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The first time Taehyung plays with his hands it’s pre-debut and they’re tangled up on the top bed of their shared bunk (nominally Tae’s, but sometimes Jimin likes to be tall).

They’re used to being exhausted, that’s the life of an idol trainee, but there’s an extra mental stretch when it comes to singing practice for Jimin. It’s not that he’s bad, he wouldn’t have made it here if he was bad, it’s just...hard.

Hard enough that he know it’s been noticed. When his voice cracks, when he runs out of breath too fast, when he gets so caught up in the choreography that he forgets he’s supposed to be singing as well. Which only makes everything that much harder, terror tingeing every word, you’re - not - good - enough pulsing in his ears alongside the beat.

The comforting thing about Tae is that he doesn’t even blink when his head pops up over the ladder to find Jimin already curled up on his bed. He just nods thoughtfully, hauling his body with all its loose limbs over the side, prompting a quiet oof from Jimin when he lands on him. Jimin complains, but soft warmth is already winding through his veins as Tae wriggles around until he’s worked himself under Jimin’s body, too-long arms and legs wrapped securely around him.

“Annoying,” Jimin chides fondly. Tae blows a raspberry into the back of his neck, doesn’t call him on the way Jimin has curved his body back into Tae’s already, how he's rearranged the blanket to cover them both.

They don't really talk. Not about what the problem is, anyway. Tae murmurs a steady stream of nonsense, switching idly back and forth from the burger he had last week to how much he hates Jin’s deodorant to the game he’s currently kicking everyone’s butt in.

Jimin’s eyelids feel heavier and heavier, the dim room blurring around them as it gets increasingly difficult to keep his eyes open. He’s aware of the others filtering in and out, but they’re tucked into the corner of the room and besides, it’s not like hugging each other or sleeping in the same bed has been all that unusual amongst any of them. He thinks he catches a look like a smile from someone RM-shaped, a low voice pitching a question to Taehyung.

“We’re fine,” Tae rumbles back, voice slow and syrupy like he’s been pulled from some other world. “Just tired.”

Whatever RM says back is lost to Jimin, and when he next blinks his eyes open the shape is gone and it’s just him and Tae again. One arm curls around his waist, the other draped loosely over his elbow as Tae’s chin slots easily into the space between his neck and shoulder, like it was made for him. Jimin can hear him breathing, slow and even. On the edge of sleep, but not quite falling.

Taehyung’s fingers are long and tapered and send a shiver skittering up Jimin’s arm as he draws aimless patterns over his wrist, his palm. It’s not relaxing, not anymore, but it is nice, right until Tae taps at one Jimin’s own fingers, gently pinching the very tip of his pinky between thumb and forefinger and rocking it back and forth.

Jimin clenches his hands, abruptly awake. He sticks an elbow back into Tae’s ribs, feels a gust of air puff out in protest over his collarbone.

“Don’t,” he whines, trying to make it authoritative and failing miserably. “Don’t make fun of me.”

Tae’s breath catches like he’s changing his mind about what he wanted to say, and Jimin can feel the sudden confusion in the space left behind. It takes Tae a couple of seconds to regroup, and the first hint of panic stirs in Jimin’s chest, like maybe he’s screwed up something he had thought was safe from being broken.

“Yah, I’m not making fun of you,” Tae says finally. He shifts, until he’s pressing his forehead into Jimin’s shoulder. “I wasn’t even really thinking about what I was doing.”

“...Oh.” And the panic settles, but that’s disappointment creeping in next to it, like he’s upset that Tae was only doing it by accident. Selfishly, Jimin thinks that he wants all of Taehyung’s attention, all of his purposeful actions. When they touch, he wants Tae to be thinking about it. “Okay, then.”

Silence sweeps over them again, but Tae’s breathing doesn’t return to type. Not slow and even anymore, Jimin keeps catching the occasional hitch, a little faster than it should be. He has no idea what that’s supposed to mean, or what it means that he can’t help but notice it, so he just stays quiet. Eyes wide open, not quite comfortable anymore but not willing to move either.

“So...you’re fine if I keep going?” Tae says eventually, and Jimin is so absurdly relieved that he laughs, a soft, wheezy sort of sound.

“Do what you want,” he says, and decides not to read too much into the way Tae’s fingers immediately slide through his, turning his hand over, drawing slowly up the spaces between them until it’s just their fingertips touching. And they’re close, so close, but somehow it’s that barest touch that feels more intimate than the way his chest is pressed flush up against Taehyung’s back.

“Sleep, Jiminie,” Tae says, forehead still pressed to his shoulder, tracing a single forefinger down the back of Jimin’s hand. “It’ll all be better tomorrow, promise.”

Jimin yawns, unable to help himself. “It’s better now,” he mumbles, and lets his eyes drift shut again.

*

So it becomes a thing. They become a thing, so simply and so naturally that Jimin privately suspects it was supposed to be this way. That even if it hadn’t been for BTS and Big Hit, they would have ended up in the same place somehow, the same time, hands tangled up together.

He tells Taehyung this after a concert one night. They’re in the middle of touring, catapulted to a new level of fame that, while they might have dreamed of it, none of them had really expected to reach. It had been terrifying at first, Jimin half convinced they were going to thunk into some unseen ceiling or else drop right out of the sky, but the tour carries some wild kind of energy with it. The longer they stay in the air, the more certain he becomes that they’re actually flying, not just falling with style.

