Jimin stands in front of the clothing rack, fingers sifting through the cotton, the wool, the cashmere. It’s all fancy and expensive and Jimin tucks away the thought of how insincere it feels. He’s here to look for a gift, he tells himself; he’s not leaving until he buys one. His hand stills when it lands on a particular sweater, flimsy and soft to the touch; black like the growing dread in his stomach. He picks it out from the rack, fingers dragging along the collar, and imagines how the color would contrast nicely against a certain someone’s pale skin.
A song, All I Want For Christmas, begins to trickle softly from the store’s speakers, reminding Jimin of the holiday that’s about to roll in, quiet in its arrival but just as monumental as the season’s first snow. A flash of hate fills his chest, surprising even him with its intensity and Jimin has to remind himself there’s nothing to hate about the holiday. Really! He hastily checks the sweater’s size and brings it towards the counter.
While he waits for the woman to wrap his gift, Jimin’s mind wanders, flicking through memories past and still lurid. He remembers the phone call, how it broke the silence of the night and perhaps something in him, too. He remembers not sleeping, eyes intent on reading about Los Angeles, of all places, and how it’s 5,953 miles away. He tries not to remember the bittersweet sadness.
When the woman hands him the paper bag, glossy in black and gold, Jimin returns with a small smile, polite as ever. He likes to think he exited the store without hurrying, but in truth, he couldn’t get out fast enough. He’s not satisfied; there’s no feeling of lightheaded relief after buying the perfect gift for someone. The bag, in return, feels quite heavy in his hand.
Jimin looks around the mall, at the bright decorations and the rush of people finishing their holiday shopping, and decides then that he needs another gift, something with more meaning; one that has warmth in it that no clothing can ever hope to carry―no matter what the price tag says. He’s sentimental like that, but perhaps it’s the season’s doing, too. Winter has always had the ability to make things gentler, more intimate, like pulling someone closer in a hug for a second before letting go.
He rides the escalator, thoughts inexplicably caught someplace else, when his phone vibrates in his pocket. He digs for it, and with a quick glance at the screen, feels his heart leap to his throat. He answers the call. “Yoongi-hyung?” His voice is tentative, almost breathless.
“Jimin,” Yoongi greets at the other end of the line, and Jimin can imagine him tipping his head in acknowledgment like he’s wont to do. It should scare him, he supposes, how every gesture, every nuance of Yoongi has been categorized and filed neatly in a special place in Jimin’s mind, but he’s long past any groundbreaking epiphany, and has simply resigned himself to his quiet pining.
“Why did you call?” he asks, ignoring the involuntary shiver down his back at the drawl of his name in Yoongi’s voice.
“Nothing really,” Yoongi answers casually. He sounds like he’s somewhere crowded, light music playing in the background. “Just wondering what you’re doing.”
It strikes Jimin as odd that Yoongi’s asking but he still responds, “I’m at the mall right now,” pressing his phone closer against his ear. He can hear the background music playing on Yoongi’s end clearer like this and―it sounds suspiciously like the song playing inside the mall. He frowns. “Hyung...where are you?”
He can almost hear the smirk in Yoongi’s voice when he answers, “Look below."
Jimin doesn’t want to, not when he already knows what he’ll see, but he still does, eyes sweeping and seeking until they land on a mop of black hair leaning against the wall. Yoongi gives him a two-fingered salute when their eyes meet, and Jimin has to swallow around the sudden lump in his throat. He hears the blip in his phone that signals Yoongi has ended the call and watches him detach himself from the wall to walk towards him when he reaches the escalator landing plate. They meet halfway, Yoongi with his half-smirk signature that Jimin forces himself to return.
“Hey,” Yoongi nods at him, hair falling over his eyes. He’s wearing black today, a monochrome counterpoint to the mall’s festive colors. Black turtleneck, black leather jacket, black boots.
“Who’s funeral are you attending, hyung?” Jimin jokes, walking in step beside Yoongi.
“Yours,” Yoongi shoots back, bumping him on the shoulder. “Imagine my surprise when I saw you on the escalator.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, a smile he didn’t mean to let spread already gracing his lips. If he’s being honest―and he is, more often than not―he’ll say he missed this. Missed being with Yoongi and their banters. It’s been two weeks since he last saw him, two weeks without any contact. (He doesn’t think about why it’s been that long.) “What are you doing here?”
“I was bored,” Yoongi shrugs mildly. “Didn’t really want to be alone in my apartment and Hobi’s out with Seokjin-hyung. You?”
“Just…doing some Christmas shopping,” Jimin answers, almost hesitant. For you, his mind adds, insidious and unwarranted.
“I can see that.” Yoongi’s eyeing his paper bag, and Jimin yanks it out of his sight immediately, as if on instinct. Yoongi merely raises an eyebrow. “Don’t you do your Christmas shopping earlier, though?”
“I do,” Jimin confirms, suddenly warm at the thought of Yoongi remembering something as trivial about him. “I just forgot something,” he fibs lamely, shrugs. “What about you? Have you done yours?”
Yoongi throws him a sharp grin, one that still makes Jimin’s breath catch in his throat. “I have. Now all you fuckers can’t complain that I didn’t give you a present.”
“How thoughtful of you, hyung,” Jimin rolls his eyes, but then grins slyly at him. “Did you get me another boxed set of manga?”
It has been an inside joke for them of some sort, how Yoongi spent money buying manga for Jimin’s birthday just to support his passion. It was the most expensive thing he had purchased for somebody else, and Jimin will secretly hold onto that knowledge for as long as he can.
“No,” Yoongi scowls at him and aims a loose fist in his direction. “I bought you Crocs.”
“You did not,” Jimin gasps, hitting Yoongi lightly on the arm. He clicks his tongue. “Don’t ruin my street cred just to make yourself feel better for buying mandals, hyung.”
“You’re such a brat, you know that?” Yoongi glares, knocking him on the side of his head and making Jimin laugh as they exit the mall.
The cold greets them harshly outside, a fine layer of snow already blanketing the city and gathering at their feet. Harsh December air bites at Jimin’s exposed hands, his nose, and he puffs out a breath as he tightens the scarf around his neck. “Do you have other plans?” he asks.
Yoongi buries his hands in his pockets and gives him a sidelong glance. “I was just planning to eat.”
The way he says this sounds like an invitation, something hopeful and open, as if he’s leaving it up to Jimin. It makes Jimin’s stomach flip, but he chalks it up to wanting something warm instead of Yoongi’s company (which, really, isn’t any different, who is he kidding.) So he latches onto Yoongi’s arm and smiles cheekily, mischievously, just like always. “Perfect timing, hyung. I’m hungry.”
“So what have you been up to?” Yoongi asks, schooling a bored expression on his face as he props his chin on his open palm. He might look uninterested, Jimin observes, as if he’s asking just for the sake of it, but the way his eyes are turned to Jimin, piercing and probing, tells him he really wants to know. “I haven’t seen you for days. I really thought you died or something.”
