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The jolting of the train startled Jimin awake from his restless nap. Eyes flying open, his fingers clenched around the rough fibers of the worn out seat that smelled a little too much like sweat and stale cigarette smoke.

An irate cry of a child broke through the confused murmuring of the other passengers of the train, another shudder harsh enough to even knock the elderly woman next to him from her wrinkled newspaper that was a few months out of date and a mother from fussing with her newborn to stare towards the front with a frown.

Groaning, Jimin shifted his body that was stiff and hard from the uncomfortable seats and flickered his eyes over the busy occupants of the train. He wiped his brow from the light sheen of sweat that built up from the light heat of many bodies.

Confused, he licked his lips as he narrowed his eyes as the trained made one last echoing groan before halting with a loud screech. A hiss followed. A groan lodged within the back of Jimin’s parched throat, annoyance filtering throughout his body.

He promised his little brother that he would be there around five, a little while before dinner, but it was already creeping closer to three in the afternoon and he wasn’t even close to Daegu station yet.

Fingers grasping tighter to the chair, he looked out towards the window where the open hilly areas are vibrant with growing life, not bothered by the lingering winter. Fingers carding roughly through his peroxide hair, he huffed just as the intercom crackled above his head.

“Everyone, please remain calm. We are experiencing a slight delay due to the unexpected track failure. We are being rerouted now. Please feel free to take this time to stretch and wander about the cabin until further word is stated,” the man over the intercom gritted out over poor quality speakers.

A chorus of various protest arose from the crowd. The mother of the infant had swore, and the elderly woman beside him that smelled of mothballs let out a displeasured sound with a huff of air through her throat.

Jimin felt his own groan join the mix, but everyone seemed to settle back into their seats, albeit more disgruntled. He took this time to stretch, muttering a soft apology to the woman beside him as he scurried from the seat.

His stiff legs cracked in protest of sitting in such a cramped way, his neck screaming in pain that he attempted to rub out as he walked down the thin aisle closer to the larger window. He was sure that he probably looked like a mess, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

Pausing by the window, his eyes fluttered over a male that was hunched in the back corner- one of the many seats that no one in them, and he felt himself stutter.

There was nothing really special- just a male figure that was mostly hidden by the black face mask that covered all the way up his nose and the dark brown almost black hair that fell over closed eyes.

There was something about the dark swept bangs and posture that tugged at something in Jimin’s heart and mind, like a pestering memory that he usually ignored because he found no room for them.

Scoffing to himself, he turned his head away and looked towards the window as he stretched out his limbs and debated texting his best friend and letting him know that he was alive but he was being delayed and very displeased about it.

Stumbling for his phone in his pocket, he opened messages and looked for the familiar contact before he sent a fast message then pocketed his phone again.

A soft curse from a low, melodic voice pulled Jimin from his wandering, incoherent thoughts. Turning on instant, Jimin arched a brow as he saw that the man from earlier had woken up from his nap since his bag fell from his lap and he was trying to pick it up.

Amusement fluttered through Jimin’s body as he watched him struggle to gather it, placing it back on his lap with a exasperated furrow to his brow. As if sensing the stare, the man raised his head and looked Jimin.

Taken off guard, he could only stare back at a earth brown eyes that were round and doe-like, framed by long dark lashes that were a little too familiar that it was poking at the back of Jimin’s mind like needles. The dark haired brows furrowed, head cocking to the side as if trying to place.

Feeling embarrassed, Jimin bowed his head in greeting, fingers nervously raking through his peroxide lemonade hair and let his smile reveal his teeth before he tried to leave. The other’s eyes widened, shock going through those brown eyes.

“Jimin?” the other  breathed.

Frozen by the familiar way the other said his name, he turned to look back towards the man who suddenly seemed to get shy since his eyes fluttered back to his lap moments before he pulled down his mask to reveal his soft features, sharp jawline.

Jimin jolted, lungs seizing as he saw the soft curve of thin lips, the sharper jawline that had replaced a once softer appearance of a boy that had been thin and gangly but now was well built and broader shoulders.

He knew these features- the slightly bigger nose that twitched sweetly every few moments, the scar that traced his left cheek- him being the one who gave it to him, and the forward front teeth that gave him the charming look.

Soft acne scars lined his chin and bit on his cheek, hidden by somewhat hidden foundation that had rubbed off from his face mask. His eyes round and still holding a semblance of innocence that had faded a bit.

Jeon Jeongguk.

A name that he hadn’t uttered in such a long time- a name that a part of Jimin wanted to forget while another piece of him couldn’t bare to part from the name that had given him so much.

“Jeongguk,” he breathed, shocked. It has been ten years- ten long years since he had seen him, and those years had certainly changed him. Where was that small, gangly kid with the shy smile and nervous shifting of his feet?

Jeongguk nodded, a sweet smile glistening over his his features. “Hyung, are you going home for the holidays too?”

Hyung.

The familiar, sweet term falling from his lips felt like pieces of broken glass to Jimin’s body, shredding and cutting at his flesh.

Clearing his throat, he licked his lips and nodded. “Yeah. I promised my little brother-”

“Jihyun-ssi,” Jeongguk recalled, nodding his head. Jimin gave a unsure laugh.

“Yes, Jihyun-ah- that I would come home for Lunar New Year’s this year,” he explained weakly, shifting a little bit before he gestured with his free hands towards Jeongguk. “What about you? Going back to Busan for Lunars holiday?”

Jeongguk nodded his head, his dark hair brushing over his forehead that lean fingers brushed away easily. “I go home every few months since my mother insists that I visit her with my hyung, but he left earlier this year.”

Jimin’s mouth felt dry. He shifted his weight and tried to not feel slight bitterness, slight anger course through his veins as he nodded his head, already turning to head back to his seat but once again, Jeongguk’s voice stopped him.

“Wait, hyung.” Jimin stopped, craning his head back over his shoulder to stare towards the younger man in slight surprise. Jeongguk offered a anxious smile that was so similar to the boy he use to know that it was almost painful. “Um, stay? Sit with me?”

Jimin pursed his lips, almost saying “no” and turning away like this had never happened, but he stopped himself and reminded him that he wasn’t some hormonal teenager and that he was a grown man and had to act like one.

Forcing a smile, he agreed and settled into the seat that was across from the other and tersely looked towards the window with a forced smile. Jeongguk seemed a bit more relaxed, but his leg bounced a bit nervously.

Jeongguk cleared his throat. “So, how’s your family?”

“Good. Everyone’s good. How about you?”

Jimin was never a big fan of this. The small talk of things that seem to superficial over everything else when something heavier was lingering in the air, nearly suffocating, but Jeongguk perked up as if he didn’t notice.

“Really good. My older brother, Junghyun hyung, got married five years ago and has a little girl,” Jeongguk stated, a proud smile on his face as he tilted his head and pulled out his phone to unlock it. An image of Jeongguk and a small girl on his lap, both grinning at the camera stared back at him.

It was a sweet image, one that actually managed to worm a true smile on his face as he chuckled. “Look at that. Uncle Jeongguk, huh? You’re getting old these days.”

Jeongguk’s face scrunched, a furrow too his brow, and Jimin felt himself recoil at his own words. It was too much. Too soon. To personal. They weren’t those kids anymore, they weren’t like this anymore.

Clearing his throat, Jimin turned his eyes away.

“Your niece looks like you. She’s beautiful.”

The face washed away, replaced by a prouder smile and a glint to those brown eyes that twinkle happily as he pulled his phone back to stare at the picture a moment with a brief nod. “Yeah, thank god she took after my looks from dad’s side of the family, right?”

Jimin hummed, fingers reaching to play with the many silver rings that he always wore as Jeongguk locked his phone and sat back. His brown eyes flickered back over his features, lips pursing as he finally asked in a stilted, off tone, “what about you, hyung?”

He looked up. “Huh?”

Jeongguk narrowed his eyes a little. One of his studs lining the sides of his ears glinted in the low light as he leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “Are you like, you know, married?”

There was a tightness to his voice. A jittery edge that felt a bit more like ice as he watched Jimin’s expression. Jimin wasn’t sure it was really there, or if maybe the other was nervous that was overstepping a precarious boundary.

Still, it was an odd question- considering he should know.

“No.” A bitter smile touched his lips. “I am not married.”

“Oh,” Jeongguk breathed. He sat back and looked back towards the window with a lighter furrow to his brown and his hands rubbing up and down on his acid wash jeans that clung tightly to the shape of his thigh.

“And what about you?”

The desire to slap himself was so strong that he felt his fingers twitched. Jimin wasn’t sure what he was thinking- he was an idiot, although this didn’t need to be said for him to know that.

Jeongguk snorted. “No.”

Unsure of how to answer the flippant answer, Jimin opened his mouth to attempt to form a sentence, but he was saved by the crackle of the overhead intercom that had him slamming his jaw shut.

“Everyone, I am sorry for the delay. We are being rerouted now and should be just thirty minutes later than the original time of arrival. Thank you for your patience. Please remain seated. We will be going in a few.”

Jimin almost cried from relief but managed to hold himself together as his fingers clenched over the tight leather of the chair while Jeongguk looked slightly confused and looked back towards Jimin for an answer.

“Oh, the train was stopped for track failure and they managed to get us a different route,” he explained quickly. Jeongguk made an ‘O’ shape with his mouth and nodded his head in understanding.

“Junghyun hyung is going to be angry that I am going to be late,” he commented off handedly, fiddling uselessly with his phone. “Namjoon hyung told me that I should have taken a plane or something. I didn’t listen.”

Jimin shrugged. “The train isn’t usually so bad, but with the holidays then it is pretty bad. Planes are expensive, but if you got the money, then, yeah, a plane.” Looking back at the window as the train sputtered a moment, lurched forward. “So, is Namjoon a friend?”

A soft nod followed by a long sigh. “Yeah. We’re coworkers that became close over time, but he’s enlisting soon… so I guess I’ll be on my own a bit more.” A frown was pulling at his lips, eyes hardening as he stared towards his phone with a tightened grip. “Everyone’s getting old.”

Jimin snorted. “You act like you’re turning fifty,” he says. “And it’s not that bad. Everything goes by really quickly when you’re in service.”

Jeongguk looked up, the frown becoming more prominent as he stared towards Jimin in slight surprise. “You did your service already?”

“Of course.”

He was twenty eight years old and he didn’t have a promising career, or did he have anything to really go for, so why wait for something that wasn’t going to wait for him? He had made friends, he had finished everything he needed.

Eyes flickering back towards the window, he tried to not watch Jeongguk from the corner of his eyes, but he saw the way he stared towards his profile, the look of despair and desperation clear on his face, but he seemed to lose his words too.

The train picked up it’s pace, the silence almost overwhelming, but Jimin kept himself still as he watched the scenery pass by and wondered what his life would have been like if he had stayed- if he hadn’t left.

It was obvious that Jeongguk didn’t live in Busan anymore. Maybe it was the faded Busan dialect that tickled at the back of his voice that was a small reminder, or maybe the way the Seoul slang was a little more obvious, but he couldn’t help but be curious.

But it had been ten years, and a lot of things change in ten years so Jimin banished himself from thinking about things that he had no right to think about and instead focused on the silence and leaning his head back to feign sleep.

He wanted to escape this.



*****

 

When the train finally pulls up into Busan station, neither had formed another word but would sometimes glance at each other and offer a mutinous smile that was louder for some reason to Jimin.

It seemed to scream with words that were being left untouched, unfocused and unsaid, and that was how he wanted to keep them.

The doors to the car pull open with a mechanic hiss. Jimin was gathering his things with a few slurs under his breath and stumbling of his converse covered feet causing him to trip a bit. Jeongguk grabbed his bicep, his touch gentle and familiar, and it sent shocks to travel throughout Jimin’s body.

Craning his head over his shoulder, he caught Jeongguk’s eye. He was on his feet now, his bag hanging over his shoulder, and wow, Jimin wanted to screech in horror because the once small, tiny thing had gotten tall and even more well built that he first realized.

Jeongguk offered a dazzling smile that made Jimin’s head spin as he nodded quickly and turned away to scurry off the train.

Stepping onto the platform and into the sticky, brine Busan air was a curse and a relief. He sucked in a large gulp, hands raking through his messy blonde strands and pushed through the crowd of others greeting family- something that wouldn’t be happening for him meaning he needed to take the subway.

What he wasn’t expecting was a hand to return to his bicep, tugging him gently to a stop. Eyes widening, he turned and craned his head upwards to meet with Jeongguk’s masked face but with crinkled eyes that warned him that he was smiling.

“Hyung, I was calling your name,” Jeongguk said incredulously.

“Sorry, but I should really go- my family is expecting me and the metro is probably already packed so-”

“Hyung,” Jeongguk interjected, shaking his head. Jimin snapped his jaw shut, fingers tightening around the rough feeling of the strap over his chest. “I rented a car. Need a ride? I am sure your mother wouldn’t want you late and neither would your brother.”

It was be insane for Jimin to accept, honestly, and he knew it. Running into Jeongguk first on the train, but then to accept a ride from him was a whole different level of crazy. But something was tugging at Jimin’s heart.

The memories of the boy that persisted in his memories, in his mind, that was now standing in front of him as a whole man with the same soft smile and twitching nose. It was so disconcerting and overwhelming, but it also made longing rise in his chest.

He arched a brow. “You rented a car?”

Jeongguk gave a sheepish smile. “I got my license this year and my mother rented me the car to pull up to the house in…” he explained with what had to be a shy smile under that mask since eyes were locked on the ground and his ears pink. “And I figured your family still lives down from mine so why not…. just take you?”

Huffing out a breathless laugh, Jimin threw his hands up and glanced at the time on his phone. He was close to be late, and honestly, if he took the metro he would more than late. Looking back up, he agreed.

Jeongguk nodded, then tilted his head in a silent “follow me” that Jimin obeyed. They pushed through the crowd until they reached the underground garage and Jeongguk digging in his bag with a frown.

Not wanting to push anything, Jimin remained quiet as finally Jeongguk muttered another soft “gotcha” with a cute crinkle to his eyes and produced a paper. He handed it off to one of the lingering workers who handed him a set of keys.

Excitedly, Jeongguk glanced back at the trailing Jimin and waved the keys like a kid at Christmas. “Come on, hyung!” he called.

He shuffled forward a bit more unsurely as Jeongguk unlocked a small silver camry, tossing his bag into the backseat and plopping into the drivers side as he tore off his face mask and it joined the bag’s fate in the backseat.

“Are you sure that you know how to drive and that this is legal?’ he called, eyeing the silver car with a slight frown. Jeongguk looked over, pursing his lips as he reached his brow. His fingers drummed the leather wheel.

“Hyung, I wouldn’t have a) gotten this car or b) been able to get my license,” he replied with a slight eye roll that Jimin frowned at but didn’t correct as he placed his duffel in the back seat and finally lowered himself into the passenger seat. “Was that so hard?”

“Shut up and drive,” Jimin rebuked with a tired sigh. Jeongguk laughed warmly, starting up the car with a dazzling grin that nearly caused Jimin to stare a moment too long, a little too lingering.

He jerked his eyes towards the window.

Jeongguk started the radio, some Korean pop song playing sweetly through the speakers as Jeongguk slowly pulled the car out of the lot and into traffic of the holidays in Busan. Jimin fiddled with his metal rings, trying to ignore the vanilla scent of Jeongguk that he knew so well.

They were quiet for a while, the only sound being the soft, sweet humming from Jeongguk when he knew the song or the drumming of his fingers to the beat when he didn’t.

“So, uh, you moved to Seoul then,” Jeongguk remarked off handedly, eyes flickering from the road to examine Jimin’s profile. A brief nod. “After your service… do you have a job or…?”

A bitter laugh broke through his throat. “Yes, Jeongguk-ah, I have a job.” Jimin flinched at the familiar term, the endearment that fell so easily from his lips because it was just natural between them. “I own a small dance company on the western side of Seoul that is for kids.”

There it was. A sound as light as a hummingbird’s wings. An inhale as the younger man looked over at Jimin with a agape mouth and glistening eyes. It was nearly unbearable. The soft features and bright eyes of someone he used to know.

“Jimin hyung,” he breathed out, “you do still dance! I can remember how much you loved it- how much it meant to you. That’s so amazing, hyung.”

Something akin to a wistful smile touched Jimin’s face as he turned his head to peer toward the profile of Jeongguk’s face. He examined the bright smile that split his face, the way his fingers curled around the wheel.

So close and yet so far.

“How do you know how I feel about dancing?” he blurted, fingers tight around his phone. Jeongguk’s smile faltered a moment, merely a fraction, but he caught it. “We were kids, Jeongguk. Children.”

“Because I remember how you would sneak out sometimes to dance in your backyard with your phone, or how you would smile as if nothing else mattered,” Jeongguk admitted softly, knuckles white. “I remember at least that much.”

The words rebounded like a gunshot, richetting off the tumbles of his warbled thoughts but he kept quiet as he jerked his eyes away to lock on the road that was quickly emptying out as everyone quickly got home to their families.

Tension was leaking through the pores, and it was driving Jimin crazy, so he finally exhaled and turned towards Jeongguk with a hint of a smile. “What about you? Got any cool job, like a gym or something?”

Jeongguk snorted. “No gym- sorry to disappoint,” he retorted, amused. Jimin felt a more genuine smile touching his face. “I actually work over at Big Hit entertainment as a session singer and a lyricst.”

Surprise felt like a hot poker within his belly as he jolted to look towards Jeongguk. The younger man had a fond smile on his face, looking relaxed and unbothered, but Jimin felt as if his world rocked backwards.

“Gukkie, that’s… that’s incredible. Looks like you made it,” Jimin remarked, softening just as Jeongguk pulled into the neighborhood that both of them had grown up in. Smiling, the dark haired flushed but nodded a bit.

“I'm not an idol or anything,” he laughed. “But thank you, hyung.”

Jeongguk turned the car to the side, pulling up  in front of a small traditional Korean urban home that was normal for a Busan family and parked the car. Silence cascaded over the both of them as Jimin stared towards his home that he hadn’t been to in years.

Inhaling sharply, he looked back towards Jeongguk as he unbuckled his seat belt with an awkward smile. “Thanks for the ride. It’s been… it’s been nice to see you.”

The smile faltered, vanishing from the younger man’s face as his hands dropped from the wheel to land in his lap as his eyes shifted away from Jimin and back out the window. His fists clenched.

“Is this it then?” Jeongguk murmured, hurt shining through his higher tone and his eyes glistening with something darker. Licking his lips, Jimin raked a hand through his hair. “After ten years and you just… nothing?”

He sighed. “Jeongguk, I just… what do you want from me?”

“I don’t know. Something.” Jeongguk gave a bittersweet smile. “Have a nice holiday, Jimin-ssi.”

The term was colder than frostbite across his heart. He offered a sad smile as he climbed out of the car, grabbed his bags, and then gripped the edge of the door as his eyes wandered back towards Jeongguk who was gripping the wheel and staring straight ahead.

He bit his lip. “If it means anything to you, I am proud of you, Jeongguk-ah. And it was good to see you. You’ve grown up well.”

Closing the door was harder than he thought it would be. He felt as if he was eighteen again, stepping foot on the smelly bus since that was all he could afford that smelled of sweat, cigarettes and something else. Back when he was scared and wanted a better life for himself.

Back when he thought he could do anything. Back when he was a coward who only thought of himself and was leaving everything else behind. Back when he wanted to escape what he was.

Closing the door to the car felt as if he was leaving Jeongguk again. Walking away from the one person that he never wanted to leave and yet it was all he seemed to know how to do.

Turning away, he walked towards his house and tried to pretend that it didn’t hurt a little bit to hear the car pull away and leave him alone within his yard that had fresh, hopeful grass that was breaking through winter.

The house hasn’t changed much through the years. The paint a little more worn, the door a little bit darker, and the more plants lining the edges and growing out a bit unruly. He gripped his bag a bit closer to his body as he exhaled shakily and approached the door.

Carefully, he raised his hand and rapped his knuckles over the faded wood and watched as the door was practically thrown open and his younger brother was there with a shit-eating grin cast over his features.

Jihyun has always resembled his older brother well. It has been like this since they were kids, and even after they grew up and became adults, the resemblance was uncanny. The same almond eye shape, the angular jawline and fluffed hair.

The differences now were the fact the Jimin re-dyed his hair after he finished his service and grew it out so that it fell over his forehead in untamed tendrils and his lips were thicker. His body was still muscular and well trained while Jihyun became softer and his hair still the soft black and kept shorter from his time in service.

He was dressed differently as well- slacks and simple turtle neck while his older brother sported his acid wash jeans, tee that was covered by a striped sweater and his Doc Martens on his feet.

“Look who finally came home,” Jihyun greeted, his smile bright and teasing. Jimin found himself softening at the sight of his brother who greeted him so warmly. “You look great, hyung!”

“Fuck off. You make it sound like I am thirty or something,” he rebuked, shoving his shoulder a bit that had Jihyun breaking into laughter.

“Two more years and that will be you,” Jihyun teased, wiggling his brows as he waved him inside. Jimin fought off a smile as he followed his brother into the stoop and removed his shoes. “Come on in- mom is already in the kitchen and dad is on the couch. Sunhye-ah is with mom.”

Jimin nodded, padding after his brother as he tossed his duffel to the side to worry about later. The house smelled of fresh kimchi and fish cakes that was his mother’s favorite to make, and it settled a longing for wide open beaches that he use to play around in- with a bunny smiled boy.

He quickly shed those thoughts and focused on hurrying into the living room where he saw his father look up from his newspaper, a grin crossing his withered features when he saw his sons hovering nearby.

“Ah, Jimin-ah! You made it!” he cheered, groaning as he pushed himself from the worn couch and stood slightly more hunched than he was three years ago, more wrinkles, and his hair a lighter white. “Come here and give your old man a hug, son!”

Jimin smiled as he was pulled into a strong iron encased hug that brought the faded smell of old mint and apricots that his father had a habit of chewing on whenever a craving for a cigarette would hit him.

“Look at ya! Still as handsome as ever. Though you look a bit thin, boy. You eatin’ alright?” he asked in his thick Busan dialect as he pulled back from the hug to peer towards his features, a father rememorizing his son’s features. Jimin’s heart stuttered.

“I’m doing alright, dad, I promised. Running my own dance studio keeps me on my toes, but I promise that I eat. My best friend makes sure of that,” he said fondly, chuckling as he recalled the times Taehyung would appear with food and not leave till it’s gone. “It’s good to be home. I’m sorry that I have been gone so long.”

Regret bubbled like acid within his gut and tore at his ribcage as he stared towards his father with the sinking realization that his father is much older than he appeared the last time that Jimin had made the trip.

His father waved him off, bringing him back close for another quick hug and ruffled his hair in fondness. “Don’t worry about it, son. You have a life back in Seoul and you always send us pictures when you can. You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”

Jimin smiled weakly, snuggling a bit further in his father’s chest before he pulled away and quickly wiped at his cheeks as his father looked towards the kitchen with twinkling eyes.

“You better go see your mother before she finds out you’re here and you didn’t go see her yet,” he warned, winking. Jimin chuckled, but agreed as he waved towards his brother before he padded down the hall and arrived in the archway of the kitchen.

Like his childhood home, his mother was another one of the untouched treasures except for the smaller woman standing in the kitchen, as if almost untouched by time except for the small things like the lines of grey hidden within raven hair.

She was still a waif of a woman, thin and slender, but now her once smoother skin is slightly more wrinkled, a bit more tanned from the hours spent under the Busan that had long ago faded from Jimin’s skin- as if peeling away a piece of who he was.

Paler to match the Seoul grey skies.

But his mother was a reminder of the boy that he use to be- that chubby cheeked, honey tanned skin and thick dialect that laced his higher pitched voice to match his smile. His mother who shared his almond shaped eyes and soft brown eyes with her ravenette hair.

As if sensing his presence, she turned and a large smile broke over his features that caused the laugh lines around her eyes and mouth to crinkle. She put down the lid over the food and chortled.

“My baby has finally arrived! My goodness gracious, look at you! You look so handsome, baby,” she greeted, rushing over and pulling him into her jasmine scented arms that smelled like home. He sighed, resting his chin on her head and breathing her in a moment.

“Hey mom,” he murmured back. She tightened her hold.

“Oh boy, you sound like you’re from Seoul! And look how pale you are! You could be an idol with that skin and that hair!” she gushed, pulling away to cup his cheeks as her narrowed eyes to peer over his features.

He smiled weakly back at her. “It’s good to see you mom. You still look lovely,” he murmured, eyes trying to take in everything about his mother that had changed but she was still the same woman that had always been there for him.

She smiled warmly, patting his cheek sweetly, her other hand gripping his shoulder in a gentle grip, as if a soft reminder that he was there, standing in front of her.

“Such a charmer. Makes me wonder why there isn’t a girl on your arm,” his mother chuffed, shaking her head. Jimin tried to not ignore the twist to his chest, the way it felt as if a dagger had been wrenched. “I want to be a grandmother of yours,  you know?”

“She has a point, Jimin oppa,” Sunhye spoke up, appearing in the archway of the kitchen. Jimin turned and felt himself smile warmly at seeing the familiar soft brown hair, longer now, and the petite frame of his brother’s wife.

What he wasn’t expecting was the slight bulge of her belly, hand resting lightly over it with an amused smile. Shocked, but feeling warmth and pride as his brother appeared beside his wife with a hand straying to her belly.

“Surprise,” he said, eyes searching his brothers. Jimin felt tears welling in his eyes as he walked over and pulled his brother into his arms. Sunhye chuckled as Jihyun sighed happily, clutching his brother closer.

“Congratulations, Jihyun-ah. You’re going to be a father.” The words were choked out, strained through the lump that had formed in his throat as tears burned in the back of his eyes. Jihyun laughed wetly, nodded his head briskly. “I’m so happy for you- for both of you.”

“Thank you, Jimin oppa. It’s a boy,” Sunhye admitted, rubbing her stomach fondly. Jimin pulled away from Jihyun, turning towards Sunhye and quickly pulling her in for a quick, soft hug that she happily returned. “We were so excited to tell you.”

HIs mother clapped, breaking the moment with a soft chuckle as she touched Jimin’s arm that caused him to stiffen and look back at her with large eyes. “Maybe bring home your girlfriend one day so I can have some grandchildren from my eldest, yes?”

I’m sorry mom.

“Now, enough of this talk. Let’s have some dinner!”

 

*****

 

The Busan air was colder during the night. The sun was gone, the moon was swollen and hanging sweetly within the darkened sky. The stars were glittering, suspended over the darkened sky as Jimin’s sandals sunk into the gritty white sand of the beach that was once his childhood.

It has been ten years since he stepped foot across the white sand. The sounds of the waves crashing against the shores in a desperate attempt to find it’s lover was an almost foreign sound to him. The way the wind caressed him like a mother’s caress, a gentle welcome back, felt disconcerting as much as welcoming.

Everything was calm. The sand seemed to glow under the moonlight, the waves licking the shores, and the peer that was just a few hundred yards from where he was standing that was so close and yet felt as if the blue waters were even farther than that.

Jimin paused, staring towards the waters as his mind recalled the hours upon hours that he would spend running along to try and outrun it’s blue claws. He could almost hear the laughter of two boys, ringing like a solemn treasure, and it a ghost of a smile touched his face.

The sand soaked through his sandals, stuck between his toes, but it was a welcome feeling as he padded through the sand and wandered down the dunes until he was closer to the old peer that looked a bit worn, a little more rundown, and a lot more empty.

Carefully, he tested the hold of the algae covered wood and smiled when it only gave a light groan of protest before he started his small trek out further towards the sea until he reached the hold fence- which still held strong.

Salt scented air blasted his face as his finger gripped the wood and his eyes locked on the dancing water below him.

“Jiminie hyung!” Jeongguk giggled, his little fingers gripping the wood. His round brown eyes stared into Jimin’s as he leaned closer. The younger boy paused, eyes widening when he felt the fourteen year old’s hot breathe blow over his face.

“I love when you say my name, Gukkie,” he murmured back. Jeongguk’s cheeks tinted pink, a soft smile touching his face as he shyly looked towards the wood beneath his converse. Jimin pulled away, quickly clearing his throat as he turned his head back towards the sky. “Oh! Look, Gukkie, it’s a full moon.”

Jimin felt his lips twitch into a sad smile. That had been so long ago now, but the full moon that was hanging over him now felt as if he was reconnecting with memories that he had buried a long time ago.

Exhaling loudly, he dug his hand in his pocket and pulled out a box of cigarettes, the sleeve of his sweater pulling up to reveal the numbers that he despised. He ignored them as he pulled out a white stick, lit it with his old lighter, then pressed it to his lips.

Honestly, Jimin hated smoking. He hated the taste. He hated the smell. He hated the way his body seemed to scream for it as if he was parched for the last drop of water. And yet, he often found himself with a white stick between his lips and the harsh smoke staining his lungs black and the calming sense to fall over his bustling thoughts.

“You smoke now?”

Startled, Jimin yelped as he jerked around and saw a silhouetted shadow hovering a hundred feet behind him. Broad shoulders, chocolate hair, and pinched expression revealed none other then Jeongguk himself.

The tenison fled his body, causing his shoulders to sag when he realized who it was. Jeongguk looked less than impressed. His eyes were narrowed on the white stick between his fingers, his hands clenched by his sides, and his lips curled downwards in slight disgust.

Arching a brow, Jimin peered back at him. “I didn’t realize it was any of your business.” Pointedly, he lifted the cigarette to his lips and took a long drag before he blew it out in Jeongguk’s direction. The younger man glowered.

“You do know that it’s bad for your lungs right? You aren’t exactly a teenager anymore and that those things cause cancer,” Jeongguk pressed, stepping closer so that he was leaning against the wooden fence on the right of Jimin.

Jimin felt himself snort, eyes rolling to the back of his head. “Oh right. Guess I better stop then,” he found himself muttering before taking another slow drag. Jeongguk sighed, shaking his head as he turned to look up at the sky. “Why are you out here anyways?”

“I always come out here when I come home for the holidays,” Jeongguk explained quietly, eyes drifting towards the water as the unsaid words hover a little too close to Jimin’s heart.

I always come to our spot.

Keeping his head down, he sucked a bit more smoke into his lungs and let it linger there a moment longer as his eyes remained locked on the swollen moon that was lighting up their pier around them.

“Why are you out here?” Jeongguk finally asked, his voice careful, as if walking on eggshells. Frightened to scare away a feral pup that had wandered close to him. Huffing out a breathless laugh, he leaned his head all the way back and rocked on his heels.

“So that my mother won’t catch me smoking,” he admitted, flicking his cigarette into the water below him. “She wouldn’t be happy. Nor would Jihyun-ah, really.”

“So you come out here?” Jeongguk asked.

Jimin shrugged, fingers digging into the wood. “I didn’t originally mean to. But as I was passing by I just... “ he sighed out a small breathe. “I couldn’t find it in me to keep walking. This place means something.”

Jeongguk hesitated, nodded, then stared out towards the water. “You kissed me for the first time out here. Right on this dock. Under our moon.” His eyes trailed up towards the sky, lingering on the shining light above him.

“I’ve never kissed anyone before, hyung,” Jeongguk whispered, hands shaking as he gripped lightly onto Jimin’s wrists as the older boy leaned close to him, a soft smile playing at his lips. “What if I am bad at it?”

Jimin laughed sweetly. “Gukkie, you won't be bad at it. It’s just me. You don’t have to be afraid,” he coaxed. The younger’s wide eyes softened a fraction, his fingers loosening as Jimin leaned down slowly and brushed his lips together- like a feather.

His breath hitched, air shuddering through his nose, before he leaned closer and pressed his lips harder against the older boys. Jimin smiled against the kiss, but tilted his head as he let Jeongguk kiss him a bit more firmly, more curious than frightened.

A smile wistfully touched the corners of his mouth. “We did a lot of things under the light of our moon. It was like our protector back then.”

Jeongguk hummed. His brown eyes looked unseeing as he stared down at the water lapping beneath his feet, glinting with white crests created from the shimmer of the moonlight as his hair obscured his profile.

The silence was more peaceful. Lulled to peace by the even breathing and the swaying of the water. The unsaid words that were less hostile, more wandering and lucid, peeking around the corner.

“You left,” he blurts, voice full of quiet reproach. His eyes were simmering like hot coals. “You were just… gone. You left without even… you never said anything.”

Sourness curdled in the pit of his belly- a horrid mix of lemon and curdled milk that turned his mouth to ash. What was he supposed to say? How could he explain that say, that sunday morning of shattered sobs and hoarse voice that he spent shoving his clothing into a bag and slipping out at the crack of dawn.

How could he explain the way he left his phone behind- purposely leaving it knowing that Jeongguk would try and find him, to search for him, so as a cruel way, he left it there to find. A silent realization.

Jimin was not eager to relive anything that happened that year- didn’t want to remember anything about it and yet the words stung like a thousand hornets.

“Yes. I did.”

Jeongguk was staring at him. His face was washed with longing, a yearning so ancient and lost, and he looked so young. Like that sixteen year old boy on their pier with a hopeful glint to his brown eyes and shining bunny smile.

He looked so much younger then the man he was now.

“You left me. Do you… do you have any idea how much it hurt? Fuck, Jimin-” Jeongguk swore, turning away to attempt to hide the tears hidden within long lashes. “You were just gone. No one knew where you went. The police would do nothing because you were of age and you were… fuck.”

Jimin shifted uneasily. The pier felt a little too cramped, the waves a bit too biting, and the wind skittering over his features as if to dig the questions deeper into his skin. He looked away from the profile of Jeongguk.

“I’m sorry, Jeongguk-ah.”

Jeongguk exhaled shakily. “Yeah. I’m sorry too.”

The trickling silence returned, peskier then before, more playful and more dangerous. Jimin swallowed, trying to unlodge the rock that was stuck within his throat as he raked his fingers through his hair and glared down towards the water.

He wanted another cigarette. Anything to silence the screaming in his head.

“Is this all we are ever going to be?” Jeongguk breathed, head tilting back towards the sky so that the moonlight brushed over his features, painting him in it’s glow. Jimin cocked his head. “A incomplete sentence. A half-written story? Finished, but without an ending.”

A heartbeat.

A shuddering breath.

A crystal tear slid down Jeongguk’s cheek as he turned to look at Jimin’s stunned face. He offered a heartbroken smile. “Please… at least tell me if I meant something. You owe me at least that much.”

Jimin smiled back. A little sad. A little too lost. But it was there. Like Peter Pan had found his Neverland. “You meant everything, Gukkie.”

