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jimin kicks at taehyung’s foot under the table, allowing one of the production assistants to wire a mic up the back of his shirt. taehyung rolls his eyes fondly and flicks jimin’s pinky finger, fiddles with one of the shot glasses beside him. “ready?” he asks, sending a boxy little smile jimin’s way.

“course i am,” jimin scoffs. “i love being on camera. i was made for it.”

“you really don’t have any bad angles,” taehyung says agreeably, reaching across the table to tilt jimin’s chin. jimin swats his hand away with a laugh, apologizing when he accidentally jostles the PA and her attempt to clip the microphone onto his shirt. “you sure you’re okay with this?”

jimin snorts. “little too late to back out now,” he says, and the PA makes a noise of agreement.

they’re shooting a video for taehyung’s digital media company, a popular series of theirs that taehyung occasionally helps produce. different groups of people--exes, siblings, couples, strangers--play a variation of truth or dare, except instead of dares, they have to take a shot. the questions range from surface level to downright intrusive, which is why a decent amount of people end up absolutely trashed by the end of the segment. it’s funny, and a little strange, and sometimes awkward, but it’s a fan favorite and the viewers are loyal.

today, it’s friends with benefits play truth or drink and, well. that’s why jimin is here.

“alright, guys,” the cameraman says, adjusting the lense, “we’re ready if you are.”

taehyung nudges jimin’s foot under the table and offers a smile. there are other couples--not couples, holy shit--other people waiting off to the side to film their own segments, members of the production crew with cameras and microphones trained on them, and jimin wonders if they’ll be able to see right through him--if the people watching will be able to immediately pin down the fact that he’s in love with his fuck buddy and has been for years.

only one way to find out, he guesses.

“ready,” jimin says, offering his brightest smile.

the producer settles in a chair beside the main camera. “alright, can you introduce yourselves?”

“my name is taehyung.”

“hi, i’m jimin.”

“and how did you guys meet?”

“we were actually roommates our freshmen year of college,” taehyung answers, hands folded together on the table top. jimin has the weirdest urge to hold them. “randomly assigned. guess we got lucky.”

jimin snorts. “speak for yourself. you snore.”

“brat,” taehyung says fondly.

“are you friends with benefits?” the producer asks, a knowing smile playing against his lips. jimin’s met him--a few times, actually, he’s good friends with taehyung. they work together fairly often. name’s yoongi. he’s nice, but right now, jimin could smack that smug look right off his face.

“we are,” jimin says, feels himself shrink down into his seat, just a little.

“yeah,” taehyung answers at almost the exact same time, the apples of his cheeks flushing a pretty red. he glances at jimin, almost sheepish, and then back at the camera.

“and what does that mean to you?”

oh god.

“uh, i mean,” jimin starts, laughs nervously, “it just means we’re friends who--can i swear? no? we have sex. a lot.”

taehyung bursts into nervous giggles, hiding his face against his shoulder. his gaze catches jimin’s and they both smile, jimin’s hands flying to his cheeks to cover his face.

“and how much is a lot?” yoongi asks, leaning forward with his head resting on his chin.

“oh, gosh, like,” taehyung pauses, looks at jimin for assistance. “i dunno. we literally had sex before we got here.”

“probably at least two or three times a week,” jimin guesses. taehyung nods, biting at the nail on his thumb. jimin reaches out and tugs his hand away, setting in gently on the table and then holding it in place. yoongi catches the motion and raises an eyebrow, which prompts jimin to pull away.

“yeah,” taehyung agrees, “that sounds about right, probably. maybe more, to be honest, we’re--”

“gross?” jimin supplies, scrunching his nose as he laughs.

“i was going to say healthy young adults but sure, yeah, we’re gross--”

“and are there any rules as to how you can act around each other?”

don’t get too cuddly after sex. don’t sleep over after you fuck or it’ll be weird. don’t ask to be exclusive. kissing is a no-go. don’t get too touchy or gooey, it’ll blow your cover. missionary is too romantic. fuck from behind or close your eyes.

jimin can think of a dozen rules right off the top of his head.

“no,” he says, dragging his pinky idly around the rim of his shot glass. “we’re best friends. we just act the way we always have.”

taehyung looks at him for a moment before ducking his head and shaking his hair out--a nervous tick. jimin frowns.

