Jimin likes flying.
It’s always a hassle, and fitting all of his liquids into those little bottles is annoying, and it’s not like he has the money to buy anything he’s missing once he gets into Seoul and he also doesn’t have enough money to take more than a suitcase and a carry on. So that’s always exciting.
But flying is nice.
He likes talking to people on the plane. He doesn’t mind being a little cramped. He likes the window seat. He can deal with his ears popping and he doesn’t hate turbulence too much.
He’s not a huge fan of crowds but he sticks his headphones in and walks forward like he knows where he’s going once he gets off the plane and usually that works just fine. He pulls his hat down, secures his mask a little better. No one will bother him.
His backpack digs a little into his shoulders, it’s so heavy. He’s jammed so much shit in there it feels like he’s Atlas but instead of the sky, he’s carrying several pounds of school books and underwear and his hopes for the future. Or something.
Still, he’s back in Seoul. He’s ready for the semester to start. He’s tired as hell and he just wants to get him luggage and tell Jungkook he’s on his way back to the apartment finally.
With a sigh, he pulls out his phone, headphones still in, and turns it off airplane mode to check his notifications before calling his roommate. Which would be perfectly fine, honestly, because he’s a college student who is well versed in the art of keeping an eye on his phone and his feet at the same time. However. Some people are not quite as skilled.
So Jimin shouldn’t really be surprised when he’s walking through the terminal, minding his own business, and someone barrels into him at a breakneck pace.
They don’t fall over or anything. Jimin is pretty sturdy, even when all of the hopes and dreams and shit in his backpack threaten to topple him over. He catches his assailant, stumbles backwards a little with several pounds worth of human in his arms. The other guy’s legs fall out from under him and Jimin strains to hold the both of them up. There’s a splash that sounds suspiciously like a cup of expensive coffee hitting the floor and then the left leg of his pants starts to feel rather warm.
Jimin just wants to go home.
But he’s polite. “Sorry,” he says, even though he knows it’s not his fault. “I should have been looking.” He feels the other guy settle back on his feet and holds on just a smidge longer before stepping away. His pant leg is splattered with coffee and whipped cream, and he’s a good hour or more away from getting home. He sighs.
“No, no,” the guy says. Jimin only sees the top of his head, but he’s probably looking down at his ruined coffee with horror. Jimin feels a little better about his pants when he sees that the coffee is all over this guy’s expensive looking shoes. “It was my fault. I was. In a hurry.”
He looks over his shoulder, and Jimin sees past the dyed blond hair and sees a straight nose and nice teeth as he bites his lip.
Jimin doesn’t mean to be creepy or anything, but it’s a hard profile not to admire.
It also looks mildly familiar.
What a day.
Taehyung whips his head around. He’s wearing a hideous pair of bright orange sunglasses, but Jimin is almost certain that his eyes are wide and terrified, and he watches the actor’s face go slack, and he can’t help but laugh again.
It’s obviously him. Jimin has seen his face often enough on his television, seen him in magazines, seen him on reality shows. Recently, on the big screen. Kim Taehyung just filmed his movie debut. Jungkook loves Taehyung’s dramas, hasn’t shut up about this action movie he recently finished, has been pulling Jimin’s arm for months so that they can go together.
Jimin’s not a fanatic, but he’s never denied that Taehyung is talented. Or that he has a nice face.
Looking at it up close, Jimin can confirm that it is a very nice face.
It takes a second, like Taehyung has to register what’s happening, but as soon as Jimin laughs, Taehyung pounces. “Shhhhh.” He all but leaps forward, jamming his pointer finger over Jimin’s mouth to keep it shut. The mask is blocking his hand from actually finding Jimin’s mouth, so really it’s a little low and slightly to the left. “That coffee is not in my diet. This is a secret. No one can know.” Taehyung pushes his glasses down on his nose and looks around to see if his management can see them.
Jimin laughs again, reaching up to grab Taehyung’s hand and pull it away from his face. “It’s not like you’re drinking it. Technically you’ve done nothing wrong.”
It’s a weird day, one where Jimin is standing here in the airport with coffee soaking into his leg, bantering with Kim Taehyung, rising acting star and household name.
And then it gets weirder.
Because right when Jimin thinks that Taehyung is going to offer up his own witty retort, the other man’s face goes slack, mouth slightly open, and Jimin watches in confusion as Taehyung’s eyes trail from his to his hand. The atmosphere tightens from casual to tense, like someone is holding their breath.
It might be Jimin. “Is everything okay?” he asks slowly, releasing Taehyung’s hand. Maybe he just doesn’t like to be touched. It seems a little against what else Jimin knows of this guy, but he won’t judge.
That’s when he feels a tug. Just a little one, a little tug pulling at the base of Jimin’s ring finger on his left hand, and suddenly his stomach drops.
He looks at Taehyung’s hand and sees red.
Taehyung believes in soulmates. He believes in soulmates to the moon and back, with the sort of fervor reserved for children and lunatics. That there is someone out there with whom he can spend the rest of his life and never get tired of them. That they can be happy together, and when they’re not happy they will still love each other, and they will be happy more often than not.
It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask.
But to Taehyung, it matters a lot.
When he first got into acting, he remembers his old manager scolding him. “You have to stop fiddling with your string,” he said. “Don’t remind people you have a soulmate. You belong to your fans.”
Taehyung never stopped.
There’s a red string tied to his ring finger, left hand, a reminder of an entire lifetime that’s waiting for him to find it. Taehyung has a habit of wrapping it around his hand, feeling it’s weight, tangling it up between his fingers until all he sees is red and red and red and red. If it annoys anyone when he does it during interviews, or on set when he’s bored, it’s not like he can help it. It’s not on purpose, a habit he’s developed to soothe himself when his heart starts shaking.
There’s only one person in the whole world that can see the red string other than Taehyung, and everyone else can deal with his fidgety hands.
People like his hands, anyway. He doesn’t hear them complaining.
He’s spent the last 21 years fiddling with his string, waiting, waiting, but he’s content to wait when he knows what the end result will be.
Sure, he’s thought about what it would be like, to have his soulmate beside him right now. Are they a girl or a boy? Are they tall? Cute? Do they have a nice smile? Are they kind? He’s has a vague picture in his head that looks a lot like happiness.
That’s all he needs for now.
Well, that and coffee.
It’s been a long few months of schedule, filming and doing interviews and going to photo shoots and doing variety shows for promotional material, and Taehyung has been on a diet for so long he’s forgotten what a hamburger looks like.
So when he gets through security and manages to shake off his manager for two minutes, the only thing on his mind is going to that overpriced Starbucks and buying himself something full of sugar and rebellion.
Do you want whipped cream? Hell yes.
His disguise is mediocre, but he’s in a hurry and he didn’t pack his ski mask in his carry-on, so here’s hoping everyone is too busy trying to get to and from their flights to pay too much attention to the suspicious Korean man in the tacky sunglasses cradling coffee in his hands like it’s a gift from God.
He gets three, maybe four sips of his horrifically unhealthy fake coffee drink before tragedy strikes.
And by tragedy, he means he t-bones some poor airport goer as he rounds a corner.
The coffee slips from his hands and all Taehyung can think is I deserve this.
He’s expecting to hit the floor, a pile of limbs and regret, but he feels arms grab onto him even as he flails to try and regain his footing. They stumble backwards a little but otherwise, his poor victim is carrying most of Taehyung’s weight.
This whole thing is embarrassing but he’s not one to complain about having strong arms wrapped around him.
His coffee is ruined. He is upset about that.
He hears the other man apologize, but Taehyung is still mourning his loss, staring down at the sad remains of his rebellion even as he stands back up on his own two feet. “I should have been looking.” It’s polite, almost too nice when Taehyung sees how his coffee has gotten all over the other guy’s pants. His hand is still on Taehyung’s waist, and it’s around the time when Taehyung notices it, and how it feels rather nice, and he manages to pull himself out of his despair.
“No, no,” he says. “It was my fault. I was. In a hurry.” His shoes are covered in whipped cream. His stylists are going to rip his hair out strand by strand. He looks behind him, towards the Starbucks. Does he go back and get another drink? It’s too risky. Management is probably trying to find him, and the longer he’s gone the more annoyed Seokjin is going to be. He bites his lip.
Shit shit shit.
He whips his head around.
The other man is small, with defined arms and a nice chest that Taehyung can see very clearly in the t-shirt he’s wearing. His face is mostly covered. He’s wearing a black mask and a hat, the bill casting his face in shadow, and it’s a better disguise than Taehyung’s even though he sincerely doubts this guy is hiding from anyone. His eyes are so bright. He’s smiling under the mask, Taehyung can tell by the way they’re scrunched up.
Taehyung feels his face go slack. His eyes widen. His mouth probably drops.
The man laughs.
Taehyung’s heart does a backflip.
Wait, no, this is no good.
He jumps forward, holding the man in place with one hand and putting a finger in the general area of the other’s mouth to keep him quiet. He tries not to think about the way the muscles of this guy’s arm feel under his hand. Now is not the time. “That coffee is not in my diet,” he tells him in a hushed voice, almost panicking. If Seokjin finds out…he shudders even thinking about it. “This is a secret. No one can know.” Is Seokjin around? He pushing his glasses down and looks around again.
There’s a hand on his, and when Taehyung looks back he sees the other man pulling his finger away from his mouth. “It’s not like you’re drinking it,” the stranger points out. And then he says something else, but Taehyung feels a little like his world is shutting down so he misses it.
He sees red.
And first the first time, it’s not on his own hand.
There, on the stranger’s ring finger, left hand, the one that’s holding Taehyung’s, is red. A thread tied neatly around a short finger.
Taehyung feels like he can’t breath. Something is welling up inside of him and it’s huge, powerful, all consuming.
“Is everything okay?” his soulmate asks, his soulmate, letting go of Taehyung’s hand.
Taehyung can see the exact moment when the other realizes what’s happening. He sees the stranger’s eyes move from Taehyung’s to his own hand, to Taehyung’s hand, and back up again.
When Taehyung looks into his eyes again, he isn’t sure what he’s seeing there.
