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The thing about swimming is that everything smells like chlorine.

Taehyung rinses the third round of shampoo out of his hair and pulls a couple strands under his nose, sniffing at them. The chlorine scent is dulled, but definitely still lingering, and really, he doesn’t understand how the smell gets in his hair when he wears a cap whenever he swims. Maybe chlorine has the power of osmosis, or whatever.

Dubbing his hair a lost cause, he lathers himself with another coat of sweet-smelling body wash before rinsing off and shutting off the shower spray. Soap suds that haven’t yet found their way down the drain cling to his feet. He wraps himself in his chlorine-scented towel and gives team captain Namjoon’s chlorine-scented ass a friendly slap on the way to his chlorine-scented locker, where he pulls out his vaguely chlorine-scented change of clothes.

His muscles ache dully as he pulls on his baggy culottes and t-shirt. The start of the season is always a little rough--he slacks off more than he should during the summer vacation month--but it feels good to get back into the groove of regular practices.

He slams his locker shut and shoulders his schoolbag, making a quick stop in front of the mirror to examine his hair and fluff out his bangs with his fingers. That’s another thing about swimming: morning practices usually mean spending the first half of the day with damp hair, especially since he can never remember to bring his blow dryer.

“Hurry up and get out of here, kid,” Namjoon says, passing by him and giving his ass a retaliatory smack. “You’re the last one here, they’re going to close the locker rooms for cleaning soon.”

“Okay, okay,” Taehyung says, carefully adjusting a strand of hair into place. Since practice ended a little early, he has some free time before his next class, so he’ll take as much time with his hair as he needs, thank you very much.

The door slams behind Namjoon, leaving the locker room silent save for the occasional drip of water from the showers. Taehyung runs his fingers through his bangs a couple more times, and then, finally satisfied with how it looks, he heads for the exit. He still has a good amount of time before his first class, but it never hurts to be early.

He’s halfway to the door when he jolts to a stop. His pockets feel unusually light. He pats them down, and sure enough, they’re devoid of his phone.

“Shit,” he mutters, rummaging in his bag. It’s not there, so it must be back in his locker.

He doubles back, walking quickly; his locker is near the back, in one of the corners, and if he’s being honest, the locker room kind of freaks him out when it’s empty. He’s not one to get easily scared, but the dim lighting and the way the dripping showers echo send a prickling feeling along the back of his neck. Thankfully, his phone turns up in his locker, buried under an extra pair of sweatpants, and Taehyung grabs it and gets ready to book it.

He shuts the locker door, the sound echoing, and that’s when he hears something.

He freezes in place. He strains his ears, barely daring to breathe.

A long moment of silence crawls by, and then Taehyung hears it again: a soft laugh, and it sounds like it’s coming from the next row of lockers.

Heart racing, Taehyung tiptoes slowly, carefully, over and pokes his head around the corner.

He instantly deflates, huffing a sigh of relief, when he sees who it is.

Yoongi is leaning on the lockers next to Hoseok, their shoulders touching, and judging by the sliver of distance between them, they’ve been doing more than just casually conversing.

“What the hell, you two,” Taehyung exclaims. “You scared me. Namjoon said everyone else was gone.”

Hoseok lets out a squeak, startled, but Yoongi just turns his head and looks at Taehyung like he hadn’t even noticed him, let alone heard him speak. “Oh. Hey, Tae.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes. Yoongi’s a great team manager, passionate and meticulous, but put him within two feet of Hoseok and he turns into sentient goop. It’s embarrassing, to be honest.

“Bye, guys. Get a room next time.”

Taehyung makes his escape before Yoongi can lazily flip him off.

It still tastes like summer outside, the air ripe with sunshine and humidity, with the faintest hint of a breeze that Taehyung can feel in the wide legs of his pants. Taehyung thinks longingly of days spent lounging around and hanging out in cafes, stuffing himself with bingsu, university the farthest thing from his mind. There were days where he would go to the beach at sunrise, watching the orange glow of the sun bring the day to life, and he wouldn’t return home until the horizon was on fire with the light of the setting sun.

He’s so lost in his head that he rounds a corner and completely blindsides someone walking in the opposite direction. They both stumble, Taehyung barely managing to stay upright, apologies already spilling from the other person’s mouth.

“No, no, it was my bad, I wasn’t paying attention,” Taehyung says, steadying himself and offering a smile to his victim.

He gets a smile in return, and Taehyung’s day is already looking a little brighter, because the boy he’s bumped into is ridiculously cute. Taehyung’s never seen him on campus before, a fact that, frankly, is a grave injustice.

Before he can say another word, though, the boy is offering another soft “sorry,” bowing his head politely, and then walking away. Taehyung kind of wants to go after him, but that might be a bit creepy, and either way, when Taehyung checks his phone, he’s going to be late to class if he doesn’t pick up the pace.

As he starts walking again, he consoles himself with the fact that this campus is considerably small. The chances that he’ll bump into the guy again are actually pretty good.

He gets to the classroom and takes his usual seat next to Jungkook two seconds before the professor walks in. Despite being a freshman, Jungkook is in the same English class as Taehyung, and Taehyung is equal parts disgruntled and proud of Jungkook. The kid loves to mess around, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.

“You smell like the pool,” Jungkook says while he studiously begins to take notes.

“That’s because I was swimming. In a pool.”

“Shh. I’m trying to concentrate.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes, but he puts his own pen to the paper as well.

The day drifts by, Taehyung moving from lecture to lecture, and it goes a lot slower than usual. He finds himself blanking out in nearly every class (one of his TAs, Seokjin, sends him a picture of him staring off into the distance with his mouth open).

His last class finally crawls to an end, and Taehyung would love nothing more than to go back to his dorm, flop on his bed, and think about the homework he has to do. He won’t be able to do any of that until later, though, because he has to head back to the pool for afternoon practice.

It’s another tough session; after warming up, Namjoon has them practice relays while he stands at the end of the lane with a stopwatch and times them. To Taehyung’s disappointment, he’s lost a full second on his butterfly.

“Good job,” Namjoon tells him when he climbs out of the pool. “Not as fast as before, but it’s the start of the season. I know you’ll improve.”

“Thanks, hyung,” Taehyung sighs. Butterfly has always been his weakest style.

He accepts the towel Namjoon hands him, wrapping it around his shoulders and pulling the cap off his head with his free hand. His hair comes tumbling free in a matted mess. He winces as he runs his hand through it, trying to smooth it back into place. He’s just about to ask Namjoon how it looks when his eyes catch on something across the pool, blurry and blue-tinted from his goggles but still enough of a sight to capture his attention.

