“What do you mean I can’t come home?”
Yoongi makes a weird sound into the receiver, and Taehyung knows exactly why he can’t come home, but he’s irritated enough that he’s going to force Yoongi through the embarrassment of saying it out loud. “Taehyung.”
Taehyung pitches his voice lower to match his roommate’s. “Yoongi.”
Yoongi groans in response. “Jimin is coming over in like, ten minutes.”
“And…what does that mean, exactly?”
“Why are you doing this?” Taehyung can picture the way Yoongi is rubbing his headache away. “Jimin is coming over and you won’t want to be here for what happens after.”
“What happens after?” Taehyung knows what happens after.
Yoongi sighs in defeat. “We’re probably going to have several rounds of loud sex and I don’t want you to hear it,” he says flatly.
Jimin is a mythical being in Taehyung’s life. As far as Taehyung knows, Jimin and Yoongi have been friends since Yoongi went to college, because when Taehyung followed his friend a year later Jimin was already a firmly established character in Yoongi’s life.
He isn’t sure when the…added benefits started. He’s never cared enough to asked.
From what he can glean, Park Jimin is small, cute, and friendly. If he were taller, he’d be the antithesis of one Min Yoongi, at least to someone who didn’t know where to look. Taehyung knows where to look, so Taehyung thinks it sounds like they should get along together pretty well. And they do, because Yoongi smiles a little when he talks about Jimin, so Taehyung couldn’t be happier.
He knows absolutely nothing else about Jimin.
Somehow, in all the months since Taehyung and Yoongi decided to get an apartment together, Park Jimin has not been spotted a single time.
This is probably because Yoongi is easily the best roommate Taehyung has ever had. He cleans up after himself and fixes all the shit Taehyung accidentally breaks and chips in on groceries regularly and he is very, very good at making sure Taehyung knows when he’s having friends over.
Especially when the friend in question is coming over for copious amounts of sex.
Usually, Yoongi tells him at least a few hours in advance, and rarely does he make plans before making sure that Taehyung has somewhere else to go. But Yoongi has been stressed to the point of forgetting to eat two out of the three meals a day, and hasn’t been sleeping, and really, this is probably more of an emergency than an excuse to get his dick wet.
Taehyung is a cool guy.
“Yoongi, I have a test on Monday,” he whines into the receiver. “I have to study.” He took a dinner break and this is what happens. Kicked out of his own home. Sans books and all motivation.
He can hear Yoongi’s judgement. “You never study.”
This is, of course, a false statement, but it’s true that Taehyung studies less than some of his peers.
But Yoongi knows this and doesn’t need to have that explained to him. So Taehyung just says “I have to this time!” and leaves it at that. This teacher hates him and this is supposed to be the hardest exam of the semester. His grade isn’t on the line or anything (his A might be, but Taehyung’s never been one to stress about overachieving) but it’s the principle of the matter. If he does poorly, his professor wins.
“Taehyung,” Yoongi whines back. He’s pulling out the big guns. “You can come back in the morning!”
Taehyung purses his lips. “Promise me.”
Silence. “Promise you what?” his roommate asks warily.
“Promise me no morning sex.”
“Oh my god, there won’t be any morning sex,” Yoongi shouts, frustrated. He’s wound up like a coil and Taehyung has always loved pushing his buttons. “I want to sleep for three years, I probably won’t even be awake until noon.”
Right before he can think of a witty reply, Yoongi cuts him off. “Ah, Jimin is here. I have to go.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Taehyung rolls his eyes and takes a bite of his noodles. “I’ll be there in the morning.” He hears the door open on the other end, and he hears Yoongi’s voice softly greeting his guest. Taehyung grins wolfishly. The other people at the restaurant are probably nervous. “No morning sex, right, Yoongi?”
“No morning sex, fine!”
Taehyung hears a soft voice say “what the fuck?” and then Yoongi hangs up.
With a grin, Taehyung dials Jungkook’s number. “Hey, do you want to have a sleepover?”
When Taehyung returns in the morning, it’s with absolutely no motivation to study and gross morning breath. His hair is a mess. He’s wearing one of Jungkook’s sweaters and his too big sweatpants from the night before and he looks like a shapeless blob with flip flops and bedhead.
He looks like a college student.
He yawns as he turns the key in the lock, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. The walk from Jungkook’s dorm to the off-campus apartments wasn’t enough to wake him up fully, because the only thing that’s able to wake him up fully is coffee and cute guys.
So, naturally, when he walks into their apartment and turns into the kitchen, he is suddenly, completely, and totally awake.
Because there is a cute guy at the coffee machine and Taehyung is both very awake and not sure he ever woke up at all.
A brilliant introduction.
The cute guy, whom Taehyung is now awake enough to figure is one Park Jimin, jolts and bangs his knee against the cupboard with a curse. “Shit shit shit.” He’s got a blanket around his shoulders that’s dragging on the kitchen floor, and the back of his hair looks a lot like it’s been pulled and then slept on. When he turns around, Taehyung sees that the blanket is both for heat and modesty, because the other boy isn’t wearing a shirt and all Taehyung can see is skin.
But in the microsecond it takes for Taehyung to rip his eyes away from the stranger’s torso and actually take in his face, his theory that this is Park Jimin is pretty much confirmed. Small, cute, and friendly.
This guy fits the bill.
He looks at Taehyung with wide eyes. “Ah…hello.”
“Hello.” Taehyung fights back a laugh.
“Uh…” The stranger pulls the blanket tighter around his chest. “Park Jimin.”
Taehyung grins slowly, amused. “Kim Taehyung.”
Jimin’s eyes brighten with recognition. “Roommate!”
“Yep! Uh…” He looks Jimin up and down, takes in the disheveled hair and the bare legs poking out under the blanket in the front. There’s a hickey on his neck. Yoongi always was a biter. “Friend?”
Jimin grins. “Yep.”
Taehyung drops his bag on the kitchen table and toes off his shoes.
“You wouldn’t, ah…” he hears Jimin say behind him. When he turns around, Jimin is standing with an awkward hand on top of the machine. “There wouldn’t happen to be a…normal coffee pot around here, would there?”
“What?” Taehyung asks cheekily. “Don’t know how to work a French Press?”
Instead of answering, Jimin’s eyes go dead. “Why the hell does Yoongi have this? Who can think that much in the morning?” He looks around flatly. “Should I be looking around for a coffee grinder, too? I’m appalled by the lack of instant coffee.”
Apparently Jimin is grumpy in the mornings.
“Shouldn’t you be glowing or something?” Taehyung asks idly, stepping in beside Jimin and washing his hands in the sink. His mouth tastes gross. He hasn’t brushed his teeth yet. Coffee is probably more important.
“You mean because I got laid?” Jimin laughs and bites his lip. “How do you know I’m not glowing? Maybe I’m usually dull and lifeless.”
“From the way Yoongi talks about you, I would expect the sunrise after hookup.” Taehyung flicks water into the sink and turns off the faucet before wiping his hands on Jungkook’s sweatshirt. “Or has Yoongi’s dick lost it’s magic?”
Jimin raises an eyebrow. “Can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing his dick’s magic.” He smiles sweetly. “Do you think he’d let me if I asked?”
Taehyung’s knowledge of Yoongi’s bedroom activities is fairly minimal, although he’s heard plenty about Yoongi’s dick from his previous sexual partners. He does know, however, that if Jimin smiles like that and asks for dick, there's probably not a person in this world who would refuse him. Taehyung grins. "Maybe if you asked nicely.”
"I'm always nice.”
"I'm sure." Honestly, Taehyung has heard a lot about Jimin, and he doesn't know all about Yoongi's sexual preferences, but he does know that Yoongi doesn't keep people around if they're not good people, and he definitely doesn't let them in unless they're worth it.
But it's too early in the morning and him and Jimin aren't close enough for Taehyung to get all emotional about Yoongi's ability to make friends for life, so instead of lingering on that thought he shakes it away and stretches out his back. The pop is satisfying. "If you want coffee, I have a mini coffee pot in my room, because honestly, if I have to watch a Youtube tutorial to get my coffee in the morning it's really not worth it.”
"Hear, hear." Jimin raises his empty coffee mug in a toast. "I hope you roast Yoongi about his high maintenance coffee needs.”
"Daily," Taehyung assures him. "You should hear his coffee order. I like going with him to the coffee shop just to see the barista's eye twitch." He turns and leads Jimin towards his room, lowering his voice as they pass by Yoongi's closed door.
Jimin rolls his eyes. "Venti iced caramel macchiato with an extra espresso shot and a pump of hazelnut," he rambles off like he's reading it from an index card. Which he probably has before. "He's lucky he's cute. Otherwise he's never gonna get a boyfriend.”
There's a thump against Yoongi's door, and Taehyung hears the sleepy groan and knows that Yoongi threw a shoe. "Shut up.”
"Good morning, sunshine," Jimin sings over his shoulder as Taehyung opens the door to his bedroom.
"No." Another thump. Probably the other shoe.