Something different than what Taehyung feels, than what Taehyung expected.
Than what Taehyung wants.
The string pulls taught as his soulmate takes a step back. Taehyung feels the tug. Another step. Another tug. Taehyung isn’t sure what’s happening.
And then, the man runs.
Taehyung’s heart stops.
And then he runs, too. He leaves the coffee cup on the floor for someone else to pick up. Leaves the mess. His sunglasses fall off. And he chases.
The stranger is small but fast, even with the huge backpack, and Taehyung thinks he can just follow the string but the crowd makes it impossible And his face is bare now, bold and recognizable, and the crowd gets bigger, starts to swarm.
He sees a white t-shirt slip around the corner, trailing red, and then a camera flashes and Taehyung is blind. By the time the stars clear, Taehyung is surrounded by everyone except for the person who should be beside him forever.
His heart is shaking.
He fidgets with his string. He’s not soothed.
Jungkook doesn’t ask any questions when Jimin gets home looking like he’s on the run from the police, because Jimin has a habit of being dramatic and Jungkook is used to it. He just welcomes Jimin back, gives him a hug, and tells him he smells like airports and coffee.
Jimin is grateful, because if someone asked him how he felt, he doesn’t know what he would answer.
So he throws his stuff on the floor of his room, flings himself onto his bed, and sleeps.
When he wakes up, hell has broken loose.
Mostly in the form of Jungkook pounding on his door. “Jimin! Jimin, wake up!" More pounding. “I need to yell at you but I can’t come into your room without permission!”
“What time is it…” Jimin rolls over groggily, still smelling like airport and coffee, and then everything that happened yesterday hits him all over again. He runs a hand down his face. “Stop screaming, Jungkook,” he yells tiredly. “I’m up, I’m up.”
“Okay, but can I come in?” Jungkook demands.
Jimin reaches for his glasses. “Yeah, if it’s that important.” The clock says 9:30, which isn’t terrible but is definitely earlier than Jungkook usually drags himself out of bed.
The door is thrown open with arguably more forcethan is required in the midmorning, but Jimin knows that Jungkook rarely does anything halfway, even aggressively waking Jimin up. He does, however, complain when Jungkook flings himself onto Jimin’s bed and shoves his phone in Jimin’s face.
“What the fuck.” He tries to push Jungkook off, but Jungkook is big, cute, and determined, and no amount of fighting on Jimin’s part will end in his favor.
“What is this?”
“What is what?” Jimin is still blinking at his roommate blearily, trying to shove his glasses on but he’s having trouble getting the placement right. “I can’t even see, stop yelling at me.”
The noise Jungkook makes is vaguely inhuman, and Jimin should be pleased when Jungkook takes the glasses from him and delicately puts them on Jimin’s face, brushing his bangs out of his face, but then the younger man smacks him on the forehead and he’s not thankful at all. “This.”
The brightness is turned up too much, and Jimin’s eyes are still a little fuzzy with sleep, but the headline is big and bold enough that Jimin has no trouble at all reading it.
Man, does that wake him up.
Rising Star Kim Taehyung Finds True Love? Mystery Soulmate On The Run
“What the fuck.”
“This is you? Isn’t it?” Jungkook shakes the phone in Jimin’s face, and Jimin makes wild attempts to grab it from him.
“Is it?” It is.
It definitely is.
“It’s all over the news,” Jungkook tells him.
“All of the news.” Jungkook shakes his head. “I couldn’t believe it. These pictures are everywhere. You’re famous!”
No one will be able to tell it’s Jimin except for Jungkook, who saw what he was wearing that day, and maybe his mother. His hat is pulled low over his face and his mask is in place and he looks a little bit like he’s either tired at the airport or about to rob a bank, but that is definitely a picture of him, and definitely a picture of Kim Taehyung, there, together.
Are those googly eyes? Is Park Jimin making googly eyes? Is this photoshop? Jimin doesn’t remember that at all.
But that’s Taehyung’s coffee on the ground and Taehyung’s finger over his mouth and that’s definitely a smile on Jimin’s face. He doesn’t need to remove the mask to know he was smiling.
He swipes down, and there’s a few more pictures, one of Jimin holding Taehyung’s hand and another one of Jimin running backwards into the crowd. He was in such a panic he didn’t even realize there were cameras at the time, but it makes sense that someone would catch his greatest embarrassment on camera.
There’s another one, just of Taehyung, just of the face he makes when he sees Jimin running, and Jimin refuses to feel bad, but his heart breaks a little.
It’s better this way.
He hands the phone back to Jungkook quietly.
Jimin believes in soulmates. He’s just not sure he wants his.
It’s not that Taehyung isn’t a good person. From what little Jimin knows, Taehyung is wonderful. Jungkook loves Taehyung, waxes poetic about his many attributes and talents, and a short conversation is enough to cement that opinion in Jimin’s mind, but.
Jimin’s parents aren’t soulmates.
Not everyone has a string. Jimin’s mom does, he knows, tied firmly around her ring finger and leading off to nowhere. His father does not. His dad doesn’t have a string on his finger, just love, and his wife’s hand in his, and that’s all they’ve ever needed.
All Jimin thinks he needs, too.
If his parents are happy, then what does the string even matter?
It’s not that Jimin is against soulmates at all. He’s happy when soulmates meet each other. It happens on campus sometimes, and Jimin is the first one to start whooping as the crowd gathers.
He just doesn’t know if that’s what he wants.
Love is something beautiful, but blind love kind of terrifies him.
He doesn’t want to be in love with someone because fate says he should be. He doesn’t want to overlook things because he’s supposed to be hopelessly in love.
Or vice versa.
Jimin is not a perfect human being. In a lot of ways, he’s pretty mediocre, and he doesn’t want to be treated like he isn’t. There’s something nice about non-soulmate relationships, where you have to try, and trust each other, and work hard. He wants to be happy because he’s happy. He doesn’t want to be told he’s happy by a piece of thread and a pretty smile.
Kim Taehyung has a very pretty smile.
Kim Taehyung is also Kim Taehyung.
There were a lot of thoughts moving through Jimin’s head when he saw the string on Taehyung’s finger, and some of them were relief. He doesn’t have to wonder anymore. A question he no longer needs answered.
His answer is a tall, beautiful, successful, famous young man with awards and fans and a career trajectory that lands somewhere around the moon. A man with a nice smile and nice hands and a nice everything.
Jimin’s stomach churns just thinking about it.
That can only end badly.
It’s not like Taehyung would even like Jimin, anyway. They’re soulmates, they fit, but there is more to life than just your soul. There’s your place and your friends and your life, and Jimin feels like those things won’t fit together at all. He tries to imagine himself on Taehyung’s arm, trailing behind him at parties, trying to keep up with rabid fans, and it leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
Taehyung probably wouldn’t like him at all.
Jimin is poor, trying to scrounge up enough money to go to college and send something back for his parents, working two jobs, giving up his dream of being a dancer for a more stable career as an accountant. Full of love and desperation and very few options.
He has very little to offer except for himself.
It’s a sobering thought.
There are enough people out there that are better than Park Jimin. Better for Kim Taehyung than Park Jimin, he’s sure.
He doesn’t have time for fairy tale love stories. Soulmates.
When he closes his eyes, he sees the picture of Taehyung, the look on his face when Jimin ran, and pretends that he’s okay with it.
He swallows the lump in his throat and runs a hand through his hair. “If that’s me, you definitely can’t tell anyone about it.”
Jungkook jolts, scrambling to kneel by Jimin’s head. He knees Jimin in the spleen but he’s cute so Jimin doesn’t say anything. “So it is you? I knew it! Kim Taehyung is your soulmate?” He’s yelling in Jimin’s ear. Less cute.
Jimin hums tiredly. “Who said anything about soulmates?” he asks, flopping back down against his pillow. His glasses go a little crooked but he doesn’t care.
Jimin squints at his roommate. “Pardon?”
Jungkook clicks around a little on his phone. “He posted this last night. Or, this morning, maybe. Early as hell.”
His heart flips. “Posted what?”
Kim Taehyung wrote him a goddamn letter.
It’s nothing official, other than the fact that it’s definitely Taehyung who wrote it. But it’s not a press release or an interview or anything. It’s just a Tumblr post. Something someone writes late at night when they don’t know if anyone will see it and they post it anyway. Except Taehyung has thousands of followers maybe, probably, and everyone sees it.
Somehow, it still feels personal, like Taehyung took a piece of his heart and set it out of the mantle.
To Whom It May Concern,
We met today. I’m sorry I spilled my coffee on you,
but I’m happy that I ran into you. I’m happy that you caught me.
Your eyes are nice. Your laugh is cute. I think I made you smile,
maybe, once or twice.
But then you ran, and now I’m not really sure what to do?
I’ve been dreaming about this day, about you, for forever,
and now that you’re solid and real, somehow I still can’t get a hold
on you. I’m not a poetic person, and it’s a little late to be writing
about feelings, so I’m probably a little sappier than usual. I hope
that doesn’t bother you.
I hope that you ran because of something I can fix.
I hope to meet you again.
I wish I could have caught you, but mostly I wish you hadn’t ran.
This is a letter to you. I hope that you see it and read it and
make your own decisions, but I hope that you’ll meet me one day and
not run. I have a lot of hope, and I think I have to give all of it to you.
I don’t know your name, or your face, or your life, or your heart. I don’t
know anything, much less what was going through your head today.
It’d be nice if you didn’t hate me. I don’t think that you do.
This is all I can do, for now, for you. Tomorrow, when I wake
up, I’ll know that you exist, and I think that means I’m in a better
place than I was this morning, when you were something distant
and far away. You’re solid and real, whether I can get a hold on you
or not, and for that, I’m grateful.
“Hmm?” Jimin has forgotten Jungkook is with him.
“I’m fine.” His throat feels thick. “It’s just. A lot.” His heart hurts. He wants to answer. Taehyung deserves an answer and Jimin doesn’t know if he can give him one. “I can’t believe this is happening.” It’s quiet.
Jungkook hesitates, the way he always does when he sees someone in need of comfort and knows it’s got to be him who gives it, and then he slowly starts carding his fingers through Jimin’s hair. “Is there something wrong?”
