jimin meets him on what was, supposed to be, an average day. it’s his weekly children’s dance class, the one he teaches on nice saturdays when he isn’t preoccupied with filming a music video or preparing for a stage due to his job as a backup dancer. there are fliers up around town, advertising the free lesson, but most of his dancers are kids who happen to be at the park at the same time and join in.
he’s is sitting on the bench across from the playground and has been since jimin started stretching with the few early arrivals. anytime jimin looks up, he’s watching, and jimin spends the class glancing warily towards the unknown man, trying to match one of the faces of the children to the onlooker’s. none of them look even remotely similar, and jimin considers moving the class to the other side of the playground.
in the end, he doesn’t, but he does slide onto the bench next to the man after an hour of teaching, and another half an hour of gushing thank yous from parents and children alike for what he’s taught.
“hope you aren’t a pervert,” jimin half-jokes, retying his shoes just so he looks like he has a reason for sitting down.
“no,” he says, “just a writer,” tipping his notebook towards jimin long enough for jimin to see line after line of black ink scrawled into small, messy words, but not long enough for him to read any of them, “i’m min yoongi.”
“park jimin,” he replies, “what are you doing out here?”
“looking for inspiration,” yoongi tells him.
“and did you find any?” jimin asks.
“yes,” yoongi says, confidently, and the way his lips curve slowly into a lazy grin as he meets jimin’s eyes for the first time makes jimin think maybe he had something to do with it.
against his better judgment, jimin agrees to a date.
it goes well.
jimin isn’t exactly sure why they go on three more dates. yoongi doesn’t talk often, replying in as few words as possible to every question jimin asks. he asks questions of his own, but sometimes jimin can’t tell if yoongi is actually interested in the answers or if he just wants jimin to keep talking so he doesn’t have to.
on their fifth date, jimin finds out why he keeps agreeing to another date. he asks as many questions as he normally does, but one of them turns out to be the right question. yoongi starts talking about writing, about his novels, about his love for the craft and how easily his thoughts come from his fingers to the page, whether he’s writing in one of his hundred notebooks or typing, the words always come spilling out in a way he’s never been able to make them from his mouth. he starts talking and, for once, he doesn’t stop after three words. sentence after sentence, he describes how it feels to write, his voice smooth and low and filled with such an attractive passion that jimin never wants him to stop speaking. it cracks once, a little, at the end of him getting particularly excited and yoongi blushes in embarrassment but jimin thinks it might be the cutest thing he’s ever heard. yoongi talks about how he thinks there is something beautiful about watching his thoughts translate into a story as they appear in front of him, something even he cannot accurately describe, and jimin thinks there is something beautiful about yoongi he cannot accurately describe.
after their sixth date, jimin finds out why yoongi keeps asking for the dates. yoongi walks jimin home from the theater even though jimin had met yoongi for their third date outside his apartment and jimin’s building is a mile and a half walk out of his way. when they say their goodbyes, yoongi holds jimin by the coat pockets for their third kiss (one and two proceeded date five). later, when jimin has stopped standing in the doorway, smiling to himself, he finds a balled up piece of high quality notebook paper stuffed into his jacket pocket.
he isn’t sure how he recognizes it as the same one that yoongi had briefly shown him in their first meeting, but as he reads, the page rambling about the fluid movement of jimin’s body as he danced and the way the spring sun lit his features, all the words far more beautiful than jimin could ever think to describe himself with, he knows.
on the back, it is more recent, a panegyric of jimin, scribbled so hastily jimin thinks about the way yoongi said his mind works too fast for his hand sometimes. there is a pleasant rush of affection as jimin can picture yoongi hunched over his desk with, pen flying across the page as yoongi tries to catch up with his thoughts on the way his heart skips a beat when jimin is laughing at something he says and his mouth is open in a beautiful grin and there is the lightest of pinks staining his cheeks and his eyes are cast down towards the table, taking yoongi’s breath away for just a second. he reads encomiums on the sound of his soft giggle when he’s amused but trying not to interrupt, the perfect pitch of his voice, the way his hand slots in perfectly with yoongi’s, the way it seems like nothing else in the world matters but the feeling of jimin’s lips and his hands on yoongi’s hips when they kiss, and, even if yoongi cannot speak his feelings, jimin understands them.