Stepping away, Jimin didn’t glance towards Jeongguk’s face as he walked away. Leaving the man he loved standing at the edge of a pier, their moon shining down on them, watching ever so quietly.

And his heart broke.

Chapter Text

“Jihyun-ah,” mother called, her voice carrying from the kitchen while the sound of her footsteps echoed off the walls. Jimin tore his eyes from the TV, not that he was even sure what he was watching since he was too lost in his thoughts, to see his mother wiped her hands on a dishtowel.

Jihyun looked up from the TV, fringe falling over his eyes as he peered towards their mother. Her hair was pulled back today, braided so that it fell down her back and large glasses perched on her nose.

“What is it, mom?” he asked, pushing himself to his feet. Jimin kept still, watching silently as he approached her and searched her features as if to make sure that she was alright. She smiled and waved him off.

“Oh, stop worrying. Your baby isn’t even born yet and you’re going to get wrinkles.” She pressed her finger between his eyes, causing him to laugh lightly. “Now, I don’t have enough ingredients for tonight’s meal. I was wondering if you and your brother would go get me the things?”

Jihyun smiled, eyes flickering back towards Jimin that remained on the couch and let their eyes meet. A question was burning in his younger brothers gaze that he answered with a brief nod of his own.

He turned back to his mother. “Sure. We would love to.”

“Good. I hate seeing you and Jimin-ah cooped up in here! Go out and have some good bonding time,” she said, walking over to press a chaste kiss to Jimin’s forehead. He chuckled, already standing as he pulled on his shoes.

Jihyun swiped up the keys to his car- which Jimin now knew was a small Hyundai- before they slipped out the door. The morning air was cooler- matching the night air from the other night when he was out by the pier.

The brine smell wasn’t as strong, leaving a sweeter, spring smell that danced along his skin as they got into the car and Jihyun started the car. Jimin stared out the window as he drove, eyes watching the homes pass before turning into street shops.

“Do you like Seoul?” Jihyun asked, throwing the car in park and unbuckling his seat belt. Jimin followed suit, mind flashing towards the large city, the constant vibe that radiated throughout the city.

He climbed out of the car. “Yes. I mean, it’s really different then Busan. Bigger- the subway system is so many lines and certain lines are always so busy, while others are really peaceful.” The air conditioning blasted their faces as they stepped inside. “But I like the vibe. There is something calming about it.”

Jihyun grabbed a cart, eyes sliding over and a warm smile twitching at his lips as they head towards the fruits, his mother’s list clutched tightly in his hands. Jimin followed behind, eyes tracing the once familiar store.

“Do you live on your own?” Jihyun wondered, head cocked to the side as he bent down to examine the different types of rice cake, his brow furrowed in concentration. Jimin felt himself shifting his weight from the other leg.

“Um, now I do. I finally managed to get a one room apartment close to my studio,” Jimin admitted, rubbing his arm. “But before I lived with one of my service buddies. He moved to Seoul after serving and we just kinda ended up living together.”

It wasn’t a complete lie. But the words still felt odd on the tip of his tongue and burned the back of his throat because that wasn’t all Taehyung was- at first. But admitting that allowed to his brother sent shards of ice through his belly.

How do you admit that you were fucking your best friend, who was a man, and certainly not your boyfriend? Both just using one another to feel something different than usual? And that now he had a boyfriend so you moved out?

Jimin cleared his throat. “We were really close but he, uh, found a partner and moved out. So I found a smaller place closer to my job.”

Jihyun tossed a few more vegetables in the cart, pushing it along with a small smile that brightened his features as he looked back towards Jimin with bright eyes. “That sounds really good, hyung. I am happy for you and for your friend who found someone. Maybe you can ask and see if she has a friend for you.”

Jimin forced a smile to his face, nodding his head with a awkward chuckle because he wasn’t sure how to answer so he opted to remain quiet with his eyes locked on the lament ground beneath his feet.

Luckily the younger dark haired didn’t seem to notice. “I always thought the idea of living with your best friend seemed odd and yet kind of fun. Staying up late talking and goofing off. I only really experienced dorms and it’s a bit different. Did you stay in dorms?”

Jimin shook his head slowly, clearing his throat. “When I, uh, left I didn’t really have anything. Someone who was attending my college offered me his place to crash and I stayed there for a few years.”

“Lucky,” Jihyun commented, chuckling a little as they moved to the next aisle. “Dorms really suck.”

A laugh snuck out through his throat, amused by the expression of dramatic despair that crossed over his younger brother’s face and the way he shuddered as if horrified to even remember the experience.

Some of the tenison leaked from Jimin’s shoulders, causing him to unravel and soften a bit more as they continued down another aisle, Jihyun humming something under his breath as he looked through the shelves.

“How is work for you, hyung? Helping to run a dance studio must be pretty cool,” Jihyun asked, glancing through his fringe. Jimin shrugged as Jihyun tossed some butter into the cart and pushed it forwards. “Dad was pretty proud when he found out.”

He snorted. “Why? It’s nothing like what you do, Ji-ah,” he muttered, shaking his head. The younger man blinked as he turned his head away to glare at nothing. “I am not some business man with a beautiful wife and firstborn son on the way.”

A scowl of disbelief flashed like lightning over the other man’s expression as he yanked the cart  to a stop in the center of the empty aisle. Jimin stopped when he realized that Jihyun had fallen behind.

“Really? That’s what you’re going to answer with? This isn’t about me and my life,” Jihyun stated firmly, eyes narrowed and voice icy. Gritting his teeth, he remained still. “This was about you and what you have done with yours since you won’t tell us a damn thing. I had to beg you to come here. Beg.”

“Jihyun-ah, I didn’t mean…” Jimin trailed off, flinching at his own words as he tried to recall what he did mean. The words he had spoken before were bitter, sour like a lemon that he had wrongly bit into.

In a way, he knew he did mean it. Jihyun was everything he was not. Successful, having a beautiful wife to call his own and treated him well, and a son that was going to be as wonderful as his parents.

Jimin wished that was his life, instead of what he, what it, had become.

“I’m sorry.”

Jihyun’s eyes were not moving. They remained locked on Jimin’s face with this unreadable look. The look of someone trying to find something within every little crack and cranny, and yet the darkening look warned that he wasn’t finding anything.

The desire to run was an itch up his spine, tingling within his legs, but he kept still and let his brother search him with that expression of defeat and wonder, maybe some sadness and grief tangled in there too.

“What happened to you, hyung?” Jihyun finally blurted, shoulders sagging and hands falling from the cart to land by his sides. He flinched at the question. His mouth opened, then closed again. “We use to be close. Do you remember that? When I would be running after you, shouting out your name and you would giggle and ruffle my hair?”

“Hyung!”

“Good job, Jihyunie-ah! You did it!”

Pain lacerated over his over his heart, his palms slicked with sweat as he tore his eyes away from the almond ones that matched his own.

“But when I was sixteen years old you just disappeared. Not a word. No reason.” Jihyun gave a incredulous shrug, tears brimming in his eyes but they refused to fall as his lips turned white from pressing so hard. “Mom was heartbroken. She cried for months. Dad blamed himself- threw himself into work. And you? You were like a ghost story.”

“Jihyun-ah-”

“And when we finally did hear from you… you had graduated college and were going into the military for your service.” Jihyun created a sharp noise in the back of his throat, hands thrown up over his head. Jimin stepped back. “Like, fuck, hyung. Really? One call to say “hey I am alive but going away to the military don’t wait up”?”

Words wouldn’t form. They wouldn't come or leave my throat. It felt like cotton had sucked up every ounce of moisture and left him stranded. He couldn’t look at his brother, the words feeling like a whip to his back.

Cutting into his flesh.

“And then you're gone again. Poof.  For years. When you get out of the military, you call again. You don’t come home. Not for a while. And when you do, you barely stay. You barely eat. You show up to my wedding. Then you leave. That’s it.”

“Please… Ji-ah, I’m sorry,” he croaked out, barely managing to murmur those words as he peered through his messy lemonade hair. JIhyun snorted in the back of his throat, a tear tracing his cheek that he hastily wipes away.

“Who are you these days? You smoke. You drink. You're bitter and cut off,” Jihyun said. Jimin’s eyes widened at the words, head jerking up to stare in shock and horror towards his brother who snorted. “What? Think that weak cologne you wear would cover the smell? We aren’t stupid. But unlike mom, I am not afraid to admit it.”

Unsure of what else to do, Jimin kept quiet. The words that he wanted to say felt dull and not worthy to be said because in the long run it wouldn’t matter. So, he kept his eyes down and his hands clenched by his sides as he felt the fire of his brother’s glare licking at his skin.

Finally, Jihyun sighed. The burning lick of his gaze vanished from Jimin’s skin and he shivered. He wished he could open his mouth, say anything to make this better. To attempt to explain himself.

The words never came.

“Come on. Mom is going to wonder where we have been,” he muttered, shoving the cart forward with a jut to his chin. Jimin nodded wordlessly, trailing behind obediently, more cautious as if frightened that his brother would snap.

When they got back in the car, Jimin ventured a small glance towards his brother whose face was washed with seriousness. His eyes were narrowed, fingers drumming too quickly on the steering wheel, and his hair tousled.

“Jihyun-ah,” he started slowly, the name falling from his mouth faster then his head. Jihyun snapped towards Jimin, mouth pursed indignantly. Jimin swallowed. “When I was in the service… I wrote letters to you everyday. I would write them, stamp them, and then even go as far as walking to the place to send the letters, but… I never could. I wanted to be back a part of your life. I really did. But I couldn’t.”

“Why not? Jesus, Jimin,” Jihyun snapped, throwing his head back in irritation. “You’re driving me crazy. I was hoping that you coming back here would help get your ass straight but really, you’re making it worse.”

“Can you just… trust me? One day, maybe I will explain myself. Give you the reason I left. But right now, I can’t say it. I don't want to explain it right now. Or really ever because it’s over now and it doesn’t matter anymore. I just… I want to be a better part of this family- if you’ll let me,” Jimin pleaded, voice straining a bit higher as he looked towards his brother.

Jihyun sat tersely.

Finally, he exhaled and sat back in his seat. Hands falling back to his lap, he offered a sad smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I wouldn’t stop you, hyung,” he admitted softly. “But… promise me something?”

“Of course.”

“Call me every once in a while when you’re back in Seoul? Come see my son when he’s born? Visit mom and dad on holidays more,” he asked gently, a begging tone to his voice despite the hardened edge that Jimin knew well. “If you’re going to be a part of this family again, act like it. Yeah?”

“Done.” Jimin nodded his head, then smiled a bit more. Jihyun couldn’t seem to resist because a matching smile donned his own features. “Now, we really go before mom calls and starts ranting in the Busan slurs.”

The brothers broke into laughter, agreeing instantly as Jihyun pulled out of the lot and set a course for home.

 

******

 

Jeongguk breathed in, eyes closed and his head tilted towards the sky as his soft hair brushed over his skin. He looked ethereal under the waning moon- like one of the stars that fluttered above their heads like their own guardian angels as the sound of the waves beneath them.

Their limbs were tangled, never sure where one body and the other began, but Jimin didn’t mind as the scent of vanilla brandished his senses and mixed with the salt of the sea and the mint on his freshly brushed teeth.

As if sensing his stare, the smaller boy turned towards him. His smile was shy, eyes fluttering away while his cheeks tinted pink. “Sorry- was I spacing out again, hyung?” he murmured, his velvet voice soft and careful. Jimin smiled and shook his head.

“No. I was just admiring you,” he confessed, giggling at the way Jeongguk squeaked and hide his face in his hands. He cooed. “Aw, is the bunny shy?”

“N-no! I’m just… I’m not use to you complimenting me like that,”Jeongguk admitted slowly, his hands dropping back to his lap as he picked uneasily at his nails. Jimin hummed, but reached over and snagged his hand. “It’s weird, isn’t it? Liking… this?”

Jimin quickly shook his head. “We are best friends, Gukkie. We always have been. Always will be,” he replied firmly, with so much confidence that Jeongguk broke back into a bright smile that revealed his sweet bunny teeth and his nose crinkled.

The smoke burned his lungs blacker than usual. They ignited them with richer feeling as he sucked in on the white poison stick that was dangling between his lips while his eyes stared up at the night sky as the moon dominated the stars except for a few clouds that had began to cover the black.

It was late. Late enough that he actually questioned his sanity and his strain of thoughts as he leaned against the old wood that smelled of ocean salt and lingering memories that were always made within this pier.

But he didn’t turn back. He let the wood bite into his ringless fingers as he gripped the splintered grain and his eyes locked somewhere ahead of him while his cigarette burned out- a thin wisp of smoke floating just in his line of sight.

“Can’t sleep?” a guttural voice called, thick with restless sleep and hoarse from maybe something else. Jimin looked up, slight surprise touching his features as he stared towards the other boy whose head was cocked as he leaned against the fence.

There were dark circles under his brown orbs, casting a shadowed and aged look of the once youthful face. Stubble lined his jawline, a eerie reminder than the times were different and neither were children anymore.

He was clad in a simple black tee that hugged his muscular frame and his pants simple grey sweats that rode low on his hips. There was no foundation covering his skin, so slight acne scars were a bit more noticeable and his scar seemed to tease him as Jimin noted how exhausted and frayed he looked.

As if the world was on his shoulders.

Frowning, Jimin stepped closer and ghosted his hand through the limp bangs that obscured his eyes. “Are you alright?”

Jeongguk snorted, shifting away so that Jimin’s hand fell from his forehead. It fell against his side as he watched the way the younger pursed his lips, a war raging within his mind before he sagged against the wood and flickered his eyes towards the other.

“Are you gay, hyung?”

The question rebounded. Startled, Jimin stepped back with a sharp inhale, but Jeongguk only remained still, gaze hard and emotionless. Genuinely curious. Licking his lips, he looked away.

He had no reason to hide.

“Yes.”

Jeongguk hesitated before he nodded, as if he had known the answer all along but he needed to hear it from his own mouth. He looked back towards the water, brow furrowed. “Does your family know?”

Jimin snorted. “What? Tell my mother that her eldest son is a faggot who likes it in the ass and will never give her grandkids? Sounds like sending her to an early grave.” He rolled his eyes and snapped his eyes back towards the stars. “Besides, how does one even admit that?”

A breathless filled the saddened silence. Jimin peered over to see Jeongguk ruffling his hair, exhaling through his nose. “I’m gay too.” Jimin felt his heart clench, lungs hitching within his chest. “And my mother- god, she keeps saying how she wants me to bring home a nice girl and I- shit, I cringe at the idea. It’s never a girl I want. Never has been.”

The confession hung in the air. Suspended by his agony. His face was twisted in a grimace as he glared down at the wood beneath his bare feet that seemed unbothered by the chill or the damp wood.

“Jihyun-ah,” Jimin started slowly, drawing Jeongguk’s attention, “is married too. She is such a nice, beautiful girl. Sweet and so kind. Sunhye-ah. She’s pregnant.”

Jeongguk blinked, then sighed out a low exhale of realization. His hands tightened around the wood. “Oh hyung…”

Jimin waved it off quickly, hand smacking the air as his blond hair fell around his face. “It’s fine,” he interjected sharply. “I’m happy for him. For them. But- as usual it seems- I will never be what they need.” A bitter sound tore through his throat. “I haven’t been in ten years.”

Jeongguk offered a smile. “I guess both of our family lives are shit then. Go figure, right?”

A laugh bubbled through his throat. “I guess so. I mean, I went grocery shopping with my little brother who roasted me in the middle of the store.” Jimin shook his head as Jeongguk whistled out a “yikes”. “I’m counting my blessings- at least the aisle was empty.”

“It’s the small blessings,” Jeongguk said seriously, a teasing glint appearing in his brown eyes.

“Oh definitely. Now I am just waiting for my mother to start setting me up on blind dates.” Jimin sighed dramatically, falling into the familiar rhythm of their playing as he looked back towards Jeongguk. “Think she will have a hot brother escort her?”

A loud laugh erupted. “If only you were that lucky- but hey, my mother tried to get me with my cousins best friend. Talk about low blow to my man hood.”

Jimin smacked his lips, eyes trailing over  the thick muscles that were barely restrained by the black tee, and the slender hips that aren't hidden by the sweats. His mouth could have watered as he hummed lowly.

“I wouldn’t worry about that manhood. You have all you need,” he promised, voice a bit lower. Jeongguk gave a smirk, one that could have made any man or woman go to his knees, then winked. Jimin rolled his eyes. “Oh, so not only did little Gukkie grow up and get all muscly but he found some game. Paint me impressed.”

“Meanwhile you didn’t grow at all. What are you? 160 centimeters?” Jeongguk teased, wiggling his brows. Jimin scowled, reaching over and smacking his arm. Jeongguk broke into loud laughter as the older man glowered.

“Muscles or not, Jeon Jeongguk, I can I still kick your ass,” Jimin hissed, but there wasn’t a lick of hostility to it. Jeongguk was only laughing, not even bothering to try and look frightened.

He flashed his bunny grin. “Whatever you say, Jiminie hyung.”

Rolling his eyes, Jimin turned back towards the ocean with a softer smile on his face. Even Jeongguk seemed to relax more, a blissful look falling over his face as the silence that Jimin usually dreaded became filled with peace.

Jeongguk breathed out a soft breathe, head tilting towards the sky so that the moon was igniting his face. A part of him ached at seeing his profile lit up, the beauty shining bright, when a frown touched his features.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk called, “after Busan and we go back to Seoul… is this really going to be it?”

“I don’t know anymore,” he whispered, but the wind carried it over to be heard. Jeongguk bit his lip before he nodded and turned back towards the ocean.

“Come on. No sense in lingering around here,” the younger man rebuked, pushing himself off the fence and walking back down the pier. Jimin hesitated but then decided to just say fuck it and walk after him carefully.

When the sand returned to their feet, Jimin inhaled sharply. Jeongguk kept walking further down the beach. He paused by the ocean's edge so that the water would rush up and swallow his feet whole.

He smiled. “Whenever work overwhelms me or I can’t think of lyrics, I also try and remember the feeling of the ocean at my feet. Doesn’t it make you feel like you’re standing at the edge of the earth? Ready to fall in?”

Carefully, he stepped next to him just as the next wave flooded over his sandals and he gasped at the cool water that licked at his skin. It felt good, but the wave was stronger then he first imagined and he stumbled.

Jeongguk caught his wrist. His gentle fingers reassuring but Jimin’s breathe caught and he tore his wrist away harshly. “Don’t touch my wrists,” he snapped, pulling it close to his body.

“Okay, alright. I’m sorry- I won't do it again,” Jeongguk replied quickly, hands up to show he understood. The tenison was like an iron rod through his shoulders, but they loosened they a bit as he nodded. “You okay?”

“Yeah- I’m sorry… that came out rude. I apologize. Just please do not touch my wrists,” he quickly fixed, flinching a bit how he had reacted earlier. Jeongguk shook his head, waving his hand as he replied with a “don’t worry about it”. Jimin focused back on the water. “It does feel nice.”

“It makes me feel invincible. Like the moon.” Jeongguk grinned brightly, head thrown back and his hair flying as he chuckled. “Whenever the moon is out, I sometimes take a walk near my apartment just so I can see it. Like what we use to do when it was full.”

Jimin giggled. “You mean how we would sneak out in the dead of night despite our mothers who would have surely made sure we couldn’t walk for a week if they found out?” he quipped. He shrugged. “Yeah- I remember how we would always come to see the stars and the moon.”

“You danced sometimes under it- said it made you feel like you could float,” Jeongguk remarked softly. He hummed his soft agreement, remembering all the times he would use the moonlight as his guidance, the feeling of Jeongguk watching nearby. “Just for the record… you always seem to float. Even when we were kids you always had something about you.”

A snort tore through his throat. “You got deep in your old age, Gukkie. I didn’t think you could ever be such a romantic.” He shook his head in amusement, the grin tickling at the edge of his lips.

Jeongguk laughed heartily. “It’s probably not me. It’s my friend Namjoon hyung. He should have been philosophy major instead of a producer. You should hear the way he speaks about certain things,” he admitted.

“Well, I don’t have that probably, but my best friend is all about tea leaves and shit, something destiny, or whatever- like he could tell you your fortune with his dick up your ass,” Jimin guffawed. Jeongguk choked before he snickered in amusement at the image.

“Sounds like a charmer.”

“He is. He really is,” he hummed softly. Sighing loudly, he ran his hand through his hair as he tried to push away the thoughts of Taehyung and focus back on the now as he turned to offer a smile towards Jeongguk. “I should go and attempt to sleep. See you later, I guess.”

Stepping out of the water, he moved to leave when Jeongguk grabbed his arm- pointedly avoiding his wrist- and pulled him to a stop.

Confused, he looked back over his shoulder to see Jeongguk pulling again until he was folded in his arms- briefly, just a fraction of a moment- before he pulled back.

“Goodnight, hyung.”

 

********

 

“Okay, I know for a fact that you are cheating!” Jimin protested, tossing his UNO cards across the table with a glare towards his younger brother who chuckled and wiggled his fingers in a sarcastic wave.

Sunhye laughed heartily, shaking her head in amusement as his mother leaned back and placed her own cards down. “I wasn’t cheating! You’re just really unlucky, hyung!” Jihyun protested, covering his mouth with his hand to cover his laugh.

Jimin rolled his eyes, leaning back against the couch as his father started gathering the cards to shuffle them. Sunhye was still giggling as Jihyun pulled himself up from the floor and placed himself next to her, planting a firm kiss to her lips.

Turning his eyes away, he tried to ignore the burning acid that bubbled up at the sight. The jealousy that was  harsher than lime on his tongue. And as usual, the soft bunny smile and soft brown eyes appeared in his head.

“Round eight anyone?” his mother asked, holding up the newly shuffled deck and wiggled it in excitement. Jimin snorted, shaking his head as he crossed his arms and pouted.

“What? And have my ass handed to me again by my baby brother? I choose the path of dignity,” he rebuked, pushing himself off the floor. A groan ran through his throat as his muscles tightened and locked, cracking a bit as moved.

Jihyun snorted. “Damn- you’re twenty eight and yet you sound almost worse than dad. Is that what I have to look forward to?”

Their father made a disgruntled noise from the corner of the couch, tossing one of the pillows towards the youngest brother that broke into laughter as he barely managed to dodge the attack.

Jimin narrowed his eyes. “You’ll get what is coming to you, little brother. Don’t you worry,” he stated then smiled towards his mother. “Did you want a water or anything? Maybe I’ll get us some snacks.”

His mother stood slowly. “I’ll help you, baby,” she said, already moving beside him. Nodding, he padded his way to the kitchen as he tried to loosen some of the tightened muscles that were protesting the lack of work they were getting.

Grabbing a couple of glasses, he set them on the counter while his mother shifted through the pantry to start gathering some foods for them.

“I don’t think I have seen you smile this much in years,” she admitted quietly, fondly, and it caused Jimin to pause in his work and look back at his mother in surprise. She looked up from the bowels. “Not since you and that boy from down the street use to play together. You two were always so close.”

“You… you remember him?” Jimin asked, slightly surprised. She laughed sweetly.

“Of course I do. You two were friends since you seven years old and running around the neighborhood,” she answered. “Jeon Jeongguk, right? Good kid. Smart, and really shy. He was heartbroken when you… went away for college.”

Jimin swallowed roughly, hand placing the now full glass back on the counter as he tried to form words while the guilt returned to pick at the edges of his heart and stomach. He exhaled and opened his mouth but his mother set a hand on his shoulder.

“I know that Jihyun-ah has been harsh with you. He has always been a bit angry, but I want you to know that I will never force you to explain yourself to me. To your father. I’m just happy that you are here now, whole, and seeing you smile again is all I wanted.”

Her hand rested a moment on his cheek, a soft smile tugging at his lips as he leaned against his mother’s touch. Her hand was a bit colder than it had been in the past, but the feelings that it brought were warm.

“Thank you, mom.”

“Anytime, sweetheart. No matter how old you get, you will always be my little boy. My Jiminie.” She pulled back and started gathering the snacks to start bringing out when he paused. “You should go see if Jeongguk is still around. His family still lives down the street.”

Jimin shook his head. “It’s alright. We already caught up a bit,” he admitted before grabbing the drinks. His mother arched a brow, looking surprised but pleased as they headed back to the living room where they passed out the food and drinks.

“What took you guys so long? Damn, I’m parched!” Jihyun complained, grabbing his water and drinking already more than half of the glass. Jimin rolled his eyes as he lowered himself back to the floor.

“Okay, you’re refilling that because I am not.” He shook head, grabbing his new deck as his brother whined as he if he was still a teenager again. “What are you? Five? Don’t you know the baby is in her belly- Sunhye-ah, I feel bad that you have to now babysit two of them.”

Sunhye laughed as Jihyun flashed him the finger, which their mother promptly slapped his arm for. He gasped at her.

“Mother! I am a grown man! You can’t just smack me!”

Their mother scoffed. “Grown men or not, you are both still my children and I can smack you all I want. Now, watch your language the three of you! Soon we are going to have a baby in the mix and I refuse to let him pick up your bad habits.”

Jihyun instantly pointed towards Jimin. “He started it!”

“Unbelievable. How are you even married, you childish buttface?” Jimin retorted, offering a sweet smile towards his mother who chortled in amusement at his lack of curses. Jihyun pursued his lips.

“I bet I can still catch you, hyung. You better watch it, you old man,” Jihyun quipped. Jimin arched his brow, feeling his lips twitch as the brothers stared each down a moment before Sunhye and their mother exchanged a look.

“Old man? It’s on now, brat.” Jimin stood and instantly ran for the door. Jihyun squeaked and leapt up from his place on the floor to chase after him. It had been a while since Jimin had indulged in playing around like this- maybe every once in a while when Taehyung gets in a mood.

But never with his family.

It felt different as he burst through the front door with a laugh echoing through his throat. As if each step was one year that hadn’t happened and he was returning to the eighteen year old with a crescent eye smile and sweet persona.

Maybe it finally time for him to refind his place among the Busan shores.

 

*****

 

“Is this going to become a nightly routine?” Jeongguk asked, appearing silently by his side as he leaned against the fence and stretched out the muscles in his arms. Jimin glanced over, the cigarette in his fingers mostly unused as he caught sight of the restless younger.

Jeongguk offered a tired smile, a glint in his soft brown eyes as Jimin chuckled a bit, flicking his still burning cigarette into the water with a little hum.

“We had worse routines when we were younger,” Jimin admitted with a breathless laugh, his overly large sweater slipping off his shoulder as he looked towards Jeongguk. The younger looked stunned a moment.

“It’s been a while since I have seen you smile that like,” he commented quietly, taking in the gentle look that the smile gave the older man, a wave of youth washing over his features. Jimin shrugged.

“It’s been awhile since I have,” he replied softly, letting the wind carry over his answer. “But today felt good. Despite my brother harassing about not being the same person, it finally felt as if I was getting back to normal with my family.”

Jeongguk smiled. There was something on his face that was almost indescribable, but it looked akin to pride, or even relief, but not for himself but for the other. He softened and nodded his head in understanding.

Keeping his eyes locked on the moon, he noticed the way it was mostly halfway hidden now, as if reminding him of the time he had spent here was almost spent. It caused his heart to clench because he knew that once morning came, and he returned to Seoul, everything was going to be different.

Running into Jeongguk on the train was serendipity, a fated course of two souls that were once entwined, but the thread was weak and shredded till the last strand, and once they return to their normal lives, it would be cut.

Jeongguk was working in some entertainment company and Jimin had to return to his one room apartment and overwhelming loneliness. That was the course that had been handed to him.

Standing on this pier with Jeongguk by his side was like a dream come true, but like all dreams, good and bad, it always comes to an end.

Turning towards the other, he decided that he was going to make the most of the night. Jeongguk arched a brow at the look that over the older man’s features, his hopeful smile and tousled blond hair that fell over his features.

The low light of the moon only made him look more beautiful.

“Come on. Let’s go, bunny boy!” Jimin said, turning on his heel and jogging down the pier. Jeongguk watched him a moment, confusion clear on his face before he shrugged and ran to catch up.

As soon as Jimin hit the sand, he tore off his sandals and tossed them hazardly up the beach so that the sand bit into his skin of his feet. He smiled at the feeling before he tore at his shirt next.

“Holy shit- hyung!” Jeongguk gasped, halting to a stop and turning around that Jimin snorting in amusement as he balled the shirt up and threw it away from him.

“Guk-ah, you’re twenty six years old and you’re still shy to see a half naked man? I’m a bit impressed and a little disappointed,” Jimin teased, smirking a bit as Jeongguk peeked through his hands and revealed his pink ears. “It’s just me- nothing impressive or anything. Now, strip.”

Jeongguk rolled his eyes, hands dropping from his face but Jimin didn’t miss the way his eyes traveled over his body anyways- briefly, as if sneaking his hand in the forbidden cookie jar- then looked away again.

“I’m not shy at seeing the bodies of others. I’m not a damn virgin, hyung,” he remarked, scrunching his nose. Jimin paused, a curious spark in his mind as he watched Jeongguk grab the hem of his white tee and toss it next to Jimin’s.

Jeongguk’s body was much different from when they were kids. That was obvious. The delicate muscles shifting with every movement, the abs that flexed absently with every breathe, and the tawny skin that was honey colored and sweet looking- like a fruit.

When they were kids, Jimin was the one who was tanned to perfection, his body well-built and muscular from his time dancing, despite being shorter than the other once they reached teenage years.

Now it was switched- Jimin was skinner now, his muscles less-defined, but still there. His skin was pale from all the time he spent inside and never outside. He knew he looked different, and if he was younger he might even feel embarrassed.

He guess old age made you care less about the faults of your body.

Jimin hummed. “Boyfriend?”

Jeongguk hesitated then shook his head. “No. I… I don’t know I never really met another, uh, gay before except a couple when I go to a bar and manage to land a one night stand but none of them want a relationship.” He snorted. “I have never even been to a gay club before. I just… go to a bar when I feel the urge.”

Embarrassment was clear in his tone, and Jimin almost cooed because it showed just a tiny gap between their ages. It was small, barely there, but it was and it made Jimin smile a bit.

“Don't be embarrassed. I fucked my best friend because I was horny and we ended up being a friend’s with benefits until he hooked up with my other best friend,” Jimin admitted, shrugging his shoulders. “So, you can’t exactly top that.”

Jeongguk whistled. “Sounds like some bad reality TV,” he remarked, but his voice held an edge o0f caution. Jimin snorted, pulling at the waistband of his sweats as he yanked them down and stepped out.

“Feels like it sometimes,” he replied before he jutted his chin towards the water. “Coming? I didn’t just undress for the pleasure of my eyes.”

Jeongguk laughed warmly before he slid out of his own sweats, revealing black briefs that hung snug on his hips and outlined his thighs and jewels. Jimin looked away, respecting the youngers privacy as he headed for the ater.

“You know- this is the start of Jaws. You know that right?”

Jimin laughed. “We aren’t drunk.”

“Hyung, you know what I mean. Are you sure there isn’t, like, sharks or something? Being torn to shreds isn’t on my top list of ways I wanna go,” Jeongguk commented, eyeing the ocean with distrust as Jimin padded into the cool water.

“Gukkie, nothing is gonna happen. I think you should be more afraid of much fish shit is in the water rather than the unluckily hood of a shark swimming around and deciding you’re tasty enough to eat,” he chuffed, then plopped his body all the way in the water as a wave submerged his head.

Jeongguk groaned but managed to step into the tide and lower himself beside Jimin so that the water was licking at the skin of his neck. Jimin grinned brightly. “Was that so bad, you big baby?”

“Fuck off, hyung. Swimming at night isn’t exactly the smartest thing in the world,” Jeongguk rebuked, glaring a little towards the older man. Jimin hummed his agreement before tilting his head back and letting the water soak into his hair, teasing his scalp.

“You’ve gotten so fiesty in your old age,” Jimin murmured after a few moments of the waves luring their bodies, letting them sway with the tide. It was relaxing to have the moon shining down on them, their closest friend that was always watching them, looking over them now.

“What is with you and age?” Jeongguk asked.

“I don’t know.”

Jeongguk hummed lowly before the splashing of water warned that Jeongguk was adjusting himself before it settled. Jimin craned his head, looking up to see Jeongguk flashing an impish grin.

“Do you know what I think?” he asked. “I think you’ve gotten boring in your old age.”

Before Jimin could question him, he was suddenly being pulled under the water with arms wrapped tightly around his abdomen. Squealing in shock, he held his breath as he went down.

When he came back up, he was laughing as he wiped the water from his eyes. “Oh, is that how you want to play it, bunny boy?”

Jeongguk grinned, showcasing his teeth that not even age could touch. “Whatever do you mean, midget?” There was a innocent lilt to his tone, but it was masked by the playful look that was in his eyes as water dripped down his hair and trailed down his sharpened cheekbone.

“Jeon Jeongguk, you little fucking shit.” Jimin swam over and launched himself on top of the younger who easily caught him and pulled both of them back under the water.

When they came back up, Jimin was laughing as he wrapped his legs around Jeongguk’s waist. His golden hair had taken a darker hue, brown eyes twinkling as he pushed his hands down and shoved Jeongguk back underwater.

“That is for calling me a “midget”, you brat! I am still your hyung!” he shouted as Jeongguk came back up, hand pulling back his hair as he wiped the water from his eyes. Jimin untangled himself from his body, giggling fondly.

Jeongguk was so caught off guard by the sound that he paused, eyes widening as he looked back towards Jimin who had this lazy smile on his face, eyes a bit hooded, and his wet hair pulled back from his fingers raking through it.

And when their eyes met, the teasing air vanished as the unsaid words, the memories that had ruled the way their names were spilled from their throat tangled within their throats.

Before Jeongguk could stop himself, he reached over, and tilted Jimin’s chin up. The older one’s breath caught in the back of his throat, eyes widening a fraction, as the younger man captured his lips in a chatse, desperate kiss.
The kiss wasn’t magical. There was no singing birds or rainbows- it wasn’t even the best kiss. Jeongguk tasted like some leftover stale kimchi, his lips now soaked in salt, and lips chapped and rough. His fingers curling around his waist were colder then his own skin, and gripped him like he was fragile or going to vanish if he let go.

His teeth racked against his own, too rushed and desperate, and arms trembling as Jimin moaned lowly back into the rushed kiss fragments before Jeongguk pulled away, staring into Jimin’s bewildered and saddened eyes.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin murmured, his hands balling where they rested against Jeongguk’s chest. A war was raging within his mind, shredding at his soul. One half of him craved to feel him again, but the other part of him shuddered at the idea.

