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Lilacs In Winter

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   Lilacs In Winter




Taehyung knew on a deeper, spiritual level, that what he was doing right now made no sense. Logically, he should be at home-in his modest studio with the pale cream walls (that Jimin had picked out because cream was such a lovely colour and wouldn’t yellow drapes look so pretty on them Taetae?) and the pretty yellow drapes and Chimmy the little calico that they’d-no, technically it was Taehyung who’d adopted the cat, considering Jimin lived in a dorm with a pretty strict no pets rule- just last month ( “Taetae pleeeeeeease?” *cue the patented Jimin puppy dog eyes that he suspected even Satan wouldn’t resist* Taehyung had crumbled like soft cookies when faced with that relentless attack and thus Chimmy had a new home. Even though Taehyung thinks he might be allergic to the little fluff-ball and more than mildly hates how he finds fur everywhere). He should be working on his History of Korean Literature paper that he’d started on last week and had promptly stopped writing, the first paragraph ending in a string of unintelligible letters and keyboard smashes. Or even better- he should be with Jimin, after all it was their 150 days anniversary and the little pendant that he’d asked his hyung to get last night was burning a hole in his back pocket ( he meant that, it’d cost a pretty penny to get a custom rose gold kitten pendant, but hey, only the best for his Jimin. Right?) He should be doing one of the many hundred things he could be doing right now. Instead here he was, nose pressed against a frosted window, breath fanning out and condensation forming on the glass, watching a boy who was most definitely not his Jimin, laugh at something his friend said.


Taehyung felt a tug in his heart. The boy, who’d slowly become The Boy over the past week, leaned in to drop a peck onto the girls forehead, cheeks tinted pink. Taehyung hoped that the blush was from the biting cold, but he knew otherwise. It was the same tint that coloured his cheeks whenever he saw Jimin.

Jimin. He’d be heartbroken if he knew where Tae was. He couldn’t help but wonder. Would Jimin shed tears? He always was a fast crier, tears dropping at the smallest signs of sadness. Taehyung wondered whether this would be enough to break him...if he would crumple and fall down with tears streaming down his face. Taehyung could see this image so, so clearly in his mind.

Jimin, wearing one of Taehyung’s oversized sweatshirts, hem reaching down to his thighs, small hands grabbing on to the frayed ends of his sleeves- he always did look amazing with sweater paws,all soft and sweet and downright fluffy with his cute little nose and the soft freckles and an aura that reminded Taehyung of spring skies and soft flowers and Sunday morning cuddles. This Jimin, so soft with his little giggles and sweet kisses, soft even when he had lust in his eyes and Taehyung moaning into his mouth, soft even as he had tears and snot and guilt on his lovely, lovely face. Taehyung wondered…


Would Jimin break if he realized that Taehyung knew? That he’d known since the very first day.

About Jimin and The Boy.


Jimin and the boy. Jimin and the boy jimin and the boy jimin and the boy jimin and the boyjiminandth-

And unbidden, the reel began playing in his head.

Jimin, head thrown back in a moan. Jimin, strong thighs wrapped around a slender, toned waist. Jimin, soft and sweet and tasting of spring. His Jimin. With The Boy.

Taehyung felt his heart break for the millionth time since he had walked in on that scene, all too intimate, all too familiar. Taehyung could almost believe that it was him that Jimin was making love to, if it hadn’t been for the loud moans spilling out of his Jimin’s mouth. A familiar sound, unfamiliar name.

He quickly turns away, the sight of his boyfriends lover and his date too much for his heart brain soul to process without triggering another breakdown. And that's the last thing he wanted, needed right now. Seokjin-hyung would worry. And when Seokjin-hyung worried, Namjoon-hyung worried and so did Hoseok-hyung and Jeonggukie and-


Jimin would worry too, and he didn’t want Jimin to worry. His last episode had been nearly four months ago, back when they’d just started dating. It had happened on one of their dates, when the waiter had said something offensive to Jimin, and Tae had an acerbic reply but it had got stuck in his throat. The embarrassment of not being able to defend his Jiminie had rocked him, and left him breathless and anxious till he’d broken down in the middle of making out with Jimin later in his bedroom. And sweet, soft Jimin had understood. He’d soothed the tears away and put his anxiety to bay with his angelic words and soft smile. And Taehyung had looked up at him through clumpy eyelashes and had fallen in love all at once.

And here he was, four months later. Having an episode outside the cafe where Jimin’s lover sat ( he refused to call him ‘the boy Jimin cheated on him with’ he refused he refused he refused). He looks back at The Boy, and finds him staring into the girls eyes. There was love in those eyes. Maybe.. Maybe he was her Jimin. Maybe everything would turn out okay. Jimin would still look at Taehyung and call him his little Parisian puppy. And he would still be the same soft, sweet Jimin who tasted of Spring and they’d be happy. They would.

Except Jimin had slunk into his bed at 5am that day smelling of lavenders and second hand smoke. (taehyung had never thought he’d grow to hate the scent of his favourite flower as much as he does now. ) There had been a soft smile on his face. And when they’d kissed when they’d met between classes, Taehyung had tasted cinnamon and coffee. (Taehyung had always hated coffee, but now he thinks he despises it a lot more.)


Yet there was nothing left for Taehyung to do except wait and wait and hope, that Jimin would still come back home to him. Even if he spent his days in a stranger’s embrace, Jimin would return home to Taehyung and Chimmy and the lovely yellow drapes that Taehyung detests, but would never change, because Jimin loved them and he loved Jimin and would give up his very soul to make Jimin smile. And if it meant living with the knowledge that Jimin gave his love to another man every day, every night, he’d do that too.

And so Taehyung went back home, and he waited.



It had been roughly three months now. Taehyung waited, and waited and waited. His smiles had turned mechanical and his soul ashen. But Jimin kept coming back home to him, and that’s all that really mattered. He’d slip into bed with Taehyung at odd hours, kiss his hair and go to sleep, an arm thrown over him, soft snores slipping through once in a while. And Taehyung would watch him sleep. Jimin slept in an oversized sweater he’d stolen from Taehyung back when they were still just friends, juggling freshman year and the work that came with it and the feelings that had been slowly blooming for each other. He thinks back to how they’d made the transition from strangers to friends to lovers, almost seamlessly, like they’d been waiting for each other their entire lives. Soulmates, Jimin had whispered into his ear one night, we’re soulmates Taetae. Taehyung couldn’t help but agree. They shared almost everything- friends, interests, likes and dislikes. Taehyung’s friends- Yoongi and Jeongguk and Namjoon, people he’d known his entire life, two who’d grown up with him, and Namjoon, who he’d met in the quaint art cafe where he worked, and Jimin’s Hobi-hyung and Seokjin hyung, had quickly become fast friends. They were seven now, and thank God that they were seven. And just like that, Taehyung, with the strange smile and the weird clothes and dismal existence, had become Taetae with the lovely grin and the quirky clothes and the beautiful voice. He’d become Jimin’s Taetae, and had never felt happier. Or whole. And even as Jimin kept on slipping away at random intervals to meet The Boy, and came back with a wistful grin and the scent of smoke sticking to his skin and remnants of lust in his eyes, even as Taehyung stood on the verge of breaking down and asking him about The Boy, he was happy. In a twisted, all too dependant way, Taehyung was happy as long as his Jimin was happy.

Which is why he didn’t break down when Jimin turned down his invitation to his showcase, guilt and disappointment colouring his lovely eyes. He had to meet his study group for the mandatory physics class Taetae and I’m so sorry I’ll make it up to you I promise I’m sorry okay? And Taehyung quickly told him it’s okay and that it was only a run of the mill art showcase and that physics was more important so please don’t worry Jiminie. Even though Taehyung knew that their physics class had no study meetings that week and that the showcase was one of the highlights of the Art Departments yearly programme list and maybe Taehyung had wanted Jimin there because his work was the centerpiece of the showcase and guess who the muse was.

But he resists. Tells Jimin to go and study hard. Kisses him on the cheek. Watches as Jimin leaves. He doesn’t cry, it would make his face swollen and Seokjin hyung would kill him if he turned up to his own art showcase with swollen eyes and a snotty nose.  So he dresses in his best formals, the white silk shirt he’d worn on his six month anniversary dinner and the pearl earrings Yoongi hyung had given him for his 21st birthday this year. Slaps some lipstick on- there’d be local press at the gallery and the hyungs would be annoyed if he looked bad in the photos that would come in the paper.

The showcase is a success and Taehyung’s photo appears in the local paper. He looks strange in the photo, he thinks. Tall and statuesque with his newly dyed red hair falling into his eyes, lips in a soft smile that he thinks might have been directed at Hobi-hyungs antics. He looks melancholy and that’s not true. He’s happy, he thinks. He has Jimin, surely he’s happy. He’s happy and he would wait. Wait for Jimin to come home every night, and wait for those soft giggles.

( In a strange way, he thinks he waits for the familiar scent of lavender and smoke, that lulls him into a fitful, familiar sleep.)





“Jiminie has a lover.”

