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The President's Son-In-Law

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“Fuck – Jimin – fuck – ”

 

Jimin slumped on top of Jungkook, completely and utterly breathless. For a moment, their heavy breathing was the only sound that filled the room. In his winded state, Jimin somehow still managed to turn his head and press his ear to Jungkook’s chest, listening to his heart pound erratically. The sound made Jimin bite his lip as he tried not to smile too broadly at the thought of him being the one to make Jungkook’s body react in this manner.

 

It felt good, knowing that Jungkook was still just as captivated by Jimin as he’d been when they first started dating.

 

Shit,” Jungkook panted. Slowly, he lifted his weak arms and brought them up and around Jimin’s naked body, hugging him close to his chest. “How do you do that?”

 

Jimin summoned just enough strength to lift his head from Jungkook’s chest. He gave him a lazy smile. “Do what?”

 

“You know,” Jungkook murmured. He smirked, rubbing soothing circles with his thumb into the small of Jimin’s back. “That thing you do with your hips.”

 

Jimin laughed, lightly slapping Jungkook’s shoulder at his comment before rolling off of him and flopping to the other side of the mattress. He laid there for no more than a few seconds before Jungkook quickly sidled up next to him and wrapped his arms around him from behind. “Ew – gross – I’m all sticky.”

 

“I know,” Jungkook mumbled between the intermittent kisses he was placing on Jimin’s shoulder. “I don’t care.”

 

Jimin sighed. He turned his head on the pillow, eyeing Jungkook over his shoulder with interest. “That’s not sexy – you know that, right?”

 

Jungkook’s smile blossomed. His feet inched closer, tangling up with Jimin’s. “I know,” he said again. Then he pressed a brief kiss to the corner of Jimin’s lips. “I still don’t care.”

 

“And yet,” Jimin mock-lamented, “I still manage to let you into my bed every night.”

 

Jimin tugged the bed sheet up and over their rapidly cooling bodies. Despite his words to Jungkook, Jimin still found himself retreating backwards in his bed, allowing his former secret service agent to mold himself to his body. Jimin smiled at the warmth.

 

“You don’t seem to be complaining,” Jungkook whispered, nosing along the back of Jimin’s neck in an affectionate gesture. He placed a steadying hand at Jimin’s waist before lightly rolling his hips forward. Jimin groaned at the sensation.

 

“Ok – Kookie – seriously, we have to stop,” Jimin reached behind him and put a reluctant hand to Jungkook’s hips, trying to convince him to stop his ministrations. Jimin wanted to continue – Jungkook had no idea just how much he really wanted to continue – but both of them were already running late for work. His alarm had gone off twenty minutes earlier and Jungkook had managed – not for the first time, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last – to distract Jimin when he tried to get out of bed.

 

“Five more minutes,” Jungkook teased, nipping at Jimin’s earlobe. “Please.”

 

Jimin giggled at the ticklish sensation. “Stop!” he squealed. He spun around, scrambling to pin Jungkook’s hands to the bed. Once he’d finally gotten control – control that he was sure Jungkook had willingly given him – he smiled down at Jungkook and raised both eyebrows in an attempt to be serious. “I need to get up and shower – and you’re not helping.”

 

Jungkook sent back a devious smile, seemingly pleased with his distraction techniques. “How about I join you?”

 

Jimin laughed, giving in when Jungkook lifted his head off of the pillow and snagged a kiss without his permission. “You’re evil,” Jimin whispered against his lips. He slowly lifted a leg back over Jungkook’s body, perching on his hips just as he had been moments before. “How do you expect me to practice law if you won’t even let me go to my job on time?”

 

Jungkook’s hips lightly thrust up, making Jimin catch his breath at his intentional teasing. Clearly, Jimin had given him the reaction he’d been looking for, because Jungkook grinned proudly up at him. “I’m sure you’ll manage to make your case,” he rationalized.

 

With little fight left in him, Jimin eagerly leaned back down for another kiss, gasping into Jungkook’s open mouth.

 

And then his bedroom door opened.

 

“Jimin, your – oh – Jesus fuck – would the two of you put some clothes on?”

 

Jimin immediately rolled off of Jungkook, pulling the bed sheet back up to his shoulders at the unexpected interruption. “Yoongi!” he exclaimed in surprise as his head bodyguard entered the room and immediately tried to avert his eyes. “Don’t you knock?

 

“I did!” Yoongi protested, covering his eyes with his hands. “You didn’t answer, so I assumed the two of you were still asleep!”

 

“Well – we weren’t,” Jimin grumbled angrily. He looked over at Jungkook, feeling worse for his boyfriend than he did for himself. Jimin had gotten used to the invasion of privacy by now; this sort of a thing came with the territory of being the president’s son. Jungkook, however, still had to look his coworker in the eyes, knowing that Yoongi had walked in on him in bed with his boyfriend.

 

And if Jungkook’s arm thrown over his cherry red face was anything to go off of, Jungkook had clearly already registered that fact and was extremely embarrassed.

 

“Well, excuse me for trying to be a good friend.” Yoongi slowly peered between his fingers, relieved to see that both parties were completely covered beneath the bed sheets and not sitting on top of the other. He exhaled softly, relieved. “If it wasn’t urgent, I wouldn’t have barged in. I just thought the two of you might like to know that you’re about to have some company.”

 

“I thought I told that interior decorator that I wasn’t going to be renovating my room,” Jimin snapped, more than a little irritated that Yoongi had interrupted their time together in bed over something so trivial. “Just because I’m currently staying with my parents at the Blue House doesn’t mean I’m living here forever. I told her not to bother redoing my room. It’s a waste of money.”

 

“No – it’s not the interior decorator,” Yoongi calmly replied. “It’s your mother.”

 

Jimin sat bolt upright. “What?

 

Jungkook was already out of bed the moment Yoongi spoke, likely terrified that his boss – and his boyfriend’s mother – was about to walk in on the two of them naked and in bed. At the threat of Jimin’s mother finding them in such a state, Jungkook’s embarrassment in front of his coworker seemed to have all but vanished as he streaked across the room and into the bathroom, naked as the day he was born.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Shit – ” Jimin waved his hands frantically at his bodyguard “ – turn around! I need to get dressed!” With a sigh, Yoongi turned his back to Jimin, allowing him to reach for the boxers he’d tossed on the floor the night before. Jimin quickly threw on his bathrobe, tying it off at his waist before marching across his room towards his bodyguard. “What kind of an agent are you?”

 

Yoongi arched an eyebrow, not appreciating the anger that Jimin was directing towards him. “Ok, first,” Yoongi corrected with a single finger held up in the air, “I’m a fucking good agent – that’s what kind of agent I am. And second – ” he flicked a second finger into the air “ – I’m not your personal spy. My job is to keep you safe, not hide your sex life from the first lady.” Despite Jimin’s combative expression, his face still turned beat red at Yoongi’s words. “I heard through my ear piece that your mother was coming to see you, so I came in here as a courtesy so your mother didn’t catch you and Jungkook in the middle of doing exactly what you were doing. The first lady doesn’t need that mental image.” He made a disgusted face, gaze flicking towards the bed as he eyed the offending piece of furniture. “And to be honest, neither do I.”

 

“Knock, knock!”

 

Jimin swallowed his fear and spun around as his mother pushed open his bedroom door.

 

“Mom,” he breathed through a tight lipped smile. His eyes flicked to Yoongi, as if hoping he managed to have some sort of an exit strategy, but his bodyguard simply remained stoic as he stood at attention in the corner of the room. “What are you doing here so early?”

 

“I just came to say good morning to my favorite son,” she cooed, striding across the room to wrap him up in a large hug. She gave him an extra squeeze, not wanting to let go even when Jimin already had. “It’s so nice to have you back home again, Jimin.”

 

Jimin sighed. “You remember I’m not staying for long, right?” He stepped away from his mother. “I told you I wouldn’t be here for more than six months. I’m just giving the secret service time to look for a safe location for me to live, and then I’m moving out.”

 

His mother waved her hand around, dismissing Jimin’s argument after having already heard it multiple times. “I know, I know,” she answered with a sad smile. Then she reached out and ran her hand through Jimin’s messy hair, saying, “And that’s why I’m going to enjoy this while I still have it.” She let her hand fall to Jimin’s shoulder. “Your father got called in to work a bit early this morning. Why don’t you come down and join me for breakfast?”

 

“Oh – I, uh – I don’t know.” Jimin shrugged awkwardly as his eyes flicked subconsciously to the bathroom door where Jungkook was hurrying to get showered. “I’m kind-of running late. You know how it is,” he chuckled nervously. “You hit the snooze button once, and then suddenly you’re twenty minutes late.”

 

“Yes, of course,” she replied with a nod. She looked to the bathroom door, gaze lingering a moment too long for Jimin’s taste. “The water’s already running. You must have just been about to get in.”

 

“Uh – yeah, yeah, I was,” Jimin agreed hastily. He put one hand on his mother’s back and used the other to direct her towards the hallway. “So – um – you should go.”

 

She refused to move, arching her eyebrow suspiciously.

 

And then she turned to the bathroom door.

 

“Jungkook, dear?” she called through the wooden frame. She knocked twice on the door, just in case he hadn’t heard her calling out to him. “Why don’t you join me for breakfast?”

 

There was a long, awkward pause.

 

And then Jimin dropped his chin to his chest in defeat when he heard Jungkook’s faint voice call back through the door, “Y-yes, ma’am. I would love to.”

 

His mother beamed and turned to Jimin victoriously. “Perfect,” she announced. “I assume you’ll come downstairs with Jungkook, then?” she asked with a playful smirk.

 

Jimin swallowed and nodded as his mother both caught Jungkook in his bedroom and simultaneously managed to strong arm him into breakfast with her. “I’ll… see you downstairs.”

 

She put her hand on Jimin’s cheek and took one step towards him to kiss his forehead before gently patting his face with an approving nod. “I look forward to it.”

 

Yoongi maintained his steadfast professionalism in the corner of the room, waiting until the door closed behind Jimin’s mother –

 

– and then he released his pent up peals of laughter.

 

Jimin sighed. “This isn’t funny, hyung.”

 

Yoongi snorted. “Like hell it isn’t!”

 

Jimin groaned and put both hands to his face, covering the residual blush that still resided there.

 

“I have got to find my own place.”

 

*

 

“Here’s one,” Jimin murmured into his cell phone as he clicked on another job opening. “They’re looking for a paralegal about twenty minutes from here.”

 

“Or,” Taehyung’s voice on the other side of the line countered, “you could just stop looking for jobs and enroll in a Master’s program like me?”

 

Jimin smiled at his friend’s feeble attempts to persuade him into moving to Busan to join him in pursuit of a postgraduate degree. While he appreciated Taehyung’s enthusiasm, he knew he needed to suffer through the monotony of work as a paralegal at an attorney’s office for at least one year before attending law school.

 

His father had followed the same path before working as a lawyer and, ultimately, becoming president. Even his mother had worked side-by-side with her husband in law for several years before choosing to quit in favor of becoming a caretaker for Jimin after he’d been born. The business ran in his blood, but Jimin couldn’t help but feel like even though he might have been good at it… he wasn’t sure he enjoyed it.

 

The attorney that Jimin worked for was talented with an incredibly high success rate – half of the reason why Jimin applied to work with Han Hyunsoo in the first place – but every evening before the close of the work day, his boss would pat Jimin on the back and say, “Good work today, Jimin. Give your father my best.”

 

And in those words alone, Jimin couldn’t help but feel like he’d been hired solely for his family name and not because he’d graduated school at the top of his class with honors.

 

So, each day Jimin went to work with a fake smile on his face and did exactly what was asked of him. And each night, Jimin returned home to search for a new paralegal position. He needed to be somewhere that his talents meant something. He wanted to work with someone who expected more of him. He had to be employed with someone that hired Jimin for who he was – not who his parents are.

 

And the more time Jimin spent looking for jobs, the more nervous he became that he would never find exactly what he was looking for.

 

“I wish I could, Tae,” Jimin responded as he clicked on another job description. “I need to have work experience before I apply for law school – you know that.”

 

Taehyung sighed dramatically. Jimin could practically imagine his friend throwing himself onto his bed in exaggeration to get his point across, much like he would have done in the college dorm rooms. “I haven’t seen you in forever,” he groaned. “Seriously. I’m actually dying.”

 

Jimin closed his laptop and pushed it aside to the corner of his bed. He wasn’t having much luck anyway. Instead of dwelling on his failed job search, he crossed his legs in front of himself and picked at a loose string on his comforter. “You’re not dying,” Jimin calmly responded, though he smiled all the while, “and it’s only been one month.”

 

“I’m pretty sure the deadline to apply for classes second semester is a month away,” Taehyung continued to entice Jimin. “It’s not too late!”

 

“Please,” Jimin scoffed with a playful grin. “You just want me to enroll so I can force Yoongi to come with me.”

 

There was a light giggle on the other end of the line. “Well, it wouldn’t hurt.”

 

“I knew it,” Jimin teased his friend. “You’re just using me to get to my secret service agents, aren’t you?”

 

“Just one in particular,” Taehyung agreed with a laugh, but his lighthearted tone soon dwindled away when he sighed and elaborated. “I haven’t seen Yoongi in over a month, either.”

 

“Really?” Jimin frowned. He couldn’t remember Yoongi taking any days off of work which, now that he thought about it, seemed odd. Yoongi and Taehyung were virtually inseparable before he’d moved to the opposite end of the country to pursue a master’s degree, but now…? “He’s allowed to take days off,” Jimin quickly assured his friend. “It’s fine with me if he wants to visit you.”

 

“No, I know,” Taehyung responded dismissively. “He knows. It’s just – ” Taehyung voice dropped to a murmur “ – I… told him not to.”

 

Jimin frowned. Telling his long term boyfriend not to visit him while he was away for several months at school didn’t really sound like Taehyung at all. “You… don’t want him to visit you?”

 

A heavy sigh filled the earpiece of Jimin’s phone. “I just thought it would be better, you know?” Taehyung answered in a vulnerable sounding voice. “Wouldn’t it be worse to see him every other weekend and be forced to say goodbye, rather than just… never having to go through that sort of pain?” he asked. “I mean – obviously, it’s not ideal, but – I think our relationship is strong enough that we don’t need to have constant physical intimacy to… you know, feel intimate.”

 

Jimin remained silent as Taehyung spoke to him with complete candor – something they rarely had the chance to do, now that he lived hours away. “We video chat every day,” Taehyung explained, as if he was trying to defend his decision to Jimin. “So it’s not like I’m seeing him any less than I did before, right?” The line went quiet for a moment. “I just assumed we could both save money by not seeing each other in person during the school year. He seemed ok with the idea at first, but now every time I talk to him, he seems so sad and I just… I feel so guilty all the time.”

 

Jimin swallowed. He couldn’t imagine being separated from Jungkook like Taehyung was from Yoongi. Sure, he might be able to see him though a video chat, but nothing could ever replace that feeling of being able to reach out and hold the person you love.

 

“It’s normal to miss someone you love, right?” Jimin quietly replied. “That’s all it is. You just miss him.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung agreed. “But sometimes – ” Taehyung stopped midsentence, shaking his head. “It’s stupid,” he prefaced his next words, “but I just worry that maybe he doesn’t miss me as much as I miss him.”

 

“He does,” Jimin insisted fervently. “Trust me.”

 

Taehyung seemed intrigued. “Did he say something to you?”

 

“He doesn’t have to,” Jimin answered honestly. “I just know.”

 

“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

 

Jimin laughed. “I’m not!” he refuted Taehyung’s statement. “I mean it.”

 

“Yeah, whatever.” Taehyung swiftly changed the subject. “Tell me about your sex life.”

 

Jimin was immediately flustered.

 

Leave it to Taehyung to give him conversational whiplash.

 

What?

 

“Oh, come on!” Taehyung sighed heavily. “I just told you about how I haven’t seen my boyfriend in over a month, and if I’m not getting any and you are, you better believe I want the details!”

 

“No way!” Jimin shook his head adamantly, despite Taehyung being nowhere nearby. “I’m not talking to you about what goes on in the privacy of my bedroom, Tae. That’s not happening.”

 

“We’re best friends!” Taehyung was swift to counter his argument. “We tell each other everything! I told you about that thing I tried with Yoongi when we were – ”

 

“I didn’t ask you to tell me about that!” Jimin cut him off before Taehyung could go into more detail than he cared to hear – again. He couldn’t look Yoongi in the eye for a week after Taehyung had shared that particular story. “Just because you tell me what you do in the bedroom doesn’t mean I want to!”

 

“Just tell me one thing,” Taehyung insisted. “Seriously – anything – just give me something to get through this drought. I’m desperate.”

 

Jimin huffed in embarrassment, though he attempted to play it off as frustration.

 

“I bet he’s super dominant in bed – he is, isn’t he?”

 

Jimin slapped a hand to his forehead. “Stop it.”

 

“Does he ever use his handcuffs on you?”

 

“I’m not doing this, Tae.”

 

“Has he ever made you come more than once?”

 

Taehyung wouldn’t stop anytime soon – and they both knew that.

 

So, with a beat red expression, Jimin decided it would be easier to just give in.

 

“Yes.”

 

Taehyung paused for a moment, registering Jimin’s sudden answer to his question. “How many times?”

 

Jimin tipped over backwards onto his pillows and threw his free arm over his face to hide his embarrassment, even though he was the only person actually present in his bedroom. “Three.”

 

Taehyung giggled delightfully at having gotten this information from Jimin. “Seriously?” he asked gleefully. “What was the occasion?”

 

“Um…” Jimin tried very carefully to keep his voice nonchalant on a topic that he rarely spoke about with anyone other than Jungkook. “No occasion. It was just… a Tuesday night after work.”

 

There was complete silence on the other end of the line.

 

“A Tuesday night?” Taehyung echoed. “Are you fucking serious?”

 

Jimin kept his face hidden behind his arm. “Yes…?”

 

“Wow.” Taehyung huffed in annoyance. “Ok, first – fuck you. Now I’m jealous. Second – you are a lucky boy. And third – I really need to video chat with Yoongi, because talking with you did not help my situation at all.”

 

Jimin’s ears burned even brighter as he realized what Taehyung intended to do via video chat. “Don’t tell me that!” Jimin demanded, scrunching up his face as if he was trying to get the image out of his head. “Just – just say goodbye and hang up the phone! That’s all you had to do!”

 

Taehyung laughed, sounding amused by the way he’d managed to fluster Jimin so easily. But this time, he finally gave in to Jimin’s request not to talk about such private topics and sang a cheery “Goodbye!” into the phone.

 

Within seconds of Taehyung hanging up, Jimin’s phone rang again. This time, Jimin smiled when he noticed that it was Jungkook who was calling.

 

“Hey,” Jungkook greeted him. “Are you in your room?”

 

Jimin grinned at the voice – simultaneously excited to hear from Jungkook and relieved that he no longer had to suffer through an incredibly awkward phone conversation with Taehyung. “Yeah,” he said. “Did you just get off work? Where are you?”

 

But instead of responding with an exact location, Jimin smirked when Jungkook replied, “I’m on my way.”

 

Jimin climbed off of his bed, slowly pacing the room with a ridiculous grin on his face. The bedrooms in the Blue House were much larger than the average bedroom – enough so, that they virtually qualified as an apartment. When Jimin had moved into the space years ago, it had come furnished with a small dining table, a loveseat, two arm chairs, and a mahogany coffee table. He had a full bathroom and walk-in closet attached to his bedroom, making it easily ten times the size of his previous dorm room. The only thing that it was truly missing was a kitchen – and even then, Jimin had still kept his miniature refrigerator and portable burner from his days in college, in the event that he wanted to stay in his room to cook ramyun and drink a beer rather than join his family in the presidential dining room downstairs.

 

The Blue House was made up of dozens of rooms. His bedroom was located on the complete opposite side of the building as his parents’ room and on the second floor instead of the third. So, if Jungkook had been on duty at his parents’ room, then it was incredibly likely that he would be –

 

Jimin spun towards the door when he heard a soft knock. He threw it open without a second thought.

 

Jungkook grinned at him on the other side, still holding his phone to his ear. “Hey.”

 

Jimin grinned back. “Hey.”

 

They tucked their phones away into their pockets, lingering in the doorway. Before Jimin could make a move to invite him inside, Jungkook asked, “Have you eaten?”

 

Jimin smiled sadly. “Yeah, sorry – but I had the chef keep some of the leftovers for you.”

 

Jungkook snorted in amusement. “You had your private chef pack away leftovers for me?”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes at the teasing in his voice. It wasn’t uncommon for Jungkook to poke fun at all of the luxuries Jimin had at his fingertips, especially now that he was no longer in school and was living at the Blue House full time. More often than not, Jimin was even tempted to join in with Jungkook to make fun of the world he lived in. After all, he hadn’t grown up with an apartment-sized bedroom or a chef to make his family meals at all hours of the day. However, it was the life Jimin was destined to lead until he finally moved out of the Blue House.

 

“He offered to stay another hour to make the food fresh for you,” Jimin informed his boyfriend, “but I insisted that you would make do with re-heated leftovers.”

 

Jimin stepped out of his bedroom, closing the door behind him as Jungkook held a hand to his chest in mock surprise. “That’s all I’m worth?” he teased in a scandalized voice. “Re-heated leftovers?”

 

Jimin pulled Jungkook’s hand off of his chest, linked their fingers together, and set off down the hall towards the private kitchen on the first floor. “Yeah, well – if you didn’t make fun of my private chef, then things would be different.”

 

Jungkook laughed at Jimin’s quick response. He dropped his teasing tone of voice and spoke with sincerity. “Thank you for asking him to save some leftovers for me. Seriously.”

 

Their hands swung together between them as Jimin’s lips curled into a pleased smile. “He made your favorite, too.”

 

The agent arched an eyebrow at Jimin. “Pork cutlet? Seriously?”

 

Jimin snorted, hiding his laughter in Jungkook’s shoulder as they walked. “Yes, seriously,” he confirmed. He couldn’t believe that, of all things that their chef had made, pork cutlet was still Jungkook’s favorite. A foreign ambassador had been in town dining with Jimin’s parents just the week before, so Jimin had asked the chef to buy enough extra food for Jimin and Jungkook to have a stay-at-home date night. They’d enjoyed a fresh lobster dish, complete with a side of seared scallops, avocado bruschetta, and a fruit satay drizzled in a glaze and topped with chopped mint. By the time the chef had brought out the chocolate sponge cake topped with ganache, Jimin had been prepared to announce that it was the best meal he’d ever had in his life.

 

Jungkook had enjoyed the meal, of course.

 

But he was still more excited to eat pork cutlet leftovers that had been re-heated in a microwave.

 

“Alright, one pork cutlet coming right up,” Jimin announced when they entered the enormous kitchen. He passed the large kitchen table and circled the island in order to get to the refrigerator. Jungkook followed close behind, placing both hands on Jimin’s hips as he peered inside the refrigerator over his shoulder.

 

Eyeing the drawer at the bottom, Jungkook asked, “Am I allowed to steal a Coke, too?”

 

Jimin took the container holding the pork cutlet off of the top shelf and ducked underneath Jungkook’s arm. “Grab two,” he told his boyfriend. He pulled off the lid and set the small dish in the microwave. Jimin pressed a few buttons, listening to the microwave whirr to life, before turning back around. “I’ll have one, too.”

 

“Fantastic,” Jungkook answered in excitement. He bent over to take two cans out of the fridge and started to search the cabinets lining the walls of the kitchen. “Where does your family keep your glasses?”

 

Jimin pointed at a cupboard on the end just beside the sink. “Why?” he asked. He watched Jungkook open said cabinet and pull out two glasses. Before Jungkook could start pouring Jimin’s soda, however, Jimin slid over to pick up his can. “Are you actually taking the time to pour your soda into a glass?”

 

Jungkook opened the soda and did just that, sending Jimin a curious look out of the corner of his eye. “You don’t?” he questioned, holding the glass to his lips. “What – do you drink straight from the can?”

 

“Of course I do.” Just to prove his point, Jimin popped open said can and tipped its contents back. “It tastes the same.”

 

“Wow,” Jungkook murmured, staring at Jimin in interest. His eyes flicked down his body, taking the opportunity to appraise his subtle curves. He stepped towards the island in the middle of the room, setting his glass down on the granite countertop, and jumped up on the counter while they waited for his food to be heated. He cocked his head to the side, clearly in a show of playful teasing. “I had no idea I was dating someone so unrefined.”

 

Unrefined?” Jimin echoed. His nose burned slightly as he nearly inhaled his soda into his nose at such an amusing remark.

 

“Very,” Jungkook answered with a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. He lifted his glass, eyes remaining on Jimin’s even as he took a sip. “I feel like I don’t even know you anymore, Park Jimin.”

 

Jimin attempted to keep a straight face, but the giggles continued to bubble out. “You’re the one who’s excited about leftover pork cutlet for dinner!” he burst out between laughs. “You’re the one that’s sitting on the kitchen counter in the president’s home!” Jimin’s soda nearly spilled out of the can as his arms gesticulated wildly. “And you think I’m the one that’s unrefined?”

 

Jungkook smirked, amused by their banter. He swiftly set down his glass, hopped off the counter, and smoothly backed Jimin into the counter opposite of him. Within seconds, Jungkook had Jimin pinned with both of his hands placed strategically on the counter top on either side of Jimin.

 

He grinned down at him.

 

“Hey.”

 

Jimin quietly set down his can of soda, reclining against the hard surface as he bit flirtatiously into his lower lip and peered up at his boyfriend. “Hey.”

 

“The first lady was getting ready to go to a business function when I left this evening,” Jungkook quietly pointed out as his gaze dropped down to focus on Jimin’s lips. “Is it safe to assume that the president is going, too?”

 

Jimin grinned, fully aware of where this conversation seemed to be headed. The kitchen staff was long gone and the majority of his evening security team was stationed around the perimeter of the house – there was no one to interrupt them, now. “Yeah, I’d say it’s safe to assume that both of my parents will be there, so…” Jimin’s fingers itched to reach forward, so he willingly gave in to the temptation and wrapped them loosely around Jungkook’s neck. “The house will be quiet tonight.”

 

Jungkook kept his hands in the same place, but took two steps forward until the length of his entire body was pressed up against Jimin’s.

 

“I missed you,” he whispered seductively into Jimin’s ear. “I couldn’t stop thinking about this morning.”

 

Jimin’s heart pounded in his chest.

 

Even after months of dating, Jungkook still made him feel like a nervous school boy.

 

“Me, too,” Jimin replied. Jungkook stayed quiet, waiting for Jimin to continue. “I’m pretty sure you were minutes away from convincing me to climb into the shower with you – if we hadn’t been interrupted.”

 

With an incredibly interested expression, Jungkook pulled his head back to make eye contact with Jimin. “Seriously?”

 

Jimin played off his question with an air of indifference, gazing nonchalantly to the right.

 

The microwave started to beep, telling them that their food was ready.

 

They both ignored it.

 

Jungkook sighed, pressing his forehead to Jimin’s. “You’re teasing me.”

 

Jimin smirked proudly. “I know.”

 

“That can be a very dangerous game if you’re not careful, Jimin.”

 

Jimin arched a challenging eyebrow. “How dangerous?”

 

Jungkook, however, knew exactly what to do to beat Jimin at his game. He firmly gripped his hips, hoisting him onto the countertop, and surged forward, sucking eagerly at his neck. Jimin was unable to refrain from sliding his hips towards the edge of the granite to seek out the delightful friction Jungkook was more than eager to reciprocate.

 

“We should really be in my bedroom,” Jimin breathed, closing his eyes as Jungkook ravaged his throat. His hands wound themselves through Jungkook’s hair, keeping him close despite his words of warning.

 

“I thought you said your parents were gone,” Jungkook reminded him. He licked his way across Jimin’s jaw, stopping to suck a dark bruise into the delicate place just beneath his chin. He loved the way that Jimin groaned when he found just the right spot. “We’re in one of the safest places in the country,” he momentarily broke off to explain. “The majority of your security is stationed outside the building – no one’s going to walk into the kitchen at nine o’clock at night.”

 

“Right,” Jimin agreed instantaneously – though he wasn’t sure if it was because he actually agreed with Jungkook, or if he just wanted him to continue what he was doing. “You’re right – just – keep going.”

 

Jungkook tightened his hold on Jimin’s hips, thrusting forward when Jimin wrapped his thighs around Jungkook’s waist in desperation. One of Jimin’s hands clenched in Jungkook’s hair while the other slid down his front, tugging fruitlessly on his tie in a failed attempt at disrobing him. In response, Jungkook’s fingers dug in deeper at Jimin’s waist. Then, without Jimin’s permission, Jungkook abruptly pulled his lips away from his skin.

 

“Look at me,” Jungkook suddenly commanded, sending a thrill of excitement through Jimin’s body at such a dominant tone of voice. When he did as he was told, he was surprised to see Jungkook staring up at him with wide eyes.

 

“I love you,” he whispered.

 

Jimin gave him a watery smile.

 

Even in the throes of passion, Jungkook always made Jimin feel like he was the center of his universe.

 

“I love you,” Jimin echoed just before Jungkook rushed forward and closed the distance between them. His hand dropped down, lightly rubbing Jimin through his pants. He licked into his mouth, eating up each and every gasp and moan that Jimin made. Just as Jimin began whimpering in desperation – begging for Jungkook to just do it already – the door to the back of the kitchen swung open.

 

The woman in charge of stocking the kitchen for the president very nearly dropped her large cardboard box of supplies.

 

“Oh!” the woman cried out in shock. She covered her mouth as she took in Jimin and Jungkook’s precarious position, pressed up against the kitchen counter. “Oh – I’m so sorry. I was just bringing breakfast for the morning – I had no idea!”

 

“Oh – no, no,” Jimin assured her as he hastily pushed Jungkook away and jumped down from the counter. “I’m – shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were – we’ll just – ”

 

“I’ll leave!” The woman suddenly exclaimed, turning on her heel to bolt back out the way she had come in. “I’ll come back later!”

 

“No – you really don’t need to – we were about to go, so you should – ”

 

Jimin abruptly stopped talking as the woman turned tail and ran from the room in embarrassment. He looked back at his boyfriend, hoping to hear some sort of reassuring words of comfort from him.

 

But Jungkook just sighed and covered his face.

 

“Jimin… I can’t wait until you move out of the Blue House.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“Seonbaenim?” Jimin swiveled around in his chair. “I, um – I finished typing up the subpoenas for the Kim Yongja case.” He stood up to walk to his coworker’s desk. “Would you like me to forward it on to Han baksanim, or…?”

 

“Oh – no, you can just send it to me. I’ll compile all of the information for him.” His fellow paralegal, Daeun, gave him a tiny, insincere smile. She tucked her chin-length hair behind her ear as she eyed him with thinly veiled contempt. “I assume you’ve also done the research into other similar cases like this one?”

 

Jimin gestured towards the red folder he’d left on her desk earlier that morning. “Finished.”

 

She raised an eyebrow at the folder she hadn’t noticed. “Thank you.”

 

Jimin swallowed. He’d chosen to work in the office of attorney Han Hyunsoo, but he hadn’t realized that it also came with a fellow paralegal – many years his senior – who appeared to openly detest him for no reason. It was already hard enough to work this job in his first year out of college, let alone with a coworker that always seemed to be waiting for him to fail.

 

“Please tell me if there’s anything else you want me to continue looking into,” Jimin politely told her. “I would be more than happy to review my work if you feel it’s unsatisfactory.”

 

She exhaled slowly before smiling at him once again. “I’m sure that’s not necessary.”

 

Jimin nodded and gradually sauntered back to his seat. Before he could make it, Daeun spoke up, calling his attention back to her.

 

“Han baksanim still needs to ask the defendant some preliminary questions before she comes in for her deposition, but she’s not responding to our phone calls.” Daeun sighed softly before adding, “Han baksanim thinks this would be a good learning opportunity for you. Could you find her and do the interview in person?”

 

Jimin’s eyes widened in surprise. An interview? He hadn’t had the chance to do an interview for a case before!

 

“Y-yes!” Jimin exclaimed excitedly. Then, realizing how ridiculously happy he sounded over something so insignificant, Jimin quickly reigned his enthusiasm back in. “I mean – yeah, of course, that would be – great. I would love the opportunity.”

 

Daeun calmly scratched out an address and the name Oh Soohyeon onto a post-it, and passed it across her desk and into Jimin’s open hands. “He needs it by the end of the week.”

 

“I’ll work on finding her straight away,” Jimin assured her with a grin. He bowed at a ninety degree angle. “Thank you.”

 

Daeun turned away with a stone faced expression. “It’s not me you need to thank.”

 

“Still,” Jimin insisted once again with a kind expression, despite not getting one from his coworker in return. “Thank you.”

 

*

 

“This… feels weird.”

 

Yoongi lazily pulled his eyes away from the trees passing outside the window and glanced to the side, eyeing Jimin. His gaze drifted back to the car window. “What feels weird?”

 

“I work at a prestigious law firm,” Jimin said. “I was sent out to find and interview our defendant – and my bodyguards are tagging along for the ride.”

 

Yoongi studied their surroundings, taking in the agent in the driver’s seat who was politely ignoring their conversation in the backseat. He shrugged, looking over at Jimin. “At least you have less security than you did last year,” he pointed out. “It could be worse.”

 

“I know it could be worse, but – you understand, right?” Jimin checked, as if he felt the need to have someone else validate his thoughts aloud and agree that this was a highly unusual situation. “Isn’t this weird?”

 

Yoongi snorted. “No one ever said being a part of the president’s family was normal.”

 

Jimin sighed, resigning himself to his fate. “You’ll at least stay by the car, right?” he checked. “I mean – I want to give the defendant some privacy, and having you hovering over my shoulder doesn’t really…”

 

“Yeah, I can do that,” Yoongi agreed without much persuasion. “But if you go inside, I’ll need to be there.”

 

Jimin nodded, knowing that he would never get his security to agree to remain outside of a building that they weren’t already familiar with. “Yeah, I know.”

 

“Actually – since we have a few minutes…” Yoongi dug around inside his jacket and pulled out a folded up slip of paper. “I’m supposed to give this to you.” Jimin silently unfolded the paper, staring down at a list filled with addresses. He looked back up at Yoongi, waiting for an explanation. “You asked our security office for a list of recommendations for neighborhoods that could easily be protected, and those are the locations we’ve come up with.”

 

Jimin’s eyes went back down to the paper, appraising it for a second time. He smiled when he noticed that the paper was filled from top to bottom with suggestions of locations that he could explore.

 

“I’m also supposed to tell you… thank you,” Yoongi continued, looking away from Jimin bashfully as he said these words. “You know – for checking with us first.”

 

Jimin glanced up in surprise. “What?”