yoongi’s been a writer for as long as he can remember, he tells jimin, but his first publication comes when he’s twenty three, after he and jimin have been dating for eight months and living together for two.
he writes everything. stories, novels, poems, memoirs, biographies, articles, and jimin’s personal favorite, love letters. jimin will wake up with post its stuck to his shoulder or forehead, tiny writing professing yoongi’s love crammed into the small area. yoongi will slide love notes on napkins across the dinner table, or some nights, pass over a notebook filled with quick facts about his day and summaries of interesting things he learned while jimin was at work instead of talking.
he writes all genres too, the stories he shares with jimin ranging from fantasy to romance to horror, sometimes a mix of many. each one is better than the last but all of them amazing. he’s gifted at anything he writes, but, it’s a science fiction novel, the first of a four part series, that gets him the book deal.
the story filled a stack of notebooks as tall as jimin in its first form, but its final is a five hundred page, hard cover book with a minimalistic graphic of the title over a beautiful galaxy to catch readers eyes and yoongi cries when he brings the first copy home. jimin reads it out loud for them, in full, and he thinks that yoongi fell asleep somewhere around page three hundred but he continues until it’s four a.m and he’s spoken the final word on the final page and his eyelids feel as if they weigh a thousand pounds.
he wakes up at two in the afternoon with a heart cut out of a piece of printer paper tucked into his waistband that says, ‘my words sound better in your mouth than they ever have in my head’ and yoongi nowhere to be found.
there is a wild success that comes with the first book, and every month that passes, a louder demand for the release of the second in the series.
month three and four mark the shift in their relationship. yoongi and jimin still spend their evenings curled together on the couch, but their time together is interrupted by yoongi’s laptop, attached to his fingers as he spends every waking moment typing frantically to produce the second work that his new, massive fan base is begging him for. jimin usually tries not to speak, for fear of distracting his boyfriend, but when he does, he’s not sure yoongi even hears. it’s never ideal, but, when he manages to persuade yoongi off of the couch or away from his desk and outside for a short walk in the park or even just into the kitchen for a work-free dinner, yoongi lights up so brightly and speaks so animatedly about the universe he’s spending his days creating that jimin cannot fault him for being so in love with his work.
he just sometimes wishes yoongi was a little more in love with him.
jimin starts to work more to match yoongi’s focus, convincing himself that the change is only temporary, and once the book is released, things will return to how they were before yoongi was a famous author and still just a boy who thought in pretty words.
in month five, yoongi says, “i can’t work like this anymore”, and jimin doesn’t realize it means ‘with you here’ until they have moved into a house with six rooms and yoongi spends most days locked in an office with jimin on the other side of the door.
the second book is published in month nine and jimin has never felt so relieved. yoongi comes home with the first copy and he does not cry, but he does tackle jimin to the floor and pepper kisses across his face and quietly thank him for being so understanding and for sticking around and jimin can’t believe he ever thought about leaving. yoongi gifts it to jimin, and when jimin jokingly asks for an autograph, yoongi simply opens to the dedication page and next to the delicate cursive that reads, ‘for jimin: i could never have done it without you’ and draws a sloppy heart. jimin loves it.
things return to how they used to be, just as jimin suspected, but it lasts only two weeks. their final day of normalcy is the same day that yoongi’s agent suggests he embark on a book tour across several cities, all of them far away from the one in which he and jimin live, to honor the second novel’s release. yoongi confesses, late at night, with jimin’s head pillowed on his chest so he can hear yoongi’s frantic heartbeat and murmured worries, that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. he doesn’t think he’ll talk well, he doesn’t know what to say about the books that he hasn’t already written into them, they both know he’s terrible at answering questions, the reason he writes is because the things he comes up with do not sound right when he says them, why do they want him to read his books for people who are going to hate him afterwards, and jimin, even though he regrets it every day after, tells yoongi that he will do wonderfully.
so he goes, and he does, and then there is another book tour. and another. and another. and one morning jimin wakes up and he can’t remember the last time he spoke to yoongi for more than a quick, ‘hello, things are going well, i miss you’ and those are more often said in texts than calls.
yoongi returns from the last tour for his second book three fourths of the way done with his third, and jimin gets no more than a quick welcome home fuck with a few whispered ‘i missed this, i missed you, i love you’s before yoongi is back at his laptop struggling to complete that last fourth as quickly as he can.
the thought that maybe he should end things crosses jimin’s mind at least once a week, if not more, but it does not come out until yoongi comes trudging out of his office at six in the evening to find jimin sitting on the couch, recently home from work and taking a break from moving after an intense video shoot.
he falls onto the couch, his head landing in jimin’s lap, and jimin’s hand moves naturally to brush through yoongi’s hair even though his heart has been aching for a year.