“I was busy,” Jimin explains, fiddling with the table napkin as they wait for their meal. They’ve chosen one of their usual haunts to seek warmth for their bellies, a small family restaurant that almost feels like home. “Our firm’s holding a new case―a big one―and work had me caught up.”
Being a paralegal is no easy task, but Jimin is only telling half of the truth. Because he can’t, not with Yoongi turned to him all-serious and quite upset; he can’t say how restless he feels with him leaving in just a few days. How he feels a knot in him tighten every time he remembers he’s leaving and how he was okay all those months ago when he first heard the news―but now that December’s here, it just made him realize how real it is and that it’s happening, and how after Christmas, there will be no Min Yoongi to annoy and pester.
Because he can’t, Jimin can’t look at Yoongi’s face and tell him he’s always thought Christmas was a time for people to be closer, but now he’s fucking leaving.
So he forces a teasing smile and swallows his reasons like they’re medicine. “Why, hyung, did you miss me?”
Yoongi scoffs at him. “As if, Park Jimin.” He says this as a joke, but Jimin has long learned to look for the truth under Yoongi’s usual retorts. There’s no bite to it, and the way his expression is tipping down at the corners tells him all he needs to know.
Their food arrives then, two bowls of ramyeon and a plate of tteokbokki. They eat in relative silence, allowing the bustle of the restaurant to fill the space between them. Jimin doesn’t mind; after all, his friendship with Yoongi has taught him how to live with Yoongi’s silences. It has always been comfortable, a nice sort of change from Taehyung’s usual rowdiness and adventures not meant to be kept to himself. But this silence is heavy, terse even, and Jimin decides to cut through their stillness with a question of his own.
“So, hyung,” he nudges Yoongi’s knee under the table, an apology in the simplest of gestures. “What did you do these past few days?”
Yoongi appears to be contemplating, chewing on his rice cake. “Packing, mostly.”
“Oh,” Jimin says, looking down at his bowl of noodles. Of course Yoongi would be packing. He immediately regrets asking in the first place, but he can’t just let the conversation die there, so he presses further. “Are you finished, then?”
“I still have a few left,” Yoongi answers, reaching for a glass of water. He lets his lips linger on the rim of his glass after he’s taken a gulp, a movement not unnoticed by Jimin, who has to drag his eyes away from Yoongi’s wet, slightly red, lips. Jesus. “But they’re mostly things I need to work on.”
Jimin lifts his eyes to catch Yoongi’s gaze. His eyes are steady, unwavering, as if trying to tell him something. He breaks eye contact when the pressing weight of it gets unbearable, feels warmth spread to his cheeks, and nods despite not quite understanding what Yoongi meant. To steer the conversation away from impending departures, Jimin tells him about Jungkook finally getting together with Kim Yerim after a year of insistent pursuing.
“That kid is fucking relentless,” Yoongi chuckles, shaking his head like he can’t believe it.
“He doesn’t back down from a challenge,” Jimin agrees with a fond smile of his own. He remembers how Jungkook used to crash on his couch and moan about Yerim not replying. She got my messages, he whined. I saw the read receipt, Jiminnie! It made him coo from the cuteness. “I have to thank Yerimmie for not making things easy for him.”
“Watching Jungkook suffer has always been your prime source of entertainment,” Yoongi snorts, bringing his chopsticks laden with food into his mouth. “And people still think you’re an angel. Fucking ridiculous.”
“I am an angel,” Jimin huffs, indignant. He offers Yoongi the sweetest smile he can manage, making sure to flutter his eyelashes for faux innocence. “I’m the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, hyung. You’re lucky you even know me.”
“Please stop. You’re making me lose my appetite.”
The two of them laugh, the air between them considerably lighter now. Jimin tries not to notice how Yoongi’s eyes seem to linger on him―a question hiding in their depths, still; a question he can’t bring himself to answer yet. He brings his noodles to his mouth, burning his tongue slightly, and let its heat fill the hollow feeling in his stomach.
“I’m going to miss this,” Yoongi remarks casually, suddenly.
Jimin freezes in his seat, noodles sliding off of his chopsticks and falling back into his bowl with a silent plop. For a second, he hates Yoongi, just a bit, for reminding him when he was doing such a good job dancing away from that sore spot, but then again, Yoongi always knows where to hit right where it hurts; unfailingly so. He hastily puts down his chopsticks and forces a smile in his face when he looks back up to see Yoongi looking out the window, watching the snow pepper across the roads with a pensive, almost somber expression.
“I’m sure there’ll be Korean food in Los Angeles, too, hyung,” he forces himself to say, voice tight instead of reassuring. Yoongi cuts his eyes to him and Jimin has to widen his smile before he crumbles on the spot. “Maybe they’ll be as good as the ramyeon here.”
Yoongi looks confused before he blinks into awareness, an odd sort of look clouding his face. “Yeah,” he grunts, looking down at his bowl as if seeing it for the first time. His voice almost sounds strangled, weak, as he mutters, “The ramyeon.”
For a season so harsh, winter has the uncanny ability of turning everything soft. Pretty, almost untouchable even, with the way snow coats the world with its own brand of magical glimmer. It’s perhaps the one thing Jimin can appreciate about winter; the rest, he’s not so sure. He likes to move, to always be in motion; immersed in a flurry of activities that has him whirling by the end of the day, a sweet sort of ache in his muscles as he collapses in bed. Winter, for him, is a season of lethargy. Of chill settling in your bones, slowing everything down. Of curling in your bed and burrowing under the warmth of your blankets as you think to yourself, five more minutes, past your morning wake up call.
(He’s not as fond of it as the other seasons.)
Yoongi, on the other hand, lives in it. There has always been an extra lilt to his steps, a special sort of shine in his eyes that Jimin never fails to notice. It’s as if winter lets Yoongi breathe better, shoulders unweighted and relieved. A season all for him, which is fitting, because Jimin thinks Yoongi is like the snow. Past his cold exterior is a special kind of gentleness that only a snow can possess; beautiful and tempting to touch, melting in the warmth of someone else. (And, oh, how Jimin wishes he can be the very thing that melts Yoongi to the core. His own personal sun in a season so cold.)
He looks over at Yoongi, content in the silence that wraps around them pleasantly like a blanket as they walk back to their apartment building. It’s a short walk, but with Yoongi by his side, the trek seems somewhat longer.
“Hyung,” Jimin blurts out, watching his puff of breath disappear into the air as soon as it rises. He’s acutely aware of how their shoulders are almost touching, almost but not quite. “Aren’t you cold in that?”
Yoongi doesn’t have a scarf nor a beanie to protect him from the unkind December air. Just looking at him makes Jimin shiver.
