This morning, waking up to cold sheets on the other side of the bed is bliss.
Jimin rolls over and stretches, groaning at the ache in his limbs and in his head. But when he cracks open his eyes and squints against late morning sunlight, he smiles.
He is alone.
Jimin loves hookup culture. He loves how easy it is to go to the club, to dance with a stranger, to take them home. He loves the unspoken agreements. He loves the simplicity of avoiding uncomfortable conversations. He loves the saying there's plenty of fish in the sea, because hell yeah there are. And Jimin would rather throw out a net and pull in an entire school of fish than reel in a winning catch hook, line, and sinker.
This way, Jimin can hold men at a distance. He can have a taste without ruining his appetite. He can guard his heart without overthinking it.
A buzzing at his side has Jimin rolling over again, a hand fumbling over the mess on his bedside table. His eyes are back closed, the brightness of the room fueling the dull ache in his head. Blindly he searches for his phone, and when he finally grabs it, he unplugs it, swipes at it until the buzzing stops, and brings it to his ear.
"Good morning, sunshine!" Taehyung's deep voice croons on the other end. "How did you sleep?"
"Ngh," Jimin grumbles.
"How did last night go? Was he fun? He looked fun."
"Mnh," Jimin grunts.
"That good, huh?" Taehyung teases. Jimin smacks his tongue on the roof of his mouth. It tastes disgusting, and he grimaces. "I hope you used protection. Want me to bring you some coffee? Have you been drinking water? Did you take some aspirin?"
Jimin sighs, rubbing a palm across his dry, itchy eyes.
"Yes, mother. I'm fine, mother," he rasps. Jesus, he sounds terrible. "Don't come over. If I saw you right now, I'd probably kick your ass. Why'd you let me drink so much?"
"I'm the cool mom, we've established this. You have to summon Jin as your wingman if you want to be responsible," Taehyung replies.
"Whenever I do that, I end up going home alone," Jimin sasses.
"Did you hear that babe? You're the lame, overprotective mom!" In the background, Jimin can faintly hear Jin screeching a rebuttal. He grins. "Jin says he's glad you had fun but that he hopes your next prospect is a murderer."
"Extend my deepest gratitude."
"Hey! It's only a matter of time, Jiminie. It's basic statistics," Jin's voice suddenly booms through the phone's speaker. Jimin pulls it back a couple inches from his ear. "The average person meets seven hundred thousand people in their lifetime, of which eleven-ish are murderers. Since you've probably already slept with that many, you – "
"I'm going to hang up now."
Before Jimin presses the red button, Taehyung's voice returns.
"Wait! Seriously, how are you feeling? Do you want to get some breakfast? There's this new diner uptown I heard has killer pancakes."
"I...feel terrible," Jimin says. "Definitely going to need some aspirin. And an ice pack."
"For your head? Or for your ass?"
"Mhm," Jimin hums. "I don't really feel like going to breakfast, I'm sorry. I'll probably just get a coffee, swing by the bookstore, and then sleep for the rest of the day."
"Ooooooh, the bookstore, huh?" Taehyung teases. Jimin rolls his eyes and wishes Taehyung could see. "Adding a trophy to your collection, I see."
"Shut the fuck up, Tae," Jimin sighs, but his tone is all love.
"If I didn't know any better, I would say the only reason you sleep with everyone and their mom is so you can see the owner of said store all the time. Gives you an excuse to go in every weekend. We all know you don't read that much."
"Stop," Jimin groans. "He's just a friend. I don't even know if he's into men. Honestly, he gives me heavy het vibes."
"Please. Don't act like you haven't converted at least a dozen straight guys."
Jimin's voice holds a warning this time. His best friend knows better than to tease Jimin about that.
"I'm kiddinggg. Have fun with your nerdy book boy! ILOVEYOUBYE."
Taehyung hangs up before Jimin can attempt a counter argument.
Jimin lays there for a minute, willing his head to stop throbbing and for the room to stop spinning. When he finally extends an arm to set his phone back down, he notices a wrinkled slip of paper that wasn't there last night. Grabbing it, he sees it's a bar receipt. On the back, a number and brief message are messily scrawled.
𝚝𝚑𝚡, it reads.
The dude didn't even leave his name. Which is unfortunate, because Jimin definitely doesn't remember it. He crumples the note in his palm, tosses it in the trash, then drags his feet to the bathroom.
He's going to need a cold shower.
Jimin strolls out of the little corner café with a small iced spiced oat milk latte in one hand and a large black drip coffee in the other. It truly is amazing what caffeine can do. Jimin takes a long pull of his latte through the straw and lets out a moan that probably isn't appropriate for the public. After two measly sips, he's already feeling human again.
The sun is bright in the nearly cloudless sky, and the air clings to the last remnants of its warmth before fall sweeps in to steal it. Jimin's large, round sunglasses protect his hungover eyes and his vneck tshirt keeps him cool as he makes his way to the used bookstore a few blocks down. With every step his booted feet take, his mood lifts. Despite the rocky start to his morning, it's a damn good day.
Upon entering the store, a bell jingles over the door, and Jimin smiles. He found this little shop a couple years back. It seems strange to say it, but the bookstore saved him. At the time, Jimin was lost: coming off a horrendous break up, blacking out more than thrice a week, waking up in random beds.
But his discovery of the little store felt like finding an oasis in the middle of an unforgivable desert. No matter what mood Jimin is in, entering the store has an instant calming effect. Plants line the tops of the bookshelves, hang from the ceiling, and perch in the front window. Vines crawl along book spines and point to certain titles, like an employee offering sound advice.
One wall is worn red brick, and the other is plastered with torn pages of newspapers, magazines, atlases, and almanacs. String lights weave through the plants, casting a warm glow on everything the illumination touches. And it always smells like old books – sweet and musky, clinging to Jimin's nose even after he leaves.
He loves it here.
Stepping inside, Jimin sets the drip coffee on the counter. No one is behind it, but Jimin knows there will be.
He pushes his sunglasses atop his head and makes a beeline to the manga section in the back.
Jimin is a collector. Which is difficult, considering he is a student with little income. Another reason why the used bookstore is a godsend; Jimin can collect on a budget. He loves filling his bookshelves with stories of adventure and action. His favorite is One Piece, and he's almost collected every single volume of the series. He only lacks one. Just one, and for some reason, it has been the hardest to find.
A quick examination tells Jimin the manga selection is pretty much the same as last week. He's a little disappointed. After relinquishing a little huff, Jimin grabs an Attack on Titan volume he doesn't have yet and moves back to the front counter.
And Jimin's disappointment is whisked away.
The ambiance, the discounted books, and the friendly plants drew Jimin into the shop. But a wide dimpled smile, thick, retro horn rimmed glasses, and a long-fingered wave brings Jimin back again and again. The bookstore's owner, Namjoon, stands behind the counter. He's got the lid of his drip coffee popped off and blows on the hot drink's surface. The steam fogs up his glasses, and Jimin grins as he approaches.
"Hey Jimin!" Namjoon says. "Thanks for the coffee. You know you don't have to – "
"Hush," Jimin cuts him off. "We go over this every week, Joon. I have to save you from your own coffee. It would be unethical for me not to."
Namjoon scratches his neck with a sheepish smile. Jimin isn't lying. One time, Namjoon made him a cup, and Jimin will never forget his face when Jimin spat his first sip of the sludge into the trashcan.
"Yeah, yeah," Namjoon mumbles. Then he grabs the manga, opening the front cover to scan its barcode. "Just this one today?"
He always asks Jimin the same question when he checks out. And Jimin always nods an affirmation. There is a reason he only buys one at a time. Well. There was one exception, a while back, after Jimin had invited a couple into his bed.
"Yep. Unless you've got the special One Piece volume in the back?"
Jimin can dream, can't he?
"Oh!" Namjoon yelps, and Jimin startles. "Oh, sorry. I don't have the volume, but I do have something else for you!"
Namjoon scuttles through the door behind the counter, and Jimin can hear him banging around in the back. It sounds like something falls over, and Jimin thinks Namjoon says something along the lines of "don't you dare move."
When he emerges a few moments later, he holds something behind his back.
"If you don't want it or don't like it or already have it, you don't have to pretend you're excited. Okay?"
"Okay..." Jimin says uneasily.
Then, Namjoon whisks a box from behind his back and sets it on the counter in a flourish. Jimin blinks at it a couple times before he realizes what it is.
"No way," Jimin breathes. "Joon! What the fuck!"
In the box, still sealed and packaged, is a Zoro action figure – Jimin's favorite character from his favorite series. He already has a few back home, but not this one. Jimin recognizes it immediately and knows it's not a cheap model.
"Yeah, I was out with a friend, window shopping for some games and stuff. And I found this and thought of you," Namjoon says. He scratches his neck again, appearing self-conscious and unsure. "Really, if you don't like it, it's no big deal. I like it too, so if you don't want it I can keep it – "
"Um no fucking way you're keeping this!" Jimin gawks, picking the box up and looking inside, examining it from different angles. The figure is badass. "This is mine! You can't have it!"
Jimin sticks his tongue out at Namjoon, and Namjoon gives Jimin a megawatt smile. The gesture makes Jimin's tummy do a Nestle plunge. He tries his best to ignore it.
"Oh, phew. I was worried you'd think it's lame."
"Namjoon, you've got to be kidding. Nothing you do is ever lame. You're like – the fucking coolest," Jimin urges. Namjoon blushes. Jimin wants to pinch his cheeks. Again, he ignores it. "Thank you. Wow, Joon, thank you so much."
"You're welcome," Namjoon says, his voice quiet and soft. For a couple seconds Namjoon watches as Jimin stares lovingly at his new Zoro. When Jimin looks up and they make eye contact, neither looks away. Namjoon licks his lips. Then, he clears his throat and shakes his head like he's trying to rattle his brain back into place. Jimin can relate. "Er, anyway. Uh. Okay, your book! Yeah, this is a cool volume, have you read it?"
Namjoon finishes checking Jimin out, and Jimin discreetly checks Namjoon out too. He ignores this also. After Jimin pays, he makes to head out.
"Thanks again, Joon. Really, this is one of the coolest things anyone has ever done for me."
"Of course," Namjoon replies.
"I'll see you later!"
Jimin takes a few steps toward the door, until –
"Hey, Jimin! Wait!"
Jimin turns around and his blood runs a couple degrees colder. Namjoon looks extremely nervous.
"Yeah? You okay, Joon?"