“Who,” Taehyung says slowly, pulling his goggles off with a wet sucking noise, drops of chlorinated water sliding down his face, “in the hell is that?”

Namjoon follows Taehyung’s line of sight, eyes stopping on a boy on the other side of the pool, talking to the coach. He’s in swim shorts and his hair is wet, so he must be a swimmer, but Taehyung’s never seen him here before.

“Oh. That’s Park Jimin. He’s new, he just tried out and made the team earlier today. I was going to introduce him to everyone tomorrow.”

Taehyung arches his eyebrows. “New, huh?”

No wonder Taehyung hadn’t recognized him; he doubts he would miss someone this attractive. He doesn’t stop looking, eyes tracing a path down Park Jimin’s toned stomach and defined thighs. His muscles are impressive, firm and chiseled, a direct contrast to the soft angles of his face.

“Cut it out,” Namjoon says. “You’re being creepy.”

“Please. Like you don’t look at girls the same way.”

Namjoon opens his mouth, and then closes it again, a considering look passing over his face. Taehyung smirks. Namjoon may be one of the smartest kids in school, but Taehyung has his moments, too.

“I’m going to go introduce myself,” Taehyung decides. “He could probably use a friend right now.”

“Friendship often comes not to those who seek it, but to those who keep their hearts open.”

“Okay, whatever, Confucius. I’ll see you at practice tomorrow. Bye, hyung!” Taehyung waves and then bounces off in the direction of one Park Jimin.

By the time Taehyung gets over there, praying that his hair looks presentable, Jimin has stopped talking to the coach and is drying himself off by the bleachers. Taehyung strides right up to him and chirps, “Hi!”

Jimin jumps a little, startled, and whirls around, and oh. It’s the same guy he’d bumped into earlier today.

Taehyung has to restrain himself from doing a victory dance in his glee. This is fate . The world is telling him something, he’s sure of it.

Jimin is even cuter now that Taehyung actually has the time to take in his features; the softness of his face lends him a charming boyish quality that’s offset by the sharp angle of his jaw, and his skin is as smooth as porcelain. His lips look like they’d bleed honey if someone bit into them.

“Oh, hello.” Jimin looks a bit flustered, fingers sweeping his dark hair away from his forehead. It takes him a second, but his eyes light up with recognition upon seeing Taehyung.

“So we meet again. I’m Kim Taehyung, the very cool guy who crashed into you earlier today.” Taehyung gives a slight bow of his head in greeting.

“I’m Park Jimin.” He returns the head tilt and smiles, eyes crinkling into tiny crescent moons. “Sorry again about that.”

“Your smile is so cute,” Taehyung blurts before he can stop himself. It’s worth it, though, because Jimin’s cheeks bloom with a faint blush and he smiles again, small and shy and just as lovely.

“Thank you.”

Taehyung grins, hoping that he’s making Jimin feel more at ease. “So you’re new to this school?”

“Yeah. I just moved here from Busan.”

Taehyung snaps his fingers at him. “I knew it. I can hear your dialect.”

Unexpectedly, Jimin frowns at this. “Really? Is it that noticeable?”

“Hey, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I have a Daegu accent. No one’s going to make fun of you.”

Jimin’s shoulders relax. “That’s good to hear. I was really worried about that.”

“Well, if anyone messes with you, I’ll protect you. We’re friends now, and I look out for my friends.”

Jimin’s giving him that shy smile again, and it makes warmth burst behind Taehyung’s ribcage. He thinks he’d really like to see that smile a lot more from now on.

“Hey, do you have anything after this?”

Jimin shakes his head. “I was just going to go back to my dorm.”

“Cool. Do you want to get dinner together, then? It’ll be a proper welcome to the team.”

Say yes , Taehyung begs internally. Say yes.

“Yeah, sure,” Jimin agrees, and Taehyung can’t stop the smile that breaks out and threatens to split his face in half.

The rest of the team has begun to file into the locker room to shower and get changed, and Taehyung tilts his head towards them. “Shall we?”

Jimin follows after him, staying close behind, and whenever a teammate greets Taehyung, he makes sure to introduce them to Jimin, Namjoon’s intended introduction be damned. It’s endlessly endearing to watch Jimin bow his head and say shy hello’s.

Taehyung is nearly at his locker when he realizes that Jimin has stopped following him. He raises a questioning eyebrow at him.

Jimin explains, “I haven’t gotten a locker yet.”

“Oh. Just take the one next to mine, it’s empty.” Taehyung gestures to the aforementioned locker, thinking nothing of it. Only after they’ve showered does he realize the hell he’s subjected himself to.

There’s Park Jimin shirtless, and then there’s Park Jimin in nothing but a towel, within touching distance of Taehyung, his hair slicked back and droplets of water sliding down the curve of his neck, smelling like fruity shampoo instead of chlorine.

Taehyung is so, so screwed.

He changes quickly, using all of his willpower not to openly stare at Jimin, though he does bang his shin on the bench when Jimin drops the towel to step into his boxer briefs.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks, alarmed, at Taehyung’s hiss of pain.

“Yes, fine,” Taehyung squeaks out. Jimin’s abs are startlingly close to his face.

“You didn’t get bruised, did you?” Jimin bends over to inspect Taehyung’s leg, and holy shit, his thighs. Taehyung feels a little faint.

“I’m fine.” He’s not fine. He’s dying a slow death.

“Okay. Be more careful next time!”

Thankfully, Jimin finally puts on a shirt, and once he regains his senses, Taehyung finishes buckling his sandals and pulls his bag out from his locker. He fiddles with his phone while Jimin gets dressed. His shin throbs, and he focuses on the pain instead of the way Jimin’s thighs strain against his shorts.

When he hears Jimin’s locker slam shut, Taehyung looks up, pocketing his phone. “Do you want to drop your bag off at your dorm or are you okay just walking with it?”

Jimin hefts his backpack on his shoulders. “I can carry it.”

“Cool. Off we go, then.”

Taehyung leads Jimin to the back entrance of the locker room, pulls the door open, and immediately rolls his eyes.

The back entrance has a concrete divider in front of it, so that from the other side the door isn’t visible, and there, pressed up against the divider, are none other than Yoongi and Hoseok.

“Seriously, guys? Again?” Taehyung sighs.

Hoseok at least has the decency to look embarrassed. Yoongi just shrugs.

“Not my fault you keep finding us.”

Taehyung sighs again and turns to Jimin. “Sorry you had to see this on your first day. These two really know how to make an impression.”

Jimin’s cheeks are pink. “Oh, no, that’s okay. Er. Sorry for interrupting.”

Yoongi laughs. “You’re cute, aren’t you?” He slides his arm through Hoseok’s. “We were about to leave, anyway. Welcome to the team, Jimin!”

