Tick-tock. Clink-Clink. Those were he only two sounds Taehyung could hear. His wrist watch hands moving, and the bottle of champagne touching Jimin's glass; that was all.
They had just come out victorious from yet another awards show. Won three trophies total, and trended on Twitter for five whole hours.
It was fun, but also exceedingly tiring.
And after the group celebrations were done, everyone decided to say goodnight and go do their own thing to unwind.
Jungkook, Jin, Yoongi, Hoseok and some members of their staff went out for drinks. Namjoon said that he was too tired to socialize, and dragged himself to his room; their manager did the same.
Taehyung and Jimin decided to crash on the former's suite, splayed on the huge bed, downing the rest of their champagne as they talked about life.
The light in there was dim -as there was only one lamp on-, and the buzz of the alcohol had made them both quite sleepy. They spoke mainly in shushes, with their eyes half closed, and small smiles decorating their groggy faces.
It was peaceful.
Until Taehyung remembered why he had chosen to stay behind.
He needed to talk with Jimin. And he needed to do it now, otherwise he'd chicken out forever.
"Hey, ehm... I have to tell you something. And I really hope you won't get mad at me."
"... What did you do?" The other replied with feigned anger, snapping his head towards him so fast he got whiplash. "Please tell me I won't be an uncle. I'm too young to be one, and Yeontan would be furious."
"That's not it..."
"Then what? Are you hiding a scandal? Dating someone from other company?"
"Not that either."
"You murdered someone?"
"Stole something, broke something... Fucked something?"
Taehyung took a deep breath in, in a poor attempt of weakening his anxiety. He'd been thinking about this topic for a while, and didn't want to hurt anyone by sharing his truth - even if that felt unavoidable-. But he had to. Otherwise he'd implode anytime soon.
"Okay... First off, I don't want anything to change, between any of us. I don't want to get in between your relationship, or ruin it, or anything people might accuse me of online. But I can't keep lying to you. Because it doesn't feel right, and because if you find out about this from anyone else I know you'll get mad at me... Maybe forever."
"Tae..." Jimin's amused expression suddenly turned worried. "What's wrong? You're scaring me... Why are you afraid of ruining-"
"I like Jungkook." He closed his eyes and confessed. Beside him, the dancer stilled, and let his jaw drop. "And I know, I shouldn't. He's your boyfriend, and you're my best friend; this is beyond fucked up... And I swear, I'd never, ever, betray your trust. You have to believe me when I say that nothing has happened between us. He doesn't even know I like him." The silence that followed his declaration was awkward enough to prompt him to keep going. "I've been putting off telling you this for a couple of months now. I didn't want anyone to know. Mainly because I didn't want to start any drama, and I didn't want to hurt you... So I kept quiet. Figured it was better if I did. But I kept seeing and reading this comments online about how I'm standing between the both of you, and 'ruining your relationship' and I... I..." Deep breath in, and out. "I couldn't keep lying... I'm sorry."
"If I ever did any damage to your relationship, I really didn't mean it-"
"Taehyung." Jimin's serious, low pitched voice shut him up for good. "Look at me." Quietly, meekly, like a child that's terrified of getting scolded, he did. "I'm not mad. I'm not... I'm glad you told me."
"Obviously this is... A surprise. But... I'm not mad." The dancer sat down on the bed, put his glass on the nightstand and turned his head to his friend. "Is this... Why you've been distant, lately? Why I don't see the two of you goofing around as much anymore?"
"You noticed it?"
"Kookie did too."
"Aish..." He massaged his face, clearly angry at himself. "I didn't mean to push him away... I mean, I did, but... I didn't want him to be hurt by my absence. I just... I needed time on my own. I needed to sort these feelings out before I did something I'd regret."
"Well... He misses you."
"I know. But don't say that. Please... It pains me to hear it."
"I'm sorry, but I have to; it's true." Jimin grimaced. "And also because..."
"He loves you too... And not in the friends way."
"... Now you're just being mean."
"No; listen to me, he does-"
"-He told me so, before we even got together. Cried his eyes out, told me that he loved me, but... That he also had feelings for you."
Silence. Taehyung couldn't believe his ears.
"... I thought that you'd be angry. Resented. Jealous, even... But I couldn't imagine you'd be this cruel." He tried to stand up and was quickly pinned down.
"Why do you think I'm lying?"
