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The Boy in the Music Box

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“Dude, you look like you haven’t slept at all.”

 

Yoongi blinks up at Namjoon, squinting slightly at the sunlight that floods in through the open studio door. “Yeah,” he mutters, his voice raspy from disuse; apart from ordering coffee at the university cafeteria two hours ago, Yoongi hadn’t said a word to anyone all day. “Yeah, no, I didn’t get much sleep.”

 

“Did the project keep you up?” Namjoon asks as he sheds his jacket and tosses it over the chair next to Yoongi’s.

 

For a moment, Yoongi considers telling his best friend about what happened during the night. About Jimin. About what he’d seen, what he’d heard, what he’d learned from the dancer. Yoongi kinda wants to talk about it, which is a weird fact in and of itself, since Yoongi barely ever wants to talk about anything personal, but at the same time, he really doesn’t. There’s a part of him that thinks everything that happened last night was a dream, a really bizarre dream caused by his several hours of overwork at the studio, and so he settles for the latter and nods his head, though he doesn’t quite meet Namjoon’s curious gaze. “Project,” he huffs and rubs at his face. “Right. Uh, kept going in circles about what concept the lyrics should focus on.”

 

“Ah, yeah, I got stuck on that, too,” Namjoon says and leans back in his chair, carefully balancing on the hind legs. “Lyrics are fairly easy when they draw on your own life experience and emotions, but I don’t know if that’s what they want.” He takes a moment to think, staring up into the ceiling. “I mean, yeah, there are several themes we could follow, something about the societal pressure youth has to deal with nowadays, how we’re all pushed to live a certain way, but do you think that’d be considered, I don’t know, taboo?”

 

Yoongi hums in response, only half listening as he stares at his screen without really seeing what’s written in the several documents he’s got running. Instead, his thoughts drift to the music box on his dresser and the little ballerina and the little ballerina’s not so little human counterpart. He’s been battling with himself all afternoon, trying to come to a conclusion about whether or not it was a dream, or if it really happened.

 

The uncertainty makes him feel restless, his heel tapping against the floor in quick succession, his fingers fiddling with a pencil as he stares at nothing. He wants to go home, he wants to check, but if the night’s events were real and everything Jimin had told him is true, then Yoongi wouldn’t be able to clarify anything by returning to his apartment, seeing as how the dancer won't come to life until midnight.

 

He’s jarred out of his thoughts when Namjoon suddenly snaps his fingers right in front of Yoongi’s eyes, causing him to emit a startled sound and recoil in his seat. “What the fuck?” he demands, turning to glare at his friend.

 

“That’s my line,” Namjoon snorts, brows knitted in what Yoongi can only interpret as concern. “I asked you a question like two minutes ago and you still haven’t responded.” He inclines his head slightly, the worry becoming more obvious. “Are you okay, Yoongi?”

 

“Yeah, I just…” Yoongi heaves a deep sigh and takes a moment to try and rearrange his thoughts, to make any sort of sense of them. “I guess I’m a bit caught off guard by this,” he mumbles after a few seconds of silence. “It’s a lot to take in.”

 

He purposely phrases his words vaguely, mostly because he doesn’t want to lie to Namjoon; they’ve been best friends for years, so while he doesn’t want to tell him about Jimin, he doesn’t want to lie to his face either. Thus he settles for explaining his current state of mind in a way that could just as well be in reference to their project, and Namjoon accepts it with an understanding nod.

 

“I’m with you on that one,” he says and leans back in his chair, chuckling when he pulls out his laptop. “Jin almost choked me with a mouthful of bibimbap when I wouldn’t stop talking about our ideas for long enough to actually eat my food.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that, shaking his head at his friend’s hopelessness. Not that he’s any better himself; while Namjoon had gone home at a reasonable time yesterday, sometime around 10PM, Yoongi had stayed behind until half past one in the morning, going over concepts and ideas and researching AOMG’s past projects and albums.

 

And then he’d gone home and gotten mindfucked by a magical music box ballerina.

 

With a frustrated groan, Yoongi pushes himself out of his chair and stretches his arms over his head, grimacing at the slight crackle in his joints. “I’ve got class in ten minutes,” he huffs and starts gathering his things. He has half a mind to skip the three-hour lecture, but he already did that yesterday and he doesn’t want his attendance to be affected simply because he’s distracted by the thought of ballerinas and cheerful little smiles. “Will you be here after five?”

 

“Yes, sir,” Namjoon says absentmindedly, already lost in concentration as he fiddles with his laptop. “Jin’s stopping by to drag me out of here around eight, but up until then, I’m not moving from this chair.”

 

Yoongi leaves him like that and leaves the studios to walk the short distance to the faculty where he’s supposed to endure a boring-ass lecture about music technology. The subject itself is extremely interesting and educational as hell, but the professor in charge of teaching it has an almost otherworldly gift at making it sound as dull as humanly possible, droning on in a monotonous voice that never fails to make Yoongi’s eyelids grow heavy. He might’ve been more successful in staying awake if Namjoon had sat through the lectures with him, but unlike Yoongi, Namjoon doesn’t have any trouble getting out of bed before noon, which means he gets to enjoy the lecture with another professor, a much better professor, at 9AM on Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

There are still a few minutes before Yoongi has to take a seat in the classroom, and he uses that opportunity to fish up his phone from his pocket and dial his grandmother’s number for the fourth time today. He knows she’s already left for her trip and that she probably didn’t even take her phone with her, but Yoongi needs to ask her how much she knows, if she can explain the music box from an outsider’s perspective.

 

He sighs when the call goes to voicemail and shoves his phone back into his pocket, glaring at the wall in front of him and causing two younger students to quickly scurry past him on their way to another classroom, throwing worried glances at him as if they believe he’s scowling at them. He pays them no heed and just keeps staring at the wall as if it holds all the answers to the countless questions still racing through his mind, though when his professor arrives and he has to take a seat and listen, every single one of those questions go unanswered, leaving him even more on edge than before.

 

The rest of the day passes in something of a blur, with Yoongi forcing himself to concentrate on his work and stopping himself short whenever he catches himself thinking about the music box. He has more important things to worry about, he tells himself, which is actually true, considering the impact the AOMG project can have on his future, but it’s difficult to keep that in mind when he’s been exposed to a literal form of magic barely twelve hours ago.

 

He and Namjoon succeed in getting some work done at the studio, narrowing down their choices of theme from nine to four and marking one of them as a definite choice. They argue a bit over lyrics and instruments, but settle on pushing that topic out of the way until it actually becomes relevant, when they actually have something to present to each other.

 

Just like Namjoon had said, Seokjin shows up a bit before 8PM, barging into the studio and announcing that, “Joonie will be leaving now, unless he wants to go the next two months without his boyfriend’s delicious food,” and Namjoon is quick to comply. Yoongi snorts and shakes his head at the two, though he does offer Jin one of his rare smiles when the chef pulls out a tupperware box and hands it to Yoongi with a strict, “Remember to eat, Yoongi, or I’ll have Namjoon force feed you tomorrow.”

 

He waves them off and turns back to his screen once their loud voices have disappeared behind the heavy door, chuckling to himself as he pops open the box and finds a colorful assortment of kimbap. “Thanks, hyung,” he says quietly and sets it aside, sporadically reaching for one of them as he goes about his work.