Jimin is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. “Kim Taehyung is my soulmate.” It feels heavy, saying it out loud. A weight that settles on his chest and threatens to squash him.
Jungkook bites his lip, smoothing down the wild strands of Jimin’s bed head. “There are worse things in the world, Jimin, than having someone who loves you.”
“I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t make any big decisions without talking to me first.”
It’s the first line of a conversation Taehyung knew was coming. He’s in the kitchen, making coffee, and his manager is standing in the doorway, immaculate and displeased. “Seokjinnie, please no shouting. I’m exhausted.” There are bags under Taehyung’s eyes. He’s been awake for approximately 27 minutes.
“Maybe if you weren’t up until all hours of the night writing love letters, you wouldn’t be so dead on your feet.” Seokjin steps into the kitchen, sock feet sliding on the floor.
Taehyung laughs. “Wasn’t like I was getting any sleep anyway.” He watches the coffee drip into the pot, waiting patiently when the stream slows down to a crawl and he can pour himself a cup. He pauses. “Was it too much?”
“To make someone fall in love with you?” Seokjin asks, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table and taking a seat. “Not at all. For a celebrity with a huge following and thousands of teenage girls dreaming of being your soulmate? Maybe.”
“We went over this,” Taehyung says, picking up his favorite mug, a cute one with Winnie the Pooh on the side that Seokjin gave him two birthday’s ago. “If I found my soulmate, I’d be allowed to be with them. That was my rule.”
“We also agreed that you’d be quiet about it.” Seokjin clicks his tongue. “I don’t see anything quiet about proclaiming your love all over the Internet.”
“I’ve never been quiet in my life.”
“This is true, and also a constant cause of frustration.” He sighs. “What am I going to do with you?”
Taehyung grins, a little thin, as he pours his coffee and stirs in some sugar. “Love and support me?”
“When you deserve it,” Seokjin agrees. “Do I see another cup being poured?”
“In your mind’s eye, maybe.” Taehyung reaches up to grab another mug from the shelf anyway. “I think love always deserves support.”
Seokjin frowns. “There are ways of doing things, Taehyung,” he tells him. “And some of them are even for your benefit.”
Taehyung hums, disinterested, pulling out Seokjin’s favorite creamer from their fridge.
“Do you have any idea how many messages we’ve gotten today from people claiming to be the man you ran into at the airport?” Seokjin asks with a huff. “Even older men. Even women! Especially women.”
“It’s not like they’d be able to keep the lie up for very long,” Taehyung reasons. He twirls his thread around his fingers. “I’d know.”
“Yes, Taehyung, I realize.” His manager slumps in his chair. “But you’ve made it so that you’ll never find him, now. Everyone and their mother wants to be Kim Taehyung’s Mystery Soulmate, more news at 11.” He shakes his head. “Anyone who approaches us can’t be trusted.”
“I doubt he would approach you, anyway,” Taehyung says, ignoring the way his heart clenches as he hands Seokjin his coffee. “He didn’t seem very keen on the whole soulmate business.”
Seokjin swallows, warming his hands on his mug. “I’m sorry, Taehyung.” His voice is soft. “I know you were looking forward to this day.”
Taehyung closes his eyes, running his thumb around and around the rim of his coffee cup, and wishes. He opens his eyes. “I wasn’t disappointed with him,” he says, and it’s honest. “I just wish I knew what was wrong.” Is it something he can do? Or fix? Is it something he said once, on camera, that’s come back to bite him in the ass?
Is it just Taehyung? Is Taehyung wrong?
The thought makes his mouth feel dry. The coffee burns his tongue, which doesn’t help his mouth but helps his head focus on something that’s not shaky.
“I don’t think anything is wrong,” Seokjin tells him, still soft. “He was probably just overwhelmed.”
“He looked upset.”
“You could barely see his face.”
Taehyung purses his lips. “He was upset.” The stranger’s eyes were so clear. Taehyung slumps against the counter. “I was up late, trying to think of all the reasons he would run.”
Seokjin rests his chin on his hand. “Any good theories?”
“Plenty.” Some more plausible than others. “But none of them tell me how to make him want to come find me.”
“He didn’t make it easy on himself.” Seokjin takes a long drink. “It’s hard to get in touch with a celebrity.”
“He has to come to me now,” Taehyung says, pulling his phone out of his pocket to check the time. “I’ll never find him and I already made my move.”
“Love’s not a game, Taehyung,” Seokjin says with a laugh. “You don’t make moves. You just have to hope for the best and pray it comes true. Sometimes people aren’t willing to play.”
Taehyung thinks of the way the other man’s eyes had grown wide, and the laughter in them died, and he hates that the last thing he remembers is the view of his soulmates back running in the opposite direction. “I guess not.”
Seokjin sighs. “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Fate’s a bitch that way.”
“Yeah.” Taehyung laughs.
His phone dings right when Taehyung looks to see the time.
callmehyung69 sent you an ask
Taehyung has a lot of hope, and he’s giving all of it to fate.
You’re awfully smitten after a short conversation and a near
death experience (I have bruises on my side from you slamming
into me) I don’t know how you can say any of that when you
don’t know me at all. I could be a murderer. I could be an arsonist.
I could steal candy from children. That seems like a lot of faith
to put into some string and the Powers That Be (ps did you get
in trouble for breaking diet or was the coffee death enough to
sate your manager?)
Isn’t that what dates are for? I’m not above Love At First Sight,
but we are meant to be, so I’ll trust you not to judge me for it.
(He was displeased.)
It’s a dud account. Jimin’s had that Tumblr for maybe two years, and it’s got about three reblogs and one post about how much he hates the winter. He’s a busy person, and most of his free time is spent dancing or texting. He was never into the Tumblr world enough to gain any traction.
Which is why he only hesitates a little bit before sending the ask. There’s no personal information on there, nothing that could link back to him, nothing that will give him away, just some cute pictures of dogs.
Kim Taehyung probably gets thousands of asks everyday. The likelihood that he’ll even see this one is so slim that it’s basically non-existent, but at least that will help stave off some of the guilt of leaving Taehyung empty-handed.
A few sentences, a press of a button, and his heart feels a little lighter.
It doesn’t really, but it’s a little easier to pretend.
He keeps his words casual, his sentiments light, even though he feels strangely heavy when he hits send.
And then he’s done with it.
Except that he’s really, really not.
Jimin is unpacking his suitcase when he gets the email.
kimtaetaehyungie answered your ask
After that, everything has been crazy.
Jimin isn’t sure in what universe this would happen, especially to him, but suddenly he’s famous. Or. Sort of. He knows he’s famous. And Jungkook knows he’s famous. And otherwise, everyone is obsessing over a person without a face or name.
Especially Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has plastered his picture over everything. Why? He doesn’t know. Why does Buzzfeed do anything?
He sees his face everywhere, sees it on magazines in the grocery store, sees it on the television. It’s almost disorienting, honestly, seeing the same moment everywhere, over and over again, when Jimin is doing his best to forget.
The second Taehyung posted his first letter, everyone started talking about it. The Mystery Soulmate. And then, when Taehyung actually replied to what Jimin had sent, people are in frenzy.
He heard a girl complaining about not knowing what to call their ship name the other day.
Jimin feels weird.
And it definitely doesn’t help that Taehyung keeps writing posts to his soulmate and every time Jimin sees them, he has to reply. And he sees them. He sees every single one. He doesn’t know how, but even when he is just going about his life, he still sees them. It’s like some strange and inconvenient magic that’s just there to make Jimin feel things.
The other day, Taehyung posted a picture of his dog and tagged him in it.
@callmehyung69 isn’t Soonshimie the cutest? I put her in the sweater just so you could see it.
Soonshim is very cute, is even cuter in the sweater, and is yet somehow not as cute as her owner.
Not that Jimin is regretting anything.
He replies to Taehyung, faceless and nameless and fairly overwhelmed, and pretends like it wasn’t him whenever the general chatter on campus rises a few decibels because there’s a new development in the soulmate gossip. Namjoon rants about it for a few hours one day. Jimin tries not to laugh.
“I want to believe in true love again,” he’d said dramatically. “If my soulmate was Kim Taehyung I would at least get a really nice dinner out of him.”
“Is that extortion?” Yoongi asked.
Namjoon pushed his glasses up higher on his nose. “No, that’s a date with ulterior motives.” He throws a piece of popcorn at Yoongi and ignores the glare he gets in return. “It’s not much different than any other date, honestly.”
“I always did appreciate a person with goals,” Jimin said, snorting. “Even if that goal is to be a sugar baby.”
“Especially if that goal is to be a sugar baby.” Namjoon flipped the page in his textbook. “If my soulmate were famous, that’s what I’d do. It’s like having a sugar daddy but you’re in love.”
Jimin had messed with his string there, a bright red secret. “It’s not that clear cut, probably.”
Namjoon sighed. “It never is.” He shook his head. “People always make things so hard for themselves.”
Which is true.
Things are hard.
Jimin tries not to let this whole thing get to him, but it’s surprisingly difficult to go about his life normally when there is so much happening around him. It’s even harder to keep his head on straight when it’s spinning all the time. He can’t seem to get his thoughts in order. He isn’t even sure what his opinion on all of this is, other than that he wishes it would calm down so he can sleep without it keeping him up for hours.
He thinks about it all the time. You’d think he’d have a better grasp on what he’s feeling.
Other people have noticed him being kind of far away, weird, distracted, to name a few. One of his professors asked him if he was struggling with anything, and Jimin had to figure out a way to answer that wasn’t him complaining about being meant for a famous, attractive, talented man with lots of money and a good head on his shoulders.
Which doesn’t sound so bad when he says it out loud.
Except that Jimin is not famous, averagely attractive, meagerly talented, a poor college student with two jobs and he has no idea where the fuck his head is.
Right before Jimin leaves, he sends Taehyung an ask, one that Taehyung probably won’t see but he probably will because either Jimin’s luck is terrible or Taehyung’s luck is brilliant and he always sees them. Never once has he missed an ask, a reply, anything.