"I'm serious!" The older man complained. "Do you want me to call Kookie and tell him to come here? That way he can tell you the truth about his feelings himself!"
"NO!" Taehyung pushed him off and grabbed both of their phones, which he pressed desperately against his chest. "Jungkook can't know about this!"
"Tae, he has feelings for you too. This isn't one sided. He deserves to know!"
"Are you..." He squinted his eyes. "Are you using me as an excuse to break up with him?!-"
"-Because it sounds like it!"
"No! What?! No!... I just... Ugh..." Jimin sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose. This wasn't the direction he thought his night would go. "Look... We have to talk about this. You two have to talk about this. Because you're both making an unnecessary mess!"
"No... No, no, no. I'm not doing that. I'm not saying anything! And I'm not breaking you two apart!..."
"You won't be doing that."
"If he has feelings for me, what do you think will happen, Jimin?! He'll have to choose, and I can't-!"
"He won't have to choose."
"Have you ever heard of polyamory?"
Taehyung, suddenly confused and befuddled, stopped talking and moved into a seating position, as he blinked. It took him a couple of minutes to process the question.
"Isn't that..." He gulped. "When three people fuck each other?"
Jimin snorted, not amused.
"No, not really... It can get a little more complicated than that."
"I-I don't want to fuck you!" His friend shrieked like a scared animal, crawling backwards until his back hit the bedpost and he almost fell out of the matress.
"First of all, Ouch! Can't believe you wouldn't; secondly, I never said you had to."
"A polyamorous relationship doesn't have to be fully connected. Two people can share the same partner and have no sexual or romantic bonds between each other, whatsoever. Each case is different."
"So... You're letting me fuck your boyfriend?! How's that better?!"
"Didn't you just say you like him?"
"Yeah, but... I can't. This isn't right! I'd still feel like I'd be an intruder in your relationship. And besides, Jungkookie..."
"He likes you. And would one hundred percent fuck you if he had the chance."
Taehyung choked on air and blushed so hard he overheated.
"Sorry, sorry... Bad time to make a joke like that." He smirked and shook his head, trying to go back to his seriousness. "But I mean it. Please Tae... At least think about it. Do your own research, get to your own conclusions and then talk to us, okay?... I know it's not easy for you... I know it can be confusing. Trust me, I've been there. But at least try, if not for you, for Kookie. He likes you, as much as he likes me. I'm not lying, and I'm not pranking you. He does."
"... And doesn't it bother you?"
"Perhaps it would, if he was crushing on someone else. But it's us..." His answer seemed too simple to be sincere, but it was. "Besides, he can't help the way he feels... He's pansexual and happens to be polyamorous too. He can't change that. Just like I can't change being bi, and you can't change being... You."
Taehyung sighed and looked down.
"And I'm not even sure what I am."
Jimin smiled softly as he saw the man before him finally start to calm down.
"You have all the time in the world to figure it out. Don't rush yourself." He slid closer to him, and they returned to their old positions on the mattress, laying on their backs as they stared at the ceiling. "And don't repress your emotions... You'll end up feeling even more miserable. Trust me, I've tried it. For years."
"Jimin-ah... I can't..."
"I won't say anything to Jungkook. But please, please talk to him about what you feel. Even if you don't want to be with him, and it's just a crush - which I doubt it is-... Tell him the truth. It's worth it."
The younger singer dropped the phones he was holding on the bed and rolled to his side, asking his soulmate for a cuddle.
"I'll think about it."
Once Jimin had fallen asleep, Taehyung nervously typed the words on the search bar of his phone and started reading about it.
Huh. His best friend wasn't joking at all. It was a real thing.
Was that how Jungkook felt? In love with two people at the same time? Was he actually sure of it? How was Jimin okay with this?
A lot of new questions popped up on his mind. Most fuelled by his preconceived notions of what relationships were (he was raised to believe heterosexual, monogamous relationships were the norm, after all) and by his reluctance to accept that yes, this was something that happened, and that other people happily lived through.
Despite his confusion and his doubts, he was sure of one thing; no matter how ignorant he was on the subject, he would try his best to understand it. He didn't want to offend neither Jungkook or Jimin. If that's how the maknae wanted to live... He'd try his best to educate himself.
And that's precisely how he wound up moving to the bathroom floor, sitting down next to the tub, watching videos about this new concept until three am.