“I’m fine,” Yoongi answers, hands buried deep in the pockets of his leather jacket. “Why, you offering to hold my hand or something?”
“Yeah if you want,” Jimin answers before he can think about it, before he can process Yoongi’s joke. His eyes go wide a second later, realizing what he just said and oh god, why did he have to slip like that? “I-I mean,” he fumbles through his speech, breathing in and trying to make it seem like he’s playing along. Only way out of it. “You wouldn’t suggest if you’re not dying to, anyway.”
“Jimin," Yoongi teases, putting a hand on his shoulder and laughing low under his breath. Jimin can't help but lean into his touch. Crap. "At least take me out to dinner first."
“Hyung, we just ate,” he reminds Yoongi, trying to contain his embarrassment under the collar of his shirt.
“That doesn’t count. I paid for it,” Yoongi counters, poking his cheek playfully with a finger.
“Aren’t hyungs supposed to treat their dongsaengs in the first place?” Jimin sniffs primly. “Especially when they’re cute and all.”
“You calling me cute now? Wow, Jimin, I didn’t expect this.”
Jimin feels his cheeks go hot. He buries his face in his scarf and wishes for the ground to eat him up. “I was talking about me,” he whines, voice slightly muffled. “I’m the cute one between the two of―” he cuts himself off when he stumbles, lurching forward as he loses his balance.
Yoongi catches him in time, gripping his arm and hoisting him back up. “Careful,” he murmurs right in Jimin’s ear, the slightest brush of lips against skin as Jimin catches his breath, catches on a moment while snow falls around them. No sooner than that it breaks, and Yoongi clicks his tongue, poking him on the forehead. “You’re not cute, you’re fucking clumsy.”
Jimin collects himself, trying not to shiver from the ghost of Yoongi’s lips, and juts his bottom lip into a petulant pout. “Rude,” he says, but when he spots a street vendor selling hotteok near their building, he buys one for him, and another for Yoongi as thanks.
The thing is, Jimin is not built for goodbyes. He knows people come and go, has watched them walk out the door and into a life without him, but the sting is always there, an unwanted company he can’t seem to shake. It’s what he felt, all those months ago, when Yoongi called him, voice hushed and excited into the night, to say he’s been invited to work for a music company in Los Angeles. Two years, he remembers Yoongi saying at the other end before he sagged in his seat, heart clenching in his chest and making it hard for him to breathe. To force a smile in his face and say, I’m happy for you, hyung.
(Because of course he’s happy, Yoongi’s off to chase his dreams on the other side of the world, but it doesn’t stop from hurting any less.)
Jimin watches the ticker above the elevator door until it gets to their floor, stepping out as the door yawns open. He’s struck then, with another realization that he missed Yoongi, maybe a little bit too much, and decides he doesn’t want to part ways yet, even though they’re only a couple of doors apart. He admits now how wrong it was of him to avoid Yoongi in the first place, all that distance never lessening the ache anyway. It was a pointless endeavor, one that Jimin admits is stupid, and he mourns for the days he wasted.
He’s about to open his mouth, say something, when Yoongi beats him to it. “Do you want to drink coffee at my place?”
(Perhaps he’s not the only one willing to make up for the lost time―and make the remaining ones count.)
Grateful and quite touched at the gesture, Jimin turns to him, a smile blooming across his face. He’s about to agree when he realizes he’s going to see Yoongi’s place bare and stripped off of its decorations and accoutrements that make up his home, boxes piled up in one corner while all the unsaid words are stacked in the other. He bites back a sigh and reaches out to tug at Yoongi’s jacket. “Why don’t we have hot chocolate at my place, instead? It’s today, after all.”
Yoongi furrows his eyebrows, tilting his head to the side. “Today?”
“We met on this day, hyung,” Jimin offers him a smile tinged with dream-like nostalgia and soft fondness. “Three years ago.”
Jimin met Yoongi on a Thursday. He remembers the snowstorm outside, prompting him to amp up his heater. Taehyung has just sent him a photo of the snowman they built just a few days ago now mangled and knocked down by the lashing wind, with a couple of sad and horrified emojis to express how Taehyung is upset over it. He remembers being amused at his best friend’s antics and replying they can always build another one when the storm lets up.
He has just settled on his couch, a thick blanket draped around his shoulders to battle the cold, when he hears the knock on his door. Soft and maybe hesitant, as if trying not to be intrusive. He stands up and opens the door to a blond guy, bundled up in a big parka, hopping from foot to foot in the hallway.
“Um, hi?” Jimin hazards, peering at him and feeling a dash of concern as he watches the guy visibly shudder. “Can I help you?”
The guy points down the end of the hall and Jimin pokes his head out to follow the direction of his finger. “I live in 309. My heater broke and it’s really fucking cold. I just―fuck this is embarrassing,” he groans, dragging a hand down his face. “Can I maybe stay here for a few hours while I wait for the maintenance to come and fix it up?”
Jimin smiles, warm and easy, always up to help someone in need (it doesn’t hurt that the blond guy is actually cute, too.) He opens the door wider. “Sure, come on in.”
He learns that the blond’s name is Min Yoongi, a music producer who just moved down the hall a couple of days ago, currently pissed at his friend, Kim Namjoon, for his awkward limbs and his propensity to destroy things around him. Jimin goes to his kitchen while Yoongi sinks into his couch, grateful for the warmth of his house.
“Is hot chocolate fine?” he asks, checking if there’s enough water in the kettle. There is. He reaches for his spare mug from the cupboard.
“You don’t have to,” Yoongi responds meekly, pale pink dusting his cheeks, maybe from the cold or from embarrassment, Jimin finds it endearing all the same.
“You’re cold,” Jimin points out, fixing him the drink anyway, because it’s his house and he’ll offer his guest a mug of hot chocolate as he sees fit. “You need something to warm you up. Now, how many marshmallows do you want?”
He sees Yoongi cringe, just the slightest crumple of face as he struggles to answer in the nicest way possible, careful not to offend. “I don’t...like marshmallows…?”
Jimin puts the kettle down and turns wide eyes at him, disbelief clear in his expression as if he’s taking it a personal jab for all the marshmallows in the world. “You don’t like marshmallows? Do you also not like love?”
“And happiness,” Yoongi quips from the couch. He's funny, with a dry sort of humor, and Jimin finds himself smiling a little.
“That’s the highest offense anyone can say to my face,” he mock-scowls, bringing the hot chocolate to Yoongi and sitting beside him. “But I’m a nice host so I’ll let you stay.” He hands him the mug. “Drink.”
Yoongi gratefully accepts, wrapping cold hands around the heat of the mug. He pauses in bringing it to his lips, eyes narrowing in the slightest at Jimin. “How old are you?”
“I’m older,” Yoongi leans back against the couch, nodding at Jimin. “Call me hyung.”