This wasn’t what his future held.

“Don’t,” Jeongguk rasped, hands tightening on Jimin’s waist. Jimin snapped his jaw shut as he stared into those darkened orbs, the droplets of water fusing his long lashes together and yet he still looked like a vision. “I miss what we never were. Just friends that spoke to one another like lovers- and at the time that was enough for two teenagers who were too scared to admit it.”

His world tilted as he stared into Jeongguk’s eyes, the way they never left his own and his hands became just a bit softer. Shaking, he felt tears burning in the back of his eyes, igniting a fire within him that not even the ocean around him could extinguish.

“You were almost mine,” Jeongguk pressed on, voice going lower as he choked back his own cries. “And that “almost” breaks my heart constantly.”

“Jeongguk, stop,” Jimin pleaded, shaking his head as he pushed at Jeongguk’s chest. His lower lip quivered- whether it be from the cold water that suddenly felt freezing down to the marrow of his bones- or the way Jeongguk was looking at him, he wasn’t sure.

“You know how when you’re in the car and it’s pouring down rain?” Jeongguk asked, letting Jimin’s waist go so that the older man could take a step back, turning his back on him so that the salt of his tears could join the ocean. “You go under a bridge and it’s like everything stops? Everything just goes silent and it’s peaceful? Then when you finally get out from under that bridge and everything hits you a bit harder than before?”

Jimin nodded once, eyes managing to find Jeongguk’s again.

“You were my bridge.”

Jimin sighed. His heart was aching, breaking it felt like- worse then when he had to walk away. It felt as if Jeongguk had lit it on fire and was watching it burn. He shook his head briskly, already moving to wade his way back to shore.

Jeongguk moved to grab his wrist, but stopped when he recalled Jimin’s reaction last time nad instead settled on grabbing his bicep instead. Jimin yanked his arm away, turning back towards the younger with heartbroken eyes.

“Why are you doing this? Our last night in Busan and I just wanted to have a fun night with the one person who meant the world once and you go and say shit like that?” Jimin snapped, frustration bubbling in the back of his throat. “This isn’t some korean drama or cheap ass romance. We aren’t fucking teenagers anymore, Jeongguk. Do you get that?”

“Yes,” Jeongguk snapped back, his hand falling back to his sides. “But do you understand that I miss you?” Jimin jerked. “And not in a “it’s one in the morning and I am so lonely that I am looking through old pictures” kind of way. I miss you.”

Jeongguk stepped forward once, eyes searching to see if Jimin moved. When he didn’t, he took another slow step until he was right in front of him. So close that he could feel his chilled breath over his face as he stared into those ocean eyes that held too much to be real.

“Not in a “someone asked me how you were today and I realized that I didn’t know the answer” kind of way. I miss you in a “nobody has mentioned you in years but I still tell stories about you”. I miss you in a “I worked on a song that I really love and you’re the first person I want to tell” way. I miss you. Not the idea of you- but you.”

Jimin sighed, shaking his head as he placed his palm on Jeongguk’s chest firmly, pushing him back just one as his eyes narrowed like sharpened razors.

“Don’t do this. We weren’t together, Jeongguk. We were never together. We were just teenagers who were young and naive.” Jimin inhaled shakily while Jeongguk’s expression darkened. “You can’t just do shit like this anymore. You were my best friend once. But it’s been ten years. A lot happens in ten years.”

Shaking his head, Jimin moved to leave again. The water felt too cold against his skin, stealing anything that was once warm. He moved quickly for the shore, but Jeongguk’s voice stopped him.

“Then can we pretend? Just for tonight.” Jimin turned around slowly to see the younger man standing among the waves looking lost and hopeful, eyes peering through his damp fringe. “Just go back ten years and just… be those restless teenagers in love?”

The desire to say yes burned in every fiber of his being as he stared back towards the younger man. His body trembled at the idea of finally just having a moment to return back ten years in time- to finally relive his teenage years before everything turned to shit.

“Please, Jimin. Just this once.”

What more could Jimin do? He was a selfish person by nature, and he selfishly wanted to agree just to feel Jeongguk’s hands on his body again- to feel as if he wasn’t worthless anymore. His head moved, already nodding his agreement.

Jeongguk surged forward, not hesitating for even a moment as he wrapped his arms tightly around his waist, hoisting him a bit from the water and colliding his lips messily against his own.

He didn’t fight it. He tilted his head back and let himself get swept away by the cool lips that ignited a fire in his belly. Jeongguk’s hands raked over his body, relearning every new crevice and curve, lips attempting to devour his own.

The hot touches felt so good- washing away the stains along his skin and sending back to the times that everything was just easier. Where the worst thing in the world was getting caught out past curfew or kissing the quiet boy down the street.

Before, he was always the one that took charge- leading the kisses and the shy skinmanship, but now the tables have once again turned and he found himself submitting to the dominating way Jeongguk licked at his lips, silently asking for entrance. The hands that kept him close and so warm.

They didn’t pull apart- ten years of desperation causing them to messily kiss one another as Jimin sunk his fingers into the damp strands. He soaked up the messy kisses- most missing his mouth and the way his body was flush against the other.

When they pulled apart for air, Jimin’s cheeks were red and his chest heaving as he fought to catch his breath, but Jeongguk only smiled so sweetly at him. “I’m still so in love with you,” he admitted quietly. “I don’t think I could ever stop.”

“Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin moaned lowly, hands tangling deeper into his hair. “I’m not the same person that you fell in love with all those years ago. I’m not that kid anymore. What we had? We won’t ever have that again.”

Jeongguk brushed his fingers over Jimin’s features, as if touching a ghost. He nodded. “I know.”

Breathlessly, Jimin molded their lips back together. He sank into the feeling of Jeongguk cradling him as he tore at Jeongguk’s boxers. Jeongguk groaned in the back of his throat as the older yanked them down and grasped at his already half-hard cock.

The younger let out a guttural groan as Jimin smiled, the cool water no longer bothering him as his body felt hot and his cock feeling constrained.

“Are we doing this in the ocean?’ Jeongguk breathed, shifting so that his arm was wrapped tightly around Jimin’s waist and hoisting him further so that Jeongguk could reach him easier.

“Gotta better place?” Jimin asked, arching a brow as he wrapped his arms around his neck to help bare some of his waist. Jeongguk flushed at the question- remembering that both of them were staying with their parents.

“Yeah, I guess that was a dumb question,” he said with a little laugh before he frowned. “I don’t have any lube or anything.”

Jimin shook his head, adjusting himself easier. “Use spit- plus the ocean water should help a bit.” A frown touched his lips. “Ever fuck in water before?”

“Hyung… no,” he replied instantly. He bit his lip as he looked around wearily and seeing nothing on the deserted beach that could offer a comfortable place- or enough cover. Jimin rolled his eyes and tugged at his hair.

“Still a kid. Shut the fuck up and put your fingers in my mouth,” Jimin demanded. Jeongguk blushed but raised his fingers to obey the whims of the elder who easily took them and suckled hard. Jeongguk’s cock twitched.

“You know I was trying to make this- fuck, Jimin- romantic,” Jeongguk gasped, eyes blowing wide at the feeling Jimin’s mouth suckling and licking at his fingers that was driving him crazy.

The other rolled his eyes before he opened his mouth and let Jeongguk remove his fingers. Without waiting, he lowered his hand back into the cool water and reaching for the back as Jimin adjusted himself.

Jeongguk hesitated. “Are you sure about this? We can stop.”

“I’m sure. I want to pretend for a night too,” Jimin murmured. After a moment, Jeongguk grinned before he leaned forward and captured the full pink lips and remolded them with his own.

Carefully, he slipped his fingers between Jimin’s ass, then nudged one finger in. Jimin yelled. His fingers tightened to the point of pain on his shoulder, a groan lodging in Jeongguk’s throat at the blunt nails.

Panting, Jimin whined and bit his lip, body shifting, but Jeongguk held him tightly and waited for his body to adjust before he slowly started to move his finger around. When his muscles loosened enough, he added a second finger.

“Ahh, fuck,” Jimin hissed, sweat glistening across his brow and pain pinching his features to the point his brow was furrowed and eyes a bit hazy. But he didn’t ask the younger to stop. Merely laid his head on his shoulder and evened out his breathing.

Slowly, he added the third finger and watched as Jimin tensed and his breathing hitched. Waiting for him to relax, he watched as he sagged like a doll and threw back his head while his hips wiggled- as if testing the movements.

“Open me up,” he demanded.

Subconsciously, Jeongguk obeyed. He scissored his fingers and pried open his hole. Jimin whined and hissed, pain and pleasure tangling to the point neither could distinguish it. When he felt ready, Jeongguk slipped his fingers out and pressed the tip of his length against his fluttered hole that felt cold because of the ocean water.

“There are no condoms- sorry, but I didn’t think I would need one with a late rendezvous,” he admitted, chuckling a bit with pink cheeks and brighter red ears. Jimin huffed, shoving his damp hair from his eyes. “I’m clean- tested last month.”

“Same- it’s fine. Just do it already.”

Grunting, he let Jimin’s arms wrap tighter around his neck before he shifted his hips upwards. He whined in his throat at the tight hot feeling of himself slipping in, the hot heat causing his stomach to tighten and pleasure to curl his toes in the sand.

Jimin had tears running down his face, arms too tight around his neck and whimpers lodging in the back of his throat as he leaned over and bit into Jeongguk’s shoulder. He hissed but didn’t complain, hips stuttering as they made it all the way to the balls.

Waiting, he tightened his hold around Jimin’s waist, planting little kisses along his exposed collarbone and suckling little marks that he knew he would be hit for later, but this was his last chance to see the milky skin tainted with his marks.

After a few moments, Jimin rolled his hips. A startled cry of pleasure yanked from Jeongguk’s mouth as Jimin sighed contently, jaw loosening from the bite. Instantly, he knew that he was ready and met Jimin’s own rocks with his own.

Noises left Jimin’s mouth as his head got thrown back. Jeongguk kept his thighs tight around his waist and held him up as the pressure within his body was building. Jimin’s tight heat felt so overwhelming good- better then any of the lays that he has had.

He adjusted himself and slammed himself upwards. Jimin screamed out, pleasure rushing over his face as his nails scraped at his tawny skin. Panting, he realized that he found his sweet spot and started to push himself towards it with every thrust of his hips.

Readily accepting it, Jimin was gasping and panting as Jeongguk leaned over and kissed him firmly. Teeth clashing and saliva dripping between them and back into the ocean that was their cocoon, Jeongguk was trembling from the feelings that surged through his system like liquid fire.

The taste of Jimin- cigarettes and stale mint from his toothpaste- the cool hands that gripped his shoulders, and the plush lips that devoured his own. He felt as if he was finally living again.

For ten years he had dreamed of being able to hold him, to kiss him, and now his fingers were tangled within damp blond hair, and his face a bit scruffy from the day without shaving, and his hands too cold against his skin as his heat flooded his system.

“Fuck- Guk- so, so close,” Jimin hissed, more wonton moans leaving his pretty lips as he finally pulled away from the passionate kiss. Grunting, his own pressure building, he sped up his pace as his hips stuttered and groaned.

Feeling Jimin tense, he knew he was coming and slipped out just to slam himself back in, hitting Jimin’s sweet spot easily. Unraveling in his arms, Jimin screamed out Jeongguk’s name as he trembled and shook, eyes closing at the force of the oragsm that caused Jeongguk to finally have his own.

White dotted the ocean waters, cleaning off their bodies easily, and Jimin sagged again like a rag doll. His arms loosened their tight hold, his breathing uneven and too fast, but he held himself up as his sweaty forehead made contact with his shoulder.

Jeongguk fought to catch his breath, arms trembling and legs feeling like jelly as he carefully pulled himself out. Jimin hissed at the overstimulation but didn’t voice a complaint as his legs unraveled from his waist and his height shrunk back to where he had to look up.

It had truly amazed Jeongguk that ten years did change something- their height. Jimin had always been a bit taller- not a lot, but enough- and now it was backwards. Jeongguk somewhat towered over him.

There was about Jimin that hadn’t changed. The small stature and tiny shoulders that gave him this delicate feeling. Even at twenty eight years old it was still there. Slender waist, small shoulders, and longer legs.

Everything that Jeongguk adored about him.

Sighing, Jimin lowered himself in the water and washed his face before he came back up with a little smile and his eyes glinting with mischief. “I guess we can add “ocean sex” to our list of “odd shit we did in life”.”

Jeongguk snorted, following what Jimin did and washing the sweat and heat off his body with the cold ocean water and then coming back up. “I probably shouldn’t ever tell my niece about the naughty things her uncle has done.”

Jimin nodded seriously. “The scandals. The lies. All the factors of the life of a sexy gay Korean living in Seoul,” he teased. Jeongguk shoved his shoulder. “Who has the reality TV show life now?”

“Still you,” he rebuked instantly. “What would your best friend think of this with his tea leaves?”

The older man pursed his lips, giggling. “Tae-ah would probably sip his tea, mumbling something about the stars lining up right and that it was the perfect time to line something else up with my ass,” he remarked drily. Jeongguk burst into laughter.

“He sounds like a cool person.”

“He is a alien from like mars or something,” Jimin countered, amused. Reaching down, he pulled up his briefs just as Jeongguk did the same before he sighed and looked back at the sky. Without thinking twice, Jeongguk leaned over and pecked Jimin’s red lips. “Oh- getting bold I see.”

“I figured if we fucked in the ocean, a kiss would be a walk in the park,” Jeongguk explained. Jimin hummed his acknowledgement, smiling sweetly. He settled back in the water, letting it cool his still warm skin and stare up at the night sky.

Wading through the water, Jeongguk took Jimin’s hand. The older man looked over through half-lidded eyes. Jeongguk gave a sad smile. “Come on hyung. We should go now. It’s late.”

Nodding, Jimin stood and together they headed for shore where they shook themselves off to dry and then dressed slowly. Jimin hated the sticky feeling of his clothes, but he sighed and let it be.

Slipping on his sandals, they took each others place by their sides as they began the small walk towards the neighborhood. The silence was peaceful, loaded, and somewhat sad as they paused in front of Jimin’s old house.

It was like a ghost. A memory too old to dare touch.

Turning on his heel, Jimin marched towards Jeongguk with shaking hands as he cupped his face, tilted his head down, and brought their lips together in the faintest of touches. Like a butterflies wings.

When he pulled away, tears were shining in the moonlight, but held back by the steel in his eyes. “I want you to know, Gukkie, that I miss you too. I miss you everytime I look up at the stars, and think of you, and knowing that we are under the same moon makes me feel a little closer to you.”

One last feather kiss, a lingering pain, before the cold hands were gone and the stale mint and smoky breath was gone. Opening his eyes, he watched as Jimin was already at his front door.

“Goodbye, hyung.”

“Goodbye, Gukkie.”

Jeongguk was never fond of goodbyes.

Chapter Text

Jimin hated the heat. The overwhelming, sticky, Seoul heat that caused his now hazel colored hair to plaster to his sweaty forehead and the back of his shirt to cling to his back. Seoul summer weren’t as bad heat wise compared to Busan, but the humidity made it nearly unbearable.

His air conditioner above his head was sputtering, coughing like an elderly smoker as it coughed out lukewarm air at best, and Jimin cursed lowly as he shoved the thin sheet off his body and rolled out of bed.

The one room apartment was pristinely clean. It was too small to have anything otherwise out of place- his clothes all hung in color coordination in his small wardrobe tucked away in the right hand corner, his bed now made, and the desk organized despite the pile of paperwork he had been avoiding like the plague.

He was sure that Hoseok was going to hound his ass again, but he couldn’t really find it in himself to make himself sit down and do it quite yet, so instead he showered in his dingy bathroom that was more like a closet but at least the water was cool so it brushed away the sweat better.

He dressed in his dance clothes- merely some grey sweats, a loose shirt, and shoving his extra clothes in his worn out duffel with his jazz shoes before he slipped on his own and bolted from his apartment.

The humidity nearly blasted him back into his apartment as he hissed under his breath, clicked his tongue, and glared up at the clear blue sky, the glistening sun that was bearing down. It was blistering.

Shaking his head, he began his short walk towards the studios, ignoring the world around him and the mostly empty streets despite it being nearly eight a.m. but the morning rush wasn’t until nine a.m.

Serendipity Dance Studios wasn’t on the main road, something that Jimin was grateful for, but it was still close enough that one would only turn down one alley and see it resting nestled between the other shops with it’s glistening white letters.

The studio itself wasn’t much- only had four dance studios, a locker room, two offices, and of course a front lobby. It was nicely decorated. Sleek and modern looking, but Jimin had nothing to do with that aspect.

Oddly enough, it was Yoongi who chose it all for him, and Jimin was grateful to this day because if he did it it would surely look like a train wreck instead of a modern dance studio for kids.

Stepping inside the cool, air conditioned room, Jimin dropped his duffel and threw open his arms. “Ah, thank fuck for the dance room air conditioning,” he praised loudly, twirling a bit to feel the cool air sweep under his sweaty arms and caress his sweaty back.

Hoseok looked up from his paperwork, arching an amused brow as his pen stilled over some paper that Jimin didn’t truly care about to pin his partner with a look. “Do you have to swear inside a kids dance studio?”

Jimin chortled, hands dropping back to his sides. “Don’t act like I didn’t hear you swear like a damn sailor when you stubbed your toe yesterday,” he rebuked easily. Hoseok glared but didn’t say anything as he looked back down at the paper.

Smug, Jimin bent down to grab his duffel before he padded towards his office- which was located directly on the right with a full door and everything- and pushed it open just to see two bodies fling apart.

“Oh come the fuck on- really? In my office? Hobi hyung’s is literally right across from me- a whole five feet!” Jimin snapped.

Kim Taehyung offered a mischievous smile, brushing his sterling silver hair from his dark, almost black eyes that were still somehow stunning. He wore his usual ambient clothing- bright colored sweaters and slacks with his sliders on his feet.

Earrings dangled from his ears, shining under the light of his office, and his hair matching the same silover of his ears. His skin was a beautiful deep honey that Jimin was actually a little jealous of- unblemished and perfect.

Although that probably had to do more with the shit ton of product that he does every single night with the pink band in his hair as he danced around to trashy American songs and mumbling about the “circle of life” like the Lion King saga continues.

Yoongi didn’t really look too bothered- more annoyed by the interruption then by the fact that Jimin was yelling at them as his cat-eyes flickered over his frame and his tongue licked his drying, thin lips that were slightly pursed in a pout.

He was a lot more subdued then his boyfriend- wearing a black tee with some acid wash jeans and boots that made no sense within the heat of summer but then again, Min Yoongi was never one for making sense.

His pale features were framed by his messy platinum blond hair that fell over his features and made him appear paler then he actually was, but like Jimin, he was quite the homebody despite coming from the same sunny place as Taehyung.

Hoseok cackled from behind the counter.

“Your office happens to have a better desk,” Taehyung said, bounding over like a over excited Great Dane rather than a human being. Jimin narrowed his eyes, slitted more like a snake as he glared.

“You do know that this is a kids studio? Doesn’t your tea leaves tell you at least that much?” Jimin wondered. Taehyung fluttered his fingers back through his hair. The square shaped smile unfaltering.

“They tell me lots of things! Speaking of which,” Taehyung mumbled, pursing his lips, “your leaves are all tangled today. Give me your hand.”

“Oh, Tae-ah, no,” Jimin whined. The other man didn’t seem to be the least bit bothered by the denial. Merely bent his fingers and gave a serious look. Groaning, Jimin looked towards the cat eyed man who only shrugged and didn’t intervene.

Giving in, he lifted his hand and placed in Taehyung’s much larger one. His fingers were long and slender, curling around Jimin’s significantly smaller one while the cold metal of his rings felt nearly frozen against his skin.

Taehyung hummed as he skimmed his long fingers over his palm, lips pursed and tongue sticking out as he focused so seriously on the lines before he looked up and cocked his head.

“Just as I expected,” Taehyung started, “you’re in some dire need of a good lay.”

Yoongi snorted, arms crossing of his chest as he leaned against the back wall of the office and cocked his head. Jimin blinked once before he scowled, tearing his hand away from the younger.

“Taehyung-ah!” he scolded. Taehyung shrugged, leaning himself on the desk as his finger twirled over the wood. “First of all, that isn’t even a fortune, and second of all, no, I am fine, thanks though.”

The silver haired beauty rolled his eyes. “Min-ah, you’re my best friend, and I love you, but ever since you got back from Busan almost five months ago you have been the biggest grouch.”

Jimin gaped, feeling more like a fish at the moment. “I have not!” he protested. Taehyung hummed, arching a perfect brow. The brunet turned towards Yoongi for help but the older man only shrugged.

“Sorry, Min-ah, but Taehyungie is right. You’ve been a major pain in the ass,” Yoongi replied with a nod. Feeling betrayed, Jimin made a noise in the back of his throat before throwing his hands up.

“Look, thanks for the concern or whatever, but I am fine,” Jimin muttered, shaking his head as he ran his fingers through his brown hair with a heavy sigh. “Now, is there a reason I caught the two of you about to do the dance with no pants in my office for a reason?”

“Yes- but first, on a more serious note, I read about your month in my book to see what your month is gonna be like and well, supposedly something is gonna happen,” Taehyung said, this time straightening a bit. “Something that you lost before is going to reappear in your life and that you need to accept it.”

This wasn’t uncommon. Taehyung would read about his “aura” or “chai” about what was going to happen for the month, based around Jimin’s year and month of birth, and usually come rushing over to tell him.

But the glint in his voice this time was more serious, but usually Jimin just nodded his head, patted Taehyung sweetly, and continue on his merry way and forget the jumble five minutes after hearing it.

He loved his best friend- his odd quirks and all- but things like that had never really settled well. The whole idea of fate or destiny was almost a painful memory because it was something that Jeongguk would mention during their late night talks by the sea when they were kids.

But now he hated it for a whole different reason- because if he admitted that there was such a thing as “fate” or “destiny” meant that everything that has happened to him was “destined” and the idea was one that sent fury through his veins.

He was destined to be destroyed at the age of eigtheen and his whole life to turn over? To leave Busan, leave the one person who was always there, and then make his life like this? Was they really all lief had for him?

Granted, even after everything his life wasn’t horrible. Could be worse and he knew it, but it didn’t change that he could never forgive “fate” for ten years ago.

That I was destined to be broken and put back together again.

“Tae-ah, I haven't lost anything,” Jimin rebuked tiredly, running a hand over his face as he arched a brow towards his best friend. Taehyung sighed, pursing his lips as he crossed his arms and huffed a bit.

“Everyone has lost something. Everyone has something that they want back. You’re not any different,” Taehyung replied firmly. Yoongi’s eyes flickered over to the other man whose features twisted for half a second before returning to the sweet square smile that everyone knew. “All I am saying is, don’t be a grouch and try and pretend that you don’t want whatever you lost! Let it come back to you!”

“If I agree, can I get to work? I am working on new choreography and would really like to practice it so I can send in a video,” Jimin finally gave in, looking towards Taehyung with large, hopeful eyes.

Taehyung rolled his eyes, clicking his tongue. “Sure. But that isn’t the only reason we came,” he pressed on. Jimin waved his hand, silently signaling to continue. “Tonight Taemin hyung is going out and I figured we could use some loosening up. You don’t work on Tuesdays, yes?”

Jimin frowned. “Taemin hyung is going out tonight? Does he have permission from his company to be doing that?” he asked curiously. Taehyung shrugged.

When the silver haired left the service, he instantly started working for fashion companies, including working with entertainment companies as a Stylist. He was good with clothes, generally had a taste for it, so it wasn’t surprising.

When Jimin got out, he did audition to be a part of a dancer or something for Idols, but he was rejected, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t make friends with those that weren’t. Lee Taemin being one of them.

Taemin wasn’t an idol, but merely a choreographer for Idols and sometimes a backup dancer that appeared in MV’s.

But Jimin and Taemin loved to work together- dance together when their bodies or their schedules.

“Yeah, and he said that he wanted you to come since it has been forever since either one of you have hung out,” Taehyung pressed, this time raising both of his brows until they were hidden under his hair. “And frankly, you need a night out. A possibility to get laid.”

“Tae-ah, please,” Jimin sighed heavily. “I don't need you babysitting me. We are the same age, you know?”

“That has nothing to do with it!” Taehyung whined, exasperated. “You tell me everything. Everything. But you have yet to tell me what happened in Busan that has made you so… sad.” Jimin opened his mouth to protest. Taehyung raised his hand. “Don’t even deny it. I’m tired of seeing you moping. You need to settle down, Min-ah. Find someone. Be happy for once.”

Jimin groaned loudly. He could not believe that out of all the days Taehyung decided to pull this, he chose today. Yoongi was being his usual silent self, but he was definitely listening. His eyes were flickering between the two, his legs crossed and seemingly nonchalant.

“Fine. Damn, fine, tonight I’ll go,” he gave in, shaking his head as he tossed his duffel bag at Yoongi’s seat. The older caught his irate gaze. “Thanks a lot for the help, hyung. Glad to know I can count on you.”

“Anytime, Min-ah,” he replied with a wry smile, pushing himself off the wall and approaching Taehyung. The taller, larger man looked towards his boyfriend as Yoongi pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. “See you tonight, darling.”

“Tonight,” Taehyung promised. Yoongi smile sweetly before he approached Jimin who was still glaring towards his long time friend. The older chuffed and flicked his forehead.

“Loosen up, Min-ah. You’ll have fun tonight. Taemin-ssi is good people, yes? Good luck today with the kids,” he said. Jimin grunted but didn’t answer as Yoogni ruffled his hair in affection before leaving the room and waving to Hoseok.

Taehyung checked his phone. “Ugh, I need to fly. Gotta appointment with rookies.” Standing, he kissed Jimin’s cheek before answering his phone and slipping out of the office. Jimin watched him go, the strawberry scent of his perfume still scenting the air as Jimin threw his head back towards the ceiling.

For a moment, he closed his eyes and pretended that he was back at the ocean's edge with the cold water licking at his ankles and the vanilla scent he loved so much mixing with the brine as Jeongguk stood next to him.

He inhaled. Exhaled.

Ever since the last night on the beach, Jimin wished with everything he had that he could just return to that place. Feel Jeongguk’s iron arms around him, the mischievous laugh, and the twitch of his nose.

He felt like a kid again, dreaming for things that he knew he couldn’t have. But when he felt overwhelmed, he liked to think back to those nights on the beach and let the memories relax him.

His finger twitched for a cigarette, but he ignored it and turned to Hoseok who glanced up at him from over the paperwork. “What time is my first class?”

“Ten.”

“Good.”

He headed for the studio.

 

******

 

The cigarette smoke burned at Jimin’s throat, staining it black, and it made him relieved since the music was grating on his nerves and he swallowed the vodka like it was a sugary treat as it burned his throat.

“What has crawled up your ass, Jimin-ah?” Taemin asked, sipping at his vodka on the rocks with a eyebrow raised and piercings glinting in the low light of the bar. He looked stunning- despite the age he was- and Jimin admire that about him. “You haven’t drank this much for a while.”

Alcohol was sloshing around his brain, tangling with his senses and dulling his filter. He was slightly slumped over the table that was a bit sticky, but he didn’t really care. He was sure he looked like a wreck- a glittery, brown haired wreck.

His vision was hazy as he raised his head to look towards his friends- Taehyung was already in the center, gathering the attention of a lot of the ladies with his satin red shirt and black slacks.

Yoongi was sitting beside Taemin, drinking his beer much more slowly than his boyfriend, but Jimin could tell the man was already tipsy basing on the relaxed state of his face and the loose smile curling at the corner of his lips as he watched his boyfriend sway to the music with the few others dancing.

The bar smelled of smoke and alcohol, the music a little dead, but the ones dancing didn’t seem to mind. The chair was pinching into Jimin’s thighs, which were nearly bursting through the black jeans that he didn’t wear often.

Taemin didn’t seem bothered, even though Jimin knew he hated the fact that he smoked, he still never said anything. Yoongi turned at the question, shaking his head.

“He went home for the holidays,” Yoongi announced in a heavy Daegu slur, a more verbal announcement that he was a little bit past tipsy. Taemin piqued up interest. “And when he came back, he was all… drinking again.”

“Hyung,” Jimin sighed tiredly, slamming his used cigarette into the ashtray on the table. Pushing himself up, he was glad that the drink was curdling in his head. He was drinking to forget that night- and yet all he could remember was the one thing he was trying to forget.

Yoongi looked over at the scolding tone of his younger, arching a brow and shrugging his shoulders uncaringly. Taemin, however, looked interested as he sat up, eyes drifting back towards the brunet.

“Was it your family? The last time you drank you mentioned that you miss your brother. And your mom,” Taemin asked, head cocked to the side and his lips finding the rim of his drink. Jimin swallowed another burning round of vodka.

“My family is okay,” he slurred, a hint of Busan lacing his words. He glared at the mostly empty glass, his face pinched with something almost feral before he looked back up. “How do you get over someone who was never yours? Who do you blame when you’ve broken your own heart?”

Taemin frowned, his expression darkening a bit and the teasing smile wiping off his face as he sat up. In all the years he had known Jimin, he never heard him talk about love, or the possibility of heartbreak.

Even Yoongi looked taken aback, his eyes widening and mouth snapped shut as his hazy cat eyes became a fragment clearer as he pushed himself to sit up.

“Jimin-ah, are you… do you love someone?” he asked carefully, feeling almost foolish because it felt as if he was talking to a lovesick teenager. Jimin tended to always act much younger when he was drunk, though no one really understood why.

Jimin giggled, amusement and wistfulness touching his features as he leaned back in the chair and ran his fingers through his messy brown hair. The smile on his face was pained. “He’s my Serendipity.”

Yoongi looks bewildered. He had heard the story from Taehyung of why Jimin chose the name “Serendipity” for his dance studios- something about finding something by chance and it becoming great- but he never stated it was a person.

But that was the thing about Jimin- he wasn’t always the most open and honest person, despite how it might seem. He could tell you a lot of things, but how much it actually means is little to none.

Taemin glanced towards Yoongi, catching his eye, but the man only shrugged with the same confused expression.

Jimin started to pout, staring towards his glass while his pudgy fingers picked at something that was stuck to the table. His hazy eyes were saddened, a little lost.

“Did you see him back in Busan?” Yoongi asked, taking the reins from Taemin. Jimin slid his eyes slowly back up to Yoongi, his lips pinched a bit tighter and his hands tightening around his drink.

“I messed up,” Jimin muttered, a bitterness seeping into his tone now. “I left him. I left him and I can’t have him back. I can’t ‘cause he isn’t mine anymore. He needs… better.”

Taemin’s face suddenly dawned with realization. His eyes turned sad, misty even, as he watched the way Jimin drank a bit more of his drink before he slumped over the table. The confession seemed to drain everything out of him, leaving him boneless.

Yoongi’s heart was clenching a bit as he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Jimin had always been a bit tight lipped, so not even Yoongi knew everything about his life. He knew the basics- he had his mother, father, and brother. He left them when he was 18 but never gave a reason.

Taehyung, however, knew everything. Yoongi knew that because Taehyung would sometimes get this look on his face when he was talking with Jimin, a understanding and a knowing that was almost frightening.

“I’ll go get Taehyungie. He needs to go home,” Yoogi muttered, pushing himself to his feet. Taemin nodded his head in agreement, lips white as he rubbed Jimin’s back as the other murmured under his breath.

“Good idea. I’ll watch him.”

Agreeing, Yoongi hurried from the table and walked towards Taehyung. Taemin turned back towards Jimin, offering a placating smile as he brushed the soft strands from his forehead. Jimin grumbled under his breath but otherwise remained still.

“You forever have to remain a mystery, don’t you, Park Jimin?” Taemin chuckled, somewhat amused. Jimin never answered, but Taehyung was suddenly there. A whoosh of satin red and strawberries as long fingers brushed the silver strands from his eyes.

“Oh Mini,” Taehyung breathed, affection and pain tight in his eyes. Jimin lifted his head, hazy eyes landing on Taehyung before a little smile touched his face.

“Tae-ah,” he slurred out, fingers reaching over and touching Taehyung’s cheek. His breath reeked of hard liquor and it nearly made him gag. “Feel better? Can I feel better tonight? So pretty.”

Sighing, the silver haired male shook his head firmly as he reached up and tugged Jimin’s hand away from his face. He didn’t miss the way Yoongi looked away, teeth biting into his lip.

“No, baby. We don’t do that anymore, remember? I belong to someone else,” Taehyung replied quietly, searching Jimin’s features. His face scrunched, eyes narrowed and mouth ticked as he tried to recalled. “Come on. We’re going home.”

The drunk didn’t protest. He stood on shaky legs as Taehyung threw his arm over his shoulder and hunched over so that he could still reach the floor. Yoongi wandered over and took his other side.

“Thanks for tonight, Taemin hyung, but I think he should go home and sleep this off. Next time, yeah?” Taehyung called over his shoulder, barely managing a wave as he led him away. Taemin waved back.

 

******

 

The headache was nearly enough to split Jimin’s head. It throbbed and ached as if a sledgehammer had hit it, but glared down at the papers on his desk determinedly. The pen was steady in his grip, bottom lip between his teeth.

“You really look like a wreck and Taehyung-ssi is calling every five minutes,” Hoseok called, appearing in the doorway with his arms crossed and head cocked to the side. Jimin didn’t raise his head. “So, I take it that last night was, uh, fun then?”

“Not really. I went because they asked me to and when I do go and happen to get drunk, they treat me like some kid that has never had a drink before,” Jimin muttered, annoyance pressing on his temples. “So, before you ask, I’m fine. I have painkillers and I know how to drink water.”

Hoseok held up his hands in surrender, his easy-going smile slipping from his features at the hostile tone that sliced through his voice. Jimin huffed and looked back towards the paperwork.

“I am not meaning to overstep my bounds, Jimin-ah, I just- Taehyung-ssi sounds really worried about you and it’s making me worried,” he explained simply, shrugging his shoulders. Jimin sighed heavily, tossing the pen on the paper to look back up at the older man firmly.

“Look, I appreciate you, really. And I love Tae-ah, he’s my brother, but I don’t need anyone worrying about me. Shit happens in life- accept that,” he replied firmly. “Now, don’t you have an appointment coming in a few minutes? Potential new student?”

At the mention of business, Hoseok straightened, the gloomy expression on his face vanishing as if it was never there and his bright smile replaced it. “Ah, right. Okay so the name is Jeon Sumi, four years old. They signed for hip hop beginner, so your class, and a tumbling class.”