 

He manages to hold his concentration for three more hours, but when the clock on the wall hits quarter past 11PM, he catches himself typing i wonder how he becomes human on his computer rather than anything actually related to the project. With a scoff, he erases the words and saves the document before powering down the computers and collecting his things, making a mental note to wash Seokjin’s box and return it to Namjoon tomorrow. He turns off the lights and locks up behind himself, and he walks a bit faster than usual as he makes his way out of the university.

 

He’s slightly out of breath by the time he reaches his apartment, not because it’s a long walk from the studio to his building, but because he was half-running the entire way here. He’s not quite sure why, either; it’s only twenty to midnight, he would’ve had all the time in the world to walk at a normal pace.

 

Yoongi hesitates slightly when he reaches the door to his apartment, hovering the keys just shy of the lock. He feels nervous all of a sudden, his heart beating faster than normal, and he can’t quite pinpoint the source of it. Perhaps he’s nervous to find out whether or not Jimin actually is real or if it had all been a weird dream. Perhaps he’s nervous to see the dancer again, to see if he’s still the same or if he’s changed somehow. Perhaps he’s anxious to see the boy’s sunshine smiles again.

 

Perhaps it’s all of those reasons or none of them. Yoongi doesn’t know, so all he can do is take a deep breath and open his door.

 

His apartment is dark and silent, showing no signs of life whatsoever. 11:42PM, Yoongi’s phone reads when he steps into his living room, having discarded his shoes and jacket in the hallway, not quite bothering to put them away properly. He stares at his bedroom door, flipping his phone around in his hand while he tries to think of something, anything he could do to pass the time. His mind is drawing a complete blank, however, and so he ends up just standing there for three whole minutes, during which not a single coherent thought pops into his head.

 

When he snaps himself out of his daze, he curses quietly under his breath before turning away from his bedroom and going to his kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. Calm down, he tells himself, pressing a hand down over his chest and grimacing at the speed of his heartbeat. Calm the fuck down, Min Yoongi, this isn’t the fucking end of the world.

 

In the end, he can’t think of anything to do. Absolutely nothing at all. So he ends up sitting on the edge of his bed directly in front of his dresser and the music box, and he just stares at it. He’s vaguely aware of his own breathing and his eyes hurt when he goes too long without blinking, and he starts counting down seconds when there’s still five whole minutes to go.

 

Every tick of his nightstand clock seems to be slower than the last, and Yoongi wants to turn around and glare at the clock and make sure it’s not actually broken, but that would mean taking his eyes off the music box and there’s no way in hell he’s going to do that. It doesn’t matter if there’s still three minutes left to midnight, he’s not going to risk missing the transformation. Or lack thereof, his brain unhelpfully supplies.

 

His palms are sweaty and he rubs them against his jeans. Two more minutes.

 

He leans forward and props his elbows up on his knees, entwining his fingers and pressing them against his chin. Fifty-eight seconds.

 

Yoongi wonders if he should scoot back on the bed. He has no idea how much space the dancer will need, what kind of transformation it’ll be, if he’ll fall forward or keep his balance, if there will be a flash of light or a pulse or whatever kind of bullshit CGI you always see in movies.

 

Ten seconds.

 

He holds his breath without even realizing it, unblinking even though it makes his eyes sting, and he loses count somewhere amongst the final seconds, the whole world going completely silent in his ears.

 

There is no flash of light or magical sparks or impressive effects. As the clock strikes midnight, the little ballerina quivers slightly and begins to simply disappear, the outlines of its body becoming blurry and then nonexistent, and as it fades, Jimin materializes right in front of Yoongi, appearing out of thin air like a ghost, his transparent body holding the same pose as the ballerina, his arms raised over his head and his spine arched beautifully.

 

Like he’s reaching for something, Yoongi catches himself thinking amidst his shellshocked awe.

 

It takes a few seconds before the little dancer disappears completely and Jimin’s body becomes compact. Human. His eyes are closed and he stands perfectly still until the very last of his cells materializes, and then he takes a breath, the little gasp echoing in the quiet room. His eyes flutter open and he lowers his hands, and when he looks at Yoongi, the smile that graces his lips is nothing short of angelic.

 

“Hi, hyung,” he says brightly, and Yoongi can finally breathe again. “Were you waiting for me?”

 

It takes Yoongi several seconds before he finds his voice, simply staring at the dancer with eyes the size of saucers. He parts his lips and closes them again, looking like a fish out of water until Jimin inclines his head curiously, leaning forward to lower himself to Yoongi’s eye level. When Yoongi still can’t form a single word, the boy grins and blows a puff of air directly into Yoongi’s face, causing him to recoil with a startled, indignant yelp.

 

“What the fuck, Park Jimin?” he barks, rubbing at his nose and glaring daggers at the laughing dancer. “That’s not funny!”

 

“Oh, trust me, it was,” Jimin manages in between fits of laughter. “You were frozen solid, I don’t even think you were breathing!” He’s doubled over from laughing so hard, clutching his sides, and Yoongi feels his irritation slip away easily, vanishing to make room for a mix of other emotions, such as awe, relief, contentedness and, undoubtedly, joy. “Ahh, you should’ve seen your face, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

“Yeah, well,” he scoffs and stands up from his bed, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s not everyday I get to see actual magic happening before my eyes.”

 

When Jimin finally straightens up again, his cheeks are dusted with a pretty pink color from laughing so hard, and his voice is breathless when he speaks. “Fair enough,” he says, using the sleeve of his shirt to dab at the corners of his eyes. “Seriously though, that was probably the best awakening I’ve ever had.”

 

He beams at Yoongi, who simply nods his head in return, his neck stiff from awkwardness; now that Jimin is here again, Yoongi has absolutely no idea what to do. He didn’t quite think this far; being so preoccupied with wondering whether or not the dancer was actually real hadn’t left much room to consider what they would do next.

 

Jimin had mentioned yesterday how Yoongi wouldn’t really even notice he was there, something about the dancer spending most of his time outside, looking for whatever it was he was looking for. He had also mentioned needing a key so he could come and go during the night, and so Yoongi figures he should probably lead with that and then leave the boy to go do his searching.

 

His mouth doesn’t quite want to cooperate with his thoughts, however, and so when Yoongi parts his lips to speak, what he ends up asking is, “You wanna go get something to eat?”

 

Wait.

 

That is definitely not what Yoongi had intended to say, not in the slightest, yet the words fell easily from his lips before he could stop to think. The question seems to surprise Jimin as much as it does himself, the dancer’s eyes widening, and when his smile falters slightly, Yoongi feels a rush of panic in his chest and he parts his lips to immediately take back what he said, to excuse himself somehow, but before he has the chance, Jimin reaches out and takes his hand, the smile returning in full force.

 

Yes, I’d love to!” he says brightly and promptly tugs along with him out of the bedroom and towards the hallway. “Where should we go? I haven’t really eaten for a few weeks, I think, so I’m up for pretty much anything. What places are open after midnight? Is that even a thing, are there-”

 

“Yah, slow down, Park Jimin,” Yoongi says loudly to interrupt him, snorting in amusement when the dancer sends him an impatient look. “We’re going, but it’s the middle of the night in October, you’re gonna need to wear something warmer than just that.” He gestures at Jimin’s thin, flowy shirt, making a conscious decision to not look at the boy’s legs. “Just wait here for a second.”

