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Snob and a Half

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Lavender Lamborghini, roll up in a blue bikini
Bitches on the beaches, looking super cute and-
*HOOOOOOOOONK!*

Jimin shrieked in alarm as Taehyung’s sunny yellow Jeep Wrangler skidded across several feet of road, narrowly avoiding the car that had decided to enter their lane without any warning. He grabbed Taehyung’s arm with one hand while the other maintained an iron grip on his precious before-school cargo, a Starbucks tray holding two iced caramel macchiatos.

When the danger had seemingly passed and Jimin felt less like a potential victim of vehicular homicide, he let out a breath and unclenched his hands, giving himself a quick scan for spilled coffee. It was his first day of senior year and he was not going to class with stains all over his new, perfectly-ripped jeans.

“Taehyung! Could you try not to get us killed on the way to school, please?” He glared at his best friend, then reached to the stereo and turned down the music that had blared during the ride.

Taehyung glanced over at Jimin and grimaced, white teeth gleaming. “Oops, my bad. This is what happens when I drive before coffee. Or if I listen to loud music. Or if it’s raining, or too sunny–”

Jimin cut Taehyung off by holding the straw of one of the macchiatos up to his lips, not wanting to hear any more entries in the very long list of Reasons Why Tae Shouldn’t Have His License. Taehyung kept his eyes on the road after that and sipped from the straw, humming happily.

“Honestly, I love you and you’re perfect and you’re my best friend and I wouldn’t change anything about you…” Jimin started, let Taehyung chime in with a “buuuuuutttt….” then continued “buuuutttttt it’s a fucking miracle that they didn’t even take away your permit, let alone gave you a license.”

Taehyung took his hand off the wheel and flipped his hand behind his newly-bleached mullet, causing the Wrangler to swerve a few inches onto one of the gorgeous, manicured lawns lining their short commute to school through Windsor Square. Jimin shrieked again, a little quieter this time.

“I just remembered what they told us in Driver’s Ed! Hands at 10 and 2, eyes on the road, full stop at stop sign, tell the road test adjudicator he reminds you of a young Matt Damon…”

Jimin shook his head, willing his heart to pound a little slower as their high school came into view and death began to feel less like a certainty and more like just a possibility.

“I can’t believe you flirted your way into a license. What if I die because someone at the California Department of Motor Vehicles likes twinks? What then?”

Taehyung cut sharply across the parking lot, either deliberately or incredibly obliviously cutting off someone else’s car right before they could pull into the closest open parking spot to the school.

“Then the whole school would go into mourning and probably throw us a really sick funeral,” Taehyung shrugged, pushing his Ray-Bans onto his forehead and grabbing his denim jacket from the front seat.

Jimin collected his bag and his drink and stared up at the windows of their high school.

Sure, he and Taehyung lived for summers by the pool and bitched constantly about how their parents forced them to go to a tiny, private school partnered with the Korean Cultural Center instead of a sprawling, glamorous school like they’d seen in a dozen teen movies. But with only one year left ahead of him, he felt a bit protective of his memories there. He glanced over at Taehyung and squeezed his hand.

“I guess if we died I’d never have to see your mullet again…” Jimin mused. He was mostly kidding. The bleached mullet, stopping a few inches below Taehyung’s ears, would have been disastrous on anyone else, but somehow Taehyung always managed to make the most daring of fashion choices work. Jimin would never admit it, but he was pretty sure that Taehyung was the one who started the choker trend back up again.

Taehyung squeezed his hand back before they parted for the day’s classes. “Says the boy with pink hair. You can drive next time? Oh wait, you failed the test three times. I can’t believe you’re such a gay stereotype.”

Jimin waved goodbye to Taehyung with his middle finger, then headed to English. Their new teacher this year was young, which meant that he was stalkable on social media, and Jimin was excited to see what Yoongi Min looked like in person.

He wondered if Mr. Min felt weird teaching high schoolers when he was only in his mid-twenties. Jimin hoped that being young meant Mr. Min was an easy grader, because Jimin had never once read more than a handful of pages for his English classes, and between dance conservatory applications and his newly-expanded skincare routine, he didn’t have time to start now.

Unfortunately, judging by the volume of the summer reading that Mr. Min had assigned, Jimin had a feeling he’d be a hardass. He had considered cracking open The Scarlet Letter when lying next to the pool in his backyard in June, but then he’d spent the rest of the summer in Korea with his mom and her newest boyfriend and somehow The Scarlet Letter hadn’t made its way into his luggage.

Jimin settled into his favorite seat by the window and watched Mr. Min introduce himself and the syllabus to the class. After Mr. Min explained that he didn’t like interruptions for questions and that they could all call him Yoongi, Jimin felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and slowly slid it out, assuming he’d see an eye-rolling selfie from Taehyung or a notification that Kim Petras had tweeted.

From: Dad <3
Namjoon is in town and will be joining us for dinner tonight.

From: Jimin
ew why??? didnt u divorce his mom like 25 yrs ago??? :/

From: Dad <3
You know the divorce was four years ago.
And you divorce wives, not stepchildren.
He is a very smart young man with a lot of potential.
If you are polite to him I will think about letting you have some friends over on Friday.
Also, what does “:/” mean?

From: Jimin
it means i love u dad :*

“Jimin? Come in Jimin? Could you do me and the rest of the class a favor and at least pretend like you care about The Scarlet Letter?”

Jimin jumped in his seat and looked up from his phone to see Mr. Min staring at him from the front of the classroom, mouth turned downward in a slight scowl. Someone should tell Mr. Min that he was too young to scowl like that. He was going to get wrinkles. Jimin filed a mental note to give Mr. Min that feedback during teacher-student conferences.

Then again, Jimin would be grumpy too if he was stuck teaching teenagers all about weird novels written before people figured out books were boring. Mr. Min had the potential to be cute, with his pouty lips and soft-looking hair, but he was wasting his prime fuckable years teaching at a high school. How sad was that?

“Sorry, Mr. Min. I was just thinking about the letter and how long it was?” Jimin smiled sweetly at Mr. Min, whose face remained unchanged. How did he stay so deadpan like that? Jimin could use a lesson in staying passive when he saw Namjoon for dinner tonight.

Ugh. Namjoon.

Jimin hadn’t seen his ex-stepbrother in four years, but he could picture Namjoon how he looked at 16 perfectly – stupid braces taking up too much room in his mouth, stupid cargo shorts, stupid hemp bracelets, stupid big brain and stupid 4.0 to match. Namjoon was probably visiting Jimin’s dad because he had no friends at NYU because he kept talking at parties about greenhouse gas or whatever the fuck.

Jimin remembered how condescendingly Namjoon had asked him four years ago if Jimin knew how big his carbon footprint was. Jimin would be polite tonight for the sake of his party, but once his dad went to bed he was sticking his carbon footprint right up Namjoon’s ass.

–––

The day didn’t improve after that, though Jimin did receive a few much-deserved compliments on his new bubblegum-pink hair. He had known that keeping the hairstyle off his Instagram was the right choice, would help him make more of a splash when he debuted the look at school, but he still felt a little too relieved any time someone complimented it in the halls.

His last class of the day, dance practice, wasn’t so much a class as it was Jimin’s fucking life. He’d busted his ass since he was a pre-teen, taking lessons after school and practicing in the mirror for hours, and the day he found out that he’d be a dance caption senior year had been the best day of his life.

And then their coach told him he was co-captains with Hoseok Jung of all people, and it had quickly become the worst day of his life.

Jimin changed into leggings and a tank top in the locker rooms and headed to the dance studio, annoyed to see Hoseok already there and stretching. He gave Hoseok a tight smile and stretched on the other side of the room, falling into a toe-touch then wrapping his arms around his calves for the extra stretch.

The rest of the dance team filed in over the next few minutes and Jimin couldn’t help but feel a warmth settle deep into his belly as he remembered that this was his team that he had been put in charge of to mold and make perfect. They had always been good, but this year they were going to be amazing.

They had to be amazing. After all, Jimin’s chances at getting into a conservatory were riding on their winter showcase, and he couldn’t carry the entire team on his body-buttered shoulders.

While they stretched and chatted about their summers, a boy walked in that Jimin didn’t recognize. His clothes immediately set him apart from the dancers in the room – brandless sweats instead of Lululemon athleisurewear. He was cute, though; he had these big starry brown eyes and a crown of messy dark hair that looked like it had never been bleached or styled. Jimin’s hair, sadly, couldn’t relate.

Still, as cute as this kid was, there was no way he was going to interrupt Jimin’s dance practice. This was the perfect opportunity for Jimin to remind the team that he was the one in charge.

Jimin stepped towards the kid, smiling in his least-bitchy way. “I’m sorry, this is a closed practi–”

Hoseok cut him off.

“It’s fine, Jimin. I must’ve forgotten to tell you about Jungkook, sorry. He’s a sophomore who just transferred from Colorado and he has years of dance training, so he’ll be joining our practices on a trial basis for the next few weeks. If it’s a fit, he’s staying on the team.” Hoseok smiled at Jungkook, who shyly waved to the team.

“Actually, everyone at my old school called me JK, so that works, too,” he said sheepishly.

“Oh! Well… great! Welcome, JK!” Jimin bounced on his heels and clapped while inwardly contemplating how easily he could kill Hoseok and dump his body. If Taehyung was willing to lend his Jeep, they could probably get it done in an afternoon and still have time for boba afterwards.

After going through introductions and their expectations for the year, Jimin and Hoseok led the team in warmups and began to introduce the choreography for the first group number in their showcase. Jimin would never admit it, not even on threat of exposing his finsta to the world, but Hoseok was… a pretty good choreographer, and a great dancer. He also had an annoying habit of nailing tricky combinations on the first try, even ones that Jimin struggled with at first.

Jungkook impressed Jimin too; he had a habit of dancing with his mouth hanging open that made him look like kind of a dumbass, and his hair was begging for a session with a good stylist, but his moves were crisp and he didn’t complain once when Jimin pushed them through his most sadistic drills.

As rehearsal ended, Jimin was about to concede that maybe he shouldn’t have fantasized quite so much about Hoseok’s murder when he heard the words accepted a position leave Hoseok’s mouth. Jimin whipped his head towards where Hoseok and Jungkook were chatting by the door, Jungkook pulling up his shirt to wipe the sweat from his neck and face.

Taehyung opened the door to the studio, there to pick Jimin up for the ride home, and Jimin waved at him and signalled for five more minutes so that he could gather his things and eavesdrop. Taehyung nodded and Jimin saw Taehyung’s eyes cut to where Hoseok and Jungkook were talking, his eyes following the sweat droplets traveling down their limbs.

Since Jimin knew Taehyung had found a way to keep himself entertained, he didn’t feel bad packing up extra slowly to buy himself more time to listen in on Hoseok.

“–a studio I’ve admired for a while, I mean their choreo is just amazing and they’ve worked with a lot of big names, not that names are all that matters but it’s gotta mean something when Parris Goebel does regular workshops there, you know?”

“Wow,” Jungkook breathed, staring at Hoseok in admiration. God, suck his dick already, why don’t you, Jimin thought, then strode over to their side of the studio to remind Jungkook that he actually had two co-captains he should be admiring.

“What are you guys talking about? Great job today, by the way, JK. I didn’t know Coloradans could dance like that, I assumed you guys just hiked and shopped at Patagonia and did other white people shit all day.”

Jungkook laughed, though Jimin wasn’t really kidding.

“Oh, thank you so much, Jimin! Hobi was just telling me about how he’s accepted a position teaching and choreographing at a dance school after graduation. It must be so cool to know you’re all done worrying about your future!”

Jimin felt an icy chill inch down his spine as he willed himself to stay still, smile, and not explode into a million different jagged shards of rage and perfect eyebrows.

“That’s… really cool, Hoseok. Congratulations. I bet you can’t wait to be done with this team and move on to professional dancers, right?”

Hoseok slapped Jimin’s shoulder good-naturedly and grabbed a snapback embossed with marijuana leaves from his bag, sweeping his bangs up under it.

“Good one, Jiminie. You know I love this team, even though I’m a little hard on you guys sometimes,” Hoseok winked and tossed his bag over one shoulder. “See you two on Thursday!” he called, tossing up a peace sign as he headed to the locker rooms. The rest of the team had filtered out of the studio, leaving the room empty except for Jimin, Jungkook, and Taehyung and the dozens of mirror selfies he had taken while waiting.

Jimin narrowed his eyes at Hoseok’s dumb hat (we get it, you smoke weed) then turned to Jungkook. “Aren’t you gonna go change? Is someone picking you up?”

Jungkook shrugged. “I wore this to school, actually? And I was just gonna walk home.”

When Jimin finally recovered from the fugue state caused by the revelation that Jungkook wore sweats to the first day of his new school, Taehyung had introduced himself to Jungkook and offered him a ride home.

As Jungkook gathered his stuff together from the cubbies, Taehyung tilted his head towards Jimin’s, which was their long-standing code for “let’s talk shit about people.”

“Remind me why we hate Hobi again? Because he’s been looking kind of spicy lately.”

At Jimin’s dead-eyed glare, Taehyung shrugged. “What? He’s fun! The other day he told me he follows my art Instagram and we had, like, a twenty minute conversation about whether art is inherently imbued with meaning or–”

“Because he’s teaching and choreographing at a studio after he graduates! And he’s always laughing and joking around in dance practice, except for when I’m not 100% perfect and then suddenly he’s Mr. Hardass, and he never struggles with the choreo and he came to practice high, like, half of last year and he’s fucking co-captain even though I work twice as hard as he does.”

Taehyung nodded. “Okay, go off. I guess we hate Hobi.”

Jungkook bounded up to them, clearly excited that he had made friends on his first day, and they headed to the parking lot.

“Better put on your seatbelt, JK,” Jimin smirked at Jungkook as the yolk-colored Wrangler came into view.

“Uh, I always put on my seatbelt, but why are you smiling like that?”

Taehyung just pinched Jungkook’s cheek in response, then slid into the driver’s seat. “Jimin, he’s cute, we’re keeping him. Hope you like CupcakKe, JK!”

–––

The ride home felt shorter than the ride to school, with Taehyung complaining to Jimin about Mr. Kim, the annoying new drama teacher who wouldn’t let him just lipsynch to “Lucky” by Britney Spears for the final monologue project. Jungkook seemed happy to sit and absorb their chatter, though Jimin saw him start more than once at Taehyung’s terrifying driving maneuvers.

Jimin also saw Jungkook’s eyes get progressively huger when Taehyung said that Mr. Kim had “dick-sucking lips,” Jimin laughed and said that Taehyung’s father was also named Mr. Kim, and Taehyung rolled his eyes and exclaimed “for the hundredth time, you are not fucking my dad, even if it would be kind of iconic.”

Jimin wondered how much Jungkook had been exposed to at his weird Coloradan school, or if his parents might be more conservative, and decided that Jungkook was lucky to have such delightful friends as him and Taehyung to usher him through the transition into living a progressive West coast lifestyle.

The Wrangler screeched to a halt in front of Jimin’s house, knocking over a couple of potted plants in the process.

Jimin glanced up and his first thought was: Leg.

His second thought was: Two legs.

Those two lean, muscled legs were dressed in a pair of fitted black shorts and were connected to a torso, which in turn was connected to the neck and head of Namjoon, looking quite a bit older than when Jimin last saw him and sporting messy chestnut hair and gold–rimmed round glasses.

Namjoon was sitting on a lawn chair, one knee bent, and thumbing through a book, and he raised his hand in greeting. Jimin waved back, then whipped his head towards Jungkook and Taehyung and mimed gagging.

“Who’s that?” Jungkook asked, and Jimin didn’t need to follow his gaze to know that he was staring at Namjoon’s unfairly long, honey-gold thighs. Had Namjoon gotten taller? How come Jimin was done growing at 18 but Namjoon was 21 and still hitting growth spurts?

“That’s Jimin’s brother,” Taehyung grinned, then raised his arms through the open roof of the Wrangler and called out “Hi, Joonie~” before Jimin slapped his arms down, glaring.

“He’s not my brother. He’s not even my stepbrother! His mom and my dad were married for 8 months like, 4 years ago, and because of that I have to be nice to him even though he’s insufferable and thinks he invented being woke. Stop smiling at him, Taetae. JK, I gotta warn you, Taehyung really likes driving in this neighborhood because there are no speed cameras. Good luck!” He grabbed his bags and stepped out of the car, blowing a kiss to Taehyung and giggling when he saw Jungkook’s terrified face in the backseat.

“Am I gonna die?” Jungkook whispered.

“Aw, baby,” cooed Taehyung. “Probably not.”

–––

Dinner was fine. It was dessert that was miserable.

Jimin’s dad spent the entirety of dinner questioning Namjoon on his goals for the future and on what he planned to get his master’s degree in while Jimin munched happily on his salad, enjoying seeing Namjoon get raked over the coals. He tried to zone out as much as he could, so he missed hearing Namjoon’s five year plan (something about helping underprivileged whoevers and destabilizing the white supremacist patriarchal whatever) and only checked back in to the conversation when their cook brought out gyeongdan for dessert.

Coincidentally, that was also the same exact moment that Jimin’s dad turned to Namjoon and said, “Well, I wish you wanted to do something more lucrative, but I think UCLA will be a great place to find a mentor.”

“Wait,” Jimin raised a rice cake ball between his fingertips. “What’s this about UCLA? As in, the LA? Of the C?” He popped it into his mouth, eyebrows raised, looking for answers.

Namjoon’s lips twitched and Jimin could’ve sworn he saw Namjoon’s eyes follow his fingers’ path to their destination.

“Jimin, you really need to work on your listening skills,” his dad began patiently. “Not everyone in the real world will be like Taehyung and let you talk about the MET Gala and chia seeds all day. The reason Namjoon is staying with us is because he’s transferring from NYU to UCLA. He’s starting a combined bachelor’s-master’s program that'll be done in five years.”

“Wait, staying with us? ‘Til you get your own place, right?” Jimin realized that this was the first question he had asked of Namjoon all night, and decided he didn’t feel bad about it because Namjoon hadn’t asked him anything either.

Namjoon shrugged. “It’s only a twenty-minute drive from here to campus, so I guess as long as it takes to get my master’s. It’s really generous of your dad.”

Jimin’s eyes narrowed. “So you’re telling me you used to live in the same city as Dominique Ansel and you willingly chose to move back here?”

Namjoon blinked, mouth hanging open. There was a fleck of rice on his bottom lip. “Who’s Dominique, is she a friend of yours?”

You’re going to give me stress wrinkles, Namjoon,” Jimin hissed.

“Jimin,” Mr. Park admonished. “No more complaining or rudeness. Namjoon is our guest. He’s taking the spare bedroom, so you two will be sharing your bathroom. It could be good to spend some time with a role model for a change. Maybe he can help you finally pass your driving test so you’re not relying on Taehyung.”

“Taehyung?” Namjoon asked. “Weren’t you friends with him like four years ago, too? What’s he up to now?”

“Waving at you from Jeeps and calling you Joonie, apparently,” Jimin snapped.

“Ah, you remember Taehyung! He and Jimin are still attached at the hip,” Mr. Park smiled. “Such a nice boy, so talented. He’s smart and he studies. His parents and I knew each other from Geumsa-dong; Jimin will have to introduce you. He passed his driving test and if Jimin just put in a little effort, maybe he could do the same.”

Jimin closed his eyes so his dad wouldn’t see his eyeroll.

“I really think this arrangement will be good for both of you. Just give Namjoon a little bit of bathroom counter space, Jimin?”

Fat fucking chance.

–––

Jimin rolled his eyes as he entered the kitchen later that night to the sound of distorted guitar and harsh vocals. Namjoon had only just started to unpack his things in the spare bedroom and he had already completely commandeered the Alexa with screechy protest music.

After the exhausting combination of dance practice, dinner, and a tense negotiation in which Jimin had relinquished about ten percent of the bathroom counter to Namjoon, all Jimin wanted to do was lounge on the couch while ignoring his homework. He had changed out of his dance leggings into his softest, most worn-in jeans full of holes and a plush buttercream sweater that always made him feel luxurious.

Jimin was ready to raid the fridge but he hadn't anticipated the obstacle that would stand in his way.

Namjoon was bent over in front of the refrigerator and Jimin was once again struck by how annoyingly tall he was. It wasn't fair. Namjoon had probably never worn tailored pants in his life, so why did he deserve a body that was 90% leg?

“Wow, didn't realize Occupy Wall Street had expanded to my kitchen,” Jimin muttered as he reached around Namjoon for a bottled green juice. His dad had already headed up to bed, so while Jimin had to allow this intruder in his domain, he didn’t have to be nice about it. To his annoyance, Namjoon turned around with a broad smile on his stupid face, dimples deepening obnoxiously.

“Jimin! Wait, but if you're here, who's keeping up with the Kardashians?”

Jimin barked a fake laugh and poked Namjoon's chest through his The Future Is Female sweatshirt. “Nice joke. Very 2008. So, does this sweatshirt actually help you get laid, or do you wear it for the sense of superiority alone?”

Namjoon playfully caught Jimin’s wrist and pushed it away, then unscrewed the lid on the giant jug of kombucha he had pulled from the fridge. “You’re so concerned about superiority, is that a short person thing?”

Whatever. Jimin liked his height. He was fine with his height. He could wear short shorts without looking stupid. Namjoon was the one who was the wrong height. He probably looked so stupid in short shorts. From now on, Jimin was just going to picture Namjoon in short shorts whenever he wanted to feel better. Because of how stupid he’d look.

Namjoon just kept smiling and raised the kombucha straight to his mouth.