Jimin grabbed his notepad, wrote the name and classes in messy scrawl before checking his numbers. “I have a few classes open, but hyung, I am not sure I can add her into the tumbling class for mondays where the hip hop is. My tumbling class is mostly full.”

Hoseok hummed. “I’ll play with the schedule and see what I can do, contact a few anyways that haven’t been showing up to start opening more spots for you,” he offered. Jimin nodded.

“That sounds great,” he answered, then smiled. “When they get here and you go over payments and whatnot, send them in here. I’ll deal with scheduling and fittings.”

“Sounds good. Thanks Jimin-ah,” he called, waved, then slipped out of the room to start preparing for the meeting with potential new students. Jimin watched him go, his door cracked now, and he didn’t have the heart to close it.

Returning to his paperwork, he groaned as his head spiked and wished that he really had ignored Taehyung yesterday and not gone at all. When he drank, he tended to say whatever was on his mind, and it seemed that no matter how much he drank, Jeongguk would still be on his mind.

Jimin had mentioned Jeongguk before to Taehyung. During one of their late nights after they had been having sex and were just laying beside one another. He had confessed that there was someone that he missed a lot because Taehyung mentioned how he missed Daegu.

But Taehyung never pressed him for more. Knowing what his boundaries were and also knowing that Jimin would tell him in his own time. For some reason, Jimin really only confessed thing to Taehyung.

Maybe it was because Taehyung never looked at him differently. His eyes always just glistened with affection and care that made his heart ache because somewhere in the back of his mind, he reminded him a little of Jeongguk.

So kind. So warm.

The sound of the door jingling signaled that someone had arrived, the sound distantly echoing. He heard some soft voices talking, and he knew that Hoseok was greeting them well. Jimin paid them no heed, merely continued his work of checking their accounts, schedules, and even bookings for performances.

His headache was thankfully succeeding, but the voices dulled as he continued to click away on his computer and checking over the dates. He wrote notes in messy scrawl when needed and was almost startled when Hoseok poked his head in.

“Hey- the client and her uncle are here,” he said, smiling. Jimin tore his eyes away from the computer, blinking a moment to clear his vision. “You good to see them?”

“Sure.”

Standing quickly, he adjusted his tee and his jeans before placing a small smile on his lips as Hoseok left and mumbled something to the clients before the door was pushed open.

The first thing he noticed was messy chocolate, almost black hair.

The second thing he noticed was the distinct scent of vanilla that was still somehow overwhelming as the man lifted his head, nose twitching as surprise washed over his face along with disbelief as his jaw dropped open.

“Jimin?”

“Jeongguk-” he gasped, scrambling backwards hard enough that the back of his ankle clashed with his chair. He yelped, flinching a bit as his back hit the wall. Jeongguk had eyes the size of saucers.

A little girl, probably no more than four or five years old, was grasping tightly onto the loose acid jeans of him. Her hair was longer, falling around her shoulders in soft waves and eyes big and round, almost matching Jeongguk’s but not quite, and she wore a marvel SPiderman shirt and a little denim skirt with boots.

Slight frightened and confused, Jimin licked his lips as unease filtered throughout his body because this was just plain cruel. He knows that he named his studios Serendipity, named after meeting his serendipity but this was wrong.

He wasn’t supposed to meet him again. Not in Seoul. Not where he changed his entire life, leaving everything from Busan behind. He wasn’t supposed to be standing in his small studio with his hair a messy rat nest on his head and his eyes to be dead.

“What- what are you- are you following me?” Jimin blurted, hands shaking as they raked through his brown hair and tugged a bit harshly at the strands. His legs shook. The desire to flee was like an itch.

Jeongguk’s nose scrunched. It wiggled once as he briskly shook his head. “No. I didn’t… my brother picked out the studios, but the buttface got called away so I had to take Sumi-yah.” He swallowed, eyes raking over Jimin’s form. “I didn’t know that this was your studios… you never told me the name.”

Jimin’s gaze snapped towards the little girl, who stared back at Jimin with curious eyes and determined set to her lips as she looked between the two adults with curiosity that only children seemed to possess.

Mouth dry and body shaking, he looked back towards Jeongguk whose face was almost unreadable. Carefully blank. But his eyes were screaming. Those dark eyes were watching him with so many emotions that Jimin felt as if he was drowning.

Clearing his throat, his brain took a detour. He was reminded that this was his job, and he could use that. Remain professional. To stay away and keep himself separated.

“Right,” he mumbled quickly, gathering a few papers and ignoring the sharp pain in the back of his ankle, along with the warm feeling of hot liquid that soaked through his sock. “I’m Park Jimin. I am the ballet, tumbling, and beginner Hip Hop teacher,” he prattled listlessly, “and you must be Jeon Sumi, right?”

The little girl brightened at hearing her name, stepping out from behind her uncle’s longer leg. “Yes! I am Sumi!”

Jimin smiled warmly. Despite the fact she definitely shares the Jeon gene, she was nothing like Jeongguk when he was younger. You could barely get him to say “boo” let alone state his name.

“Well, look at you! Aren’t you a sight? Let me guess,” Jimin said, bending down a bit so that he was more eye level with the little girl who was looking at him with round eyes. Jimin glanced at her shirt. “You must be a superhero?”

Sumi gasped. “Hero? Like Spiderman?”

Charmed by the way her eyes sparkled with mirth and hope, bouncing a bit on his toes. He chuckled and nodded warmly. “Exactly like Spiderman. A girl like you has to be like Spiderman or even Black Widow. Spiderman sure has some friends!”

The girl’s eyes sparkled as she bounced again, hair swishing around his shoulders while Jeongguk watched with a little smile and slight surprise. “Do you know Spiderman?”

Jimin chuckled and nodded. “We are kinda friends. So, your name is Sumi-yah, little hero? Maybe I’ll tell Spiderman all about you.”

The little one squealed, instantly turning around and grabbing Jeongguk’s hand as she bounced up and down excitedly. “Kookoo! Teacher knows Spiderman! Maybe he knows Icky Ironman too so you can meet him!”

Jeongguk grinned and ruffled her hair. “I don’t know, bug, maybe!” Eyes shifting back up, Jimin’s smile vanished quickly as he looked away from jeongguk eyes and quickly turned back towards the table. “Hey, why don’t you go ask the other nice teacher about the dance rooms? Maybe look around and see the costumes?”

“Okay Kookoo!” Sumi grinned and waved happily at Jimin who smiled back. The sound of the door closing was ominous and slightly off-putting as he kept his attention on the paperwork.

The silence trickled by. It wasn’t comfortable like it was back in Busan. it was thick with a tenison that was grating over his skin and nearly drove Jimin wild like the slight pains on the back of his ankle.

Finally, he cleared his throat.

“So, the classes Sumi-yah will be taking will be the basic Hip Hop and Tumbling, however, my tumbling class is a bit full but my coworker, Hoseok-ssi, is working a way around-”

“Jimin,” Jeongguk sighed, rubbing his forehead with his fingers roughly. Jimin snapped his jaw shut at the icy way he said his name, the sudden hardness that was in his eyes. “Are you really gonna sit there and pretend you don’t know me?”

“I don’t know- will it work?” Jimin retorted, peeved.

“Not really,” he quipped tersely, brow twitching a bit. Huffing, Jimin sagged against his chair and looked away from the younger man. “I really didn’t know that this was your studios, Jimin. If I did… I definitely would have come a bit more prepared.”

“So you admit that you would have come?” Jimin turned his eyes back towards Jeongguk, arching a single brow and crossing his arms over his chest as his shoulders sagged in a bit. “Why?”

“Because I am not content to just forget,” Jeongguk answered firmly, voice steady and unheistating. Eyes shooting up, he met those brown eyes that were now sparking. “I don’t want to pretend that I don’t know you. I can’t. And I guess you named your studio right. Serendipity. Or maybe a Singularity. Can’t we at least… be friends?”

A large part of him was screaming “no!” but another part was relieved. To finally have something that he wanted back. Something.

“I- I mean it’s not like I can hide anymore,” he admitted weakly, gesturing towards the studios. “And I have bad feeling you are going to be persistent and like camp out here or something.”

“Not gonna lie- thought about it,” he joked, chuckling a bit as he flashed a wink. Jimin rolled his eyes, shaking his head in slight disappointment. “But I crossed it out because you probably would kick me in my balls when I am sleeping on the stoop.”

A grin peeled at his lips. “At least you know me well enough to know that.” He paused. “Kookoo.”

Jeongguk groaned, the tips of his ears turning a bright pink as he stared at the older man in surprise and disbelief. Jimin chuckled, trying to ease his way back into their friendly relationship.

“Oh, come on…. you're totally never going to let that one slide are you?” he wondered, pursing his lips. Jimin broke into laughter, shaking his head as it was his turn to flash a playful wink towards the younger man.

“Nope. It’s gonna stick now,” he answered in a sing-song voice. Jeongguk huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Yeah, whatever, Mochi.”

Jimin choked. “You remember that nickname?”

“I remember a lot of things,” Jeongguk rebuked, a hint of playful warning in his voice that said he wasn’t joking. Flustered, Jimin quickly raked his fingers through his hair before he gestured to the paperwork.

“Well, shall we talk over business?” he asked, but this time with a lot kinder smile. Jeongguk shrugged but settled in the chair that was positioned in front of the desk. Quickly, Jimin clicked his keyboard before he cleared his throat. “Okay, so, as I said, Hobi hyung is helping me fix the schedule, but right now I have a tumbling class open Wednesday evening at five p.m and another on Tuesday morning, early bird class- which you aren’t so I am gonna assume that’s out.”

“Ouch. My pride, hyung,” Jeongguk joked, feigning hurt as he grasped at his heart. Jimin hummed, amused.

“Well, if you insist, I can go ahead and write her name-”

“Wednesday is fantastic!” he interjected, cheeks lightly dotted pink. Giggling, he typed Jeongguk’s name and Sumi’s name into the computer, under the client’s tab. Jeongguk sulked. “So mean hyung.”

“You’re just so easy to tease,” he explained. “Okay, so the price for the tumbling class is a bit more than the ballet, at 180,000₩ per month (180$). This includes all the mats, and even the foot and hand gear that will be provided.”

Slightly uncomfortable at talking money, he shifted in his seat. He would offer a discount but this wasn’t just his studios, but Hoseok’s too and they needed the money since they were talking about adding another studio and maybe a another teacher if they could find one.

Jeongguk seemed to catch it because he offered a warm smile. “Don't worry so much! The price is fine, and I am not the one paying. Junghyun hyung is. I am just the one taking her.”

“Aw, did you get stuck babysitting?”

“No. I offered.” Jeongguk smiled shyly, his thumbs twiddling together. “Ever since she could walk, she would notice me dancing around the kitchen when I was doing dishes so it just… became a habit and now she wanted to try dancing.” He shrugged. “Hyung thought it could be our thing.”

“That… was actually really sweet and I think I just melted a bit,” Jimin replied softly, smiling a bit brightly. Jeongguk rolled his eyes and looked away, a bit embarrassed. He cleared his throat. “Right, so ballet is the most expensive class, since we have to purchase the shoes an whatnot. 300,000₩ (300$) per month. Comes with the shoes and stockings but you have to provide the rest.”

Jeongguk grinned evilly. “Perfect.”

Snickering in amusement, Jimin added it into his system before he started typing out the rest of what was needed. Humming to himself, he leaned back in his chair as it all clicked in. He tried to ignore the feeling of eyes.

“Okay- it’s all in. Let’s head up front where the papers are being printed with Hobi hyung,” he said, standing. Sharp pain raced up his ankle but he pretended to not notice as he walked around his desk.

Jeongguk trailed behind as they came back to the front, where Hoseok and Sumi were sitting on the counter top, legs dangling and kicking, as they sucked on lollipops. Halting in his place, he arched a brow towards Hoseok who blinked sheepishly.

“Busted,” he muttered. Sumi giggled and hide the lollipop behind her back.

“Hyung, did you just give my Sumi-yah a lollipop?” Jimin asked, pursing his lips. Hoseok snorted, shaking his head firmly as he cut a look towards the giggling, currently blue lipped girl.

“What? Give candy? Never!”

“Right- so why are her lips blue?”

“Um…. she’s cold?” he offered weakly. Sumi giggled before her uncle came from around Jimin and walked over to her. She grinned and held up her mostly eaten lollipop that he happily took.

“Are those Tae-ah’s lollipops?” Jimin wondered, finally curious as to where they had gotten them in the first place. The Stylist was a major sweet tooth, and tended to suck on lollipops with his boyfriend who used to smoke, so he had lollipops stashed everywhere.

Including their studio.

“Don’t tell Taehyung-ah,” Hoseok gasped, eyes widening.

“Oh you’re dead if he find out.” Snickering Jimin turned as Jeongguk pulled Sumi off the counter to twirl her around. She squealed and giggled before she was placed back on the ground and the lollipop returned to her lips. “Sumi-yah, is Kookoo’s favorite Avenger still Iron Man?”

A squeak left the younger man, head darting up with a scandalous expression as Sumi giggled, nodding her head as her beautiful dark hair bounced around her sweet features. “Yeah!” Then she cocked her head, pouted. “But how do you know? You know Kookoo?”

Hoseok tore his eyes that were round and bewildered towards Jimin. He arched his brow, eyes flaming a moment with a burning question. Unsure of how to answer, he turned away and cleared his throat.

“Um, so, hyung, I need the papers that just printed so I can give them to Gu- Jeongguk-ssi since the classes for Sumi-ah start two days from now,” he stammered, walking around the front desk and reaching for the papers.

Sumi looked up at her uncle. “Do you know teacher, Kookoo?”

Jeongguk smiled. “Remember those stories I would tell you about my best friend? The one who danced like the stars?”

“Yeah.”

“He’s my best friend.”

Jeongguk looked up, eyes searching Jimin’s to see if there was any anger or discontent with the knowledge. Stunned, Jimin didn’t know what to do but give a shaky smile. It had been years since Jeongguk had referred to them as that, and it made his heart clench so tightly in his chest.

“Wait, so you… you two knew each other? Know each other?” Hoseok asked, eyes flickering between the two. Jimin coughed awkwardly, straightening as he clenched his hands around the papers.

“Um, Hobi hyung, this is Jeon Jeongguk, my uh, best friend since childhood.”

Something clicked in Hoseok’s eyes. “Wait, from Busan? You never mention your life in-”

“Hyung,” Jimin cut off, a warning sharp in his tone. Hoseok slammed his jaw shut. “Gukkie, this is Jung Hoseok. A friend since, uh, well auditions.”

“Slightly offended,” the dancer protested. “Just a “friend” he says.”

Jeongguk smiles and bows. “Nice to meet you, Hoseok-ssi.” He looked towards Jimin a bit wearily. “He isn’t the Tea Leaves Guy right?”

“Nah. He’s the Sunshine on Steroids Guy.”

Jeongguk made an “O” shape with his mouth before he nodded his head. Hoseok looked a bit confused but still offered a bright smile. Jimin didn’t miss the “I see why you call him that now” under his breath.

“Really nice to meet you. I’ve heard a bit about you,” he replied. “This is my niece Sumi-yah, who you already seem acquainted with. Thanks for the lollipop though- my brother is gonna totally hate me and I didn’t even do it!”

The small group broke into laughter. Jimin slowly felt himself easing into the situation, though there was definitely moments where he wanted to run away and pretend that this wasn’t happening.

Finally Jeongguk took Sumi’s hands, the papers from Jimin, and turned to Jimin. “Look, I have to go. Junghyun hyung is waiting for us,” he admitted. Jimin nodded slowly.  The younger man suddenly held out his hand.

“Um, are we gonna shake hands or…?”

“No, dumbass, your phone. I am not leaving here without your number in my phone,” Jeongguk retorted, shaking his head. Stunned, Jimin quickly passed his phone over and somehow, Jeongguk unlocked it. “Why is your password always the same?”

“Why are you so annoying?” Jimin mocked, cheeks pink at how easy he was to read. Jeongguk shrugged, typed up his number, then passed his phone back with a wink. He glared.

“See ya later- don’t ignore my calls ‘cause you aren’t running anymore. I won’t let you.” Waving over his shoulder, he let Sumi hug Jimin’s legs before the dynamic duo waltzed out of the studios and disappeared into the streets.

Silence ensued throughout the room a moment before Hoseok turned slowly towards Jimin with his arms crossed and brows raised expectantly.

“Tell Tae-ah about this and I mention how you have secretly been sneaking from his stash, got it?” Jimin snapped, turning on his heel. Hoseok gasped, eyes widening with slight fear at the idea.

“You wouldn’t!”

“Don’t try me,” Jimin warned, eyes narrowed into slits. If Hoseok told Taehyung about today, about Jeongguk, his best friend would be all over it in minutes and he wasn’t ready for that. He wasn’t ready for any of this.

Seoul was supposed to be his safe place. Away from the memories and ghosts of Busan and now a- not the Ghost- had his number. Seoul was the place that Jimin could be, do, whatever he wanted without the past part of Jimin to matter.

“Please, Hobi hyung… don’t tell him. I… I can’t handle Taehyung raving about this right now when I can barely handle his presence here, alright?” Jimin pressed, this time a pleading edge lacing his voice as he swallowed down bile.

Hoseok softened, slipping off the counter and silently landing on the floor. “Alright, I promise, Jimin-ah. I won’t say anything.”

Jimin sighed, sagging in relief. “Thank you, hyung. Really.”

“Sure… now we have work to do- fuck Jimin! What happened to your ankle?” Hoseok shouted, gasping as he saw the red color soaking through the sock. confused, Jimin looked down then blushed when he realized.

“I… seeing Guk-ah was a surprise and I may not have reacted well? Clumsy and surprised aren’t a good mix,” he muttered. Hoseok sighed before he laughed. He waved Jimin over and headed for the bathroom to clean up.

Chapter Text

“Seriously? Tae-ah, I can take care of myself, and believe it or not, I do know how to cook basic foods,” Jimin sighed, watching as Taehyung waltz into the one room apartment with the usual flare that the man seemed to have.

Yoongi trailed behind much more subdued, a lollipop between his lips and his hair covered by a snapback that shielded his eyes a bit but it was obvious that he was quite tired by the slouch in his shoulders and the slur to his steps.

Seokjin was standing just behind him, hands carrying two plastic bags full of food that he probably cooked, a sweet smile on his stunning features. His hair was longer than the last time that he had seen him, now nearly covering his eyes if it wasn’t brushed to the side, and curling around his neck in thick inky strands.

He looked like he was still in photoshoot makeup- his eyes lined in kohl and his lips a bit too pink and his skin a shade or two lighter than his usual tone that Jimin preferred rather than the one they always make him wear.

Dressed in a pink tee and white jeans with Doc Martens, he was dressed down and yet still made it seem like a runway. If Jimin was younger, he might have cared about the fact he was wearing nothing more than a ratty shirt that hung to his thighs and sweats that were long and his hair that resembled a nest.

But he stopped caring a long time ago.

Seokjin rolled his eyes at Jimin’s remark, stepping through the threshold. “I am well aware that you can take care of yourself. Consider this your friend coming to see you because he hasn’t in months and to grin and say “hello Jin hyung!”,” Seokjin snipped, arching a perfectly darkened brow.

Sighing, Jimin knew better than to argue with the eldest of their friend group. “Hello Jin hyung. Thank you for the food- it smells amazing,” he said, happily taking the bags. Seokjin smiled warmly, leaning down and pressing a chaste kiss to his cheek as he headed further inside.

Taehyung had already made himself on his simple purple rug, his back pressed against the bed frame while Yoongi laid across the bed, his fingers tangled within his boyfriend’s silver hair while his face was squished against the mattress.

Seokjin was already grabbing plates, setting them on the counter as he took the bags back and opened them, the scent of sweet chicken, Korean radish, and a few other side dishes started to scent the air.

Jimin almost salviated.

“How have you been? You never text me anymore,” Seokjin murmured, quietly so that the conversation remained between them rather than inviting Taehyung or Yoongi to speak- who were now currently wrapped up in their little snuggle session.

He shrugged. “I don’t know, hyung. I’ve been going, you know? Living as I can,” he admitted quietly, flinching at the own dullness in his words. Seokjin flashed him a heartfelt look, his walnut colored eyes glistening with affection. “Busan was harder than I thought. Reconnecting is… it’s painful.”

Seokjin turned his body more towards Jimin, his hand reaching over and placing it on his shoulder. It was then that Jimin could see the age that was swirling in his elder’s eyes, the laugh lines forming around his eyes.

“I may not know everything about you, Min-ah, or why you left. But I know it’s hard to go back and try and find something that you aren’t sure is there anymore,” he said quietly, voice low and straining. “You need to understand that life isn’t what you’re given; it’s what you create, what you overcame, and what you achieve that makes it beautiful.” He gestured around himself. “Look at what you have accomplished? Sweetheart, you can do anything. Even if it’s hard. So… keep trying. You’ll get there.”

Tears stung in the back of his eyes, a shuddering breath exhaling from his lungs as he wrapped his arms around his waist and kept them at his middle. He kept his eyes on the food, unmoving.

“I’m scared, hyung. I’m scared to reconnect with the past- not just with my family but with someone who meant so much to me,” he admitted, choking out the words. “I’m scared that if I reconnect with it, then… then I’ll be that weak person again and I don’t think I can do that. I've built a whole new person here in Seoul hyung, but it feels like Busan is trying to swallow me. It’s haunting me.”

Seokjin grasped at Jimin’s hand, his crooked fingers flexing easily around Jimin’s much smaller one as he pulled the younger man a bit closer so that he could look a bit closer into his eyes.

“Maybe you need to stop running from it,” he murmured. “I know that something happened to you and you never talk about Busan, or your life there, but it’s been years, Min-ah. It’s time to face the greatest challenge and accepting that maybe you aren’t supposed to leave Busan behind anymore.”

The words echoed distantly in his mind, curdling within the pit of his stomach. He swallowed roughly, because he knew that Seokjin was right. That if fragments of what he was trying to get away from was following him, then maybe he should stop trying to outrun it.

But the shards of fear and ice were too cold as they slithered up his spine.

He easily seemed to read that. “I know you’re scared and that you don’t want to. And it’s okay to be scared, Min-ah. It’s okay to feel weak. To feel frightened. It makes you stronger, okay? You’re not alone. You have me, Tae-ah, and Yoongi-yah. You have us.”

“I know, hyung,” he breathed. Seokjin smiled, patting his shoulder warmly before he turned back to the food. Jimin wiped his eyes and quickly changed the subject. “So, uh, how is you and your boyfriend?”

Seokjin broke into a loving, amused smile. “He’s good. Been busy with his job and whatnot.” The smile dimmed a moment. “But… he is leaving for military soon. Less than a month. I… I don’t know how I am going to handle him being away.”

Jimin frowned. He knew that it had to be hard- Seokjin and his boyfriend had been dating for years, in secret, considering that it could ruin both of their careers if anyone found out.

Not even Jimin has had a chance to meet the mysterious “Joonie” except for pictures that Seokjin shows him. He doesn’t mind because with all three of their crazy schedules, it was a wonder he saw Seokjin at all.

Seokjin was a model for one of the top brands in Korea, and supposedly, his boyfriend works in the entertainment world though he was never specific and Jimin didn’t ask. The model kept the info mostly to himself for safety purposes.

But the two males have a secret apartment that was bought under another name and of course, they each have their own apartment for pretenses, but they never stay there and stay in the private one.

The idea of Seokjin being alone again after dating this man for nearly six years- Jimin had only known Seokjin personally for three of those- was agonizing almost since he knew way too much about the clumsy man that had taken Seokjin’s heart.

Seokjin had a look of heartbreak on his face of the pending two years without his boyfriend, probably husband if they weren’t in Korea and could legally get married, and it made Jimin’s stomach churn.

“Oh hyung… it goes by quickly…”

Seokjin sighed. “Not fast enough. It’s been so long since I ever stayed in an apartment alone, let alone sleeping alone,” he admitted, a embarrassed flush to his cheeks. “I am like thirty one and the idea of being alone in the apartment is unwelcome.”

“It’s normal. I was like that for a while too. When I first left the service, I couldn’t sleep without Tae-ah near me,” Jimin confessed, smiling warmly towards the older man to let him know it was alright.

Seokjin sighed, a shaking smile on his face as he placed the leftovers in Jimin’s small fridge. Jimin watched as he straightened and ran his fingers through his hair to tousle it a bit from the resting position it was in.

“I won’t be completely alone. A mutual friend of ours, his coworker and one who I consider my son, isn’t happy about him leaving either.” The model snorted as he passed the other two their plates before eh settled in the small plastic chair and set his and Jimin’s on the table. “That child has been protesting since he found out.”

Jimin smiled warmly as Seokjin shoved the chicken in his mouth. Despite being a top model, the man had this messy habit of eating without a care in the world. It was one of Jimin’s favorite qualities about his friend.

“He sounds like a laugh,” Jimin remarked, chewing slowly on his own food. Seokjin grinned, nodding his head.

“A laugh- but a major brat. Finds it amusing to “forget” about honorifics.” He swallowed another large bite of his food. “Oddly enough, he comes Busan too. Came here for a job. Joonie found him.”

“How long have you known him?” Jimin wondered, shoveling some rice with some chicken into his mouth as he peered at his hyung through his lashes as he waited for the answer. Seokjin frowned and tilted his head.

“I’m not actually sure- it’s been a little while but a while,” he said, then shrugged. “Joonie may know but I am not entirely sure. He’s just kinda always been lingering. Although he was talking about going into his service with Joonie so that he won’t go alone, but he has too much happening. Like his brother and babysitting.”

“Who are you talking about?” Taehyung called out, suddenly reminding the other two of his and Yoongi’s presence. Jimin startled, nearly dropping his chopsticks as he sent a small glare towards his best friend.

Seokjin smiled. “A friend of mine. Why, you feeling nosy or is it the auras again?”

“Nosy,” Taehyung replied with a bright grin. Yoongi chortled under his breathe, his hands returning to the silver strands as Taehyung sat up a bit brighter. Seokjin shook his head. “Have we met this friend before?”

“No- well, Tae-ah I think you have seen him in passing since you run in the same crowd.”

Taehyung arched a brow. “Rich and snobby?”

“Babe, you are rich and snobby,” Yoongi remarked drily, his raspy voice and slight Daegu touching the air. Taehyung waved his hand wearily.

“Semantics, honey,” he answered flippantly. Yoongi rolled his eyes. “So, that crowd? Wait- Gucci or Prada, ‘cause that determines a lot.”

Jimin caught Yoongi’s eye, mouthing “snobby” so that Yoongi bit back a smile and nodded his head in agreement. Seokjin rolled his eyes, sighing heavily.

“No- neither. The “I work around Idols but I am not an Idol” crowd,” he explained. Taehyung made an “O” shape of his mouth before he nodded his head like a bobble head.

“So a wannabe emo with probably hole-y jeans,” Taehyung commented offhandedly. “What is his astro sign? I should read his leaves. Wait- what department is he in?”

“Music production,” Seokjin answered. Taehyung frowned.

“Scratch “wannabe” but keep the emo then.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re ridiculous?” Jimin wondered absently, chewing his food without really thinking about it. Taehyung flickered his eyes over to his best friend’s face and beamed.

“Never to my face- why, did the spirits tell you something?”

Jimin groaned and shoved more rice in his mouth while Yoongi chuckled and laid himself back down on the mattress. Smirking, Taehyung settled back against the bed and hummed to himself.

“Anyways, when are you going to introduce us to this friend of yours? We need some spice in our life- the auras around here are dull,” Taehyung asked, eyes locked back on Seokjin. Yoongi grunted. “Except you, babe.”

“I actually hate my friends,” Jimin breathed tiredly.

“I can relate to that.”

“Shut up, turtle,” the brunet snapped back playfully. Yoongi grinned his sweet gummy smile that had Taehyung cooing sweetly and kissing him on the lips. Jimin looked away.

Seokjin looked clearly unamused. “I was planning on never introducing you two. God- the idea of any of you in the same room together screams suicide by bleach.”

“I feel like I am actually losing brain cells listening to this,” Jimin said. He stood, gathering his and Seokjin’s plate, then padded to the kitchen to start the dishes as Taehyung howled with laughter.

Even Yoongi looked amused by the untimely answer while Seokjin was fighting off his own windshield wiper laugh that honestly was so amusing that Jimin felt himself want to laugh but stopped himself- barely.

Finally, they settled down a bit and Seokjin glanced at his watch. He sighed. “I should get going now. Joonie is getting off early tonight to spend his last week with me.” Standing, he stretched out his limbs before he padded over and pulled Jimin in for a tight hug. “Call me if you need me, yeah?”

“Sure,” he answered quietly, hugging him back tightly. Seokjin smiled and ruffled his hair before hugging the other two and muttering at them to behave themselves (specifically Taehyung) before he fled the apartment.

Jimin finished the dishes before he awkwardly looked towards Taehyung who was already sitting up and staring at Jimin with a look that he knew all too well that meant he was in for questioning.

Interagating.

Torture.

Whatever one worked.

Even Yoongi looked sympathetic, as if he knew that this was coming, but could do nothing but shrug and watch on. Biting his lip, he looked away from the duo and slowly washed his hands.

That didn’t really stall the inevitable.

“Jimin-ah,” Taehyung called, the sound of his bare feet against the wooden floor echoing distantly. He stiffened as he felt his heat near him. “About last night… you got really drunk.”

“Okay, and?”

The words were hot and singeing. Taehyung flinched, his long slender fingers curling into a small fist as he cast a worried frown to tug at his lips. He turned quickly towards Yoongi. “Babe, I think I may have left my incense sticks at home. Maybe you should go check?”

Easily getting the hint, Yoongi stood from the bed and padded towards his boyfriend where he grasped at his hips, pulling him in for a firm kiss that Taehyung melted into. “Don’t push, Taehyungie,” the daegu man murmured. “See you later, Jimin-ah.”

“Yeah,” Jimin muttered, walking over to his bed in some hopes to escape but he knew his best friend, just like he knew himself well enough to know that with Taehyung, he was bound to fall apart and tell at least a bit of the truth.

Nodding, Yoongi kissed Taehyung once more before the sound of his door clicking closed rebounded. Silence followed as Jimin kept his head down, but the weight of the much broader man sunk the bed in as he sat next to him.

“Yoongi hyung told me about what you said last night,” Taehyung said tentatively, velvet deep voice a bit huskier at the low volume and gentle notes. Jimin shrugged, playing absently with his fingers like he was some brooding teenager. “Was it about JK?”

The nickname sliced through his gut. The image of Jeongguk standing in his studio with that sweet bunny smile and scrunched nose was nearly torture as he remembered the fact that he wasn’t in Busan anymore.

Despite the fact Taehyung knew everything, Jimin would never give the full name, so he just called him “JK” who the silver haired man knew as his best friend who was always just a little something more.

At the look that struck his face like lightning, Taehyung sat back. “Did you see him in Busan? When you went to visit? Is that why you have been so distant?”

“I haven’t been distant,” he protested, though the look on Taehyung’s face made him huff and turn to look back towards the kitchen. “Yes. I saw him in Busan. Happy?”

“Why didn’t you say anything? Min-ah, you know I am always here for you,” Taehyung whined, suddenly sounding like he was that bouncing twenty two year old rather than the man he was now. Jimin sighed.

“I love you, Tae-ah, I do, and you know that, but some things I can’t tell you. And that happened to be one of them because I was trying to put it all behind me,” he replied simply, shrugging. Taehyung frowned. “And what happened in Busan won’t ever happen here. I’m not good for him, and I know that. I’m not that same kid. Look at me. I’m a fucking mess.”

Jimin grabbed the package of cigarettes, hating how much lighter it was as it showed how much he had already smoked and tossed it to the other end of the room. Taehyung jumped a bit at the aggression, but grabbed Jimin’s arm and pulled him back.

“You are not a bad person for trying to find ways to kill your sadness, Jimin,” Taehyung stated firmly, slender fingers tight around his bicep. Jimin inhaled a shuddering breath, eyes locking on the hand on his bicep. “You’re human. You feel things, and what happened to you made you feel a lot.”

“Don’t,” Jimin warned, pulling his arm from Taehyung’s grip and standing quickly. Taehyung sighed, his hand dropping to the bed as he watched Jimin walk towards the sink and lean against it. “Anyways, yeah, I was talking about JK. Happy?”

Taehyung stood, walking over and touching Jimin’s shoulder. The smaller man turned towards his friends. His jaw was locked tightly, teeth gritting together, and his eyes flaming with something untouchable as he stared into those dark orbs.

“Jimin, I love you,” he breathed huskily. Jimin felt tears choke him, the lump in his throat appearing as the words settled within his mind and prickle at the back of his eyes. He swallowed desperately as Taehyung leaned in and pulled his body flush against his.

Jimin grasped at his shirt, his fingers curling around the fabric and the tears beginning to roll down his cheeks faster than he can control him. He buried his face in the crook of Taehyung’s neck, breathing in the strawberry smell that was his signature and wished desperately that it was vanilla.

Humming softly, Taehyung rocked their tangled bodies back and forth, his fingers brushing the brown hair from his features and placing a sweet kiss over his forehead as pain laced through his body at the whimpers.

He tugged gently. “Come on. Let’s get into bed. We both have work tomorrow.”

“Fuck work,” the other grumbled. Taehyung grinned, placing another sweet kiss on his brow before they collapsed into bed. Taehyung knew that Yoongi would understand, and he was grateful for that man, but he sent a quick explaintary and question if it was alright.

The answer was immediate and sent a small smile to Taehyung’s face as he settled the two under the covers and held Jimin close as the man buried himself within Taehyung’s chest as if he was trying to hide himself away from everything.

Jimin fell asleep first.

“You know, Mini,” he murmured, fingers brushing over his cheek. “Sometimes I wish that I could have fallen in love with you. It would have been so easy. The two of us against the world. I’m sorry that I couldn’t, but tonight I realized something. You could never really fall for me either.”

Chuckling weakly, he closed his eyes and sunk into the warmth of the smaller man and sighed out as he fell into a deep sleep.



******

 

“What if I fail again?” Jeongguk whined, body slouching over as he glared down at the floor of Jimin’s room, as if it will open up and reveal all the answers and insulted when it remained locked up.

His black messy hair fell in front of his eyes, bunny nose twitching, and lanky body curled in. He wore his usual attire of a hoodie, jeans, and timberland boots while his brown eyes remained slightly distant as he pouted.

Jimin chuckled, amused by the fifteen year old that was now falling backwards to starfish dramatically across his bed with a loud groan and kicking his legs. He stood from his desk, pushing himself between Jeongguk’s legs so that the younger turned his eyes towards him.

