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the taste of you (is just as sweet)

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The problem starts with Taehyung and a last minute desperate decision.

It's a combination lethal enough to shove Jimin off the edge into a situation he’s ready to regret, i.e. the fact he needs extra credit to save his ass from failing his Intro to Nutrition elective, an elective Taehyung promised with tears in his eyes and hands clasped would be fun, interesting, exciting. At the time Taehyung considered food as proof that real intimacy existed between people like them, the definition of platonic soulmates. Or whatever.

That was then, when Taehyung overlooked the word bioengineering written in the syllabus. Two classes into the semester and an apology iced coffee later, Taehyung dropped the elective.

The other thing with Taehyung and a bad decision is that, together, they're set to upgrade Jimin’s life to ten levels of shitty. He doesn’t want to recall the disaster that was Jackson’s party a year ago when a drunk Taehyung took a dare and went streaking on the streets after one too many tequila shots, or the past summer when Taehyung somehow managed this time to get him go streaking. Some decisions, much like that one, are left alone.

Nutrition, apparently, requires a basic sense of food, of actual cooking. And because it’s just food Jimin assumed at first he wouldn't have to endure too much. Food. That’s easy. Salt and sugar taste different; meat is not the same as poultry. Easy.

So the impact was that much harder when he got an email warning him about having to retake the class again next semester. For not a cooking class, where Jimin would be content with just scrambling eggs and killing time, but a baking class.

It couldn’t have been his entire fault. There'd been nothing in the syllabus telling him he would need to know the ins and outs of the fucking politics of nutrition. He may have failed that test. Or two.

“Think about it this way,” Taehyung had said before Jimin could dislocate his jaw and consider letting him suffer through Namjoon’s occasional drunken monologues alone on the night they found out Jimin has no choice but to take the class. “You'll finally learn how to be efficient in the kitchen. Make a cake and probably not die. Just a thought.”

And if Taehyung were right, it could have saved Jimin the embarrassment of stumbling into the first class ten minutes late and messing up a cake by having eggshells in the batter and leaving it in the oven for too long. The smoke has already dissipated but there's batter residue on Jimin’s hands and his shirt, and he's sticky and tired and gross and goddamn if he isn't going to wring the living shit out of Taehyung when he sees him.

Because with Jimin, it doesn’t stop at the burnt cake. It could have (really, honestly), but it doesn’t. Not when the world has it out for him, not when Jimin and luck share zero compatibility, and with what little luck he does have, it can’t do anything to save Jimin from inevitably fucking up somewhere.

This is what essentially goes down: there’s another guy sharing the same station with Jimin and has an arm covered in a mixture of egg yolks and milk, wearing an expression that doesn’t look as miffed as it was five minutes ago, right after the instructor took the first failed cake away and reluctantly let Jimin try to bake another one. The second attempt went to shit after the bowl in which Jimin’s wet ingredients were placed had been tipped over by an accidental elbow nudge, spilling all over the other end of the station, which ultimately led to someone lowly muttering what the fuck and Jimin frantically trying to swipe paper towels from the holder without tripping on his feet.

The guy still looks thoroughly pissed enough to shove the electric mixer down Jimin’s throat. Jimin probably deserves it.

“Um,” Jimin starts. He tries not to make the mistake of starting the apology with dude or bro as he usually would because guy with the combat boots and angry eyebrows doesn’t seem like the type to appreciate that very well. “I’m sorry for the mess on your―on you.”

He’s about to continue on with something else, preferably something more eloquent, when the guy looks up from wiping his arm to stare at Jimin, and Jimin is halfway into the first word when he sees the guy is cute up close. Frown and all. There's a small dimple below the corner of his mouth when he presses his lips together. That doesn't do Jimin’s mental circuit system any good.

Underneath the cap he's wearing, Jimin notices he has two silver eyebrow piercings and they do nothing to stop Jimin’s mind from wondering about other things. Unspecified, weird things. Things you shouldn't be thinking about a person whose jacket you just trashed with not-quite-yet cake batter in the ten minutes that you've met.

He's too caught up in all the pretty that he almost doesn't hear the throat clearing. “You could at least pretend to look apologetic while checking me out.”

Jimin recoils internally, trying to fight the feeling of uneasiness in his gut. “Sorry. I’m sorry. It's my first time baking and I'm not really prime kitchen material.” He fucking stutters and goddamn, Jimin cannot get any worse than this.

“I didn't even notice,” the guy says dryly, glancing over at Jimin’s station. “I've never seen a person who lets a cake rest while the oven is on.”

“I'll make it up to you,” Jimin says before he can think about it. “I could pay you in food? Starbucks? I could even pay for dry cleaning? Or the jacket? Just give me a price and your name and I’ll get it done.”

The guy regards him with a vaguely interested look, discarding the used paper towels in the garbage bin. “You're pretty enthusiastic for someone who could've just went with ‘won't happen again’ and leave. You'd really pay for my jacket?”

Jimin barely has enough to pay for daily consumption and it’ll take a few months to fill up his bank account if he does pay for the jacket (it doesn't look cheap). But Jimin was raised right and spectacularly isn’t full of shit so if he’ll have to insist for extra shifts at the campus bookstore, then: “I mean. Yeah. If that’s what’ll make up for it. Money’s not an issue.”

“Really,” the guy says, a subtle turn of his lips. “It’s fine. I was just playing. This shit’s not really worth paying for. Was about to give it away, anyway.” He’s done cleaning and throws his bag on, walking past Jimin. “But the thought was nice. Thanks.”

“Wait, uh.” The guy turns. “I didn't get your name.” The crease in his forehead deepens. “Just, you know. Just in case.” Smooth.

“Right,” the guy drawls, his lips twitching. “It's Yoongi. For just in case.”

“Cool.” He clears his throat. “No, I mean, I'm Jimin.”

Yoongi snorts and this time a half-smile forms. It suits him. “Try not to burn yourself.”

He's out the door before Jimin can respond, his figure disappearing around the corner with shoulders slouched and hands tucked in the pockets of his stained jacket. It takes Jimin a moment to snap out of the brief stupor, and he runs a hand through his hair with an exhausted sigh.

He regrets it as soon as he realizes there’s still batter on his hands, and quietly groans at how that'll be a bitch to get out later, will be an even bigger bitch to handle when he's walking through campus with pseudo-come in his hair.

His instructor gives him a withering look as he cleans up his station while she calls someone to repair the oven, or what's left from the damages. Jimin sends a sheepish smile her way and slips out the door before he can cause anything else to crash and burn, resulting in messes on cute guys and three-day migraines a baking instructor doesn’t deserve.

--

Jimin’s schedule changes from its usual setup. It’s wake up, go to class, go to work, do homework, physically fight Taehyung for dibs on the shower, and sleep on every other day except the weekends and Wednesday. Wednesday is different. It’s wake up, go to class, bake and bruise for a few hours, go to work, do homework, physically fight Taehyung for dibs on the shower and win, go to sleep. Restart the next day.

Baking becomes more than the chocolate chip cookies and vanilla cakes Jimin anticipated. He's gone through enough snickerdoodles, crème brûlées, puddings, and pies to temporarily feel nauseous at the mention, sight, or taste of sugar.

His baking skills have improved somewhat—he would even go as far as to name himself decent. Just barely, because he's still dropping hot trays on the floor and giving his instructor mild heart palpitations.

There are some things Jimin can't escape, like the burnt fingers, the wrong ingredients, miscalculated measurements, the right ingredients used in the wrong way. He gets through them gradually. A little thing to atone for his previous failure in nutrition. And listening to Taehyung.

It’s progress. Slow and excruciating on the hands, but still progress.

Cute Angry Eyebrows Guy―Yoongi―becomes a constant in the kitchen, next to the oven and refrigerator, and Jimin thinks that’s progress. After the jacket incident, they've more or less become unofficial baking partners in the days that they've worked sharing a station.

Yoongi, Jimin learns, is a fourth year sound engineering major, a dark chocolate over milk chocolate person, and thirty percent sarcasm. He's just as bad as Jimin is in the kitchen but only saves face because he's better at pretending and making everyone think that he knows what he's doing. At least for the best of two minutes.

“Wasn’t there something else we were supposed to make?” Jimin looks over at Yoongi’s stove. “Did we get in everything?”