“Ugh, stop," he snapped at Namjoon, trying unsuccessfully to yank it out of his big hands. “We're not related and I don't want to make out with you so can you please keep your mouth off communal drinks? Where were you raised, middle America?”

"Don't be such an elitist,” Namjoon laughed, and grabbed a bag of tteokbokki crackers – Jimin's crackers – to take into the lounge. Jimin scurried after him, fuming, and grabbed for the bag.

“Those are my crackers! Just because you're a socialist now or whatever doesn't mean– ” he was cut off by Namjoon wrapping one arm around his waist, lifting the bag high above his head with the other hand. Jimin squirmed where he was squished against Namjoon’s chest, hands trying uselessly to snatch the bag that was dangling out of his reach.

Namjoon squeezed Jimin’s waist through his sweater and tilted his chin down to look Jimin in the eye.

“Ask nicely,” Namjoon said. He jiggled the bag above Jimin’s head and smiled.

Well. That wasn’t happening.

Jimin narrowed his eyes and, before he could finish processing what he was about to do, jumped up onto Namjoon, using his thigh strength to shimmy up Namjoon’s legs so he could grab the bag triumphantly. The hand that Namjoon had held around Jimin’s waist loosened in surprise, and Jimin dropped out of Namjoon’s arms and vaulted over onto the couch.

Namjoon just applauded, smile still annoyingly present on his frankly ridiculous mouth, and joined him.

Jimin reached for the Roku remote to turn on Netflix, but Namjoon beat him to it with his overly long noodle arms and turned on CNN.

“You're watching live television? What are you, Amish?”

"Shhhh, stop making me laugh, I want to hear this,” he said, turning attentively back to the TV. CNN was airing some special report about gay teenagers protesting their Texas Catholic high school's ban on same-sex Homecoming dates. Jimin kept his face neutral because he needed to stay focused on roasting Namjoon, but his heart panged a little bit at the footage of kids younger than him chanting and waving signs at a bunch of old white asshole administrators. He couldn't even imagine living somewhere as homophobic as Texas, not the mention the havoc the heat would wreak on his hair.

“You know, Jimin, a lot of people actually think it's cool to stay updated on current events. Maybe if you looked up from your front-facing camera for once, you'd see that some people actually face real hardships like institutional oppression.”

Jimin couldn't help it – he giggled.

“First of all, Joonie," he said through a venomous smile, "I have notifications turned on for The Shade Room, so don't even talk to me about current events. Second of all, maybe if you stopped jerking off to Women's March footage and paid attention to other people, you'd notice that I'm gay, dumbass.”

He sat back triumphantly and popped a cracker into his mouth, crunching obnoxiously at Namjoon's face. He watched a few different emotions flit across his face before Namjoon grinned apologetically.

“Thanks for telling me, seriously. I'm sorry – that was heteronormative of me, I shouldn't have assumed–”

Jimin couldn't resist pressing him a little more. Flustered Namjoon was apparently a blushy Namjoon.

“I’m wearing high-waisted ripped jeans and I failed my driving test three times, how could you not tell I'm gay?”

“Sorry, I – I didn’t want to, like, stereotype.” Namjoon’s eyes widened in what looked like genuine concern and his eyebrows crinkled a bit. Cute.

Wait. Not cute. Very much not cute. Straight boys, no matter how earnestly woke, are biologically incapable of being cute.

“Does your dad know? Is he cool with it? ‘Cuz I could help you talk to him, if you want.”

“He’s never asked and I’ve never told him and I’m perfectly fine keeping it that way. It’s certainly one of the many, many reasons I didn’t move back to Korea with Mom and am instead stuck next to your annoying, podcast-listening ass.”

“So, then, are you and Taehyung, um–” Namjoon was cut off by Jimin giggling, quickly covering his mouth but unable to stop his shoulders from shaking.

“Oh my god, Namjoon, please. Are you kidding? I mean, do I love him? Yes. Would I kill for him? Yes. Have we had a couple of hot tub make outs? Who hasn’t! But we’re just… both too attractive to date each other. It would be selfish not to share this,” Jimin smacked his thigh, “with the rest of the world.”

Namjoon’s contrition melted off his face, replaced with a look of resigned annoyance. “Right. So sorry for taking important issues seriously. Anyway, I’m flattered that you felt comfortable coming out to me. It was very brave.”

Jimin kicked his feet into Namjoon’s lap and popped another cracker into his mouth. “Dying my hair this shade of pink without knowing if it would look cute was brave. Coming out to you, my aggressively woke ex-stepbrother, was the opposite. We get it, Joonie, you cried when you first heard “Same Love,” you’re such a good ally.”

He paused when he felt Namjoon’s large, warm palm land on his ankle and press against the skin there. Namjoon could probably fit Jimin’s whole ankle in his stupid hand, what the fuck was that about?

Jimin kept his face frozen in a bratty smirk, but his core tensed as Namjoon brought his other hand down to rest on his bare knee and leaned toward him. They stared at each other, Namjoon deadly serious and Jimin trying not to start hyperventilating over eye contact with his idiot ex-stepbrother. Namjoon’s eyes widened more the closer his face got to Jimin’s, and he finally stopped moving with just a foot of space between them, sharing the same air.

“How did you know I cried to “Same Love”?”

–––

In what felt like a whirlwind, the first week of school passed in a blur of Hoseok’s annoying laughter during practice and Jimin struggling to understand what Mr. Min was talking about. Jimin was this close to actually breaking down and reading The Scarlet Letter, which meant he deserved a reward for getting through a stressful week.

His back-to-school party would be the perfect way to get his mind off of homework and conservatory applications. His dad would be out of town meeting with a client for the weekend, and he had agreed to let Jimin “have a few friends over” as long as Namjoon was there to supervise. That was fine by Jimin – Namjoon would probably just sit in his room crying about the wage gap the whole night.

Jimin hadn’t needed to invite anyone personally; he just told Taehyung he’d be having a party Friday night, and the rest always fell into place. Some combination of his popularity, his pool, his hot tub, and his dad’s seemingly endless liquor cabinet had equated to some pretty legendary evenings in the Park house.

The house reached maximum capacity by around eleven p.m., and by that point, Jimin was pleasantly drunk and had long abandoned his hosting duties, hoping he could trust Namjoon to call the fire department or ambulance if necessary.

He actually hadn’t seen Namjoon since coming downstairs with Taehyung at the beginning of the night in a see-through sequined black top and black shorts. Namjoon had taken one glance at them and the bottle of peach soju in Taehyung’s hand and just silently headed for the kitchen. Whatever. It wasn’t Jimin’s fault that some people didn’t know how to have fun.

The next couple hours were full of shots and shrieked greetings and EDM music booming throughout the house and spilling onto the lawn through the open kitchen windows.

Jimin was always grateful that Taehyung was his best friend, but he was particularly reminded of that fact every time he saw Taehyung dance.

Taehyung wasn’t a trained dancer like Jimin or Jungkook, but he had a flawless natural rhythm, an infectious way of moving his hips, and he made the best facial expressions.

Jimin also liked dancing with Taehyung because Taehyung didn’t have any ulterior motives; they could (and had) grind for hours on a sweaty, crowded dance floor without getting turned on or trying to take things further. Sometimes all Jimin needed was to dance with a fellow beautiful person for a couple of hours, making stupid jokes and giggling into each other’s necks.

Jimin danced with Taehyung for a few songs, yelling “yes Tae fuck it up Tae!” and “that’s my best friend!” every time Taehyung popped his ass or swiveled his hips in a particularly laudworthy way. The lights from the porch reflected off the pool in a way that made everyone’s skin look glossy and Jimin couldn’t resist taking a few selfies with Taehyung to take advantage of it.

He got distracted by the arrival of some members of the dance team, and when he turned back from cheering them on, he saw that Taehyung had wandered off the dance floor and was giggling next to the pool with Hoseok.

Taehyung was leaning on the diving board, one hand braced behind him and the other grabbing Hoseok’s shoulder. Jimin rolled his eyes as he saw Taehyung double over in laughter; he doubted whatever Hoseok said was that funny. Hoseok leaned in to whisper something in Taehyung’s ear, a promising expression on his face, and he slid his hand slowly up below the hem of Taehyung’s shirt to rest on his hip, thumb sweeping gently across Taehyung’s hipbone.

Taehyung gave Hoseok a smile, not his puppyish Jimin-smile but a slow flicker of a grin, and nodded, staring heavy-lidded as Hoseok patted through the pockets of his cutoff denim shorts for a plastic baggie holding a joint, which he offered to Taehyung first and lit for him when he accepted. Jimin had to admit that was kind of a classy move – some real old-school Hollywood type shit.

Jimin let them keep chatting, smoke from their mouths mingling between them, but when the joint was finished and Hoseok held out his hand in a clear invitation to dance, Jimin pounced.

“Sorry, Hoseok,” he pouted, pulling Taehyung with him towards the hot tub. “Best friend privileges! You understand!”

“Nice talking to you, Taetae! Later, Jiminie!” Hoseok shouted behind them, then turned and made a running leap into the middle of a dance circle, hips swiveling and shoulders flexing.

Okay, Jimin had to admit it, when he saw Hoseok dance like that, he understood why he was co-captain. But that didn’t mean he had to like it.

On their way to the hot tub, Jimin spotted Jungkook standing by the keg and looking nervous, so he grabbed him with one arm and hauled both boys with hm.

“Come on,” Jimin whined, pulling off his shirt. “It’s not a Jimin Park party until some hot idiots get in the hot tub and make fools of themselves.”

“Way ahead of you,” Taehyung giggled, unbuttoning his already barely-buttoned shirt and yanking down his jeans. He wiggled his red boxer-brief-covered ass at Jimin and hopped into the hot tub, still holding his can of Diet Coke.

Jungkook blushed and took off his graphic tee (really, they would have to do something about his fashion) but left his shorts on as he climbed into the hot tub much more self-consciously than Taehyung had. Jimin didn’t blame him. Taehyung was intimidatingly willing to be almost-naked in public.

Jimin followed their lead, and within a minute a handful of other seniors had joined them in the hot tub. One of the dance team girls announced they were playing Suck & Blow and began to pass a playing card around the circle.

Jimin saw Jungkook’s eyes tracking the card with slight panic as it got closer to their side of the hot tub, and he leaned over to whisper to Jungkook, “you’ll be fine. Just suck in air to hold the card onto your mouth, and blow air out to pass the card to me.”

“This game is kind of sexual,” Jungkook whispered back.

“That’s the point, baby boy,” Jimin said, poking Jungkook’s cheek. “Sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to be sexual.”

“At my old school, if you wanted to have sex with someone, you just asked,” Jungkook muttered. “What’s with the pageantry?”

“This is Hollywood, baby,” Taehyung laughed to Jungkook from Jimin’s other side. “Now look alive, it’s your turn.”

Jungkook accepted the card easily and passed it to Jimin without a hitch. Honestly, this game hadn’t been thrilling to Jimin since the first couple of times he played it, but he liked how it brought groups of people together and facilitated easy hookups. Sometimes that was all a group of teenagers needed.

He turned to pass the card to Taehyung and as they both leaned in, Jimin’s gaze slid past his friend to the house.

Namjoon was standing on the lawn, Solo cup in hand, watching them in the hot tub.

His posture was comfortable and relaxed – Jimin was pleased to see that he was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans that at least sort of fit his figure – but there was an intensity in his eyes that blazed a trail down Jimin’s spine as they made eye contact.

Jimin’s lips parted involuntarily and he let out a shaky breath, unprepared for the severity of Namjoon’s gaze and definitely not expecting the physical reaction it caused.

As Jimin exhaled, the playing card fell into the water. Jimin distractedly heard the people gathered in the hot tub cheer as the game reached its inevitable conclusion and Taehyung licked into his mouth and nibbled on his lower lip. The last thing he saw before he closed his eyes to return the kiss was Namjoon’s eyes gleaming behind his gold-rimmed glasses.

When he reopened his eyes and resurfaced for air, Namjoon was gone, Taehyung was cackling, and Jungkook was bright red. Jimin shook himself slightly to brush off the weird … whatever in the pit of his stomach and high-fived Taehyung.

The other hot tub occupants turned back to their own conversations, having gotten their fill of Suck & Blow. Jimin stuck his tongue out at Taehyung.

“You taste like smoke, Tae-by.”

“I’m just trying to help you chill out,” Taehyung laughed.

“Um.”

Both Taehyung and Jimin glanced at the source of the noise, which turned out to be Jungkook. His eyes were rounded and wide and he didn’t seem to realize that he had dropped his empty cup into the water.

“Aw, Jimin, look at that. Our son is flustered,” Taehyung rested his head on Jimin’s shoulder, smiling at Jungkook.

“Are you guys…” Jungkook trailed off, before furrowing his brow in adorable determination. “Are you gay? Are you together?”

“We’re not together, luckily for everyone here. Sometimes we just have... Friendly hot tub kissing times. And yes, Jimin’s gay, but I’m a little more flexible,” Taehyung grinned. “All the great artists are.”

“Okay, got it,” Jungkook said quietly. “I’ve actually never had gay friends before, that I knew of. Or Korean friends, actually. Or gay Korean friends. We’ve moved around a lot for my dad’s job and I guess I just haven’t had many friends period. How did you, um. How did you. Know? Not that you’re Korean, but that. You were gay. Or. Flexible.”

Jimin grabbed Taehyung’s hand under the water, where Jungkook couldn’t see. He knew he had a good feeling about Jungkook when he saw him. Jimin and Taehyung were put on this earth to shepherd this poor, sweet Coloradan baby into the 21st century and boy kisses, he was sure of it.

“I just, like, listened to myself and what I wanted? Like, what the universe told me I should be doing. And who it told me I should be fucking,” Taehyung said slowly.

Jimin almost felt bad for Jungkook having his sexual awakening explained to him by a very high Taehyung, but he had a feeling he knew where this conversation was going and didn’t think Jungkook would be too displeased. Jungkook wasn’t the first boy to question his sexuality around Taehyung; luckily, Taehyung was always more than happy to help them figure things out.

Jungkook nodded, still looking confused. “What if you’re. Unsure. Of what the universe wants? Like what if the universe told you to have sex with a girl and you did and it was great, thank you universe, but the universe also kind of. Told you to consider guys? What happens then?”

“Wanna find out?” Taehyung asked. Jimin didn’t need to look at him to know that his eyes were bright and he was probably smiling like the Cheshire cat.

Jungkook locked eyes with Taehyung and nodded slowly. Taehyung pushed off from the hot tub wall and floated over to Jungkook, alighting in his lap. He brought up a tan hand to push Jungkook’s bangs out of his eyes and used the other on Jungkook’s shoulder to steady himself.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t Taehyung who leaned in first, but Jungkook. Jungkook bit the corner of his own lip then pushed forward and nuzzled their noses together.

When their lips finally met, Jimin took the opportunity to steal a beer from a distracted senior. He felt loose and comfortable in his bones and skin from a combination of the warm water and the six or seven drinks already circulating in his system.

Jimin knew it was a little weird to sip a beer and cheer on his friends making out in his hot tub from three feet away. But he loved his friends, and he wanted his friends to have a good time, and he kind of wanted his hot tub to be legendary.

If Jimin’s kiss with Taehyung had been quick, fun but perfunctory, Taehyung’s kiss with Jungkook was the opposite. Taehyung seemed to be determined to find the gay in Jungkook even if that meant he had to locate it with his tongue and lick it out into the open himself. Jimin had been friends with Taehyung almost his entire life but had never seen that much of his tongue.

Taehyung released Jungkook after what felt like a full minute and brought his thumb up to gently rest on Jungkook’s bottom lip. “Did we learn something today?” he asked Jungkook teasingly.

Jimin was worried that if Jungkook’s eyes got any bigger they’d pop out of their sockets and fall into the hot tub. Eyeball soup. Jimin giggled into his beer and wondered why the hot tub felt a little bit like a wave pool.

Jungkook nodded again, then flushed and buried his face in Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung smiled back at Jimin, his eyes gleeful little pink crescents.

“I’d die for him,” Taehyung announced dramatically.

–––

Sometime between Jimin’s seventh and eighth drinks of the night, the party started to clear out. The lawn and patio had beforehand been packed with people and were now scattered with empty bottles and Solo cups. Someone’s shorts were hanging off of the diving board.

Jimin had been leaning back in the hot tub, letting the sounds of the party spill over him while he tried to sober up. Then he got bored, and thirsty, so he had another beer because he forgot what he was waiting for.

Before Jimin knew it, it was past three in the morning, the house and lawn had emptied, and he was standing shirtless in the kitchen trying to simultaneously remain upright and open a pack of tortillas.

“Jiminieeeeee,” he heard in the most pitiful voice behind him. Jimin turned to see Taehyung leaning against the counter, guzzling a Gatorade and pouting. “‘M so tired. My head hurts.”

“Think we’re like, getting old,” Jimin muttered, then gasped in delight as he managed to tear the plastic tortilla packaging apart. He was so amazed with himself sometimes. He folded a tortilla into quarters then shoved it into his mouth, then took out two more (one for Taehyung, and another one for himself) and left the package sitting on the counter.

He handed the tortilla to Taehyung, who tipped his head back and laid it on top of his face like a face mask, then started chewing through it. Jimin started laughing and suddenly found that he couldn’t stop laughing, and when did he get on the floor? Taehyung was the best. Taehyung’s mind amazed him sometimes.

“Okay, let’s get up,” Jimin heard an amused, deep voice say above him, and then suddenly there were hands hooking themselves around his ribcage and strong arms engulfing his shoulders to hoist him up.

A glass of water was pressed into his hand and Jimin obediently drained it, looking up when he was done to see Namjoon filling two more cups of water while dimpling obnoxiously at Taehyung’s tortilla mask.

Somehow Namjoon wrangled them into finishing another glass of water each and then he led them like ducklings through the living room to the stairs. It was a slow journey because if one of them stumbled, the other went into hysterics, and then they started clutching each other and giggling.

Namjoon shushed them, but he didn’t look that annoyed. “Your toddler friend is sleeping on the couch. I left him some water and Tylenol for the morning.”

Jimin glanced over his shoulder and saw that yes, Jungkook was curled up on the couch, a pillow under his head and a blanket tucked over him.

Namjoon herded them into their bathroom and perched himself on the counter, long legs swinging in front of him. Jimin peered into the mirror and was pleasantly surprised to see that he didn’t look as disastrous as he thought. Sure, his hair was mussed and his eyes were almost closed, but overall? Still a 9/10. And that was worth bragging about.

“I’m a 9 out of 10,” he announced to Taehyung around the toothbrush in his mouth.

Taehyung gaped at him. “You’re a 10 out of 10, Jiminie, and don’t you dare–” he poked Jimin’s cheeks, “–say otherwise.”

Jimin shook his head determinedly. He didn’t know why, but for some reason it was so important to him to let Taehyung know right now that he was his best friend and he loved him. “You’re a 10 out of 10, Taetae. You’re a Tae out of ten. I love you, best friend.”

Taehyung grabbed Jimin’s hand and swung it vigorously as he brushed his teeth with his other hand. When he spoke, toothpaste went flying all over the mirror in front of him. “I love you, best friend. Who has the prettiest best friend? Me!”

“Nooooo,” Jimin mumbled around his toothbrush, leaning his head on Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Yesssssss,” Taehyung mumbled back, flicking his forehead. “Jiminie is pretty, so pretty, very pretty, the prettiest–”

“Yes, we all know Jimin is beautiful, can you please just finish brushing your teeth,” Namjoon groaned.

Jimin froze. It was one thing for Taehyung to call him pretty. Taehyung called him pretty all the time. Approximately 75% of their communication with each other was complimenting the other’s looks.

But this was Namjoon, who had wormed his way into Jimin’s house and had tucked Jungkook in and who thought Jimin was a total airhead. Namjoon thought Jimin was beautiful. Jimin didn’t know what to make of this new development so he just kept brushing his teeth and stared straight into the mirror.

They didn’t speak again beyond offering a quiet ‘goodnight, thanks’ as Namjoon headed into his own bedroom, running his hands through his hair and letting out a deep, bone-tired sigh.

Jimin and Taehyung stayed quiet as they pulled on pajamas and slipped beneath the covers, a routine they had done hundreds of times before on both drunk and sober nights. It wasn’t until they were nestled in bed, Taehyung squeezing his favorite of Jimin’s pillows, that they spoke.

Jimin knew Taehyung well enough that he knew a joke was coming before Taehyung even opened his mouth, and sure enough:

“If I had a stepbrother like that I’d watch stepbrother porn, like, all the time.”

They stared at each other for half a second and then Taehyung started giggling and Jimin flopped onto his back, groaning.

“Shut up,” Jimin mumbled. “Don’t talk about him like that. Do you know how weird it is to hear your best friend talk about your ex-stepbrother like that?”

“Nope,” Taehyung teased. “But if I had an ex-stepbrother who was that hot, I’d probably be in his bed instead of platonically cuddling with my best friend.”

“I’m going to sleep,” Jimin announced, pulling a pillow over his face. “And he’s straight. So don’t get your hopes up.”

“Fine. But if he makes us breakfast in the morning, he’s objectively the perfect man.”

Jimin woke up the next morning to the smell of frying bacon.

Chapter Text

They were several weeks into senior year and the light workload Jimin had been anticipating had somehow morphed into a heavy one, his planner filling with test reminders and essay due dates. Mr. Min in particular was a tough grader, not only expecting Jimin to have read the material but to also have understood it.

Maybe some people were happy locking themselves indoors all day and burrowing into a pile of textbooks. Namjoon certainly was. Jimin had observed him all weekend just to be sure, poking his head through Namjoon’s open door or peeking into the living room to see Namjoon taking notes in the margins of a Judith Butler book, eyes wide and teeth nibbling his lower lip.