From what he had learned thus far, there were four major types of poly relationships; primary partners plus other people, groups, the egalitarian network, and solo. He was guessing - based on the things his best friend had told him earlier-, that their particular group dynamic would fit between the first option and the third.
Jungkook loved and desired both him and Jimin. But Taehyung couldn't see himself pursuing the latter sexually, and he doubted that the dancer actually wanted that too. Romantically, they could work. But otherwise... No.
So, to make it simple, if he confessed his feelings and told the maknae the truth, Jungkook would be the only member on their relationship to have two sexual partners. Himself and Jimin would still be monogamous, technically.
He ran his hand across this face. This whole thing was weird. At least from his point of view, it was. Almost like a delirious fever dream he didn't know how to wake up from. His common sense didn't know what to do, or how to best guide him. He was lost.
He had told his soulmate the truth about his attraction to Jungkook because he didn't want to accidentally come in between them as a couple. And now here he was, with his ass pressed against the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, thinking about sharing the younger man like he was some piece of leftover meat.
This felt wrong.
"No, not wrong. Weird." He had to remind himself.
Loving anyone wasn't wrong.
Again, it was just the way he was raised talking. Growing up, he'd always believed he'd settle down with a nice girl, have a handful of kids, own a house, a car and a dog. This wasn't in his plans.
But it wasn't wrong. Just... Unusual. Yeah. That was more accurate.
He sighed loudly and his phone vibrated on cue. It was Jimin, texting him.
"Are you going to stay in there forever? I kinda need to pee."
Taehyung stood up from the ground after running a hand through his tired face. Upon opening the door, he saw the smaller man stand up from the edge of the bed and make a run to the toilet.
"Thank God. I was starting to believe you had died."
They switched places. He fell down face down on the mattress as Jimin used the bathroom. Eventually, the dancer returned, and plopped down beside him.
"Hey... You're okay?"
Taehyung shook his head.
"I feel like I've complicated everything."
"I've already told you, that's not true."
"... It would be weird. To be dating Jungkook when both of you are already a couple. I can't do it."
Jimin sighed and grabbed his hand.
"You don't have do be with anyone you don't want to."
But that's the thing, he wanted to be with Jungkook. He wanted the romantic dinners, awkward hand holding, the rushed first kiss, the curte nicknames and the nights of intense pleasure. But he felt like the only way to get those things, was by stealing him from Jimin. And that was something he simply couldn't do.
(Deep down, he knew life didn't work like that. He would be "stealing" anything, because the other parties were very much willing to share everything with him. But his thoughts were his alone, and his perception of the situation wouldn't change overnight. Again, it all came down to how he was raised).
"You should tell Kookie the truth, though."
"You know I can't."
"Tae..." Frustration started to slip into the dancer's voice. "He really, really misses you. At least tell him that you've been away because you needed to sort your own feelings regarding someone else. But please... Give him an explanation. He's been acting like a dejected puppy for weeks now, and... It's making me sad too, if I'm honest."
Taehyung sighed. He couldn't keep pushing Jungkook away, and Jimin was right about that. He still was a band mate and a friend. It wasn't fair of him to treat the man so poorly.
"I... Don't know what to say to him." He admitted, turning into a ball over the blankets. "I don't want to push him away even more by saying something dumb, I guess."
"You'll only do that if you don't say anything at all."
Weeks later, Jimin proved himself right.
After the conversation, Taehyung tried even harder to keep his distance and remain silent about his struggles, afraid that the maknae would somehow hate him for his feelings. In his poor attempt of protecting him, he only ended up digging an ever deeper ditch between the two of them.
And in the process, he also hurt Jimin.
Since the two were inseparable lately - an effect of being a sickeningly sweet couple, he supposed-, exiling Jungkook from his life also meant doing the same to his soulmate.
But - contrary to the maknae-, Jimin had no qualms about invading his room and demanding answers for his behavior.
This of course, ended badly. They fought, like they hadn't in years. The dancer, let down and extremely irritated, walked out the door with a hard slam and the promise of never speaking to him again if he didn't get his shit together. The sound was so strong and poignant that Namjoon himself left his suite to inquire what had happened.
But Taehyung couldn't speak. He knew he had fucked things up epically badly.