“So demanding,” Jimin rolls his eyes, surprisingly pleased at how easy it is to talk Yoongi, their initial awkwardness gone and cleared away. It doesn’t feel like he’s talking to a stranger, but a friend instead. “Now drink up, hyung, before it gets cold.”
Satisfied, Yoongi does what he’s told, taking small sips of his drink. He grins at Jimin after he’s warmed up enough, stretching his lips until his gums appear. It lights up his face, melting off the entirety of his cold-like appearance, and makes Jimin smile in return.
They’re on their fifth round of Jenga when Yoongi starts to get concerned. He sits up and digs out his phone from his pocket, noting the time and frowning. “It’s been two hours and the maintenance guy still hasn’t replied.”
Jimin holds his breath as he pushes out a block slowly, careful not to topple the tower again. He releases a delighted sigh when he manages to remove it without a wobble and carefully places it on the top. Only then does he look up at Yoongi and purses his lips in thought. “Why don’t you call him?”
“I was just about to,” Yoongi replies, dialing a number and cradling his phone to his ear while Jimin grabs the bowl of chips beside him, game temporarily abandoned, and settles to watch him talk to the same ahjussi who fixes his lightbulbs and his toilet when need be.
“Hi,” Yoongi greets, back automatically straightening in formality. “Yes, this is Yoongi from 309.” He listens intently, nodding along to whatever the man is saying at the other end, frown never leaving his face. “Is that so? Alright, then.” A pause. “No―it’s okay. I understand. Thank you.”
The heavy sigh that escapes past his lips tells Jimin all he needs to know. He chews thoughtfully, sets aside his bowl, and leans back on his palms. “Let me guess,” he starts, “he’s stuck because of the storm and won’t be able to fix your heater.”
“Well, you can always stay here,” Jimin shrugs, taking in the frustrated expression on Yoongi’s face and the downturn of his lips that was smiling at him just a few minutes ago. “You can sleep on the couch.”
Yoongi swivels his head to look at him, mouth hanging in surprise. “I can?”
Jimin only nods, not making any of this a big deal―because it isn’t, really. The snowstorm is falling heavier by the second, the temperature is dropping further, and he is in need of a warm place to stay. Jimin can’t just let him freeze to death, alone in his cold apartment; he wasn’t raised like that.
Yoongi bites his lip, conflicted, peering at Jimin like he can’t, for the life of him, figure out why he’s being kind like this. To a stranger, no less. “Jimin...aren’t you being entirely too trusting right now?”
“It’s not like I’m naive,” Jimin sniffs, voice just the slightest bit defensive. He crosses his arms tightly in front of his chest. “I know your name, where you live, and where you work. If you steal something or attempt to harm me in any way, I can just easily report you to the authorities. But you won’t do that,” he smiles at Yoongi, beatific and knowing, almost teasing. “Because you’re an up and coming music producer and you wouldn't want to taint your reputation and live your life on the run just because your heater broke and you murdered an innocent neighbor.”
Yoongi just stares at him, maybe still too overwhelmed from his hospitality. It takes him one, two, three seconds before he shakes his head out of his shocked stupor. He responds with a scoff at Jimin’s words, but there’s a ghost of a smile on his lips that says he’s beyond thankful. “You have a wild imagination, but fair enough.”
Jimin takes his acquiescence with a cheer and hands him the bowl of chips.
“For the record, I never said you were naive or anything.”
“I’m not stupid, hyung, I saw the look on your face.”
“Can’t believe you still remember that,” Yoongi shakes his head now, drawing his legs up on the couch and setting down his mug, still marshmallow-less even after all these years, atop his knees. “Did you suddenly acquire an eidetic memory?”
Jimin smiles into his hot chocolate. “No, not really. I just remembered because of the storm, and also because you gave me a lasting impression. You looked so cute when you were still shy, hyung.”
Yoongi glares at him menacingly, eyes so piercing Jimin might perforate in front of him. “I’m not cute.”
“You’re being cute right now,” Jimin teases with a laugh, already desensitized to his glares. He sets down his mug on the table. "Really, really cute."
“I swear to God, Park Jimin."
Jimin giggles, having fun getting a rise out of Yoongi, just like always. He’s always done that, not letting Yoongi live peacefully, seeking his attention in the most subtle of ways. And Yoongi pushes back, goodnaturedly, with a taunt of his own.
“You wanna watch a movie?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking The Bee Movie,” Jimin grins, watching Yoongi cringe the same way he did when Taehyung forced all of them to watch Minions last month. He bites back a laugh. “Or Inception, if you’re up for headaches.”
“I’ve already developed an immunity to headaches, being friends with all of you,” Yoongi shrugs mildly, setting down his mug beside Jimin’s.
“If we’re headaches, then you’re a migraine, hyung,” Jimin ripostes, standing up and kneeling in front of the television to turn it on and pop in the DVD.
"That was a good comeback, I'll give you that," Yoongi says as Jimin reaches for the remote and presses play when the menu screen appears, squinting as he does from the bright television light.
"Complimented by Min Yoongi himself. I'm honored," Jimin beams, feeling pleased and somehow accomplished. He plops right back in his seat after, reaching for his mug of hot chocolate again.
"You should put that on your résumé."
As they watch, Jimin can’t help but notice the small distance between him and Yoongi, one he can close if he wants to; a minimal space that will stretch into a thousand miles in a few days. He tries to ignore it, telling himself not to count the distance anymore, but he can feel Yoongi’s warmth even from where he’s sitting, and like moth to fire, he’s drawn to it. Against his better judgment, he sucks in a quiet breath, mustering enough courage in his lungs, and crosses that space by putting his head on Yoongi’s shoulder. Yoongi, in turn, says nothing, only adjusting his position so Jimin can lean on him without getting a crick in the neck later.
(It’s small things like this that make Jimin fall further, despite everything.)
“Hyung,” Jimin mumbles, halfway through the movie. He’s not really watching at this point, more focused on Yoongi’s shoulder, how it’s solid and warm and something Jimin would like to lean on again and again, if he had his way.
Jimin feels Yoongi rest his cheek on his head, soft breath ruffling his hair. He takes it as a response, telling him Yoongi is listening. Maybe it’s because of this, or the quietness between them that coaxes him, but it makes Jimin brave enough to ask one of the hundred questions he has stowed away. Just this one.
“Hyung, aren’t you scared?”
“Hmm? Of what?”
Jimin interlaces his fingers together on his lap, eyes watching the crisscrossed motions of it. “Of living in a different place. Of the language barrier.” Of leaving people behind, he silently adds.
There’s a beat where Jimin thinks Yoongi won’t answer, but he does, voice softer than he’d ever heard, thoughtful. “I am,” he admits. “But the last thing I need right now is to scare myself out of opportunities. Being scared is one thing, letting that hold you back is another.”