A wicked, amused grin was glinting across the older boy’s features, his dyed orange hair fluttering sweetly over his forehead and making him look stunning within the dying sunlight that was streaming through the window.

“You’re such a child, do you know that?” Jimin murmured, his thick Busan dialect slurring through the air as he leaned his body down and his hands rested lightly on Jeongguk’s thighs. The younger boy scowled, swatting at his arm.

“Hyung, I am almost sixteen years old! I’m not a child anymore,” he protested firmly, eyes blazing. Jimin chuckled, squeezing Jeongguk’s thighs as a silent  apology.

“And yet you still go down to the store on the corner and get banana milk everyday after school and drink it from the straw,” Jimin remarked, leaning his body down a bit further so that his chest was touching the other. Jeongguk blushed a bit but didn’t move.

“That- that doesn’t count, hyung,” Jeongguk muttered, ears tinting pink. “I just really love banana milk, like you love strawberry milk!”

“But I drink it from a carton, bunny,” Jimin countered, leaning a bit more forward. Jeongguk’s hands slithered to his waist, holding the other’s boy’s tiny waist and his eyes locked on the dark almond that he loved so much.

Then suddenly the younger giggled, causing the older to frown and look down at him questioningly. Jeongguk reached up with one hand and brushed over his right eyelid. “It’s still slightly puffy. Remember how you slipped running to the bathroom in our game of hide and seek? Puffy.”

Jimin scowled. “Such a brat,” he groaned. Jeongguk chuckled before he leaned up and pressed his lips quickly against the elder. Grinning, Jimin reconnected their lips before he pulled away and stared down at his features. “Now,  are you worried about failing math again?”

“Numbers are hard, hyung!” he groaned. “Not everyone can be class president and make all A’s like you do.”

“You mean you don’t?” Jimin asked, feigning surprise. Jeongguk swatted his arm again, causing them both to break into laughter. Humming quietly, he relented. “Alright alright, calm down. How about I help you study?”

“Really, hyung? You promise?” Jeongguk asked, eyes blowing wide as hope filled them. Giggling, he nodded his head before he leaned over and pressed their lips back together in a sweet, quick kiss. Jeongguk sighed happily, leaning back as Jimin shifted his lips down his jawline. “Can we go to our pier tonight? Watch the stars?”

“After we study, maybe,” Jimin answered smoothly, pushing himself back up on his forearms. Jeongguk whined again, but settled as he slipped his hands under Jimin’s shirt to brush over the warm skin. “Someone has gotten bolder.”

“I like touching you,” Jeongguk admitted, cheeks bursting pink as he quickly removed his hands. Jimin smiled sweetly, easily maneuvering the hands back to his waist. Jeongguk squeaked sweetly. Finally, the younger man sighed. “One day, hyung, I’m going to become strong enough so I can carry you.”

Jimin snorted. “Why would you do that? Why carry me?”

“So I can carry the weight of our lives,” Jeongguk replied simply. “So I can carry all our burdens and we can remain like this. I’m gonna do it.”

Unsure of how to answer the sweet words, Jimin leaned forward and crashed their lips together. It was rushed, and yet they easily fell in sync with one another. Tangling his fingers through the inky locks, desperate to feel the way the younger man tried to insert his dominance before he gave in and let Jimin lead him.

“Wow, you actually showed up,” Jeongguk called, true surprise written over his face as he appeared in front of Serendipity dance studios where they had agreed to meet.

Jimin was jerked back into reality from his daydream, eyes blinking as he turned to look towards the figure that was now standing in front of him with a large smile. He looked at ease, smiling warmly and sure of himself, something that contradicted the memory that had just invaded his head.

However, his choice of clothing had varied little throughout the ten years apart. He wore ripped, loose jeans with a black belt wrapped tightly around his waist with his black tee tucked in at the waist, but untucked at the back.

Timberlands were tied at his feet, a little muddy and worn from years of walking, but otherwise well taken care of that spoke of his love for the boots. A beanie was on top of his head, covering his messy brown hair and eyes crinkled in the corner.

In other words, Jeongguk looked good. Really good.

Jimin suddenly felt self aware of his chosen combo of a short sleeved white and blue striped shirt, tight light-wash acid jeans, and simple white slip ons that covered his feet while his hair was styled loosely.

The words suddenly reacted in his head, causing him to scoff, and roll his eyes. “I told you that I would come. Do you really think so low of me?” he questioned, arching a brow towards the younger man who shrugged a bit helplessly.

“Sometimes, I don’t really know what to think,” he muttered, but Jimin caught the words. Stunned, he turned to look at the man who quickly turned away, cocking his head to the side. “Come on. Let’s go.”

Agreeing silently, Jimin trailed beside Jeongguk as they headed down the street. Jeongguk seemed to be grinning, his bunny teeth on display and eyes dancing as if he had a secret.

“So… where are you taking me that you refused to tell me over text?” Jimin wondered, breaking the silence other than the sound of their footsteps over the terrain. Jeongguk giggled.

“See, if I tell you that would ruin the surprise and the fun,” Jeongguk replied, flashing another wink. Jimin rolled his eyes again.

“No- you just don’t want to tell me because you know I will ditch your ass,” Jimin quipped. Jeongguk shrugged, grinning brightly as he added a slight skip to his step.

“I will neither deny nor agree with that statement,” he said cheekily, “but if you roll your eyes anymore, hyung, they are gonna be stuck in the back of your head.”

“It’s my natural response to stupidity.”

“You must roll your eyes a lot when you’re around yourself then,” Jeongguk teased. Jimin turned, smacking Jeongguk’s arm as the younger man laughed loudly and tried to dodge the hit, but Jimin easily managed to still hit him.

“I think the only thing that has really changed about you, Jeon Jeongguk, is not only did you get muscly, but you got fucking mouthy too,” Jimin groaned, shooting another glare towards the younger man who was still cackling at the response.

“You weren't complaining about my muscles that night on the beach, now were you? Or really, my mouth,” Jeongguk replied, winking. Jimin coughed, eyes blowing wide at the implication of the words as he turned to stare at Jeongguk in horror as his cheeks flamed. He smirked. Fucking smirked. “Aw, look who is red now.”

“Jeon fucking Jeongguk, I swear to God-”

“You, however, have gained quite a potty mouth,” Jeongguk remarked, somewhat absently as his stare softened to something fonder. Jimin sputtered, the words dying in his throat. Chuckling, he patted Jimin’s brown hair. “Don’t worry. I’ll stop teasing you now.”

Unsure if he could answer, Jimin just brushed the hand away and turned his face so that Jeongguk couldn’t see it as they kept walking, but the tenison was at least gone and replaced with the teasing air that always seemed to come crawling between the two friends.

Were they friends? Were they lovers? They had sex on the beach. Kissed as if they were more, but there was no label.

“Here we are! Surprise!” Jeongguk said, stopping in front of an older building that was off one of the main streets. Jimin snapped out of his quickly spiraling thoughts and turned his head up to peer that the neon sign.

Easy Spare.

The too bright yellow neon words suddenly clashed in Jimin’s head as his face fell into a deadpan at the realization. He turned slowly, catching Jeongguk’s grinning eyes that stared back at him with a triumphant smirk.

He pointed his thumb towards it. “Bowling. You took me. Bowling.”

“Indeed. Wanna see who is still better, ten years later?”

Jimin narrowed his eyes, channeling his inner Yoongi. “You do realize that this is like a-”

“A date. Yes, I am quite aware. Why, didn’t you?” Jeongguk replied hastily, cutting him off as he flashed a smirk. Jimin fell silent as he watched the man approach the doors. “So, wanna see who's better or not? ‘Cause last time I checked, I whooped your ass.”

“I see you are still competitive.”

“And I see you’re still petty.”

Shaking his head, he threw his hands up before he stomped his way over. “You’re on. In fact, let’s make this more fun. Let’s make a bet.”

Jeongguk gave a wicked grin. “A bet? Count me in,” he agreed, nodding his head. “If i win, I get to ask one thing of you, one favor, and if you win, you can do the same to me. It could be a meal or it could be more.”

Jimin didn’t even hesitate.

“Done. Let’s see if you still got it, Mr. Tough Bunny.”

“Might want a new nickname there, Midget hyung.” Jeongguk was grinning from ear to ear as Jimin rolled his eyes, again, but stepped past Jeongguk and into the darkened bowling alley.

The lights were noam colored, people wearing glow sticks and bright colors that popped out in the black lights that also led the way to the counter where a man was sitting, jamming out to the old Korean pop music that was blasting through the speakers- things from when Jimin was a teenager- like Bang, Bang, Bang by Big Bang.

The place was mostly empty except for a group of teenagers in the back, cheering loudly as one of them managed to land a strike and go bouncing back to his crowd that greeted him eagerly.

The smell of popcorn and bowling shoes was strong enough that it caused Jimin to scrunch his nose as Jeongguk shouldered past with a excited glint in his eyes as he looked towards the older man for approval.

“Not gonna lie- this place is kind of awesome,” Jimin admitted, nodding his head as he glanced around the neon muraled walls. Jeongguk grinned brightly, looking pleased by the confession.

“Right? Now, come on! We gotta grab our shoes- complete the look and be stupid,” Jeongguk said, rubbing his hands together. Rolling his eyes, Jimin agreed as they approached the counter and the man looked up, brightening when he saw Jeongguk.

“Yo, Jeongguk-ah!” he greeted, waving excitedly. He had dyed white hair that fell over beautifully tanned skin. He didn’t look quite Korean, instead having a more foreign look with his longer features but easy appearance.

Jeongguk clapped their hands together in greeting. “Hey, Bam Bam, didn’t know that you were working tonight,” he said, beaming brightly. The man, Bam Bam, Jimin had gathered, chuckled and nodded.

“Yep. Taking over the shift for the late night. What brings you here?” Bam Bam asked, head cocking to the side so that strands of his hair fell in front of his features. Jeongguk leaned against the counter, gesturing towards the older man beside him.

“Meet up. Hook me up?”

Bam Bam slid his eyes over to Jimin who stiffened instantly at the colored eyes that stared back at him with a knowing glint that was a little too much. Jeongguk never said that he had admitted to anyone he was gay, but maybe this Bam Bam knew.

Instantly his features softened and offered a bright smile. “Hey! Nice to meet you! I’m Kunpimook Bhuwakul.” Jimin made a stunned face, mouth falling agape but the man giggled and waved it away. “But you can call me Bam Bam because honestly that name is such a handful.”

Jimin smiles gratefully, amused. “I’m Jimin. Nice to meet you Bam Bam,” he greeted, bowing his head. Bam Bam grinned back, leaning against the counter as he reached over and handed Jeongguk a pair of bowling shoes.

“What size are you?”

“270,” he prattled listlessly. Bam Bam nodded, reaching over and grabbing a pair before placing them on the counter. He smiled. “Thanks!”

“Anytime. Have fun. Jeongguk-ah, learn how to text back the group chat, yeah?” Bam BAm said, turning a arched brow towards the younger man. Jeongguk grunted but otherwise didn’t answer as he steered Jimin away to one of the benches.

“He seems nice- what kinda group chat do you have that you seem to be ignoring?” Jimin wondered, amused, as he cut the younger man a glance with raised brows and pursed lips. Jeongguk sheepishly.

“A group chat of people I know that are born from my year- we all met in college and keep tabs on one another,” he admitted with a breathless laugh. Jimin hummed, but thought that it was kind of sweet. “Bam Bam is one of them. A few others.”

“That is actually kind of cute,” Jimin murmured, sitting back up as he wiggled his toes in his shoes. Jeongguk chuckled, shrugging, before he stood and held out his hand. Jimin hesitated then took it so that the younger helped him stand.

“It’s basically a bunch of crackheads that need to grow up but are too childish to attempt to.” Jeongguk tugged his hand so that they headed a bit further into the room and paused by a bunch of glowing neon balls. “Pick your weapon of choice.”

“Really?” Jimin asked.

“I happen to take this matter very seriously. The type of ball is everything within this war. All the way down to the color.” Jeongguk gave him a firm look, hands running over a few of the glowing balls that made Jimin snort. “I choose you.”

“This isn’t fucking Pokemon,” Jimin retorted as Jeongguk grasped a dark blue, faintly glowing ball and tested the weight with his hands. He had the cutest serious expression on his face, lips lightly pouted, and it made the desire to lean over and kiss him hard to resist.

But he quickly looked away and grabbed a bright pink ball, faintly reminding him of the time he had dyed his hair bubblegum pink and shrugged, deciding to go with it. He grasped it and held it up to show Jeongguk.

He arched a brow. “That is very gay.”

“You’re gay, now we gonna play or discuss who is gayer than a rainbow when we are literally both standing in a neon light show of gay bowling?” Jimin retorted.

“Touche.”

Chuckling, they headed over to a more secluded place of the alley and Jeongguk took their balls to place them on the machine before he collapsed at the computer to start the game. “How about we make up each others name? And the other has to accept it.”

“Done!” Jeongguk agreed instantly, cackling as he started to type it in. A ping sounds on the screen above them and Jimin looked up. He groaned loudly when he saw “Mochi” in hangul above his head.

“Such a child,” Jimin muttered but shoved Jeongguk aside to type in the name for Jeongguk as he pressed enter. Jeongguk looked up at the screen only to whine when he saw “Bunny Boy” appear.

“Really? Aw, come on, hyung,” he whined loudly, turning his body to face Jimin who grinned proudly to pat the younger man’s cheek.

“No whining. We had a deal. We can fight this out over bowling. You’re up first,” he said sweetly. Jeongguk huffed, but stood as he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. Grinning, he bounced a bit in his seat as Jeongguk grabbed his ball and walked over to the line. “Don’t mess up!”

“Shut it.” Jeongguk reached back his hand before he went down, stretched out his leg, and then threw the ball perfectly. The sound of it rolling and crashing echoed, and left only two pins. The bunny man grinned. “Easy spare.”

Jimin glared. “You totally set this shit up to win,” he hissed. “You’ve been practicing.”

Jeongguk bowed at the waist. “I may or may not come here every other friday night,” he said, still grinning. Jimin huffed in disbelief as Jeongguk threw the ball and sure enough, got an easy spare. When Jeongguk swaggered back over, he leaned down. ‘Just remember- you set up the bet. I only agreed.”

Jimin licked his lips, but the heat of Jeongguk’s breath over his features was driving him slightly mad since they looked damp and the memory of them appeared in his head. He held himself back as he kept his eyes narrowed on the younger man.

“That was before I realized that you still bowled. I haven’t bowled since-” Jimin cut himself off, remembering that going to the old bowling alley in the hidden section of one of the old Busan streets had been their thing. Bowling together. He cleared his throat. “You cheated.”

“I don’t cheat, babe,” Jeongguk grunted, pushing himself away and sitting on the glowing neon orange couch before he gestured for the newly set up pins. Jimin felt a bit stunned at the pet name but he seemed unbothered. “Go ahead.”

Shaking his head, he got to his feet and grabbed his ball. He felt Jeongguk’s eyes on him, watching him with this little smirk on his face as he sat back in his chair, with his legs open and body relaxed. A look that made Jimin hot and bubbly.

For a moment, he let himself forget that this wasn’t his fate, forget the past ten years, and focus on the fact that he was here now. With Jeongguk. And that his heart pounded but not with fear or anxiety but with excitement and affection.

The way he felt the tangles of his mind come loose, and the way everything felt alright because there was Jeongguk, just that stupid kid with the bunny smile and snobby comebacks. Two best friends who stared at each other like they were something more.

And for all he knew, there always would be more.

Exhaling, he moved, swung, then let go. The ball crashed, it’s pink glow lighting it’s way, and…. straight into the gutter.

Jimin pouted as Jeongguk broke into loud laughter, hands clapping like a seal, as Jimin turned to cast him a dark glare over his shoulder but Jeongguk only laughed at harder at the expression on his face.

“What a beautiful gutter ball that was,” Jeongguk teased. Jimin stuck out his tongue. “Real mature.”

“I just need to warm up! It’s been awhile,” he defended, standing by the machine to wait for his ball to return to him. Jeongguk hummed his acknowledgement, the mirth still clear across his face.

Grabbing his ball, he threw it again, though begrudgingly with a lot less grace then Jeongguk seemed to possess when it came to bowling but he would never dare to admit that aloud.

But he did manage to hit a few pins this time, so he would at least give himself that much credit. When they were younger, Jimin wasn’t bad, but now it felt as if he hadn’t done this in eternity and it was obvious.

He turned back around with pink cheeks, eager to sit down but Jeongguk grabbed his wrist and yanked him down. A squeal left his lips as he was suddenly sitting on his lap, arms wrapped tightly around his waist.

Frozen, he was shocked by the hold. “What are you doing?” he muttered.

“Holding you- what’s it look like I am doing?” he countered, tightening his hold just a fraction as his warmth soaked into Jimin. Jimin wiggled, moving to go, but Jeongguk held tighter. “Don’t worry- this area is safe. No one is going to bother us. No one will say anything. It’s alright.”

He wanted to argue, bring up that this wasn’t a gay bar where being gay was accepted, but he knew how stubborn that the younger man could be so just bit his lip and gave in. He sagged against the hold.

He felt Jeongguk smile in triumph behind him. “You still smell good. Even years later.”

“Don’t be creepy,” he muttered, but his cheeks turned pink anyways. Jeongguk chuckled, his nose wiggling past the collar of Jimin’s shirt and brushing over his skin as he breathed in deeply. Jimin sighed at the coolness of his skin.

After a few more moments, he smacked lightly at Jeongguk’s arm. The younger groaned but let Jimin stand and take a seat as the younger got up and easily landed a strike that made the older groan.

“Show off.”

“Looks like I’ll be getting that favor after all,” Jeongguk teased, the sexual tension from earlier slipping away and being replaced with the familiar teasing as he plopped back down. The smirk was agonizing. “You’re turn by the way.”

“God, I really hate you sometimes, you ass,” Jimin snarked, but stood and quickly grabbed his ball with determination. Jeongguk cackled behind him as he made his throw, surprisingly making a pretty good spare- which quickly shut the younger up. “Oh, what was that? I still got a little something up my sleeve.”

Jeongguk hummed. “Guess so.” Leaping to his feet, the process all repeated again as Jeongguk aimed and threw the ball, only to land another strike. The brunet groaned, throwing his head back as he realized that he might actually how the blockhead something. “You were saying?”

“I curse your existence,” Jimin muttered. Jeongguk grinned as he settled into the seat and gestures for Jimin to go. The older obeyed, grabbed his ball, and exhaled, before he threw it. It rolled and much to his surprise, all the pins fell.

Letting out a screech, he rushed over to Jeongguk and grinned down at him. “Got one strike! I fucking got one, you muscled ass!” Jimin shouted, bouncing around in joy as Jeongguk stood slowly.

Pausing in his celebration, he turned back to see Jeongguk standing nearly toe to toe ro him. Freezing, the older man tilted his head up so that he could see the way those brown eyes bore down to him, the expression that he had never seen over his features.

The words died in his throat as he stared back towards those brooding, hooded eyes. His hands fell by his sides as he stared back with bated breath.

And then his lips were against his. It wasn’t like their last kiss. It wasn’t rushed, but the desperation was there, a trail of pain and neediness that was almost childish as his hands grasped at his hips. Yanking his body ever closer.

Jimin’s grasped at Jeongguk’s shoulders, mouth parting to let out a surprised gasp as his eyes fluttered closed. His lips molded against his own, burning with something unspeakable and hot, but his hands felt like hot iron as they held him close.

The way their tongues danced, and his hands shimmered over the broader shoulders. It felt so good to tip back his head and let Jeongguk kiss away the fears, make him feel alive, because it was so familiar. The taste, the scent, and the way he held him as if frightened to let go and see that he wasn’t real.

When Jeongguk pulled away, Jimin almost keened. He felt breathless. “Why do we always do this?” Jimin whispered hoarsely. Jeongguk gave a weak smile, shrugging his shoulders from under Jimin’s palms.

“Because it’s all we know,” he murmured back. Jimin slid his hands up Jeongguk’s neck, fingers tangling within the small strands that were there, and pulled him back to his lips. Jeongguk moaned against his lips, but pulled back a moment later. “Every time you get a strike, I get to kiss you.”

Jimin grinned. “What about when you get a strike?”

“You get to kiss me.”

He laughed warmly, nodding his head. Jeongguk leaned down and rubbed their noses together. “Deal.”

When Jeongguk pulled away, Jimin shivered at the loss of heat that hit him suddenly. He almost wanted to pout in displeasure but settled himself on the couch to watch him grab his ball and easily set up and toss it.

“Well, looks like you don’t get a kiss,” Jimin teased. Jeongguk huffed, settling on the couch as Jimin leapt up and followed the usual procedure, and was a little peeved when he only got a spare instead.

“Why is it that when we lay down the kissing rule, we both suddenly suck?” Jeongguk asked, glaring towards the score screen as if it was trying to ruin everything. Jimin smacked his shoulder as he settled beside him on the couch.

“What? Expecting this to be some romantic trash comedy from America? Get real,” Jimin teased. Jeongguk pursed his lips, looking like a pouty child as Jimin laughed and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek just when his phone went off.

He winced, digging it out of his jeans and answering it slowly. “Hey.”

“Min-ah! Where are you? I came with some new incense oils to try and get you to sleep better, but low and behold, you aren’t here?” Taehyung shouted into the phone. The brunet hissed and pulled the phone away a moment as Jeongguk gave him a look as he stood for his turn.

“I told you that I am going out tonight, Tae-ah,” Jimin sighed, leaning back against the chair with a tightened grip around his phone. His eyes trailed over Jeongguk’s form a moment. “Remember?”

“I… out where? It sounds like you’re back in damn highschool with that music playing in the background- wait, fuck, Min-ah, are you at a bar or club getting drunk again?”

Jimin’s nose scrunched. “What? Seriously, Taehyung? That’s the first thing that you think I am doing? I would have fucking told you if I was going there,” Jimin snappred, irritation causing daggering his tone. “And I do not get drunk that often.”

The line crackled a moment, a sharp inhale of regret following. “Min-ah, I didn’t mean it like that. I know, I was just… you haven’t really had a good track record lately, and your aura and leaves have been so scattered. I just thought…”

“Yeah. I know what you thought.” The anger curdled within his mind as he sucked on his teeth and ignored the broken plea that came from Taehyung’s line. “For your information, I am in a bowling alley. Go home, Taehyung. You have a boyfriend to care for. I’m not your tragedy project.”

“Wait, Min-ah!”

Jimin hit the end button, slight guilt nibbling at his mind because Taehyung did not deserve that in the least. He knew that Taehyung was just worried about him, and he had every right to be, but he was tired of being babied.

He was tired of Taehyung always treating him like he was about to fall apart. It had been this long and he thad yet to fully break apart. He had nights, for sure, were he lost his way and got a little too damaged, but he always came back to himself.

Jimin startled when Jeongguk was suddenly kneeling in front of him. His brown eyes were searching, curious, and his hands resting on Jimin’s knees as if cautious on whether or not he had permission.

A little laugh erupted, hand holding up his phone. “It was Taehyung,” he admitted, clearing his throat. “He wanted to make sure I was fine.”

“Tea Leaves Guy?” he clarified, head cocked to the side. Jimin snorted, nodding his head to answer the question. Sensing the atempershere, he offered a little smile. “Well, I did get that strike.”

“Oh, did you? Looks like you owe me a kiss then,” he replied. Jeongguk chuckled before he reached up and pressed their lips together in a soft, heart warming kiss that made Jimin wonder why he was so determined to stay away.

“Come on- I’m starved and I happen to know a few restaurants around here,” he said, pulling away. Jimin agreed eagerly as he was pulled to his feet and they quickly paid for their game and shoes, then left the place hand-in-hand.

But stepping out into the humid night air, Jimin loosened his hold and let it fall back to his side. Jeongguk flinched but didn’t say a word since even he knew about the prejudice that would follow.

“You know, Sumi-yah is really excited,” Jeongguk remarked after a few moments of quiet walking. Jimin cut him a side glance, eyes searching his profile. “She keeps talking about you.”

“Well, that’s because you seemed to have told her stories about me,” he retorted. Jeongguk’s cheeks instantly flamed pink. “I mean, dancer of the stars? What had you been telling her about me? Or better yet, why?”

“Because you were the best thing that ever happened to me.” Jimin felt his breathe catch at the words, stopping in the middle of the empty street to stare at Jeongguk in surprise as the younger gave a bitter laugh. “It’s you. Don’t you fucking get it by now? I don’t know how else to tell you that I can’t move on from you. Even after years of you being gone, and everyone telling me that you’re never coming back, I will always tell the stories of us. Being best friends again and running around and being stupid.”

“So you just what? Told Sumi about me? Stories?”

“I told her the reason why I danced in the kitchen when doing dishes,” he murmured, “the reason I love the night sky and the moon. I told her about the reason I do a lot of things.”

“You’re an idiot,” Jimin breathed. “Do you know that?”

“Namjoon hyung tells me that a lot,” Jeongguk admitted with a laugh. His expression darkened after a moment. “When you first disappeared, I hated you. I desperately wanted to forget you. I mean, it’s kinda fucked.”

Jeongguk shook his head, eyes fluttering to the sky as if he was trying to move the stars and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle, desperate for an answer for something. He looked peaceful for a moment before his eyes found Jimin’s again.

“It’s so very fucked how you can be without someone for months, a year, or maybe even five years, and mastered the art of not thinking about them.” Jeongguk scuffed his boot against the ground, the street still empty and the light above his head casting a eerie glow. “And yet, no matter how much time passes there will always be a moment where you see a photo of them, or catch a scent that reminds you of them. Or maybe a face in the crowd that had the shape of nose as them. Then that same relentless question slinks back. What did I do wrong?”

“I told you- you never did anything wrong. It was me that left,” Jimin sighed, hands tangling in his hair. Jeongguk flinched, stepping forward and moving to grab his wrists but one look from Jimin’s panicked eyes and he cupped his face instead.

“Shh, it’s fine. I know. It’s okay,” he murmured, a feather kiss brushing over his lips. Jimin exhaled, the muscles untangling as he nodded slowly. “I didn’t tell you that to upset you. I just… I wanted you to understand why I told Sumi-yah about you.” He chuckled a moment. “Though, I never imagined I would see you again. A part of me almost thought you were dead.”

“Can we stop being serious now? We always do that. Be having fun and then… ruin it by some serious moment or something.”

“It’s what happens when there are things left unsaid. They fester until they spill over at the times of vulnerability, which happen to be when you’re happiest,” Jeongguk answered, shrugging. Jimin arched a brow as the younger man stepped back and coughed. “God, I sound like Namjoon hyung. I might vomit. Next I am going to start spouting bullshit like his boyfriend.”

“Yeah, okay, Gandhi. Can we eat now? I am starving,” Jimin raved, rolling his eyes. Jeongguk feigned thinking about it before he laughed and jutted his chin.

“You’re in luck ‘cause it’s there. Food!”

Jimin smiled as he watched Jeongguk book it across the empty street towards the traditional styled Korean restaurant, his hair flying and boots slapping the pavement. This will always be Jeongguk- no matter how much he has grown.

Chapter Text

Yoongi didn’t look surprised as he pulled open his studio door. Merely rolled his eyes and jutted his chin in. “I was wondering when you would show,” he commented, leaving the door open as he walked back to his desk and settle into the chair that groaned loudly in protest.

Not bothering to comment, Jimin hesitantly stepped inside the room and jumped at the sound of the door clicking closed and locking. His eyes widened, the breathe in his lungs halting as the plastic bag in his hands rumpled.

Instantly, Yoongi leapt to his feet. He dashed for the door where he unclicked the lock and swung the door open. The feeling of fresh air brushing over his body. A shuddering exhale sounded as Yoongi casually walked back over to his chair and lowered himself back in.

Taking a slow breathe, he forced a smile and shoved away the moments beforehand and held up the bag. “Food?”

“Depends- what did you bring?” the other questioned. Jimin chuckled weakly, stepping a bit further inside and glancing at the door as he handed the bag over. Yoongi dug through it, pulling out his favorite snacks and even a cup of spicy rice cakes. “Wow, you must really feel guilty.”

Jimin plopped himself on the single chair that was in the back of his studio, leg bouncing up and down to a silent beat as he hummed absently. “Is Tae-ah really mad?”

Yoongi shoved a treat in his mouth, turning back to his computer. “Upset. Not mad. Confused, hell yeah,” he deadpanned. Jimin groaned as the bag rattled. “And I’m pissed because he kept on rumbling about messed up “aura” or “chai” or whatever. You owe me for that.”

Jimin glared. “You started dated him! You know how he is,” he rebuked firmly, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring towards the carpeted ground. Yoongi shrugged, a rice cake disappearing between thin lips.

“So- you have still avoided him from for, what, two days? The hell, Min?” Yoongi asked, head looking over his shoulder to look back at the younger man with raised brows and his beanie covering his hair to make him look more like a grandfather.

Jimin sighed. “I just… I feel bad. I shouldn’t have snapped at him like that.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I know that my track record isn’t great but I just… I am a grown man, you guys do know that right?”

“Yes, Min, we know that, but the last time you got so drunk you made a move on Taehyung,” Yoongi replied hastily, somewhat tersely. Jimin flinched at the reminder, recoiling in on himself as shame bite into his gut. “You haven’t done that in a while.”

“Hyung, I’m-”

“-Sorry,” he interjected. “Yes. I know you are. But do you at least understand where we are coming from? Taehyungie worries about you a lot, you know? Constantly wondering if you are going to overdrink one day or just, shit, don’t know, end up in a ditch.”

Jimin looked down at his lap, where his hands were tucked between his legs. “I won’t do that, hyung,” he replied firmly, but the slight shake in his voice gave away the emotion that he was trying to rein in. “I am just so tired of you both treating me like I am some fragile glass, or some alcoholic that they constantly have to watch over. I got over it.”

Yoongi sighed, the chair groaning louder as he jerked his body around and leaned forward so that his elbows were resting on his knees. “Min-ah, listen to me good and well,” he growled lowly, “yes, you have moved on. Yes, you have been doing better. Yes, you aren’t fragile. Obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, but there are something that you will not ever fully get over.”

Jimin glared. “But I am! I’m fine.”

“So, if I get up, right now, close the door, and lock it, you’re going to be fine? You won’t almost break down like you just did nearly ten minutes ago?” Yoongi retorted harshly, hand waving manically towards the door.

Jimin flinched, recoiling in on himself as his eyes flickered towards the door and back towards Yoongi’s burning gaze that stared at him in challenge, as if daring him. “I… that isn’t fair.”

“This is a yes or no question, Jimin.”

Yoongi stood, now standing by the door with his hand hovering over the lock. He remained unmoving as he stared at the older man in shock and determination.

Yoongi swung the door closed, then clicked the lock.

Jimin’s hands clenched around the couch chairs, his breathe slowing through his lungs. He stared at the door, his mind screaming at him that he was fine, nothing was going to happen, but the air scorched his lungs. His vision tunneled.

He squeezed his eyes shut, sweat prickling his brow and his breathing picking up as the overwhelming panic that was swimming in his veins became too much. His breathe wheezed through his throat.

Sounds danced in his ear, grinding against his head, and he hated the way he almost mewled until he heard the door unlock and swing open. Yoongi was back by his side in seconds, laying a large, veiny hand on his shoulder.

Sucking in a heavy breathe, Jimin felt his body shudder as he squeezed his eyes shut and let himself slowly settle back into the chair as his eyes fluttered open and landed on Yoongi’s cat-eyes that were too knowing.

Yoongi sighed, slight guilt appearing in his darkened eyes. “I’m sorry, Min-ah. I shouldn’t have done that. That was cruel.”

Jimin shook his head firmly. His breathing had evened out and his vision flickering back to normal so that he could focus on the bright eyes that watched him wearily. A shaky smile was offered.

Yoongi sighed, pushing himself back to his feet so that he could walk back over towards his groaning chair. “Taehyungie has the right to be worried about you. Hell, I worry about getting a call from the hospital one day too.” Jimin flinched. “You may be over whatever happened, maybe even able to admit it, but there are some things you just won’t forget.”

Jimin heaved a tired sigh, body now exhausted from the earlier panic that was seizing through his veins. He leaned back against the couch and cast Yoongi a saddened look.

“”I haven’t been drinking because of that, hyung.”

Yoongi cocked his head, reaching over to grab one of his lollipops and popping it into his mouth. He suckled on it a moment, leaning a bit further back in his own chair.

“You were drinking because of a person. Someone from your past right?” Yoongi wondered, head tilting and the lollipop now pulled from his mouth. Wringing his hands, Jimin nodded slowly. “How does that help your case?”

“Because… he’s here. In, uh, Seoul?” he admitted. Yoongi’s eyes went round, eyebrows disappearing under his hair as he stared in slight disbelief.  “I was with him, erm, the other night. He found my studio by accident and he’’s a stubborn asshole so… we reconnected?”

“The man you love?” he asked dubiously, swallowing thickly. Jimin inhaled sharply at the words. He had forgotten how perceptive the older man could be, and that he could read Jimin like an open book. “He’s here in Seoul?”

“Yes, hyung.”

Silence trickled between them a moment. Yoongi has returned the lollipop to his lips, eyes a bit darker as he watched Jimin shift a bit uneasily in his seat. He wasn’t originally planning on sharing that information, but it felt right.

“Does he know?”

Jimin frowned. “Know about what?”

“About Busan. About why you left. About, really, anything? That you love him?” Yoongi questioned, his guttural tone snipped at the ends as he watched Jimin’s reactions carefully.The frown broadened on Jimin’s face. “Don’t deny that you’re secretive. I still don’t know anything about your life before Seoul. Only Taehyungie does, and even then, I am not sure how much he does.”

Stunned, Jimin sat still as his hands clenched in his lap. Yoongi didn’t seem to bothered, sagged easily in his chair and sucking contently on his lollipop. But Jimin knew better- the man wasn’t expressive as much in the face, but his voice, his eyes, gave enough away.

“Do you hate that?” Jimin murmured after a moment. Yoongi slid his eyes back over, a nonchalant shrug touching his shoulders before they dropped back down.

“At first? Yeah. I’ve known you longer. Lived with you. Fed you. I figured you out long before anyone else dare to try.” A bitter laugh touched the air as he leaned forward and the chair squealed again as he rested his elbows on his legs. Guilt slithered over his skin. “But then I kinda got it. Taehyungie has a way about him.”

The guilt was burning now. “Hyung… I’m sorry.”

He knew that his words were true. Yoongi had found him wandering the streets, starving, desperate, and alone. He had made into college by a scholarship and that was it but it didn’t mean he could afford dorms.