“namjoon wants me out on another tour as soon as the books are printed,” yoongi informs him through a yawn and something breaks.
“i’m going to leave,” jimin says, a finality in his voice that yoongi doesn’t pick up on fast enough.
“where are you going?”
“i don’t know. i’m just going. i’m leaving. i’m moving out, yoongi, it’s over. i can’t do it anymore,” and yoongi understands, finally, his sleepy eyes shooting open to stare up at jimin’s face. jimin can see his panic, feels a little of his own too, but it’s not enough to change his mind.
“you don’t have to do this,” there is a desperation in yoongi’s voice that jimin did not expect, “i’ll try harder, tell me what you want.”
“i shouldn’t have to tell you to want to spend time with me,” jimin replies, and it’s the first time he understands that is why the past months have hurt him so badly.
“but i do.”
“then don’t go.”
yoongi sits up suddenly, his hands clenched into tight fists and the wild look still in his eyes, “you’re the one who wants to leave.”
“don’t plan the book tour, don’t go,” jimin explains.
“it’s for my work, though, it's important” that somehow stings worse than anything else, jimin thinks.
jimin doesn’t know he’s scared of the answer until he feels an overwhelming sense of relief when yoongi says, “yes.”
“then don’t go.”
“i have to.”
“then so do i.”
and he does. he packs his things in front of yoongi, not to be cruel, but because yoongi follows him into the bedroom and sits on their bed, his bed, now, and watches jimin the entire time. he watches jimin shove all his clothes into a suitcase and clean out their shared bathroom and he watches jimin stand with yoongi’s first and second book in hand, watches jimin hold them for six full minutes while he debates whether or not they should be kept. he watches jimin as he makes up his mind and shoves them roughly in with his clothes. he watches jimin pull a shoebox out from underneath their – yoongi’s – bed and dump a collection of random papers, every stupid fucking note yoongi ever gave jimin, even the crushed up ball from their first meeting, and smash them in with everything else he owns.
he doesn’t follow jimin to the door, and jimin knows why when he slams the bedroom door shut on his way out and a strangled sob sounds from inside the room.
it’s almost enough to make him stay, but, not quite.
jimin buys the third book when it hits stores eight days later and thinks about himself, alone in that big house that yoongi bought to get away from him, and thinks about before the house, when yoongi would cuddle up with him on the couch, writing just as much as he did locked away in his office, and he cries. his tears stain the page and when he opens it again six weeks later he can still see the discolorations and smeared ink.
he buys the fourth book when it comes out three months later, and two months after that, he buys a one-off thriller about a young boy who is abandoned by everyone he loves throughout his life that eventually leads him to seek revenge from all that hurt him.
jimin has to skip over the early parts, the too detailed, too emotional descriptions of the pain of the boy’s loss, because they sound too much like yoongi and he refuses to feel guilty for leaving a relationship that he could never be happy in.
he buys the next series, too, as the books come out every two months. the timing does not damage the quality, each is as well written as the books in the first series, simply completed sooner.
jimin hates himself, a little, when he starts to worry if yoongi is sleeping enough or eating properly, or if he’s somehow given both up to produce novels at such a fast rate.
it continues for two years, a new novel by min yoongi appearing in the bookstore that jimin passes on his way to work roughly every three months, sometimes less.
jimin has been in love with yoongi since their sixth date and some days he is not sure he will ever not be in love with yoongi, but he wakes up one day and notices it has been almost four years to the day since he moved out, and it occurs to him as he passes the bookstore that yoongi has not published a book in almost two, and it feels the universe is telling him to move on, so he goes on a date.