They make enough for separate hotel rooms now. Tae bypasses his own completely, dragging Jimin to the next door down, fingers a cuff around his wrist, both of them stumbling breathless and laughing. The others barely bat an eye when the suite swallows them whole, used to their antics, probably splitting off into their own pairs or group to decompress, to come down from the high of having thousands of people screaming your name.

It’s dark, but neither of them bother with the lights. Taehyung tugs him across the room to the balcony and Jimin throws one longing look at the bed before conceding to himself that he’d rather indulge his friend than sleep anyway.

This high up and the wind hits them like a slap to the face, but Jimin is running hot enough from the performance that the cool air is a relief. He bumps his shoulder into Tae’s as he passes him, tugging his hand away so he can lean against the railing and stare out at this new city.

“Did you ever think we’d make it here?” Jimin asks the sea of lights. Taehyung’s chin drops onto his shoulder, familiar, and a pair of strong arms pulls him against a broad chest. Jimin thinks he can feel Tae’s heart beating into the aching muscles of his back as gentle fingers slid down his forearms, hook into the spaces between his.

“I knew we’d make it where we needed to be,” Taehyung replies, like this isn’t completely crazy, like they aren’t on a world tour that actually encompasses an impressive amount of the world.

“What arrogance…”

“Not arrogance. I just had faith in us.”

Us could be BTS, the seven of them, maybe even Big Hit in the grand scheme of things. But here in the biting cold with the muffled noises of this new city sounding just like any other from this high up, he knows that he means the two of them. Kim Taehyung and Park Jimin, soulmates.

Jimin tips his head back. All the glaring lights are no help on the balcony, but the lines of this man’s face are as familiar to him as the back of his own hand. He’s always been beautiful, but Jimin likes him best like this, tired and messy, vulnerable enough to tuck himself into all the bits and pieces of Jimin’s body that fit his best.

He doesn’t move to accommodate Jimin’s change in position, doesn’t need to. They’re so close right now that his mouth almost brushes skin when he finally decides to speak again. He thinks he can see Tae’s lips quirk up in profile, a secret smile just for the city and the night and Jimin.

“I think we probably got lucky in this world,” Jimin declares. There’s a thumb rubbing over the back of his, right where the joint is, a barely-there touch. “But we’re probably together in all the rest. Is that stupid? I just feel like...that’s how it had to happen.”

“It’s not stupid,” Tae says easily, reassurance second nature to him. Jimin had worried in the earlier days that he was just humouring him, but he’s long since learnt that there’s very little in this world that Taehyung finds stupid, and nothing about Jimin. He drinks it in, that endless support, and does his best to return it in kind. “Ah, Jiminie, you’re so romantic. ‘Together in all the worlds’, what am I supposed to do with that?”

For a moment, it feels like even the wind is holding its breath. Taehyung does this sometimes - not with any pressure or expectation, not with any judgement, just testing the waters or maybe holding out a hand to Jimin, quietly letting him know that it’s there when he’s ready to take it.

Usually, Jimin skitters away. Plays dumb even though they both know he’s not, or sometimes says nothing at all. There’s no reason for this night to be different, nothing that makes it any more or less magical than most of the other concerts they’ve done on this tour or any other, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s just because they keep on ending up here, with Tae’s arms around him and their fingers knotted together and it never feels any less safe. Never feels any less perfect. Never feels any less them.

Jimin knows he can slip out of Tae’s grasp now if he needs to. That he can yawn and mumble something about bed, go collapse on the mattress and that Taehyung will join him and they’ll sleep like the dead and wake the morning still friends, still soulmates, that Tae might reach out again in the future or he might not and that either way they’ll still be okay

Together in all the worlds. What am I supposed to do with that?

Jimin draws in a breath like it’s courage, and then he presses a kiss to the curve of Taehyung’s cheekbone, right under his eye. Whispers his lips to Tae’s jaw, to the corner of his mouth, pauses. The thumb dragging over his skin has stopped, and he can feel a tremble in their hands. Which one of them is the source, it’s impossible to tell.

“You can do whatever you want with it,” Jimin murmurs. “But I’d really like you to start by kissing me.”

He does. There’s no hesitation, no pause to think, it’s like Taehyung’s been keyed up and ready to go since they came out onto the balcony. Like all he was waiting for was this quiet permission.

His hands slip away, one broad palm spanning Jimin’s hip so he can turn his body properly into Taehyung’s, the other skimming the line of his throat, settling at the curve of his jaw.

“I love you,” Taehyung says, and Jimin barely has time to think oh, same before Tae’s mouth eases over his, soft and sweet, this tiny ember of warmth that sparks heat throughout his whole body. Fire dances down his limbs and ricochets through his chest and he presses closer, gripping Tae’s shirt in tight fists, unwilling to let him go, unwilling to let this ever end.

The kissing part does, if only because they both need to breathe. Jimin has kissed people before, knows you can keep going for quite a while but it’s late and they’re exhausted and this part is just as good too, when they slow down and press their foreheads together and laugh, catch each other’s mouths again, less kissing now and more just breathing each other in, hands hooked into each other, close.

“I love you too,” Jimin says. “Obviously, I love you. I say it all the time. I love you.”

“Yeah, but this time it comes with kissing,” Tae points out and Jimin tips his head back and laughs, laughs, laughs.

They’ll talk about it in the morning, probably. Curl up with a blanket nest before one of the others comes to drag them out for rehearsal, lay out how this changes things (it doesn’t), what this means for their future (everything). But right now?

Right now is for them.