"Yeah, I'm good, sorry. Just – um," Namjoon wipes his palms on his overall pants. "I was wondering."
Jimin waits a couple beats. Namjoon's mouth opens and closes a few times.
Jimin feels a little frozen and a lot shocked.
"God, I'm such a spaz," Namjoon chuckles to himself. Jimin laughs too, but it sounds kind of like a malfunctioning robot. "Can I have your number? I – I'd love to take you out sometime. If y-you're interested. Totally understand if no. And I also apologize if this is way overstepping a line."
"Like..." Jimin gulps. "Like, a date?"
"If you want," Namjoon squeaks.
Jimin chews his bottom lip. He hasn't gone on a date in years. Suddenly, he feels very guilty, with his wrapped manga in one hand, his half-drunk coffee in the other, and his new coveted action figure under his arm.
This feels unethical.
Yet, Jimin finds himself smiling.
"Yeah. Sure, Joonie," Jimin says. "A date with you sounds fun."
The guilt gnaws more insistently when Namjoon's face breaks into the most euphoric, enlivened, and enraptured smile Jimin has ever seen.
After putting his number into Namjoon's phone and walking home, Jimin sets his things on his kitchen counter and pulls out his own phone. When he already sees a text from an unknown number, an unwelcome thrill dances up his body.
Sat, Sept 19
UNKNOWN [12:57:42 PM]
hey, it's namjoon :D
are you free next thurs night??
Jimin stares at the message and feels a dizzying sense of fear and giddiness. He closes the conversation with Namjoon and opens his with Taehyung.
Sat, Sept 19
PJM [1:13:24 PM]
namjoon just asked me on a date
i said yes but now i think i might need to fake my own death to get out of it
TAETAE [1:14:49 PM]
who is this namjoon you speak of
do you need me to pretend to be the morgue again?
i can totally call this man if needed
i got u bb
PJM [1:17:06 PM]
...namjoon is the owner of the bookstore
TAETAE [1:17:46 PM]
I FUCKING KNEW IT
I CALLED IT
oh honey no you're not getting out of this one
i'm coming over
PJM [1:18:30 PM]
i'm not going
why are you coming over
TAETAE [1:20:22 PM]
we need to pick out your first date outfit uwu
lol this is so exciting
rip to your next victim
here lies namjoon
death by jibooty
i'm already omw btw
jin's coming too, obvi
PJM [1:20:59 PM]
your soulmate privileges are hereby revoked
TAETAE [1:21:13 PM]
kiss kiss bitch
Jimin sighs and opens Namjoon's message.
Sat, Sept 19
KIM NAMJOON [12:57:42 PM]
hello, it's namjoon :D
are you free next thurs night??
PJM [1:24:01 PM]
yes, i am free on thursday!
KIM NAMJOON [1:24:49 PM]
sweet, that's awesome!
i'll see you then!!
:) :) :)
Jimin stands there in his kitchen for an abnormally long time. His body feels like it is descending into fight or flight mode.
Jimin doesn't date.
He snaps out of it when he remembers Taehyung and Jin are coming over. There is something he needs to do before they arrive, because he does not need a judgmental Tae Lecture™ on top of his current crisis.
Grabbing the Attack on Titan volume, he scurries to his bedroom where his bookshelf resides, tucked away in the corner. Jimin sits at his desk and grabs a pen, then opens the manga to the front page. He taps the pen against his lips a couple times, then begins to write underneath the barcode Namjoon scanned less than an hour before.
𝚌𝚊𝚗𝚝 𝚛𝚎𝚖𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚊𝚖𝚎...𝚂𝚎𝚞𝚗𝚐𝚠𝚘𝚘? 𝚂𝚎𝚞𝚗𝚐𝚖𝚒𝚗? 𝚂𝚎𝚞𝚗𝚐-𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐? 𝚑𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚒𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚜𝚜𝚎𝚛, 𝚏𝚊𝚗𝚝𝚊𝚜𝚝𝚒𝚌 𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚜, 𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚍 𝚖𝚎 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗 𝚒𝚗𝚌𝚑 𝚘𝚏 𝚖𝚢 𝚕𝚒𝚏𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚗 𝚜𝚕𝚘𝚋𝚋𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚗 𝚖𝚢 𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚗
Jimin looks down at his handiwork and nods, popping the cap back on his pen. Then, Jimin takes the book to the bookshelf, finds an empty space, and slides it next to the plethora of others.
The shelf is nearly full. That first visit to Namjoon's bookstore had been after a nasty bout of break up sex with his ex. He was heartbroken and lost, and the first manga he bought from the shop bears a tear-stained scrawl that reads "𝙸 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚘𝚗𝚎" on the inside of the front cover.
Jimin swore to himself he would never let himself get hurt like that again. He was better now, in some ways. In others, he wasn't. But that had been the start of the tradition. Call it quirky, call it twisted. For every man Jimin lures between his sheets, he gifts himself a manga from the used bookstore down the road.
Bookshelf. Trophy display. Same thing.
In each copy, he jots a quick summary, for nostalgia sake. Then, he moves on. Taehyung thinks it's borderline sociopathic, and Jin worries for Jimin's wellbeing and safety.
Out of the entire bookshelf, not a single manga commemorates a date.
But Jimin can make one exception. He can make an exception for the kind, quirky owner of the bookstore that helped him move on. It's just one date. Jimin can do it. He can get through one date. Jimin knows how dates oftentimes end. And with that he is well-versed.
He crawls into bed after stripping to his briefs and sidles in for a nap. He knows Taehyung and Jin will happily join him when they arrive. Taehyung has his own key, after all. As he drifts, Jimin wonders what he will write in Namjoon's manga. He wonders if Namjoon will be rough or gentle, what his preferences are, his kinks, his fantasies.
As likely as it is Jimin is going to hell for what he does, he smiles to himself. Because the bookstore's owner has no idea a spot on Jimin's shelf is reserved just for him.
On paper, Jimin's date with Namjoon is the worst he's ever been on.
But somehow, it's also the best.
Namjoon apparently doesn't drive. So Jimin picks him up and takes them to their first destination. A fancy French restaurant. Good thing Jimin wore his slut pants, lowest cut blouse, and curb stompers. He's sure his glitter eyeshadow will help him blend in, too.
He's going to murder Taehyung.
To top it off, on the way to the restaurant, Namjoon informs Jimin once they finish eating, he has a couple tickets for a movie at the cinema.
A dinner and a movie.
Not only is Jimin going on a date, he's going on the datiest date known to humankind.
Now, Jimin fidgets in his chair across from Namjoon. Between them is a cloth covered table decorated with candles, fancy silverware, and glasses of fine wine.
This is way too much.
"You look nervous," Namjoon murmurs. The candlelight is warm on his olive skin, making it look even smoother than it normally does. Namjoon wears a plain white button up shirt and slacks. His glasses are gone, and his hair is tastefully styled. Jimin has to admit he looks really fucking good. This is not helpful. He considers running to the bathroom and climbing out the window. "Are you okay?"
Jimin grabs his wine glass by the stem and downs half of it.
"Mhm, I'm good."
Jimin nearly dumps his wine on the pristine tablecloth. His wide eyes meet Namjoon's, and his tight leather pants feel a little bit tighter after taking in Namjoon's quirked eyebrow and knowing smirk.
Oh, that's hot.
"Me? No, I never lie," Jimin scoffs dramatically.
Namjoon leans back in his chair and crosses his arms across his chest. His biceps pull his shirt's fabric taught, and one of the buttons looks like it's hanging on for dear life.
Jimin's mouth goes dry.
"Don't lie about lying, that's double trouble," Namjoon teases.
"You don't like trouble, Namjoon?"
Jimin takes another calculated sip from his wine, this time letting his bottom lip snag on the glass's edge.
Namjoon stares. Jimin smiles angelically.
"Well you don't seem nervous anymore," Namjoon swallows roughly.
"If I'm going to be honest, I just – I don't really date."
Namjoon hums and nods.
"Ah, yeah. Me neither."
"Nope," Namjoon pops the 'p'. "I think it's been a couple years since I've gone on a date."
"Wow," Jimin breathes. "I didn't expect that. You seem like..."
"A guy who goes on lots of dates?" Namjoon quirks his brow again.
Jimin wishes he would stop doing that.
"I mean, yeah. You're nice and charming and handsome. Very datable."
"I could say the same about you," Namjoon replies.
"Ah. Well, I guess I just actively avoid dates."
"Same. Ever since my ex and I broke up, dating hasn't felt right."
At that, Jimin chugs the rest of his wine. Ten minutes into their first date and they're on the topic of exes. This can't be a good sign.
"Why?" Jimin squeaks. "Shitty breakup? Scarred for life?"
He might as well be talking about himself.
"No, not at all. It was a mutual agreement. We're better off as friends. We're still pretty close, actually," Namjoon answers, completely at ease. Jimin eyes Namjoon's wine across the table. He hasn't taken a single sip. "I dated around a little after we broke it off. But everyone wanted to get in my pants right away. I'm not really into that, the whole hookup thing. I move pretty slow."
"Mmh, I see."
Jimin frantically waves down their waiter and orders an entire bottle of wine.
"What about you?"
"Hm?" Jimin blinks. "Oh, me. I, uh, I just. Yeah, same thing. Since my ex and I broke up, dating hasn't appealed to me."
Namjoon waits, giving Jimin space to say more if he wants to. When Jimin just takes a sip of his water, staring at an imaginary point over Namjoon's shoulder, Namjoon moves on.
Jimin could cry, he's so grateful.
"Well, I'm glad you agreed to this, then. It's good to step outside of our comfort zone sometimes, yeah?" Namjoon asks.
"Yeah, definitely," Jimin affirms.
When the waiter drops off the bottle of wine, Jimin tops off his glass.
Maybe it's the wine, or maybe it's a miracle. After that, conversation flows freely, and the initial awkwardness is quickly forgotten. Jimin is reminded how much he likes Namjoon. He is so smart, Jimin could listen to him talk all night. At the same time, he's an excellent listener. When Jimin tells him tales of him and Taehyung's adventures, Namjoon nods and gasps and laughs at all the right moments.
By the time they've finished the wine, they realize they've been waiting for their food for an hour and a half. When the waiter swings by, apologizing profusely until they're red in the face, Namjoon and Jimin get the giggles so badly Jimin has to excuse himself to the bathroom. Not because he needs an escape, but because he's afraid he might piss himself.