Taehyung's room is a disaster, but Taehyung himself is also a disaster this morning (he needs to brush his teeth, like, ASAP) and if Jimin can't handle it then they probably can't be friends. There's homework and study materials sprawled out on his desk and his bed, less because Taehyung was studying before he left last night and more because he figures that if it's out where he can see it he's more likely to do something about it. His clothes are mostly in his laundry basket, but there are at least three pairs of underwear scattered around the room like one of those search games. Where is the apple? Where is the sword? Where is the underwear? It's hanging on Kim Taehyung's bedpost.
Jimin picks up the small figurine of Kerberos from Card Captor Sakura that's sitting on his desk and places it delicately on his open palm. "Charming," he says, and it's a little teasing but mostly genuine.
"Don't mock my childhood," Taehyung snips happily, getting the coffee started. It only makes a cup or two, since it's a personal coffee pot, but he figures that's enough for now. He can always make more later. "I'm providing you with sustenance."
Gently, Jimin puts the figure back down, setting it next to the baby cactus Yoongi had given him for his birthday so Taehyung would have something to remember him by. It's cute, the way the Jimin nudges the figure a little closer so it looks like Kero is guarding the cactus.
Taehyung smiles as Jimin pulls the blanket tighter around himself.
"What's your major?" Jimin asks, after a moment.
"Ah, the ultimate get-to-know-you question." Taehyung leans against his desk. The room smells less like Taehyung and more like coffee now. "I'm a nursing major.”
Jimin's eyebrows shoot up. “Really?"
"Hey!" Taehyung pretends to be offended. "You barely know me and you're already surprised?”
"You have a One Piece poster and there's a sock hanging from your fan!" Jimin protests, and while both of these things are true, Taehyung doesn't see how they have anything to do with his degree.
"I want to work in a children's hospital with long term patients," he tells Jimin as the coffee pot sputters and the light turns off. He waits for the last of it to drip into the pot before taking it out and pouring himself a cup. It'd be polite to fill Jimin's cup first, but Jimin is very focused on playing with his mug, hands jittery, and Taehyung has always been an opportunist.
"An honorable quest," Jimin says, fingernails clinking on the side of his mug.
Taehyung takes it from his hands and pours him the rest of the pot. "And you?”
"I'm in dance business and accounting.”
Taehyung blinks. “What."
Jimin laughs. "I want to work behind the scenes at a big dance company, like, with finances and stuff.”
"Double major is pretty ambitious.”
Jimin shrugs. "Not if you work hard.”
Taehyung grins greasily. "Work hard, play hard?"
Jimin sighs loftily. "Is there any better way to live?”
With a laugh, Taehyung takes in the hickey on Jimin's neck, the sex hair, the skin that's showing from where the blanket has slid down off of his shoulder. "Probably not," he admits, taking a drink of his coffee.
"You're full of surprises." Jimin whistles. "You drink your coffee black?”
Taehyung's mouth is full of too-hot coffee, and as soon as Jimin says that, he realizes his mistake. "Uh-uh," he grunts, coffee burning his tongue. He debates for a moment more before opening his mouth and spitting it back into the mug. He stares at Jimin like a dog caught in the wrong.
Jimin stares back.
Taehyung clears his throat. "I have regrets.”
There's a moment of complete silence, and then Jimin starts laughing.
Really laughing, without a care that it's the morning or that Yoongi might come out of his room and murder them both, and Kim Taehyung learns an interesting thing about Park Jimin.
Park Jimin laughs with his whole body.
Taehyung actually does manage to get some studying done. He shoves some of his papers and laundry aside and lets Jimin sit on his bed while he sits at his desk and tries to read about pharmaceuticals and not cry. Jimin took both of their coffees out into the kitchen and fixed them up and it's a little sweeter than Taehyung would usually take his coffee but not so much that Taehyung doesn't appreciate the gesture.
It's maybe half an hour of comfortable silence before Yoongi's door across the hall creaks open, and Jimin looks up from where he's slouched, still half dressed, on Taehyung's bed. Quietly, carefully, Jimin slides off the bed, pats the comforter back into place, and pats Taehyung on the head in thanks on his way out of the room.
There's very little that can distract Taehyung when he's properly in focus, but he spares Jimin a pleasant grunt and light touch on the elbow as Jimin trails away.
He doesn't think about Park Jimin for another hour.
All he thinks about is pharm and the fact that he hates his life. His coffee gets cold. He doesn't notice until he tries to swallow and the slightly too sugary taste is suddenly Way Too Sugary and he chokes it down with a grimace. He sighs, rubbing his eyes, brain suddenly swimming. Taehyung swings from hyper focused to completely scattered with little to no warning, and he closes his textbook and vows to return to it later in the day.
Taehyung slinks out of his bedroom, cold coffee in hand, heading for the microwave because he doesn't feel like making another pot yet, and Yoongi is sprawled out over the couch. Taehyung tries not to look too closely after a night like that, because there are some things he just doesn't want to know, but it's hard not to notice that the tension in Yoongi's neck has dissolved into nothing and Yoongi is putty on the cheap leather. "Good morning," he slurs. His eyes are closed.
Taehyung looks too closely by accident.
Looks like Jimin's a biter, too.
"I thought I said no morning sex," Taehyung chirps cheerfully, putting his mug in the microwave. 30 seconds. Done.
Yoongi holds up a lazy middle finger.
Yoongi just hums languidly.
Jimin must be very, very good at what he does.
"That was the best sleep I've had in weeks," Yoongi says flatly with a sigh, and Taehyung is both pleased and disgusted. Disgusted for obvious reasons, but mostly pleased because Yoongi deserves a good dicking and a full night's sleep.
"You should get laid more," he says instead.
"I should get laid to rest." Yoongi holds his arms out in front of him like a zombie. "Release me from the mortal coil, O College Gods." His arms flop down on his chest. "Headline: Min Yoongi Taken By The Void Because Of Senior Thesis.”
"Relatable." Taehyung stirs his coffee with a finger and decides it's warm enough. He walks over and sets the mug on the top of Yoongi's head for a moment playfully before taking a drink.
Yoongi frowns up at him. "You're not a senior.”
"I have been taken by the Void, though." Taehyung looks into the distance. "It was the summer of '08. My grandmother left me at the fair. I lost hours there. The Void is cold. All I remember is funnel cake and losing all my quarters.”
Yoongi snorts. "You must be great at parties.”
"You'd know that if you ever went to one." Taehyung takes a pointed sip of his coffee.
He gets the response he expected, which is another snort and otherwise no response at all, and they exist together for a moment or two before Yoongi opens his mouth again. "So you met Jimin?”
Taehyung hums. "Yeah." He smiles and sits on the top of the couch, swinging his legs over and setting his feet on Yoongi's stomach. "He's nice.”
Yoongi stares at Taehyung's feet pointedly and then does absolutely nothing. Taehyung doesn't remove them. "I feel like you guys would get along well.”
Which isn't a huge sentiment, because Taehyung is charismatic and charming and still manages to be genuine, and on top of that is pretty easy going, and there are very few people he's met that he doesn't get along well with. But Yoongi thinks things through another half step before he says them, so if he's saying he thinks Kim Taehyung and Park Jimin will get along well, then Taehyung is expecting a bromance like no other.
And it's easy to imagine. Jimin is small and cute and friendly, three things that Taehyung enjoys, and Jimin himself is a little bit more than that. And Jimin set Kero to protect his cactus and Jimin didn't get disgusted when Taehyung spit all his coffee into his cup and Jimin sat with him in silence for half an hour and didn't seem bothered at all.
Taehyung takes another drink of coffee. It's almost cold again but he smiles anyway. "I think we will, too.”
The second time Taehyung meets Jimin, it's not in the kitchen.
It's in the bathroom.
It's about a week and a half later, a random week day, and Taehyung has a seminar in about half an hour that he doesn't care about but has to go to anyway. He stumbles to the bathroom, eyes half closed. The door is shut but not locked, and he hears the shower running, but he's seen Yoongi's naked ass so many times he honestly couldn't care less.
So Taehyung pushes the door open and grunts something that's supposed to be an actual good morning but comes out like something a caveman would say instead. He doesn't care. He's not a morning person, and he's definitely not a seminar person. He's barely even a person.
He's about to take Yoongi's lead and embrace the void.
Sleepily, he fumbles with his toothbrush and continues with his life.
When he wakes up enough, he sees that he looks like shit, which isn't a new revelation but it's also not a great one, because he has a minimal amount of time if he wants to fix it. There are bags under his eyes and his roots are bad, black melting into brown. Maybe he should let it grow out, or at least style it so it's not as noticeable. Maybe he should put on some makeup.
Or, he can put on a beanie and some glasses and pretend like he doesn't look like a zombie. That sounds like the best option.
Taehyung had gone to bed at like, 10 to recover from an all-nighter but he still feels like someone tied a rope to his ankle and dragged him behind a semi.
His hand reaches blindly for his face wash and meets cruel emptiness. Did he lose it? Did Yoongi steal it? He tries to remember the night before but it's all a blur. Did he wash his face in the shower? "Yoongi?" he asks. "Is my face wash in there?”