Every time Jimin saw Namjoon eagerly highlight or scribble something down, he flushed hot with annoyance. Seriously, who was this dedicated? Didn’t Namjoon have friends?

He tried bringing this up to Taehyung and Jungkook on the drive to school, but for some reason they didn’t seem to find Namjoon to be as compelling of a topic as he did. Taehyung was only interested in whether or not Namjoon could get them into college parties and he quickly changed the subject to the topic weighing on all of their minds: grades.

“Mr. Kim is so goofy all the time, but then he expects us to still do the homework and have our lines memorized when we do scenework. It’s not fair,” Taehyung pouted. “Like, he doesn’t get to be fun and lovable and then also make us work! It’s like you’re either with us or against us, you know?”

“He and Mr. Min both need to loosen up,” Jimin nodded, inspecting himself in the passenger’s seat mirror.

“It sounds like they need to get laid,” Jungkook piped up from the backseat.

Taehyung laughed around his latte straw. “Maybe that’s why Jimin’s always been so uptight,” he snickered, then yelped and moved to avoid Jimin’s pinch, swerving the steering wheel and rocking the Jeep over a low curb in the process.

“Wait Jimin, you’re a virgin?” Jungkook asked after they all took a few deep breaths to recover from Taehyung’s driving.

“Well, I mean, he’s given-” Taehyung took one hand off the driving wheel to make a jerk-off motion and sent the Wrangler plowing through a small curbside bush.

“Yes, Jungkook, I am a virgin,” Jimin breathed, trying desperately to get his heart rate back under control. “And I would like to not die a virgin, Taehyung. Besides, this shouldn’t be that surprising. You’ve seen how picky I am about moisturizer, and that only goes on my face.”

“It’s a real shame,” Taehyung called back to Jungkook. “I keep telling Jimin I’ll happily eat his ass as a friend, but he’s never taken me up on it.”

Before Jimin could respond to that charming offer, Taehyung flapped one of his hands for attention.

“Okay, wait, hold on, my mind!” Taehyung yelled. “Mr. Min and Mr. Kim both need a distraction from the fact that they’re both way too hot to be teaching high schoolers. They also both need to get laid. Mr. Kim has a little rainbow flag on his desk in his office. You said you stalked Mr. Min and his Instagram was full of, quote, ‘Grindr selfies.’ Are. You. Thinking what I’m thinking?”

“We should get boba after school?”

No! That Mr. Min and Mr. Kim would be perfect together and that we are the perfect little Cupids to set it into motion!”

Jimin huffed, puffing his cheeks out. “I don’t know. I’m already busy with dance, and helping two grumpy old people find love doesn’t really sound like something I could put on a resume.”

“I think it would be cute!” piped up Jungkook from the backseat.

“See, Jimin? It’s cute! What about advancing the gay Korean agenda?”

“That’s not a real thing, Tae. It’s just a dumb joke I made at Pride last year.”

“Too bad!” Taehyung crowed as the Jeep shuddered into what definitely wasn’t a legal parking space. “We’re setting them up, we’re advancing the gay Korean agenda, and I’m making us matching t-shirts for it.”

---

Taehyung was kind of a genius when he put his mind to it, Jimin had to admit. He’d taken charge of the plan and barked orders at Jimin and Jungkook as they scurried through the halls, coordinating their strategies like a cute, pink-Doc-Martens-wearing military general.

They set their plans into motion during first period. Jimin had English with Mr. Min again. Taehyung would leave a little bar of artisanal chocolate (that Jimin had coincidentally stolen from Namjoon’s snack stash) on Mr. Kim’s desk with the label ’To: Jin, From: Yoongi’.

For Jimin’s role in the strategy, he had to look completely disinterested in Mr. Min’s lecture and text ostentatiously during class.

Admittedly, it wasn’t a difficult role for Jimin to play.

Every time Mr. Min faced Jimin’s half of the classroom, Jimin would pout at his phone and type exaggeratedly on it like his dad did on his Blackberry.

Feeling inspired (maybe this acting thing isn’t so hard, he thought to himself), Jimin started to experiment with facial expressions. He gasped in shock at his phone at one point, and frowned a few minutes later. He even tried to make his eyes well up with tears.

Throughout the lesson, Mr. Min was unphased by Jimin’s theatrical performance.

They even locked eyes a couple of times. Jimin glanced up, face twisted in what he considered to be a beautiful display of artful anguish, and saw Mr. Min staring right back at him.

Mr. Min raised an eyebrow. “Do you need to go to the bathroom, Jimin?”

Jimin shook his head, annoyed at how dense his teacher was being. “Nope! Just… sad about how Hester and Dimmadome couldn’t have a happy relationship, you know?”

A shade of amusement tinted Mr. Min’s cheeks, although Jimin had no idea what was funny. “Yes, thank you Jimin for that insight.”

Jimin sulked the rest of the period. He didn’t understand why Mr. Min wouldn’t rise to the bait. Yes, Taehyung’s plan was certainly far from foolproof, but he had to make Mr. Min less of a bitch somehow. They were reading Wuthering Heights next, for God’s sake. Jimin couldn’t pretend to care about old white people for another month.

He was so moody that he didn’t even notice Mr. Min approaching his desk just after English class ended. As the other students packed up their bags, Mr. Min leaned onto Jimin’s desk and plucked the phone from his hand.

Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.

“Who were you texting that was so much more important than class, hmm?” Mr. Min asked, unlocking Jimin’s phone. Jimin had conveniently already disabled the password in preparation.

He watched Mr. Min’s eyes narrow as he read what was on Jimin’s screen: an iMessage conversation with Taehyung where they were discussing how smart and charming Mr. Min was. Right in the middle of the screen, surrounded by heart-face emojis, was a message from Taehyung that read: omg no wonder mr kim has a crush on yoongi.

The same shade of amusement as before worked its way over Mr. Min’s face in a slow blush.

He handed the phone back to Jimin. “I hope you’ll be this invested in Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship next unit.”

Jimin nodded eagerly, already planning to send Taehyung and Jungkook a million celebratory GIFs.

---

Classes came and went as the week passed. Dance practice progressed with the steady thrum of Jimin’s heartbeat and endless mirror selfies taken by a waiting Taehyung, always with a sweaty, tank top-wearing Hoseok captured “accidentally” in the background.

The weekend arrived, and with it, an opportunity for Jimin to be a twink Mother Teresa and show Namjoon how to have fun for once in his life.

His dad had sighed, “Jimin, I don’t love the thought of you going out with just Taehyung. It makes me nervous."

“Oh, it won’t just be me and Tae!” Jimin had chirped. “Namjoon is chaperoning us. Right?”

Namjoon had snorted at Jimin’s lie but then he nodded at Jimin’s father. “I’ll keep an eye on him.”

“That wasn’t actually an invitation to come with us, you know,” Jimin said, poking Namjoon in the stomach while they waited in line outside of a warehouse in a tragically hip, up-and-coming neighborhood with too many nicknames.

“But we’re happy to have you!” Taehyung said from his place behind Jimin in line, arms looped around Jimin’s torso and chin resting on his shoulder.

Namjoon shot Taehyung a quick smile, white teeth peeking out from behind plush lips. “Thanks, Tae. Jimin’s always telling me how lame I am and how all I do is, what was it, Jimin? Suck my thumb and cry to Pussy Riot? So I figured maybe if I came out with you guys I’d learn how to be cool.”

“Well, you’ve already failed,” said Jimin while eyeing Namjoon’s flannel/tank top combination. “You look like an Indigo Girl.”

He tugged on Namjoon’s flannel shirt, pushing it off his shoulders.

“At least take this off and tie it around your waist? Pretend like you’ve even heard of the concept of a silhouette,” Jimin begged. He wasn’t expecting Namjoon to actually comply, but Namjoon peeled the flannel off and knotted it at his hips, revealing… arms?

Was it possible that Jimin hadn’t seen Namjoon in a tank top before? Because he definitely would have noticed that he actually had some muscle. A little shoulder definition, too. And his collarbones were certainly present and accounted for.

Jimin’s visual tour of Namjoon’s newly-exposed golden forearms and clavicle was interrupted by Taehyung, who wolf-whistled at the sight.

“Stop,” Namjoon said while blushing. Jimin noticed, however, that he didn’t move to cover his arms back up. Instead, Namjoon raised his hand to rub the back of his head self-consciously, exposing a slightly bulging tricep in the process. “I did Habitat for Humanity all summer, this is just leftovers from that. It’ll go away once I start spending all my waking hours in the library.”

“Yeah, but you’ll fit right in tonight,” said Taehyung.

As much as it pained Jimin to admit it, Namjoon did fit in with them. He wasn’t half-naked like they were, but his thankfully-skinnier-than-usual jeans still looked a bit obscene on his ridiculously long legs.

Taehyung had gone for his usual artsy slut vibe that he lovingly referred to as “Picass-hoe”: skintight jeans that were more hole than leg, a sparkling waterfall of dangly silver earrings, and a sheer black silk button-down.

Jimin had started to second-guess his own outfit when he realized Namjoon was actually accompanying them to the party, but here he was nonetheless: in a white loose cropped tee, hem showing an inch of tanned belly above high-waisted denim shorts that hit mid-thigh and made his ass look like a Fashionnova model’s.

“That’s very sweet of you, Tae, but something tells me you and Jimin will get a lot more attention than I will tonight,” Namjoon responded.

Before Jimin could open his mouth to do something stupid like compliment Namjoon back, they reached the front of the line to get in and Namjoon was pressing him forward into the crowded, sweaty warehouse with a hand on his lower back.

Jimin’s ears echoed from the pounding music that blared from speakers scattered around the room and ricocheted off the concrete walls and floor. The room was so hot and humid that Jimin expected to see condensation dripping down the walls.

He did a quick spin, taking in the elevated bar at the back wall and the stage currently occupied by some extremely drunk girls wearing bachelorette sashes. Taehyung grabbed him around the waist and leaned his chin on Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin could feel sweat already beading down his back where they were pressed together.

“May I have this dance, milady?” Tae asked, lifting an arm to twirl Jimin in a circle.

Jimin smiled back and bowed, then pulled Taehyung forward by his hands into the crowd. He turned his back to Taehyung once more and ground his ass back against his hips. He could feel the rumble of Taehyung singing along to Ariana Grande as well as two heated points of pressure where Taehyung’s hands rested on his hips.

Namjoon awkwardly shuffled to stand in front of Jimin and spasmed his hands in an aborted movement that looked like it could have been a dance move if it had been allowed to come to term.

“Go, Namjoon! Go, Namjoon! Throw it in a circle!” Taehyung cheered. Jimin rolled his eyes and grabbed Namjoon’s elbows to try to get him on beat, at the very least. Namjoon frowned but let himself be dragged back at forth, buffeted by Jimin’s whimsy.

“Come on, Namjoon, stop embarrassing us,” Jimin whined. He reached down with one hand and pushed Namjoon’s hipbone. He still looked stiff, but it was definitely an improvement from before. Jimin relaxed into the rhythm and kept his hand steady on Namjoon’s hip so that the two of them moved in tandem.

A glance at their surroundings confirmed to Jimin that their arrival had been noticed by their fellow dancers. A young man in a tropical romper made eye contact with Taehyung, who promptly dropped Jimin’s hips, left a smacking kiss on the side of his head, and scurried over to meet his new acquaintance.

Jimin and Namjoon met each other’s eyes in amusement. Jimin cocked his head, noticing that his hand was still on Namjoon’s hip and that he had no desire to move it.

“It’s weird,” he whisper-shouted into Namjoon’s ear. “I’m not used to facing someone when I dance with them.”

Namjoon raised his eyebrows and laughed a little. “Ha… hahaha. That’s so funny. Um. I’m gonna go get a drink and hang by the, uh. Bar. If you need me.” He patted Jimin’s hand where it rested on his hip then turned and headed to the elevated bar at the back of the warehouse.

Jimin felt a bit bereft for some reason – did his lame ex-stepbrother just ditch him? – but kept dancing.

---

Jimin rolled his hips in smooth, deliberate figure eights, leaning his head back to rest on his dance partner’s shoulder.

He hadn’t gotten a good look at the guy – just enough to see that yes, he was reasonably attractive – but Jimin was growing rather familiar with his partner’s hips. The two of them were pressed up tightly against each other with no empty air between Jimin’s back and the guy’s chest.

Jimin hadn’t had anything to drink so far but he was starting to feel loose, warmth rising to his cheeks. Jimin liked the feeling of strong hands gripping his hips tight. He swiveled his hips a bit harder and arched his back, pressing his ass back against his dance partner’s pelvis.

The one annoying thing about this guy was that his hands kept wandering. Jimin was fine with a little petting on the dance floor, but he was not into being the recipient (or the bestower) of a public OTPHJ.

So far, every time the guy’s hands had inched higher up Jimin’s thighs, Jimin had been able to redirect his trajectory by rocking his hips a new way. He didn’t want to stop dancing. He loved how the neon lights in the warehouse shone through his lowered eyelids and he loved letting his body settle into a rhythm.

Apparently spurred on by Jimin’s ass, the guy started to let his hands wander again, gripping at Jimin’s upper thighs then dragging his fingertips up to Jimin’s crotch.

Jimin opened his eyes in annoyance. Couldn’t this guy see Jimin was having a dramatic moment of pretending he was in a music video? He pulled the offending hands away from his crotch and placed them on his rib cage above his shirt, still lazily grinding his hips back.

While his eyes were open, Jimin did a quick scan of the room. Taehyung was off towards the wall kissing a girl who was taller than he was. Namjoon was sitting at the bar, and when Jimin caught his eye he quickly glanced away and downed the shot he was holding.

The hands on Jimin’s torso stayed there for the rest of the song, but when the beat morphed into something a bit filthier, the guy’s right hand slid under Jimin’s crop top and lingered on his stomach, warm palm pressed against his navel and fingertips gently tucked into his waistband.

This was still fine, so Jimin ignored his partner’s little journey and focused on giving the music his all. Honestly, it was a crime he hadn’t been cast in the lead role of Step Up 14.

The guy’s left hand slipped right back down Jimin’s waist and cupped against Jimin’s dick, pressing softly over Jimin’s shorts while his right fingertips slid a little further below Jimin’s waistband.

“Nope,” snapped Jimin, pulling both hands to his hips. He glanced around the room again and spotted Namjoon, still in his seat at the bar but watching Jimin closely, a look of concern on his face.

“C’mon,” the guy whispered in his ear. Ew, did he always have such a slimy voice? “You’re so hot.”

Before Jimin could respond, the guy kissed Jimin’s neck and yanked Jimin’s hips backwards with one hand while pawing firmly at Jimin’s dick with the other. Jimin caught the briefest glimpse of Namjoon jumping off his barstool and barreling towards them before he turned around mid-dance and decked the guy across the face.

The guy staggered backwards, a comical look of shock on his face, and fell over.

It took a second for Jimin to realize what he had done, and by the time he fully processed that apparently he was a bad bitch, he was airborne because Namjoon had picked him up, yelling “TIME TO GO!” into his ear.

They rushed towards the exit with Taehyung in tow and Jimin still dangling in Namjoon’s stupid strong, charity-housing-muscled embrace. They lingered long enough by the door for Namjoon to alert security to the asshole’s presence, and then they tumbled outside, giggling and gleefully spilling into the moonlit night.

---

“No Jimin, I’m serious.... You *hic* you slapping the shit out of that dude was direct action,” Namjoon mumbled from where he lay on the living room floor, surrounded by discarded McDonald’s wrappers from when Jimin had sweet-talked their Uber into a brief detour.

“Uh-huh,” Jimin giggled tiredly, chin propped up on his hands. He gazed down at Namjoon from his perch on the sofa. “Explain it a third time, maybe I’ll understand it.”

“It’s like this,” Namjoon flailed his arms in the air excitedly. “The first Pride was like, a fuckin’ riot, you know? You’re just continuing the tradition of radical self-defense started by your forebears. Your fist? His face? Queer activism.”

Jimin knew his face was probably soft with fondness, but he couldn’t help it. Namjoon was all pink and tipsy and worked up, squirming around on the carpet and desperately trying to convince Jimin with big eyes that he was some sort of icon for gay rights.

“Sure, Joonie. Tell me more about how radical I am for backhanding dickheads. One time a guy tried to push me in the pool at one of Tae’s parties so I poured a La Croix on him even though I had just opened it.”

“SEE?” yelled Namjoon, shoving his fist into the air. “PRAXIS!”

“Shhh, you idiot, you’re lucky Dad’s not home.”

Namjoon heaved his torso up so that he was propped on his hands and stared up at Jimin. Jimin fought the urge to break eye contact and look anywhere else. Sometimes Namjoon’s face was so open and earnest that Jimin didn’t know what to do with himself.

“Seriously, though, Jimin, I *hic* shut up, I… I’m really proud of you for sticking up for yourself back there. I was worried about you coming to a party like this, but. You really know how to handle yourself.” He smiled dazzlingly up at Jimin, who suddenly had no idea how to respond.

“Um. I mean. What the fuck. Ha. You think ‘cuz I’m gay I can’t fight? I’ve got hands for days. Haha. Surprise, bitch.”

He slid down off the sofa and landed on his knees, looking down at Namjoon.

“Seriously, Joon, want me to slap you to test it out?”

Namjoon just laughed his stupid exclamatory laugh, reaching out to tug at Jimin’s wrist half-heartedly. “You mean, you’d hit me with the hand that single-handedly destabilized the patriarchy?”

Jimin rolled his eyes and snatched his wrist back, then let himself flop down on the carpet next to Namjoon. Though he was sober (and Namjoon obviously wasn’t even close), he could still appreciate the feeling of the plush carpet fibers against his bare back where his shirt was riding up.

Namjoon rolled onto his side, seemingly unable to let Jimin catch a break from his ridiculous, earnest Bambi eye contact.

“Honestly, you probably did that asshole a favor. I can’t believe men are socialized to be such assholes. The media fuckin… the media tells us that if we see a pretty face or a fat ass we, like, can’t be held responsible for our actions?”

Jimin flushed, the praise going to his head (fat ass? wow) and making him a little dizzy. He should just excuse himself and go to bed, maybe make sure Namjoon drank some water, but he couldn’t resist pushing things a little further and fishing for more compliments.

“You’re right, Joonie. If he hadn’t been an asshole he could’ve just kept dancing with me.”

“He should be so lucky! You’re an amazing dancer!”

Jimin covered his face, hating himself for how much the praise got to him and what he’d be willing to do to keep it coming.

“Stop it, you stupid…” Great, end it there, perfect, be cool be cool be cool… “...Wanna see me do a backbend?” GODDAMMIT, JIMIN PARK, YOU IDIOT.

Namjoon gasped. “You can do those?”

Without saying a word, Jimin pushed his hands up behind his shoulders, braced his feet, and arched into a perfect backbend.

“Oh my god, Jimin, that’s incredible.”

Jimin blushed harder, pink staining down his chest. “Shut up, I mean it’s really nothing.” He risked a quick side glance at Namjoon and saw his eyes trained on where Jimin’s crop top was riding up, doing nothing to hide his slightly quivering stomach muscles.

“So that’s why your abs are insane. Because you can do all this shit. You’re amazing.”

“O-oh,” Jimin gasped, dropping out of the backbend. Before he could rethink, he stretched into a horizontal split, then leaned forward, propping his cheeks up on his fists as he braced his elbows on the carpet. He glanced faux-bashfully up at Namjoon who was staring open-mouthed.

“See? Holy shit! That dick did NOT deserve you!”

Jimin nodded, pouting. “You’re right. I didn’t even get to make it clap.”

Namjoon rolled onto his stomach and pointed at Jimin as if he’d just announced the solution to climate change. “Yes! You deserve someone who respects and appreciates you when you are making it clap and when you aren’t!”

“Ughhhh,” Jimin sighed, dropping his face into the carpet. “Shut up. You’re doing so much right now.”

He didn’t understand why he was so flustered by these compliments. Tae gassed him up literally every second of every day. But something about Namjoon’s praise made his stomach swirl.

---

Jimin crawled into bed, waiting for sleep to overtake him. It was rare for him to be up this late while sober. He was utterly exhausted; the physical exertion and mental strain of the evening had taken their toll.

It had been a fun night, though. Sure, the asshole at the party had been the absolute worst, but Jimin had spent the last hour giggling on his living room floor with Namjoon, deliriously performing tricks whenever the mood struck him and helplessly trying to follow Namjoon’s cute drunken compliments.

Jimin closed his eyes and relaxed his muscles, trying to let himself slip into sleep. He should have gone to bed ages ago. He didn’t understand why he felt a low, steady thrum throughout his body, echoing in the tips of his fingers and the plush of his lips. He didn’t understand why his mind was racing, phrases and half-finished thoughts tumbling over each other and slipping through his consciousness.

At least, he didn’t understand until he realized that the words flowing through his brain weren’t his. He kept hearing Namjoon’s praise in his head. A low rumble of “you’re so amazing, Jimin.” An astonished gasp. Namjoon’s warm hands, uncoordinated and overeager from alcohol, tracing down Jimin’s abdominal muscles where they quivered during a backbend.

Jimin rolled into a new position for sleep, turning onto his side, and realized with a start that at some point during the past few minutes, with Namjoon’s praise washing over him and his overtired muscles finally relaxing, he had gotten hard.

He shifted onto his back again and tried briefly to ignore how he could feel his pulse hot and heady between his legs. He gave up almost immediately and slipped a hand under his sweatpants, rubbing his hand steadily against his cock through his underwear.

