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"jimin-ah."

 

"yes?"

 

"what was happening, that other night in the hotel room?"

 

a silence falls for a moment and jimin plays with his hands, refusing to look at yoongi. in all honesty, he's not sure what was happening, either. neither of them were out of it enough to lose self-control. but the reality... they haven't really established their boundaries.

 

"nothing, really," he decides to say. he picks at his cuticles, a habit he's actually picked up from yoongi. picking at himself when he's nervous.

 

"it didn't really look like nothing," yoongi chides, and jimin rolls his eyes. yoongi's so blunt. hits the nail on the head. like namjoon, but. less curve, more edge. "it looked like you were k-"

 

"i know what it looked like," jimin cuts in. he tells himself in his head to stop picking at his nails before he starts to bleed on accident. "i know," he adds on, softly.

 

"you never have to lie to me, jimin-ah," yoongi says, after a few moments. "i'll never judge you on something like this."

 

"i know."

 

"...so will you tell me?"

 

"...no."

 

and he won't. this is his and jungkook's deal, his and jungkook's problem. yoongi only saw them by chance. jimin didn't think anyone would walk in. steal away a quiet moment, make jimin question himself and his choices. make him think he's taking advantage of someone like jungkook who can be so fragile.

 

he knows there's something there, with them both. there's something unspoken. something that began without warning, something that started with, "i can touch you here," and has so far ended with a quiet kiss under the excuse of slight influence.

 

"jimin-ah," yoongi speaks up. jimin finally raises his head automatically, looks to yoongi, and sees concern written into his eyes and his frown. "if not with me, talk to jungkook. it'll help you both."

 

"why?"

 

"what are you so afraid of?"

 

'i don't want to hurt him.'

 

'i don't want to ruin this.'

 

'i don't want to cause any problems, be a burden, trigger anyone.'

 

"a lot, hyung," jimin says, looking back down as he breathes into his hands, listens to the air whoosh through his fingers like an air vent.

 

'unfair. everything is unfair. i'm unfair, i'm in the wrong, it'll be my fault if everything and everyone falls apart because of this.'

 

his phone chimes.

 

jungkookie

hyung, can i talk to you?

 

he hesitates to answer. he wants to, he doesn't want to. he needs to, he should, but at what cost?

 

jimin-hyung

where are you?

 

jungkookie

hotel room

 

jimin-hyung

be there in a minute

 

yoongi doesn't say anything with his mouth, when jimin stands up from the couch in his and yoongi's hotel room. his eyes say, "talk, say something, if you never say anything, what's the point?"

 

when he gets to jungkook and namjoon's room, jungkook is sat alone on his bed. he's fiddling with his phone, waiting, nervous. he looks up when jimin walks further in, puts his phone down.

 

"hey, jungkookie," he breathes, always cool, the elder, the wiser, the anchor. "what's up?"

 

"i. i wanted to talk about us," jungkook says. his voice sounds small, high-pitched, feeble. afraid, like how jimin feels in the back of his mind. "everything."

 

"okay," jimin nods. he sits next to jungkook on the bed, a safe distance. worried, if he sits too close, the conversation will be put on the back-burner. "okay, let's talk."

 

"thank you," jungkook begins. "thank you for. for making me feel safe. making me...appreciate what i have right now, even if it'll change in the future." he looks at jimin out of the corner of his eye, and this is all too much as so difficult but it needs to be done, and jimin hates that he can't rip through it like ripping off a band-aid. hates that he can't say, "there's something here, we both agree, let's continue." because that's not healthy, that's not how things work around here.

 

jimin has learned to work through problems, slowly, no matter how much they hurt or how much he would rather not do anything about it. he's learned not to ignore the important, or the obvious.

 

"i like you, jimin-hyung," jungkook continues. that hits jimin. "there's. there's a lot i like about you. the way you are, the way you think and speak. your. your singing and performance. your personality." he breathes in. "the way you. you unconditionally accept me, no matter what."

 

"okay," jimin says after a moment. he doesn't know what to say.

 

"you were the first person correct people on my pronouns," jungkook says. "you fought for it, and you- i mean. you sometimes do what i can't."

 

"jungkook," jimin cuts in. "you. you deserve to be recognised how you want to be recognised." there it is again. assurance, giving what he has to someone else. jungkook said he could talk to him, but there's a lot jimin can't figure out how to say.

 

"i know." jungkook nods, swallows. "with everything we've been doing- it's not. it's not you. it's me. i-i wanted it to be you. i wanted you."

 

'i wanted it to be me, too.'

 

"that night, when yoongi-hyung saw us," jungkook says. "i liked that. i want that."

 

"yeah."

 

"...do you?"

 

does he?

 

'do i want to do that?'

 

"i don't know," jimin admits, and everything in him crumbles. it's not the answer he wants to give, but it's all he has, it's all he can think.

 

'i don't know, i don't know, i don't know.'

 

he doesn't want to not know. he wants to know, he craves to know.

 

"can we try?"

 

'i don't know, i don't know.'

 

"maybe." he gulps, blinks, watches jungkook's face turn an inkling of satisfied. he watches as jungkook reaches out for his hand, barely grazes against the top, before a few of their fingers are lightly entangled. "maybe."