 

He goes back to his bedroom and pulls a pair of sweatpants from his closet, hesitating momentarily before grabbing his favorite hoodie - the one Jimin had already worn once - from the chair in the corner of his room. The fuck am I even doing, he asks himself repeatedly as he moves through his room, grabbing whatever he deems could be necessary. I should just go to sleep, there’s no reason for me to be doing this.

 

Despite his thoughts, he returns to the hallway and shoves the clothes into Jimin’s arms. “Wear these,” he says and shuffles past the boy to pick out a pair of shoes, his lips curling into an involuntary smile when Jimin emits a delighted little giggle. “There are several places that stay open this late. We might not find an actual restaurant, but some corner shop deli or something should be just fine.”

 

“That sounds great,” the dancer chirps, looking like he can barely contain himself, wriggling his body in an attempt to pull the hoodie into place faster. “I haven’t been to a restaurant or a deli in years, I think.”

 

How anyone can look so excited about the thought of going to a deli is beyond what Yoongi can comprehend, but he’s not complaining; the way Jimin smiles at him when he hands the dancer a pair of shoes fills his chest with warmth, and he has no intentions of making that feeling go away just yet.

 

They’re already out the door when Jimin suddenly comes to a stop, turning to look at Yoongi with a concerned expression. “Is this really okay?” he asks almost shyly, fidgeting with the hem of the jacket Yoongi had practically forced him to wear. “I mean, it’s past midnight, are you sure you’re not too tired?”

 

Yoongi blinks at him, taken aback by his sudden hesitant tone. “Oh,” he says and shrugs before raising a hand to poke the dancer between his eyebrows. “Don’t worry about that. I’ve never slept much at night, so this isn’t anything out of the ordinary.” He walks past Jimin and heads towards the elevator, his lips curling into a little smirk when he hears the boy scurry after him. “So what are you in the mood for?”

 

“I don’t know, really,” Jimin hums, pursing his lips as he racks his brain for an answer. “I’m pretty flexible when it comes to food, not too picky. Though I’m not a fan of fast food. I once tried McDonald’s back in the sixties and I could basically feel my fat cells expand and multiply.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that, half because of the actual joke, and half because the dancer had said in the sixties, which served to remind Yoongi just how bizarre this all is all over again. “Right, so no fast food,” he muses and steps into the elevator. “Well, we can just walk around for a bit and see if anything catches your eye.”

 

They do just that, choosing a random direction from the building’s exit and settling into a comfortable pace, enjoying the night’s silence and the brisk air. Jimin stays at Yoongi’s side, holding onto Yoongi’s arm while he twists his head in every direction, eagerly taking in every bit of their surroundings. He chatters endlessly about how architecture and technology has developed during the time he’s been alive, how interesting it’s been to follow the progress leading up to the 21st century.

 

They’ve been walking for about fifteen minutes when Jimin suddenly stops, tugging at Yoongi’s sleeve to get his attention. “Wait a second,” the dancer says, the ghost of a frown marring his brow as he looks around. “What city is this?”

 

“Huh?” Yoongi squints at the odd question. “Seoul,” he says slowly. “What, you didn’t know what city you’re in?”

 

Jimin bobs his head a few times in an absentminded nod as he lets his eyes trace the skyline, and then he shakes his head and resumes walking, the smile returning to his lips. “Well, I mean, how would I know?” he muses, drawing an invisible circle in the air with his free hand. “I’m not aware of my surroundings during daytime, and I haven’t left your apartment since you brought me here, so I had no reason to believe we weren’t in Daegu anymore.”

 

Yoongi parts his lips to comment on the ridiculousness of the dancer’s statement, but closes them again when he realizes the truth behind it. “I suppose that’s true,” he mumbles instead. “Are you from Daegu? Originally, I mean?”

 

“Nope,” Jimin chimes, playfully popping the p. “I told you yesterday, I’m a Busan boy. Though I did live abroad for seven years, so most of my childhood memories are of Russia.”

 

“Russia?” Yoongi echoes, blinking in surprise.

 

The boy nods. “Remember how I told you I was a dancer already before my, uh,” his voice trails off and he waves his hand in an awkward gesture, “my part-time job as a music box ballerina?” He emits a bright giggle at his own choice of words, and Yoongi can’t help but smile. “Yeah, my mom wanted me to one day join the Russian Ballet, so she took me there to train at a proper school.”

 

That prompts a low whistle from Yoongi. “I’m impressed, Park Jimin,” he says, and all Jimin does is smile that radiant smile of his and squeeze Yoongi’s arm a bit tighter.

 

They find a little late-night samgyeopsal shack after a few more minutes of walking, run by an old lady who scolds them for being out so late in the middle of the week, but brings them extra kimchi and pinches Jimin’s cheek, saying something about cute boys needing to eat a lot. Yoongi chuckles at that, not because of the woman’s words, but because Jimin looks so over the moon happy, smiling so wide it looks almost painful.

 

They eat until Jimin leans back in his chair and slides down a bit, declaring that he’s eaten enough to last an entire decade, an attitude that changes completely when the old lady asks if they want some ice cream for dessert. The dancer sits up straight and looks at Yoongi with the biggest case of puppy eyes he’s ever seen, and so there’s really else nothing Yoongi can do than to nod and order a bowl of ice cream.

 

Jimin chatters amiably with the old lady while Yoongi pays for their food, absentmindedly wondering how the dancer has gotten by up until now, since he’s fairly certain the boy doesn’t even own a wallet. Then again, Jimin did say he doesn’t really need to eat.

 

They spend another two hours outside, walking along the streets of downtown Seoul and talking about everything and nothing. At some point, Yoongi realizes he’s the one doing most of the talking while Jimin asks him questions about his life, and strangely, he doesn’t mind it one bit. The dancer listens to him talk about his studies in music, asks him questions about his lectures and professors, and almost jumps out in front of a car in his excitement when he hears about Yoongi’s ongoing project.

 

It’s already past 3AM when Jimin says he wants to go back to Yoongi’s apartment - home, he says, which makes Yoongi’s heart twist oddly - to just relax. Since he doesn’t know the city yet, he figures he’d rather spend one of his nights looking up places to visit in advance so that he could plan a full seven hours worth of exploring for another nights.

 

It takes them a while to get back home, and when they do, they take a seat on Yoongi’s couch and make a long list of places to go and things to do. They put together a little makeshift calendar for when they can do what, and the smile never once fades from Jimin’s lips. Yoongi pops into the kitchen every now and then to refill his cup of coffee, brushing off Jimin’s suggestions that he should sleep with a short shrug before resuming their work.

 

Sometime around five in the morning, Jimin lets himself fall back along the couch, throwing his feet up on Yoongi’s lap and declaring he’s bored, that he wants something to do, that they’ve done enough business for one night, so Yoongi opens Netflix on his laptop and puts on The Wizard of Oz, which earns him an almost tearful smile from the dancer.

 

It’s not until the end of the movie that Yoongi actually remembers what’s supposed to happen at sunrise. He just happens to glance over at Jimin and almost chokes on his sip of coffee when he notices the outline of the dancer’s body has started to fade, small blotches of his body disappearing into thin air.

 

“It’s okay, hyung,” Jimin says softly when he notices Yoongi’s panic, scooting closer on the couch and taking Yoongi’s hand in his own. “It looks weird, but I don’t feel anything. It doesn’t hurt.”