“See you at practice tomorrow,” Hoseok sing-songs, grinning and pulling Yoongi closer to his side as they walk away.

Taehyung watches them leave, shaking his head fondly.

“Wow. Yoongi-hyung is different from what I thought,” Jimin says.

Taehyung raises his eyebrows. “You’ve met him already?”

“Yeah. At tryouts. He seemed kind of...scary.”

Taehyung snorts. “Oh believe me, he can be. But he’s really a huge softie, especially when he’s with Hoseok.”

“Do they...do that a lot?”

“Make out in the locker room and its vicinity? Yes. It must be their kink or something.”

“It’s not...against the rules or anything? To have relationships within the team?”

“Well, there’s nothing against it. I think the concern is just that any drama might affect the team’s performance.”

Jimin nods, seeming satisfied with Taehyung’s explanation. Taehyung tries not to read too much into it, instead motioning for Jimin to follow him as he keeps walking.

They end up at a cafe near campus that has good food and reasonable prices and is thus highly popular with the students. It’s as busy as usual today, though by a stroke of good luck, Taehyung and Jimin arrive just as a table for two opens up, and they’re seated almost immediately. They sit across from each other, Jimin perusing the menu while Taehyung gives him recommendations. It turns out they both love eating meat. Jimin really is after Taehyung’s heart.

The food comes impressively quickly considering how packed the place is, and Taehyung eagerly digs in. He’s always starving after practices. Jimin is obviously in the same boat, and for a long while, they don’t talk, content to simply sit and inhale their food.

When his plate is nearly empty, Jimin dabs at his lips with a napkin and grins at Taehyung. “This is delicious.”

Taehyung makes a sound in agreement, mouth full.

“Thanks for being so nice to me.” Jimin fiddles with his napkin, looking shy again. “Transferring here has been pretty scary. You’re really helping to make this easier. So thank you.”

Taehyung is trying very, very hard not to melt into a puddle. It’s a serious challenge. He swallows his food and manages to say, “You’re welcome. I’m going to look out for you, remember?”

Jimin smiles. “Yeah. I remember.”

When the bill comes, Taehyung snatches it up before Jimin can so much as breathe in its direction.

“My treat,” he says, drowning out Jimin’s protests.

“Fine, but I’m paying next time,” Jimin says firmly.

“Okay.” Next time . Taehyung bites back a smile.

 

--

 

After that, Taehyung takes it upon himself to be Jimin’s personal tour guide. He shows him around campus, walks him to classes whenever he can, and invites him out with his own friends. Jimin is shy at first, slow to speak up, but with some encouragement from Taehyung, he gradually grows more and more comfortable, fitting right in with Taehyung’s friend group. It makes Taehyung’s chest swell with pride to see Jimin laughing with Jungkook over a video they’re watching.

Needless to say, Taehyung and Jimin spend a lot of time together. They don’t have any of the same classes, due to their very different majors--Jimin is studying Fine Arts, while Taehyung is studying Public Relations--but they have swimming practice together every day, and outside of that, they’re always hanging out.

Taehyung is good with people. Making friends comes as naturally to him as breathing. Yet the way he and Jimin just seem to click, always implicitly understanding the other, always in tune and never running out of laughter, feels next-level. They just work .

Taehyung’s not one to deny anything to himself. He knows that he’s got an enormous crush on Jimin.

So does everyone else, apparently, because Yoongi, Hoseok, and Jungkook all approach him three separate times to ask him when he’s going to ask Jimin out. Even Namjoon, who rarely gets involved in business that doesn’t have anything to do with himself, tells him after practice one day to “stop staring and ask him out already.”

And it’s not like Taehyung doesn’t want to ask Jimin out. He does. He definitely does.

But Jimin has just settled in here, just gotten comfortable in this new place, and it wouldn’t be fair of Taehyung to potentially disrupt that in any way. What Jimin needs right now is a friend, someone to listen to him and help him and put him at ease, and Taehyung is going to be what he needs. Nothing more and nothing less.

 

--

 

The thing about Jimin is that he’s incredibly tactile.

This isn’t a problem, not really--Taehyung is the same way, himself--but it’s getting more and more difficult for Taehyung to keep his resolve.

For example, they’re currently huddled on the floor of Taehyung and Jungkook’s dorm, playing Super Smash Bros., and Jimin has situated himself in between Taehyung’s legs, leaning backwards into his chest as he controls his Yoshi. The position makes it so that Taehyung has to drape his arms over Jimin’s shoulders to properly use his controller. Jimin’s hair tickles the bottom of Taehyung’s chin, and it smells like strawberries and a hint of product, and Taehyung has lost three games in a row because he’s so distracted by it all.

It doesn’t help that every time Taehyung loses, Jimin reaches backwards and holds Taehyung’s head in his hands and tells him, “It’s okay, you did well!”

“Seriously, you two already look like you’re dating,” Jungkook says after Jimin has left their dorm to return to his own. He mashes at his controller and lands several hits on Taehyung’s Pikachu. “The amount of skinship is ridiculous.”

“That’s just how Jimin is,” Taehyung says. He manages to attack Jungkook, lowering his HP a significant amount. “He’s touchy with you, too.”

“Yeah, but not the same way that he is with you. Besides, it’s more than just the touchiness.” Jungkook has trapped Taehyung in a corner of the stage, and he mercilessly brings Taehyung’s HP down to 0. He throws the controller down, crowing at his success.

“Rematch,” Taehyung demands.

Jungkook starts up a new game, and for a while, they don’t speak, their attention focused on the screen, thumbs flying over their controllers. Taehyung finally wins this round, and while Pikachu does a victory dance on the screen, Jungkook says, “I’m serious, hyung. Jimin likes you, too. You should ask him out.”

Taehyung just grunts noncommittally and starts another game.

 

--

 

September brings with it cooler weather, an abundance of sweaters, and the first swim meet of the season.

The whole team has been busting their asses at practices, and it’s paid off; all of their times have improved, as has their stamina. Taehyung’s even got his butterfly to a record low. At the last practice before the meet, Namjoon tells them he has complete faith that they’ll do well and maintain their university’s high ranking.

The meet is hosted at the university; Global Cyber will be competing against a team from another city, one that’s done well in past meets but isn’t ranked as highly as GC’s team. They’d gone up against each other last year and GC had come out on top.

That being said, the day of the meet, spirits are high. No one is expecting it to be an easy win, of course, but they’re confident in themselves and in their team.

As the team gets ready in the locker room, Jimin is nothing but sunshine. He’s full of encouraging words for everyone, even managing to soothe Hoseok, who invariably gets struck with a bad case of nerves before every meet.