So, instead of being honest, he avoided his hyung's worried questions by giving him shallow answers, and went out to grab a drink, all by himself. Jin eventually found him, and joined him in his sulking, coaxing him to talk after they both were drunk enough as to not remember the conversation. Or at least, to pretend they didn't.
"So... You like JK."
"And Jimin-ah said he likes you too." In front of him the younger nodded, biting his lip. "But they are together..."
"Did they... Ask you for a threesome?"
"I thought the same thing!" Taehyung complained. "But Jiminie said that no, it wasn't like that... We'd both date Jungkookie, but we wouldn't date each other..."
"That sounds... complicated."
"But why don't you try it?" Jin rested his chin on the palm of his hand.
"Hyung, you-" hiccup. "Can't be serious."
"I am." He shrugged. "What's the worst it could happen? A break up? We've been through far worse things as a group and made it out alive."
"I don't want to be homewrecker though."
"How exactly would you be a homewrecker if the owners of said home want you to come inside?"
"Don't say 'come inside' in this context, please."
"I DIDN'T MEAN IT LIKE THAT!"
"Knowing you? Maybe you did."
"I'm not that gross."
"Hmm. Sure." Taehyung drank another shot and grimaced.
"But seriously..." Seokjin stopped laughing. "Why don't you give it a try? The whole 'group dating' thing? Just try..."
"And what if we break up?"
"Then you break up."
"It's not that easy."
"Maybe because you're overthinking this."
"Do you love Jungkook?"
Taehyung furrowed his brows into the saddest, most dejected expression the could muster and nodded.
"I do. That's the main problem."
"Do you love Jimin?"
"... Differently. But yes."
"Do you trust them?"
The younger singer suddenly saw were his hyung was going.
"With my life."
"Then why are you so afraid of letting them in? Of telling them what you really want?"
Taehyung looked down at his fidgeting hands.
"When did you become so wise?"
"It comes with old age; don't deflect my question. Why?"
"I... D-Don't know." He confessed.
Seokjin sighed and sipped a bit of beer from his own glass.
"Do you want my advice?"
"You heart already knows what you want. Your mind is what's holding you back. So stop thinking. Stop worrying. Just try to be happy, and follow your gut for once. If you screw things up, you'll find a way to fix everything later. But now, focus on making things work well. Do your best."
Taehyung tilted his head to the side.
"Did Namjoon-hyung tell you to say that?"
Jin rolled his eyes.
"I'm smart too, you know?"
"I do." He smiled coyly. "Sorry. And you're right. I... Have to try. Right?"
"No, no doubts about it. You will try! And things will go well!"
"Yes. I'll try. And everything will work out. Sure." He picked up his phone, drunkenness making up for the courage he was clearly lacking.
He opened his notification tab. Saw a message from Jungkook. Read it, and felt all energy leave his body.
The maknae - known for his quite peaceful personality and aversion to fights- had written him an unusually long text, chastising him for the way he had treated Jimin. In all of the years they had known each other, that had never happened before. Him and Jungkook didn't talk to each other this harshly, ever. He must have been really upset to send something so lengthy and crude.
"You were wrong hyung." His posture deflated, and he teared up. "I think I just lost my chance of trying anything."
Taehyung gave him his phone, allowing him to read the entire thing.
"Well, JK kinda has a point though. You've been pretty nasty to Jimin lately..."
"I didn't want to be."
"I know, but you hurt him anyway." He returned the device to it's owner. "You've gotta apologize."
"I don't think he'll ever want to see me again."
"That's dumb. You're dumb."
"What? You are!... Just text Jungkookie back. Tell him you're sorry and that you want to talk. Be open, and honest."
And despite his own fears, try he did. Taehyung wrote a small paragraph apologizing for his breakdown, for pushing Jimin away when he was only trying to help, and for being so cold and distant those last few weeks. Then, he asked them to meet up in person, and talk things through like the two adults that they were.
(He had been childish for far too long; he had no other choice but to man up right now).
Jungkook left him in read, and for a moment he thought he had wrecked everything even more.
But then, the maknae called.
"Tae? Where are you? I've been looking for you everywhere, but no one knows where you are."
"Hi, Jungkook-ah. I'm at the bar we went to yesterday. Jin-hyung is here with me." He replied, trying not to slurry his words too much.
"... I'm on my way."
"You don't have to... I can go back to the hotel. We need to have some privacy."
"Can you even walk? You sound very drunk."
The older singer flinched.