Yoongi had been walking home and saw him. Instead of being like everyone else, he let him come with him. Fed him, cared for him, and had become his first real friend in Seoul where he didn’t know anyone.

“You’re sorry about a lot of things you don’t need to be,” he remarked cooly. Jimin bit his lip, hard enough that he felt the sting and yet made no move to remove it. Yoongi waved it away. “Anyways, it doesn’t matter now. You still come to me. For things that you don’t go to Taehyungie for, and I am grateful for that.”

“How come you never said anything?” Jimin whined. The guilt felt harsher. Carving within his veins because Yoongi never deserved that, but for some reason he could never find it in himself to tell him.

Yoongi laughed easily, the way his raspy voice made it sound nearly velvety. It was one of his favorite things about the older- his voice that always had something soothing about it.

“It’s not my place,” he answered simply, offering a smile that revealed pink gums and gleaming white teeth. Taehyung still had the habit of referring to it as “his gummy smile that could cure cancer”. “Taehyungie… I love that man. You know I do- and he is close with you. It’s just not my right to intervene.”

Carefully, Jimin reached over and grasped at Yoongi’s hand. It felt familiar- a little rough from working away with a pencil and cool. Yoongi looked up through his fringe, a little smile twitching delicately at his pouty lips.

The older man lowered his head a fraction, shielding his eyes from Jimin’s searching eyes as the larger hand shifted and soon covered Jimin’s in a soft attempt to reassure him that everything was alright.

“I take it that you haven’t told Taehyungie about uh… the man you love? Your Serendipity if you will,” Yoongi grunted, leaning back but didn’t let go of Jimin’s hand. The brunet felt his cheeks heat, hand tightening.

“No, I haven’t.” He shook his head once, tongue darting out to wet his dry lips. “I’m not exactly sure how to tell him. He knows about him- the boy from Busan. I called him JK. But how do I tell him he’s here?”

Yoongi arched a amused brow. “You just tell him? Like a normal, grown adult.”

Jimin scoffed in the back of throat, the sound reverberating through his throat as he leaned back and tugged at his hand. “He’s kinda upset at me right now,” he snarked. Yoongi rolled his eyes, the amusement still twinkling in his cat-eyes.

“Please, Taehyungie is a big softie. He’ll be fine- plus, you’re spilling some big “gossip” for his “destiny” or whatever. He’ll forgive you for that.” Yoongi pushed Jimin’s hand away, turning back towards his computer with a grunt as the lollipop between his lips wiggled.

Jimin whined loudly, leaning back over and throwing his arms around Yoongi’s neck in a awkward back hug. The older man sighed heavily, not seeming bothered by the added weight- even with the awkward weight placement.

Taehyung when he was upset was never fun to be around. Moody and tended to be slightly intimidating  with the blank expression. He was sure he could handle going to see him and then later meeting up with Jeongguk.

Yoongi caught the look.

“Oh my god- get it over with. Just go to him and explain yourself, you big baby. Stop hiding away already.”

Jimin grunted, untangling his limbs from the other as he stood ad stretched. His muscles groaned, screaming almost, and cracked. One of the few reminders of his age. He moved for the door, only to pause and glance back.

“You still make it seem like I don’t accept anything, you know?” Jimin huffed, and gripping the cool copper handle of the door to pull it a bit more open. His eyes narrowed into slits. Yoongi hummed under his breath. “Hyung, it’s not that I don’t want to tell you. It’s just been ten years. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“If it doesn’t matter, why just say it?”

“Because it’s in the past,” Jimin huffed. “Why spill something that I put a lot of effort into working out and healing? Why scratch at a scar when it means nothing anymore? Telling the story won’t change anything.”

Yoongi’s brow dropped, his fingers stilling over the keys. Mouth turning slightly downwards, he looked thoughtful and weary. “I guess I can understand that, but a part of me is still wondering.” He craned his head. “How, or really, why does Taehyung know?”

Jimin snorted. “Timing. All timing. He happened to be there when I was drunk. Grabbed my wrists. I spilled.”

Yoongi looks bewildered. “You mean when you were drunk?”

“Yes.” He sheepishly ran his fingers through his tangled brown hair. “Not my proudest moment. But I avoided him like the plague for like a week until he found me again. I didn’t plan on him knowing, originally.”

“I mean… fair enough. He’s kinda out there,” Yoongi agreed, clicking his tongue. The gleam in his eye was sweet, fond, and loving as the half-smile that presented itself there. Seeming to be content, he waved him away. “Get lost already.”

“Rude. Catch ya later hyung!” he called, then close the door in his wake.

 

******

 

Taehyung was exactly where he thought he would be.Nestled amongst the modern style apartment of grey and sleek white that suited the odd couple. It was no penthouse, but it was located on the eighth floor, two bedroom apartment.

It was odd how the place seemed to be so normal compared to the two that lived in it. The only way you could tell Taehyung even lived here was the incense smell that was constantly within the apartment and the teas that were stocked within the cabinets.

Otherwise, the walls were a soft eggshell white and the furniture either a sleek leather black or white. When you first walk in, the kitchen is directly on the right. It was well used, since Yoongi was quite a good cook when he wanted, and the sterling silver appliances glistened.

On the left was the second bedroom that was changed into a office for Taehyung, who only used it when he was working from home when he saw sick, but Yoongi’s piano was also hidden within the room.

Past the kitchen, the walls covered in sweet pictures of the odd couple (no doubt Taehyung’s idea and Yoongi thought it was cute so he went with it) that were framed and hung up. The dining table was a simple black, styled nicely, and made for up to four people.

The dining room was cut off by a long leather couch, black in color, as if coming out of some magazine. In front of it, a glass table was littered with papers, documents, folders, designs, and more.

A TV was on mute, playing some Idol show, and the rest of the room quiet. Jimin absently wondered where their two dogs were- Holly, who was Yoongi’s dog- and Yeontan- Taehyung’s dog.

The bedroom was near the TV stand, the door closed, and he wondered if they were in there, but usually they would bark as soon as they caught Jimin’s scent since he loved to play with them.

Taehyung was placed exactly where Jimin knew he would be- settled amongst his couch, his silver hair tied off with a bandana, dressed in simple silk blue pajamas and his legs tucked underneath him. A tea was off to the side, his face buried within his work.

There was a delicate frown that was pulling at his features. A draw to his brows and his lips a little too white from pressing too hard together. He looked so small in that moment, something Taehyung hardly ever looked.

“Babe, I told you to not come home early for lunch,” Taehyung had called, deep voice thick from not speaking much, and yet somehow sweet. He didn’t bother to look up, eyes squinting behind his glasses perched on his nose. “I’m just finishing some documents.”

“It’s not Yoongi hyung,” Jimin murmured, pausing by the dining table as he wrung his hands anxiously. Taehyung froze, his shoulders seeming to become bigger from under the blue silk, his hand freezing over the paper he was moments ago scribbling on.

His eyes slowly raised.

Taehyung was a lot of things. Usually goofy and bouncing around, spouting something about aura’s or what teas to drink when stressed, but there was times when the more serious side could be seen and it was unsettling.

The way his chocolate orbs turned to frigid ice, and the tick to his lips that had them set in stone to a look that gave nothing away to what the man could possibly be thinking. It made him shudder- but now that it was directed at him, the desire to run was suddenly tickling the back of his mind.

“Oh,’ he monotoned, eyes darting back to his work. Jimin felt himself cursing internally, screaming at Yoongi that he had been wrong. Taehyung was definitely mad. “What are you doing here?”

“To apologize.”

Taehyung sucked his teeth. “It’s been two days.”

“I know,” he answered carefully. Taehyung hummed lowly, scribbling something on his paper but otherwise remained silent. Jimin ran his fingers through his hair, yanking a bit at the strands. “Tae-ah… I am really sorry. I’m sorry- I shouldn’t have snapped at you when you were just worried about me.”

The silver haired man groaned, tossing down his pen and shoving the notebook off his lap. Jimin watched as his head turned around so that his silver hair fell a bit from his bandana as he sighed heavily.

“You really hurt me yesterday, Min-ah. I just…” he huffed and tugged at his longer strands. “I’m just scared for you. Always alone and I just… I know I am overprotective but Min-ah you are my best friend and I love you so…”

“No. You’re right,” Jimin interjected quickly, waving his hands in front of him. “You have a right to worry about me. Considering I don’t exactly make it easy on you.”

Taehyung gave a breathless smile. His fingers, which were devoid of any rings or jewelry, slipped from his hair and fell back to his lap. “But you are right about how I think about you. You don’t always drink like that and it was childish of me to just jump to conclusions like that. You generally care for yourself.”

Jimin nodded slowly, mouth feeling a bit more dry. “Tae-ah, you know I love you a lot. You are the only person who really knows almost anything about me, But you don’t have to worry about me anymore. I’m not alone.”

Taehyung straightened, head cocking to the side in a similar way that Yeontan does, though he was never sure who got that trait from who. The frown had returned to his face as he sat up.

Carefully, he lowered himself on the couch nearby with a shaky smile as Taehyung leaned forward, eyes searching. “What do you mean?” he arched a perfect brow that Jimin still hated him for.

“Do you remember that person from Busan? The one I was really close to?” he asked quickly. Taehyung nodded slowly. “JK, he is… well, he is here in Seoul. And the other night I was with him.”

Taehyung blanched, mouth falling open as the words rebounded in his head. “Wait, really? JK? The one you always told me about?” he asked in a rush of words. Jimin gave a awkward smile.

“The one and the same.”

Taehyung eyes splintered into slits, suddenly leaning forward so that his face was inches from his own. Startled, he nearly jerked back, but Taehyung grabbed his bicep and kept him steady as he licked his lips.

“Your aura is all over. Is this the one who you were kinda having a thing, but not really a thing?” he pressed, hot breathe darting over his features. Jimin chuckled weakly, but nodded his head anyways. Taehyung’s eyes blew wide. “Holy shit- wait, how in the world?”

Jimin gave a anxious chuckle, rubbing the back of his neck as he recalled the feelings of shock and surprise at seeing Jeongguk standing within his office. Color hinted at his cheeks at the excited gleam that was now bouncing in his best friends eyes.

“Well this hyung has a daughter now and she apparently likes to dance. Didn’t realize that it was my studio when he showed up in my office,” he explained quickly, hand dropping back into his lap. “Coincidence.”

Taehyung snickered, leaning back and throwing his arm over the couch as he shook his head firmly. “I don’t believe in “coincidence”. Everything is settled within the stars, a path for you. Obviously, he is in your path. My tarot cards agree.”

Jimin hummed, rolling his eyes slightly, before he let them fall to his lap. Taehyung pulled his work stuff off of the couch. He shifted his body closer as his arms wrapped around Jimin’s shoulders and pulled him in for a tight hug.

The scent of strawberries assaulted his nose, instantly calming him as he settled into his hold. Taehyung smiled as his arms rested around his waist, nuzzling into the hug as if they were twenty-two again.

When he pulled away, Taehyung brushed away his brown bangs from his eyes. “So, you were with him the other night? Bowling?”

Jimin chuckled at the incredulous tone. “Yeah. Back in Busan there was a bowling alley, so we use to go bowling.”

Taehyung chuckled, seeming to be amused by the idea of a younger Jimin playing around in a bowling alley. His arms tightened as his square shaped smile was prominent as he cocked his head and became a bit more serious.

“So… does he know about…?”

Jimin shook his head firmly. “Taehyung,” he quickly interjected. “No. He doesn’t. He knows I left and we talked about it. But I never told him why.”

He remained quiet for a few heartbeats. His eyes searching Jimin’s features as he leaned back down and into the hug as the smell of strawberries continued to tickle at the edges of his nose.

“Are you going to tell him?” he wondered. Jimin shook his head again, sighing lowly through his nose as he remembered the conversation with Yoongi earlier.

“No. I don’t plan to. There is no reason to now,” he confirmed. Taehyung nodded briefly his acknowledgement, fingers brushing through the light brown strands with a little sigh of his own.

Suddenly, he licked his lips, smacked them a little that he only does when he is anxious, and then adjusted their bodies so that he could see him better. “Can I ask something?”

“Sure.”

Chocolate orbs fluttered over his almond ones, unease clear as his fingers fluttering to his silver strands and then grasping at Jimin’s much smaller hand that grasped onto tightly. Jimin frowned.

“Is it like it was? Something, but not labeled? Something not official?” he worded slowly, carefully, as if the words would cause Jimin to become a snake and strike and the ill placed words. Jimin bit his lips, eyes widening a fraction, then darting to look away. That was all he needed for an answer. “Jimin-ah, you can’t do that again. Do you still love him? Does he still love you?”

“I- yes,” he breathed, the words beginning to fall out of his mouth before he could think about them. “I love him and he says that he still loves me. I just- what if I am not good enough? Just friends is one thing, it’s safe but if it’s more then… then a label makes it more real.”

“Park Jimin,” Taehyung scolded, hands tightening over his skin to the point it ached but Jimin didn’t mind as he lowered his head like a scolded pup. “That man has loved you for probably longer than ten, almost eleven now, years. Remember what I always tell you? Everything has a purpose. And I believe in soulmates.”

Jimin felt his breathe catch as Taehyung leaned over, his hand reaching behind to grasp at the back of his neck and pull him closer so that their foreheads are pressed together sweetly. His eyes are calm, sparkling like the stars, and his smile soft and warm.

“Soulmates will always end up together. No matter how much time is lost, no matter the distance there was. You may lose your soulmate for a little while, but soulmates always find each other again. If they leave… they will return and stay forever,” he concluded warmly.

Tears pricked at Jimin’s eyes, and for the moment all he wanted was to smell vanilla and see a bunny smile, but the words implanted deep within his mind. Reminding him of everything that he had lost, and now regained.

“Tae-ah…”

Taehyung giggled sweetly, leaning over and pressing a soft kiss to his cheek. It wasn’t romantic, nor would it ever be, but Jimin didn’t mind as he smiled and raked his fingers into the silver strands as a silent “thank you”.

“Do what you need to do. At your own pace. At your own time. It’s time to stop running from who you are, Min-ah.”

“Whoever calls you crazy is fucking stupid,” Jimin groaned, throwing his arms around his shoulders. Taehyung laughed fully, arms slithering back around his waist.

“No, I’m still crazy, but at least I got my head on my shoulders- sometimes,” he teased. Jimin rolled his eyes and pulled off Taehyung to leap to his feet. Taehyung settled back onto the couch with an amused grin. “Oh, and you’re forgiven. But only because you followed my advice.”

Jimin glanced over his shoulder. “No- I followed the tea leaves advice.”

“Smart ass- you're lucky you’re already forgiven,” Taehyung grumbled, waving him off. Jimin laughed as he kissed his forehead, dodging the swat, and scurried out of the apartment with maniacal laughter.

 

*********

 

Jeongguk couldn’t stop smiling as he glanced around the small, pristine apartment that screamed Park Jimin. It was small, like Jimin had warned him, but it felt nice. It smelled of something faintly fruity, and now tangled with cooked Korean beef that he was whipping up in the small kitchen.

His eyes wandered the walls, landing on the desk scattered with papers- the only thing that could really be labeled “unorganized” out of the whole room. The bed beneath his fingers felt nice, soft, and a little Shiba stuffed animal was resting against the pillow- fur worn and loved.

It shouldn’t have been surprising. A twenty eight year old man having a stuffed Shiba Inu dog toy on his bed, it was something that the past Jimin would boast about, but this Jimin was always unpredictable.

Sometimes, he was so similar to the eighteen year old that sixteen year old Jeongguk looked up to and admired, for his playful, mirth-filled nature while other times he was darker- thoughtful and untrusting. Watching his words so carefully.

Despite that, Jeongguk didn’t care because he still saw fragments of the old Jimin in there. In the twinkle of the almond shaped eye, the way his body would still throw himself during laughter, and the way his smile would still outshine the moonlight.

He was humming as his cooked. His voice wasn’t the same- it wasn’t as high as before. It was a bit more full, a little bit huskier, as if the age had refined it instead of ruining it. He didn’t really notice.

His almond eyes were crescent shaped, watching the meat cook as he wore his jeans and tee shirt that was a little too big around his frame, but otherwise he looked perfect. Standing there with his messy brown hair and sweet smile.

Jeongguk felt content to just watch him, to see the way he bustled about to gather two plates and set the food on the table as if he had forgotten all about Jeongguk’s presence.

“You know, you’re staring is starting to get creepy,” Jimin spoke up, head turning over his shoulder with a wicked smirk twitching at his lips. Jeongguk didn’t even have the decency to blush or pretend that he wasn’t. “Take a picture. It lasts longer.”

“Is that a invitation?” he wondered, his own wicked smile touching the corner of his thinner lips. His hand was already grasping at his phone, head cocking to the side. Jimin snorted, turning back around to face the food.

“You are such a shit in your older age,” he commented dryly. Jeongguk chuckled, the bed creaking a little as he stood and padded on his socked feet towards the older man who promptly ignored him.

He didn’t even jump when Jeongguk suddenly wrapped his arms around Jimin’s waist and pulled his body flush against his own. His breath caught in his throat at the feeling of Jeongguk’s body heat, taut muscles that rippled under his shirt, but he kept cooking.

“What are you doing?”

Jeongguk hummed, burying his nose within Jimin’s neck and breathing in his smell. A faint smile returned to Jimin’s lips, secretly loving the domestic feeling and almost wondering if this is what his life could have been like. If he had stayed.

“Admiring you,” he murmured, exchanging from rubbing his nose to pressed soft kisses along his milky skin that was exposed from his too large shirt. Jimin made a noise in the back of his throat at the feeling of rough lips scraping over the soft flesh of the conjecture between his neck and collarbone.

“I am trying to cook, you know?” Jimin breathed, hand tightening around his cooking chopsticks. Jeongguk hummed his acknowledgement, hands shifting underneath the tee and darting over the soft curves and dips of his hips.

The kisses were hot, tongue swiping over the salty flesh that had his knees shake a moment before he swatted at his arm. Jeongguk whined, teeth replacing the tongue in a light teasing.

“Hey! Do you want this meal to be burned?”

“I rather eat you,” he muttered, but pulled his mouth away. Jimin huffed, smacking his arm again, before he returned to cooking the meat and vegetables that sizzled away. Jeongguk didn’t move, kept his hands on his hips and swayed with him.

Giggling, he grabbed a piece of cooked meat and turned around. He held it up for Jeongguk, eyes twinkling as the younger man stepped back before opening his mouth and accepting the meat.

He chewed slowly, the flavors bursting as he grinned. “It tastes good- maybe I do want this meat after all,” he said, grinning. Jimin laughed, leaning over and pressing a quick kiss to his lips.

“Told you. Now, go sit at the table so I can bring this over,” he ordered, pointing towards the table. The younger man grinned so big that he was sure his face split in half, but happily kissed him once more before he untangled himself.

He tried to not miss the feeling of Jimin’s body against his own as he wandered over and settled himself down. He watched as Jimin brought all the food over, putting equal share on both of their plates before returning the pot to the sink and sitting down himself.

He grinned brightly at the food, chopsticks already in hand. “Eat up, Gukkie!” he said kindly before he shoved a piece of meat into his mouth. Jeongguk laughed but did as ordered and nibbled another piece of the meat.

“So, how was your day?” Jeongguk asked, leaning back in his chair as he took another bite of his food. Jimin chewed quickly, swallowing, before offering a shy smile.

“Well, Tae-ah and I… we had a small fight since the bowling alley thing? So I went to Yoongi hyung.” He poked at his meat, looking a bit shy, but Jeongguk was curious. He had only heard fragments of his life since Busan, so whenever he spoke about it he felt as if he was getting a inside look of the past ten years. “I always go to him when I feel a bit lost with Tae-ah.”

“Those are the two dating right?” Jeongguk questioned, brow furrowing as he tried to keep track of who was who, but Jimin hardly spoke of “Yoongi”. He wasn’t really sure what he looked like other than he was dating Tea Leave guy. Or “Tae Leaves” as Jeongguk dubbed him.

Jimin made a agreement noise. “Yes. Few years now.” He put another piece of meat in his mouth. “Despite the fact I grew up a lot, I still have a temper sometimes, and whenever Tae-ah brings certain things up…” He flushed. “I don’t always control my mouth.”

Jeongguk snickered. “You always were kind of a hot head. Not always easy to anger, but when pissed, you’re quite terrifying,” he admitted, thinking about to when they were kids. Jimin is usually pretty patient, quite gentle, but piss him off and he’s something completely different.

The brunet sent a small glare at the words, but there was no heat behind it. “So I chatted with hyung, then went to apologize to Tae-ah. We’re alright now.”

Jeongguk smiled. “I am glad you’re alright now.”

“Thanks. Me too. Having those two mad at me isn’t one of my favorite things,” he admitted with another little laugh. There was less in humor in this one as he paused, face softening as he examined Jeongguk’s features moments before he reached over and touched his cheek. “You really have grown up, Gukkie… do you know that?”

Everytime Jimin looked at him, he kept on seeing that little kid with raven black hair, lanky body, and large nose that twitched too much. That sweet, goofy smile when he comfortable, and that shy smile when he wasn’t. The way he would hover by Jimin’s side.

Jeongguk felt himself blush a little. “Yeah. I know.”

Jimin stood from the table, leaving his half-eaten food as he came over and pushed Jeongguk’s chair away. The younger man let him, watching as he settled himself in his lap and let him rest his hands on his hips.

For a moment, the lycrist was stunned. Jimin wasn’t usually this bold, nor did he look at him with his almond eyes burning with such intensity. A determination that he hadn’t seen in such a long time as his stubby fingers locked within the short strands of his hair from the back of his neck.

The older man leaned forward, pressing their foreheads together and his eyes fluttering closed. His nose flared, inhaling the sweet vanilla that he had been craving, then exhaled shakily. Jeongguk frowned, his hands tightening on his waist.

“Hyung?”

“Today… Tae-ah told me something. And maybe I realized something too,” he murmured quietly, his breathe lukewarm over his face as he sat still and just let Jimin talk despite the fact he was distracted by the feeling of his hands in his hair. “I’m a coward. I’m so scared of everything. I was scared to return home, I was scared to look for you, and I am scared to let you into my life in Seoul because it means I am reconnecting with Busan.”

He took a shuddering breath, ragged and strained, while tears leaked through his squeezed shut eyes and trickle down his face. He inhaled sharply, as if fighting the urge to cry, and it broke something within Jeongguk’s body.

“I kept on shutting out fragments of my life and they keep coming back to haunt me,” he breathed out, a sob catching in the back of his throat. “I’m so sorry, Guk. I know that means nothing. But I am done running. I’m ready now. To move forward and stop shutting you out. If you’ll let me.”

Jimin raised his head, eyes pulling open to stare into his own. Jeongguk exhaled in a whoosh of words as he grasped at Jimin’s cheeks and pulled their lips together. Unlike before at the beach, this wasn’t messy, or a clash of teeth.

Jeongguk wouldn’t call it magic either. He wasn’t a romantic in that way, but he felt as if the world had been righted. He felt safe, he felt found, with the way the lips moved along with his own and the warm hands trailed down his arms and grasped at his hoodie to pull him closer.

Their lips tangled together, carefully, softly, and yet hard enough to know that Jimin meant it. His hands were gripping tightly, his neck tilted up, and yet he didn’t fight against Jeongguk’s dominance. He let the younger rule over him.

When Jimin pulled back, his eyes fluttered open and he looked relieved, and a little frightened. “Does that mean… it’s okay?”

“More than okay,” Jeongguk promised. “Does this mean you’ll accept me as your boyfriend? Are you alright with taking that step?”

He nodded slowly. “Yes. Tae-ah told me to get my head out of my ass and man up, so…” he chuckled as he shifted his body closer. “I know that… we can’t ever get married or anything because we live in Korea, nor is what we are common, but I’m tired of a lot. I just want to be happy.”

“Me too,” Jeongguk whispered. “After waiting so long, I think we both deserve it.” Jimin broke out into a large smile, eagerly leaning forward and reconnecting their lips. Jeongguk happily returned it, hands shifting back to Jimin’s hips that rolled carefully as their lips molded.

A mewl left Jimin’s throat as Jeongguk trailed his lips down from the now swollen ones of the other, trailing hot, open mouthed kisses down his jawline and suckling at his neck. He gasped louder when teeth raked harder over his flesh, pleasure tingling over his skin and making him feel hot.

He raised his body, adjusting so that he was hovering over Jeongguk’s groin. His hands slipped under Jeongguk’s shirt, his nails scratching lightly over the thick, tawny flesh as his head tilted back to give him more excess to his weak point.

Jeongguk grinned when he felt Jimin’s body shudder as he sucked hard enough to leave a mark of black and blue, his breathing fast and eyes hooded and clouded with lust and love as he peered through his squinted eyes.

“I love you so much, hyung. You don’t know how much I thought about you,” Jeongguk whispered huskily as he leaned back and kissed the hickey that he had just formed. Jimin moaned low.

His whole body was burning, hot, and needy to feel him. Feel wanted and loved. This already felt different than at the beach, which was nothing more a rush of hormones and regret. Of a want to belong.

This was soft, heated touches that scorched at his skin and ignited a flame within his gut as he wiggled his hips and ran his fingers over the soft skin of the other. He craved this. To feel desirable and forgiven.

And that was what Jeongguk did. The way his hands lingered over every dip and curve, the way his lips placed hot, little kisses along his jawline and neck. Everything he did sent Jimin alive again.

A mewl was caught within the confines of his throat as he grasped a bit tighter at Jeongguk, startled when suddenly his body was hoisted up easily as if he truly weight nothing but the arm was like iron around his waist.

Squealing, he remained locked around Jeongguk when suddenly the bed was pressed against his back and the heat of Jeongguk’s body returned to lay on top of him, trapping him against the mattress and the firm chest.

Jeongguk adjusted his weight so that he wasn’t crushing the older man, holding himself up by his hands on either side of Jimin’s slim shoulders as he stared down at the panting man beneath him. He watched Jeongguk through half-lidded eyes, looking content at what was unfolding.

“Are you sure about this? Do you want to continue?”

Jimin chuckled breathlessly. It was just so otherworldly of a question at their current position that they were in. But it made something inside Jimin croon at the slight hesitation and unsurety that was glistening back at the dark orbs that peered back at him.

“Yes. I want to continue.”

A bright bunny smile followed. Jimin laughed before he reached up and tugged Jeongguk’s head back down to press their lips together in a firm kiss. Jimin surged as he felt Jeongguk tug at the hem of his shirt, yanking with a whine at the offending article of clothing.

Laughing, he broke the kiss and pulled it off to toss it aside just as Jeongguk did the same. A smile was splitting his face as they went back down to the bed in a flurry of languid kisses, flushed with heat and desire as Jeongguk grasped at every piece of open skin he could touch.

Everything felt so different compared to the time on the beach. Everything was slower, everything felt more heated and needy. Jimin soaked up every slow, heated kiss and the way that Jeongguk slipped off his clothing before he sat back and admired.

Skin heated and body trembling at the way Jeongguk was hovering over him, trapped beneath thick sinew and tawny skin that stretched well over the beauty of a man, Jimin nearly moaned breathlessly.

Jeongguk was  devouring him already with his eyes. The way that they traced over his collarbones, the dip between his breast plate and down to the smooth sinew of his trembling stomach muscles that flushed with the attention.

A tent had already formed within his pants, obviously desiring attention, and a slow smirk curled at the younger man’s lips at the whine that could barely be heard from the older as he remained still.

He took the chance to admire Jeongguk back. Admiring the curve of his cheek that matched the sharp angle of his jaw. The way his hair fell in loose, messy tendrils around his dark earthy eyes, and the set look of lust and love that flickered over his features.

Stunning. It was the only word that floated throughout Jimin’s head as he ran his fingers over every flash of skin that he could touch and felt himself tremble at the idea of being taken. But first, he placed his hand on Jeongguk’s chest and met his eyes evenly.

Sensing the sudden seriousness, Jeongguk froze, eyes widening a mere fraction. Licking his lips, Jimin closed his eyes a brief moment. “I… I want this happen, but first, I need to get something straight, alright?”

“Hyung?” he murmured back, concern oozing like warm milk from his tone. Jimin offered a nervous smile as he smiled back encouragingly.

“I just have a couple of requests, okay? If you’ll listen,” he murmured back, feeling somewhat exposed. Taehyung was aware of his quirks and needs, the way things need to happen or otherwise suffer through something he rather not- but Jeongguk didn’t, and that was a problem.

Instantly, Jeongguk sat up. He started crawling to move himself off of Jimin but the older reached out and grasped at his hand. The younger froze again, seeming to be more of a frightened rabbit as he watched carefully.

“What is it, hyung?”

“Before, I didn’t have to worry about this,” Jimin rushed quickly, “because we were, well, out in the open, but please, just listen real fast. Don’t… don’t touch my wrists and pin me to the headboard. I also… I request that you also… maybe tell me before you place yourself in me, okay?”

There was a imploring look in his eyes, a desperation that was shimmering just beneath the surface. It was a odd request, but something else was pleading within Jimin’s tightened grip and parted lips that he couldn’t refuse or question.

Offering a soft smile, his thumb brushed over the top of Jimin’s hand, nodding away. “Of course, love. In fact…” he trailed off, carefully pulling his body back on the bed and lying down. Jimin gave him a bewildered stare as he laid on his back and then tugged at his hand so that Jimin was straddling him. “You take control, alright? You lead. Okay?”

There was another moment of stunned silence. Jeongguk looked a bit smaller, as if he was unsure of his own request reaction but his hands trailed sweetly over Jimin’s thighs as the older stared down at him.

Jimin’s heart felt so heavy, so full of warmth and affection that he actually wondered how he hadn’t melted into nothing but goo as he stared into those brown eyes. Tears stung in his eyes as he leaned down and crashed his lips against his.

Jeongguk squeaked in surprise but happily kissed back, his hands slowly reaching for his waist, a silent question and a way to stop him if he so desired with no question, and it only caused Jimin’s hunger to rise as he nipped at his lips.

“Thank you,” he breathed. Jeongguk smiled, looking pleased before they returned to loving on one another’s bodies. Jimin gasped as Jeongguk raised so that he could take Jimin’s taunt nipple in his mouth and suckled.

Head thrown back, Jimin moaned and tangled his fingers within his hair and tugged. jeongguk groaned low and tightened his hold around the other’s waist as he panted out a quick question. His cock was burning, dripping precum and demanding the same attention that Jimin’s seem to be having.

“Where’s the lube and condoms?”

“Drawer,” Jimin hissed, back arching as he shifted his weight forward to rub himself directly with Jeongguk’s cock. The younger released a throaty moan at the sudden friction, surges of pleasure nearly curling his toes, reaching over and shuffling through the drawer where he pulled out the said items.

Jimin was panting already, his body shaking with heat and sweat glistening over his skin. He was craving the heated flesh of the other as he whimpered at the pain his groin was giving in the neglect.

Jeongguk easily undid the lube, his bottom lip between his teeth as he slid it over his cock and then grasped the lube. He squirted some on his hand, rubbing them together, then lathered up his cock.

Looking up through hooded eyes, he reached over so that Jimin was closer. They adjusted briefly, trying to find a comfortable position, and settled as they were both panting. Jeongguk pressed chaste kisses over Jimin’s face as he reached behind to place his fingers near the fluttering pink hole.

“I’m gonna stretch you, alright, baby?” he murmured lowly, voice thick and husky. Jimin shivered, the pressure of his fingers adding extra heat and pleasure to race like electricity over his skin as he nodded his head and whimpered.

Carefully, Jeongguk slid the first digit in. Jimin hissed at the pressure, the pleasure skipping away to be replaced with brief pain. Sensing the discomfort, Jeongguk leaned forward and suckled sweetly at his neck, drawing his attention to the feeling of his lips.

Sagging, Jimin craned his head and instead captured his lips in a slow, languid kiss. He loved the way he had control, able to do what he wished with Jeongguk beneath him. The way his abs fluttered from under his thighs as he licked like a kitten at his lips.

Jeongguk growled low. “Fuck, baby- you taste good,” he moaned lowly.  Jimin giggled, feeling high at the feeling of his hands and the way he chased after his lips. Carefully, he added a second finger and watched as Jimin keened and moaned, ass shifting so that his fingers went deeper.

Jeongguk scissored and worked, stretching and panting at the pressure from his stomach rose at the noises that were falling unperturbed from the older man on top of him that was wiggling in time with his fingers.

Adding a third one, he nearly felt like he was going to kneel over at the way Jimin jolted when his fingers brushed over his sweet spot, a cry erupting from his lips. A slow grin curled at Jeongguk’s features.

“That’s it, Petal. I found it,” he murmured. Jimin whined loudly, beginning to bounce on his fingers in a desperate attempt to try and feel more. He wanted more. Chuckling, Jeongguk paused. “Easy. I wanna take this slow. Feel you fully.”

“Guk, please,” Jimin groaned, hands grasping desperately at the sheets beneath him as he panted and whined. Jeongguk chuckled before he slipped out his fingers quickly. Jimin hissed, head throwing back to expose his throat.

Eagerly the younger man attached his lips to his neck as he guided Jimin’s hips so that his fluttering, hungry hole was directly over his cock and nipped at the soft skin teasingly. Jimin grasped at his shoulders, eyes widening.

“Okay, Petal, I’m going to lower you down now,” he murmured against his skin. Jimin nodded, lost to the feeling of the love and care that wrapped around their sweat ridden bodies as he cried out at the feeling of something thick and familiar pushing into him.

“Oh, God, Jeongguk,” Jimin panted, body trembling as pleasure curled at every corner of his body. Jeongguk hissed low under his breath at the feeling Jimin’s tight heat that flooded every one of his senses, and the way his blunt nails raked at his skin.

The sound of his cries were like music to his ears as he tilted his head back, pushing himself in all the way to the hilt that had Jimin a mess on top of him. Jeongguk did everything in him to stay still and let Jimin start- he would follow Jimin’s odd request to the fullest.

And sure enough, Jimin started to move. First, he started slow. He rolled his hips, as if testing the waters, and it took everything Jeongguk had to remain still but the sound was less than muffled.

Encouraged and breathing laboured, Jimin planted himself more firmly before he began a steady rhythm of lifting and lowering himself, practically bouncing a motion of water along his cock that had Jeongguk nearly losing his sanity.

Slick heat and the scent of Jimin’s sweat mixed with the feeling of him nearly through Jeongguk over the edge as he rose to meet with Jimin’s thrusts, aligning himself so that he was hitting his prostate with each perfectly timed meet.