“Does it matter,” Yoongi says. He has one elbow on the counter, chin in his palm. “It’s fruit. You can’t mess up fruit.”

“Still, I’d rather not be on the receiving end of Hyori’s disappointed glare. The one where she has like,” his fingers try to express it, “thirty lines on her forehead.”

There’s amusement playing in Yoongi’s eyes, an expression Jimin has become accustomed to quickly in the few weeks they've talked. He opens his mouth before he ends up staring at Yoongi for a second too long to be considered comfortable. “If we followed all the instructions I wrote down, we should be good.”

Yoongi gives him a dull look. “Yeah, no offense, but your handwriting is shit. It’s not even chicken scratch. It’s just scratch.”

For the baking class, there's at least one partner exercise where they must make one out of five desserts suggested to them. There's a lesson in communication and compromise in the exercise, says Hyori, their instructor, or that's what it's supposed to be: a lesson. Because compromise, they say, strengthens the bond. Maybe. It should. It's all about building character, building trust. Some shit like that.

Jimin doesn't know if compromise is the right word for what he and Yoongi are attempting to do in this case making a fruit tart. They’ve done the prep. The tart is already baking in the oven. There’s nothing that says they’ve done something wrong.

“All right, look―” Yoongi points at the list. “You wrote about the crust, the raspberry jam, butter and almond mix thing, and pears. We did all that. The last thing you wrote was ‘put in oven twenty mins at preheated 425 deckers.’ I'm assuming you meant degrees.”

“Yeah, but.” Jimin’s eyebrows wrinkle when he looks at Yoongi. “I didn’t see the mix.”

“The almond thing?”

“Yeah. Weren't you in charge of that?”

Yoongi stares back at him. “I thought you were doing it.”

Jimin stares more. “I was doing the crust.”

“I was doing the pears.”

“Then, wh—Christ. What. Damn. Is that bad? What happens if we don’t put it in?”

“I don't know.” Yoongi’s eyes shift to the oven and see the thin line of smoke starting to emerge. “I guess we’ll find out soon.”

They find out that it is indeed not a Good Idea. The next few minutes are filled with several coughing fits and a flurry of smoke in one half of the kitchen. The fire alarm goes off, someone yells, and utensils clash to the floor. Out of that a generously burnt fruit tart survives, beating against some of the odds.

That doesn't stop Hyori from making a strangled, dying noise when she comes back from the bathroom and asking herself why when she rings up maintenance for the fourth time. Good for character building, they say. Right.

--

“Well, well,” Taehyung says once he sees Jimin walk through their door. “If it isn't my favorite tiny culinary artist. You look like putrid shit.”

Jimin spares him a tired glance. “Get the fuck off my bed.”

Taehyung leans back against the wall and crosses one leg over the other. “Can't do that, buddy. Got an orgo test on Friday and your bed is hard enough to keep me awake. Joke intended.”

“Not one of your best,” Jimin mutters, tipping a bottle of water into his mouth. He’s known Taehyung for three long years, which is more than enough time to learn how to become desensitized to most of the shit he spews out. Sometimes he can be funny. Sometimes Jimin laughs.

“You came from baking?”

Swallowing, Jimin shakes his head and gestures behind his shoulder with the bottle. “The gym. Baking’s on Wednesdays.”

Taehyung folds his arms behind his head. He’s surrounded by textbooks and worksheets that he’s kept since the beginning of the semester, covering the corners of Jimin’s bed. He claims the only approach he can handle to studying organic chemistry is if all the notes are all around him, to give him a sense of false security that he won’t fuck the test up. It works seventy-five percent of the time, usually. “No wonder you're in a pissy mood. You didn't get to see Hot Stuff today, aw. I shed a tear.”

He flicks water at Taehyung’s face. “Shut up. That's not the reason.”

“Sure, okay.” Taehyung’s grin says he believes otherwise and Jimin wants to punch it in. Taehyung hasn’t kept quiet once after figuring about Jimin’s new partner―an insatiable infatuation as Taehyung likes to think it should be called―and takes every opportunity to talk about the theories of how good the guy’s dick must be and if Jimin is just preparing himself for disappointment later. “I still have yet to taste your diarrhea-inducing desserts. When do I get the privilege of having such?”

“This coming from someone who’s considered a health hazard in the kitchen,” says Jimin wryly.

“You try to make waffles by scratch once and suddenly you're an abomination to cooking. Cruel and unnecessary. I was only trying to be nice.”

“Seokjin almost throttled you,” Jimin reminds him.

“Seokjin was cancelled the first time he kicked me out of the kitchen,” Taehyung huffs. “My own brother, my blood. A terrible shame.”

“I still don’t get why you thought using cookie cutters would make the shape of waffles.”

“I wanted to customize them,” Taehyung flaps an arm in Jimin’s direction. “You were going to have baby dinosaurs on yours. Now you’ll never know the taste of baby dinosaur on your waffles.”

Jimin fake-croons, taking a seat next to him and throwing an arm around his shoulders. “Look at little Tae still being pouty for being banned from the kitchen. So cute.”

Taehyung retches, trying to pull away from Jimin’s hold. “You're sweating balls and getting it all over me, you heathen. Move.”

Out of spite, Jimin moves in closer, nuzzles the side of Taehyung’s face, and laughs when he gets shoved aside with a yell.

Taehyung rubs vigorously at his face. “Aw, fuck, your nasty boy sweat is gonna make me grow a zit on my cheek. It’s gonna be a bitch to pop.”

“If you do have a zit, do not,” Jimin kicks at Taehyung’s arm, “try to pop it on my fucking bed.”

Taehyung waggles his eyebrows. “We can talk about Hot Shit if you want.”

“Dude,” Jimin says, exasperated.

“Okay, sorry, sorry. I’d prefer a better name, too. Something to go with the baking theme. Death by Chocolate―no. Sex by Chocolate. That’s a hot name. I would totally eat that. And fuck it.”

“I don't need to hear this right now,” Jimin mutters, heading to the bathroom.

“But aren't you glad I did it, though? If I didn’t drop out you wouldn’t have even known the guy. Where's my thank you, Taehyung, I love you, Taehyung? Maybe even a I’ll suck your dick, Taehyung?”

“I’ll pound your ass.”

“Oh, kinky. Though you wouldn't be able to handle my ass.”

Jimin has the restraint and decency not to pummel Taehyung into the ground. He still holds Taehyung down on the bed to give him a stinging forehead flick to last all day and ignores the incoherent threats thrown at him in rapid succession.

--

It's a Wednesday when Jimin gets a text from Taehyung telling him he's already ordered Jimin his regular from a coffee shop on the other side of campus. It's more in the form of in five minutes come get ur fucking poison drink you expen$ive bitch.

As a chance to redeem himself from ditching Jimin in nutrition and being the cause of most things bad in Jimin’s life as of present, Taehyung has to exhaust his wallet to pay for Jimin’s drinks when required. It's the least he can do. He could have been used as a substitute for a pull-up bar in their dorm instead.

Jimin is riding his longboard through campus, picking up speed on streets where a few people are walking to and from classes. It's unusually warm out today, when during the entire season it's been rainy and cold. He doesn't take his board out often during this time when rough traffic and construction work make transportation difficult. He did it once. Suffered from a bruised ass. Never again.

With his longboard in hand, Jimin walks into the shop Taehyung mentioned, going past the register line to the pickup line. Takes out his phone and leaves one headphone in as he looks through every social site he's on and waits for his drink. He’s watching Hyejin’s story on Snapchat when an order is called.

“Large peppermint mocha for Yeonju.” And wait. Wait, wait. Jimin knows that voice. It's too much of a low drawl, raspy and cutting, to not know whose voice that belongs to. Especially with how he's been hearing it make snide comments on his poor baking technique and crack awkward jokes about eggs for the last few weeks.

He looks up and watches Yoongi in an apron with the shop’s logo on front hand over the drink to a customer. He’s worn a hat with the same design, eyebrows prominent under the shadow. He keeps watching as the light catches the glint of Yoongi’s piercings when Yoongi turns his head toward him.

“Oh my god,” he says. “Jesus. It's you again.”

Jimin stares at him more openly and asks, “You work here?”

“Yeah. Don't look too excited.” He calls out another order―small pomegranate iced tea for Sungho. “When I'm not baking cookies I'm here making overpriced coffee.”