he goes on a date with a nice girl who he’s worked with for three years and she answers him enthusiastically no matter what he says, with anecdotes and questions of her own, their conversation flowing naturally and he kisses her when he drops her off. it does not feel like the world could end and he would not mind, but, it’s not unpleasant.
he goes on a date with a friend who talks very little, and mostly just smiles softly at jimin while he rambles, and they’re more similar to yoongi than he likes to admit. he worries throughout the whole date that he likes them more than he actually does because of the reminder, and then starts to think that maybe he liked the last girl he dated because she was so vastly different. suddenly it doesn’t matter who jimin dates, it always feels like a statement, and after every date he ends up curled up in bed with his dumb shoebox full of love notes or one of yoongi’s novels, affection surging through his veins like he never left. most nights end with jimin praying that time really does heal all wounds and that his mom’s claim of ‘there is no real love of your life, you’ll have many loves in your life,’ is actually true.
some time before the fifth anniversary of the breakup, jimin comes home after turning down a date with a beautiful guy he met in a bar because all the alcohol did was intensify the ache in his chest that has not left for long since jimin was twenty two and fell in love with a writer, which, looking at the mess of novels and post its and unused napkins that has covered his desk for six years, was a terrible decision. not one he would’ve made if he could help it.
in a rage of fury and tears, jimin sweeps the entire mess into his trash can and crawls into bed, under a pile of pillows that, when he’s nearly asleep, almost feels like someone holding him.
when he wakes up in the morning, he pulls every memento back out of the garbage, but doesn’t put them back onto his desk. instead, he takes them out to his storage locker in the basement of his apartment complex that he normally forgets exists. he promises himself he will never look at them again, until he has moved on and they are nothing but fond memories of a boy he once loved instead of a constant reminder of who he has been missing since even before they broke up.
it’s been six months since jimin put yoongi away and it’s getting easier to forget. the ache is not so strong, even if the love is still there, and without the books watching him every time he enters his apartment, he stops thinking about the way yoongi watched him leave the house. without the notes mocking him from the bulletin board above his desk, he stops thinking about the great love he once had. with yoongi going unpublished for years, there are no reminders on his way to work, the books that already exist never displayed, always left for back room shelves or stuffed into alphabetical order in the fiction section that jimin hasn’t visited since the last book store date he and yoongi had, before any of the offending novels were ever in stock.
after five and a half years jimin hears yoongi’s name for the first time. he’s seen it, over and over again, on his book covers, but no one’s spoken it to him.
a coworker who remembers jimin constantly carrying around one of the many novels yoongi has written, who’s heard jimin gush about the writing as much as he did the writer, asks him if he’s seen the new post on his favorite author’s website. when jimin says no, she tells him that he should check it out, maybe he can figure out what the guy means, no one else really understands. it confuses jimin, but he still doesn’t look. even when he gets home and sits at his laptop and his fingers begin to type out the address for yoongi’s official website before his mind catches up with them, he doesn’t look. just closes out the tab, shuts his laptop, and goes for a seven mile run instead.
six months more pass before jimin remembers the cryptic message, and he’s had an entire six pack and a full shot and he’s feeling sentimental and a little curious, so he opens the site.
he first, sees a listing for book tour dates. it’s advertised as the final one. one is in his bookstore, fifteen days away. jimin wonders if he’ll go.
immediately beneath it are two more posts, the first is a link to an article and a brief message replying to it calling its creator a homophobic fuckface with bad grammar skills and an entire baseball bat shoved up his asshole. the second is an announcement for yoongi’s new novel, his first official romance novel. apparently, it features a gay couple, and has started quite to controversy amongst his readers.
finally, following the recent three updates, dated seven months in the past, is what jimin assumes to be the ambiguous message his friend had mentioned. it has no title, and the grammar is missing completely, and it says, only, ‘he always loved me before the stories and i always loved him through the stories but neither was enough’.
jimin buys the new book, ‘six years of nothing’, the next day.
he skips the dedication page, for fear of what he mind find, just as he has for every other novel yoongi has published since their break up, but reads all nine hundred pages. he doesn’t intend to read it all in one sitting, and doesn’t realize he has until he puts the book down and eleven hours have passed.
