“Can you tilt your head slightl- no, the other way…that’s it,” Taehyung hums, staring throwing the viewfinder of his surprisingly not-beat-up camera. He presses down the shutter button and the camera elicits a series of sharp snaps, not pulling away until he’s completely satisfied.
Jimin does his best not to move, even as his left leg begins to cramp. It’s a slow-burn, creeping up his calf, but it’s easier to ignore than to (literally) stretch out the shoot longer than necessary.
It feels far too formal, an entirely odd concept considering Jimin spends most of his time in the lime light with a suit on. He can’t remember who designed this piece exactly, but he can recognise that they’ve done a stunning job of it. No, the fault is entirely Jimin’s – more so that he’s not ready to get married, even if it’s not for eternity.
“Have you heard anything from the lawyers yet?” Taehyung breaks in, straightening up carefully like an 80-year-old man, hand pressed to his lower back. Jimin takes that as his cue to relax a little.
“Nah, except that they think custody is pretty much guaranteed now,” Jimin explains, tucking his hands in the pockets of his pants. “Not a surprise, really, but still nice.”
Taehyung hums his agreement. “It’d be hard for the court to rule against you when the marriage is so public, even if no one actually knows who you’re getting hitched with.” He rolls his eyes dramatically. “It’d be an absolute scandal, against them.”
“Just as long as they don’t find out about him,” Jimin concludes. They both know how this has to work; the public is ruthless, and it wouldn’t take long for Jimin to fall from grace should they discover he isn’t marrying a nice young woman at all.
“This should be enough to appease them for a while,” Taehyung says, waving his hand grandly to the studio set up. It’s a fashion shoot of sorts, for a print article on Jimin’s new life as a fiancé – if the company can pull this off right, if his brother can tug on the right strings, then these images will blow up and bring in more benefit than pain for their family business.
Taehyung bends down with a groan, his knees cracking loudly. “Just a few more should do us, I think.”
Jimin hums, but doesn’t make a sound as Taehyung considers their options. “Can you…actually, no,” he rectifies, hand poised at the ready to snap any scene that he deems of acceptable standard. “Just stay the way you are now, I can work with that.”
That’s easy enough, the position is far more comfortable than the last few – stretched out necks, tensed arms, delicately curled fingers. It’s all a little too much for Jimin’s head, but he’s never been let down by a photographer as good as Taehyung, so he’s more than happy to place his faith beyond his own skills.
“Jihyun’s in care today, isn’t he?” Taehyung confirms, snapping a few quick shots. “Pull your elbows out just a little, thanks.”
Jimin does as he’s told, humming as a reply. Taehyung nods, seemingly content with the answer as he falls silent to put 100% of his attention on the camera.
The focus doesn’t last long, though – even Jimin loses his balance at the loud crash, followed by something rolling across the floor and a flow of soft swears. Jimin can’t help but smile, just a little. He can welcome an interruption if this is what it brings.
It takes a moment before the perpetrator finds their way around the rest of the equipment – thankfully not knocking anything else over – before they’re standing awkwardly outside the swath of white material serving as Jimin’s backdrop.
Namjoon waves sheepishly, holding up a tray of three take-away cups. Even from here, Jimin can see the few drips of brown liquid settling and drying on the back of Namjoon’s hand. “I brought coffee.”
Taehyung leaves, claiming that he really needs to check the photos he’s got on his computer at a higher resolution than what his camera offers, which Jimin knows is definitely bullshit. If anything, Taehyung’s probably gone to harass the man at the front desk, trying to flit his way into yet another social circle.
Jimin’s not sure he minds, though. It’s a short break, not unwelcome, and Namjoon’s bought him some kind of coffee stoked up with sugar, until even the classic bitter taste has begun to fade. They’ve moved to a corner of the studio, seated on a set of benches pressed in the far back corner, Jimin enjoying whatever sweet time he can get to relax and simply stop. Everything seems to be snowballing, ever since his parents passed away overseas in a freak accident, and both him and his brother had to step up as head of the company. It’s little moments like these that Jimin has really come to love and appreciate – and Namjoon seems to have a knack for making them.
“Yoongi’s just Yoongi, not much change there. I caught him talking to the speakers again today,” Namjoon says, answering Jimin’s question and taking a small sip of his drink. “I hope it’s just too much caffeine and not enough sleep, really.”
Jimin giggles, cupping both hands tight around his coffee. It’s warm, rejuvenating his frozen hands into a state of supple movement once more. Even the ring he’s only just become accustomed to wearing seems to be less cold to the touch – a blessing. “Maybe he’s just talking to himself in the general direction of the speakers?”