Jimin cracks a cheeky grin. “Are you shit at this, too?”

“I could spit in your drink. Don't sass me.” Yoongi calls out the name of an order. After, he says, “I've never seen you come in here before.”

“I haven’t really ever crossed this side of campus. Barely had any classes around here. When do you get off work?”

“At four―” Iced lite caramel latte for Dahye. “Around the time when baking starts.”

“You work in a coffee shop, make coffee, sweet coffee, but then you still confuse salt for sugar while baking cakes.”

“I do not work here to be insulted,” Yoongi says, pressing the blender on. “You ass. You think you're funny?”

Jimin places an arm on the counter and petulantly replies, “I’m very funny.”

Yoongi shoots him a sure I believe you look and shuts the blender off. “Right, okay.” He looks down at the cup. “Iced green tea latte for Small Hot Dog?”

God. God fuck, he's going to kill Taehyung. It can’t purely be a stroke of luck that this is the drink Jimin usually has with a fucking name like that.

He makes an odd noise at the back of his throat and sucks it down, holding out for a second or two (or three, for the sake of his dignity). “Yeah, that's―uh. Me,” he says, coughing. His cheeks feel like they’re twisting and he's hoping there's nothing red or red passing on his cheeks to give him away.

He's going to fucking kill Taehyung.

There’s a pause in the atmosphere, an awkward stop in the bustle of things. Things resume again when Yoongi raises an eyebrow, glances down, and looks back up with a shit-eating grin. “So how small are we talking?”

“Dude, fuck off,” and it makes Yoongi laugh.

He hands over Jimin’s green tea, remnants of the laugh lingering on his lips. “Enjoy.”

Jimin starts to turn, hesitates, and then turns back again. “Hey, if you wanna like, go to class together after work I can wait for you when you're done,” he suggests timidly, tapping one end of his longboard against the floor.

Yoongi stares at him. “If this is some pity thing for still feeling bad about that first day―”

“No, no, just. For whatever. I'm usually waiting around to go to class around this time, so I’ll probably just be coming in here every Wednesday watching you work, anyway.” He waits for a rejection, a weird look.

He gets: “Fucking creep,” but Yoongi’s mouth still curls slightly.

“Is that a yes?” Jimin wants to pinch himself from sounding a little too hopeful.

Yoongi’s fingers drum against the counter as he makes a show of contemplating his answer. “This doesn’t mean you get the special ‘Give Me a Free Drink’ treatment for showing up every week just because we’re friends and you think you have some reign over me. People talk, and they talk a lot about exploiting supposedly soft baristas.”

Even if he tries, Jimin can't stop the smile that breaks across his face. Progress. “So that’s a yes.”

Yoongi hums, one hand on his face as if to look disinterested, and if Jimin takes the chance to look closer he could see the pink dusting Yoongi’s ears. (He doesn’t.) “Now piss off, Small Hot Dog, you're holding up the line.”

--

In the weeks that pass, soufflés begin to look a smidge less intimidating and flour becomes intimately connected to Jimin’s knuckles. Still a lot of struggling and fucking up, but Jimin is getting there.

Wednesdays also easily begin to have a consistency made from milk, sugar, and Yoongi. Not that Jimin has anything to complain about that.

One of the Wednesdays are spent making cupcakes, a smoother task compared to the macarons they had (read: attempted and failed, miserably) to make. So far nothing is hurt. Or dead.

“Paula Deen wouldn't do butter like this,” Yoongi says, knocking on the rim of the mixer. “You don't have enough.”

“Any more than this and the cake’s gonna start to fall apart,” Jimin claims.

“After everything that's happened in here, I’m very doubtful to trust you.”

Which Jimin can't blame him for. It's true. Hyori is still recovering from the time Jimin almost dropped a plate on her feet. She hasn't stepped three feet in Jimin’s direction since. Still, it doesn't stop him from calling Yoongi an asshole. “What, like you can do any better?”

“Unlike you, I’m good at baking.” Yoongi holds out an unfrosted cupcake. “Look at this. It's the first thing I haven't burnt in two years. This is art.”

“It also probably tastes like death,” Jimin says, which earns him an unimpressed look.

“Right, well, asshole, it still looks good. If you can fool someone with one half of the quality of your work, the other half doesn't matter.”

“Unless someone’s dying,” Jimin adds in.

“That seems more like a you problem.” Yoongi cracks an egg into a bowl and looks back at him expectantly. “Your turn.”

When Jimin goes to crack one, a few eggshells fall in with the egg and he pouts at how he can't seem to fix that problem.

“We can't all be perfect,” Yoongi remarks, smug. Leaning one side against the counter, he lazily picks at the chocolate sprinkles that’ll be used for the topping of the cupcakes when they're done. If they'll be done. Or if they'll be any greater than the taste of shit.

“You can't even hold a pan for two minutes,” Jimin retorts.

“Some of us also can't and don't want to benchpress tables as a hobby,” Yoongi says in distaste.

“I don’t benchpress tables. And the gym isn't so bad.” Jimin reduces the speed to medium low. “If you actually, I don't know, stepped inside for thirty seconds without the reason being the air conditioner.”

Yoongi stops placing the cupcake liners into the tray to put a hand against his hip. Jimin thinks he fits the domestic-husband-who-likes-to-bake-and-make-dry-one-liners type with that look, if it were any true. “I’ve seen you almost bust your ass on the floor when trying to grab some weights.”

“You’ve stopped to see me lift?” Jimin asks, giving him a sly smile. He starts laughing then, shaking his head as he turns to pour the batter. When he doesn't hear a mocking comment about his assholery or feel a fist against his arm, Jimin looks back. Finds that Yoongi isn’t pissed and doesn't have a hand raised. “Wait, for real?”

“No―what? I,” Yoongi turns away, the blush on his face going along with him as he reaches for the sugar on the side. “Shut up. No.”

But Jimin doesn't relent, nudging Yoongi’s elbow with his. “Whoa, hey, you can't stop now. We’re just getting to the good part. Spill.”

Yoongi throws him a stale don’t make me do this look. “I've seen you at the gym sometimes,” he mumbles reluctantly. “It's near the science building so I pass by. Because there's like that huge window and. Yeah. Stop. Don't give me that face.”

“What face?” Jimin can feel himself stretching the grin even more.

“That,” he points at Jimin’s face. “Repulsive.”

“If you wanted to join, you could've just asked,” Jimin teases. He's talking about joining the gym. He thinks he's talking about joining the gym, but seconds later he realizes there's something more suggestive in his words that restrains him from saying anything else that might sound weird.

Yoongi doesn't catch it (or, he pretends not to, who knows) but he does roll his eyes. “You’d probably think you could benchpress me.”

Yeah, that. Among other things. “You'd probably let me.” Which does wonders to the air around them, tensing it up, an odd, odd feeling passing in the shared sounds of timers going off and spoons clacking.

“Got frosting here,” Yoongi says suddenly, pressing a finger on Jimin’s nose and spreading some on the bridge. “But you're still not cute.”

It changes the atmosphere around completely, leading to Jimin telling Yoongi he’d be the perfect Guy Fieri replacement because he's got the hair potential, and dealing with a punch to the shoulder, a muttered dickhead getting Jimin to whine about kitchen cruelty.

--

Pollen season is a hard bitch to reckon with, especially when it comes down to trying to focus in class without bursting a lung in the middle of a discussion about dialect variations. It makes Jimin look like a walking groggy disaster and makes him feel worse than a walking groggy disaster. There's only so much he can withhold before he's wheezing and going through four packets of tissues.

He texts Taehyung to get him some medicine from the drugstore as he walks through the door. He’s in the middle of replying to what if there is no claritin do i just let you die jimin that’s murder when he moves up the line. It’s not as busy and Jimin makes an order quickly, plucking out a few bucks from his wallet. Yoongi is putting whipped cream on a drink when Jimin appears in front of the counter.

“Hey,” Jimin says, and sneezes.

Yoongi’s eyebrows rise. “Caught a cold or something?”

“Allergies. I’m prone to pollen,” he sniffles, rubbing the tip of his nose with the back of his hand. “I’ll be suffering for the next three days.”

“Tough.” He calls out a name. “What’d you order?”

“Ginger tea,” Jimin sneezes again. “Shit.”