 

Yoongi sighed. He was about to venture into somewhat emotional territory and didn’t seem to be inclined to do so. “It’s not every day that our protectees ask us to scout out living locations before even beginning a house search,” he explained. “Most protectees jump head first into a decision like this and don’t take the time to think about their safety – our ours, for that matter – so, having you do that is… really nice.” Yoongi smiled. He nodded towards the list. “They tried to give you as many options as possible so you didn’t feel like you were restricted to only a few choices.”

 

Jimin grinned. “Thanks, hyung.”

 

“Yah – don’t get mushy,” Yoongi snapped.

 

Jimin smiled, even as Yoongi looked away in embarrassment. He studied the list a moment longer, letting the silence fill the vehicle, before he finally spoke up and said what had been worrying him for days at the back of his mind. “You know, I spoke to Taehyung the other night.”

 

Yoongi, stoic as he was, still reacted at the name. He tore his eyes away from the window and looked in Jimin’s direction. “How is he?”

 

Jimin folded the housing list and smiled at his bodyguard. “He misses you.”

 

Yoongi quickly schooled his features and cleared his voice, seemingly refusing to talk about his relationship with Jimin – especially while he was working. He was saved as he pointed out of the window as the car rolled to a stop. “I think we’re here.”

 

Jimin glanced at the slightly run down house. It looked to be a home that had once been happy – especially if the various children’s toys littering the lawn had anything to say about it – but had become worn down over extensive use and a lack of care. “This is it?” he verified, checking the number on the house with the one on his post-it. He took in a deep breath to calm his nerves. “Wish me luck.”

 

Yoongi jumped out of the car, holding the door open for Jimin. “You don’t need it.”

 

Jimin smiled at the compliment and bravely walked up to the front door.

 

As promised, Yoongi hung back at the door to the vehicle and allowed Jimin to approach the house on his own. After the threats and assassination attempt nearly a year prior, Jimin had been suffocated with an increased security detail. Now that things had calmed down immensely, Jimin was relieved to feel as if he could finally breathe once again. His security had decreased in number, and the distance of his team had increased. Many were still present, but they had become far less noticeable at first glance, for which Jimin was eternally grateful. Jimin didn’t need to worry about anyone in his team overhearing his private conversations any longer. The only exception was whenever Yoongi was on duty. He didn’t really mind having his bodyguard stay at his side, now that he’d become such a close and trusted friend… but he was pleased to at least have the option of having personal space.

 

Jimin walked up to the front door, knocking timidly on the door with peeling, red paint. He only had to wait a moment before hearing feet quietly pad across the floor to open it.

 

“Yeah?” The man that opened the door had dark circles beneath his eyes as he opened the door. He squinted at Jimin, as if he recognized him, but couldn’t quite place where he’d seen his face before.

 

“Uh – I’m looking for Oh Soohyeon,” Jimin said, reading the name from his sticky note. “Is she here?”

 

The man put one hand on his waist and leaned the other on the door knob, eyeing Jimin with a heightened level of scrutiny. “I’m sorry – who are you?”

 

“I’m Park Jimin,” he immediately identified himself. Jimin recognized the exact moment when the man realized who was standing on his front step as his eyes widened and he straightened his back to appear slightly more put together than he was currently. “I work with the attorney, Han Hyunsoo. He’s been trying to get an interview with Oh Soohyeon for quite some time, now, and… she’s been unavailable.”

 

The man swallowed. He crossed his arms over his chest, possibly to cover his old, ratty t-shirt while he was standing directly across from the president’s son, dressed in a black, three-piece suit. “She’s at the hospital with our son,” the man replied. “She doesn’t get great cell reception there.”

 

“Ah, I see.” Jimin’s fingers fidgeted with the sticky note in his hand and nodded in understanding. “Do you know when she’ll get home?”

 

The man sighed, running his hand through his hair. “She’s not planning on it anytime soon.”

 

Jimin frowned slightly, but did not let his answer deter him. “Could I, perhaps, speak to her at the hospital?”

 

With a sigh, the man silently reached for the post-it in Jimin’s hand, flipped it to the back, and began writing on it with a pen he must have kept on the table just inside their front entrance. “If it can’t wait,” he told him, handing the square paper back to Jimin, “that’s the room number.”

 

Jimin looked down at the note and smiled gratefully. “Thank you for your time, sir.”

 

The man did not say another word. Instead, he quietly closed the door and Jimin turned around to walk back to the black SUV that was idling at the end of the driveway.

 

“Well,” Jimin announced when he got close enough to his security team, “it looks like we’re going to the hospital.” He climbed into the back seat of the vehicle and waited for Yoongi to climb in the through the opposite door. Jimin glanced at the rear view mirror, making eye contact with the agent in the driver’s seat. “Is it far from here?”

 

“No, not far, sir,” the man replied. “We can have you there in less than ten minutes.”

 

Yoongi made a face at Jimin’s request while he pulled on his seatbelt and the car started to pull away from the curb. “The hospital?”

 

“Yeah, her husband said she’s at the hospital with their son.”

 

Yoongi frowned, eyeing Jimin suspiciously. “Is she sick, or is her son is sick?”

 

Jimin shrugged, scratching the back of his neck. “I don’t know,” he mumbled. “I didn’t ask. I didn’t really think it was any of my business.”

 

Yoongi seemed uncertain about the situation. “If it’s the child that’s sick… then do you really think you should be interviewing the mother?” he questioned.

 

Jimin seemed to be having a similar thought process. “I have no idea,” he confessed. “I mean – the interview has to get done at some point, right? Her husband said she was at the hospital indefinitely, so… I might as well stop by to ask if she has a minute to talk.” Jimin glanced over at Yoongi with a hesitant gaze. “Right?”

 

But somewhere about halfway through Jimin’s words, Yoongi’s attention lost focus on their conversation as his hand abruptly lifted to press against the tiny earpiece in his ear. Jimin glanced at the front of the car where the agent in the driver’s seat seemed to be just as distracted by whatever was being broadcast across his radio.

 

And then Yoongi’s hand whipped out, thudding against Jimin’s chest to hold him firmly in place against the back of his seat as the driver cranked the wheel hard enough to do a one-eighty turn in the middle of the residential street, taking off at full speed in the opposite direction.

 

“Tell me what’s happening!” Jimin swiftly demanded of the agents. He looked out of his car windows, watching in terror as the other cars that had been travelling with his security detail did the same thing, turning to follow in their wake. Jimin tried to look for anything out of the ordinary as if hoping to find some sort of a clue that could tell him why his security agents seemed to be on such high alert all of a sudden. He hadn’t seen them act like this since the last time Jimin had been –

 

“What’s happening?” Jimin shouted over the screech of the tires, this time raising his voice to get his words across. “Yoongi, tell me what’s wrong!”

 

“We’re taking you to the secure bunker, sir,” Yoongi explained in a calm and level voice, but it was the single form of address that Yoongi had chosen to add onto the end of his sentence that told Jimin everything he needed to know. Yoongi had become Jimin’s close friend over the past year and their friendship had grown enough for him to finally refrain from calling Jimin “sir” anymore. The only time he ever did so was whenever there was a threat that required him to be fully immersed in his job to protect Jimin’s life.

 

And if Yoongi was calling Jimin “sir,” even in a calm voice, then that did little to soothe Jimin’s fears.

 

In fact, it had the opposite effect.

 

“Why?” Jimin argued. “Yoongi, what is it?”

 

Once they made it to the interstate, siren blaring on the roof of the car, Yoongi spoke to Jimin directly and honestly. “A bomb went off at a park downtown.” Jimin waited with bated breath to understand why this news meant he had to go to their bunker. “Yeouido Park.”

 

But the name alone told him everything he needed to know.

 

For years, his mother took daily walks in Yeouido Park.

 

“Is my mother safe?” Jimin asked immediately.

 

Then, he remembered the man that stood obediently at her side and his heart stopped beating for a moment.

 

“Oh – God – hyung, is Jungkook ok?”

 

“Don’t panic,” Yoongi cut him off before his mind could wander any further down the rabbit hole. “No one was severely injured.”

 

Severely injured? Wait – so they were people injured? Fuck – hyung – ”

 

“Everyone’s fine,” Yoongi immediately reassured him. As the car whipped around the corner, Yoongi put both hands on Jimin’s shoulders and forced him to maintain eye contact. “Your mother and Jungkook – they’re both safe. Understand?”

 

Jimin would have expected to feel immediate relief at this news. Instead, it only brought tears to his eyes as his emotions ran haywire.

 

“They’re ok?” he checked again, just to be sure. “You’re not just saying that? They’re both safe?”

 

“They’re both safe,” Yoongi confirmed. “Nothing but a few scratches.”

 

Blindly, Jimin’s hand reached out to grip Yoongi’s arm as he desperately tried to get his tears under control. He felt like his head was clouded and his breathing was coming in short wheezes as the reality of the situation sank in. It was happening again. All of it – every single emotion running through his body – it was like he’d been transported back to that day all over again.

 

He could hear the sound of gunshots – the sound of glass breaking –

 

“Breathe,” Yoongi firmly instructed as heard Jimin gasp for air. He reached around to put his hands on Jimin’s back, lightly pushing him forward until his torso was flat against his thighs. “Head between your legs,” he told him. “Come on – slow, deep breaths. That’s right. In – out – in – out.”

 

Jimin followed Yoongi’s instructions without a fight. Jimin had been forced to learn how to cope with the assassination attempt on his life. Most of the time, it simply meant talking things through with a therapist, but he still suffered from the occasional panic attack. His therapist had been the one to help Jimin work through such an event. She had even brought Yoongi into her office during one of their sessions to explain how to assist whenever Jimin experienced a panic attack. At the time, Jimin had been embarrassed by the entire situation.

 

But it was times like these – when he completely lost control over his own body – that he was relieved that Yoongi was by his side and knew exactly what to do.

 

Jimin had only had a few panic attacks in his life, but every time he felt as if he was about to die. His entire body became paralyzed with fear as he forced himself to focus on his breathing. He shut out every sound in the car with the exception of the pounding of the blood in his head. He tried to focus on Yoongi’s voice, listening to his words as he helped Jimin work through his panic attack. He tried to mirror Yoongi’s own breaths until he was able to finally take in a deep breath of his own.

 

Once the worst of it had passed, Yoongi tried to calm him with a gentle pat on the back. “It’s ok,” he reassured him. “You’re ok.”

 

Jimin took extra time with his body folded over his legs, even after he’d gotten his breathing under control, to wipe away the stray tears that had appeared on his face. Only after he felt the dizziness subside, Jimin gradually returned to his upright position with a slow nod. He took three more experimental breaths, ensuring that the danger had passed before looking back at Yoongi for more information.

 

“Everyone is safe,” Yoongi repeated his reassurances from before. “We’re just taking you to the bunker to ensure that there aren’t any other unexpected attacks against your family until we can find out what’s going on.”

 

Jimin nodded in understanding. “Is my mother going to be there?”

 

“Yes. Your father as well,” Yoongi assured him. “They’ll meet you there.”

 

Jimin swallowed. “And Jungkook?”

 

Yoongi nodded. “He should be there, too.”

 

Jimin closed his eyes, continuing to focus on maintaining slow, steady breaths as the SUV he was in sped through the traffic. It wasn’t the easiest environment to try and find a relaxed state of mind, but Jimin knew he had to do it if he didn’t want to fall back to pieces.

 

The car squealed into an empty lot – one that Jimin had seen many times before when their family had done routine drills with their security teams during his father’s first year in office to practice situations such as these. This time, however, Yoongi was grabbing Jimin’s arm and dragging him from the car with a bruising grip. The bodyguard scanned his surroundings, ensuring that everything – and everyone – was as it was supposed to be, before pushing Jimin through the nearest door. Within minutes, Jimin and the rest of his security team were well below the ground, winding their way through a number of musty smelling tunnels, before ending at a secured room surrounded on all sides by concrete.

 

When Jimin opened the door, his heart broke.

 

Mom,” he exhaled, escaping Yoongi’s grip and running across the room to sweep his mother up into his arms. In his quick assessment of his mother, she appeared to be completely unharmed, but she was inconsolable, sobbing in a hunched over position on the couch. She had only just managed to shakily get to her feet to reach out for her son before Jimin got to her side. “It’s ok – I’m here,” Jimin quietly reassured her, rubbing his hands over her back. “I’m right here. I’m – ”

 

The door swung open once more with Jimin’s father rushing inside.

 

“Everyone’s ok?” he asked in an authoritative voice – one that Jimin only ever heard when he was fulfilling his role as the president of the country. In this moment, his father was clearly trying to channel his fear into an outward appearance of strength, so he still looked as if he was in control of the situation – even though the situation was entirely out of all of their control. He swiftly moved across the room, first reaching for his wife, and then tugging Jimin into a bear hug. “Everyone’s safe?”

 

His mother’s voice was muffled as she buried her face into his father’s shoulder. “I’m ok,” his mother hiccupped between sobs. “I’m – I’m ok.”

 

Jimin clutched his family as tight as he could, scanning the room over his mother’s head for any sign of Jungkook. Jimin managed to make eye contact with Yoongi, standing at attention in the corner of the room. He lifted his eyebrows, silently asking if Yoongi knew where Jungkook was, but Yoongi could only shake his head and shrug.

 

“Ma’am?” an older gentleman with a white lab coat stepped forward. He smiled politely at the group. “I’m sorry – but we still need to finish up your tests – just to be sure that your health hasn’t been compromised.”

 

Jimin’s father took a step back and clutched his wife’s hand, patting it reassuringly when she seemed reluctant to leave her family. “We’ll be right here waiting for you,” he assured her. He lifted her hand and pressed a kiss on top of it. “We’re not leaving.”

 

But the moment she left the room, Jimin turned to his father with fresh tears in his eyes.

 

“Someone tried to kill Mom,” he told him, speaking as if his father wasn’t already been informed of the situation at hand. “Mom hasn’t hurt anyone. Why would anyone want to hurt her?”

 

The president, for all of the chaos their family had been dealt, managed to keep his composure in front of his son. “I haven’t been briefed by the secret service,” he answered honestly. “I… have no idea what happened.”

 

“But why?” Jimin repeated his question, beyond confused. “I mean – I understand why people would hate me because I came out, but Mom? What did she do?”

 

“Don’t speak about yourself like that,” his father immediately shut down Jimin’s train of thought. “And let’s not jump to conclusions until we know more. Understand?” He clapped a hand to the side of Jimin’s neck, forcing him to look up into his father’s calm expression. It was a small gesture, but it managed to ease Jimin’s fears, even if it was just a small amount. “We don’t know what’s happening, Jimin. You just need to wait until someone tells us – ”

 

The door to the bunker opened.

 

And Jimin finally felt like he could breathe again.

 

Jungkook hurried into the room, making a beeline directly for Jimin’s mother. He knelt by her side, murmuring quietly to her as she sat in chair being poked and prodded by the doctor on site. Jimin watched as Jungkook’s head fell in apology just before Jimin’s mother reached out to run her hands through his hair and press a kiss to the top of his head. If they weren’t in a life-or-death situation, Jimin would have smiled at the touching, maternal gesture.

 

Before Jimin could make his way over, Jimin’s mother got Jungkook’s attention and pointed in his direction. But when Jungkook turned to look at him, Jimin’s knees nearly buckled.

 

The right side of Jungkook’s face was covered in cuts and bruises.

 

Jungkook,” he choked out with a sob. Jimin stumbled over the sparse furniture in the room as his eyes fixated on the dried blood that had seeped into Jungkook’s suit jacket in the aftermath of the attack. “You’re hurt,” he told him. His left hand hovered over his cheek, wishing he could make everything better with a single touch. His mind went into overdrive, scanning the rest of his body for injuries. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”

 

“It’s just a few scratches,” Jungkook quickly tried to downplay his wounds. “Flying debris – it’s nothing that – ”

 

God, Jungkook – look at your arm,” Jimin interrupted him as his eyes fell to his usually pristine suit jacket. His eyes widened as he took in the state of the sleeve on Jungkook’s right arm. The fabric had been sliced in multiple locations across the entire length of his arm, but upon closer inspection, Jimin was relieved that he didn’t see any blood on his skin beneath.

 

Jungkook, however, felt the need to swiftly redirect Jimin’s attention. He quickly put both hands on Jimin’s face and locked gazes. “I’m fine,” he insisted once again. “But I can’t stay long,” he continued in a slightly harried voice. “I need to get back to the scene to help investigate, but I just – ” Jungkook finally slowed down enough to take a breath to ground himself. “I wanted to see you and I… I wanted you to know that I’m ok.”

 

Jimin nodded, grateful that Jungkook had understood exactly what he needed.

 

Jungkook lowered his head just enough to press a firm kiss to Jimin’s lips, uncaring that the bunker was filled with a vast number of his fellow secret service agents. “Do whatever Yoongi tells you to do,” he instructed as he slipped back into his role of bodyguard instead of boyfriend. Then he slowly released his grip on Jimin. “I’ll be back soon.”

 

“Ok.” Jimin swallowed. And then, remembering just before Jungkook could close the door to the bunker behind him, Jimin called out, “Wait!”

 

Jungkook looked back over his shoulder.

 

It was days like today that truly put into perspective just how much you cared about a person.

 

“I love you,” Jimin whispered. “Be safe.”

 

Jungkook smiled.

 

“I love you, too.”

 

And then he was gone.

 

*

 

“It appears to have been a pointed attack.”

 

Jimin and the rest of his family had finally been given permission to leave the bunker after multiple hours of medical testing to ensure that his mother was healthy and that any form of an imminent threat was gone. They had been brought directly to his father’s office and seated together on a couch as the head of security sat across from them to give their family an update on their investigation.

 

“We found a remote detonator on the device,” the older man explained. “We suspect that whoever set it off must have been in the vicinity and attempted to trigger the bomb when the first lady was nearby.”

 

Jimin shuddered at the thought.

 

“There is some good news,” the head of security continued. “Given that the bomb seems to be constructed by an amateur, we believe we are dealing with a civilian with low levels of explosives intelligence. Similarly,” the man continued with a wave of his hand, “the timed device – despite it being close to the first lady – didn’t actually go off until she was nearly twenty yards past the bench where this backpack was found. We think this is a good sign.”

 

His father said the words that all three of them seemed to be thinking. “What, exactly, is it about this scenario that was good?” he snapped in an authoritative voice.

 

His head of security nodded at the pointed question and averted his gaze towards the floor. Jimin knew it couldn’t be easy to have the president of the country direct his anger at you. “Mr. President, the inability to detonate this explosive at the appropriate time just supports the level of inexperience we believe we’re dealing with in this situation,” the agent calmly explained. “The individual in question is, of course, still a threat… but we believe it’s one we will be able to easily track down.”

 

Jimin’s father sighed heavily. He reached over and placed his hand on top of his wife’s, squeezing it in reassurance. “See that you do,” he finally told his head of security. “I shouldn’t have to worry about my family trying to step outside of their home.”

 

The agent nodded. “In the mean time,” he continued, glancing at Jimin and his mother, “we do recommend that you be cautious about visiting locations outside of the Blue House and discuss your plans with your security team ahead of time.” He turned his gaze on Jimin’s mother. “We believe the only reason why the bomb penetrated your security team was because the attacker knew your walking route ahead of time since you always take the same one – and it’s an incredibly public area.”

 

His mother reached out to place her free hand on Jimin’s shoulder. “What about his job?” she asked. “Is he still safe to go to work?”

 

“We sweep the building each morning before you even arrive at work,” the head of security reassured both Jimin’s mother and Jimin himself. “That should be a more than secure location. Min Yoongi has been briefed on protocol for your security detail; all you need to do is speak with prior to visiting any other locations, just to be safe.”

 

His mother ran her hand across Jimin’s back in a comforting gesture – though Jimin wasn’t sure whether it was supposed to comfort him or his own mother – before she nodded in understanding.

 

“Thank you,” she said to the agent. When she got to her feet, so did the rest of the room. “I think… I would like nothing more than to lie down and get some rest.”

 

“That’s not a bad idea,” Jimin’s father agreed with a tight smile. In his line of profession, it was unlike him to go to bed before midnight on most nights, but he was transparent enough for Jimin to recognize exactly what he was doing and who he was trying to comfort. “Thank you for all of your help,” he added, nodding at his head of security.

 

“Of course,” the man agreed with a deep bow. “I hope to have more information for you in the morning.”

 

Jimin’s mother smiled as her husband stepped towards her, wrapping a comforting arm around her shoulders. “Jimin?” she quietly invited him. “Will you walk with us back to the residence?”

 

Jimin obediently followed his parents as they stepped outside, crossing through the extravagant garden at the back of the building before reaching the door to their residence on the opposite side.

 

“Are you going to be ok?” Jimin asked his mother, not for the first time that day.

 

Fortunately, his mother just smiled at her son’s concern for her wellbeing. “I’m doing better,” she answered.

 

“Of course she’s going to be ok,” his father tacked on. He tightened his arm around his wife’s shoulder, smiling down at her. “I’ll protect her.”

 

Jimin’s mother laughed softly as they climbed the first flight of steps. “My brave men,” she murmured affectionately. “What would I ever do without the two of you?”

 

“Mom,” Jimin mumbled in embarrassment at her words before shaking his head.

 

When they reached the second floor where Jimin had planned to veer off towards his bedroom, his father spoke up. “Jimin, why don’t you join us in our sitting room for a late night snack,” he suggested. He glanced over at his wife before continuing. “We never had a chance to have dinner, and… it would be really nice to sit down as a family.”

 

Jimin swallowed, suddenly feeling guilty. He wanted to stay with his family – he knew that his parents would appreciate just a few more minutes together with just the three of them – but he was just as eager to find his boyfriend. “Actually… if it’s alright, I was kind-of hoping to wait in my room for Jungkook to finish his investigation.”

 

“His shift ended an hour ago,” his mother pointed out. “He probably went to a hospital to get his wounds checked out.”

 

Jimin shrugged. He folded his arms over his chest in a comforting gesture at the reminder of Jungkook’s injuries. “Still,” he murmured quietly. “I… think I want to wait for him, even if it’s just a phone call.”

 

His mother smiled affectionately at her son. But just before she and her husband climbed the second flight of stairs towards their room, her gaze focused on something over Jimin’s shoulder. “I don’t think you’ll need to wait long, dear.”

 

Jimin spun around.

 

Jungkook had his hands stuffed into his pockets and was kicking his feet at the carpet lining the hallway, pacing outside of Jimin’s bedroom door. He was still wearing his tattered suit from earlier, but, from the looks of the stitches across Jungkook’s cheek, it was evident to Jimin that he had already received medical attention.

 

“Goodnight, Jimin,” his father swiftly concluded their conversation with a smile as Jimin immediately abandoned them in favor of running towards his boyfriend.

 

Jungkook looked up immediately when he heard Jimin’s footsteps. Any strength Jimin might have had left after his exhausting day vanished the moment they made eye contact. “Kookie,” Jimin breathed when he got close enough. “I – when Yoongi told me, I thought you were – ”

 

Jungkook took three large steps forward, swooping Jimin up in his arms for a searing kiss. It made Jimin’s knees go weak as he frantically reached out to grasp Jungkook’s shoulders to keep his body from collapsing.

 

“Stay with me tonight,” Jimin begged when he finally had a chance to breathe. “Don’t go home.”

 

Jungkook wrapped his arms around Jimin again, but this time it was a warm embrace with his head buried in Jimin’s neck.

 

“I’m not going anywhere.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“Good morning,” Daeun murmured absentmindedly to Jimin as she stared fixatedly at her computer. “How did the interview go?”

 

Jimin slowly lowered himself into his seat at his desk before turning to look at his coworker with an apologetic expression. “I, uh… wasn’t able to interview the defendant yet. I’m sorry – something came up.”

 

Daeun slowly glanced up from her computer screen, fingers stilling over her keyboard at Jimin’s words. “Something came up?” she echoed. The muscles in her jaw clenched and unclenched as she tried to maintain her composure in front of Jimin. “Do you mean to tell me,” she spoke in an icy voice, “that you left work before lunch yesterday to talk to the defendant… and you didn’t even find her?”

 

Jimin immediately stood back up from his chair and bowed at the waist in apology. He quietly bit his lip to refrain from telling her the truth of the situation. Being unable to supply his co-worker with the full story made it very easy for her to assume that he had simply skipped work for the day, and Jimin knew that.

 

If he told Daeun that his secret service team had thrown him into their bunker for the better part of the day, she would be far more understanding – of course. However, the news outlets covering the bombing in Yeouido Park had not caught on that the president’s family was involved in any way, and the secret service was inclined to keep it that way. The last thing any of them wanted was the media blitz to prompt someone else to attempt a copycat of the original attack.

 

In this case, the less the public knew the better.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin apologized again. “I – it was unavoidable.”

 

Daeun sighed quietly. With a small eye roll, she turned back to her computer screen and pursed her lips in annoyance. “Well, then I guess you better start getting through those reports I left on your desk to catalogue,” she told him. “If you have time left after you finish, you can try looking for the defendant again this afternoon.”

 

Jimin nodded, immediately accepting her conditions. He was about to sit back down in his chair to do just what she had asked of him when the office on the opposite side of the room opened and their boss appeared. Daeun joined Jimin in standing up from her seat, greeting the attorney with a respectful incline of her head.

 

“Good morning,” Han Hyunsoo greeted the pair cheerily. He walked directly up to Jimin with a wide smile. “How did the interview go?”

 

Jimin averted his gaze, refusing to look at the slight quirk of Daeun’s lips.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin apologized for the third time that day. “I haven’t been able to talk to her yet.” He quickly gestured to the file folders on his desk. “I’m going to work through these reports first, and then I’ll find her as soon as I’m done.”

 

Hyunsoo looked down at the folders for a moment before sweeping them together and turning around. “Daeun, would you mind taking care of these for Jimin?”

 

Daeun blinked at him in surprise. She took a small step forward to protest. “Sir, I – ”

 

“It’s important that we get that preliminary questioning from the defendant,” he said with a patient smile. “You understand, don’t you?”

 

Daeun looked at Jimin, gaze widening, before turning back to her boss. “Of course I do, but – ”

 

“Han baksanim,” Jimin interrupted. “It’s really no problem,” he insisted. “I can handle – ”

 

“Oh – no, I’m sure you can handle this,” the attorney assured Jimin with a slap on the back and a smirk. “I’m not saying that you can’t. I’m simply passing off the work so that you have more time to focus on your interview.”

 

Jimin swallowed. He opened his mouth to explain the situation, but was shocked to find Daeun already holding her hands out to accept the folders with her head bowed.

 

“Of course, Han baksanim,” she murmured. “I can take care of these.” She glanced up at Jimin and jerked her head towards the exit. “Go.”

 

Jimin hesitated, feeling guilty for creating the entire mess.

 

Daeun’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “Now.”

 

Jimin nodded quickly and hightailed his way out the door.

 

*

 

“I’m looking for room… three-oh-four?” Jimin asked the receptionist in the hospital lobby. “I’ve been told I can find Oh Soohyeon there.”

 

“Of course,” the young woman chirped with a wide grin on her face. “I can show you the way, if you like.”

 

“Oh.” Jimin glanced over his shoulder at Yoongi where he was hovering near the entrance to the waiting room. The agent cringed in disgust as a man walked past him, coughing noisily without so much as covering his mouth. “It’s really not necessary,” Jimin assured the peppy woman. “I’m sure I can find my way. You must have plenty of other things you need to be – ”

 

“It’s no problem at all!” the woman exclaimed, hurrying around the desk to stand at Jimin’s side. While Jimin was not exactly a tall individual, the receptionist was so short that she just barely reached his chin. “Besides,” she told him in a soft voice, “it’s not every day you get to meet the president’s son, right?”

 

Jimin laughed nervously. “Right.”

 

He followed the energetic woman to the elevator with Yoongi walking directly behind him. Twice, Jimin checked over his shoulder that Yoongi was nearby. It wasn’t that he thought this woman was dangerous – not at all – he just wasn’t sure he wanted to be left alone with someone who appeared to be one of his avid fans.

 

“You know,” the receptionist made conversation as she pressed the up arrow on the elevator panel, “I’ve always admired you.”


Jimin put on the smile he used whenever he was in front of the public eye. “That’s very kind of you. Thank you.”

 

“And,” she added, “I voted for your father.”

 

Jimin nodded. “He would be very pleased to hear that.”

 

“It’s just – your family is so adorable,” she insisted. The doors to the elevator opened and Jimin hurried inside, quickly pressing the button for the third floor in an attempt to hurry their conversation along. He waited for three of his agents – Yoongi included – to join him and the receptionist before the door finally closed and began moving. “Seriously – your family seems totally down to earth, you know? Not like the usual stuck up politicians.” She shrugged. “That’s why I voted for your father.”

 

Jimin wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that statement. He was sure that his father would have much preferred to get someone’s vote based on the ideals that he held – but, Jimin supposed, it was at least a vote that spoke to his character.

 

“I also think that you and your boyfriend coming out in public is literally the cutest thing ever. Seriously – you two are, like, relationship goals. Literally.” The woman turned to Jimin and lowered her voice. “I have this friend that I’m ninety-nine percent sure is also gay, so I’m totally cool with it.”

 

Yoongi wisely held in his chuckle of laughter on Jimin’s other side, but seemed unable to refrain from his entire body shaking in amusement. Jimin jabbed a sharp elbow into his side.

 

“Thank you,” Jimin replied. It still felt weird, even now, for people to talk to Jimin about his relationship with Jungkook. With his parents’ support, Jimin had come out several months ago simply by attending a public event with Jungkook on his arm. They had intended for it to be a nonevent, hoping that the rest of the world would see it as just that. While the media had gone into a frenzy once they realized what Jimin had just revealed to millions of people, the president and first lady’s non-reaction to their coming out had set a tone for the rest of the country. There was certainly a fair share of people that still despised Jimin for what he was, but his father’s assumption that Jimin sexuality was nothing to be ashamed of had turned the public in their favor. Jimin didn’t push his luck by going out with Jungkook very often, but he was pleased that he could do so without having to hide their feelings for one another. “I’m glad you’re supportive of our relationship.”

 

So supportive,” she insisted with wide eyes. “I mean – I know there were all sorts of people that weren’t happy about it when you two first came out, but trust me – there are tons more that love seeing you in a relationship with another man.” Then she shrugged. “Or they just don’t care who you date.”

 

This comment actually made Jimin smile genuinely at the overly enthusiastic girl. “Thank you,” he murmured. “That… means a lot.”

 

She grinned back at him.

 

The elevator dinged and the doors opened onto a new floor. Unlike the stale walls of the waiting room on the first floor, this one seemed to be decorated in bright colors with various murals along the hallways. Jimin stepped out, scanning the area in surprise.

 

“Third floor,” the receptionist announced cheerily as she began leading Jimin down a hallway to the right. “Pediatrics.”

 

Jimin glanced nervously at the woman. “Pediatrics?” he verified. So, it was the child of the defendant that was sick? Jimin had been trying to hold out hope that he was coming to the hospital for the mother – not her son.

 

Jimin looked over at his bodyguard, watching Yoongi mirror his anxious expression.

 

“Knock, knock,” the woman sang out as she knocked on the open door to a nearby room. She took one step inside and smiled. “It seems you have a special visitor who would like to speak with you.”

 

“A visitor?” There was a faint sound of a chair squeaking as someone stood up from within the room. “Who is it?”

 

Jimin stepped around the corner and into the room, smiling nervously as the nurse from the reception desk left to return to her post. “Good morning,” he politely greeted the woman that he assumed to be the defendant. “Oh Soohyeon?”

 

A woman with long, dark hair was standing in front of a teal, plastic chair that had been moved to the edge of the hospital bed. The woman in question was standing over her son, gripping his small hand as he slept. She stared at Jimin for a moment before shaking her head in disbelief. “Park Jimin?” she verified. Jimin nodded. “I’m sorry – why does the president’s son want to talk to me?”

 

“I’m… actually here as a representative from the attorney Han Hyunsoo’s office,” Jimin explained. “I was hoping to ask you a few preliminary questions about the accident that occurred last week.” He clasped his notebook tight in his hand. “Is this a good time?”

 

Within seconds, the woman’s gaze narrowed into an icy glare.

 

“You can go to hell.”

 

Jimin watched from his peripherals as Yoongi straightened his posture in the hopes of appearing more intimidating in front of the woman who had just verbally attacked Jimin.

 

“I’m… so sorry,” Jimin immediately apologized, eyes flicking to Soohyeon’s sleeping son as his guilt grew. “I just – I have to ask you some questions and then I’ll leave as soon as I can. I know this isn’t an ideal time, but – ”

 

“My son is unconscious, and you want to ask me some petty questions about a car accident that put him there?”

 

Jimin’s eyes whipped from the angered woman to the small boy that lay in the hospital bed with blankets up to his chest. Jimin felt his stomach turn. “I… didn’t realize that crash was that bad. Our plaintiff didn’t have many injuries, so I just assumed that – ”

 

“Oh, she didn’t?” Soohyeon’s sarcasm sent a thrill of fear down Jimin’s spine. He watched Yoongi take a step forward, sensing the woman’s growing anger, but Jimin immediately stopped him with a wave of his hand. “I had no idea that woman wasn’t injured – because I was too busy holding my son’s hand in the ambulance when I left. Thank God she wasn’t injured.”

 

Jimin swallowed. He got the sense that going about his interview in the standard way wouldn’t give him much in the way of answers. If he was going to be able to talk to her, he needed to at least get her to trust his presence in the room.

 

“That sounds terrible,” Jimin immediately sympathized. “What… exactly happened?”

 

The woman let down her guard just enough for Jimin to realize that this line of questioning might actually work. She huffed in frustration, still appearing annoyed by his presence, but far more cooperative when she realized he simply wanted to hear her perspective of the accident.

 

“I did nothing wrong.”

 

Jimin nodded and pulled up a chair, gesturing for Soohyeon to sit in hers as well. “Tell me.”

 

Still wary of Jimin’s presence, the woman slowly reclaimed her original spot. She squeezed her son’s hand and covered it with her other hand.

 

“I was picking up my son from his piano lessons downtown,” she began in a far calmer tone than she’d used since Jimin had arrived. “I was supposed to turn right out of the parking lot. There was no one in my lane, so I started to go. Then, I noticed this car – her car – ” she emphasized with a glare “ – at least three hundred yards away, weaving through traffic. She must have been going at least twenty over the speed limit.” Jimin nodded at the information. “And she moved into my lane without any warning – no blinker or anything – and she wasn’t even slowing down. Then – bam – she hits the driver’s side of the car.”

 

“Three hundred yards away?” Jimin verified. “You’re sure?”

 

“Oh, yes,” Soohyeon answered confidently. “I’m sure.”

 

“Three hundred yards is the length of a city block,” Jimin murmured. “That should have been more than enough time for her to slow down if you pulled out while she was still three hundred yards away.”

 

“She would have seen me,” the woman countered with a menacing glare in her eye, “if she hadn’t been looking at her cell phone while she was driving.”

 

Jimin swallowed. None of these facts had come up in the initial interview that Han Hyunsoo had conducted with their client.