 

Yoongi just nods, momentarily rendered speechless, and it takes a great amount of self-discipline to force himself to recover before the dancer can disappear completely. “I’ll wait for you, Jimin,” he says with an unfamiliar sense of urgency, turning his hand so he can return the boy’s grip. “Okay? I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

Jimin emits a bright giggle, sounding somehow distant, but his smile is just as wide as ever as he nods. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Yoongi,” he agrees, and with a final squeeze of his hand, the dancer disappears.

 

Yoongi sits still for several seconds after he’s gone, needing a moment to recover from what had just happened. His heart is stuttering in his chest, his neck is littered with goosebumps, and his hand, the hand Jimin had held onto, twitches slightly, as if trying to find the dancer’s hand where it had just been.

 

“Fucking hell,” he breathes out when he finally feels like he can move again, reaching out to turn off the movie before bringing his hands to his face and rubbing his cheeks a few times, hard. He sits like that for a moment, backtracking the night’s events in his mind, and not until he reaches the memory of how Jimin had materialized before him does he finally manage to calm down a little.

 

He rises to his feet and heads towards his bedroom, throwing a quick glance at his clock as he passes it. 6:48AM. He makes a mental note to remember that exact time so he won’t be as caught off guard tomorrow.

 

Yoongi goes straight for his dresser when he steps into his bedroom, leaning forward to make sure the little ballerina looks okay. Not that he’d be able to tell if it wasn’t okay, seeing as it’s an inanimate object for now, but even so, he doesn’t straighten back up until he’s certain there’s nothing wrong with it. “Good,” he huffs before turning on the heel and shuffling over to his bed, his tiredness resurfacing the very second he slumps against the mattress.

 

As he closes his eyes to drift off to sleep, he briefly wonders if he’ll get used to seeing the dancer disappear before his eyes like that.

 

-

 

Over the following days - nights is more like it - Yoongi learns a whole lot more about Jimin. He learns that the dancer loves going outside on little adventures, dragging Yoongi along to parks, playgrounds, monuments, interesting buildings, and as many tourist spots as he possibly can. He learns that Jimin is almost immune to the autumn cold, often refusing to wear a jacket or a scarf, stating that he doesn’t like to feel so trapped in clothing. Yoongi chooses to not point out how ridiculous his words seem when he’s wearing a pair of the tightest leggings Yoongi has ever seen.

 

Yoongi also learns that the boy is a crybaby when it comes to sad movies, or sad moments in any movie. Or just sadness in general. He also learns that Jimin is a grade A cuddler and enjoys physical contact more than anything, and while Yoongi has never been comfortable being very touchy-feely, he never fails to let the boy curl up against his side when they watch a movie or the news or anything on the TV.

 

Yoongi doesn’t complain. On the contrary, he’s developed a habit of playing with Jimin’s hair whenever they end up on the couch.

 

He’s known Jimin for five nights when he realizes how much his daily life has changed since he first met the dancer, even if it hasn’t even been a whole week yet. He’s fallen into a steady routine of being awake throughout the night, going to bed sometime around 7AM, after Jimin has returned to the music box, and waking up four hours later to get ready for his classes. He eats lunch with his friends before attending lectures, after which he spends the entire evening with Namjoon in the studios, hard at work on their project. He returns home a few minutes before midnight and is always there when Jimin materializes in front of his dresser.

 

Four hours of sleep against twenty hours of being awake is not exactly a good thing, but Yoongi’s suffered through worse periods and gotten less out of the time he spends awake.

 

Staying awake with Jimin is easy. The dancer is full of energy and life, barely even giving Yoongi the opportunity to get tired on their many little adventures. There’s never a boring moment, not when they visit the 24/7 library and Jimin takes an hour picking out books to read, not even when he actually reads those books while Yoongi sits next to him, working on his homework.

 

It’s almost six o’clock in the morning on Saturday and they’re curled up the couch when a sudden thought pops into Yoongi’s head and he nudges Jimin’s side to drag his attention away from an exceptionally mundane scene in their current episode of Game of Thrones. “I just realized something,” he says when the dancer cranes his head to look up at him. “Why do you keep calling me hyung?”

 

“Huh?” Jimin blinks owlishly at him for a few seconds before resuming his previous position, resting his head against Yoongi’s shoulder. “Because you’re older than me, maybe?”

 

Yoongi snorts at that, an amused smirk gracing his lips. “I doubt that very much,” he says, rolling his eyes when he feels the dancer shrug his shoulders. They fall silent for a few seconds, and then Yoongi realizes he’s actually never asked one very specific question. “Actually, how old are you?”

 

“I’m twenty-two,” Jimin hums absentmindedly, his eyes on the TV.

 

“No, I mean, how old are you actually?”

 

“I’m twenty-two years old, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

Yoongi’s brows knit into a frown and he pauses his fiddling with the boy’s hair. “You’re trying to be difficult on purpose again, aren’t you, Park Jimin?” he huffs, clicking his tongue when Jimin doesn’t say anything. “Oh, come on, you’ve been alive for almost as long as my grandmother, so-”

 

No, Yoongi, I haven’t.” The dancer’s tone is flat and Yoongi arches his eyebrows in surprise. He watches Jimin’s shoulders slump before the boy rearranges himself against Yoongi so the back of his head is resting on Yoongi’s stomach, the faintest of frowns marring Jimin’s brow as he looks up at him. “My days are barely seven hours long,” he says quietly. “I live for seven hours at a time. A few hours longer in winter, a few hours shorter in summer.”

 

This is the most serious Yoongi has ever seen the dancer, so he sits perfectly still, holding Jimin’s piercingly soft gaze. “The thought of me may have existed for eighty years, but when counting the hours I’ve actually been conscious, I’m a lot younger,” the boy continues slowly, his voice barely above a whisper. “My body can’t age, physically, and over the years, my mind has barely had time to grow at all.”

 

The small smile that curls Jimin’s lips makes Yoongi’s heart clench almost painfully; the boy’s valiant effort to hide his sadness sparks a frighteningly strong urge in Yoongi to help him, to do something, anything, to break Jimin free from his imprisoned life. He wants Jimin to be able to walk amongst the sunlight, he wants to be able to take Jimin to all the places they visit when they’re not shrouded in cold darkness, to have friends outside the boring night-owl that is Yoongi.

 

Jimin should have all of these things and more, Yoongi thinks, because the dancer deserves the sun more than anyone in this world.

 

But Yoongi doesn’t say any of these things out loud. Instead, he clears his throat and reaches out to poke Jimin’s cheek, forcing himself to smirk down at the boy. “Right, so by that logic,” he says in a teasing tone, “I should not be calling you ahjussi, then?”

 

The dancer stares at him in surprise for a few seconds before he emits a bubbling giggle, and it’s almost scary how much the sound soothes the turmoil in Yoongi’s chest. “Well, would you look at that,” Jimin says brightly and reaches up to muss up Yoongi’s hair. “The actual ahjussi got something right for once!”

 

“Yah, the nerve of this brat…” Yoongi leans forward to trap the dancer beneath him and proceeds onto digging his fingers into Jimin’s sides, mercilessly tickling him. “Looks like I need to teach you to respect your elders.”