The idea of fate makes Jimin’s stomach feel weird, so he doesn’t think about it.
But he types out something on a whim, trying to tell Taehyung just how different they are, and then he shoves his phone into his pocket and walks out the door.
This job is Jimin’s second one.
His first one is as an assistant for a theater in town. He takes care of the paperwork, gets things organized, makes sure the information gets passed around, help sometimes with teaching choreography if the choreographer is too busy. It’s a fun job, even if it takes a ton of time, and it pays more than it would if Jimin wasn’t adorable and friends with the owner.
It’s a lot more fun than making coffee for grumpy businessmen all day, but beggars can’t be choosers.
He’s gotten very good at giving fake smiles.
Also gotten very good at flirting.
It didn’t take very long for Jimin to realize that talking to the customers gets you tips, but flirting? Flirting gets you Tips. He’s an opportunist, and a little flirting never hurt anyone.
He’s one of the most popular baristas now, even if he wants to claw his own eyes out every time a middle aged woman checks him out.
The flirting is fun, though.
And Jimin has his own favorites. A few regulars, the odd one timer with a good sense of humor, a girl with long blonde hair and no shame, a couple of shy high schoolers who come in a group and try hard enough that Jimin is endeared instead of put off.
Hoseok is the best.
Hoseok doesn’t even tip that well or that often and he’s still Jimin’s favorite. He’s bright and smiley and chill and never pushy, just an easy back and forth of who can make the other blush more. There isn’t a whole lot of blushing these day, because they’ve gotten so used to each other that rarely does anything shock them, but the compliments are never unappreciated.
“You look beautiful today, Jimin,” Hoseok says, sliding into his usual spot, just left of the register so that he’s not in the way. “That ugly ass green really brings out your eyes.”
“You charmer,” Jimin coos. There’s no one in line is the awkward hours after the business people have gone to work and the college students haven’t woken up yet, but Jimin still finds it hard to give Hoseok all of his attention this morning. “How did your exam the other day go?”
Hoseok grins. “I did okay, since I had a very good tutor.”
Jimin snorts. “I’m not sure if I count as a tutor when all I did was read out your flashcards and tell you when you were wrong.”
“Jiminie is the most helpful tutor I’ve ever had,” Hoseok sings. The few people in the coffee shop barely glance up. Hoseok is a regular and they’re used to his antics. “The cutest, most adorable tutor.”
“If I’m a tutor, shouldn’t you be paying me?” Jimin asks, wiping down the counter, his hands looking for something to do. “For my excellent reading skills.”
“My company is your payment.” Hoseok flutters his eyelashes.
Jimin’s stomach feels weird again, but it’s different. “I don’t accept.” He’s smiling. He’s friendly. It feels a little tight.
“But what about all the money I bring to the business?” Hoseok jiggles his half-filled cup. “Shouldn’t you indulge me as the customer?”
“You just mooch off of my employee discount.”
“Jimin!” Hoseok pouts. “I thought we were friends. Friends indulge friends.”
Jimin smiles at him. It feels overly polite and Jimin isn’t sure why. “I thought you were a customer.”
“Drink your coffee.”
Hoseok laughs once, short and sharp, and when he quiets down his smile is different. “Is everything okay today, Jiminie?”
“Hmm?” Jimin sets the towel down after wiping his hands dry. “Yeah, of course.”
“You seem a little…” Hoseok tilts his head slightly, trying to think of the word.
Jimin blow out a huge puff of air, like he’s been holding his breath all day. Maybe he has been. “Distracted?” he suggests weakly.
“That’s a word.”
“Sorry.” He frowns. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately,” Jimin admits. “Got a lot on my mind.”
Hoseok’s eyes trail from Jimin’s face to his hands, and then his smile spreads a little wider. “Got someone on your mind?”
Jimin has been tangling his thread in his fingers all morning. When he looks down at his hands, red covers everything. Jimin looks like he’s about to play a game of cat’s cradle that no one else can see.
He’s struggles to untangle himself immediately, and Hoseok laughs again, probably amused by the sight of Jimin fighting furiously with something that’s not there. But the string is there for Jimin, and it would be a lot easier if it weren’t.
Jimin’s not sure what he thinks about easier.
“No more flirting, I take it.” Hoseok takes a long, self-satisfied drink of his coffee. “Are they cute?”
Yes. “It’s not…” Jimin tries to think of a word to describe all the things it’s not. It’s not clear, it’s not normal, it’s not settled, it’s not love. It might be love. Eventually. Maybe. Jimin’s heart feels funny. “It’s not like that.”
“You met them?”
“And nothing.” He swats at Hoseok’s shoulder. “Who would have thought you were such a gossip.”
Jimin laughs. “My soulmate and I are…” Why is he so speechless today?
“What?” Jimin shakes his head. “No.”
“We’re just not together.” Which is a vast oversimplification but Hoseok probably isn’t emotionally ready to hear the entire story of how Jimin has fucked it up. Or something.
“Yet?” Hoseok leans forward. “You’re not together yet?”
Jimin’s fingers are already trying to tangle themselves up again. “Maybe.”
On the counter beside him, Jimin’s phone lights up.
kimtaetaehyungie answered your ask
He holds his breath.
Hoseok looks over when he hears the ding, but Jimin covers the screen with his hand. “Is that them?”
Jimin swallows. “Yeah.”
“If you answer it I won’t tell your boss.”
“My boss loves me and wants me to be happy,” Jimin retorts primly.
Hoseok smiles at him. “There are a lot of people who want you to be happy.” He rests his chin on his hand and gestures to the phone. “Lucky you, getting to add one more.”
Quietly, slowly, Jimin slips his phone into the pocket of his apron. “Lucky me.”
kimtaetaehyungie answered you:
I’m poor. I’m super poor. I work two jobs because I have to send money
home and also pay for school. I haven’t bought myself anything in like
5 million years. I don’t have anything to give you.
You don’t have to give me anything. Even a chance is more than enough.
I’ll pay for dinner.
This whole thing has been a lesson in frustration.
With a sigh, Taehyung locks his phone and sets it down on the table.
“You sure are glued to your phone these day, Tae,” Seokjin notes casually, scrolling through his email on his laptop. “Waiting for something?”
It’s almost cruel, the way his manager keeps teasing him lightly, unbothered and calm, and Taehyung is mess on the inside and also on the outside. Just a little. His hair is never brushed and he seems just shy of frazzled all the time. Seokjin should be more bothered than he is, what with keeping Taehyung publicly acceptable until this whole issue is resolved.
Taehyung checks his phone again.
“Taehyung, stop.” Seokjin laughs. “I’m sure your mystery man can wait. It’s a virtue.”
“I’m the one waiting,” he says with a sigh. “I just keep tagging him in things or writing him things and I just have to hope he replies.” Callmehyung69 has shut off messaging from people he doesn’t follow, has disabled asks, and almost never initiates. Taehyung feels like he’s trying to fish. He hates fishing.
The last ask, the one about his soulmate’s money situation, had been surprising in that it was the first time that he ever sent in an ask that wasn’t prompted by something Taehyung had posted. Taehyung had been surprised to see the notification and even more surprised to see what the ask entailed, but if this was sent in unprompted then it’s surely something his soulmate has had on his mind.
Taehyung has next to no clue what’s happening there, only that the other man ran and, if his meager Tumblr activity is to be believed, enjoys pictures of cute dogs.
So he had answered the ask carefully, even more carefully than he usually does. He isn’t sure what’s going on in his soulmate’s head, but he does know that he’s making progress probably maybe hopefully, and he doesn’t want an thoughtless answer to put him back at square one.
He hadn't expected an answer and he never got one.
Since that day, he hasn't gotten anything.
It's been about three weeks since he met that man in the airport. Three weeks of trying to get a name, a face, a clue, and being given very little to go off of. His soulmate is in college. He cares about his family. He's hardworking. He likes dogs.
Taehyung checks his phone again.
"Taehyung." Seokjin rests a hand against Taehyung's wrist. "He'll come when he comes."
"I know!" Taehyung lets his head fall down onto the table. He's going to have a red spot there that the makeup artist will yell at him for, but she likes him, so it's probably fine. "It's just..." He sighs. "It's hard just to wait. I'm not a waiter."
"No, you're an actor."
Taehyung pretends to be disgusted while Seokjin laughs at his own joke. "You mock my pain," Taehyung says dramatically once his manager has quieted down.
"I know you're in pain," Seokjin says cheekily. "The whole world knows you're in pain. People are starting to notice you're upset."
"Am I supposed to pretend I'm not?" He scrunches up his nose, more cute than angry. "I'm not upset, usually. Just tired." So tired. Mostly tired of waiting. Waiting waiting waiting. Frustrating. "What if this was you and your soulmate?"
Seokjin clicks his tongue. "Who says I have a soulmate?"
Taehyung lifts his head up to give Seokjin a raised eyebrow. "You're less obvious about it, but I see the way you check everyone's hands when they walk into a room."
"Not everyone." Seokjin laughs. "Just the cute ones." He flaps his hands dismissively. "This isn't about me."
"But if it was?"
"I probably wouldn't be so mopey." It's a dig. Seokjin's smile softens. "Or so patient." He reaches out and runs a hand through Taehyung's hair, smoothing it down. "You deserve all of the love in the world. You're doing good by him."
Taehyung pouts and pokes at his phone. "I just want to meet him."
Seokjin sighs. "That might not be what he wants."
"It's definitely not what he wants." Taehyung is pouting now, like a child. He's allowing himself to be childish without guilt, though. This time at least. He's sad. "I can't believe I finally find my soulmate and he ran." He's feeling bad about it today. Usually he's able to keep things light and hopeful, but he's too tired to keep that up all the time. "Why did he run?"
"You'll just have to ask him one day," Seokjin says simply. "I'm sure he has his reasons. He replies to you sometimes, doesn't he?" He picks up Taehyung's phone. "Most of the time."
All the time. Every time Taehyung posts something to his soulmate, he always gets a reply or an ask. Maybe not right away, but within a week. Sometimes they're just one word. But his soulmate is out there. Watching Taehyung wait. Waiting himself.