“whenever you guys are ready, you can start playing.” yoongi sets a deck of index cards in between them, face down. jimin and taehyung have a silent staring contest to see who gets to pick up the first one. in the end, tae wins, but only because jimin lets him.

taehyung draws the first card and flips it over, dramatically holding his free hand in front so jimin can’t see. jimin rolls his eyes and slumps forward, making grabby hands for the card. tae laughs and smacks his hands away, reading the card out loud. “oh, this is a good one. where’s the weirdest place we’ve had sex? jimin, care to share with the class?”

jimin buries his face in his hands and groans. “can we drink? i’m gonna drink.”

taehyung grabs both bottles of alcohol from the table and holds them hostage. “nuh uh. tell the world your shame.” jimin sighs, long and world-weary, and very pointedly does not remove his face from where it rests against his palms. he mumbles the answer into them, cheeks beat red. taehyung kicks him under the table, a little harder than necessary. jimin yelps. “expose yourself, you little heathen.”

“there’s a mic attached to your shirt,” yoongi adds helpfully, “it’s already captured your answer. might as well say it with a little pride.”

jimin glowers at the table, lower lip jutting out in an impressive pout. “i let you fuck me in mcdonald’s bathroom.”

taehyung cackles. “yeah you did.”

“next question,” jimin declares, flicking his fingers into the chaser they’ve been provided until a splash lands on taehyung’s shirt. “asshole. i hate you.”

“you’re literally not allowed to be embarrassed. you begged me, jimin-ah. something about oreo mcflurries gets you all riled up--”

jimin clears his throat loudly and starts talking over taehyung’s laughter. “next question,” he repeats, picking up a card and scanning it quickly. “oh jesus. who likes who more?”

“alright, i have my answer.”

“already? should i be worried?”

“shut up. we’ll say it at the same time. countdown. three--”

“two--”

“one--”

“me,” they both say at the exact same time, cheeks and ears flushing pink with embarrassment. their mouths drop open in twin surprise before they burst into gasping laughter. yoongi looks between them, bemused.

“i literally like you so much more than you like me,” taehyung manages through giggles, arms crossed over his chest and shoulders scrunched. he’s smiling so wide the corners of his eyes crinkle, and it sets jimin’s heart into overdrive, leaves him a little breathless. “you kicked me out of bed last night because your arm fell asleep.”

“you’re a fucking octopus, dude, what do you want from me? i had a test this morning. besides, i’m the one who buys you dinner every time you bat your eyelashes at me. you won’t even buy me a soda when i ask.”

“because i’m poor!”

“i’m a fuckin’ med student! i’m beyond broke. and i’m in crippling debt.”

“yeah, but you’ll eventually make more money than me so it’s only fair you start spoiling me now--”

“what am i, your sugar daddy?”

“yes! why else would i keep you around?”

jimin looks at the camera, deadpan. “i think we’ve just proven who likes who more. it’s me. i’m the better friend. next question.”

taehyung throws the now crumpled up card at jimin’s forehead. he picks up a new one, scans it, then raises an eyebrow. “this one’s interesting.”

“uh oh.”

tae sets the card down and leans forward, eyes earnest. “would you still be friends with me if i got into a committed relationship?”

jimin doesn’t even have to think. “of course,” he says, instantaneous and honest, “i’d miss your dick--” and my heart would be smashed into oblivion, “but we’d stay friends. no question.”

taehyung nods, almost to himself, offers a small smile. “good to know.”

jimin tries to smile back, though it probably looks more like a grimace. neither of them have drank yet, he realizes. they’ve answered all the questions. they’re too honest, and he wonders when that will come back to bite them in the ass. no secrets between them, they’d say with a pinky promise, and jimin would think about all the things he’s hiding in his heart. he picks up another card, reads, “would you have a threesome with me?”

“hell yeah,” taehyung answers immediately. “that one’s easy.”

jimin lets the card fall from his fingers, brow furrowed. he frowns and fiddles with his shot glass, wishing more than anything for a drink.

“are you pouting?”

“no,” jimin pouts.

“oh my god, you are. are you jealous? don’t like to share?” taehyung coos, reaching out to pinch at jimin’s cheeks.

jimin smacks them away, ignores the flash of hurt in taehyung’s big doe eyes, says, “not jealous, dickwad. you can fuck who you want, i don’t care. just don’t do it in the same bed as me.”

taehyung watches him for a moment, eyebrows pinched in confusion and nose crinkled adorably. he looks a little sad, a little lost, head cocked to the side like a puppy. it makes jimin want to reach out and apologize, smooth out the creases in his forehead and kiss him til he smiles, but--

fuck buddies don’t do that. they don’t kiss.

not unless they’re really fucking hammered, at least.

yoongi clears his throat. “next question. let’s keep it moving.”

taehyung startles, like he’d forgotten anybody else was in the room. he drags his gaze away from jimin and settles it on the stack of cards, eyeing it distrustfully. he picks one up, puts on his best (fakest) smile, reads, “on a scale of one to ten, rate my oral skills.”