Jeongguk’s eyes widen. He’s known Taehyung for long enough that he knows he isn’t joking. There are a million questions coursing through his mind. And why wouldn’t there be. Anyone who’s seen Tae and Jimin believed that they were That Couple- the kind who would never stray from the other, who’d eventually end up married and happy with each other, maybe a cat and if Taehyung had his way, a puppy and given time, a child as well. Jeongguk and the others had been convinced that in five years time they’d be meeting for brunch in Taehyung’s and Jimin’s house. Hell- he’d started planning for Tae’s bachelor party that he knew he’d have to plan because Yoongi was lazy and Namjoon was Destroyer-Joon and couldn’t be trusted with anything involving breakable items. He’d planned on wearing an atrocious yellow suit to their wedding because Tae hates yellow but Jimin loves it and it was the perfect prank because Tae wouldn’t be able to say anything without letting out that he can’t stand Jimin’s favourite colour and Goddammit here he was, looking at Tae as he broke every one of Jeongguk’s dreams of a happy ending for his best friend.

“He’s got a lover, a boy from his class. H-he seems nice enough, Koo. Exactly Jiminie's type. Tall, handsome. Is in his contemporary dance class.”

With every word he spoke, Jeongguk could see Tae’s smile grow more artificial. Oh God. How long had this been going on for? He couldn’t help the half sob he let out, eyes prickling with tears because oh God ohgodohgod Tae must be hurting so much and he could do nothing and oh fucking hell why did this have to happen fuck you Universe fuck y-

Tae was still talking, long fingers holding onto his mug of hot chocolate (two marshmallows, no more no less because Kookie knew Tae and how Tae hated anything bitter and dark, how his taste in drinks reflected who he was a person, sweet and warm and god fucking dammit how could someone do this to his absolute Angel of a best friend) He saw how his knuckles were white, and even if Tae’s face was calm, there was a storm raging inside him. And Jeongguk was so, so sad. He pulls him into a hug, and runs fingers through his hair. Soft and silky despite the bleach and the dye. He was so, so beautiful.

“How did you find out?”

There was a pregnant pause before he answered. Jeongguk thinks Tae was preparing himself. He thinks he needs to prepare himself too, because this reality was surreal.

But the silence lasts only for a second before Tae tells him how he came home early to surprise Jimin one Monday in April ( the soft 4:47 pm that Tae whispered doesn’t escape Jeongguk’s ears. And it makes him sadder than he is, to know that Tae remembers everything with such distinct clarity ),  only to find Jimin fucking some boy on the bed that Tae had bought with Jimin when the latter had moved into his new single room in the dorms. ( he refuses to call it making love, because making love implies that Jimin has feelings for this boy and that would imply that Taehyung wasn’t enough, that his love wasn’t enough and Jeongguk refused to believe that, even for a single second.)  

And Jeongguk had thought that he’d never hate a person who wasn’t Yoongi’s monster of a dad who’d beaten him black and blue for ages and against whom a thirteen year old Yoongi had been helpless and against whom an eleven year old Taehyung and a nine year old Jeongguk had stood strong, armed with the knowledge that their best friend deserved better , but here he was, hatred colouring every image he had of Park Jimin. Because Taehyung deserved better too.

He urged Taehyung to confront Jimin, but he knew that that wouldn’t happen. Tae loved him far too much to risk Jimin leaving him. Jeongguk feels like punching the Universe in the mouth. Taehyung deserved better than a cheating piece of shit. Taehyung, with his soft skin and soft hair and soft smile and soft soul. Taehyung who’d risked the wrath of a man twice his size and three decades older than him for his broken, tormented best friend. Taehyung who’d wiped away his tears when his brother had called him a f*gg*t . Taehyung who loved with his entire being and expected nothing in return. Jeongguk may not know many things about the world, but he knew that Taehyung deserved the whole fucking world.


(he ignored the little voice that sounds suspiciously like Yoongi asking him whether better meant better, or if better meant Jeongguk. His feelings could wait. Right now, Tae needed Jeongguk, his best friend. And that’s exactly what he would give him.)


“You’ll be okay Hyungie.” They both knew that that was more a declaration meant for himself than for Taehyung. But that was okay. That was understandable, Jeongguk thought. If there was one other person who had the right to be completely devastated about this, it was Jeongguk. Not even Yoongi.

After all, it was Jeongguk that had introduced Taehyung to Jimin.


First Day of University. Jimin was terrified, and rightfully so. He’d taken a year off to go to America to learn dance before coming back for college and while at the time it had seemed like the best option, he was cursing himself right about now.Why, you ask?


Everyone he knew from school was already in their second year and he didn’t need any extra ammunition against him.

(Hafuckingha yes he is short. So.What.)

He was minding his own business and walking by, cup of tea bought with hard earned ( read: scammed off Jin-hyung) money, when some idiot wearing a tiger onesie decides to knock into him, spilling said scalding tea everywhere, including onto his very white T-Shirt that he borrowed (read: scammed from his cute lil roommate) and fucking hell Park Jimin doesn’t get Mad often (that was a lie) but a) who the fuck runs into someone else because their tiger hoodie was in their eye? b) wHO THE FUCK WEARS A TIGER ONESIE?

He tries to ignore the fact that Idiot In The Tiger Onesie is kinda cute. Because Park Jimin is Mad™ and he needs to give the Idiot a piece of his mind.


“Are you dumb or are you dumb?” He told himself that the downward tilt of the Idiot’s shoulders did not affect him. Hah.

“I-I’m so sorry. I saw you coming my w-way and I tried to swerve but you hit my shoulder straight on an-” Jesus how was this dudes voice so deep and why was Jimin mildly turned on and what the actual fuck was he crying?! “-didn’t mean to I’m so so-sorry-y”

The Idiot’s heart shaped face had completely turned sad, and his large brown shaped eyes had teared up and fuck Jimin felt like an asshole now.

“Its okay dude. Just pay me the amount needed for a-” he fishes the bill out his pocket because yes he’s that petty bitch who keeps bills so WHAT? “-venti chai latte.” Pause. “Also pay for dry cleaning this goddamn white t shirt. K?”

Idiot nods so fast Jimin thinks he’s going to dislocate his neck but whatever. His quota for being nice is over. So he waits for the Idiot to hand over the cash like the nice guy he is- extends his hand. Scrolls through instagram. Waits.

Something lands on his palm. Jimin thinks he’s done. He can go.

But no.

He looks up and sees that the Idiot has disappeared without giving him the money. Instead he’s given him a fucking note. A note.


“ Hey. I’m really sorry about the t shirt and your bad Starbucks order, and I promise I’ll make it up to you. Except I don’t have the cash. All I have is a coupon to a the pizza place down the block and I’m sorry but I need it because that’s my dinner. And prolly breakfast. So apologies dear friend. See you around.



  Tae “  


See Jimin doesn’t get mad often. But the Idiot has managed to do so TWICE in the span of ten minutes and that’s a feat if he said so himself. So help him God and Korean Jesus, if he so much as sees the guy ever again, he’s gonna get a punch to the face. And maybe a lesson in how to eat properly too.




Which is why three weeks later when Jeonggukie introduces him to his hyungs- Jiminie meet Yoongles hyung he’s a murderous cat in human form who survives off cuddles and coffee and Taehyungie-hyung he- wait wher- NO DON’T HIT HIM JIMIN WAIT


Two hours later, the three of them are sitting in Jeongguk’s and Jimin’s dorm room, Jimin with his arms crossed and petulant expression firmly stuck on his face, orange dyed hair messed up beyond recognition, evident tears in his favourite blouse and Taehyung- Jimin couldn’t help but be smug whenever he looked at Taehyung, The Idiot. His brown hair was all over the place, and his lipstick had been smudged beyond repair. Sometime during their scuffle, Jimin had managed to hit him on the face like he’d vowed and he had a rather prominent bruise forming on his jaw (and Jimin had the marks on his knuckles to match but nobody had to know, except kook who kept looking at him knowingly, that ass), he’d also lost his jacket and his shirt had torn off rather spectacularly. All in all, Jimin was very, very pleased. The winner of the fight was evident (cue the applause)


Except Jeongguk looked mad. Which was a rare sight in itself. Because when Kookie got mad it was either because there was no banana milk at the convenience store, or because someone beat him at overwatch. Jimin hadn’t seen him get this angry in the year and the half he’d known him, in America and here, as roommates. But here he was, ready to throw their asses. Which they could. Kid was a muscle pig through and through, despite being only 18.


“Look. What was that?” Fuck. His voice was all low and weird. Jimin felt bad. Jeongguk had invited him to a party to introduce him to his best friends and he’d gone and punched one of them, even if said friend was a dumb-ass. And fuck. It’d been someones birthday party, hadn’t it?

Shit shit shit. Jimin needed to apologize FAST.


“I’m so sorry Kookie, I didn’t mean to disrupt the party that way. It’s just. Do you remember the Idiot in the onesie I was telling you about?”

For a second, Jimin could see Jeongguk connect the dots and look at Taehyung who wore a sheepish expression on his pretty face.

(Whoa. Where did that come from?)


“Of course its him.” Why did I, for a moment, think otherwise? Of course it had to be him. I mean, there were 10000 odd students in this vicinity, and you had to run into Kim fucking Taehyung.”


“YAH. I’m older than you. Address me with respect.”  Jimin stifles a laugh at the Idiots indignant expression. Serves him right. Hah. As if Kookie would call him Hyung and not Jimin.


“I’m sorry Hyungie. I’ll buy you boba. But- really? You ran away without paying?? You could have called me! I would have paid for you?!”


“Yeah I know. But I didn’t wanna call you. You had basketball practice that day and you were sleeping before your scrimmage.”


Jimin felt he was intruding. Which was strange, considering he knew Kookie like the back of his hand and never before had he seen so damn… damn…


He decided he didn’t like it. There could only be one favourite hyung in his life. And that would be Park Jimin. Not this disastrous noodle-armed tiger onesie wearing cute Idiot. He’d prove it to everyone, whatever it took.    