“You’re an angel, you know that?” Taehyung tells him, awed.

Jimin laughs and ducks his head, embarrassed.

Later, when they’re sitting at the bleachers waiting for the first event to start, Taehyung slings an arm around Jimin and tells him, “You deserve support, too. I’ll always be cheering for you.”

GC wins both the 200 and 400 medley relays, Namjoon and Hoseok emerging victorious with times a full second faster than the opposing team’s. The team wins a majority of the freestyle events as well, and Jimin jumps up and cheers and hugs Taehyung so tight that for a short second, all the breath leaves Taehyung’s body, and it’s amazing. Really, really amazing.

They lose the butterfly event, but Jimin crushes the opposition in the breaststroke event, Taehyung nearly screaming himself hoarse with his cheers. They’re still in the lead, and with only a few events left, a win seems imminent.

The next event is the 100 backstroke. Taehyung shrugs out of his robe; it’s his time to shine. Backstroke is his strongest style, both personally and within the team, and he’s improved his time this season as well.

Before he heads for the pool, Jimin squeezes his shoulders and hugs him. “Good luck. You’re going to do great.”

Taehyung hugs him back, warm all over. When he slides into the water, goggles securely fastened, he can’t help but look back. Jimin flashes him a thumbs-up.

The whistle blows, and from that point on, Taehyung’s world narrows to the feel of the water beneath him and the vibrant blue of the sky. He gets to the wall, flips, and backstrokes back to the other side. When his hand hits the concrete edge and the whistle sounds again, he can tell by the cheers that rise from GC’s side of the bleachers that he’s won.

He hoists himself out of the pool, and the coach slaps his back and congratulates him, but the only thing he can see is Jimin’s face in the bleachers, eyes scrunched up with the force of his smile, radiant with pride.

 

--

 

The thing about swimming is that when midterms roll around, it’s hell to have to both attend practices and study.

Taehyung hasn’t even taken his first midterm yet, and he already feels like dying.

“Jungkookie,” he groans, voice muffled, his face pressed into his paper-covered desk. His skin still smells like chlorine. “I’m about to leave this mortal coil. Tell my family that I love them, and that my will can be found in the top left drawer of my dresser at home.”

“Stop whining and focus.” Jungkook calmly flips a page in his textbook. “You’re really smart, hyung, you just need to find motivation.”

Taehyung makes a face. Jungkook is younger than him, he’s not allowed to be this wise.

He turns back to his own notes and textbooks, and manages another half-hour of trying to imprint the information onto his brain before he sighs and faceplants on his desk again. He vaguely wonders how plausible it would be to claim that he has measles and get himself quarantined through the duration of midterms.

A knock sounds at the door.

Jungkook doesn’t budge an inch, just grunts in what Taehyung presumes is a request for Taehyung to answer it. Taehyung obliges; the distraction is gladly welcomed.

As it turns out, the distraction turns out to be Jimin, and Jimin is definitely very, very welcome.

“Hey,” Taehyung says, grinning. “What’re you doing here? I thought you were studying at the library?”

“Yeah, I’m heading over there now, I just wanted to drop these off.” He holds out two paper bags.

“What’s this?” Taehyung takes them and peers into them curiously.

“It’s nothing big, just some stuff I put together for you and Jungkookie to help get you through midterms. There’s hot packs, instant food, energy bars, some snacks, and tea that helps your immune system,” Jimin rattles off. “Stress can really make you sick, and it would suck for you to be sick during--”

The rest of his words are cut off as Taehyung flings his arms around him. It feels like his chest is about to burst open with the force of the wave of affection that swells up in him, and he squeezes Jimin tighter.

“Thank you,” he says, hoping that he’s conveying just how much this means to him.

“Of course.” Jimin hugs him back, hands warm where they grip Taehyung’s back.

When they break apart, Taehyung pinches his cheek playfully. “You’re so sweet, you’re really going to make someone fall for you.”

“Haven’t you already fallen for me?” Jimin grins.

Taehyung knows he’s joking, but his face flushes anyway, and he scrambles to think of an answer.

Luckily, Jimin just laughs and hugs him again. “Good luck with studying, and seriously, take care of yourself. Jungkookie too.” He raises his voice at the last part, directing it towards the bedroom.

“You too,” Taehyung says. “And thanks again for the stuff.”

“I’m just being the responsible hyung that I am.”

“You’re two months older than me, deflate your ego.”

“Never.” Jimin steps out the door, dodging the slap Taehyung directs at his ass. “See you later, Tae!”

Taehyung crosses his eyes at him and slams the door.

When he walks back into the bedroom and places one of the bags on Jungkook’s desk, Jungkook raises an eyebrow at him, a glint in his eyes that Taehyung knows all too well.

“Shut up,” Taehyung says. “Not a word from you.”

“I don’t need to say anything when it’s already this obvious.”

Taehyung swats him on the back of the head lightly and returns to his desk. He cracks open his textbook again, resolving to dedicate another two hours to studying, but he can’t stop looking at the bag and thinking of Jimin.

He really is screwed.

 

--

 

It’s halfway through midterm season, and Taehyung is beyond dead; he’s descended to a different plane of existence. He’s slept through two morning practices already, and although Namjoon and the coach have been understanding, he’s been given a warning.

If anything, Jimin seems to be faring even worse. He never misses practice, but his eyebags are getting darker by the day, and Taehyung rarely sees him outside of practice anymore because he’s always holed up in the library.

It gets to the point that Taehyung thinks an intervention is in order.

“That’s it,” Taehyung says one night, marching towards where Jimin is hunched in a corner of the library, scribbling notes. It’s past one in the morning. He brings both of his hands down on Jimin’s shoulders. “Put your pen down. Put your books away. You’re coming with me.”

“What?” Jimin blinks up at him. His eyes are puffy.

Taehyung reaches out and flips Jimin’s notebook closed. “You’ve done enough studying for tonight. Come with me.”

“Wha--I wasn’t finished,” Jimin protests, reaching for his notebook, but Taehyung keeps his hand firmly on top of it.

“You’ve been studying all day. You need to relax, or you’re going to get yourself sick. Your health is the most important thing.”

“Tae, my next midterm is in two days, I have to be ready--”

“And you will be. You already know the material, you’re just doubting yourself.” Taehyung tugs on his arm. “Come on, Jiminie, up and at ‘em, let’s go before the librarian starts yelling at me.”

With a resigned sigh, Jimin begins packing up his stuff, tucking papers back into folders and gathering up post-its and various highlighters. As soon as he zips up his bag, Taehyung is grabbing his arm and ushering them out of the library.

“Where are we going?”

Taehyung puts a finger to his lips and grins. “It’s a surprise.”