When the food finally comes, Namjoon checks his watch and announces the movie starts in half an hour. And it's a twenty-minute walk. So they inhale their food, still giggling and drawing attention from their neighboring diners. Jimin thinks the food is delicious, but it's hard to tell when he's swallowing before he can savor it.
After paying and turning down Jimin's offer to split the bill, Namjoon grabs Jimin's hand and drags him to the theater. They half jog half speed walk, and the entire way Jimin stares at their conjoined hands, at the way Namjoon's completely engulfs his own.
Despite their efforts, they are late for the movie.
The cinema closes the doors after the movie starts, so Namjoon turns to Jimin with an apologetic frown.
"Fuck, I'm sorry, this is so lame," Namjoon sighs. "Do you wanna just walk back to your car? Are you sober enough to drive?"
No, Jimin is not.
"I can pay for us to see a different movie," Jimin suggests. "It's no biggie!"
Namjoon grumbles about his disappointment in the restaurant, about how he wanted to see the drama. When they look at the showings, they see there is only one more movie playing that night.
So, Jimin buys two tickets.
It's some animated kids' film, and it's horrendous. Jimin and Namjoon are the only two in the theater, save an elderly couple up front and a teen couple making out in the back. Still, they laugh and whisper amongst themselves the whole time. About three quarters of the way through, Namjoon grabs Jimin's hand again, threading their fingers together and giving a gentle squeeze.
Jimin has no idea how the movie ends.
Namjoon holds his hand on the walk back to Jimin's car, too. All the way, they make fun of the movie, laughing at the strange characters and cheesy storyline.
"Is that seriously what kids are watching these days? No wonder society's falling apart, we're rotting the brains of the youth!" Namjoon squawks.
When they reach Jimin's car, Namjoon walks Jimin to the driver's side.
"I can walk home from here," Namjoon says. "I planned all of this within walking distance of my apartment."
"What?!" Jimin smacks Namjoon's chest. Namjoon weakly dodges the attack with a giggle. "Why did you have me pick you up, then?"
"Wanted to see if you would," Namjoon grins. Then, he pulls Jimin into a hug, and Jimin forgets how to breathe. "Thank you for hanging out with me tonight. I had a great time. Best date I've been on in a while."
Jimin hugs Namjoon back, his arms around Namjoon's neck and his face pressed to his shoulder. Namjoon smells like soap and books and something else – something unmistakably him. Jimin breathes deeply and relaxes in Namjoon's hold.
"Thanks for asking me," Jimin murmurs.
When he pulls back, Namjoon's eyes are smiling. Jimin looks up at him longer than he probably should. He thinks he might be in shock; somehow, he's sort of forgotten he was on a date. It doesn't feel like one. It feels natural and fun and unbelievably easy.
Jimin straightens Namjoon's collar and watches his tanned adam's apple bob. He lets his fingers linger there, then looks up. Namjoon's eyes aren't smiling anymore. They're cloudy and dark and trained on Jimin's lips.
"I'm going to kiss you now," Jimin whispers.
Namjoon doesn't say anything. He doesn't nod nor does he move. His eyes only watch Jimin's lips as they move closer, closer, until he can't watch without closing his eyes. Then Jimin stands on his tippy toes, and his lips brush over Namjoon's.
A jolt passes through Jimin, from his lips to his toes. He gasps, then leans forward and touches his lips to Namjoon's again. But this time he stays. And finally, Namjoon moves. His arms tighten around Jimin's waist, pulling him flush to his chest. Jimin can feel Namjoon's heart beating through his shirt, a heavy rhythm that matches his own.
It's a mild night, but suddenly Jimin is very warm. The temperature of the air around them spikes, feeling hot and sticky like mid-July humidity. But rather than pulling away to cool off, Jimin opens his mouth and sucks Namjoon in, letting himself melt.
Namjoon's lips are soft but sure. They mold perfectly to Jimin's, pressing and sliding and tasting so slowly it feels a bit like drowning. Jimin drowns in Namjoon, and it's Namjoon that drags him back to the surface so he can breathe.
Jimin gasps for air when Namjoon pulls away. Namjoon's chest heaves under Jimin's fisted grip on his shirt as he untangles his fingers from Jimin's hair. They stand there and breathe for a few moments. When Jimin thinks he can stand unsupported, he smooths his palms down Namjoon's chest.
"Are you sure you want to walk home?" he rasps. "I can – we can go back to my place."
Namjoon licks his lips, and Jimin watches how his bottom lips pops in and out of his mouth. He can't help it. Jimin leans in and kisses Namjoon again, his tongue following the same path as Namjoon's.
When they separate again, it's with a wet smack.
Namjoon wordlessly reaches around Jimin's body, opens the car door, and waits for Jimin to climb in. When Jimin finally does, Namjoon leans down and presses his reddened lips to Jimin's temple.
"Are you getting in?" Jimin asks.
"Maybe next time," Namjoon says softly.
Then, with a smile, he closes Jimin's car door and walks down the sidewalk towards his apartment. Jimin sits in his car for ten minutes – hands on the steering wheel and glossy eyes staring blankly through the windshield – before he finally drives home.
Fri, Sept 25
TAETAE [12:18:09 AM]
how did it go??????
did you get it in???????????
PJM [12:23:32 AM]
TAETAE [12:24:45 AM]
PJM [12:26:07 AM]
no, i did not get it in
TAETAE [12:26:56 AM]
so...the date was bad?
PJM [12:27:45 AM]
TAETAE [12:29:26 AM]
i am very confused
PJM [12:30:01 AM]
lol ya me too
TAETAE [12:31:09 AM]
the date was good then??
PJM [12:33:31 AM]
TAETAE [12:35:14 AM]
PJM [12:37:11 AM]
There are several next times.
That weekend, Taehyung talks Jimin out of going to the clubs. Instead, Jimin, Taehyung, and Jin stay in, order take out, and have a sleepover. Waking up on Saturday to a text from Namjoon rather than a killer hangover is a first for Jimin. It's not the worst thing in the world, he begrudgingly admits.
Like always, Jimin picks up two coffees from the café and keeps Namjoon company. They chat at the counter, and it's like every other weekend. Except this time, Jimin is very distracted. He can't stop thinking about how Namjoon tastes, and Namjoon fiddling with the rings on Jimin's fingers throughout their conversation is the opposite of helpful.
After a couple hours, Jimin decides he better go home.
"Sorry, Joon, I'm not going to be buying anything today."
Namjoon's dimples make an appearance.
"You don't need an excuse to visit me anymore, Min. You never needed one. Come whenever you want. I'm always happy to see you."
Namjoon asks Jimin on more dates. After the first few, Jimin no longer needs Taehyung and Jin's encouragement and convincing to say yes.
Eventually, Jimin asks Namjoon on dates, too.
They tour art museums and go on bike rides. They watch more movies (and arrive on time), they go to speakeasies, they lay down blankets in the park and have picnics. They take canoe rides on the river and watch the trees on the banks change from green to yellow to orange to red. Jimin takes Namjoon on drives to nowhere, and Namjoon tries – emphasis on tries – to teach Jimin how to skateboard.
They talk and talk, about their childhoods and their families and their favorite memories. About their dreams and their fears.
There is lots of hand holding. There are lots of hugs given and received, and there are lots of kisses exchanged. But every time Jimin invites Namjoon up to his apartment, Namjoon only smiles.
"Maybe next time."
Jimin decides he can wait.
When autumn falls into winter, Namjoon suggests they have a small excursion with their friends. According to him, it's about time they combine each other's circles.
"C'mon, Jimin, I know Yoongi and Hoseok will love Taehyung and Jin. It'll be fun. Please? Pleeeaaassseee?"
Jimin eventually agrees, and Taehyung and Jin are more than ecstatic to finally meet Namjoon. The evening of the triple date, though, Taehyung and Jin swing by Jimin's apartment to pick him up and find him hyperventilating on the toilet.
"Jimin! Minie, baby, what's going on? What's wrong?" Jin worries, rushing to sit on the tub while Taehyung kneels in front of Jimin, cupping his tear-stained cheeks in his hands.
Jimin just shakes his head back and forth, staring at nothing, hugging himself, rocking forward and back.
"Jimin. Look at me."
Jimin blinks tears from his eyes. Taehyung is so blurry, but he tries.
"I can't do this," Jimin says wetly. "What if they don't like me? What if they do like me? What if – "
"No, hey. Hey, Jimin," Taehyung shushes him. He strokes Jimin's hair, and Jin rubs his back. "We're not going to worry about what ifs. Okay?"
"I'm scared, Tae," Jimin wails. "I just – I have a bad feeling."
Taehyung's eyes fill with tears, too, and Jin makes a sympathetic noise beside Jimin.
"I know you're scared, and that's okay. But it's good. Being scared is good, it means you care. It's going to be okay, Jimin. Jin and I will be there the whole time. Okay? We aren't going anywhere, no matter what. I bet we are going to have the best time ever."
Jimin's soulmate's voice is firm and sure, even if he is crying with Jimin now. Jimin can't stand to see Taehyung cry, so he takes a deep breath, sits up straight, and wipes his eyes with the backs of his hands.
"O-Okay. Okay, let's go."
"Honey, we gotta fix your makeup first. You look like a distraught racoon," Jin tsks.
Jimin garbles out a laugh.
Taehyung is right. Yoongi and Hoseok are super nice, super chill, and super fun. The karaoke room they rent out is the perfect size to fit all six of them, and after a couple beers they're all sharing two microphones, belting out The Greatest Showman's soundtrack.
At the end of the evening, the couples go their separate ways, promising to get together again soon. Namjoon and Jimin take a taxi back to Jimin's apartment. Jimin doesn't ask how Namjoon is getting home. When they arrive, Namjoon walks Jimin to the building, hand in hand, side to side.
"Tonight was perfect," Namjoon whispers, his lips brushing Jimin's forehead, sending tingles down his spine.
"It really was," Jimin murmurs.
He leans his weight against Namjoon so his full lips press more firmly. Arms wrap around waists and long breaths are exhaled. Jimin would stay here all night if he could.
When Namjoon starts pulling away, Jimin whines and tightens his hold.
"Let me kiss you, you spider monkey," Namjoon snorts out a laugh.
"But it's cold," Jimin pouts, fighting Namjoon's strength to wriggle closer.
"Let me warm you up, then."
There's something in Namjoon's tone that halts Jimin's struggle. He lets Namjoon push him back so he can see his face. Jimin's breath hitches; Namjoon is serious. His lips are parted and his eyes are piercing. A mittened hand reaches up and pushes Jimin's hair out of his face, then runs gently down his cheek. Then it cups the back of Jimin's neck and pulls him in.