Taehyung isn't so used to waiting for other people to make their move. He's a pursuer, an initiator, not in a playboy way but in a way that he knows what he wants and he's confident enough that he can handle a little rejection and still leave on good terms.
He isn't sure what a rejection would do to him this time.
It's always a little harder when he wants it so badly. Rejection is a part of show business, but he's not sure he was ever prepared to deal with that when he looked down at his hand all those times as a child. A promise that there is someone in this world that is your perfect match. That will love you always, even when it's hard. It was a comfort.
He wants that comfort so badly.
Or a little encouragement, maybe.
Seokjin makes a little sound of surprise.
Taehyung looks up at him.
"You got a notification."
With a sigh, Taehyung reaches up to take his phone back. He doesn't think much of Seokjin's secret little smile until he sees the alert.
callmehyung69 started following you
Is Taehyung holding his breath? Is he dreaming?
callmehyung69 sent you a message: okay so there is a lot on my mi...
Taehyung almost drops his phone when he fumbles to unlock it and open his app, and he's still not really sure this is happening. His soulmate rarely initiates anything, save for that ask the other day, and this is completely unprecedented. Like he's cracking the locked door open just enough for Taehyung to see inside and no more.
Taehyung lets out a huge breath.
"What did he say?" Seokjin asks, trying to read over Taehyung's shoulder even as Taehyung struggles to push him away.
"I..." Taehyung reads it again. "He's sorry? I guess."
Seokjin takes a deep breath. "Yeah, well." He should be, is what Seokjin is thinking, but he managed to keep his mouth shut. "What are you going to say?"
"I...don't know." He looks at his phone. "When it's an ask I have lots of time to think about what to say, but." It's a direct message. His soulmate is there right now.
"Maybe you should just say what you want to instead of what won't scare him away."
"I don't want to scare him away." Taehyung tugs at his hair. "I just want to know what's going on. He's so?"
Taehyung slaps him lightly. "That's my soulmate, mister."
"You can't deny that he's flaky," his manager says with a laugh. "Or at least a little skittish." He looks at the phone in Taehyung's hand, the way Taehyung's thumbs are tapping absently on the case, trying to make a decision. He sighs again. He's been sighing a lot lately. "If you never ask..."
Taehyung sighs, too. "I'll never know." He types. Presses send. Doesn't let himself think.
When his soulmate starts typing and Taehyung sees the little dots, it's almost like he's seeing the first signs of life. There is a person out there on his phone or computer, living, breathing, and not with Taehyung right now.
Taehyung's heart sinks.
"What does he mean he doesn't know?" Seokjin huffs.
Taehyung remembers where he is with a jump. "Stop reading over my shoulder!" He wrestles his manager away yet again, trying to holding his phone close to his chest.
Seokjin fights off Taehyung's completely ineffective attack. "I am practically your father," Seokjin says pointedly, mumbling when Taehyung's hand pushes against his cheek.
"I don't let my dad read over my shoulder either!"
"Just answer him!"
"I!" Taehyung shouts before he realizes he can't think of anything to say. He looks at his manager blankly. "Give me a second."
So Taehyung thinks.
He never gets an answer.
to whom it may concern
um. hello there, followers. you certainly came out of nowhere.
i guess we all know why you’re here and i doubt it’s for
the dog pics (although if it is, welcome)
i disabled asks and messaging and everything, but i’ve
still got two working ears. taehyung didn’t do anything wrong.
my actions have nothing to do with him. and i am not a bad
person just because i’m not sure what i’m feeling.
thank you, to those of you who have shown me kindness
and/or support, and also those who have kept your mouths
shut (to those of you haven’t, i won’t apologize)
and to taehyung: thank you for being so patient
Jimin unfollows Taehyung almost immediately after their conversation. His stomach is doing that weird thing, and there’s something terrifying about knowing that Taehyung can reach him at any time. Exciting, but vulnerable. Tumblr messenger is oddly intimate. Like you’re talking in a void and you can only stare at each other.
He’d tried to keep it short, gone in with that in mind, and then Taehyung probably still thinks Jimin hates him, which is absolutely not true, not even a little bit, and he was still waiting.
Why is Jimin always making Taehyung wait?
Because he’s fucking scared.
There’s really no way around it. Jimin won’t let himself make a decision because he’s afraid of both options and it sucks ass.
Taehyung had said he would wait for him, but at a certain point, making him wait stops being justified and starts being cruel. Jimin is worried he doesn’t know where the line is. That’s not what he wants, not at all. How many hours has he spent scouring the internet looking for footage of Kim Taehyung? Interviews and movies and behind the scenes filming and photo shoots and articles. Jimin could write an academic paper of Kim Taehyung.
Kim Taehyung is cute and sweet and nice and funny, the sort of person other people gravitate towards, sensitive in that he’s quick to internalize blame when something goes wrong, and not particularly inclined to think about image whenever he does something. Pictures of his feet uploaded on his Twitter, dumb faces on his live broadcasts, wearing whatever he wants to the airport even if it’s three sizes too big and the wrong season.
Jimin thinks Taehyung is really cute.
Which should be a good thing, but then Jimin remembers that the reason that Taehyung has so much material on him online is because he’s extremely famous and wealthy and successful, and Jimin compares that to his own life and can’t help wondering how that’s going to fit together. How they’re going to fit together.
If anyone is angry that Jimin isn’t making a decision, it’s Jimin.
He wants to choose.
He’s just scared.
He can’t imagine how frustrated Taehyung is. Jungkook is the one who told Jimin that Taehyung has looked upset recently, but it’s not like Jimin doesn’t have eyes of his own, and Taehyung is a wonderful actor, but maybe only on camera. Even when the smile is on, there’s some strain around his eyes and mouth that Jimin knows he put there. He wants to smooth it out, wants to buy Taehyung sugary coffee and tell him it’s not his fault.
So is that his decision?
Jimin pulls at his hair.
He knows he’s making this harder on himself. He knows that having someone who loves you isn’t going to hurt anyone. He still doesn’t know what to do. And frankly? It’s starting to piss him off.
He’s tired of the hateful words he sees about himself posted everywhere. There are people who are understanding, and other people who are just greedy to see how things turn out, but it’s the negative ones he sees the most. Can he handle that forever? Is that what it will be like? Or, by making his choice, will that resolve the tension so that Jimin can breathe?
Is he ready for that? To be under the microscope that much? To know that thousands of people want them to break up on any given day? Is he ready?
He really doesn’t think so.
“I’m like, two steps away from making a pros and cons list,” he’d said one night, in the middle of writing an essay.
Jungkook still knew what he was talking about. He didn’t look away from the game he was playing. “Seems like a dumb way of making your brain make a decision your heart should be making.”
Jimin threw a pencil at him. “Stop hanging out with Namjoon. I only need one of you.”
But Jungkook does make a good point. This is his soulmate. It seems a little cold to try and simplify everything down into writing on a page. But Jimin doesn’t know where his heart is. He wants to choose, but he’s scared scared scared. Either way.
This would be easier if his soulmate was either 1) an asshole, or 2) not Kim Taehyung.
Kim Taehyung is making this very hard.
Park Jimin is also making this very hard.
They already have a lot in common.
“Fuuuuuuuck,” Jimin groans, flopping sideways onto the couch.
Yoongi looks down at him, Jimin’s head having landed on his thigh. “Get off of me.”
“Yoongi, please comfort me.”
Jimin pinches Yoongi’s thigh. The slap he gets in return isn’t exactly comforting, but the reaction makes him feel better. He props himself up on his elbows. “Love me.”
Yoongi frowns, looking up from his laptop. “No.”
With a huff, Jimin pushes himself back to sit. “Fine. I’ll just watch something annoying instead.”
“I’m friends with brats like you,” Yoongi says casually. “I don’t think annoying things are going to bother me too much.”
“I’m wounded.” Jimin turns on the television and starts surfing. There’s nothing good on, nothing annoying on either, so Jimin keeps scrolling.
Jimin startles a little. Yoongi is looking up at the television instead of down at the pictures he’s editing on his computer. “What?”
“Go back one.”
“I’m working a job at a press conference for this movie next weekend,” Yoongi says, face blank. “Have you heard of it?”
Jimin’s stomach feels like it’s been thrown against the pavement. “Yes.” His voice is small. He looks back at the screen.
Taehyung looks good, fitted clothes and simple makeup. His hair is a soft brown now, not blond like it was in the airport. He looks young. He’s wearing white. It looks good on him.
Jimin coughs into his fist.
“This is the guy with the soulmate thing, right?” Yoongi asks, still squinting at the screen. His fingers tap absently on his keyboard. “The thing you and Namjoon were talking about?”
“The thing everyone is talking about.”
Yoongi snorts. “It’s been going on for a few weeks. You can’t say the chatter hasn’t died a little.”
“A little.” It still feels like there’s a lot.
“He looks like a nice enough guy.” Yoongi goes back to his work. “I hope things work out for him.”
“Yeah.” Jimin swallows, throat thick. “Me too.”
It’s an interview. It’s supposed to be for the new movie Taehyung is starring in, one that’s supposed to be immensely successful, another feather in his hat, an action movie full of mystery and maybe romance. That’s not what they’re talking about though.
“So, I’ve heard you’ve been going through some more personal issues in the romance department recently,” the interviewer is saying, presumably a segue from the romantic subplot in the movie. Taehyung smiles. Tight. “Can you tell me a little about that?”
Jimin wonders if Taehyung had wanted to this. They usually go over the script beforehand, don’t they? Taehyung has been open with his affairs. He’s had to be, since Jimin didn’t give him much of a choice if he wanted to make contact, but Jimin can’t remember if they’ve broached this topic on an interview before. He thinks he’d remember. He isn’t sure whether that was Taehyung’s choice or just the way things fell.
They’re talking about it now.
“My soulmate is a little evasive,” Taehyung says lightly, a big smile on his face. “We met a few weeks ago, but he’s kind of hard to pin down.” He laughs. “I’m doing my best, though.”
“I’m sure your best is good enough,” the interview says, patting Taehyung’s knee. “You’re very charming.”
“Thank you.” Taehyung smiles shyly. Always smiling.