His words fall somewhere deep inside Jimin, reminding him how good Yoongi is with words, how he always says the right thing and never spare any truths. It makes him ache in something he can’t place and he reaches for Yoongi’s hand, a consolation and an anchor. “You’re gonna do amazing there, hyung.”
Yoongi squeezes his hand in gratitude, letting their hands linger before letting go. Jimin tries not to notice the immediate absence of warmth in their separation. “That means a lot to me, Jimin. Thanks.”
Neither of them makes it to the end of the movie, drifting off into a dreamless sleep as the night stretches on.
When they wake, the clock tells them it’s close to ten in the evening. They don’t mention how Jimin ended up on Yoongi’s chest or how Yoongi’s arm ended up wrapped around Jimin. They laugh it off, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Jimin collects their mug and washes them in the sink, carefully placing them back in the cupboard after.
“I should go,” Yoongi announces, voice still coated with the edge of sleep. He moves to stand up and puts his jacket back on. Jimin follows him to the door.
“Let’s hang out again, hyung,” he blurts as soon as Yoongi steps out on the hall. He hopes Yoongi can hear the silent apology in it.
“I’d like that,” Yoongi nods, slipping his hands in his pockets. He turns on his heel before facing Jimin again, abruptly, and looks like he’s got more to say. “Jimin―”
“Yeah?” Jimin raises his eyebrows. He watches Yoongi struggle a bit, and he can only wonder what kind of internal battle he’s having.
“We’re friends, right?” Yoongi finally asks, holding Jimin’s gaze with something hesitant and yet unrestrained, making him feel like a house on fire.
Jimin looks away, feeling like he just swallowed something bitter and sharp. “We are.”
“You’ll tell me if you’re mad, right?”
Jimin knits his eyebrows together, confused. “What’s this about, hyung?”
Yoongi heaves a sigh, heavy and frustrated. “It’s just―I really thought you were avoiding me, and frankly, I’m tired of guessing if I did something that upset you.”
Ah. Sometimes Jimin forgets how observant Yoongi is, detecting bullshit from miles away. He doesn't give him enough credit for that and he’s sorry. But he still can’t, even when Yoongi’s voice sounds pleading, Just tell me the truth, Jimin, because he’s right, of course he is. Being scared is one thing, letting it hold you back is another.
So he meets Yoongi’s eyes and offers him a small smile. It feels weary, like it can break if he tries to push it any further. A lie. “You didn’t do anything, hyung. I was just really busy.”
Yoongi searches his face for a flicker, a crack in the shield, and nods in the end. “I believe you,” he says, but even Jimin can hear the doubt in his voice and it makes him hate himself for it. “I’ll see you later.”
“Goodnight, hyung.” Jimin closes the door on him gently and promptly sinks to the floor in a miserable mess.
Later before he sleeps, Jimin receives a text from Seokjin. He opens it without a thought, harsh light greeting him and making him squint as he reads the message.
[Dec 19, 11:23 PM]
Hey Jimin, did you get to see Yoongi today? He was asking me where you were and I remember you telling me you were going to the mall. Did he manage to catch you?
Jimin feels a fist squeeze his heart and all at once he knows. Yoongi wasn’t at the mall because he was bored, he was there to find him. He bites his lip to the point of breaking skin, a hundred different emotions passing through him. How is it possible for Yoongi to make him happy and miserable at the same time without even knowing? It just isn’t fair.
Heart to his throat, and maybe a few tears prickling his eyes because dammit he feels like utter shit, he sends a short reply to Seokjin before burying his phone under his pillow. He curls in on himself, letting his blankets drown him in their ocean. Eyes fluttering and one foot into sleep, Jimin lets himself dream of closing distances and being brave enough to tell Min Yoongi he’s in love with him.
The idea comes to Jimin three days later when he stumbles upon a photo of him and his friends during Namjoon’s birthday. He remembers the cake he bought and the small surprise they had for him that he posted on Twitter. Memories. The perfect gift for someone who’s leaving. And for Yoongi, who treasures photos like they’re heartfelt lyrics, it might be the most important one he’ll ever give.
He sets out to collect all of their photos, combing through his social media accounts and cramming them in his flash drive. He looks for his phone, retrieving it from under his pillow, and dials Taehyung’s number with ease.
“Yo!” Taehyung chirps as soon as he answers, bright as the new day.
“Taehyungie,” Jimin greets without preamble, yanking his jacket on and hurrying out of his apartment. He pockets his flash drive and locks the door. “I’m dropping by your place right now to use your photo printer. Is it okay?”
“Cool. I’m eating sandwich right now, want me to save you a piece?”
Jimin smiles despite himself. “Sure, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
Taehyung opens the door on Jimin with a wide smile, the Taehyung sort, warm and boxy and effective enough to bring a mirror of its own on Jimin’s lips. He’s wearing one of his cut-up shirts again, the pink one he impulsively ran through with a scissor for aesthetics. Jimin has thought Seokjin had stolen it, since he was wearing it when he posted a photo of him on Twitter during his trip to Sweden earlier this year, but perhaps they’re sharing?
“Printer’s already running,” Taehyung says as Jimin enters, closing the door behind them.
“Thanks,” Jimin throws him a grateful smile and heads over to his room where his printer is. He’s lucky Taehyung had a brief stint with photography and bought a photo printer for his hobby. Of course he gave up after a month, bowing out and letting Yoongi and Jungkook take the position of photographers in their group. Right now he’s back on playing the saxophone, calling his choice of instrument ‘his beautiful, glistening wife who makes the music.’
“What're ya printing?” Taehyung inquires, peeking over his shoulders as Jimin works.
"It's just for a small project," Jimin murmurs, pressing on Print and exhaling in relief.
While they wait for the photos to print, Taehyung hands him his sandwich, a simple ham and cheese, and tells him about his catwalk rehearsal yesterday. It’s his first time walking, and he’s ecstatic and nervous at once.
“It’s like eating too much cake and getting a stomachache,” he shares, and Jimin has to resist his natural tendency to scold. Eat first, talk later. But Taehyung’s not a baby anymore―he's just a really big kid who’s always sugarhigh for some reason. “I can’t wait. I feel like I’m going to pee myself!”
“Well,” Jimin says, taking a bite of his sandwich and patting Taehyung on the back playfully. “Let’s hope you don’t do it on the runway.”
Taehyung punches him on the arm in retaliation, getting a laugh out of Jimin and a half-assed apology. “You’ll do great! You won’t pee on yourself! We’ll all be there to laugh at you, if you do.”
“You've been spending way too much time with Yoongi-hyung, Jiminnie. Your retorts are sounding the same."
Hearing Yoongi's name immediately sobers up Jimin, laugh dying in his throat. He puts down his half-finished sandwich on his plate, not really hungry anyway, and relents a sigh. Thankfully, his photos are finished printing so he moves to collect them, checking if the print is okay and sliding them in an envelope.