He shouldn’t be doing this, not when he was so tired and had his ex-stepbrother’s words echoing in his mind, but he brought his hand up to his lips anyway to lick across his palm. Jimin tugged his sweats and his boxer briefs down at the same time, letting their waistbands dig into the plush swell of his thighs.

"You’re amazing."

Jimin hurriedly gripped himself. His cock was flushed and wet where the head peeked out through his fist.

The memory of Namjoon’s words combined with the intense, white-hot sensation of his hand around his erection made Jimin’s eyelids flutter and his thigh muscles tense. He tightened his grip, then glanced down at himself and stared at where he was leaking up across his stomach muscles.

He teased his slit with the side of his thumb, pressing in while the rest of his fingers worked his precum down his length.

He tried to keep quiet, but he was too tired to keep his jaw clenched shut, and as Jimin’s mouth fell open, he heard himself release little whimpers and gasps synchronized with the stroke of his hand.

In the back of his mind, he wondered about the acoustics between his bedroom and Namjoon’s. If Namjoon was asleep or if he was awake and could hear his desperate noises. If Namjoon was sneaking a hand down his own sweatpants, spurred on by Jimin’s desperation to chase his own release.

Namjoon, who was overly conscientious and condescending and straight.

What would he think if he knew Jimin was replaying his words for spank bank material?

Would he think Jimin was pathetic, a desperate virgin with a need for attention, or would he look at the lines of Jimin’s body and see possibility?

If he walked in on Jimin right now, would he laugh or be disgusted or would he sit and watch the show?

"Incredible."

Jimin restlessly kicked his pants and underwear all the way off, freeing himself to spread his legs shamelessly as he sped his hand up. He was too tired to hold himself back or try to keep his thoughts together.

He couldn’t help picturing Namjoon’s eyes on him, flashing behind gold-rimmed glasses, and plump lips parted in amazement.

He felt frenzied, wanting to put on a show for his imaginary audience. Jimin pressed his left hand against his left thigh, pulling his leg further out to the side and putting himself on display. His fingers dug into the fat of this thigh and he let his mouth fall completely open, tongue licking at his lower lip.

The Namjoon he saw in his mind’s eye was sitting at the foot of his bed, staring at Jimin in possessive awe. He imagined the need in Namjoon’s eyes, hands clenched with the urge to pull Jimin into his lap.

Jimin let himself sink into the fantasy and pictured how Namjoon’s hands would look pulling Jimin’s tan legs apart. He’d let Namjoon pin his thighs to the bed and look his fill. Namjoon would compliment Jimin and call his cock pretty. He’d run his fingertips over Jimin’s lips reverently and follow their path with his tongue.

Jimin squirmed back against his pillows. The admiration in Namjoon’s eyes earlier that night had been delicious, but the thought of Namjoon looking at him with raw, naked hunger was downright intoxicating.

He wanted to be pawed at and admired, a beautiful thing to be handled with adoration. In his fantasy, Jimin played the roles of both a tease and a toy, beckoning Namjoon closer with a pout and then pushing him back with a foot to his shoulder, slapping him lightly on the cheek when Namjoon’s whines got too loud.

His gasps took on a rough, rhythmic pace, throat catching on breaths torn harshly from his lungs, as he tugged on his cock faster and arched his back as if he was being watched and manhandled into the bedsheet.

"We all know Jimin’s beautiful."

He came with a long, broken moan, back arched off the bed, spilling over his hand and stomach. He blearily reached to his side table to grab a tissue and cleaned himself off.

Then he collapsed back on the bed, heart still pounding and brain half-heartedly trying to process the fact that he had just come hard to the thought of his ex-stepbrother watching and touching him.

It was simultaneously shameful – he felt an ice-cold curl of embarrassment wrap tight around his spine – and so achingly arousing to think that Namjoon slept just thirty feet away, would emerge blinking and sleep-rumpled in the morning, would be in the house morning and night for Jimin to covet.

Jimin fell asleep imagining how differently the night would have gone with Namjoon’s hands on his hips.

Chapter Text

The drive from Los Angeles to Santa Monica Beach never felt shorter than when Jimin was passenger-side in Taehyung’s Jeep, speakers blasting SOPHIE, wind whipping through his faded baby pink hair.

“Seriously, I can’t believe those bitches denied you,” Taehyung shouted to him over the music as they peeled down the highway.

Jimin pouted at Taehyung. He had hoped the reason for their impromptu beach escape – his recent denial from a college dance conservatory in New York City – would remain unremarked upon until they actually got to the beach and Jimin could bury his toes in the sand and his face in a magazine. He rubbed over his thigh where it spread into ample plushness below the hem of his short swimming trunks.

Soon, Jimin was sure, he would get accepted into another, more prestigious program and he would be tan and happy and this particular dance conservatory could kiss his fat, perfectly-trained, snow-cone-fed ass. But until then, rage and spite prickled under his skin and made his cheeks flush in annoyance.

He huffed. “Thanks for reminding me. But it’s still just November? I’ll have plenty of other options after the winter showcase.”

He had had a similar conversation with Namjoon in the kitchen that morning, after his ex-stepbrother had seen him tossing the torn-up rejection letter into the trash in a huff.

”You should seriously recycle that,” Namjoon said, wandering into the kitchen in some loose grey sweat shorts and a Greenpeace shirt.

Jimin took a deep breath and glared up at him. He tried to come up with a dry-but-witty insult to leave Namjoon slinking out of the kitchen with his tail between his legs, but his mind was a dizzying downward spiral of stress and rejection all compounding and multiplying.

He settled for smacking Namjoon in the chest as hard as he could.

It made him feel better, especially when Namjoon yelped “Ow, my tiddy!” and pouted at Jimin mournfully while massaging his wounded pec.

“That paper doesn’t deserve to be recycled,” Jimin hissed. “It’s a rejection letter from a college. Now my whole morning is fucked because I’m going to have to call them and argue my case, and this all could’ve been avoided if they had just accepted me in the first place.”

Namjoon’s eyebrows crinkled. Ugh. Jimin didn’t need his well-intentioned pity. “I don’t think… you can do that? I think that a college rejection is pretty much final. I’m really sorry, Jimin.”

“No, I know, but I just need to talk to someone in the Admissions office, make sure they saw my submission video.” Jimin squared his shoulders, feeling more confident already.

Sure, it was annoying that they had fucked up his acceptance, but if he just explained to them how talented he was, how hard he worked, it would all be sorted out.

“Jimin…” Namjoon hesitated, then reached out to squeeze Jimin’s forearm. “I’m really sorry. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you feel better.”

Jimin stood silently in the kitchen, feeling despair gather and take shape into a heavy stone in the pit of his stomach, then turned on his heel and left, Taehyung on speed dial already.

Jimin stared out at the passing scenery in a way that he hoped made him look like a martyr.

He really didn’t want to think about Namjoon right now. It felt like he thought about Namjoon all the time.

After that night after the warehouse party at the end of September, when, without even the excuse of alcohol, Jimin had one of the best orgasms in his life to the thought of Namjoon’s hands and mouth all over him, he had tried to build a semblance of distance between himself and his ex-stepbrother.

It was easy enough at school, with the distraction of college applications and classes and dance practice. But once Jimin stepped foot through his front door, every cell in his body felt attuned to Namjoon’s presence.

During the first week after his Namjoon-inspired jerk sesh, when the shame and embarrassment were still coagulating in his mind, he would flee whenever he turned a corner and saw Namjoon kicking back on the sofa or rummaging through the snack cabinet. The worst moments were when he opened the door to their shared bathroom and encountered a sleepy Namjoon brushing his hair or a wet post-shower Namjoon dripping in just a towel. He’d retreat to his bedroom and lose himself in Instagram instead, determinedly ignoring how much his palms would sweat at the sight of Namjoon’s soft tummy.

But then he realized how ridiculous it was to hide in his own home from a big-mouthed, Foucault-reading dweeb when he was Jimin fucking Park, bad bitch.

He forced himself to stop hiding from Namjoon and he started trying to treat him like a member of the household. His dad was usually gone on work trips almost half the week, and he and Namjoon were often left to their own devices for dinner and transport. He made himself push past the discomfort to sit with Namjoon on the couch and roast his choice of entertainment, which was usually the nightly news and sometimes was as bad as C-SPAN, which Jimin had always assumed was the Spanish-language version of CBS.

The worst moments were when Namjoon would somehow make an actually funny joke and Jimin would find himself flung half into Namjoon’s lap with the force of his laughter. He’d always pull back immediately, cheeks pink and tongue sharp with a playful insult.

Jimin still couldn’t masturbate in his bedroom without flashing back to his fantasy of Namjoon touching him reverently. The thoughts were pervasive and showed no signs of stopping; instead, his dream-Namjoon seemed to only get sweeter, softer, whispering gorgeous compliments and nipping down Jimin’s neck.

How had he gotten dickmatized by someone he hadn’t even kissed?

Jimin shook his worries free of his head and turned to look at the backseat where Jungkook was perched in what was now his usual spot, Taehyung’s pomeranian Yeontan tucked into his arms. The past two months of driving him to and from school on a near-daily basis had Jimin feeling lovingly protective over their little bisexual baby, and he aww-ed at the cute sight.

Jungkook met his eye and bounced a little with excitement. “Thanks for driving, Tae! I’m so excited to go to my first beach!”

“Aww, we’re excited we could bring you, baby,” Taehyung stuck his tongue out at Jungkook in the mirror. “It might be a little chilly to swim, but it’s never too cold to lay out.”

“Oh my god, I forgot to tell you guys,” Jungkook started, eyes huge, “I saw Mr. Min and Mr. Kim talking to each other in the Starbucks down the street from school yesterday. Saw them kissing.”

“WHAT?” Jimin shrieked. “DETAILS?”

“Mr. Kim had an iced coffee with whip and Mr. Min had this giant thirty ounce hot thing–”

‘NO, ABOUT THE KISS!” Taehyung yelled, reaching back behind his seat to slap at Jungkook’s knee while they sailed over a pothole.

“Oh! Well, they were talking in line, and they kept laughing a whole bunch. And then after they picked up their drinks, Mr. Kim like, pouted and tapped his lip? And Mr. Min rolled his eyes but stood on his tippy-toes to kiss him.”

“BITCH, WE DID THAT!!!!!” Jimin bellowed as they skidded into a beachside parking lot. “It took two months of weekly snack deliveries and sneaking some weird flirty notes in their faculty mailboxes but we DID IT!”

The walk over the dunes towards the shore was full of excited chatter planning Mr. Min and Mr. Kim’s potential wedding – Taehyung was determined to not only score invites but to catch the bouquet – and Jimin let his muscles relax for the first time that day as his feet slipped over soft sand.

They spread out their towels, Jimin’s tropical pattern next to Taehyung’s Birth of Venus print next to Jungkook’s Naruto print. Taehyung tossed a ball for Yeontan, Jimin cracked his first sparkling water of the day, and Jungkook played in the surf, wrinkling his nose at how cold the water was but still going back for more.

Jimin had just entered a state of blissful nirvana, Megan Thee Stallion on repeat in his AirPods, when he glanced up and saw Hoseok headed towards them, wearing a wetsuit and holding a surfboard under his arm.

Absolutely not.

“Oh my god, Jimin,” he heard Taehyung whisper. “Oh my god, he surfs. Oh my god, I’m sorry, but that is so fucking hot.”

He whipped his head to glare at Taehyung.

The last thing Jimin wanted today was to be reminded of Hoseok, who had the freedom to skip class whenever he wanted, knowing he already had a fantastic job lined up for post-graduation.

Jimin deserved his little slice of utopia on the sand, with no Hoseoks or college rejections to interfere with his happiness. Maybe he should build a moat.

“Hobiiiii, hiiiiiiii,” called Taehyung, sitting up straight and waving.

Hoseok grinned and slicked his wet hair off his forehead as he jogged over. “Hi, guys! Saw you took Jungkookie for a beach day!”

Taehyung smiled sunny and bright. “Our son has been doing very well in school, so we wanted to reward him.”

Hoseok nodded seriously. “Amazing that you’re both teenage parents and still manage to find the time and resources to treat your kid to a special day out. Truly an inspiration.”

Jimin rolled his eyes, secure behind his sunglasses.

Hoseok dropped his surfboard in the sand and then knelt to run his hands through Yeontan’s fur. Yeontan flopped over immediately, the little traitor, and Hoseok rubbed his belly.

“Hi, Jimin,” Hoseok called loudly, as if Jimin hadn’t paused his music specifically to eavesdrop on their conversation. “Can I join you guys?”

Jimin removed one AirPod and held it an inch from his ear. “I mean, it’s a public beach.” He immediately put it back into his ear.

Taehyung glared at Jimin, then rotated back to Hoseok, whose smile had finally dimmed a bit.

“I didn’t know you surf, Hobi,” Taehyung cooed.

“Oh, yeah. It’s nice to work different muscles from dancing. And it’s such an amazing rush of endorphins, it’s like, a natural high.”

“Ooh, I want to learn. Can you show me how?” Taehyung grinned slow and lazy up at Hoseok, who shot him finger guns.

Jimin, who was now feeling so unjustly ignored and looked-over he might as well be Tinashe, turned up the volume on his music in the hopes of drowning out their inane flirting.

It helped, but it didn’t block out the visuals of Hoseok showing Taehyung the finer points of balancing on a surfboard, holding him by the waist and giggling into his shoulder.

Taehyung was deploying his tactical flirtation strike maneuvers, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth and wiggling aggressively. He fake-struggled to balance on the very solid, very much immobile sand.

Jimin wasn’t sure if anyone had ever angstily tanned before, but he was willing to give it a shot.

---

Jimin’s pissy mood had lasted long enough that Taehyung had taken pity on him and thrown together a “little sloppy Saturday get-together” that night with some members of the dance team and some of his art student friends.

Taehyung’s parents had always been a little more permissive than the norm, which Jimin suspected contributed to Taehyung’s ability to float through life secure in himself, his sexuality, and his outfits, which often trended towards slutty great aunt.

Jimin wandered through the halls of the Kim house sipping on his second heavy vodka, light cran. Upon his arrival to the party, he had marched into the house and headed straight for the bar, skipping over Tae’s fruity punch creation in favor of something that would get him fucked up fast.

As he wandered, Jimin fiddled with the hem of his sweater, a delicate pink thing dusted with tiny feathers at the hemlines. It was one of his more kitschy pieces but it never failed to make him smile because of how soft and pretty it made him feel. He needed a burst of confidence tonight.

Normally, he’d be squarely in his comfort zone sipping a mixed drink in Taehyung’s house while wearing a cute outfit. But he still felt off from the rejection letter that morning, and he kept seeing the pity splashed over Namjoon’s face whenever he closed his eyes.

He wandered further from the kitchen and the buzz of the party and headed up the stairs towards Taehyung’s room. He hadn’t seen his friend in a while; Taehyung had danced with him for an hour, then squeezed his ass affectionately before saying he’d be back later and vanishing into the crowd.

Taehyung had a tendency to disappear mysteriously into the recesses of his house during a party only to reappear with some delightful new alcoholic treat or an outfit change. He was like a more fun, fuckable Willy Wonka.

Jimin, usually happy to dominate the dance floor or pour a round of Peppermint Patty shots, was feeling a little lost without his best friend.

He hesitated outside of Taehyung’s bedroom door, but when he heard Drake faintly playing through the wood, he pushed his way inside, expecting to see Taehyung flipping through his closet.

The sight that greeted him was. Not ideal.

Taehyung was inside his bedroom, no doubt about it, but so was Hoseok, and judging by his movement underneath the blanket, he was also inside Taehyung, whose eyes were closed, head tossed back onto his pile of pillows.

Hoseok looked up and made eye contact with Jimin.

“Oh my god,” Hoseok said.

“Oh my god,” Taehyung moaned.

“Oh my GOD!” Jimin yelled.

He turned and slammed the door behind him, stomping back down the stairs and chugging his vodka-cran on the way. He pushed aside some art student in a beret to get to the bar and poured himself a drink that was about 4/5ths vodka, 1/5th grenadine. Then he threw some ice in, because he was a fucking mixologist if he wanted to be. And then he started chugging.

“Jimin?”

Jimin looked up from his masterpiece of a drink to see Jungkook, looking worried.

“JK!” Jimin smiled, feeling manic. He reached out and grabbed Jungkook’s shoulder, then frowned and readjusted his grip when Jungkook winced. Had he squeezed too hard? His perception of his entire body felt off right now, like his muscles were going to tense and snap his own bones in half.

“I’m sorry you had to see this, JK,” he leaned in conspiratorially, tapping the index finger of his drink hand against Jungkook’s nose. Jungkook flinched when some drops of Jimin’s vodka-gren spattered across his face. “But your father and I are in a fight right now.”

“You’re fighting with Tae? Why?”

“We’re not fighting,” Jimin heard Taehyung say tersely from behind him. He turned to see his best friend standing with his arms crossed, a ridiculous lacy floral robe covering his chest and thighs.

“I don’t know, Tae,” Jimin spat. He took another gulp of his drink, which was going down smoother and smoother. He could totally be a bartender. “I kinda think we’re fighting. I can’t believe you betrayed me like this. Deception! Disgrace!

Taehyung’s normally wide eyes narrowed and he took several steps towards Jimin, arms reaching out like he wanted a hug before he tucked them back against his chest.

“I don’t know what’s worse, Jimin. That you’re making a big fucking deal about this or that you’re actually surprised.”

“Of course I’m surprised! Hello? I got rejected from college this morning? Tonight was supposed to be about me and you’re spending the night with him?”

“Jimin, I spent at least six hours with you today – can you just chill and accept that I’m into Hobi?”

“Looked like Hobi was into you,” Jimin muttered drunkenly before he could snap his mouth back shut. Jungkook’s head whipped on a swivel back and forth between the two of them.

“Okay, and so what? The dick is good!”

Jimin rolled his eyes. “And how many guys have you said that about? Because I’ve kinda lost count.”

He heard Jungkook emit a low ”whoa” next to him. Taehyung’s expression morphed from confusion to hurt.

“Really? You’re mad because, what? I like to have sex?”

“I’m just saying,” Jimin began with a sloppy wave of his hand, “Standards would be a good look on you.”

Taehyung set his jaw. “I’m not sure if your problem is with me or with Hobi. But you should leave Hobi out of whatever bullshit this is. He’s a sweet guy. He listens.”

Jimin gasped up at Taehyung, mortally offended. “I listen, duh! You’re my best friend!”

Jimin had seen Taehyung’s eyes glistening with tears at many theatre showcases. He knew what it looked like when Taehyung was actually crying versus when he was lost in a role. Knowing that the fat tears threatening to bubble over onto Taehyung’s cheeks were real didn’t, in fact, make Jimin feel any better.

“No, you don’t listen, because you’re not even listening to yourself right now. Are you self-aware at all? I’m pretty sure you just called me a slut like five seconds ago. And you definitely don’t listen to me because almost all we talk about is you, your ex-stepbrother, your hair. You, you, you, you. You’re like, clinically unable to accept that there might be an entire fucking world outside of you and your stupid perfect ass,” Taehyung said.

Jimin gaped.

“Of course I like Hobi,” Taehyung continued. “I don’t have to worry about upsetting him or babysit his emotions all the time. He’s just chill. And I’m sorry that you didn’t get what you wanted for the first time in your life, that really sucks, but don’t you dare accuse me of being a bad friend.”

Taehyung turned on his heel with a swish of his robe and started up the stairs. Then he paused, three stairs up, and stared imperiously down at Jimin.

“I wouldn’t even eat your ass right now,” he declared with the stately grace of a king, then swept away.

Jimin stared up at where his best friend had stood. Next to him, Jungkook shifted uncomfortably.

After another fortifying gulp of his drink, Jimin turned to Jungkook, fully expecting to see his friend looking sympathetic and sweet.

Instead, he saw Jungkook with a jaw clenched. “You should… You should apologize. You’re being a dick.”

Jimin rolled his eyes and waved his hand dismissively as he sipped some more of his red, syrupy concoction. Jungkook didn’t know what he was talking about. He was 16. As Jungkook’s wise elder, 18-year-old Jimin would enlighten him.

“Let the grown-ups handle this, JK,” he slurred, face feeling hot.

“Don’t treat me like a baby,” Jungkook snapped. “You’re a drunk mess right now. You’re freaking out ‘cuz, what, Tae fucked Hobi? Who cares? Why do you hate Hobi so much?”

“You don’t know anything about it,” Jimin hissed. “Shut up. You were a closet case until, like, two seconds ago, and I don’t need some inexperienced little brat telling me how to handle my *hic* shit.”

Jimin was expecting Jungkook to fawn, realize the error of his ways, apologize for ever doubting Jimin’s infinite wisdom. But instead, Jungkook laughed – laughed – at him after a moment of surprised silence.

“If I’m inexperienced, what does that make you? You’re a virgin who can’t drive.”

Jungkook shook his head and walked away, leaving Jimin standing alone, flustered and nauseous.

He swayed a little on his socked feet. Jimin hadn’t wanted to go home this badly since the fateful day that he’d discovered his favorite mall had closed their Topman.

Normally, after a party at Taehyung’s house, Jimin would sleep over and they’d snuggle up under Taehyung’s soft bedding, giggling drunkenly.

Obviously, that wasn’t happening tonight.

He grimaced as he felt a wetness on his cheeks, wondering if he had spilled some of his drink onto himself, but when he wiped his face with his hand and pulled it away he only saw clear liquid.

Hmm. He hadn’t given himself permission to cry.