 

“Tell me – ” Jimin cleared his throat, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. “Tell me about your son,” he said.

 

“He was sitting in the backseat on the passenger side,” Soohyeon murmured. One of her hands ran comfortingly up and down the boy’s pale forearm. “The impact of the crash caused him to hit his head on the window and – and – ” She swallowed her tears before looking back to Jimin. “The doctors said he had bleeding inside his brain,” she whispered when she was unable to get her words out without her voice cracking. “He had a seizure before the ambulance had even arrived, and he was wheeled straight into surgery.” She turned to Jimin, swiping a solitary tear from her cheek. “My baby had brain surgery,” she told him, “and he’s just nine.”

 

Jimin let out a slow sigh, trying to keep his own emotions in check. He wanted to comfort the woman, but knew it wasn’t his job. It couldn’t be his job. He had to maintain some form of professionalism if he wanted to survive in this job.

 

“And did you have any injuries?” Jimin asked.

 

The woman laughed, as if the question were ridiculous. “A cut above my eye from the glass,” she said, pointing at the stitches that still remained, “and a mild concussion.” Soohyeon swallowed. “I wish I had been to one to get hurt. That woman hit my side of the car, and it’s my son that’s fighting for his life.”

 

“And… these injuries were all caused by the accident?” Jimin asked.

 

Soohyeon tilted her head, looking at Jimin as if he were crazy. “What do you think they’re from?”

 

“I have to ask,” Jimin murmured apologetically. “We want to know if any preexisting injuries or medical conditions were present prior to the accident.”

 

The woman shook her head. “No,” she said. “At least – not me. My son, however – he’s already going through cancer treatments for leukemia.”

 

Jimin’s heart broke.

 

“The doctors think that might be why he had a brain bleed,” she explained. “His low immune system isn’t making things any easier on him. They’re keeping him in a medically induced coma until they’re sure he’s fully healed.”

 

Jimin couldn’t take anymore.

 

“I’m really – very sorry this happened,” Jimin apologized instinctually. “Would you mind if I came back again another time?” he asked. “I just need to ask a few more questions, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

 

Finally, the woman smiled at Jimin’s consideration for her emotional health.

 

“Thank you,” she said. “I would really appreciate that.”

 

Jimin stood quickly and made his goodbyes before hurrying out of the small room with Yoongi on his heel.

 

“Oh, God,” Jimin whispered as he sped down the pediatrics hallway, clutching his chest. “Oh, God, that was terrible.”

 

Yoongi sidled up next to Jimin as he collapsed into the first chair he found in the pediatrics waiting area near the elevator. “Are you doing ok?”

 

No,” Jimin hissed, though his expression looked nothing but tortured. “You heard everything that woman said! She shouldn’t be the defendant – she should be the plaintiff! She’s the one our firm should be representing!”

 

Yoongi cleared his throat, eyeing the people walking past them. It was his subtle way of reminding Jimin that they were in public and could easily be overheard. “I’m not sure that’s quite how this works,” Yoongi murmured honestly. He crouched down beside Jimin’s chair to keep his voice at a low volume. “If you’re an attorney, the client comes to you.”

 

“Yeah – but we need to refuse the case,” Jimin argued. “We should not be defending our client.”

 

“Did she actually do everything that the woman claimed she did?” Yoongi asked, playing devil’s advocate. “Have you actually checked with your client to verify her side of the story?” Yoongi shrugged. “I’m just saying – yeah, it’s terrible that the defendant’s son is in the hospital, but how do you know if she’s telling the truth if you haven’t verified it?” Yoongi shrugged. “If our team was investigating a case, we would look into every security camera in the vicinity, eye witness accounts, cell phone records – ”

 

“I get it,” Jimin abruptly cut him off as he grew more irritated with Yoongi’s accurate rebuttal. “I need to talk to my boss and have him dig around a bit more. I think we – ”

 

Vroom, vroom!

 

Jimin froze in the middle of his sentence, staring down at his feet in surprise. A young girl, no more than five, was crawling around on the floor in her hospital gown, driving her toy fire truck that she had found in the waiting room over Jimin’s freshly polished dress shoes. When she noticed that she had caught Jimin’s attention, she stared up at him, surprised that he was watching her. Automatically, Jimin smiled down at her.

 

Her answering, toothy grin lit up the room.

 

Vroom!” she shouted again, deciding to drive the fire truck up along the side of Jimin’s leg, now that she had his attention. “Quick!” she suddenly exclaimed. “Get the fire! Pssh!” The young girl detached a small, toy plastic hose that was secured to the side of the toy vehicle and pretended spray it at Jimin.

 

“You got it!” Jimin played along without hesitation, pretending as if the fire had been doused. Then, deciding that he could use a little childish optimism at this point in time, Jimin turned to look at the bodyguard kneeling at his side and grinned mischievously. “There’s another fire!” he said with his finger directed at Yoongi’s face. “Put it out! Quick!”

 

The girl eagerly followed his suggestion, turning the toy hose on Yoongi with delight. “Pssh!” Her enthusiasm shone through in the small flecks of spit that hit Yoongi on his forehead while she “put out the fire.”

 

“Alright – ok,” Yoongi grumbled in a dry voice as the attack was turned on him. He covered his face, wiping her spit away, and stood back up to his full height where she couldn’t reach him.

 

“Yay!” Jimin celebrated with the girl, laughing as Yoongi distanced himself from the pair. “You did it!”

 

“I did it!” she mirrored Jimin’s celebration.

 

“High-five!” Jimin said, holding a hand up. The girl seemed to study his palm, as if taking aim, before abruptly shooting her own hand out to hit it as hard as she possibly could. “Oh – wow – you’re super strong!” The girl giggled as Jimin acted as if she’d hurt his hand with sheer strength. “I didn’t realize how big your muscles are – show me your muscles!” The girl proudly held up both arms and pretended to flex, when, in all actuality, she was really only scrunching her nose in intense concentration. “Whoa! Look at those muscles!”

 

The girl grew very comfortable with Jimin, practically sprawling across his lap and virtually disregarding any sense of a personal bubble as she quickly befriended him. “Show me your muscles!” she suddenly challenged Jimin, hitting him lightly in the middle of his chest to keep his attention on her.

 

Jimin immediately obeyed, puffing out his chest and holding his arms up. “I have big muscles, too!” Jimin said. “Look!”

 

“No,” the girl teased him with a smile. “I have the biggest muscles.”

 

What?” Jimin dramatically replied. “You do?

 

The girl laughed gleefully at their game. “I go to school,” the girl proudly told Jimin. “I took my backpack and I carried it and it was this big!” Her arms whipped out to her sides, as far as she could stretch them. “See?”

 

“No – way!” Jimin exclaimed with wide, expressive eyes. “How big?”

 

The girl’s chest puffed out as she tried to extend her arms even further and stood on her tiptoes. “This big!”

 

“Oh, my God – I’m so sorry.”

 

Jimin looked up in surprise as a woman – presumably, the girl’s mother – quickly approached them, sweeping her child up into her arms.

 

“I left her here to play for a minute so I could talk to her nurse in private, and – I had no idea she would – that you were – ” The woman’s face turned red, seeming to have instantly recognized Jimin when she had returned. “I’m really – very sorry.”

 

“It’s seriously no problem.” Jimin smiled back at her. “We were having fun – and I kind-of needed that right about now.”

 

“I hope she didn’t bother you,” the woman continued to apologize.

 

“No, no, we were – ”

 

“Mommy – look at my muscles!

 

Jimin hid his grin as the girl tried to show off her muscles for her mother, now.

 

“They’re very nice, baby girl,” her mother played along. “Now, why don’t you say goodbye to the nice man?”

 

Jimin quickly recognized the pout that was crossing the girl’s features as she realized she was about to be separated from Jimin. Her head fell to her mother’s shoulders, wrapping her arms around her neck, and she sniffled with her lower lip beginning to jut out in disappointment. Before she could start crying, Jimin held up his hand to her once more.


“High-five?” he asked.

 

The girl grinned, sitting back up and slapping his hand one last time.

 

“Oh – good one!” Jimin encouraged. He turned to his bodyguard with a devious smirk. “One more high-five for Yoongi-ahjussi?”

 

Yoongi turned his head to Jimin in a glare at the offending name, but raised his hand obediently for the girl. After her last high-five, Jimin smiled and waved at the girl. “Bye-bye!”

 

The girl slumped back onto her mother’s shoulder, looking exhausted, and gave a tiny wave before her mother led her away.

 

“Ahjussi?” Yoongi immediately commented once the girl had left. “I’m not that much older than you, asshole.”

 

“Hey – you’re supposed to be respectful when you speak to me,” Jimin teased his friend while they walked towards the elevators. “Don’t call me an asshole.”

 

Yoongi remained stoic. “Don’t call me ahjussi.”

 

Jimin smiled to himself even after the girl had disappeared from sight. After the stress of the previous day and the heartbreak of listening to a mother talk about a tragic accident that had severely injured her son, it was a relief to spend some time with a carefree child. He needed more moments like this in his life – more moments where he just felt… happy.

 

So, when Jimin left the pediatric ward and the elevator doors closed behind him, he glanced down at his shoes. The scratch that the girl’s fire truck had left behind on the top of them only made him laugh.

 

*

 

“Rough day?”

 

Jimin smiled gratefully when Jungkook immediately read his emotions the minute he walked into his bedroom. “Yeah.”

 

Jungkook closed the door behind him and wrapped Jimin up in a tight, bear hug, slowly rocking him from side to side in a comforting manor. “Want to talk about it?”

 

Jimin practically melted into Jungkook’s arms, sighing in relief. “No,” he mumbled truthfully into the lapels of Jungkook’s suit jacket. “I really don’t.”

 

Jungkook chuckled softly and placed a kiss to the top of Jimin’s head. “Then… do you want me to run down to your kitchen and grab you the largest bowl of ice cream I can find?”

 

Jimin smiled fondly.

 

He had the best boyfriend in the world.

 

“How about we watch a movie?” Jimin suggested.

 

Jungkook agreed instantaneously. “I would love to.”

 

The movie served to act as background noise more than anything else. It was a film that both of them had seen before and did little to keep their attention. Instead, Jimin simply curled up with his leg thrown over one of Jungkook’s as they lie in bed and spoke in quiet voices to one another.

 

“Nothing new,” Jungkook murmured when Jimin had inquired into the progress of his case regarding the bomb in the park. “There are thousands of people that go through Yeouido Park every day, so we’re just chasing countless leads right now. Unfortunately, everything seems suspicious.”

 

Jimin hummed, disappointed. “No one even sent a threatening note?” he asked. His fingers ghosted over the stitches along Jungkook’s cheekbone and lightly caressed the purpling bruise on his jaw. “Or an explanation of why they did what they did?”

 

“That’s just it,” Jungkook answered in a hesitant voice. “Your mother rarely ever receives negative press to begin with. The only thing that makes sense is if someone’s trying to hurt her just to get to your father,” he continued in a quiet voice. “Or – well, I suppose, they could also be trying to send a message to you as well.”

 

Jimin refused to let his mind wander through the traumatic events of the previous year.

 

He refused.

 

“Speaking of my taboo relationship with my former bodyguard,” Jimin swiftly transitioned their conversation, “I met this woman at the hospital today that said she thought that you and I were a cute couple.” Jimin tilted his head up from the comfortable place he’d found against Jungkook’s chest and peered up into his eyes. “She also said that we are – let me see if I can get this right – ” Jimin put on a high-pitched voice “ – ‘literally relationship goals’.”

 

“Relationship goals?” Jungkook echoed with a laugh. His arm gripped Jimin tighter around his shoulders. “What does that even mean?”

 

“That we’re the ideal couple?” Jimin answered with a question, as if he, too, wasn’t entirely sure of the correct answer.

 

“How would they even know?” Jungkook asked. “We’ve only ever been in public together a handful of times.”

 

“True,” Jimin agreed. He blankly watched the television screen as he continued speaking. “Otherwise we just work and then spend our time… here.”

 

“Wow.” Jungkook snorted in amusement. “When you put it that way, we aren’t even close to ‘relationship goals.’ We might be the lamest couple on earth.”

 

“I don’t mind,” Jimin softly reassured Jungkook with a pat on the chest. “I kind-of like lame.”

 

Jungkook smiled at the sentiment, but wasn’t dissuaded from his earlier thought. “You know – we should do something.”

 

Jimin, unaware of what Jungkook was proposing, asked, “Do what?”

 

“No – I mean,” Jungkook clarified, “we should go out. Like… on a date.”

 

Slowly, Jimin glanced back up at Jungkook in surprise. “A date?”

 

“Why not?” Jungkook murmured. He twisted his body so he no longer had his arms wrapped around Jimin, but was instead facing him head on with both of them lying with their heads sharing one pillow. “Normal couples go on dates.”

 

Yeah,” Jimin said, drawing out the word, “but you seem to be forgetting that we’re not a normal couple.”

 

“We’re not a normal couple because we choose to believe that,” Jungkook quietly argued. “There’s no reason why we can’t spend time with each other in public – just like everyone else.”

 

“We have every reason in the world,” Jimin immediately countered. “Last year, someone tried to kill me.”

 

“It was an isolated incident by a radical supporter of your father,” Jungkook patiently explained. “We took care of the situation, and you’ve been safe ever since.”

 

“A bomb exploded twenty yards away from my mother – yesterday!” Jimin shook his head. “That doesn’t sound like our family is safe, does it?”

 

“That bomb was only planted because they knew your mother’s normal route through Yeouido Park,” Jungkook insisted. “If our date is spontaneous, then there’s no threat.”

 

Jimin fought the urge to feel optimism at Jungkook’s idea. He’d been wishing just this morning to have more moments in his life that brought him happiness instead of stress – and this was shaping up to be one of them. “You really think it’s safe?”

 

“Would I suggest it if it wasn’t?” Jungkook immediately countered.

 

And Jimin knew, without a doubt, that Jungkook was right.

 

Slowly, a smile spread across his face.

 

“You’re taking me out on our first date?”

 

Jungkook grinned in response. “Yeah, I guess I am.”

 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Jimin responded with a hint of flirtation. He glanced down at Jungkook’s exposed collarbone between the open buttons of his dress shirt and lightly ran his index finger across his skin. “Who knows,” he ventured playfully. “It it goes well, you might even get lucky afterwards.”

 

Jimin had expected Jungkook to laugh or even retort with a playful response of his own. What he hadn’t expected was a dark cloud of lust to fill Jungkook’s eyes, just before he pressed Jimin to his back and carefully slotted his knee between Jimin’s legs. “Is that so?” He dipped his head down, skimming his lips across Jimin’s neck before gliding back up to whisper in his ear. “What are my chances?”

 

Jimin felt like his breath had been taken away. “I’d say… eighty-twenty.”

 

Jimin melted at the soft, teasing chuckle in his ear.

 

“I like those odds.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

It wasn’t very often that Jimin willingly spent time outside of the Blue House. It became too stressful to keep up public appearances when he was constantly worrying day in and day out if he’ll make the wrong face at the wrong time that will be captured on camera with the wrong caption. He had become a recluse soon after he’d started college. There, he could get away with selectively leaving his dorm to grab a bite of food in his sweatpants and oversized t-shirts because that had been what all students did. Now, he had graduated and become somewhat of an overnight quasi-celebrity once his relationship with Jungkook had been disclosed to the media. And whether or not the fear was warranted, Jimin constantly worried that he needed to show perfection and be on his guard the moment he stepped out of his house.

 

So, a date with Jungkook outside of the Blue House was completely new territory for Jimin.

 

“Hyung,” Jimin tentatively addressed his bodyguard standing outside of his bedroom door. He fidgeted nervously with his hands. “Do you have a minute to talk?”

 

Yoongi glanced over his shoulder at Jimin with an arched eyebrow. “You realize how stupid that question is, right?” he asked. “My job is to literally stay at your side. So… yeah.” He smirked in amusement. “I have a minute.”

 

Jimin ignored the sarcastic response and opened his door wider for Yoongi to enter.

 

The moment the door closed, Jimin began to talk. “Jungkook asked me out on a date.”

 

Yoongi frowned in confusion, trying to figure out where this conversation was headed – and why it needed to be held privately within the confines of Jimin’s bedroom. “Congratulations?”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes. “I mean – in public,” Jimin clarified. “Tonight. I wanted to tell you so… I don’t know. You can do whatever it is you need to do to make everyone safe.”

 

Yoongi nodded. “I already know,” he confessed immediately, holding up his cell phone by means of an explanation. “Jungkook sent me a message this morning to talk to me about additional security measures.”

 

“Oh.” Jimin huffed, crossing his arms over his chest. “Well… you could have told me you already talked to Jungkook.”

 

Yoongi shrugged. “It was more fun teasing you.”

 

Jimin’s hands continued to wring together nervously with a guilty thought prodding at the back of his mind. He tentatively sat on the corner of his bed and looked up at his bodyguard, feeling the need to say it aloud. “It’s going to be ok, right?”

 

Instantly, Yoongi’s eyes lost their twinkle of amusement and morphed into concern for his friend. “Of course it will be ok,” he assured Jimin. “You’ve got one of the best security teams, Jimin. We won’t let anything happen to you. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

 

“No – no – that’s not what I’m talking about.” Jimin brushed his words aside, mildly annoyed with himself that he hadn’t phrased his words correctly. “I meant – it’s going to be ok with you there – right?” Yoongi’s eyebrows knit together in confusion. “You know – having to watch Jungkook and I go on a date when Taehyung is… on the other side of the country? Because you could always take the night off and have someone else fill in for you.”

 

Yoongi blinked in surprise at the bizarre shift in their conversation. “I – uh – yeah, it’s ok.” He nodded rapidly, brows abruptly furrowing in confusion. “I mean – what does Taehyung have to do with this?”

 

Jimin shrugged. “I’m just worried,” he answered honestly. “I can’t imagine that it’s easy for you to watch Jungkook and I spend all of our time together when you clearly miss your boyfriend.”

 

Yoongi sighed. In a move that was somewhat unusual for his usually professional bodyguard, Yoongi sat down on the bed next to Jimin instead of continuing to stand at attention. “Did Taehyung put you up to this?”

 

“What?” Jimin looked up in surprise. “No. Of course not.” Then he narrowed his gaze, curiosity getting the better of him. “Why? What’s going on? What did he say?”

 

Yoongi scrutinized Jimin carefully before shaking his head. “Taehyung is…” He scratched the back of his neck, contemplating whether or not to even say anything to Jimin. “Look – you’re my friend, right?”

 

Jimin’s eyes widened, surprised that Yoongi even had to ask. “Of course!”

 

“I mean – I know Taehyung is your best friend, but – ”

 

“Just tell me what’s going on,” Jimin hastily assured him. “I’m not going to tell Taehyung, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

 

Yoongi didn’t react to his statement – which told Jimin that was exactly what he had been worrying about.

 

“Look – when he left for his graduate degree, he said that we should save our money and just… wait until break for him to come home to visit,” Yoongi explained. Jimin already knew this, having been told the same information by Taehyung, but he still acted as if this was the first he’d heard of it. “And I get that he’s somehow ok with a long distance relationship and doesn’t need to be physically close, but…” Yoongi stopped to exhale slowly. “I don’t know,” he grumbled dismissively, as if the way he felt was ridiculous. “It’s still… it’s hard.”

 

Jimin felt his heart ache for his friend. He reached out to put a comforting hand on Yoongi’s back. “You miss him,” he replied simply. “That’s normal, Yoongi. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

 

“I’m not ashamed of it,” Yoongi murmured. “I just… when you asked if I was ok watching you and Jungkook go on a date, I thought Taehyung might have said something to you.” He swallowed, balling his hands into fists on his knees. “I think he’s worried about me and I don’t want him to worry when he has other things going on, you know?” He glanced up at Jimin, looking mildly embarrassed that he was even talking about this in the first place. “He’s busy with schoolwork as it is, so logically I know it doesn’t make sense for me to visit him when he’ll probably spend the entire time working, but…” He looked back down at his lap, rubbing a weary hand over his eyes. “All I want to do is hold him. Just for a minute.”

 

It was shocking to hear Yoongi, of all people, confess just how much he cared for and missed his boyfriend. But despite Yoongi’s usually tough exterior, Jimin didn’t even bat an eye when his bodyguard confessed just how heartbroken he truly was by their separation.

 

“You should visit him,” Jimin answered decisively. “This weekend – take a few days off and go see him.”

 

Yoongi shook his head. “He told me not to. He said we should – ”

 

“Who cares what he said?” Jimin countered without hesitation. “He might not need physical intimacy, but you obviously do.” Yoongi looked as if he wanted to contradict this statement, but wisely kept his mouth shut. “And I would bet that as soon as Taehyung realized just how much you need to be close to him, he wouldn’t even bat an eyelash if you tried to visit every weekend.”

 

Yoongi swallowed. “Yeah, maybe.”

 

“No – there’s no ‘maybe’ about it,” Jimin argued. “Go visit him this weekend, or I’m firing you.”

 

Yoongi snorted in amusement. “You can’t fire me,” he said. “Technically, you don’t have the authority.”

 

“You know what I mean,” Jimin snapped, but a smile crept onto his lips. “Seriously – you need to visit him. Or I’ll tell Taehyung what you told me, and he’ll be on the first train back.”

 

“You won’t tell him,” Yoongi quietly responded, knowing that Jimin wouldn’t betray his trust in this manner.

 

“Then go,” Jimin pushed. “He’s been gone for well over a month. You deserve this.”

 

Yoongi lifted himself to his feet. “Yeah, alright,” he finally agreed with a hopeful smile. “I will.”

 

“Good!” Jimin grinned. “Taehyung’s going to freak when you show up.”

 

“I hope,” Yoongi murmured. Suddenly, Yoongi went from looking excited to terrified. “I mean – he’s not going to be upset if I just drop in unannounced, is he? Maybe I should call first.”

 

“Are you kidding?” Jimin laughed. “The other week, he was so upset that he didn’t have a sex life that he was trying to get me to tell him about my sex life!” Jimin snorted in amusement at the memory of their conversation. “And then he actually got pissed at me when I told him about the three times that Jungkook made me – ”

 

And then Jimin froze as he realized what he’d just said out loud.

 

What he’d said out loud to Yoongi, of all people.

 

“Don’t tell Taehyung I told you that,” he abruptly demanded as his ears turned red in embarrassment. “And… actually, don’t tell Jungkook, either.”

 

Yoongi nodded quickly, suddenly preferring to look anywhere else in the room and avoid eye contact with Jimin at all costs.

 

“In fact,” Jimin continued with a wave of his hand. “Let’s just… pretend we never even had this conversation, ok?”

 

“Done,” Yoongi agreed immediately. He hurriedly walked away from Jimin and pointed at the door. “I’ll just, um – ”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin mumbled with a tinge of pink coloring his cheeks.

 

*

 

Reservations at eight o’clock tonight!

 

Jimin immediately flipped his phone upside down on his desk to hide the message from Jungkook as his heart started to flutter in anticipation. He glanced over his shoulder at Daeun, clearing his throat nervously. “I, um… I just need to use the bathroom.”

 

Daeun paused in the middle of her typing to arch an eyebrow in confusion at Jimin. “You don’t need to tell me.”

 

“I – I know,” Jimin mumbled distractedly. But instead of trying to concoct an excuse for why he’d said it, he hurried to the door down the hallway, quickly slipped inside, and locked it.

 

Jimin glanced down at the text message again, unable to refrain from grinning at the excited message from Jungkook. This was really happening!

 

Dress code? Jimin replied.

 

Casual, Jungkook answered. I managed to get a reservation at that steakhouse on the edge of town – the one that’s two blocks away from that glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course.

 

Jimin slapped a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud. He was glad he’d made the decision to hide in the restroom. It would have raised a lot of questions if his boss had walked past while he was giggling at the screen of his phone.

 

Please tell me we’re also going mini-golfing at the tacky glow-in-the-dark course.

 

There was only a brief pause before Jimin received the message: We’re going mini-golfing at a tacky glow-in-the-dark course.

 

Jimin grinned.

 

You can’t NOT have a first date without mini-golf, Jungkook assured him. Plus, glow-in-the-dark implies that the room won’t be well lit so we can have a little bit of anonymity – and maybe even a chance to make out in the corner on the back nine.

 

This time, Jimin did giggle.

 

You’re the best.

 

Jungkook replied with a smiley emoticon.

 

*

 

“I’m sorry,” Hoseok murmured as he hovered awkwardly near Jimin’s door to survey his insanely large bedroom. “No matter how many times I visit, this is still really weird.”

 

“Ok, you know that I’m the president’s son,” Jimin called back from within his large, walk-in closet. “Being at the Blue House shouldn’t be a surprise to you anymore!”

 

“Yeah – I mean technically I know you’re the son of the most powerful man in the country!” Hoseok shouted back as he glanced nervously around the space, fearful of touching anything. “But in my mind, you’re still that terrified looking kid in college that was crushing big time on the head of your security team.” Hoseok stilled, realizing what he’d just said. “Which, granted, doesn’t sound totally normal, either – but you get the point.”

 

“Ok, shut up,” Jimin finally brushed off his friend’s concerns as he stepped out of his closet with a new outfit on. “You’re just going to have to get over the shock value of being in the president’s house because I desperately need your help picking out an outfit for my date.” He gestured to his new ensemble. “What do you think?”

 

Hoseok took a step closer, frowning at the outfit. Jimin was dressed from head to toe in designer apparel, complete with shiny black shoes, dress pants, a button-down dress shirt, and an electric blue trench coat that cut off at his knees. “Well, you look incredible,” Hoseok agreed. “But I don’t understand why you’re so worried about this – haven’t you already been dating Jungkook for several months?”

 

“But this is our first date!” Jimin protested. “Our first real date – you know, in public and out of this house. And it needs to be perfect. So?” He tugged on the lapels of his trench coat and spun to the side so he was standing at an angle. “How do I look?”

 

Again, Hoseok appraised the outfit. “I thought you said Jungkook told you to dress casual?”

 

Jimin’s chin dropped down to his chest in frustration. He spared three seconds to pity himself before snapping his head back up to challenge Hoseok’s words. “He said casual – but I’m pretty sure casual doesn’t actually mean casual when it’s supposed to be your first date. Right?”

 

Hoseok failed to cover up his snort of amusement. “You’re so hopeless sometimes,” Hoseok told him, walking across the room to look at Jimin’s clothes for himself. “Ok – here, this is perfect. What about this?” Jimin studied the outfit carefully. It was relatively simple – a fuzzy, gray sweater complimented with black pants that stopped just above his ankles. “This is first-date-casual,” Hoseok announced, “without going haute couture.”

 

“You’re sure?” Jimin cocked his head to the side as he began to question Hoseok’s fashion sense. He’d already worn this sweater several times before – was it really worthy of his first date with Jungkook?

 

“Just put it on,” Hoseok suddenly demanded, pushing both hangers into Jimin’s chest. “Trust me, ok? You’re just over thinking everything right now.”

 

There was a knock at the door, making Jimin’s entire body freeze.

 

“It’s him.” His face went from nervous to ecstatic to terrified in less than a second. “Quick!” He pointed at his door as he hissed at Hoseok. “I’ll hide in my closet and… and I’ll pretend like I’m still getting dressed while you find out what he’s wearing to see if it matches my outfit!”

 

Hoseok rolled his eyes dramatically, but begrudgingly did as Jimin asked. “Hello, Jungkook.” Hoseok opened the door and greeted the man behind it while Jimin poked his head around the closet door to watch their interaction. “Oh, look,” Hoseok narrated for Jimin’s benefit in a loud and somewhat dry, monotone voice, “you’re wearing jeans with a black t-shirt and a leather jacket.” Hoseok glanced over his shoulders to widen his eyes meaningfully at Jimin. “You look like you’ve dressed in casual clothes!”

 

Jimin was immediately reassured by Hoseok’s description and hurriedly began changing into the sweater that his friend had chosen for him. Before Jungkook could question Hoseok’s bizarre greeting at the door, Jimin hurried out of his closet and back into his bedroom where Jungkook was waiting for him.

 

“Um – hi.” Jimin smiled bashfully at Jungkook. His heart thumped erratically. Realistically, he knew that he was in love with his boyfriend of several months – but he still couldn’t help but feel first date jitters take over every inch of his body. “You, um… you look nice.”

 

To his relief, Jungkook also appeared to be eyeing his outfit from head to toe before sending Jimin a coy smile of his own. “You, too.”

 

Jimin subconsciously pulled his hands into the sleeves of his sweater as he began to blush under Jungkook’s warm gaze. “Thanks.”

 

Jungkook cleared his throat and stepped forward, holding out the small bouquet of flowers he had purchased before arriving at Jimin’s door. “These, um… these are for you.”

 

Jimin’s smile spread into a grin as he took the assortment of white and yellow flowers. “They’re beautiful,” he murmured. He lifted them to his nose, inhaling the sweet fragrance. Gently, Jimin placed them on the small table in the corner of his room, careful not to damage any of the flowers. “I’ll find a vase for these later.”

 

Jungkook seemed to bounce back and forth on his feet nervously before gesturing to the door behind him. “So, uh – shall we?”

 

Jimin grinned, reaching out to take Jungkook’s hand. “Let’s go.”

 

Long since forgotten by the two, Hoseok noisily cleared his throat as the pair exited the room and walked down the long hallway.

 

“I’ll just see myself out, then, shall I?”

 

*

 

“No way,” Jimin argued as Jungkook held open the door to the restaurant for him. “Rules are rules – and you lost.”

 

“You distracted me,” Jungkook accused him with wide, innocent eyes. “We were tied – right up until you put your hand on my ass!”

 

Jimin shushed him, glancing around the upscale restaurant nervously. He hoped that none of the other patrons in the restaurant had overheard their discussion on their way inside. When he was confident that they hadn’t, he turned back to Jungkook with eyes ablaze as he tried to make his point. “Ok – it wasn’t like I was cheating,” Jimin argued. “I just put my hand in your back pocket! We’re on our first date and I was being all… couple-y.”

 

“And then you squeezed.”

 

It took immense self control for Jimin not to smirk at his words. “It was just right there – how could I not?

 

Jungkook snorted at Jimin’s blatant admission of guilt, but was swiftly distracted by the host standing at a nearby podium. He smiled and stepped forward. “We have reservations at eight,” Jungkook told the man. “Under the name ‘Jungkook’.”

 

“Oh! Uh – yes.” The man, whose eyes had first taken in the rapidly healing stitches on Jungkook’s cheek before immediately drifting to Jimin to stare at him in surprise, suddenly nodded and looked down at his podium. “I, uh… right. Yes – your table is just over here,” he said, walking quickly in the opposite direction with the assumption that Jimin and Jungkook were already following behind him. Yoongi, who had kept a more than respectable distance for the evening – one which Jimin appreciated immensely – remained stationed near the podium, watching Jimin from afar. “You asked for a modicum of privacy when you made your reservation earlier,” the host said, glancing nervously back at Jungkook. “I hope this table is to your liking?”

 

Jungkook smiled at their table in the corner of the restaurant and nodded happily. “This is perfect,” he said. “Thank you.”

 

“I could get you another table,” the man hurried to assure them. He turned to Jimin. “If this isn’t private enough, I can move you elsewhere. Or I could… set up a screen divider?”

 

Clearly, the host was fully aware of Jimin’s identity and was now trying to bend over backwards to accommodate him. “This is lovely,” Jimin finally assured him with a kind smile. “I appreciate it.”

 

The man exhaled in relief before bowing in response. “Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.”

 

As soon as the host left and they had the table to themselves, Jungkook slipped behind Jimin and pulled his chair out for him.

 

“Wow,” Jimin murmured, slowly lowering himself into the proffered seat. He watched with a smirk as Jungkook circled the table and took his own seat. “What a gentleman.”

 

Jungkook grinned. “I try.”

 

“I’m kind of in love with our cliché date night,” Jimin confessed. He put both elbows on the table and linked his fingers together, ignoring his menu in favor of resting his head on his hands and staring directly across the table at Jungkook. “First mini-golf, now a candlelit dinner – you’re even holding doors open for me and pulling out my chair.” Jimin arched a teasing eyebrow at Jungkook. “At this rate, I think I might even invite you over to my place after dinner.”

 

“Putting out on the first date?” Jungkook replied with a cock of his head. “Don’t assume I’m that easy, Park Jimin.”

 

“Oh, really?” Jimin challenged with a teasing grin. He enjoyed their playful banter to no end. “Do you kiss on first dates?”

 

Jungkook shrugged. “Perhaps,” he mused aloud as his foot simultaneously stretched across the small space beneath the table and casually rubbed back and forth against Jimin’s calf. “I suppose you’ll just have to wait and see.”

 

The waitress interrupted their conversation, immediately making Jimin sit up and pull his feet back from under the table. The last thing he needed was to be caught playing footsie with his boyfriend in a public restaurant.

 

Of course, it didn’t stop Jungkook from grinning deviously at him from across the table while Jimin stumbled through his order with an embarrassed flush, high on his cheeks.

 

As the waitress left, Jimin lightly kicked Jungkook under the table, laughing as their carefree teasing persisted. “Alright, all jokes aside,” Jimin interrupted their giggling. “I actually have something… kind-of serious that I’ve been meaning to talk to you about.”

 

Jungkook’s smile slipped from his face. “Yeah,” he tried to agree confidently, despite his clearly alarmed expression. “Ok, go ahead.”

 

“It’s not a bad thing,” Jimin swiftly reassured him. “It’s… a good thing.” Jimin paused, immediately second guessing himself. “I hope.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows jumped in surprise. “Well, don’t keep me in suspense,” he tried to joke with Jimin in an attempt to ease the strange tension in the air. “What is it?”

 

Jimin pulled out his cell phone from his pocket, clicking a number of buttons on it before setting it face down on the table. Jungkook pulled out his own phone in surprise when it buzzed with a message from Jimin.

 

“Maybe you’ve already seen the listings,” Jimin murmured softly, “but I asked the secret service to find a few places around the city that they thought were safe for me to live.”

 

“I know you’ve been looking,” Jungkook said, staring at his phone as a list of addresses appeared in the message he’d received from Jimin. “But I haven’t seen any of them in particular.” He frowned up at Jimin. “Are you worried about leaving the Blue House? Because you shouldn’t be. Your security team is top of the line, so you – ”

 

“No, I, uh…” Jimin interrupted nervously. “I was hoping… maybe you would want to help me look?”

 

“Oh – yeah, absolutely,” Jungkook agreed immediately. His body seemed to deflate in relief once he realized that it wasn’t a security threat Jimin was worried about at all. “I mean – I’m not sure how much of a help I’ll be since I spend most of my time in your room and not at my own home, but I can definitely help you figure out what you’re looking for.”

 

“Right – yeah, that would be great.” Jimin gave him a small nod of his head. “But – I actually meant that I wanted you to help me look for a place… because I thought you might want to live there, too. You know,” Jimin finished timidly. “With… me.”