"Uh...what's it look like?”
That wakes Taehyung up, because that is, in fact, not his roommate's voice at all. “...who...?"
"Jimin," the person in the shower answers simply.
"Oh." When Taehyung focuses on the body in the shower behind the misted glass, the skin is a good few shades darker than Yoongi's, and the body is a good deal more muscular, if Taehyung squints hard enough. "It's green and has a pump. I don't remember the brand.”
Yoongi must have called Jimin over last night after Taehyung had gone to sleep, Taehyung none the wiser. He doesn't mind, and he doesn't mind that Jimin is in their shower while Taehyung is getting ready, because Jimin doesn't seem to mind that Taehyung is getting ready while he's in the shower, so it's probably chill.
Jimin slides the glass door open a little, and Taehyung is made very aware of how hot Jimin likes his showers. The mirror steams almost immediately. Jimin's cheeks are pink when he sticks his head out. "Here." He hands Taehyung his face wash.
"Are you using all my hot water?" Taehyung asks, taking it from him.
"Are you planning on taking a shower?" Jimin asks, sliding the door shut. "You're welcome to join me.”
Taehyung grimaces. "It's Satan's asscrack in there, why would I take a shower that makes me sweat?”
Jimin laughs. "I mean, I can think of a few reasons.”
"I'm banning shower sex, too.”
"No morning sex, no shower sex." Jimin tsks. "You're ruining all of my fun.”
Taehyung turns the faucet on, running cool water over his fingers. The room is steamy now. It might have been before, but he was too sleepy to realize it. Cute boys, man. Wake you right up. "Have fun by yourself.”
"Not in someone else's shower, that's barbaric.”
"Wow, so well mannered." Taehyung throws water on his face. His hair gets wet. He doesn't care even a little bit. "I appreciate that in a man.”
"Dick etiquette is a must when entering a no-strings attached relationship," Jimin says sagely.
"Dick etiquette is a must always.”
Taehyung has soap all over his hands and all over his face and he's definitely going to be late to his seminar but does he really care? No. "I had a guy once who called me daddy with no warning, came immediately, and then fell asleep.”
Jimin laughs. "Are you serious? That's hilarious." The laughter dies down. His voice is muted in the shower, but it was still a nice sound while it lasted. "This isn't like, dick etiquette, but once I hooked up with this guy, and in the morning there was someone else in the house and he made me climb out through the window because the house wasn't his.”
It takes a moment for Taehyung to process that.
"That's incredible," he says in awe. "That's the best thing I've ever heard.”
"Yeah, well, I had to walk home without shoes on and I never got the left one back.”
Taehyung whistles. "Amazing." The soap is dripping onto his shirt now, and he washes it off half-heartedly and wipes the rest off with his wash cloth. "Was the sex good, at least?”
Taehyung sees a flash of white through the glass, and he remembers the smile Jimin wore the last time they met, the wicked one. "Some of the best sex I've ever had. Although...I have to thank you for your good advice." Jimin shuts the water off and rolls his neck. Taehyung can hear the bones pop. "Can you hand me the towel sitting on the toilet?”
"What advice?" Taehyung asks, picking up the towel, a lurid neon orange that Yoongi bought to piss off his mom when she insisted everything had to match.
Jimin opens the shower, and Taehyung is accosted by steam and the view of the top half of Jimin's body, wet and naked, before Jimin plucks the towel from Taehyung's loose grasp. "Yoongi's dick is magic.”
He's given up all hope of making it to his seminar on time, and he still looks like a zombie, but it doesn't really matter.
Kim Taehyung learns an interesting thing about Park Jimin that morning, in a too-hot bathroom when he's late and somehow forgotten to be in a hurry.
Park Jimin is completely and utterly shameless.
Over time, Taehyung becomes just as used to seeing Jimin in the mornings as he’s used to seeing Yoongi, if not more so. Yoongi is nocturnal, or at least as close to nocturnal as a human can get without actively trying to exist solely at night, and it’s gotten to the point where if Taehyung wakes up before noon and there’s someone moving around the in apartment, it’s almost certainly going to be Jimin.
As the weeks progress and Yoongi gets swallowed further and further by his senior thesis, Jimin seems to be showing up more and more. After the time in the shower, Taehyung meets Jimin again eating cereal from the box at 7 in the morning, and then shopping for dog sweaters (that is, sweaters for dogs) splayed out on their couch a couple of Sundays later, and then the fifth times and then tenth time and then Taehyung can’t count them because it’s all blurring together.
“You’re here a lot,” Taehyung noted, a week ago. Things have progressed to the point where Jimin is a couch hog and Taehyung doesn’t mind setting his feet in Jimin’s lap while he studies. The week long intervals have shortened and now there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to when Jimin will show up.
The only pattern is the mornings.
Jimin had looked at Taehyung very seriously. “Yoongi is very…”
“I was going to say stressed but you’re not wrong.”
Jimin has started smelling like Yoongi’s soap, any of the five he keeps in the shower, alternating and trying different ones as it pleased him, but that day Jimin smelled like Taehyung and strawberries.
Taehyung didn’t really mind.
“I hear you have another roommate.”
Taehyung has been looking at a blank wall for long enough that his lunch friends have noticed. He blinks. “Hmmm?”
Hoseok smiles. “Is Yoongi done with his thesis?”
With a laugh, Taehyung shakes his head. “Won’t be until next semester at least.” He pokes at his lunch. “I’m pretty sure I did some of Jimin’s laundry with mine the other day.”
Namjoon looks up from the book he’s reading, glasses dangerously close to falling off of his nose. “Jimin?”
“Yoongi’s…” Friend with benefits is the right thing to say but it feels awkward in Taehyung’s mouth.
“The booty call,” Hoseok finished with a grin.
That feels ever weirder.
“He’s really nice,” Taehyung says, taking a bite of his sandwich.
“How often do you talk with him?” Hoseok asks with a snort. “I’m sure he’s usually otherwise preoccupied.”
“Ah…” Honestly, Hoseok is right, because there’s really no reason for Jimin to stay in the mornings. Him and Yoongi are established enough that it wouldn’t be rude, and some days Jimin leaves before Yoongi gets up anyway, for classes or rehearsals or plans with friends, but he still stays. “We’re friends,” Taehyung says finally, adding it to the list of things that sound weird. But it’s true. “We both wake up earlier than Yoongi, so I see him in the mornings a lot.”
Namjoon whistles. “No morning sex?”
Taehyung grins. “I banned it,” he says proudly.
“And that worked?” Hoseok asks incredulously.
“Yoongi is a good roommate, unlike some people,” Namjoon says pointedly, staring into the side of Hoseok’s face.
“Yoongi isn’t as charming as I am,” Hoseok defends.
“Yoongi is an old man who doesn’t wake up before noon unless the angels of God begin the Revelation.” Taehyung sighs fondly. “My mornings are blissfully sex-free.”
“Doesn’t sound very fun to me,” Hoseok says cheerfully, ignoring the dark look Namjoon gives him and popping a grape into his mouth. “At least Jimin is nice! Joon had a guy over once that stole all of our cereal and an entire thing of bananas.”
Namjoon pushes his glasses up and frowns. “That was one time.”
“That was two times,” Hoseok informs him. “And the second time he stole a standing lamp.”
Namjoon blinks. “Oh yeah.” He laughs. “He didn’t have a car, did he carry that across campus?”
“Jimin and Yoongi are friends, so I don’t think he would steal our lamp,” Taehyung says with a laugh. “I mean, maybe our bananas. He looks like the sort of guy who works out.”
“Is he cute?” Hoseok asks, stirring his noodles. “I hear he’s really cute.”
“He’s really cute,” Taehyung confirms. “Have you not met him?”
“No, not yet.” Namjoon finally closes his book and sets it aside. “Yoongi keeps all the cute ones for himself.”
“What does that say about me?” Taehyung asks. He bats his eyelashes. “Seeing as I’m the cutest.”
“You and Yoongi aren’t fucking, so Jimin is probably cuter,” Namjoon says easily, stealing one of Hoseok’s grapes.
Taehyung takes it from Namjoon’s hand and throws it at him. “You’re not supposed to have sex with your roommate,” he says matter-of-factly. “It makes things messy.”
The tips of Namjoon’s ears turn a little red. “Um. Right.”
“Very messy,” Hoseok agrees thoughtfully, not quite as loudly as usual, but he licks his lips and smiles and the moment is gone. “Good thing Jimin isn’t your roommate.”
Taehyung chokes on his drink and water sprays lightly on the cover of Namjoon’s book where Taehyung couldn’t quite keep everything in. He swallows painfully. “I’m not having sex with Jimin!” Not that Jimin wouldn’t be a good partner or whatever. Taehyung is sure that he is. He looks like he would be. Probably.
He hasn’t thought about it before.
The room feels too warm.
Hoseok blinks at him. “I mean...if he was your roommate...he would also be...Yoongi’s roommate?” he says slowly, very pointedly, squinting one eye. “Which would make things messy, which is what we were actually talking about.”