The sharp, piercing shame of crying just because a sophomore called him a virgin prickled down the back of Jimin’s neck, and the next thing he knew, he was full-on sobbing. He wiped his arm angrily down his face, only succeeding in smearing tears down his lips and chin.

He had to escape.

Jimin let his feet take him to the foyer, where he put his shoes back on, and out the front door to the immaculate lawn. Following his body’s instincts had worked out well so far, and he was definitely too drunk to think through his next actions, so he let his hands figure out what they’d do next. Their next plan of action turned out to be pulling Jimin’s phone out of his pocket, thumbing to his contacts, and calling Namjoon.

“Wha–Hello? Jimin?” Namjoon answered the phone, sounding out of breath.

“Jooooon,” he whined, sniffling audibly into the phone. “Can you come pick me up?”

Now?

“Please? I know it’s late, but,” Jimin let a tremulous quiver enter his voice to make it clear he was crying. “My Uber passenger rating is too low. Please. I’m at Taehyung’s and I need to come home right now.”

“Okay, I–” Namjoon sighed. Jimin heard him mumble something in the background. Was he talking to someone? “Sure, I’m coming now. Are you safe?”

“Yes, I’m safe, yes, yes, thank you, Joon!”

He pouted where he sat on the curb, knees pressed together and arms crossed over his tummy. His head ached from the alcohol and the yelling, and he just wanted to be tucked in bed with a face mask on and his wave machine projecting onto his ceiling.

His sweater was moulting a bit and he frowned, gathering the tiny fallen feathers into a neat little pile on the sidewalk by where he sat. It looked like a little, stupid contemporary art piece. Namjoon would probably think it was daring and deep.

Ugh. Namjoon.

Who was he talking to so late? Dad was out of town. Jimin assumed that when he was out late, Namjoon mostly just worked on homework or watched TV. He didn’t usually have friends over.

Jimin checked his front-facing camera. There wasn’t much light on the street but there was enough to see that his eyelids were puffy from crying and his nose was red. Great.

He glanced up when he saw headlights flash up the street and heard a car horn over the buzz of noise from the party in Taehyung’s house.

Namjoon pulled up, and Jimin was halfway into the backseat when he realized that the other front seat was occupied by a young woman in a ponytail and a UCLA sweatshirt.

“Um, Jimin, this is April, I’m just gonna drop her at her house first, ‘kay?”

“Okay,” Jimin said quietly, just glad to be leaving Taehyung’s house no matter what.

He stared at April from the backseat. She looked confused.

“This is your brother?” she asked Namjoon. He nodded. Jimin leaned his head back and closed his eyes because the car suddenly felt like it was doing donuts. He concentrated on his breathing and keeping his stomach settled.

They reached a block of tall apartment buildings. Namjoon pulled up and left Jimin in the car with the hazards on while he walked April to her building’s front door, where he gave her a hug. She whispered something in his ear, gave Jimin another quick curious look, then turned and walked inside.

Namjoon slowly ambled back to the car and when he sat in the driver’s seat, he sighed.

He turned towards the backseat and said with a tired smile, “Well, come on, get in the front seat. I’m not your chauffeur.”

“Right,” Jimin cleared his throat. “Sorry.” He focused with all his might and managed to drag himself out of the backseat and into the seat next to Namjoon, who put the car into drive and pulled away.

They drove in silence through La Brea. Jimin almost wished Namjoon would put on his shitty rock music.

When they stopped at a red light, Namjoon reached out and touched Jimin’s forearm, rubbing the sweater between his fingertips. Jimin stared up at him and let himself get a little lost in the way the streetlights made Namjoon’s skin glow. He shivered, wanting to lean into human touch after a night of yelling and tears.

“Does your sweater have feathers on it? That’s not great. You should try to shop more cruelty-free.”

“Sorry,” Jimin said in a very small voice. “I guess I can’t do anything right.”

Namjoon glanced at Jimin and his features softened. “Hey, no, c’mon. It looks nice on you.”

Jimin scoffed. “Please don’t compliment me to make me feel better. I’m not a complete idiot.”

“Of course you’re not!”

Jimin glared at him, then let the combative energy drain from his body. He leaned his head against the window. “I’m sorry I cockblocked you.”

The laugh Namjoon let out was loud and genuinely surprised. “It’s okay. She got to finish, at least.”

He stuck his tongue out at Jimin, as if the nature of his words wasn’t already abundantly clear.

Jimin recoiled, heaving a giant inhale that was clogged with tears and snot. He prayed Namjoon wouldn’t comment on it. “Ew, Joon!”

“Not ew! Sex is beautiful!”

The lights passing by the moving car bathed Namjoon’s face in an ever-shifting glowing prism. He was smiling again, big and wide and earnest.

Jimin wanted to smile back. Namjoon’s smiles were frustratingly contagious. But Jimin was still feeling tired and rubbed raw on the inside. The fight with Taehyung and Jungkook clung heavy and stifling on his shoulders like the time he wore his faux fur coat to Coachella.

He was feeling small and young and immature. The car ride with Namjoon and his hookup had left Jimin brutally reminded of his status as a virgin.

“I wouldn’t know, I guess,” Jimin murmured bitterly as they pulled into their driveway. “According to JK, I’m just a virgin who can’t drive. So.”

Namjoon’s gaze darted off the pavement to Jimin. The smile fell slowly off his face and he reached out, patting Jimin awkwardly on the shoulder.

“Let’s go inside, huh?” Namjoon asked.

They picked their way quietly through the living room to the kitchen. Jimin couldn’t resist peeking at the coffee table, looking for remnants of, what? Evidence that Namjoon had been eating April out half an hour ago?

The coffee table was spotless. Jimin made it to the kitchen counter, where he pressed his warm, puffy face against the marble countertop and thanked Lorde that he had made it to the kitchen without tripping.

Namjoon pressed a glass of ice water into his hands and Jimin was reminded of a night two months ago. He pulled the glass close to his chest and stared up at Namjoon.

“Virginity is a social construct,” Namjoon said abruptly, then blushed and bit his lip. “Um. If that helps.”

Jimin felt, inexplicably, a hysterical urge to laugh. He realized with a start that he was crying again. He was so, so in over his head.

“That’s easy for you to say,” he muttered. “Considering what you were doing tonight. You and JK can just go fuck each other and celebrate not being virgins together.”

He didn’t know why the image of Jungkook and Namjoon was the first thing his mind conjured, but he hated it, viscerally and completely. He gulped down his water to try to settle his writhing stomach.

It was Namjoon’s turn to say “ew.”

“He’s like, 12,” Namjoon said, wrinkling his nose.

Jimin turned away. If Namjoon thought Jungkook was a child, then he probably thought the same of Jimin. He felt so small and naive and inadequate, stupid for thinking he knew anything beyond the elegant lawns of his neighborhood. Namjoon was getting his master’s degree, had lived in New York City, probably brought college girls back to his house and fucked them whenever he wanted because he was a handsome and sensitive man and Jimin was just a dumb high school boy.

He wondered, with a clench of his guts, how many times Namjoon had made a girl come just thirty feet from where Jimin slept.

He looked down to see Namjoon refilling his already-drained water glass and holding out a bag of kkokkalcorn from the pantry. Jimin sniffled and took the bag, holding it protectively over his stomach.

“Let’s watch a shitty movie, okay?” Namjoon asked gently.

Jimin nodded and followed him to the couch, tucking his legs up and burrowing under a blanket. Namjoon put on some Netflix original movie and promptly started critiquing the shit out of it.

“Shut up,” Jimin whined without any heat behind it, knocking his head onto Namjoon’s chest. “Just let me enjoy this right now. We can have your dumb discourse later.”

Namjoon glanced down at him, said “okay,” and softly pressed Jimin’s head back against his chest.

They stayed like that for the rest of the movie, Jimin curled up against Namjoon’s side and chest, Namjoon’s big palm pressed against the back of his neck.

As the credits rolled, Jimin looked up to see Namjoon asleep, glasses tilted adorably and hair askew. His plush lips were gently parted and Jimin could see where they were pink on the inside. He looked kissable and sweet and deeply, disgustingly heterosexual.

Fuck.

---

On Monday, Taehyung didn’t pick up Jimin for school, and Jimin didn’t text him to ask if he would. In fact, they didn’t communicate at all.

Namjoon drove him to school and he took the bus back in the afternoons, scurrying out of the dance studio just after practice ended to catch it. If he happened to leave before Taehyung could arrive to pick up Jungkook for their ride home, then that was just an added perk.

They were heading into preparations for their winter showcase, and normally Jimin would be a tightened coil of nerves, ready to spring loose at any second. But he was so caught up in missing his best friends and hating himself for wanting his ex-stepbrother that he barely noticed the pressure creeping in as the days passed.

His evenings felt empty without a constant onslaught of memes and gossip in his groupchat with Taehyung and Jungkook. To make things worse, Namjoon was heading into end-of-semester finals and mostly stayed locked up in his room, rarely emerging to join Jimin in front of the TV.

It was on one such empty evening that Jimin found himself reaching for Wuthering Heights, and he soon made it a part of his daily routine. He liked the smug little thrill he got from being able to actually answer Mr. Min’s questions in class. In general, he was happier to sit down to his homework because it was a distraction from how lonely he felt and it took his mind off of college and conservatory applications.

As Jimin let himself loosen the reins a bit on himself, he started noticing Hoseok becoming more and more tightly wound during dance practice. His forehead would crease whenever the dancers weren’t quite in sync and his corrections would come faster and harsher.

After the third practice in a row during which Hoseok stopped rehearsal entirely to drill the rhythm with a dancer, and after two weeks of radio silence from Jungkook and Taehyung, Jimin stayed late after rehearsal, dawdling while he packed up his bag and drained his water bottle.

When Taehyung came in to pick up Jungkook for the ride home, Jimin didn’t cross the room towards them, but he did give them a wave goodbye. Taehyung stared at him, then waved back on his way out the door.

It felt like progress, in the most infinitesimal way.

Jimin noticed that Hoseok seemed to be moving equally slowly, until the entire dance team had filtered out of the room apart from them.

He squared his shoulders, then walked over to Hoseok and handed him what he had packed that morning: a self-care kit he had put together. The end product was a little bag stuffed with face masks, hand cream, scented candles, and an edible that he’d wheedled Namjoon into buying from a dispensary.

It had started when Jimin noticed Hoseok massaging his temples, and thought who doesn’t have a jade roller? Then at the mall that past weekend, he’d wandered into Lush and let an overeager saleswoman douse him in products. He’d ended up with way more than he actually needed, so. It wasn’t that crazy to give some of them to Hoseok.

The sooner Hoseok cheered up, the better things would be at dance practice. Jimin was such a good co-captain.

“You’ve been really uptight lately, so. Here. I thought this might help. Maybe you’ll stop snapping at everybody now.”

Hoseok blinked and looked down at the frilly pastel products in his hands. He looked confused and wary, eyes darting up at Jimin and then back down at the bag.

“Thank you?”

Jimin exhaled, a tiny scoff. “I mean, you’re my co-captain. You can’t be stressed before the winter showcase.”

Hoseok put the bag down and faced Jimin at his full height, hands on his hips. He stared expectantly at Jimin.

Jimin stared back.

Hoseok said, “You know, you can just do something nice for me without immediately undermining it. You don’t have to remind me that you hate me 24/7. I get it.”

“No, I don’t hate you,” Jimin immediately reassured him, and found with a surprise that he wasn’t lying. “I don’t.”

“Bro, you roll your eyes every time I talk,” Hoseok said exasperatedly.

Jimin hadn’t done that, had he? Surely not every time?

“Oh,” he said, pouting. “That’s kinda rude?”

Hoseok nodded. “It is. I’ve always been nice to you.”

Jimin ran his hands through his hair. This conversation wasn’t quite going how he thought it would. “No, you have. I know. I’m sorry. It’s just, Tae’s never gonna talk to me again–”

“One time Tae started telling me a joke of yours while he was literally inside me. He loves you. Yeah, you fucked up, and it’s on you to fix it, but your friendship isn’t over. Don’t be so dramatic.”

“...What joke was it?”

Hoseok just snorted. “Are you really asking me that?”

“Um. No, I’m not. I’m sorry. For real. I should’ve been nicer to you. That wasn’t… fair. Of me.”

Hoseok smiled. “Was that so hard?”

Yes. Yes, it was. Jimin bit his tongue for one of the first times in his life.

Hoseok picked up the bag. “Thanks again, Jiminie.” He started heading towards the door, but Jimin stopped him with an incredibly embarrassing squawking noise.

“Wait! Um, you said I need to fix it with Tae, but… How?”

Hoseok turned and kept walking backwards. “Dude, I’m not gonna tell you how to make up with your bestie. You guys are co-dependent as fuck and he needs you to acknowledge that he’s his own person sometimes. You figure it out.”

He walked out the door with a wave. Jimin stood in the dance studio and stared in the mirror, looking for answers in his reflection.

---

The next morning, Jimin expected to see Namjoon waiting for him in the kitchen, car keys dangling and face puckered in annoyance for being kept waiting while Jimin fixed his hair a third time.

Instead, he saw his father, sipping from a mug of coffee and reading a newspaper like he was some kind of generic American sitcom dad. He glanced up when he heard Jimin enter the kitchen.

“I’ll take you to school today. My first meeting of the day was canceled.”

Jimin nodded, a little confused. He and his dad didn’t have a bad relationship, but it wasn’t a close one, either. His dad hadn’t driven him to school since Taehyung had gotten his license last year. He tugged up the waist of his jeans a little self-consciously to cover up the stripe of belly at his waist that his sweatshirt didn’t cover. His dad usually didn’t comment on Jimin’s clothing on the rare occasions he saw Jimin before school, but Jimin still felt a little too visible and obvious whenever he wore something flamboyant.

His dad was quiet at the beginning of the drive, but after the first five minutes he said to Jimin, “Taehyung hasn’t been driving you.”

Jimin shook his head.

Mr. Park said, “You’re unhappy. Because of college, or because of Taehyung?”

“Um,” Jimin bit his lip. Sometimes he didn’t know how to talk to his dad. He could whine at him or beg him for an increased allowance all day, but when it came to expressing actual feelings, sometimes his throat would freeze up.

Also, he didn’t know how to tell his dad that he had a big, stupid, gay crush on his dad’s ex-stepson.

“Some of it is that, I guess. I’m trying to focus on the winter showcase so I stopped focusing on the rejection. And Taehyung is… I’m working on it.”

“And the rest of it?”

Jimin glanced at his dad. “The rest of it?”

Mr. Park gestured exasperatedly. “The rest of it. You said ‘some of it’ is college and Taehyung. What’s the rest of it?”

Jimin stared, a bit taken aback. The last time he’d shared an ~Emotion~ with his dad was when he’d been distraught to discover his favorite La Mer face cream made him break out.

He weighed his need to complain versus his hesitancy to disclose anything related to his sexuality. As always, his need to complain outsold.

“There’s… someone who I like, a lot. And they don’t like me back. I think they think I’m kind of stupid and naive.” He said, frowning a little.

His dad tsk-ed. “Obviously this boy is a complete moron.”

Jimin jolted, wide-eyed. “Um…”

What was he supposed to say? His dad wasn’t giving him any visual cues that indicated whether this was a trap or not.

Jimin fiddled with the sleeves of his sweater. He had already gone too long without saying anything, and he felt like all his ribs were locking together in an icy grip, suffocating his lungs and tightening his spine.

He realized that he hadn’t even known how tense and scared this topic made him until his dad addressed it. This simply wasn’t a conversation he had thought he was going to have anytime soon, at least not until he met and seduced Shawn Mendes and had to invite his dad to their wedding.

He deliberately did not think about what the worst-case scenario would be in this situation. Jimin knew that his silence in response to his dad was telling, but he wasn’t sure what his response should be.

Mr. Park tapped the steering wheel. “He thinks my son is stupid? He’s a moron.”

“No,” Jimin hesitated, then swallowed back the slimy feeling that was crawling up his throat. “He’s really, really smart.”

“Hmm.” Mr. Park snorted. “Sounds like an idiot if he doesn’t appreciate you. My son is not going to date an idiot.”

“Dad!” Jimin laughed in a weird, tight exhale. He should feel ecstatic, finally able to relax after an adolescence spent figuring out himself and his sexuality without telling his parents. Instead he just felt adrift and shaky, dropped into a situation that it hadn’t occurred to him to prepare for.

Jimin searched for any disgust or disappointment on his dad’s face, but there was none - just mild interest.

His dad glanced over at Jimin, face still calm. “Is the idiot Korean, at least?”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Jimin received a text.

From: Tae bae bae
picking u up @ 7:30, be ready bitch

He almost screamed in delight as he rolled out of bed. He wasn’t sure what he had done to deserve this, but he’d take anything that brought his best friend back into his life.

He pulled on his tightest jeans, because they were Taehyung’s favorite, and grabbed a sweater, barely able to focus on his hair.

Jimin skittered down the stairs to the kitchen, surprising a very drowsy-eyed Namjoon who looked like he was about to fall asleep into his tea. Often, on days Namjoon didn’t have class until the afternoon, he would wear his pajamas in the car while driving Jimin to school, and it looked like today was no exception. Namjoon was tucked cozily into charcoal sweatpants, a crew-neck sweatshirt, and a beanie.

He looked so cute that Jimin wanted to drain the pool in their backyard and then jump in it. He’d be a splatted mess but at least he’d be safe from Namjoon’s sweater paws.

“Morning, Joonie,” he said sunnily, popping open the fridge for some juice.

Namjoon opened one eye. “Hmm?”

“You can go back to sleep. Tae is gonna drive me today.”

Namjoon nodded slowly, sipping his tea as his brain processed the information at a glacial pace. Normally he was a little out of it in the mornings, but today he was downright unmoored from the fabric of reality.

“Rough night?”

“Final papers,” Namjoon grunted. “Finished at 4 am.”

“Aww, baby,” Jimin cooed, then immediately winced at the slip-up. He wasn’t exactly trying to get in the habit of giving pet names to his ex-stepbrother. He’d have to call Namjoon a breeder later to even it out. “Thank you for getting up to drive me.”

Mercifully, Namjoon didn’t seem to notice, since he was still trapped in a daze. He got up and shuffled towards the kitchen door. “Gonna go back to bed now. Glad things with Tae ‘re better. ‘Night, Minie.”

“Goodnight, Joonie,” Jimin said softly.

He missed Namjoon a little while he waited for Taehyung to pick him up, which seemed strange considering they had only been driving together for a handful of weeks. He liked it, though – liked teasing Namjoon, liked obnoxiously singing along to the radio with him. Loved when Namjoon would tell him every morning to have a great day, smile heart-achingly genuine.

Still, he was going out of his mind with excitement when he saw Taehyung’s yellow Jeep screech around the corner. God, he had forgotten what a beautiful pedestrian hazard Taehyung was. His favorite little vehicular WMD.

For once, Taehyung wasn’t blasting music when he pulled up, and his mood was a little more muted than usual. He smiled at Jimin, though his eyes were hidden behind shades.

“Let’s talk over coffee?” he asked, and Jimin nodded vigorously.

Taehyung had picked him up with plenty of time to spare before school started, so they leisurely drove to a little neighborhood coffee shop near school and sat perched in big cozy armchairs, guzzling down their iced lattes.

Taehyung steepled his fingers like an anime villain and leaned forward, staring at Jimin, seemingly waiting for something.

Jimin didn’t really do things without thinking them through at least seven times first, but he still didn’t have much of a plan for this conversation besides just winging it. He nudged the rest of his scone over onto Taehyung’s side of the table, then said, “I missed you.”

Taehyung frowned, fiddling with his hair. “I missed you too.”

“I’m sorry. I know I should’ve reached out, but I figured you needed space.”

Taehyung made a deep bzzzt sound.

“Try again without giving an excuse, Jiminie.”

Jimin huffed and bit his latte straw. “I’m sorry for not reaching out. I should have. I should have apologized immediately.”

“Ding.”

Jimin glared at Taehyung. “Are you playing an improv game with me right now?”

“Ding. You’re historically bad at apologies. We both know this. I’m just making sure I get what I’m owed. How would you have apologized?”

“I would have said, um, sorry for getting so drunk–”

“Bzzzt.”

“Fuck, sorry for saying those things.”

“Ding, what things?” Taehyung settled deeper into his chair. His expression was shuttered and not even a little bit smug.

“I’m sorry for, like, slutshaming you. And I’m sorry for what I said about Hoseok.”

“Ding. Why are you sorry?”

“Really?” Jimin asked exasperatedly.

“Bzzzt. Yes, really.”

Okay, now there was a hint of smugness playing on Taehyung’s face.

“I’m sorry because you were mad at me? Wait, no. Don’t bzzzt. I know that’s wrong. Um, shit, uh,” Jimin stared at Taehyung, who was offering no answers. “I’m sorry because I hurt you.”

“Ding!”

“And I’m sorry for always making things about me. That wasn’t fair of me. And I know I need to apologize to Hoseok better. I was a dick to him. I think… I know that it’s hard for me to give up control and to think of people outside of their relationships with me. And you’re… Tae, fuck, you’re such an individual and I’m so reliant on you that when you did something I didn’t expect, I panicked. That wasn’t cool.”

Taehyung reached out and grabbed Jimin’s hand, interlacing their fingers. “Ding, ding, ding. I love you, Jimin, and I know you like to set high standards for yourself. That’s your right. But it’s not okay when those standards mean you hurt other people, got it? And it’s especially not okay when they hurt me, because I’m more important than other people, as we all know.”

Jimin nodded. “What I said was wrong, and being drunk doesn’t excuse it. I love that you’re so comfortable with yourself and your sexuality. I was being a bitch, and I understand if you can’t forgive me for it.”