 

Jungkook blinked.


“Jimin, are you asking me to move in with you?”

 

Jimin swallowed and nodded much faster than was entirely normal. “Um… yeah,” he answered. “That’s… what I’m doing.”

 

Slowly, a grin spread across Jungkook’s lips.

 

“You bastard,” he whispered. “Why would you ask me something like that in a public place where I’m not allowed to kiss you?”

 

Immediately, Jimin felt a wave of relief wash over him. He laughed, exhilarated by the sudden release of tension in his shoulders. “I thought you didn’t kiss on first dates.”

 

“I changed my mind,” Jungkook told him. He didn’t seem to care that a few of the nearby tables had long since spotted Jimin’s presence in the restaurant and were watching him with interest when he reached across the table and picked up Jimin’s hand and held it within his own. “As soon as we’re done with dinner, I’m putting up that partition in the car of your security vehicle so I can make out with you in the backseat.”

 

Jimin’s heart fluttered rapidly. “So, is that a yes?”

 

“A thousand times – yes,” Jungkook agreed enthusiastically.

 

Jimin bit his lip to refrain from grinning like an idiot.

 

“What kind of place are you looking for?” Jungkook asked inquisitively.

 

“A small place,” Jimin said. “I don’t really want a large yard. Maybe three bedrooms?” Jimin shrugged, as if to say he didn’t really have an opinion on the matter, before his eyes lit up with a realization. “Oh – and I need to have lots of closet space.”

 

Jungkook nodded at his last remark, seeming unsurprised by it. “Yeah, you do,” he teased. “You can have some of mine. I don’t need much space.”

 

The pure domesticity of such a comment made Jimin cover his mouth to hide his grin with the hand that wasn’t already holding Jungkook’s. “Oh my God, you’re going to be living with me,” he said, stating the obvious aloud now that it was slowly beginning to sink in. “We’re dividing closet space.”

 

“We should divide chores, too,” Jungkook suggested with a fond smile. He twisted his hand around so he could play with Jimin’s fingers while they rested on the table. “You’re not going to have the staff at the Blue House to clean your room anymore.”

 

“What are you implying?” Jimin raised a single eyebrow in Jungkook’s direction, as if daring him to finish his thought. “Are you trying to say that I’m spoiled?”

 

Jungkook picked up his glass of wine with his free hand. He took a small sip with a secretive smile before shrugging nonchalantly. “I didn’t say it.”

 

Jimin’s eyes widened in shock. “You think I’m spoiled!”

 

“Ok – you have a butler,” Jungkook pointed out with a smirk. “Whether you like it or not – whether you asked for it or not – you’re a little spoiled.”

 

“Yeah, but – you stay over at my place all the time!” Jimin pointed out. His fingers tightened around Jungkook’s instinctively as he defended himself. “If I’m spoiled, then so are you – I’ve seen you take advantage of our overstocked kitchen several times.”

 

This time, Jungkook feigned outrage. “You’re the one that told me I should!”

 

“Yeah – but that was before you called me spoiled!”

 

“I did not call you spoiled.”

 

“Just because you didn’t say it…” Jimin challenged.

 

“Alright – my point is,” Jungkook cut off Jimin’s rant before it could continue any longer, “that both of us should divide the work in the house so it’s equal.” He gestured towards Jimin with his free hand and squeezed the one still in Jimin’s grip. He was glad that Jimin was still holding his hand and hadn’t taken his lighthearted joke seriously. “What would you like to do?”

 

Jimin tilted his head to the side as he thought. “I’ll do anything in the kitchen,” he said. “Groceries, cooking, dishes – I want to do that.”

 

“Ok,” Jungkook agreed immediately. “Then I’ll do the maintenance and upkeep around the house,” he said. “You know – handyman stuff. I’m good with my hands.”

 

Jimin arched an eyebrow. “You’re very good with your hands.”

 

Jimin flipped Jungkook’s hand over on the table so that his fingers could dance lightly across his palm, while Jungkook pointed accusatorily at him from across the table. “Don’t even,” he said, smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “We’re having a serious conversation and you’re trying to make it dirty, Jimin.”

 

“I couldn’t resist.” Jimin countered. “You practically served that one up on a platter.”

 

“Yeah, whatever,” Jungkook mumbled with a growing smirk. “Ok, your turn.”

 

“Right.” Jimin nodded seriously. “Then I’ll handle… the bills,” Jimin decided. “I hated calculus, but I can still balance a checkbook.”

 

“Ok, then… I can do the laundry?” Jungkook suggested with a shrug.

 

“Good,” Jimin agreed with a devious glint in his eyes. “If we’re living together, we’re going to need to clean our sheets a lot.”

 

Jimin!

 

“I’m sorry!” Jimin’s apology burst forth while he simultaneously laughed in delight when Jungkook’s ears turned red at his brazen comment. “I’m on a date and I’m happy and I’m in such a good mood that I seriously doubt I’ll be able to stop making suggestive comments – even if I tried!

 

Jungkook tried to shake his head with a mock-disappointed look, but he couldn’t avoid smiling at Jimin’s bubbly response. “I don’t think I can ever take you out in public anymore,” he pretended to chastise his boyfriend. Then he laughed softly, dropping his chin to his chest. “I think I’ve corrupted you.”

 

“I haven’t been corrupted,” Jimin assured him. He felt Jungkook flip his hand back around, locking their fingers back together. “You’re just adorable when you’re embarrassed. Do you know that?”

 

Jungkook huffed, opting to change topics when he knew that he wouldn’t win the argument. “Ok, let’s see these houses,” Jungkook said instead, picking up his cell phone to scroll through the listings that Jimin had sent him. He clicked on a few links before finding one that he liked and turning the picture around to show Jimin. “This one looks nice,” he said. “It’s not too far from the Blue House.”

 

“Maybe.” Jimin squinted as he tried to read the fine print beneath the picture. “It says there’s only one bathroom. We should have at least two, right?”

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook agreed. “Taehyung needs his own bathroom when he visits, right?”

 

Jimin loved that Jungkook automatically assumed that Jimin’s friend needed a place to stay in their home whenever he visited.

 

“This one looks awesome,” Jungkook said as he flipped to a picture of another house. He snorted in amusement. “Look, there’s actually a fountain in the backyard!”

 

“Let me see!” Jimin demanded excitedly. Jungkook turned the phone around to show him the picture of the second house, but the screen immediately went blank. “Wait – it turned off.”

 

Jungkook flipped the phone back around in surprise, pressing the screen several times, before huffing in frustration. “Dammit,” he swore, holding down the power button. “Stupid phone,” he grumbled. “It just randomly powers off whenever I use it.”

 

“How old is it?” Jimin asked curiously. He released Jungkook’s hand, allowing him to fidget with the electronic device with both of his hands.

 

“Too old,” Jungkook mumbled sourly as he frowned down at the screen that showed the phone was attempting to reboot. He pocketed it with a sigh of disappointment, looking back up at Jimin. “I should have bought a new one last year. It can barely hold a charge anymore.”

 

Jimin laughed. “I suppose you’re lucky it even works at all.”

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Jungkook smiled. “Laugh it up. I was a little busy trying to save a certain someone’s life last year, so you’ll have to forgive me for not finding the time to buy a new phone.”

 

“Sure,” Jimin retorted with a teasing grin. “Blame your broken phone on me. I see how it is.”

 

Jungkook laughed right along with him. His hand reached out to cover Jimin’s, much like it had been for the majority of their meal, but Jimin suddenly noticed that it felt… nothing like it had before. They had been playful, teasing the other with light touches and gentle caresses, but this – Jungkook was firmly gripping his hand without any room for flexibility. Jimin looked down at their fingers, frowning at the strange hold Jungkook had on him, before glancing up at Jungkook in confusion.

 

That was when he noticed Jungkook’s smiled slipping off of his face as he froze in place, staring at something over Jimin’s shoulder.

 

“Jimin,” he quietly uttered his name. His free hand went to the table, looking as if he was preparing to stand at a moment’s notice.

 

And then he nodded at whatever he had seen behind Jimin.

 

Jimin turned in his seat. He wasn’t sure what he had expected to see, but he most certainly hadn’t anticipated Yoongi running directly towards their table. It wasn’t an easy feat for his bodyguard, given the multitude of tables in the restaurant that he had to circumnavigate to get to theirs, but he still managed to do so at an incredible speed.

 

“Sir,” Yoongi said as he got to their table. Jimin’s blood chilled at the form of address. “We need to go.” Yoongi reached for Jimin’s bicep with one arm while the other wrapped around his shoulder, attempting to pull him up from his seat. “Now.”

 

Jimin frowned at his bodyguard. He didn’t want to leave. He was having such a nice time on his date with Jungkook – why would he have to leave?

 

“Why?” Jimin immediately questioned. “What’s going on?”

 

But while Jimin seemed unable to recognize the sheer panic in Yoongi’s eyes, Jungkook had no problem noticing the look his bodyguard was giving them.

 

“No time for questions, Jimin.” Jungkook leapt into action, despite not being the agent on duty. He helped Yoongi pull Jimin from his chair and push him towards the exit. “Let’s go.”

 

Jimin didn’t want to believe it – but he knew that something was very, very wrong. If he was honest with himself, he’d known from the moment Jungkook had tightened his hold on Jimin’s hand. As he stumbled over his own feet, relying on Yoongi and Jungkook to keep him vertical and moving in the right direction, his eyes drifted to the various agents on his team, each moving towards a different corner of the restaurant with a frighteningly serious expression. Obviously something was happening – something that was endangering Jimin’s safety – and he needed to evacuate the premises immediately.

 

But it wasn’t until he passed another agent from his team speaking to the pale-faced manager in an urgent, albeit hushed, voice that he recognized the severity of the situation.

 

“ – detected a bomb underneath the bathroom sink. We need to get everyone out of this restaurant in a calm and orderly – ”

 

“A bomb?” Jimin echoed in disbelief as Yoongi threw open the front door to the restaurant and shoved him into the back seat of the idling vehicle waiting in front of the sidewalk. Jimin hurried to turn back around towards the restaurant, watching Jungkook leap into the vehicle behind him. “Jungkook, what’s happening?”

 

“Seatbelt,” Jungkook demanded after closing the door behind him. He was able to buckle Jimin in just as the car sped off down the road, forcing Jungkook to instinctively reach out to hold onto the handle above his door. Jimin clung to his arm, terrified at the sudden escalation of their situation. One moment, they had been teasing one another – flirting with one another – and the next they were running for their lives.

 

It was only when they were at least three blocks away that Jungkook finally exhaled in relief. “Yoongi,” Jimin pleaded again with the agent in the passenger seat. “Please.”

 

Yoongi took a moment to compose himself before finally turning around to face the pair in the back seat. “We found a bomb placed beneath the sink in the men’s restroom.”

 

Jimin’s heart shot into his throat as the words he’d heard earlier were confirmed.

 

“It’s the same as the one in the park?” Jungkook immediately followed up.

 

Yoongi shook his head. “We don’t know yet,” he responded. “All we learned before we got Jimin out is that it had a remote detonation – just like the other bomb.” He glanced from Jimin to Jungkook and back again. “Whoever planted that bomb obviously had a specific target in mind… and they were waiting for them to enter the bathroom.”

 

Jimin’s fingers dug into Jungkook’s arm.

 

“Someone tried to kill my mother,” he breathed. “And now… they’re trying to kill me.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jimin sat on his bed, feeling uncomfortable in his own room. It was filled with part of his security team as well as both of his parents. His father paced the area nervously while Yoongi hovered in the corner anxiously. Jungkook, on the other hand, sat beside Jimin, rubbing his hand in a soothing motion across his back.

 

“It’s the same one, isn’t it?” Jimin’s father demanded the moment the head of security entered the room. “The bomb – it’s the same as the one you found in the park – the one meant for my wife.”

 

At his heightened level of panic, Jimin’s mother stood up from the armchair across the room and reached out a calming hand towards her husband, stopping him in his tracks and patting his arm reassuringly.

 

“We need to investigate it further, but at first glance…” The agent looked over at Jimin. “Yes, it looks like we’re dealing with the same attacker.”

 

“I don’t understand,” the president pushed back, despite the calming presence emanating from his wife. He turned to Yoongi with a burning fury behind his eyes. “How in the hell did you let my son into that restaurant when there was a bomb in the building?”

 

Jimin noticed the imperceptible widening of Yoongi’s eyes. To anyone else in the room that didn’t know Yoongi like Jimin did, they would have seen a man that was still able to maintain his composure, despite the harsh accusation from the president of the country. “I’m sorry, sir,” Yoongi apologized with a deep bow. “I take full responsibility for my team’s inadequacies and – ”

 

“Dad,” Jimin interrupted with a soft sigh. “Don’t blame Yoongi for this. He’s the one that saved me. We’re just lucky they even found the bomb at all – right?”

 

Jimin’s father scoffed in irritation at Jimin’s rationale, but lay off of targeting Yoongi for his frustration nonetheless.

 

“Was anyone hurt?” Jimin asked instead, directing his question to the head of security. “Did everyone get out of the restaurant?”

 

“Yes,” the agent confirmed. He nodded in Yoongi’s direction. “In part, due to Yoongi’s quick thinking, we were able to activate a signal jammer to prevent a remote detonation in the area.” Yoongi made no show of acknowledging the praise from his superior, instead choosing to remain stoic in the corner. “Everyone was able to exit safely and we were able to disarm the bomb at the scene.”

 

“But… how did they know?” Jimin’s mother murmured in a shaky voice. Her hand tightened around her husband’s forearm as she spoke up. “The bomb at the park – they must have known my regular routine, but this restaurant…” She shook her head, appearing distraught. “You don’t normally go out for dinner, so how would anyone know to plant an explosive ahead of time?”

 

“I’ve never even been to that restaurant,” Jimin continued, looking to Jungkook as if wanting him to back up his statement. “The only time we’ve ever been outside of the Blue House together was with the rest of my family at public events.”

 

“And it wasn’t planned more than a day in advance,” Jungkook continued hesitantly as he looked towards the head of security – as if he hated where his train of thought was taking them. “No one else would have known about our plans other than Jimin’s security team.”

 

Yoongi bristled at the unspoken follow-up to Jungkook’s observation. “Our team doesn’t have any leaks,” he firmly assured the room. “I trust every single member of my team.”

 

“Calm down,” the head of security finally spoke up with a stern look in Yoongi and Jungkook’s direction. “No one is blaming anyone.” Both agents remained quiet, but still seemed quite obviously bothered by the multitude of unanswered questions. “Everyone relax for the evening,” the head of security continued. “I’ve got some of my men working round the clock on this case as we speak. Hopefully we can lift some DNA from the bomb since it was never detonated.”

 

Jimin’s father clenched his jaw, staring down at the floor in frustration. Jimin could only imagine how angry his father must be; to be the most powerful man in the country – and to be stuck in a situation in which he felt completely powerless.

 

“This will be hard to keep out of the news,” the agent continued, turning to Jimin’s parents. “Given that an entire restaurant was evacuated and are well aware of the situation – as well as who was present – it’s unlikely that we can keep it quiet for the media outlets.”

 

The president nodded solemnly. The more information that was released to the public, the more difficult the investigation would become. “I understand.”

 

“Perhaps a day or two at home wouldn’t be so bad?” Jimin’s mother seemed to ask this question to the security team, as well as propose the idea to Jimin. “You could take a few days off from work, couldn’t you?”

 

“No,” Jimin found himself refusing, despite his secret desire to do exactly as his mother had suggested and stay in his room where he was safe. “I can’t let them know that we’re frightened,” he said. “If I stay home, then they’ve won. I won’t do that.”

 

Jimin’s mother looked sad, but couldn’t bring herself to argue with him.

 

“Look, it’s fine,” Jimin assured his parents with a feeble smile. “I’m sure our security is doing everything they can to find this guy, right?” The head of security nodded his head affirmatively. “They’ll find a lead soon enough. Until then – we need to show the world that our family doesn’t back down from a fight.”

 

Despite the severity of the situation, Jimin’s father smiled proudly at his son as he spoke with the voice of a true leader.

 

“Alright,” his father spoke up. “There’s nothing we can do now but wait.” He turned to his wife with a resigned expression. “Let’s get some rest. We’ll revisit this issue in the morning.”

 

Jimin’s mother leaned down to cup her hand against Jimin’s cheek and pressed a kiss to the other side of his face. “Sleep well, sweetheart,” she murmured affectionately. Then she moved towards Jungkook, swept his bangs away from his forehead in a motherly fashion – careful to avoid his healing stitches – and kissed him on the forehead. “You, too.”

 

Jungkook smiled at the gesture. “Goodnight.”

 

After the room gradually cleared out, Yoongi was one of the last to step towards the door. “You’re sure you’re alright?” he verified with the pair seated on the edge of the bed. He’d asked that very question of Jimin, quite possibly, a thousand times already that evening. “If there’s anything I can do to help make this better, I’ll do it. Just say the word.”

 

Jimin shook his head, but smiled. Yoongi’s usually cold and rigid exterior was nowhere to be seen as he let Jimin see just how truly worried he was. “I’m fine, hyung. Thanks.”

 

Yoongi exhaled, finally starting to believe Jimin when he said he was alright, and nodded once before closing the door behind him.

 

But when the room fell into silence, Jungkook ran his hand down Jimin’s back one last time and turned towards his boyfriend to press a kiss to his temple. “Ok,” he announced softly, lips ghosting against his skin as he spoke. “Everyone’s gone, now, Jimin.” He lifted his other hand to rest it on the side of Jimin’s neck, his thumb lightly stroking his cheek. “You don’t have to hold it in anymore.”

 

And the moment Jungkook gave him permission to let his guard down, that was exactly what he did.

 

“I was so scared,” he confessed in a whisper as his jaw started to tremble. The tears were close behind, cascading down his face in thin rivulets. His tried to lift his hands and press them against Jungkook’s chest, hoping to feel his very real presence beside him, but he immediately noticed the uncontrollable shaking throughout his entire palm. He clenched his hands closed in embarrassment and held them up against his own body, sniffing as the tears came down even stronger than before. “I’m so sick and tired of feeling like this.”

 

“I know,” Jungkook sympathized. He wrapped both hands securely around Jimin’s body, enveloping him in his arms and gently rocking him from side to side, even as Jimin turned his face into Jungkook’s shirt and quietly cried. Jungkook pressed his lips to the top of Jimin’s head and tightened his grip around his boyfriend in an effort to protect him in the best way he knew how. “I’m here,” he whispered against his skin. “I’m not going anywhere.”

 

*

 

“Jimin?” Daeun stood up at her desk in surprise, hair falling out from behind her ears, when Jimin walked through the office door. “What… what are you doing here?”

 

Jimin smiled politely. “Why wouldn’t I be here?”

 

She glanced at Yoongi, standing outside the door to the office, and back at Jimin. “Because… Well, I thought they said on the news – ”

 

“Oh, that.” Jimin tried to shrug her words off as if that sort of thing happened to him every day. “Yeah. It’s not a big deal.”

 

“But…” She blinked at him in surprise. “Are you ok?” she asked. “And your, um… boyfriend?”

 

It was always very strange to Jimin when people spoke to him about parts of his life that he hadn’t divulged to them himself. While Jungkook had been very present in the news when Jimin had first come out – as well as when the news revealed his dinner date that had gone wrong the evening before – he had yet to actually talk to his co-worker about his boyfriend.

 

He wasn’t sure he’d ever had a casual conversation with Daeun since he’d begun working with her in the first place.

 

“He’s fine,” Jimin assured her. “He’s also a trained agent, so… I guess it’s a little different for him than for me.”

 

Daeun gave a tiny nod.

 

“I just, um…” Jimin pointed at his desk. “I thought working would help me clear my mind, today.”

 

Daeun appeared to be far more agreeable than she’d ever been before. “Sure,” she murmured, slowly returning to her seat. “Um… let me know if you need anything.”

 

Jimin maintained his courteous demeanor and smiled kindly at her. “I will. Thank you.”

 

But the rest of the morning went on in a bit of an awkward silence. While Daeun was never particularly chatty to begin with, she still took it upon herself to delegate within the workplace. Instead, today, she seemed relatively timid. Perhaps the reality of the danger that came along with being Jimin’s coworker was playing at the forefront of her mind.

 

When their boss arrived midway through the morning after returning from an early meeting with a new client, Jimin was quick to greet him.

 

“Han baksanim,” Jimin addressed him with a polite bow. “I spoke to the defendant on our case, and… I had a few questions about her interview. I was hoping you had a free moment to discuss the case this morning.”

 

The attorney beamed. “Of course, Jimin. I’ve always got time for you.” He wrapped his arm around Jimin’s shoulders and began to escort him towards his office. “What’s on your mind, son?”

 

“Han baksanim?” Daeun tried to interrupt before they could step into his office. “I have those files that you asked to have faxed over,” she said. “Jimin has been working on organizing the information for you. He should be done by the end of the day, as you requested.”

 

Han Hyunsoo stopped in his tracks, turning to look over his shoulder at Daeun in confusion. “Why can’t you organize it?” he asked. “You know how to do that, don’t you?”

 

Daeun seemed surprised by this abrupt turn in the conversation. “I – yes, sir. Of course. I just thought that it would be better for Jimin to use the extra practice to hone his skills and – ”

 

“Clearly, he’s far too busy today,” the attorney responded dismissively as he gestured towards his office where he planned to speak to Jimin in private. “Why don’t you take that job off of his hands?”

 

Daeun’s eyes glanced over at Jimin.

 

“No,” Jimin tried to assure his boss. “It’s fine. I have plenty of time, today. And I’m sure our conversation won’t take more than a few minutes.”

 

“Nonsense!” Hyunsoo boomed in a boisterous voice. He leaned in conspiratorially, loudly whispering to Jimin in a voice that was easily heard throughout the room – and Jimin suspected that it was intentional. “If you ask me, Daeun can always use a little more practice, too.”

 

Daeun’s eyes widened, looking shocked and humiliated by her boss’s words. It was one thing to be told that her work needed improvement, but another thing entirely when the attorney did so in front of her subordinate. But even as Jimin tried to silently apologize to her for what the attorney had said, she swiftly averted her gaze and quietly returned to her desk.

 

Jimin clenched his jaw when the office door closed behind them and he tried to contain his anger in front of his boss.

 

“Please, Jimin.” Hyunsoo gestured to the chair set out in front of his desk. The attorney in question circled the mahogany desk and sat in his own seat with a smile. “Have a seat.”

 

Jimin tentatively followed his direction before finally opening his mouth to speak up to his boss. “Han baksanim,” Jimin carefully addressed him. “I don’t think that was entirely necessary.”

 

The attorney moved a stack of papers to the side of his desk, even while maintaining eye contact with Jimin. “What wasn’t necessary?”

 

Jimin tried to calmly fold his hands across his knees, clenching them together tight enough that his knuckles started to turn white. “Those files,” Jimin quietly reminded him, despite the event in question occurring no more than a minute prior. “I can go through them on my own. I don’t need Daeun’s help.”

 

“Oh – I didn’t say you needed her help!” Hyunsoo hurriedly assured him with a wide grin. “I was simply suggesting that she take care of those smaller tasks while you focus on your case. Speaking of,” he continued in an excited tone, “how did your interview with the defendant go?”

 

Jimin reluctantly let his grievance go as he recognized that he had greater problems to solve. “Uh – that’s, actually, what I wanted to talk to you about.” Hyunsoo nodded approvingly as he sat at his desk with both hands folded in front of him with a confident demeanor. Instantly, his posture made Jimin shrink self consciously in his chair. “While I was speaking to Oh Soohyeon,” Jimin began, “she said some… things that made me question the validity of our case against her.”

 

“Did she?” Hyunsoo leaned forward with rapt attention. “What did she say?”

 

“For starters,” Jimin spoke carefully, trying not to mince her words as he echoed them back to his boss, “the defendant’s version of the car crash made it sound a lot like… our client is the one at fault.” When the attorney didn’t immediately respond, Jimin continued. “The defendant said that she had the right of way, sir. Our client was negligent and ran her car into the defendant while blatantly disregarding the speed limit. Now, before you say anything,” Jimin hastily added, “I haven’t had a chance to look into verifying her story, so there’s no proof that’s what actually happened, but I think it’s at least worth investigating a bit further to – ”

 

Finally, Hyunsoo spoke up.

 

But it wasn’t the words that Jimin had expected.

 

“Jimin,” he said to him with an amused smirk playing at the corner of his mouth, “I don’t care who was at fault.”

 

Jimin frowned in shocked disbelief. “What?”

 

The attorney lifted both hands into the air in a half shrug. “My job is to support my client,” he stated simply. “She may or may not have been the one to cause the accident – that’s not my decision to make. We only present our argument and leave the verdict up to the jury to decide who was at fault.”

 

Jimin felt his stomach sink at his words.

 

“But… I don’t think Oh Soohyeon is guilty,” Jimin quietly argued. “If our client is at fault, then we shouldn’t be defending her in the first place.”

 

Hyunsoo sighed, as if the conversation itself was exhausting. “Jimin, we don’t get to choose our clients. They choose us.”

 

“But our client was wrong,” Jimin softly held his ground. “We need to look into this, sir. We need to tell the court the truth so they can – ”

 

“That’s the job of the defendant’s lawyer,” Hyunsoo explained not-so-patiently. “Not mine.” Then he laughed at the sheer thought of doing such a thing. “Why on earth would I submit evidence in court that hurt my own client?”

 

Jimin felt nauseous. His boss – this man that he was supposed to look up to – was being upfront and honest about the fact that he didn’t care about the legitimacy of his cases. He viewed each case as nothing more than a potential for a win in court and a check for his bank account.

 

“It isn’t fair,” Jimin tried to argue one last time. “Oh Soohyeon – her son is in the hospital because of that car accident,” Jimin explained. “She’s the one that should be suing our client.”

 

“Then let her countersue,” Hyunsoo confidently replied as he reclined nonchalantly in his chair. “But unless she can find someone to take on her case, I doubt she’ll be able to get much traction – and I’m sure it won’t be easy finding an attorney if she’s already paying for her kid’s medical bills.”

 

Jimin couldn’t stomach anymore of this.

 

“I understand,” he murmured obediently, standing from his chair. “I should… get back to work.”

 

“No, no – please stay,” Hyunsoo tried to invite him back into the chair that he’d vacated. “Why don’t we have lunch?” he suggested. “I can send Daeun to pick up something for us from that place across the street. We can get to know one another a little better. What do you think?”

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin hastily apologized as he made his retreat. “I wish I could, but… I have far too much work to catch up on.”

 

And Jimin swiftly exited the room without so much as a polite bow on his way out.

 

He only felt worse when he saw Daeun flipping rapidly through a stack of papers – the same ones that had been sitting on Jimin’s desk just moments before. She didn’t bother to look up from her work when Jimin emerged from their boss’s office.

 

Bound and determined to at least make one thing right today, Jimin stepped towards her desk.

 

“Let me help,” he offered, reaching for a stack of file folders. “We can get this finished faster if we work together.”

 

Daeun’s hand reached out to slap the folder down, preventing Jimin from picking it up. Her eyes slowly rose to meet Jimin’s in a glare.

 

“I don’t need your help,” she snapped. “And I certainly don’t need your pity.”

 

*

 

It only took Jimin another ten minutes to decide that he needed to leave the office for the rest of the day. Between the crushing realization that his boss’s morals at work were subpar, the gnawing guilt of allowing Daeun to accept his workload, and the awareness that he had, once again, become the victim of an assassination attempt, Jimin couldn’t stand to remain in the office any longer. Without a word to anyone, Jimin simply stood up from his desk, walked straight past Yoongi’s stoic presence in the hallway, and headed straight for his car.

 

On a typical day, Jimin’s car – which was always left running and located as close to Jimin as possible – housed two agents: one seated and waiting in the driver’s seat, and the other who stood at Jimin’s side for the majority of the day. When Yoongi was on duty, he had grown into the habit of simply sharing the backseat with his bodyguard-turned-friend. But today, when Jimin’s nerves were fried, he knew that he needed a moment alone.

 

Just this once.

 

As Jimin approached the idling car, he turned to face Yoongi.

 

“Hyung,” he spoke directly. “I want you to sit in the front seat.”

 

Yoongi seemed surprised by the request, but acquiesced nonetheless. “Ok,” he agreed hesitantly. Then, sensing Jimin’s odd behavior, asked, “Is… something wrong?”

 

“I just… I need to be alone,” Jimin told him. He spun back around, reached for the car door without any further explanation, and immediately climbed into the back seat of the vehicle.

 

Not too long afterwards, Yoongi appeared in the front passenger seat, glancing over his shoulder at Jimin. “Where are we headed?”

 

“I don’t care.” Jimin shook his head. “Just drive.”

 

And then Jimin reached out to slam the button that lifted the dark partition between the front of the car and the back.

 

Jimin scrambled for his cell phone with shaky hands as the car slowly pulled away from the curb and began driving. He pressed just a few buttons before holding the phone to his ear and breathing rapidly.

 

It felt like too much – all of this was too much. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. After everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours, he just wanted a single moment of clarity. So, Jimin rested both elbows on his knees, putting his free hand over his eyes to block out the world around him as the phone rang in his ears. With his vision shrouded, everything in his world became laser focused on the voice that answered his call.

 

“Jimin?”

 

Jimin felt a sudden sense of relief at the single word that had automatically fallen from Jungkook’s lips the moment he answered the call. He let out a shuddering breath, feeling incapable of speaking as his throat constricted with the overpowering rush of emotions surging through his body upon hearing his voice.

 

“Jimin, what’s wrong?” Jungkook’s concerned voice traveled through the speaker as he caught wind of Jimin’s staggering breaths. “Tell me where you are,” he urgently demanded.

 

“I’m fine,” Jimin managed to choke out. After their relatively near-death experience the night before, he could only imagine what Jungkook must have been imagining when Jimin called him in the state that he was in.

 

“What is it?” Jungkook asked again with his worry increasing every second. “Do I need to come get you?”

 

“You’re working,” Jimin quietly reminded him. “You can’t leave.”

 

“Just say the word, and I will.”

 

Jimin exhaled, sinking lifelessly into the leather seats of the car. He couldn’t ask Jungkook to abandon his post on his mother’s security detail – he knew that – but it certainly felt incredible to know that Jungkook was willing to do so without a moment’s hesitation.

 

“I’m fine,” Jimin repeated his words once again. “I just… needed to hear your voice for a minute.”

 

Jungkook sighed into the mouthpiece of his phone, sending a crackling static through Jimin’s earpiece. “What happened?” he asked, knowing that there had to have been a triggering event to get Jimin to this level of desperation.

 

“My boss is an ass,” Jimin quietly ranted. “My coworker hates me. And – ” Jimin didn’t have to finished his sentence for Jungkook to understand. “Well… you know.”

 

Neither of them needed the reminder of the terrible end to their date the evening prior.

 

“I’m sorry I called you while you’re on duty,” Jimin apologized quietly. “I needed a minute to just breathe.”

 

There was a quiet murmuring on the other end – likely, Jungkook alerting his fellow agents to his phone call before stepping away – and then his voice returned. “Does this also have to do with that bad day you had at work a few days ago?”

 

Jimin nodded, despite the fact that he knew Jungkook couldn’t see. “Yeah,” he murmured. “Kind-of.”

 

The line was quiet for a moment. Jimin was sure Jungkook was about to ask him to explain what had happened, but he did nothing of the sort. Instead, he approached the topic in an entirely unexpected way.

 

“Jimin,” Jungkook began carefully, “are you… happy at your job?”

 

Jimin shook his head at the question. “I don’t think people are supposed to like working, are they?”

 

Jungkook scoffed. “Of course they do,” he said. “You’re allowed to have bad days and feel frustrated every now and then, but you’re still supposed to feel happy about what you’re doing.” Jimin swallowed, thinking about his words. “I only mention it because… I feel like you never talk about your work with me.” Jungkook sighed. “But when you do, it’s always about something that went wrong.”

 

Jimin felt guilty. “I’m sorry,” he instantly apologized. “I shouldn’t dwell on the negative, I know, but – ”

 

“No, don’t apologize – that’s not at all what I’m saying,” Jungkook hastily cut him off. “What I mean is… I want you to want to tell me about your job,” he murmured. “But if you don’t want to – doesn’t that tell you something?”

 

“I don’t know,” Jimin confessed. “I just… I think I might have accepted the wrong job,” he admitted, feeling guilty for even saying it aloud. He’d only ever spoken to Taehyung about his fears before, but saying it to Jungkook made the situation suddenly feel incredibly real. “It’s awful – the way my boss is handling this stupid case,” Jimin mumbled in embarrassment. “I think I’m getting too emotionally invested.”

 

Jungkook immediately understood. “I can relate,” he joked lightly. “I happened to get a little too emotionally invested in my work last year, too.”

 

Jimin smiled at the meaning behind his words. “But it all worked out just fine for you.”

 

“Not at the time,” Jungkook reminded him. “Venturing into the unknown – it was incredibly scary – remember?”

 

Jimin remembered vividly. Jungkook had risked his entire career to pursue a romantic relationship with Jimin, but he’d done so regardless of the consequences.

 

“But,” Jungkook continued, “deep down, it all comes down to whether or not I’m living a happy life – and back then, I knew that I had to have you if I wanted to be happy, even if that meant risking my career.” He paused. “So – answer the question,” Jungkook tried again. “Are you actually happy?”

 

Jimin remained silent.

 

“You deserve to be happy,” Jungkook firmly reminded him. “Remember that.”

 

Jimin nodded, attempting to bolster his confidence before reaching out to press the button to lower the partition dividing him from the agents in the front of the car.

 

“Jimin?” Yoongi said, immediately turning around when the partition lowered. His eyes quickly scanned Jimin’s face, trying to gauge his emotional state in a split second. “How are you?”

 

“Take me to the hospital,” Jimin decided.

 

“Wait – what?” Jungkook’s voice shouted from the speaker of his cell phone as he picked up on Jimin’s words to his bodyguards. “Why are you going to the hospital? Jimin – are you hurt?

 

Jimin lifted the phone to his ear once more. “Thank you,” he cut off his boyfriend’s panicked words. “I’ll see you tonight.”

 

He ended his call with a decisive click.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jimin’s leg bounced nervously as he sat in the waiting room of the third floor pediatrics wing.

 

He’d been sitting in the same chair for nearly thirty minutes, trying to regain the confidence he’d had when speaking to Jungkook on the phone. Yoongi, taking into account Jimin’s silent demeanor, had opted to stand near the elevator instead of hovering over his shoulder. It was clear to anyone around that Jimin didn’t want company as his mind battled internally.

 

He just couldn’t let that poor mother become the victim of a rigged system. She had a lawsuit that was being filed against her that she didn’t deserve. Or at the very least, she deserved the right to defend herself on a level playing field. Strictly speaking, Jimin could get fired for what he wanted to do – but Jimin was having a hard time convincing himself that it would really be that bad.

