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The moon was high up in the night sky – Jimin observed while resting on the couch in front of the window. He was talking with Jungkook and Taehyung just minutes ago, about animes and stuff, but they got suddenly excited about one in specific with aliens and robots Jimin had zero interest in. He wanted to talk about the things he liked, but recently it wasn’t being the same things Taehyung and Jungkook enjoyed anymore.

He still tried though.

“Hey, have you catched up with One Piece?!”, he asked excited to talk about the new arc coming.

“Sorry Chim, still on Alabasta.”, Taehyung genuinely apologized with his eyes and Jungkook said nothing, just gave him a mere shake of head, showing him he hadn't.

After that, Jimin got silent and started looking outside the window, watching people move around hidden in their big coats, trying to escape from the freezing winter of Seoul. Somehow, thinking about the weather, brought back old memories of warm sunlights and fresh winds blowing his hair as his feet sank in the soft sands of Busan's beaches. The smell of his mother’s cookies were vivid in his mind – he always ate them with the most delicious cream to ever exist, made obviously by his incredible mother. He remembers treasuring her and her food so much, one day she asked him if he wanted to learn. Jimin answered a fast and excited 'of course', but in the end of the day the excitement had been replaced by a pout and an angry face, because he burnt all of his food.

“I can't do anything right”, Jimin remembers himself saying with his arms crossed over his chest, close to tears. “I'm sorry for letting you down, mom.” He was eight.

“Hey, hey, hey.” his mother approached him with the sweetest eyes Jimin had ever met and with the most tender voice. “Don't say that. You're my precious boy, you're never letting me down. It wasn’t your fault, it was this stupid oven that burnt all your cookies without your permission,”, she brushed her fingers through Jimin's hair, relaxing him. “right?”

The boy nodded slowly. “Guess you're right...”, he murmured in a low tone, but then looked up to his mother and gave her the moon-shaped smile, making her heart instantly melt at the sight. “Thank you, mommy– mom.”, Jimin was trying to sound like a grown up boy, because he didn’t want to be seen as a baby anymore. But that wasn't stopping him from showing affection to the woman he loved the most in the world. He closed his short arms around her shoulder and pecked her on the cheek. “I love you.”

Jimin sank himself even more on the couch under him, hugging a pillow against his chest. He never felt alone back at home. He let out a sigh escape from his mouth and silently headed to the kitchen, but the hyungs were there also talking about things he didn’t want to know. The feeling of being displaced started growing in his stomach. An inner voice whispering resounded in his mind. You don't belong here. You never did.

Jimin glanced at the watch and realized it was almost seven. No one would notice if he skipped only one meal to practice, right? He could pretend he ate. He had nothing to do there anyway.

He grabbed his coach and stepped out into the cold night.

While breathing that characteristic scent of Seoul's winter, Jimin thought he had never felt more lonely.


•••


"Where's Jimin-hyung?" Jungkook asked, noticing the boy's absence.

"Huh?" Taehyung looked around. "Wasn't he here just a minute ago? Oi! Is Jimin over there?" Hoseok's head popped out the kitchen's door.

"Oh? I thought he was with you guys? Isn't he in his bedroom?"

Jungkook bit the inner part of his bottom lip and whispered more to himself than to anyone, "I think he got bored with us...", but Taehyung listened. He said nothing though, because he knew Jungkook was probably right.

"Go see if he's over there and tell him to change in twenty. We're having dinner out today!", Namjoon's voice was heard from the other room.

"That's right, this handsome chef is not cooking for you kids today!" Seokjin said out loud.

"I'll go.", Jungkook offered himself and quickly got up from his seat.

He made his way to Jimin's shared room and knocked on the door. Silence. He knocked again, but got no answer.

Jungkook didn’t know why he had that uncomfortable feeling settled in his chest, but he did know he had to see Jimin's face to make sure he was alright. It was just so not like him to quietly head to his room and lock himself over there. And also the thing was, Jimin was almost never quiet. Not that he was always loud like Hoseok, but wherever Jimin went to there would also have giggles, smiles and a warm atmosphere around it. But in that moment, it was just cold.

"Hyung? You okay?", Jungkook slowly opened the door and was welcomed by both the darkness and the silence in the room. There was no one there.

He turned around to check the bathroom – also empty.

"Mhm... Jimin-hyung's not here."

"Hah?", Hoseok exclaimed, "He left without saying a word?! Is he crazy? That's not normal of him to do." Jungkook quietly nodded. He was about to suggest someone to call Jimin, but Yoongi was already doing that, so he just stayed quiet.

Almost a minute had passed and the signs of irritation were already starting to appear on Yoongi's face, when his brows rose slightly and he exclaimed a soft “oh”.

"Hey, where are you?!", everyone's attention turned to the black haired boy with pale skin, "What? On our day off? Are you crazy?", Jungkook tried to put together the pieces and assumed Jimin was probably on the studio practicing. He sighed. Jimin almost never practiced alone – only when he was upset. "So come back home! We're eating out today. Huh? You already ate? Where?", there was a pause and then Yoongi's expression changed, "Oh, really? And what was that stammering about? Yeah. Exactly. Stop bullshiting me, Park Jimin, to hell if you think you're skipping meals again.", Jungkook pictured Jimin trying to defend himself – because that's what he always did when accused of not eating, since this behavior put him on a hospital once –, but apparently Yoongi wasn’t having any of it, "Yes, you are! You're eating with us tonight, it's decided. N– No! There's no arguing here. Jimin, I said there's no arguing! And if you don't show up at Manabu's restaurant by eight I'm going to go myself over there just to bring you by the ear, do you hear me? Yeah, yeah. Bye.", he hung up murmuring, "Aish, these kids."

Yoongi started telling what Jimin had told him – in fact, practicing in the studio –, but Jungkook was not entirely listening. He was trying to skip meals again. He bit his lip, a little – a lot – worried. Jimin would take care of him all the time, but when it was Jungkook's turn to do the same he'd never know what to do or how to act.

He really liked Jimin, but being around him always made him nervous in some way – even though he didn't know exactly why –, so most of times they were together, he ended up acting weird or just simply ignoring him. It wasn’t on purpose or an attempt to make Jimin feel bad or sad – it was so not that. What happened was Jungkook didn’t want to make a fool of himself in front of Jimin. All the child-like treatment Jimin washed him with every day was only useful to let Jungkook two times more aware of their type of relationship. It was a hyung-dongsaeng kind of relationship, and sometimes it was just not enough for Jungkook. It used to be back on their pre-debut days, but as time went by he was growing more and more greedy of Jimin's... presence? Maybe that wasn’t the right word, but nevertheless, he didn’t want to be just a dongsaeng for him.

He wanted to be a friend.

So every time Jimin was around, he would feel like he had to be more mature to show Jimin they could in fact treat themselves like equals. Not in a disrespectful kind of way, but in a closer kind of way. Almost like Taehyung and Jungkook did, but with Taehyung was easier, because, to be honest, sometimes he seemed to be younger than Jungkook himself.

The point was, the problem dwelled in the fact it didn’t really matter how much Jungkook acted all mature and stuff, because deep down inside him he wasn't all mature and stuff. So he had two options: stay cool or stay quiet. And this carried the consequence of sometimes, ignoring Jimin talking with him, because well, he didn’t know how would be a mature or appropriate way of answering. But Jungkook had always assumed Jimin knew it wasn't on purpose, because, well... He had never showed any sign of hurt or irritation towards Jungkook. And he also didn’t stop treating Jungkook the way he did, so that couldn’t be the thing upsetting him, right?

"So, everyone ready in thirty, okay?", Jungkook snapped out of his thoughts and catched the last things Namjoon was saying while heading to the bathroom. Everyone seemed to agree with the time. "Okay then, don't take so long changing, I'm starving!"

“Like this is big news to anyone.” Seokjin stated.


•••

 

The restaurant was partially empty – Jungkook didn’t expect more, because even though Manabu's food was probably made by god’s hands, it was a fucking negative eight degree celsius out there in the streets. He almost let out a sigh of relief when he entered the warm and cozy place, smelling like fresh food. After rubbing his gloved hands on each other, seeking for heat, Jungkook looked around the place. Jimin was nowhere to be seen.

“He's not here yet.” he whispered, but the words got muffled by the scarf around his neck. He took it off and followed the hyungs to the table they had chosen. After everyone picked a seat, Jungkook himself did the same, sitting next to Hoseok. There was still two empty places on the table – one by his side, and another next to Jin, who was in front of him. Jungkook internally wished Jimin would choose the seat next to him.

“I swear to god, if he doesn't show up in five–“ Yoongi started, but got cut off by the sound of the front door opening. Jungkook's heart did a boom boom thing inside his chest. It was him.

Jimin was wearing the same clothes from earlier but with a big black coat that covered all the way up to the middle of his thighs. It was big but it didn’t look very warm – at least not enough for that kind of weather –, so he had a rosy flush painting his cheeks and trembling hands hugging his own body. His lips were dry and with barely any color. Apart from the cuteness Jimin's whole existence naturally exhaled, he had a grumpy expression on his face. He marched towards them with his arms crossed and sit by Jungkook's side without looking at any of them.

“I dunno what I'm doing here, I said I already ate,” Jimin pouted a little and his voice came out sounding like he was a sullen baby boy. How old was he again? Five? Jungkook fought a smile, because the moment wasn't propitious.

It was in moments like these that the need of acting the same age as Jimin didn’t even cross his mind.

“Don't be like that, we're here to enjoy a nice meal together...” Hoseok smiled at him with fond eyes, “okay?” Jimin side eyed them and uncrossed his arms, but kept that little pout on his face. “...’kay,” he answered in a low tone.

It was a few minutes after Jimin arrived, when they were deciding what to eat – with Jimin arguing he wanted nothing big because he wasn’t hungry at all, “A little bit of soup is enough.” – that another customer entered the restaurant. He was blond and tall, and honestly Jungkook didn’t really pay much attention to him, until he walked past them and suddenly exclaimed a surprised “Jiminie?!” while bending down to look said one in the face.

Everyone's eyes turned to him with expressions a little bit confused. A second of silence spreaded through the table, when Jimin's face suddenly lit up and he nearly screamed: “Myeongie?! Is it you?”

Jungkook watched Jimin’s body move as he excitedly got up from his seat and went for a hug with the taller boy. He widened his eyes with surprise, because who the hell was that? A lost brother they never heard about? Why was Jimin hugging him all intimately like that?

They held on each other's bodies for a moment or two – which got Jungkook’s stomach writhing in his belly, but of course it was just because they were two guys hugging in a really close way – and then they pulled away and took another moment to look themselves in the eye. Jeon averted his gaze.

“Oh my god, is it really you? I can’t believe that, look how tall you are now! And you're blond! I can't believe you're actually blond, you always said you hated it,” Jungkook heard Jimin's voice followed by giggles from both of them. The blond guy squeaked slightly while laughing and Jungkook thought that was the most stupid sound he ever heard. Who laughs like that?

“Things change, you know? Except for your height, but that's another thing...” he laughed and Jimin followed him, but with a failed attempt to look mad saying “Aish, you brat.” while slapping the boy on the arm.

I'm sorry? Did he just joke about Jimin's height? He doesn’t joke about Jimin's height, I do!

Okay, so maybe Jungkook was a little bit salty to the fact Jimin was sulking beside him only a second ago, but now that this guy appeared he was all smiles, giggles and tight hugs.

“Everyone,” Jimin's voice surged again directed at the guys, forcing Jungkook to look at him “this is Myeongie, an old friend of mine from Busan.” Oh, so he was from Busan too. Nice. “Myeongie, this is Jin-hyung, Yoongi-hyung, Taehyungie, Namjoon-hyung, Hobi-hyung and Jungkookie, in order. They're all my group mates.”

“Yeah, I know, I think I saw them on tv like... only a thousand times,” he sarcastically joked and both of them laughed. Jimin wasn’t calling him hyung and neither was that Myeong boy, so why were they talking so informally to each other? Were they the same age or something? But Jimin called him brat, so maybe that meant... “Hello everyone, I'm Kim Myeong, nice to meet you.” he bowed his upper body politely, with a big smile on his face.

All the hyungs bowed back, so Jungkook thought it was going to be disrespectful if he didn’t do the same – even though he didn’t want to.

“Hola, hola! Do you want to sit with us?” Hoseok loudly suggested smiling as brightly as ever.

“Are you Jiminie's childhood friend??? The one he got lost with in a mall??” Taehyung excitedly asked. Jungkook looked his way, because he hadn’t a clue about what Taehyung was talking about, “He told me about you!” Oh. So Jimin told his current best friend about his former best friend. Nice.

Myeong laughed shyly. “Oh, he did? And yes, that's me...”

“Come, come, sit with us,” Taehyung offered too and so the boy did – with a low and shy “excuse me” – by Jin's side, who warmly smiled at him, “I have so many things to ask you...”


•••


They were talking for ten minutes, but it seemed like ten years. Jungkook was the only one not interacting in the conversation, preferring to play with the napkins on the table. He was listening though. They met each other when they were five, because of their parents friendship, but when Jimin reached his teenage years he came to Seoul so they stopped talking, not because they wanted to, but because of the distance and the lack of time – in Jimin's own words.

Apparently, Myeong knew everything about Jimin and he irritatingly seemed to need to confirm this every time he went like “Oh, but when Jimin was little, every time he didn’t win a game or literally anything, he would be like sulking in a corner close to tears until someone reached him and praised him. That was the only way to make him happy again.” and so Hoseok would complete with “Oh, but he is still like that! Except for the close to tears part, we still need to praise him a lot when he loses at something right, Jiminie?”, that was when Jimin blushed like crazy trying to deny both of them. Taehyung cut him off saying he had a praise kink, so everyone laughed and started to tease him. Myeong included. He was already acting like he was part of the group and Jungkook couldn’t put into words how much that pissed him off.

“Yes, it's true. One day my cousin went to visit me back there in Busan and my mom told me to play with her too, because I hadn't seen her in a long time, but Jimin got jealous and started crying telling me I liked her better.” A wave of loud teasing calling Jimin crybaby took over the table. “He only stopped when I was like 'hyung, don't be like that, you're so much cooler than her, I swear.'”

All the members were laughing – except for Jimin that was blushing like that was the most embarrassing moment of his life, but, even though, had a shy smile and a pair of fond eyes directed at Myeong, making Jungkook want to throw up. Gross. But... wait, what?

“'Hyung?'” Jungkook spoke for the first time since the unwelcome guest arrived “Jimin-hyung is your hyung?”

“Well... yes?” Myeong smiled “He's two years older.”

“Oh! The same for Jungkookie, right?” Taehyung stated, but Jungkook had a bitter taste in his throat to answer.

“But if so, you two are really close, right?” Namjoon said, “I wouldn’t notice if you haven't said it.”

“Yes, we are.” Jimin smiled sweetly and Jungkook looked away again.

Myeong was on the same level as him, but somehow he managed to be with Jimin in the way Jungkook had secretly always wished. They treated themselves like equals and they knew everything about each other. It didn’t seem like they ever had a moment of uncomfortable silence between them, because honestly they looked like the type of friends that could talk all day long without running out of subjects to talk about. Jungkook bit the inner part of his bottom lip hard. He wanted to go home. He wanted Myeong to go away from them. From Jimin.

He knew he was being selfish and petty, but...

“And what exactly are you doing here?” Yoongi asked, “I mean, you came all the way from Busan to Seoul for what?”

“I'm here to do a three month acting course. They offered me a scholarship for this time and I accepted.”

Three months? Not three days? Or at least, three weeks? Three months? It couldn’t get better.