"Yeah. I can. Don't worry."
"Fine. Just... Drink some water, before coming to my room. You'll need to sober up before we talk about anything."
"We don't need to have a conversation today, you know? What I meant in the text is that we can do it later..."
"Jimin-ah needs you now." Jungkook protested. "He cried himself to sleep after you left. He's a mess."
He didn't know that had happened.
"I really screwed things up this time, didn't I?" He whispered and lowered his gaze. "I'll be there in ten."
"Alright then. Hurry up. I'm waiting."
The call ended. Taehyung suddenly felt like crying too. In his attempt to protect the people that he loved the most from his own selfish desires, he had hurt them, badly.
"Hyung... I have to go. I need to fix this mess before it's too late."
"I know." Jin smiled. "Good luck."
He felt glad to hear that. God only knew how much he'd need it.
When he arrived at the upper floor of the hotel where they were staying at, he found Jungkook sitting down on the ref carpet of the main hallway, outside his own bedroom.
Any other day, Taehyung would have known that the maknae was out there trying to find at least one bar of WiFi - something extremely hard to do, since the signal usually sucked outside of their homeland-. But that afternoon, it was different. Jungkook had nothing in his hands. No cellphone, computer or tablet. Not even earbuds. He was only sitting there; staring at the wall in front of him like his gaze could burn a hole through it. Completely lost to his own thoughts. Consumed by his doubts.
Taehyung had to clear his throat for the man to unglue his eyes from the ugly wallpaper.
"I'm sorry." It was the first thing he dared to say, before slowly moving next to the surprised singer, and sitting down.
"No." The older whispered, before he could reprimand himself for it. "It's not."
"Then speak up. Why have you been avoiding us? Acting like a jerk towards us? What did we even do to you?"
Taehyung swallowed his pride and looked away.
"You didn't do anything. I'm the one to blame. I'm the one who's been screwing things up... It's nothing to do with you."
"Well, it doesn't seem like it-"
"I like you." Oh. Fuck. He had said it, at last. "I like you, and I shouldn't like you, because you're with Jimin and he's my best friend, and this is weird beyond all levels-"
"You like me?"
Jungkook was genuinely perplexed.
He wasn't expecting the reason of his hyung's moody behavior to be something so... Surprising. Not that he was complaining, of course.
"I do." Taehyung exhaled, with a bit of guilt. "And Jimin-ah knows it... He's been asking me to tell you the truth for weeks now... But I couldn't. I can't bear to see your reaction, and I don't want to get in between your relationship... I just don't."
"But I like you too." The maknae replied, still wide eyed and in awe. "Did... Did h-he tell you that?"
"Yes... And that's precisely why I've been avoiding both of you... I don't want to make you two break up because of me."
"That wouldn't happen..."
"I've also had this conversation with him; I know what polyamory means. But I'm not sure I could do something like that... Share you with anyone else... I'm sorry."
He was lying, and it was obvious. He wanted to give it a go. He craved the love that the deal could ensure him. But the thought of being responsible for the end of such a beautiful and lasting relationship between his two best friends... It scared him, terribly. He could stand losing them, but not making them lose each other. It would be far too painful.
"Aren't you even willing to try?" Jungkook asked in a low, almost fearful voice, and Taehyung couldn't stop himself from staring straight into his eyes.
It pained him to know that he was breaking the heart of his beloved. Creating even more tear tracks on his face. Setting on fire their already ruined friendship.
"Don't ask me that." It was his moment to be sincere.
"I have to. Because I need to know; aren't you?"
The older singer sighed.
He was doomed, wasn't he? From the start, he was destined to be wrecked by his feelings. Humiliated and tortured by his wants.
And the truth is, he tried to fight it. He tried to hold back his emotions and restrain his body with all the strength that he had. But recognizing the want and the love in those dark big eyes in front of him weakened his will, and soon enough, all of the feelings he had repressed for years broke free of their cages, and escaped the shadows of his mind to settle in the warm light of his heart - which was beating out of control against the walls of his chest-.
He moved forward before he could think twice about what he was doing. He acted out of passion, not logic.
And kissed Jungkook.
The happiness, pleasure and gratification he felt were blissful, but short lived. In five seconds, it all was over.
The first belonged to his courage, the second to his freedom, the third to his desires, the fourth to the acceptance of his needs, and the fifth to the regret of recognizing them.