 

Jimin laughs until he’s out of breath, kicking his feet and yelling at Yoongi to stop, his small hands trying and failing to pry away Yoongi’s arms. “S-stop it, hyung, I su-surrender,” he squeals, his voice strained and high-pitched. “I s-swear, oh my god, I swear I won’t disrespect you ever again!”

 

“‘S more like it,” Yoongi chuckles and lets go, huffing as he pushes himself upright and slumps back against the couch. He grins down at Jimin, whose chest is heaving from laughter, and when the dancer squirms against him, resuming his previous position with his head resting on Yoongi’s stomach, Yoongi slides his fingers back into Jimin’s hair.

 

They sit like that for a moment, neither of them really watching the TV anymore, and Yoongi has no idea how many minutes have passed when he raises his voice again. “Hey, Park Jimin,” he says quietly, waiting for the dancer to hum in response before continuing. “Are you okay?”

 

There’s a brief silence during which Jimin undoubtedly processes the full meaning behind the question, and when he turns around to look up at Yoongi, the smile on his lips portray nothing of his previous sadness. “Yeah, I’m okay, Yoongi-hyung,” he murmurs softly, nodding as best he can where he lies. “I lose hope sometimes, but I always manage to find it again. I’m stubborn, you know?” He giggles when Yoongi snorts at his words. “I’m not gonna give up until I find what I’m looking for.”

 

And all Yoongi can do is nod silently and wonder how any human being can be so strong, so fearless.

 

So brave.

 

When they finish the episode of Game of Thrones, there’s barely ten minutes left until the sun starts rising, so they don’t bother putting on another one. Instead, they remain peacefully on the couch and talk about what they could do tomorrow, where they could go; it’ll be a Sunday, so not as many night-time restaurants and shops will be open.

 

It’s when Jimin mentions a cinema that Yoongi’s hit with an idea. “We could host a movie night,” he says, quirking a brow when the dancer blinks up at him. “You know, marathon movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or something. I could invite my friends over and you’d get the chance to meet new people.”

 

Jimin lights up like the sun, jarring himself up into a sitting position and reaching out to grab Yoongi’s hand in the way he always does when he’s excited. “That sounds like so much fun!” he exclaims, smiling so wide his eyes crinkle up into little crescents. “Is it really okay? Do you think they’ll want to come? Do you think we’ll get along? What should I-”

 

“You’re rambling again, Jimin,” Yoongi snorts, grinning when the dancer presses a hand over his mouth to cut himself off. “Don’t worry about them, they like everyone. We’ll have to figure out how to make it seem like you’re just another guest or something, not, you know, magically bound to the music box in my bedroom.” He chuckles at Jimin’s sheepish expression. “But I’ll think of something.”

 

The boy nods enthusiastically and parts his lips to say something, but pauses when he looks at his hands and notices he’s already beginning to fade. “Ah, time’s up for today,” he sighs, shaking his head before beaming at Yoongi. “Thank you, hyung. It’ll be so much fun.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and nods, trying his best to keep the tension away from his voice; no matter how many times he watches Jimin fade like this, his heart always clenches almost painfully. “You go to sleep. I’ll see you at midnight.”

 

And then the dancer is gone and Yoongi sags back against the couch, closing his eyes and granting himself a good two minutes to, in lack of a better word, recover. He breathes slowly, taking in the silence and reminding himself that Jimin isn’t really gone, not really; without a doubt, he’ll see the dancer again in less than twenty-four hours.

 

When he feels relatively calm again, Yoongi reaches for his phone and opens KakaoTalk, pressing on the group chat he runs with his circle of friends.

 

Min Genius

[06:53AM]:

yo

Star Wars ep 4-6 at my place tonight @ 11PM

bring shit to eat

 

Like always, as soon as Jimin has vanished, the tiredness that’s constantly brewing under the surface wells up through Yoongi’s body and he yawns loudly while he types, sending the short messages before tossing his phone back onto the couch before staggering over to his bedroom. He pulls his shirt over his head and doesn’t really bother with his jeans, only crawls in under his duvet and closing his eyes, and not a minute later, he’s asleep.

 

-

 

When Yoongi wakes up at quarter past three in the afternoon, it’s to the sound of his phone ringing, the annoying ringtone blearing loud enough to rouse him from his sleep all the way from the living room. “What the fuck,” he rasps, his voice thick and hoarse from sleep. He squints against the light seeping in through his closed curtains, the sun shining strongly enough to penetrate the black drapes.

 

Somehow, it reminds him of Jimin.

 

He groans as he pushes himself up into a sitting position on his bed, blinking away his grogginess and looking at the music box, where the little ballerina stands tall and proud, the ornament’s golden decorations glimmering in the faint light. Yoongi parts his lips and almost says good morning, but stops himself before he can speak, because no, it’s not Jimin. Not right now.

 

He snaps out of his daze when his phone stops ringing, the missed call drawing his attention back to the living room. He stands up and makes his way out of his bedroom, pulling a hoodie over his head on his way out, and when he grabs his phone, his eyes widen when he sees he has three missed calls from Namjoon, four from Taehyung and one from Hoseok, along with seventy unread messages in their KakaoTalk chat.

 

“The fuck,” he mutters and opens the chat.

 

HOPE

[07:35AM]:

what is this

WHAT IS THIS

HOW IS YOONGI AWAKE

THOSE MESSAGES WERE SENT BEFORE 7AM

WHAT STAR WARS??????

IS STAR WARS CODE FOR HELP????

 

Pink Jinnie

[07:50AM]:

OH MY GOD SOMEONE’S STOLEN YOONGI’S PHONE

wait why star wars though?

and why so late at night???

wait

is this

IS THIS A MOVIE NIGHT I SMELL

 

HOPE

[07:51AM]:

THAT’S NOT THE POINT

YOONGI

HYUNG

ARE YOU OKAY

DO WE NEED TO CALL 911

I’M SO CONFUSED

 

Taeflower

[08:05AM]:

YAY MOVIE NIGHT

Gukkie and I will be there hyung!

it’ll be so much fun!!! 

(๑> ₃ <) chu~

 

 

HOPE

[08:09AM]:

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO’S CONCERNED ABOUT THIS

 

At some point, Namjoon had joined the chaos and started out equally freaked out as Hoseok, and the first missed call from him had been sometime before eight in the morning. When Yoongi, blissfully asleep at the time, hadn’t answered, their panic had escalated until Seokjin had managed to calm them down somewhat, saying that Yoongi had probably woken up with the idea of a movie night and then fallen asleep again after sending his messages.

 

That certainly hadn’t stopped his friends from going over conspiracy theories in their chat, ranging from the government creating a clone of Yoongi but forgetting to input the I hate everyone function, to something about Yoongi being kidnapped and tortured and forced to do something that goes against every fiber of his being.

 

Yoongi scoffs as he reads through the messages, shaking his head at his friends’ over-exaggeratedly panicky messages, and instead of returning any of his missed calls, he types out a quick ‘you assholes coming or not?’ before shuffling over to the bathroom to take a shower.

 

When he returns, he huffs contentedly at the five different versions of ‘Of course we’re coming’ and completely ignores the adjoined questions about whether or not this is really Yoongi typing and not a robot version of him.

 

He spends the following hours making a half-hearted effort to clean up around his apartment, clearing away the many notes and papers he and Jimin have left spread out over the coffee table. He stows them safely into his desk drawer and washes Jimin’s teacup before stepping outside to grab dinner and stop by the grocery store to buy some snacks for later, and when he comes back home, he sets his laptop to download the original three Star Wars movies before begrudgingly picking up two of his university assignments and sits down to complete them.