Taehyung plucks one out from the pile, eyes shimmering as he goes back into a memory. It’s the one where they went to Hoseok’s dance competition a year ago. He hands it to Jimin with a subdued smile on his face. “I’m sure he’ll love it,” he says, because of course he knows who they’re for, even without Jimin saying it outright.
Jimin wordlessly slips it into the envelope as well. Once he’s done, he returns Taehyung’s smile, barely lifting at the corners, and he has half a mind to wonder when it’ll stop feeling like heartbreak. “I hope so.”
Jimin lays out all the pictures on the floor like a map, back from the starting point where he and Yoongi became friends to where they are now. It’s amazing, really, how his friends and Yoongi’s friends came together and formed a single group, amassing these bunch of memories despite busy schedules. He understands now why Yoongi loves taking photos so much, immortalizing each moment in one click, forever vibrant and never fading.
In one photo, it’s summer again and they’re all at the beach, sitting atop Seokjin’s pickup. He remembers sleeping in the truck bed with Taehyung and Jungkook, bundled up in blankets; he remembers Yoongi waking them up, and all of them watching the sunrise together by the lighthouse. He remembers running, Namjoon catching crabs, the small campfire they created, watching smoke and fire lick up at the night sky.
In another, it’s spring. The party at Seokjin’s place that had all of them nursing the worst hangover they’ve ever had. He still had orange hair then, a dare he lost and a lesson learned: never wager against Jeon Jungkook. He remembers the epic pillow fight, feathers flying all around like snow, he and Hoseok collapsing on a heap of them as electronic music bleed through the speakers.
Jimin arranges them all in the album as best as he can, reliving each memory like a new moment: when he slept on Yoongi’s lap, when Seokjin put a shirt over him as he slept and posted it on Twitter, when they all went to the amusement park and Hoseok almost died. The first fireworks show he watched with Namjoon, the first time he and Taehyung got Jungkook drunk. When Yoongi dyed his hair back to black and it felt like years has been taken off of him. All these mundane things that somehow got to be special if only because they happened with friends; the people Jimin keeps close to his heart.
One particular photo snags Jimin’s attention, the one where he took a photo of Yoongi for his birthday and first felt that weird sensation in his stomach, a kind of falling, as Yoongi stared straight at the camera with a smile that still makes Jimin’s breath hitch, up to this day. It was simple, really, there were no fireworks or background music; just a simple click of the camera, but Jimin still takes it like a fanfare.
He was twenty-two then, when he falls in love, someone else’s camera in hand, ready to take another photo of the boy who captured his heart.
It has been a tradition of some sort that started two years ago, celebrating Christmas eve together over a simple holiday meal and a few drinks; a reprieve, one night where they forget about their jobs and their troubles to enjoy the company of friends. It’s at Seokjin’s place this year, in his new apartment in Gangnam, and Jimin has been preparing for it, dreading, keeping close sights of his calendar as the date inches to 24. Gifts in tow, he rings the doorbell and takes a step back, looking up past the trees, past the highrise buildings, to stare at the sky, blinking away the snow that falls on him.
It is then when things fall into place, and Jimin realizes there’s no use in keeping quiet anymore. Some truths aren’t meant to be kept, he surmises, and it just isn’t right to let Yoongi go when the last thing he’s heard from Jimin was a lie.
The door opens and Seokjin lights up with a smile. “You’re finally here,” he greets, opening the door wider to let Jimin in. “Everyone’s already inside.”
Jimin smiles sheepishly, shaking the snow from his hair and ducking inside. “Sorry I’m late,” he says, shrugging out of his coat and toeing off his shoes. He places them neatly beside the others before facing Seokjin. “I fell asleep.”
“You aren’t that late,” Seokjin assures and tugs at him, ushering him to the living room where everyone is. Taehyung and Jungkook are on the carpeted floor, too immersed in a game of Mario Kart; Hoseok’s munching on a plate of mini sandwiches while Namjoon and Yoongi are sat on the sofa, watching and wincing every time Taehyung hollers a little too loud for their liking. Games with him has always been intense.
“Jimin’s here!” Seokjin announces, making everyone look up. He lets go of Jimin’s arm and heads over to the kitchen. “I’ll set the table and then we can eat.”
“Yah, Jimin-ah! Late as always!” Hoseok trills as he sets down the plate on the counter, voice more playful than scolding. Jimin, in return, smiles good-naturedly at him.
His eyes drift to Yoongi, almost like a habit, and finds that he’s already staring. He feels his heart pound harder, reminding him of his epiphany just a while ago, and lets the flimsiest smile slip in. Yoongi nods in quiet greeting.
To calm his heart, Jimin puts down his gifts under the Christmas tree along with the others, and takes his time to admire the decorations festooned on the tree. It’s gaudy and overwhelming just like Seokjin himself, from glittery Christmas balls to snow angels to small reindeers flying from tree branch to tree branch. It’s weirdly calming, as if reassuring him that despite what others say, some things do stay the same.
He deposits himself to the couch after, beside Namjoon, and resigns himself into watching Taehyung and Jungkook race against each other. The maknae unsurprisingly wins, and Taehyung collapses on his back, mourning for his loss of the game.
“You blue-shelled me, you heathen,” he whines from his spot, pushing at Jungkook’s back with a hand. “You betrayed me! Traitor!”
Jungkook scowls, standing up and brushing invisible dust bunnies off his jeans. He looks down at Taehyung with a smirk and says, “That’s what you getting for not having a game strategy,” before making a beeline to the kitchen.
Taehyung lifts his head to look at his audience on the couch. “Since when do you need a strategy to win Mario Kart. Every game with him feels like a war, it’s scary.”
“What did you expect from Jungkook honestly,” Yoongi rolls his eyes, propping his cheek on his fist. “You’re better off playing against Seokjin-hyung.”
“Seokjinnie-hyung is a sore loser,” Taehyung pouts, sitting up and crossing his legs under him. Like this, he looks more like a kid than a model with four advertisements under his belt.
“I heard my name,” Seokjin peeks his head out of the kitchen and glares at Taehyung. “You better be singing praises about me, Kim Taehyung.” He points a stern finger at him before smiling, all warm and easy. “Dinner’s ready.”
They all stand up and gather at the dining table, dinner already laid out and waiting to be feasted on. It’s simple: bulgogi, take-out chicken, ice cream cake, and beer courtesy of Seokjin, who still managed to prepare these despite busy filming schedules.
When Jimin first met him, he was honestly awestruck and maybe a little dumbfounded. Yoongi’s friends are all popular, one way or another, and Seokjin―Kim fucking Seokjin who starred in a successful independent film that won international awards and gained him thousand of fans―is one of them. Seeing him up close for the first time was overwhelming, tall and handsome in a way lead actors in films do, carrying himself in this confident way that makes him seem untouchable―until, well, he opened his mouth and Jimin realized he might probably be the lamest person he’s ever met.