Jimin was in love. Jimin was in love with this direction challenged, disastrous, noodle-armed tiger onesie wearing cute idiot.

He should have seen it coming really. Fate hated him. (Why would it give him a soulmate who hated Chai Latte of all things)

After their little… ehem.. scuffle.. at what turned out to be Taehyungs birthday party (fucking dweeb- who gets into a fight at their own birthday party? Kim Fucking Taehyung apparently.), Jeongguk had put his foot down and forced them into weekly ‘sessions’ where they were supposed to get over their issues for each other and become better friends because ‘hyungie and jiminie are both very very important to me and I want you both to get along so we can all chill and be weebs together and fanboy over G-Dragon sunbae-nim pls’. Fucking Jeon Jeongguk for being so darn cute and making him soft and malleable. But also thankyou Jeon Jeongguk for making him meet Taehyung every week, even though they’d long since buried their hatchet, and now called each other their ‘soulmate’.

(Jeongguk pretends to heave each time Tae skips into their room and leaps onto Jimin’s bed, nevermind that the letter was shirtless, and promptly starts to cuddle him. Taehyung called bullshit on it because he’d heard Jeongguk whisper ‘otp’ and take pictures when he thought they weren’t looking. Jeongguk denies this with every breath.A heated discussion ensues.Yoongi sleeps. Namjoon smiles knowingly. Jimin thinks that the world may never know. )  


But here he was, waiting for his TaeTae, outside what has quickly become their cafe,   wearing his favourite yellow sweater, the one Tae had given him on their two-month soulmate anniversary. (If Jimin bust a major uWu at that, he couldn’t be blamed. I mean. Taewasjusttoocuteforlifeokay). Today, they were celebrating their six month anniversary. And Jimin had it all planned out. Tae would walk into the cafe, probably wearing his stupidly cute sweater crop top or something, and he’d hug the living daylights out of Jimin, not that he’d mind. Then they’d sit down. They’d order one chai latte with extra cream and one boba, with whatever flavour Tae felt like that day, although Jimin had a sneaking suspicion that today was gonna be a strawberry kinda day. They’d talk, look at memes, crush over cute boys, cry over puppies(Tae), kittens(Jimin), babies(both of them), Jeongguk (both of them, loudly, dramatically-because they’d ‘adopted’ him and he was, in every sense, their baby now) and then order one hamburger with fries and one sandwich made with bun loaf thingies that they got only in their cafe. They’d cuddle some more, cry over how cute the other person looked. Then they’d walk (read: Jimin would walk and Tae would be holding onto him like a cute cuddly koala) towards Taehyung’s tiny apartment and watch Lion King and pass out on the couch for a while before one of them woke up and dragged the other person to bed. Then they would cuddle, and sleep.

It was the perfect six month anniversary plan. Jimin liked plans.


And Taehyung came into view, dressed in this lovely white crop top and jeans. He’d even worn the little hat the Jimin had gotten him last week. To say he was floored would be an understatement. Taehyung rarely wore jeans, preferring soft pastel skirts or when he wore pants, to wear long loose pants. But when he wore jeans, damn.He’d even worn soft blush and had had lined his eyes, something Jimin knew his clumsy best friend had taken loads of time to do. Damn. His soulmate was beautiful. That’s why his heart was racing. ( Pfft lies. Even without his subconscious cackling at him and his inner voice that weirdly sounded like a drunk Seokjin hyung whispering ‘you lovee him’ Jimin knew that he was in love and that Taehyung could stomp on him and he’d take it with a smile. Here, his inner Seokjin hyung whispered ‘whipped’ and to be fair, Jimin couldn’t agree more)


And as Taehyung walked into his line of sight, blissfully unaware of Jimin’s inner turmoil, Jimin realized once again how easy it was to fall in love with this precious boy who was smiling at him, corners of his lips stretched into a familiar boxy smile that Jimin would cherish for the rest of eternity in any way he could.  

And he would do anything to ensure that he didn’t damage this precious relationship they had. It was obvious that Taehyung saw him as his best friend, his soulmate, his partner in crime. But nothing more. And Jimin was okay with that. Jimin was content in their relationship as long as he had Tae. There would be no pining or angst in this household. Hah.


And maybe its because he was so lost in reasserting these lies to himself (no pining it seems; his inner Seokjin hyung unhelpfully pulled up images of Jeongguk trying to drown himself in his pillows as Jimin waxed poetry about Taehyung’s mole) he missed the Very Determined expression that had settled on Taehyung’s Very Beautiful Face.



“Taetae, you’re laaaaate. I’ve been waiting for you sin-”

“I love you.”

“-ce forever. Aww. I love you too. But you made me wait and so my chai latte is on you. Ha take that yo-”

“I knew you were gonna say that, you piece of boiled spinach.”

 Jimin’s mouth was hanging open, and nobody could blame him. P-Piece of boiled SPINACH? What the Actual Hell? Taehyung did come late.Jimin wasn’t making that up, he swears on his rubber duckling. But spinach? Really?

“Yah. I might be your soulmate but I’m still your hyung. Respect me!”

Taehyung face palmed. Jimin was indignant. He didn’t even say anything dumb this time!

“You actual idiot. I’m saying I love you. As in love you. As in I would love to kiss you and cuddle you and maybe kiss your dick also. And I know that you wanna kiss me because you’ve been pining over my ass for months now. So are you gonna be dumb about this or are you gonna say ‘yes TaeTae I love you my sweet’ and buy me boba like the good jiminie you are?’

“FIRST OF ALL I WASN’T PINING. SECOND…. what? Y-you… love me? As in love love me? A-and you wanna..” gulp. Jimin knew he was blushing because Taehyung was smirking the bastard. Fuck him and his pretty face. “k-kiss me?”

“ Well.. I’d kiss you now, but I think you might faint. So maybe later, when we’re in our apartment, when we’re cuddling.” Taehyung moves closer and drags his fingers over Jimin’s sweater, and Jimin hopes he can’t hear his heartbeat through the material, because if he did then he’d be teased about it for months damn it. Also, Taehyung had this Look in his eyes. And Jimin felt like he was gonna either a) spontaneously combust and die before Tae even kissed him or b) be eaten by Tae because the Look in his eyes screamed trouble and fuck if Jimin wasn’t turned o by it. But as much as a Big Bad Incubus as Taehyung was, he was also a Soft Boi who loves cuddles and hated bitter things and loved the scent of lavender and liked babies and small animals and wore oversized sweaters that made him look absolutely tiny and left Jimin absolutely devastated. And that was exactly how Jimin felt right now. Taehyung, in his cute little crop top and oversized plaid shirt, looming over Jimin, trapping him between the wall of the cafe parking lot and his body, making him feel hot all over and warm in his heart, all at once.


Jimin was in love.


“So? What do you say Park Jimin? Wanna buy me boba and call me cute pet names and make Kookie heave because we’re too damn cute and cheesy?”

“We already do that anyway.” Jimin couldn’t help but smile. Taehyung had this mischievous grin in place. Like a cute, aesthetic twinky little elf. He loved it.

“Huh. Guess we do. How about this. Wanna kiss me and kiss my dick? Suck face and suck dick? Make-”

“Shut up Kim Taehyung, you absolute dork. Kiss me and I’ll buy you Boba. Quick before Tzuyu gives our booth to someone else.”


They kissed. It wasn’t fireworks and explosions. It felt like coming home.

Jimin knew that his friendship with Taehyung had been perfect. That Taehyung loved him and he loved Taehyung and they would have their platonic happily ever after and he was perfectly happy with that. But here, standing in his Taehyung’s arms, kissing him, it felt like Jimin had been drifting and he finally came home.


“ I want strawberry boba by the way. I feel like strawberry today.”

“I already gave her our order. Come on.”


They’d be okay now.


Taehyung hadn’t changed one bit in the months since. He was still the same adorable, slightly dorky cute boy that had wormed into Jimin’s heart all those months ago and had decided to stay there permanently. And so was their relationship. They loved each other so, so much. Taehyung was still Jimin’s home.

He was still who Jimin would go to at the end of every day. He’d finally gotten an apartment after saving money and working double times at the art cafe and the diner. It was a studio, bigger than his old apartment, with large windows and a tiny kitchenette. They’d gone shopping for various knick knacks and had ended with buying a set of beautiful yellow curtains. Jimin had seen how Taehyung’s eyes had twinkled at that, how he’d grown to love the colour. They’d also caved and gotten a dark purple couch that Hobi-hyung and Joonie-hyung had made heart eyes at but turned out to go well with the yellow curtains. Jimin was very proud of his apartment interior choices. So was Taehyung. They’d christened the various surfaces of the apartment multiple times, in multiple positions until both of them were nearly passed out. ( Read: Taehyung had actually passed out mid sex and that’s when Jimin knew that it was time to sleep. Jeongguk had laughed at them for days)

But here they were. Two months into a relationship. Feeling like he was more in love than ever. But Jimin was so, so guilty,


See. Here’s the thing right?

There was a boy in his ballet class. A beautiful boy. A beautiful boy who made him feel strange things that he shouldn’t feel about boys who aren’t Taehyung. A beautiful boy with the most beautiful caramel skin and ice blonde hair and chiselled jaw that could probably cut steel if he tried. A beautiful boy who moved like the wind, and the waves and licks of flames in an inferno. And each time their eyes met, the boy would smirk and Jimin felt like he was being torn apart by the winds, drowned by the waved, burned by the flames… and he loved it.   