A few months ago, Jimin would have said kissing was unnecessary. He would have said it was filler, a lead up to the main event. But now, kissing is everything. Jimin could kiss Namjoon every night for the rest of forever and be fine with just that. Now, kissing fills Jimin with contentment. It fills him with zeal. It fills him with something words can't express.
From the tips of his toes to the crown of his head, Jimin feels Namjoon's kiss. It starts soft and slow, Namjoon's hand guiding Jimin's jaw to move how he wants it to. When it deepens, Jimin gasps into Namjoon's mouth. His legs turn to jello as Namjoon's tongue asks permission, and when Jimin grants him access, a low noise rumbles in Namjoon's chest.
"Ah!" Jimin pants. His back abruptly bumps against the brick exterior of his apartment building. The fire escape looms above them, streetlamps casting angled shadows across the wall and their faces. Namjoon is backlit, and Jimin can't make out his features. But he can hear his breath, he can feel his hands tremble. "Nam – "
Their mouths slam back together.
Jimin keens when Namjoon's teeth drag along his lips, when he sucks at his tongue. Namjoon is never rough, but he certainly isn't being gentle. His body cages Jimin in, hardness at his front and at his back. Jimin feels trapped, and he loves it. He pulls Namjoon's hair, arches his chest up, and Namjoon presses their hips together.
"Want to touch you," Namjoon says, pressing his forehead to Jimin's.
Their breath condenses between them, intermingling, uneven puffs of air. Namjoon's hands run up and down Jimin's sides, and although there are layers between them, the touch is searing.
"Come up with me."
"Think about who you're asking, Joon," Jimin teases. "I've been trying to seduce you for months now."
When he smiles, Jimin kisses Namjoon's dimples, one by one.
"Let's go, then."
Their chests are already heaving; climbing a few flights of stairs only adds fuel to the fire. By the time Jimin unlocks his apartment and pulls Namjoon in, sweat prickles his brow and his lungs burn. As quickly as they can, they toe off their shoes and shed their outerwear.
"Your apartment is cute," Namjoon murmurs, stepping behind Jimin as he hangs up his coat. Large hands encircle Jimin's waist, and pillowy lips nuzzle the juncture of his neck and shoulder. "What's your bedroom look like?"
Jimin giggles, twists in Namjoon's hold, and yanks him down, engulfing those lips with his own. Their breathing is still heavy, and when Jimin drags his hands down Namjoon's spine, the cotton is hot and damp.
"C'mon," Jimin mumbles. Namjoon follows him into his room. Jimin makes a beeline for the bed, plops onto his side, and pats the empty space beside him. Namjoon leans against the doorframe, just looking at Jimin. His long fingers tuck into his pants pockets, and he bites back a smile. Jimin furrows his brow and purses his lips into a beaked pout. "Cuddles."
"Yes, sir!" Namjoon salutes, then burrows next to Jimin.
The pair has cuddled on couches and on benches, on picnic quilts and in theater seats. But never before have they shared a bed. Jimin has never felt like this before. How many times has he done this? Welcoming a man into his bed is nothing new.
But once Namjoon pillows Jimin's head with one arm and wraps the other around his waist, once Jimin hooks a leg over Namjoon's hip and their eyes are level, just inches apart...
Jimin is nervous.
And of course Namjoon can tell.
"You okay, baby?" Namjoon asks lowly. His dark eyes bounce between Jimin's, like he can't decide which one to settle on. "We don't have to do this, you know. If you're not ready, I can go home. Did I do something to make you uncomfortable?"
Jimin shakes his head.
"No, I'm not uncomfortable, Joon," he says. "I'm just – I don't know. I'm..."
"Hey," Namjoon soothes. He pulls Jimin closer until he can kiss the tip of Jimin's nose. "We can move at whatever speed you want."
Jimin can't believe he's here. He can't believe he is in his bed with Namjoon, can't believe the slow-moving romantic is slowing down for him. He can't believe this is finally happening.
As Namjoon's lips trail across his cheek, kiss down his jaw, and whisper along the lobe of his ear, Jimin's eyes flutter closed.
"Make love to me, Namjoon."
Jimin can hear Namjoon's hard swallow.
"Yeah?" he hums in Jimin's ear. Namjoon's tongue tickles the soft spot behind it, then hooks the lobe between his lips. He tugs. Jimin sighs. "I've wanted that for a long time, Jimin."
Namjoon shifts his weight until he hovers over Jimin, the long line of his body pressed against every inch of Jimin's.
"Me too," Jimin breathes.
His hips cant up, and one of Namjoon's palms comes down to grip his waist, holding him down. As Namjoon licks and nips at Jimin's throat, his hand drags his shirt up until Jimin's tummy is exposed. Namjoon leans back, looking down at the sight of his fingers around Jimin's waist, his thumb stroking slow, smooth circles beside his navel.
"You're so beautiful, Min," Namjoon says. Jimin bites back a moan when Namjoon scoots back, leans down, and kisses the sensitive skin above his jean's waistband. He moves reverently, sucking Jimin into the heat behind his lips, bit by bit. Jimin cards his fingers through Namjoon's hair, arching his back when Namjoon nips at his hipbone. "Want to kiss you all over. Want to taste you."
Namjoon moves upwards, nosing at Jimin's shirt until it is shucked under his armpits. Jimin raises his arms above his head, expecting Namjoon to slip it off. But he doesn't. Instead, Namjoon dips down to lave his flattened tongue against one of Jimin's nipples. Jimin yelps, fingers grasping the sheets, eyes squeezing shut, biting his lip to keep his noises at bay.
When the warm pad of Namjoon's thumb tugs Jimin's lip free, he blinks his eyes open. Namjoon is there, watching Jimin. Namjoon grips Jimin's shirt and Jimin helps him remove it.
"Don't hold back," Namjoon says. "I love your voice. I wanna hear you."
Namjoon grabs the collar of his own shirt and pulls it over his head, and Jimin's mind goes blank.
They kiss again. Namjoon's chest feels scorching against Jimin's, and he's addicted. It isn't long before their hips begin a slow grind. Jimin can feel Namjoon's erection against his own, and he feels a bit frantic. He presses up, searching for more pressure, for something harder, faster, but Namjoon holds himself just out of reach. He only gives Jimin just enough, enough to keep him desperate.
Namjoon is really sweating now, and Jimin knows he is, too. When he traces the tip of his tongue around the edges of Namjoon's lips, he can taste the salt of it. Jimin can feel the scratch of his stubble and the heat of his breath. Jimin's hands trace the contours of Namjoon's shoulders, of his spine. They're slick, and when Jimin drags his nails along them, they merely slip out of his grip.
"Namjoon," Jimin rasps. "Can we – ah – pants, can we take them off?"
There is no hesitation whatsoever.
Leaning back until he is kneeling between Jimin's knees, Namjoon's fingers fumble with Jimin's fly.
"N-No, you first," Jimin argues, pushing Namjoon's hands away weakly. "Please."
Namjoon doesn't question it. With his brow furrowed in concentration, he tugs at his jeans until they are unbuttoned and unzipped. Jimin looks down at the tent in his boxers, at the way the front gaps open. Then he shuffles off the bed and yanks everything down, kicking them aside before crawling back up to rejoin Jimin.
Jimin stares open mouthed at his cock.
He watches it bob as Namjoon reaches for Jimin's pants. The tip is pearled with precum, the head swollen and red. As Jimin lifts his hips so Namjoon can drag his bottoms' waistband over his ass, saliva pools in his mouth as the vein on the shaft's underside pulses.
A curse whispered under Namjoon's breath jerks Jimin out of his trance.
Then Namjoon's hands are on him. They're dragging down his pelvis, his thumbs brushing Jimin's flushed cock. They're kneading Jimin's thighs, they're worshiping the muscles they find there, they're spreading Jimin so his hole is exposed.
Jimin spreads his legs wider, basking in Namjoon's shock as he realizes just how flexible Jimin is.
"Jimin, fuck," Namjoon chokes. "Fuck, oh fuck."
"Kiss me," Jimin requests.
He hoists up Jimin's knees until they're bent by his chest. Then he mouths along the backside of Jimin's thighs, sucking hard enough to sting, then uses his tongue to sooth it. Namjoon kisses a trail from the crook of Jimin's knee to the crease of his ass, then repeats the process on the other side. Jimin puts his hands over Namjoon's, wordlessly telling him he can hold his own legs. When he does, Namjoon growls, sliding his palms down the backs of Jimin's legs until they cup his ass.
"Can I eat you out, baby?" Namjoon asks, and Jimin can't stop his laugh. "What?"
"Of course you can, the fuck?" Jimin goads, increasing the pressure on his legs so he is spread wider for Namjoon, so he has better access. Namjoon must not think it's very funny, because he doesn't respond. He only drops down and bites the fatty flesh an inch from Jimin's rim. "Joon – fuck!"
"Trouble, that's what you are," Namjoon murmurs against Jimin's inner thigh, depositing a sprinkling of soft kisses there. He veers inwards, until he's mouthing at the bottom of Jimin's balls. "Good?"
Jimin nods, not daring trust his mouth again.
Namjoon's tongue dips lower, skimming along Jimin's perineum. When it meets the puckered ring of Jimin's ass, he stops.
"Namjoon, please," Jimin begs.
He feels Namjoon's lips spread into a smile before he drops a wet, chaste kiss there.
Jimin moans as Namjoon's strong hands pull Jimin's cheeks apart, stretching his hole enough Jimin can feel the skin tug. When a warm glob of saliva drips onto it, he nearly convulses.
"So perfect," Namjoon breathes.
Then, he feasts.
Jimin has never felt out of control. Never before has someone unraveled him like this, left him crying and begging, pushed him close to the edge only to yank him back, again and again.
Namjoon's tongue circles and teases. Its tip presses hard enough to catch on Jimin's hole as he flicks it up and down, side to side. Every time, Jimin thinks he'll press in, but he doesn't. Namjoon just licks until Jimin's ass is dripping, until his cock weeps enough precome to puddle on his belly.
Gasping and moaning, Jimin chants Namjoon's name. It doesn't phase him. He keeps circling, flicking, teasing and pressing. When Jimin clenches, trying to do something to quell the delicious ache in his groin, Namjoon moans. The ache flares.
"You gonna let me in?" Namjoon asks.
"Mnh," Jimin whimpers. "Can't."