 

He’s almost surprised at how much work he’s gotten done during the day when the doorbell goes off at a few minutes to 11PM; after finishing his assignments and preparing for his Monday lectures, he’d managed to jot down some half-decent lyrics for the music project, after which he’d taken a seat in his armchair and started reading one of Jimin’s books just for the heck of it.

 

It’s the sappiest love story Yoongi’s ever read, but he finds himself unable to stop smiling; he can so easily picture the dancer bawling his eyes out at every other scene.

 

He tosses the book onto his coffee table when the doorbell sounds and goes to let his friends in, taking a precautionary step aside before opening, and a good thing too, because Hoseok lunges forward the very second he has enough room, clearly intent on tackling Yoongi to the floor. “Nice try, asshole,” Yoongi scoffs and shakes his head at Hoseok’s disappointed expression before turning to greet the rest. “Yo.”

 

“Yo yourself,” Namjoon says and hands over a lidded bowl of what looks like butter-fried octopus, most likely courtesy of Seokjin, who’s got two more identical containers in his hands. “So, movie night, huh?”

 

Yoongi rolls his shoulders in a shrug and moves into his apartment to give them all room to take off their jackets. “Just felt like rewatching Star Wars,” he says and almost impresses himself with how nonchalant he sounds. “Where’s Taehyung-ah and Jeongguk?”

 

“Stopping by the store to get us something to drink,” Hoseok says and props his backpack up on Yoongi’s dinner table to pull a big bag of chips out of it. His eyes narrow as he hands it over to Yoongi, as if scanning him from head to toe, and he doesn’t stop until Yoongi smacks his arm. “Ow, hyung, what did I do to deserve that?”

 

“You’re still thinking some stupid shit about clones and robots,” Yoongi snaps, rolling his eyes when Hoseok grins widely at him. “Seriously, can’t a man want to watch movies with his friends without being judged for it?”

 

“Not if that man is you, grandpa,” Seokjin sing-songs on his way to the kitchen. Yoongi is about to point out that Jin is older than him, but his train of thought is interrupted when the doorbell goes off like crazy, signaling the arrival of the ever-hyperactive Taehyung. “That’d be the door.”

 

“Yeah, no shit.”

 

It takes them a good half hour to settle around the TV, what with Taehyung refusing to let them start the movie until he’s conveyed every single one of his emotions regarding this movie night. He throws his arms around Yoongi’s neck and almost smothers him to death, and all the while, Jeongguk watches with a shit-eating grin, raising his hands innocently when Yoongi aims a murderous glare in his direction.

 

“Uh, hyung, what’s this?”

 

Yoongi looks up from the prison that is Taehyung’s arms, and his heart sinks when he sees Hoseok hold up the book he’d put on the coffee table earlier. “Pride and Prejudice,” Hoseok reads, his voice deliberately loud and slow, and the most smug smile Yoongi has ever seen spreads his lips. “Could it be that our Yoongi-hyung picked up a romance novel and got sentimental and that’s why we’re all gathered here today?”

 

“No, you absolute dick,” Yoongi says snappishly and tries to reach for the book, but Namjoon is faster, snatching it from Hoseok and riffled through the pages until he found the part where Jimin had folded down the corner to mark the spot he’d left off at. “Namjoon, I swear-”

 

There is a stubbornness about me that can never bear to be frightened at the will of others,” his soon to be ex-best friend reads out loud in a chiming voice. “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” He snaps the book shut in a theatrical manner, his dimples on full display as he grins at Yoongi. “I’m impressed, hyung. I never imagined you to be so… literarily invested.”

 

“Fuck off, dickweed,” Yoongi scoffs and wriggles free from Taehyung’s arms to swipe the book from Namjoon’s hands. “I’m holding this for a friend of mine, he forgot to take it with him.”

 

Hoseok gasps dramatically at that. “You have other friends?” he demands in a shocked whisper, and Yoongi almost chucks the book at his head.

 

When the movie finally starts, they have a small feast set up on the coffee table. Two big bowls of chips, several bottles of both Coca-Cola and soju, Seokjin’s homemade butter-fried octopus, and a variety of candy. Jeongguk and Taehyung have taken up the armchair, with the latter perched happily in Jeongguk’s lap, while Hoseok and Yoongi sit on the couch, and Seokjin and Namjoon on the floor, comfortable amidst a mess consisting of every single pillow in Yoongi’s apartment.

 

Yoongi flicks on his phone when the opening credits start rolling across the screen, chuckling at Taehyung’s hushed reading of, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” before checking the time, reading 11:43PM. He nods to himself, worrying his bottom lip as he goes over his game plan in his head for the twentieth time today, having to really concentrate to not restlessly tap his foot against the floor in his nervousness.

 

While everyone else loudly marvels over Darth Vader’s attack on Leia’s ship, Yoongi’s eyes keep flickering to his phone, trying to be as discreet as possible in checking the time every other minute. No one seems to notice, which is good, because that probably means they won’t notice when Jimin sneaks out of the bedroom and to the hallway so that Yoongi can pretend to let him in.

 

When it’s three minutes before midnight, Yoongi deliberately turns on his alarm and raises his phone, feigning surprise as he looks at his screen. “Who’s calling you at this time?” Seokjin asks, reluctantly prying his eyes away from the TV.


“Uh,” is the best answer Yoongi can come up with, and he clears his throat to buy himself some thinking time as he stands up. “It’s a, uh… it’s somebody I know.” He resists the urge to tear at his own hair, so incredibly disappointed in his inability to lie in a time of need. “Sorry, I’ll be right back,” he mumbles and scurries over to his bedroom, lifting his phone to his ear to better sell the act of receiving a phone call before closing the door behind himself. “Fucking good job, Min Yoongi…”

 

He paces back and forth in his room while waiting for Jimin to materialize, and when he does, Yoongi instantly reaches up and presses a hand over the dancer’s mouth, bringing his free hand up to press a finger to his own lips in a silent request for Jimin to be quiet. The boy blinks in surprise but nods, and Yoongi pretends he can’t feel it against his palm when Jimin presses his lips together.

 

“Everyone’s already here,” he says quietly when he lowers his hand, taking a step back to go dig something for the dancer to wear out of his closet. “You’ll have to sneak out to the hallway and I’ll pretend to come open the door.” He pulls out a pair of black jeans and an equally black sweater and passes them to Jimin. “The lights are out and they’re so focused on the TV, they shouldn’t notice if you sneak behind them.”

 

The dancer giggles silently into his hand before slipping into the trousers. “I feel like a secret agent,” he whispers, glancing over his shoulder and at the door when a muffled explosion sounds from the living room. “Yeah, I can be quieter than that.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi mumbles and moves over to the door. “Wait in here for five minutes or so before you go.” He pauses with a hand on the door handle and looks at the boy. “Will you be okay if I turn off the lights?” Jimin’s smile is borderline excited, and he nods enthusiastically and flashes Yoongi two thumbs up. “Okay, see you in a bit.”