 

But Jimin couldn’t pull the trigger. He sat with his hands folded, covering his mouth as he continued to stare aimlessly and weigh the pros and cons.

 

“Are you – you are. Oh, God – you’re Park Jimin.”

 

Jimin looked up. He’d been getting spotted by various strangers off and on every since he’d started to camp out in the waiting room. This time, it was a gangly looking young man with square rimmed glasses, somewhere around Jimin’s age.

 

“You’re – you’re my hero,” the man gushed, stepping in front of Jimin with a wide grin on his face.

 

“Thank you,” Jimin murmured, only half-aware of what either one of them was saying while his mind was still concentrated elsewhere. He attempted to make up for his lack of focus by smiling and shaking his hand. “I appreciate that.”

 

“I know you probably hear that all the time,” the man continued with a broad smile, “but I really mean it. I’m gay, too. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much that meant to see someone that I idolize who is just like me.”

 

Jimin nodded, only half-listening as the man rambled on. “Thank you,” he responded softly. He knew he should be giving this man the attention he deserved, especially considering how touching his comments were, but Jimin couldn’t help but wonder the entire time if this visit to the hospital was really worth it. He wanted to become a lawyer like his parents, didn’t he? Was he sacrificing his entire career just because he didn’t know how to separate his emotions from his work life? Would it be better to just turn around and walk away?

 

The man had just started to tell Jimin about how he’d always had his suspicions that the president’s son might be gay when a movement across the lobby caught his eye. Oh Soohyeon – the mother that he had been trying to summon the courage to find – was passing in front of the receptionist’s desk on her way to her son’s room. After half an hour of waiting in the lobby, debating what course of action to take, he still couldn’t decide whether or not to approach her – even when she was right there.

 

But in the end, it was Soohyeon who made the decision for him.

 

“Park Jimin?”

 

Jimin stared at her in surprise. He hadn’t expected Soohyeon to initiate a conversation with him.

 

“Excuse me,” Jimin hastily apologized to the young man. He reached out and patted him on the shoulder before walking towards the mother with a shaky smile. “Uh – hi,” Jimin nervously greeted her, bowing awkwardly as he felt anxious all over again.

 

Soohyeon hefted the strap of her purse higher onto her shoulder, eyeing Jimin with interest. “Are you here to ask me more questions?”

 

“I’m – um – ” Jimin laughed nervously. “Actually, I’m trying to work up the courage to talk to you.”

 

Soohyeon arched an eyebrow in interest. “I didn’t realize I was that intimidating.”

 

“No – you’re not – I mean – you could be, but that’s not why – ”

 

Jimin abruptly shook his head, stopping in the middle of the sentence. He reset his thoughts and looked back up at Soohyeon with a smile.

 

“Do you have a moment to talk?”

 

Soohyeon gestured towards the wide, empty hallway ahead of them. Without a word, Jimin fell into step beside the woman and they began to walk together at a deliberately slow pace.

 

“I – came to ask about your son,” Jimin began. “I was hoping that his condition had improved.”

 

Soohyeon’s expression immediately warmed at the mention of her child. “It has,” she said. “Thank you for asking.”

 

“Has he woken from the medically induced coma?” Jimin asked.

 

“He did – just two days ago,” she answered proudly. “He’s still been sleeping quite a bit and hasn’t been able to do much, but he’s slowly recovering.”

 

Jimin looked down and clasped his hands together as he breathed out a sigh of relief. “That’s really good to hear.”

 

“I should ask about you as well.”

 

Jimin glanced up in surprise. “Me?”

 

“I heard in the news that you had a bomb scare last night.” Soohyeon’s expression showed the same concern Jimin held towards her son. “Is everyone alright?”

 

“Right – that.” Jimin rubbed the back of his head, surprised by the sudden shift in conversation. “Yeah, everyone’s safe.”

 

“That must have been really scary,” Soohyeon continued in a soft voice. She reached out to pat Jimin’s hands reassuringly. “Did they catch the person who did it?”

 

Jimin smiled somewhat apologetically. “I don’t really have that information, and… I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you, even if I did.”

 

Soohyeon laughed. “Yes, I’m sure you wouldn’t,” she agreed.

 

The pair sauntered quietly, walking past room after room of families crowded together around their hospitalized child. Jimin looked away, clutching his hands even tighter as he attempted to find the courage to say what he wanted to say.

 

“Jimin,” Soohyeon gently interrupted his thoughts. She smiled in amusement when Jimin stopped in his footsteps to glance up at her with a terrified look in his eyes. “Do you want to tell me why you’re really here?”

 

Jimin glanced around the area, checking that there wasn’t anyone in their vicinity to overhear their conversation. With a deep breath, he finally spoke. “Do you… have a lawyer?”

 

Soohyeon tucked her long hair behind her ear and frowned. “I’m sorry?”

 

Jimin swallowed. “A defense attorney,” he hastily elaborated. “Do you have anyone that you’ve hired to defend your case?”

 

Soohyeon scoffed. “No,” she said. “I don’t need a defense attorney, because this entire thing is ridiculous. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

Jimin felt his stomach twist into knots at her answer. He looked down at his hands once more, quietly murmuring, “I’m really going to get fired for this,” before fixating a strong and determined gaze on the woman beside him.

 

“You need a lawyer,” Jimin firmly told her. “Han Hyunsoo – my boss – he’s racking up every charge he can against you, and he’s playing to win.”

 

While Soohyeon wasn’t quite so dismissive in her response this time, she still didn’t seem inclined to believe Jimin. “That woman – the one who crashed into my car – is lying,” she told Jimin with a smile, but she looked as if her confidence had been shaken. “There’s no way her story can hold up in court against mine.”

 

“She has a seasoned attorney who has been practicing law for over twenty years,” Jimin explained. “And without evidence, your side of the story is just that – a story.” He took a small step forward, attempting to get his point across. “Do you have any other witness testimonies?” Jimin asked hopefully. “Anyone that was at the scene of the accident?”

 

Soohyeon blinked at his words. “No,” she murmured, shaking her head. “Not that I know of.”

 

“Video?” Jimin pressed on. “Is there anything that can support your claims?”

 

“No – I – ” Soohyeon stopped midsentence and stared at Jimin in disbelief. “Why are you trying to help me?”

 

“Because if you’re telling me the truth about what actually happened,” Jimin answered without hesitation, “then you don’t deserve what’s about to come for you.”

 

Soohyeon looked away, suddenly looking fearful for the first time since they’d started their conversation. “We can’t afford a lawyer,” she softly confessed. “There’s no way we can make ends meet.”

 

“Do you have family you could borrow money from?” Jimin asked hopefully. “Friends? Anyone?”

 

Soohyeon solemnly shook her head before taking a step away from Jimin and towards the room just a few yards to their right. “I appreciate the warning,” she told Jimin. “Thank you for stopping by.”

 

Please,” Jimin begged the woman. “Don’t underestimate this lawsuit.”

 

“I won’t,” Soohyeon assured him, “but I think this is something that my husband and I are going to have to fight on our own from here on out.”

 

Jimin nodded in understanding. “I’m sorry,” he tacked on before she could leave. “For everything that is happening to your family – I’m sorry.”

 

Soohyeon smiled kindly. “I appreciate your concern,” she said. “Thank you for visiting, Jimin.”

 

And then she calmly walked back to her son’s hospital room.

 

She hadn’t taken his advice. Jimin wasn’t sure she ever would.

 

But a small burden was lifted off of Jimin’s shoulders now that he’d at least tried to do the right thing.

 

“So?” Yoongi asked when Jimin walked towards his bodyguard and pressed the button for the elevator. “How did it go?”

 

Jimin eyed him from the side. “You don’t even know what we were talking about,” he reminded Yoongi.

 

“I don’t,” Yoongi admitted, “but I do know that you were a complete mess before you got into the car, and now you seem more…” His eyes trailed up and down Jimin’s body with a scrutinizing gaze. “Happy.”

 

Jimin smiled slightly at the word. “I guess I feel a little bit better,” he confessed. “Although,” he continued dismally, “I just tried to give advice to the opposition on how to beat us, so… I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to quit my job.”

 

The elevator doors opened at the same time that Yoongi whistled in surprise. “Wow,” he murmured dryly. “Your parents are going to hate that.”

 

“Yep,” Jimin agreed with a nod as they stepped into the elevator and descended towards the lobby. “But… they’ll understand.”

 

Yoongi stared back at Jimin through their reflection on the closed elevator doors and arched an eyebrow at him.

 

“Ok, I’m pretty sure they’ll understand,” Jimin swiftly amended his earlier statement. “They want me to be happy, right? They’ll be ok if I quit and search for another job.”

 

Yoongi shrugged. “They probably just want you employed,” he replied with a smirk.

 

Jimin rolled his eyes.

 

*

 

On the car ride back to the Blue House, Jimin couldn’t help but smile at the worried message that Jungkook had sent him after he’d hurriedly hung up the phone earlier.

 

Why are you going to the hospital? Are you hurt??

 

Jimin quickly typed out a response. I’m not hurt – I’ll explain later when you’re done with work.

 

But when Jimin climbed out of the back of the black SUV and entered his bedroom, his evening went in a very different direction than what he had expected.

 

“Park Jimin! Did you really think it was fine for me to hear from the morning news that there is someone running around town trying to blow you up?

 

Jimin stood in the doorway to his room in surprise. There were very few people that his secret service team would give permission to enter his room when he wasn’t present, so hearing a voice from within his bedroom the moment he’d opened the door was already startling enough.

 

Recognizing that the voice belonged to Taehyung made him drop his jaw in astonishment.

 

“Tae!” Jimin ran into the room, throwing both arms around his friend in his excitement. “Oh my God – what are you doing here?”

 

“Stop hugging me!” Taehyung demanded, though he disregarded his own words and reciprocated Jimin’s hug nonetheless. “I’m pissed at you for not telling me that your secret service found a fucking bomb when you went out on a date last night with Jungkook!”

 

“Wait – are you just here for the night?” Jimin asked eagerly, completely ignoring Taehyung’s accusations in favor of asking his own questions. He pulled away from his friend, grinning broadly from ear to ear. “Or are you planning to stay for the weekend?”

 

“Don’t distract me!” Taehyung continued to argue stubbornly. “We tell each other things – and you’re supposed to tell me if someone’s trying to kill you! And you!” Taehyung pointed accusatorily over Jimin’s shoulder. “You’re in so much trouble! I know you were at the restaurant with Jimin – how could you not tell me you were nearly killed?

 

Jimin looked over his shoulder, following Taehyung’s gaze to his bedroom door. He spotted Yoongi, standing frozen just inside the room. He must have followed Jimin into his room after hearing the familiar voice, and had since become immobile.

 

“Taehyung,” he breathed, staring at the man before him in wonder.

 

The room was silent.

 

And then tears poured down the stoic bodyguard’s face.

 

“No – Suga,” Taehyung cooed, rushing forward to wrap his boyfriend in a tight hug. Given Yoongi’s usual demeanor, Jimin had always viewed him as the strong, dominant figure in their relationship – but in this moment, Yoongi seemed to be anything but. His fingers clung desperately to Taehyung’s shirt, knuckles turning white with the force of his grip. His sobs were audible across the room, now, as he tried to hide his face in Taehyung’s neck. Even his frame was dwarfed by Taehyung’s in his attempt to fully attach himself to Taehyung’s body.

 

“I missed you so much,” Yoongi choked out between sobs. “I can’t – you can’t be gone that long ever again.”

 

Jimin watched from afar as tears sprung to Taehyung’s eyes at the realization of just how much pain Yoongi had been in when he’d been away at school. The separation hadn’t been easy for either one of them – but, clearly, he’d had no idea just how hard it had been for Yoongi, and the surprise arrival had likely sent Yoongi’s emotions into overdrive. “Hush,” Taehyung murmured soothingly into Yoongi’s ear as he tenderly cradled his head to his shoulder. “I’m here, now. It’s ok.”

 

Jimin bit his lip and covered his mouth to keep himself from reacting aloud after such a touching reunion.

 

“I know,” Taehyung continued to murmur quiet reassurances as he tightened his hold around Yoongi’s shoulders and they slowly rocked back and forth in the middle of Jimin’s bedroom. He tipped his head to the side, pressing a light kiss to Yoongi’s cheek. “I missed you too, Suga.”

 

Having felt Taehyung’s lips on his skin, Yoongi quickly turned his face up, catching Taehyung’s lips with his own. When Yoongi tried to step even closer – if that was even possible – and move his lips aggressively against Taehyung’s, Jimin suddenly wondered if he was supposed to give them some privacy. He tried to avert his eyes, hoping to give the pair a chance to reconnect with one another without his prying gaze.

 

But… technically, they were both standing in his room. If anyone was going to leave – it was supposed to be them.

 

Jimin’s gaze eventually returned to his friends as he heard the light smacking sound of their kisses dwindling into gentle, repetitive pecks. Both of them smiled into their kisses, making the act of kissing that much more difficult than it needed to be.

 

But Jimin nearly squealed in girlish delight for his two friends when Yoongi pressed his forehead to Taehyung’s and closed his eyes to bask in the warmth of his boyfriend.

 

“I love you,” Yoongi whispered.

 

Taehyung grinned back at him. “I love you, too.”

 

They stood like that, enclosed in their own, private bubble for just another moment before Yoongi finally remembered himself and reluctantly took a step away from Taehyung to look at Jimin.

 

“I, uh…” Yoongi cleared his throat loudly and tried to hastily wipe away any tears that were still remaining on his cheeks. “I’m taking the weekend off.”

 

Jimin nodded with a teasing smile. “Yeah, I figured as much.”

 

Jimin had half expected the pair to remain behind for another few minutes – enough for Jimin to catch up with his friend after his month-long absence – but was surprised when Yoongi swiftly spun on his heel with Taheyung’s hand wrapped securely in his grasp and dragged him towards the door.

 

“Wait – you’re leaving? Just like that?” Jimin teased them on their way out. “Am I even going to see my best friend this weekend?”

 

Taehyung opened his mouth to answer affirmatively, but Yoongi’s parting words were enough to make Jimin double over in laughter.

 

“Doubtful.”

 

*

 

Jimin saw Taehyung only once before he was scheduled to return to his school in Busan and that was at the train station when he was waiting to depart. Jungkook had even shifted his work hours around to accompany Jimin and Yoongi to the train station to say their goodbyes.

 

Even though Jimin had said no more than a few short sentences to his best friend over the course of the last forty-eight hours, Yoongi and Taehyung still spent the majority of the time snuggled together on a bench while they waited for the train to arrive. Jimin could only roll his eyes in Jungkook’s direction at the situation, but still found it impossible to hold either one of them at fault for their behavior. It wasn’t until the train actually pulled into the station that Taehyung finally reached out to hug Jimin and told him, “I’ll call you later, ok?”

 

Jimin could only laugh in amusement.

 

Yoongi, while upset that Taehyung was returning to school, seemed remarkably calm and composed given the emotional mess that he’d been at Taehyung’s arrival. When Jimin asked how he was feeling, Yoongi gave him a relaxed smile.

 

“I’m great,” he answered. Then he huffed out a quiet laugh of surprise. “I’m… really good, actually.”

 

“Wow,” Jungkook murmured in a teasing voice. He stood on Yoongi’s opposite side, sandwiching him in the middle as they walked. “The sex was that mind blowing?”

 

Yoongi glared at Jungkook. “It wasn’t about the sex, asshole.”

 

Jimin grinned deviously at his boyfriend before joining in to tease Yoongi. “Yeah, but you didn’t deny that there was sex.”

 

“Ok, you two can shove it,” Yoongi grumbled. He hunched his shoulders and stuffed his hands into his pockets, but there was no hiding the tinge of red creeping up the back of his neck. “Just because you and Taehyung like to talk about your sex life doesn’t me I want to.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes widened at this surprising piece of news. He jogged forward just enough to peer around Yoongi and shoot Jimin a shocked look. “You’re telling Taehyung about our sex life?”

 

Jimin immediately tried to downplay the situation. “Only a little bit,” he lightly fibbed, now feeling somewhat betrayed that he’d even said anything about it to Yoongi in the first place. “Just… small things.”

 

Small things?” Jungkook echoed in disbelief. His feet immediately came to a stop, causing Jimin to follow suit and fall out of line with Yoongi, while Jungkook’s hands subconsciously folded themselves in front of his pants as he began to develop a minor inferiority complex. “Jimin – what about our sex life is small?

 

“What?” Jimin’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as he realized what Jungkook was asking. “No! Not that! I mean – you’re not small, you’re – ” Jimin stopped midsentence, turning on Yoongi with a narrowed glare. “Look at what you’ve done.”

 

Yoongi snorted in amusement at Jungkook’s horrified expression before leisurely sauntering away. “Serves the both of you right.”

 

*

 

In the end, Jimin decided to go to work on Monday. He knew his time was nearly up at this particular law firm, especially now that he’d come to terms with the fact that it was hardly the right fit for him when he would rather willingly give advice to the opposition than attempt to do his job. If he didn’t quit, he knew it would only be a matter of time before he was fired.

 

But today, he had unfinished business to tend to.

 

At the end of a typical work day, Jimin often went straight home where he was able to meet up with Jungkook. It certainly made their lives exceptionally easy when his boyfriend’s place of business was also in Jimin’s home. But today, Jimin had shot off a short message to Jungkook, explaining that he might be a little later than expected that evening.

 

Because even if he had tried his best to force this job to work, there was still one case he had yet to crack.

 

So, as soon as Daeun packed up her things and started to leave the office, Jimin jogged out the door behind her in close pursuit.

 

“Um – hey – seonbae!”

 

Daeun turned, looking Jimin up and down. She seemed surprised to see him even speaking to her. “Yes?”

 

Jimin forced a smile onto his face. It wasn’t exactly the greeting he was looking for, but he took it anyway. “I, uh… I thought you might want to get a drink after work?”

 

Daeun visibly recoiled from the idea. “What?

 

“Yeah.” Jimin nodded rapidly, hoping that his enthusiasm would win her over for once. “Just – you know… One or two drinks? So we can get to know each other a bit better.”

 

He didn’t seem to be selling her on the idea very well, especially if Daeun’s icy expression was anything to go by. “Why?” she asked with a single, arched eyebrow, but the rest of her question was implied. Why do you want to have a drink with me when you know that I don’t like you?

 

“Because… I think we got off on the wrong foot,” Jimin finally admitted aloud. Then he shrugged, hoping it looked casual. “And I’m a really great person if you, just… get to know me.”

 

Daeun blinked, clearly shocked by Jimin’s blunt response.

 

Whatever she had been expecting, it hadn’t been that.

 

“I, uh…” Daeun swallowed, looking away. She glanced over Jimin’s shoulder, seeming to be watching Yoongi as he stood at attention just a few yards away from Jimin. Her eyes slid over to the idling black SUV, waiting to take Jimin home. Then she huffed out a soft sigh and shifted her weight.

 

“Ok,” she finally conceded in a soft voice. It would have been rather difficult for her to turn down Jimin’s request after he’d been so brutally honest with her. “Fine. But… just one drink.”

 

Jimin’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Great!” Jimin enthusiastically. “How about, um… the bar right across the street – on the corner over there?” He smiled back at his co-worker. “I already had my team sweep the area just in case, so… no bombs.”

 

Daeun’s eyes widened for a split second, realizing what Jimin had just said, before glancing at the location. “Um – sure,” she murmured somewhat unconvincingly. “That sounds… fine.”

 

Jimin eagerly led the way, crossing the street with Daeun at his side. Before they could make it inside, she glanced over her shoulder, watching Yoongi trailing behind them, before turning back to Jimin.

 

“Do they ever go home?” she asked in a soft voice so that Yoongi couldn’t overhear their conversation.

 

Jimin laughed. “Yes,” he said. “I have different agents with me in the evening.”

 

She made a shuddering motion, as if the idea of it sounded terrible. “Do you ever get a minute alone?”

 

“My bedroom,” Jimin answered truthfully. “And, um… the bathroom?”

 

And for once, Daeun actually cracked a smile.

 

“Fortunately,” Jimin continued, “I’m actually really good friends with him,” he said, pointing at Yoongi over his shoulder. “And – well, you probably already heard in the news that I’m dating my last bodyguard, so… yeah, I guess I don’t really mind it anymore. They’re just… part of my life, now.”

 

Their conversation was cut short when they entered the small bar on the corner. Jimin led them toward a seat in the corner and ordered a bottle of soju for the two of them to split. They were quiet for a long moment while they waited awkwardly for the bottle and two glasses to be brought to their table.

 

“How about you?” Jimin interrupted the silence to try and start up their conversation again. He would be damned if he didn’t try to do everything in his power to make this woman like him. “Are you seeing anyone or…?”

 

“Oh, um. No,” she answered. “I don’t really have time to date when I’m working a full-time job and have a two-year-old son waiting for me at home.”

 

“You have a son?” Jimin asked in surprise. Daeun seemed so young. He never would have guessed that she had a child. “I never saw any pictures of him on your desk at work, so I guess I just assumed – ”

 

“Yeah, I took most of my family pictures down last year,” she said, gaze falling on the table as she spoke in a monotone, “after my husband decided to leave me for one of my friends.”

 

Jimin felt his stomach drop out.

 

This was not the way to get Daeun to like him.

 

“Oh, God,” he murmured. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.”

 

“You didn’t pry,” Daeun reassured him with a tired sigh. The irritation she always seemed to have in her voice seemed to have finally disappeared from her tone and was now replaced with exhaustion. “If I didn’t want to tell you, I wouldn’t have said it.”

 

Jimin quickly picked up the bottle of soju that had been dropped off at their table, hurrying to pour Daeun a drink. “Here.” He pushed the small glass across the table. “Have a drink.”

 

Daeun threw the glass back, downing the entire contents in one swig, before thumping it back to the table.

 

“So, um…” Jimin quickly poured her another drink as he scrambled for a follow-up topic. He needed something better than talking about her scumbag husband and the extramarital affair he must have had. “Do you have any pictures of your son?” he asked tentatively. Mother’s liked to talk about their children, didn’t they? Then, hoping to lay on a bit more charm, he added, “I bet he has your eyes.”

 

“He doesn’t,” she murmured a bit sourly as she flipped through her phone for a picture to show Jimin. However, when she stumbled across a photo of him, her face suddenly relaxed for the first time that evening as she looked down at his picture. “But… he has my cheekbones. See?”

 

Daeun’s lips slowly began to curl upwards the longer she continued to talk about her son.

 

“He has your smile, too,” Jimin pointed out as she turned the screen on her phone so he could look at the adorable picture of the young boy.

 

Her smile widened in response.

 

“He just turned two last month,” Daeun said with the look of a proud mother. She flipped through more pictures before turning her phone around again to show an image of a boy with purple frosting all around his mouth.

 

“That’s adorable,” Jimin cooed. “He’s so cute.” Jimin tipped back his own glass before saying, “Jungkook and I are nowhere near that point, but… I think I would really love to be able to adopt a baby someday.”

 

Daeun’s smile slipped momentarily at his words. Then she nodded at his comment, seeming to process it, before quietly confessing, “I’ve… never known anyone who was gay before.”

 

“Oh.” Jimin swallowed. Was this the reason why she never liked him? “Sorry – is it weird? You know – me talking about Jungkook?”

 

She tilted her head to the side as she thought about it. “Yes,” she admitted honestly. “But… not in a bad way,” Daeun hastily explained. “Just… different.”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows went up in surprise. “Oh!”

 

This was a good thing, wasn’t it?

 

“Tell me more about your boyfriend,” she finally decided, finally taking the initiative to ask about Jimin’s life in return. “All I know is what I’ve read in the news, so…”

 

“Yeah.” Jimin snorted at her comment. “Well, some critics in the news also think that I somehow staged the shooting last year so people would view me with more sympathy when I came out as gay, so…” Jimin poured himself another glass. “Don’t believe everything you read.”

 

Daeun frowned as she imagined what Jimin must have gone through. “I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s fine,” Jimin assured her. Then, parroting her words back to her, he said, “If I didn’t want to tell you, I wouldn’t have said it.”

 

She smiled at his words.

 

“Well,” Jimin tried to get their conversation back on topic, “my boyfriend and I have been dating for several months,” he said. “He was on my security team and – I actually hated him for a little while,” Jimin confessed with an amused smile as he recalled the memory. “I was so upset that his job was supposed to prevent me from living a normal life, and then… I don’t know. We just grew close.” Jimin shrugged. “Then, I guess we finally gave in and decided to make it official, you know?”

 

“Wow,” Daeun murmured. “That’s way more romantic than my story.” When Jimin tilted his head to inquire about her story, she explained without needing to be asked. “My boyfriend knocked me up, so we just decided to get married.” Jimin would have felt incredibly uncomfortable at such an admission had Daeun not immediately followed up her statement with a laugh. “I wish I had met someone more like your guy.”

 

“Uh – my guy isn’t perfect,” Jimin assured her with a smirk. “He’s a little overbearing and has a hard time controlling his jealousy.”

 

“Oh, please,” Daeun countered. “That’s just a dramatic way of saying that he loves you.” She snorted, having finally grown relaxed in Jimin’s company. “I would love to meet someone with jealousy issues.”

 

Jimin laughed. He quickly filled both of their glasses again and held his up in the air. When Daeun followed suit, he made a toast. “Here’s to finding love,” he said.

 

Daeun copied him with a laugh. “And jealous boyfriends!”

 

Jimin grinned. “And jealous boyfriends.”

 

They drank the contents of their glasses.

 

Jimin felt the light, tingling sensation crawling up his legs. It was the first telltale sign that he was developing a light buzz from the alcohol. He figured that now – when he had consumed just enough liquid courage – was the best time to finally ask the question he’d been trying to solve since day one.

 

“So…” Jimin cleared his throat and leveled Daeun with a serious look across the table. “Am I allowed to ask?”

 

“Ask what?” Daeun’s chin-length hair fell out from behind her ears as she poured herself another glass. Her eyes flicked up to meet Jimin’s, realizing what he was really trying to say. “You want to ask why I hate you?”

 

Jimin swallowed. “Yeah.”

 

She finished off the glass, bringing it back to the table with an audible thump. “I guess I don’t hate you, I just… hate you.”

 

Jimin… wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that.

 

Daeun sighed heavily. “It’s just – I had this great job lined up where my boss thought I excelled in my field, and then this golden boy – ” she gestured across the table to Jimin with her palm face up “ – just swooped in and destroyed everything.”

 

Jimin blinked in surprise. “I did?”

 

“I guess it’s not totally your fault,” Daeun grumbled. She dropped an elbow onto the table and leaned her head against her hand. “I’m not sure you even did anything.”

 

Jimin was getting more and more confused by the minute.

 

“I mean – you remember all of those subpoenas you were supposed to write up for the Kim Yongja case?”

 

Jimin nodded, remembering what she was talking about.

 

“Everything you wrote was riddled with errors,” Daeun explained. “I had to go back and redo all of it.”

 

Jimin’s jaw slackened in disbelief. “They… were?” He’d written those subpoenas weeks ago – but no one had told him he’d done them incorrectly.

 

“It’s kind-of normal to make that sort of a mistake for someone in their first year,” Daeun seemed to reassure him, “but when I showed our boss, he told me not to bother you with making corrections and that I should just handle it all myself.”

 

Jimin’s eyes widened in shock at her statement. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “He said what?

 

“And that interview you got to have with the defendant?” Daeun laughed wryly. “He’s never even asked me to interview anyone for a case before, and all of a sudden you get this fantastic opportunity just handed to you?”

 

“I – I’m so sorry,” Jimin spluttered, feeling embarrassed that he’d been given so many special privileges without even realizing it. “I’m not sure I even blame you for hating me,” he said. “But I swear, I never asked for – ”

 

“I know, I know,” Daeun rapidly squelched his fears with a dismissive wave of her hand. She emptied the last of the soju bottle into her glass, finishing it off. “I know it isn’t really your fault, but…” She sighed, slumping in her chair in defeat. “I’ve been working with Han Hyunsoo for years, but now it feels like no matter how much effort I put into my work, you’re clearly his favorite.”

 

Jimin stared down at the table. He had no idea what he could say to make this better. “I had no idea,” he promised. “I even tried to tell him last week that I should have been going through those files instead of you, and he told me he didn’t want me to do it. I never even realized – ”

 

“I know,” Daeun murmured. “Obviously, he wants you to be happy in his office so you’ll stay as long as possible.” She shrugged. “The longer the president’s son works with him, the more recognition he gets.”

 

Those words alone made Jimin cringe. He’d never wanted special treatment from anyone, especially not from his superior. How was he ever supposed to become successful if he couldn’t even trust his boss to rate him on the merits of his job performance? If he never received any critiques or advice – how could he ever learn?

 

“I don’t want to be treated differently just because my father is the president,” Jimin told her honestly. “If you had told me what I needed to do to be better at my job, I would have done it. I swear.”

 

She looked across the table at him sadly. “I know that now.”

 

Jimin gave her a half smile. “Our boss is kind-of an ass.”

 

Daeun snorted. “He really is.”

 

Then Jimin made an instant decision and turned towards the nearest waiter. “Yeah, um – we’re going to need another bottle over here.”

 

Daeun raised her hand to flag the bartender down as well. “Make that two.”

 

Jimin turned back to Daeun, smiling at his new friend.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jimin sat across from his parents, feeling like he was back in elementary school yet again.

 

“You’re what?

 

“Um.” Jimin shrunk in on himself as he scratched the back of his neck nervously. It was awkward enough telling his parents that he was about to willingly become unemployed. It was doubly so when his father was currently boasting to the media outlets about the incredibly low unemployment rate in their country. It was even worse when Jimin remembered that his bodyguard – Yoongi – and his mother’s bodyguard – Jungkook – were both standing at attention near the door, unintentionally listening in on every word he was saying. “I’m… going to quit my job?”

 

“Are you asking for permission,” his father asked in confusion, “or are you telling us?”

 

“I, uh… I’m telling you,” Jimin said in what he hoped was a confident tone of voice. “I’m quitting my job.”

 

Jimin’s mother looked over at her husband in surprise before looking back at Jimin. “But why?” she asked. “Han Hyunsoo is one of the best attorneys in the city,” she said. “Why would you quit?

 

Jimin couldn’t help but glance nervously at Jungkook as he spoke. He was pretty sure he caught the faint smile playing on his lips, encouraging Jimin to continue. “It’s not a right fit for me,” Jimin told them. “My boss – I know he’s good at what he does, but he wasn’t teaching me anything and I didn’t like how he handled his cases, so…”

 

“So you’re going to find a job with another attorney?” his mother attempted to fill in the blanks. She looked over at her husband and placed a hand on his shoulder, which he promptly covered in a reassuring gesture, before turning back to her son. “Is that all it was – just a bad fit?”

 

“Um.” Again, Jimin’s eyes went to Jungkook. “I’m… not so sure the only problem was my boss.” He swallowed nervously. “I just don’t think this is the right path for me. I know that you and Dad both worked in this field, but – ”

 

“Why do you keep looking at Jungkook?” his mother interrupted with a questioning look. She suddenly pointed a finger at Jungkook and narrowed her gaze suspiciously. “Did you have something to do with this?”

 

Jimin blinked at the surprising accusation. Jungkook seemed even less thrilled to have his boyfriend’s mother – and the first lady – direct her ire towards him. “What? Mom! Of course he didn’t.”

 

His mother didn’t bat an eyelash. “Well?” she calmly asked her agent again. “Did you?”

 

Jungkook’s posture wilted nervously. He looked back and forth between Jimin and his parents, trying to find the right words to say. “I… No, I didn’t put him up to this. I just… suggested the idea.” Jimin’s mother pursed her lips. “Kind-of.”

 

No, he didn’t,” Jimin abruptly cut in to save his boyfriend from the wrath of two, disappointed parents. “I called him when I was in tears at work and all he did was ask if I was happy at my job.” He tilted his head towards his mother. “So you can stop glaring at him and glare at me instead, because this was all my decision. Not his.”

 

But Jimin’s father was instantly affected by these words. “In tears?” he questioned with a hint of sorrow lacing his voice. He shoulders slumped forward, forgoing his usual, rigid posture. “Jimin – were you really that upset?”

 

Their scrutinizing gaze returned to Jimin. “I was frustrated,” Jimin answered, “and Jungkook helped me to put things into perspective.” He bit his lower lip before continuing. “And one of those things was my own happiness.”

 

“Oh – oh, sweetie.” Jimin’s mother stretched out her hand to grasp Jimin’s in a firm hold. Then she quickly stood up and strode across the room to throw her arms around Jungkook, making the tall man widen his eyes in surprise at the gesture. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you,” she apologized. Then, just to add her own dose of humor, she said, “You’re still my favorite child.”

 

Mom,” Jimin grumbled in embarrassment, rolling his eyes as Jungkook laughed and reciprocated the hug.

 

“I promise,” Jungkook murmured to Jimin’s mother. “I was just trying to help.”

 

“So, you’re leaving Hyunsoo’s practice.” Jungkook’s father tried to refocus the conversation again as Jimin’s mother strode back to the pair. “Then what’s your plan?”

 

Jimin had been expecting this question – he’d even prepared for it. His parents were rational people. They always wanted what was best for him, but they also knew that sometimes he had to walk his own path. If Jimin wanted to forge his own way in this world, he knew that his parents would be happy with his choice – provided that he had a concrete plan.

 

“I’m talking to my boss first thing tomorrow,” Jimin explained. “And then I’m giving myself a month to figure out what I really want to do with my life.”

 

“A month?” his mother echoed, returning to the couch. She sat on the arm of the chair, crossing her legs at the ankles as she listened to him speak.

 

“One month,” Jimin repeated, firm in his resolution. “If there’s one thing that this job has shown me, it’s that I want to do work where I can help people,” he said, remembering his desire to help the poor mother, sitting over her child in the hospital. “I thought I might try volunteering at some shelters in the area. Maybe I could even help out at some local orphanages – you know, like I did over the summers?” He swallowed as he finally proposed his idea to his parents. “And if I don’t find something else that I’m passionate about doing in the next month, then… I’ll start applying for paralegal jobs elsewhere.”

 

Jimin’s parents glanced at one another, silently considering the idea. Jimin’s father was the first one to speak up. “Agreed,” he immediately conceded. “I think we can both get behind that plan.”

 

Jimin tried to not look so surprised. “Really?”

 

“Well,” Jimin’s mother added with a small shrug, “I think we both wish you had done something like this before we helped you pay for your college tuition, but… I suppose it’s better late than never.”

 

Jimin grinned. “You guys are the best.” Before he launched out of his seat to hug his parents, he shot a look over his shoulder at Yoongi. “See? I told you they just wanted me to be happy.”

 

Yoongi not-so-subtly rolled his eyes.

 

*

 

“But – but why?