One night, when he was in bed with Taehyung, cuddling after sex, talking about everything and nothing, Taehyung had told him about a study that said that it took 21 days to create a habit, and 66 days to make it automatic. Taehyung had been talking about how he thinks Seokjin hyung was addicted to Mario, and Jimin had wondered whether he’d ever stop loving this precious boy.

Loving Taehyung had become a habit. Kissing him each morning. Hugging him. Bringing him boba. Teasing him. These were all habits that Jimin would never replace.

But here’s the thing about habits right?

A man can have a hundred habits and it wouldn’t make a dent in the first one.

In the eight months they’d known each other, and the two they’d dated, making Taehyung smile had become one of Jimin’s favourite habits. He had three habits that he loved. The second one was how he drank his tea.


Kim Jongin had become the third.


The first time they slept with each other, Jongin (call me Kai) had stared at him through the foggy practice room mirrors as Jimin fucked into him, fast and hard, skin slapping against skin, lewd moans escaping Jongin- no, Kai’s plush lips. Jimin had gone home feeling like a murderer. He’d gone to his room, Jeongguk thankfully at Taehyung’s place, and had scrubbed himself raw. And later, when he’d gone over to Taehyung’s apartment, he’d kissed his boyfriend desperately, not caring about the dying noises that Jeongguk and Yoongi were making from the side. He’d made a mistake, a terrible one. And he’d likely never forgive himself for it. But he’d never do it again. He’d never hurt his Taehyung, even if Tae didn’t know or wouldn’t know. Jongin had been a mistake.

And yet.

That night, cuddled up against his lovely, lovely boyfriend (ohgodhowcouldhedothistoTae),  he thought about Jongin. About how Jongin was so different from his Tae (he’ssuchaterriblepersonohgodhowcouldhe-), with his extremely confident gait and sensual words and the way he rolled his words and the way he never smiled, only smirked, and oh God, Jimin was thinking about the practice room again, about how their lips had slotted together so perfectly, about how Jongin had taken all of Jimin in and he shouldn’t be thinking about this but he did. It was a fantasy that he could taste.


Except, a week later, it happened again.

And again. And again. And again.

Until Jongin had wormed into his veins and had him smelling lavender and honey every time he though of sly eyes and a knowing grin. Kim Jongin knew he was intoxicating and he used it. And Jimin? Jimin knew he was untouchable- that he had a boyfriend waiting for him at home, loving and caring and sweet and tasting of home. But he was addicted. And he loved it.


Jimin had seen Taemin in one of their showcases, an upperclassman with a body that practically flowed along with the music. Jimin had sat there, awestruck, and maybe slightly turned on as Taemin moved and rocked his hips to the soft music. And under the dim lights, the small stage and the smaller audience disappeared until it was only Taemin, dressed in his sheer dark blouse and flowy dark mesh-like pants, dancing and turning and grinding and moving his hips in soft sensual movements, dark eyes on Jimin and Jimin alone. There was sweat beading his upper lip and he wanted to whimper when Taemin shimmied and barely touched his legs as part of the choreo. Next to him, Taehyung (sweetsweetTae) let out a soft ‘whoa’ as the performance ended and started clapping enthusiastically. They’d come to the showcase because of of Tae’s closest friends’ boyfriends or something like that was performing and Tae’s Minho-hyung had asked them to come and give support.


“Taemin-ssi did so well. Minho-hyung must be so proud. He’s been gushing about Taemin-ssi for so long now. I think all of our conversations involve him lol. Hyung’s WHIPPED.

“More whipped than you are for me?” Jimin didn’t know how he managed to keep his cool. But next to him, Taehyung was slowly turning pink, matching his cute little blouse and Jimin’s own cherry blossom pink hair that Jongin had convinced him to dye because the latter had been bored one evening and wanted to have fun. Taehyung had been very pleasantly surprised when he’d walked home one day with a head full of pretty pink hair. He’d been trying to convince Jimin to go pastel for ages with less than positive responses, so it had been a shock. Jimin had seen his eyes go wide with something that looked like sadness for brief second, and he’d told him later that night, when he was running his fingers through Jimin’s hair in awe, that he’d been disappointed that Jimin hadn’t let him colour it but had gone to a salon instead.



(“Tae, the last time you tried colouring your own hair, you ended up with bright green bangs.”

 “It was a STATEMENT okAY??”

“You were trying to dye your hair brown, Tae. Brown. It ended up green. You defied science!!”

“But-But.. that was aaaaages agooo”

“That was last month Tae. And Namjoon hyung lied. Your hair still looks slightly green in the light.”)


That had been the end of that. Tae had dyed his hair lavender the very next day, a very soft, shimmery hue that made him seem like a little fairy prince. Hobi-hyung  called him Soft. Jimin couldn’t agree more. Tae really was a soft, sweet human. He deserved to be bundled up and loved for eternity. Especially now. It was winter, and Jimin couldn’t help but think that a Winter Tae was the most beautiful Tae. Sure, he loved summer Tae. With the sexy dark blonde hair and the honey glazed skin and the legs that went for miles. But this Tae, all soft and bundled up in too large sweaters, and too many layers of ugly cashmere sweaters that Yoongi hyung probably gave him and the cute red nose and the sweater paws and the pouty lips and the-


Ugh. Jimin just wanted to bundle Taehyung up, carry him to his apartment and feed his baby an unlimited supply of hot chocolate. How he loved this boy. (sweetsweetTaewhodeservesbetterbetterbett-)


“Minniiiiieee I’m tiiiiiiiired lets gooooo”

That’s another thing Jimin loved about Winter baby Taehyung. He was so much more clingy and cuddly and whiny. Which was Jimin’s role. But once the first gust of cold wind hits Seoul, that’s it- Clingy Tae makes an appearance. And everyone loved it. Jeongguk and Yoongi told him about the two of them would wait for winter just so that they could coddle Tae without getting kicked in the shin. And later Namjoon after he met them.

So here they were, sitting knee to knee in their cafe, sipping their hot chocolates and being clingy boyfriends. Jimin loved it. They hadn’t had time like this in a while. Whatever free time they had went to either studying or Tae’s art showcases or Jimin’s practices or-


Or Jongin. It had been a week since he’d last seen Jongin. Sure they text. But never about what they do in private. It was too risky, too dangerous, there was too much on stake for Jimin. And as he’d come to find out recently, for Jongin as well.

Soo Jung was a beautiful woman. A bit intimidating, but he’d seen Taehyung hang out with her once or twice and the realization had crushed him.


When he first saw them together, he’d been walking back from Kai’s room after a ‘date’. It had been a rough day at Uni and he just needed that familiar scent of citrus around him. Walking back, he’d felt lightheaded when he saw Tae and Soo Jung walk towards him, and for a moment he thought they knew they knew they knew and shit shit shit he had to apologize to Tae baby I-

They’d been going to Soo Jung’s apartment for a dress rehearsal. Tae was modelling for her. That’s all. But the fear, it had persisted until Jongin kissed it away, fucked it away.


And Jimin thinks he’s done. He has Tae. And somehow, in this twisted fucked up way, he has Jongin too. And that’s enough.

Until Jongin introduces him to Taemin later during another showcase, and talks to him oh so sweetly in his ear, breathes in words that make Jimin’s pants tighten. The entire night of the dance showcase he fidgets, and he doesn’t know how he gets through dancing an entire choreo without making any mistakes or drawing anyone’s attention to his dick.

Except Jongin notices, he always does, and he presses the heel of his palm against his hardening length as Jimin tries not to moan, back pressed up against the very thin walls of the bathroom. He thinks he won’t moan. Jongin’s been playing games with him the entire night, whispering filth into his ear each time he stood next to him- about them, about Jongin and Taemin, about Jimin and Taemin and about the three of them. And Jimin almost feels guilty, for making Taemin the subject of their perverted games. He seems like such a nice guy, and Tae waxes poetry about how in love Minho and Taemin are in. And Jimin feels guilty as Jongin strokes him asking him about whether he wants Taemin to be the one doing this instead.


And then Taemin walks into the washroom stall, which Jimin belatedly realized was unlocked, drops to his knees and takes Jimin into his mouth in one go, staring up at him with eyes that spoke of lust and a thousand other sins.


And there, in that tiny bathroom stall, surrounded by the sounds of whispered filth and heated moans, Jimin’s fourth addiction began, fervently.


Habits were as deadly as they were addictive, Jimin knew. His dad had been addicted to smoking for the longest time, and he’d battled his addiction since the day he’d met his mom. It had been the steepest of uphill battles, and his mom had suffered so much, and so had Jimin. His dad had come out his addiction deeply unhappy, angry and battling stage-1 cancer. He’d made it through, thankfully. But Jimin had hated cigarettes with such a burning passion ever since. He hated the smoke, he hated the smell, and now… now, he hated how much he loved the smell of smoke and mint sticking to Taemin’s skin.




Ages ago, Taehyung had sat in his little makeshift fort, tiny hand holding his Koo’s tinier hand, and also holding his Yoongi hyung’s torn and thankfully not bloody (not this time thank god was a thought that no five year old had to think, especially about their seven year old friend) t shirt, he’d made a promise, whispered into his sleeping hyung’s ears that he’d grow up and protect him, that he’d stand up for them both. That’s what his Papa had taught him and his Papa fought bad guys and came home and his Mama told him that he was a good guy and that he protected people. That good people protected other people. Except his Papa hadn’t come home in a long time and his Mama would cry at night, after she put Taehyung to sleep. She thinks he hadn’t noticed how every time she saw Koo’s Papa play with Koo at the playground, she’d cry and Taehyung didn’t like to see his Mama cry. So he’d decided. He’d be like his Papa and protect people too. He’d protect his Mama. His Mama would then smile. And maybe- maybe then, his Papa would come back home.