“Right.” Taehyung thumps his chest with his fist. His eyes are still watering from almost dying. “Yoongi and Jimin.” Weird. Sounds weird.
Is this heartburn?
Taehyung takes a sip of water and doesn’t think about it anymore.
Christmas comes and goes. Taehyung gets Yoongi a turtle because it seemed both fitting and illegal. Possibly illegal. Their apartment complex has a no pets policy and while it seems like turtles would be allowed, Taehyung didn't actually check, which makes the turtle illicit and thus significantly more fun.
Yoongi named it Gloss.
The turtle looks kind of like him.
Taehyung considers it a really good gift.
Yoongi buys him nice pair of socks and a set of scrubs with Disney characters all over it for when he starts clinicals the next semester. He refuses to give it to Taehyung in person and gives it to Taehyung's mom instead, but Taehyung calls him when he opens it and Yoongi sounds both embarrassed and pleased.
Some things change when Taehyung returns to school, and some things don't. Taehyung hates only one of his classes instead of three. The heat in their apartment is still shitty. They changed one of the restaurants in the student center and all their food is too salty. Namjoon can still be convinced to buy Taehyung food if he does the puppy dog eyes just right.
The season is changing.
Jimin still comes over a lot.
The longer it goes on, the more and more Taehyung detaches Jimin from the concept of Yoongi's friend with benefits and carves out Jimin his own little box. Taehyung's friend maybe.
They seem to live on similar schedules, early mornings and tons of classes and lots of coffee, and Taehyung is willing to share his coffee and his mornings if Jimin will share his time. Taehyung has lost track of how many times he's sat on top of their kitchen table and Jimin has complained about the lack of a proper coffee pot in the apartment and Taehyung has laughed at him.
He moved his mini pot into the main living space.
Taehyung’s friend is a good box to have Jimin in.
Although it seems like the world that Jimin occupies is a lot more limited than Taehyung thinks it should be. Jimin only exists in the early mornings in Taehyung’s apartment. Jimin enters and exits through their front door and when it closes behind him, Jimin ceases to exist. Taehyung is afraid of asking for Jimin outside of the world they’ve created for themselves because he feels like this world is kind of magical and fragile and pushing at its walls is going to send everything crashing down.
He doesn’t even have Jimin’s number. He never thinks to ask.
Jimin doesn’t ask him either.
It’s not that their relationship isn’t steady. They’re friends. Good friends. Taehyung is a people person, he’s good at forming friendships, and Jimin gives off a similar vibe, but even still, it’s been a long time since he clicked as well with another person as he has with Jimin. Jimin laughs at all of his jokes with his whole body, and sometimes Jimin will push him around when a joke is particularly bad, and Jimin likes peaches more than strawberries but that's okay, nobody is perfect.
Not even Park Jimin.
Their relationship is weird, but Taehyung doesn't mind.
And it's easy, too, in a way that's only possible because so far Taehyung has only seen one side of Jimin and it's a human side, a real one, and Taehyung doesn't have to think about how much more is there unless he wants to.
Does he want to? Probably. Eventually.
Would it ruin the magic? Probably not. Is the magic in the mornings or is the magic in Jimin? Taehyung thinks he knows the answer to that question. Maybe that's why Taehyung never looks closer. Looking more closely might take him somewhere he's not sure he wants to go.
But life has a funny way of doing whatever the fuck it wants, so at the end of the day, Taehyung doesn't even have to ask the questions.
Taehyung knows Jimin is over, but it's three in the morning, and Taehyung feels like he should be safe to leave the sanctity of his bedroom and go get a snack from the kitchen. When he walks into the hallway, things are silent, which is good. Taehyung isn't sure what he would do if it wasn't silent, because the idea makes something sour boil low and deep, but that's another question Taehyung isn't going to ask. The same question? Maybe.
Taehyung just wants some cereal.
Things in the kitchen are less silent, a notch above, and when Taehyung turns the corner he sees Park Jimin sitting on the kitchen table, a cup of noodles in his hand and a heavy look on his face. His shoulders are hunched.
He looks tired.
It's not the morning, or...maybe it is, in the loosest sense of the word, but it's still their world, and Taehyung takes a step closer only vaguely disoriented. “Jimin?"
Jimin looks up slowly, too tired to be surprised. His fingers are loose around his ramen, his chopsticks are hanging from his mouth, held between his lips absently. His eyes look far away and heavy, but when he looks at Taehyung they focus in and Taehyung feels pinned up against the wall. And then Jimin smiles, pulling the chopsticks out of his mouth. "Good morning, Taehyung.”
Taehyung smiles back. "Good morning, Jimin.”
With a soft sigh, Jimin scoots over on the table, and Taehyung takes it as an invitation. He sits with enough space between them that their legs don't touch, but when Jimin slumps down again his shoulder is brushing against Taehyung's arm. Jimin's feet swing and bang back against the leg of the table and it's a rhythm that's almost soothing.
The lights are off, but there's one candle sitting on the table that's burning. It's one of Yoongi's. It smells like home. The sky outside of the window and the look in Jimin's eyes shows how late it is.
"Rough night?" Taehyung asks, and it's supposed to sound like a joke, but it doesn't come out that way at all.
Jimin leans into him a little, stabbing his chopsticks into his noodles. "Rough day. Rough week.”
"And you still came over here for Yoongi?”
It takes Jimin a second to reply. He sighs. "Tonight was for me.”
"Oh." Taehyung swallows. "Did it help?”
Jimin looks at Taehyung. "I'm not sure yet." He looks down at his hands. “Maybe."
He sounds like he wants to talk about it and isn't going to let himself, and Taehyung rifles through what he knows of Jimin to try and decide whether he should be pushed or not. "Is it school?" he asks after a moment. "Or...I don't mind if you just want to eat.”
Jimin laughs a little. "It's okay. I'm glad you're here. I don't..." He licks his lips. "I don't like being alone at night.”
Taehyung leans into Jimin, and the space Taehyung had left between them when he first sat down has somehow disappeared, if it ever existed at all.
"I'm just...you know, the yearly breakdown of is this really what I need to be doing with my life?" Jimin rolls his eyes. "It's like flu season. Never once am I spared." He stirs his ramen.
"You always come to the same decision, though, right?" Taehyung says after a moment. "That's why you're still doing it.”
Jimin takes a deep breath and holds for a heartbeat before letting it go slowly, nodding. "It just gets a little harder every time.”
"Like a video game.”
Jimin laughs. "Each boss gets a little harder and the boss is my own self-doubt." Jazz hands.
"Isn't that just because you keep leveling up?" Taehyung asks, at the risk of sounding like a complete and total nerd, but it's fine. "Like, the further you get the harder it gets but at least that means you're not stuck in the same place. You're just like...progressing through the game of life.”
"I like life more as the board game," Jimin says casually. "Life the board game doesn't give me an existential crisis at three in the morning.”
"Clearly you're not playing it right," Taehyung teases. "You have to really connect with your characters, Jimin. Method acting.”
"Brb, gotta go find three children and a law degree." Jimin giggles. "And a really hot doctor to marry.”
And then Taehyung says, thoughtlessly, "I'm almost a doctor," and his own heart stops.
Jimin doesn't seem to notice. "And how are you almost a doctor? In what world?”
"I'm a nurse!”
"In like, a year, maybe.”
"Nurses are close to doctors.”
"I mean, in proximity." Jimin laughs. "But you're the best I've got, I guess.”
Taehyung swallows a lump in his throat. "Now we just have to find three kids. Or more. I've always wanted a big family.”
Jimin hums. His ramen is cold but neither of them notice. "Forget the law degree, let's buy a farm.”
"We can keep cows! They're cute." Taehyung smiles. "My grandparents own a strawberry farm," he says, even though it barely applies.
"Ah, makes sense," Jimin says, smiling. He looks less tired now, when his eyes are bright, and Taehyung takes in the way their sides are pressed together and suddenly remembers that this is the closest they've ever been. "Is that where your obsession with strawberries comes from?”
"Obsession!" Taehyung scoffs. "It's healthy. Strawberries are good for you.”
"Strawberry body wash, strawberry candles, strawberry juice, strawberry candies hidden in your sock drawer." Jimin thinks. "I'm pretty sure I saw a book on strawberries in the chaos of your room.”
"Okay, that one was a gift." Taehyung is laughing now. "Although I did read and enjoy it.”
"Of course you did," Jimin says fondly, and Taehyung's heart pitter patters, like rained on cobblestones and Taehyung feels like he's being drenched suddenly. A sudden downpour of something he isn't sure he's ready for.
Is this the question he didn't want to ask? Is this the answer?
The world they've made isn't in the kitchen or the apartment of the morning. They world they've made is Jimin and Taehyung, and Taehyung isn't sure what that world is based in, but the box Taehyung's friend suddenly seems a little too small.
Jimin's feet are still beating rhythms into the leg of the kitchen table, and his hands are stirring his long-cold noodles, and his arm is pressed up against Taehyung, and his eyes are half closed but the tiredness and exhaustion has transformed into something sleepy and soft.
Taehyung thinks he needs to leave immediately.
"You should get some sleep," he says quietly.