"What did I do?" He pulled back, and desperately tried to run away.
Jungkook held him down.
"Don't go. Please."
And how could he say no to such demand? When he recognized how delicate and vulnerable the man behind it was? How could he accept being a coward again, when the hardest part of the battle was already over?
Jungkook knew about his attraction. He knew why he was running away. So what was the point of escaping now? There was nothing left to hide.
Taehyung frowned, and gestured aggressively towards the door.
"What would I be sorry for? What do you think? My best friend, your boyfriend, is on the other side of this wall! And I just k-kissed you!"
"We both know he doesn't mind."
"That's bullshit! Of course he does!... It's Jimin! How would you even know if he's okay with it! He keeps everything to himself until he explodes!-"
"When I first told him that I also liked you, we spent weeks not talking to each other." Jungkook cut through his rant, completely ignoring his anger and frustration. "He came to me and apologized first. He told me the truth about how he felt... He was furious at first... But slowly, he started to understand me, and my heart... And he's okay with everything now. Of course he sometimes feels jealous, but we have learned to talk it through. He knows that I love him, and I know he loves me... It just happens that I love you too."
"You can't say t-that..."
"But it's true! I do... What I don't understand is; why are you agonizing so much over this? You like me, don't you? Why are you so determined to push me, us, away then? I don't get it."
"That's not the way I was raised!" Taehyung finally lost his patience. "Falling for a man?! Being in a throuple?! Or whatever the hell this would be?... It's not right! It's unnatural! It's... It's..." He had started to sob without even realizing it. "I c-can't do this!... This is wrong!"
"Oh, so you think Jimin and I are repulsive and disgustingly, is that it?!"
"No! Of course not!"
"Then it doesn't make sense! If you are okay with us being together, then why are you so afraid of doing the same?!"
"Because it's different!"
At the exclamation, the older singer broke down. All of the tears he hadn't shed since he first became aware of his feelings surfaced. Pulling his legs against his chest, and hiding his face in between his knees, he wept until his body was trembling.
Jungkook however, didn't leave. His hand kept massaging his back, and his voice, trying to calm him down. At some point - he couldn't really register how much time had passed since his crying started-, another pair of hands came to rest on his shoulders. He was gently pulled towards a warm chest, that smelled of something sweet and familiar.
"Jimin-ah?" He struggled to ask.
Their argument had clearly woken him up.
His soulmate didn't reply, but kissed the crown of his head as if to say "It's okay, I understand".
"Kook, let's get him to our bed. We need privacy to talk, and he needs to rest."
Somehow, the couple managed to pull him up, take him inside, and sit him down on the mattress.
"Here." Jimin offered Taehyung a bottle of water, as Jungkook closed the door. "Drink this."
Slowly, he swallowed a few sips. His throat felt coarse and his voice was cracking; not good for a singer. As he focused on calming down and getting his mind back into place, the two other men watching over him sat on the bed. Jungkook behind him, and Jimin to his right. To his relief, they didn't seem mad, only worried.
He wasn't the type to cry his eyes out, normally. He reserved his tears for deeply upsetting situations or devastating news, and he wasn't easy to disturb either. So seeing him bawl, sob and shake on a hotel hallway, confused and overwhelmed was concerning, to put it mildly.
They knew he wasn't alright, and neither would let him be by himself at the moment. He still was too shaken and helpless to be left alone.
"I'm sorry for shouting at you, hyung." Jungkook started first, kneeling in the bed and putting both hands over his shoulders, before hugging him from behind. "I really am."
"You d-don't need to a-apologize. I do." He sniffled. "I said a lot of things I r-regret... Things I didn't really mean... And I know... I know I'm b-being dumb... B-But I swear, I've been trying, so h-hard to unlearn everything the w-world has taught me... It's just... H-hard..."
Jimin grabbed one of his hands.
"I heard part of your conversation. You were talking so loudly it was unavoidable."
"Don't be. You needed to get it out of your chest."
"But I s-said..."
"Things that Kookie and I have said to ourselves as well, at some point in our lives." Jimin confessed, to his surprise. "We also thought that our feelings were wrong, that we were wrong, and that we shouldn't be together... But then we realized that it wasn't true. Any of it. There's nothing wrong with love, and there's no correct way to be in love either... It just happens. And there's nothing wrong with feeling attraction to other people, it doesn't matter the gender, or how many they are. As long as it is healthy, consensual, and we are happy... It's fine."