Namjoon shakes his head rapidly, enough that his body twists a little and Jimin fears for the safety of Namjoon’s drink. “No, he was literally addressing the speaker, mumbling about the latest mix we’re trying to work on.” He throws an arm out in confusion, blinking rapidly. “He’s gone crazy, I know it.”
Jimin hums, shifting his hands back and forth until they make a soft sound against the cardboard exterior. “He sounds fun,” he murmurs, staring down at the lid. “I’d like to meet him one day.”
Namjoon snorts. “Nope, definitely not with that attitude, I’m not letting Yoongi tear apart another person’s dreams of a stoic, professional man of great musical talent who can be funny when he needs to be, and is an absolute blast to be around.” He makes a cross with his arms. “No.”
Jimin wrinkles his nose, twisting bodily towards Namjoon and poking his tongue out. “You’re no fun.”
“It’s Yoongi rubbing off on me,” Namjoon explains, sounding exasperated. “This is what I’m talking about.”
“How is the mix coming along, anyway? It sounds like you guys are actually getting somewhere with it.”
At this, Namjoon’s mood shifts entirely – he ducks his head, face colouring in a light shade of red. “That’s all thanks to you,” he says a little sheepish. “It’s not like we ever would’ve gotten this far without all your help.”
Jimin waves his hand in the air, shaking his head. “No, no, you guys have talent, I don’t want to hear all this stuff about money.” At least that much was true; he really did believe Namjoon would’ve made it one day anyway, with or without Jimin’s steady payment funding his career choice.
“I owe you, Jimin,” Namjoon says instead, looking up at Jimin and smiling softly. Jimin can feel his own face flushing at Namjoon’s expression – he is so screwed, he’s already told himself he can’t have these emotions, please get out – but only offers a grin in response.
“You don’t owe me anything,” he says cheerily, using his coffee as a distraction, and a reason to look away. “You’ve already done so much, just by helping me with Jihyun.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, leaning over to bump his shoulder against Namjoon’s. “You’ve done more than you think, you know? And besides, Jihyun loves being around you – what more could I ask for?”
Namjoon’s still wearing that smile, but it’s grown bigger now, so soft and full and perfect and fuck, Jimin’s not doing this today. He averts his eyes, standing up from the bench and offering Namjoon a hand.
“I should probably go find Taehyung, lord knows what kind of trouble he’s getting into,” Jimin explains, pulling Namjoon up when he takes the offer. “This photo shoot needs to be done before we all die anyway.”
Namjoon snorts, dogging Jimin’s heels as he steps over various power cords, heading for the door. “Good luck with that.”
Some god must be smiling down on them today – even before they reach the door, Jimin can hear the obnoxious click of Taehyung’s heels on the linoleum in the hall. He manages to tug Namjoon back just in time for Taehyung to throw open the door – growing up with such a destructive force had given Jimin all the instincts he needs for survival of Kim Taehyung.
“Alright, less chat more work, we don’t have all-”
Taehyung pauses, eyebrows furrowing. “Why are you two standing there?” he asks, puzzled. Jimin realises all too late when Taehyung’s eyes travel down, landing on the way Jimin’s got Namjoon’s wrist firmly in his grip, looking for all the world like he’s toting Namjoon somewhere. It’s not particularly condemning in any kind of way, but Jimin knows all too well Taehyung doesn’t adhere to expectation.
“Just looking for you,” Jimin cuts over the top of Taehyung’s chuckle. “Nothing else.”
Taehyung wiggles his eyebrows, but ultimately drops the subject in favour of moving back to the previously abandoned camera. “Let’s just get this over with, shall we?”
If Jimin thought he was struggling before, now is an absolute nightmare. At least he had some semblance of focus earlier, on top of his cramping leg and cold fingers.
Now, with Namjoon lazing somewhere behind Taehyung and watching Jimin attentively, Jimin can’t find himself able to work at all. If Taehyung picks up on it, he doesn’t make any comment – Jimin would be relieved and thankful, if it weren’t for Taehyung asking for a whole range of suggestive poses that have no relevance to the marriage shoot.
Jimin may have thought a high school crush would stay a high school crush, and up until recently, he’s been willing to pursue that belief with all his might. Now though, he’s just starting to cotton on that perhaps marrying Kim Namjoon wasn’t his best idea yet – domesticity and consistent after-hours interaction does not make for the easy maintaining of a business relationship.
Jimin allows himself one small sigh. He’ll do what he must to keep his brother out of foster homes, but it doesn’t make it any easier on his poor soul.