Jimin turns his head towards him, resting his forehead on Taehyung's shoulder. "Sleep would be nice." He laughs. Taehyung can feel it. "I really should be in a better mood, shouldn't I?”
Shouldn't you be glowing or something?
Taehyung's own words sit bitter in his stomach, a months-old memory turned sour for no reason, and Taehyung thinks he has his answer if he looks a little closer, but he doesn't want to.
Maybe in the morning.
Jimin hops off of the table, throwing his half-eaten noodles away absently and walks out of the kitchen down the hallway, and Taehyung pictures Jimin walking into his room instead of Yoongi's and he isn't sure why.
Right before Jimin is out of sight, Taehyung looks over at him. "Did tonight help?" he asks again.
Jimin pauses, turning around to look back at Taehyung on the table. "Yeah," he says softly. "I think it did.”
Kim Taehyung learns an interesting thing about Park Jimin.
Park Jimin is a world in and of himself.
Taehyung keeps going about his life, in the apartment and out of it, Jimin mornings and Taehyung nights, and the Jimin mornings are fine but once night hits and Taehyung is alone with his thoughts, everything feels weird and messy.
He feels like he was walking up the stairs of life and suddenly one was a little shorter than the others and for a split second he's falling. His foot hasn't hit the stair yet. That little moment of panicked falling. That's where Taehyung is. He knows he's going to catch himself, but he isn't sure why he needs to, or what catching himself entails, so right now, he's just falling.
"Yoongi?" Taehyung asks one day. Jimin left that morning without seeing Yoongi again, didn't even seem sad about it. The two of them had spent an hour talking about things they can successfully cook and somehow now Taehyung knows all about Jimin's family. He knows the recipe for the only dish Jimin knows how to cook by heart, and he knows Jimin knows it because it was one of the last things his grandmother taught him before she passed away and now he makes it every holiday he spends with his family. When Jimin walked out the door, he was smiling, and the image lingers longer than it should.
Yoongi had woken up about half an hour after Jimin left, and he looks morning grumpy and soft. "Yeah?" he asks, pulling out the French Press machine that uses to remind Taehyung solely of it's owner and now reminds Taehyung of the first time he'd met Jimin.
"Do you like Jimin?" Taehyung's voice is smaller than he wants it to be.
"Of course I like Jimin," Yoongi says dismissively. "We're friends.”
"I mean..." Taehyung feels like he's choking on his own words. He has half a cup of coffee in his hands, cold and forgotten. "Do you like like him?" Do you love him?
Yoongi's hands pause for a split second before continuing, and the way Yoongi's shoulders are set tells Taehyung he needs to wait for Yoongi to gather his thoughts before he can expect a reply.
"I don't love him, if that's what you're asking," Yoongi says finally, back still turned. "Not any more than I love you.”
"You should love me the most," Taehyung jokes, but it sounds a little hollow. Taehyung looks out the window. "How do you know?" he asks. "How do you know you don't love him?”
"I wouldn't be having casual sex with him if I loved him," Yoongi says. "I'd be holding his hand.”
Taehyung thinks he might want to hold Jimin's hand.
Life is the thing that made him ask the question, and much like before, it's life that makes him look at his answer.
It's a lazy Saturday, the kind of morning that is bright and makes you want to sit by the window with a book all day with a blanket and a warm feeling. A soft morning, familiar and safe, and when Taehyung wakes up, a little earlier than usual, and walks out of his room, there is Jimin, as expected.
And Taehyung is already running a hand through his hair, waving a greeting, before his brain snaps into place and the answer slaps Taehyung in the face.
Jimin is wearing Taehyung's sweater.
It's a big one, faded blue. There's a little hole in right by the hem, and the neck is stretched out and ugly, and it's comfortable, and it's Taehyung’s.
Jimin's hair is finger-combed into something decent, and there are no marks on his neck so that all Taehyung can see is neck and collarbone and leg, because Jimin is only wearing a pair of boxers and Taehyung's sweater.
Taehyung stands stock-still in the hallway.
Jimin hasn't noticed. He's sitting on the kitchen table, legs swinging in a way that's familiar, and when he sees Taehyung, he grins brightly, and Taehyung thinks his heart might have stopped. "Good morning," Jimin says cheerfully.
"Your sweater," Taehyung says instead of a real greeting. His face is blank. His stomach feels weird. Weird weird weird.
"Oh." Jimin sets his coffee mug down and holds his arms out to inspect himself. The sleeves cover his hands. "It was on Yoongi's floor.”
Taehyung vaguely remembers letting Yoongi borrow it a week or two ago and he regrets it. He regrets that Yoongi left it laying around and he regrets that Jimin founds it and he regrets that Jimin doesn't know that it's Taehyung’s.
Jimin lifts the neck up to his nose. "It smells good," he notes, and when he drops the sweater he's still smiling. "I wonder if Yoongi bought new soap or something." He rolls his neck and the sweater falls a little further off of his shoulder. There's a mole on his collar bone that Taehyung wants to touch.
Taehyung swallows thickly. "I wonder.”
He wonders a lot of things, but suddenly all he can think about is Jimin in his sweater and nothing else, and not because he thinks it's Yoongi's but because he knows it's Taehyung's, and something ugly drops into his stomach. Not because he doesn't want it, but because he does. He wants it so bad.
He wants to hold Jimin's hand.
He wants a lot of things.
Taehyung walks closer, steady feet, pointed steps, until Jimin is looking up at him and this is the closest they've been, saving that night, and Taehyung is closer to his answer than he's ever been, and he's afraid of what it means, because he doesn't think this is going to end well for him, not at all.
Jimin might be holding his breath. He has nice eyelashes, and beautiful eyes, and his bangs are messy on his forehead, and there's a pimple on his nose, and he's wearing Taehyung's sweater, and Taehyung is frightened by how much he likes it.
Even sitting on the table, Taehyung is taller than Jimin, chin to forehead, but suddenly they're at eye level, and it's only then that Taehyung realizes he's been leaning in. He has a hand on Jimin's shoulder, and his eyes are focused on the material of his sweater under his own hand. He clenches his fist in it. When he looks back at Jimin, Jimin is looking up at him through his eyelashes, lips parted slightly, not breathing. Taehyung can't read his face.
Jimin's eyes lower and Taehyung thinks Jimin might be looking at his lips.
Is Taehyung holding his breath, too?
And then, Kim Taehyung learns an interesting thing about Kim Taehyung.
Kim Taehyung is in love with Park Jimin.
But Jimin isn't here for Taehyung. He's here for Yoongi. And even though there are no feelings there, at least on Yoongi's part, there's no way that this is going to end well for Taehyung. Which is why this is the first time they've been this close, and why Taehyung needs to make sure it's the last.
At least for a little while.
He smooths the material back out. His thumb brushes against Jimin's bare skin. Taehyung thinks he sees goosebumps, but he's already backing away and he manages to convince himself he imagined it. "I should go.”
Jimin doesn't move, barely breathes, even as Taehyung moves away and walks to his room, and his eyes are wide and there's a crease between his eyebrows, some mixture of surprise and confusion and maybe regret. "Go where?" His voice is lower than usual. Morning voice, maybe, even though Jimin has never sounded like that.
Taehyung doesn't answer.
He just closes the door.
"What exactly are you hiding from?”
Taehyung has been spending more and more time in Jungkook's dorm room than is strictly necessary, and definitely more time there than is reasonable, and Jungkook is a good friend so he hasn't mentioned it yet, but Taehyung feels like he's just run out of time.
So instead of answering, Taehyung kills Jungkook's character and says, "I don't know what you're talking about.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes and sets his game controller aside as his character respawns. "Stop being an ass. Don't you think I deserve to know?”
“Nope." Taehyung grins. "Aren't you going to play?”
Jungkook takes the controller from Taehyung's hands.
"That's sabotage," Taehyung says weakly.
"You've been over here all the fucking time for the past like, three weeks," Jungkook says flatly. "You keep bringing me breakfast in the early morning when you know I don't have class until 11 and then you just...stay here. And now it's nights, too.”
It started out just being whenever Yoongi would tell Taehyung that Jimin was coming over. Taehyung would hole up in his room like he always did, and then early early early, before Jimin was even up, Taehyung would get out of bed and shower and head out of the apartment, leaving without a trace.
Jimin started waking up earlier.
So did Taehyung.
But each time they would miss each other, Jimin would try to get up to catch Taehyung, and it's easier, now, for Taehyung to never be there at all.
It's probably shitty, because even though Jimin doesn't fit neatly in the Taehyung's friend box anymore, Taehyung is still Jimin's friend, and leaving Jimin hanging this way is probably hurting and terrible, but the only other thing Taehyung can think of doing is being shitty in other ways so that Jimin doesn't miss him when he's gone.
The idea of that makes his heart ache.
There are a lot of things that make his heart ache, recently.
And he knows he's being a dramatic asshole and he needs to get over it and blah blah blah, and he will.
Right now, though, he's avoiding it.
It's working out really well.
Except Jungkook is throwing a wrench in his plans. "I'm not hiding from anything.”