He’d told this to his Grandma and she’d told him that he was a good boy. Good boy’s would protect others too. He’d protect his Yoongi- hyung from his bad, mean Papa. He’d pinky- promised and  everyone knows that Taehyung never breaks a pinky promise. Koo had dared him to eat a worm if he lost a tooth and he’d pinky promised and he’d done it even though he was disgusted. Because Taehyung never broke pinky promises. He wouldn’t break this one either.  


(Papa when will you come home Papa when will you come home Papa whe-)



Except, fifteen years later, here he was, snuggled in between his Koo and his Yoongi hyung, sobbing crying wheezing screaming because-


Because he’d failed. He’d failed and he’d been abandoned again. And it didn’t hurt any less any less any less. His Jimin had been slipping away quietly every day into the arms of another until he’d just completely left and Taehyung didn’t know what to do.

He’d been a good boy. His Papa had promised. Jimin had promised. Mama had promised, and so had Nana. They’d all promised. They’d all left. Just like that.

And soon, Taehyung knew that Yoongi-hyung would get tired of dealing with his tears at 2 in the morning and his fears and his overly clingy self and leave, and Koo would leave to save his own heart because he might not have realized but Taehyung had noticed the heartbreak that shined through his eyes every time he saw Jimin and Taehyung, because heartbreak was an emotion that Taehyung could write rhapsodies on, and he knew that in time it’d rot Koo from the inside out and that was something he didn’t want for his precious, precious friend.  

Taehyung had always kept his pinky promises. Every single one of them, starting from kindergarten. Maybe even younger… at least that’s what Nana always said. Except, apparently his pinky promises didn’t mean anything to anyone because that night so long ago, after Jimin had soothed away his fears after his panic attack, he’d made him a pinky promise and had told him that he’d always be there.

But he’d left he’d left he’d left and now he was crying into Jeongguk’s pretty pink sweater and he felt so guilty for ruing it with his sweat and tears and snot but he couldn’t stop.

Yoongi hyung was saying something, but his voice was muffled and it sounded like it was coming from the end of a tunnel. Taehyung didn’t know what he was saying but it had to be something about stopping the tears.

But Taehyung had tried.

He’d been crying since Jimin had left in the dead of the night, leaving just a note that had a single word on it. ‘Sorry’. Not even, ‘I’m Sorry’. Just a plain, cold-hearted sorry, as if that would speak for the year and a half’s worth of memories they had racked up since they’d met and the months and months of pain Taehyung had had to endure because of Jimin, knowingly or unknowingly. And despite everything, Taehyung had stayed and had waited for Jimin to come home to him everyday, despite him smelling like lavenders and smoke and despite the number of times Taehyung would break down and cry whenever he caught the faintest hint of the scents from anywhere. And Jimin was sorry. So of course Taehyung had cried, he’d kicked and screamed and had torn down the ugly yellow curtains in their now shared apartment that Jimin had moved into last month. He’d called Yoongi up and in choked sobs had asked him to take Chimmy away before he did something to the cat that he would later regret- like give it away to their very rude neighbors who were moving away to Busan. Yoongi had known in a second what was wrong. Of course he’d known. They’d tried telling Taehyung multiple times over the past two months to leave Jimin, leave his apartment come stay with us please Taehyung just leave him. Taehyung had, of course, not. Instead, he’d waited.

And now Jimin had left. He’d taken all of his clothes and his shoes and his posters and everything. And he’d left behind everything Taehyung had ever given him. Packed into pretty little boxes. It had been pre-planned. Done while Taehyung was sleeping or showering or in class. And he hadn’t even had the faintest of ideas. What Jimin couldn’t take with him when he left that night, his friends came to pick up the next day.

It was the Boy and Minho-hyung’s Taemin and when they stood side by side, he caught a whiff of smoke from one and lavender from the other and his heart broke for the two other people caught up in this game, unknowingly and unwillingly, because he knew Soo Jung and he knew Minho and he knew how much they loved these two boys standing before him, like how much he loved (loves) Jimin, and he couldn’t help but ask himself why their love wasn’t quite good enough for them after all.


(His was never enough after all- his papa had left his mama had left and now his Jimin had left left left-)



And Jeongguk and Yoongi-hyung and Namjoon-hyung and Seokjin-hyung and Hobi-hyung were there for him, bringing him food and cuddling him and letting him cry and curse and scream and hit but also sob brokenly as they held him close, tears streaming down their faces because their Taehyung was hurting because of their Jimin and they didn’t know what to do.

They didn’t know know what to do because Taehyung knew knew that on the other side of the spectrum was Jimin. And he wondered. Would Jimin be crying ugly tears like he was? Would he be silent and brooding in guilt? Or would he be raging, breaking his little glass dolls that Hobi hyung had given him every now and then?

Or- Or would he be drowning his pain in the arms of two others?

He’d asked Hobi-hyung and had been fed a pretty white lie in return. That Jimin was hurting as much as he was and was probably crying or breaking things or getting piss drunk in some bar and Tae -

Tae pretended that it gave him vengeful pleasure but inside he could only hope that his Jimin was safe and healthy and that he was eating well and that there were people who cared for him (his mind kept pulling up Taemin’s and the Boy’s faces at that and Tae couldn’t help the tears that broke his mask) and that’s all he really wanted, needed.

Jimin’s happiness has been his happiness for so long and he knew that if leaving him made Jimin happy, then that’s what was right. Eventually Taehyung would be able to lift his head from the bed without tears  blurring his vision. Eventually Taehyung would be able to look at the things he’d owned together with his Jimin and they wouldn’t pierce throw his heart so strong. Eventually he’d feel the need to eat again, to sleep again… to breathe again.

But for now, the thought that somewhere, somehow, Jimin was happy and that was enough.



The days had softly gone by without Taehyung really noticing.Winter had come and had gone. Yoongi had made sure that Taehyung wore his layers and Seokjin made sure that he was taken care of when he fell sick during the holidays, when everyone had gone back home. Taehyung was supposed to go back home too, except he hadn’t had the energy to go home and face the questioning looks from his step cousins or worse- the pity.

The pity accompanied him everywhere these days. It had started when someone, apparently a freshman had posted on twitter about how she’d caught Jimin making out with Jongin in the broom closet in the practice room. Soo Jung, of course had been furious, except they’d long been broken up by then. But she’d still carried out the duties of an ex-girlfriend with frightening precision, walking up to Jimin one day and asking him how long he’d been seeing Jongin. The underlying question of whether they’d been sneaking off behind her back hadn’t been spoken out loud, but everyone knew what she’d meant. If Jimin’s silence wasn’t enough, then the look on Jongin’s face was.

Taehyung had quietly watched on as Soo Jung left the little alcove, tears flowing down her face, clutching whatever was left of her broken heart.

Two days later, Minho had rounded up on Taehyung while he was quietly having lunch with Namjoon hyung and had asked him with a wavering voice and eyes that begged him to lie to him whether Taemin had been telling him the truth as he’d walked out on him.

Taehyung had remained silent then too, as Minho broke down before him into pieces and pieces and then began to rage and to curse at Jongin and at Jimin and at the Universe.

Never at Taemin though. He’d stayed till long after Namjoon hyung had left, with a curse that sounded vaguely like Jimin’s name. He’d stayed till long after the sun had set and Minho’s sobs had died down to quiet whispers of Taemin’s name. He’d waited.

Minho hadn’t. He’d graduated the year before and had been waiting for Taemin so that they could leave together- apply to the same entertainment company. So he’d left. He’d left and had hugged Taehyung and had kissed him on the mouth sweetly before he left, whispering sweet goodbyes that had made them both cry. Taemin hadn’t wished him goodbye, he later learned.

He supposed that was how it would be between them now. No communication. No hello’s no hugs no kisses no cuddles when Taehyung was sad no movie nights that turned to pillow fights no story nights no more dates in their cafe no more Jimin and Tae.


After Minho left, some of his old drama club friends had reached out to him. Taehyung hadn’t seen most of his friends outside his hyungs and Jeonggukie for a long time and he figured that he might as well. These were people that he’d known for ages. He’d played with the idea of being a Theatre Arts major for a while before honing down on his major and along the way he’d met so many wonderful people. Some of them had graduated and were steadily growing names in the Korean Drama industry and their busy schedules had given Tae ample excuse to not meet them. But now Minho hyung had left too, and with him the last of their little Drama Club had left the University. Taehyung felt alone. Because he knew that Namjoon hyung and Hobi hyung were graduating soon, and that Yoongi hyung was nearly done with his grad program. He knew that Seokjin hyung was planning on applying to a culinary school abroad and that Hobi hyung would probably go abroad too. Namjoon hyung and Yoongi hyung had been talking about travelling after they graduated and Taehyung knew that Yoongi would be telling him any day now- he’d seen the tickets in his studio the last month when he’d gone to visit. Jeonggukie had already been in America for a good two months now, part of an exchange program that would help him get selected to some of the best Entertainment Companies or dance studios in Korea and he’d left only after Taehyung had reassured him a million times that he was doing okay now- that he had his classmates and his art friends and his drama friends and the hyungs.

And he’d pinky promised, on top of that. And Taehyung always kept his promises. And he was slowly realizing that pushing away his friends would do nothing to help him heal.