“Woah, really?” Jin exclaimed “That's so cool! You like acting?”

"Yes!" Jimin answered for him, "He does, and he is so good! Show 'em, Myeongie, show 'em!" he was excitedly jumping on his chair. Jungkook rolled his eyes. Lame.

And so, again, the conversation revolved around Myeong, Myeong and more Myeong. It seemed like an eternity for the food to arrive and like another eternity for them to say goodbye. Jimin and Myeong hugged in that oh-look-how-intimate-we-are way once again, and then exchanged numbers. They waved each others goodbyes with a promise to meet again in another opportunity.

Jungkook felt something writhing in his stomach a second time. Maybe it was something he ate.


•••


Taking a time to read a manga could be pretty fucking hard if you lived with people like Jungkook's members.

There wasn’t a single place in the house silent enough for Jungkook to relax.

He was trying to concentrate for 20 minutes, but he was still on page 5.

The hyungs were always loud, but they were specially loud that day.

The reason? Jimin was going on a date.

Well, he wasn’t really, but that’s what Hoseok had been screaming nonstop for the past hour, so now it was a fucking date on Jungkook's mind. Blame Hoseok.

“Hyung, I already told you it's not a date, he's my best friend, okay?” Jimin walked past him shirtless, looking under the cushions on the couch and behind the couch itself, searching for some piece of clothing.

“Outch.” Taehyung pretended to be shot in the heart. “That hurt, traitor.”

Jimin rolled his eyes. “No drama, please, I'm late. Can you help me find that black tshirt?”

“Well, but if it's not a date, then why are you so worried about how you're gonna look?” Hoseok teased a bit more.

“I'm not, I just want that black tshirt!”

Jungkook loudly snorted, clearly irritated, drawing all the attention to him. “Can you guys talk just a little bit lower? I'm kind of trying to concentrate here.”

“What happened to your room?” Taehyung asked while chewing a toast.

“Namjoon hyung is sleeping.” he muttered with eyes already on the paper page in front of him. He didn’t want to extend the conversation. He was pretty pissed with them. “And yours is a mess.”

“Oh!” Jimin suddenly exclaimed forcing him to look up, “Is this haikyuu?? Myeongie told me about it! Is it good?”

He swallowed hard putting the book aside. “Not really.”

“Oh, seriously?” the boy sounded disappointed, “That's a pity, he said is just as good as kuroko no basket!”

“Kuroko really is good.” Taehyung agreed.

Jungkook rolled his eyes for probably the 956th time that night and reached out for his phone, opening piano tiles.

“Yes! Do you know Myeongie plays basketball too? He really is amazing, right? He does so many things! He can even sing, I already heard. Oh, found it!”

“Hey, that's mine!” Jungkook heard Jin's voice out of nowhere along with the sound of the door opening. He looked up just in time to see him entering with hands full of shopping bags. “I brought food.”

“Hyung, pleaseee.” Jimin whined and the maknae had to bit inside his bottom lip. He was still shirtless. “Let me use it, just today, I really love this one...”

“Fine, but help me out here.”

Jungkook returned his attention to the screen.

“What else Myeong can do, if he's so amazing?” Hoseok brought the topic back for certain someone's disgust.

“He is good at all sports, he is really smart, he can win any girl's heart, I swear– well, not that I'm surprised but– Oh! He can cook too, did you know that, Jin-hyung?”

“Woah, seems like we have another golden maknae here, then.” Seokjin commented and Jungkook stopped a sarcastic smile sticking his tongue on the interior of his cheek.

“What about that, Jungkook?” Taehyung mocked and he decided to ignore. It's fine. He pressed a wrong block on the screen and lost on 113. It's fine.

“Aish, stop this.” Was all Jimin said, laughing it off.

“Mhmmm, but what does he thinks about you having another maknae to love and dot on now, huh?” Jungkook's fingers froze for a second and he lost on 7. The bright screen started to hurt his eyes and give him a headache. “Aish, he's ignoring us as usual.” Hoseok complained.

He heard Jimin’s laugh and for some reason it saddened him. Suddenly everything around him saddened him.

“No no, Jungkookie doesn’t care about that. Well, anyway... I'm going now, see you all later!” Jungkook snapped out of his trance just in time to see Jimin's back leaving the door.

It was stupid, he knew, but he felt like the entirety of his motivation was taken away with him when his silhouette disappeared behind that door.

“Feeling jealous?” Taehyung dumbly smiled at him.

“No offence, but fuck off.”


•••


It was thursday – Jimin and Jungkook's practice day.

Jungkook didn't exactly remember when or how it started – he just has a few flashes of both him and Jimin panting on the ground of the dance studio, saying they wanted to get better at dancing, but that it sucked practicing alone.

Suddenly they were meeting on all thursday's nights to practice together and, as their relationship evolved, just to fall on easy conversation or to get out to eat something at somewhere near. It was nice.

On those days, Jungkook could feel them getting closer. He could feel Jimin slowly letting his invisible armour breaking down to let Jungkook in.

You see, it was not like Jimin faked his personality to the others. It was just that he was strong. A lot. And most of the times, he was not strong for himself, he was strong for the group – so it demanded a price. Jimin was one of Bangtan's sunshines, but in order to be the moodmaker, he had to supress his own feelings and emotions to a level that by some point along the way, doing that became just natural to him. Putting the well being of his members above his own.

Don't get it wrong, it's not like he was ever going to let someone step on him for its own self gain, but if he had the power to do something to make things better, then he was doing it. And that included working the shit out of his body just to improve his dance skills or even dieting so hard to look good for his fans to the point he actually fainted once. That was what fame and success made out of him.

But not on those nights. At least, not anymore.

On those nights, Jimin would tell Jungkook about his fears and insecurities. He would tell Jungkook how much he missed home. He would even allow himself to shed some tears while talking about his family. And Jungkook would listen to everything carefully, only to admit he felt exactly the same way.

On those nights, regardless of their age gap, Jungkook would feel like he was not completely alone in his feelings. There was someone out there who could actually understand him, and acknowledging this eased him in a way he wouldn't be able to explain through words.

That's why thursdays were important to him. Which lead to the actual point of this whole explanation.

"Did you see Jimin-hyung?" Jungkook asked Yoongi, checking the time on his phone. It was almost the time for them to leave the dorm and he was nowhere to be found.

"Huh?" the older looked up from his laptop and massaged his neck, "He left about one hour ago, I think. Maybe two..."

"Really? Ah... I wonder if he is coming back already..." Jungkook paced out while searching on his phone for Jimin's contact to message him.

"Mhm... I don't think so, Kook-ah. He went out with that Myeong boy and he said he was coming back late." Jungkook's whole body stopped moving for a moment as his stomach slowly sank in, "Why? Were you waiting for him to do something?"

He needed a second to remember how to speak again.

"A-ah... N-not really, hyung. I was j-just... yeah..." Jungkook had to take a deep breath to not let the knot in his throat transform into tears. He was definitely not crying because of that, "I'll g-go find Taehyungie or... Something..." not knowing what else to say, he simply walked to his bedroom with a sharp ache on his chest.

Namjoon wasn't there.

Good. Good, because Jungkook didn’t want anyone to see how pathetically he was breaking. Jimin just went out with his friend, what was so bad about that? Nothing, right? So what, if he replaced Jungkook for that stupid Myeongie on their day? So what, if he didn't actually give a shit about his and Jungkook’s late practice nights? It wasn’t important.

It meant nothing.

Jimin meant nothing.

Right?

He meant nothing.

So why was he crying? Why was he feeling like there was a growing hollow inside him, murmuring things he didn’t want to hear?

Jimin has Myeong now, he doesn’t need you anymore.

“Shut up.” Jungkook hurtfully murmured.

He let his back slide through the door's wood behind him, until his body hit the ground. He stayed there, blankly staring at the void – wondering why he was so easily replaced.

Or maybe he was just too emotional and sensitive... Who ever said those nights were oh-so importants at all? Jimin never said he appreciated them and also never did Jungkook. Very probably, they were just ordinary nights, a part of the routine for Jimin, but Jungkook made a big thing out of it just so he wouldn’t feel so damn lonely in that useless big city. He was stupid. Stupid and scared of being alone, but that's what he got from it. A stinging pain and a knot on his gut, bringing tears to his eyes.

Jungkook wiped them away with harsh rubs. He wasn't a cry baby. It didn't matter if Jimin didn't like him the way he did. It didn't matter if what was important for Jungkook wasn't for Jimin. It didn't matter, because Jimin wasn't the center of his life. Right? Jungkook had others responsibilities, and getting better for the group was one of them.

He got up from the ground, washed his swollen face and headed to the studio.

He didn't need Jimin. Jimin could have all the fun he wanted with his beloved childhood friend, Jungkook didn't need him. He just needed to forget.


•••


The clock struck one in the morning when Jimin arrived at the dorm. The only one awake was Yoongi, lying on the couch with the laptop's light illuminating his face.

Apart from it, the living room was plunged in darkness.

"G'night, hyung." he fell next to him, stretching his body.

"Hey, kid." Yoongi answered without look away from the screen. He yawned, making Jimin unconsciously imitate him, "Did Jungkookie get in touch with you?"

"Mhm?" Jimin murmured, already feeling the signs of sleepiness trying to take over his body. His eyes were slightly closing. He yawned again. "What for?"

"I don't know, he was looking for you earlier."

"Really?" Jimin took a moment to question himself why would Jungkook look out for him on a wednesday. "That's odd." he couldn’t find a specific reason why "Is he home?"

Yoongi thinked a little.

"Now that you've mentioned, I remember him leaving right after asking for you. He didn't come back yet." The elder finally looked at him. "Isn’t there a day you two go practice together or something?"

Jimin's heart skipped a beat before he allowed himself to relax.

"Yeah, but that's probably not it, because it's on thursdays and today is–"

"Thursday." Yoongi stared at him like he was stupid. "Actually friday, but, yeah."

His breath got caught in his throat.

"No way." he managed through a breathy whisper.

The silence filled the room as the increasingly heavy guilt sank in Jimin's gut.

"Tsc, tsc... Maknae's hurt now." Yoongi scolded.

He felt the burden of saddening Jungkook weighing down his shoulders.

God, he messed up so bad.

"Where is he?"

"How would I know? Maybe he is practicing alone." Picturing that scene made Jimin's heart twinge, “Do I have to teach you everything? If you have a commitment with someone then stick with it.” he sounded slightly angry, “Don't go out carelessly making plans with other people. Jungkook looked pretty hurt when I said you went out with Myeong.”

Jimin could say nothing; could feel nothing but guilty.

“I know you're all still kids, but you need to have responsibility for your acts, Jimin.” he silently listened, knowing Yoongi was right. It didn’t matter if what he did was unintentional – thanks to that, now Jungkook was hurt.

He got up from the couch and out of the dorm in a second, rushing to the company’s building. There was no way someone would drive him there that late at night, and taking a cab would take too long, so Jimin grabbed Taehyung's bike and pedaled faster than he remembers doing his entire life.

He made it in five minutes – when he stepped on the ground his legs almost gave in. He took the studio elevator counting the seconds for it to get on the floor he wanted.

When the door finally opened – thirty-six seconds later – Jimin had his heart in his throat and a kind of numbness at his fingertips. He was scared of how Jungkook would react and treat him, but left no room for second thoughts while running to the grey door at the end of the hall.

Jimin could hear the muffled rhythm of I need u blasting out of the speakers. He opened the door the exact same second Jungkook tripped on his own feet and fell on the ground.

They stared at each other through the mirror for what it seemed like an hour – both frozen in place –, before Jimin worriedly ran till him. He crouched by his side, resting his hand on the younger's shoulder, but said one dodged away from the touch.

Jimin stared at him trying to repress his surprised expression and recoiled his hand. Jungkook was not looking at him.

"Are you hurt?" he cautiously asked. The maknae was holding his bruised knee against his chest, but the moment Jimin made that question he released it.

"No."

Jungkook got up and walked till the radio to pause the music, avoiding any kind of eye contact.

"Uhm..." Jimin tried, when the song stopped.

The sudden silence in contrast to the loud beat filling the room just seconds ago made the air seem heavier, "Jungkook..” he called in a low tone, not knowing exactly how to act. The only thing on his view was the other's back, facing the wall. He got no answer or reaction – the younger's body static. ”Jungkook, look at me..."

Nothing.

Not even the briefest movement from a muscle.

Jimin got up from his place and walked till him. He grabbed his wrist in the most delicate way he knew and softly turned the taller boy's body to face him.

Jungkook lifted his eyes, masked with a cold expression, but didn’t say anything.

He was chewing on his bottom lip – Jimin realized within a twinge on his heart. He only ever did that when he was trying to fight the fact he was hurt or nervous.

"Jungkook...” his voice was barely a whisper, ”I'm so sorry, I–" the words didn’t manage to leave his lips, because Jungkook abruptly pushed his arm off Jimin's hold and walked away.

He started picking up his things from the ground and stuffing it into his black bag. Jimin watched him with a mute sadness growing on his stomach. He's not even going to talk to me?

When Jungkook reached the door, Jimin was ready to stop him; close the door, yell – he was ready to just do something instead of being paralyzed like an idiot –, but then Jungkook's voice surged in the silence like the sound of Jimin's childhood old stereo – broken and shaky.

“I'm tired, I'm sorry.” It was dark, but Jimin thought he saw Jungkook holding on to the bag's strap harder than he needed to, “It's not really important, no need to make a big deal out of this. It's okay, hyung.” the way he uttered 'hyung' – a broken sort of way – left Jimin wondering what kind of human being was he to hurt such a precious person like Jungkook.

He really was the worst.

Jungkook hold on to the door's knob for one moment too long – like he was expecting Jimin to say– to do something. But when the room only gave him the same deafening silence, he opened the door and left.

Apparently, it was really not important.


•••


“What happened to Jungkookie?” Taehyung appeared holding a bunch of snacks on his arms

“What do you mean?” Jimin rolled on the bed to find a better position to look at the screen of his phone.

“He has been playing games all day since yesterday. He only left his bedroom to eat. I even wonder if he showered.”

Jimin tried to focus on the screen in front of him. He made a weird sound with his mouth and Taehyung sat next to him.

“He's just enjoying his time. You're talking like he doesn’t already play games all day when he has the chance.” And it was true. It wasn’t like Jungkook was doing anything out of ordinary.

“Yeah, I know, but...” the brown-haired boy finished chewing the cookie in his mouth to properly express what he was trying to say, “He's been like this” he made Jimin look at his face imitating Jungkook's expression, but he was just being pouty, “all day.”

“I bet he doesn't. This looks ridiculous.” Taehyung rolled his eyes.

“Well, in Jungkookie doesn't. He looks upset, I know him...”

Jimin snorted and let his phone fall with a mute sound on the duvet.

“Look, what do you want me to do? I already told you what happened, you already told him it wasn’t my fault, I already went to his bedroom twice to check on him and to silently apologize, but he won't take his eyes off that goddamn videogame, so what do you want me to do?! He is probably already over it and just wants to play his games all day, so let him! I'm not going to stay here being egocentric and thinking that all of his problems revolve around me, okay?”

Taehyung was silent for a moment, staring at him with partially shocked partially disbelieved eyes.

“When did you become so insensitive?! Being aware you hurt someone is not egocentric, are you crazy?! Of course he is upset because of you! Didn’t you say those practices days were your days? I'd be pretty hurt too if I was him!”

Jimin sat straight to properly talk with the boy looking at him with a 4-year-old-angry-face.