Jungkook looks unimpressed. "Not even Park Jimin?”
Taehyung flops back on Jungkook's bed. "Leave me alone.”
"Taehyung, Yoongi is worried.”
"He's my dad, he's allowed.”
Jungkook kicks Taehyung in the shin. “Stop."
"Being all mopey." Jungkook sucks on his teeth and looks at Taehyung disapprovingly. "It's not a good look.”
Taehyung groans. "I don't want to look good, I want to eat ice cream and pretend Jimin was never cute in my general vicinity.”
"Boo hoo." Jungkook flops back on the bed beside Taehyung with a sigh. "You should just tell Jimin and get it over with.”
"Wow, that sounds like something I absolutely do not want to do." Taehyung rolls his eyes and turns, throwing an arm and a leg over Jungkook and cuddling close in a way that he knows is annoying. "Jimin is Yoongi's friend with benefits and I am Jimin's friend with benefits' roommate.”
Jungkook pats Taehyung's head absently. "I thought you were Jimin's friend.”
“I mean.” The game is still going in the background, the sounds of war mixing in with Taehyung's thoughts. “Yeah."
"You're not Yoongi's roommate. You're Taehyung.”
"Same thing." Taehyung laughs. "I don't know. It's just." He pauses. Thinks. "Messy." Is Jimin really someone that Taehyung wants to pursue when Jimin is in a happy casual relationship with Yoongi? When Jimin probably doesn't think about Taehyung that way at all? And when Taehyung's missteps might make things awkward for Yoongi in the long run?
Yoongi would probably tell him the same thing Jungkook is telling him, the same thing Taehyung's own head is telling him, but there are easier ways to deal with a crush. "Telling him would just be..." He makes a weird, strangled noise in the back of his throat. "He's so cute. He so cute, Jungkook. And he laughs at my jokes.”
Jungkook pats Taehyung's head again. "I'm sure he does.”
"And he is also really hot but usually he's just..." Taehyung tries to think of the right word. "Jimin. He's just Jimin. Jungkook!" he wails. "I want to hold his hand!”
Jungkook winces at the sudden noise directly in his ear. "Okay, that's enough of that.”
"Jungkook, I'm so mad!”
"Just hold his hand!”
"I can't, aren't you listening?" Taehyung sits up and smacks Jungkook on the shoulder. "That would mess up everything!”
"Okay, first? Ouch." Jungkook sits up and smacks Taehyung back. "And second, so what? You're just going to avoid him for the rest of your life?”
Taehyung sighs, shoulders slumped. "Just until I feel better.”
Jungkook laughs. "Tae, it's not like you're sick.”
"Gross." Jungkook laughs again. "Listen, let's ditch the game and go out tonight.”
“Don’t laugh.” Jungkook frowns. “It’s a Friday. The night is young. When was the last time you went to a bar or something? Drank your problems away?”
"That seems like an unhealthy way to deal with my feelings," Taehyung notes. "I'm in.”
"You're a great guy, Taehyung," Jungkook says, even though it looks like it hurts him to say so. "You could go out and find a hookup of your own tonight, if you wanted to.”
Taehyung has had a hookup or two in the past, and he's not adverse to casual sex, not at all, but for some reason the idea doesn't seem pleasant, not at all. "I don't know.”
"I'm not saying you should, I'm saying you could." Jungkook kicks his leg lightly again. "If you really like Jimin, it will take a little longer, but maybe if you get over him you can just go back to being friends and leave me alone.”
Taehyung looks at Jungkook with puppy eyes. "Love me.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. "I do." He stands up, cracking his knuckles. "Let's find something to wear.”
jungkook and i are gonna go out tonight
i won’t be back
On a date?
dude it’s jungkook
he thinks i need to get a date tho
maybe i’ll go looking for one
i’m young and virile
yoongi? you there?
I won’t wait for you then
wait for me???
Wait up for you
tell jimin i say hi
Despite Taehyung’s messy revelation, nothing really changes.
He spends his mornings and nights with Jungkook, and he spends his afternoons with Yoongi, and his evenings are his own. Studying, sometimes branching out into his wider friend group, teasing Hoseok and Namjoon and maybe making them buy him food. Sometimes he binge watches Netflix, as one does.
Although it’s been a long time since Yoongi has shot him a text warning him Jimin is coming over. Honestly, it’s probably an act of mercy. There’s not a lot Taehyung could do to be more obvious he’s avoiding Jimin, and there’s not a lot more Taehyung could do to clue Yoongi in on the fact that’s he is in love with Yoongi’s fuckbuddy, but it’s probably fine. Yoongi is a good friend.
When Yoongi starts spending his nights out of the apartments and doesn’t come home until mid-morning, Taehyung assumes that Yoongi and Jimin are moving their nightly activities for Taehyung’s own benefit.
At first, Yoongi simple went to bed alone every night, and Taehyung figured Yoongi wasn’t stressed enough or horny enough to invite Jimin over as much as he was before, but after a while Yoongi started showing the signs of strain, his workload piling up and his hair a good tug or two away from falling out, and Taehyung was almost relieved when Yoongi started spending the night at Jimin’s.
It’s not his place to be jealous but he is anyway.
Taehyung eats dry cereal at two in the morning and pretends like he doesn’t have problems.
Eventually, that’s not enough to convince him he’s actually getting over it.
He’s not getting over it, not even a little bit.
The days kind of drag and Taehyung drags behind like a kid being pulled through a crowd by his mother. Taehyung doesn’t want to be here but he stumbles along anyway. It’s not like he’s miserable, because he’s not. He enjoys his classes and his friends and his family. He enjoys what he does. But mornings feel a little emptier and he can’t keep pretending like he doesn’t know why.
Taehyung misses Jimin.
Which is, you know, reasonable, since he might be in love with him, but also it’s inconvenient to miss him when Taehyung wants to set this whole thing behind them. Taehyung would like to get back to being Jimin’s friend without thinking about Jimin wearing his clothes and holding his hand and maybe even kissing him. And maybe other things. That Taehyung staunchly refuses to imagine at all.
But every time he imagines anything with Jimin, he remembers that the person closest to being able to do that is Yoongi, and his heart sinks, and he remembers why it can’t happen in the first place.
Even though his head is being really reasonable, Taehyung thinks, and listening to him, his heart refuses to cooperate.
He really misses Jimin.
It’s times like this when he’s both happy and sad that he never asked Jimin for his number. He misses him, he wants to talk to him, he wishes he could. He wants to know Jimin outside of their mornings. Is Jimin different? Taehyung doesn’t think he is, but he wants to see Jimin outside, in the sun, and inside, in a dog cafe maybe, somewhere bright, because imagining that makes Taehyung want to smile with his whole being.
But that’s also the reason why it’s a good thing Taehyung doesn’t have it, because as frustrating as it is to wish and wish and wish, at the end of the day, it’s better if he can’t.
When he gets over this, that’s when he’ll ask Jimin for his number. When he can do it platonically, without ulterior motive and with an easy heart. Even thinking about it makes his blood race a little faster, nervous and jittery.
A lot of things are making Taehyung nervous and jittery lately. Most of them are tied up with Jimin, like the fact that Taehyung can’t find that sweater. That faded blue, stretched out monstrosity. Yoongi doesn’t even remember borrowing it in the first place and is thus no help, but honestly, Taehyung just wants to find it so he can wash it and see if that helps the memory settle down. It’s probably somewhere in Yoongi’s laundry, waiting and forgotten, but is still puts Taehyung slightly on edge.
Also he liked that sweater.
Not that he can wear it again for a while without feeling like a major...something. Creep? Maybe.
Platonic platonic platonic. He’ll get there eventually.
But sometimes he’s weak.
Even though he knows that it’s better that Jimin and Yoongi have been taking their...business elsewhere, because if it’s not here then Taehyung can pretends it’s not happening if only he’d stop thinking about it all the time, Taehyung is simple at heart. Jimin is his friend. Taehyung misses him.
“I haven’t seen Jimin around recently,” he asks one afternoon, when Yoongi is sitting next to him on the couch. Yoongi made lunch and let Taehyung have some, because Taehyung can’t cook and Yoongi is more of a caretaker than anyone would ever admit.
“What?” Yoongi looks up from his phone, where he’s been vigorously texting for the last hour. The last week, maybe. And it’s not quite so vigorous as it is aggressive. Yoongi will get a notification, stare it it blank for a minute, and then type his reply with completely unnecessary force.
What Taehyung wouldn’t give to see that conversation.
“I said I haven’t seen Jimin in a while,” Taehyung repeats.
Yoongi frowns. “Well, whose fault is that?”
“Well…” Taehyung blinks at him. “Yours?”
Yoongi laughs and rolls his eyes, setting his phone down on the arm of the couch. “How so?”
Taehyung looks at him incredulously, holding a forkful of food forgotten in one hand. “Because you haven’t been inviting him over?” he says slowly.
“Why would I?”
“What wouldn’t you?” Taehyung is confused by the road Yoongi is taking with this conversation but it’s probably fine. He takes a bite of his lunch petulantly. "It was just a question," he mumbles, mouth full.