 

“I’m just not learning anything here,” Jimin answered apologetically. “I feel like I don’t receive any feedback on my work and… I need to be somewhere that I know I’m working to my full potential.”

 

Han Hyunsoo stared across his desk, looking up at Jimin from his office chair in shock. “I can give you more work,” he tried to convince Jimin to change his mind. “I can give you plenty of work, if that’s what you want.”

 

Jimin frowned. “That’s… not exactly what I’m saying.”

 

“Anything you want,” the attorney finally offered, standing up from his desk so suddenly that his chair rolled away behind him. “Please – don’t quit.”

 

“I’m sorry.” Jimin said with a tired sigh. “But I think that’s… exactly the reason why I can’t work here any longer.”

 

Hyunsoo stared at him in disbelief.

 

For the last time, Jimin quietly bowed to his boss and exited his office.

 

Daeun glanced up at him from her desk as he exited. She’d come in to work that morning with a wide smile on her face, eager to rekindle the brief friendship they had developed over the course of several drinks the night before. Now, after hearing the attorney raising his voice in desperation from within his closed office, she suddenly seemed concerned about why Jimin had even gone in there in the first place.

 

Jimin answered her before she could even ask.

 

“So, uh…” Jimin stopped beside her desk, drumming nervously on the corner. “I just quit.”

 

Her eyes doubled in size.

 

What?” she hissed, glancing over at the door to Hyunsoo’s office that was still ajar. “No,” she refuted his words with a shake of her head. “But – we’re friends, now! Aren’t we? Oh, God.” A hand went to her mouth at the sudden realization. “You’re not quitting because of what I said, right? Because I’m pretty sure I was drunk when I said that thing about hating you, so you can’t hold that against me because I really didn’t mean it. At least, not anymore.”

 

Jimin smiled at her odd apology. “No, I already decided long before that,” he told her. “This just… isn’t the right job for me.”

 

Daeun’s face fell. “You can’t leave,” she attempted to beg Jimin to stay one last time, but it appeared as if she already knew that her efforts were futile. “If you leave, the only person I’m going to have left to talk to is my boss,” Daeun told him. “And even when you and I didn’t get along, you were still better company than him.”

 

Jimin laughed softly before reaching across her desk to pick up a post-it note and a pen. “Well, if there’s one good thing that came out of this job, that’s meeting you.” He hastily scrawled his cell phone number onto the paper and handed it back to Daeun. “We should meet up for lunch this weekend,” Jimin suggested. “I would love to introduce you to Jungkook. You could even bring your son, and we could call it a double date.”

 

Daeun’s distressed expression slowly gave way to a relieved one as she nodded happily. “Yeah,” she agreed. “I would really like that.”

 

*

 

“You really don’t need to do this.”

 

Jungkook, dressed in his regular street clothes, sauntered casually into Jimin’s bedroom with a wide grin on his face. He lightly closed the door behind him. “Oh, I really do.”

 

Even while Jimin was arguing with him, he couldn’t help but smile at Jungkook in response. He sat up in his bed, letting the bed sheets fall to his waist. “Did you really take the day off from work?”

 

Jungkook kicked his shoes towards the corner of the room before approaching Jimin’s bed. “Yes,” he confirmed simply. “What did you expect me to do – let you wallow in bed all day after you quit your job?”

 

Jimin watched in amusement as Jungkook hopped over Jimin’s body and sprawled across the comforter, making himself comfortable. “I thought you said you weren’t going to let me wallow in bed.”

 

Jungkook rolled to his side, throwing an arm and a leg around the blankets that covered Jimin’s body and tried to pull him close. Without a fight, Jimin effortlessly fell back onto his pillows with a giggle and willingly allowed himself to be tugged closer. “You lack imagination,” Jungkook teasingly scolded him. “There are plenty of other things we can do in bed, Jimin.”

 

Jimin outright laughed this time, hiding his head in Jungkook’s chest when he was pulled in for a tight hug. For a moment he was disappointed by the barrier created between them by his bed sheets, but he quickly used the opportunity to pull back from Jungkook and focus himself. “No – you’re right,” he insisted. “I shouldn’t stay in bed – we should go and do something today.”

 

“I know I’m right,” Jungkook agreed, lightly mouthing his way across Jimin’s neck. He carefully rolled Jimin onto his back as he continued to work.

 

“We should go out somewhere,” Jimin suggested. Jungkook lightly pushed Jimin’s hands above his head, sliding his fingers across his bare arms until their fingers were locked together. “You know, to make up for that whole… date fiasco.”

 

“Hey.” Jungkook pulled away to look down at Jimin with a tilted head. “I really enjoyed our date.”

 

“Yeah, I did, too – right up until the part where we almost died,” Jimin agreed somewhat sarcastically. “I mean it,” he enthused when Jungkook ignored his comment and went back to placing kisses at the base of his throat. “Let’s do something today.”

 

Jungkook’s lips ghosted along Jimin’s exposed collarbone before attempting to dip lower beneath the collar of his shirt. “We could go house hunting,” he suggested between licks and nibbles.

 

“Yes!” Jimin agreed instantly. He was incredibly aware that Jungkook had removed one hand from Jimin’s and was gradually pushing down the blankets and working Jimin’s t-shirt up just far enough to expose his abdomen, but did everything in his power to ignore the distraction. He tried to contain his breathy shudders when Jungkook finally put both hands on either side of his hips before lowering his mouth to the v-shaped crevice just above Jimin’s beltline. “We – we should look at houses,” Jimin concurred in a shaky voice. “I should – I should – ” Jimin released a controlled exhale as Jungkook’s fingers teased the elastic band at the top of his pajama pants. “I should call a realtor.”

 

Jungkook pulled his lips away from the tiny, dark hickey he’d created just below Jimin’s belly button. “I already did,” he murmured. “We’re meeting her in two hours.”

 

“You already did?” Jimin lifted his head off the pillow to look at Jungkook in surprise. “Wait – we have two hours?”

 

Jungkook smirked back at him. “We have two hours.”

 

“Oh, thank fuck,” Jimin groaned, just before he surged forward to shove Jungkook onto his back and straddled his hips.

 

*

 

“And this one is a lovely two story home with three bedrooms,” the realtor gushed. “There’s a half bath on the main floor, a master bathroom, and a full bathroom upstairs.”

 

“Thank you,” Jungkook kindly replied to their realtor. “If you don’t mind, we’ll just take a quick look around.”

 

Jimin clasped Jungkook’s hand tight within his own as he stared at his surroundings in wonder. “This seems like… more than we need,” he whispered. After silently peering into the kitchen and living room on the main floor, Jungkook tugged his hand towards the stairs and lead him to the second floor. “Three bedrooms? I mean – we’re only planning on using one of them, right?”

 

“Well,” Jungkook mumbled as they reached the landing, “one room is for us, one room could be an office, and the third could be…” He trailed off with a shrug. “I don’t know, we’ll see.”

 

“We’ll see?” Jimin asked with a smile. “What does ‘we’ll see’ mean?”

 

“It means,” Jungkook tried to elaborate as they stepped into the empty master bedroom, “that you never know why you would need an extra room. Taehyung might want to visit and stay here.”

 

“You and I both know he’s far more likely to just stay with Yoongi.”

 

“It’s just an example,” Jungkook explained with a shrug. He flipped a variety of switches on the wall, seeming to be curious about each one of them and what devices they controlled, before deciding that he was happy with their functionality. “Or maybe… you find out you have an estranged great aunt or something who wants to move in with us.”

 

Jimin laughed at the thought. “Yeah, because that could happen.”

 

“You just never know – that’s all I’m saying,” Jungkook tried to argue his point. They stepped back into the hallway, approaching one of the spare bedrooms. “There’s no telling what the future might bring, right?”

 

As Jungkook stepped towards the closet to analyze the amount of available space, Jimin froze in the doorway.

 

Suddenly, he realized what Jungkook had been trying to hint at all along.

 

“Kookie,” he breathed, placing a hand on the wooden frame of the door. “Are you… talking about having a nursery?”

 

Even with his face turned away from Jimin, it was obvious that Jungkook had turned a bright shade of red – and Jimin instantly knew that his guess had been right.

 

“I just said that you never know,” Jungkook mumbled, embarrassed at having been caught. He stepped further into the bedroom with his gaze now stubbornly focused on the window overlooking the back of the property. “Wow, look at this view,” he attempted to casually comment. “What a great backyard.”

 

Jimin smiled, deciding to put Jungkook out of his misery. He carefully stepped forward and wrapped both arms around Jungkook’s waist from behind, snaking them across the middle of his stomach. He was pleased when Jungkook settled his hands on top of his in a tender embrace. “We could put a swing set out there,” Jimin suggested quietly. “One with a slide?”

 

Jungkook sighed. “Ok, now you’re making fun of me.”

 

“I’m not,” Jimin assured him with a tight squeeze around his middle. He stood on his tiptoes to put his chin on top of Jungkook’s shoulder. “Just the other day, I was telling my co-worker how much I would love to adopt a child with you someday.”

 

Slowly, as if not quite believing his words, Jungkook turned his head to look at Jimin out of the corner of his eye. “Really?”

 

Jimin smiled. “Really.”

 

“I mean – it’s probably still years down the road,” Jungkook verified. “Right?”

 

“Right,” Jimin agreed. “And… I should really have a job before we decide to buy a house, let alone start talking about having kids.”

 

“Of course,” Jungkook hastily agreed. Then he allowed a tiny smile to grace his lips. “But… someday?”

 

Jimin felt his own ears turn red, matching the color of Jungkook’s cheeks from earlier. “Yeah,” he whispered with a nod of his head and a grin that he couldn’t contain. “Someday.”

 

*

 

“Well, well – look who it is,” Jimin teased as he answered the incoming phone call from Taehyung. “You ditched me for your boyfriend last weekend – I’m surprised you even remembered to call me.”

 

“Ok, ok,” Taehyung willingly accepted his lighthearted criticism. “Say what you want – if you’d been in the same situation as me, you would have spent the entire weekend locked in a room with Jungkook, too.”

 

Jimin laughed at Taehyung’s blatantly unapologetic demeanor. “No arguments here.” He flopped backwards onto his bed and stared up at the ceiling as he spoke into his phone. “Well – tell me how your weekend was with Yoongi!” Jimin insisted. “Jungkook and I tried to get him to open up about it, but all we got were one word answers.”

 

“Jimin, it was… amazing,” Taehyung gushed. Even hours away, Jimin could hear his smile through the phone. “I mean – he and I have talked almost every day since I’ve been gone, right? But the distance has been putting more of a strain on us than I realized,” he confessed quietly – as if he was frightened that Yoongi would overhear. “Our phone conversations just started to feel so… superficial. You know?” Taehyung sighed. “But last weekend, we finally opened up and started to talk about what we both needed from each other and how the separation was affecting us and… yeah,” Taehyung concluded quietly. “I think we’re going to be much better because of it.”

 

“I hope so,” Jimin replied honestly. “Yoongi was having a hard time without you around.”

 

Jimin could practically envision Taehyung wilting and dropping his head into his hands at the comment. “He was?”

 

“He was planning to visit you last weekend, but you beat him to the punch,” Jimin confessed. “I think he would have done it sooner, but he kept trying to hold off because you thought it would be a good idea.”

 

“Ugh,” Taehyung groaned. “Sometimes, I could throttle that man. He’s always got this tough exterior that he uses to act like he’s fine when he’s clearly not. If he had just told me the first time that he wanted us to visit each other more often, I would have listened!

 

Jimin smiled. “Well, I’m glad you finally talked it through.” Jimin tilted his head in thought. “So, does this mean you’re planning on visiting more often?”

 

“Absolutely,” Taehyung confirmed without hesitation. “I’m actually coming up again in two weeks.”

 

“To see me instead of Yoongi, I hope?” Jimin asked with a smirk.

 

“Obviously,” Taehyung agreed instantaneously.

 

But both of them knew that Taehyung was lying through his teeth.

 

*

 

Hey.

 

Jungkook’s reply was nearly instantaneous. Hey.

 

Send me your address.

 

Jimin bit his lip to refrain from smiling as he waited for Jungkook’s response.

 

…why?

 

It’s a surprise – just tell me!

 

Jimin grinned as Jungkook’s address immediately popped up on the screen, along with the four digit combination to get inside his front door.

 

“Hyung,” Jimin suddenly began barking orders to his security team. “Let’s go. You and I have some errands to run.”

 

Seeing as it was – technically – his job, Yoongi followed Jimin obediently. Jimin wondered if he would have done the same if he wasn’t on duty. “You have errands?” he asked in a teasing voice. “Don’t you have staff to do that for you?”

 

“Not tonight,” Jimin insisted with a wave of his hand. He placed a hand on his back pocket, checking that his wallet was there, before continuing down the hallway of the Blue House. “I’m buying some groceries and I’m going to cook for Jungkook tonight.”

 

“Oh – you are?” Yoongi asked, perhaps sounding more surprised than he intended. “Do you even know how to cook?”

 

“Of course I know how,” Jimin spit back. “I mean – it’s not that tough, anyway. All you have to do is follow the directions.”

 

Yoongi – wisely – kept his smile to himself.

 

“And then I’m planning on staying at his place for the night,” Jimin continued as they stepped outside and walked towards the idling car. “So you’ll probably want to do your security… thing – ” Jimin waved his hand in the air, as if to imply that Yoongi knew what he meant “ – and sweep his house before I get there.”

 

Yoongi snorted at Jimin’s lackluster description of his job. “This is all very… domestic of you.”

 

Jimin grinned. “That’s what I’m going for,” he said. “I mean – we’re looking for a place together, right? And all we ever get to do is hide in my bedroom because we’re worried we’ll run into my parents or a member of the staff, and… well, don’t you think it would be nice to have just one night where it’s the two of us on our own?” Jimin asked. “Now’s the time, right? I mean – I know it makes things more difficult from the security standpoint if I’m not staying at the Blue house, especially since it stretches your team pretty thin, but I thought one night – ”

 

“I think it makes complete sense.” Yoongi halted their steps as he froze with his hand resting on the door of the black SUV, looking at Jimin with an earnest expression. “To be honest, I’m surprised you haven’t asked to do something like this before.”

 

Jimin looked over at his friend with a hopeful smile creeping up his lips, feeling reassured by his Yoongi’s words. “Really?”

 

“I’m sure we can find a way to give both of you the privacy you deserve,” Yoongi assured him with a confident smile. “Give my team an hour, and we’ll find a way to let you and Jungkook have the house to yourself without needing any of us inside.”

 

Jimin just barely managed to resist from throwing his arms around Yoongi in his excitement.

 

*

 

“Shit – shit – fuck!

 

Jimin waved a towel over his skillet, hoping to wave the smoke towards the exhaust fan above the stove and away from the fire alarm.

 

A simple stir fry was supposed to be easy. What the hell was he doing trying to fan smoke away from his burning dish?

 

“Jimin?”

 

Jimin groaned.

 

“No!” he shouted angrily from the kitchen. “You’re not supposed to be home, yet!”

 

Jungkook disregarded Jimin’s frantic calls to him and entered his kitchen anyway. He was still dressed in his work clothes – a black suit and tie – when he started to walk towards Jimin. “What are you, um…” Jungkook cocked his head to the side and frowned as he stared at the smoke coming off of the dish. He tried to choose his words carefully. “What are you cooking?”

 

“It was supposed to be chicken fried rice,” Jimin murmured in disappointment. “It wasn’t supposed to be very hard.”

 

“Yeah, ok,” Jungkook responded with a level tone. He calmly strode forward, wrapped one arm around Jimin’s waist, and used his free hand to turn off the burner. Jimin looked up at him with wide, saddened eyes while Jungkook merely smiled down at him and pressed a light kiss to his forehead. “Why don’t we make something else… together?”

 

Jimin couldn’t help but sulk. “I wanted to surprise you,” he mumbled petulantly.

 

“I know you did,” Jungkook quickly acknowledged his frustration. He leaned down again, this time to kiss his full, pouty lips before pulling away with a pleased smile. Jungkook picked up the spatula Jimin had been using and began moving the contents of his dish around in the pan. “Maybe there’s… something in here that’s salvageable.”

 

At this, Jimin snorted in amusement. “Don’t even bother,” he finally gave in to the inevitable. “Just go and grab some more chicken from the fridge. I bought three times as much as I needed in case something like this happened,” he confessed. “I just… hoped that I would already be on my second attempt before you got home.”

 

Jungkook turned towards his refrigerator, letting out a booming laugh. “We talked about dividing up the chords when we bought a house, remember?” he reminded Jimin as he opened the doors and poked his head inside to look for the chicken. “I thought you said you wanted to be in charge of the kitchen!”

 

“You asked me what I wanted to do,” Jimin countered as he dumped his burnt rice into the garbage can and tried to scrape the bottom of the pan clean with the spatula. “Not what I was good at.”

 

“Oh my God.” Jungkook laughed. “You’re a mess,” he told his boyfriend, “and I love you.”

 

When Jungkook returned from the fridge with fresh ingredients, Jimin reached out for Jungkook’s tie and tugged him close for a toe-curling kiss. He grinned up at him after he pulled away. “I love you, too.”

 

As Jungkook went about chopping vegetables on the cutting board, Jimin washed the burnt pan beneath the sink so it would be ready for attempt number two. “You never told me,” Jungkook reminded him. He nodded towards the food. “Why are you doing all of this?”

 

“This was supposed to be my way of showing you how great it will be when we live together and I could have dinner ready for you the moment you stepped through the door,” Jimin explained with a heavy sigh. “Clearly that didn’t work.”

 

“I don’t know,” Jungkook disagreed. He glanced over at Jimin from his place next to the sink. “I think it worked out just fine.” He smirked. “I would rather cook with you, anyway.”

 

“Oh, Kookie,” Jimin murmured with a flirtatious quirk of his eyebrows. “Flattery will get you everywhere.”

 

Jungkook grinned. “Is it working?”

 

“Absolutely,” Jimin enthused. He wiped the skillet down with a towel and put it back on the stove. “Keep it up.”

 

“Have I ever told you how sexy you look in an apron?” Jungkook continued without shame. His eyes traveled slowly down Jimin’s body before quietly flicking back up to meet his gaze. “Red suits you.”

 

Jimin tried to refrain from grinning at his boyfriend’s teasing remarks. “You know, I actually bought it at the store today – just for you,” Jimin informed him. “I know red is your favorite color.”

 

Jungkook threw back his head and laughed at their very odd dance of seduction in the kitchen. Jimin knew he must look like a mess with splatters of oil and a stray bit of rice stuck on his clothes, but it aroused him to no end to know that Jungkook loved him despite all of his flaws. He didn’t have to pretend to be the president’s son in front of him – he didn’t even have to pretend to be the best cook – he could just be himself, and Jungkook would love him no matter what.

 

And that meant the world to Jimin.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“Um…” Jimin stepped up to the front desk at the hospital. Unlike the last two times he’d been here, he was dressed quite a bit differently. Rather than wearing his usual suit and tie that he’d donned for his position as a paralegal, Jimin opted to try something slightly more casual and was dressed in a simple pair of black slacks with a blue, button-down dress shirt. With his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, Jimin leaned forward on the desk to peer down at the young woman sitting in the chair. He wasn’t all too surprised to notice the same, bubbly receptionist that he’d met on his first visit. “Hi.”

 

“Oh!” the girl bounced in the chair in her excitement. “It’s so nice to see you again!”

 

Jimin smiled nervously. “Yeah,” he weakly agreed. “I’m uh… I’m actually here to talk to someone about volunteering at the hospital…?”

 

The receptionist positively beamed.

 

“No way!” she exclaimed. She sprang out of her seat to walk around the counter and towards Jimin. “That’s fantastic! Oh, everyone will love the chance to have you on their staff!”

 

Jimin blinked at her words. “Well – I’m not sure I would be on their staff, per se, but… Thanks, I guess.”

 

“Follow me!” she demanded, turning on her heel to speed down the hallway.

 

Jimin glanced over his shoulder at Yoongi, silently communicating with a simple lift of his eyebrows just how overwhelming this receptionist truly was, before following behind her. “Actually, I’m just looking for a form or something?” Jimin had to pick up his pace to match hers. “Are there many papers I need to fill out, or…?”

 

“Right here!” The receptionist abruptly stopped, gesturing at the door on her left. “You want to talk to Dr. Pyo.” Jimin glanced at the placard attached to the wall by the door. There were a variety of job titles listed for the doctor with the final line stating Volunteer Training Coordinator. “She’s, like – the best,” the receptionist enthused. “I’m pretty sure she’s in there – you can just go right in.”

 

Jimin blinked at the whirlwind of information he’d just received before lightly rapping on the door as he had been instructed. The receptionist gave him an encouraging nod just before he heard a voice on the other side call back, “Come in.”

 

Yoongi, as per usual, was the first person to actually enter the room. As he entered and swiftly scanned the room for safety purposes, Jimin caught the quiet grumblings from the doctor within. When Yoongi exited, the receptionist was next to pop her head into the room. “Dr. Pyo!” she cheerily greeted her. “I have a volunteer applicant that I think you’ll want to meet!”

 

Jimin fought hard to hold back the flush of embarrassment as the receptionist quietly nudged him into the room. With two thumbs up and both eyebrows lifted in excitement, the receptionist closed the office door behind her, leaving Jimin alone with the middle aged woman sitting rigid in her chair behind a large, mahogany desk.

 

“Um.” Jimin cleared his throat nervously. “Good afternoon, doctor.”

 

The woman tilted her head at Jimin in confusion. “Park Jimin?” she verified, as if she was sure that she must not be seeing things correctly. She carefully pulled her reading glasses off, placed them on top of the desk, and studied Jimin with a scrutinizing gaze. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

 

Jimin stepped forward, just close enough to hover awkwardly in front of her desk and bow formally at the doctor. “I would like to apply to become a volunteer at the hospital,” he said.

 

“Volunteer?” Dr. Pyo reclined in her seat, settled both elbows on the arms of her chair, and interlocked her fingers together in front of her abdomen. “Did you bring your application?”

 

“Uh…” Instinctively, Jimin looked down at his hands as if to check and see whether or not it was actually there – even though he knew that it wasn’t. “No, ma’am – I mean Doctor – uh – no, I don’t have one. The receptionist – ”

 

“You don’t have one?” the woman repeated with a frown. She sighed, looking mildly annoyed.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin quickly apologized. “I thought – ”

 

“Look.” Dr. Pyo leaned forward, placing her folded hands on top of her desk as she straightened her spine into a tense, upright posture. “I’m going to be very honest with you, Jimin,” she spoke to him directly. “I understand that you are the president’s son, but – with all due respect – the medical field is anything but a game.”

 

Jimin felt his entire body freeze as their conversation immediately went south. “I don’t believe it’s a game.”

 

“Even in a volunteer setting, my job is to choose only the most serious candidates for the positions available,” she explained. “So, if you’re looking for the chance to create some positive PR, this isn’t the appropriate venue, I’m afraid. Perhaps I can put you into contact with the pediatrics department and help you schedule a visit to meet the children in their wing while a few members of the press follow you around?”

 

And all at once, the feeling of shame and disappointment that he’d felt when this doctor initially turned him down had vanished and was replaced with a fiery anger.

 

“I understand that you think that I came here with the intention of trying to develop a positive image for myself, but I’m not that person,” Jimin firmly defended himself. “I don’t want to do a publicity stunt or just take a few photos – I want to help people. And if that means I’m making beds and stocking shelves, then that’s what I want to do.”

 

Dr. Pyo silently lifted an eyebrow in surprise at Jimin’s argument, but said nothing.

 

“So, with all due respect,” Jimin parroted the doctor’s words right back to her, “I think you’ve misjudged my character quite unfairly, and I deserve the chance to apply for this position, just like any other serious candidate.”

 

The doctor studied Jimin for a moment. “You don’t have an application,” she pointed out. “Are you above the formal process?”

 

“No,” Jimin insisted as he tried to refrain from shouting at the woman. “I asked the receptionist for a form, but she just brought me in here to talk to you about it.”

 

Dr. Pyo inhaled slowly at this information before nodding. “I see,” she murmured. Her posture remained rigid as she thought for a long moment before finally speaking. “I still stand by what I said when I informed you that the medical field is not a game.” Jimin clenched his jaw angrily as the doctor continued. “I can’t afford to treat you any differently than the rest of my staff,” she said. “I have to make life and death decisions, so I refuse to coddle you simply because you are the son of an incredibly powerful man.”

 

Then, to his surprise – and the doctor’s – Jimin smiled at this news.

 

“I quit my job this week,” Jimin informed her, “because my employer tried to do just that and I couldn’t learn anything.” He nodded confidently at the woman. “I look forward to being treated as an equal, Dr. Pyo.”

 

Finally, the doctor gave Jimin a tiny smile.

 

“You will work on my service in the emergency room,” Dr. Pyo said. “It won’t be easy and I won’t give you any preferential treatment – but I will also teach you everything you want to know.”

 

Jimin exhaled in relief before nodding happily. “Thank you for the opportunity, doctor.”

 

“You can start on Monday,” she said. Then, placing her glasses back onto the bridge of her nose, the doctor looked over the rims at Jimin. “But only if you turn in an application first.”

 

*

 

“You said that?”

 

Jungkook was lounging on Jimin’s bed while his boyfriend rapidly changed out of his dress clothes and into something more relaxed. “I really did!” Jimin called back from within his closet with a soft giggle. As he reemerged in a plain, white t-shirt and a pair of flannel pajama pants, he grinned at Jungkook. “I told her off for misjudging me, and then she just turned around and gave me a volunteer position – on her service!”

 

Jungkook chuckled. Tiny laugh lines formed around the corners of his eyes as he watched Jimin step into his bathroom to grab his toothbrush. “You’re something else, aren’t you?”

 

Jimin squeezed out a line of toothpaste onto his toothbrush and shrugged. “Apparently I have a lovable charm about me,” he replied with a sarcastic wink at his boyfriend and his toothbrush hanging out of his mouth.

 

Jungkook stood and walked across the room to join Jimin in the bathroom when he began brushing his teeth. He put both hands on Jimin’s waist from behind, snaking them around his middle until he was giving Jimin a back hug and smiling at him in the mirror. “Lovable charm, indeed,” he commented. Then, with a teasing smirk, Jungkook pointed at the corner of his lips. “You’ve got just a little bit of toothpaste drool on the side of your mouth, just there…”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes, spitting out the toothpaste into the sink, wiping his mouth, and returning the toothbrush to its holder. “Shut up.”

 

Jungkook laughed. “It’s part of your lovable charm,” he insisted. Slowly, his body began to rock from side to side, gently swaying Jimin back and forth in a soothing manner. Jimin placed both hands over the top of Jungkook’s and reclined against his solid chest, enjoying the strangely domestic moment between the two of them.

 

Jimin studied their image in the mirror hanging above the bathroom sink with a smile. He carefully lifted one of his hands up to caress the side of Jungkook’s face, watching Jungkook’s reflection as the agent closed his eyes and leaned into his warm touch. “Are you staying here tonight?” he asked quietly – hopefully.

 

Jungkook groaned. He buried his nose into Jimin’s neck, tightening his hold on Jimin’s waist. “I wish,” he grumbled. Jungkook propped his chin up onto Jimin’s shoulder, meeting his gaze in the mirror. “The realtor is coming to my house first thing in the morning,” he explained. “I need to make it look somewhat presentable before she gets there if I want to have any chance of selling it.” He tipped his head down to place a light kiss to the base of Jimin’s throat. “We kind-of made a mess of it last night.”

 

Jimin snorted. “It’s not my fault you couldn’t wait until we got into the bedroom.”

 

“It absolutely is,” Jungkook countered. He turned his head to the side, meeting Jimin’s eyes just a few inches away from his. “You’re the one that seduced me.”

 

“I did not!

 

“Oh – so it wasn’t at all intentional that you just happened to leave the dessert on the lowest shelf in the fridge, just so you could bend over to remove it?”

 

“Of course not,” Jimin murmured innocently. “There wasn’t enough refrigerator space, Jungkook.”

 

Jungkook laughed. “Whatever,” he replied, swooping in to capture Jimin’s lips in a quick kiss. “You know what you did.”

 

Jimin smirked as Jungkook released his hips and left the bathroom. “I know what I did,” Jimin agreed. “And it worked, didn’t it?”

 

Jungkook couldn’t shake off his grin as he picked up his phone off of the corner of Jimin’s bedside table. “You’re far too conniving for your own good.”

 

Jimin shrugged, not minding the comment one bit.

 

“Oh – don’t forget, we have plans this weekend,” Jimin reminded his boyfriend. He climbed onto his bed and sat cross-legged while Jungkook gathered up his belongings to leave. “I’m meeting my old co-worker – Daeun – for lunch and you have to come with.”

 

“Right – didn’t you say she was bringing her son?” Jungkook asked. But before Jimin even had time to give him an answer, he continued hastily. “We should eat at one of those restaurants in the mall,” he suggested. “I can take the morning off, but the two of you should take her son to that kids play place that they have and hang out when I go back to work.”

 

Jimin was impressed by Jungkook’s thoughtfulness. “That sounds like a really good idea,” he said with a fond smile. Jungkook bent down to Jimin’s level, placing both hands on the mattress on either side of him, and gave him one last kiss goodbye, but Jimin couldn’t refrain from smiling into their kiss. As he pulled away and stepped towards the door, Jimin grinned at him. “You’re the best.”

 

“Obviously,” Jungkook replied with a smirk. He winked at Jimin. “Love you.”

 

Despite the cheesiness of the moment – despite the amount of time they’d been dating – Jimin still blushed. “I love you, too.”

 

Jungkook left his room, quietly closing the door behind him with a soft click.

 

Jimin grabbed the remote control off of his nightstand, turning on the television set across the room so he had a bit of background noise in his bedroom. It was somewhat unsettling, being alone when he rarely had the opportunity. If it wasn’t Jungkook and Taehyung spending their time with Jimin, then he was constantly surrounded by his bodyguards. On the off chance that Jimin was actually alone for an extended period of time, he couldn’t help but reach for the television or stereo, simply to fill the room with sound before he started to grow uneasy in the uncomfortable silence.

 

But when Jimin reached for his cell phone to distract himself, he groaned.

 

“Dammit.”

 

Jimin rolled out of bed, hurrying to his bedroom door, and threw it open. He was met with Yoongi’s back, blocking the doorway. “Is Jungkook still here?”

 

“He already left,” Yoongi replied, glancing around at Jimin in surprise. “Why?”

 

Jimin sighed, holding up the phone. “He took my phone on accident,” Jimin grumbled. He rolled his eyes and scuffed his feet along the carpet on his way back into his room. “I knew we should have never bought those couple phone cases.”

 

Yoongi snorted, following him into his room. “What sort of an idiot buys identical couple phone cases?” he teased.

 

Jimin ignored his bodyguard. He quickly typed in the combination to unlock Jungkook’s phone – he had already memorized it long ago after making this same mistakes three times before – and opened up the messaging app to send a text to his own phone. You stole my phone, dumbass.

 

He just hoped that Jungkook saw his message sometime before the morning so Jimin could have his phone back before either of their days started.

 

“It wasn’t a bad idea,” Jimin finally replied. “They’re adorable phone cases and I love them,” he insisted, showing off the colorful case in his hand. “See?”

 

Yoongi arched an eyebrow. “So, you’re the idiot that bought them?”

 

“Ok – I resent that,” Jimin fired back. “There’s no reason why – ”

 

Jimin cut himself off as the phone in his hand let out a quiet jingle of sound. For a moment, he thought that Jungkook had responded to his message already – an exceptional feat, considering Jimin was fairly certain that his phone was still on silent ever since his interview at the hospital and was not likely to make noise when it received any messages. Instead, Jimin realized that the phone was suddenly powering down.

 

“Ugh.” Jimin rolled his eyes in annoyance. “He needs to get a new phone, already. This one has seen better days.” He pointed abruptly at Yoongi. “I bet you would like that, wouldn’t you? You would love it if Jungkook had to buy a new phone so he couldn’t use the couple phone case I bought for him.”

 

Yoongi frowned at the phone. “I didn’t realize it was that old.”

 

“It’s awful,” Jimin insisted as he began ticking off a list on his fingers. “The battery runs down insanely fast. It always makes these random noises, even when he puts it on silent. And – obviously – his phone just shuts down without a reason.” Jimin shook his head in disappointment and tried to power the phone back on again. “He has the money to buy a new one, but now all he talks about is saving up for a down payment on our new place.” Jimin shrugged. “I still have some savings. Maybe I’ll just buy him a new phone myself.”

 

Jimin looked over at Yoongi, half expecting him to make a witty retort about Jungkook’s ancient phone, but was surprised to see that his gaze was focused solely on the device that Jimin had placed face down on his nightstand.

 

Yoongi swallowed.

 

“Let me see his phone.”

 

Jimin frowned at Yoongi in confusion. “Why?” he asked. “I mean – this isn’t something you can fix. You know that, right?”

 

But Yoongi had zero tolerance for Jimin’s reluctance.

 

Give it to me.”

 

Jimin had only one second to process the directive in Yoongi’s voice before timidly surrendering the device to Yoongi.

 

“It’s just old,” Jimin murmured as he watched Yoongi tap rapidly on the screen in order to move from one window to the next. “Seriously, he just needs – ”

 

Jimin stopped talking when Yoongi froze with his thumb hovering over the screen.

 

His face had gone pale.

 

“What – what is it?” Jimin asked tentatively. He stepped towards Yoongi’s side to look over his shoulder at the screen and was surprised to see a series of letters and numbers scrambled across the device. He’d never seen Jungkook use any sort of program that was supposed to show a screen quite like that before. “Hyung?”

 

Yoongi turned and bolted from the room.

 

Jimin wasn’t far behind.

 

“Hyung!” Jimin shouted, chasing his bodyguard down the hallway outside of his bedroom. Yoongi stopped at the nearest agent, talking in a hushed tone when Jimin arrived. “What is it – what’s going on?”

 

Simultaneously, the other agents in the hallway began to move in tandem as the man Yoongi had been talking to started to speak into his earpiece to the rest of the team. Jimin also noticed that the man Yoongi had spoken to was now walking away with Jungkook’s phone in his hand, eyeing the screen warily.

 

“I swear,” Jimin began in a panicked voice as he watched the commotion around him, “if you don’t tell me what’s going on right now, then I’ll – ”

 

Yoongi spun around and gripped Jimin’s shoulders.

 

“Jungkook’s phone has been bugged.”

 

Jimin stared at his bodyguard. “You mean, like… a virus?”

 

“I mean someone hacked into his phone and is able to see everything he has saved on there.”

 

Slowly, Jimin began shaking his head. “That’s… not possible.” His hands started to quiver nervously. “Why would someone try to…?”