it’s about a business man and a teacher and they meet in their early twenties. it starts off well, their relationship, the business man private and the teacher always glowing with life. the whole story is from the point of view of the business man, and the things that jimin reads about teachers are some of the same things that he read about himself in the love letters he was given. the similarities don’t stop there, though there’s more romance and a little more drama and the fight over the business man loving his work too much is louder and longer and the business man works harder to make the teacher stay, but the teacher still leaves in the end. the business man spends the next five years in the story obsessing over the details of their relationship, remembering the good moments, rewriting them in his mind to do what he thinks he should’ve done. it’s six chapters of the business man constantly dreaming up a new history and a better future for him and his lost love before he is hit with an epiphany that wishing and waiting is never going to fix anything. he finds the teacher again, eventually, and through a wild series of events, they reconnect. there’s drama and a lot of work on the business man’s part, but, it ends happily, the final scene showing the two men in their nineties, surrounded by family, the younger man laughing as their daughter scolds his husband for telling their eight year old granddaughter that he was “old as fuck”.
it’s them. jimin knows from the first page, when the men run into each other in a park and decide to have their first date after a single conversation. it’s his and yoongi’s relationship played out, fight and all, their imagined future the type of thing jimin had dreamed of before it all fell apart (and sometimes even after).
jimin holds the book for a long time, staring silently at his ceiling, tears in his eyes and he lets himself remember all the happy moments. he remembers them the way they were, not the way they were written, remembers them with him and yoongi instead of these foreign men and their vague resemblance.
eventually, he flips to the dedication.
i haven’t spoken to you in six years
i spent so long writing these god damn stories
trying to rewrite my wrongs
making myself a better man
making you stay
but you were always still gone when i finished
and you were right to leave
but when i close my eyes
and imagine myself ninety years old
on the couch, a lazy smile on my face
residue of decades of happy memories
next to me isn’t a stack of books
i locked myself away to write
then, jimin knows he’ll go to the book talk.
and he does. fourteen days after yoongi tells him that he still loves him, jimin sees him for the first time in six years.
he stands at the back of the room while yoongi sits behind a table on a low, portable stage, looking cuter than jimin remembers him. his hair is a little shaggier than he kept it when they were dating, and he looks a little older and a little more worn, but sleepy is a look that’s always worked for him.
he smiles a little more easily than he did back then, and jimin can sit there and wonder what’s changed, how yoongi has changed, but he wants to know. he hasn’t thought about talking to yoongi, not seriously, in six years but he wants to know everything. now that he’s allowed himself the idea of reconnecting, he wants nothing more than to hear yoongi speak, to hear yoongi talk to him like he did on their fifth date, like he might never stop talking.
jimin can see open seats in the crowd but he still loiters in the back, his copy of six years of nothing in hand just so he doesn’t feel out of place. he’s not sure if yoongi sees him.
yoongi talks about the book, for a while, cites his biggest mistakes as his inspiration, reads the last chapter, and jimin makes a mental note to argue that it all sounds so much better from yoongi’s mouth than it ever could from his own, and then yoongi opens the floor up to questions.
it goes through a few average questions, about yoongi’s writing process and how he plans, a couple about past novels that yoongi seems excited to answer, and then a woman asks what the sudden publication of a new genre after so long without anything means for his career, if there will be more romance or something else entirely, and yoongi looks at jimin for the first time, his politely forced smile slipping away into something soft and private that jimin remembers from first meetings and third dates and late nights cuddled together in a shared bed.
he tells the woman, “it’s the end. this is my last book.”
everyone is shocked, some are upset. all his readers thought it meant a new beginning for a whole new min yoongi, one who explored new genres with each coming novel, one who would explore all wakes of life and bring up controversial issues like they meant nothing and destroy the people who argued. jimin thinks, it is a new beginning, a new man, just not how they want.
they ask why, many people, and yoongi explains, “i spent a lot of time and gave up a lot of things because i loved writing, i loved these books, and the books meant everything to me. that’s okay, i’m happy i wrote them, but i realized, there’s other things too, and i want to give more of my time to those other things.”
jimin starts to ask a question, unable to stop himself, but someone else does. a teen in the audience suddenly pipes up with, “is it that man you dedicate every one to? are you the ones in the book?”
yoongi laughs, watching for jimin’s reaction, eyes alight with something that jimin has only ever seen directed at his laptop screen, “i hope so.”
from the back of the room, jimin nods.