And so, for the first time in months, Taehyung picked up his phone and texted someone outside his hyungs and Kookie. And that weekend, for the first time in forever, Taehyung dressed up- he wore his really pretty pink blouse that Seokjin hyung had given him for his birthday but he’d never worn because he was perpetually sad. He’d even worn eyeliner, something he hadn’t done in close to a year. He looked in the mirror and he knew he looked soft. His drama club hyungs would probably want to cuddle him to death. Taehyung didn’t mind. He clicked a few pictures of himself to send to Seokjin hyung and ask him how he looked, did not burst into tears when he realized that he couldn’t ask Jimin for his opinion anymore and gave himself a well deserved mental pat on the back before he left his new apartment- the one he’d moved into right before Jeongguk had left. It had pretty lavender drapes and the old lilac couch had stayed. Except Taehyung had paid a bit of extra cash to revamp the couch to turn it into a light, pale pastel lilac. It matched with his walls and his other furniture and Taehyung found that although his apartment was tinier than his old one and looked like it was occupied by a witch with all the purple and black and silver, he loved it. It was slowly beginning to feel like home.

For the first time in forever Taehyung left the apartment feeling like he would be going out and coming back without losing a piece of himself along the way. And if he said he smiled all the way to the park where he would meet the drama club hyungs, then he wouldn’t be lying now would he.



It was at Hobi Hyung’s dance recital that Taehyung saw Jimin next. It had been a shock to the system of course. But by then Taehyung had taught himself how to handle his emotions well enough to ensure that he did not break down in front of him. The fact that Jimin had his arm around Jongin’s waist while Taemin looked on with an expression that Taehyung could only describe as ‘fond’ had not helped his efforts in any way, but it still served as a harsh but needed reminder that this Jimin wasn’t his Jimin, that him going up to him and scooping him up in a big bear hug would only cause more problems than anything else, that this Jimin was in fact, happy. And the last thought was the proverbial knock to the head that had him turn his head away and chug his flute of bad overly sugary punch. Maybe if he drank enough of these, he’d die of diabetes before the function was over and he’d not have to see Jimin being affectionate towards his… boyfriends ever again. That was a solid plan if any.

With that set in mind, he walked towards the little refreshment counter set up ear the back and poured himself ample amount of really bad punch. Maybe diabetes was a bad way to go after all.

In his tombstone he’d have it written that he died a ‘suga-ry’ death. Yoongi hyung would probably scoff at that. Seokjin hyung would probably laugh though. Jimin would probably hit him and tell him never to-


There he went again.

It had been approximately three weeks since he’d accidentally thought of Jimin as his best friend/boyfriend/soulmate in present term and not as if he’d been dumped by the guy in question like a sack of potatoes. Bad potatoes. Really bad potatoes. The kind that grew roots and were attached and fuck was he tearing up?!


Hoseok hyung would be pissed, he hadn’t even lasted a month this time. Jin hyung was now a whole 1000 won richer.   Tae was glad that his pain could be of use to someone, and damn it why was he being so salty when he was the one who’d jokingly suggested the bets in the first place.

He tugged on his very expensive, very important Gucci tie that Hyunsik-hyung had gifted him when he’d come back from his shoot in L.A. Tae had been itching to wear it for ages, except, wearing a 400 dollar designer tie to the local McDonald’s wouldn’t exactly be its intended use. Jeongguk, who’d been back for a good one week by then, had of course suggested that he wear it to bed which had led to an embarrassing event which involved Taehyung trying to scare Jeongguk by jumping out of his closet at night, wearing nothing but his Very Expensive Tie only to slip and fall face first into his bed which was being occupied by a very irate Jeongguk and a very embarrassed Yoongi hyung… a very embarrassed naked Yoongi hyung and oh God he should have known. The little glances and the small touches and the times he’d caught Yoongi hyung texting someone and he asked only to be told its just Kookie. Except it wasn’t just Kookie. It was Kookie. And Yoongi hyung had a hand around himself trying to keep the comforter on and Taehyung had had a distinct moment of clarity when he realized that he was in a room which had three naked people and only two people were meant to be naked, and he wasn’t one of them. So he’d done what he would have done in any other situation and had punched Kookie on the shoulder and had winked and might have made some sort of crude gesture at the both of them and had hightailed it out of there, wearing only a bathrobe that he’d nicked from Jeongguk.

He hadn’t worn the tie since then. Maybe he shouldn’t have worn it today either. He loved his Hyunsik-hyung but maybe the tie was a bad luck charm, spelled to bring out the worst luck and make Taehyung see things that he really ought not to see. Like Yoongi hyung’s hand around Kookie’s dick. Ew.  That had been a nightmare fiasco. Or Jimin looking at Taemin like how he used to look at Taehyung. Phew. If the Great Closet Incident was a nightmare this was pure Hell. Because Jimin was walking towards him, and apparently he hadn’t spotted Taehyung yet.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck. He had to scram. Gotta blast, Jimmy Neutron style. But his very (non)fashionable escape was ruined by him bumping into one(1) very hard chest courtesy of one Kim Jongin and fuck he’d spilled his punch all over himself. He’d ruined his Very Expensive Tie and his Not Really Expensive but Very Pretty Shirt and now he could feel his eyes tear up.


“Oh my God I’m so sorry Taehyung-ssi. I swear I didn’t see you there. I can pay for dry cleaning. I’m sorry.”

Jongin looking reproachful and mildly guilty felt strange because he had an image of Jongin in his mind that vaguely made him seem like some sort of modern day incubus slash black swan Natalie Portman slash K-Pop Idol. And here, Jongin was trying to rub off the stain and somehow Taehyung didn’t have the heart to tell him that he was just making it worse. Jongin looked like he’d never had to deal with a stain before and maybe that was true. Jimin was notorious for being a stickler for clean clothes, and he’d practically forced Taehyung to do his laundry every week. And he’d loved doing laundry( rather, hated paint stained clothes) so much that most of the times, Taehyung would come back home only to find a freshly folded stack of laundry with a cute note attached. And maybe, maybe now Jimin would be doing the same for him, for them. It was a sad thought, it ought to make him sad but knowing that Jimin would be happy still gave him some form of happiness, as small as it may be. Jongin’s puppy face was also effective and served as a good way to cancel out any negative thoughts.

“It’s okay Jongin-ssi. I can manage. I know stains like the back of my hand. Art major, remember?” Why did he say that again? He sounded really, really dumb and who says something like ‘I know stains like the back of my hand’ Kim Taehyung, death by diabetes here we come.

Except Jongin was laughing and it didn’t sound forced? Taehyung was really confused. Was this some strange fan-fiction verse where Jongin and Kai were twins and Jongin was the nice dumb one and Kai was the sexier Regina George but ballet? Because the boy’s eyes were closed and his head was thrown back and he looked like he’d genuinely felt that the joke(?) was funny and Taehyung was pure confusion. He wished someone would come save him.

It was just his luck, or lack thereof that Taemin happened to be that someone.


It was less saving, more adding to his misery. Because Taemin was also the exact opposite of what he’d thought of him as. The intense dancer with the passionate desire for more. Turns out that Taemin was as human as Jongin was. He made lame puns and tried too hard to make Taehyung laugh. And when there was the obvious awkward silence because these were the two boys that his Jimin had left him for and no amount of bad jokes would make him forget that, or as it turns out make them forget that either, Taemin had reached out and with eyes that had suddenly welled up,looked up at Taehyung and had apologized. Taehyung had run out of the hall.Hobi hyung would understand. Because Taehyung knew that if he stayed in the hall for another minute, he’d probably puke all over the really fake potted plants next to the punch counter.

He ran from there to the only place where he knew no one would bother him for a good while. The rooftop.

See, the rooftop had initially been Jimin’s idea, Taehyung admits. He was kinda scared of heights and had resisted with every bone when Jimin had brought up the idea of having a secret place up in the rooftop of the science building- particularly, the building which housed the astronomy club because that was so cheesy and he’d read too many Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy fanfictions to believe that it’d turn out well. Except it had. It had become as much their spot as the cafe had. And the best part about the rooftop was that nobody knew about it. Which is why Taehyung kept coming back to the rooftop every once in a while. After Jimin had left, he’d come every other day hoping that he’d catch Jimin there- maybe talk to him, see if Jimin still loved him. Except he hadn’t seen him. Nobody except Taehyung and maybe a few stray cats had come to the little tent they’d constructed on the rooftop and eventually Taehyung had stopped going there. There were memories associated with it that he desperately needed to get over.

Except now he was going back after how many months because he didn’t know where else to go for some peace of mind.

The rooftop was dusty as fuck. Nobody had cleaned it lord knows how long and Taehyung only hoped he wouldn’t find dead animals in the little blue tent they’d made there. Once there had been fairy lights and an abundance of cushions there, but Taehyung had taken it all down one day when the pain of the memories got too much.

He wished he hadn’t, because the cold cement floor was hurting his butt and it was colder than he expected because his punch stained shirt was sticking to his skin and he should have thought this through.

Except, five minutes in and Taehyung knew that this was exactly what he needed. He’d discarded his tie and his shirt was unbuttoned over his thin undershirt and maybe his nipples were freezing, but his mind was clear and he could think without his brain constantly going ‘???’.

He’d take that for now.