“Now, you and your soulmate have made contact?” She’s leaning forward in her chair, easy and casual. “Can you tell us a little bit about him?”
“He’s.” Taehyung stops. His face goes blank.
The interviewer laughs and Jimin cringes. “Speechless, huh?”
“Ah, sorry!” Taehyung holds his hands out and shakes them. “I was thinking! Sorry.” He scratches his neck, and the laugh looks real. “I…think he’s beautiful.” Taehyung blushes.
So does Jimin.
“You’ve seen his face?” The interviewer’s eyes widen. “That’s certainly new information.”
“Oh, um, no.” He ruffles his bangs. “Just when we first bumped into each other at the airport.”
She frowns. “Wasn’t his face covered?”
“His eyes were…” Taehyung pauses again, takes a deep breath. It turns into a sigh, a fond one, and Jimin finds that he’s not surprised that Taehyung is fond of him, after everything. “He has nice eyes. Kind eyes. You can tell a lot about a person from something like that, you know?” He’s fiddling with his string. Jimin can’t see the thread on camera, but he recognizes the way that Taehyung’s fingers wrap around and around. “I…” Taehyung snorts. “I spilled coffee all over his leg and I could tell he was irritated but he still had kind eyes.”
The interviewer settles back into her chair with a huffed breath. “Wow, that sounds so romantic.” She smiles. “And that was just your first impression.”
“Yes.” Still fiddling. Jimin can’t pull his eyes away from watching Taehyung’s fingers.
“Love at first sight, maybe?”
Taehyung coughs a little. “I still don’t know much about him. I know a little.” He thinks for a moment. His fingers stop moving. Jimin looks at Taehyung’s face. “I know he’s around my age, because he’s in college. I know he likes dogs. I know he works hard. He cares about his family a lot.”
I ran. Jimin’s own fingers start twisting. I ran.
“All good qualities,” the interviewer notes.
Of course, because Taehyung didn’t mention the fact that Jimin is poor and confused and indecisive and all of the other unfortunate things Taehyung has probably noticed by now. Jimin isn’t going to pretend like he’s been presenting himself in the best light.
“He’s got bad ones too, of course,” Taehyung says, still fond. “Everyone does. Not sure how he’d feel about me broadcasting those.”
Jimin brings his knees up to his chest, heels digging into the edge of the couch cushion.
The interview flips the cards in her hand. “Do you have any idea when you’ll get some closure?”
Jimin laughs. Does anyone? His heart says soon, but he doesn’t know why. He feels a little small, a little fragile.
Taehyung collects his thought. “I don’t…ah.” He shakes his head. “I think he’s just kind of scared, and overwhelmed, and I get it, I think. I understand.” He smiles, and it’s sad. “I don’t know much about him, but I know that he’s scared, and I guess I can’t really blame him for that. I don’t know what choice he’s going to make, or when, but I hope that he makes a decision that he’s going to be happy with.”
Are Jimin’s hands shaking? Something is shaking.
“There are people out there that have soulmates and don’t end up with them. And there are people who do. And either way, I think everyone is capable of getting a happy ending,” Taehyung says, eyes far away. “There are a lot of paths to happiness. I’d like to know what’s down this one.” He smiles. “But he already knows my decision. And I hope he knows that I’ll accept his, either way.”
Jimin’s head snaps his head to look at Yoongi. “Yeah?”
“Are you…” Yoongi’s eyebrows are knit with concern. “Are you crying?”
“I…” Jimin brings his hands up to his face. His fingers come away wet. “Maybe.” His voice doesn’t sound very even.
Yoongi pulls a pack of tissues out of his pocket and hands it to Jimin. When he reaches out to take it, the thread is tangled so tightly around his fingers that they’re hard to move. He shakes the string out and takes one of the tissues hesitantly, gently, weakly. “What’s this about?” Yoongi’s voice is gruff.
Jimin is quiet, wiping under his eyes before his jittery fingers start tearing the tissue to shreds. “If your soulmate was from a completely different world, what would you do?” It’s almost a whisper.
For a second, Yoongi just squints at him, thinking. Jimin waits. He feels like he owes the universe that much.
“It doesn’t matter what I would do,” Yoongi says after a moment. He puts a hand over Jimin’s until they stop ripping at the paper. “What are you going to do?”
Jimin stares at Yoongi for one, two, three breaths before he can’t any more. His eyes fall to his hands. Torn up tissue and red red red.
“You have a lot of love in your dumb little heart, Park Jimin,” Yoongi says tiredly. “Who are you saving it for?”
“I don’t know,” Jimin answers, quiet. He looks at his string. “Hey, Yoongi?”
Jimin looks back up at him. “What were you saying about that job next week?”
I have a friend who is interested in following me around like a slave for the day to see how the business works. My next assignment is on Thursday. I was wondering if you could manage to get me another press pass for the interview with the cast of the new action movie that I don’t remember the name of.
If he fucks up, it’ll be my fault. I promise.
Also <free labor
Taehyung walks out of the interview with shaky legs.
He doesn’t mind interviews, not at all, and most of the time they’re a lot of fun. He’s been having to go to them alone a lot more recently, the more popular he’s gotten. He forgets how strange it feels when all of the attention is on you and you don’t have to share it with the rest of a cast.
He misses that, a little. Maybe he wouldn’t feel so flustered now.
Seokjin is standing in the wings, clean cut and pristine, waiting for him. “I got a little teary eyed.”
“Shut up.” He pushes his manager lightly. He smooths down the hem of his jacket, partially to get rid of wrinkles and partially to wipe off his sweaty hands. “I wasn’t expected to say so much about it. I just kind of. Kept going.” He makes a face. “Whoops.”
“It was good.” Seokjin throws an arm over his shoulder. “Heart wrenching.” Together they walk into the backstage area, past the food table where Taehyung desperately wants to detour, and into Taehyung’s dressing room.
Taehyung laughs. “I’m not sure that’s what I was going for but…” He sighs. “If I got my point across, I guess that’s okay, right?”
Seokjin smiles at him. “You did great.”
“I hate feelings.” Taehyung falls dramatically onto the couch. “It’d be easier if there weren’t there.”
“Easy is no fun.” Seokjin picks up an empty cup of bubble tea and throws it in the trash can. “It will probably be worth it, in the end.”
“I don’t know what the end of this is going to look like.” There’s something heavy sitting on top of Taehyung’s chest, a decision he hasn’t said aloud.
His manager starts looking through the calendar on his phone. “I’m surprised you wanted to talk about this whole affair on camera today. You’ve been very against it since this all started.”
“Might as well go out with a bang.”
Seokjin looks at him, eyebrows raised. “Oh?”
“I don’t…” Taehyung takes a deep breath, looking far away. “I think I’m gonna give him some space.”
Slowly, Seokjin stops looking at Taehyung and turns around, busying himself with cleaning the table. Taehyung isn’t always the best at speaking his mind, so it’s helpful when Seokjin treats it casually. “Space?”
“I…” He sighs. “I think I might be…pushing too much.”
Seokjin snorts. “You’ve barely been pushing at all. Even out there you made sure to say it was fine either way.” He wipes some non-existence crumbs into his palm and sprinkles them into the trash can. “I think most people wouldn’t be so patient if they were in your place.”
He knows that. He can’t count how many times he’s called his parents and talked everything through. It’s nice to have people be so supportive, and it’s nice to have the reminder that even people who aren’t soul mates can be happy. Neither of his parents have the string, and he’s never seen two people more in love.
But it doesn’t change the fact that has been trying so hard for so long.
Taehyung chews on his lip. “I think I’ve been pushing…myself…too much.” His hands can’t seem to sit still these days. Pointedly, he spreads his fingers out and presses his palms flat against his thighs. “It’s kind of hard to keep asking and waiting and asking and waiting.” The string looks so bright where it’s tied around his ring finger.
Seokjin’s hands stop cleaning, just for a moment. “You’re giving up, then?”
Taehyung smiles. “No.” He toes his shoes off and folds his legs criss-cross on the couch. “I just…what else can I tell him?” he asks. “That I haven’t already? He knows everything going on in my head, and all that’s left is for him to figure out where his head fits into that.” He sighs. “What more can I do?”
Quietly, Seokjin wipes off his hands and collapses next to him on the couch. His suit will probably wrinkle. “I think that you’ve done more than enough.”
“Yeah.” Taehyung leans his head on Seokjin’s shoulder. “The ball is in his court now.” He laughs, burying his face in his manager’s shoulder. “It feels like I’m letting something go.”
Seokjin smiles. “Feel a little lighter?”
Lighter. Is a word. Maybe a little blue. Maybe a little soft. Maybe a little sad. “I feel like I’m ready to wait a little more.”
“Waiting again,” Seokjin says, clicking his tongue. “Sounds boring.”
“It’s like fishing,” Taehyung answer petulantly.
Seokjin frowns cutely. “Don’t you hate fishing?”
Taehyung throw himself down to lay on Seokjin’s lap. “Yes,” he groans. “I’m not patient usually.” He feels the older man threading his fingers through his hair. He melts into the comfort.
“You’re doing the best you can, Taehyung,” Seokjin says. “Your soulmate probably is, too.”
“It’s not in my nature to give up,” Taehyung says softly, voice muffled in the fabric of Seokjin’s pants.
“You’re not.” He sighs. “Taehyung?”
The fingers in Taehyung’s hair still.
“You’re just letting go,” Seokjin says. “Maybe that’s what he needs to pick things up himself.”
wat happened to the soulmate posts??? i miss them are
you guys not talking anymore????
I think the both of us might need a chance to breathe.
I’ll be waiting, though. Don’t worry ^^
There are so many things that could go wrong.
Jimin could trip. For one.
There are other things, but tripping is currently the biggest concern.
Because he’s carrying his own bag, Yoongi’s bag, and Yoongi’s camera bag, and Yoongi is a little shit who got away with carrying practically nothing. It wouldn’t be that bad except the strap on Yoongi’s camera bag tends to loosen and the bag is now precariously close to banging around Jimin’s knees.