“I'm not insensitive!” he frowned a bit pissed too, “How can I know it's about me if he doesn’t tell me? Huh, huh? I don’t want to be the selfish guy that thinks everything is about him!”

They were talking pretty loudly now, voices increasingly overlapping each other.

“Stop being so stupid, goddammit!” Taehyung got up, exasperated gesturing with his hands, “You're only making excuses so you don’t have to actually face this! Are you a coward, by chance?!”

Jimin stood up offended.

“What?!”

They were facing each other – both with brows furrowed and angry pouts forming on their lips – when Hoseok abruptly opened the door.

“Aish, aish, what are you two kids screaming about?”

Taehyung had his arms crossed over his chest. He turned over to Hoseok's direction and his expression changed.

“Hyunnnng...” he whined like a baby. Whined. Jimin rolled his eyes. There was something about Hobi that made Taehyung act even more like a child than he usually did, “Tell Jiminie to stop being a fool!”

“Jiminie, stop being a fool.”

“Hyunnng...” well, no one ever said Jimin was immune to Hoseok's power too, “I'm not a fool, Taehyung is the one sticking his nose where he wasn’t asked to!”

Excuse me? Of course I'll intrude in something if one of my best friends are a part of the subject, and if both of them are, then I might even solve the problem myself!”

Jimin was about to answer him, but Hoseok stepped in between them and shut both of their mouths with a finger.

First, I don’t want to hear any of you yelling at each other like that ever again, do you hear me?” he was being serious like he rarely was, so the 95 liners just looked down while answering a low 'yes, hyung', “Second, what happened?” the two made mention to start talking together so Hoseok stated, “Taehyung first.”

“What, why?! I'm older! That's not fair!” Jimin pouted with his mouth hanging open – yes, he made that possible –, while Taehyung smiled smugly.

“Sh!” Hoseok put a finger on his own lips, “Let him speak.”

Jimin crossed his arms over his chest resentful, but stayed quiet.

“Jiminie hurt Jungkookie and now he doesn't want to apologize.” Taehyung declared confidently – more to tease his best friend than anything.

“Oh, what a lie!” Jimin uncrossed his arms to point accusingly at Taehyung, “Hyung, he is lying! Liar! I did apologize!”

“Showing up to his room to offer him water and juice and to ask him what does he thinks about your new tshirt is not apologizing!”

“Well, in my language it is!”

“Okay, okay.” Hoseok gave his back to Taehyung and placed both his hands on Jimin's shoulders, staring at him with fond eyes, “What happened?”

Jimin looked away. He was doing that thing where he pouted and frowned at the same time while fighting to say something.

“I-I missed mine and Jungkook's day, because I went out with Myeong, but–“ he looked expectantly at Hoseok like trying to beforehand tell him it hadn’t been on purpose, “It was just because I mixed the days, hyung, I'd never hurt Jungkookie like that simply because I wanted to, you know that! And... And then I... I went out to him at the studio to apologize, but he didn’t let me and now he is not even looking me in the eyes, but how can I be sure that it's because of this? How can I know if he considers this such an important day, like I do, to be this much hurt?” Jimin spilled the words so fast he was scared Hoseok didn’t understand a thing, so he'd have to repeat it all over again, but then his hyung smiled.

“Go talk to him. That's the only way you'll know.”

“But... Hyunnng...” he looked away again, “What if he doesn’t want to talk to me?”

“Then force him to!” Jimin giggled a little and whispered 'woah, savage' making both him and Hoseok laugh, “I'm serious. You're his hyung. Is this the kind of thing you want to teach to our precious maknae? That you can hurt people– even if it's not on purpose” Hoseok completed when Jimin did a movement to interrupt him, “and not apologize at all?”

There was a three seconds silence before Jimin shuffled his feet and lowered his eyes.

“No...”

“Then go talk to him.”

“Okay, okay, I'll go after dinne–“

Now.”

Jimin was about to complain again when he was suddenly too much self aware of how much he had been acting like a kid in those past minutes, so he just nodded and silently headed out of the room.

It wasn’t like he didn’t want to apologize to Jungkook. It wasn't like he wasn’t feeling bad about it.

To be very honest, he actually spent the last night almost entirely awake, picturing scenarios where he properly apologized and everything was sorted out again. In some of them, Jungkook even hugged him so tight Jimin could feel his own heart tightening with it. He got rid of them without questioning why they came up to his mind to begin with.

It was just that he was scared to be confronted with Jungkook's words and expression – whichever it was.

Maybe Taehyung was right and he really was a coward.

But, he didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t know if Jungkook would be deeply hurt or deeply not giving a fuck. And Jimin couldn’t choose which one saddened him more.

So that's why he was reluctant to knock on the piece of wood in front of him in that moment. That's why his heart was pounding so fast – probably.

He breathed in deeply and took his hand till the knob, preferring to not startle the younger or distract him from his game. Jimin softly opened the door, making the lowest of the sounds while putting only his head in, to know if it was okay to enter.

Jungkook was laying on his bed staring at the TV in front of him without any joystick in hands.

“Jungkookie?” he called anxiously. The younger switched his focus from the screen to Jimin and raised his brows once, like asking 'what?', “Mmm... Can I come in?” Jimin lowered his eyes, because for some reason looking at Jungkook was making his hands sweat and his belly tingle. He was too nervous, that's why.

Jimin didn’t get an answer, so he looked up again just in time to see Jungkook silently nodding and returning his eyes to the television. He completely entered the room with his body and closed the door behind him. He stayed there, though. Awkwardly parked in front of the door, clueless about what to do. When the silence was getting a bit too much uncomfortable to handle Jimin found himself asking:

“What are you watching?”

Jungkook looked at him, so he looked at the television. The atmosphere of the movie was strangely familiar to him, even though it wasn't korean.

“Begin again.”

Jimin raised his brows surprised. “Oh, really? That's cool, this movie is pretty good, right?”

Jungkook nodded and then before the room fell in silence again Jimin scooted closer.

“Can I watch with you?”

“Yeah.” was everything Jimin was answered with.

He stopped mid-way his walk to Jungkook’s bed, because he realized it would be awkward for them to share one in that situation, so he just weirdly walked two steps back and sat on Namjoon’s.

The movie had rolled for five minutes in absolute silence when the air conditioner started to make Jimin shiver. Jungkook was warmly tucked in a big and comfortable duvet, but Jimin was covered only with a sleeveless tshirt and thin shorts. He was about to property lay on his hyung's bed to search for some shelter, away from that freezing air coming out of the white machine, when Jungkook suddenly grabbed his wrist.

“You're cold.” he mumbled, “Come here.”

Jimin tried to avoid the blush on his cheeks, but he was already feeling the heat spreading to his ears.

“Y-yeah.” they had already done that a million times before so there was no reason to be nervous, right?

Jimin walked till the other side of the bed and with his heart beating on his ears, he laid by Jungkook’s side, who covered him with the soft blanket. Jimin's body was static. He didn’t dare to make a move – because snuggling up to Jungkook’s arm and resting his head on his chest like they always did would be super embarrassing if Jungkook rejected him. But he was still shivering from cold, so when Jimin's foot brushed Jungkook's – hot and tender against his skin –, he felt a hand pulling him close.

They were back to their position for movies night – Jimin's ear glued to Jungkook’s chest, hearing his heartbeats, and the younger's hand resting on the elder's back.

“You're freezing.” Jungkook explained and for some reason Jimin felt like crying. He wasn’t going to, of course – he was not the baby; Jungkook was.

“Jungkook-ah...” even though, his voice sounded like he was about to break into tears. He waited for Jungkook to reply, but when he didn’t he looked up pressing his lips together to hold in his tears, “Are you angry with me?”

Jungkook stared at him for a moment, and it seemed like he was dealing with some inner fight.

“Of course not, hyung.” his voice was low, distant.

“Don't lie to me...” Jimin said in a small voice and averted his gaze.

“I'm not lying, though.”

“Then what is it?! I tried to apologize, but you didn’t even let me and now you're all weird!” he accused still avoiding the other's eyes.

Jungkook sighed and moved his lips like he was about to speak, so Jimin focused his whole attention on him again.

“It's just that... It's stupid. I thought those nights were kind of important for us, but–“

“They were! They are!” Jimin cut him off, eager to reassure him. “It's true, you need to believe me...”

“I do, but...” this time Jungkook was the one who looked away, “That's why it hurt. When Yoongi-hyung said you weren't... When he said you weren’t home, because...” he was having problems forming the phrases because suddenly a tear rolled down his cheek making Jimin's heart break into thousands pieces all at once, “I thought 'woah, am I really that easily replaced?', so...”

“Jungkookie, no!” Jimin was crying now while trying to wipe the younger's tears away, “You're not, you're not, it's just me that is stupid! Don't think like that, please...” seeing Jungkook cry was probably the most heartbreaking thing Jimin has ever saw his entire life, “I mixed the days, I thought it was wednesday... Jungkook...” he sobbed, cause he was feeling so damn sad, “I would never do that, it's our day, isn’t it?” when Jungkook nodded he internally thanked the heavens, because at least he was able to get some sort of joy and relief spreading through his body, “See? There's not a person who can replace you, you're unique just the way you are, so please take this out of your mind...” Jimin was crying harder than Jungkook – who was in fact not even crying anymore, just teary eyed –, but he couldn’t bring himself to care less.

The maknae silently nodded and brought his hands to wipe Jimin's tears away – like he had done to Jungkook just seconds ago –, but it didn’t matter how many times his long fingers brushed Jimin's cheeks to dry it – the tears wouldn’t stop falling.

“Hyung, you're a crybaby.” he giggled softly.

Jimin smiled at ease. That giggle was probably the most relaxing sound he heard all day.

“Shut up.” he sniffled and rubbed the tip of his nose with the back of his hand to clean it.

“Ugh, gross.” Jungkook smiled again and this time Jimin lightly slapped him on the shoulder.

“Loser.”

“I'm not the one crying.”

“I'm not the one wearing iron man's pajamas.”

“You know he is the coolest avenger.”

“Oh, you know he's not.”

“Blasphemy!”

Jimin laughed.

“Where did you learn that word?”

Jungkook pretended to gasp offended.

“Are you calling me dumb?!”

Somehow, they were  both laughing and when their voices slowly died, the silence was back, but this time it wasn’t uncomfortable, it was cozy.

“Aren’t you gonna replay the movie?” Jimin returned his attention to the tv, “I want to watch it with you.”

Jungkook fought a smile and pretended not to notice the warmth on his chest making his heart go crazy. He reached for the control, “Yeah... Me too.”


•••


Myeongie – 11:48 pm
hey, u up?


You – 11:51 pm
yea
practicing, what’s up?


Myeongie – 11:51 pm
oh, nothing then, don’t mind
good practice!


You – 11:53 pm
myeongie, what’s up?


Myeongie – 11:53 pm
just kinda need you
can u call me when you’re over?


You – 11:59 pm
pick up, im calling u


•••


It was almost midnight and they had been practicing all day. They were learning their new choreography and it was by far the hardest one they had ever tried. Dope carried a fast beat within fast movements of their feets so it demanded a lot of motor coordination. Even Hoseok was having problems, so Jungkook didn’t feel so bad about not being able to catch up sometimes. Their choreographer had already left about three hours ago, so the seven of them were the only ones in the room.

Jungkook was focused on his reflection on the mirror, but his attention was stolen when he caught an unusual movement with the corner of his eyes. He spotted Jimin crouched down next to his bag, fastly tapping on his cellphone. He got up with the phone in hand and returned his focus to the music playing – but then a few minutes later he was back tapping and this time looking worried.

Jungkook tried to ignore the bothersome knot on his stomach. Jimin was just chatting, he couldn’t understand why he was feeling that jealousy trying to take over him. And even if he wasn’t just chatting, it didn’t really matter, because Jimin wasn’t some thing for Jungkook to feel possessive with.

He was just his friend – a very special friend, yes, but just a friend.

But, if so, why couldn’t Jungkook take his eyes off him?

They were fine now – actually getting closer every day –, but Jimin was also getting closer every day with Myeong and Jungkook couldn’t help the selfish feeling of not wanting to share with a person that was so much better than him in almost all ways. He was stupid, he knew, stupid and childish, but it was just that, for some reason, Jimin's attention was never enough to him.

And it was a little frightening, to be honest.

Back on their predebut days, Jimin treating him food and listening to his thoughts were just fine. But then, when they debuted and came up with that whole concept of push and pull relationship, Jungkook grew used to Jimin dotting on him and washing him with compliments and hugs 24/7. He'd never admit it out loud himself, of course, but he got a lit bit addicted to it. So when Jimin wasn’t looking his way, he would made a fool of himself just to draw his attention again – but all the times he succeeded, he usually freaked out and pushed him away.

It was supposed to stop there, because his desire of being one of Jimin's favorite people was growing out of limits – to the point it started to scare him, because he had never felt like that towards anyone. The problem was: it didn’t stop there.

Now Jungkook would be slightest pissed if Jimin came after him in front of the camera right after playing the same cheap skinship with another member. He didn’t get it, it should mean nothing, Jimin was naturally clingy and touchy, but was it too much wanting for him to be more touchy and clingy to Jungkook than to anyone else? He just wanted to feel special.

On those days – when these thoughts filled his mind – he'd question himself if he was really that much needy of love and affection to the point he'd direct it all to a guy. Maybe I should find a girlfriend, he'd conclude.

And in the end, he'd conveniently ignore the fact he had other six members that treated him just as well as his own mother did, because, deeply, he knew his problem wasn’t really lack of love and affection.

Hoseok's sudden loud voice startled him, making him stumble and almost fall.

“Jimin, put down that phone, let's go!” he clapped to get everyone's attention again. “Gather here, in position, let's start again from the beginning one last time.” his voice was serious and his eyes concentrated. Dance leader Jung Hoseok was a lot different from usual sunshine flower J-hope.

Some sounds of complaint were heard, but when the music started all of them gave their best – just to almost pass out on the ground when it finished, everyone panting and sweating.

Jimin was the only one that looked with a little bit of life on him – all those overnight practices had to pay off, right? –, sitting on the corner of the room, with his phone glued to his ear. He was frowning, and when the person he was calling picked up he mumbled some words no one heard, and left the room. Jungkook followed him with his eyes and kept them on the door after it closed. A few seconds later Jimin came back, picking up his things. He walked till Jin and Namjoon with the backpack hanging on his shoulder and knelt down next to them. After some words shared and a pair of worried eyes from Jin, Jimin got up and left again. This time he didn’t come back.


•••


“Where's Jimin?” their manager asked when they entered the car to go home. Jungkook was asking himself the very same question.

“He asked us to go home first, because his mother wanted to talk to him alone for some time.” Namjoon explained, so the man nodded.

“Where’s Jimin-hyung?” Jungkook asked when they arrived at the dorm and he didn’t find the boy anywhere.

“Jimin's not sleeping home tonight. He said he had something to deal with, but that he is going to be here before breakfast tomorrow, so don’t tell the managers.” Namjoon said out loud, taking the chance to explain the situation to everyone at once.

Jungkook just numbly nodded and spent the next hour unusually silent. I'm just tired, he told himself.


You – 12:52 am
hyung, where u at?


Sent 12:52 am. Seen 1:01 am.

Jungkook sighed looking outside the window.

It was a kind of cold night in which he would seek for Jimin's heat under the blankets, searching for his arms to hold – not because he needed warmth; because he needed Jimin. It was a kind of cold night in which they would fall asleep with their legs tangled and their chests touching – because, like many things, that was also their thing.

But Jungkook fell asleep alone, wondering what could have been so important for Jimin to leave without even saying goodbye.


