spreading him open, thrusting into him. It doesn’t take long before he’s on the edge of his orgasm, bucking his hips up into his palm, desperately trying to get more friction, more pleasure, more everything. He has no idea how, but out of nowhere the fantasy he plays in his head takes a wrong turn again. Now, all he can see is Jimin; Jimin’s strong arms pinning down his wrists, Jimin’s chest glistening with sweat, Jimin’s lips on his neck as he fucks into Taehyung rough and fast. And before he has a chance to understand what’s happening, he’s coming; his orgasm so powerful that it makes his toes curl and his spine arch off the bed.
It takes a few good moments for Taehyung to catch his breath, he’s pretty sure he split his lip when he bit down on it to stop the high-pitched whine from escaping his throat. There’s a metallic taste on the tip of his tongue, but he’s too horrified to properly register it. Holy fuck. He just had his best orgasm in years, and it’s all thanks to… oh fuck, oh no.
With shaky hands he reaches out to his nightstand to grab some tissues. His limbs feel numb and heavy as he cleans himself up, but his mind is racing, his heart still pounding wildly. He did not just jerk off to Jimin. There is absolutely no way, nope, that couldn’t be Jimin, that was just Some Guy That Kinda Looked Like Jimin, But Definitely Wasn’t Him. Okay, fine, but that didn’t change the fact that Some Guy That Kinda Looked Like Jimin made him come so hard he almost saw stars, some part of his brain whispers. Taehyung feels the sudden urge to set himself on fire. This is all because he hasn’t gotten laid in weeks, he decides, throwing the used tissues in the bin. It was simply the universe taking pity on his poor, sex-deprived self. Nothing more.
After a week Taehyung realizes that the universe actually must hate his fucking guts.
There are two signs that help him come to this conclusion. One, for some unfathomable reason his body starts acting as if he was going through puberty again and Jimin’s the trigger that makes it happen. Every single thing he does causes Taehyung’s mouth to go dry and his breath to hitch. That ridiculously short bath robe Jimin has been using for ages? Suddenly it starts to appear in Taehyung’s fantasies, nicely showing off Some Guy That Kinda Looks Like Jimin’s thighs just as he’s about to straddle him. When Jimin decides to use their living room as his very private dance studio Taehyung finds himself just a few hours later with his hand down his pants, imagining Some Guy giving him a lap dance. He starts noticing small details about Jimin that for some reason drive him up the wall, like the way he runs his hand through his hair when he’s lost in thought, or that tiny mole on his neck that Taehyung can’t stop staring at. It’s horrible, really, because Taehyung doesn’t remember when he’d last masturbated this much. His dick is going to fall off soon, but by this point Taehyung would welcome that with open arms. At least he’d stop feeling all weird and tingly whenever Jimin was near him.
Jimin being near him was actually a quite rare occurrence, which is also the second sign that the universe has a personal vendetta against one Kim Taehyung. Nowadays the chances of seeing Jimin without Jeongguk tagging along, whispering something into his ear or laughing at his silly jokes were slim to none. The very sound of Jeongguk’s name causes Taehyung’s jaw to twitch. After all, who the fuck does he think he is, he’s just Jimin’s fake boyfriend and there’s no reason for him to be all cute and cuddly with Jimin when they’re at home where only Taehyung can see them. The worst part is that Taehyung can’t bring himself to hate him, not really, not when he goes back to his place and Jimin waltzes into Taehyung’s bedroom, gushing about that new ice cream parlor that they had visited (together, without Taehyung, his brain helpfully supplies). In those rare moments, Taehyung knows that Jimin is happy and even though he himself has been the complete opposite of that in that past two weeks, it would be childish to take that away from him. He can’t hate someone who makes Jimin smile, even if sometimes all he wants to do is to knock Jeongguk’s perfect teeth out, especially when Jimin cancels their plans for the third time in a row because Jeongguk has invited him over to play video games.
The frustration keeps building up in his bones, so he throws himself into his job and studies, spending more and more time with Hoseok and Yoongi or in the library, hunched over his books. He hates coming back to the empty apartment, without Jimin by his side he feels like he’s missing a limb. He catches himself turning around numerous times when something exciting happens, ready to listen to Jimin’s comment, only to realize Jimin’s somewhere off with Jeongguk, and the disappointment settles heavily on his chest. Luckily, he’s a true social butterfly, so there’s always someone he can hang out with, even though it’s not the same as spending time with Jimin. How sad is it, that when Hoseok tells him about the party he’s throwing the next day, his first thought is not that he can’t wait to be hammered, but that he’s going to finally be able to spend some time with his best friend?
Of course it turns out to be just another opportunity for the universe to piss Taehyung off.
“Do you think it’d be okay with Hoseok if I brought Jeongguk with me?”