 

“You told me that he phone has been turning off at random hours, running low on battery, and making unusual noises – all of those signs point to a phone that’s been bugged,” Yoongi said in a hurried explanation. “Now – we need to get you back into your room, Jimin, and I have to keep you safe while we – ”

 

“What? No!” Jimin twisted his arm away from Yoongi’s hand as he tried to reach out and usher Jimin back to his room. Jimin slowly backed away from his bodyguard. “If Jungkook could be in danger, then I’m going to help you find him.”

 

Jimin stormed off in the opposite direction and hurried back down the hallway, allowing Yoongi to follow behind him at a small distance. “You can’t leave,” Yoongi told him in an impatient tone. “It’s dangerous for you, too, Jimin. We’ve sent a few men to his house to retrieve him, but I can’t allow you to – ”

 

“I don’t care,” Jimin stubbornly argued. He was still dressed in his flannel pajama pants and white t-shirt, but didn’t care much about leaving the house in his pajamas. He did, however, manage to stop briefly at his room to slip on a pair of shoes before continuing down the hallway and heading straight towards the staircase. “You don’t have to come with me, but I’m going to find him one way or another.”

 

Jimin.”

 

Jimin ignored the frustrated voice following him as he threw open the doors to the chilly night and hurried past various other agents that were stationed outside. For a brief moment, Yoongi’s hand managed to reach out to touch his shoulder, but Jimin was quick to shake him off. “Stop it,” Jimin insisted. He increased his pace, gradually shifting into a light jog as he headed towards the black SUV at the end of the path.

 

Jimin!” Yoongi was running now, close behind Jimin. “You can’t go – it’s not safe!”

 

“Yes, I am!” Jimin shouted back. He extended a hand as he reached the car door. However, that single moment that he’d been forced to slow his speed in order to climb inside the vehicle was all Yoongi needed to catch up and drag him away from the car, kicking and screaming. “Let me go!

 

Yoongi clung to Jimin’s wrist, pulling him back despite Jimin’s shouts of anger. He continued to writhe in his grip, nearly managing to slip free on two separate occasions, before Yoongi finally wrapped both of his arms around Jimin’s waist and lifted his body off of the ground so he lost the ability to use his feet.

 

“Put me down – put me down!” Jimin shrieked. He pounded his fists against the arms Yoongi had wrapped around his middle. “You can’t keep me here!”

 

“Get him inside,” another agent spoke up, coming to Yoongi’s aid as he struggled to hold Jimin back.

 

“I need to see Jungkook!” Jimin shouted over all of their voices. When another agent on duty stepped forward to assist Yoongi, Jimin began kicking his legs out unapologetically to keep the man at a distance. He twisted this way and that, trying to break free, but it did nothing but allow the panic to steadily rise in his chest as, one-by-one, his arms and legs became restrained by the other agents until he was virtually immobile. “Don’t – don’t – let go of me!” he cried out, angry tears bubbling to the surface. “I can’t – I can’t – ”

 

Jimin gasped for air as a sudden tightness gripped his heart, making it nearly impossible to breathe. All at once, he felt nauseous at the realization that he couldn’t break free from their grasp on him. Jungkook was out there without a security detail of his own and someone had bugged his phone. Jimin had to get to him – he had to save him – he had no choice.

 

And Yoongi wouldn’t let him.

 

“Stop,” Yoongi’s voice quietly commanded the other agents from behind Jimin. “He’s having a panic attack. Let him go. Give him some space.”

 

All at once, several pairs of hands released him and Jimin felt his feet touch the ground again, but he was incapable of remaining upright any longer. He fell to his knees, hands digging into the grass on the front lawn as he tried to close his eyes and fight off the dizzy feeling in his head.

 

“Deep breaths,” Yoongi commanded. He knelt beside Jimin, rubbing his back in small circles as he wheezed frantically. “Come on – slowly, now. In – and out,” he murmured encouragingly. “In – good – and out.”

 

The panic was still incredibly present in Jimin’s mind as he thought about the danger Jungkook might be in. He looked up at the vehicle – just one meter away from him – but feeling as if it were so much further than that. He had no way to get to Jungkook – not without managing to escape from his security, which Jimin recognized was a mission he was doomed to fail even when he’d already tried to do just that.

 

Just when Jimin felt like he was managing to get his breathing back under control, a second agent ran up to them with a cell phone held to his ear. “Sir,” he spoke in an urgent tone to Yoongi. “Our agents are at Jeon’s home,” the man informed him. “It’s…”

 

The man’s voice trailed off, noticing Jimin’s distressed appearance as he balanced on all fours on the ground while frantically trying to inhale in the midst of his panic attack.

 

Perhaps the man knew that his next sentence was about to make Jimin’s emotional state even worse than it already was.

 

Jimin pushed through his anxiety to choke out his words between gasps for air.

 

“What?” he ground out, eyes slowly looking up into the young agent’s fearful expression. Jimin used all of the strength he had left in his body to sit back on his knees. “Say it.”

 

The man swallowed. His gaze flickered back to Yoongi.

 

“There was some sort of an explosion at his house,” he calmly reported. “The… entire building is on fire.”

 

Jimin stared wordlessly at the man.

 

“Breathe in,” Yoongi immediately jumped back into his earlier ministrations to keep Jimin calm. “Breathe out. Come on, Jimin, stay with me.”

 

Jimin remained focused on the agent with the phone in his hand. “Was Jungkook inside?” Jimin asked, desperate to hear more news. “Where is he?”

 

“They’re still looking for him now,” the man reported.

 

Yoongi jumped in to help Jimin with his interrogation while Jimin – unsuccessfully – tried to regulate his breathing. “You don’t know where he is?”

 

The man looked to Yoongi and back, eyes apologetic. “We’re… still looking.”

 

Yoongi’s eyes flashed in anger at the unhelpful answer. “Then get the fuck back out there and find him.”

 

Jimin felt sick.

 

“He’s – he’s – ”

 

“He’s fine,” Yoongi tried to remain optimistic as the agent lifted the phone to his ear and quickly hurried away. “He’ll be just fine.”

 

Jimin’s panic returned full throttle as his brain flitted through the incredible number of terrifying scenarios. Each one that played through his mind was infinitely worse than the one before. Jungkook was trapped inside a burning building – Jungkook was stuck beneath a collapsed wooden beam – Jungkook was dead

 

Somehow in the midst of his panic, tears began to stream down his cheeks as he let out choked sobs.

 

“I hate you,” he whimpered when Yoongi tried to hug Jimin’s shoulders. “I hate you. I hate you.”

 

“I know,” Yoongi quietly agreed with him. Jimin wondered if a small part of Yoongi hated the fact that his job had required him to physically restrain Jimin at his own home and was unable to let him go after Jungkook and put him into harm’s way. Surely, nothing would have stopped Yoongi from getting to Taehyung – but he couldn’t allow Jimin to find Jungkook. “I’m so sorry, Jimin. I’m so – sosorry.”

 

Jimin let his body sink to the cold ground, folding in on himself. He didn’t have the strength to remain vertical any longer as he slowly felt himself losing the willpower to push through the pain. He pulled his legs tight to his chest and covered his face with both arms, sobbing uncontrollably while Yoongi tried to continually murmur reassurances into his ear. He couldn’t –

 

“Yoongi? What are you – oh my God, Jimin?

 

The familiar voice brought a surge of renewed life back to Jimin’s body that hadn’t been present seconds before. Jimin looked up from the curled ball he’d fallen into on the lawn, watching in wonder as Jungkook – beautiful, alive Jungkook – jogged towards him with a worried expression.

 

“Jungkook,” he breathed, tears now spilling in relief at the beautiful vision before him. His hands stretched out to his boyfriend, desperate to feel his touch. “You’re alive.”

 

“I’m – wait – what?

 

Yoongi began talking rapidly as Jungkook fell to his knees at Jimin’s side, lightly stroking the tears from his cheeks. “You left your phone here.”

 

“I know,” Jungkook said, holding up Jimin’s phone. “I realized I had it on my way home, so I turned around to bring it back.”

 

“No – I mean – ” Yoongi shook his head, trying to straighten out his thoughts. “Jimin said that your phone was acting strange, so I checked it – Jungkook, you were bugged.”

 

Jungkook frowned at Yoongi. “What?” With a great deal of help from Jungkook, Jimin managed to lift himself off of the ground and fell into Jungkook’s arms once he had righted himself. “I – I’m sorry – what happened to Jimin?”

 

Jimin answered in place of Yoongi. “I thought you were dead!” he wailed, sobbing into Jungkook’s shoulder. He felt no shame as he straddled Jungkook’s lap in front of his security team and clung desperately to his body. “I thought – I thought I would never see you again!”

 

“I’m here,” Jungkook softly reassured Jimin, even though he was still looking to Yoongi with confusion in his eyes. “I’m – I’m alive. It’s ok, Jimin.”

 

“We sent a team to your home,” Yoongi filled in the missing pieces. “Someone planted an explosive – Jungkook, they blew up your house.”

 

Jungkook had little time to process the fact that every single item he owned was now up in flames as his hand moved numbly through Jimin’s hair, lightly stroking the silky strands in a comforting gesture. “I – but – why?” he asked his friend. He tightened his grip on Jimin, suddenly feeling the need for reassurance himself. “I don’t understand.”

 

“Think about it,” Yoongi murmured. “The bomb at the park – the restaurant – your house – what do they all have in common?”

 

Jimin felt his own heart skip a beat as he and Jungkook realized simultaneously what Yoongi was telling them.

 

“The bomber isn’t after Jimin or his mother,” Yoongi gently prodded him towards the right answer.

 

But Jungkook didn’t need any more hints.

 

“Their target… is me.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jungkook continued to reassure Jimin with his presence, even after he and Yoongi managed to get him back into his room. They had tried to put Jimin in bed in the hopes of letting him recuperate from the mental trauma he’d just suffered, but Jimin refused to leave Jungkook’s side. No matter where Jungkook was or who he was talking to, Jimin remained obediently at his side with an arm wrapped around his waist.

 

Jimin knew that he looked as if he had pulled himself together on the surface. His panic attack had faded and he had stopped crying shortly after Jungkook’s return, but he knew that he was anything but calm on the inside.

 

The constant come and go of the agents around them was a blur. Jimin vaguely remembered Yoongi recounting his version of events – discovering Jungkook’s phone with spyware running in the background – and at least half a dozen others asking Jungkook for information that neither one of them had.

 

Are you aware of any enemies that you might have?

 

What other sensitive information was stored on your cell phone?

 

Did you notice anyone or anything suspicious near your home twenty-four hours prior to the explosion?

 

For each and every visit, the agents asked to question Jungkook in private.

 

Jimin wasn’t sure whose benefit it was for, but Jungkook refused to let Jimin leave his side.

 

A full hour later, Jimin’s mother was finally able to make her way into his room after the secret service had finished their brief interrogation with Jungkook. She very nearly knocked Yoongi over in her mad dash to rush across Jimin’s room.

 

Jungkook and Jimin were facing one another with their arms around the other’s waist and their foreheads touching. His mother, however, had no qualms about running towards the pair, even in the midst of the intimate moment they were sharing. “Oh – my boy,” she exhaled in relief just before embracing Jungkook in a tight hug. Just as he had with all of the agents before, Jimin refused to move from Jungkook’s side and, as a result, was pulled into her hug. “Are you alright?” she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder. Her eyes scanned his face, looking for any sign of a physical injury. “You’re not hurt, are you?”

 

“No, ma’am,” Jungkook assured her with a shake of his head. “I was nowhere near the, um… the explosion.”

 

Jungkook tightened his grip on Jimin’s waist when his breathing hitched at the word.

 

“I’m so sorry,” she attempted to apologize for the things that weren’t even her fault in the first place. “What can we do to help?” she asked earnestly. “My husband and I want to do everything we can to help get you back on your feet.”

 

“I appreciate the gesture,” Jungkook assured her with a half-smile. “But… to be honest, I think I just… need to sleep, right now.” He let out a heavy sigh. “I can figure out the rest in the morning.”

 

“Of course,” she instantly agreed with him. “We have plenty of rooms here. You’re welcome to stay with us as long as you need.”

 

“He’s staying with me,” Jimin finally spoke up after an hour of near silence. His eyes shot up to look at his mother, as if challenging her to contradict him. “He’s staying in my room.”

 

Jimin would be damned if he let Jungkook out of his sight anytime soon.

 

But his mother, it seemed, didn’t need to be convinced. “Of course, dear,” she murmured, reaching out to stroke her son’s cheek as she took in his red, puffy eyes. “I love both of you,” she told both boys with a kind smile. “Now – get some rest. We can make a plan tomorrow.”

 

Jungkook nodded obediently. “Yes ma’am. Goodnight.”

 

She quietly left the room, giving both boys a small wave on her way out. Yoongi silently followed in her footsteps and gently closed the door behind him without so much as goodnight.

 

Jimin paid them no mind. He was focused solely on the man beside him, noticing a visible change in Jungkook’s shoulders as they sagged in relief once they finally had the room to themselves. Sighing, Jungkook slowly relaxed his grip on Jimin’s waist and reached out to find his hand, tugging him along behind him as he wearily made his way to the bed.

 

“Come here,” Jungkook softly requested. He perched on the edge and lightly pulled Jimin forward until he was standing between his legs and Jungkook had extended his arms around his thighs and pressed his nose into Jimin’s abdomen. There was an odd height difference between them in this position, but it didn’t stop Jimin from burying his face into the top of Jungkook’s head and quietly inhaling the familiar scent in an effort to memorize it.

 

He never wanted to forget this feeling.

 

Jungkook pressed a kiss through Jimin’s night shirt over his bellybutton. “I love you, Jimin.”

 

Jimin tilted his head to the side so his voice could be heard instead of muffled against Jungkook’s head. “I love you, too.”

 

Jungkook’s hands lightly explored Jimin’s back, moving in a calming, circular motion. “It’s been a long day,” he said. “We should go to bed.”

 

Jimin slowly lifted his head and took a tiny step backwards. Jungkook was still dressed in his work uniform – a suit and tie – as he’d been unable to actually make it back home to change out of his clothes. But instead of allowing Jungkook to do so himself, Jimin opted to remain close and took the liberty of helping him strip down to his boxers.

 

He put both hands beneath his suit jacket and pushed the fabric over his shoulders, allowing gravity to do the rest of the work as it fell to the bed behind him. His fingers had just started to work on the row of buttons down his chest when Jungkook broke the silence with an odd sort of laugh.

 

“Maybe we should look on the bright side,” Jungkook attempted to make light of the situation while his fingers traced the sliver of bare skin just above the waist band of Jimin’s flannel pants. He smiled up at Jimin. “At least I don’t have to sell my house anymore.”

 

Jimin froze on the third button, staring down at Jungkook in horror. “How can you even say a thing like that?”

 

“Jimin – come on.” Jungkook exhaled slowly. “We have to find some sort of good in this situation.”

 

“No,” Jimin firmly told him, anger lacing his tone. “We don’t.”

 

Jimin quietly continued to unbutton his dress shirt in a stubborn silence.

 

“Ok – ok, you’re right,” Jungkook conceded immediately. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have tried to make a joke out of this.”

 

But instead of accepting his apology, Jimin felt his lower lip wobble as he finished his work on the last button. “You almost died,” Jimin firmly reminded him. Jungkook released Jimin’s hips and shrugged his shoulders, helping Jimin remove his shirt. “That’s nothing to joke about.”

 

“I was nowhere near my house when that bomb went off,” Jungkook said in the hopes of reassuring Jimin. The moment his hands were free from the cuffs of his dress shirt, he returned them to Jimin’s body. “I didn’t even know that it happened until someone told me.”

 

“That’s not the point,” Jimin softly argued. “I thought you were dead, Jungkook. I heard that your house was on fire, and for an entire fucking minute, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how I was supposed to live without you. Don’t you get that?”

 

“I get it – I get it – I do,” Jungkook quickly agreed when Jimin’s temper escalated. “I’m sorry,” he apologized again. “I was just… trying to make you smile.”

 

Jimin’s lower lip quivered again.

 

He looked down at Jungkook’s half-dressed appearance. He placed his hands on his bare chest and tried to regain control of his emotions before looking back up into his face.

 

“Yoongi wouldn’t let me leave,” Jimin told him with tears pooling in his eyes. “I told him I had to find you, but he held me back.”

 

“That’s good,” Jungkook said. “That’s what he was supposed to do.”

 

“I hit him when he dragged me away from the car,” Jimin confessed. “And I kicked another agent, too.”

 

Jungkook smiled fondly at the tenacity of his boyfriend. “Jimin, they were trying to do their jobs.”

 

“I know,” Jimin said. He sniffed before delivering his final confession to Jungkook. “When I heard that there was a bomb that had been detonated at your house, I told Yoongi that I hated him.”

 

Jimin looked back down at Jungkook’s chest in an attempt to avoid the disappointed gaze in his boyfriend’s eyes. “Jimin.”

 

“I know,” Jimin quickly responded. “I know he was doing his job. I know he wanted to let me go, but… I was just so – so – ”

 

Jimin didn’t have to finish his sentence. Jungkook already knew.

 

He sighed and tightened his hands around Jimin’s waist, silently drawing his attention back to him. Reluctantly, Jimin obliged. “I’m sure Yoongi will understand,” Jungkook murmured. “For now – let’s just go to bed.”

 

Jimin knew that they needed sleep. He knew that they needed to have some time to relax and take stock of just what the past twenty-four hours had brought into their lives. They needed the security of lying next to one another throughout the night without the fear that the other was not safe in their arms.

 

But Jimin needed a different kind of comfort – and he suspected that Jungkook did, too.

 

Without a word uttered between them, Jimin placed one knee onto the mattress and swung the other around until he was straddling Jungkook’s lap confidently. Slowly, he ran one hand up his chest and circled his neck, while the other thread slowly through Jungkook’s dark locks of hair, lightly gripping them between his fingers.

 

Jimin pressed his lips to Jungkook’s in a slow, sensual kiss. As if in slow motion, Jimin tenderly slid their lips together while Jungkook took the opportunity to slot one of Jimin’s lips between his, lightly sucking on his plump, lower lip. When Jimin paused to gasp for air, Jungkook pressed on, managing to slip his tongue forward to meet Jimin’s in the middle. His grip tightened on Jungkook’s hair, making Jungkook’s hands strengthen their hold on Jimin’s waist and tug his hips even closer than they already were.

 

“I love you,” Jimin whispered as he looked down at Jungkook’s disheveled appearance. He placed another firm kiss on Jungkook’s lips before letting his hands drop back to Jungkook’s shoulders. “I need you,” he begged for permission without actually saying the words aloud. “I need to feel you. Please.”

 

If Jimin had been worried that he would have to convince Jungkook of his plans, he was sorely mistaken. Jungkook appeared to need Jimin’s touch just as much as Jimin needed his.

 

Without a moment’s delay, Jungkook gripped Jimin’s thighs beneath his strong hands and carefully twisted both of them around until Jimin was the one with his back flat on the bed and his legs tight around Jungkook’s waist. Even with the abrupt movement, Jimin didn’t dare release his hold on Jungkook. If it wasn’t his lips firmly attached to Jungkook’s mouth, it was his hands frantically undoing his belt and shoving his dress pants down his legs. Jungkook had done the same, sucking a dark bruise into the hollow of Jimin’s throat just after removing his t-shirt and throwing it onto the floor behind them.

 

Jimin unwound his legs to allow Jungkook to remove his flannel pants in one fluid motion and toss them aside. Immediately, Jungkook situated himself between his legs, listening to Jimin groan in the back of his throat at the comfortable weight he had just put on his chest. Then, with swift preparation, Jungkook carefully pushed inside of Jimin until he’d bottomed out with his hips flush against Jimin’s.

 

And then, every movement was agonizingly slow.

 

With a soft, lingering kiss, Jungkook pulled his hips back before gradually gliding them forward. Jimin gasped into his mouth at the filling sensation of their naked bodies working in tandem with one another. No matter how many times Jimin had experienced this deeper level of connection with Jungkook, it never once became dull. Every touch they shared was just as new and exciting as the first time, making Jimin’s entire body shiver with delight.

 

The ticklish sensation of Jimin’s nails scraping down Jungkook’s back made him shudder in response while the light nip of Jungkook’s teeth along Jimin’s shoulder made him throw his head back as he gasped at the sensation. “I love you,” Jimin suddenly breathed out between Jungkook’s light thrusts. He abruptly lifted his hands up to cup Jungkook’s face, demanding that they make eye contact for his next words. “Do you hear me, Jeon Jungkook? I love you. And I don’t want you to ever scare me like that again.”

 

His words did something to Jungkook that made him pick up his pace. Jimin groaned at his surprisingly strong thrust while Jungkook’s fingers slid down his body and gripped Jimin’s thigh, lifting it even higher. Jimin’s hands abruptly returned to his back in an effort to hold onto something that would keep him grounded. “I won’t,” Jungkook panted, sealing his promise with a short kiss. “I won’t – I’ll never let you go, Park Jimin. You’re mine.”

 

Jimin’s heart thumped erratically at the possessive statement. “I’m yours,” he responded without thought. “Everything – all of me – I’m yours.”

 

Fuck,” Jungkook swore. He lifted himself until he was on his knees, readjusting Jimin lower body to get a better angle before diving straight back in for more. His lips suctioned themselves to Jimin’s, only stopping their kiss to breathlessly tell him, “I love you – so much.”

 

Jungkook,” Jimin whimpered. His hands froze in the midst of their exploration of Jungkook’s back. His nails left behind half-moon indentations in his skin as his mouth fell open at the warm sensation building in the pit of his stomach. Jungkook’s mouth licked and nibbled across his throat, maintaining his speed and precision even as he left another array of love bites across Jimin’s body.

 

“Come for me,” Jungkook begged in Jimin’s ear as his hand went to Jimin’s length, rapidly stroking him up and down. “Jimin – please.”

 

Jimin’s body seized up, back arching off of the bed as he keened. The room was filled with the high-pitched sounds of Jimin riding out his high, uncaring of who might overhear them in the hallway outside of his room. In the midst of it all, he felt Jungkook thrust one – two – three more times into him before feeling a warm sensation filling his body and a low groan in his ear. The deep, resonating sound was enough to make Jimin shudder through the remainder of his release.

 

Jungkook panted heavily as his body collapsed on top of Jimin, but Jimin didn’t mind one bit. He enjoyed the weight. To Jimin, it was a pleasant reminder of Jungkook’s presence. The sensation of holding Jungkook – their bodies touching from head to toe – felt like a safety blanket wrapped tightly around him. It made him feel, for just a moment, like they had truly joined into one.

 

His arms and legs felt boneless as the adrenaline left his body. Even still, he managed to lift a limp hand to the back of Jungkook’s head to stroke his hair affectionately. Jungkook returned the loving gesture and buried his nose in Jimin’s throat.

 

But at that moment, Jimin felt a solitary tear drop onto his shoulder.

 

Throughout this entire ordeal, Jungkook had been the one to reassure Jimin that everything would be alright. He’d been the backbone of their relationship that kept Jimin sane in light of the frightening situation they had been thrust into. Jungkook kept his own fears at bay – had made a sacrifice – all in the name of helping Jimin through this nightmare.

 

But not once had Jungkook ever asked for help from Jimin.

 

Right now, even with his own fears still hovering near the surface, Jimin knew that it was time for him to make that sacrifice for Jungkook. He could be the one to hold Jungkook’s hand and help him get through this. He could put his own emotions on the back burner to take care of Jungkook’s needs.

 

Because even the man doing all of the protecting needed someone to protect him once in a while.

 

“I know,” Jimin whispered as he felt Jungkook’s body shake as he attempted – and failed – to stifle a sob. He wrapped both of his arms around Jungkook’s shoulders, pressing light kisses to the top of his head. “I know. It’s ok. I’m right here, Kookie. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

They really were a mess. Both of them were coated in sweat and lying naked in one another’s embrace with Jungkook clinging desperately to Jimin. His hands slipped beneath his back until his fingertips gripped his shoulders to keep Jimin close as he finally let his walls down and cried into his bare skin.

 

But somehow, despite everything, Jimin thought that this moment felt just right.

 

*

 

Jimin stared at the pile of rubble before him.

 

He heard Jungkook let out a shaky sigh to his left.

 

“I don’t know why,” Jungkook murmured, “but for some reason, I just assumed that there would be more of my house standing than this.”

 

Jimin shuffled closer to Jungkook. He ran a hand up and down his arm before sliding it over to rub his back in a soothing motion. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Jungkook’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry.”

 

Jimin’s security team appeared to be doubly vigilant, following their movements and scanning their surroundings closely. Jimin was sure that many of his agents had been initially relieved to learn that Jimin wasn’t meant to be the victim of an attack. It meant that Jimin’s life as well as the lives of all of the agents surrounding him would be that much safer. But hearing about Jungkook being the actual target must have hurt their team twice as much. Now, not only was their comrade and brother-in-arms the one with the painted target on his back, but he also spent all of his time around Jimin – and they knew there was little that they could do to keep them apart.

 

Now, they stood outside in the cold light of day and surveyed the charred remains that the fire had caused the night before. While the explosion had completed devastated the foundational structure of his home, the fire had destroyed anything that had been left standing in its wake. There was nothing but stray, unidentifiable objects covered in soot scattered within the perimeter of Jungkook’s yard. As they stepped forward, there was the sound of the occasional crunch of broken glass beneath their feet that broke the silence. Without it, Jimin was sure that it could have been so quiet that he would have heard his own pulse thudding in his ears.

 

Hesitantly, Jungkook stepped onto the concrete steps in front of his home. It was one of the few things that hadn’t been touched by the fire, save for the black, charred marks left behind on the top step. Jimin stood behind him on the lower step, staring up at him with a heavy heart.

 

“It took everything,” Jungkook spoke aloud. He sounded incredulous by the fact, as if he hadn’t actually believed it to be true. He shook his head in disbelief. “Everything.”

 

“You’re alive,” Jimin quietly reminded him. “And I’m alive. Remember that.”

 

From behind, Jimin could only see Jungkook nodding his head. It wasn’t until he heard a soft sniff and watched Jungkook lift his hand to quickly swipe his thumb across his cheek that he realized he had started crying.

 

“Yeah, I know,” Jungkook responded after a moment. He loudly cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “I just – there were things that…” Jungkook turned around to look for the fire marshal that lingered behind them while they inspected the damage for themselves. He raised his voice to call to the man. “Can I go inside?”

 

“Watch your step,” the marshal informed him. “There will be a lot of shifting rubble.”

 

Jungkook nodded before taking his first step into his home.

 

Jimin immediately followed, refusing to let Jungkook do this on his own.

 

They stepped through what had once been the kitchen and Jimin’s throat tightened. He held back a choked sob when he spotted the warped pan that they had used to cook chicken fried rice just a few nights prior.

 

He quickly struck up a conversation so he could fight back the tears. Jungkook needed him – and he would stay strong for Jungkook.

 

“Does the secret service have any more leads?” he asked inquisitively.

 

Jungkook reached out to take Jimin’s hand when they stepped over a large, wooden beam that was blocking their path. “Nothing new,” he answered. “They talked to me again this morning about potential suspects.” They stepped over another pile of charred remains. “It didn’t help them much. Apparently, we have a lot of common enemies.”

 

Jimin knew that Jungkook was trying to make light of the terrible situation as a coping mechanism, but Jimin still couldn’t bring himself to laugh at his terrible joke.

 

“They’ll catch him soon,” Jimin assured him. “I know they will.”

 

Jungkook stopped walking for a moment, standing in the center of his wall-less home to wrap his arms around Jimin. “I know,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to the crown of Jimin’s head. They stood like that for a while, with Jimin’s nose buried in Jungkook’s chest, before Jungkook finally spoke up. “It’s just… it’s strange. I was trained for situations exactly like this one, but now that the threat is directed only on me, I…”

 

Jungkook stopped speaking to swallow.

 

“It’s hard,” Jungkook uttered aloud in a voice that was barely there, “to wrap my mind around the fact that someone hates me so much that they would rather see me dead than alive.”

 

Jimin tried very hard to ignore the irony when he realized that he had spoken those same exact words to Jungkook just one year ago.

 

“I’ll keep you safe,” Jimin promised him. “Stay with me at the Blue House.” He pulled away to look up at his boyfriend. “I know I already said that last night, but I meant it. You can stay with me until they catch the person that did this.”

 

“I will,” Jungkook agreed without hesitation, to Jimin’s relief. He’d been worried that Jungkook would try to be modest and noble or refuse the help offered by his family, but it seemed as if Jungkook needed Jimin at his side just as much as Jimin needed him.

 

“I mean it,” Jimin insisted, despite Jungkook’s agreement. “You don’t need to pay rent or feel like you need to hide in my room whenever I’m gone. I want my home to be your home for as long as you need it.”

 

For the first time that day, Jungkook smiled at him. “I understand.”

 

Jimin’s shoulders relaxed.

 

“Besides,” Jungkook continued, “the president already insisted I stay in his home, and I can’t exactly turn down an offer from the Commander in Chief.”

 

Jimin blinked in surprise. “When did you see my father?”

 

“He was already talking to my boss when I went to discuss potential suspects with them,” Jungkook explained. “He was trying to persuade them that my presence wouldn’t be a danger to your mother’s security team.”

 

Jimin’s lips parted, realizing this problem for the first time. “Oh, God. I didn’t even – ”

 

“It’s alright,” Jungkook assured him with a shake of his head. He ran his hands up and down Jimin’s biceps, as if he was the one trying to reassure Jimin in this situation. “They scaled back my active duty hours,” he explained with a sad shrug. “I’m still on her service – but I can’t travel with her when she leaves the Blue House.”

 

Jimin exhaled, body deflating in disappointment. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, and not for the first time that day.

 

“Really – I’m fine,” Jungkook promised him, but it was clear there was disappointment lacing his tone. “We’re alive, remember? I’ll just be working at desk whenever she needs to leave the building.”

 

Jimin lifted his hands to Jungkook’s cheeks, cupping them affectionately. “It’s not forever,” he promised him. “And you’ll be safe. And we’ll make it through everything, no matter what happens. I promise.”

 

Jungkook turned his head to kiss the inside of Jimin’s wrist. “You’re right.” He lifted his hand to Jimin’s, pulling it down and linking their fingers together. “Follow me,” he abruptly decided as they started to wade through the rubble once again. “I had a fireproof safe that’s supposed to be in my bedroom closet.”

 

Jimin followed in his footsteps. “Did you have money saved in it?”

 

“Mostly documents,” Jungkook answered. “My passport. The deed to the house. Proof of insurance.” He turned around and smirked at Jimin at the humor of this last comment. This time, Jimin smiled faintly back. “You know. Things like that.” After a brief pause, he added. “Jewelry.”

 

Jimin quirked an eyebrow at Jungkook’s back. “Jewelry?” he repeated. Given the line of work Jungkook was in, it was incredibly uncommon for him to wear jewelry at his job, let alone even have it. “What jewelry?”

 

“Just some family heirlooms,” he answered in a casual voice. He squeezed his hand tighter around Jimin’s. “Something I asked my mother to bring with her when she last visited.”

 

Jimin stumbled before quickly catching himself.

 

“Family heirlooms?” Jimin asked again. “Why… why do you need a family heirloom?”

 

But when Jungkook turned around and raised both eyebrows at him meaningfully, Jimin immediately blushed in realization and looked down at the floor with a tiny, knowing smile.

 

Oh.”

 

*

 

“What do you mean Jungkook won’t have his own security team?”

 

Jimin’s father, along with three other men, were all standing around the desk in his office, staring at some sort of important looking document on his desk. The president looked up and stared at Jimin in surprise at the interruption. “Jimin, I’m in a meeting right now.”

 

Jimin could care less.

 

“Jungkook has had three attempts on his life,” Jimin hissed, “and you don’t think he deserves his own security team to protect him?”

 

His father’s secretary hurried to the door as fast as she could in her high heels, falling all over herself to apologize to the president. “I’m so sorry, Mr. President,” she said, trying to tug Jimin out of his office by his elbow. “I told him you were in a meeting, but he insisted – ”

 

“No, no – it’s not your fault,” Jimin’s father brushed her apology aside as he circled his desk and approached the door where Jimin was holding his ground. “Jimin can be surprisingly bullheaded when he wants to be.”

 

Jimin’s temper flared. “Bullheaded?” he echoed in disbelief. “I am not being – ”

 

“Call the First Lady,” the president continued in a calm voice. “She will know what to do.”

 

“Oh – so the safety of my boyfriend is just a problem you think you can sweep under the rug. Is that it?” Jimin was so angry, his hands were shaking. “You think if you ignore this, it will magically disappear?”

 

Finally, Jimin’s father lost his patience with his son and spoke with the commanding authority he used to run the country.

 

“Jimin, I am fully aware that this is not an inconsequential problem – but I refuse to speak with you when you are acting like a child.”

 

With the resounding boom of his father’s voice ringing in Jimin’s ears, he was finally at a loss for words.

 

Now,” the president continued in the same tone of voice, “step out of my office and come find me when you are ready to talk to me with respect and maturity.”

 

The secretary managed to use this moment to catch Jimin by surprise and drag him out of his father’s office, swiftly slamming the door shut behind them.

 

Jimin stared at his father’s closed office door in shock.

 

“I can’t believe he just – ”

 

The president’s secretary surged forward, holding both hands straight out in front of her to prevent Jimin from attempting to confront his father for a second time. “No!” she firmly blocked his path. “Not again!”

 

Yoongi, whom Jimin had left outside in his rush to get to his father, hastily intervened and assisted the secretary. “Let me help,” he murmured, grabbing hold of Jimin’s arm and dragging him away from the door. “Let’s go,” he commanded in a low voice. Despite Jimin’s complaints and his attempts to free himself, Yoongi kept a firm hold on him and walked him forcefully down the hallway. “You’re being a pain in the ass.”

 

I’m being a pain in the ass?” Jimin fired back. Yoongi managed to get him far enough away before his shouting could disrupt the rest of his father’s employees. “Jungkook was nearly killed, and my father isn’t able to spare a single bodyguard to protect him – knowing that he’s the bomber’s target?”

 

Yoongi finally released Jimin’s arm and sighed. “I really don’t think you understand how the security protocol works.”

 

“Oh – I understand completely,” Jimin hissed. “My dad is an ass who refuses to – ”

 

Jimin!

 

Jimin’s mother charged towards them from around the corner. Clearly, she had been called by the secretary to diffuse the situation, just like his father had requested.

 

“What on earth do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, glaring at her son. He didn’t need any sort of explanation to recognize that his mother had already heard about his encounter with his father.

 

Jungkook rounded the corner, following in his mother’s wake with a concerned expression. He, too, must have been aware of the situation – as well as Jimin’s involvement.

 

“He’s completely ignoring me,” Jimin began to argue with his mother while his hand flew out from his side, gesturing vigorously towards his father’s office several hallways behind him. “I mean – am I the only person here who sees how absolutely ridiculous it is that Jungkook doesn’t have extra security to protect him now that we know there’s a madman trying to kill him?”