•••


A silent Park Jimin when in the same room as Jeon Jungkook doing aegyo to cheer him up was something that never crossed Taehyung’s mind. Not in a billion years.

But probably for some big ass error in space time, things were getting out of their normal on that day. It was the only reasonable explanation.

Jungkook was trying hard, but in all attempts Jimin would just tiredly smile at him without it really reaching his eyes. Things came to a point where Jungkook literally did a backflip on the ground to get some reaction from him, but the elder was not even paying attention – blankly staring at the ground in front of him as the hairdresser worked in coloring his hair.
Taehyung was feeling bad for Jungkook and worried for Jimin. The other night he left the studio without saying a word to anyone – except to Namjoon and Jin, but only because it was necessary.

When he tried confronting the smaller guy this morning, he couldn’t get a proper explanation, because Jimin was falling asleep on his cereal bowl. “Did you even sleep?”, Taehyung asked while pushing the bowl away – so the boy wouldn’t get his face all wet and dirty – but for this one he also didn’t get an answer.

They were changing their hairstyles, since the comeback was close, but not even that was seeming to put some life into Jimin.

“Hey, what's up?” Taehyung approached him when Jeon decided to give himself a break.

The now almost completely red-haired boy looked at him with weary eyes.

“What do you mean?” his voice was hoarse. Taehyung realized in a sudden that that had been the first time he actually heard Jimin's voice in the day.

“Come on, Jiminie.” he plopped down next to him, “You look terrible. What happened last night?”

Jimin closed his eyes when the professional pushed his head back softly, so he could wash the product away. He stayed in silence for the whole process and Taehyung started wondering if he would ignore him for the third time in the past five hours, but when the tall man behind them closed the faucet, still with eyes shut he murmured, “Just tired. Really tired.”

It was like Jimin had reached a level of somnolence in which his mind entered in some kind of trance, turning his words and movements slow.

How is he even going to get through practice today?

“Didn’t you sleep?” he answered a 'not really' throughout a yawn, “Where did you even go to, to begin with?”

Jimin breathed for one second longer before opening his eyes to look at Taehyung.

“Myeongie needed me.”

“So much you couldn’t even get a night of proper sleep?” Jimin remained silent, so he persisted, “Isn’t this a bit selfish?”

Taehyung couldn’t really say if he was seeing things or if it really happened, but Jimin's expression seemed to suddenly darken.

“You wouldn’t know.” he closed his eyes again. Is he pissed? “Don’t recklessly call him selfish if you don’t even know what happened.”

“I'm just caring about you!”

“You don’t have to belittle other people to do so.”

And that left him without words for a moment. He gulped the lowkey embarrassment when the realization that Jimin was right hit him.

“God! Fine. I'm sorry, okay?”

The coiffeur placed Jimin's head in a standing position to properly dry it. After using a soft towel, he turned on the dryer so any possibility of conversation died there, making Taehyung get up and return to his place.

He was playing with Jin and Jungkook when Jimin's hair was done.

“Woah!” the eldest hyung exclaimed.

Taehyung jumped off his seat to cling onto Jimin.

“If anyone dares, please tell me a person that is more beautiful than Jiminie?” he placed his left hand behind his ear like that'd make him listen more clearly “Oh, that's right, there's none!!!” he smiled his big smile and patted Jimin's hair “You look amazing! Army will love it.”

Jimin smiled half shy half proud. He looked better.

He didn’t say a word though, but Taehyung noticed a glance of expectant eyes directed to Jeon Jungkook.

However, the boy was a bit frozen – astonished, almost –, his lips hanging partially open and his cheeks painted with a shade of red just as vivid as Jimin's hair color.

“Ohh, that's Jungkook’s favorite color, right? What do you think, Jungkookie? It suits him?” Taehyung teased, with his arms still around Jimin's body.

That question seemed to wake Jungkook up from a trance, so he averted his attention to everywhere else but Jimin’s face.

“Y-yeah.” there was a slight tremble on his voice “It looks n-nice.”

Jimin also looked away.

“Thanks.”

So obvious.

Taehyung smirked, but kept his thoughts to himself. They'd figure it out along the way.


•••


In the meekness of the moonlit room, Jeon Jungkook was preparing himself to sleep when Kim Namjoon started snoring.

“Fuck no.” it was impossible to contain the annoyed groan that followed afterwards. “It's okay, he'll stop.”

He didn’t.

Jungkook waited for five minutes, while trying all of the options to make his hyung silent, but when he gave up, Namjoon was already snoring so loud he could be heard by the dressing room. He sighed while picking up his pillow and blanket to sleep on the sofa. Again.

It was already past midnight when someone appeared to make him company.

Jungkook internally clutched his chest and had to put all the effort of his life to not coo.

Jimin walked till him with partially closed eyes.

And with bedhead.

And crumpled face from sleep.

And fucking sweat pants that made his whole body decrease into a little ball of infinite cuteness Jungkook wanted to squish like crazy.

“Why are you up?” that goddamn raspy-sleepy voice reached his ears. Jimin was speaking in satoori. God was definitely testing Jungkook. He gulped. “It's late.” Jimin rubbed his eyes.

How could a person be so fucking adorable and so fucking rude at the exact same time? It wasn’t fair.

“Namjoon-hyung is snoring.” he wouldn’t mention that happened around an hour ago, and that he spent the entire time of the next one scrolling past twitter's timeline.

Jimin checked the place looking for something, but when he didn’t find it he went back to his bedroom and returned dragging his blanket with tiny hands on the floor.

“Hyung, what are you doing?” he heard himself asking while watching Jimin get all wrapped up in the duvet. When literally only his head was being seen, he walked towards the sofa and sat there without saying a word. Jungkook couldn’t help but laugh. “Seriously Jimin, what's this?”

His eyes widened as he realized he didn’t use any honorifics. He was about to apologize when he saw Jimin's cheeks gain the brightest shade of red. That one he loved. He had to breath deeply so his heart would remember what it was there for: beat.

And boy, it did. Furiously.

“H-hyung. Jimin-hyung.” Jungkook corrected himself, eyes down, feeling his own cheeks burning, “I'm sorry.”

Jimin took some seconds to speak.

“It's okay.” his voice was small and soft. Jungkook wanted to hug him so bad – even more with that little fantasy of rice cake hugging his entire body. He never thought someone rolled up in a white blanket could be so damn adorable. “I don’t really mind.” he was still gazing at Jungkook, even though the younger was doing the possible to avoid eye contact. He was afraid his cheeks would combust if he did.

'I don’t really mind' means 'you can drop honorifics whenever you want to'? Probably not, but–

“Jungkook-ah.” that hoarse voice surged again, forcing him to look up, “It's okay.”

Their eyes met and it wasn’t like there was sparkles around them or anything, but it felt like it had on Jungkook’s stomach.

“Yeah.” he breathed, “What... What are you doing, anyway?” he tried to change the subject, “You better go to sleep, hyung... You'll wake up early tomorrow.”

“Yeah, you too. So I'm staying here until you sleep.”

Oh...

Wait–

“What?"

“Exactly what you heard. I'm your hyung, I gotta take care of you!”

This time a smile asked permission to come and Jungkook didn’t fight it.

“You know you look everything right now, but not a hyung, right?” he laughed sitting by his side.

“Don’t laugh at me, I'm cold...” Jimin pouted lowering his eyes.

Oh my god, Jungkook heard his inner voice cooing. His heart was going to explode and he blamed Park Jimin for it.

“Looking even less like a hyung now.” he grinned, “Such a baby...” yes, he had to tease. It was extremely necessary for the balance of his world.

“I'm not a baby, you are!” he was still pouting though and Jungkook didn’t have a single doubt that he'd be poiting a finger at his direction if the blanket wasn’t locking his entire body in it.

So damn cute.

“Okay, you're right, I am a baby.”

“Yes.” Jungkook heard the elder murmuring, proudly agreeing like he had won their 'fight'.

“And the baby here, is not even a little bit sleepy thanks to Namjoon-hyung, so I don’t really think you should keep me company, cause I'm gonna sleep pretty late.”

“You just gave me more reasons to be here. It must be boring being here all alone doing nothing.”

“Actually... I kinda was on twitter.”

“Oh.” Jimin stopped for a moment and then got up, “I see, I see. I'll bother you, so it's better if I leave, right?”

Shit. Why couldn’t Jungkook get his words out right at least once?

He followed Jimin and reached out to grab his arm, but there was no arm for him to grab so he just grabbed his entire body instead. “Hyung, no! That's not what I meant, I... Would be really happy if you... Stayed here with me, but I don’t want you to be tired tomorrow...” Jungkook gave his best. He hoped that time he didn’t let anything misunderstood.

Jimin turned around and Jungkook tried not to laugh but it was difficult while staring at a massive ball of cloth with human head.

“I'm not gonna be tired though...”

The younger suspiciously eyed him.

“Oh, you swear?”

“I swear!”

“Okay, then...”

 



The clock struck two in the morning. Jimin was no longer tucked in the blanket, but that didn’t decrease his level of puppiness in any percent. His soft red hair was falling on his eyes as his mouth hung open and he fisted on the air saying “one more time!”, making Jungkook chuckle. It was probably the 20th time they did arm wrestling and for sure it was the 20th time Jimin lost. Well, 21st now.

“You're cheating!”

Jungkook couldn’t stop laughing. “How could I possibly cheat on this?”

“You're distracting me!!!” the maknae loved those days when Jimin was cluelessly all squishy and soft.

It was funny because Jimin – like all of them, to be honest – always tried to give a good image to the fans – an image of an all grown up and sexy guy, the man army would want as their boyfriend –, but it was just so different when they were back at the dorm with just the members and no one else. Not that he wasn’t an all grown up and sexy guy, it was just that when they weren’t home he was too much aware of all the cameras around him, so he used to want to be like that all the time. Of course, this was slowly changing as he got more mature and now Jungkook almost didn’t notice when Jimin was playing for the camera.

But thank god, he had never been like that at home.

Jungkook loved all the Jimins he'd known until now, but he specially loved the domestic one.

He loved to watch him walking on casual clothes, with messy hair and earphones on, dancing like no one was there while using his phone as a microphone to sing. Sometimes Jungkook would watch him silently from afar in a corner, and sometimes he'd approach him just to have an opportunity to tease.

Either way, it was always adorable.

Or when he was sitting on a random place with his glasses on, reading a book – unconscious of his surroundings, too much emerged in the story.

Or also when he was walking only with his pants on around the house – it was definitely not because of the bare chest – and suddenly stopped by the kitchen and tried to risk something to cook. Most of the times, he'd burn everything, but once – on a miracle day – he made the tastiest cookies Jungkook had ever put into his mouth. There was also a very delicious cream, so they made sandwiches with it – to the delight of both. The two of them were the only ones in the house that day, which made everything better because they ate it all alone.

“How so?” Jungkook shook his reveries away.

“You keep laughing, I can't concentrate!” Jimin was trying to sound pissed, but he was smiling like an idiot.

“Are you saying my laugh distracts you?”

Wait.

What? What did I just say? Did I flirt? With Jimin?! Jesus christ, someone please give me a hole so I can bury my whole head in it, like, now!

Jimin's ears were burning and he fell speechless for a second.

“No! I mean! Yes, but–“ he lowered his eyes “It's just that it makes me laugh too...” he was playing with his own little fingers and Jungkook barely heard his voice “I'm not strong when I laugh...”

The maknae bit his lip. Fuck.

“When are you strong then, Jimin?” he couldn’t help it. Something about the atmosphere had switched a button on the bottom of his belly and the amount of tingles on it was driving him nuts.

He was craving the increasingly flush on Jimin's cheeks – how the boy couldn’t stop wandering with his eyes everywhere else but Jungkook's face. He was craving that small voice, being all shy and flustered – for Jungkook. He was craving the intimacy, that's why he used such a low tone and dropped the honorific – Jimin said it was okay, right?

And he wasn’t going to lie, it was purposeful, but just because he was simply loving to get all those reactions out of him. Jungkook was needy to tease. However, it was a different kind of tease. The one that would make Jimin blush and bit his lower lip, just like he was doing in that moment.

So soft...

Jimin moistened his dry lips with his tongue and Jungkook forced himself to look away, because he almost let an unusual sound crawl out of his throat.

What the fuck is happening?

“Stop it already... I...don’t know, maybe when I'm working out at the gym?” he was still not making eye contact, “I used to be stronger than you, I don’t know what happened...”

“I grew up.” Jungkook answered with no hesitation. He wanted Jimin to realize that, he needed Jimin to realize that.

“Yeah...” the red haired boy glanced at him for a brief moment, “I know that already...”

The silence suddenly struck the room bringing with it a tiny bit of guilty on Jungkook's gut. Maybe he went too far? He was just playing around, right? Because it was fun seeing Jimin not knowing what to do... Yes, it was definitely this.

“It's late... Maybe we should try to sleep.” Jimin's voice filled the place. Jungkook simply nodded not knowing what to say.

“Well...” the elder picked up his blanket from the couch, “Good night...” he was walking to his bedroom, but there was a slight mist of awkwardness hanging in the air.

“Hyung!” Jungkook called in a spur of courage, “I'm sorry if... If I went too far. I was just teasing you, but I'm sorry if it was too much...” the stain on the wooden table was probably very interesting because Jungkook's eyes couldn’t look anywhere else.
Even though, he felt Jimin smiling.

He felt the warmth of it.

“It's okay, you didn’t go too far at all.” He didn’t have to look to know Jimin was giving him the eye smile he loved so much. “Goodnight, Kookie.”

“Goodnight, hyung.”

That night, Jungkook fell asleep smiling.


•••


The smell of fresh pancakes filled the place when he opened the door.

“Jiminie?” he was the only person who also had the keys.

“In the kitchen!”

Myeong smiled and got rid of his shoes. His bag was left on the same spot as the pair of black sneakers.

It was nice to arrive home after a long day of work and find out there was someone cooking pancakes for you.

“When did you learn to put something on the pan without instantly burning it up?”

“Shut up.” Myeong heard a smile on Jimin's voice, “I worked hard, okay? I even looked for the recipe on Naver!”

He found a seat on the counter and observed Jimin's back while his legs swayed in the air.

“Aww, when did you become so sweet?”

“Hey!” Jimin glanced at him over his shoulder for a moment, “I've always been sweet, you punk!”

A giggle escaped his lips, “Yeah, right...”

It was kinda absurd now to think that he was able to live for two years without the presence of that tiny human being in his life.

Jimin changed a lot. Not only physically – he was more mature than Myeong expected him to be. Of course he was never going to let these thoughts come out loud – the both of them could be close, but he sill respected Jimin as a hyung...sometimes –, yet, being two years young, Myeong was very aware he used to be more mature than Jimin when they were kids. Maybe he still was, but he grew used to it. He had always been more mature than all the people of his age anyway. It was not a problem. It just made him surprised to know how Jimin's mind worked and processed things now.

The silence was comfortable, but the elder boy was shifting his feet and avoiding the younger's eyes.

“What is it?”

A little more bit of silence before Jimin put the pancakes on a plate and turned over to look at him.

“I deposited 556,500 won in your account.” he spilled at once.

You what?

Myeong jumped off to the ground.

“Look– Listen...” he put the plate on the table apparently nervous, but confident “I did this because I wanted to, okay? Please, accept...”

Myeong was incredulous. 556,500 won?

“I don’t want your money. That’s not why I–“

I know...” Jimin breathed a little deeper, “Myeongie, I know... It's just... It's... Oh! It’s your 2 years birthday presents! You can’t deny them!” he was smiling now after finding an excuse. Evil.