 

He flicks the light switch on his way out and leaves his door slightly ajar before moving to the couch. “Everything okay?” Namjoon asks when he plops back into his seat.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and nods, flipping his phone over in his hands a few times. “Uh, an old friend of mine from Daegu is in town and his plans just fell through, so I told him he could join us here tonight.” He keeps his expression as neutral as possible, his eyes glued to the TV-screen as if he doesn’t notice Namjoon’s obvious surprise. “He’ll be here in five minutes or so.”

 

“Okay,” his best friend says and leans back against his and Seokjin’s pillow fort. “Do I know him?”

 

Yoongi shifts awkwardly in his seat before shaking his head. “Nah, I knew him before I moved to Seoul,” he mumbles, frowning when Taehyung shushes him without taking his eyes off the screen. “Haven’t seen him in years, but I figured, you know, since he has nothing else to do…”

 

Namjoon nods, seemingly content with that, and turns back to the movie, leaving Yoongi to struggle with the sudden thought of if and how he will ever tell his friends the truth about Jimin. How he’ll tell them that he’s spending six and a half hours every day with the world’s most cheerful human being, a boy who happens to be trapped and out of the reach of time itself, a boy who will never age a day until he finds what he’s looking for. A boy whose existence seems to make Yoongi’s heart hum and hurt all at once.

 

He jerks out of his thoughts at the sound of the doorbell, shooting to his feet and throwing a glance at the clock on his wall. Fuck, he curses internally, realizing he’d drifted off for at least seven minutes. “A-ah,” he says awkwardly and shuffles towards the hallway. “That’ll be him.”

 

He has no idea how Jimin managed to actually open his door and slip outside without anyone hearing, but he’s definitely not complaining. On the contrary, he’s impressed, and apparently Jimin is as well, judging by his expression when Yoongi pushes the door open. “I was so sneaky, hyung,” the dancer whispers enthusiastically, his sunshine smile in full effect as he scurries inside and kicks off Yoongi’s shoes. “No one noticed, right?”

 

“Nope,” Yoongi says with an amused huff and ruffles the boy’s hair before trudging back to the living room. “Namjoon, pause the movie for a second.” He turns on the ceiling light and rolls his eyes at the chorus of complaints before motioning for Jimin to walk up next to him. “Everyone, this is Park Jimin,” he says, fighting the urge to smile when the dancer bows low in greeting. “I knew him when I was a kid in Daegu. He needed something to do for the night, so I told him he could hang out with you assholes.”

 

“Wow, what a nice way to introduce your best friends in the entire world,” Hoseok huffs, pointing an accusatory finger at Yoongi before turning to Jimin and offering him a wide smile. “Nice to meet you, Jimin. I’m Hoseo-”

 

He’s knocked to the side before he can finish his sentence, and before either Yoongi or Jimin can do more than blink, Taehyung’s standing in front of the dancer, holding his right hand and looking him over with the excitement of a puppy. “Wah, you’re so cute, Jiminie,” Taehyung chirps, his lips stretched into his wide, rectangular smile. “My name’s Taehyung, but you can call me Tae. Or Taetae, most of my friends call me Taetae. I’m twenty-two years old, born in December, which makes me a capricorn, and I study design at the same university as Yoongi-hyung. I only just started a few months ago, but it’s really interesting!”

 

Yoongi presses his lips together in an attempt to not grin too widely at Jimin’s expression of wide-eyed awe, blinking in confusion at Taehyung’s rapidfire of information. He shoots a quick glance at Yoongi, who simply quirks a brow in amusement, and before the dancer can do anything else, Taehyung tugs him towards the coffee table. Startled, Jimin emits a little yelp and reaches out on instinct, grabbing hold of Yoongi’s shirt and pulling him along after them.

 

“I’ll introduce you to everyone,” Taehyung declares loudly and raises his free hand to point at them all in turn. “That’s Jin-hyung and Namjoon-hyung, our proud parents, the best mom and dad in the world.” Namjoon snorts at his words and Seokjin rolls his eyes but smiles warmly at Jimin, who bows his head in greeting to both of them. “That’s Hoseok, he… why are you on the floor, hyung?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know,” Hoseok retorts, his voice laced in sarcasm. “It’s not like some over-enthusiastic brat ran me over like a freight train.” He heaves a dramatic sigh at Taehyung’s apparent cluelessness and shakes his head before nodding at Jimin, the smile returning to his lips. “I’m Hoseok,” he says and plops back down into his seat. “The eternal hope of this little group.”

 

“Right, he’s our hope,” Taehyung agrees before turning to look at Jeongguk, who stands up from his seat and politely bows his head. “This overgrown bunny boy is Jeongukkie, my boyfriend. He might look a little scary at first, but don’t worry, he’s the biggest sweetheart in the world.”

 

“Nice to meet you all,” Jimin says brightly, leaning forward in one last bow, and Yoongi notices he looks like he’s on the verge of tears when he straightens back up again, smiling so wide his cheeks must be hurting. “I’m Park Jimin. Thanks for letting me join your movie night.”

 

He’s still holding onto Yoongi’s sleeve, his fingers brushing against his wrist, but no one seems to notice, too busy watching Taehyung practically drape himself over the dancer, his arms around Jimin’s neck and his chin propped up on his shoulder. “So how did you get to know Yoongi-hyung?” Hoseok asks with a pointed look at Yoongi. “You seem like a fairly innocent kid, so there’s gotta be an interesting story about how you ended up in his bad company.”

 

While Yoongi sends his friend a murderous glare, Jimin emits a cheery giggle, finally detaching himself from Yoongi’s arm in favor of reaching up to muffle his laughter. “Hyung’s not that bad,” he says brightly, smiling when he turns to look at Yoongi. “We were sort of neighbors back in Daegu. We didn’t really live that close, but we ran into one another every now and then and got to know each other like that.”

 

Yoongi nods, content with this kind of backstory; it paves the way perfectly, making it believable that Yoongi hasn’t mentioned before but would still invite him over to watch movies if he has nothing else to do.

 

Seokjin parts his lips to ask something, but Taehyung cuts him off before he has the chance to utter even a single word. “Come on, let’s get back to the movie,” he says and practically wrestles Jimin down into the couch, seating him closest to the armchair before plopping down onto the floor in front of him, grinning as he makes himself comfortable between Jimin’s legs. “We’re about to see Luke Skywalker for the first time!”

 

The dancer giggles at Taehyung’s behavior and makes himself comfortable at the end of the couch, and Yoongi really has to concentrate to not smile too widely at how happy the dancer looks. He goes to turn off the lights before taking his seat between Jimin and Hoseok just as Namjoon presses play and the movie resumes playing. When everyone else refocuses on the TV, the dancer leans closer to Yoongi and whispers a soft, “Thank you, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

Yoongi isn’t quite as successful in fighting off his smile that time.

 

Halfway through the movie, Yoongi realizes how perfectly Jimin fits into his group of friends. He plays along with their antics, laughs until he’s almost crying when Hoseok recites something akin to a fangirl’s inner monologue about how handsome Han Solo is, and when he actually cries after Darth Vader kills Obi Wan Kenobi, both Taehyung and Seokjin shove Yoongi out of the way to hug the everliving hell out of the dancer.

 

Jimin and Taehyung seem to click especially well, sharing a similar sense of humor and need for cuddling; Taehyung stays seated on the floor in front of Jimin, and the dancer leans forward and props his chin up on Taehyung’s head, his arms falling over the student’s shoulders. Jimin never fails to respond to every single one of Taehyung’s random whims, and the image the two present makes Yoongi’s heart swell.