Jimin shakes his head, his fingernails digging into his own flesh, leaving swollen little crescents behind his knees. When Namjoon's touch disappears, Jimin lifts his head and looks down his writhing body to see why.
Namjoon's lips are wet and swollen, and his chin is shiny. He looks up at Jimin through half-lidded eyes.
"Why not?" Namjoon asks.
Then, the pad of a finger touches Jimin's hole.
"Ah!" Jimin mewls. "I'm t-too tight..."
Namjoon doesn't apply any pressure with his finger. He only circles Jimin's rim like he had with his tongue, over and over, his touch so light it's ticklish. Once, then twice, Namjoon plants a kiss on the back of Jimin's thigh.
"Where's your lube at, Min?" It takes a moment for Jimin to remember how to say "under the mattress," but he eventually manages. Namjoon leans over the side of the bed, searching until he comes up with what he needed. He wastes no time, popping the cap and squeezing it liberally onto a few fingers. "You can let go of your legs, baby."
Jimin does, and he hadn't realized his feet had gone numb. He wiggles his toes as Namjoon settles between his legs, resting his chest against Jimin's and reaching his lubricated hand to loosely cup Jimin's opening. Jimin ignores the pins and needles that shoot up his shins as he again spreads wide.
Namjoon suckles Jimin's collarbone as he prods his middle finger against Jimin. His ass is already slick, but the warm lube on Namjoon's hand feels amazing as it's spread up its cleft.
"Kiss me," Jimin pleads again.
Just like their first date, Namjoon quirks a brow at Jimin. He applies more pressure against Jimin's hole, and Jimin bites his lip as he feels it flutter under Namjoon's touch.
"Do you know where my mouth has been?" Namjoon asks, smirking as the tip of his finger slips past the first ring of muscle.
Jimin's jaw goes slack as Namjoon sinks in to the knuckle, until the rest of his fingers are squished against the swell of Jimin's asscheeks.
"Kiss me," Jimin whispers. Namjoon supports his weight on an elbow by Jimin's head as he leans down and grants Jimin's wish. It's less a kiss, more an exchange of breath and a tangled swirl of tongues. Namjoon's finger moves so slowly, dragging in and out, brushing Jimin's walls. He gasps into Namjoon's mouth, at the burn and the stretch. "Another, I'm ready for another."
"Not yet," Namjoon denies lowly.
He continues his ministrations, finger moving in and out at a leisurely pace. Jimin feels sweat dripping down his back, his neck, his temples. Every muscle in his body is coiled, desperate for release. Namjoon crooks his digit, massaging upwards, in search of something Jimin knows will thieve his sanity.
"Namjoon please, I need another, please." Namjoon kisses down Jimin's neck, sucking bruises and groaning. He ignores Jimin's request and presses his finger deeper, angling up. The veins in his forearm strain from the effort, and Jimin reaches down to grip his stiff wrist. "Namjoon, I swear to fuck – oh."
Namjoon huffs smugly as Jimin arches up, a sharp pulse of molten euphoria spreading from his core to his limbs.
Only then does Namjoon add another finger, and Jimin hardly notices. Namjoon still moves slowly – achingly slow – but this allows precision. It allows Namjoon to perfect his rhythm, to knead Jimin's insides until he is contracting and clenching around Namjoon. The orgasm takes Jimin by surprise. He pulses hot and wet across his abdomen, mouth open in a silent cry. Namjoon doesn't stop, continues scissoring his fingers until Jimin's cock twitches dryly.
"That," Namjoon says, "was the hottest thing I've ever seen."
Jimin dopily smiles, reaching up to slap weakly at Namjoon's shoulder. It ends up resembling a caress instead, but Jimin couldn't care less. Rather than scold Namjoon for his disobedience, Jimin slides his hand from Namjoon's shoulder onto his own chest. His skin is hyper charged, making his light touch intense and jarring. But he drifts down until he feels stickiness, cupping his palm and collecting as much as he can.
Then, he reaches down to rub it alongside Namjoon's fingers inside of him. He coats his sensitive, swollen rim with his come, then wiggles a finger inside himself with Namjoon's two. Namjoon makes a strangled noise, and Jimin feels his own cock begin to plump up again.
With his free hand, Jimin pulls Namjoon down by the nape of his neck.
"Fuck my come into me, Joonie," he hisses.
"Oh my fucking god, Jimin," Namjoon groans, shoving his fingers deeper, dragging Jimin's along with them. "You're gonna kill me."
Jimin smiles, pulling his finger out of himself. His grin widens when Namjoon's fingers follow suit.
"Where'd it go?" Namjoon fumbles his messy hand through Jimin's sheets until he comes up with the lube. "Fucking fuck."
Jimin watches Namjoon squeeze more lube into his palm, then pump his straining cock with it. It drips down his shaft, and Jimin knows this will be messy.
Just how he likes it.
"Hurry," Jimin whines, writhing and tugging at his own half-hard cock. "C'mon."
Namjoon weight is back, and when his cockhead circles Jimin's rim, Jimin wraps his legs around Namjoon's waist.
"Jimin," Namjoon sighs, finally breaching his hole.
Jimin's lungs feel like they collapse as he stretches around Namjoon's girth. He slides in slowly, inch by inch. The stretch burns, and it's like he feels everything and nothing all at once. When Jimin thinks it's almost all the way in, he feels Namjoon's fingers circled and clamped around the base. Jimin glances down and his breath gurgles when he sees Namjoon's hardly halfway in.
"Fuck fuck fuck, Namjoon wait," Jimin wheezes.
Namjoon immediately stops.
"What baby? Are you okay? Does it hurt?"
"Ngh, a little," Jimin slurs. His fingers clamp down on Namjoon's shoulders. "C-Can you go a little slower?"
Namjoon nods, watching Jimin's face closely as he drags himself back out. When the cleft of his cock catches on Jimin's rim, he slowly presses back in, just a bit more than last time.
"Better?" he asks, repeating the motion.
Jimin's eyes are leaking tears, and he feels like he might combust. But he nods, pulling Namjoon's body closer. Namjoon's weight is comforting, and after a few more thrusts, Namjoon bottoms out.
"Wait," Jimin whispers again.
Namjoon keeps his hips glued to Jimin's. With a hand Jimin hopes hasn't been up his ass, Namjoon brushes Jimin's sweaty hair out of his eyes. Then he leans down and kisses him, so soft and tender Jimin thinks he might cry again.
"So full, Joon," Jimin says. His lips hardly move, preoccupied with Namjoon's mouth. "Does it feel good?"
Namjoon releases a shuddering breath, turning his head to the side, then rolling his hips. The movement presses his cock deeper, and Jimin chokes on his breath.
"Feels so good, Jimin," Namjoon groans. Again, he rolls his hips, and this time they moan together. The sound alone has Jimin's cock throbbing between their bellies. "Baby, can I move? I-I don't know if I can stay still much longer."
Jimin turns his head, his mouth searching until Namjoon seals their lips together. Then Jimin rolls his hips too, so that Namjoon's cock slips out an inch before pressing back in. It's so intense, Jimin nearly screams.
"Fuck me. Fuck me, now."
Namjoon pulls out until his cockhead is poised at Jimin's rim, then he sinks back in. Jimin digs his heels into his back, encouraging the movement, curling up to meet it.
A high whine builds in Namjoon's chest, but he listens. His hips pick up their rhythm, until Jimin's tenor moans harmonize with Namjoon's bass.
Jimin almost feels suffocated by Namjoon's presence, but it's what he needs. He doesn't want air if he can't share it with Namjoon. He doesn't want to distinguish whose sweat is whose, where one's skin ends and where another's begins. It's like their first kiss. Jimin wants to drown in Namjoon, to be full of him in every way possible.
"Get on top, baby," Namjoon grunts.
They roll over, Namjoon on his back and Jimin straddling his hips. Reaching back, Jimin lines himself up again, watching Namjoon's face as he sits back on his cock. Namjoon's chest rises and falls, flawless and gleaming in the dim light of Jimin's bedroom. He's fucking beautiful.
And he's all Jimin's.
"Look at you," Jimin murmurs.
Then, he moves.
Bracing himself with small hands on Namjoon's wide chest, Jimin bounces up and down his length. Namjoon's grip moves from his thighs to his waist, clamping around him, squeezing until his fingers nearly meet on each side.
"Wanna fuck you forever," Namjoon spits through clenched teeth. His hips snap up and his hands force Jimin down. Jimin's brain rattles in his skull and his breath punches out of him. "Just like this."
"Please," Jimin barely manages.
"You'd like that?" Namjoon grits, pistoning faster, harder. "Wanna sit on my cock anytime I want?"
"Yes!" Jimin cries, then collapses forward.
Namjoon braces a hand at the small of Jimin's back, then sits up. The abrupt shift startles Jimin, and a squeak sneaks past his lips. But Namjoon holds him up, their chests pressed together, Namjoon's cock still nestled deep inside.
For a moment they just sit there, a dizzying change of pace. Namjoon sloppily mouths at Jimin's throat, at his collarbones, and Jimin laces his fingers in Namjoon's hair. Scratching his scalp gently, Jimin sighs as Namjoon's hands roam his back.
"Lean back," Namjoon says. Jimin is puzzled but complies. Namjoon's arms still support him, and Jimin reaches back to catch himself with his hands on the mattress behind him. "There you go."
Namjoon remains seated, making sure Jimin can support his own weight. Jimin's arms feel dangerously like noodles, but watching Namjoon's hands explore every dip and curve of his abdomen gives him enough strength to stand. But then, Namjoon licks his hand and wraps it around Jimin's cock, and Jimin wobbles.
"Can you stay up?" Namjoon asks. He continues stroking Jimin, slowly enough to keep him from coming, but quickly enough to get him close. Jimin pants and nods. "How about now?"
With the hand not occupied with Jimin's cock, Namjoon leans back just like Jimin is and braces his weight on his arm. Using this leverage, Namjoon drives his hips forward, then back, then forward again. It jostles Jimin, but he holds his ground, using the last of his energy to push back.
The angle is perfect. Namjoon's cock creates the perfect friction against Jimin's prostate, and when Namjoon realizes this, he moves faster.
"J-Joon, fuck, I'm gonna – you're gonna make me come, I – "
Jimin throws his head back with a sob, digging his heels into the mattress to grind against Namjoon's relentless thrusts. Namjoon's breathing stutters and his fist tightens around Jimin.
"Come with me, Jimin, yes, fuck, just like that, just like that baby."