The campus is almost entirely empty at this time of night, students either in their dorms or at the library. It looks different like this, the buildings barely recognizable in the long shadows and the orange slants of light that come from the lampposts. The night air is chilly, and Taehyung shivers, drawing his jacket closer to his body. Jimin immediately puts an arm around him, hand rubbing along his bicep to warm him up.

“It’s not far, is it?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “It’s on campus. Don’t worry.”

Slowly, as they walk, Taehyung senses the tension leaving Jimin’s body. Jimin’s hard-working nature can be his own downfall sometimes; Taehyung knows that he needs someone to pull him out of it when that happens.

Jimin snorts when their destination comes into view. “The pool, Taehyung? Really? We practically live here.”

Taehyung shushes him. “Just trust me.”

The main door to the pool is locked, but there’s a side entrance to the locker room that Taehyung has used before. Sure enough, when he leads Jimin over and pulls on the door handle, it opens, though not without a little resistance at first.

“Are we even allowed to be here?” Jimin whispers as they enter the dark locker room, Taehyung taking off a shoe to prop the door open with in case it locks from the inside.

“Probably not,” Taehyung admits. “But I’ve done this a couple of times before. No one will know.”

“Kim Taehyung, if I get into trouble because of you…”

“Relax. It’ll be fine. It’s not like we’re breaking or entering. We’re just hanging.”

“Okay,” Jimin says dubiously, and then, lowering his voice, “This is kind of exciting.”

“You’re going to love it.”

Taehyung turns on his phone’s flashlight, using the bright beam to guide their way through the locker room and out the door that leads to the pool.

In the darkness, the water is glowing, the lights along the sides casting it in incandescent blue. It’s dead quiet, and the water is perfectly still. It doesn’t seem like the place they spend hours in every day, swimming laps and surrounded by the sound of splashing water and whistle blows. There’s a quiet sort of magic to it.

By the way Jimin’s gone silent and still next to him, Taehyung knows that he feels it, too.

Taehyung pulls off his other shoe and goes to sit at the pool’s edge, dangling his feet in the water. After a beat, Jimin joins him.

They’re quiet for a long moment, Taehyung staring at the way the water ripples around his bare feet, casting a greenish-blue hue on his skin.

“This is nice,” Jimin says, eventually. His voice is soft, like he doesn’t dare speak any louder. “It reminds me of Busan, weirdly enough.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. I lived near the beach, so I used to go there a lot, especially at night. This reminds me of that. Like looking at the ocean, with the moon as the only light. It feels like...like the world has stopped, you know?”

Taehyung huffs out a laugh. “You’re starting to sound like Namjoon.”

Jimin rolls his eyes and shoves him lightly.

“I get what you mean, though,” Taehyung says after a moment. “I’d come here on nights I was so stressed I was ready to cry, and just sat here and breathed. I thought it would help you, too.”

Jimin nods, and in the blue-tinted quiet, he takes Taehyung’s hand.

It’s not the first time they’ve held hands, but Taehyung’s breath hitches in his throat, anyway. Jimin’s hand is small and soft and warm in his.

“I’m really grateful for you, Tae, you know that?” Jimin squeezes Taehyung’s hand gently. “I feel like I don’t tell you that enough. But I really, really am.”

Taehyung’s heart is beating so fast in his chest that he’s sure Jimin can feel it through his skin. Jimin says these kinds of things pretty often, despite his claim to the contrary, but now, here, this feels different. He swallows. “Me too, Jiminie. I’m grateful for you, too.”

Jimin smiles, moving closer, and for one heartstopping moment, Taehyung thinks that he’s going to kiss him. His breath catches in his throat, eyes darting to Jimin’s lips.

Taehyung’s phone chimes, the sound so startlingly loud in the immovable quiet of this place that both of them jump, leaning back from one another.

Taehyung grabs his phone to check the message. Jimin doesn’t let go of his hand.

Jungkookie

gonna go to sleep. Hope you’re having fun with your bf ;) don’t stay up too late

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes and shoves his phone back into his pocket. Whatever moment he and Jimin had been sharing is definitely gone now.

“Everything okay?” Jimin asks.

“Yeah. Jungkook was just letting me know he was going to bed.”

“Oh. It is pretty late, huh?”

Taehyung has to pull his phone out again to check the time. “Yeah. It’s almost two thirty, you need to get some sleep.”

“We have practice tomorrow morning, too.”

Taehyung groans. He’d almost forgotten about that. Saturday practices are more relaxed and start at nine instead of seven, but the thought is still daunting, especially since he’s been running on little enough sleep as it is.

“Okay. Let’s go back, then,” Taehyung sighs.

Jimin lets go of his hand to stand up. Taehyung misses it the moment it’s gone.

They go back into the locker room, Taehyung turning his flashlight back on to find the door they’d come in through.

“It’s scary in here,” Jimin whispers. His hand latches onto Taehyung’s arm, small fingers digging into the soft flesh there.

“Tell me about it,” Taehyung mutters. If the empty locker room in daytime is scary, then it’s nothing compared to when it’s pitch black. It’s comforting to have Jimin by his side, though, even if Jimin does appear to be much more freaked out than Taehyung is.

They reach the door soon enough. Relieved, Taehyung pushes at it.

It doesn’t open.

Frowning, he pushes harder; this door is a bit finicky and tends to stick. It still doesn’t budge. He tries again, putting more weight into it, and that’s when he sees the shoe he’d used to prop the door open: it’s laying a few inches away from the door, so that the door has fully shut.

“Shit,” he breathes, dread coiling at the base of his stomach.

“What?” Jimin asks. “Is it stuck?”

“The shoe--it got moved. Here, help me push, I think it just needs some more force.”

Together, he and Jimin put their palms flat on the door and push with all their might. It doesn’t move a millimeter. They push again, and again, and again, throwing all their weight into it, until they’re red-faced and panting, but it’s useless.

They’re stuck.

Taehyung pounds a fist against the door and slumps over, catching his breath. Jimin is doing the same, arm pressed against the wall, forehead pressed against his arm, breathing hard.

Taehyung’s mind whirs desperately. The main gate to the pool is locked, so there’s no chance of them going through there, and it’s too tall to jump. The only other ways out are the front and back doors of the locker room. Well, technically, they could also dig a tunnel through the ground, but that’s probably not viable.

“I’ll check the other doors,” Taehyung says, straightening up and picking up his phone again, momentarily blinding himself with the flashlight.

“Wait, I’ll go with you.”

Together, they make their way to the front door, and after several pushes, it reveals itself to be locked. The same thing happens with the back door. On the bright side, they find the light switch, and once the room is flooded in dim yellow light, they’re still stuck, but at least it’s not as creepy.