“Yah, Jimin,” Seokjin says now, yanking Jimin from his reverie with a frown on his face. He points at the food with his chopsticks. “Why aren’t you eating? I didn’t spend money on these to let you waste it!”
“Sorry, sorry! Geez, hyung,” Jimin responds, properly chastised, reaching for his chopsticks to break it cleanly in half.
While they eat, Namjoon talks about the mixtape he’s been working on, how it’s coming along nicely and maybe he can finish it by January if time is kind to him, while Taehyung makes everyone promise to see his first show.
“I’m sure there will be a live telecast, Yoongi-hyung. You can watch it, too!” Taehyung insists while he munches on a chicken leg.
Jimin listens, laughing along if the situation calls for it, and hopes no one can see how he’s fronting. Underneath his smiles, he’s a trainwreck, mind currently a wilderness. He pours a can of beer on his glass and lets the burn of the drink settle his nerves. He focuses on Seokjin telling them about his new film, a romantic comedy with Im Jin-ah as his leading lady; on Hoseok complaining about his dance group being a little too difficult to handle; on Jungkook showing a selca of him and Yerim with Sooyoung and Sungjae, out on a lunch date yesterday. It’s amazing, he thinks, how he has the best of friends, a second family in the city that’s too fast for them more often than not. He flicks away the unnecessary sentimentality with a gulp of his beer and glances surreptitiously at Yoongi.
Like him, Yoongi’s been quiet; preferring to listen than to share. Jimin can only wonder what’s going through his head. As if feeling his gaze on him, Yoongi looks up from his bulgogi and meets his eyes. He raises an eyebrow in question and Jimin, letting old senses kick in, just sticks his tongue out at him.
“Yoongi-hyung,” Hoseok calls, dragging Yoongi’s attention away from his impromptu staring match with Jimin. “How are you feeling?”
“Cold,” is Yoongi’s answer, making Hoseok tackle him with a sudden hug because another person’s body heat is the best kind of warmth, he informs with a laugh.
“Are you excited for your flight, hyung?” Taehyung asks, leaning over the table, eyes wide and curious trained on Yoongi.
Yoongi takes a swig of his beer before shrugging. The faint flush on his cheeks is endearing, just like always. “It’s not like it’s my first plane ride,” he answers. “But I’m looking forward to my trip.”
“Don’t skip on meals there, Yoongi-yah,” Seokjin pipes up. “I might not be there to physically drag you out of the studio, but don’t think I won’t call to remind you.”
Yoongi pokes on a chicken with his chopsticks, huffing under his breath. “I won’t. Don’t call me too much or I’ll block your number.”
“Ah, this friend,” Seokjin scoffs, aiming a fist at Yoongi. He sounds indignant as he goes off, shaking his head for added effect. “You’re lucky you even know my number! Do you know how many fans would kill just to have that? Delete it! You don’t deserve to know my contact number!”
To calm him or maybe shut him up, Taehyung reaches to squish Seokjin’s cheeks together until his lips pucker out like a fish’s, his other hand coming up to stroke Seokjin's hair softly. It works effectively. As an apology, Yoongi offers him the largest piece of beef with a quiet nudge, and Seokjin tacitly accepts.
“Let’s have a toast for Yoongi-hyung,” Namjoon suggests, holding his glass of beer up in the air. Everyone follows suit, Taehyung’s glass of Coke the only oddball.
“To Yoongi-hyung and whatever L.A. might bring!”
Jimin reaches to clink his glass with everyone else’s, and they all drink until they empty their glasses. It’s a bittersweet feeling, one that Jimin has learned to accept. Happiness and sadness merging into one insistent tug in Jimin’s chest―but it’s okay, he doesn’t mind. Not anymore. Because it doesn’t matter how long he’ll be gone and how much he'll miss him, not when it means Yoongi finally living his dream. Perhaps that’s why he was so adamant on finding the perfect gift in the first place; he needs to give something that’ll make Yoongi look forward to coming back home.
After dinner, Jimin volunteers to help Seokjin clear the table while everyone migrates to the living room, dashing off before they’re inclined to be responsible. Seokjin gratefully accepts, and they work in silence as they dump the plates in the sink.
“I’ll wash, you dry,” Seokjin says, turning on the faucet and scrubbing away.
It’s quite soothing, the sound of water running, flowing smoothly from spout to drain, Seokjin’s presence beside him and the quiet that stretches between them. It helps in easing that jittery, almost uncomfortable, feeling in his stomach.
“Are you okay?” Seokjin suddenly asks, breaking the silence, and hands him a plate.
Jimin dries it off and puts it away in the plate rack. “Why wouldn’t I be, hyung?”
Seokjin softly bumps his hips against his. “Don’t answer my question with a question, brat. You hardly talked a while ago.”
“I didn’t really have anything to share,” Jimin shrugs. “You don’t have to worry about me.”
“I do,” Seokjin sniffs, stubborn as ever. He hands him another plate. “Sulking is the last thing I want you to do this Christmas.”
Jimin exhales, drying with more force than necessary. “I’m not sulking, hyung. Of course I’m sad Yoongi-hyung's leaving, we all are.”
“I know,” Seokjin agrees gently, but his voice is firm and clear, and Jimin has no other choice but to listen. “But not all of us are in love with Yoongi.”
Jimin looks at him sharply, eyes almost stinging from how they’re open wide with surprise. He can feel his cheeks heat up, spreading down his neck. Seokjin only rolls his eyes and levels him a look that clearly says do you think I’m stupid.
“It’s not like you were being slick about it,” Seokjin explains mildly, like he’s talking about the weather or something as inconsequential. “All those teasing and bickering and flirting,” he shakes his head, “You make goo-goo eyes at him―don’t give me that look, you don’t see yourself like we do. It’s honestly painful to watch sometimes.”
Jimin mulls over his words, absentmindedly reaching for the plate he’s being handed and drying it off without much care. “Does Yoongi-hyung know, too?”
“No, he doesn’t,” Seokjin answers, voice carrying equal parts disappointment and frustration. “He’s willfully blind, almost like he’s not letting himself think that there might be a chance you’d love him back.”
“Love him back?” Jimin echoes, confused.
Seokjin pauses to peer at him before throwing his head back to laugh. “You’re both idiots.”
Jimin can only huff in annoyance.
“So what are you gonna do?” Seokjin asks after a moment, turning off the faucet and flicking off water from his hands. He reaches for a towel to dry his hands and faces Jimin.
“I’m gonna tell him,” Jimin answers, soft and steady. He’s already made up his mind.
His answer brings a satisfied smile on Seokjin’s lips and he puts a hand on Jimin’s shoulder, a gesture of comfort. “Jimin-ah, I’m proud of you.”