His arms finally fail him as his second climax tears him apart. It never ends, blinding pleasure pulsing through him so potently he loses his words. Jimin can feel Namjoon's cock emptying, spurts of hot come painting his insides. Namjoon jerks him until Jimin shoves his hand away, over sensitive but unable to voice it.
Jimin whines when Namjoon pulls out. He's left gaping and sore, and he can feel hot fluid dripping down his cleft.
"Jimin." Namjoon's voice floats to Jimin's ears. Jimin turns his head towards its source. His eyes are closed, and he's not sure he can open them. "Baby. Hey."
Something glides up Jimin's arm, over his shoulder, then cups his jaw.
Jimin's eyelids feel like they weigh two tons each, but he manages to crack them open. He's glad he does, because he is greeted with one of Namjoon's dimpley smiles.
"There he is," Namjoon teases. Jimin groggily lifts a hand and flips him off. Namjoon throws his head back and laughs. "C'mon. Let's hop in the shower and rinse off."
Namjoon essentially carries Jimin to the bathroom, and then helps him clean up with so much care, Jimin feels emotional again. By the time they scrub the sweat and come and spit off each other, Jimin is nodding off against Namjoon's shoulder. So, Namjoon picks Jimin up and literally carries him back to the bedroom.
Jimin doesn't object when Namjoon tucks him into bed only to climb in with him. Immediately, Jimin latches on, tangling his legs with Namjoon's and shoving his face into the crook of Namjoon's shoulder.
"Thank you," Jimin mumbles.
"Thank you," Namjoon replies, kissing Jimin's temple.
"I meant," Jimin sighs, smacking his lips. "Thanks for making me clean."
"And I meant thanks for everything."
Jimin's last thought is that forehead kisses might be his favorite kind. When he falls asleep, he dreams of intertwined fingers, books, and dimples.
This morning, waking up to a warm body on the other side of the bed is a shock.
Jimin can tell it is early morning from the way the light illuminating his room glows grey rather than shines yellow. When Jimin shifts, stretching his arms out in front of him and flexing his toes, warm skin brushes his back, and hot breath tickles his nape.
Then, when a long-fingered hand curls around his waist and pulls him backwards, a large warm chest cushioning his shoulder blades, Jimin relaxes.
"Good morning," a gruff voice murmurs in Jimin's ear. It's low and gravely. Jimin is suddenly very aware of the morning wood tenting his boxer briefs and also of the hard, clothed erection pressed to his ass. "How're you feelin'?"
"Mmh," Jimin exhales, reaching down to trail his fingers over Namjoon's knuckles clutching at his midsection. "Sore. Loose. Tired."
"Are these good things or bad things?" Namjoon asks, pressing dry kisses to the knob of Jimin's spine.
Namjoon rolls Jimin over, until they face each other. But when Namjoon puckers his lips and leans forward, Jimin claps a hand over his mouth.
Jimin can feel Namjoon pout against his palm.
Jimin moves his hand to now cover his own mouth.
"I have morning breath," Jimin complains behind his fingers.
Namjoon looks deeply offended.
"You think a little stinky breath will keep me from kissing you good morning?" he scoffs.
Jimin's smile is concealed, but he knows his eyes give him away. He nods.
"It's pretty bad, Joon."
"I'll be the judge of that."
Suddenly Namjoon is straddling Jimin's hips, wrestling his hand away from his face.
"Stop! Stop it!" Jimin shrieks, giggling and writhing under Namjoon's weight.
"Give me a kiss and I will," Namjoon scrunches his nose and bites his bottom lip menacingly, his jaw jutting out. "C'mon baby, just one kiss."
Jimin is laughing so hard a stitch is forming in his side, and eventually he surrenders. Once he relaxes, Namjoon captures Jimin's hands and traps them above his head. The moment Namjoon he has an opening, he swoops down to peck at Jimin's lips, at his nose, his cheeks, and his forehead. When he's done poking fun, Namjoon gives Jimin a real kiss. It's warm and fuzzy, closed mouthed yet still a little wet.
Namjoon pulls back, and his cheeks are dusted pink. He looks down. He swallows roughly.
They are both still very hard.
"Don't you dare," Jimin says, low and menacing.
"Why not?" Namjoon asks.
He rolls his hips down, and their lengths rub together. Jimin inhales sharply.
"I don't wanna get messy," Jimin whines. "And I really am sore."
Namjoon grins, leaning down for another quick kiss.
"Okay. I'll be good."
It's not fair how handsome Namjoon looks in the morning. His face is a little puffy, his chest is a little flushed, and his hair is a lot messy. For some reason, the sight of him settling down next to Jimin, looking at him like he's something precious, has a pang of emotion tightening in Jimin's chest.
"Was last night even real?" Jimin asks.
"Well, of course it was. What do you mean? What part?"
Jimin reaches over and tries to pat down a section of Namjoon's hair that sticks straight up.
"All of it," Jimin says. "Karaoke with our friends. They all got along perfectly. What are the odds of that?"
"I dunno, we must hang out with the same types of people," he suggests.
"Yeah, we must," Jimin agrees. "And then there was the Great Dickening."
Namjoon shoves his head into a pillow.
"You did not just say that," he groans, his voice muffled and mortified.
Jimin laughs, tugging Namjoon's shoulder until he emerges.
"It was just a really good night, Joon. One of those nights that seems too good to be true. You know?"
Namjoon smiles one of his soft smiles.
"Yeah, I know," he says.
They stare at each other for a couple seconds. Then, Jimin remembers his manners.
"Do you want some coffee?" he asks Namjoon.
Namjoon's eyes light up, and Jimin's heart clenches again.
"Oh my god, yes."
Jimin smiles and quickly pecks Namjoons lips before rolling out of bed and padding to the kitchen.
"You just want it black?"
"Yes, please!" Namjoon hollers from the bedroom.
As Jimin pours the grounds into the filter and starts a pot, he thinks. Jimin has never been one to move slowly. Traditionally, he prefers firecracker relationships that spark, explode, and fizzle in one night. But with Namjoon, he's found that sometimes you need a slow smolder, a lengthy fuse, a long-burning charcoal fire that lasts as long as you need it to. Moving slow with Namjoon has taught Jimin that steady work forms lasting results. It takes patience and it takes perseverance.
The past few months with Namjoon have been more than worth it. For the first time in years, Jimin feels like he's found someone he can trust. Someone he can see himself with years down the road, someone he won't tire of.
Jimin wants Namjoon to know.
He should know how Jimin feels.
Jimin quickly pours a couple mugs, taking his black for a change. He doesn't have the patience to add any cream or sugar, so he lets the bitterness hit the back of his tongue and wake him up. As he walks to the bedroom, he wonders if he should rehearse what he'll say, but decides winging it will be better, more genuine.
His heart thuds in his chest as he enters the room.
Then, it stops altogether.
Namjoon is standing in the corner of the room, in front of Jimin's bookshelf. He has a manga opened in his hands to the front cover. Jimin's eyes flick from Namjoon to the bed. There are a few other volumes tossed onto the sheets. When Jimin looks back at Namjoon, Namjoon is looking back.
"What the fuck is this, Jimin?"
Jimin cannot breathe.
"W-What – what is what?"
"What – what is...here, let me help you out," Namjoon bites. He reads directly from the cover of the manga in his hand. "Junseo, had a tiny dick, but made up for it with his tongue." Namjoon tosses that book aside, next to the others on Jimin's bed. He rips another handful from the shelf. A couple tumble to the ground. "Donghyun, blind folded me, then fucked me til I cried. Youngchul, total meathead, strong enough to fuck me against the wall for over an hour. Oh, this one, you couldn't recall his name. What a shame. Seems like there's lots of those in here. Handcuffed me to – "
"Stop it!" Jimin screams, slamming the coffees onto his desk. Dark liquid sloshes everywhere. Jimin doesn't care. "Stop! Fuck, Namjoon, stop it!"
Jimin's cheeks are blazing, his hands are shaking. Namjoon clenches his jaw and his eyes shine with fervor.
Namjoon tosses his handful of mangas onto Jimin's bed with the others, then turns to face the bookshelf again. His eyes roam its entirety, its rows and rows of used books, purchased from his own shop.
"Did you write in all of these?" he asks weakly.
Jimin's lips tremble, and he doesn't trust his voice.
So he nods.
"Is this why you came into my store every weekend?"
"What?" Jimin chokes. His voice is wobbly with unshed tears. "N-No, I – "
"Don't bullshit me!" Namjoon roars.
"Namjoon, please. Let me explain."
"Explain what?" Namjoon seethes. "Explain what, Jimin? Explain how you came into my shop every fucking weekend to flirt with me after fucking some random guy the night before? How you skipped home afterwards, wrote a summary of your experience, then moved on to the next?"
"I – "
"This is super fucked up, Jimin," Namjoon breathes, barely over a whisper.
"I-I know. I know, and I'm so sorry. I never – I never thought..."
Namjoon stands there, eyes bloodshot and hands curled into fists at his sides. He's still in just his boxers, as is Jimin. Namjoon waits, waits for Jimin to say something. To say anything. When he doesn't, Namjoon laughs humorlessly.
"What are you gonna write in my manga, huh Jimin?" Namjoon asks, his voice wavering. "Namjoon, thick, lovesick nerd takes the bait and rails heartless, perky twink?"
"Namjoon," Jimin gasped, coughing around a sob, tears rolling down his cheeks. "My life isn't a fucking porno."
"No?" Namjoon asks, aghast. "Could've fooled me."
Namjoon bends over, grabs his jeans, and starts shoving them onto his legs.
"Namjoon, wait," Jimin whimpers stepping closer. "What're you doing?"
"Leaving," he replies shortly. When Jimin tries to grab his arm, Namjoon jerks away. "Don't fucking touch me."
"Please," Jimin sobs. Namjoon shoves his wrinkled shirt on and pushes past Jimin, marching to his shoes by the door. "Just...fuck. Please. Can we talk?"
"Namjoon – "
"We didn't even use a fucking condom, Jimin. Are you clean? Do you even know?" Ice settles in the pit of Jimin's stomach, and he raises a hand to his cheek. Namjoon shakes his head, eyes narrowed. He slides his arms into his coat. "You don't know. Of course you don't. Awesome."
"I – "
"Just...stop. Let me go. I need space. Okay?"
"For how long?" Jimin asks, wiping at his cheeks, at his nose.
"I don't know."
Then, Namjoon walks out the door and slams it behind himself.