Taehyung slumps against a row of lockers. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Jimin sinks down next to him, face in his hands. “Is there anyone we can call for help?”

Taehyung unlocks his phone, and then groans. “My battery’s at one percent. The flashlight must have drained it. Can we use yours?”

Jimin groans even louder. “I don’t have it with me. I don’t bring it when I study.”

“One percent should be enough to make a call, right?” Taehyung says hopefully. “Who should I call? Jungkook’s asleep, nothing will wake him up.”

“What about Yoongi?”

“Sleeps like the dead.”

“Namjoon?”

Taehyung bites his lip. “We’ll be in so much trouble.”

“We’re going to be in trouble either way!”

“Okay, okay.” Taehyung scrolls through his contacts until he finds Namjoon and presses call.

The line rings once and goes dead. When he brings his phone away from his ear to look at the screen, it’s black.

Taehyung lets his phone drop into his lap. “Great. It ran out of battery.”

“Are you serious?” Jimin plucks the phone up and presses the power button. The power cable icon pops up on the screen. He lets it fall back into Taehyung’s lap.

“What’re we going to do?” Jimin says shrilly. “We’re trapped here.”

“At least we’re together?” Taehyung tries.

Jimin hits his arm. “It’s your fault we’re in here in the first place, idiot.”

Taehyung rubs at his arm, because that hurt . “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

“I should be studying. Oh my god, I have a midterm in two days .”

“You’re going to do fine, Jimin, you’ve studied enough--”

“I shouldn’t have let you drag me here, I knew it was a bad idea,” Jimin snaps, cutting him off, and Taehyung flinches back.

It only takes a second for Jimin to deflate and say, voice softer, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell.” His fingers find the spot on Taehyung’s arm that he’d hit and rub gently. “I didn’t mean to hit you so hard, either.”

Taehyung shakes his head. “No, you have every right to be mad at me. It is my fault that we’re stuck in here.”

“You were only trying to help me.” Jimin’s fingers move from Taehyung’s arm to his wrist, curling loosely there. He sighs. “This just...sucks.”

“It does,” Taehyung agrees.

They’re both silent for a while, the fact that they’re really stuck here sinking into them. Taehyung can’t believe that this is his life.

“So...what now?” he asks eventually.

“Well, all we can do now is our best.” Jimin squeezes Taehyung’s wrist gently before pulling back his hand. “We should try to get some sleep.”

Taehyung winces. His back already hurts just from thinking about sleeping on the floor.

Luckily, after some scavenging, they manage to find a padded gym mat and clean towels. They spread the mat out on the floor between two rows of lockers and fold up a couple towels to use as pillows. They step back and regard their makeshift bed proudly.

Taehyung supposes there are worse places they could be stuck in. At least here, they have running water and toilets. They swish water in their mouths in place of brushing their teeth and rinse their bodies off in the showers, and although it’s a bit gross to have to step back into their clothes, it’s better to feel at least somewhat clean.

“Should we leave the lights on?” Jimin asks.

Taehyung looks up at him from where he’s sprawled on the mat. “It might be better to turn them off. Just in case someone notices the light.”

Jimin nods and flips the switch. The room plunges into darkness, and Taehyung has to fight not to tell him to turn them back on.

Jimin is nothing more than a dark blur as he crawls onto the mat and settles in next to Taehyung, pulling a towel over himself. Some of the chill of the room immediately dissipates.

“Goodnight, Tae,” Jimin whispers.

“Goodnight, Jimin-ah.”

Taehyung closes his eyes.

He doesn’t know how much time passes. Water drips, slow and steady. The towels are scratchy beneath his cheek and smell like chlorine. It’s cold, even with Jimin’s shared body heat. He can’t fall asleep.

He opens his eyes again, and Jimin has moved so that his face is nearly level with Taehyung’s. To Taehyung’s surprise, Jimin’s eyes are open as well, looking right back at him, the whites barely visible in the dark.

“Can’t sleep?” Taehyung whispers.

Jimin shakes his head. “It’s too cold.”

Wordlessly, Taehyung scoots in closer, tucking his head by Jimin’s shoulder and putting an arm around his waist. Jimin loops his arms around him in return.

“Better?”

“Much.”

Taehyung closes his eyes again, and this time, with the slow and steady motion of Jimin’s chest by his cheek, he does drift off.

An indeterminate amount of time later, he blinks awake again for some reason. It’s still pitch black, so he must not have been asleep for long.

Jimin shifts, and when Taehyung looks at him, he finds him awake, too.

“Did you fall asleep?” Taehyung asks, voice scratchy.

“Not yet.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Just thinking.”

“Well, turn off that brain of yours and sleep. Or you’ll be too tired tomorrow.”

Jimin nods, but he still doesn’t shut his eyes. After a moment, he looks away and then back at Taehyung. His expression is unreadable in the dark, but he seems hesitant. “Tae, are we okay?”

Taehyung blinks at him. “Yeah, of course. What do you mean?”

“Just...earlier. I’m sorry for yelling at you and hitting you.”

“It’s okay. This is my fault, anyway. You don’t need to apologize anymore.”

“But I do ,” Jimin says, frowning. He takes one of Taehyung’s hoodie strings in his hand, fiddling with it. “I want to treat you the way you deserve. You’re really important to me, Tae. I hope you know that. You were my first friend here. You take care of me. I need you to know how much that matters to me, and how thankful I am. You’re special, and I don’t want to lose that. I want us to keep going forever.”

Jimin’s voice floats in the darkness, small and soft, and Taehyung can barely breathe. His cheeks feel too hot.

“Yeah,” he says eventually, and it comes out raspy and a bit choked. “Let’s keep going forever.”

Jimin’s teeth shine in a smile. He tugs on Taehyung’s hoodie string and moves closer, close enough that Taehyung can feel his breath on his skin.

“Tae.”

“Yeah?”

“Can I tell you something?”

“You can tell me anything.”

“Okay.” Jimin inhales, slow, and then says, words rushed, “I really like you. I mean, not just as a friend.”

Again, all the breath leaves Taehyung’s body, and he freezes, the earth pausing in its orbit for this moment in time.

Jimin glances at him, his voice taking on a nervous slant. “You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted you to know.”

Taehyung opens his mouth and closes it again. Never, not once, did he see this coming. He could only have dreamed of this, and yet, now that the moment has come, he can’t think of anything to say.

“Oh, god, I’ve made this weird, haven’t I?” Jimin says when Taehyung still doesn’t speak. He moves away, covering his face with a hand. “Just forget I said anything. This was all a dream.”

“Jimin, wait,” Taehyung says, finally finding his voice, and when Jimin turns his face back towards him, Taehyung does the only thing he can think of. He leans forward and kisses him.