 

After the first movie ends, Taehyung scrambles to his feet only to take a seat in Jeongguk’s lap instead and peck him on the nose, smiling brightly at the younger boy’s soft murmur of, “I missed you, Tae,” and the sight is almost too cute to bear.

 

Not for Jimin, apparently, who leans forward with an almost adoring expression. “How’d you two meet?” he asks, completely ignoring the simultaneous groans coming from the rest of them.

 

“In primary school,” Taehyung sing-songs, chuckling when Jeongguk wraps his arms around his waist and hugs him closer. “I was in third grade when Gukkie started school, and he was so small and so shy, you wouldn’t believe it. He was so cute.” He kisses the boy on the nose again, his boxy grin in full force. “It was like three months into the school year and I was trading Pokémon cards with a few classmates when Jeongguk walked over and held up a super rare Mew card. He didn’t even say anything, he was so shy, he just held up the card and stared at the ground, and I had no idea what to do. I thought he wanted to show it to me, but the very second I grabbed the card to look at it, he let it go and ran away.”

 

“Oh god, I was so lame,” Jeongguk whines and buries his face in the crook of Taehyung’s neck.

 

Was?” Yoongi repeats dryly, chuckling when Jimin blindly reaches over to shush him, the dancer’s eyes practically sparkling as he listens to the story.

 

“Right, so I go search for Jeongguk to give him back his card,” Taehyung says, “but I didn’t find him until the very end of the day, and when I caught up to him, he just shook his head and told me to keep it. I swear, he was blushing so hard, it was adorable.”

 

“Taeeee,” Jeongguk groans, but Taehyung only laughs brightly and runs a hand through the younger boy’s hair before continuing.

 

“I didn’t leave him alone after that,” he hums, his gaze turning unfocused, as if he was looking into his own memories. “Trailed after him at every recess until he opened up to me, and we were inseparable after that. We went to the same secondary school as well, and when he was about to start high school, Gukkie asked me to be his boyfriend.”

 

Jimin coos at the two of them, the sound turning into a giggle when Jeongguk emits another embarrassed whine. “So you’re two years younger than Taetae?” the dancer asks, making a sound of awe when Jeongguk nods. “Isn’t it difficult to not go to the same school as your boyfriend?”

 

Jeongguk looks up at that, an expression of determination replacing his shyness. “I’ll be going to same school next year,” he says without a shred of hesitation. “I skipped a grade in high school, after we started dating, because I wanna catch up to him so we can be together properly, and I’m gonna work my ass off to make that happen as soon as possible.”


“Oh my god, you guys are so disgustingly cute,” Hoseok complains, making a show of falling over the armrest of the couch while Taehyung and Jimin both squeal at Jeongguk’s words. “Seriously, I could go to Starbucks and order a white chocolate mocha with extra caramel and whipped cream and you two would still be more diabetes-inducing. You’re even worse than the old married couple over there, and one of them is pregnant.”

 

“Yah!”

 

“Play the movie before Jin starts waving around a spatula again,” Yoongi says with a grin and frantically motions at Namjoon to speed up the process of getting the movie started. He sighs in mock relief when the intro credits appear on the screen and the others go silent to pay attention to the movie, and he smiles despite himself when he feels Jimin curl up comfortably against his side, having lost Taehyung to Jeongguk for now. Yoongi looks down, and his smile falters when he notices the dancer’s eyes look glossy, as if he’s fighting back tears. “Hey,” he mumbles into the crown of Jimin’s hair. “Are you okay?”

 

The dancer nods against his shoulder, a soft smile on his lips as he looks at the couple in the armchair. “Yeah, I’m good,” he murmurs, his voice thick with something Yoongi can’t quite pinpoint. “It’s just, it’s so heartwarming to see how much they love each other.”

 

There’s a fraction of a second where Yoongi wants to pull Jimin into an embrace and press his lips against the top of his head to stop him from shedding his tears. He almost does it, too, shifting slightly in his seat before he catches himself and comes to his senses, his eyes widening in shock at what he was about to do.

 

What the hell?

 

Slowly, very slowly, he leans back in his seat, his brain working on overdrive to process what just happened while his heart thunders so hard against his ribs, he’s certain Jimin can hear it. Calm down, Min Yoongi, he tells himself, over and over, staring at the TV-screen intense focus without actually registering anything that’s going on in the movie. You just don’t like seeing him sad, that’s it. You just want him to have a good time, so you don’t like seeing him upset.

 

It takes him nearly half an hour to calm down again, half an hour until he feels like he can run his fingers through Jimin’s hair without feeling weird about it, even though he’s done it so many times before. He pretends to not notice the way his heart jumps when the dancer emits a soft sigh and snuggles up closer, one of his small hands coming to rest on Yoongi’s stomach. He pretends to not notice the long look Namjoon sends the two of them, focusing on the TV instead of the constant buzzing in his chest.

 

By the time they reach the end of the third movie, Yoongi and Jimin are the only ones still awake. It’s a bit past 6AM, which means that everyone with a normal circadian rhythm is completely and utterly tuckered out, curled up on the couch, on the floor, in the armchair, anywhere that has a semi-soft surface to relax against. The sight leaves Yoongi to chuckle softly while Jimin muffles his giggles into his hands, and they end up just sitting there, whispering amongst each other and doing their best to not wake the others.

 

Jimin doesn’t untangle himself from Yoongi until he absolutely has to, when the clock on the wall shows 06:46, only a few minutes before sunrise. “Come on,” Yoongi mumbles and leads him towards the hallway, making a show of opening the door as if to let the dancer leave the normal way. “So. Did you have fun?”

 

“Yeah, I did,” Jimin says and nods enthusiastically. “Your friends are so much fun. I really like Taehyung, I feel like we could be really good friends if…” His voice trails off and he looks almost lost for a moment, but he shakes his head before Yoongi can ask. “Ah, that’s right,” the dancer says and pulls the sweater over his head, handing it to Yoongi before making quick work of his jeans. “Can’t take these with me to the music box.”

 

Yoongi snorts at that and turns around to throw his clothes into the small coat closet, and when he moves to turn back to Jimin, his eyes widen when he feels a small hand ghost against his jaw. He blinks at the dancer and vaguely registers how close they’re suddenly standing before Jimin leans in and presses a soft kiss to his cheek, his lips brushing against Yoongi’s skin and freezing him to the spot.

 

The moment seems to last an entire lifetime. Yoongi’s heart slows down to beat only once per minute, his lungs stop needing air, and all he can feel is Jimin, Jimin’s chest against his, Jimin’s hand cupping his jaw, Jimin’s lips against his cheek. He can’t move, his entire body rigid from shock and the countless other emotions that well up inside him, and he tries to think, he really does, tries to think of something to do, something he should do, but his mind refuses to focus on anything else than Park Jimin.

 

When the dancer finally leans away, he lingers inside Yoongi’s personal space to whisper a soft, “Thank you,” against his skin before taking a step back, and all Yoongi can do is stare, stare as Jimin smiles tearfully at him, stare as the outlines of the dancer’s body begins to fade, as he raises his hand in a small gesture of goodbye.

 

All he does is stare as Jimin turns around to cross over the threshold and out of his apartment, the dancer fading into nothingness halfway through his step and leaving Yoongi alone in the hallway, feeling like it was his heart that had just walked out the door.