“That's so low, Park Jimin...”

“...does that mean you’re accepting it?”

Myeong laughed. His best friend was really a thing. “I hate you a lot.”

Jimin choked with a mute offended sound, placing his hand over his chest. Idiot.

“Is this what I get from you? After I cooked you pancakes?!”

“Shut up...” he couldn’t fight the smile, “Let's see if they taste good like your mother's...”

Myeong teased looking out for a fork.

“You know that's physically impossible. She's a goddess, no one can beat her.”

“Well, that's true.”

But it tasted delicious. Absolutely delicious. Not like Jimin's mother's, of course, but still delicious. Myeong felt an unusual warmth spreading through his whole face. It had been a while since someone did so many nice things for him. He could cry, but he didn’t want Jimin to worry.

“Jimin-ah...” he was mouth-full, so he took a time to swallow it, “Thank you... Really. For everything.”

Jimin laughed it off. He never really knew how to deal well with thank yous.

“What for? I'm just taking care of you, let's not make a big deal out of this...”

“Okay...” he ate another piece, “It tastes amazing by the way. See? I always knew you could cook!”

“Not really. Today is entering on my list of miracle days. Until now, it only had happened one time with Jungkookie “

“Huh, really? And what Jungkook said about it?”

“He ate almost all of my cookies, that brat.”

They both laughed when Jimin's phone suddenly sent vibrations on the table. “Oh! Speaking of the devil.” He picked up. “Hello...” Jimin singsonged and Myeong just observed him in silence while filling his mouth with the food. “No, I'm with Myeongie... Yes... Not really, I just came to check if he wasn’t dead or starving.” Myeong rolled his eyes and mouthed 'I can take care of myself' making Jimin laugh, “What? Sorry, Myeong distracted me... Oh no no, I'll go home soon, don’t worry! Yes, I'm having dinner with you guys. Okay... Hey, Jungkook! You won’t believe me... I just had another miracle day... Yes! I cooked pancakes! And Myeongie said they taste amazing!” there was a pause and Myeong could hear Jungkook's voice on the other side of the line saying 'that's great, hyung', but he didn’t really seem excited, “Yes!” however, Jimin was cluelessly smiling, “Okay, bye! I'll be home soon! Bye.”

He happily hung up.

“What did he say?” Myeong asked.

He said this is great! Is great, right? Let me have some of it, so I'll know you're not lying!” he leaned on the table with his mouth open. Such a baby.

“Say 'ahh'”. Myeong teased bringing the fork into his mouth, even though Jimin already had it opened.

He knew his hyung was about to call him idiot when he chewed the piece of pancake in his mouth and widened his eyes. “Ohhh!!! It really is delicious!! Did I cook this? For real?”

Myeong laughed.

“No, I did. Telepathically.”

“Fuck off.” mouth-filled-Jimin said.

“Okay, but have some more.”

“No, it's ok–“

Myeong stuffed more pancake into his mouth before he could complain. Three times.

“You need to eat well, you know that, right?” he couldn’t help but to worry about him. He used to have some weird habits about losing weight.

“I do! I'm eating well, I already told you... I moved on this phase, okay?!”

“Sure you did.” he brought the fork to the red haired boy's face one last time, “Come on then.”

“It doesn’t mean I have to eat everyt–“

“Yes, good boy.”

Jimin furrowed his brows.

“I hate you.” his muffled voice reached Myeong's ears making him giggle.

Myeong ate the remaining pieces on the plate and then walked till the sink to wash it. He took a glance of the clock on the wall on his way.

“It's pretty late, you should get going...”

He heard Jimin getting up from the chair behind him.

“You're right. The guys are waiting for me.”

Myeong left the plate there and turned to look at him. “Hey... I know you said to... You know... Not make a big deal, but...” shit. His eyes were tearing up, “Thank you, Jiminie... Really.”

The blush spreaded over Jimin's cheeks.

“Aish, what are you sayin– oh my god, are you crying?!” he rushed over to Myeong, who gave him his back.

“Not really.” he rubbed his eyes, “Don’t worry, it's nothing.” but he felt soft arms bringing him closer.

“Hey... Don’t cry. Everything is okay, right? Everything is gonna be okay, I told you...”

Myeong sniffed trying to shove the tears away.

“Yeah...” his voice was small. Honestly, he wanted to cry alone. He didn’t want to be even more of a burden to his friend. “It's okay, you can go, Jungkook is waiting for you.”

Jimin let go off him slowly. Mentioning Jungkook always brought funny reactions out of him. Myeong could bet he was blushing. He tried to smile so Jimin would think everything was okay and seized the opportunity to change subject.

“Yes, like everyone...” Jimin muttered looking down.

“Exactly.” he picked up Jimin's bag on the couch while rubbing his eyes a little more, because they were still teary, “Here, be careful on the way back.”

“Okay... Sure you alright?” Jimin suspiciously asked trying to make eye contact. Myeong did, just to assure him.

“Yes. Thank you again.”

“Aish, stop thanking me already.” he complained while walking to the exit, “And don’t sleep late today!”

“Okay, mom.” Myeong opened the door for him, “Bye, Jiminie.”

“I'll come back next week.” Jimin told him, “This time you're cooking.”

“'kay. Just try not to make your boyfriend too jealous.”

“My– what?

Myeong chuckled. Teasing Jimin always made him feel better. “You know what I'm talking about. Go home, he is waiting.”

“I– I... You're an asshole, you know that, right?”

Myeong giggled, closing the door.

“Goodnight, Jiminie.”


•••


Periods of comeback were always crazy, but Jungkook had never – not even once – got irritated by people spending too much time at the practice room.

However, like he used to hear when he was a child, every rule had its exceptions.

It was thursday. And as if the hot weather wasn’t already enough to make him lowkey cranky, all the members were still practicing, even after the clock pointed midnight. He and Jimin didn’t get to exchange a single word since they arrived and now, apparently, they wouldn’t be able to spend their practice night together, so yeah, he was pretty pissed.

But externally he was blaming the comeback stress – after all, some things couldn’t be said out loud, he realized a little time ago. For example, how Jimin's muscles were so beautifully drawn under his sweaty tshirt.

Not that he was staring or anything. He also wasn’t counting the minutes wondering how much more time everyone would spend there, but fifteen had already passed since midnight – just for reference.

The first one to decide to leave – not fifteen, thirty minutes later – was Yoongi, followed by Jimin shortly thereafter. Jungkook tried to stop his heart from falling, but he couldn’t.

“Hyung, are you leaving?!” he ran till him without second thoughts.

Jimin looked at him almost as if he was relieved.

“Guess we won’t have our night today.” he forced a smile, “You didn’t come to me until now, so I thought it was better to go home or something...”

“Well, I... I was waiting for everyone to leave...” Jungkook shuffled his feet, his heart beating furiously for no apparent reason, “B-but are you tired? Cause... Like... We don’t necessarily need to spend it here, we can... go to... another place...” okay, maybe there was an apparent reason “I mean, if you want to, of course.” Jungkook hurried to complete.

Jimin’s face was a mystery for two seconds before he smiled the sweetest smile ever and giggled like the purest angel he was.

“Yeah, this is not a practice night anymore since a long time, is more like a dat–“ the word stopped in his throat when he realized what he was actually saying, “Anyway...” he fastly changed topics expecting the maknae didn’t notice, “We totally can go somewhere else! Where do you think is a good place?”

Jungkook scratched the back of his neck feeling excitement and anxiety bubbling up in his chest all together.

“What about ice cream?”


•••


Jungkook knew guys couldn’t really go on dates. Not romantic ones, at least.

They weren’t on a date.

But he wished so.

“Hyung, not this one, it tastes awful!”

“But it paints my tongue bluuue...” Jimin whined by his side.

“Aish, I can’t believe this...” he couldn’t help but smile, “How old are you again?”

“I don’t care, you're not the one paying for it anyway.” the older showed his tongue. Showed. His. Tongue.

5 years old indeed.

 

“Jungkook...”

They were sitting on the soft grass; moon reflecting and illuminating the whole extension of han river in front of them.

“What?”

“This is no good...” Jimin pointed to his ice cream with a yucky face.

“Agh!” Jungkook threw his head back in disbelief “No way! Hyung! I told you!” but he was laughing out loud, despite his failed attempt of sounding angry.

“Stop laughing!” Jimin pouted “I don’t want this anymore, it's bad!”

“Aish, this is absurd...” the younger was still laughing, now placing his hand over his belly, “Come on, I'll buy you another one.” He got up cleaning his pants.

“Really?” Jimin's shining eyes totally paid off Jungkook's financial loss, “Oh, I have such a good dongsaeng...”

“No.” Jungkook helped him, holding his hand and pulling him up, “I refuse to be called dongsaeng by you after this.”

He pretended to not notice the proximity of their chests and the fact Jimin kept their hands together.

“Hah? You brat! I'm older, you know?”

“I'm definitely not the baby of this relationship. I refuse.”

They were so close, smiles almost mingling into one another.

“Of course you are! You're my baby, did you forget?!” Jungkook giggled, and even though they were faking a fight, their voices were getting lower – closer.

“I can’t possibly be the baby when you act like this...”

“Like this what?”

“Like... Like a mochi.” this time he grinned, his nose crinkling that way Jimin was so deep down in love with, ”You're like a mangaetteok, hyung.”

For some reason, Jungkook's heart was pounding like it was about to explode. His breaths were leaving him increasingly lightheaded, when in a silence awe – while the soft cheeks he was staring at got painted with the most delicate shade of pink – he realized Jimin was the most beautiful person he ever knew.

It wasn’t an euphemism – as frightening as it was.

It was the purest truth and Jungkook couldn’t understand why it took him so long to see.

It was so clear now.

His creamy skin glowing under the moonlit, his plump red lips shining with the sweetness of the ice cream he hated, his long and thin eyelashes framing the black deep sea that was his eyes... Everything was beautiful about Park Jimin. Even the stinging pain he propitiated on the back of Jungkook’s gut.

He felt their fingers intertwining, so he scooted his face closer out of instinct – the deserted city of lights surrounding them as if they were the only people in the world.

“Are you not buying me that ice cream?” Jimin breathed into his mouth running his lungs out of air.

“Y-yeah.” Jungkook could barely whisper, “What flavor now?” but he could feel his fingertips and the back of his neck tingling, anticipating something.

“Choose for me.” the low tone was driving him crazy.

Jimin licked his lips and Jungkook's eyes couldn’t help but fall on them – red-ish and full, so perfectly delineated on his face and so temptingly close.

“What about this one?” his voice failed mid-way the sentence, ending in a brief whisper.

“Which one?”

The moment was held by a deafening silence hanging in the air, before Jungkook's voice surged like a flood.

“This.”

He couldn’t think of anything when their mouths crashed together, hungrily desiring for each other, Jimin's lips plush and soft against his own, hands searching for Jungkook's hair just to pull it back and whisper into him, “Let me taste it.”

His lips parted open so fast – just a second before Jimin's tongue licked in it, the contrast of icy and hot sending shivers down his spine. His mind was spinning and he couldn’t bring himself to believe he was kissing Jimin and that Jimin was kissing him back – gripping his hair onto his hand like he needed that just as much as Jungkook did.

The younger placed his hands on his hyung’s waist and squeezed it, pressing their bodies closer, harder, holding him firm, as if he eased the touch Jimin would fade away.

Maybe there was a little bit too much of wetness and tongue, but the sensation of their mouths moving on one another was plenty to get Jungkook feeling sparkles exploding on the tip of his belly.

When Jimin bit on his bottom lip, they were forced to pull apart, breathless and dizzily gasping for air, warm skins clasped together.

The silence of the night wasn’t enough to make them uncomfortable or scared of consequences – they were drowned in their own particular world in which not even a leaf could get into.

“So?” Jungkook didn’t know where that courage to speak first came from, “What about it?”

“Yeah...” he was personally proud he was the reason Jimin was still trying to find a proper way to catch his breath, “It's sweet.”

“Too bad it's now melting on the floor.” he looked down, watching the white liquid spread through the grass.

“Oh.” Jimin laughed softly, “We're talking about the ice cream?” Jungkook looked back at him just in time to catch those beautiful eyes turning into thin lines of smiling eyelashes, “Guess you'll have to buy two now.”

For a moment – the briefest of them – Jungkook lost himself on Jimin’s eyes, on Jimin's smile.

He was seriously the most beautiful creature.
“You're... pretty.” he tightened his arms around the smaller's waist, “Really... pretty...”

“What?” Jimin forced a laugh while blushing and looking away. So damn pretty.

“No.” Jungkook cupped his sharp jawline and pulled his face back, “Look at me.”

His cheeks were also burning, but he couldn’t help it.

The pace of his heart was far away from anything healthy, but all he could think of was how he wanted to feel Jimin's mouth pressed against his one more time.

He was missing the touch already.

“Hyung...” Kiss me. “I–“

A loud buzz cut through the night with a shrill sound. Jungkook took a while to realize it was Jimin's phone vibrating in his pocket.

“I should...” their bodies separated abruptly, leaving traces of a missing warmth on his skin, “You know... Yeah...”

It was when Jimin walked away and muttered a low 'oh, hi hyung' that reality struck him with a bucket of cold water in the face.

Jungkook nervously looked around, searching for any living thing that could have possibly witnessed their little moment of absolute foolishness, but thank god, there was no one to be seen.

“Yes. Okay, hyung, bye.” Jungkook catched up with the last part of the conversation before Jimin hung up.

He didn’t look Jungkook in the eyes when he said Yoongi told them to go home because it was late. He didn’t say anything else after this apart from 'we should get going'. They made their way back with 5 feet of distance between them. Jungkook didn’t try to get closer or say a word; too terrified to speak.

He was having to deal with his own inner demons leaving his throat dry and mind dizzy, while fighting with all his strength to not break into tears and shaky sobs.

The dark sky, before refreshing and peaceful was now numbing and scary, hiding all the deepest secrets Jungkook never wanted to drown in before.

He just wished to run away; be carried by the wind blowing his hair so softly and never be forced to face that kind of introspection again.


•••


Life could be a living hell sometimes. Jungkook was going crazy.

The suffocating gut wrenching feeling that he didn’t know himself anymore wouldn’t live his mind, it didn’t matter how hard he tried. The constant need to cry and scream wouldn’t leave his body either. His school life was a mess and he couldn’t stop thinking about how dirty he was, for shamelessly kissing a boy like that, for letting his imagination wander through things he should have never ever considered tolerable.

And to make it all worse – Jimin wasn’t talking to him.

Maybe it was better like that, but Jungkook was already missing him so much it was painful.

Not that it was reciprocal. Jimin was apparently living his life normally; apart the fact they lived together and Jungkook hadn’t seen his face in two days. It was not a hyperbole. Jimin was definitely avoiding him, but he couldn’t bring himself to feel angry, just unbelievably sad.

Jimin was disgusted, Jungkook assumed. Disgusted of him.

Sure he kissed Jungkook back that night, but it probably had been only the haze of the moment.

And it didn’t really matter if that was or wasn’t what Jimin was truly feeling about him, because in the end it was only the truth.
He remembered pretty well a conversation his grandpa and his father had when he was doing his homework on the living room with seven years old.

“Did you hear about Jisoo's son? Poor woman... like it wasn’t enough losing her husband to alcohol...” Jungkook heard his dad complain but didn’t pay much attention to it. Adult talk was always boring.

“What do you mean? What happened? Did he die?!” His grandpa's seemed truly worried. “No way...”