“That bad?” Yoongi asks, calling out for someone’s iced americano. He moves to rub the space between his lower piercing and eye. Jimin notices he’s wearing one of his own snapbacks backward instead of the shop’s brand name.

“I’ll live. Maybe. You’ll find out by next week.”

“Sounds promising,” Yoongi says, a smile on the edge of his mouth. It completely slips off his face when another figure slides in the empty space next to Yoongi, a smug grin in place.

“Aw, Yoongi,” the new guy coos. He’s in the same attire as Yoongi is, gray shirt and green apron, but without the cap. “You’ve never been this cute with me before. I’m hurt.”

“Who the fuck let you out here,” Yoongi mutters, pressing a hand to his head as if to help with an oncoming headache. “Aren’t you supposed to be stacking supplies in the back?”

“Bomi let me work in the front with you today.” His eyes shift to Jimin, and there’s something mischievous flitting in them. “Said to stop anyone from being distracted.”

The irritation in Yoongi’s glare could burn through the guy’s arteries. “Then piss off and go help Changkyun with that.”

He clicks his tongue. “Being unprofessional in front of the customer? Bomi wouldn’t appreciate that. How could you do this to—” his hand gestures to Jimin.

“It’s Jimin,” he supplies.

“Right. Jimin. So you're the Jimin,” he grins again. “Jeongguk. Nice to meet you. I'm sure you've heard next to nothing about me. I've heard so much about you, though.”

There’s an oh my fucking god from Yoongi and he looks like he’s about to shove Jeongguk out of his space, maybe sever his neck from his body, before Jeongguk leans forward, refusing to budge. “I swear to God, kid, I’ll tie your dick down with wire.”

“Ouch.” Jeongguk puts a hand to his chest in mock offense. “Bet you wouldn't do Jimin like that.”

“For fuck’s sake—” he exhales through his nose sharply before setting down a cup in front of Jimin. “Here. There's honey in it, though I don't know if it'll help you much with the allergies.”

“I didn't ask for honey,” Jimin says.

“Yeah, I know.” Yoongi shrugs to look casual, a nervous hand fumble. “Thought you might need it. Or. Yeah.”

“Oh. Huh. All right.” Jimin takes it in his hands and quietly says, “Thanks,” before an offbeat moment of silence takes place. One, two.

“Wow,” deadpans Jeongguk, disrupting it. “As much as I enjoy the chemistry of two slugs as the next person, I gotta survive on minimum wage so if you'll excuse me.” He leaves his spot and faces away from them while starting on a new set of orders, but not without turning back to pointedly stare at them in disappointment.

“He's nice,” Jimin comments.

“We used to lock him in the freezer when he got mouthy. Not too late to do that again,” Yoongi intentionally says a little louder, shooting daggers at the back of Jeongguk’s head.

“You talk about me?” Jimin asks. He's even more delighted to see the blush covering Yoongi’s face.

“No,” he snaps, although it doesn't sound as biting as he probably intended it to be.

Jimin starts to laugh but ends up sneezing again, and groans. “Fuck, I’m just gonna get into bed. Can't bother going to work.”

“Must suck ass being like that for the entire day,” Yoongi hums in sympathy.

Jimin agrees with a sniff, raising the cup in gratitude. “I'll pay you back for this.”

“Nah, it's fine. Feel better.” A tug at the lips.

Jimin is already on his way out the door when he turns back. “I’ll see you on Wednesday?”

“He’ll be waiting,” Jeongguk sings, pulling out of the way just in time to avoid Yoongi snapping a dirty towel in his face.

--

With all that's occurred, Intro to Nutrition doesn't get any easier but it's become more tolerable with the knowing comfort that Jimin won’t fail the class completely. He’ll scrape by, if he’s lucky, which he feels he is. For now.

Instances in which Jimin hadn't known a single clue about how to deal with difficult classes has him remembering the two AM stress-outs where he'd release steam by abruptly yelling at the material in front of him, startling Taehyung out of sleep and making him grab the meter stick next to his bed on instinct.

Things have been different since then, mellowed out. There has been considerably less screaming and hair ripping involved.

Jimin feels like he had reconciled bitterly with late night stress-outs when he painstakingly had gone through a recipe he chose to make a dessert for the baking class as homework for the last two nights. It took him a day to buy the ingredients, another day to make sure he wouldn't destroy their kitchen and accidentally kill Taehyung in the process.

“Can we rate it on looks?” Yoongi scribbles on the sheet of paper. “Two out of ten.”

Jimin disagrees. “A two? No, dude, this should be at least a four.”

Yoongi points the pen to Jimin’s foil tray. “I still don't know what the fuck that is. It looks like loose dirt.”

“They're brownies.”

“Huh.” Yoongi leans over the tray and squints. “Still a two.”

They were told to bring in their desserts to rate for taste and creativity—appearance didn't make the cut as no one’s had the actual time to think about how to make their crap look pretty. It also saved time. Jimin barely had the stamina at three in the morning to make sure he cared.

“Yours is a five,” Jimin says, looking at Yoongi’s version of a pound cake. “That's not a normal shape.”

“What the hell do you know if it's normal or not.”

“Pound cakes aren't supposed to be in the shape of a trapezoid.”

“This is a fucking rectangle.”

“You gave me a two.”

Yoongi huffs out a half-laugh. “All right, loser, fine. I'll take the five.” A minute later he says, “Are we tasting this?”

“Yeah.”

“Do I want to taste this?”

“There's no choice. Need to pass the class,” Jimin tells him, handing him a piece.

“That's fucked up. I could die and it would all be for a grade.” Yoongi shoves it in his mouth. Chews, then swallows. “Four. It's lacking moisture.”

“I'll take it.” Jimin eats some of Yoongi’s cake. “Three point two.”

“I highly doubt that deserves a three point two. I even put cinnamon in there.”

“Seriously? You try tasting this.”

Yoongi glares. “Fucker. Fine.” Pushes at Jimin’s hip for him to move before cutting the rest of the cake.

And Jimin finds that he likes this, how easy it is to fling insults and take jabs at each other. To fall into banter without misunderstanding. It's easy, uncomplicated. Both comforting and strange. It's new to talk to someone who isn't trying to bite his head off (Taehyung, Hyejin) or persuading him that vodka and Red Bull together isn't that bad (also Taehyung, except for that one time Jimin didn’t know any better).

“They wonder who has enough free time to come in and willingly talk to me,” Yoongi says in the midst of their conversation about work and annoying people they’ve met, referring to how his coworkers react when Jimin comes to get coffee. After the first time with Jeongguk, Jimin has seen Jeongguk, a chill guy named Kihyun, and Yoongi’s boss, Bomi, tease him consistently during work hours. He's seen Yoongi disgruntled and maybe even mad, but he's never seen Yoongi curl into something small and become flustered. He would tell Yoongi it's (he’s) cute but staying physically intact is a tad more important.

“I like talking to you.” There's a but that goes unsaid. But I like talking to you. But you're cute when you scrunch your face at me. But I think I like you like this.

Yoongi is staring at him in some way. Gives him a look that's both undecipherable and telling. A look that says something but unsure of what exactly it wants to say. “Yeah,” he says faintly. “Same.”

Jimin averts his gaze somewhere else when it starts getting too much for him. Easy. Uncomplicated.

A while later and Yoongi asks, “Wanna share some of this shitty cake?” He smirks, a playful gleam in his eye that's now all too familiar.

And Jimin, whipped and helpless, agrees and submerges deeper in between taste-tests and dry brownies.

--

“I honestly thought you'd be suffering in that class,” Taehyung says. He’s sprawled out on the couch and has one hand in a bag of chips. “And then Sex by Chocolate appears like magic and suddenly wet dreams have become thirty times wetter. You should thank me. I saved you from the occasional lonely night with your hand.”

Jimin’s head rolls back from where he's laying on the bed. “And even then I’d still be getting more than you.”

“I hope you choke on his dick and die. But not really because I’d be a mess if you die.”

It's a Wednesday and an email was sent out earlier to notify the class that there would be no baking today as something came up. Jimin has been sitting around in his room trying to start his science summary article. He's been working on APA format for the last two hours, and Taehyung, having only a nine AM lecture on Wednesdays, has been sitting on the couch since noon.

With his mouth full Taehyung tries to say, “You having fun sexting over there? Did he already send you high-res pics of his dick? Also, can I see?”