Jeongguk could feel himself drawing closer to his orgasm. Felt the way his stomach tightened and his hips started to stutter at the building pressure. Jimin’s own thrusts were becoming more messy, less predictable.

“Fuck, Petal, I’m close,” he breathed out, a moan following at one of Jimin’s aggressive thrusts that nearly had him seeing white. Jimin mewled, arms seeming to give out but Jeongguk easily grasped at his body and took a bit more of the lead.

“Jeongguk,” Jimin screamed, body shaking as splashes of white landed across Jeongguk’s chest and some on his belly. The sound of his raw scream of his name was enough to throw him over the edge as he closed his eyes just as the orgasm slammed into his gut.

The pleasure was overwhelming. It traveled throughout his body as he carefully rode it out. Jimin collapsed on top of him, body still trembling as he carefully shifted so that he pulled out. Jimin yelped a bit at the over stimulation, then settled again with a happy sigh.

For a moment, the only sound that was echoing throughout the room was their ragged breathing. It was peaceful almost. The slick feeling of sweaty skin on skin and the stench of their sweat as they hovered amongst the blankets.

Jeongguk shifted, adjusting himself so that he was on his side and facing Jimin whose breathing was quickly evening out. His brown hair was tossed and messy, fanning out over the sheets and his eyes wide and still dazed while a pleasured smile was adorning his lips.

He looked the most peaceful than Jeongguk had ever seen. He was usually wound tight, his muscles taunt and ready for something that he could never understand, but now, laying beside him, he looked relaxed and sated.

A cat who had too much catnip almost.

There was almost a shy smile on his face as he buried it within the blankets, a little whine erupting on his throat that caused Jeongguk to chuckle. “You can’t just look at me like that,” he muttered. “It’s not fair.”

Amused, the dark haired offered a playful smile. His fingers reached out and brushed over damp brown tendrils. Jimin smiled, almost lazily, before he peeked out and cast a little look towards the other.

“What isn’t fair?” Jeongguk wondered quietly, shifting so that his body was flush against the others. Jimin didn’t seem to mind, even adjusted his own body so that it was easier to feel each other. Jeongguk draped a arm over his waist easily.

Jimin exhaled lightly through his nose, eyes searching. “You. You’re not fair.”

Jeongguk arched a brow at the soft words, but Jimin seemed content to leave it at that because he closed his eyes and snuggled closer until his head was tucked under Jeongguk’s chin and his breathe hot over his collarbones.

And for the first time in a long time, Jeongguk swore he felt those Busan shores and moonlight brush over his skin as the scent he knew better than his own filter through his nose. Everything felt like it was going to be okay.

Chapter Text

“You did good today everyone!” Kijung called, a bright smile decorating his features. The group of dancers cheered at their captain, Jimin standing by his side with a tired, lazy smile as he wiped the sweat from his face and ruffled his fading orange hair that was plastered to his face. 

The room smelled of sweat and too many bodies from the hours of dancing that  left Jimin sore and aching all the way down to the marrow of his bones. But he relished it- the feeling of his limbs shaking and the sweat that was cooling across his heated skin.

The underclassman were pleased to finally be released from their training, their chattering echoing distantly off the soundproofed walls that made the dance studio. It was slightly later than usual, but nothing too crazy as Jimin walked slowly towards his bag and starting toeing off his jazz shoes.

He flinched when his bare feet touched the dirty ground, but the ache in them was settling at not being so pent up so he let it be as he went through his things and grasped tightly at his phone. He snorted as he saw a bunch of messages- all from one person.

He scanned through them- noticing it was just Jeongguk whining about math or wondering when practice would finish so that they can hang out and relax- the possibility of curling up on the bed and watching the stars sounding so inviting that he almost purred.

“Hey, Jimin-ah,” Kijung called, regaining Jimin’s attention from his phone. He pocketed it, grinning as he caught sight of his friend and captain of the dance team. Kijung smiled, somewhat sheepishly. “Sorry- I didn’t mean to interrupt and I know it’s late.” 

Jimin waved him off, smiling brightly. “It’s alright- no worries. It was just Guk-ah whining about his math work.” He snorted to himself while Kijung chuckled. “What’s up?”

Kijung smiled, his eyes crinkling a bit in the corners as he wiped his forehead to remove the lingering sweat. “Nothing too bad. Just wanted to touch base with you about the dancing competition that is coming up within a few months and possibly doing a couple of meetups to prepare a dance?” 

Instantly, Jimin brightened. Dancing together had always been one of his favorite pastimes and since the competition was coming up quickly they really needed to work more for the added members of the club. 

Straightening, he clambered back to his feet with a bright smile as he ran his fingers once more through his damp strands. Kijung laughed lightly at him. “Yes! We need to start preparing for that, don’t we?” he hummed excitedly. “I’ll start going through some songs and checking over the members stats and see if I can find a few songs to start with.”

“You know you don’t have to do everything, Jimin-ah,” Kijung protested, but Jimin waved him off with a bright smile. 

“I don’t. Guk always helps me and, well, I love dancing so I never mind doing things like this. I know you’re really busy with everything in your life,” Jimin interjected quietly. “So don’t worry. Just promise that you’ll come over and dance practice with me as we prepare the dance, yeah?”

Kijung nodded, a grateful look washing over his features as he brushed his fingers through his fringe to get them out of his eyes. “Sure thing. You know I love dancing with you.” He turned to leave, but paused and looked back. “Maybe we can grab, like, coffee or something? Not now, just after practice or something.” 

“Sure. I wouldn’t mind.” Jimin grabbed his bag, slinging it over his shoulder as he slipped his regular shoes back on his feet. “I gotta run though. See you later, Kijung-ah!”

“Jimin? Jimin, Petel?” a low voice murmured. Jimin moaned in the back of his throat, whining at the feeling of a hand pushing sweetly through his hair and over his features. Scrunching his nose, he buried his face deeper into the warmth that was seeping into every pore around his body.

Nothing felt better than the feeling of his sheets wrapped around his body, a gentle warmth that wasn’t overwhelming to kick him out but instead make him want to curl up and purr like a cat. 

A huff of laughter caused the body he was laying on to move, and he hissed in protest to the movement, which only caused more laughter. The hand stalled in his hair.

“I see you still aren’t a morning person, are you?” a lilting voice crooned. Jimin cracked open an eye, nearly screeching in shock to see soft brown doe eyes, droopy and laced heavily with sleep, to match the sleepy smile that was twisting at his pink lips.

Jeongguk looked precious when he was half-asleep. His dark hair sticking up in all directions, eyes lax and calm, while his hands were still tangled within Jimin’s brown hair like it belonged there. 

Noticing Jimin’s open eyes, he offered a lazy smile. “Good morning, hyung,” he murmured. Stunned, Jimin glanced and saw that his body was naked and  draped gracefully over Jeongguk’s. His arm was wrapped loosely around his waist. 

Sunlight was streaming through the window, igniting the room around them and casting them in a faint morning glow. Their clothes were strewn around the bed and Jimin recalled what had happened last night.

Feeling his face flush, he quickly tried to hide his smile when he realized that the vanilla scent that he loved was now like a cocoon around his form. He had woken up with Jeongguk wrapped around him as if he was a treasure. 

“Morning, Gukkie,” he mumbled back, the hand returning to it’s light caresses through his hair. “What time is it?”

Jeongguk hummed lowly. “Almost nine in the morning. We slept in,” he explained with a small yawn. The hour suddenly slammed into his brain, a gasp tearing through his throat as he jerked up and out of Jeongguk’s arms. 

The younger man whined at the sudden cold air that brushed over his bare skin that was laid bare at Jimin’s sudden movements. “Almost nine? Holy shit, Hobi hyung is going to kill me! I have a class at nine thirty!” 

Jimin scrambled out of the bed, leaving Jeongguk there with a loud whine once the blankets had been torn further off as Jimin nearly tumbled to the floor when his feet got twisted within the blankets. 

A curse fled his lips as he barely managed to right himself. Jeongguk adjusted the blankets to recover himself, a groan catching in his throat as he threw his arm over his eyes to try and drown out the light.

“Sometimes I really wonder how you’re a dancer when you almost face plant like that,” he teased, peeking out from behind his arm as he sent a sweet smirk towards the older. Jimin was yanking his boxers back on, a moan escaping his throat in the slight pain from the jerking movements. 

At the words, Jimin jerked his head back towards Jeongguk who sat up slightly in the bed. The older man almost cooed at the sight of messy brown hair and the slitted eyes and cheeks squished a bit from his sleeping position. 

He looked stunning- breathtaking even- as he sat with the blankets pooling around his form and his hands resting lightly on his lap with a tired smile and half-awake teasing grin that was somehow more alert than it should be.

For a moment, the desire to crawl back into bed and spend the day lounging across the comforters with his arms back around him was so strong that his feet took a simple step forward. 

Jeongguk seems pleased, perking up a bit as he tilted his head. He looked so sweet- so young that Jimin found himself slowly crawling back on the bed as he leaned in to press his lips against the other.

The younger gasped a moment, but happily kissed back as his fingers tangled within his darkened strands. Jimin grinned against his lips as his hands went and rested on his broad shoulders, letting Jeongguk tilt their heads so he could deepen the kiss.

“As much as I love kissing you when you look like this,” Jeongguk murmured, breaking the kiss, “ but your breath is rancid.”

Jimin made a strangled noise in the back of his throat, slapping Jeongguk’s arm as the younger giggled and attempted to duck. “You are such a brat,” Jimin growled, but there was no heat behind his words. 

“I know. Now, go shower while I make breakfast.”

“You? Make breakfast?” Jimin commented, arching a brow as he sat back on his legs and looked at him through pursed lips. Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“Yeah. You know. Make breakfast.” He paused, then grinned. “Like cereal and cutting fruit!”

“And there it is,” Jimin teased. Jeongguk grabbed a pillow and smacked him but Jimin only laughed lightly before he leaned over and grabbed one last quick kiss. 

Clambering off the bed, he waved over his shoulder before he hurried into the bathroom and started the water. 

Jeongguk waited a moment. The content feeling was heavy within his chest at being surrounded by Jimin- the morning light falling into the one room apartment and the soft scent that permitted the air.

After so long of dancing around, tiptoeing, this truly felt like a dream come true as he managed to crawl out of bed and pull on his boxers and jeans- much to his grumbling displeasure- before he padded towards the kitchen.

His phone was resting where he left it, the kitchen still somewhat a mess from the way that they left it yesterday, but it all added a homey feel that Jeongguk had been craving since his brother had Sumi.

Quickly, he quickly cleaned up the mess from last night, the sound of the shower running causing a little smile to touch his lips when he heard Jimin singing. He guessed that habit was one that hadn’t changed despite the ten years, and it made him nearly turn into a puddle.

Once done with the dishes, he brought out the bowls just as his phone buzzed on the counter. Snatching it, he answered without even bothering to check the ID. 

“About time you answered, you shit!” Seokjin snapped into the phone, the line crackling a moment. Jeongguk flinched at the yelled tone, pulling the phone away from his now damaged ear. “Where the hell have you been? I have been trying to reach you since last night!”

Jeongguk rolled his eyes, puffing out his cheeks as he started his search through the cabinets in a feeble attempt to find the older’s cereal or some form of it. “Hyung, I told you that I was busy last night.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t say all night,” Seokjin rebuked instantly. “God, why are all my children not answering their phones when I call?” 

“Because no one wants to hear you nagging when we are all grown ass people who can actually take care of themselves,” Jeongguk offered, snorting to himself in mild amusement. He heard Seokjin growl over the line. “Anyways hyung, what is it? Why are you calling me at this hour?” 

“Well, I am mostly calling to see how that date that you were so nervous about went. So… based on the fact that you still seem to be there… it went well?” Seokjin said, his voice taking on a lower tone. “I really hope that this wasn’t your first date because I swear, Jeon Jeongguk, if you already deflowered the man-”

“Hyung, please,” Jeongguk sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he finally found some cereal- Frosted Flakes and something Oatmeal- and grabbed those before setting them on the counter. “It was not our first date and I told you- I have known him for a very long time. This isn’t the first time we have done something like this.”

Seokjin was silent for a long moment, the sound of his breathing even over the line. Jeongguk poured Jimin the oatmeal cereal, knowing that the man was dancing today and he never was big on sweet things, and he poured himself the Frosted Flakes   since he did, in fact,  love sweet things. 

Finally, Seokjin spoke up as Jeongguk went for the milk.

“But it did go well?”

Jeongguk closed his eyes, remembering the feeling of Jimin’s hand brushing through his hair and his quiet, strained confession, and felt his heart pound away within his chest. The content feeling returned at the sound of his singing through the thin walls, the smile unable to leave.

“It went really well. Fantastic, actually,” he breathed, clutching his phone just a bit tighter in his hand. “Hyung, he- last night, he confessed and we are actually dating now.” Tears burned a bit at the back of his eyes. “We are finally a legitimate couple.” 

“Oh, Guk-ah, that is amazing! I am so happy for you! I know that things have been weird from what you have been telling Joon-ah and I, but I am really happy for you,” Seokjin remarked, the warmth oozing through the phone.

Jeongguk sniffed, brightening a little at his older friend’s acceptance. “Thank you, hyung.” He wiped at his eyes. “And I really want you and Namjoon hyung to meet him- before Namjoon hyung leaves. Do you think that’s possible? Wait- do you think he will want to?”

“Of course he will. Relax. And sure, we would love to! You could always bring him around for dinner Wednesday.” 

“Sure- I think he isn’t busy then! His job keeps him pretty busy but sometimes I can drag him away,” Jeongguk joked, chuckling as he recalls the hours of conversations that Jimin has spent talking about his job and dancing. 

Seokjin laughed lightly. “I have a friend like that. Practically lives at his job and not even his co-worker can tear him away. Such a workaholic.” 

Jeongguk hummed, smiling warmly. The sound of Namjoon’s voice over the line, a bit distant but it still made him chuckle as he heard a soft kissing sound before Seokjin was back on the line.

“I gotta run and help Joonie with something, but I’ll call later. If only my other child would answer!” Seokjin whined before calling out a fast goodbye and the line clicked. Jeongguk laughed as he closed his phone and then pushed it aside before grabbing some fruits and chopping board.

He worked quietly, content to just chop some strawberries, apple, and even add in some blueberries that he had found when the bathroom door creaked open.

Jeongguk glanced over, a smile curling at his lips when he sees Jimin pad out wearing simple dancing gear- tight black pants, socks, and a black shirt that was clinging to his form and his hair damp.

He looked so stunning as he padded into the kitchen with a nervous smile, fingers twisting at the black material of his shirt. Jeongguk pushed the bowl of cereal, already pouring milk and adding a spoon.

“Breakfast- eat up, Petel,” he murmured, then smiled. Jimin grinned back, pushing himself to sit into the chair and grabbing the spoon just as Jeongguk pushed the bowl of fruit towards him. 

“Wow, this is some five star hotel treatment right here,” Jimin teased. “Best food to possibly be served.”

Jeongguk grinned, plopping his body into the chair and winking as he shoveled some cereal into his mouth. Jimin laughed lightly but happily munched on his food with a smile that could make the angels sing. 

They ate a bit more quietly, not that Jeongguk minded. He loved the fact that every once in a while he would look up and catch Jimin’s eye, only for the older man to smile and eat a bit more cereal. They shuffled a bit closer, the sounds of their spoons on their bowls filling the comfortable silence.

“Oh,” Jeongguk breathed, eyes widening as he remembered the conversation earlier with his friend. Jimin perked up at the sound of his voice, turning to glance over at him with an expectant smile. “What’s the plan now?”

Jimin pushed the bowl away slightly. “Well, I have to go to work. I have choreography to record and to practice, along with a couple of classes.” Jimin gave a pointed look as he arched a brow. “Including Sumi-yah’s class.”

The day suddenly caught up with him and he gasped, eyes widening while Jimin laughed warmly at the surprised look on his face. Heat blossomed over Jeongguk’s cheeks but he smiled at the way Jimin leaned back in his chair. 

“It’s alright- it’s not until the afternoon. But I really do have to go to work or Hobi hyung will literally have my head one a silver platter and serve it up to Tae-ah,” he remarked, his chair squealing as he pushed it back.

Jeongguk instantly felt himself want to launch his body towards Jimin and kept them locked in their own little world- where they don’t have to leave the comforts of this one room little paradise.

After ten years of never being able to be this close, a part of Jeongguk is frightened that this was all a dream and as soon as Jimin leaves through the front door, then he is going to wake back up to his own personal nightmare. 

He got to his feet quickly, rushing over and grabbing Jimin’s hand. He didn’t miss the slight flinch, but it disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared. He turned, those large, puppy eyes turning and looking at him through his slightly hooded eyes.

“What is it?” he murmured, pressing himself closer so that Jeongguk’s hand could rest along the slender curve of his waist. Jeongguk sunk into the warmth, into the feeling of his heat, and buried his nose in his hair that still smelled of his shampoo. 

“Sorry- I just… I don’t want this to be a dream,” he replied quietly, his breathe fanning out over his hair. Jimin blinked once at the words before a soft, fond smile touched his face. Reaching up, he pressed his lips against his.

Jeongguk melted into it. The way Jimin grasped at his shirt and tilted his head, the scent of him swirling around in his nose. He sighed into the kiss, letting himself banish everything else as Jimin finally pulled away.

“Well, you better go dressed. You can hang around a little while until you have to go get Sumi-yah, okay?” he offered, his brown eyes searching. Jeongguk beamed, breaking away only to rush to get dressed and then scramble back to join Jimin in the main part of the room.

The older laughed, but held out his hand that Jeongguk eagerly accepted. They slotted together easily, their fingers entwining as if they were meant to be that way. Jimin glanced at their hands a moment, an odd look passing over his features before he softened.

“Come on- Hobi hyung is not always Sunshine on Steroids,” he admitted, chuckling lightly as he tugged Jeongguk forwards. They left the apartment, hand in hand, giggling as they went.

Stepping outside, Jeongguk sighed into the cool grey clouds as he looked up and wondered distantly if it was going to rain. 

In Seoul, the rainy season was always around this time, but he didn’t bring an umbrella so he hoped the clouds would hold off their water. 

“Oh, hyung,” Jeongguk said, suddenly recalling the conversation he had with Seokjin earlier. Jimin turned his head, brow raised and a little smile on his lips as he waited for him to continue. “I- uh- a friend invited me over for dinner tomorrow night. To meet you. And his boyfriend before he goes away to the service. Are you- did you want to come?” 

Jimin blinked once at the words, looking a little taken aback by them but a small smile was twitching at the corner of his lips. For another brief moment, Jeongguk was stunned because he saw soft orange hair and crescent shaped eyes of the older Jimin that he knew.

“A friend? He wants to meet me?” Jimin asked, pink touching the corner of his cheeks. Jeongguk hummed, squeezing just a bit tighter to Jimin’s hand- an action that was eagerly returned. “Sure. I would love to. I’ll tell Tae-ah to go suck his boyfriend off, then.”

Jeongguk snorted- amused. Jimin bit back a smile at the reaction as they approached the dance studio with their hands still entwined and sweet silence between them.

Stepping inside, the blast of air conditioning hit their skin and instantly cooling them, Jimin exhaled heavily in relief that almost made Jeongguk snicker as Hoseok looked up from his desk and smirked- which was wiped clean off when he saw who was attached to Jimin.

A sly smile curled at the man’s lips as he dropped his pen and leaned back in his chair. “Well, well, well, now I know why Jimin-ah is late,” he remarked coyly. Jeongguk felt his cheeks touch a bit pink while Jimin scoffed.

“Hyung, when is my class coming and which am I teaching today?” 

“Oh, you’re not,” Hoseok said, turning his playful attention away from Jeongguk and back towards Jimin, but this time his face a bit more serious. “I am teaching this class today since I know you have three choregraphies due soon. Plus, Taemin-ssi is wanting to see his by the end of the day.”

Jimin blinked, a curse falling from his lips as he remembered the dance that he had been running for almost a month now. He breathed out a bit, nodding his head as he removed his hand just to go around the corner and check the book.

Hoseok leaned back, allowing the smaller dancer to peer at the schedule with a click of his tongue. Jeongguk smiled as he leaned against the desk, crossing his arms as he watched Jimin’s brow furrow cutely in thought.

The older dancer caught his eye, the slow smile returning to his face. Jeongguk returned with his own smile. Jimin raised his head and glanced back towards Hoseok. “I will teach evening classes if you cover the morning and early afternoon- I’ll take the third studio.”

Hoseok nodded his head, already picking up his pen to fill in the plan. “That sounds fair, considering you do need to record.” Raising his head and looked back towards Jeongguk and smiled. “So, you lingering around today?”

“He will be with me- don’t pressure, Hobi hyung,” Jimin chastes but grinned as he straightened. Jeongguk flushed a bit more as the dancer came around the desk and grabbed his hand. 

“Who me? Pressure? I think you have me confused with Taehyung-ssi,” Hoseok countered, arching a brow. Jimin laughed but waved him off as they headed towards the back where the studios were waiting.

Jeongguk had never really been in the very back of Serendipity studios- he was always lingering more up near the desk with Hoseok and with in the office areas with Jimin but he had yet to truly see what the dance studio had to offer.

So when Jimin pushed open a door and clicked on the light that ignited the large open room, Jeongguk was in awe. He could almost imagine Jimin already- standing tall and proud as he moved like water.

The floors were the typical wood made for dance, mirrors lining every single wall while others shared space with a pole for stretching. A speaker system was connected to the walls, and a camera was in the back incase of recording like Hoseok had said.

It was beautiful.

The sound of Jimin’s laugh echoed throughout the room, bouncing off the sound proofed walls and rebounding straight into Jeongguk’s heart as he watched Jimin drop his bag by the door with a grin that stretched over his lips and his body already grabbing his dancing gear. The door was left open by barely anything, nearly closed. 

“This place- it’s amazing,” he breathed out, spinning in a small circle to get a full look of the mirrored room. Jimin hummed sweetly, his feet now clad in tan jazz shoes and shirt removed to showcase his dancing leotard beneath.

In that moment, he looked every bit of dancer than he ever had before as he approached slowly, that sweet smile still on his lips and his eyes glinting with mirth and playfulness that Jeongguk use to know so well.

“You like it?”

“Yes. And I get to watch you dance in here?” Jeongguk asked, heart leaping at the mere idea of just being able to watch the man he loved doing the thing he loved. He couldn’t count how many he would watch him when they were kids, sneaking out purely to watch the man move under the pale moonlight. 

A crack of nerves showed through the mirth-filled glimmer. His fingers that brushed over the right stretch of material around his stomach and the slight falter in his usually smooth steps.

He glanced towards the ground. “If you like, but you don’t really have to stay-”

“Jimin,” Jeongguk cut off, watching as the man lifted his eyes, brown clashing with walnut and his fingers stilling. “I want to. More than anything. Now… go warm up while I admire you.”

Jimin huffed. “You’re secretly a perv and you find this incredibly kinky don’t you?” he teased, but was already moving for the speaker to plug in his phone and start some music. Jeongguk flashed a bunny smile.

“I have no idea what you mean! I am merely watching over your glorious figure and ensure that it remains safe and well intact,” he replied sweetly. Jimin rolled his eyes but didn’t comment as some Korean K-pop song blasted through the speakers and Jimin started his stretches.

It was the little things that showed the fact that they had aged. The small cracking noises from joints, the way Jimin stretched harder, longer, and the light prickle of sweat that was glistening over his features as he worked.

But other things seemed to make him immortal. Untouched by the laws of life. 

The fluidity of his muscles, the way his body seemed to know each stretch and each movement as if it was nothing more than water to be controlled. 

It made Jeongguk smile from where he was positioned against the back wall, watching with a soft smile because this was where Jimin had always wanted to be. When they were kids running along the sandy beaches under the moon and stars that watched them.

After a while, Jimin stood, muscles now loosened and his hair plastering itself to the side of his head, and headed for the speakers. Jeongguk could feel the air in the room change. This was no longer warming up. 

This was an actual dance. 

The music changed. It was slower, starting almost soft, and it was unfamiliar. Something that he had never heard before, and the voice was almost angelic as it started to sing. Jimin was back to the middle of the room.

It started with him sitting, legs not really crossed and hands resting gently with his head lowered. Goosebumps spread over Jeongguk’s entire body, his breath hitching in his throat as his hands slowly began to move.

Every movement of his  hands was precise, and yet flowed so easily that Jeongguk was stunned. He was much more talented compared to when they were younger, and the grace took his breath away as he was suddenly on his feet.

The dance itself didn’t really seem like Jimin’s style, but he executed it perfectly. He moved with passion, burning and somewhat desperate. A longing ingrained within every step, and flames touching his fingertips as they outlined a story.

When the song tampered off, Jimin was breathing hard. Eyes cracking open before a little smile touched his face as if he was riding his euphoria of the dance. Unable to stop himself, Jeongguk started clapping. 

Jimin’s eyes flickered towards the mirror, meeting his gaze through the glass and the smile brightened a bit more as he stood from where he was and turned around so that he was facing Jeongguk fully. 

The younger man leapt to his feet. He already was crossing the distance to get closer and pulling his sweaty body straight against his so that he could press his lips firmly against the others. Jimin gasped but grinned as he deepened the kiss.

“Was it good?” he teased lightly, eyes searching for praise. 

And Jeongguk was more than willing to give it.

“Amazing. I haven’t seen you dance like that in so long… Petal, that was truly amazing,” Jeongguk replied, grasping at his tiny waist and eyes scorching. Jimin blushed, hands resting on Jeongguk’s chest. 

“Thank you.”

“That song- that dance, is it yours?” he wondered. Jimin instantly shook his head, laughing a little.

“No. That isn’t quite my job. I’m a choreographer. Entertainment agencies send me music, songs and whatnot, or even artists that make music but struggle to choreograph it and I do it. I make a dance, video it, and they can either like it or change it, and then I teach it to them,” Jimin explained, then gestured vaguely towards his phone. “That song is Flame of Love, and a friend of mine named Taemin made it. He… he likes those things.” 

There was a slight glimmer within his eyes, a hint of pride, and it nicked at the pride within Jeongguk as he leaned back down and kissed him again. Jimin giggled against his mouth, but happily kissed back.

“And the dance studio?”

“Is my main job. I rather teach then do this all the time. It pays well, but I have slow periods. And teaching kids is more fun,” Jimin admitted, shrugging. Jeongguk smiled- that was so Jimin.

“Have you ever done something for yourself? A song, or a dance? Both?” Jeongguk pressed, generally curious. And there he saw a flicker, hesitation and slight uncertainty that ruled this new Jimin. The one that Jeongguk hardly knew. 

The way his fingers tightened and his lips turned a bit white from the pressure for biting down. His eyes darted away from Jeongguk’s face for merely a fraction of a moment, and he seemed so different all of a sudden.

Where was the confidence, the more open smiles and glistening eyes that was here merely moments ago? What was running across his head and stealing that back? It made Jeongguk ache because he couldn’t read this Jimin.

“I… yes. I have a song I wrote and choreographed.” There was a slight edge to his voice, but it didn’t waver as looked back at Jeongguk. His tongue darted out and wet his lips. There was something unreadable there, a mini war that seemed to waging within himself. “Did… do you want to see?” 

“Only if you will allow me to,” he murmured softly. Jimin stayed still, not moving a long moment before he exhaled and nodded. Wordlessly, he walked back over to his phone and fiddled with it a moment,

Jeongguk took this moment to position himself back against the wall and watch as Jimin hurried back to the center of the room and taking position.

As soon as the music started, the shift in the air was tangible. It felt nearly suffocating. Then Jimin started singing- his voice pouring over the speakers. His body instantly taking its cue and moving in stattco movements that somehow still flowed in the natural grace that made up Park Jimin.

Tell me

With your sweet smile

Tell me

His voice was laced with pain, his movements rougher than the last dance that he had performed but this one was much more suiting to match Jimin’s style and grace. 

Tell me like you’re whispering in my ear

Don’t be like a prey

The words felt personal, echoing throughout the room as Jimin moved but never once did he look back at Jeongguk through the mirror. He kept his eyes locked on himself, his face echoing an unsaid anguish that he couldn’t understand. 

Smooth like a like a snake

I want to get away

Each step was matched, the words causing Jeongguk to grasp at his chest. Then he threw his arms up in time of his voice humming with the melody. It was stunning as it was almost painful to watch.

Get away away away from me

Get away away from me

Jeongguk couldn’t look away, memorized by the words and the story of something that he didn’t know getting played out in front of him.

Whoever it may be, save me, me

Save me

Was this about Jimin? Was this about something that had happened to him? Why did Jeongguk find it hard to breathe as he caught Jimin’s face in the mirror, the way his walnut eyes were shining, but it wasn’t with brightness. 

It continues even when I run away

I am caught in a lie

What was the lie, Jeongguk wondered as he watched Jimin moved around the room. He was lost to the music, lost to the dance. But watching was causing an ache within Jeongguk’s chest. 

Caught in a lie

Find me when I was pure

I can’t be free from this lie

Give me back my smile

Caught in a lie

Pull me from this hell

I can’t be free from this pain

Save me, I am being punished

When Jimin was done, the music tampering off, he was left panting and staring at the mirror in front of him with an expression that he couldn’t decipher. Jeongguk was in awe, amazed by the sheer talent but also by the emotion that was raw behind the song.

And the fact that Jimin could sing- something that had definitely taken him off guard. When they were teenagers, he never really sang unless it was alongside the radio. He was always too shy to really sing otherwise, but he had a good voice back then.

But that was more than good- that was raw talent. Honed skill, almost. 

When Jimin finally turned around, his face was guarded, careful. As if he wasn’t sure what kind of reaction to expect. But Jeongguk merely walked over, grinning from ear to ear, before he kissed him again.

A silent way of saying that everything was okay. 

“That was amazing, hyung. Breathtaking.” And it was true. Something lingering under the skin warned Jeongguk to not pry, not now, and he wouldn’t. Right now, he wanted to be happy and enjoy their bubble of being together. 

“Really? You liked it?” Jimin breathed, the flash of uncertainty returning for a mere fragment. “I know I am not much of a singer no matter what Tae-ah says, but I did try.”

“And you are an amazing singer and dancer. Petal, you could have been an Idol,” Jeongguk praised, and he meant it. A part of him even wondered why he wasn’t an Idol. He has the beauty, the presence, and the talent.

Why wouldn’t he be an idol?

Instantly, Jimin shook his head. “No. I couldn’t have been an Idol. I… I would have never have made it.”

 Adjusting his arms, he pulled Jeongguk close and sighed into the smell of vanilla. The younger wrapped his arms tightly around the other. 

They stood there like that- arms wrapped tightly around one another, their noses swirling with their mixed scents that were like drugs to one another.  After what seemed like hours, but was probably no more than a few minutes, Jimin pulled away with a wicked grin on his face.

“Dance with me.”

“What? Hyung, I don’t… I don’t really dance,” Jeongguk protested, but Jimin didn’t seem to hear any of it. But this time Jeongguk knew the song.

Moon by Jonghyun.

And then Jimin was there. Twirling around him, his leg raising over his head in a perfect arch. The grin on his lips was playful, inviting, almost daring him to make a move. Asking him to dare try and touch him.

Jeongguk felt himself reaching for him, but just as easily Jimin twirled away. His body moved in tune to the music that was pouring around the room. His feet barely make a sound as he twirled and danced as if they truly were under the moon’s watchful light. 

“Dance with me, Gukkie.”

Those eyes were ignited. Those lips were curved so sweetly as he spun back over and this time Jeongguk grabbed Jimin’s waist and hoisted him into the air. And like any true dancer he held his form as Jeongguk twirled him around.

Jimin gasped happily, hands resting easily on his shoulders as his head tilted back moments before he was back on the ground. 

But Jeongguk didn’t let go this time. His hands were latched onto his waist, letting Jimin dance around him.

Their eyes never flickered away, the smile on Jimin’s face almost sultry as he stepped closer so that their bodies were flush against one another. Jeongguk gasped at the feeling, eyes widening when Jimin adjusted his hands so that they were just above the swell of his buttocks. 

“I know you can dance, Gukkie. You use to copy me,” he whispered, his breathe hot over his cheek. Jeongguk tightened his grip that caused Jimin to gasp before he grinned wickedly and grabbed his hand.

He twirled out, and then Jeongguk pulled back so that he came right back. Jeongguk focused all his energy on keeping up, trying to follow Jimin’s pace. Sweat was prickling at his skin, his sneakers squeaking while Jimin moved effortlessly. 

The lyrics were pulsating all around them, fog beginning to heat up the mirror in the room. It was addicting the way that they melded as one, Jimin leading him and yet somehow he was still dominating the dance with his own moves that he would add in.

Jimin was laughing, his dance still clean, but more loose than any of the others now that he was free to do what he wished with the dance. 

When the song ended, Jimin was pressed back against Jeongguk, both bent a bit forward as Jeongguk’s lips hovered Jimin’s as the elder dancer grasped easily at his shirt to keep himself steady as the arm around his waist trembled lightly.

“I love you,” Jeongguk murmured softly, breaking through the panting breaths. Jimin blinked once before the smile returned to his lips, head tilting back in a light laugh before he surged forward and kissed him sweetly.

“I love you too.” 

Jeongguk straightened their bodies, but didn’t let Jimin go as he hoisted him up. Jimin squealed as Jeongguk grasped his thighs and wrapped his legs around his waist. Jimin hummed as he let his arms rest over his shoulders and forehead pressed against his.

“You do realize this is a dance studio, right?” he wondered, chuckling as Jeongguk kneaded his thighs lightly with his knuckles. Jeongguk nodded his head. 

“Which is why I wouldn’t dream of defiling you here. I merely want to hold you while I can- maybe steal a few more kisses.” He grinned wickedly. “You know. To make sure that you are aware that you’re mine.”

Jimin threw his head back and laughed again. “Pretty much it’s me who has you, Bunny. You were drooling earlier.”

Jeongguk gasped. “I resent that remark!” 

“I bet you do.” Jimin searched his features, the little grin and the messy morning hair that was never fully brushed out. His fingers found purchase within the dark strands and sighed happily as he slotted his lips back.

He would never tire of feeling Jeongguk against him. The way he holds him as if he was something truly wonderful, something that he couldn’t hurt. The way he was mindful to never touch his wrists, frightened of scaring him off. 

“Min-ah, you will never guess- OH FUCK!” 

Jeongguk jerked back at the loud, deep timbre voice that broke through the languid kiss. Jimin was instantly untangling himself, gracefully landing back on his feet and staring towards the door with a droll stare that hinted that he was more than used to the surprise entrances. 