Jimin lets out a surprised puff of air before instantly responding, hand drifting down to rest in the dip of Taehyung’s waist, mouth moving slow and soft over Taehyung’s. His lips are every bit as lush as they look, and taste sweeter than any honey Taehyung could have imagined.

As cliche as it sounds, it feels like an eternity before they pull apart, Jimin’s eyelashes fluttering as his eyes open. Taehyung keeps his hand where it is, stroking softly over Jimin’s jaw.

“Is this okay?” he murmurs.

Jimin huffs out a small laugh. “It’s more than okay.”

“Earlier, by the pool...I thought you were going to kiss me.”

Jimin ducks his head. “I was. But then I got shy, and your phone rang, and it just...the moment wasn’t right.”

Taehyung grins and touches their foreheads together. “You’re so cute, Jiminie.”

“I’m really not.”

“Shut up,” Taehyung says, and then they’re kissing again.

He doesn’t know if it’s the emboldening darkness or the thrill of the moment or some combination of the two, but things heat up fast. One moment, they’re kissing, close-lipped and gentle, and the next, Jimin’s on top of him, hands on his face, thighs around his hips, their mouths meeting with an intensity that’s enough to burn.

Taehyung pulls Jimin down, hands clutching at his shoulderblades, and begins planting kisses along the smooth column of his neck. Jimin moans quietly, breathy and high, tilting his head back for more, and Taehyung mouths at the thin skin until Jimin is trembling, his fingers twisted in Taehyung’s hoodie. Taehyung nips gently at the soft spot where Jimin’s neck meets his shoulder and then moves back up to kiss him again, tangling his fingers in his hair. At some point, Taehyung’s hoodie and shirt have been rucked up, and Jimin’s hand finds its way to the exposed skin, and it’s like his fingers are small suns with the way they send heat shooting through Taehyung’s veins.

They’re both hard. Taehyung can feel it when Jimin presses his hips into his, the pressure sending sparks through him and making him arch up, chasing after it like a moth to a flame.

In one swift movement, Jimin flips them over so that he’s flat on his back with Taehyung on top of him. Taehyung gapes down at him. Even when blurred with the darkness, Jimin is a vision; his hair spills messily off his forehead and onto the pale towels, his lips parted and kiss-bitten, his t-shirt riding up. Taehyung itches with the urge to touch and never stop.

Jimin pulls him down, hand on the back of his neck, to seal their mouths together again, and Taehyung lets his hands slip up his shirt, tracing over the alternating hard muscle and soft flesh there. A shiver runs through Jimin’s body. His legs come up to wrap around Taehyung’s waist, and abruptly, Taehyung has a flashback to Jimin doing the splits during warm-ups one day, and his mind instantly goes south.

They’re not going to go that far right now, though. Not on the floor of the locker room, with no protection or anything.

Instead, Taehyung settles for sliding downwards, curling his hands over Jimin’s hips, mouthing at the exposed skin of his stomach. Jimin shudders underneath him, breath audibly hitching in his throat when Taehyung hooks a finger in the waistband of his sweatpants.

“Can I…?” Taehyung asks, trailing off, but the question is clear enough.

“Yes,” Jimin breathes. He threads his hand through Taehyung’s hair, rubs his thumb over his cheekbone. “Anything.”

Taehyung sucks in a slow breath and then tugs Jimin’s pants down, Jimin lifting his hips so that he can pull them all the way off.

For a long moment, all Taehyung can do is stare. Half undressed, shirt rumpled and hair mussed, tight boxer briefs clinging to muscular thighs and the unmistakable outline of an erection--Taehyung’s head spins with how quickly sharp, hot want crashes over him like a tidal wave. Almost reverently, he runs his palms down Jimin’s thighs. The skin is soft and perfectly smooth. Taehyung has never been more thankful that everyone on the swim team shaves all the hair on their bodies to decrease drag in the water.

Jimin shudders at the touch, hips shifting upwards, and Taehyung replaces his hands with his mouth, bowing his head and sucking kisses into the thin, milky skin of his inner thighs, leaving behind a trail of blooming red. Jimin won’t stop shaking, and when Taehyung glances up, it’s to see Jimin’s head thrown back, neck a long curve washed in darkness, lips parted and eyes closed in pleasure.

Taehyung can’t believe he’s real.

He doesn’t realize he’s frozen in place, just staring, until Jimin lifts his head to look at him, curling in on himself a bit with shyness.

“Why are you staring at me?”

Taehyung presses another kiss to his thigh. “You’re beautiful, that’s all.”

“Tae,” Jimin whines, covering his face with his hands in embarrassment.

“I tell it like it is,” Taehyung says, then he’s bringing his mouth to where Jimin’s dick is straining against the fabric of his boxer briefs, and Jimin’s reply fizzles out into a shuddering gasp.

“Off,” Jimin breathes out after several minutes of Taehyung’s teasing, fingers plucking at his underwear. “Please, take them off.”

Another crest of desire washes over Taehyung at the high-pitched desperation in Jimin’s voice, and he wordlessly slides his fingers under the waistband of Jimin’s underwear and pulls them off.

He sucks in a sharp breath. They should’ve kept the lights on, because Taehyung wants nothing more than to clearly see Jimin laid out in front of him, bare from the waist down, arm thrown over his face and chest heaving as Taehyung lowers his head again and takes him into his mouth.

For an indeterminate amount of time, the world is reduced to the tangy taste on Taehyung’s tongue, the stretch and slide of his mouth, the hand that Jimin slides into Taehyung’s hair, the other hand that Jimin reaches out and grabs Taehyung’s with, the gasps and cries that wrench themselves out of Jimin’s throat and echo in the room. Taehyung’s jaw aches, but it’s the same kind of pleasant pain that comes after a hard day of practice. He’d gladly suffer worse to experience Jimin like this.

Taehyung would have been happy to continue sucking Jimin’s life out through his dick, but when his finger dips lower, brushing between Jimin’s cheeks, and Jimin’s thighs clench around his head, an idea latches onto Taehyung’s mind and won’t let go. He’s once again thankful to be trapped somewhere that has running water and allowed them to shower earlier.

He sits up a bit, replacing his mouth with his hand before Jimin can protest at the loss, and crawls up to kiss him slow and deep before he asks, voice husky, “Can I try something?”

Breathless, Jimin nods.

Taehyung kisses him again before tapping at the side of his thigh. “Turn over. Go on your hands and knees.”

Jimin obeys without question, and then his (very nice, very toned) ass is right in front of Taehyung’s face, and Taehyung is suddenly achingly aware of how his own dick has gone untouched.

He’s a man of priorities, though.