Yoongi is about to say something, but his phone pings, and he forgets to answer in favor of staring darkly at his phone for a whole minutes before picking it up to see what the message says.
Taehyung can't help himself. "Who is that…?"
"Someone annoying," Yoongi says after a moment. He has his phone in his hands and has it unlocked, his messages up, but just kind of looking at it without typing anything.
"Different kind of annoying," Yoongi corrects.
Yoongi looks at Taehyung pointedly. "No." He rolls his eyes again. He sets his phone down, not bothering to answer before he picks up a throw pillow and throws it at Taehyung's head.
Taehyung lets it hit his face with a soft thump and fall onto the couch beside him. He pouts. "What was that for.”
"I'm not in love with Jimin," Yoongi tells him, very slowly, carefully enunciating, like maybe Taehyung is hard of hearing.
And Taehyung can't help himself from blushing. "I know that! You told me that, I know.”
Yoongi squints at him. "Do you?" He doesn't sound impressed. "Do you know that Jimin isn't in love with me?”
Taehyung doesn't know why he would think about that in the first place, because he never saw the two of them really interacting, and honestly? Jimin didn't talk about Yoongi very much when they saw each other in the mornings, except for maybe at the beginning, when that was their only point of contact.
So when Taehyung says, "I never thought Jimin was in love with you," he means it.
Yoongi settles back against the couch and pins Taehyung with a look. "Then what, exactly, is your problem?”
Taehyung blinks at him. He laughs, confused. "What do you mean? I don't have a problem.”
"Jimin was not very happy when you started avidly avoiding him," Yoongi says, eyes hard through his glasses. His hair is messy and soft looking but the look in his eyes negates Taehyung first inclination, which is to hug him into submission. "It wasn't very nice.”
Taehyung shakes his head and focuses his eyes on his plate. "I wasn't avoiding him," he says, even though it sounds weak, even to him. "What does it matter if I'm here or not, anyway? He doesn't come over here for me." He looks at Yoongi fleetingly. "He's comes over for you." To have sex with you, which is weird and Taehyung still doesn't want to think about it.
Yoongi snorts, and his words come out sweet and sharp. "He doesn't come over here at all.”
Taehyung snaps his head up.
Yoongi is typing, focused, into his phone, and paying Taehyung no attention. "Maybe if you were over here more, you'd know that.”
"I know he doesn't come over anymore," Taehyung says defensively, because he does. He's noticed. "You relocated." Taehyung should honestly be thanking Yoongi for sparing him that much, but when he asked about Jimin he hadn't expected this conversation to happen, and he's mildly irritated enough that he definitely is not going to thank Yoongi for anything.
For a second, Yoongi just looks at him, mouth slightly open, like Taehyung is stupid and he's trying to figure out how to explain things in a way that makes sense, which is probably exactly what he's doing. "We didn't relocate.”
Taehyung wants to laugh for a second, and then tells himself that he should be a good person and not be bitter, so he waits a moment before replying to gather his edges together. "I haven't just not noticed you spending the night somewhere else all the time, Yoongi," he says softly, taking another bite. "It's really okay." And it is.
It will be.
Yoongi takes a deep breath, frowning. "I don't go over to Jimin's, if that's what you're thinking." He sighs. "Jimin cut it off weeks ago. That night you went clubbing with Jungkook." His eyes are sad. Not for himself, but for Taehyung. "I thought you knew.”
Taehyung isn't breathing, probably. He just stares. "Why would I know that?" He cut it off?
"I thought you guys talked?”
"Just here." Taehyung feels weird saying that out loud. Stupid. "I don't have his number.”
”You don't..." Yoongi curses with a sigh. "He was texting you that night, remember?”
Taehyung stares at him blankly.
“On my phone?” Yoongi tries again.
Taehyung tries to remember that night, tries to remember texting Yoongi, and then he flinches. He remembers saying something about a date. tell jimin i say hi. His heart drops into his stomach. or actually don’t
Yoongi sighs. “You're an idiot.”
"Yeah." Taehyung is starting to think he might be.
"Look." Yoongi turns himself so he's facing Taehyung, feet on the couch and knees tucked up against his chest. "There was like...one day, a while ago, that first day you holed yourself up in your room instead of talking to Jimin, right when everything turned weird, and Jimin came into my room and woke me up—“
Taehyung gasps. The cardinal sin.
“—he woke me up and he sat on my bed and he asked if you were okay because you were being weird and it was making him feel weird and then you left before he could ask you about it." Yoongi frowns. "He was very vague.”
"I almost kissed him..." Taehyung looks up at Yoongi guiltily. “Sorry."
Yoongi picks up the pillow between them and hits Taehyung in the face with it again. "Why are you apologizing?" he demands, almost angry. "I'm not the one you almost kissed and then ignored for a month!”
"He was having sex with you! That's literally how we met!" Taehyung's voice is an octave higher than usual. "What was I supposed to do? Start making out with him in the kitchen? Have sex on the table?”
"Okay, unsanitary." Yoongi rests his chin on his knees. "We haven't been doing anything for weeks.”
Taehyung groans and sprawls out on the couch. "I didn't know that!" he wails, head lolling back. He picks it up to look at Yoongi. "Why did he call it off?”
Yoongi shrugs. "Isn't it the first rule of this sort of thing?" he asks. "The second you catch feelings, you call it off?" His expression softens, and he looks at Taehyung fondly. "It wasn't me he caught feelings for.”
The food on Taehyung's plate is cold and his throat feels dry and he doesn't want to eat anymore anyway. "Do you know where he is?”
Yoongi picks up his phone. "I have it on good authority that he's at the coffee shop on the corner of 5th.”
Taehyung is already halfway out the door.
It's too cold to be outside without a jacket on, even as winter turns into spring, and there are goosebumps up and down Taehyung's arms by the time he gets to the café, and the area outside it is a weird sort of dreamy quiet, despite it being just after lunch and despite the way that Taehyung's heart is beating three times faster than is probably healthy.
He pushes through the door, hands leaving sweat marks on the cool metal. There are college students scattered around, seeing as they survive off of coffee and nothing else. Taehyung sees open laptops and inconveniently placed book bags and absolutely no Jimin. Not even a trace.
Isn't that fitting? Maybe Jimin really doesn't exist outside of the apartment. Maybe this entire thing is a figment of Taehyung's imagination and he's going to die an old maid.
Maybe he's too late.
"Can I help you?" the barista asks.
"Ah..I..." Taehyung looks around, a bit lost. He feels like he had a huge sense of purpose on the fifteen minute walk over here, and now he's here and his purpose vanished in the wind. Does he get coffee? Does he wait? Does he awkwardly walk out the door like an idiot? Questions.
He's about to make a decision — "Yes, please, a large chai latte please!" — when he hears something odd.
"Kim Tae—" someone says, rather loudly in the general quiet bustle, and their words are cut off suddenly with a weird humph and a clatter.
When Taehyung turns around, he sees Park Jimin launched over a table with his hand covering older man's mouth. The stranger starts laughing, pulling at Jimin's hand, and then Jimin and Taehyung make eye contact, and Jimin looks rather panicked. Taehyung is just confused.
Jimin is wearing Taehyung's sweater.
His sweater, the one he's been looking for, the one that brought upon the Revelation. Big and blue and barely hanging on by a thread, falling off Jimin's shoulder.
Taehyung's throat is suddenly very dry.
Jimin rips his hand off of the other man's mouth and quickly sits back in his seat, looking awkwardly at a painting on the wall, clearing his throat, and suddenly Taehyung is filled with a new sense of purpose.
His hands are too jittery, it's probably better that he passed on the coffee, and he sticks them in his pockets to try and maintain some sense of ease as he walks over to Jimin's table. He tries not to mind that Jimin is very pointedly looking anywhere but him. Jimin's hands are clenched in his lap. He's sitting ramrod straight.
It's kind of cute.
Taehyung stops by the table. "Good afternoon.”
The man Taehyung doesn't know leans his cheek against the palm of his hand and smiles at Taehyung coyly. "Good afternoon." There's a sound like Jimin kicking him in the shin under the table, but other than a little shuffling around, the man doesn't react. "I'm Kim Seokjin.”
"It's nice to meet you." Taehyung holds out his hand, and Seokjin shakes it with a grin. "I'm Kim Taehyung.”
"Oh." Seokjin looks Taehyung up and down, almost analytically, but his eyes are full of mischief. "I know.”
Jimin is looking at Seokjin like he wants to kill him. When his eyes trail over to Taehyung and finds that Taehyung is watching him, his expression softens, and they stay there for a moment, watching, before Jimin looks down at his half-empty coffee cup.
Seokjin beams up at Taehyung. He's a handsome man, his smile is almost blinding, and Taehyung is already a little dazed when Seokjin asks, "Would you like to sit?”
"No," is his answer, and Jimin's too, because they both say it at the same time.
Taehyung looks at Jimin. "I just want to talk to Jimin a little, if that's alright.”
Jimin looks at him for a moment and then back down at his cup. He pulls the sleeves of Taehyung's sweater down over his hands and Taehyung's heart pitter patters.