The thing is. He’d been healing. He’d had copious amount of help, of course. But he was healing. And he was not really ashamed to admit that he’d created an image of the three of them- Jimin, Jongin and Taemin- in his mind that contradicted everything he’d seen today. He’d hoped that Jongin was some mean sex bomb and he’d seduced Jimin or had been seduced by Jimin because of the allure of the game or something like that. He’d hoped that Taemin was this extremely passionate person with too much passion and he couldn’t contain it and Jimin happened to be the channel. That the three of them had met because of a mutual need for the physical and had stayed for a need for physical love.


Except today, he’d witnessed moments that had told him otherwise when he so firmly wanted to believe his version of the story.

Maybe they had gotten together because of lust. Except he’d caught a flash of what looked an awful lot like love in all of their eyes today, and he’d seen the version of Jongin that Soo Jung had once called Nini so fondly and the version of Taemin that Minho had said anyone would want to protect and bundle up and carry around in their pocket and he’d seen Jimin look at them the same way Jimin used to look at him at one point in time- so fond, so affectionate, so madly in love… and it had broken Taehyung more than everything else had. For a whole hour.

Taehyung had wept for an hour, silently, as he mourned the possibilities of an eternity with his Jimin. But he knew that this Jimin wasn’t his. That this Jimin was someone else’s happy memory, their favourite thing to see. It had been a very long time since Jimin had left, and since then Taehyung ad changed and had grown in ways that he would have never even envisioned back then. Not that he needed a break up to instigate growth. It was just that Jimin leaving him had left a huge hole in his heart and soul, and Taehyung had attempted to fill in those holes through growth and learning and change and discovery and it had worked. It had worked because while Taehyung had days where he would see the colour yellow and want to cry, he also had days where he painted sunsets in vivid shades of yellow, not because they reminded him of Jimin- but because they reminded Taehyung of a beautiful evening spent in Jeju with himself.

It was almost as if he was growing to learn himself and all his quirks all over again, after the drastic loss that he’d faced when Jimin had left.

And so, Taehyung sat there, on the rooftop that was once theirs, clutching a whole eons worth of memories and fondness for a boy, now a man, who’d entered his life and made it wonderful for such a beautiful brief period of time, only to leave it and let Taehyung learn about himself again.

Jimin was happy. Taehyung was going to be happy too.


Paris was different. It was damper than he’d expected, louder too, with groups of giggling college girls passing by the bar where he’d managed to get a part time job at, every so often. The first few days in Paris had been spent visiting all the various tourist traps and dragging Jin hyung to art museums that had him groaning and grumbling, not unlike the old man they teased him to be. In turn, Jin hyung introduced him to the most awe inducing parts of the french cuisine. In short, he bet Taehyung to eat snails. Taehyung promised him that he would before the end of his stay in Paris and weaseled his way out of that trap. He’d drunk copious amounts of wine and had stuffed himself full with his hyung’s cooking. It had been something of a spontaneous decision, visiting Jin hyung nearly a month before his birthday celebrations, instead of joining everyone else in December when they’d fly in. He’d been texting his hyung and they’d been sending each other photos and suddenly Taehyung had been struck with an this intense longing to see his friend who he hadn’t seen for a year. So he’d booked his ticket and two weeks later, he’d landed in Paris and had crashed into Jin’s waiting arms. It had felt something like home.

He’d been surprised at how much Jin had changed. Physically he looked nearly the same, maybe a little broader around the shoulders, hard callouses and a few tiny cuts on his hands, long healed- marks of a chef in training, according to Jin’s colleagues who’d taken to Taehyung rather quickly for people who had such a massive language barrier between them. But Taehyung had seen Jin since he was an introverted boy who could barely talk to someone without his face turning red, and flash forward to Paris, and Jin hyung was holding fluent conversations with strangers in French and English, stuttered and broken but with a confidence that had made Taehyung bloom with pride.

And Taehyung had changed too. Where he once looked outwards for company, now he had himself and he liked how his own presence was enough. And in the days where Jin hyung would come home late, mind miles away on a billion other things, Taehyung would take to the gardens.


Aaah. The gardens. Perhaps his favourite part of Paris was Jin’s gardens. The previous owner had planted a few plant trees and shrubs but it had fallen in neglect and needed a lot of care. Jin hyung had reached out to Taehyung for advice when he’d moved in last year. Taehyung, who’d grown up weeding and picking flowers and trimming and hedging his grandmas gardens and fruit farm had seen the garden for what it was, an opportunity. So he’d sent plans and designs to Jin hyung who’d followed it religiously and the garden had bloomed beautifully. And after Taehyung had moved in, it had become his favourite haunt. He’d sit for hours under the old chestnut tree and paint, sometimes not moving till his hyung called him to eat dinner. He like to think that the plants liked his presence there, that maybe in another alternate universe he might have been a witch who could coax them to words.It didn’t seem that far fetched either. The lilacs seemed to grow towards the spot where Taehyung usually sat, and he like to think that it was a sign of their affection, although they’d refused to bloom in the year since Jin hyung had moved in. Maybe they would this spring. Taehyung hoped so.  He loved each plant in the quaint little garden, but the lilacs were his favourite. Lavenders had been, once upon a time. But now, even after so much time, the thought of lavenders made his skin feel tight, like he would jump out of his own body any time soon. Lilacs though. Lilacs reminded him of the months he’d spent with Jeongguk and Yoongi as children and teens and adults, connected inexplicably through each of their differences. Lilacs were soft winter nights and the colour of the first skirt he owned, the one he’d saved money for and worn for the very first time, feeling soft and pretty and like he belonged. Lilacs reminded him of home, of his grandma’s perfume and of the tang of Daegu in her voice.

He’d never let the other plants know but Lilacs were his favourite and he’d hoped to see them bloom before he had to go. Except it was winter and he didn’t live in a Disney movie for flowers to bloom in winter just to satisfy his own happiness. The lilacs, precious as they were, were very headstrong and Taehyung knew they’d only bloom when they wanted to. They’d have to wait.

And in between waiting for his lilacs, and waiting for everyone else to join them, the month had gone by without them noticing. It hadn’t snowed even once and Kookie had been dramatically disappointed as he’d explained how it rarely snowed in Paris during December. They’d all hoped to have some snow so that the birthday party pictures would turn out aesthetic and unlike the previous time where the birthday group picture had been taken in the form of screen-shots of Skype calls. Jin hyungs last birthday had been spent wishing him through a conference Skype call from difference parts of the country, of the world- connected by their mutual affection for each other and really bad Wi-Fi. Jimin had been in on the call too, except he hadn’t been on the other side of world or even on the other side of the country. Jimin had been sitting three meters away on Jeongguk’s bed, as the three of them had met up to call Seokjin hyung for his birthday- awkwardness swept aside in favour of Jeongguk’s passable internet connection. They’d exchanged a few words of course, while Jeongguk had looked on in obvious discomfort. The two of them hadn’t made up although Taehyung had been urging Jeongguk to move on. Everyone else had. It was only Jeongguk, and Taehyung, that were uncomfortable around Jimin and it made Taehyung sad to see the very evident cracks in the friendship between the ex-roommates. Taehyung had tried, the night of the call, to get Jeongguk to talk to Jimin, but it had ended with the younger coldly asking Jimin to get out of his room. But maybe it was because Jeongguk did not want to risk Taehyung feeling guilty guilty about something, he’d ultimately caved after a few weeks. A year later, they were on some sort of truce that involved slowly getting back the trust that Jimin had ruined through his actions. (Taehyung was proud of his best friend. Yoongi was proud of his fiance. The fact that the both of them were proud of the same person made Taehyung’s brain short circuit for a few seconds every now and then.)


He’d finished his degree a while back and had been working for a gallery in Daegu, back home. It was hard work, but it paid and it allowed him to work with art and that was the most he could ask for right now. However, one of his hyungs from his old drama club had been telling him about a job opening abroad and Taehyung had initially laughed at it, but two weeks in Paris had changed him. He’d felt more at home in this strange land with the strange food and the strange language than he’d ever had in Korea and he’d spent a few guilty nights thinking about that. He thinks he’d give it a shot.


His phone rings. The ring tone is an old SNSD song, nearly a decade old. Nobody stops and stares. He sets down his bags on a store front and barely manages to pick up the call before it stops ringing.


“Yes? Hyung? Yeah. I’m almost there. There’s a lot of snow and I have a lot of bags. Not a good combo. Gimme five. Kbyeeeee”

Yoongi hyung had sounded annoyed. But he knew that he was just impatient. It was the first time in almost three years that the seven of them would be hanging out together. The fact that they’d all flown in from different parts of the world made in so much more special. Taehyung waddled home faster, hoisting his 245789025 (read: three)  grocery bags higher.


The cottage was not as big as one would expect seven grown men would need. But when you took into consideration the fact that there were two couples, two people (Jimin and Hobi) who had been touring as part of an idols back up dance troupe and had to room together often, and one Taehyung- that made four rooms. Or three rooms and a living room because Taehyung was apparently sleeping on the couch now that everyone had come.  

(Taehyung knew that he was pouting and that he was a sight, with his red nose and his very pink beanie and his very red nose. He looked soft and he knew that if he worked the aegyo today, Seokjin hyung would let him use the ‘extra’ extra bedroom that apparently only his parents used. *cue pout*)   


Inside, Seokjin hyung was trying to teach Jimin some recipe or the other and judging by the absolutely shit eating grin on the latter’s face, Jimin was being obtuse on purpose. Taehyung would probably stand around and watch, except the bags weighed a ton and he’d probably drop everything and break the bottles of whatever expensive gourmet sauce that Jin hyung had asked him to buy. Cue instant death for Taehyung.