Sun, Dec 6
PJM [8:29:02 AM]
can u come over
PJM [9:13:53 AM]
please i realy need u rn
[MISSED CALL FROM PJM 9:22:49 AM]
[MISSED CALL FROM PJM 9:25:32 AM]
[MISSED CALL FROM PJM 9:34:12 AM]
[MISSED CALL FROM PJM 9:41:30 AM]
TAETAE [9:42:26 AM]
there better be a damn good reason you're waking me up before noon on a sunday
PJM [9:43:35 AM]
he left me
TAETAE [9:44:03 AM]
Sat, Dec 5
JOON <3 [8:32:56 PM]
do you need me to send the karaoke address again?
when are you guys getting here?
oh wait, I just saw Jin's car pull up lol
see you soon :)
Sun, Dec 6
PJM [10:02:43 AM]
namjoon i'm so sorry
i fucked up so bad, i know i did
please forgive me
PJM [3:47:06 PM]
tae had to go to work...i'm alone at my apt again
please namjoon, just let me explain
i know it's fucked up, i'm fucked up
the last thing i wanted to do was hurt you
PJM [7:01:13 PM]
PJM [11:39:31 PM]
Mon, Dec 7
PJM [12:57:29 PM]
are you busy today?
Thurs, Dec 10
PJM [9:01:55 PM]
i got tested, and i'm clean
i know that doesn't change anything
but i figured you'd want to know
PJM [10:24:19 PM]
i hope you're doing okay
Sat, Dec 12
PJM [1:05:46 AM]
i miss you
"Jimin," Jin says, his voice soft and unthreatening. "We're just worried about you."
"I know," Jimin says, his voice dull and lifeless. "I'm fine, though. You don't have to stay, I know you had plans with Hobi and Yoongi."
"We already canceled," Taehyung interjects. "We want to make sure you're okay."
"Jimin, I've known you since you got your first boner. I know you're not okay."
Jimin rolls his eyes at Taehyung. The motion makes his headache flare, and he winces.
"Have you had any water today?" Jin asks.
"Yeah," Jimin lies.
"I'll go get you some more," Jin gets up and heads to the kitchen.
Jimin gathers the blanket he has wrapped around himself and leans into Taehyung. They sit on Jimin's couch in front of the television, which has been playing mindless variety shows for the past twelve hours.
It's Saturday night, and instead of hanging out with Namjoon like Jimin normally would, he sulks at home. He cries sporadically, grieves constantly, and eats sparingly.
"Here." Jin shoves a tall glass of water in Jimin's hands. Jimin pretends to take a sip, then sets it on the coffee table. "I'm not stupid, you know. I can tell you didn't actually drink that."
"Yeah, I did."
"This is impossible," Jin grumbles under his breath.
He and Taehyung argue in whispers on the other side of the couch. Jimin doesn't try to eavesdrop. He knows he's being insufferable. It'll get better eventually. At least he hopes it will.
"Jimin," Taehyung starts. "We are seriously concerned about you. You haven't been like this since – "
"Don't," Jimin hisses, "say his name."
Jimin's eyes stare unseeingly at the television screen, but he can hear Taehyung's annoyed huff.
"Okay, you haven't been like this since He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
Jimin sighs and burrows deeper into his blanket burrito.
"Have you tried texting Namjoon today, Jimin?" Jin asks.
"No," Jimin replies. "I've been texting him all week. If he was going to answer, he would have by now."
There is a long pause, like Taehyung and Jin know Jimin is correct.
"I'm sure he will text you when he's ready."
Namjoon does not text Jimin back.
Not that weekend, and not the week following.
By the time it's been two weeks since Jimin last spoke to Namjoon, Jimin has moved past the sad and is now deep in the mad.
"I am a strong, independent, gay man, and I don't need no man!" Jimin yanks clothes from his closet, ripping shirts and jackets off hangers and throwing them onto his bed. "Where the fuck is my black shirt? Y'know, the one that is really bad at being a shirt."
"Jimin," Taehyung says uneasily from the bed. He is slowly being buried under Jimin's clothes pile, and like the good friend he is, he doesn't mention the way Jimin's smacked him in the face a few times. "I'm not sure this is a good idea."
"Of course it's a good idea," Jimin snaps. "Aha! There you are, you little rascal."
Jimin tugs on the blouse. It's the one that is spliced up the sides, nearly to his armpits. When he dances it shifts beautifully, showcasing his obliques and the tattoo on his ribs.
"I just am, um. I'm not sure you've fully moved on from Namjoon, Jimin."
Jimin rolls his eyes and tugs on his ass kicking boots.
"Well I am in the mood to get toasted, go dance, and get railed by a stranger," Jimin says noncommittally. "I think that's a pretty good sign I'm over him."
"Okay..." Taehyung trails off. "I still don't think it's a good idea."
"It's always a good idea to get a dick inside of me, Taehyung. Have you learned anything from our decades-long friendship?"
Jimin doesn't give Taehyung the chance to answer, sashaying out of the bedroom before Taehyung even opens his mouth. There's nothing that can stop Jimin from getting out of his damn apartment tonight. He's been on lockdown for two weeks now.
He's had enough.
Before calling a taxi, Jimin, Taehyung, and Jin take a couple shots in Jimin's kitchen. Taehyung and Jin quickly put their shot glasses in the sink for Jimin to deal with later, but Jimin grabs the bottle and kicks back a few more swallows.
"Jesus, Jimin. Are you planning on getting your stomach pumped later?" Jin scolds.
Jimin closes his eyes and sighs as warmth spreads from his throat to his stomach, then to the rest of him.
"That'd be crazy, wouldn't it?" Jimin laughs.
Jin shoots Taehyung a look, but they follow Jimin out the door without another word.
The trio decides to start at a small hole-in-the-wall, a chill space they can sit and drink and be merry until they're ready to head to a proper club. Taehyung and Jin search for a booth, and Jimin tells them he will grab drinks.
When he sidles up to the bar, another man steps up next to him. Jimin turns, and almost laughs aloud.
He can't believe his luck.
Whoever he is, he's fucking delicious. His blonde hair is coiffed perfectly, swept back to expose an undercut buzzed over a heavily decorated ear. Above pink, pouty lips slopes a strong, elegant nose. And even from the side, Jimin can tell his eyes are wide and pretty with long, fluttery lashes.
Jimin doesn't realize he's spoken aloud until the man turns to face him, a surprised look on his face.
"Sorry, did you say something?"
The man's voice is low and smooth, lilted with earned confidence. His big eyes blink innocently down at Jimin.
"Me?" Jimin asks, voice sweet as candy. "No, I don't think so. Do you want me to say something?"
Jimin zeroes in on a mole just beneath the blond's bottom lip.
He wants it in his mouth. Immediately.
A pleasant shiver rolls through Jimin as the man gives him a once over. His eyes darken, and Jimin's gaydar trills loudly. Jimin bites his lip and smiles coyly.
"...yes. I think I do," the man says, returning his own smile.
He has a wide, toothy grin, and Jimin is determined to take him home.
"Okay, well," Jimin muses. "I love your top."
Jimin glances down, then, looking at the man's shirt for the first time. It's a plain black button up, the first few buttons undone. His chest is creamy and smooth. Jimin licks his lips.
"Thank you," he replies. Jimin shifts his elbows on the bar top, forcing the sides of his shirt to slink open, revealing his slim waist and sharp v-cut abs dipping into his jeans. The man visibly swallows. "I like yours too."
"Yeah?" Jimin asks. His new friend nods, making his earrings jangle. "I like your piercings, too. And your hair, and – hell, you better tell me something horrible about yourself before I fall in love."
Jimin realizes he might be a bit drunker than he realized. But the man throws his head back and laughs, so Jimin shrugs it off.
"Sorry to break it to you, but I'm pretty much perfect."
Jimin clucks his tongue.
"Damnit. That's what I feared," Jimin teases.
The pair chat at the bar a few more minutes, until the bartender finally saunters over.
"What are you drinking, cutie?" Jimin asks.
"Oh, um. Just a beer is fine," he tells the bartender.
Jimin orders a vodka soda for himself, a gin for Jin, and a whiskey sour for Taehyung. Before the blond can pull out his wallet, Jimin presses his card into the bartender's palm.
"Put it all on my card, please."
"You don't have to do that," the man mumbles, twiddling his fingers on the counter.
"I know I don't," Jimin says with a smile. "But I want to."
The bartender returns with their drinks, and Jimin grabs his three expertly.
"Do you wanna hang out with me and my friends? We got a booth over...there..." Jimin trails off, looking around the bar for Taehyung and Jin. As he looks around, though, his vision blurs and wobbles. Jimin makes sure his feet are solidly under him, then gives up his search and turns back to the blond. "They're somewhere in here. What do you say?"
"Ah, well," the man says timidly. Jimin catches his tone and prepares himself for a rejection. Oh well. "I'm actually waiting for someone else."
Jimin shrugs a shoulder and smiles.
"Okay, that's – "
"Jungkook! Hey, I'm sorry I'm...late..."
Jimin's stomach drops to the grimy floor.
Namjoon stands a few paces from the bar, his feet frozen mid-step. His wide, shocked eyes bounce between the man – between Jungkook – and Jimin. Jimin stands there with his mouth hanging open.
"That's him, sorry," Jungkook says guiltily. He raises his beer up and nods at Jimin. "Thanks for the drink, though. I hope you have a fun night with your friends."
Jimin doesn't move. He watches Jungkook walk over to Namjoon and pull him into a big hug. Namjoon looks at Jimin over Jungkook's shoulder. Then, Jungkook leans back and gives Namjoon a quick kiss on a dimple.
Dropping his drinks right onto the floor, Jimin claws through the crowd and dashes out the door.
The mid-winter air hits Jimin like an icy wall, and he wraps his arms around himself. For a few minutes he stands on the curb, ignoring the way the bouncer eyes him suspiciously. When he starts to shiver, his teeth chattering, he snaps back to reality and realizes he's hyperventilating, tears freezing halfway down his cheeks.
He miraculously gets his frozen fingers to function and pulls out his phone. After pressing the wrong button three times, Jimin finally gets the call to connect.
"Jimin? Where the hell did you go? We found a – "
"T-Tae, I w-wanna go h-home."
"What? What – where are you? What happened? I thought – "
"I'm outs-side, p-please. Please, just c-come get me."
Jimin hears Taehyung gasp when he realizes Jimin is crying.
"Okay. We're coming, babe, we're on our way."