“ten,” jimin says, without hesitation. “i have to think about russian literature to stop me from nutting the second you put your mouth on my dick.”

just like that, the tension shatters. taehyung bends over in laughter, braced against the table to keep upright. jimin cracks a smile and ducks his head, shakes it fondly. taehyung pours them both a shot, says, “fuck yeah. i’ll drink to that.” they clink their glasses and knock the alcohol back, the burn in his throat a welcome distraction from the unease swirling in jimin’s gut.

he picks up the next card before he can psyche himself out, spurred on by restoration of taehyung’s beautiful (genuine) smile. “does it bother you when i sleep with other people?” he reads, grin falling just a little. he forces it back, kicks lightly at tae’s shin. taehyung ducks his head smiling wryly. “do you sleep with other people? we don’t really, uh. talk about that.”

he doesn’t want to know the answer. it’ll kill him if taehyung says--

“yeah. sometimes.” taehyung shrugs, like he didn’t just smash jimin’s heart into tiny pieces. “not, like, often. do you?”

“sometimes,” jimin echoes quietly, which is a lie. one of the camera men clears his throat uncomfortably. jimin shifts in his seat, tapping the edge of the card against the table. “so? does it bother you?”

taehyung smiles, easy and unaffected. “i mean, it’s not my favorite thing to hear, but i wouldn’t say it bothers me. would be kind of hypocritical. besides, i’m the best by a mile, right, jiminie?

“yeah,” jimin says, throat a little dry. “of course you are.”

something in taehyung’s gaze flattens. the mood has shifted back to a strange and foreign sort of awkwardness. “does it bother you?” taehyung asks, voice gentle, like anything louder will send jimin into a breakdown. he’s looking at jimin like he already knows the answer.

jimin looks away, has to. taehyung’s gaze is far too understanding. “yeah,” he says, almost too soft for the mics to pick up. “yeah, it does.”

taehyung abruptly pours himself a shot and downs it, even though he’s already answered the question. he wipes at the back of his mouth with the sleeve of his sweater and refuses to meet jimin’s eyes. “i lied,” he murmurs, eyes darting towards the camera and then back at the table. “it does. bother me.”

“oh.”

“yeah. next question.” taehyung tries to clear the heavy air that’s been draped over them with a too-bright smile and a dramatic ahem. he reads the next card and his face falls a little, before he schools it into a carefully neutral expression. “why would it be bad for us to be in a committed relationship?”

jimin feels his face burn. he knows he has an out--he can take a shot and refuse to answer, but neither of them have bowed out yet and of course it won’t end there. tae will keep asking. he’s stubborn like that. maybe it’s just better to bite the bullet now.

he coughs, ducks his head, murmurs, “i don’t think it would be. a bad thing, i mean.”

taehyung goes deathly silent across from him, barely even breathing.

“i just mean, like. we get along really well and obviously the sex is great--and they say you’re supposed to fall in love with your best friend, right?” jimin laughs nervously, floundering a little. his face crumples, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes, and he blinks them away before they can fall. god, how fucking embarassing. “i dunno, i just. it would probably be, like. okay. good.”

he chances a look up only to find taehyung staring back, eyes blazing hot and intense. “then why aren’t we?” tae asks, soft and a little raspy. the air over them is thick, uncomfortable.

jimin shifts. “i dunno. the next step is...scary? and i wasn’t sure if…” he cuts himself off. “can we just go to the next question?” taehyung nods slowly, eyes piercing. jimin picks up the next card and reads it, dread pulling at his senses until he feels like he’s underwater, ice cold and turning blue. god, of fucking course. “can i just take a shot?”

“read the question out loud first,” yoongi says mildly, looking entirely too pleased with himself.

jimin scowls and slams the card face down on the table. “do you love me?” he asks, not meeting taehyung’s eyes. “that’s what the card says, do you--”

“yes.”

a tear slips out before jimin can stop it. he wipes at his face angrily, one hand still twisted in the bottom of his sweatshirt. he sucks in a sharp breath, says, “tae, you can’t--if you’re fucking with me--that’s so mean--”

he barely manages to process taehyung’s answer before the question is turned on him. “i mean it, jimin-ah, god, i--do you love me?”

“yes,” jimin manages, crying in earnest now. “yes. since freshmen year.”

taehyung’s eyes widen. “that was before--”

“before we started hooking up, yeah,” jimin laughs wetly. taehyung reaches forward to grab at jimin’s fingers, his hand dwarfing jimin’s own.