“No dad, that's not it! He's...” there was a pause that got Jungkook curious. The fact his dad lowered his voice to continue the sentence only incited him more to know what happened. “He's with a man...” 

The little boy frowned in confusion. What was wrong with that? Couldn’t men be friends?

“Oh... Gosh...” there was pure pish on his grandpa's tone this time, “It would have been better dead... If it was my son I'd beat him up until I knocked some sense into him. These young people... Each day more and more  easily influenced by those western freaks.”

Jungkook's eyes widened with the impact of the information. Was it really so wrong having a friendship with a man?! He didn’t want to be a bad kid, but he was so shocked he couldn’t help but to turn around and ask:

“Dad, what's wrong with that?! Can't I be with a man too? Dohyunie is my friend, does this mean I have to stop talking to him?!”

They both laughed and Jungkook just couldn’t bring himself to understand.

“Oh kids... They're so pure...” his dad stopped laughing to explain. “No son... Even though it was rude of you to interrupt two adults talking, that's not what we're talking about. Jisoo's son is dating a man. Like mom and dad or grandma and grandpa. They kiss and do things like this. It's disgusting.”

Still... He didn’t understand. Sure he had never seen two men dating, but why was it wrong if they liked each other?

“Why?”

Both of them seemed shocked, but it was his grandpa who took the lead.

“What do you mean 'why', kid?!” he exploded and Jungkook recoiled on his chair “God created man and woman to be together, do you think it's acceptable going against god's laws?! Huh?! And no more questions, you're already wrong enough, go back to your homework!”

He just silently nodded and obeyed, too embarrassed to even apologize for having been scolded like that. His grandpa barely visited them and he already passed such a wrong image.

Even though he only made a simple question. It was not like it was a big deal. He understood it now – they couldn’t be together, because god didn’t  create them to do so. Right? Such a simple answer. He couldn’t understand why he made such a fuss about it.

But Jungkook did now.

He would be lying if he said he wasn’t terrified. What would his family think? What would their fans think?

He focused on breathing through his nose, because it seemed like he was about to have a panic attack.

It's okay. Everything is fine, it was just an one night attraction thing and of course it's already bad, but it's not the end of the world. I like girls. I have always liked girls, so it's fine. Everything's under control. One... two... three... breath... One, two, three. Breath. One, tw–

“Jungkook?” he opened his eyes startled, “You okay?” Namjoon had a worried gaze directed at him.

“Oh. Yes, hyung. Thanks... Just... School stuff.”

“Oh, I see. Do you need any help?”

“No, no. Don't worry. I'm fine.”

“Okay then. I'll be on my laptop, but you can call me if you change your mind, okay?”

“Yeah...”

He tried getting rid of his reveries since Namjoon was now also in the room, so he started randomly watching music videos on youtube. He needed new musics to listen to anyway.

He was past seven musics when Taehyung messaged him.


Tae-hyung – 6:59 pm
come 2 my room
lets play wii or smth
im boreddd :-(


You – 7:00 pm
i have to study, hyung


Tae-hyung – 7:00 pm
liar
bet you're playing piano tales
or on youtube
pleaseeee :-(
don’t say no to ur hyung
jiminie abandoned me
please


You – 7:00 pm
what do u mean?


Tae-hyung – 7:01 pm
he's acting weird idk
he appeared here just now and i was like
finally where have u been
and he was all abt sorry tae tae talk to u later
gotta do some stuff


You – 7:01 pm
did he ask abt me?


Tae-hyung – 7:01 pm
so i asked what stuff
and he just said myeongie and left
no why would he
seriously im starting to get a little pissed
bc im not rly the jealous type


You – 7:01 pm
you're definitely the jealous type

 

Tae-hyung – 7:02 pm
but i just wanted to spend some time with him
but he is all about myeong these days
im not !!


You – 7:02 pm
um
yeah
he is


Tae-hyung – 7:02 pm
so??? are u coming??


You – 7:03 pm
sorry hyung
but i really have to study
my exams are close, i have to study while we're having days off


Tae-hyung – 7:03 pm
rejected twice at the same night :-(
by his two best friends
kim taehyung out


Jungkook sighed. He was feeling more anxious than before, his stomach wrapping up into a tiny and tight ball of pain and uneasiness. He stared at the screen of his cellphone for 10 minutes before he finally had the courage to click send.


You – 7:17 pm
hyung


Though, he stared longer waiting for his answer. At 7:32 pm the seen sign showed up on Jungkook’s screen, holding his breath on his throat. Jiminie-hyung is typing... Jungkook thought his heart was going to stop. It would be the first time they talked in two days, the first time since it happened. But why was he taking so long to reply? It was easy, right? Just typing a quick 'hey' or 'what'. When the new message finally popped up on his screen he tried to slowly release his pent up breath.


Jiminie-hyung – 7:33 pm
Hey Jungkook! Myeong here! Sorry, Jiminie can't answer now, he went to the supermarket to grab some things and forgot his phone.
Do you need something? Is it important?


One minute passed. Two. Three. Jungkook still couldn’t bring himself to answer. If Jimin was out, he could have answered the message when he arrived, right? There was no need for Myeong to do that for him, so why did he do it?

Jungkook wanted to cry; he just wanted to talk to Jimin, that was all. He was missing him so much. So freaking much. Why couldn’t he answer him? Why couldn’t he stop avoiding him? Jungkook knew he was an object of disgust... He knew, but... It was not fair... Not at all... It was so fucking unfair...

He only noticed the tears on his eyes when they fell on the screen's surface.


You – 7:40 pm
no
sorry
it's nothign
nothing*


Jungkook curled up on his bed after locking his phone. It vibrated seconds later, but he didn’t have to unlock it to read in the lockscreen: Jiminie-hyung – 2 new messages. He dragged his finger down on the app's icon to make them visible. Okay then! Good night!

The phone was dropped, falling with a mute sound on the duvet. Jungkook closed his eyes and wished to disappear.


•••


“Don't do this to him!” Myeong's voice resounded through the room for the the n th time.

“But what am I supposed to do then?!”

“Well, answer?”

“No! I can’t! Please, Myeongie! It has passed fifteen minutes already, I'm freaking out!” Jimin whined. He fucking whined. He was really succeeding at getting his best friend pissed.

“Answer him then!”

“No!”

“God fucking dammit Jimin! Give me this shit!”

His phone was ripped off his hand and Jimin sighed in relief. He watched his best friend's expression soften while he typed an answer to Jungkook. Jimin knew it was wrong. He knew he was being a childish asshole. But he was scared – so scared of facing Jungkook again after... After that.

“So? Did he answer? What did he say?” Jimin couldn’t stop the anxiety bubbling up on his belly.

“He saw the message, but... He's not typing anything.” Myeong was still looking at the screen, waiting for an answer.

“Oh, give me that! What did you tell him?” But he read it himself. “God! That's the worst lame excuse ever!”

“Good! I should have told him a truck ran over you! Oh no! Better! I should have pretended I was you so you'd be fucking obligated to answer him! God! Why are you so stubborn?!”
Jimin looked back at him offended.

“I'm not! Shut up! It's just–“

“I already told you he's not angry with you! How many times should I repeat? God, he has never faced this before, he's probably just scared! Even more with this asshole he calls hyung avoiding him!”

Jimin was filled up with too many feelings and emotions on his throat to form any sentence or words to defend himself. He also was internally fighting the fact Myeong was right. He wouldn’t just easily admit it, but Jimin was the one and only jerk of that entire story. Too much of a coward to face his own feelings, let alone Jungkook’s. His phone vibrated on his hand as he drowned in guilt, snapping him out of his thoughts and making him unlock it and open the message app in a blink of an eye.


Jungkookie – 7:40 pm
no
sorry
it's nothign
nothing*


Jimin swallowed the sadness on the back of his throat and shakily typed an 'Okay then! Good night!'

“He's hurt.” Myeong stated. Like Jimin needed anyone to state him the obvious.

“I know.”

“Text him back. Say you're home. Talk to him, Jimin, I'm serious... Nothing will get fixed up if you just keep running away from this. We talked about it already.”

He let out a tired sigh and repeated, defeated, “I know.”

“I'll take a shower now... Do whatever you think it's better, but just keep Jungkook's feelings in mind.” Myeong headed to the bathroom before Jimin could whisper a broken 'I always do' – more to himself than to anyone.

It took him seven minutes to start typing a text and five more to send it.


You – 7:55 pm
hey
i’m home
what is it?

Two minutes passed. Seen. Jungkookie is typing...


Jungkookie – 7:57 pm
just wanted to know where you were
yoongi-hyung asked


You – 7:57 pm
im at myeong's house


Jungkookie – 7:58 pm
well yeah
i know that now


Jimin blankly stared at the screen for some seconds, thinking about what to say. He tried not to panic when he realized he had nothing. A solid minute passed with both of them online without saying anything when Jungkook finally started to type.


Jungkookie – 7:59 pm
goodnight then


You – 7:59 pm
no
wait
jungkook


When Jimin said nothing more Jungkook typed a '?', making him gulp. What the hell was he going to say? His heart was pounding against his ribcage so hard he almost forgot how to breath. It was when the image of the whole reason why they were acting strange with each other came to his mind. The feeling of Jungkook’s lips against his own, his hands against his body, his tongue licking into his warm mouth – everything appeared in a rush, turning his cheeks pink and his throat dry.


You – 8:01 pm
how have you been?


God. If there is such a thing like mercy in this world please make it punch me in the face.


Jungkookie – 8:01 pm
good
you?


You – 8:01 pm
yeah
me too


Jungkookie – 8:01 pm
cool


Awkward. Jimin wanted to hide, deep embarrassment soaking him to his fingertips. Two minutes passed again, none of them saying anything, but both refusing to leave.


Jungkookie – 8:03 pm
hyung
what's this


You – 8:03 pm
im sorry
i dont know
im stupid, you can go
i have nothing to say
im sorry


The words 'Jungkookie is typing...' appeared and disappeared three times on the top of the screen, getting Jimin extra nervous, before the message finally showed up.


Jungkookie – 8:04 pm
i miss you


Oxygen was knocked out of Jimin's lungs as his heart tried to beat time in a race. It didn’t take longer than a bat of eyelashes for him to eagerly reply.


You – 8:04 pm
i miss you too


Jungkookie – 8:05 pm
im so sorry for kissing you
i know you're disgusted but
i wont do it again


You – 8:05 pm
what
omg
jungkookie no


Jungkookie – 8:05 pm
i promise


You – 8:05 pm
how could i be disgusted of you
what are you talking about


Jungkookie – 8:05 pm
so please let's be normal again
im missing you so bad
i dont know
im a guy


You – 8:06 pm
so?


Jungkookie – 8:06 pm
we're friends
i dont know hyung
im sorry
i just want us to be us again
please
i dont like it when you avoid me
i feel so sad


You – 8:06 pm
oh god
jungkook
im so sorry
im an asshole
you were right, i dont deserve the hyung title
look at how i made u feel
im so sorry


Jungkookie – 8:07 pm
i never said that
it's not your fault, hyung
it's okay


You – 8:07 pm
no, it's not!
listen
i could never
never
be disgusted of you
believe me
okay?
there's no way


Jungkookie – 8:08 pm
...okay


You – 8:08 pm
promise me you'll never think that again


Jungkookie – 8:08 pm
i wont


You – 8:08 pm
promise


Jungkookie – 8:09 pm
i promise


You – 8:09 pm
good
how's school?


It was random, Jimin knew, but he wanted to get over that subject. It made both him and Jungkook sad and awkward when they only wanted to be comfortable again. He also could have only said goodbye, so the matter would die there, but he didn’t want to stop talking like that. He wanted Jungkook to know things were okay. He wanted Jungkook to know they were okay.


Jungkookie – 8:09 pm
a mess
it sucks


You – 8:10 pm
want help?


Jungkookie – 8:10 pm
tell me more about ur unbelievably amazing math skills


You – 8:10 pm
hey!
brat


Jungkookie – 8:10 pm
kkkkk
it's okay
it's not like im having problems with this
it's just too many things to focus on
im stressed

You – 8:11 pm
wanna hang out?
do something
just us
so you can relax


Jimin tried to sound the most casual he could, so it wouldn’t seem like he was about to have a cardiac arrest.


Jungkookie – 8:11 pm
okay
karaoke and movie?


You – 8:11 pm
karaoke and movie


Jungkookie – 8:12 pm
okay
i have to study now


You – 8:12 pm
okay


Jungkookie – 8:12 pm
hyung?


You – 8:12 pm
yeah?


Jungkookie – 8:13 pm
when are u coming home?


You – 8:13 pm
today


Jungkookie – 8:13 pm
okay
goodnight hyung


You – 8:13 pm
goodnight jungkookie

•••


The air was thick with the heat of Seoul, even though it was night already. Jimin felt relieved when he opened the door of the bedroom and felt cold nice air refresh his hot body. He silently made his way in, since the two people in there were already asleep. He gulped his nervousness and walked to the bed on the right corner of the wall.

The boy was peacefully sleeping, strands of his hair falling on the soft pillow, and a few of them resting on his forehead. Jimin sweetly brushed his hand over it, pushing the strands back, completely exposing the skin of the younger's forehead. He wanted to kiss it, but when he leaned closer Jungkook lazily opened his eyes.

“Hyung?” he mumbled in a sleepy voice.

“Hey.” Jimin whispered, “I'm home.”

Jungkook rubbed his eyes for a better vision as a slight smile appeared on his lips, “You're late. I was waiting.”

Jimin smiled, unable to contain the happiness that that information brought him, “Sorry,” he leaned more to speak lower, almost on Jungkook’s ear, “I'm here now. Would you mind if I slept with you?”

Jungkook's eyes stared at him for some seconds, his face crumpled from sleep, his messy hair and his beautiful parted lips, every single feature of him begging for Jimin to touch, to caress.

It was the first time they really looked at each other – eye on eye since they kissed – and Jimin was having to fight a difficult battle against the temptation of drowning in Jungkook again.

He was about to say something else when the younger lifted the blanket and moved away, just enough for Jimin's body to fit on the bed glued to his. Jimin breathed in relief when Jungkook’s arms closed around his waist, bringing him closer. He felt Jungkook burying his nose on his hair and breathing in his scent while tightening the hug, as if Jimin could slip away at any moment.

He didn’t say a word, none of them said a word, but they didn’t need any to understand they were safe again, protected on each other's personal world, guarded by firm arms and solid love.

Even if it was just for one night – at that moment, Jungkook was his and he was Jungkook's. And that was enough.


•••


The cold weather finally made its return. It wasn’t snowing, but Jimin would need more than one jacket to go outside.

He was trying to fight the smile creeping his lips, but happiness was overflowing from him. It felt like a date. Not that it was. But it felt like one.

He chose the perfume Jungkook always said it smelled good – applying just the right amount on his neck, wrists and back of his ears. His clothes were on point too – he didn’t understand why he was worrying so much about it, but the tiniest imperfection would drive him crazy until he got rid of it. The only thing pissing him off was his hair, but after 2 hours of sweat and tears he finally got all strands in place. Not that he started to get ready two hours ago. Please. He had more things to do, obviously...

Jimin checked himself on the mirror for the last time and walked off his room, looking out for his phone. He found it vibrating on the couch. The first thing he realized was the time. Jesus, he was going to get late! They said 7 pm was a good time, but it was already 6:45 pm and Jimin hadn’t even called the cab. The second thing was, he was running out of battery. 4% and decreasing faster. He was about to look for his charger, when the phone vibrated again on his hand, drawing his attention to the 12 unread messages and 3 missed calls.