 

Jungkook’s eyes widened in shock as he processed his boyfriend’s words. “Jimin,” he breathed quietly.

 

“What?” Jimin rounded on Jungkook. “Don’t say you don’t deserve it, because you do.”

 

“It’s not a matter of who deserves it and who doesn’t,” his mother firmly interrupted before Jimin could continue his rampage. “If you had spoken to your father calmly, like I’m sure he asked you to do, he would have had the chance to tell you that we did talk to the head of security – for two hours – and that there’s nothing they can do for Jungkook.”

 

It was Jungkook – and not Jimin – that stared at Jimin’s mother with shock and awe.

 

“You… really didn’t need to do that, ma’am,” he said, looking embarrassed after her admission.

 

“I absolutely did,” she insisted adamantly. Then she turned her icy gaze on Jimin, still angered by his childish outburst. “We’re not heartless, Jimin. We care about Jungkook. And we want both of you to be safe.”

 

“But…” Jimin frowned, eyes darting around the room in a panic as he felt his argument slip through his fingers. “But I thought… can’t you just assign another agent to protect Jungkook?”

 

Now that they fully understood his confusion, it was Yoongi and Jungkook – the resident security liaisons nearest to them – that explained the protection detail to Jimin.

 

“You can’t just assign agents wherever you want them to go,” Jungkook told him with a sigh. “I mean – technically we work for the president, but… we don’t follow the orders given by him. We have our own structure and protocol.”

 

Yoongi jumped in to assist his comrade. “There are rules that tell you who does and doesn’t get protection – otherwise we’d be stretched too thin trying to cover everyone in your lives. The president, former presidents, and their immediate family members get a security detail – no one else. Trust me,” Yoongi continued, “if there was a way to protect others that were close to you, we would have already tried to do that.” He scoffed and added as an afterthought, “I would have insisted on having security on Taehyung a year ago if we were allowed.”

 

Jimin heard their words – but seemed to be listening to the wrong ones.

 

“Fine,” he decided. “Then Jungkook and I – we’ll just get married.” He turned to the man in question. “Then he’ll be an immediate family member, right?”

 

Yoongi’s eyes widened in fear, realizing that he’d said the wrong thing to defuse the situation. Jimin’s mother gasped, just as stunned by his rash decision making. Both of them stepped forward and opened their mouths to try and change Jimin’s mind –

 

But Jungkook was well ahead of both of them.

 

“Excuse us,” he spoke to the group before snatching Jimin’s wrist and dragging him forcefully out of the hallway and into the nearest room.

 

Jungkook had no way of knowing whether or not the room was occupied by others on his father’s staff in an important meeting, but Jungkook burst through nonetheless and slammed the door closed behind them once they were inside.

 

“I know it’s not ideal,” Jimin began speaking in a rush the moment they were alone. “But I’m not an agent like you – I can’t fight someone off like you could. But this – ” Jimin picked up both of Jungkook’s hands as he spoke “ – this is how I can keep you safe, Jungkook.”

 

“No – don’t do this,” Jungkook rounded on his boyfriend. In a sudden movement that shocked Jimin to his core, Jungkook pulled his hands out of his grip so that there was a degree of separation between them as his anger escalated. “I understand that you’re upset about this situation – I get it – but you can’t just go and bring up something like marriage with me as a means to solve all of your problems!”

 

“No,” Jimin insisted with a hasty shake of his head. “That’s not what I meant. I mean – we’re going to get married someday, right?” Jimin sighed, feeling his stomach twist into knots as they continued to argue. He tried extending a hand towards Jungkook again in an attempt at reconciliation. “Look, I know it seems – ”

 

“No – you obviously don’t know!” Jungkook snapped, putting his own hands up in the air to stop Jimin from touching him. “Because if you did know, you would realize that what you just said out there – ” he pointed at the door leading to the hallway “ – really hurt me, Jimin.” Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed, revealing his true disappointment, before taking a deep breath. “I’m not a point to be made – I’m your boyfriend. And I love you.”

 

Jimin blinked in surprise at his words. He wasn’t sure he’d ever heard Jungkook speak to him quite like this – at least, not since they’d first met.

 

“And if we’re going to get married,” Jungkook hurried to add before he ran out of steam, “it’s going to be because I get down on one knee and ask you to marry me – not because we’re scared.”

 

Slowly – timidly – Jimin tried to lift his hand again. This time, he placed it on the finger that Jungkook had used to point angrily at the door behind Jimin’s shoulder. “You’re right,” he murmured, pulling Jungkook’s arm down until his fingers settled naturally on his hips. “I’m sorry.” Jimin stepped forward and placed both hands palm down on Jungkook’s chest and immediately apologized. “I shouldn’t have even suggested that. I just keep worrying that – ”

 

“I know what you’re worrying about,” Jungkook assured him as the last of his anger faded away until all that remained was concern. He caved beneath Jimin’s touch, silently bringing up his other hand to pull Jimin closer to his body as they reconciled with one another. “I’ve been worrying about the same exact things when we all thought the bomber was after you.”

 

Jimin nodded sadly. “I just want to help,” he whispered, afraid to use a voice any louder than that. “You’ve always protected me, and I – I wanted to do the same for you,” Jimin said. “I wanted to protect you in the only way I know how.”

 

Jungkook’s hands swiftly moved from Jimin’s waist to his cheeks, cupping his face tenderly as he swept in to give him a short kiss on the lips. “I know,” he repeated himself. Another kiss. “I know, Jimin. I understand.” Then one of his thumbs began to stroke lightly – lovingly – across Jimin’s high cheek bones as he gazed down at his boyfriend. “You’re doing everything you can – and I appreciate that. I do.” With a fond smile, Jungkook dropped his forehead to Jimin’s. “And I promise,” he added, “one of these days, I will ask you to marry me – and it’s going to be for all the right reasons.” He rubbed their noses together affectionately. “Got it?”

 

Jimin nodded and smiled. “Got it.” He bumped noses with Jungkook once more before tilting his head and touching their lips together in a ghost of a kiss. With his eyes closed, Jimin could hear Jungkook’s soft whine of disappointment. He smiled into their next kiss, making this one last just long enough for both of them to be sated for the moment.

 

When they separated, Jungkook exhaled a sigh of relief that their brief – but intense – argument had been resolved. His hands slipped down Jimin’s face, tracing lightly over his throat, and landed on his shoulders. “Now – I think you might have some people you need to apologize to.”

 

Jimin nodded slowly in agreement. He took a step away from Jungkook and moved towards the door that led to the hallway. “I really do.”

 

When the door opened, Yoongi and his mother – both of whom had been waiting patiently several yards away for them to finish their conversation – quickly stepped forward.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin blurted out before Jungkook had even had a chance to follow him. “I shouldn’t have spoken to either of you like I did and… I’m sorry.” He pointed down the hallway. “I think I should talk to Dad, too.”

 

Yoongi stepped forward in concern. After all, he’d been the one to witness Jimin’s blow up in front of his father the first time and didn’t seemed inclined to allow Jimin to repeat his mistake for a second time. However, before Yoongi could say anything, Jimin waved a hand at his approach. “I’ll be ok,” he assured his bodyguard. “I promise.”

 

Without another word, Yoongi nodded and fell into line beside Jimin as they walked directly towards his father’s office for the second time that day.

 

He bowed his head in embarrassment in front of his father’s secretary, who was now seated at her desk just outside his door. “I would like to speak to my father,” he murmured respectfully instead of barging in without permission. “Could you tell him that I’m here?”

 

The woman tried not to show surprise on her face as she simply nodded and walked to the door in question and slipped inside.

 

It wasn’t long before the door was opened from within and the secretary was gesturing for Jimin to enter. Yoongi gave him a solemn nod of approval before allowing him to enter his father’s office alone.

 

With all of the skills and training he’d learned throughout the years of meeting diplomats and dignitaries, Jimin strode confidently into the room and swiftly bowed at the waist to both his father as well as to the men that he’d interrupted earlier. They had since left his father’s desk and were seated facing one another on opposite couches, each of them holding a stack of papers and a pen in their hands.

 

“I’m sorry,” he immediately apologized to the group. He slowly straightened his posture, directing his gaze towards his father as he did so. “My behavior earlier was unacceptable. I shouldn’t have entered the room like I did, and I apologize for interrupting your meeting.”

 

He bowed again, this time remaining in this posture and staring at the floor.

 

Jimin’s father shifted in his chair at the sight of his son attempting to make amends. “Jimin – ”

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin repeated without pause, even as looked down at his feet. “I let my emotions take over and I – ”

 

Jimin abruptly stopped speaking when that familiar tightness welled up in his throat. If he said another word, he knew what would come next.

 

“Gentlemen,” the president spoke up. “Why don’t we adjourn for a short moment? We can reconvene in ten minutes.”

 

There was a murmur of agreement around the room as several men collected their papers, got to their feet, and quickly exited the large office. All the while, Jimin remained at a ninety-degree angle as he attempted to maintain control over his emotions. But when the door clicked quietly behind the men, Jimin saw a pair of black, shiny shoes enter his vision.

 

“Jimin,” his father quietly addressed him. Jimin didn’t move from his position. His father sighed. “Jimin, stand up.”

 

With a quivering lower lip and tears shining in his eyes, Jimin reluctantly stood back up to his full height, refusing to make eye contact. He stared stubbornly at the knot of his father’s tie around his neck. “I’m sorry,” he said again in a soft voice. “I was wrong.”

 

The president tilted his head to the side, looking at Jimin with interest. When his son remained steadfast in his refusal to make eye contact, his father finally stepped in. “Jimin, look at me.”

 

Swallowing, Jimin looked up into his father’s wide, concerned gaze.

 

I’m sorry,” the president apologized to his son. He didn’t need to explain why he had to apologize – Jimin already knew that there was nothing that his parents could do to provide extra protection to Jungkook – and, clearly, that hurt his parents almost as much as it hurt Jimin. “You know that I would move heaven and earth for you,” his father continued. Then, with a slight pause, he added, “And I would do the same for Jungkook.”

 

Jimin nodded, a single tear slipping from the corner of his eye. “I know.”

 

“There was nothing we could do.”

 

Again, Jimin nodded, gaze drifting away from his father’s as he tried to reign in his emotions. “I know.”

 

“Jimin.”

 

Reluctantly, Jimin turned his eyes back to his father.

 

But his father didn’t say a word. He just stared at his son, silently communicating his apology without a word.

 

And then Jimin lost all control he ever thought he had.

 

“I’m so worried about him,” Jimin confided in his father. “He’s had to take care of me, and I just wanted to take care of him for a change – and I’m scared of what could happen if one day I wake up and he’s just not there anymore. And it feels like everything is still my fault, even though – ”

 

His father swiftly stopped his son’s panicked words by wrapping both arms around him in a protective hug, clutching Jimin to his chest like only a father could.

 

“I’m so sorry, my boy,” he apologized, stroking his son’s hair in an affectionate gesture. “I’m sorry this ever happened to you.”

 

And all Jimin could do was clutch at his father and sob into his shoulder.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jimin made Jungkook promise him a number of things.

 

It didn’t take any convincing for Jungkook to temporarily move in with Jimin in their large home; it was one of the safest locations in the country, so it only made sense for him to stay. However, it took a bit more persuasion to ask him to remain there, even when he was off duty. Jimin’s mother had quickly recognized how disappointed Jungkook was every time he was forced to temporarily remove himself from her team whenever she stepped outside of the Blue House. In the end, she managed to restructure her public schedule in order to spend all of her free time at home where Jungkook could do his job and still remain safe.

 

Once they had learned that Jungkook was the target of the bomber, Jimin did everything in his power to offer additional protection to his boyfriend. The secret service may have been unable to provide Jungkook with his own team to keep him safe, but it didn’t stop Jimin from working the system to get exactly what he wanted. He’d simply forced Jungkook to swear to him that he would never leave the building unless Jimin – and his security team – were at his side. It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it offered Jungkook the protection he needed. Jungkook had tried – for a brief moment – to insist that he would just be extra careful in public and could take care of himself, but their discussion had quickly escalated into a shouting match.

 

By the time that Jimin’s anger had turned into tears, Jungkook conceded fairly quickly.

 

Perhaps the thing that most upset Jungkook was not his lack of freedom when he wanted to leave the Blue House to run a simple errand – it was the fact that their house search had been temporarily called off. He had been excited about the prospect of purchasing a home together and had been compiling a list of prospective houses to tour with Jimin, but he’d been forced to throw out the list until further notice. He didn’t like that they had to postpone at all, but he begrudgingly understood.

 

Other than being under house arrest, Jungkook took to living with Jimin like a fish to water. The rooms in the president’s home were enormous. Jimin’s bedroom was large enough that it felt more like an apartment complex rather than a bedroom. Jimin tried to keep the actual reason Jungkook was staying with him out of his mind and look at this opportunity as a chance for them to see how compatible they would truly be living in a home of their own.

 

Jimin attempted to surprise Jungkook with a romantic evening during their first week living together. Before Jungkook was scheduled to return to his room after work, Jimin had hurried to fill the bathtub to the top – complete with decorative petals floating on the surface of the water – and placed a chilled bottle of champagne and two flutes along the edge of the tub.

 

In the end, the evening had been a complete disaster. The water was lukewarm at best by the time Jungkook had arrived. Once Jimin had fished out all of the flower petals that had already sunk to the bottom of the tub, they drained the water in an attempt to try again. They disrobed and climbed into the far-smaller-than-expected bathtub, sloshing water across the bathroom floor in their attempt to find a remotely comfortable position. The final straw had been Jungkook’s foot – that had been forced to hang over the edge when they’d realized he was too tall for the tub – accidentally knocking Jimin’s glass of champagne into the water.

 

They had nothing left to do but to laugh at the situation. The pair quickly dried off and put on their robes before deciding the evening would be better served sprawled out on Jimin’s bed in front of the television and taking turns swigging directly from the bottle of champagne while they simply enjoyed one another’s company.

 

Jimin decided that he liked their romantic night in after all.

 

For a while, things almost felt like they were normal again. Before the accident, Jimin had made plans to meet up with his old co-worker, Daeun, over the weekend. Although he hadn’t seen her since he’d quit his job, he had been tempted to call the entire thing off given the situation that they were in. Jungkook, however, had quickly shut down his idea and insisted that they try to continue their daily routine as best as they could because he refused to let one person force him to live in a constant state of fear.

 

So, with a larger security team than usual and a bomb sniffing dog accompanying them on their outing, Jimin finally agreed to venture outdoors with Jungkook at his side.

 

They had planned to meet at a café within the nearest shopping center. Jimin’s security team took an incredibly long amount of time to sweep the location, checking every nook and cranny for a potential safety risk, before Jimin and Jungkook were allowed entry. By the time they entered the small, yet busy, shop to meet Daeun, they didn’t need her to flag them down in order to find her. Instead, all they had to do was follow the sound of the two-year-old screaming at the top of his lungs.

 

Jimin winced.

 

He wanted very much to see Daeun and her son, but it was obvious that Daeun felt anything but calm with a crying child in public. From a distance, he could already tell that her patience was wearing thin. Hoping that he could somehow make the situation better for her, Jimin gripped Jungkook’s hand and hurried towards her.

 

Daeun was very distracted when Jimin – unintentionally – snuck up on her. “Daeun,” he greeted her in a quiet voice. She jumped, still holding her thrashing toddler between her hands as she turned to look over her shoulder at Jimin. “Hey!”

 

“Jimin,” she acknowledged him in a tired voice. Daeun smiled apologetically at the wails her son was letting out. Her gaze slid from Jimin and over to Jungkook. “You must be Jungkook,” she quickly recognized him. Then she nodded her head hurriedly at him before swiftly resituating her son on her lap, hoping that the change of seat would alter his behavior. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”

 

Jungkook, to his credit, politely acted as if her crying child wasn’t drawing the attention of the entire café. “You as well.”

 

“I’m – really sorry about this,” she apologized over her son’s screams. There was a moment of reprieve when the boy buried his head into her shoulder, sniffling against her shirt. “He’s usually not like this. He’s usually a ball of sunshine.”

 

“Oh – no, don’t worry about it,” Jimin quickly assured her as he and Jungkook took their spots across from her. “It’s normal at his age, right?”

 

She sighed, looking relieved when Jimin assured her that he understood. “It’s just one of those days,” Daeun explained. “Sometimes, he just starts crying and has no idea why he’s crying.” She put a hand to his back, rubbing her palm in small circles as her son finally began to calm down. “He must not have slept well last night.”

 

Jungkook smiled down at the child with his head buried in his mother’s chest. “What’s his name?” he asked.

 

“Cheolmin,” she answered quietly over her son’s head. When the boy nuzzled closer – most likely wiping his nose on Daeun’s shirt – and wrapped two, tiny arms around her neck, Daeun smiled affectionately down at him, hoping the worst of his tantrum was over.

 

“Cheolmin,” Jimin repeated his name. He leaned forward across the table, trying to make eye contact with the boy attempting to hide in his mother’s arms. He smiled when the boy finally looked at him. “Hi, Cheolmin-ah!”

 

The boy burst into tears.

 

“Oh, God – I’m sorry,” Jimin hastily apologized, flustered by the piercing scream that his tiny body managed to let out. “I didn’t – I didn’t mean to – ”

 

“It’s ok,” Daeun said, gently rocking her son in her arms – though Jimin wasn’t sure whether it was him or her son that she was reassuring. “It’s ok.”

 

There were several eyes watching them. Jimin was used to the attention, given his status as the president’s son; he already had half a dozen agents placed sporadically throughout the café with Yoongi standing at the wall nearest to their table. Daeun, however, was doing everything she could to avoid looking at the judging stares. To their credit, the majority of the people watching them had a sympathetic expression – obviously having been at a similar stage of parenting earlier in their lives – but it didn’t stop the occasional glare from other onlookers, annoyed by the presence of a screaming child in a public place.

 

But soon enough, Daeun managed to get him back under control again while Jungkook excused himself to place their group’s lunch order at the register.

 

“So,” Jimin began in a soft voice so as not to disturb the child, “how’s work been since I’ve left?”

 

Daeun smiled at his inquiry. “Quiet,” she admitted. “Hyunsoo doesn’t parade about the office, boasting about his reputation like he used to when you were there.”

 

Jimin laughed behind his hand. “You know, I always wondered if that was for my benefit.”

 

“It absolutely was,” Daeun told him with a grin. “He’s back to usual, grumpy self. But,” she added, “I did get a raise since you left, so… there’s that.”

 

“I knew there would be a perk to me quitting,” Jimin answered lightly. Daeun looked as if she was tempted to refute his statement, but he quickly brushed it off. “Not a word,” he told her. “Quitting was seriously the best thing I could have done.”

 

Daeun frowned, not very inclined to believe him. “Really?”

 

“Really,” Jimin nodded. “I’m actually going to be working as a volunteer at the hospital starting on Monday this week.”

 

“The hospital?” she asked in surprise. “I would have pegged you as the squeamish type.”

 

Jimin shook his head. “Not at all,” he replied. Then he paused to consider the idea. “I mean – I guess we’ll see on Monday, but I really don’t think so.” He shrugged. “I think most of my job is doing things that don’t require looking at blood, like restocking the closets and visiting with people that don’t get visitors.”

 

Jungkook came back to their table, then, with a tray full of plates and glasses. He set each item out on the table, matching each dish to the correct person, before sitting down to join their conversation. “Well, it’s certainly a change from your first career,” Daeun lightly commented.

 

Jimin snorted, understanding just how true that statement really was. “I couldn’t stop myself from trying to help people.” He picked up his sandwich, about to take a bite, when he leaned forward conspiratorially. “Remember that case I was working on before I left?” Jimin asked her quietly. “That car accident where I was asked to interview the defendant?”

 

Daeun tried to balance her son with one hand while the other reached for her food. “Yes,” she said. “We go to court soon.”

 

Jimin smiled wryly. “Well, I tried to give her advice to beat our legal team.”

 

Daeun’s eyes widened in shock before snorting in amusement. “Hyunsoo would be furious if he knew.”

 

“Yeah, well, he shouldn’t have accepted the case,” Jimin countered, feeling little remorse for his old boss. He took a few bites before asking curiously, “Did the defendant ever get an attorney?”

 

Daeun shrugged. “Not as far as I know.”

 

Jimin sighed. Impulsively, he looked over to Jungkook for reassurance. He knew that there was nothing Jungkook could do to change the news, but just seeing him smile back at him put him at ease.

 

Jungkook quickly cleared his throat and attempted to change the topic of conversation to put Jimin in a better mood. “Uh – Jimin and I were looking at houses.”

 

Daeun seems excited by the news. “That sounds fun.”

 

“It is,” Jimin agreed with a nod. “We, uh… we’re taking some time off from looking at the moment, but… yeah.”

 

Daeun noticed the pause in Jimin’s speech and accurately pinpointed the root of his hesitation. “Is it because of the bomb in the restaurant?” she asked quietly, despite the fact that the news was global and that everyone in the restaurant had most likely already heard about the attempt on Jimin and Jungkook’s lives. “Are they close to figuring out who it is?”

 

Jungkook maintained his professionalism, even in a personal setting. “We’re not able to comment on ongoing investigations,” he answered diplomatically. “But,” he continued as he put his arm over the back of Jimin’s chair, “we’ll find him. We always do.”

 

Jimin smiled at the sentiment. He silently put a comforting hand on Jungkook’s thigh, patted his leg, and then turned back to Daeun. “And when they do, we’ll be back to our house hunt in no time.”

 

Their conversation veered onto lighter topics, such as discussing Daeun’s attempts to raise both a two-year-old and a brand new puppy, or Jimin’s interest in taking a cooking class someday – which made Jungkook smile in amusement. But all too soon, Jimin realized that both he and Jungkook had finished their meals, and Daeun had hardly touched hers while she had been so busy trying to keep her son quiet and content for the duration of their meal.

 

Jimin felt guilty that his suggestion to meet her son had led to such an inconvenience for her.

 

“Daeun?” he gently inquired. “Why don’t Jungkook and I take Cheolmin out to the children’s play area between the stores while you finish your meal?”

 

She blinked at Jimin in surprise. “Oh – no, it’s fine. I’m sorry, I should be eating faster!”

 

“No,” Jimin quickly assured her. “Please – let us help. You deserve to have five minutes to yourself, just to have the ability to use both of your hands.”

 

She looked down at the young boy that had firmly attached himself to her body and laughed at Jimin’s words. “That would be really nice,” she confessed with a smile. But as Jimin stood up to walk to her side, she looked up at him with a worried expression. “He’s going to start crying the moment I pull him away from me.”

 

Jimin nodded in understanding, but was quick to reassure her. “I’m sure he’ll be very excited to play once he sees the slide.”

 

Daeun seemed unsure of Jimin’s assertion, but decided to trust him nonetheless. “Ok, baby,” she murmured into Cheolmin’s ear as she gently pried him away from her body. “Mommy needs to eat, ok?” It took a moment, but Cheolmin slowly realized what his mother was doing and began to kick up a fuss once she had him at an arm’s length. Jimin quickly swooped in and picked up the boy, trying to hold him in much the same way as his mother, but the boy flopped about in his arms, both hands stretching out in a desperate attempt to return to his mother’s warm embrace.

 

“I’ll be just a few minutes, baby,” Daeun cooed, stroking her son’s head as his sobbing started anew. Then she reached under the table and pulled out the baby bag she’d brought with her and practically shoved it into Jungkook’s open arms. “Just in case you need it, I’ve got diapers, food, a change of clothes, hand sanitizer, his sippy cup – everything you could possibly need is in there.”

 

“Got it,” Jungkook murmured, staring down at the bag with small, decorative rattles printed in a pattern across the surface in a bit of a daze.

 

“Ok,” Jimin quickly tried to get them moving, despite Cheolmin’s angry cries. “You enjoy the rest of your meal,” he called back to Daeun as he led them away. “Take your time – you can meet us whenever you’re done!”

 

And then Jimin endured the longest five minutes of his life.

 

“Come on, Cheolmin,” he quietly coaxed the boy. Jimin stubbornly ignored the looks that passersby, arms laden with shopping bags, were giving him as he set the crying child down on the ground within the fenced in play area. Other toddlers were running around and playing on the small jungle gym while their parents had a moment to sit and relax. “Let’s go and play on the slide.”

 

But Cheolmin rolled around on the ground, kicking his feet into the air as his tantrum continued on.

 

“Maybe he needs a new diaper?” Jungkook suggested quietly into Jimin’s ear.

 

Jimin stared at the flailing boy, hands moving about rapidly as he tried to figure out what to do to help him. “I doubt it,” he answered. “He doesn’t smell like he needs a new diaper, so…”

 

“Then… food?” Jungkook tried again as he rifled through the baby bag that Daeun had sent with them. He pulled out a plastic bag with carrot sticks and sliced strawberries. “Maybe he’s just hungry?”

 

Jimin was sure that there was nothing but Daeun’s presence that would help the boy, but he shrugged at Jungkook, hoping that he could work a miracle. “Maybe.”

 

For several minutes, Jungkook and Jimin tried to entice the boy with food. Jimin waved it around in front of his face to get his attention while Jungkook tried to use the airplane trick. Neither was able to get Cheolmin to relent for even a moment. The only thing that Cheolmin managed to do was get his small hands on a carrot stick and throw it at Jungkook’s forehead with an incredibly precise aim.

 

Jimin ignored Yoongi’s snicker of amusement from several yards away, while Jungkook sent him an icy glare.

 

“Whoa – when did you two decide to adopt a kid?”

 

Jimin and Jungkook looked up in surprise at the familiar voice.

 

“Hoseok,” Jimin breathed, surprised by his friend’s presence. He looked around, as if trying to figure out which direction he had come from. “What are you doing here?”

 

Hoseok held his drink by the lid – clearly having come from lunch, much like Jimin and Jungkook – and used one of his fingers on the glass to point at the child. “I asked first.”

 

Jimin looked down at the screaming child, feeling embarrassed that Hoseok had caught him and Jungkook in such a position. “We’re babysitting for a few minutes while his mom finishes her lunch.”

 

Hoseok arched an eyebrow. Jimin immediately knew that his friend was judging them. “And you’re just letting him cry?”

 

Jungkook had never fully gotten over his jealousy issues with Hoseok – not since he’d once believed that he and Jimin had dated nearly a year ago. Jimin knew that Jungkook masked it incredibly well whenever he and Hoseok hung out, but it was moments like this when Jungkook’s former grudge against the man made itself known. “We’re not just letting him cry,” Jungkook snapped irritably. “We thought we would try to feed him, but he just… wants to cry for no good reason, and we have no idea how to make him stop.”

 

And for a moment, Hoseok actually snorted in amusement before he set his drink down by his feet, extended his hand towards the child, and picked him up.

 

“Hello!” Hoseok greeted the child in a high, playful voice. He bounced him lightly in his arms until the boy was forced to grab onto Hoseok’s shirt to keep himself upright. “What’s your name?”

 

Jimin supplied his name, knowing that the boy wouldn’t. “Cheolmin,” he murmured to Hoseok.

 

“Cheolmin!” Hoseok exclaimed in an excited voice while looking at the boy in his arms with a wide grin. “Cheolmin-ah – I bet you love to dance, don’t you?” And then Jimin watched in amusement as Hoseok began to dance with the boy in his arms. It was mostly rocking from side to side with the occasional twirl. For a moment, Jimin even thought he heard a pause in the boy’s cries as they moved.

 

“Holy shit,” Jungkook whispered into Jimin’s ear as they stared at the pair in disbelief. “I think it’s actually working.”

 

Then Hoseok gripped the boy under his arms, lightly tossing him into the air and catching him.

 

And then Cheolmin giggled.

 

“Cheolmin, are you hungry?” Hoseok asked once the tears had halted. “I’m very hungry!”

 

As their movements slowed, Cheolmin glanced around the mall nervously, suddenly remembering that his mother was not there. His lower lip jutted out, eyes filling with tears once again as he tried to look for his mother once again. Hoseok noticed and immediately distracted the child once again.

 

“Carrots!” he cried out excitedly, bringing the boy over to the bag Jungkook and Jimin had left open on the floor. “Carrots are my favorite!” Hoseok lowered himself to the floor, plopping Cheolmin on his lap as he opened the plastic baggie. He lifted a carrot to his own mouth and began to make sound effects as he nibbled at the end of the stick. “Nom, nom, nom!”

 

Cheolmin stared wordlessly when Hoseok took a small bite out of the end of his carrot stick. Jimin could practically see the wheels turning in the boy’s brain as he tried to figure out who this man was that was eating his food.

 

“Oh, so yummy!” Hoseok told him. He wiggled the carrot around in the air, letting the boy watch it very carefully. “I want more!”

 

And then Cheolmin’s tiny hand reached out to touch Hoseok’s, forcing him to halt his movements in midair.

 

“Mine,” the boy told him with a serious face.

 

“Oh!” Hoseok acted surprised as he allowed the boy’s tiny fingers to wrap around his wrist and pull his hand towards his mouth. “You’re so strong!” he protested, just as the boy leaned forward and took a bite from the carrot in Hoseok’s grip.

 

Cheolmin giggled at Hoseok’s astonished expression.

 

“Hey!” Hoseok protested. “You ate my carrot!”

 

The boy giggled again. “Mine!”

 

Hoseok opened the bag but Cheolmin was quick to steal another carrot and take a bite before Hoseok could pull it out.

 

“You must really like carrots,” Hoseok said to him. Cheolmin nodded his head in answer as he gnawed on his food. When he finished the stick, Hoseok pulled out a sliced strawberry from the second bag. “I bet you don’t like strawberries.”

 

Cheolmin quickly caught onto their game and gleefully plucked the fruit out of Hoseok’s hand and popped it into his mouth, just to prove that he did, in fact, like the fruit. After finishing his bite, Cheolmin wriggled around in Hoseok’s lap and reached his tiny hands into the bag to do the two-year-old equivalent of telling someone that he liked them.

 

He picked up a strawberry and smashed it against Hoseok’s lips.

 

“Oh, thank you!” Hoseok told him enthusiastically, despite his surprise by the splat of juices that surrounded his mouth at the kind gesture from the boy. He quickly ate the bite, scrunching up his nose as he did. “It’s very sweet.”

 

Cheolmin wrinkled his nose in a similar fashion. “Sweet!”

 

After enjoying her meal in silence, Daeun appeared from around the corner with a refreshed look on her face. From the looks of things, Jimin was glad he’d been able to give her a few minutes to herself without interruption. However, Daeun’s face quickly morphed into confusion as she eyed the scene before her, confused by the unknown man’s presence in front of her child. She continued to eye Hoseok warily as she stood next to Jimin and Jungkook. “You managed to get him to stop crying?”

 

Jimin looked over his shoulder at Daeun, smiling at her. “Not us,” he confessed. Then he gestured back at Hoseok. “It was all him.”

 

Daeun frowned at the man. “And who are you?” she challenged in a slightly louder voice to get Hoseok’s attention. After all, it wasn’t everyday that a mother left her child unattended with a man that she’d never met.

 

Cheolmin turned around, suddenly noticing his mother hovering behind him. He grinned up at her. “Mommy!” he called out for her attention. When her eyes fell on the boy, he reached back into his bag of food that Hoseok was holding, put another strawberry into his mouth, and looked up at her with his nose scrunched. “Sweet!”

 

“Oh, uh – this is my friend, Hoseok,” Jimin remembered to introduce the two. “He graduated with me last year and we happened to bump into each other just now.”

 

“I was meeting my sister for lunch,” Hoseok filled in the gaps. He glanced up from his spot on the floor as he spoke to Daeun. “You must be Cheolmin’s mother?”

 

“Daeun,” she softly introduced herself. Cheolmin began tugging at her pants, so Daeun swiftly picked him up and held him tight in her arms, ignoring his sticky hands as they wrapped around her neck. “I used to work with Jimin.”

 

Now that Cheolmin was no longer toddling about on the floor, Hoseok got to his feet with a grin. “It’s a pleasure,” he said. Then he gestured towards Jimin and Jungkook. “And if you ask me, you should get a better babysitter than these two.”

 

“I’m not a bad babysitter!” Jimin protested. He knew he was good with kids – he’d spent plenty of time interacting with them whenever his father had traveled to various hospitals and orphanages. “I just… couldn’t get him to stop crying.”

 

“They were a mess,” Hoseok confidently insisted. “They practically begged me to save the day.”

 

Even though Jungkook knew Hoseok was teasing him, he couldn’t help but become mildly irritated by his spin on the story. “That’s not what happened,” Jungkook huffed.

 

Hoseok, however, was amused by Jungkook’s annoyance and turned his charming smile on Daeun. “Close enough.”

 

Daeun buried her nose in Cheolmin’s hair and giggled at Hoseok’s antics.

 

“Well, then… Hoseok,” she said, trying out his name for the first time, “we were planning on letting Cheolmin play while we relaxed for a bit.” She smiled at him, seeming far more open to spending time with the unknown man now that he’d made both her and her son laugh. “Would you care to join us?”

 

“Oh – sorry, not me,” Jungkook apologized. He held up his watch in explanation. “I’m working the afternoon shift, so I should get going.”

 

Jimin instantly began to panic at the reminder. Of course, he knew that their original plan had been for him and Daeun to continue catching up while Jungkook left for his shift after lunch. He’d forgotten that Jungkook was supposed to leave early – and that included losing the protection of his security team for Jungkook’s safety. He couldn’t just abandon Jungkook – there was no way he would let him leave by himself!

 

“Now?” Jimin murmured. His eyes widened as he tried to silently convey his unspoken words of concern to Jungkook. “Can’t you stay for just a bit longer?”

 

Jungkook already understood Jimin’s hidden message. “I can’t,” he apologized softly. “Then, in a louder voice, he said, “But it’s ok – you stay. I’ll be fine. I’ll just catch a taxi.”

 

“You will not,” Jimin commanded in a firm tone. “I’m going with you.”

 

For a split second, Jungkook looked as if he wanted to argue with Jimin – but stopped before he’d even begun once he realized that the entire argument would be futile.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jimin spun around to apologize to Daeun. “I thought we had more time – but we can’t stay after all.”

 

Daeun blinked back at him in surprise. “Oh – that’s ok,” she quickly assured him. Then she smiled slightly. “We’ll be fine. You don’t need to feel bad about it.”

 

Nonetheless, Jimin still felt guilty that he hadn’t planned ahead.

 

“Uh – I can stay.”

 

The three of them turned to Hoseok in surprise.

 

“I mean,” he swiftly elaborated, “you seem like you could use the extra pair of hands. Not that you need the extra pair of hands!” Hoseok immediately backtracked, worrying that he may have overstepped his boundaries or unintentionally insulted Daeun. “Just that – you know… sometimes an extra pair of hands would be… helpful.”

 

And then he lifted a nervous hand to the back of his neck and smiled a bit sheepishly.

 

But just before Daeun could accept his offer, Jungkook leaned over and whispered into Jimin’s ear:

 

“I thought Hoseok was gay?”