“We’re not sexting, he didn't, and even if he did the answer would be fuck no.”

“Rude. I would have let you seen dick pics.”

“But you wouldn't get dick pics. So.”

“Oh, okay,” Taehyung says loudly. “Okay, fuck you, too.”

They’re texting but not in the way Taehyung is thinking. All Yoongi has been sending him are poor attempts at food jokes. A cringe-worthy dad sort of funny. A Yoongi sort of funny.

“Jimin,” Taehyung whines. He leans back against the head of the couch. “I've been seeing you ignore me for an hour and I’m bored and needy and almost out of Cheetos.”

Taehyung, who's gone through enough fads in one lifetime, had a very memorable phase known infamously as the Cheeto phase. It's still a vivid, gaudy orange memory in Jimin’s mind. Orange sheets, orange clothes, orange hair, orange cheese dust on the carpet, orange spray tan. He hasn't been able to see the color orange as the same since.

Although Taehyung fell out of the phase, old habits, ones that don't involve making Taehyung glow in the dark, aka eating Cheetos, stay around.

“You think it's big?”

“What's big.”

“Come on.” Taehyung’s leg languidly stretches over the arm of the couch. “You know how big it is. You should have at least seen it once.”

Jimin looks away from his laptop and stares upside down at Taehyung. “I've never seen his fucking dick, Taehyung.”

“You've seen my dick.”

“Involuntarily, because you shoved your junk in my face once asking me if I thought you had genital herpes.”

“Oh, yeah,” Taehyung laughs, shoving a handful of Cheetos into his mouth. “War flashbacks.”

Buzzing on his side, Jimin’s phone alerts him of a new text message. He picks it up to see Yoongi’s what day of the week do chickens hate the most and it’s Fry-day. It’s the third one so far and Jimin can and can’t believe the extent of Yoongi’s humor.

“Really though, Yoongi doesn't peg me as the Sex by Chocolate sort of dude,” Taehyung decides to bring up later, a casual conversation starter.

Jimin glances up briefly from his reply to another one of Yoongi’s terrible jokes to look at Taehyung. “What kind of dude does he peg you as?”

“More like a hardcore Tutti Frutti.” And judging by the small amount of time it's taken him to answer that, Taehyung has been nesting that in his mind for a while. “But ironically hardcore. Does that make sense?”

“No,” Jimin says truthfully. “But I can see it.”

“Right.” Taehyung nods, looking up at the ceiling as he pushes two Cheetos into his mouth.

jimin
what other gross jokes did you get off the internet

yoongi
first of all they're not gross

From across the room, Taehyung slowly chews. “I thought you had a crucial, life-threatening homework mission to do. I guess dick is that more important.”

“For one minute of your life, can you stop talking about cock?”

“Why would I ever want to do that,” Taehyung asks him seriously. “Suck a dick, love a dick. Fuck a dick.”

“Fuck a—?”

“I don’t know. It sounded better in my head.”

yoongi
like listen
What do you call a fake noodle

jimin
a disgrace

yoongi
no
an impasta
hahaha

jimin
damn...that was bad

yoongi
Yeah ok i know you laughed

“Wow. Wow. Look at that,” Taehyung says, hand out. “You never smile when you read my texts. I am. Offended.”

Ignoring him, Jimin types down another sentence for his summary and goes back to his phone.

jimin
they're just as bad as your baking

yoongi
? you shouldn't be talking

jimin
i’ve gotten better!!!! you barely improved

yoongi
yes i have

jimin
realizing butter can be salted or unsalted isnt improvement

The couch squeaks when Taehyung shuffles his body around, and he mutters sourly about the absence of amiable friendship in this room. Jimin senses the judging glance Taehyung is pointing at him to see if Jimin is paying him any attention.

yoongi
Okay so my baking skills are…”subpar” whatever
But im a pro at making authentic instant ramen

jimin
your bullshit scale must be pretty extensive

yoongi
Wow
asshole
No but really

jimin
really

yoongi
yeah

And then, two minutes and ten seconds later:

yoongi
Come over and I’ll show you

After staring at Yoongi’s new message, Jimin begins to write out a text but then backspaces. Looks at the incomplete assignment in front of him that's been sitting around in his Word document for weeks, a thing that makes up fifteen percent of his grade. Due on Friday. Thinks about it and decides he wouldn’t be able to finish it today, anyway.

“Going out to fuck already? I thought it’d take at least another year before you guys got down doing the nasty.” Taehyung is going for sarcastic, mouth muffled by the alarming number of Cheetos.

Jimin is rummaging through his closet for clothes, again ignoring Taehyung and his deliberate sloppy munching. He settles for a dark crewneck and jeans. “He actually invited me over for ramen.”

Gulping and then choking on a few Cheeto pieces stuck in his throat, Taehyung says, “Ramen. Did I just hear ramen.”

“You heard right.” Jimin passes by the couch but not without whacking the back of Taehyung’s head. “Says he's a pro at it.”

“Isn't that code word for let’s fuck? Man, he just wants your dick.” Taehyung scoffs in disbelief, rubbing his head. “Ramen.”

Jimin shoots him an impish smile. “On another note, your dick game’s terrible.”

“You take that back. Take that back right now.”

Jimin slips into a pair of shoes. “I’m out. If you’re dying send me a text.”

“Get me a quick pic if he has killer dick game,” Taehyung calls out, raising his arm and wiggling his orange-stained fingers.

As a fitting response, Jimin flips him off before slamming the door shut.

--

It’s only a matter of time before Taehyung’s curiosity begins growing and planting spontaneous ideas in his mind. Jimin should've seen it coming from the start.

On one of their dire trips to the supermarket, Taehyung starts complaining about the lack of anything edible in their poorly functioning refrigerator. He can't bring himself to make anything from their groceries, unless he’s feeling for a luxurious meal consisting of shrimp crackers and banana milk. They should eat out for dinner. Something like burgers. Burgers would be good.

Except Taehyung is just as devious as he is spontaneous and decides he isn't in the mood for burgers. At least, well, not anymore.

“I hate you,” Jimin hisses, his nails digging into Taehyung’s side as they walk in through the door. “I’m not even kidding this time. I will cut you.”

Taehyung tries to look offended but the expression doesn’t fully reach. “I came in here to buy a measly cinnamon bun and you have the audacity to threaten me? Disgusting. Who do you think you are. Also, ow, my tummy, stop.”

“You said you wanted burgers.”

“I changed my mind. I'm only human, man.”

“Dude, I know you’re only in here just because Yoongi works here. Dick.”

Taehyung feigns surprise. “Does he? I did not know that. What an uncanny coincidence.” They move away from the register after ordering. “But while we’re here, we should at least be polite and say hi.” He steps back on Jimin’s foot, and whether it's intentional or not doesn't matter because Jimin’s anger increases tenfold either way.

“Son of a bit—”

“Hello,” Taehyung chirps, and Yoongi pulls his attention away from the coffee he’s pouring.

Yoongi raises a curious eyebrow. “Hey? You both ordered?”

“Yup,” Taehyung says, the ‘p’ going off with a pop. Jimin’s eyes burn through the back of his head and if Taehyung already knows, which there’s a good chance he does, if he knows Jimin at all, he doesn't show it. “Mine says Tae Funk. Jimin’s is Bubble Butt.”

“No. It’s not,” Jimin says, eyes cutting into Taehyung’s face. “No.”

Yoongi’s eyes slowly travel between them, mouth forming a right, before he goes on to fulfilling the other orders.

Taehyung rocks back and forth on his heels, whistling under his breath to hold an apathetic appearance, seemingly purposeful in avoiding Jimin’s seething evil eye.

“I know what you're doing,” he whisper-snaps.

“Not doing anything,” Taehyung whisper-sings back with a side-eye. A payback, bitch gesture Jimin had to familiarize himself with from all the times he’d been justified as an unnecessary asshole in Taehyung’s court. This can either go very wrong, or very, very, very wrong.

Jimin knows Taehyung. Knows that he once got Namjoon into thinking he was late for one of his anthropology classes and forced him to run all over campus in only a pair of Tigger boxers and sunglasses. That ominous feeling crawling over him isn't wholly incidental.

Before Jimin can say anything else, Taehyung jumps at the opportunity. “So, Yoongi. Baking, huh. How's that like?”