It’s not that heavy, though. All of the bags are cumbersome, but Jimin isn’t having any issues with the weight, especially since Yoongi has his camera in his hands. But it doesn’t stop Jimin from being annoyed, and it definitely doesn’t stop him from whining.
“I don’t see why I have to carry all of this,” Jimin pouts, hiking his own bag up on his shoulder. They’re standing right outside the door leading into the conference room, surrounded by a million other people with cameras and microphones and slaves.
“Because I’m getting you in,” Yoongi says brightly. It’s rare to see him dressed professionally. His hair is parted and gelled back. He looks like a corporate slave with a lanyard. “You’re my slave today.”
“How is that different from any other day?”
Yoongi boops Jimin’s nose. “Because now you can’t complain about it.” He looks at security. “Get your pass ready.”
They’re at the door now, flashing their press passes at the man letting people through. There’s so much going on that Jimin has almost forgotten why they’re here, but the second they step into the conference room, his heart is in his throat. “This is a terrible decision,” he tells Yoongi, looking up at the table at the head of the room. “I should have stayed home.”
Yoongi pushes Jimin further towards the chairs. “You spent over an hour picking out that outfit. My suffering won’t be for nothing.”
Most of the actors from the movie are already sitting in their chairs, talking quietly, laughing. Taehyung is nowhere to be seen. The man that Jimin knows is Taehyung’s manager is standing quietly by the wall, eyes on the people coming in the door.
Seokjin looks at them, really looks at them, and for a second Jimin thinks that somehow Seokjin knows exactly who he is and he panics, taking a step back towards the door. But the further he backs up, the more he realizes that Seokjin isn’t looking at him and the more he notices that Yoongi isn’t moving at all.
Slowly, Yoongi raises his camera.
Jimin hears the sound of the shutter even over the chaos of the conference room.
Something tells Jimin that he just saw something important, but he’s not really sure what it was.
On the other side of the room, Seokjin’s smile grows a little wider, and then he’s off, walking out the door beside him, presumably to go find his charge. Jimin can only see the back of Yoongi’s head, but he gets the feeling Yoongi watches Seokjin the whole way.
Suddenly, Yoongi turns to look at Jimin over his shoulder. “Where are you going?”
Jimin forgot about escaping for a moment. He’s two feet behind and close to freedom. “I…” He looks back at the door.
Yoongi lowers his camera again, taking the few steps back to pull Jimin forward by the arm. “Come on, let’s go find our seats.”
“What was that?” Jimin asks, trying to distract himself. Taehyung still isn’t sitting down. Is he okay? Where is he?
“Nothing.” Yoongi is scanning the rows of seats. “Found it.” He points to the ones his boss had reserved for them. “The journalist should be around…she told me she was here already. She might have been given a seat farther back.” He looks at Jimin fondly and pokes him in the forehead. “Stop freaking out.” His finger smooths down the tension between Jimin’s eyebrows. “It’s not like he won’t be happy to see you.”
“He might not be happy to see me.” Jimin hasn’t exactly been doing his best by Taehyung recently. Or ever. Taehyung has been patient and understanding, more than Jimin honestly thinks he deserved. “This is kind of public.”
“This was your idea,” Yoongi reminds him, bowing politely at the people who kindly move out of their way that they can get to their seats. “And he’s famous. There aren’t a lot of other options.”
It’s not like Jimin can just call and ask to talk to him. Even saying he’s Taehyung’s soulmate won’t get him anywhere when the whole world has probably been saying
Jimin tugs at his string with his free hand.
“If you want him to see you, you have to make yourself seen.”
Jimin whistles. “Wingman Yoongi makes his first appearance.”
“And hopefully the last.” Yoongi rolls his eyes, digging through the camera bag to pick out the lens he wants to use. “Namjoon doesn’t pull this kind of shit.”
“Namjoon doesn’t have a string.”
“Don’t blame the string for your shit, Park Jimin,” Yoongi clucks with a laugh. “This one’s on you.”
Jimin sighs, looking forward as the cast settles into place. “Yeah.”
“Now you get to make a public spectacle of yourself.”
“Yay,” Jimin says weakly.
Yoongi smiles. “Look a little happier. Here comes your true love.”
Taehyung and Seokjin walk in through the door, and Taehyung smiles at his manager before climbing the platform to take his seat. He’s wearing blue today. His hair looks soft. His smile looks easy.
Jimin takes a deep breath.
“Where were you?” the MC asks, laughing.
His eyes are big as he smooths his coattails down to sit. He leans forward to speak in the microphone as he gets adjusted. “I had to use the bathroom.”
The other cast members laugh. “He drank a whole water bottle while we were waiting to come in.”
Taehyung puts a hand on his cheek in embarrassment. “Sorry.” He’s blushing, face close to the mic and eyes looking off to the side. He laughs a little. “I drink water when I get nervous.”
Jimin’s heart skips a beat. “Fuck.”
Yoongi snaps a picture. “He’s cute.”
“He’s really cute.” Jimin hasn’t been in the same room as Taehyung in over a month, and even then it had been in passing. His heart hadn’t fluttered this much.
He didn’t know much about Taehyung at that point.
He knows more now.
His button down is too long. He clutches the hem of the sleeves in his fingers. “Was this the right choice?” Can he even do this?
“I know I said before that what I would do doesn’t matter,” Yoongi says casually, taking another picture as the MC starts talking with the cast of the film. “But for the record, yeah. I think this is the right choice.”
Jimin can’t tear his eyes away from Taehyung. “Because soulmates?”
Yoongi snaps a picture. “Because Taehyung.”
“That was cheesy and gross.” Jimin grimaces.
“You’re one to talk.” Yoongi flips the camera around and shows Jimin the picture he just took.
It’s Jimin. Staring.
He looks a little bit in love.
“Okay,” he says softly. “Okay.”
Yoongi smiles, flipping through the pictures he’s already taken, satisfied. “Now all you have to do is wait.”
The plan is to wait until the MC is done with the prepared questions and make an appearance when they ask for a few from the audience, but the closer it gets to the end of the press release, the more jittery Jimin gets. There are so many people here. If this goes poorly, literally everyone will know about. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea?
It’s the right decision.
This is still a terrible idea.
His palms are sweaty.
He wishes that Taehyung would just let his eyes follow the string and realize that his soulmate is here, but Taehyung’s got other things to worry about right now, like the flashing lights and the questions and the easy, flirty answers.
Maybe Jimin should have said something about being here, but contacting Taehyung took so much courage every time. Does this take more courage, to be here right now, not knowing what to expect? Or less, because Jimin can leave and pretend like it never happened.
Jimin doesn’t want to leave.
He knows that.
The string twists, wrapping around his pinky finger like a promise. He doesn’t try not to fiddle with it anymore. He’s seen Taehyung do it a thousand times, when he’s thinking about Jimin, when he’s not thinking about anything. He’s so close now. However many feet away. So close.
The line pulls taut.
Taehyung stutters in the middle of his answers.
Jimin holds his breath.
The actor finishes it up smoothly, flattening his bangs out, mildly embarrassed. The other cast members coo at him affectionately. “Not very intimidating for someone who’s supposed to be a war hero,” one of them says fondly, a young woman with a big smile.
“He’s too soft for war,” says another. With all of the low-key internet stalking Jimin has done, he should know their names.
Taehyung frames his face cutely with his hands.
Jimin feels a tug on the string around his pinky.
Taehyung looks down at his hand. The next question passes over him. He doesn’t seem to even hear it. He just stares at his fingers.
With a held breath, Jimin tightens his hold on the thread. Pulls.
Taehyung’s head jerks up to the audience. He might be holding his breath, too. His eyes are sharp.
They’re far enough back that Jimin is probably lost in the crowd. Taehyung probably can’t see exactly where his thread leads.
It doesn’t stop Jimin from feeling vulnerable.
Yoongi sighs beside him. “A little early, don’t you think?”
“I…” Jimin unwinds the thread from his fingers. “Sorry, I’ll…” Wait.
“Too late,” Yoongi says with a whistle, snapping a picture.
Taehyung is done waiting. He’s already on his feet.
The flow of questions and answers at the head of the room grinds to a sudden halt. The MC looks over at Taehyung in alarm. But the sound of chatter is replaced with camera shutters, snap snap snap, of Taehyung on his feet, staring into the audience. His eyebrows are knit. His eyes are intense.
Jimin slumps down in his chair, covering his face with his hands. “Why is he so dramatic?”
“This is what happens when you’re in love with an artist.” Yoongi snaps another picture of Jimin. “Go ahead. Stand up! Time to make a spectacle.”
“I don’t want a spectacle.” Jimin peeks out through his fingers.
“Too late.” Yoongi grins. “It should be comforting, you know. To know your soulmate is just as dramatic as you are.”
Slowly, Jimin plants his feet on the ground, sits up. Slowly. Stands. His hands are still covering his face. He should have been prepared for this, but he did imagine it would be cuter and less embarrassing. His heart is beating so hard.
They’re so close.
The cameras turn in his direction, but Jimin doesn’t pay them any attention, because as soon as he stands, Taehyung’s face breaks out in a grin. A big smile, easy, real, not a single sign of strain, and it might be the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.
Yoongi is right.
He’s cheesy and gross.
It’s probably fine.
Yoongi smacks his ass. “Stop standing there.”
“You told me to stand!” Jimin shoots at him, irritated. His hands pull away from his face as Yoongi pushes him over towards the end of the aisle. “This is unnecessary.” But he looks at Taehyung again, and Taehyung hasn’t looked away, not even once.
Maybe Taehyung has earned a little bit of a public spectacle.
Might as well continue on in the same vein they have been.
“Excuse me,” he says quietly to the people he passes, all of them staring at him for a moment before scrambling to move their legs out of his way. More cameras flash. Jimin swallows his nerves.
There’s a little tug on his string.
When he looks up, Taehyung has red wrapped around his fingers.
It’s a comfort.
Jimin laughs, hiding his face with his hands again.
Taehyung looks awestruck.
The closer Jimin gets to the table, the more Taehyung seems to forget where he is. He pushes his chair aside, delicately passing the other actors and the MC to make his way towards to the stairs and down off the platform.
They meet in the middle.