“since sophomore year,” taehyung answers the question jimin doesn’t ask, thumb rubbing gentle patterns across jimin’s soft skin. he offers a sheepish smile, looks up through his eyelashes, says, “sorry it took me a second to catch up.”

“you mean it?” jimin asks again, vulnerable and small. he sniffles sadly, and taehyung bends himself across the table to wipe at jimin’s puffy cheeks with the soft sleeves of his sweater. taehyung presses a quiet kiss to jimin’s forehead and whispers, just for the two of them, “i mean it. promise.”

“cut,” jimin hiccups, waving a vague and dismissive hand in the direction of the cameras. his tears are flowing freely now--he’s overwhelmed and jittery and he’s just confessed on youtube where millions of people will see it, for christ’s sake. “cut the cameras.”

yoongi makes an affronted noise. “you’re not the director.”

taehyung straightens up and gets to his feet, chair legs scraping against hardwood. he rounds the table and all but hauls jimin up, holding him close to his chest and waddling them out of the studio. once they’re safely in the hallway, away from prying cameras, taehyung wraps himself fully around jimin and starts to shake.

jimin’s arms find their way to taehyung’s waist and tug him closer until their bodies are melded against each other, perfect puzzle pieces. he sighs into taehyung’s shoulder, nose pressed against the warm skin of his collarbone. “tae--”

“i meant it,” taehyung says again, soft in all its intensity. “i mean it, jimin. do you--” he swallows thickly, cheek smushed against jimin’s temple. “do you mean it too?”

“yeah,” jimin rasps, nodding his head. he takes a shuddery breath and holds on tighter. “i mean it. i love you, taehyung-ah. more than a friend. more than anything, really. i want you. you, not just sex with you. the whole thing. wanna--wanna hold your hand and shit, cuddle with you and show you off and buy you all the dumb anime figures you want and kiss you til our lips fall off--”

“can i kiss you now?” taehyung pulls away, just enough to look jimin square in the eyes. his face is a little puffy and there are tears in his eyes, lips open in a soft pout. he’s the most gorgeous boy jimin has ever seen. “wanted to kiss you every time i saw you, every time we fucked--god, it was torture, jimin. i had you but i--i didn’t. not really.”

“you have me,” jimin murmurs, knocking his nose against taehyung’s. “always did.”

taehyung shudders and presses closer. “can i kiss you?” he asks again, like jimin could possibly say no.

jimin answers him by leaning up and capturing taehyung’s pretty mouth is a soft kiss. one of his hands reaches up to cup at taehyung’s jaw, tongue gently guiding taehyung’s lips to part. tae kisses back enthusiastically, like he’s been starving for it, and jimin’s never felt so loved, so wanted. taehyung’s hands are firm anchors at his waist, one bracing the curve of jimin’s lower back to keep them flush against each other.

“one last question,” jimin murmurs against taehyung’s lips, pressing another firm, closed-mouthed kiss to the corner of his curved smile. “do you want to date me? for real?”

“fuck yes,” taehyung breathes, and in an instant he’s grabbing jimin securely around the waist and swinging him in a circle. jimin laughs loudly, openly, arms flying to taehyung’s neck for stability, legs wrapping around taehyung’s abdomen like a spider monkey. taehyung holds him up, kisses him breathless, says, “i love you,” for the hundredth time in the past five minutes. jimin hopes he’ll say it a million more. “we’re doing this?”

“hell yeah we’re doing this.” jimin grins so wide he’s afraid his face will crack open. “and i’m trying to do you. love declarations make me horny.”

taehyung’s expression shifts into something a little devious, sending a shiver of expectation down jimin’s spine. he sets jimin down, crowds him against the wall, trails slow, open-mouthed kisses up jimin’s neck until he can nip at his earlobe. “in that case,” he all-but purrs, hands grabbing at jimin’s ass with an unparalleled sense of urgency. “i love you.” he punctuates his statement by sucking a bruise into the sensitive skin under jimin’s ear. “i love you,” taehyung says again, grinding his hips forward until they’re pressed flush against jimin’s.

the studio door opens. “listen, okay, i’m happy for you guys but we have a filming schedule to--oh jesus christ. gross. go do that somewhere else.”

“gladly,” jimin says, eager to get taehyung home. he surges forward, whispers, “i love you, too,” against the shell of taehyung’s ear, and bounds down the hallway towards the exit. he can hear taehyung laughing behind him, calling his name, feet pounding against the carpeted floor. he hears the smile in taehyung’s words, hears how soft and sweet his name sounds dripping from taehyung’s lips like honey.

jimin opens the door, steps into the sunlight, soaks in the sound of taehyung’s happiness. hears the promise he’s making in every laugh, and smiles.