“Fine, I guess,” Yoongi answers, a little suspiciously. He glances at Jimin with a question on his face but gets a shrug in response.

“You know what I heard?” Taehyung grins, and Jimin can sense it before he hears it. “That if you can make a bagel fly it’s called a plane bagel.”

“Oh my god,” Jimin says while Yoongi briefly chuckles under his breath. His eyes flit over to Yoongi, whose smile is tiny but there, although he should have known. People with the same sense of bad joke humor tend to find each other funny.

Jimin waits for Taehyung to pull out the embarrassment card but it never comes. All he's seen Taehyung do is talk about dissecting pregnant rats in lab and exchange crappy jokes with Yoongi. It's almost going too well.

“You work here everyday?” Taehyung asks him.

“Just Mondays through Thursdays. I’m trying to get someone to work this shift since I’m graduating this year but no one’s taken the bait yet.” He calls out a vanilla chai for Nayeon. “Just need someone to do mine.”

“I would do you,” and by the time it's out Jimin is already biting his tongue and thinking of thirty different ways of how to master the art of shut the fuck up because he's been waiting for Taehyung to strike, he was ready, and then this―this is twenty kinds of mortifying.

Jimin doesn't know what to say after that and he doesn't even try because anything else could potentially fuck him up worse. He opts for keeping his mouth sewn shut and letting the humiliation drown him.

Taehyung reveals his true colors as soon as he’s clamping down on his lips, stifling laughter as his face disappears into his fist and shoulders start to tremble. Jimin wants to die but he wants to dismember Taehyung first, slowly, painfully (this is partially his fault, this could have been avoided if they went for the damn burgers), and Yoongi only stares.

“Well,” Yoongi says after an excruciatingly long moment, slowly pushing two cups toward them. “Here are your drinks.”

Taehyung is still trying hard to both breathe and contain himself, holding his drink with difficulty. He tries to say some kind of thanks but can't get the words out properly and can't seem to move away from the counter by himself, so Jimin grabs his arm, mutters a loud enough goodbye to Yoongi without looking before they're out the door.

Neither one of them says much. Jimin is trying not to regret, a sort of thing that has been one of his default emotions since he started making decisions in college, and Taehyung is just trying hard, very hard. It lasts for three minutes.

“Oh man,” Taehyung tries to bite off a laugh. “I haven't seen you that eager to suck anyone’s dick since, like, Sanghyuk.”

Jimin shoves his elbow into Taehyung’s abdomen, and Taehyung finally loses it, going onto full on cackling in the middle of crossing the street. “Fuck the fuck off.”

--

Unsurprisingly, Taehyung does not fuck the fuck off.

He recounts the incident when they're all together in a diner and Jimin is forced to relive it, slouched down in one corner of the booth and arms crossed over his chest.

“He tells the guy he'd do him. Right there where people are eating. I almost shit myself after. The look on Jimin’s face was too good, man, I should’ve taken a picture.”

“You couldn’t even keep it in your pants for two seconds,” Hyejin criticizes, raising two fingers. “How long has it been since your dick saw daylight?”

“I'm glad you're having fun with this,” Jimin says spitefully. “And this assclown didn't even mention it in the right context. I was referring to Yoongi’s comment about no one taking his shift, and what I meant to say was that I would do his shift.”

“Save it, loser, you’re done for. Shit, that’s funny. Wheein is going to love this.” Hyejin gets to it by immediately typing on her phone while Jimin continues to soak himself in self-pity, party of one.

Namjoon, who’s been staring curiously at the table, looks up and blinks. “Yoongi? Min Yoongi? Blondish hair, short, looks like he would enjoy cutting someone?”

“Sure,” Jimin says warily.

Namjoon’s fork goes up and all three of them pull back out of reach on instinct. “Whoa. I know him. We've had a few classes together before. Composition was one, I think. Damn, you're into him?”

“He’s cute,” Jimin says in defense.

“Cutie the Baker also wants a piece of Jimin’s ass,” Taehyung pipes in, leaning in but not quite lowering the volume. “Means he has good taste. Knows real quality. I approve.”

“Same,” Hyejin agrees, and Jimin rubs his forehead with his palm.

“Why am I here,” he asks, mostly to himself. “Why do I know any of you.”

“First, you'd be a mess without us,” Taehyung says, scratching the back of his ear with an extra straw. “Second, we are one hundred percent all up for the disgusting shit we’ll have to endure when you guys do happen to get together, or fuck, whichever is convenient at the time.”

“I vote fuck,” Hyejin says.

“Third—is it third? Third, before that happens you need to get moving and actually do something about it. Preferably something more in his face, like a kiss or your dick. The ‘I’d do you’ hasn't given you anything except a new level of shame.”

“Fuck you.”

“So that means,” Taehyung continues. “The time is soon, my friend. Make a move now or forever hold your lust. You're gonna lose him if you don't do anything now.”

“From everything Taehyung has said up to now, I think I have to agree with him on this one,” Namjoon says.

“That doesn't mean you're excused from a screw up, because you most likely will embarrass yourself again,” Hyejin helpfully mentions. “Think of it all as a life lesson for future relationships.”

Taehyung slaps Jimin’s back as another form of reassurance. “Relax, buddy. I’ll even walk you through the process.”

“What do you know about relationships?” Jimin inquires.

“A shit ton more than you. You can just do it, you know, like all that caught up in the moment bull. It'll be a breeze. And then you—oh, wait. Oh hell, Jimin, I think he just walked in through the door. Don't look back.”

“What,” Jimin whips his head around. He bristles as soon as he hears Taehyung chortling into his bowl of noodles and losing his breath.

It’s expected when Taehyung goes home that night bearing a sore neck and voicing out sixty new complaints.

--

Taehyung's suggestion still stands. Jimin has thought about it. Thought and contemplated. Not really much of acting on it. Baking classes are only spent baking and trying not to poison Hyori for a few final taste-testing projects. There hasn't been enough time to even prepare making things purposely unplanned.

But some things come around, and this comes around a week later.

“What the fuck,” Jimin yells. He watches as his PC falls to the floor after being shot from a distance, this being the third time. “I was so close to getting max ammo.”

“At the rate you’re playing, you’re never going to get that,” Yoongi says, pressing to reload. “When you said you sucked at games, I didn’t know that meant you sucked that much ass.”

“I was good!” Jimin insists. “I was a real CoD gamer back in high school.”

They've ended up here in a simple text slash Snapchat conversation of what kind of things could suffice on an unproductive rainy Sunday. Somewhere in the mix of Jimin’s string of crying emojis and Yoongi’s captioned feet pictures, Jimin suggested Yoongi come over.

“I think we should switch to something less stimulating,” says Yoongi, watching Jimin die a fourth time. “Before you start rage quitting.”

“Wait, hold—shit. Okay.” He presses to quit and then puts away the controllers. “Wanna watch a movie? Or bake?” Jimin asks, grinning.

“Depends on the movie,” Yoongi replies, swiping a thumb below his eye. “And no, shut up.”

Jimin has his laptop on the table, searching through Netflix. “We could do The Revenant, or, like, Shrek, if you're into that.”

After Yoongi shoves at Jimin’s arm and says to put on anything that won't give him nightmares, Jimin puts on The Revenant and settles back onto the couch.

The first twenty minutes are quiet save for a few comments here and there. There are times when Jimin complains about Yoongi’s knee digging into his thigh where they sit beside each other, and Yoongi half-asses his apology, pushing his knee in further.

“You want something to eat?” Jimin decides to ask, an hour into the movie. “The baking offer is still on the table, if you're up for it.”

Yoongi’s head is resting back on the couch, and he turns toward him. “Not really in the mood to trash your kitchen. Maybe next time. You could make me something, though. I won't mind.”

“Won't mind possible death?”

From here, Jimin can see the tips of Yoongi’s hair curl over his eyebrows. This time sans his usual cap, and the piercings hide behind his tufts of hair. His eyes land on the shape of Yoongi’s cute nose and they promptly look somewhere else before they can go down any further, or think of anything other than his nose. Anything that might set off way too curious thoughts.

In his head he can hear Taehyung in his best Shia LaBeouf imitation. Just do it.

“Checking me out?” And Jimin sees Yoongi is now facing him, one leg tucked under the other. The light from the screen illuminates one half of his face, and Jimin notices it's already growing dark, an orange-pink glow peeking through the window blinds.