Taehyung slowly closes his eyes, counting to five in his head, before whipping around to face Jimin.
It’s one of those few rare moments when Jimin is home, sitting at the kitchen table, one leg tucked under his body and the other one dangling from his chair. He’s propping up his head with his hands, staring at the notes and papers spread out in front of him. Midterms are approaching very soon, but for the very first time Taehyung feels glad about that. At least it means that Jimin can’t actually spend every waking second with Jeongguk. Bless Jimin’s terrible life choices that led him to study law.
“Sure, why not,” he says through gritted teeth. “But isn’t he, like, twelve?”
Jimin looks up at him and raises his eyebrows so high that they practically disappear under his fringe.
“Dude, he’s nineteen. He’s not going to be drinking though, he has a really strict diet.”
“Of course he does,” Taehyung sighs, leaning against the counter. “Gotta keep those abs in shape, right?”
“When did you see his abs?”
“I’m positive he has them. It would be god’s biggest mistake not to grace him with some ridiculous six pack.”
Jimin snorts, shaking his head slightly, before diving into his notes again. Taehyung watches him for a while out of the corner of his eye, pretending to be busy, pointlessly going through the kitchen drawers. Jimin is squinting at his notes as if he was expecting them to finally start making sense (they don’t; Taehyung tried to read them once, but Jimin’s generous way of using abbreviations is the most confusing thing he’s ever seen), tapping his nose with his highlighter. They fall into a comfortable silence, broken only by the rattle of cutlery when Taehyung opens a drawer using too much force.
“You’re being distracting.”
“Huh?” Taehyung looks up to see Jimin turned towards him.
Jimin huffs, sending him his best pointed look.
“I have to study, and you’re being… well, distracting.”
“I’m just… organizing our things,” Taehyung says, trying to sound convincing, but clearly that’s not going to work.
“Okay, do you mind organizing something else? Like, your room perhaps?”
“What are you, my mother?” Taehyung mutters, causing Jimin to roll his eyes.
“Seriously, I have to study. Shouldn’t you be doing that too?”
“I already did, I had a lot of free time lately.”
Jimin’s eyes almost close as he squints, trying to see if Taehyung’s bluffing.
“Okay, fine, I’ll go,” Taehyung says and walks to his room, deciding to finally try out that new game Hoseok’d recommended.
It’s a few good hours later when he glances at the clock again. It’s later than he realized, and it surprises him, because by now Jimin should be asking him to help with preparing their dinner. With a sigh he closes his laptop and gets off the bed, walks into the kitchen which was now surrounded in darkness.
“Jimin?” he whispers, flicking the light on.
Jimin is sprawled across the table, with his notes trapped underneath his body. He lets out a small sound, similar to a whine, when the light comes on, his face scrunching up in a frown. Taehyung feels his lips stretch into a smile; poor Jimin, his classes, dance practice and midterms must’ve taken a heavy toll on him to fall asleep like that. He walks up closer to Jimin and gets him up, off the chair.
“Come on, time to sleep,” he says, carrying Jimin to his room. It’s more like dragging than carrying, because Jimin might be shorter, but he’s still heavier than Taehyung, and Taehyung prays to god his back won’t kill him the next day.
He lays Jimin on his bed, ready to go back to his room, when Jimin’s hand shoots out to grab his sleeve. He rolls around to face Taehyung, cracking his eyes open.
“Stay,” he mumbles, tugging on Taehyung’s sleeve. “ 's cold.”
Taehyung wants to offer to close the windows, but the words get stuck in his throat. He knows it’s a terrible idea, seeing as lately being around Jimin is slowly making him lose what’s left of his dignity. But how is he supposed to say no to that? It’s impossible, and probably highly illegal to deny Jimin anything, especially when he’s still slightly flushed from his sleep and looking up at Taehyung with those tired, slowly blinking eyes.
“Scoot over,” Taehyung whispers against his better judgment, before sliding down under the covers.
Jimin sighs happily, turning around and wiggling until his back is pressed against Taehyung’s chest. And wow, either Taehyung has the body temperature of a space heater or Jimin must’ve been really cold, because when he tangles his legs around Taehyung’s, his feet felt like icicles. Jimin reaches back and grabs Taehyung’s hand, pulling it over his arm and interlocking their fingers together. They haven’t cuddled like this in a really long time, but Taehyung can’t say he minds having Jimin in his arms. It feels strangely familiar; the citrusy smell of Jimin’s shampoo reminds him of home, so he buries his nose in his hair and closes his eyes.
“Tae?” Jimin’s voice is small, soft, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s so close, Taehyung would miss it.
“Thank you for taking care of me.”
“Always,” Taehyung mumbles before the steady sound of Jimin’s breath lulled him to sleep.