“I think we both know I would’ve eventually forgiven you regardless. But thank you for acknowledging you were wrong.”

Jimin smiled. “I should have reached out first, too. And I still need to give Hoseok a better apology. Maybe I could spend some time with both of you together? I really did miss you so much.”

“That sounds fun! I missed you too,” Taehyung whined, dropping his bad cop persona and pouting. “Hobi has such a skinny ass, it’s not comforting to hold the way yours is.”

“Oh, I see now,” Jimin laughed as they grabbed their bags and headed back to the car to drive to school. “You’re only friends with me for my body.”

“Ding!” chirped Taehyung, pulling back onto the road. “Do you know how much it sucked having Tannie as a best friend? He can’t dance like you.”

Now that Jimin had the jolt of both a coffee and a heart-to-heart in his system, he was fully awake to experience the true high-octane terror of Taehyung’s driving. They careened through quiet neighborhoods, taking the back streets to extend their time together a little bit longer.

As their school building peeked into view, and with just minutes to spare before classes started, Jimin glanced over at Taehyung. “I still need to apologize to JK, too. I’m so glad we made up – I’d hate to have to lose him to you in the divorce.”

He expected Taehyung to laugh, but instead his best friend’s face turned pale.

“Oh fuck,” he whispered. “We forgot to pick up JK.”

“Oh nooooo,” Jimin gasped, which turned into a scream as Taehyung floored it into an abrupt U-turn, skidding back down the route they came. “We’re absentee parents! We’re gonna lose custody!”

---

Jimin gathered his books into his arms, happy that English class was finally over. He was still giddy from his 60 miles-per-hour ride to school with Taehyung and Jungkook that morning, in which he and Jungkook had yelled apologies to each other over the symphony of car horns and Taehyung’s panicked yelps.

He had tried to listen to Mr. Min’s lecture but his attention kept dragging back to the warm glow in his chest.

He had missed his friends so much. He was already looking forward to the drive home from school.

As he walked towards the classroom door, he was stopped by Mr. Min calling out his name.

“Come here for a second, Jimin.”

Jimin turned to face his ever-impassive teacher, feeling annoyed. Couldn’t Mr. Min cut him some slack just this once?

Oh, shit.

Had Jimin forgotten to turn something in? A ready-made excuse sprang to his lips, used to years of lying to his teachers.

“Mr. Min, I’m so sorry, I’ll have it for you next class, the dance showcase is next week so I’ve been really behind on everything–”

“You haven’t missed an assignment.” The corner of Mr. Min’s lip quirked up. “Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’m turning back everyone’s midterm papers tomorrow and you got one of the highest grades in the class. The quality of your work has really improved over the past month, and I just wanted to say that I notice you putting in the extra effort on Wuthering Heights.”

“Oh.” Jimin blinked. His grades in English had noticeably improved recently.

The plan to get Mr. Kim and Mr. Min to fall in love so they’d give him better grades had… worked?

“I know Cathy and Heathcliff aren’t exactly the most compelling characters, so I really appreciate how hard you’ve been working to understand and interrogate the text.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jimin said, grinning cockily. “I think all characters are more compelling when they’re in love, don’t you?”

Mr. Min laughed, not unkindly. “Speaking of love, I just wanted to say that while my boyfriend of three years and I have loved getting those free snacks from you and your friends, it’s really not necessary for your grades. You got that A on your own merits, not by bribing me and Jin.”

“Oh,” said Jimin once more, feeling like both the stupidest and the smartest person alive. “So this whole time…”

Mr. Min looked rather pleased with himself. “Again, you should be really proud of the work you put into that essay. I’m going to expect that caliber of work from now on. I think you’re going to enjoy Emma when we read it next semester.”

Jimin nodded blankly and turned to go. At least Taehyung would probably score invites to their wedding sooner rather than later.

---

That afternoon, after Jimin recounted his conversation with Mr. Min on the car ride home and they dropped Jungkook off at home, Taehyung joined Jimin at his house, wanting to catch up further on the news they had missed over their weeks apart.

Taehyung tugged Jimin through the living room by the hand. Jimin abstractly noticed Namjoon’s books and laptop scattered over the couch and coffee table, meaning he was home, but stayed focused on Taehyung, delighted to have his best friend back where he belonged.

Jimin pulled out snacks and tossed some to Taehyung, then poured two glasses of kombucha. They toasted and Taehyung pulled him into a hug, humming happily as his hands landed on Jimin’s ass.

“I missed this ass,” he murmured into the top of Jimin’s head.

Jimin laughed and wriggled out of Taehyung’s arms. “God, I can’t stand you. What would Hobi think of this?”

Taehyung just stared at him, a cute little smile playing on his lips.

“What?” Jimin asked defensively. “Did I say it in a bitchy way?”

“No,” Taehyung grinned. “You’ve just never called him ‘Hobi’ in a way that wasn’t mocking before.”

Jimin pouted. “Shut up.”

“It’s cute when you say it. Cute Hobi, cute Jiminie.”

Jimin rolled his eyes, but his cheeks were flushed pink and happy. “And how are things with cute Hobi?”

“Oh my god, Jimin,” Taehyung raised his hand to his chest like a salute to the flag. “He’s the best. He has a hammock in his bedroom. He blew me in a hammock! He’s something else.” He sighed happily.

“Why is this so perfectly on brand?”

“This weekend we’re gonna hotbox my closet and I was like, this is such a statement, you know, because we’ll be… in my closet… but we’re not, like, closeted. You know? He’s amazing.”

“Wait,” Jimin said, suddenly reminded. “I hate to talk about me for just one second–”

“You don’t, but okay.”

Jimin stuck his tongue out at Taehyung. “I don’t, you’re right, but this is big. I kind of… came out to my dad?”

He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but he suddenly found himself squirming in the air, held aloft by a yelling Taehyung.

“WHAT? Baby, I am so proud of you! How did it go?”

“It was… It was good, I think. He’s actually the one who brought it up.”

He recounted the entire conversation to Taehyung in intense detail. When Taehyung asked if he was complaining to his dad about who Taehyung thought he was complaining about, Jimin just pursed his lips like a coy little bitch and shrugged.

“God, this is great, Jimin,” Taehyung clapped. He smushed Jimin’s cheeks together. “I can’t believe we broke up for a few weeks and you did all this amazing shit! You learned how to read finally, you came out to your dad… Now you just need to let Joon deflower you and you’ll be all set!”

“Yeah, I just need to– Taehyung! What the fuck?”

Taehyung laughed delightedly like a mad emperor, drunk off power. “Look at the time! I’m Audi, baby. See you tomorrow morning.” He poked Jimin’s nose lovingly then let himself out the kitchen backdoor, traipsing happily through the garden to his car in the driveway. Jimin watched him through the big kitchen windows, grinning to himself. Taehyung was such an uncontrollable ball of sunshine.

He turned back to the kitchen and jumped when he saw Namjoon standing in the kitchen doorway looking distraught.

“Oh my god, Joon–” he started, the pit of his stomach opening like a trapdoor and sending all of his terror flooding out in an ice-cold wave. Namjoon looked so unhappy, so upset at the mere concept of them being intimate together.

Suddenly, Jimin was a stupid child with a crush all over again, and Namjoon was realizing what a sick freak he was for having a crush on his older, straight ex-stepbrother. He felt the blood drain from his face and he clenched his hands in his sleeves, horrified.

“What did he say?”

“Um, nothing, he just–”

“Why did he say that?” Namjoon asked urgently. His lower lip twisted in revulsion and he rocked back onto the balls of his feet.

“God, shit, it was just a joke, I’m sorry!” Jimin wailed. He covered his face with his hands. This was 100% the most humiliating thing that had ever happened to him, which was saying something considering his horse phase in middle school.

He peeked through his fingers and wanted to throw up at what he saw. It was worse than pity. Namjoon’s face was ashen and he was looking at Jimin like was – like he was a bomb about to explode.

“Why would he joke about that with you?” Namjoon asked, deep voice rumbling low in his chest. He had pulled his arms tight around his midsection, containing himself. Probably holding himself back from calling Jimin’s dad and telling him laughingly that his son was a pervert. Jimin wanted to peel every layer of his skin off until he was just a little ball of nothingness, so he could disappear forever and escape Namjoon’s pity.

“Um,” Jimin bit his lip, feeling like a frantic mouse caught in a trap, knowing he had no way out. “Please don’t make me say it.”

“No, you’re right. I’m so sorry. Oh my god, I’m such a scumbag,” Namjoon shook his head vigorously.

Huh?

“Huh?”

“I understand if you’re not, you know, comfortable around me. I promise, I’d never do anything–”

“Wait,” Jimin said loudly, very confused now in addition to being dizzyingly embarrassed. “Why do you think Tae said… what he said?”

Namjoon winced. Jimin took a deep breath and tried to think of a way out of the situation that would keep his dignity relatively unscathed.

“Namjoon,” Jimin said slowly, eyes trained on him. “Tae said that because he… thinks that I have a crush on you. That’s why he made that joke.”

The corner of Namjoon’s mouth twitched, and he looked a little less nauseous. He emitted a slow exhale, shoulders sloping downwards. “Oh.”

“Yeah,” Jimin said firmly. He felt exhausted but unfinished, like he had a mile left of a marathon. “That’s all the joke was. Me having a crush on you.” He bit his bottom lip and and tried to ignore how his heart sank, dripping and weak, past his ribs.

“Is there – a reason he thinks that?”

Jimin kept his mouth pressed tightly shut. He glowered at Namjoon. At this point, he just wanted the conversation over with, and he was resenting the fact that Namjoon couldn’t either just change the subject or reject him efficiently.

“No, no, of course not,” Namjoon said with a sheepish, broken laugh, running his hand through his hair. “That would just be stupid.”

Jimin stiffened, cheek twitching in offense. Sure, it was a hopeless crush, but there was no need for Namjoon to be mean about it. “Why would that be stupid?”

“To insinuate that someone like you would be interested in me. It’s stupid.”

Jimin drew himself up to his full height because, as naive and young as he was, he still had great hair and a thick ass and he wasn’t quite in the mood to be insulted by someone who wore Chacos semi-regularly.

“What does that mean, Joonie?” He asked, tone dripping with saccharine venom. He stalked slightly closer to his ex-stepbrother, wanting Namjoon to look him in the eyes if he was going to talk shit.

“You’re, you know, gorgeous and driven and funny. You know exactly what you want. And you deserve someone as wonderful as you are. That was so rude of him.” Namjoon was steadily stepping closer too, chest expanding a little underneath his t-shirt with his exhales. Jimin gaped up at him.

“What?”

“You’re you. You’re Jimin. First of all, your sex life is entirely up to you and it’s no one else’s business, so he shouldn’t talk about you getting ‘deflowered.’ Second of all, in what fucking world would we be an even match?”

Jimin stared up at Namjoon and felt a blister of annoyance start to grow over where his terror had rubbed him raw. How fucking dare Namjoon? How fucking dare he put Jimin through an emotional rollercoaster only to say such nice things about Jimin with his stupid, full mouth if he had absolutely no intention of following through?

Jimin marched towards Namjoon, hands on his hips. “See? This is why I fucking hate straight boys.”

Namjoon tilted his head to the side and leaned his hip up against the counter. This close, their height difference was even more pronounced, and Jimin narrowed his eyes and glared up at Namjoon, who was looking less frightened and more amused.

“Why’s that?” Namjoon asked, smiling.

“Why talk to me like that if you don’t mean it?” Jimin snapped. He wanted to keep his mouth shut, but he had reached his boiling point.

“Don’t mean it?” Namjoon asked. His voice had gone all deep and rumbly again. Jimin was sure he could feel it echo in his ribs.

Jimin spluttered.

“Yeah, like, don’t call me gorgeous or whatever if you’re not gonna kiss me, what the fu–”

Namjoon laughed, leaned down, and kissed Jimin full on the mouth.

Jimin stood frozen for half a second, mouth still hanging open from bitching Namjoon out. Then he closed his eyes tight and sealed his lips over Namjoon’s full bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth, before pressing closer into Namjoon’s space. Namjoon hummed and wrapped a forearm around Jimin’s waist to pull him flush against his broad chest.

Jimin shivered the tiniest bit and wrapped himself even closer around Namjoon, reveling in all the skin he could finally touch.

He ran his left hand up the curve of Namjoon’s bicep, fingers biting in tight, and used his right hand to direct Namjoon’s jaw exactly where he wanted it until their heads were tilting, tongues slipping into each other’s mouths and licking closer together.

A low noise echoed from deep in Namjoon’s chest and Jimin felt like he could taste it.

Namjoon grabbed Jimin’s hips and gently pushed him back against the kitchen island until the marble bit into his ass, keeping their lips connected the whole time.

Jimin squirmed, feeling deliriously like his skin was four sizes too small. It was so much all at once: the surprise of it all, the slick drag of Namjoon’s tongue against his, the steady warmth where Namjoon was pressed against him from chest to thigh. He pulled back half an inch to gasp and Namjoon immediately took his cheek in one big, soft palm.

As Jimin breathed steadily, eyes still closed, Namjoon leaned closer and bit the corner of his lower lip gently, then licked over where his lips were parted. The gentle, barely-there press of Namjoon’s tongue on his lips had Jimin feeling light-headed.

He slowly opened his eyes and looked up to see Namjoon, flushed very pink, smiling down at him.

“Wow,” Jimin exhaled, and then, just to wipe the sudden smirk off of Namjoon’s face: “so are all college boys really good kissers?”

Namjoon smiled small but dimpled big, leaning in to press a quick kiss to Jimin’s cheekbone. “Nope, that’s just me. Take my word for it. Don’t kiss any other college boys, please.”

---

It turned out that living with your ex-stepbrother-turned-love-interest had some upsides and it had some downsides.

Back when he was still aspirationally jerking off to thoughts of Namjoon, Jimin had sort of pictured it a little like the Playboy Mansion. He’d waltz into his bedroom and find Namjoon sprawled across his bed, naked except for an open copy of The Feminine Mystique artfully covering his crotch.

The reality of living with Namjoon just had so much talking.

After they kissed for the first time in the kitchen, Namjoon had taken his hand and pulled him to the sofa, where Jimin had fully expected to be ravished beyond comprehension but instead had to tell Namjoon what his fucking intentions were.

Namjoon was very, very earnest about the whole thing, all wide eyes and active listening and nodding head. Every time he made eye contact with Jimin and said something like “I want to be intentional about this,” or “respecting boundaries,” Jimin had to restrain himself from either laughing out loud or saying “mood.”

Each time he tried to worm his way into Namjoon’s lap for more kisses, Namjoon would lovingly (and that was the worst part, really, how gentle he was) push him back and ask if he was sure he was interested, if he had fully thought through the challenges of them dating while living under the same roof and not telling Jimin’s dad.

He thought Namjoon was finally done with the interrogation when they kissed again softly in the corridor outside their bedrooms that night, but then five minutes later Jimin heard a gentle knock on the bathroom door and Namjoon sheepishly came in asking if Jimin would prefer he use a different bathroom to give Jimin privacy.

The third time they made out, Jimin pulled back from kissing Namjoon into the guest bedroom pillows to ask, “Wait, does this mean I can’t make fun of you for being straight anymore?”

Namjoon groaned and let his hands flop back onto the comforter. This meant that his hands let go of Jimin’s thighs, where they had been clinging, and Jimin realized that he played himself.

Namjoon pouted up at him. “Okay, to be fair, though, did I ever actually say I was straight?”

Jimin sat back on Namjoon’s thighs and let his hands rest on Namjoon’s stomach. He cocked an eyebrow down at Namjoon, who crossed his hands over his chest.

“Ugh, fine. I just… This is going to sound so stupid, but it just never occurred to me that what I was feeling meant I was into guys? I was just so into being an ally that I thought that was why I liked queer media so much. And if I thought a guy was hot, I wouldn’t examine that further, because I thought it just meant I was like… free of toxic masculinity or whatever.”

Jimin draped himself down over Namjoon’s chest, propping his chin up on an elbow that dug straight into Namjoon’s ribcage. He giggled as Namjoon squirmed half-heartedly. “Let me guess, you watched gay porn because you’re an ally, too?”

“No, but…” Namjoon flushed the brightest shade of red from his ears to his neck. “Um. When you and Taehyung were kissing in the hot tub at your back-to-school party. I might have um, watched you. And I was like, hey, these two gorgeous guys are making out in the hot tub, wouldn’t it be homophobic not to think that’s hot?”

“Oh my god,” groaned Jimin. “You’re so DUMB. I can’t believe you’re gonna deflower me.”

Namjoon squealed in surprise and squirmed out from under Jimin, letting him fall gently onto the bed. “I mean, that’s not– deflowering isn’t even real, virginity is fake and made up and sexist– I’m not just with you because I want to take your virginity– I mean, thank you for expressing your sexual needs, but–”

Jimin cackled, stretching his limbs out on the bed. He watched Namjoon blush even harder at the sight of Jimin’s shorts riding up his thighs.

“I just,” Namjoon paused, trying to gather himself together. His cheeks stayed hot pink. “I like you so much. And I don’t want you to feel obligated to go further because of some societal standard, or because of something someone said to you about being a virgin. Your sex life is your decision, and I respect you.”

Jimin grinned, feeling a bit like a spider with the fattest, juiciest, cutest fly trapped in its web. “Do you think you can respect me while rearranging my guts? Because I think you should at least try.”

Being banned from Namjoon’s room for a week was worth it to see Namjoon look simultaneously horrified and reluctantly turned on.

---

Between Namjoon’s finals (it turned out getting a Master’s degree was actually hard, which stunned Jimin) and Jimin’s preparations for his winter dance showcase, the two of them barely found time together besides a few hurried kisses each night.

Namjoon had insisted he wanted to take Jimin on a real, actual date, which Jimin had reluctantly agreed to, picturing himself sitting bored through a slam poetry performance as Namjoon snapped along vigorously.

Still, they made a plan to spend the day together, and looking forward to it helped ease the anxiety bubbling in Jimin’s belly over the dance showcase.

There were enough bougie, high-strung, well-connected parents associated with his high school that the college counselors worked overtime to ensure that most students ended up at prestigious universities.

This meant that admissions officers from some California schools would be in attendance at the dance showcase, which was great for Jimin’s odds of getting into college and terrible for Jimin’s already-concerning caffeine habit.

Taehyung had been rubbing his back and pouting at him all week as Jimin had gotten progressively more and more stressed and terrified for their performance. He and Hoseok kept making grim eye contact, nodding to each other like comrades-in-arms preparing to go to war.

Somehow, even though the days leading up to the showcase felt interminable, the day of the performance passed in a snap. One second Jimin was staring into his bathroom mirror, applying BB cream like battle armor, and the next he was panting triumphantly onstage, taking his final bow and dripping sweat through his silky top and dance tights.

Time only seemed to shudder back into a normal rhythm when he and Hoseok were strutting out of the dressing room together, still in their heavy stage makeup and arms around each other’s shoulders, congratulating each other on a perfect performance.

Taehyung spotted them first from where he was chatting animatedly with Jimin’s father, and he let out a delighted squeal before throwing himself between them, holding them tight.

“My babies! My amazing babies! Invented talent!” he crowed.

Jimin laughed and let himself marinate in Taehyung’s praises. He knew his cheeks were threatening to eclipse his eyes, he was smiling so hard, but he didn’t mind. He was feeling capable, and strong, and like his hard work and perfectionism had paid off in the most rewarding way.

He peeked at Namjoon from over Taehyung’s shoulder. Namjoon and Jimin’s dad were standing together, both looking sweetly amused at how Taehyung was now affectionately manhandling Jimin and Hoseok, but when Jimin met Namjoon’s eyes he saw hunger reflected there.

Jimin broke free of Taehyung’s embrace and left Taehyung and Hoseok to their conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Jung. As he approached Namjoon and his dad, Mr. Park’s smile grew broader and he pulled his arm from behind his back to reveal a bouquet of vibrant flowers.

“Dad,” gasped Jimin, grinning up at him and then burying his face into his dad’s chest for a hug.

“I am so proud of you,” Mr. Park said softly. Then he pulled back and jerked his head towards where Jungkook was talking to his parents a few paces away. “Is that the boy? He looks stupid.”

“Oh my god, Dad, no,” Jimin groaned. He turned to Namjoon and let himself be pulled into a tight hug.

“You were amazing,” Namjoon whispered into his ear. “Holy shit, Jimin.”

“Really?” Jimin asked, biting his lower lip.

Namjoon rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you know you were incredible.”

Jimin spent the entirety of the drive home staring at the back of Namjoon’s head where he sat in the front seat.

There had been a lot of highlights of that night. The bouquet, seeing Jungkook cry with happiness as his parents cooed over him, even getting to chat with a couple of admissions officers who had told him they loved his performance. But what his mind kept returning to was the embers burning in Namjoon’s gaze as he locked eyes with Jimin after the performance.

He wanted Namjoon to look at him like that again, preferably while they were both naked and dicks were involved. Any time they traded kisses, no matter how slow and indulgent they were, Namjoon never made a move to grind up against Jimin or pull his clothes off.

Even when Jimin was in Namjoon’s lap, softly moaning while Namjoon sucked on his bottom lip, Namjoon didn’t even grab his ass. Not even once.

Jimin’s dad headed up to bed almost immediately after they got home, and Jimin turned to Namjoon with what he hoped was the kind of smile that made his intentions to get dicked down abundantly clear.

Namjoon smiled back, a little softer, and patted the spot of couch next to him. “C’mere.”