Half an hour before midnight, they finally exchange gifts. All of them are sat beside the tree in a circle, gifts piled in the middle. It reminds Jimin of childhood, of waiting to open presents with excited, almost shaky, fingers. Boxes are handed, wrappers torn and ripped at the sides. Namjoon and Hoseok laugh as they realize they both got a set of underwear from each other―from the same store, with the same design. Jimin receives a cap from Taehyung, a bottle of perfume from Seokjin, and a hoodie from Yoongi.
Hoseok hands Yoongi a small box with a lopsided grin. “Seokjin-hyung and I bought that. We thought you might need it while you're in L.A.”
Nestled inside is a black polaroid camera. Yoongi carefully lifts it up and smiles wide at Hoseok and Seokjin. “Thank you.” He sounds almost choked up.
“Quick, Yoongi-hyung is gonna cry! Take a photo!” Taehyung bursts, earning him a balled up wrapping paper in the face. No one is surprised.
Jimin looks at his own gift for Yoongi, suddenly reluctant to give it. Maybe scared. He silently counts to three, each second a breath held and released between teeth, and shoves his gift into Yoongi’s hands. Taehyung and Jungkook have the nerve to hoot, and Jimin suppresses the urge to tackle them there. The manhandling can wait. There’s a more important matter going on. Jimin grips at the edge of his sweater in anticipation.
Yoongi takes out the sweater, holding it up to see it in its entirety so he failed to notice the scrapbook album beneath it. But Hoseok does. He points at it and asks what it is, diverting Yoongi’s attention to the box again.
“It’s just something I made,” Jimin brushes off his nervousness with an offhanded motion of hand. He swallows and hopes his voice doesn’t crack. “So you don’t forget us when you’re in L.A.”
Yoongi slides the album on his lap and wordlessly opens it, browsing three years worth of memories compiled in one book. It feels like a year has passed before he closes the book with surprising gentleness. Jimin holds his breath as Yoongi lifts to meet his eyes, gaze steady and unwavering, before excusing himself.
“He didn’t like it,” Jimin release the breath he’s holding with something hurt and disappointed in it. He feels like drowning.
“He did,” Namjoon assures him with a squeeze of his hand.
Hoseok nods in agreement. “He’s just overwhelmed. You know Yoongi-hyung, he doesn’t know how to handle this kind of thing.”
“You should follow him,” Seokjin suggests, nodding off into the direction Yoongi went to and smiling encouragingly. Meaningfully.
Taehyung claps him on the back as Jimin stands. “You can do it, Jiminnie. Go get your man!"
"Tell Yoongi-hyung he owes me a year's worth of lamb skewers!" Jungkook hollers after him.
Jimin laughs despite himself, and makes his way to the rooftop, the only place he knows Yoongi will go to be alone. He feels his knees weaken with each step he takes on the stairs, hands clammy as they grip the banister because he cannot collapse from nervousness right now. Heart pounding in his throat, he slides open the door and steps out, feeling the cold kiss of December immediately on his exposed skin. He easily finds Yoongi leaning against the railing, eyes set on the stars he’ll sure reach one of these days. He looks peaceful, beautiful, with the way snow falls around him, and Jimin is transfixed.
“You know what I regret the most?” Yoongi suddenly asks, making Jimin jump out of his skin. Yoongi has always had the best senses out of all of them, alert and keen like a cat. It’s why hidden cameras has never worked on him. He slowly turns to Jimin, as if taking his time. “Not being brave enough to admit the truth.”
And isn’t that the thing? Jimin feels a swell of relief inside him as he makes his way to Yoongi and settles beside him. We all have some things we’d rather not admit, and even people like Yoongi, with all his bravado and eloquent words, still have some fears he’s afraid to conquer.
“What truth?” Jimin asks in hushed tones, figuring Yoongi might need that push.
Yoongi inhales, as if building up his courage in his lungs, and lets it out in a heavy exhale. “The truth is that I’m an idiot,” he proclaims, laughing quietly under his breath. “I thought my feelings would fade, like wounds and bruises. But they only grew stronger each day until I realized I’m in too deep.” He turns to him then, a smile on his face. Small and sad and maybe self-deprecating. “I love you, Park Jimin. I know this’ll put a strain in our friendship but―fuck it―I’m saying it anyway.”
Jimin feels his mouth gape open, the pounding of his heart too loud in his ears. He almost staggers, hands coming up to grip at Yoongi’s arm to steady himself. “W-What?” He sputters, not quite believing what he just heard.
“I love you,” Yoongi repeats, louder this time.
Jimin blinks the snow out of his eyes and with a shaky hand, pinches himself hard on the inside of his arm, just to make sure this isn’t some dream. He hisses in pain and wow, he’s not dreaming. Yoongi loves him. Yoongi just confessed to him―
Hang on. Yoongi just confessed to him when he’s supposed to be the one doing it.
He collects himself, sobering up from his dream haze, and allows a laugh to escape him. Yoongi watches on with tight eyes, preparing for a rejection that'll never come. With a newfound courage, Jimin takes a step towards him.
“Hyung, I can’t believe you beat me to it.”
Yoongi does a double-take, and Jimin hears him take a shaky breath. “What are you saying?”
Jimin takes another step, softly cupping Yoongi’s face. He’s beautiful like this, confused and soft and almost vulnerable; Jimin has never been more in love. “I’m saying it won’t put a strain in our friendship, because I love you too,” he smiles, taking one quick breath before finally crossing that distance and capturing Yoongi’s lips with his.
When they break apart, Yoongi leans his forehead against Jimin’s, breath intermingling in the space between them. He chuckles lowly, hands snaking around Jimin’s waist to bring him closer and he remembers Hoseok’s words, another person’s body heat is the best kind of warmth. It really is.
“We’re both idiots,” Yoongi murmurs, sounding like he’s having a hard time restraining the joy out of his voice.
Jimin agrees with a silent laugh. “So I’ve been told.”
They stay like that for a while, Yoongi bringing a hand up to stroke Jimin's cheek. The winter air squints through Jimin's hair, making him shiver, but they don't move. The snow falls, and the city blinks below them, fast-paced and never stopping.
“Jimin, will you wait for me?”
Jimin closes his eyes, remembering how much he's wished to hear those very words from Yoongi, echoing in his dreams and looming up at the back of his head. He nods, feeling something in him soar. “You don't even have to ask, hyung,” he whispers.
Their second kiss is initiated by Yoongi, mouth warm and soft despite the unkind weather, and Jimin doesn’t feel so cold anymore.
It doesn’t matter what continent we’re in, or how many months will pass before we see each other again. As long as we know someone’s holding out on the other side, we’ll cross that distance. We’ll conquer it together.
The first photo Yoongi takes on his new polaroid camera is of him and Jimin, huddled together, eyes not on the camera but on each other.