So he set the bags down and carefully took out the dye. He’d bleached his a while back and his hair was a nice blonde. Which meant that any colour would hold well, according to Jeongguk. Well it was time to test that theory.


Except he forgot that his hair was longer now, almost shoulder length, enough to tie it up in cute little space buns that went nicely with the artsy vibe that he went for usually, and show off the cute little stars and planets that he’d got tattooed behind his ear, all the way down to his nape. Now all he had to to do was dye his hair lilac, and he’d fit the home witch trope perfectly. He’d even brought cute black sweaters and tights that he could wear to pull off the whole look. But his Flexibility.Wasn’t.Helping. Fuck it. Half of his hair was dyed and he’d have to ask someone for help and that would completely ruin the surprise.


Just as he was about to give up and call someone, he heard soft footsteps enter the room. Gentle hands touched his shoulders and he knew


Jimin helped with dye whatever was left in soft silence. And Taehyung was almost holding his breath. Maybe because this was the first time they’d been alone since they’d broken up. It felt all too familiar, all too intimate.

Once Jimin was done, he kept the bowl and the comb aside and washed off any excess dye from his nape. Taehyung’s breath stuttered when he felt soft hands trace his tattoos. This was the most a man had touched him in a long time, the most he’d let a man touch him in a long time, and he could see it in the way his breath grew erratic and his skin grew warm.

Jimin’s voice broke his reverie though.


“It suits you…”

“The tattoo? I got it.. last month I think? Seojoon hyung made me get one when we went to L.A together to visit Hyunsik hyung. I designed it myself.”


Taehyung knew that it was more information than what a simple compliment required. Except this wasn’t a simple compliment and both of them knew it. This was Park Jimin and Kim Taehyung sharing intimacy after three years and if Taehyung wanted to word vomit, this was a good excuse for it.


Jimin was silent for a few seconds. Taehyung thought that he’d scared him off. But he continued rubbing small soft circles onto Taehyung’s nape like he was a cat, and while Taehyung quite liked it, this wasn’t something that he’d enjoyed while they were still together. And Taehyung realized that Jimin was confusing habits. This was probably something Jongin liked. Or maybe Taemin. He was very feline and gave Taehyung distinct cat person vibes.


“ He is.” Jimin sounded embarrassed and for a second Taehyung was confused. Then he realized.

Fuck. He’d spoken out loud. Had Jimin heard everything he’d thought, or rather said out loud? Because if that was the case he’d leaving Paris for Antarctica on the next possible flight.

“What- What did I say just now?”

And maybe Jimin had picked up on his very sheepish expression because he was quick to reassure him.

“You just said, grumbled actually, that Lee Taemin is a cat. I agree. He is. Jongin- He’s more of a dog person. He has three and he’s named them all very ridiculous names and they’re very cute dogs 12/10 would cuddle. Taemin hates their names, but loves the dogs. He’s allergic though. Which makes it hard. But we made it work I guess.” And Jimin was smiling that affectionate smile again, and Taehyung’s heart may have skipped a beat. But that was still okay. Because heart skipping a beat is better than crying whenever Jimin was mentioned, although the fumes from the dye had been hitting him strongly and his eyes may have teared up and Jimin had noticed because he’d stopped talking about his lovers and was trying to apologize and Taehyung was confused.

But then he looked at Jimin and how he was trying to bow down and say sorry and he knew that Jimin was apologizing because he thought he’d hurt him by talking about his lovers.

Taehyung didn’t know how to feel about that. They weren’t friends. Far from it. They were ex boyfriends on some form of uneasy truce formed on mutual friends that matter way too much to be pushed to the side because of a breakup. And Taehyung knew that he’d healed, but it was the kind of healing that he had undergone because the only other option was to hurt himself and the people around him. He hadn’t received any form of closure from Jimin, only a  hell lot of hurt and a still unexplained apology. Taehyung hadn’t known what he’d been apologizing for back then. Now he thinks he knows.

Jimin hadn’t meant to hurt Taehyung, not then and not now. And he’d been sorry for hurting him, not for leaving him.

Now the tears sprung up for real.


“Why.. Why did you leave m-me? W-Was I not enough for you?”  He hated how his voice cracked at the end, how he stuttered and sobbed through the sentence. The number of times he’d envisioned this confrontation, this wasn’t what he’d imagined it’d go like, with Jimin kneeling before him, eyes on the floor, picture of dejection and sadness. And Taehyung, sitting against the mirror in Jin’s bathroom, hair full of pungent dye, wearing paint splattered overalls and no makeup, ugly tears streaming down his face. “Did you stop loving me? Is that why you left?”

Jimin looked up at that, and Taehyung was somewhat disappointed at the fact that it gave him absolutely no pleasure at the sight of Jimin’s tear streaked face. It just made him want to hug the boy in front of him and tell him its all okay, even though they both knew it wasn’t.


“I’m sorry TaeTae. I’m so so s-sor” Jimin looked like his he was choking on a sob, and Taehyung wanted to curl into a ball and disappear.

“I want to tell you why I left, but I can’t without hurting you. I don’t know how to not hurt you anymore and I hate myself Tae”

And Taehyung had crawled forward at that. They were just two boys now, all history put aside. Two boys, crying in their hyungs bathroom again, like old times. Except nothing was like how it used to be and Taehyung knew that and so did Jimin and seeing the boy that he loved with his entire being cry so hard hurt so much. And it was maybe a testament to how much Taehyung had grown and healed, that he did not kiss Jimin right there, and maybe it was a testament to how much Jimin had changed too, that Jimin didn’t kiss him either.

 And eventually, the had to break apart. The timer that Taehyung had set for the hair dye had long since rung and he had to wash of the dye lest it burn his scalp.


His hair was now a soft lilac shade and even if everyone kept sending them concerned looks over dinner, Taehyung felt like a lot of things had been set back into its rightful place.

The Friday after Jin hyungs birthday, everyone else had left. He’d stayed on because he wasn’t going back to Korea. He’d decided on going to L.A and trying out that offer. But that was in the coming year. For now, Taehyung would enjoy a very non snowy Christmas in Paris, alone because Seokjin hyung had gone back home to Korea for New Year and had wanted to propose to Namjoon hyung on Christmas in his apartment back in Seoul.

Taehyung had absolutely enjoyed his stay in Paris and over the week he spent alone, he’d met a few like minded souls here. Something about his cozy witch aesthetic must have been appealing because he’d finally broken his dry spell and as he skipped through the freshly paved streets to the cottage on the day after his birthday, he had a number hastily scribbled along his hand that he might save, and might text later before he left Paris for good.

It wasn’t snowing yet, although he hoped it would in a bit. The sun was peeking through the clouds and the cottage looked quaint and something out of a children’s book. Taehyung imagined that he might even paint it later, he’d got his materials earlier in the week. He’d miss this little cottage and the little garden. Jin hyung had spoken lovingly about the garden and how he’d tried to take care of it, even during the winters. And when Taehyung had come to visit, he’d seen the garden that he’d helped design.

He hadn’t told anyone but it was a near replica of the garden his Papa had built back home in Daegu before he’d left, the plants different except for the pretty lilacs that had been growing there long before Jin hyung had moved in.  

He wished the lilacs were in bloom now. It would have made the whole winter in Paris aesthetic all the more beautiful. All the more familiar.

He walked in and shed his too heavy and mildly damp coat and looked around the little cottage that had housed him for nearly a month.He sat down in his room and thought of what he should do for his last day in Paris. Should he go out? Should he text the boy that he’d been with last night, grab a few drinks and head down to his apartment and let loose in ways he was now yearning for after so long? He looks out out the window and sees his still headstrong Lilacs. He thinks he’ll stay back. He’d miss this place, he’d miss his hyung. He’d miss the garden that had become his muse over the month.      


But that was okay, he thinks. Because at the end of the day, Taehyung would carry these memories with him wherever he went. That was something that Jimin had taught him, or rather, Jimin leaving him. The months that he’d spent with Park Jimin had been beautiful and brilliant. And he’d never get over how happy Jimin had made him with his love.

Taehyung was thankful for it.  For the moments that still made him smile even when everything else seemed bleak and lonely. He was grateful to Jimin for having introduced him to two of his best friends, people that were irreplaceable. And maybe it was Paris, maybe it was Taehyung, maybe it was the moist winter air… there was a finality to his thoughts about Jimin and Jongin and Taemin. It was soft and melancholy and bittersweet in a manner not unlike goodbyes.  And maybe, just like he was saying goodbye to Paris, he was also bidding goodbye to the pain that had been his constant companion for years. He wouldn’t miss it, not really. But its absence would be unmistakable. Taehyung doesn’t know how he’d be able to move forward without it anchoring him, but he supposed it was time.

He’d seen himself fall and rise and break and change and turn into someone that he thinks he’s proud of now. And he’d keep trying now. There were people who loved him. Most of all, he had himself. He’d come a long way fro being the boy who believed that selflessly sacrificing himself to see his loved one happy would make him happy. Lessons had been learned, most importantly that he could make himself happy. Jimin had made him happy. And then he’d made him unhappy. He’d been too scared, too afraid of being abandoned to admit it. Now Taehyung mad Taehyung happy.

If the Lilacs didn’t bloom, he’d wait. Except, he wouldn’t hinge his happiness on the Lilacs. He’d make his own happiness, this time around.


In his hand, Taehyung held a tiny flower. It was a soft shade of purple, petals soft to the touch. It represented the emotions of first love. And he’d made it from scratch, entirely out of paper. Taehyung had made a  Lilac bloom in winter.