The smile hangs off Yoongi’s lips crookedly. “You're still doing it.”

“Sorry.” Almost stutters it. Fuck.

“I remember you saying that the first time we met.” Yoongi sits up and holds Jimin’s gaze. The room starts getting smaller and stuffier and Jimin is finding it conveniently harder to breathe. “Guess habits don’t change.”

A buzzing noise takes over Taehyung’s voice and it isn't coming from the laptop. He exhales. In, out. Controls it. “Guess not.”

They've long stopped paying attention to the movie, and Jimin can hear nothing but his own breathing. It's become too quiet and too loud at the same time. That's when Yoongi licks his lips, pulling them inward slightly.

Jimin follows the movement, eyes flickering down to see his mouth stay ajar. He's much too invested in what’s right there in front of him that he almost doesn't realize the distance between them is shrinking and Yoongi’s hand is hovering just over Jimin’s thigh.

The static becomes louder.

It's when Yoongi’s eyes flutter shut that Jimin can feel his own chest pounding, hear his ears throbbing, feel the sweat hanging off the pads of his clammy fingers, and he's edging in closer, closer, and the sound of something like Jimin’s name coming in very close, closer, pressing in―

Their lips barely brush before the door slams open, and as irony would have it, Taehyung’s voice comes in shouting. Not even two seconds later, Jimin finds himself on the floor and Yoongi on one end of the couch.

“Got that good shit from our favorite Thai place. Jimin, you owe me thirty―” he stops himself to look between the two and takes a step back. “I can come back at another time, if that's convenient for you guys.”

“I was just about to leave,” Yoongi says quickly before Jimin can spit out something to make the situation worse. He gets up from the couch, disheveled, and nods ambiguously in Jimin’s direction, eyes looking anywhere but him. “I'll see you. Uh. Yeah.”

After he's gone out the door and it closes, the room falls subject to an uncomfortable quiet until Taehyung goes, “The fuck was that?”

Jimin curls forward into his hands and groans. “I think I messed up.”

“You come into my house, disrespect my couch―”

“We didn't do anything. Not yet. I don’t know. God, I probably scared him off or something, he's never going to talk to me again.”

Taehyung sets the food down on his desk. “Didn't seem like it. You guys probably would have done a lot more if I came later. Which, you know, good thing I stopped it because I don't want to look at your semen when I'm eating cereal on the couch.”

“Just two days ago you were telling me which angle I should place my dick in his ass.”

“Did I say you could do it on the couch?” Taehyung asks, giving him a leveled stare. “I eat my fucking Cheetos there, man.”

Jimin says nothing more, continuing to lay on the floor. His mind flashes back to the way Yoongi moved closer to him, the way his fingers curled over his thigh. The way his eyelashes fell when he leaned in, how soft the ghost of Yoongi’s lips felt when he almost pressed in, nearly there. How Jimin wanted it. Had wanted more. All gone in under a minute.

“Dude,” comes Jimin’s slightly subdued voice from under the table. “I'm so fucked.”’

--

The thing is, there will always be a but, an and, an if. There's also sometimes an avoid because awkward.

They don't talk about it. They don't even bring it up. They finish up the baking class and they're still okay, it's still all fine. It requires Jimin less effort to fake being oblivious to the elephant in the room when Yoongi is doing the same.

Yoongi is sort of avoiding Jimin. Jimin knows this because he's sort of been avoiding Yoongi. Taehyung knows this because Jimin has been sulking around the dorm for the entire week after classes and hasn't once agreed to a night of sashimi. Jimin has never said no to sashimi.

So Taehyung does what he does best.

“It's time for an intervention,” he announces on a fateful Saturday, opening the door to the bathroom without warning.

Jimin tucks in. “Jesus, couldn't you have waited until after I took a piss?”

“If I wait any longer my dick’s going to start drying out.” He shoos Jimin away and takes a seat on the closed toilet lid, hands folded between his knees that start to bounce. “New segment in this episode of Talk to Taehyung. Starting now.”

Washing his hands, Jimin frowns. “Thought we named it something else.”

“I changed it. Wasn't feeling the other one. What we should be doing now is focusing on your pathetic lack of attempt at confronting Yoongi and how that may probably be a bad choice. I can't help but feel this is partly my fault for coming in at the wrong time, so speak.”

“He doesn't want to talk about it. I don't want to bother him if it annoys him.” Jimin has his toothbrush out and squeezes paste on it. “That's it.”

“How would you know? You didn't even try asking him if he felt bothered by it.”

“He looked bothered by it,” is Jimin’s only excuse of a response.

“You know what you should do,” Taehyung says, already has the answer and taps rhythmically against the toilet. “Ask him about it. The worst that can happen is him not reciprocating and ripping your thumb off.”

Jimin shrugs and keeps brushing. “Maybe I've been looking at the signs all wrong. Maybe he's not into me.”

“Oh my god,” Taehyung sighs, and puts a hand over his face. “He’s into you. Anyone can tell. I can tell, so why don't you go to him and just get to the fucking?”

Jimin glares at him from the mirror. “It's not just about fucking, what the hell. I don't want to just fuck him.”

“Wait, I’m not comprehending.” Taehyung waves a hand in the air. “This is not about you and him finally having sex? Or?” When Jimin looks about done and doesn't reply, he whistles lowly and leans back. “Wow. The entire time. And I thought it was only about you wanting to get into bed with him.”

“Yeah, well.” Jimin spits into the sink. “At this point we’re not even gonna get to hand holding.”

”Dude,” says Taehyung. “You want to suck his dick but with feelings. That’s so romantic. You should keep some of that locked into your chest and blow it up when you see Yoongi.”

“And do what, apologize for almost trying to suck his face off?”

“And maybe also congratulate him for still having a face, haha.” Jimin is about to whip a towel at him until Taehyung raises his legs as protection. “Okay, okay, fuck you, I’m not funny. But like I said, go talk to him. The best thing that could happen instead of the worst thing? Like Yoongi liking you for real? Isn't that worth knowing now instead of regretting it later?”

The things Taehyung says in their cramped bathroom at ten AM make sense. Make a lot more sense than what Jimin has been trying to force into his mind, believing that what he's done was wrong, that he should completely avoid the problem and live on forgetting Yoongi and trying to live mortification-free for the rest of his mundane life.

He presses his hands against the sink as he mulls over the thought. “I mean. I guess.”

“Yeah?” Taehyung asks.

Jimin runs his tongue along his teeth and stares down at the sink. Then eventually, more confidently, “Yeah.”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says as confirmation for the both of them, for Jimin. “Good. Glad we got somewhere.” He stands up and makes a move to pull down his shorts. “Now get out. I’ve been holding in a massive shit for ten minutes.”

--

Jimin remembers the address, the floor, the same blue door from weeks ago. He's been staring at the door for the last five minutes but he's not stalling. He's not.

Jeongguk said Yoongi called in sick this morning and that was the last he heard from him. There's a dubious voice at the back of Jimin’s head telling him this is a bad idea, probably going to be a real fucking shitty one if he goes on with it any further. Maybe he’s better off not knowing.

Just as he's about to flake, the door opens and Jimin’s heart punches itself. He's not sure whether he feels relieved or disappointed that it's not Yoongi.

“Oh,” Hoseok, Yoongi’s roommate, says, pausing with a full garbage bag in his hand. “Jimin, right? I'm guessing you're here to see Yoongi.”

“Yeah,” he says, and clears his throat. “Just wanted to check if he’s okay.”

“Oh, yeah. He's fine, as fine as Yoongi can get, I guess. Want me to get him for you?”

Before Jimin can think of an excuse and say no, it's okay, I was never here, bye, Hoseok calls out Yoongi’s name, tells him to get his ass out of the rathole he calls a room. “Just give him a moment, it takes him a while to reemerge from death.”

By the time it takes Hoseok to throw out the trash and walk back into the apartment, Yoongi appears at the door. His shirt is wrinkled and hair a mess, exhaustion tainting his face.

“Hey,” he says, voice laced with sleep, and it makes an odd, fluttering warmth settle in Jimin.

Jimin shifts in place. “Hey. Heard you were, uh, sick.”

“I just said that to get out of work today. Had to catch up on more sleep.” Yoongi scratches a patch on his cheek. His eyes are looking down to the floor. “Finals, and. Stuff.”