It’s not like they run into each other's arms or anything. Jimin is blushing so much as it is. But when Jimin is in arm’s reach, Taehyung holds out his hands, reaching but afraid to touch, like Jimin will burst into dust if he makes one wrong move.
That’s probably how Taehyung has felt for quite a while.
Jimin pulls his hands away from his face. “Hello.” His hand lowers, his fingers falling to rest against the string pulled tight between them.
Taehyung stares at his hand on the thread, and then he looks at Jimin’s face, uncovered, for the first time. Jimin wonders what he thinks. Taehyung’s smile is so big it almost hurts, kind of like staring into the sun. “Hello.” He covers Jimin’s hand with his. “I’m Kim Taehyung.”
His hand is big and warm and nice on the top of his.
“Didn’t we do this last time?” Jimin asks after a second with a small smile.
Taehyung raises an eyebrow. “Doesn’t count.”
“It wasn’t a proper introduction because I didn’t get your name.” Taehyung’s hand squeezes his. “Haven’t you kept me waiting long enough?”
Jimin lets go of the string and flips his hand palm up. Taehyung twists them up, comparing.
“Small hands.” Taehyung looks pleased.
He weaves their fingers together.
“Good guess, but that’s not my name.” The joke is a poor one, just to calm down Jimin’s heart.
And then Taehyung laughs and his heart beats a million times faster.
“Is that the soulmate?” someone shouts from the back of the room.
“Is that all I am?” Jimin asks with an eye roll, because it’s easier to be teasingly irritated than to think about the fact that there are hundreds of people here, many from large news sites, that are witnessing this moment. “The soulmate?”
“Yeah.” Taehyung untangles their hands, and Jimin finds himself missing it for one, two seconds before Taehyung hooks their ring fingers together, and when Jimin looks down, he sees red. Taehyung smiles at him. “The soulmate.”
Jimin smiles back at him. Wide and unembarrassed. “Park Jimin, the Soulmate.”
BEHIND THE SCENES: Rising Star Kim Taehyung Meets Mystery Man and Soulmate, Park Jimin
[photography by Min Yoongi]
It’s a little difficult, to get back into the swing of the Q&A once the bustle dies down and Taehyung and Jimin have to go back their respective seats. It’s difficult for the poor MC and it’s also just really difficult for Taehyung to sit still, to keep the grin off of his face, to stop himself from laughing.
Park Jimin, the Soulmate.
Taehyung wants to explode.
Jimin comes up to him a little bit after the press release is done. He’s cute, a little hesitant, but he came and found Taehyung. It’s nice, Taehyung thinks, when he doesn’t feel like he’s chasing. “My friend ditched me.”
Taehyung smiles, slipping his phone into his pocket. “So did my manager.”
For a second, they’re just standing there, smiling at each other. Jimin has his hands behind his back, rocking back and forth on his feet. “So…” He tilts his head to the side, one hands coming to adjust the strap of his bag over his shoulder. His shirt is pulled tight over his chest and Taehyung pretends like it’s not distracting. “Dinner date?”
“It’s almost midnight,” Taehyung says, but he’s already hooking his elbow through Jimin’s and walking him towards the exit.
Jimin bites his lip. “Midnight snack date?”
Cute. “If the snack is a full meal, then I’m in.” If the snack was a bag of those airline pretzels, Taehyung would have gladly followed Jimin.
He’s not in love, but there’s a chance he could be. Jimin is here, and he can fill in the gaps of Taehyung’s mind, the little questions Taehyung wants to ask so that the answers fit in together and build a whole, complete person.
Park Jimin, the Soulmate.
Taehyung thinks walking around hand in hand might a lot for a second meeting, but Jimin has his hand on the inside of Taehyung’s elbow, and Taehyung can feel Jimin’s body pressed lightly against his when the crowd pushes a little closer. It’s warm.
Taehyung can be happy here.
There are still a bunch of photographers outside, waiting for the last of the cast to exit the building, and even though it’s late it looks almost like day time because they cameras won’t stop flashing.
Jimin’s hand tightens in the crook of Taehyung’s arm. “Is it always like this?”
Taehyung smiles at him. “Often.” He bumps Jimin with his shoulder. “But no, not always.”
They go to Waffle House.
It’s late, and it’s not hard to find restaurants that are open 24 hours in a city like this, and they might have found something better, but Taehyung sees the Waffle House when they round the corner and suddenly pancakes sound like the best possible option.
Jimin had said earlier he didn’t have a preference, but when Taehyung starts leading him there Jimin looks surprised. “We can go somewhere nicer?” But Jimin is laughing, and Taehyung thinks Waffle House is perfect.
“Nothing beats shitty midnight pancakes,” Taehyung says.
“You are so right,” Jimin agrees.
And off they go.
They pick a seat in a corner, not quite in view of the windows but not hiding either. Taehyung doesn’t really want to start this off with hiding. It’s late enough that the streets are slowing down, and the cameras surely got enough material for one day. Taehyung wants to buy Jimin pancakes and he doesn’t want to feel like he’s doing something wrong. He has a mask hanging off of one ear and his makeup had been wiped off. He’s wearing a sweatshirt he brought along and he can pretend like the pants he’s wearing aren’t too tight.
A softer version of Rising Star Kim Taehyung for the early morning.
Jimin is soft, too. Soft hair, soft eyes, soft breaths. Is he always like this or is this just for this place, this time at night, this day? Taehyung would like to know.
Taehyung orders too much food and Jimin doesn’t order enough, but that’s okay. Taehyung bought to share. The waiter is too tired to care that he has a famous person at his table, spares Jimin a smile and Taehyung an eyebrow raise and continues about his business, and Taehyung reminds himself to leave a big tip.
For a moment, there’s no talking. Jimin is looking anywhere but Taehyung, and Taehyung is entranced by the way Jimin’s small fingers tear into his napkin. White white white red.
“Are you a shy person?” Taehyung asks curiously.
“Ah…” Jimin laughs a little. “Not usually. Sometimes.”
“Do I intimidate you?”
It’s a question Taehyung didn’t realize he wanted answered so badly.
“Hmm…” Jimin hums a little, still looking off to the side. “Now that I see you up close, no, not at all.”
Taehyung laughs. “You weren’t intimidated by me the first time we met.”
“Yeah, well.” Jimin runs a hand through his hair and sits back against the booth. He looks good. Taehyung can see his high cheekbones and his sharp jaw and his full lips. He has a mole on his collarbone that Taehyung thinks is cute. His eyes are still kind when he turns them on Taehyung, and playful, and teasing. “You had just spilled almost an entire cup of coffee on my pants, so.”
“Is that the key?” Taehyung asks. “I ordered some coffee. Do I need to dump it on you to make you feel more at ease?”
Jimin laughs, and it’s a beautiful sound. “I wouldn’t be intimidated but I’m not sure you’d get the reaction you want either.” He bites his lip to hide his smile before pressing his lips together to collect himself, schooling his expression into something teasing again. “Besides.” He reaches for his glass of water and brings it to his lips. “I don’t know if we could do that everyday. Seems like a waste.”
Everyday. Taehyung grins. “Guess we’re going to have to find an alternate solution.” Everyday.
“Guess so.” Jimin stirs his water around with his straw, shy and amused and playful all at once, and wow. Taehyung could really, really like him.
He likes him already.
Park Jimin, the Soulmate.
Taehyung’s stomach is fluttering. His heart stops a little when Jimin flicks his gaze up to look at Taehyung through his eyelashes. I’ve been hit. “I…won’t pour coffee on you.” He coughs a little.
Jimin smiles, close-mouthed at first, but his eyes still close a little, and then the smile widens and Taehyung is blinded. “Noted. I think once was enough.”
“I.” Taehyung coughs again. “I can’t make any promises it won’t happen again.”
“That’s okay.” Jimin rests his chin on the palm of his hand. “It’s the thought that counts, yeah?” His makeup is smearing a little in the corners of his eyes, and his lips are a little chapped, and his eyes are little puffy, and Taehyung is very, very close to falling in love.
Love at second sight, maybe.
“Yeah.” Taehyung’s heart is sighing, picking up a regular beat after holding something in for so long.
The waiter brings their food and Jimin opens up to him over cheesy eggs and buttered toast and shitty pancakes. He tells Taehyung about his parents. Tells him about that day at the airport and how he had panicked. Tells Taehyung his fears. Taehyung thinks that every time Jimin tells him something, they both feel a little lighter.
By the end of the night, Jimin’s hand is sitting on top of Taehyung’s and the silences are already comfortable. Taehyung has stopped apologizing when his long legs bump into Jimin’s under the table. The coffee grows cold and Taehyung asks for more. Maybe soft Jimin is just for the early morning, because as the night goes on, Jimin just gets softer around the eyes, but his words are sharp in a way that makes Taehyung want to hear more. Park Jimin is a mix of things that Taehyung wants to unravel and lay out and understand.
He thinks Jimin will let him.
He thinks Jimin wants to understand him, too.
Their food is done. Taehyung is having problems keeping his eyes open and Jimin is having problems not laughing at him. Their second round of coffee is finished.
Taehyung pays for dinner.
“Jimin, hello, what a surprise.”
“Taehyung, you asshole!” Jimin’s voice is breathless. “Are you really asking me to move in with you over a text?”
“I…” Taehyung coughs. “I haven’t asked you yet. Technically.” Jimin knows that Taehyung is smiling right now, nervous and fond, as if he doesn’t know what Jimin is going to say.
He knows what Jimin thinks about dogs, and his dog, and big houses, and he knows what Jimin thinks about him.
He knows what Jimin thinks about this, too.
“Is a phone call a better medium?” Taehyung asks.
“I…” Jimin takes a deep. “Probably.”
“Park Jimin,” he starts off, voice deep and dramatically. Jimin chokes out a laugh. “If I found a way to combine my dog, and a big—”
“Okay, okay.” Taehyung sighs. “Ruining my fun.”
“I know, I’m the worst.”
“The worst,” Taehyung agrees. “Do you want to move in together?”
It’s quick, casual, and about time.
“Yeah.” Jimin smiles. “Yeah, I do.”