Jeongguk was panting, cheeks a bit red at getting caught at making out like two teenagers in love for the first time. 

In the middle of his boyfriend’s job- in a dance studio like some cliche piece of fiction.

He stared wide eyed at the newcomer, who was almost otherworldly gorgeous with silver hair that was lightly crimped and falling in front of large set of brown eyes the color of deep chocolate.

Add in the tall, gorgeous form and features that looked as if angels had carved him was not helpful. He looked to be wearing business casual that cost more than what Jeongguk would normally pay for anything. 

Jimin sighed. “You know, there is this wonderful modern invention called the “cellphone”. It’s really mind blowing,” Jimin deadpanned, arching an unamused brow towards the newcomer whose eyes flicked back towards Jimin with a wicked smile now crossing those handsome features. 

“And miss the show of the century? I think not,” he replied, his deep timbre voice laced with play and curiosity. Jimin rolled his eyes, arms crossing over his chest as he glared towards him. “Min-ah, I didn’t know you could be so scandalous! If I had known…”

“Taehyung, shut up,” Jimin hissed, rolling his eyes slightly. 

The name ran through Jeongguk’s head, a flash of recognition like lightning through his veins. Or maybe ice as he turned his gaze back to the silver haired beauty.

Tae Leaves Guy?

This was Taehyung? His best friend that he had had sexual relations with? The one who is all about auras and tea and yet has been there for Jimin all these years? The one who talks to seaweed and is dating a “grumpy cat” that took Jimin in like a stray puppy?

Jimin hasn’t shared a lot of his life, barely anything if Jeongguk really thought about it, merely little puzzles pieces that have created the outer edge of a puzzle, but he has left out a lot of the inner pieces that create the picture.

But with this man standing in the doorway of the dance studio now, it felt as if maybe one corner of Park Jimin’s life was slowly being formed. A face to go with a name that he had heard about, little stories that have been told and the rest that was said merely in passing.

The devilish grin on Taehyung’s face broadened, amusement twinkling within his eyes as he looked between Jeongguk and Jimin once more, sidelingly closer towards Jimin with ease that spoke of someone who knew how to move if he wanted. 

“Is this who I think it is?” he asked. Jimin hesitated before he nodded his head. 

“Kim Taehyung, meet Jeon Jeongguk. My boyfriend,” he greeted, gesturing towards Jeongguk with a sweet, yet nervous smile on his face. Jeongguk blushed at the words, but brightened as he looked towards Taehyung with a smile.

He held out his hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Jeongguk,” he stated, then blushed when Taehyung giggled as he shook his hand with a somewhat loose, yet warm grip. 

“Well, I am the same age as Min-ah here, so call me “hyung”. It’s nice to finally meet you after all this time,” Taehyung replied, his smile in the shape of a box as he took his hand back and bounced on the balls of his feet.

Jeongguk licked his lips, nodding his head. “Alright… hyung.”

Taehyung squealed. “Oh my god,” he blurted in heavily accented English. “He is adorable. Like a little bunny! Just like I have a kitty, you have a bunny!”

Jimin snorted, amusement blossoming over his face as his shoulders slowly lost the tenison and his smile evened out to become more genuine as Taehyung easily leaned against Jimin as if it was the most natural thing in the world. 

It probably was.

“That’s why his nickname is “Bunny” so don’t call him that. Boyfriend privileges,” Jimin stated calmly, not really looking bothered as Taehyung started circling him, eyes wide and mischievous as if he was a vulture. 

Taehyung sighed at his words. “I had a feeling you were going to pull that card, but fine- fair is fair.” Turning his devilish gaze back towards the younger, he offered another warm smile that melted a bit of deviousness. “You're aura seems good- Venus likes you! I hope that we can become good friends.”

“Um, me too,” Jeongguk replied quickly, smiling anxiously back. He felt like he was fifteen again and so shy that he could barely look anyone in the eye. Taehyung didn’t seem to mind, merely ruffled his hair despite the fact that they were the same height.

“Well, I hate to interrupt- totally on accident when you two were getting your groove on-”

“-We really weren’t but thank you for acknowledging the fact that we were a little busy when you so brazenly entered the studio,” Jimin deadpanned. Taehyung pretended that the dark haired never said a word.

“But I had to tell you about Yoongi hyung!” 

At the name, Jimin straightened. A worried frown touched the corner of his lips and instinctively he shifted closer so that his shoulder was pressing against Jeongguk’s. His arm slithered around his waist, sighing into the contact.

Taehyung paused at the movement, that gleam returning to his eye but he decidedly did not comment on it no matter what his face said. Jeongguk was silently grateful about that as he pulled Jimin just a bit closer. 

“Oh, he’s fine, Min-ah, no need to panic. I came to tell you that he is taking a big project of an upcoming group and is starting to work with some other companies- including one of his idols.” Taehyung chuckled, brushing his fingers through his messy silver hair. “So, tonight we are going to celebrate. Jeongguk-ah, you are invited of course!”

Startled at the sound of his name, Jeongguk looked over at the expectant and excited look on the silver haired face and then towards Jimin who looked less surprised. 

“Wow, Yoongi hyung never texted me…. when did he find out?” 

“Like an hour ago. I was with him and he was in a hurry. He’ll message for sure,” Taehyung replied, brushing his long fingers through his hair and placing his hand on Jimin’s shoulder in reassurance. “Come on, Min-ah! It’s been awhile since we have had something to celebrate.” 

“Sure. I’ll come.” Jimin then turned towards Jeongguk, eyes searching. “Well, do you want to come? Meet the grouch?”

“I would love to, but I have Sumi-yah tonight…” Jeongguk admitted, a pout forming on his lips as he ran his hand through his hair that ran along the back and frowned at the ground. Taehyung matched his pout. 

“Aw! But I wanted to learn all about you- oh well, next time, yeah? Don’t worry, lover boy. I’ll take care of our Min-ah,” Taehyung reassured. Jeongguk smiled gratefully back. The Stylist glanced at his phone and frowned. “I gotta bounce, loves, but Min-ah, be ready by eight. Taemin is also coming so be prepared for that!” 

Without another word, Taehyung slipped out of the room, leaving the door a crack open. The scent of strawberries was now infused with sweat and labour. Jimin snorted, seeming to be amused as his fingers raked through his hair. 

“So… that was Tea Leaves Guy,” Jeongguk remarked, amused. Jimin snorted, fighting back a laugh as he covered his mouth with his hand. Jeongguk’s nose wiggled, grin clear over his face. 

“What gave it away? The tea leaves  or the talk about Venus?” Jimin jokes, arching a brow as he faced his taller boyfriend with a cocked hip. Jeongguk feigned looking thoughtful before breaking out into a grin.

“The hair- definitely the hair.”

Jimin laughed loudly at the random answer, body swaying a bit on the back of his heels when the image of Taehyung’s silver hair appeared in his mind. “Yeah, the hair screams “Tea Leaves Guy”,” he admitted in between bouts of laughter.

Jeongguk nodded seriously. “Totally.” He sobered a moment, recalling the brief encountered and offered a heartfelt smile. “He seemed like a good man. Odd, for sure, but I can tell you two are close.” 

Jimin hummed, dropping his gaze to the ground as the thoughtful look flashed over his face. “I thought that it would be weird after Tae-ah revealed that he was dating Yoongi hyung- but it wasn’t. Those two… they fit. It’s so stupid, but they fit so well.” Jimin shook his head. “When they start to argue, Yoongi demands that Taehyung holds his hand. Says they can’t fight if they are holding hands. It fucking works.”

The dancer tilted his head back, stretching his arms and then bending down to stretch his legs. He was humming under his breath, getting his muscles loosened up again. Jeongguk studied him a moment.

“Why didn’t you love Taehyung?” he wondered quietly. Jimin froze, his muscles locking as he slowly looked back up to see Jeongguk staring at him with something akin to confusion and sadness. 

Straightening his back, Jimin wandered towards the stereo, but he felt Jeongguk’s gaze on his back. Curious and cautious, and the words felt heavy on his tongue as he grasped his phone but didn’t look at the screen.

“Have you ever felt potential love for someone?” Jimin breathed out, face scrunching as he raised his head and then flickered back towards Jeongguk. “Like… you don’t actually love them and you know you don’t. Not like that. But you could. So easily just fall in love with them. You even think about them often, but you don’t love them. But you could. You know you could.” Jimin looked back at the ground. 

Stunned by the answer, Jeongguk furrowed his brow, fragments of one of the long, late night conversations with Namjoon echoing throughout his head. Back when he was drowning in his loss of Jimin, drowning in more than he could handle.

“Jeongguk-ah, that’s enough,” Namjoon sighed, reaching over and taking the bottle of vodka from Jeongguk’s hand. The younger man raised his head, eyes bleary and head sloshing a bit with drink as he pushed himself to sit up at the sight of his older friend. 

“Namjoon hyung!” he slurred, sure that it probably came out like something completely different as he stared up adoringly towards the man. The producer and rapper sighed, fingers tangling within his silvery white locks. 

“Hey kid. You haven’t done this in a while… where did you even get this shit?” he wondered, glaring towards the offending bottles that littered the tiny room. Jeongguk chuckled, laying his head back on the table without answering. 

The rapper settled within the chair, his fingers drumming absently against the table to a beat that he was probably working on himself, playing it out as if he already knew it and had already learned it. Jeongguk raised his head tiredly. 

“You haven’t done this in a while, Jeongguk-ah,” Namjoon pressed lightly, reaching across the table and grasping at the younger’s hand. “What changed?” 

“I saw… someone who looked like him,” he admitted tiredly, then shook his head and squeezed Namjoon’s hand. “And sometimes when I fall asleep I dream about our memories.” 

The older went quiet a long moment then sighed again. “Don’t you think that after all this time, you should really find someone new for yourself? He’s not coming back.” He paused, searching Jeongguk’s worn, youthful face. “You know that right?” 

Jeongguk looked back at him, and as he started to speak, he closed his mouth. And with his eyes like that, Namjoon knew it all. 

After another moment of silence, he finally answered. “Of course I know he isn’t coming back.” Tears started to well up in his eyes, a weak laugh resolutely falling from his lips. “But here I am. Still hoping.” His eyes flickered to the vodka bottle, lips twisting a bit. “Vodka burns my throat but huis name hurts my heart so I would rather black out with a hangover then stare blankly at my hands and remember what it was like to touch him.” 

“Why didn’t you?” he muttered, eyes boring holes into his profile. Jimin sighed, flinching a bit as if the words slashed at his insides, then turned his head so that he could meet his stare head on. “Let yourself love him, I mean.”

Jimin hesitated, licking his lips. He shifted his weight. “A lot of things. I’m not exactly an easy person to love, Gukkie,” he admitted quietly, his words barely audible within the open room. “And I wouldn’t let myself.” 

“What held you back?” Jeongguk pushed.

“Myself. Memories.” A heavy sigh exhaled heavily through his chest before he glanced at the clock. ”I’ve accepted it. It is what it is.” 

“You don’t have to anymore.” Jeongguk stepped closer, grasping at Jimin’s waist and pulling him straight into his chest. Jimin gasped in surprise, but melted into the embrace. “Come on… let’s dance. A little longer before Sumi-yah, yeah?”

That brought the smile right back.

“Yes… yes, let’s just dance,” he mumbled, relief clear on his face. Jeongguk kissed the crown of his head before they went to the center of the room.

 

*******

 

The nerves were bouncing around in Jimin’s gut. The smoke that was blackening his lungs felt good, mellowing out the current of bouncing nerves that were echoing throughout his body. 

His leg bounced up and down, eyes flickering towards the clock on the wall and then back towards the window where the evening light was breaking through the glass and reflecting across the ground. 

Jimin wasn’t really sure why he was so nervous. It was just going with Jeongguk to his friend’s house, his hyung as he put it, but something about the way Jeongguk had been talking to him about them warned Jimin that this was more than a “hyung”.

There was admiration and great affection laced within his voice when he spoke about them, and another reminder that “Namjoon” was his boss so it was an eerie reminder that this was a get together.

“Since my hyung is going into military service for a while, a few of his friends are coming over to say goodbye. So it won’t be just us,” Jeongguk had told him, a happy smile on his face at the idea while Jimin shuddered in slight trepidation of how many “a few” were.

He knew that Taehyung would hit him if he knew that Jimin had smoked inside the apartment, but still he couldn’t find it in him to care at the moment. Even if he could already smell it lingering on his clothing.

God, he hated smoking, but it was one of the few things that ever calmed him down or stopped him from remembering things that he wasn’t a big fan of so there was the white stick between his lips. 

The third one in the last hour.

When the knock finally sounded at his door, Jimin quickly put out his cigarette and grabbed his jacket, spraying cologne in a weak attempt to mask the scent before skittering towards the door. 

Jimin felt his heart jerk in his chest when he opened the door and saw a familiar head of tousled brown hair and sweet bunny smile. The nerves froze within in Jimin’s veins at seeing the distressed jeans and plain white shirt that smelled of sweet vanilla. 

“Hey Petal,” Jeongguk greeted, already pulling Jimin in for a brief kiss along his lips. Sighing into the kiss, he smiled just as Jeongguk’s brows furrowed and he pulled away with a concerned frown. “Were you smoking?” 

Jimin flinched at the words, eyes flickering down in slight shame at getting caught so easily and the frown of disapproval that graced Jeongguk’s sweet features. He felt his stomach drop to his feet as he swallowed thickly.

“I’m sorry, Guk-ah,” he murmured, fingers raking through his tresses uneasily. “I was just- I’m really nervous about meeting your friends. I’m not exactly… you know? The kind of guy that you bring home to your parents.”

Jeongguk snorted. “Good thing they aren’t my parents no matter how much they act like it,” he replied easily, nose scrunching in slight amusement. Jimin chuckled, but still felt the anxiety like a rock in his chest. Jeongguk sobered. “Jimin, listen, they won’t hate you. He’s really excited to meet you, finally, after all I have told him about you. Don’t be nervous.” 

The dark haired man reached over and pulled Jimin in for another chaste kiss, soothing down his arms as he smiled warmly. His brown eyes were calm, tanned skin gentle, and Jimin found himself nodding along. 

“Alright… I believe you. Now, let’s go before we are late and make a bad impression,” he said instead. Jeongguk smiled brightly back, reaching out and clasping his hands tightly within his as they walked out.

They walked quietly, neither one really speaking and settling for the comfort of each other’s presence. The bundle of nerves that was bouncing around in Jimin’s gut was like a nest of hornets, but he focused on Jeongguk’s hand that was still locked within his own.

Each step closer felt as if his gut was twisting and coiling tighter and tighter, stringing him up. He wanted Jeongguk’s friends to like him, to accept as dating their close friend, and he knew that it was a big deal to Jeongguk too.

When they finally arrived at the front door, Jimin felt a bead of sweat dripped down his neck.  Jeongguk didn’t seem to notice, the smile that was on his face was content and slight excitement brightening his dark orbs.

Jimin held his breath as he rapped his knuckles along the door, the sound of muffled shouts and padding feet along the floor. Jeongguk must have sensed the instant spark of unease because he cut him a sidelong look and squeezed his hand a fraction tighter. 

Before Jimin could attempt to gather his scattered thoughts and wandering nerves, the door was thrown open and the thick scent of cooked meat, grilled various vegetables, and spicy soups nearly caused him to stumble back. 

“Guk-ah! About time that you came!” Seokjin gasped out, hands finding his waist as he cocked a hip and narrowed his sharp eyes on the younger man who merely rolled his eyes at the showcase of dramatics. “And here I was working hard to impress- Jimin-ah?” 

Jimin felt as if the world had caved in, the concrete beneath his feet somehow vanishing and leaving him falling into an empty black pit. Or maybe that the world had it out for him all along since no one other than Kim Seokjin was standing before him, speaking so casually to Jeongguk as if they have known each other for a very long time.

And maybe that was the irony. He probably did know Jeongguk a long time, and that set his entire body on edge. 

Seokjin looked beautiful and oh so familiar. The once ink-colored strands have now been changed to a rich caramel,  slightly longer and the fringe cascading into his deep walnut eyes. He wore simple makeup- not really shocking considering the man was always eager to please.

The familiar light tan turtle-neck sweater was tight against his broad shoulders but loose around his miniature waist. Thin black-rimmed glasses were perched on his nose, sliding down a bit in his haste to get the door, and his pretty pink lips agape in surprise as he stared at Jimin like a fish out of water. 

Jeongguk looked confused. His doe eyes fluttered between the two, a fraction too big to be normal, and his feet shifting as his bottom lip found purchase between his teeth that gave away the anxiety that was rushing through his veins. 

“Jin hyung,” Jimin blurted, unable to form any other sentence, or even an explanation as the last conversation they had struck like lightning in his mind. He felt so stupid- all along Jeongguk has been dancing around the corner of his life, just waiting for the right moment to collide.

Seokjin lingered in the doorway, his hand tightening around the frame as he flickered his eyes between Jeongguk and Jimin - and Jimin swore he could see the moment Seokjin had noted the distance (or lack of distance) between the two bodies. 

“You… you two know each other?” Jeongguk murmured, voice tentative and soft. Jimin inhaled sharply, coming back to his senses as he flicked his eyes back towards Jeongguk, who was watching him with careful eyes. 

Jimin’s vocal chords strangled; he wasn’t sure what to say as he stared at Jeongguk with large eyes and tight mouth as he struggled to pull his disbelief back. 

Luckily Seokjin managed to gather himself because he offered a sweet, relieved smile as he caught Jeongguk’s eye. “Yes. Do you remember me telling you about the other person who I consider my child? The one who works a lot but is like cotton candy?” Jeongguk nodded. Seokjin tilted his head. “This is him. Jimin-ah.” 

“But- wait, how do you know Jin hyung?” Jimin blurted, but then shook his head briskly. “Joonie. Holy fucking shit- Namjoon. You’re dating Bunny’s boss.”

Seokjin broke into a loud laugh at the nickname that fell easily from Jimin’s lips. Jeongguk huffed tiredly, but didn’t really seem all that annoyed as the realization settled over him like a fog. 

“Talk about fate,” Seokjin said after he stopped laughing. Jimin froze, eyes staring towards the other man and noting the thoughtful, happy expression as he met Jimin’s gaze evenly. “Who knew that all along we have all been so close to one another. I never would have guessed that Jimin-ah was the boy from Busan.” 

Jeongguk smiled, his arm slithering around Jimin’s waist and pulling him so that he was flush against his side. Jimin gasped, hand grasping at Jeongguk’s arm as he met his eyes  questioningly. 

Seokjin only grinned. “Well now, come in before you both end up starving to death!” 

Jimin didn’t even have time to answer before Seokjin ushered them inside. It was so familiar how Seokjin chattered away sweetly, waiting for them to kick off their shoes before he padded into the hallway like everything was normal. 

As if the whole world didn’t flip for him. 

But when Jimin looked over at Jeongguk, all he saw was the soft smile pulling at his lips. His shoulders had loosened, eyes locked on the older man with a familiar fondness and a hint of mischievousness as he spoke to him. 

Something in him settled, allowing him to exhale shakily before he padded after him into the simple, and yet very lived in home. It was the one that he had never been in, but the way Jeongguk languidly followed spoke that his feet had walked these halls plenty of times before.

Reaching the living room, Jimin felt his whole body turn boneless when he heard a deep timber laced with thick Daegu dialect that he knew so well, and was followed by a familiar Daegu slur.

When they turned the corner, the first form he noticed was Taehyung settled along the couch in all his silver-haired glory and face scrunched in distaste at his boyfriend that was happily sipping at his red wine. 

Taehyung was dressed nicely, always eager for the chance to dress in his usual flamboyant way, while Yoongi remained the wallflower by his side, more content to just drink his wine and let Taehyung do all the talking for him.

Though basing by the black slacks and the crisp, somewhat colorful shirt and light makeup around his eyes was any indication, Taehyung has had his way with dressing Yoongi so that he looked just as stunning as him (though Jimin was sure that Yoongi hardly minded as long as he didn’t have to do it himself).

In the lounge chair sat another eerily familiar form and too bright smile while his loud laughter rebounded off the walls as he chatted away with the one person in the room that wasn’t familiar. 

Hoseok had also dressed well, though Jimin always knew that his Sunshine co-worker always had a sense of fashion that sometimes outdid Taehyung when he really put his mind to it (or his credit card but Hoseok would always deny it). 

He looked happy, pleased as he talked with the tallest person in the room. The man that Jimin was guessing to be the mysterious “Joonie” and Jeongguk’s “Namjoon” that he had never met face-to-face but has heard so many stories that he feels as if he knows him.

Kim Namjoon was tall, somewhat lanky, and his legs looked like a giant’s since they went on for miles. He had thick arms, slightly broad shoulders (compared to Seokjin his were much smaller) and a tiny waist. His chest was thick, noticeable in the tighter black t-shirt that clung to his chest.

Hazel colored hair that was longer on the top was swept off to the side and garnished the egg-shaped face with a smile that revealed deeper dimples than even Jung Hoseok (who Jimin originally thought had the cutest dimples but one look at Namjoon’s smiling face ruined that).

There was a masculine look to Namjoon, one that screamed “boyfriend material” that he could easily see match with Seokjin. He spoke calmly, but with a passion and a thoughtfulness that made him easy to approach.

At their entrance, Taehyung stopped glaring at Yoongi’s as if it personally offended him and looked up to catch sight of Jimin. Surprise washed over his face moments before he was out of the seat and Jimin was magically in his arms.

Strawberry assaulted his nose, his body suddenly broken from the vanilla embrace. He found himself not minding, his arms instinctively locking themselves tightly around Taehyung’s neck as the much taller boy twirls their bodies around lightly. 

“Min-ah!” Taehyung screeched, loud enough that his ears rang at the force of his velvet timber. Jimin giggled as he was wrenched around to peer into taehyung’s face. “What are you doing here? I thought you told Jin hyung and me that you weren’t coming tonight because of your new beau!” 

Jimin snorted, unable to reist rolling his eyes. “Because I wasn’t aware it was the same party. Surprise! My Bunny is Seokjin’s boyfriend’s friend, and co-worker.”

Taehyung’s face turned blank, his nose wiggling lightly as he jerked his eyes up towards Jeongguk, who had been watching the scene unfold with devilish amusement. Realization dawned on Taehyung’s face. 

“Prada emo with hole-y jeans?” Taehyung gasped. Jimin groaned, his hand coming up to smack his face in a literal facepalm that that was all Taehyung could remember from their conversation. 

Jeongguk scrunched his nose. “Prada emo?” 

“Tae-ah, please re-meet my boyfriend and Namjoon-ssi’s co-worker, Jeon Jeongguk, Prada emo with hole-y jeans,” Jimin deadpanned, eyeing his best friend with pursed lips and hooded eyes. Jeongguk cast Jimin an offended look that Jimin only chastely pressed his lips to as a silent apology. 

Taehyung looked as if someone had told him that Venus was only just a flytrap as he gawked at Jeongguk. The latter chuckled, a smirk stark across his lips. “Hey hyung. Good to see you again- and oh, Prada is the singers thing, not a music production thing.”

“Well,” Taehyung drawled, shaking his head, “fuck me with a toothbrush and call me minty fresh. I didn’t see that one coming.” 

“Do you ever hear yourself talk and think that maybe you really shouldn’t say that, so then you actually listen to that little voice telling you that? Or do you just… say whatever hits your thoughts first?” Jimin wondered dryly. 

“Why is there no pine or apple in pineapple?” Taehyung asked, flashing a cheeky smile. Jimin groaned while Jeongguk cackled, his entire face scrunching up in delight. Suddenly taehyung lit up. “Oh! Gukkie, you have to meet my boyfriend!” 

Jeongguk stopped laughing. Jimin smirked at the look of fear that flashed over his features as Taehyung shouted for Yoongi to get his “cute little kitten ass up” to come meet him. Shifting closer so that their shoulders were pressed together, Jimin leaned into his ear.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered quickly. “Yoongi hyung looks all mean but he’s really all bark and a little bite.”

Jeongguk swallowed and nodded, but Taehyung seems to catch the conversation since he turns towards Jeongguk with that wicked smirk and glinting eyes as he gestured towards Yoongi who had landed beside his boyfriend.

“Min-ah,” Yoongi grunted, sipping at the last of his red wine before he turned his hardened eyes towards Jeongguk who straightened his back like an iron rod. “You must be Jeongguk.”

“Oh, um, yes,” Jeongguk sputtered, cheeks dotted in red as he bowed his head in respect. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Yoongi-ssi. I have heard a lot about you from Jimin hyung and Taehyung hyung.” 

Yoongi grunted. Taehyung rolled his eyes and nudged his boyfriend’s shoulder. “Don’t mind him, Gukkie. He’s constantly on his period.” 

Yoongi heaved a tired sigh, his expression carefully blank as he looked back at his boyfriend with an arched brow. Jeongguk smiled at them, amused as Taehyung smiled sweetly and stole his glass with a promise of a refill before he fluttered off. 

Amused, Jimin stepped forward and pulled Yoongi in for a quick hug that the older man easily returned. “It’s really good to see you smiling so freely, Min-ah. He seems like a good kid.” 

“Thank you, hyung,” Jimin whispered back, separating their bodies to catch their eyes. Yoongi smiled, revealing little pink gums and his eyes squished a bit before he turned back towards Jeongguk. 

“Namjoon-ah has told me a lot about your production and even your voice for when you cover for him,” Yoongi stated, taking Jimin slightly by surprise. Jeongguk flushed, pleased by the compliment.

“Singing is a passion of mine, yes, so I sing when I get the chance, but I have never really been about the spotlight,” Jeongguk said. “But how do you know Namjoon hyung so well?” 

“Ah, right,” Yoongi admonished with a wave of his hand. “I forgot that you wouldn’t know me from your job. I’m Suga. I work with Namjoon-ah on a lot of projects and write music- produce it, and whatnot.”

jeongguk’s mouth fell open, shock causing a sharp gasp to tear through his throat. Jimin blinked- of course, Yoongi has know Namjoon about as long as Seokjin has. Sometimes Jimin forgets that Yoongi and Namjoon work closely together and have been friends far longer than he could guess. 

He should have known that Jeongguk, considering they work in the same place, would know of Yoongi as his wok alias. 

“Oh my god,” Jeongguk blurted in English. Jimin giggled. “You’re Suga? The Min Yoongi?” 

“That would be me, yeah,” Yoongi admitted, long fingers running through his hair just as Taehyung reappeared, the wine glass full. Though based on the look of disdain that Yoongi sent it warned Jimin that wine wasn’t what was in the glass. “Namjoon-ah has told me glowing praises about your talent. Maybe one day, how would you feel singing for one of my tracks? I have been working on a demo and was going to try and bribe Jin to sing, but I wanted one more voice. You up for it?” 

“I would love to! Wow, thanks hyung!” Jeongguk said, excitement clear in his tone. Jimin felt his breath catch in his throat. He was unable to tear his eyes away from the bright smile that reminded him of that sixteen-year-old boy that he fell in love with. 

Yoongi smiles. “Anytime, kid.”

“Oh, Yoongi-yah! Come help me with the food, yeah?” Seokjin called from the kitchen. Yoongi mumbled a quick “talk later” before he shuffled off to find the older man before he went hunting for him.

Taehyung had scampered off and was talking excitedly with Hoseok. A warm hand touched his, startling Jimin, and he looked to his left where Jeongguk was searching his face with bright orbs that looked like little stars as they watched him.

Jimin smiled, lacing their fingers together that caused Jeongguk’s smile to become bigger and his heart to flutter in his ribcage. Wordlessly, Jimin leaned into him- he just wanted to feel the body heat and the way his vanilla scent clogged his nose. 

When he was standing there with Jeongguk by his side, the boy who has always been there and he had kept away from so long, he felt as if he was back in Busan. Like he was standing at the edge of the beach where the waters were drowning his ankles, licking and biting, and staring off into the pale, glowing guardian that they loved.

A part of Jimin realized that Seokjin was right. Maybe he wasn’t meant to leave Busan behind- that it was long past time to stop running because finally, after all these years of torment, he felt as if he had found the person he had thought he had lost.

He found himself a home, back in the one place he wished he never left. Nestled within Jeongguk’s arms. 

Jeongguk pulled him a little closer, leaning over and pressing his warm lips against his forehead. Jimin sighed happily, the tenison leaking from his shoulders as he sagged against the hard body. He felt Jeongguk smile against his temple. 

“I love you,” he murmured into his hair. 

“I love you, Bunny.” 

“Come meet Namjoon hyung?” Jeongguk asked hopefully. Jimin chuckled, happily agreeing. The younger man tugged at his hand, and Jimin went willingly over to where Hoseok, Taehyung, and Namjoon were talking easily. 

At their approach, however, they fell silent. Hoseok was the first to break the quiet. “Jimin-ah, I am really happy to see you here! I wasn’t aware that you knew Namjoon-ah,” eh said, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the tall man.

Jimin chuckled, shaking his head. “I don’t know him, personally at least. Not yet. I know Jin hyung really well though. He is a close friend of mine,” Jimin explained. He  turned towards the smiling man and bowed his head. “It’s nice to finally meet you in person. I’m Park Jimin.” 

“Kim Namjoon, and likewise,” Namjoon greeted, shaking Jimin’s hand with that bright, dimpled smile. “Jin hyung has told me a lot about you.” He glanced over towards Jeongguk and grinned. “Hey, Guk-ah. I am really happy to see you here! How do you know Jimin-ssi?”

“Hyung, meet my boyfriend and childhood best friend and lover- Park Jimin,” Jeongguk admitted, wrapping his arm back around his waist. Namjoon’s eyes widened a fraction as he yanked his eyes back towards Jimin. 

“Wait, this is…?” Namjoon trailed off, mouth pressing into a firm line as if he wasn’t sure what he wanted to finish the sentence with. Jimin swallowed roughly, hands becoming clammy as he wiped them awkwardly on his pants. “I didn’t know that you met him again.”

“Believe me, hyung, it was a shock for us too,” Jeongguk snorted, shaking his head. “But you don’t have to worry anymore. We are working things out, each day at a time.”

 Namjoon nodded his head absently. Concern was written all over Namjoon’s face, and it caused Jimin’s gut to twist, but luckily the tension was broken by Taehyung who squealed at seeing Yoongi return to his side. 

Instantly the tenison was broken as Taehyung began to ramble about some crazy story from his job, the smiles magically returning to everyone’s faces. 

“... and then he just sat there, taking out ALL of the frosted yummy goodness that is the middle of the Oreo, looked me dead in the eyes like some kind of psychopath, and ate just the chocolate parts. All of them, hyung. Can you believe the audacity of that man?”  Taehyung rambled, his face scrunched in disgust. 

Yoongi sighed, downing his glass (now wine based once again on the frown that Taehyung sent him). “I am way to sober for this shit.” 

Hoseok snorted, casting the older man a side smirk as he nodded his once in silent agreement that luckily Taehyung didn’t catch. “Babe, don’t ignore my crisis! This is a serious issue,” Taehyung whined, clutching his arm tightly. 

“Noted, acknowledged, deleted, shrug emoji,” Yoongi replied. 

“We aren’t texting, hyung!” Hoseok blurted, though he didn’t look all that bothered as he smirked at him. Yoongi still shrugged as Taehyung huffed, turning on his heel to focus back on the other three.

“Anyways,” Taehyung snipped, “I don’t care what anyone says- the middle of the oreo is the best.”

Namjoon hummed, his expression pinching slightly in thought as he nodded his head. “I think both serve a purpose for the whole part. Light without darkness, darkness and no light. One cannot exist without the other to balance it out- just as life is about balance.” 

“Chill out, Socrates, it’s a fucking cookie,” Yoongi interjected gruffly. Namjoon’s cheeks tinted as everyone burst into laughter. 

Jimin leaned against Jeongguk, feeling the way the man cackled but still kept his hand tight around his waist to make sure he stayed up instead of falling to the floor at the force of his laugh.

Namjoon took Yoongi’s teasing in stride, probably long used to the crash way the man speaks and laughed along with them in their natural, easy way. Jimin felt his heart lighten as he gathered himself. 

Seokjin had emerged from the kitchen, shooing them all towards the dining table where they all took their places. Seokjin was at the head of the table, with Namjoon directly to his left. They shared a quick kiss before Namjoon sat in his chair. 

Across from Namjoon was Hoseok, followed by Jimin and Jeongguk, while Taehyung and Yoongi sat across from them. The table was piled with food- main courses, side dishes, soups, and their plates already waiting with chopsticks and a spoon.

Without hesitation, Seokjin told them to dig in and they piled their plates high. It was a mess of spoons, chopsticks, and serving ladles, but their laughter filled the air until they finally all settled and began to eat.

“God bless the FUCKING queen,” Taehyung moaned, shoving Korean dumplings into his mouth. Yoongi rolled his eyes while Namjoon nearly choked at the words as he stared wide-eyed at the silver-haired man. 

Namjoon looked towards Yoongi, blanching. Yoongi shrugged. 

“Yes, he is always like this. No, there is no off-switch. No, I do not know how we are together. Yes, I love him even though I want to kill him sometimes,” he concluded, then proceeded to eat more. 

Namjoon looked back towards Taehyung slowly, who only gave a bright rectangluar smile and  said; “I got super drunk one time and told everyone I was a lesbian.” 

“Actually,” Jimin interjected. “That was twice.”

“Well, considering you are dating a man, you’re only a little off?”

“More like a whole dick off,” Yoongi muttered. Seokjin broke out into seal-window-cleaning laughter that caused the whole room to erupt. 

Jimin felt himself slowly unravel, living in the moment and treasuring the happiness that was like a cocoon around his body. In this moment, nothing else mattered. Not the fact that this wasn’t supposed to be his life, or the fact their relationship still needed work and words needed to be said; none of that mattered as he sat at the table, surrounded by people who are laughing and accepting him without even blinking. 

When their laughter faded, and more conversation began to pick up about music and life, Yoongi met Jimin’s eye. Neither one said anything, but Jimin could feel his pride, the happiness that his words would never express, but he saw it twinkling behind his cat-eyes that he has known for so long. 

And then Jimin smiles. Full and blinding, revealing the crook in his teeth and the way his eyes disappear behind his apple-cheeks. He smiled like he was that kid again by the Busan shores, wrapped in the arms of the boy down the street that he has loved so dearly. 

For now, Jimin wasn’t going to think about the fact that Jeongguk still doesn’t everything, and that sooner or later, he was going to have to tell the truth because he knows Jeongguk won’t ever let it go. 

Sooner or later, Jimin is going to crack.