Jimin unlocked the phone with certain uneasiness and fear spreading through the length of his spine. He clicked on the icon of the twelve messages and his body instantly froze when they showed up. He was paralyzed for three seconds, before his fingers quickly dialed the number his mother always obligated him to remember. He was about to click on the last number when his phone died. His heart was bumping on his throat.

“No, no, no, no.” He mumbled while tapping everywhere on the screen, “No!” his voice sounded louder than ever on the silent house. Everyone was out. “Fuck!”

Jimin looked at the clock hanging on the wall. Jungkook was probably already on his way. He had to stay at school the whole day, so they decided to meet on the park next to the karaoke place. Jimin couldn’t even warn him he was going to get late. He considered searching for his charger just to do so, when the messages resounded on his mind again, making the blood stop running in his veins. He felt his skin losing color. It was when despair punched him in the face.

What am I doing?

Jimin grabbed the keys resting on the table faster than a heartbeat and ran off the door, closing it with a loud, suffocating sound.

I'm sorry.

•••


Jungkook's entire day had been books, study, listen, exercises and school. He'd call it a hell if it wasn’t on the same day he and Jimin decided to go out. But since they did, the day had been wonderful. Every knowledge seemed like a gift, every classmate friendly like never before. That was, on the first two hours. After, time dragged tortuously slow, and then crawled like a lazy snake.

He tried to focus on what he had to do, what he had to learn, but his mind was full of useless questions, such as: what kind of jacket Jimin would wear, if it'd have sweaterpaws or not – he hoped it would –, if he was going to wear a beanie and a scarf since it was cold...

Jungkook was so lost in his own world that he got startled when everyone around him suddenly got up and started to pack their things. He stared surprised at his phone showing it was already 5:30 pm – time for him to leave. The smile on his face was very welcomed along with the loud heartbeats on his ear. He felt his fingertips tingling as he put everything that was on his desk inside his backpack, paying no mind if things were settled straight or not.

He showered and changed his clothes on the locker room. He was wearing a tshirt Jimin once said it was his favorite. The perfume was also the best one Jungkook had – a fan gave it to him and it smelled so good he actually felt sorry for using. But not that day.

He looked at his image on the blurry mirror and smiled with anticipation. It'd be such a great night. They'd go to the karaoke, have a lot of fun, like it was supposed of them, and when it was a little bit more late at night, when the places were emptier, they'd catch a movie. There was no way that night wouldn’t be awesome. Jungkook cleaned his sweaty hands on his pants – even though he had just showered –, and walked off the locker room. He looked the time again and it was already 6:20 pm.

Should I text him? Or will that seem too desperate? But... Maybe just a quick and casual 'hey, u ready?' wouldn’t cause any harm, right...? No, no, no way, Jungkook. You two settled the meeting place, settled the time, settled everything already. There's no reason why you need to text him. It'll only seem needy. And you're seeing him in less than an hour, anyway. Chill.

Jungkook placed his phone back inside his pocket after calling the cab. He put on his sunglasses, scarf and beanie to hide his face as much as he could, and waited for it in front of the school's gate. It didn’t take much time for it to arrive, and by 6:48 pm Jungkook was already handing the nice old man the money and thanking him for his service.

The cold air blowed icy wind on Jungkook’s cheeks – he hugged his own arms, seeking for more heat inside his two coats. There was just a few people near the place, but none at the park they decided to meet.

The sky was mixed with various shades of grey and soon it'd be dark blue, so Jungkook sit on one of the wooden benches and waited.

He waited until the clock hit 7 pm and no one else was on the street in front of him anymore. He looked around, searching for Jimin, but there was no sign of him being close.

It's okay. He's always late. Jungkook smiled at his thoughts and tried to get more comfortable inside his warm clothing shelter.

7:15 pm

Jungkook got up from his seat and started to walk around, looking at the end of both right and left streets, in hopes he'd see a familiar face walking till him, but there was only some unknown people walking fast, wishful to get home and away from that cold night.

7:28 pm

Jungkook considered calling him. Maybe some unforeseen happened and he'd take more time to get there. But... If something unplanned happened, Jungkook calling him it'd only seem like he was rushing him, which would make Jimin even more nervous, right? And if that was the case, there was no use to make a call, they couldn’t avoid the situation, so there was nothing Jungkook could do apart from waiting. It's okay. He's coming.

7:43 pm

Jungkook heard loud footsteps getting closer, snapping him out of the game on his phone, but it wasn’t Jimin. It was a guy running to a girl, so he could hug her. They were probably going on a date from there, telling by their passionate expressions. Cool.

The wind was blowing harder, responsible for the slight chills on his arms. He gulped, his throat dry and his nose freezing. He tried to warm it by hiding on his scarf. It's okay.

7:56 pm

If he doesn’t show up by 8, I'm calling him.

But it won’t be necessary. He will show up, right? Of course he will. Jimin would never left me waiting. If he couldn’t make it, he'd definitely text me. There’s no way he wouldn't.

8:00 pm

Jungkook deep breathed in the icy air into his lungs, trying to calm down.

He wanted to analyze the situation with logic, but the tears were already bubbling up on the back of his throat, trying to crawl out of his mouth in quiet sobs.

He wasn’t sitting anymore for a long time now – walking round through the park, lifting his head up so fast at any mention of sound, hopeful Jimin's face would magically appear in front of him. But it didn't. It didn’t show up by 8 pm and it didn’t show up for the next twenty four more minutes Jungkook waited. It was when he decided to call him – only to hear the robotic voice on the end of the line, asking him to leave a message after the beep. He hung up crying, refusing to believe Jimin really made that to him.

His insecurity now couldn’t stop building up possible scenarios that would explain the reason Jimin wasn’t there. Myeong was in every single one of them. Jungkook repressed a sob as he dialed the same cab number again, and repressed another one when he entered in the yellow car.

The before talkative man, didn’t try to initiate any kind of conversation, didn’t try to raise any kind of questions, as he watched the very same cheerful and bright boy from earlier, now silently cry leaning on the cold glass window of his car.


•••


Myeong's apartment was annoyingly far away. Jimin didn’t find any free cab on the street in the midst of his despair, so he was forced to use a bicycle. A fucking bicycle to ride 5 km in that kind of situation and in that kind of weather. He hardened his grip on the handlebar, white knuckles shining under the city lights.

His legs were about to fail when he closed his eyes for a second and flashed Jungkook waiting for him, alone in the cold street. It didn’t take a heartbeat for Jimin to fall with all his force on the harsh ground, hands scratching in an attempt to soften the impact.

He swallowed a cry, looking around and letting relief soothe his body when Myeong's building took his sight.

With bloody hands supporting the weight of his body, Jimin got up – mind sinking into terrible thoughts as the reality crawled closer; its freezing breath tickling his nape, warning its arrival.


Myeongie – 6:44 pm
jmin
hlpe
help me
he's here
im locked
only u hav my keys
he went out
pls hurry
call the poliec
hes goin t
kll em
me


Those were the messages Myeong sent him after he didn’t pick up the calls. Those were the words hovering Jimin's mind as his shaking legs struggled to run up the stairs with not enough oxygen feeding his blood. The 5th floor appeared before him with blinding lights and deafening silence. He stopped on the edge, breathless, his vision blurred.

Jimin was hearing his heart pounding on his ears as his legs moved under him – but when he finally reached Myeong's door and opened it, the quick beats were instantly replaced for a loud, acute tinnitus.

His best friend was recoiled against the couch, curled up, hands around his knees in an attempt to build a shelter with his own body. Jimin shoved the pain from his own chest away. Myeong never looked so small.

Although, when he lifted his face up, eyes petrified in fear, Jimin forgot how to breath.

If the skin of his arms had turned purple with the amount of hematomas over it, his face was the true frightful thing.

Left eye black and bloated, almost just as big as Jimin's fist, unable to open. Dry, red blood painting his skin, running out of recent opened cuts and... his nose... his nose seemed... broken.

Jimin's throat closed as he tried to form any kind of word, but Myeong was the first to move. With tears and relief dimming his eyes, he placed a hand on the ground forcing it down to get up, but he didn’t bear his own weight and clashed with bare face on the ceramic floor. Reality switched on in Jimin then and he rushed towards him, shaking fingers under his body to pull him up.

“W-what happ...” he gulped at the upclose sight of the boy's state and tried not to cry, “W-what happened?”

The silence welcomed his voice and it sort of sounded as the weakest of the whispers, until he heard Myeong's. A tear slowly ran down his cheek as he forced his throat to scratch something, “Take.... take me...away...”

Jimin allowed his eyes to fall on the swollen skin of best friend's arms – the boy who burdened himself to act older, even though he still was a baby at heart; the boy who ran away from home, too scared to face the cruel world waiting for him –, and once again swallowed the despair bubbling up on his stomach, the tears warring inside his throat to break through him – to break him.

“Who d-did t-this?”

Myeong cupped his face with trembling fingers and stared into him, broken sobs caught up on his throat.

“J-jimin..... please... he's... he's coming b-back....”

In the empty room, Jimin nodded, silent dread and understanding that that wasn’t the best time to talk snapping him out of his need for explanations and drawing him into his wish to protect.

“G-give me your phone first.” Myeong weakly pointed to the ground where his phone was, glass shards around the broken screen.

Jimin reached it and dialed the police’s number. When a woman picked up, he made it the faster and the most accurate he could – spilling the words in a flood –, but as she asked him to calm down and wait for the cops to arrive, the air was suddenly impregnated with a heaviness of stinky alcohol and the sound of Myeong's weak keen in the corner. He hung up knowing they were fucked up.

But, crossing the door behind him was Myeong's dad – big, fat and visibly altered.

Jimin's mind froze for a heartbeat while reality sank in his gut. His shocked expression wandered through both men's face – one desperately shying away from the door, dreadful horror plastered on his features as the other seemed to take a moment to understand what was happening. When he finally did, a loud and rough laugh cut through the room.

“Hoh... Well, well, If it's not our precious Jiminie over here...” the man had a soju bottle on his hand and a mocking tone on his voice. He had always been gross – since when Jimin was still a kid –, but that night he seemed especially violent, “Did this trash call you to help him out? Huh? Did he?!” he blustered out, “I should’ve broken that phone into tinier pieces...” he ripped off the bottle cap and drinked half of the content in three big gulps, “Hah...” his wet lips were wiped by his sleeve, “But you see, Jiminie... There's no way to help him now... He's a lost case...” Jimin looked back at Myeong – shaking and crying — and felt pure anger climbing up his chest. He digged his nails on his palms and tried to breath through his nose.

“D... Did you... Did you do this?” his voice was low, lower than it has ever been, but his mind was screaming.

“Huh? Yeah...” the calm on the man's tone made Jimin clench his jaw, “Why? Don’t you think he deserved? Or... Won’t you tell me...” he filled his voice with pure contempt and disgust, “Won’t you tell me you're a fucking beast too?”

Jimin heard Myeong shuffling at the corner of the room. “Jimin... go away... please, go away...” the whisper reached his ears along with the saddest sob.

“Hah! So you are?! A fucking faggy like this piece of shit? God, your father would be so disappointed... All this success with the shitty group of yours going to dust because you couldn’t... Tzz...” he soaked his lips in more alcohol before continuing, Jimin's heavy breaths responsible for filling the silence, “You all deserve fucking death... You obscene dirty creatures...” he couldn’t even stand straight in place, his body losing balance from time to time, “That one is worse...” he pointed at Myeong, “He can’t even decide... His horny little dick wants it all... Did he fuck your ass already? Hah! Bisexual, he says... Bullshit...” Jimin's chest rose up and down as he glanced at Myeong again, fucking wrecked on the dark corner of the room, hiding as if he was some kind of demonic animal, “Bullshit!” the bottle crashing on the floor, breaking into pieces, wasn’t enough to startle Jimin and neither was the sudden loudness of the man's voice. He was drowning in anger and he didn’t even want to go back up for air.

“You...” his voice was barely a whisper, “You... fucking did this... to your own son...” his hands were closed so tight into fists he couldn’t stop them from shaking.

“This demon is not my son...” and with a crash, everything happened at the same time – the atmosphere changed, Myeong's dad expression darkened and Myeong himself shrunk even harder against that wall, as if that was possible, “I'm going to fucking kill him.” It was when he moved, fat feet dragging on the floor in quick footsteps towards the shivering boy behind Jimin.

He was faster, though, grabbing the man by the neck in a blink of fearless desire to draw blood, stopping him from moving any further. “Don’t you dare to touch him.”

He got rid of Jimin's grip in a second. He was bigger and visibly stronger, but Jimin honestly couldn’t give a single fuck.

“Who do you think you are, you brat?! Try and stop me!”

It was also in a second of confusion and recklessness that Jimin brought him down, hand tight around his wrist, the man's drunk body hitting the floor with a loud clatter. He didn’t know from where he was taking the force and the courage to do so, but when the man tried to get up Jimin punched his nose, all the pent up rage spilling out from his fist. He punched him so hard the pain ricocheted back to his fingers, but he ignored and took the chance of his momentary torpor to punch him a second time with his other hand.

“You're fucking sick...” Jimin mumbled, spit along with tears he didn’t know from where it came, hands closed around the old man's shirt, “He's your fucking son... You held him, you raised him...” he tasted salty liquid on his mouth, but couldn’t tell if it was the tears from his eyes or the blood on his lips, “God...”
Jimin managed to get up, shaking and panting, but unlike all expectations, Myeong's dad remained on the ground. Eyes blankly staring at the ceiling above them, blood slowly dripping out of his nose, chest raising up and down within each second.

Jimin walked away from him, reached Myeong's body and hugged him, reassuringly and protectively, he hugged him so he'd know he was not alone. They silently cried together, painful reality weighing down their lungs. The world really wasn’t made for people like them.

Myeong's dad was still on the ground when the police came and handcuffed him. He was taken away quietly, with no resistance, almost as if he knew he deserved it – but Jimin didn’t allow himself to feel empathy. He wished him to bitterly rot in jail for the rest of his life.

 


Jimin hated hospitals. He always did. He hated them a little bit more since he fainted for lack of food and was forced into one, being taken care of and lectured about the importance of healthy diets for three hours. He hated the monotonous architecture, the abundance of white, the unbearable silence, the sadness it always holded – Jimin hated everything.

But that night, it wasn’t hate he was feeling. It was a pent up growing agony coming from multiples poles inside of him. His throat was tight due to the impotence he had been holding on his hands, watching things he didn’t want to happening, with no power to change it. His mind was filled with images of Jungkook alone, Jungkook waiting for him, Jungkook with his heart broken, Jungkook Jungkook Jungkook. He tried borrowing a cellphone, but Myeong's iphone had been left on his apartment when they left and, well... Myeong was the very single person Jimin knew in that entire situation, so, yeah. He was also nowhere near, locked in some room with a stranger responsible for taking care of his current state.

He sighed for the n th time in fifteen minutes and got up. He walked around, tired of sitting, drank some water from the drinking fountain in the corner of the room, stared at the boring paintings on the wall for some seconds, tried reading a magazine, drank more water and finally returned to his seat, frustrated. Would Jungkook still be waiting for him?

“Ahn... Sir?” Jimin heard the receptionist's voice calling. She was looking at him, but he pointed at his own chest just to be sure. When she nodded, he walked till her. He was using a beanie, a scarf and sunglasses inside a hospital – precautions he and Myeong agreed necessary –, so it was understandable if she was considering him suspicious. “Sorry to ask, but do you need something?”

There was a 'no, thank you' hanging on the tip of his tongue; when it hit him. He actually needed something. Jimin deepened his voice before talking – just in case. “I do. Is there any way I could make a phone call here?”