Seokjin is not bothered. "You can have my seat for a minute," he says, slipping out of his chair. "I see a friend over there. I want to talk to him anyway.”
"What friend?" Jimin asks incredulously.
"Jaehwan!" Seokjin shouts across the café instead of answering, and another random college student jerks in his seat and looks around, bewildered, before seeing Seokjin and breaking into a smile.
Jimin raises an eyebrow. "Do you even know him?”
”We met once." Seokjin takes a pointed sip of his drink. "Play nice, you two." He blows a sour looking Jimin a kiss and then he's gone, coffee in hand, humming something cheerfully.
Jimin looks up at Taehyung dolefully as Taehyung slips slowly into Seokjin's seat.
"Don't look so happy to see me," he says, and Jimin bites his lip.
"I'm surprised you even wanted to see me at all," Jimin says, jaw set.
Taehyung can't blame him for being pissy. "I came here to apologize.”
Jimin coughs into his fist a little. "Oh," he says weakly. He taps his fingers on the lid of his cup, and Taehyung remembers Jimin tapping his fingers against his mug in Taehyung's bedroom, in the kitchen, on the couch when they would sit and watch cartoons on Saturdays when neither of them had anything to do.
"I'm sorry I ran out on you, before," Taehyung says thickly. He doesn't have a coffee cup to mess with, so his fingers tap against the table. Taehyung doesn't bother trying to stop them because all of his focus is on Jimin, Jimin's face, Jimin's reaction, and his own words. "I'm sorry I avoided you.”
"Oh," Jimin says again. He chews a little on his lip.
There's a moment, where Taehyung can tell that Jimin is still processing, when it's quiet and Taehyung is waiting. He wishes he had something to fiddle with. It's nerve-wracking, just sitting and waiting.
"Why did you...?" Jimin asks quietly.
Jimin purses his lips and picks at the hem of the sweater. "Why did you run out, before? And avoid me?" He looks hurt. "I thought we were friends.”
Taehyung thinks, for a second, about telling Jimin about the box Taehyung carved out for him and how it doesn't fit anymore, and he'll get there eventually, but he thinks it might be best to wait. "I was scared," he says instead, because it's true, and Taehyung is still scared, and he's certain that Jimin can tell.
"Were you going to kiss me?”
It hadn't been subtle, when Taehyung nearly cornered Jimin in the kitchen, because he was wearing Taehyung's clothes, Taehyung's sweater, and looked like everything Taehyung had ever wanted.
"Yeah." Taehyung smiles a little, sad. "Would you have let me?”
"Yeah." Jimin doesn't hesitate. "I would have.”
Slowly, Taehyung feels a smile growing steady across his face, and even though his head has been racing the entire time he's been in this damn coffee shop, it manages to beat a little faster. "I'm an idiot.”
"Yeah." Jimin brings his coffee cup to his lips primly. "You are.”
Taehyung smooths his hands out flat against the table, jitters forced out into the fake wood. "Do you, Park Jimin, want to go on a date with me?”
Jimin is smiling too, slowly, his grin matching Taehyung's. "Yeah," he says. "I do.”
Did it work?
Of course it worked
I’m a genius
They’re literally making heart eyes rn
It’s true love
True love shouldn’t be this difficult
Speaking of true love
We should go on a date
You didn’t even let me ask
You always ask
I’ll wear you down
Your dick is charming
Speaking of my dick
Are you coming over tonight?
I’ll be there.
It’s weird, learning about Jimin outside of the walls of their kitchen, learning about him outside of the world they created for themselves, but it’s not as weird as it could be, because Jimin isn’t too different. He’s still small and cute and friendly. He’s still smart and hard-working and he still cares. He still laughs at Taehyung’s bad jokes. He still worries too much about his future.
He’s still someone Taehyung thinks he might be in love with.
The biggest difference, now, is that Taehyung doesn’t leave the space between them when they sit beside each other.
Beyond that, things don’t change between them, because Jimin is no different, but the world is so vast, and their relationship suddenly has a much bigger world to fill. Mornings, but also afternoons and evenings and nights, and all the hours minutes seconds in between.
Which is cheesy as hell, but Taehyung is a romantic and Jimin doesn’t mind.
It’s almost the end of the year, and Yoongi’s senior thesis is done, and Yoongi and Seokjin are probably romantically involved, and Namjoon and Hoseok are still figuring things out, and Taehyung and Jimin are together. Publicly, loudly together, because Taehyung wants to tell everyone and Jimin wants to tell everyone, and in the end, everyone indulges them.
It’s weird because Taehyung doesn’t have to worry about the politics of wanting to hold Jimin’s hand even though he’s fucking Yoongi, and he doesn’t have to worry about stepping on toes, and he doesn’t have to worry about Yoongi’s feelings (at least not any more than usual), and it feels like now that the walls of their apartment aren’t closing him in anymore, and the world is bigger, Taehyung’s feelings are expanding to test the edges of the new space. How much farther can he go before he hits the walls of the outside world and can’t love Jimin any more?
It’s weird because it’s not weird.
And maybe Taehyung fell a little fast, and maybe he started to think wow, I love him a little early, so he tucks it in his back pocket and keeps it to himself until things settle a little more and he’s fallen a little further.
But he knows his feelings, and he’s never been one to lie to himself.
Or to others.
“Taehyung?” Jimin asks one day, sitting outside under a tree, his text books spread out in front of him.
Taehyung sees accounting homework amongst the mess and grimaces before taking a bite of his apple. “Yeah?”
Jimin has a book open in his lap, all text and no fun pictures, and his pencil is in his hand, hanging loosely from his fingers, but his eyes are looking at nothing for a moment before they settle on Taehyung. “Do you want to be in love?”
It’s a question Taehyung isn’t expecting. “With you, or in general?”
Jimin grins, pencil tapping against his textbook. “Both.”
Taehyung grins back. “In general, I think that being in love is really scary, and a huge commitment, and not something to be taken lightly, just because it takes a lot out of you, you know?”
Jimin nods. “Agreed.”
“So, if I was in love, I would want it to be with someone I trust a lot,” Taehyung says slowly, “and someone who would take care of me and understand how much of a commitment that is, and would treat me accordingly.”
“Understandable.” Jimin scribbles some notes down and turns the page in his book. “You want to be in love with someone who will love you.”
“I think that’s always the goal,” Taehyung admits, watching Jimin with a smile. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I think I want to love someone who respects that I love them and is nice about it.”
Jimin looks at Taehyung, cocking his head to the side. “Do you think you’d fall in love with someone who wouldn’t respect that?”
“No.” Taehyung laughs. “I have really good taste.”
“Hmm.” Jimin writes something else down and then sets the book aside. “And what about not generally?” His smiles is coy.
Taehyung has the feeling that Jimin knows the answer.
He plays along anyway. “Do I want to be in love you?” he repeats, considering. “Isn’t that kind of a moot point?”
Jimin suppresses a smile. “How so?”
“If it’s a matter of wanting to be in love with you, the answer is yes,” Taehyung thinks aloud, ignoring the way Jimin makes a strange, strangled noise in the back of his throat. “But does it matter if I want to love you or not, when I already do?”
There’s a bright pink on Jimin’s cheeks, snaking down into the collar of his shirt, and he looks soft in the sunlight, and Taehyung wants to kiss him. Jimin takes a deep breath, looking a little like he’s about to burst at the seams. “No,” he says, finally, picking at the edges of his notebook shyly. “I suppose it doesn’t matter, then.”
And for a moment, they just sit there, looking at each other, and Taehyung smile becomes rather dopey, but he can’t help it.
“Tell me,” Jimin demands simply. There are students passing by in the quad, but it still feels like they’re alone. “Tell me you love me.”
Taehyung laughs again. “I just did?”
“I want to hear you say it!” Jimin pouts. “‘Jimin, I love you.’ Like that.” He’s leaning forward, lower lip jutting out, his shirt slipping off of one shoulder that way he knows Taehyung likes, and Taehyung hates not only that he’s weak but also that he’s obvious about it.
“Okay.” Taehyung clears his throat over-dramatically, but he can’t stop smiling. “Jimin, I love you.”
And then Jimin is slipping his fingers under Taehyung’s chin and dragging him closer, and then they’re kissing, sweet and soft in the sun, in a new world, with no walls, and it’s the best thing that’s happened to Taehyung in a long time.
Jimin is laughing when he pulls a way, resting his forehead against Taehyung’s. “I love you, too, Tae.” He kisses Taehyung’s cheek cutely, a peck, and Taehyung feels so warm. Jimin sits back, his eyes bright. He’s glowing. He glows so often. “I promise I’ll treat you the very best.”
“Deal.” Taehyung’s voice cracks, and he’s a little breathless, because he’s really lucky. “I can’t believe I have the best boyfriend.”
“Lucky you,” Jimin says cheekily, flicking Taehyung lightly on the shoulder and sitting back against the tree, picking up his book.
It’s a perfect kind of day, a perfect afternoon, and Taehyung can’t wait for all the evenings and nights and mornings.