He spreads his hands over Jimin’s ass, marveling at the way his long fingers splay over it, like a pair of bony wings against a full moon, and he wishes again that they’d left the lights on. Lightly, he begins to kiss patterns into the skin. Jimin stiffens a bit when he runs a finger down the crack.

“Tae? What are you doing?”

“Shh, baby, just relax.”

Jimin lets out a squeak when Taehyung spreads him apart, and even though Taehyung can’t see his face, he knows how red it must be.

“Tae--”

The word breaks off as Taehyung dips down and licks tentatively over his hole, Jimin’s head dropping as a gasp falls from his lips. Emboldened by the response, Taehyung repeats the action, but firmer this time, and he’s rewarded with a choked cry, and then a long, drawn-out moan when he does it again and again.

This is new territory for Taehyung, but any and all reservations he might have had fall away with every sound he draws out of Jimin.

“Is it good, baby?” he asks in between swipes of his tongue. “Tell me how it feels.”

“It’s good, it’s so good, please don’t stop. Please.”

“Your wish is my command,” Taehyung says, and pushes his tongue in.

Jimin’s entire body spasms, a broken cry that’s close to a wail spilling from his mouth, and Taehyung thrusts in again, letting out a low moan of his own as he presses a palm to his crotch to relieve some of the pressure there.

As a swimmer, Taehyung thinks it’s pretty safe to say that he has more control over his breathing than most other people do. He’d never have guessed, though, that this would come in handy when trapped in a locker room, lying on the floor and eating out a boy he’s half in love with. His chin is damp with saliva and his knees hurt from the way he’s kneeling, but his mouth and tongue are relentless, and Jimin is absolutely wrecked beneath him, shaking like he’ll fall apart without the heat of Taehyung’s touch.

“Feels so good,” Jimin gasps. “Please, Tae, please--”

It sounds like he’s sobbing. There’s that desperation again, thick and burning hot, Jimin pushing back to meet Taehyung’s mouth. Taehyung thrusts his tongue faster, reaches around to take Jimin’s dick in his hand and jerks him off dirty and quick, and it only takes a few tugs before Jimin is coming apart, shuddering and gasping and letting loose a litany of “Tae, Tae, Tae.”

Taehyung doesn’t stop as Jimin shakes through his orgasm, just slows into gentle licks and strokes, until Jimin pushes weakly at him before collapsing on the mat. Taehyung turns him over and kisses him. His lips taste of salt, and when Taehyung brings his hands up to stroke over his cheeks, he finds them wet.

Alarmed, he pulls back and brushes his thumbs under Jimin’s eyes. Those are definitely tears on his face.

“Jimin? Are you okay? Why are you crying? Did I hurt you?”

Jimin reaches up and pulls Taehyung’s hands away, holding them to his chest instead. He hides his face in Taehyung’s neck.

“You didn’t hurt me. It was just...really good.”

“Oh,” Taehyung says, and then beams. He feels like he’s glowing.

Jimin begins kissing his neck, slow and wet, bringing his attention back to the way his cock is throbbing, so hard that it nearly hurts. He goes pliant under Jimin’s touch, a deep moan bubbling up when Jimin’s fingers dance over the bulge in his pants.

When Jimin reaches in and curls his fingers around him, Taehyung nearly comes right then and there. He hisses, unable to stop himself from thrusting into Jimin’s hand. Jimin touches him painfully slowly, and Taehyung swats at him.

“Faster, Jimin, damn it.”

“Pushy,” Jimin says, but after another slow stroke, he picks up the pace, and Taehyung’s eyes squeeze shut, mouth open in pleasure.

Just as Taehyung begins to feel his orgasm building, Jimin stops. Before Taehyung can kill him, though, Jimin drops down and takes him into his mouth, lips red and full and perfect as they stretch over his dick, and it feels like only a few seconds pass before Taehyung is tightening his hand over the back of Jimin’s neck and panting, “I’m gonna come.”

Jimin doesn’t move, just doubles his efforts, and Taehyung comes with a loud cry that bounces off the lockers.

When he comes back to his senses, chest heaving, Jimin crawls up and kisses him, open-mouthed and sloppy, and he can taste himself on his tongue, and maybe it should be gross but it isn’t.

They end up curled together, sweaty and messy, limbs and brains heavy with post-coital weight. It’s silent save for their slowing breaths and the ever-present dripping of water.

“Hey,” Jimin says, just as Taehyung is teetering on the edge of sleep. His voice is syrupy, slow and roughened. “Do you think Yoongi-hyung and Hoseok-hyung have done it in here?”

Taehyung groans and shoves weakly at Jimin, but he’s laughing, and his chest feels like it’s full of the summer sun.

He falls asleep smiling.

 

--

 

They wake up to the sound of keys jingling.

Jimin reacts first, shaking Taehyung and hissing at him to get up, and Taehyung really isn’t a morning person, so he thinks he deserves an award for the speed at which he leaps up and helps Jimin move the mat and the towels.

They finish tucking away the mat just as they hear the lock of the front door turn. Sending each other panicked looks, they leap behind the lockers in a desperate bid to hide, and the door opens. A moment later, the lights flicker on.

Taehyung knows it’s probably just the janitor doing his duties for the day, but that doesn’t stop his heart from jackrabbiting, his breath lying coiled in his chest, until he hears the footsteps fade and the door slam shut again.

“Phew,” he breathes, turning to Jimin relievedly, and then he’s losing his breath all over again.

In the yellow locker room lights, Taehyung can see the blossoming hickeys that pepper Jimin’s neck. His hair is mussed, eyes slightly swollen, face soft with the last remaining dregs of sleep, and he smells like sweat and sex, and the memories of last night come crashing into Taehyung like a freight train.

Jimin seems to be on the same wavelength, staring back at Taehyung, and he looks almost...scared.

Taehyung can’t have that. So he pushes some hair out of Jimin’s eyes and presses a kiss to his mouth, soft and close-lipped, and whispers, “Good morning.”

The smile that breaks out over Jimin’s face is worth everything in the world. Taehyung kisses him again, because he wants to see that smile one more time, or maybe just because he can.

They should probably talk about this, but they’ve just spent the night sleeping on the floor of the locker room, and their teammates will arrive soon, banging their lockers and slinging jokes and laughter, and Jimin and Taehyung will have to pretend to have just arrived, exchanging secret smiles, and someone will call out the hickeys on Jimin’s neck, and Taehyung will grin devilishly and everyone will know without saying where Jimin got those from, and Jimin will be embarrassed but secretly pleased.

They’ll talk about it, but for now, Jimin’s fingers warm against his, eyes soft in the muted lights, Taehyung thinks they’ve said everything they need to say.