The lady smiled and he sighed in relief. “Of course, what's the number?” But happiness really did last little, because soon Jimin realized he didn’t fucking know Jungkook's number off the top of his head. Fuck modern smartphones and their instant calls, what am I supposed to do now? The woman was still looking at him swallowing his embarrassment in silence, so he just thankfully bowed to her, saying it was no longer necessary.

He returned to his seat even more restless than before, and had to watch the clock on the wall move its pointers for twenty more minutes until the doctor responsible for Myeong appeared.

“Who is the companion of Mr. Kim Myeong?” Jimin raised a hand. “Please come with me.” She made her way back the hall and Jimin hurriedly followed her. “Nice to meet you, Mr...?”

“Park.” He answered shortly.

“Mr Park, I'm Dr. Won Eunha.”

“Nice to meet you too, doctor.” Jimin bowed, but couldn’t wait to ask, “How is he? Everything's okay, right?” he heard the worry he was trying to avoid overflowing from his voice.

“He's lucid, but the medical report can be only given to family members, I'm sorry. He'll tell you about it if he feels comfortable.”

“Am I going to see him now?!”

“Yes.” she smiled reassuringly, “He asked to.”

“Oh.” he nodded with a sigh, “Okay. Good.”

They stopped by a white door – like everything around there – and the doctor opened it for him. “Please, contain any big emotions, he needs to rest.” She gave enough space for him to enter and then closed the door.

Myeong was staring at him, body full of black bruises contrasting with the clear blankets around him. Jimin felt the urge to cry again, but he held it in. The blood had been carefully cleaned, but it wasn’t like it made the sight any better.

“Hey.” Myeong smiled to him, and somehow he knew, “Don’t cry...”

“I'm not...” Jimin sniffled and sat on the chair next to the bed, “You look terrible.”

“Thanks.” the boy smiled, “That's exactly what you should tell a person in any situation.” They both laughed.

“Shut up... How bad is it?”

“Two broken ribs, but apart from this everything's okay.”

“You talk like it's no big deal.” Jimin took his hand to the back of his neck, rubbing it as if it'd release some of the tension on his body, “You could have died.”

“It's okay now.” Jimin looked up, “I should have never opened the door for him, but... Well, he's my dad.”

“Fuck that. What kind of–“

“Jimin, really, it's okay.” Myeong cut him off, “I don’t wanna talk about it.” he recovered the doctor's words and nodded.

“Sorry.”

“My mom is coming.”

“What?!”

“Yeah. She was never really part of this, it was all his doing. She's actually more of a victim than I am, probably. She must be relieved he's in jail.”

“I see... Well, good then. But does this means you're going back home?”

“Probably.” they were on easy talk, but Myeong suddenly exclaimed, “Oh my god! What time is it?!”

“Almost nine. Maybe already is.”

“Jimin! Your date! What are you even still doing here?!”

“I... I-it's not a date and... I had to make sure you were alright...”

“My ass! Get the fuck out of this room right now! I don’t wanna see your face anymore, the only person supposed to be seeing you this much today was Jungkook!”

“But–“

“Out, out! I'll call the security...”. he fakingly threatened.

Jimin didn’t try to hide his smile. “Man, I love you.” He kissed his forehead before running out the door, heart thundering on his chest, eager to reach Jungkook's.

 

 

“Where the hell were you, goddammit?!” was the first thing Jimin's ears were welcomed with the instant he opened the door from the dorm. “I'm calling you like crazy, where's your phone?!” Jin demanded and Jimin recoiled on his spot.

“I'm sorry, hyung, I–“ he gulped, looking around. Jungkook wasn’t there. “It's a really long story.”

“Do you have any idea how worried we were?!” Hoseok exclaimed. Jimin didn’t look at him – he hated seeing that worried expression on his face.

He bowed to all of them.

“I'm really, really sorry, hyungs. My phone unloaded, and it was an emergency.” He straightened his back, wondering how much he was allowed to say about Myeong's personal life, “Myeong's dad beat him up. For real. And bad. He needed help.”

Wide eyes instantly stared back at him, and Jimin sensed the wave of questions coming, so before anyone could say a word, he broke the moment, “Can we talk about this later? Please?” no one seemed to know what to answer, so he turned to Taehyung, “Where's Jungkook?”

“Bedroom. Be gentle, he is a wreck.”

Hearing that statement hurt a wholesome lot more than any scenario Jimin could have ever created on his mind. He was finally put to face reality – as he wished the entire night –, but simply thinking about Jungkook's sad and accusingly eyes on him were enough to get him running all the way back.

He was such a fucking coward – had always been – but he wanted things to be fine so, so bad.

Jungkook was just some meters away behind a door– so why couldn’t he move from his place? Why were his legs betraying him now?

Maybe because deep down he knew it wasn’t only today's incident he was going to confront. Maybe he knew there were some unspoken words buried in the back of his mind, wanting so bad to be heard, but at the same time wishing so hard to be erased.

His mother taught him love was easy – that should always be or, at least, that it should be easier than harder. With more beautiful moments than painful ones. Jimin every so often wondered if she lied to him or if she was just naive. How could love be possibly easy for him when he liked boys? Of course she didn’t know that, so all her advices about it seemed a little bit more than empty – a hollow echo inside of him –, but still. He wanted to believe her. He wanted things to be the way she told him. He wanted to love Jungkook and know Jungkook loved him back, their pace easy and peaceful.

But he couldn’t be so selfish. Not when all he caused Jungkook in the past few days was pain. He pushed Jungkook away when he kissed him out of curiosity and Jungkook believed he was being replaced for someone else. Jimin made him feel sad and insecure about himself – he didn’t have any right to desire any kind of reciprocity from him.

And even if it was reciprocal. Jimin still didn’t have the right to demand anything back from Jungkook – he knew better than anyone how hard it was to understand they were not some weird genetic mutation just because they didn’t follow the sick flow society wished them to. He knew better than anyone how hard self acceptance could be – he himself still had a long way to walk in that path.

Jimin also had Myeong to guide him, to make him see there was nothing wrong with being who he was. Jungkook had no one. If he was facing that battle, he was fighting it all alone.

“Jimin?” Taehyung snapped him out of his trance.

Everyone was looking at him, waiting for a movement that didn’t come.

“Mhm...” It was when he heard the sound of a door closing followed by approaching footsteps.

Jungkook appeared before his heart could beat again and when their eyes locked, everyone around them seemed to disappear. The younger boy had swollen eyes and a red nose adorning his face, which added some kind of melancholy and vulnerability to his features. Jimin's throat tightened, the tears menacing to cross the borderline he avoided all night. The instant seemed to last years, but it just needed for Jimin's eyelashes to bat for a heartbeat to have Jungkook running all the way back to his room. Jimin followed him, desperate to grab him and stop him from breaking – like it seemed it would happen at any given moment.

He reached him in front of the wooden door, arms closing around his waist, face buried on his back. They were both breathing heavily even though they only ran some meters. Jungkook was frozen, body stiff under Jimin's touch, hand on the knob, seeming unable to move.

“Let go.” He brokenly whispered, not enough strength to pull away.

“Please, listen to me.” Jimin whispered back on the nape of his neck. He felt Jungkook stiffening even more, hand closed so tight around the knob his white knuckles could be seen contrasting with his skin color.

“Don’t want to.”

Please.” Jimin hugged him tighter, hands placed on each side of his waist, “Jungkookie, please.” There was a knot on his throat, fearing Jungkook would really reject him, “Please...” he tried one last time, shuddering breath against Jungkook's ears.

The younger boy slowly – painfully slowly – moved his hand, opening the door in front of them and walked in. Jimin released him to softly close the door behind them, doing the minimum noise possible, as if any abrupt disturbance could turn everything to dust.

Jimin turned to face Jungkook – his heart violently pumping his blood to the rest of his body –, but the boy wasn’t looking at him. He was sitting on his bed, facing the wall.

Jimin sighed and sat on the other side of the bed, fighting the urge to get closer and touch him.

“Please, look at m–“ he tried, his voice sadder than he imagined, but Jungkook cut him off.

“You hurt me, hyung.” He hiccuped. Oh god. “You abandoned me there, alone... Again.” He was crying. He was really crying. Jimin felt the desperation climbing up his chest, not knowing what to do. “I waited for you... I waited so long, hyung, but you didn’t show up and for what?” Jungkook's teary eyes stared at him – into him – and Jimin's heart broke.

“I...” his bated breath was stopping him from speaking, “No, I... Jungkookie, I'm sorry, it wasn’t–” he was still staring at Jimin, waiting for an explanation, but Jimin simply couldn't find a way to put things into words. “It wasn’t like this, my... Listen, I was ready to go to you, I swear, I was. But–“ Jungkook sniffled and Jimin couldn’t stop his body from scooting closer, eager to dry the younger's tears, “My phone unloaded, I couldn’t call you and... Myeong–“

Before he could finish Jungkook turned his face the other way so fast it surprised him.

“I don’t wanna hear.” He muttered and Jimin was helpless. God, why was it so difficult to explain one simple thing?

“Jungkook... Please...” Jimin grabbed his wrist with the tenderest touch, “It wasn’t for nothing, he... He needed help.” he paused before continuing, “His dad beat him up.”

Jungkook's wide eyes met his again in a blink of an eye, concern from the sudden information spilling from his voice. “Why?”

And there it was. The unspoken truth he didn’t know if Jungkook was prepared to face. “He... He didn’t come to Seoul for any course. He was running away from home.” He was dodging away from the answer, he knew, but...

“Why?” Jungkook repeated and Jimin looked into his eyes. Really looked into them, trying to find something he himself didn’t know what was it. Maybe a sign he should say nothing more and shut his mouth up.

But he didn’t find it. Whatever it was, he didn’t find it.

“Myeong is... He is bisexual, Jungkook.”

The silence that followed afterwards was different from any kind of silence they had ever faced before. Jungkook's eyes fell to Jimin's hands holding his wrist and after some seconds he seemed to choke. “H-his d-dad... Beat him up for t-that?” there was a sort of tremor on his voce Jimin knew very well.

He gritted his teeth, reluctant to confirm the world was really worst than they had ever considered. “Yes.” That shuddering whisper was all it needed for Jungkook to break into tears a second later.

He cried harder than before, harder than Jimin had ever heard him crying and by some point along the way, Jimin was crying too, mutual understanding – mutual fear – stabbing them in the chest.

Jungkook sobbed against his pillow and it hurt a lot more than any knife cutting through his skin could have. Jimin brought him to his lap, and even though there were tears on his eyes too, he tried to give him some kind of comfort, fingers on his hair, caressing all the way up and down, caressing the back of his ear and bringing the touch to his forehead. Running his fingers down Jungkook's nose and back up again. He repeated those movements until Jungkook stopped shaking, until there were only fickle sobs escaping from his mouth, until his breath was even again.

Jimin wanted him to know he was safe – other people didn’t matter, on his arms, Jungkook was safe.

He lowered his hand to Jungkook’s neck, his thumb drawing soothing circles on its side. “Do you...” Jimin started, voice low on the silent room, “Do you remember when we laid here? This very same bed, and cuddled while watching begin again?” Jungkook slightly nodded, “I want to feel that kind of internal peace again. That night relaxed me in a way thousands of therapy sessions couldn’t.” Jimin felt Jungkook smiling. He didn’t answer, but he didn’t have to. Jimin knew.

The memory of that night remained on his mind, until a familiar melody played inside his head, putting a smile on his face and a hum on the back of his throat.

Jungkook turned his face to completely look at him, and in that moment, something twitched on Jimin's chest, so he sang.

Please... Don’t see... Just a boy caught up in dreams and fantasies...” Jungkook smiled, eyes adorably shining back at Jimin, “Please... See me...” Jimin hummed again and then added, “I don’t know this part.” They laughed, Jungkook's grin making Jimin almost melt under him. “Take my hand, I don't know this part either...” Jimin sang this, knowing it would make Jungkook laugh. And god, how he loved that laugh. He hummed some more, until the part he knew came again, “I'll be there, cupid's demanding back its arrow... So let's get drunk... On our tears...” Jungkook's smile slowly faded away, giving place to his attentive eyes, his lips slightly parted in a sort of amazed state, “And god... Tell us the reason... Why it's getting more and more embarrassing... Not knowing the lyrics...” Jungkook's lips parted on a cute grin again, but his eyes couldn’t look away from the boy above him – and neither could Jimin. “Searching for meaning... But aren’t we all... Lost stars... Trying to light up the dark?” For some reason, Jimin's breaths started to fail, the way Jungkook was looking at him making his heart race more than it probably should, “Who... Are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy... Woe... Is me...” Jimin hummed a long part of the song after, but it was enough. Their eyes didn’t break contact for a single second. When Jimin opened his mouth to sing again, his voice was a tiny whisper hanging on the air between them, “Turn that page... Maybe we'll find a brand new ending... Where we're dancing... In our tear–

Jungkook's mouth swallowed the last words before Jimin could realize what was happening. The younger propped himself up with a hand while the other cupped Jimin's jawline, in an insecure yet gentle touch, and kissed him. He kept their lips pressed waiting for a reaction – any reaction –, but Jimin was too shocked to do anything. Jungkook pulled apart just enough to breath into Jimin's mouth, their lips brushing and tingling while he murmured, sliding his fingers to the back of his neck, into his hair, “I love your voice.”

Jimin chased Jungkook's lips with a need he didn’t know he possessed. He clung onto his shoulders, and even though they were both sitting, it felt like Jungkook had him entirely on his arms.

Jungkook inclined his head, fitting Jimin's whole bottom lip in his mouth and then found the courage to lick at it. Jimin melted under the touch – under him –, opening his mouth just enough for their tongues to meet, yearning to feel more – to touch more.

They kissed like there was no tomorrow, Jungkook's hands on Jimin's neck and waist, pulling him closer within each second, Jimin's own hands fisting Jungkook's hair, tugging at it just enough to have Jungkook moaning into him. He swallowed all the sounds, his stomach twitching with arousal and need – a desperate need for Jungkook's lips, Jungkook's touchs. Jimin bit on his lip to catch his breath, the younger boy's chest also rosing up and down continuously. They stared at each other's eyes for a second, before Jimin's face disappeared on Jungkook’s neck. He felt Jungkook gasping, slightly leaning his head backwards, his hands gripping on Jimin’s waist tighter.

He fought the urge to bite it and suck wet, purple bruises on its entire length. Instead, he placed gentle kisses all over it, his plump lips sticking on each inch of Jungkook’s soft skin just a second before going for another one. He traced a path of kisses down his neck and up his jawline, just to cup Jungkook's face on his hands and go after his delicate cheeks. Jimin tenderly kissed his little scar three times, feeling Jungkook's smile brush against his skin, their breaths now rhythmically mingling on one another. Jimin smiled too, while kissing both Jungkook's eyes, happiness overwhelming his entire being. He placed one last kiss on his lips before slowly reaching for his ear and whispering against it, as if he was telling the most secretive of the secrets, “I love you.”

Jungkook instantly hugged his waist again – circling it tightly with his arms – and buried his face on the curve of Jimin's neck. He could feel a fast beat against his chest, but couldn’t tell from whose it was. Probably from both. He, too, placed a soft kiss on the skin where Jimin's shoulder and neck met, making Jimin's fingertips tingle and his cheeks blush, the feeling his mother told him about every second closer from having his heart on the verge of exploding.

“I love you.” Jungkook brought Jimin's body closer – if that was even possible – and whispered against his neck one more time, needing to be sure he was heard, needing to be sure Jimin knew, “I love you.”