"It took us a long while to be okay with ourselves. And to accept what we can't change." Jungkook added, as the dancer kissed Taehyung's hand. "It isn't easy, I know... But trust me, repressing what your emotions will only make you feel worse."
"And Tae... If you don't feel comfortable being in a relationship with Kookie, it's okay. You can be attracted to him and still want to be single. It's alright. We get it... But if you do want to try dating him, please understand this; nothing is going to change between us. You aren't making him and I break up, you aren't 'stealing' my boyfriend, and he isn't cheating either. We are both consenting adults, and we'd both be very happy if you decided to give this a go."
"You don't have to give us an answer right now though... You can wait, and think about it some more."
"I don't want to t-think about it." Taehyung replied, having made up his mind as Jimin rambled.
"Okay... Whatever you choose, it's fine-"
"I want to try."
Getting those words out of his mouth was simultaneously the easiest and hardest things he ever did. It was easy because his heart meant it, hard because his brain disagreed.
(Huh. Jin was right after all.)
"Really?" Jimin seemed surprised. "You want to?"
"Yes." Taehyung looked at his best friend, eyes showing a level of vulnerability that was exclusive to their friendship. "If you're okay with it... I want to give it a go."
Jimin then shifted his gaze to Jungkook, who was just as perplexed. They both were expecting a straight, harsh "NO" from the man; this development was shocking.
Still, they couldn't help but smile. They knew life was about to get a whole lot better now that they all got what they wanted.
"Why are you two staring at each other like that? You look like you're plotting my murder."
"No, not your murder, TaeTae..." Jimin licked his lips maliciously, seconds before Jungkook pinned him down on the bed and started pampering him, pecking him everywhere.
The oldest of the bunch cackled after hearing Taehyung's surprised yelp, and seeing him blush until he was sweating. Right before the maknae pulled back, smirking, he gave his hyung another heartfelt kiss, and felt him go rigid underneath his touch.
"Kookie, I think you broke him." Jimin kept giggling, as his soulmate clearly struggled to understand what had just happened. "Tae? You're okay?"
"Yeah." He whispered, fazed by the sudden display of affection. It had been a while since he last was in the receiving end of one. "Never better."
After that Jungkook started giggling as well, and before they knew it, the three of them were laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation. Here they were, three grown adults, walking on eggshells and behaving like lovesick teenagers. What a scene.
"Jimin-ah?" Taehyung then called him, after their glee began to die down.
"Can you kiss me too?"
The dancer's eyes opened wide, and his jaw dropped.
"But I thought! You said!..."
"If you don't want that's fine..."
"No! I want to!" He shocked himself by admitting it out loud. "I'm just... Confused, to be honest. You acted so disgusted by the mere thought of something happening between us..."
"I think I reacted badly to everything, not just that." He sighed. "But... I want to try it. Kissing you. Even if it's just to know how it feels..."
"So you're curious?"
"Always have been." The reply was shy, almost whispered, but it felt like a scream for everyone in the room. It was another confession they hadn't seen coming. "Sorry, Jungkookie."
"Don't be." He shook his head. "Don't apologize for your feelings. Ever again. Okay?"
As they talked, Jimin blinked and shook his head, snapping out of his stupor. Slowly, he readjusted himself on the bed, so he could tower over Taehyung. The position was nothing new, but the context had him a little bit nervous. Not that it showed, since he was enjoying the shift in their dynamic a lot more than he should.
"Hi there." He then smiled, and watched his best friend's cheeks burn once again.
It was a new look for sure, but Jimin loved to see him so smitten.
"Isn't this awkward for you?"
"No. I like kissing cute people."
"But I'm not people, I'm your..."
"Soulmate. Even better."
"I'm very comfortable, Tae. I'd tell you if I wasn't."
"I promise; now stop overthinking. It's just me. You don't have to be so scared."
They stared into each other's eyes for a few seconds, wondering who would dare to erase the distance first.
"Then prove it."
Taehyung, growing tired of the tension between them, raised his hand to the nape of Jimin's neck and pulled him down, making his point.
The kiss wasn't very long, but didn't feel rushed either. It didn't drip with passion, but felt exciting and pleasurable anyway. And they wanted to repeat it. Again, and again, and again...