“Stuff,” Jimin repeats. “Yeah. I know what you mean.”

There's a prolonged silence suspended in the air between them. Jimin digs his heel into the floor.

Yoongi decides to break it first. “Why are you here?” There’s no accusation in his tone. It’s curious, wondering. “You could’ve just texted.”

“I wanted to see if you were okay. If we were okay.” He holds up an Adidas bag. “I also made a cake and I can’t give you that by text.”

“Uh,” Yoongi’s brow crinkles, one corner of his mouth turning up a touch. “There a reason for the cake? Jimin, that’s real chivalrous of you.”

“It’s the same one from the first baking class we had,” Jimin says. “I looked up the recipe and redid it properly this time. No burns.”

“Wow,” Yoongi says with his arms folded over his chest. “I have to admit, that’s impressive.”

“I think I took it out a little too early but it’s still edible.” Jimin puts the bag down. “It’s sort of an apology gift.”

Yoongi looks confused. “For?” he asks.

“That day when it got all weird. I thought you were freaked out by what happened so I didn’t say anything. It seemed fair to leave you alone,” Jimin says, ducking his head bashfully.

Yoongi looks even more baffled. “What, Jimin. I thought you were freaked out. That’s why I backed off. I assumed you needed some space.”

“Oh,” Jimin says, and then, “What.”

“I was starting to think you weren't into that. Or, uh, me.” Yoongi rubs at his arm awkwardly. “I should've apologized but then I chickened out.”

“Oh,” Jimin says again. “No, it’s fine. I should have said something earlier, too. But are we―are we okay? I know it’s been weird since that day but I don’t want it to be weird. I don’t want us to be weird. It'd also be weird if I took this cake home and have Taehyung beat my ass for pushing him to buy the ingredients last night for me.”

Yoongi tries to stop himself from smiling, but he can barely hold it in. “Seems like you've went through a lot of effort to make this right.”

“I have to. I'm crushing on someone who's high maintenance and doesn't like cheese fries. I almost ate shit coming here on my board through sidewalk traffic for him.”

Yoongi actually almost laughs, and then stops to inhale instead, leaning against the doorframe with a hand reaching out to smooth out the back of his head. Calm. Cool. “You know, I didn't think I’d start liking a dude who seems like the type to wear shorts in the winter.”

Jimin feels offended and shows his offense, head pulling back. “I didn't think I’d start liking a dude who wears fucking sneadals because really?”

“Hey, they’re nice,” Yoongi retorts, jabbing a finger into Jimin’s chest. “You shouldn’t be talking shit when I’ve witnessed your tracksuit atrocity. That was petrifying.”

“You’re an asshole.”

This time Yoongi lets out an unavoidable laugh where there are teeth and gums and gentle crinkles around the eyes, a mess of everything wonderful, and Jimin has never seen anyone so endearing.

“You like it when I’m an asshole,” and Yoongi’s smiling, a teasing tilt in his voice, and he’s pretty, so pretty.

Jimin did intend on rebutting but looking at Yoongi makes him fizz out for a moment and has him instead asking, “Are you a banana?”

Yoongi snorts knowingly but still answers. “Maybe. Why?”

“Because I find you a-peeling.”

“Fucking lame,” Yoongi says, fondness bleeding through in the way he looks at Jimin. Even under the shitty dim hallway lights, there's a glow surrounding Yoongi in a perfect, strange way that catches Jimin’s breath just as perfectly, strangely.

“I'm going to kiss you now, I think,” Jimin says, and doesn’t dwell on the embarrassment that’s crawling over him. There are substantially better things to think about and not regret.

A soft puff of air, a fluttering grin, and then, “So do it already, you ass.”

It takes Jimin a second to register Yoongi’s words, two beats too long, which is long enough for Yoongi to roll his eyes and pull him in by the neck, slotting their lips together in a whisper that sighs finally. Jimin catches up and smiles into the kiss, wrapping an arm around Yoongi’s waist and tugging him in closer because goddamn, fucking finally.

(They forget Hoseok is still present, who aws at them from the background. He lets out an outraged squawk when Yoongi shuts the door in his face before pressing back into Jimin.)

--

Jimin learns that dating Yoongi is the same as being friends with Yoongi, with the same amount of bickering and name-calling. The only difference is there's more tongue involved. He’s fine with that.

There's also more of crashing at each other’s place and hanging out there when going out to proper places becomes too much of a hassle, none of which sits well with roommates that can never win in a two to one verbal battle.

“I'm never doing this again,” Taehyung declares. “Never again will I make the mistake of getting a roommate whose religion is the gym and has a boyfriend who never leaves this place and doesn't have the courtesy to at least pay for our housing.”

“You're only pissy because I stopped you from using the stove,” Jimin says, working on beating in the eggs.

“You let Yoongi, who can't cook for shit, use the kitchen. Maybe I too want to bake cookies with my boy who’s a friend. All the offense taken right now.”

“Yoongi’s cute,” Jimin grins, and grins harder when Yoongi coughs and pretends not to notice, his way of acting nonchalant about it while he washes his hands.

Taehyung sits on top of the couch, cross-legged and moody. “And what the fuck am I? The inside of your asshole?”

“Jimin's asshole is cute,” Yoongi drops in at that time.

“You guys are capital N for Nasty. I would feel proud but I’m trying to unsee the graphic horror of Jimin’s asshole in my head.”

Yoongi sends him a mischievous look. “You sure you don't wanna hear more about it? It's a mystery worth digging into, just saying.”

Taehyung gags. “Okay, I’m leaving. You win. Cumfucks. I'm getting Sungjae as my roommate next semester and leaving your crusty ass.”

“Sungjae’s gonna reject you flat out. You’ll come crawling back to me the same night,” Jimin says with a degree of truth.

Taehyung mutters something akin to I could do whatever the fuck I want as he jumps off the couch and grabs a juice pouch from their recently fixed refrigerator that Yoongi got to work in a matter of a few minutes like a seasoned champion. Turned out they just had to change the refrigerator bulb. “You don't know who I am. You don’t know me.”

“Don’t be pitiful.”

“I'm petty and I don't care. I'm going out with Hyejin and Wheein because you fucking suck.” He doesn't wait around for a reply and leaves the dorm while sucking vigorously on his straw. It'll all be forgotten when Taehyung will want to curl up with Jimin in his bed at night to watch Let’s Play videos and share Cheez Its. It’s a Taehyung thing.

“Hey,” Jimin says, slipping in the place beside Yoongi. “Taehyung’s right, though. You are a shit cook. And a shittier baker. I'm a hell of a lot better.”

Yoongi pinches his side hard. “Watch it, Park. You’ll lose a roommate and a boyfriend.”

Jimin beams at him. “You wanna hear something?”

“Do I?”

“It's a joke.”

“Then fuck no.”

“Hear me out. I’ve found some quality stuff online. I can see why you find this fun.”

Shaking his head, Yoongi empties out a bag of chocolate chips in the incomplete cookie dough. “I should've never introduced you to the world of puns. I’m paying for this now. I can already tell this is going to go south fast.”

“Listen, listen.” Jimin clears his throat and maintains a solid gaze. “I don't know much about pies but damn, you make my banana cream.”

There's nothing from Yoongi except a noise of disapproval as he folds in the chocolate chips. “That was fucking gross. Terrible. Unworthy of praise. It wasn't even a joke.”

“Just because it's better than all yours combined?” Jimin feels the need to say, forgetting that he's supposed to be primarily focusing on making the rest of the cookies, but finding it hard to do when Yoongi looks incredibly fine in an orange floral-printed apron and a white cap that reads DAMN I’M GOOD.

“At least mine never referenced dick as a banana. Are you twelve?”

He curls one finger around the waistband of Yoongi’s jeans and pulls, smiling when Yoongi narrows his eyes, angry eyebrows dark and alluring, at the way he's leaning forward. “I could always show you how I’m not twelve.”

Yoongi, Jimin already knows, is not easily impressed, so the flick at his forehead and the vaguely repulsed expression are anticipated. “I wouldn't have given the first date a try if I knew you were this disgusting.”

“Okay, but,” Jimin puffs a laugh against Yoongi’s mouth, bumping their noses and making Yoongi scrunch his face up. “You'd still want a taste of my banana cream.”

“Shut up,” although he leans in to kiss Jimin anyway.