Jimin knee-walked across the couch to press himself up against Namjoon’s side. Namjoon wrapped his hand around the back of Jimin’s neck and leaned down, brushing a light little kiss onto Jimin’s top lip. “You did such a good job tonight,” he breathed.

Jimin couldn’t help his huge smile that caused Namjoon’s next kiss to land on his teeth. He laughed quietly and then licked Namjoon’s bottom lip, sucking it briefly into his mouth. “Yeah?” he asked.

“So, so talented, Jimin, oh my god,” Namjoon groaned into Jimin’s mouth. “Your solo? I almost died.”

Jimin purred, wanting to tackle Namjoon to the floor and shamelessly writhe on top of him. “I’m glad you liked it, baby,” he said, running his hand down Namjoon’s chest and hooking his fingers in Namjoon’s waistband where it clung to his hips.

Namjoon grabbed Jimin’s hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing each knuckle. “Seriously, you were incredible. I bet you’re exhausted, so I’m gonna let you rest, but I just wanted to tell you how good a job you did.” He left a last kiss on Jimin’s mouth, quick and final like a period at the end of a sentence, and walked upstairs towards his bedroom.

Jimin spent approximately three seconds bathing dazedly in Namjoon’s praise before he realized he had been left high and dry right when he was in the middle of seducing Namjoon. He had to stop letting Namjoon’s compliments take his mind offline like that.

Logically, he knew Namjoon thought he was attractive. He had said all those sweet things to Jimin, and always wanted to earnestly kiss him when they had the house to themselves in the mornings and evenings.

But then why was he leaving Jimin’s dick on read?

Jimin huffed and marched upstairs, pushing Namjoon’s bedroom door open without knocking first. The room was empty but the sound of the sink running in the bathroom told him Namjoon would be back soon, ready to be tackled to the bed.

As he tucked himself under Namjoon’s blanket, Jimin tugged his shirt down so it artfully fell off of one shoulder.

Namjoon walked back into the room, wearing sweats with a toothbrush still in his mouth, and stared.

“Ugm, hemlo,” he said thickly through a mouthful of toothpaste foam.

Jimin stretched his arms above his head and pouted at Namjoon. “Do you not want me, Joonie?”

Namjoon choked on his toothpaste and flailed his arms, then darted back into the bathroom. Jimin stayed frozen in his position, feeling very confused. He heard the sound of spitting, then a pink-eared Namjoon returned from the bathroom.

“Sorry, what?” he panted, eyes darting down Jimin’s chest and legs.

“Why haven’t you deflowered me already? Are you not attracted to me?” Jimin whined.

Namjoon choked again, this time on air, then sat down heavily at the foot of the bed.

“First of all, can you please stop using the word ‘deflowering?’ And second of all, are you kidding? Of course I’m attracted to you.”

“It doesn’t seem like it,” Jimin said. He glared pointedly at where Namjoon was carefully sitting at least a foot away from Jimin’s calves.

“Jimin, the first time I saw you wearing leggings, I jerked off to that memory for like two weeks straight. Do you realize I felt like such a fucking creep masturbating to my 18-year-old ex-stepbrother? I’ve been picturing what it would be like to kiss you all semester and beating myself up over it. I just… I already felt like a pervert and I didn’t want you to think that was all I wanted from you. And I wanted you to make sure you knew what you were getting into.”

Jimin rolled his eyes. “It’s not like you’ve had gay sex either, so I’m not sure why you’re acting you’re this all-knowing prophet of anal.”

Namjoon snorted. “That’s not what I meant. Obviously you understand the mechanics of sex. I just meant…” he looked down at his lap. “I just meant that I wanted you to be sure about me. That’s why I wanted to take you on a date. You could have anyone you wanted, especially someone who’s actually your age,” he grimaced.

“Obviously I could have anyone I wanted,” snapped Jimin. “I’ve seen me. But I want you, and I want you to deflower me.”

Namjoon sighed in defeat. “Okay, how about this: after we go on a date, if you’re sure I’m what you want, I will agree to deflower you only if you agree that the concept of deflowering itself is fundamentally flawed and arbitrary, and you also agree to never say the word ‘deflower’ again.”

Jimin grinned, delighted. “You gonna fuck me, you big stupid nerd?”

“You’re banned from my room again,” groaned Namjoon.

Chapter Text

“Did you find it yet?” Taehyung called through Jimin’s closed bathroom door.

“Um, hang on,” Jimin squirmed, rotating his fingers inside of himself as he stood under the running showerhead. It was impossible to get a good angle. His foot kept slipping down whenever he tried to prop it up against the wall, and if he bent over then his fingers couldn’t reach far enough behind himself.

“It should be, like, up and then back!” Taehyung yelled unhelpfully.

Jimin groaned as he tried a new angle and still felt nothing other than the bizarre pressure of his two fingers inside of himself, slick with lube and stretching him out. Taehyung had sworn that finding his prostate would be worth the hassle, but Jimin was starting to lose patience.

“Well, if it’s in there, then I can’t reach it!” Jimin snapped, slapping his other palm against the shower wall in annoyance.

“I can come in and help, if you want! My fingers are longer!”

“Oh my god, Tae, no, thanks, I’m good,” Jimin called. Maybe he should try more fingers?

“I’m gonna try a third finger,” Jimin shouted over the spray of the shower, thankful that he and Taehyung had the house to themselves that day.

“I believe in you, Jiminie! Boldly go where no man has gone before!”

Jimin slipped his fingers out of himself and glared down at them. Why couldn’t he just find the little fucker and be done with it so that he and Taehyung could finish the new lighting scheme for his bedroom?

He squeezed another dollop of lube onto his fingers, three of them this time, and then decided to try a new tactic. He leaned his shoulders against the shower wall, jolting at the cold tile, and pulled his leg up with his other hand so that he was spread wide.

Slowly, Jimin pushed the tips of his pointer and middle fingers back inside himself, tensing a bit at how alien the stretch still felt. Then he teased his rim with the tip of his ring finger, rubbing lightly at the sides of his hole the way Taehyung had told him to do to help himself loosen up. He exhaled and pushed in, feeling himself stretch tight around the intrusion.

Jimin tossed his head back against the shower wall and let himself breathe for a second. It was such a strange feeling, but it wasn’t unpleasant. He felt like his skin was vibrating and he distractedly noticed that his chest was heaving. He liked the challenge of pushing himself to a new physical limit, always had, and filling himself this full was helping to satisfy that urge for him.

He bit his lip, enjoying the tense pull of his thigh muscles and the slick slide of his fingers within himself. His dick, which until now had hung limp between his legs, was starting to perk up in interest.

Jimin thought about how it would feel to have Namjoon pushing him against his bed and pressing deep inside of him, whispering how tight and beautiful he was.

He jerked against the wall suddenly and gasped as the tip of his middle finger hit – something – inside of him and his dick jumped to half-mast.

“Um, Tae?” Jimin yelled, voice quavering embarrassingly. “I think I found it.”

“Yes!” crowed Taehyung from the other side of the door. “I knew you would!”

“Fuck,” muttered Jimin as he gently eased his fingers toward that spot again and exerted a gentle pressure. His wrist twinged a little bit, but it was worth it for the deep almost-ache that was making his legs quiver and his cock spill pre-cum.

“Actually, um, can you go? Sorry, but I think I’m gonna… really be thorough about this.”

The voice that came from the other side of the door sounded obnoxiously smug. “Oh, of course, Jiminie. Gotta make sure everything’s in working order.” Taehyung laughed a little. “Just remember what I said about cleaning, alright? And have the most fun tonight! And send me an after-sex selfie! And if he doesn’t fuck you right just call me, okay? I’m your best friend and I’m like, contractually obligated to show you a good time!”

“Mmm, yeah, okay Tae, bye, l-love you!” Jimin shouted, foot trembling where he had pressed it against the shower wall.

“Love you too, Jimin!”

Jimin held his breath until he was sure Taehyung had left, then let out a high-pitched moan. His date tonight couldn’t come fast enough, but he sure could.

---

“Wow,” Namjoon said from his seat at the kitchen island when Jimin walked in. Jimin grinned and did a little twirl, tousling his hair (freshly bubblegum pink from a re-dye that afternoon) and popping his ass out slightly.

“You’re welcome,” Jimin said. He knew he looked good. The pink of his hair glowed nicely in contrast to his baby blue silk bomber jacket, and he had deliberately chosen a tight white tee and fitted light-wash jeans to give Namjoon a little amuse bouche of what was to come later that night.

“...You also look good,” Jimin said belatedly after an expectant look from Namjoon. He wasn’t lying. Namjoon’s deep blue henley clung deliciously to his shoulders and chest and his unfair legs looked long and lean in his dark wash jeans. The two of them kind of matched, in a disgustingly cute way.

“So, where are you dragging me?” Jimin asked, kissing Namjoon lightly on the lips then following him outside to the car. “Is there some, like, museum exhibit about medieval veganism or something?”

“No,” Namjoon’s eyes lit up. “But that sounds amazing! It’ll be a surprise.” He squeezed Jimin’s thigh gently as they buckled themselves in.

His hand stayed on Jimin’s thigh almost the entire duration of the drive, and Jimin couldn’t help himself from grinning.

They drove for about forty minutes outside the city to suburbia, where Namjoon pulled into a big parking lot full of cars unloading families and couples. Jimin craned his neck to see where they were and gasped when he saw a big lit-up sign proclaiming “Winter Wonderland.” Past the treeline he spotted the glow of neon lights and the tops of a Ferris wheel and a giant Christmas tree.

“Bitch!” he yelped, smacking Namjoon lightly on the arm. “Did you take me to a fucking fair?”

“Yes?” Namjoon said, getting out of the car. “I thought you might appreciate it for your Instagram. Is this okay?”

“Oh my god,” Jimin squirmed and threw himself into Namjoon’s arms, pressing a hard kiss onto his cheek. “This is perfect, ugh, you set the bar so high.”

“Are you sure?” teased Namjoon. “We could always go to a museum…”

“Shut up!” Jimin grabbed Namjoon by the hand and marched through the parking lot towards the ticket booth. The fair came into view in front of them, glittering and colorful and wonderful.

Everywhere Jimin looked, there was a fun new delight – a stand selling fried cookie dough, a huge lit-up display of a winter scene complete with fake snow, a merry-go-round spilling cheerful organ music into the surrounding crisp air.

He couldn’t help the big smile on his face as they rode a few rides and Namjoon tried unsuccessfully to win Jimin literally anything at the games station. Jimin kept his head on a swivel, soaking it all in and always looking for another diversion to drag Namjoon to.

Jimin turned back from watching a performer make balloon animals to see Namjoon walking over smugly, holding a giant cloud of pink cotton candy.

“Look,” Namjoon smirked, pointing at the confection. “It’s you.”

Jimin gasped and made grabby hands, grinning huge when Namjoon handed it over. He pulled out his phone and took several selfies of himself sticking out his tongue, making like he was about to eat the cotton candy.

“Do you know how to take pictures with your mouth closed?” Namjoon asked.

“Your negging won’t work, I know I look cute as hell,” Jimin snapped playfully, then handed his phone to Namjoon. “Make yourself useful, please, baby?”

Namjoon rolled his eyes but stood a few feet back, holding up the phone to capture Jimin’s bad bitch pose, hip cocked, with the glow of the rides surrounding him in the frame.

“Can you get lower?” Jimin pouted. “It’ll make my legs look longer.”

Namjoon crouched slightly.

“Lower,” Jimin said. He couldn’t help the serpentine smile that came over his face when Namjoon looked at him with deep suffering in his eyes and went down on his knees in the grass. “Perfect.”

The photos came out great, but Jimin was tied for a favorite between two candids: one where he was glaring at the camera before Namjoon kneeled, and one where he was smiling huge behind his hand. It had been snapped when a tweenage white girl had spotted Namjoon taking the photo and told him that the angle would be even better if he’d lie down. Namjoon’s resulting what-the-fuck face had caused Jimin to giggle delightedly.

He was going to post them both together on Insta with the caption “before and after you let him smash 😊”.

“Thank you, Joonie,” he grinned up at him. “You did a great job. You’re lucky I’m cute.”

Namjoon rolled his eyes but looped his arm around Jimin’s waist, pulling him in for a forehead kiss. It was somehow sweeter than the cotton candy was, and the cotton candy was delicious. They stood under the lights in a quiet part of the fair and split it, pulling puffs of sugary fluff into their mouths to melt into crunchy-sweet goodness. By the time they were finished, they both had bright pink mouths and tongues.

“Now I can’t hold your hand,” Namjoon pouted, looking down at his now-sticky fingers.

Jimin pulled one of Namjoon’s hands up to his lips and licked his pointer finger, sucking traces of cotton candy off the tip. He kept his eyes on Namjoon and felt a hot, pulsing something in his stomach at how Namjoon gasped and made heady eye contact.

“Jimin,” Namjoon muttered. “We’re in public.” Slowly, regretfully, he pulled his finger free of Jimin’s mouth.

“Oh no, people might hear me ask to suck your dick on the Ferris wheel,” Jimin replied.

“Jesus,” Namjoon laughed shakily. “Okay, let’s go home, since it sounds like you’re pretty sure.”

“Aw, there’s nothing else you wanna see?” Jimin asked with faux concern.

“Nope, nope, I’m good, let’s go,” Namjoon replied, hustling Jimin towards the parking lot with a hand on his lower back.

The car ride home felt short, and several times Jimin noticed the speedometer inching over the limit. The tension thankfully left Namjoon’s shoulders once Jimin got him to sing along (poorly) to the radio.

As they pulled into the driveway, Jimin saw Namjoon’s eyes flicker up to the house nervously. He squared his shoulders and turned in his seat to face Namjoon, putting a hand on his bicep. “Hey. Not to sound like, well, you, but it’s cool if you don’t wanna do this. I’m not only dating you so you’ll fuck me. If you wanna go in and cuddle and make me a frozen pizza, that’s okay too. I can be a low-maintenance date.”

Namjoon laughed, relaxing a bit. “We both know that’s a lie. And trust me, I’m extremely happy with our plans for tonight. It’s just, you know, a lot of pressure. Since you haven’t done this before. And you can be… vocal with your criticism.”

Jimin nuzzled in close and kissed up Namjoon’s cheek to his ear, pressing an extra smooch to his dimple on the way. “Fuck me good and I won’t criticize you,” he said sweetly into Namjoon’s ear.

“Shit, wow, okay, why didn’t I think of that?” Namjoon asked.

“I don’t know, it seemed pretty obvious to me,” Jimin called as he led them into the dark, empty house.

They kicked their shoes off, not even bothering to put them away neatly, and tripped their way through the living room without stopping to turn the lights on. Jimin muffled his giggles into Namjoon’s mouth when he stumbled over the carpet.

Namjoon made to go into his own bedroom at the top of the landing, but Jimin tugged him further down the hall to his room. He pushed open the door and stepped back so Namjoon could take in the new, neon-pink-and-blue lighting he and Taehyung had installed that morning by switching out the lightbulbs and draping a few of Taehyung’s many scarves over the lamps. The result was a room that felt sensual, aesthetic, and extremely bisexual.

“Amazing,” Namjoon laughed as he flopped backwards onto the bed. “When did you do this?”

“This morning with Tae,” Jimin said. He straddled Namjoon’s thighs and lovingly ran his thumb across Namjoon’s lower lip.

“Let me guess, Tae knows we’re gonna have sex tonight.”

“Oh, 100%. Honestly, he tried to convince me to let him stay and watch, but I thought you wouldn’t be into that.”

Namjoon chuckled fondly and rubbed his hand up Jimin’s back under his jacket. “Yeah, probably a good call. I’d rather practice a little more first so we can show him our best work.”

“Great,” Jimin gasped when Namjoon sat up and started kissing softly down his neck. “You know I’m a perfectionist about performing.”

Namjoon pushed the jacket off of Jimin’s shoulders, tossed it onto the bed, then bit his collarbone gently. He used Jimin’s belt loops to tug him a bit closer to his chest and grabbed Jimin’s ass in his big hands.

“Holy shit,” Namjoon gasped, looking like he had just heard the Equal Rights Amendment had been ratified in all fifty states.

“Right?” said Jimin. He wiggled his ass proudly into Namjoon’s palms.

Namjoon gripped him tighter, massaging his ass. “I don’t deserve you. I’m a little worm and you’re an angel on Earth.”

“Shhh,” whispered Jimin, tugging up the hem of Namjoon’s henley. “Save the dirty talk for later.”

Namjoon reluctantly let go of Jimin’s ass and let him yank the shirt up and off. He leaned back on his palms and looked away, seemingly a little flustered by Jimin’s appreciative gaze traveling down his soft tan chest and cute little brown nipples.

Jimin immediately covered Namjoon’s pecs with his hands, massaging the muscle there. He moved slowly, thoroughly; after thirsting over this boy for so long, he wanted to get every inch of him memorized visually and tactilely. Luxuriating in Namjoon’s warm skin, Jimin dragged his fingertips down over Namjoon’s nipples, grinning at the squirm he got in response, and playfully traced down his stomach to his waistband.

“Why are we focusing on me here?” Namjoon whined, still making determined eye contact with Jimin’s bedspread.

“Because you’re cute,” Jimin replied. He leaned down and kissed Namjoon’s soft stomach. “But it can be about me, if you want.”

Without any warning, he shoved Namjoon until his back hit the bed and then scooted up slightly so that he was straddling his hips. Jimin arched his back into a perfect, sinuous line and peeled his t-shirt up and off. Namjoon’s gaze on him, so full of affection and desire, made him want to show off for his boy.

“Do you want me to ride you like this?” Jimin asked. He swiveled his hips against Namjoon’s in a steady, slow rhythm so that Namjoon could get the full experience of Jimin’s glorious ass against his cock through their jeans.

“I – ah – I want you to do whatever you’re comfortable with,” Namjoon replied.

Jimin laughed a little at his flustered expression and pulled Namjoon’s hand up towards his mouth, sucking his thumb between his lips. He liked the firm press of the digit against his tongue, the way Namjoon’s hand curled around his jaw and held him in place, but what made his skin buzz was how Namjoon’s mouth fell open in an expression that could only be described as ‘agonized, but also horny.’

As he sucked on Namjoon’s thumb, pursing his lips and working his tongue, Jimin pulled Namjoon’s other hand to where he was hard in his jeans. The first press against him made Jimin whimper and close his eyes.

“God, let me just–” Namjoon said reverently. He reluctantly pulled his hands free and scooped Jimin up by the ass, depositing him on the bed; with steady, confident movements, he undid Jimin’s jeans and pulled them down the length of his thighs and off.

Jimin squirmed, feeling exposed in a delicious way. He tucked his hands behind his head, letting Namjoon stare down at where his cock was indenting against his powder blue briefs and run a finger down his length.

Luckily, Jimin had only wasted minimal time worrying about whether Namjoon would see a dick and suddenly panic back into heterosexuality.

Namjoon leaned forward and mouthed at the head of Jimin’s dick through his briefs, and Jimin had to bite his lower lip to hold back a whine at the sudden wet heat engulfing him. Then Namjoon sat back on his heels, scooted down, and just looked, gaze darting all over like he didn’t know where to kiss next.

Jimin was always happy to help out a cute boy in need of some direction. He spread his legs invitingly.

Namjoon, like the intelligent young man he was, followed his helpful directions and started kissing up Jimin’s thigh.

“You have great thighs,” Namjoon murmured from between them. He pulled Jimin’s inner left thigh taut with his stupid big hand and bit the resulting canvas that he had created, then tongued over the bite mark.

“They’re thick, right?” Jimin asked, squirming as his thighs started to tremble from sensitivity. He tugged at Namjoon’s hair lightly, then smoothed his bangs off his forehead.

Namjoon hummed. “Yup. They’re great.”

Jimin pushed Namjoon’s head away from his thighs and turned over, pulling down his briefs as he went. He pressed his chest and shoulders to the mattress, arched his back, and turned his head back over his shoulder to stare at Namjoon.

“What about my ass?” He asked.

The noise Namjoon made could only be characterized as a squawk. “It’s, uh. It’s good.”

“Just good?” Jimin pouted. He wiggled it invitingly. “Smack it a little. See if that helps.”

Namjoon choked on air and dug his fingers into Jimin’s asscheek, jiggling it before tapping it lightly with his palm. Jimin moaned encouragingly, feeling a bit like someone training their dog to do a trick.

“It’s, fuck, I mean, you know your ass is amazing, Jimin.”

”I know that. But I want to make sure you know that.”

Namjoon groaned. He leaned forward, covering Jimin’s back with his chest, and Jimin pressed back against him, reveling in all the warm skin-to-skin contact. “It’s not just your ass, though,” he started, kissing down Jimin’s shoulder blades to his spine. “It’s everything. You have the cutest little mouth, I always want to bite it whenever you’re pouting because you didn’t get your way. You’re so funny, like, all the time? You make me laugh when I least expect it and I love when you stick up for yourself. Your confidence is just…” he bit Jimin’s hip from behind, gently sucking the flesh until a bruise would surely form. “Everything about you is kind of ridiculously exquisite.”

“Um, please shut the fuck up,” Jimin said faintly.

“Is everything okay?” Namjoon turned Jimin onto his back again, alarmed.

“Yeah, just,” Jimin glared down at where his cock was leaking against his stomach. “If you keep complimenting me I’m gonna nut. So. Shut the fuck up. Bitch.”

“You can come now, if you want,” Namjoon said. He tugged lightly on Jimin’s dick, running his fingers up the shaft before fisting the head, and Jimin keened quietly into his fist.

“Nope. Wanna get fucked first. Gimme that dick.”