The line disconnects.
Jimin crouches down on the sidewalk, wrapping his arms around himself and sobbing into his knees. A few minutes later, Taehyung's warm arms wrap around him, too.
Then, Jimin goes home.
This morning, waking up to cold sheets on the other side of the bed is torture.
Jimin regrets sending Taehyung and Jin away last night. Taehyung insisted, saying he would stay and cuddle and comfort Jimin until he was cuddled out. Which was impossible with Taehyung. But Jimin still refused. After getting home, Jimin felt unbearably ashamed. He felt undeserving: of Taehyung's friendship, of Jin's care, of Namjoon's forgiveness, of everything he craved and desired.
So Taehyung finally left, and Jimin tossed and turned all night.
And now, he stares blankly at his bookshelf.
Jimin's phone buzzes incessantly on his nightstand, but he ignores it. He doesn't want to hear Taehyung attempt to lift him up, he doesn't want to hear his sadness when Jimin remains down and depressed.
Like he has repeatedly throughout his life, Jimin admits Taehyung was right. What was Jimin thinking last night? Why did he think he was ready for that? Even if he had gotten lucky with Jungkook – or anybody for that matter – it wouldn't have helped. No matter how kind, how attractive, how intelligent or witty or fun a hookup could be, they wouldn't be enough.
They wouldn't be Namjoon.
Jimin shoots out of bed.
He throws the sheets back and stumbles to his dresser. He pulls on some jeans he has no idea are clean or not. He washes his face with cold water and brushes his teeth, he tries to tame his hair. He shoves a plain white tshirt over his head and jams his arms into a faded jean jacket.
Then, Jimin half runs to the bookstore.
When he barges through the door, he is partially frozen and partially sweaty. Jimin halts in the walkway, breaths wheezing through his chest. Namjoon is at the front counter, speaking animatedly to a woman. A black ballcap covers his hair, and he waves his hands around as he talks. Jimin is grateful Namjoon doesn't notice his dramatic entrance.
Because Jimin has no idea what he's going to say.
So, he panics and scampers to the manga section.
When he manically scans the cases, Jimin nearly shits himself. Filling up an entire shelf is the One Piece collection.
The whole damn thing.
Jimin feels like he's entered another dimension, like this couldn't possibly be real life. But his clammy fingers trace the spines until they stop on one volume in the middle. Until they stop on The Volume.
It's right there. It's in Jimin's hand.
"Oh, sorry! I already purchased this set."
Jimin nearly jumps out of his skin. He turns and standing next to him is the woman Namjoon had been chatting with at the counter. She looks kind and a little apologetic.
"You bought all of them?" Jimin asks. It's the first time he's spoken today, and his voice sounds like a meat grinder. Jimin points to The Volume. "Even this one?"
The woman nods slowly, like Jimin is a wild animal potentially spooked by sudden movement.
"Yes, I bought all of them," she replies. Her eyes are so kind. Jimin wishes she was mean so he could hate her. "I can show you my receipt if you want."
"How much? H-How much did you buy them for?"
"Please, I just want this one volume. Actually – I need it. How much do you want for it?" Jimin urges.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to resell. I'm a collector – "
"Me too! Oh my god, same! So you understand. I've been looking for this – " Jimin jabs a finger at The Volume, " – book for years. Years! Can you believe it? And it's right here, and I am begging you. Please. I have...I think I have twenty dollars cash on me, but I can venmo – "
"Jimin? What are you doing?"
Jimin nearly collapses.
Namjoon stands there behind the woman holding a large, empty box. He is clearly about to help this poor woman pack up her One Piece collection. Jimin's throat suddenly closes up, a lump lodged right behind his adam's apple, and he feels like he might cry.
A tear trails down the slope of his nose.
Ah, fuck, he is crying.
Jimin turns on his heel and races to the shop's door. He is fully prepared to melt into the floorboards, to disappear forever and ever. But before he can step through the threshold, a familiar stronghold stops him, long fingers wrapping fully around Jimin's forearm.
"Jimin. Jimin, wait," Namjoon says. Jimin avoids eye contact, hastily swiping at his tears with his free hand. He tries to get his emotions under control, but when he realizes how big of a mess he is right now, he cries harder. "Ma'am? Can you excuse me for a quick minute?"
The woman watches Jimin and Namjoon with wide, concerned eyes. She blinks, then she nods vigorously.
"Oh, yes! No problem, no rush! No hurry at all, go ahead. I can – actually, I can pack these up myself, my husband is waiting in the car. Just, uh, you two can – thanks. Thank you for your help!" she stammers, then hurriedly begins filling her box.
"C'mon," Namjoon says softly, gently pulling Jimin around the counter and to the back of the shop. Jimin has never been back here. It's a disaster. "Didn't you get my texts? Isn't that why you're here?"
Jimin's mouth opens and closes like a fish washed ashore.
"Did I – what?"
There is a rickety chair in the corner, and Namjoon steers Jimin to sit. Jimin sniffs loudly and wipes his nose with his jacket's sleeve. Namjoon frantically looks around and finds a rag that looks like it has black paint all over it. He hands it to Jimin, and Jimin pinches it between his forefinger and thumb.
"I texted you this morning. Several times, actually. I figured you were still asleep."
Jimin pats his pockets and realizes he left his phone at home.
"Oh," he mumbles. "I haven't checked my phone yet. I did just get up, but I...didn't check it."
"Then why are you here?" Namjoon asks.
Jimin dabs at his eyes with the stained cloth, and Namjoon watches his movements carefully.
"Is there black stuff all over my face now?"
"No. It's – actually, I don't know what that is. But it's not transferring, you're fine," Namjoon answers. Then he shakes his head. "Jimin. What are you doing here?"
"I don't know, Joon. I just..." Jimin trails off. "I needed to see you."
Namjoon looks at Jimin with soft eyes. Jimin doesn't want to get his hopes up, but it reminds him of the way Namjoon used to look at him.
Saying nothing in response, Namjoon walks to the other side of the room and rummages through a box on the floor. It only takes a moment until he finds what he needs. He returns to Jimin's side and places something in his lap. Jimin looks down at it.
It's The Volume.
Jimin is mute.
"This came in yesterday morning. We got a huge donation. Several collections. More than I could fit on the shelves out front. I couldn't believe it, they're all in perfect shape," Namjoon says. Jimin stares at the book without moving a muscle, like it might dissolve into thin air if he dares jostle it. "I – I've had it in the back. I was saving it for you."
Jimin looks up at Namjoon in shock.
Namjoon chews his cheek, wipes his palms on his jeans, then continues.
"I thought I might be too late, that if I tried texting you now, you wouldn't respond. So I met up with my ex, the one I told you about? The one I'm still close with? Because he is really good at giving advice about these types of things. We planned to meet up, and when I got there and saw you..."
Oh my god.
"...I didn't know what to do. Jungkookie told me if I didn't go after you, he would. I think he was joking, but I don't really want to risk it. Fuck, Jimin. I don't want to lose you. So, this morning I texted you, asking you to stop by and – "
Jimin leaps up from the chair, abandoning The Volume, and envelops Namjoon in a hug.
"I'm so sorry, Namjoon," Jimin breathes. He breathes in the smell of Namjoon, he breathes in to calm his racing heart, he breathes in to try and freeze this moment in time. "I am so, so sorry."
Jimin almost starts crying again when Namjoon tucks his face into the crook of Jimin's neck and wraps his arms around Jimin's waist.
"No, don't be," Namjoon murmurs.
Jimin jerks back and slaps his shoulder.
"I hurt you, Kim Namjoon. So I am very, deeply sorry."
Then, he tucks himself back into Namjoon's arms.
"Well, I hurt you too, Jimin. So I'm also sorry."
Jimin sighs and shakes his head.
They stand there and gently rock for what could be a minute, could be fifteen. Once Jimin's mind clears a bit and he realizes they might actually be okay, he jerks back again.
"Did you seriously save The Volume in the back for me? Right when it came in?"
Namjoon scoffs in faux offense.
"Of course I did! We've been waiting for that goddamn volume for years! What do you mean, did I actually save it for you? Who do you think I am?!"
Jimin throws his head back to laugh, keeping himself upright with a firm grip on Namjoon's solid shoulders.
When he straightens, Jimin twines his fingers behind Namjoon's neck. Namjoon looks into his eyes, searching for something. Then his gaze flickers to Jimin's lips, and Jimin smirks.
"I'm going to kiss you now."
And he does.
Jimin kisses Namjoon in the back room of the bookstore that saved him, and he's saved all over again.
Namjoon lays beside Jimin, Jimin's sheets tangled between their tangled legs. Their skin is bare and gleams under the light of Jimin's bedside lamp. Jimin traces patterns into the valleys of Namjoon's back, and Namjoon lazily kisses along Jimin's jaw, down his throat, along his collarbone.
"You're seriously not going to write anything in The Volume?"
After Namjoon closed up shop, they sat in the back and talked for hours. They talked about Jimin's past and Namjoon's hurt. They talked about what they need to change and how they need to communicate. They decide they want to try again, and this time as boyfriends.
Jimin promises Namjoon he's done with the manga trophies. He's done running away from his feelings and hiding behind booze and sleazeballs. Jimin promises Namjoon he will open up, and Namjoon believes him.
But Namjoon won't let one thing go.
"Do you really want me to do that, Joon? Doesn't that make you feel objectified? Icky? Used?"
"Nope," Namjoon smiles, making Jimin yelp when he delivers an aggressive nibble to his trapezius. "Makes me feel honored."
"Oh my god."
"I'll be your most prized trophy, right baby?"
Jimin shakes his head, exasperated. But Namjoon chuckles, pulling Jimin into a kiss again. When he releases him, Jimin hops out of bed. He knows Namjoon stares at his naked ass, so he hams it up, bending over his desk to write his last entry into the inside front cover of The Volume.
Jimin catwalks to the bookshelf and slides the book into the empty space on the shelf. Into the space Jimin has saved for so long, has reserved for the volume he thought would never come. Reserved for the man he thought would never come.
"What did you write in it?" Namjoon whines from the bed.
Jimin returns, pillowing his head on Namjoon's chest.
"Wouldn't you like to know."
The bookshelf is full. Action figures line the top, and everything is in its rightful place.
His collection is finally complete.
And on the inside cover of The Volume, Jimin's final summary is etched:
𝙺𝚒𝚖 𝙽𝚊𝚖𝚓𝚘𝚘𝚗, 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙾𝚗𝚎