"So?" Jungkook cut through the silence and asked, watching their reactions like an avid scientist, taking mental notes of his experiment. "How was it?"
"I liked that a lot." It was Jimin's turn to blush, as Taehyung smiled beneath him.
"So we're doing this?" The maknae's expression shifted from curiosity to pure, unaltered joy.
"If it's okay with you, it's okay with me."
Jungkook smiled and raised his eyebrows - like he usually did, when deeply excited or amused-, and moved closer to the duo so he could kiss them both.
Taehyung almost cried with relief after seeing him kiss Jimin, with the same affectionate enthusiasm of always.
The crashing of their lips meant he hadn't ruined everything. That they still loved each other, and they all could be together without destroying that precious relationship. With communication, it was possible.
It also set in motion the realization that he wasn't wrong for loving his two best friends as much as he did, at the same time.
He still thought it was weird - and maybe would for a long time-, but knew now that this was natural. That this could be healthy, and fun, and good, for all of them.
If they ensured that their relationship was well maintained, cherished, and respected, they could do it. He could do it. Reaching happiness was possible.
"Can I kiss you again?" Jungkook asked, and he laughed with content, nodding.
"Of course you can."
And with that, the maknae did. How did he managed to make every new kiss feel better than the last, it was a mystery. One that he was dying to uncover, that is.
"Let's go on a date. All of us." Jimin suggested. "That way we can settle down boundaries, discuss what we want and don't want, and make sure everyone is on the same page about everything."
"Or we could order room service and do that right now." Taehyung replied.
"I was trying to be romantic; thanks for ruining the fun."
"I thought Kookie was the romantic one."
"Are you kidding? He once flew from Paris to Seoul just so we could spend my birthday together!" The maknae reminded them. "Bought us engagement rings when we travelled to Tokyo! Last week he even went out on the pouring rain to buy me more banana milk because we had ran out!"
"That's... Oddly specific."
"And not that romantic at all. Banana milk? Really Jungkook? I have done loads of romantic things for you lately!"
"I know, but that was the most memorable one that I could think of!"
Jimin's sassy attitude was proof of how annoyed that sentence made him.
"What? You know that food and beverages are the key to my heart!"
"Aish! I should murder you for that!" He pointed out, as his boyfriend laughed.
"I'm not lying though!"
"That's it!" Jimin pounced forward to slap him on the chest, but Jungkook pulled Taehyung in front of him as used the man as a shield.
"You know, I thought you two would be cuter and softer behind closed walls, but it's good to see that you remain just as goofy and dramatic as your are in public..." He said, trying to stop his soulmate from annihilating the maknae. "Are you always like this?"
"Generally worse." Jungkook stood up from the bed once Jimin had given up on killing him. "So... What are we doing? Staying here, or going out?"
"I think there's only one diplomatic way of deciding that." Taehyung looked at both of them. "Rock, paper, scissors!"
He chose rock. Jimin paper. Jungkook scissors. They did it again. And again. Until the maknae lost and the dancer gave up.
Noticing the slight frustration that came with his failure, Taehyung decided to compromise with Jimin. Instead of having the planned room service - which included an overly cooked chicken breast, stale rice, and way too salty side sauce-, he ordered take out from their favorite restaurant. That way they could still be somewhat romantic and fancy, but in private.
Then, to end the night on a good note, he cuddled the man to sleep, as Jungkook embraced him from behind. The arrangement was so comfortable they almost overslept their stay.
And on the next morning, as the maknae took a shower, Jimin finished packing his stuff, and Taehyung left the room to go pick up his own belongings, the latter wished they had done so.
He wished he could have remained stuck to those warm sheets, sandwiched between the two people that he loved the most. Even the thought of it made him smile, and long for their touch once more.
Was this what he was missing out on? This pure, heavenly happiness? If so, he regretted not letting go of his prejudices and fears sooner. He never felt so light and content at seven in the morning. Truly a miracle of love.
"By your looks I think everything has been sorted out?" Seokjin, who just had unceremoniously walked inside his room to check if he was alive asked.
"We're... Figuring it out."
"Good, because I'd go crazy if I had to stand another week of you, Jimin-ah and JK brooding by my side." His hyung dropped down on the bed, as he hurriedly packed his suitcase for checkout. "Are you happy?"
Taehyung grinned and looked up.
"Never been happier."
And he meant it.