“Fair enough,” Namjoon huffed. He scooted back and took off his jeans, tossing them off the bed, before knee-walking in between Jimin’s thighs.

Hold up.

Jimin stared at Namjoon’s crotch where, sitting smugly in the fabric of his maroon boxer briefs, was the biggest cock he’d ever seen in real life. Granted, he hadn’t seen a lot, but this was still an absolutely irresponsible amount of dick.

“What the fuck is that?”

Namjoon blushed and moved as if to cover himself, then changed his mind and pulled the waistband of his underwear down and pulled his cock out. It looked a little bit more proportional in his big hand, but that was sort of like how buildings looked small when Godzilla stepped on them.

“It’s um. It’s my dick.”

“Wow.”

Namjoon covered his face with his other hand. “It’s not wow.”

“Nah, it is,” Jimin said decisively, leaning forward to poke it with one finger. The skin was flushed and soft where it met his fingertip. “Take off your underwear all the way. Show me what I’m dealing with.”

Namjoon pulled his boxer briefs down and Jimin appreciatively followed their journey down Namjoon’s gorgeous, honey-gold thighs.

He leaned in and pushed his boyfriend’s thighs apart until Namjoon hissed through his teeth at the stretch. Jimin gingerly reached out and cupped Namjoon’s balls, rolling the weight of them in his hand and running his fingers through the short dark hair there, then smoothed his hand up the length of Namjoon’s cock.

“If it’s too big, I can just go down on you or we’ll figure something else out, it’s really fine,” Namjoon said. “Seriously, it’s no trouble, I’m kind of used to that.”

His cheeks glowed a soft pink and Jimin wanted to bite them, so he did.

“Nope. I wanna lose my virginity tonight. And before you say anything, yes, I know virginity is a social construct – now do you want mine or not?”

“Fine,” Namjoon mumbled. He leaned back onto Jimin’s mound of pillows and Jimin crawled into his lap once more.

He could tell Namjoon was getting a little overwhelmed again, which was interesting considering Jimin had never felt more confident. Yes, he was technically out of his element, but what he was really doing was performing, and Jimin had always thrived in front of a captive audience.

Deciding to help Namjoon calm down a bit, Jimin leaned in, hands on the headboard, and kissed him thoroughly, bringing one hand up briefly to tug at Namjoon’s soft hair. Namjoon moaned into his mouth and let Jimin pull back just enough so that their tongues and hips were the only points of contact between them.

Jimin licked at Namjoon’s tongue and sucked it into his mouth at the same time that he rolled their dicks together for the first time. He felt like the living embodiment of the smiling devil emoji when Namjoon whimpered and grabbed Jimin’s hips on reflex, thrusting up against him.

When Jimin broke the kiss, Namjoon was panting and a strand of saliva hung between their mouths.

Preparing to do some mental math, Jimin leaned backwards a little bit and stared down at his boyfriend’s dick, then grabbed, grinning at how Namjoon shuddered in response.

He maneuvered Namjoon’s dick in his tight fist, angling it to get a full picture of how many square inches he’d be navigating. He narrowed his eyes skeptically and scooted up Namjoon’s thighs so that their pelvises were pressed together, then he held Namjoon’s dick up against his waist and stomach to try to visualize how deep he’d be taking dick.

Namjoon’s cock twitched against his hipbone.

Jimin glared down at him and slapped his dick lightly against his stomach in retaliation. Namjoon hissed and his thighs twitched, but he didn’t soften.

“Stop getting horny about this. I’m trying to do calculations,” Jimin grumbled.

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon whined. “It, ugh, it just looks so big in your hands, agh, I’m sorry, I’m so gross.”

“This is really absurd,” Jimin muttered, glancing down at where the tip of Namjoon’s dick aligned with his belly button. “Like, where will it all go?”

Namjoon covered his face with his hands, a bright pink blush peeking out between his fingers. “Please stop talking about how big it is,” he begged.

“God, you’re such a caveman,” Jimin said. “You’re not gonna just deflower me, you’re gonna ruin my whole garden.” He lightly flicked the tip of Namjoon’s dick, which had somehow gotten impossibly harder. “Can’t believe you’re gonna destroy me with this stupid thing.”

Namjoon emitted a tiny wail.

Jimin squared his shoulders and put his hands on his hips, using a power pose for confidence. “All right,” he said decisively. “This is gonna work.”

---

“This isn’t working,” Jimin said bitterly on his hands and knees as Namjoon slowly rotated three Super Sized fingers inside of him, soft breaths pillowing against Jimin’s shoulder.

Namjoon paused, pulling his fingers out until they just hit the first knuckle. Jimin squirmed. It wasn’t that the intrusion was unwelcome – far from it – it was just objectively too much. He felt his rim stretched tight around them and it was difficult to breathe, his ribcage constricting. He had to keep unlocking his thighs as they tensed up.

“This isn’t fair,” he whined. “I took three of my fingers fine earlier today. Yours are too big. Are you a mutant or something?”

“Sometimes people just have physical limits. There’s nothing wrong with that,” said Namjoon soothingly.

“I kind of – fuck – thought my asshole would work like Hermione’s bag in Harry Potter.”

Namjoon laughed as he kissed the back of Jimin’s neck and Jimin felt himself melt a little bit into the bed. Then, he pulled his ring finger out of Jimin and kept slowly massaging deep inside him with the other two fingers left inside. Jimin moaned, unused to stimulation so deep, and let his thighs relax, slowly rocking his hips backward to nudge Namjoon’s fingertips just the tiniest bit deeper.

Three fingers was pushing it, but two was delightful. Maybe he was ready for Namjoon to just dick him down already. He was about to tell his boyfriend so when he felt Namjoon’s ring finger tease at his rim again and he instinctively clenched his asshole hard.

“I’ll need to use four fingers first if you want me to fuck you,” Namjoon said matter-of-factly.

“WHAT,” Jimin yelped.

“Yeah,” Namjoon said with another kiss to Jimin’s shoulder. “My dick is bigger than three of my fingers. I hate to be the bearer of bad news.”

“I don’t believe that,” Jimin huffed. He reached behind himself and pushed Namjoon’s fingers out of him, definitely not making an undignified noise as they slipped out, then turned over and reclined against his mound of pillows. “Show me,” he demanded imperiously.

Namjoon obligingly tucked three lube-slick fingers together and held them up next to his dick.

“Fuck you,” Jimin grumbled. “I can’t believe this. Fuck you, seriously.”

“Okay,” Namjoon nodded. “Fuck me.”

“Yeah. Fuck you,” Jimin said again, directly to Namjoon’s dick. His mortal enemy.

“No, Jimin, you can fuck me,” Namjoon said.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I mean,” Namjoon shrugged. “I’ve fingered myself before.”

“O-oh?” Jimin asked, trying to react like Namjoon had told him something mundane instead of the hottest fucking thing he’d ever heard. His gut clenched hard and his cock, which had been wilting after a lack of attention, was starting to perk up again.

“Sure. I was sleeping with this girl at NYU sophomore year who really liked it when I, y’know, fingered her ass? And I figured if I was gonna do it to her, I should experience it for myself, too. It’s only fair,” Namjoon said earnestly as if he was defending this decision in court.

“And… you liked it?”

“Yeah! It’s more work than just jerking off normally but I like to treat myself to a prostate orgasm if I’ve had a stressful week.”

Jimin blinked. “God, Joon. That’s so fucking hot, what the fuck? I wanna see. Do you use toys?”

Namjoon, who at this point had been simply delivering this information, seemed to finally understand the effect it had on Jimin. He flushed and his nipples pebbled. “Um, I haven’t, but… I’d be happy to try them. For you. With you.”

“Yes, please,” Jimin breathed, staring up at Namjoon. “Now let me see?”

“Of course.” Namjoon smiled softly at Jimin, a little vulnerable and a lot loving.

He reached between Jimin’s legs and ran his fingers up Jimin’s thighs to capture some lube where it had dripped from Jimin’s hole, then leaned onto the pillows next to Jimin so their eyes were level. Without breaking eye contact, he reached behind himself and, presumably, thrust one finger in, lips parting so Jimin could see his pink tongue.

Jimin moaned and leaned forward. He grabbed Namjoon’s cheek and kissed him hard, nipping at his top lip possessively; then he found the bottle of lube where it lay between them and slicked his fingers up. Slipping his hand past Namjoon’s hips, he pressed between his cheeks and rested his finger on Namjoon’s rim next to where Namjoon’s finger was steadily thrusting.

“Yeah,” whispered Namjoon. “You can.”

Jimin pushed his index finger inside of Namjoon and shivered at the wet heat he felt and the intimate way their hands were pressed together to accomplish this task.

Namjoon whimpered and rocked his hips back and forth on a shallow arc, pushing at Jimin’s finger until it hit exactly where he needed it and he hiccuped.

“Did you just hiccup?” Jimin laughed, kissing Namjoon’s neck.

“Shut up,” gasped Namjoon, hiccuping again in response to the slow grind of Jimin’s finger against his prostate.

They worked in tandem, Jimin slipping another finger in and scissoring them for more of a stretch, until Namjoon lay on his stomach and proclaimed himself open for business.

Jimin rolled a condom on and stared down at where his tip pressed against Namjoon’s hole. If he thrust the slightest amount, he’d start to go in.

“Wow,” he said. “You weren’t wrong about how much pressure this is.”

Namjoon grinned over his shoulder at him. “Just show me a good time, right? You can do that. I’ll let you know if you do anything I don’t like.”

“Okay, um. I’m going in.” Jimin said grimly like an action hero.

He rolled his hips forward to push in and his first thought was ”shit this is all I wanna do for the rest of my life.” Just the tip of his cock was inside but Namjoon’s tight, clenching heat around him made him shiver.

“You good?” he asked. He petted Namjoon’s cute little flat ass absentmindedly. Maybe they could do some squats together sometime.

“You can keep going. ‘M good,” Namjoon replied a little hazily.

Jimin rocked forward and pushed another inch into Namjoon, and then another inch. He paused whenever Namjoon’s shoulders tensed and then continued thrusting when they relaxed. It felt like playing a grown-up version of red light, green light.

Finally, after approximately 500 years, Jimin was seated fully in Namjoon and, after a go-ahead nod, he could thrust in earnest. He plastered himself against Namjoon’s back and kissed his neck while he rocked his hips at a steadily increasing pace. Namjoon whimpered under him, then mewled, and Jimin preened and targeted that spot that had earned him such a delicious response.

It was intoxicating having such a big slab of beefy man gasping and moaning under him. Was this how tops felt all the time?

“God, Jimin–” Namjoon gasped when Jimin put some more force behind his thrusts. The contact of their hips made a light slapping noise and Namjoon squirmed as he was pushed an inch up the bed.

Jimin moaned in response. Namjoon was agonizingly tight around him; he wanted to cover him in kisses and fuck him until he couldn’t think straight. He looped his arm around Namjoon’s chest, pressed the tips of his fingers lightly against Namjoon’s mouth, and moaned when they were engulfed in wet warmth, tongue pressing between them.

“And you’re sure you’re not straight?” Jimin said with a grin into Namjoon’s shoulder, thrusting his fingers and his cock inside Namjoon in tandem.

“Fug me harber and I’ll be sure,” Namjoon garbled around Jimin’s fingers. Jimin laughed delightedly.

He braced one knee up by Namjoon’s thigh for leverage and used his free arm to pull Namjoon back by the hips to meet his thrusts. Namjoon’s moans, previously deliciously deep and throaty, shifted into a higher pitch as Jimin fucked into him harder.

Jimin loved the deep curve of Namjoon’s back and the acres of skin it presented. He loved Namjoon’s big hands clenching in the bedspread. He loved the way Namjoon felt inside and how he clenched around him. But most of all he loved how vulnerable Namjoon was willing to be for him, tossing his head and whining and spreading his legs.

Jimin simultaneously wanted to pet Namjoon and tell him he was good and also smack him on the ass so hard he’d have handprints the next day. He gasped into Namjoon’s shoulder in time with his increasingly rough thrusts facilitated by his arm around Namjoon’s waist. Namjoon hissed and propped himself up slightly on his knees, thrusting back to meet Jimin’s hips and sneaking a hand under himself to jerk off.

Jimin groaned extremely unflatteringly at the change in Namjoon’s position and pulled his fingers out of the wet warmth of Namjoon’s mouth to tug at his nipples. Namjoon keened at the added stimulation and vigorously arched his spine, thrusting his hips back against Jimin’s.

Leaning back so that he had a better viewpoint, Jimin stared down at where he could see his cock sliding back and forth into Namjoon, glistening with lube. He kept his fingers twisting around Namjoon’s nipple and almost jumped when his boyfriend clenched around him. He focused his thrusts in the same place and Namjoon quickly devolved into a squirming, shuddering mess.

“Fuck, Jimin, there–” Namjoon moaned into the pillow, tugging himself faster and rougher, and then he finished himself off across Jimin’s pillow, hips flinching. He shifted back and forward, seemingly too sensitive to rub against the bed but simultaneously overwhelmed by Jimin’s cock still inside him.

Jimin stopped his thrusts with some effort and petted Namjoon’s hair. He gave Namjoon a little breather, then pinched his ass and asked if he wanted him to pull out.

“No, you’re good,” Namjoon said with pink cheeks and a satiated grin. “You can, um. You can keep going.”

“Are you sure?” Jimin asked. Without thinking, he reached between Namjoon’s legs to where he was buried inside and rubbed his finger along Namjoon’s rim. Namjoon hissed and dug his knees into the bed but didn’t pull away.

“Just oversensitive. I kind of like it?” Namjoon admitted. He slowly pushed his hips back and forward, pulling almost all the way off Jimin before burying him again in clenching heat.

“Okay. Just tell me if it’s too much,” Jimin said. He ran his finger along Namjoon’s rim again, in awe of how it pulsed around him, then pulled his cock all the way out of Namjoon and fucked hard back in, smiling in satisfaction at the needy whine it pulled out of Namjoon.

Namjoon collapsed into the bed, hips propped up by the pillow and muscles completely lax, and Jimin peppered his shoulders in kisses as he rolled his hips relentlessly. The combination of Namjoon’s overwhelmed noises and his tight vicelike grip around Jimin’s cock had Jimin gasping and thrusting as hard as he could, relishing in Namjoon’s whimpers.

He peeked at the side of Namjoon’s face and couldn’t help but break into a brilliant smile when he saw how happily overstimulated Namjoon looked, mouth hanging open and bright eyes unfocused. He thought Namjoon looked beautiful, and he opened his mouth to say so like a total dork, but Namjoon snapped his hips back hard and Jimin lost any sort of focus.

Then he was coming into the condom with a gasp. He felt himself go limp but didn’t quite have the energy to roll off of Namjoon or keep himself elevated so he just lay there, brain twitching, face buried in Namjoon’s shoulder.

Namjoon twisted over and pulled Jimin down with him to cuddle, chests heaving and covered in sweat. Jimin took a moment to catch his breath but lost it all over again when he made eye contact with Namjoon and saw him grinning the biggest, brightest smile.

“Satisfactory?” Namjoon asked smugly. Jimin leaned in and kissed him on the nose, then on the dimples, then on the plushest, fullest part of his lips.

After a few minutes bathing in the content afterglow, Namjoon got up to throw away the condom and came back with a wet washcloth from the bathroom, toweling them both off and pressing kisses to Jimin’s sweaty forehead.

“It’s weird,” Namjoon said with an embarrassed little pout as he got under the covers next to Jimin. “I still sort of feel, like, open and stuff.”

“Fuck, that’s hot,” Jimin bit Namjoon’s neck and added to the litany of bruises there. “Oh, shit. Before I forget. Tae wanted a selfie.”

”What?”

“Yeah, I don’t know. Hand me my phone?”

They ended up taking a goofy picture with Namjoon pursing his lips at the camera and Jimin sticking his tongue out, ruffled sex hair fully visible.

Taehyung sent back sixty exclamation points and then a picture of himself and Hoseok wrapped around each other in Taehyung’s bed. They were thankfully fully clothed and their eyes were pink and hazed over.

Jimin showed it to Namjoon then tucked up next to him, tossing a leg over Namjoon’s hipbone and holding him close.

For the first time in months, Jimin neglected his pre-bed skincare routine, and he wasn’t even mad about it when he woke up.

---

The rest of the school year passed like this:

In December, Namjoon went back to New York City for winter break and Jimin missed him terribly.

In January, Namjoon tugged Jimin into the guest bedroom at the end of a party only to find Taehyung and Hoseok already tangled up together in Namjoon’s bed. Over Namjoon’s horrified shrieks, Jimin started cackling and didn’t stop until Namjoon was kissing down his chest in his own bedroom.

In February, Jimin stretched out on the couch with Namjoon and luxurated in lazy, indulgent kisses for hours. It was a perfect afternoon, especially when Jimin pulled back with no warning to take swollen-lip selfies in Namjoon’s lap.

The betrayal on Namjoon’s face just made Jimin’s smile more genuine.

In March, Jimin was riding Namjoon reverse cowboy, thighs working hard and chest gleaming with sweat, scrolling Instagram on his phone when he received an email notification from Occidental College.

“Oh my god, Joon,” he gasped. Namjoon’s thrusts slowed but he barely noticed over the rushing in his ears. He clicked open the email.

“What? Babe, are you on your phone again? Can you not while I’m literally inside you, please?”

“No, Joon,” he snapped, reaching behind himself blindly to pat Namjoon on the chest. “I… got in. I got in!”

Namjoon pulled him backwards so they were lying back-to-chest and thrust up into him, whispering about how proud he was and how much he loved him. Jimin came like that, arching his back up with his legs spread, phone in his hand and tears in his eyes.

In April, Namjoon asked Jimin with a bright red face if he remembered smacking the creep at the warehouse party months ago, then asked if he’d ever consider doing the same to him. Jimin had cooed over how cute Namjoon was, told him he was the perfect boyfriend, and then slapped him hard across the face until he cried and came all over his stomach.

In May, Namjoon started teaching Jimin how to drive.

“When you use your mirrors, you have to look at your surroundings, not at yourself.”

Jimin pouted at Namjoon and adjusted his bangs, now hot pink. “But I want to make sure my hair looks good in different lighting.”

“Trust me, it does. Pick a lane! You can’t be in both lanes!” Namjoon reached across Jimin’s chest and grabbed the steering wheel, yelping softly.

“Said the bisexual,” Jimin snorted. “Relax, okay. I don’t need to get my license until August. And it’s only a 45 minute drive max between home and Occidental. I’m a big boy, I can do it.”

He glanced at Namjoon, expecting to see his eyes rolling behind his glasses, but instead his boyfriend was grinning a tiny, sweet smile and staring at him with doe eyes.

“What?” Jimin asked. Even after five months of being together, Namjoon sometimes left him breathless. “Did I forget to use my turn signal?”

“No, you’re good,” replied Namjoon. “Pull over at the corner.”

Jimin did so with minimal swearing, confused about why their lesson seemed to be coming to an end. Namjoon was still smiling that sweet smile. Jimin grinned back until his cheeks hurt but he couldn’t stop smiling; Namjoon tended to have that effect on him.

“I don’t want you to spend all your weekends driving home to visit me, okay? I want you to experience college and make new friends and try new things. I love you, and I don’t want to hold you back.”

“Aww, baby,” Jimin crooned, leaning in to kiss Namjoon’s adorable little nose. It wasn’t the first time they had said they loved each other but it still made Jimin want to do a backflip every time he heard it. “I thought that was a given? It’s cute that you’re trying to tell me what to do, though.”

Namjoon’s dimples deepened when he smiled harder. “You’re right. I guess I’m just trying to annoy you as much as possible before you’re off wrapping an entire college campus around your little finger.”

Namjoon knew Jimin’s worries about college, that he wouldn’t be smart enough for his classes or talented enough for dance. He’d heard Jimin whine about potentially hating his roommate or not making any friends. Jimin was excited, ecstatic even, to start school in the fall, but a small part of him was dreading the change and the lack of control.

His heart felt weak, chest too tight, when Namjoon told him with kind conviction that he believed in Jimin.

“I don’t deserve you,” he said quietly.

Namjoon snorted. “I know, I know. You deserve much better.”

“No, I – I love you. And you’re amazing. And I’m so happy you’re mine.”

Namjoon gaped at him, then pulled him close, pressing hot, insistent kisses into his mouth. “God, I love when you’re sincere,” he gasped.

“Shut up. I’ve never been sincere a day in my life. Want to give me road head?”

Namjoon spluttered and laughed, pulling back. “Okay, moment’s over, got it. Think you can start driving again, baby?”

“Of course!” Jimin said with ten times more confidence than he felt. He squared his shoulders and made to pull back onto the road but completely forgot to check his mirrors. As he started to turn the wheels, another car whipped past them and almost hit them, tires squealing as it dodged and sped away.

“Learn to drive!” Jimin heard the other drive yell out their open window.

“Fuck you, I’m trying!” He yelled back. He flopped back against the driver’s seat and turned to see Namjoon covering a smile with his hand.

“How’s this,” Jimin started with a little smirk. “We skip the rest of the driving lesson and you buy me a snow cone.”

Namjoon raised an eyebrow skeptically, but Jimin already knew he’d won. “You sure? Your test is coming before you know it.”

“I told you,” Jimin said, grabbing Namjoon’s hand and pressing a kiss to the knuckles. He thought of hot sunny days together sharing sticky-sweet kisses over frozen treats and warm nights tucked up under blankets, heartbeats in sync. He thought of Namjoon’s plush lips against his and how the first thing he got to see every morning was Namjoon’s cute sleep-rumpled hair. He thought about forever, and what that could possibly mean. “We have all summer.”