That night was a sleepless one. Jimin had flippantly told Jungkook just hours before that it didn’t matter to him whether or not he got any sleep before seeing his parents on the morning of his graduation. Now, it seemed that his statement had more truth than he had anticipated. Every time he felt like he was on the verge of sleep, fear plagued him and sent his pulse skyrocketing as he wondered what the next day would bring.
Jungkook had seemed so sure that he could find a way to sort everything out, but Jimin struggled to find the solution that would make everything better again. He wanted to erase the last twenty-four hours, even if that meant taking back their reunion just so he could keep Jungkook safe and out of trouble. He couldn’t stand the thought that he was the one that had brought his entire career crashing down. Nor could he stomach the thought of spending his days without Jungkook by his side.
Sleep deprived and bleary eyed, Jimin reluctantly climbed out of bed when his alarm went off across the room. He didn’t need to look into a mirror to know that he looked like death had warmed over. With slow steps, as if he was on autopilot, he got ready for the day. His parents had planned to meet him for breakfast at a restaurant on campus before his graduation ceremony, and he knew there were sure to be pictures of their outing in the local press. The pictures were expected, but Jimin was dreading the thought of being photographed in this state. He may have had on a tailor made suit with his hair styled just so, but there was no way he could fool the cameras into believing he was actually happy.
A knock startled Jimin from his half-comatose state. For a moment, his heart pounded, wondering if Jungkook had returned with good news. However, before he had the chance to even get his hopes up, he quickly opened the door.
Jimin tried to not look disappointed at Yoongi’s appearance – and failed miserably.
“Yah,” Yoongi grunted when Jimin turned away with a sigh. “You look like shit.”
Jimin left the door open for Yoongi to enter the room, but went back to fixing his tie. “What do you need?” Jimin mumbled. He glanced away from his fingers that were trying to adjust the length on his tie, and balefully looked back at Yoongi. “Are my parents here already?”
“I’m not here as your bodyguard,” Yoongi patiently explained. Only then did Jimin even register that Yoongi’s usual suit and tie had been replaced – well, in actuality, it had only been replaced by another suit. However, this one was clearly a far more relaxed look on Yoongi than his usual uniform. He paired his loose fitting ensemble with a pair of converse and had opted to leave his tie at home, instead leaving the top two buttons of his dress shirt open. “I’m here as your hyung.”
“Oh.” Jimin grew frustrated with his tie. He swiftly undid the knot and attempted it once more. He avoided Yoongi’s gaze as he tried to speak in a casual voice. “Then who is…?”
“Jungkook’s not here, either,” Yoongi cut to the chase. “I haven’t seen him since he left last night.”
Jimin stared at his reflection in the mirror, refusing to react to the news.
“I took the day off so I could be in the audience to support you and Taehyung,” Yoongi admitted with a slight smile. “Actually,” Yoongi continued, “I, um… I kind-of stole this from Tae.” He held up a tiny glass bottle that appeared to be some sort of concealer. “I would have asked him for it, but I figured he would just try to pry and ask questions if he knew, and… well…”
Jimin quirked an eyebrow at Yoongi as he tried to make sense of what he was telling him.
Yoongi sighed in frustration at the fact that he had to spell it out. “It’s make-up for the bags under your eyes,” he bit out. Then, without warning, he unscrewed the cap and began dabbing the liquid under Jimin’s eyes. “I thought you would want something to make you look less like a zombie for all of the cameras.”
Jimin’s frozen posture was more likely to have been caused not because someone was putting make-up on him, but because it was Yoongi putting make-up on him. He waited for him to finish rubbing the liquid into his skin before glancing back into his mirror.
He hadn’t looked as bad as he had imagined. Or, perhaps, the make-up had been far more effective at covering the dark spots beneath his eyes. Either way, he finally appeared to be semi-presentable for a front page photograph.
“Look,” Yoongi interrupted his thoughts. He stepped in front of Jimin’s line of sight and began tugging at his tie. He swiftly adjusted the lengths around his neck and began twisting it this way and that with the movements of an expert – which, Jimin belatedly realized, he was, considering that ties were a part of his standard work uniform. “I know you’re not happy with me. I get that. And I’m sorry.”
“I know,” Jimin muttered petulantly. “It’s not your fault.”
“Worst case scenario,” Yoongi explained, “Jungkook gets fired, but then he’s free to date you without any consequences.” He paused in his motions and glanced at Jimin with a somewhat optimistic expression. “That’s not all that bad, is it?”
Jimin sighed. “You really think they’re going to fire him?”
“I… have no idea,” Yoongi safely avoided the question. It was clear that he didn’t want to upset Jimin, but he also held out little hope that Jungkook would still have a job by the end of the day. “But if he really cares about you – and I know he does – he won’t care if he gets fired.”
“He loves his job,” Jimin insisted. “And I – I pushed him into this. It’s not fair that I’m the one that made a mistake, and he’s the one that gets punished for it!”
“Ok – first – you clearly were not the only person making that mistake I walked in on last night,” Yoongi corrected him with a lazy smirk. “Second, it wasn’t a mistake. Jungkook would hate it if he heard you calling that a mistake.” Jimin looked appropriately chastised by Yoongi’s comment. “And third – Jungkook’s not an idiot. If he made the decision to pursue a relationship with you, he already knew the risks and he was willing to give it all up for you.” He finished his last knot on the tie around Jimin’s neck before sliding it around just so until it was in the perfect spot. Yoongi pulled his hands back to stuff into his pockets and smiled. “You don’t need to worry, ok? You’re graduating today. Worry about that.”
For the first time that morning, Jimin smiled, albeit somewhat reluctantly.
“Come on,” Yoongi encouraged him. He opened the door for Jimin. “Your parents are waiting.”
Jimin obediently walked through the door, but not before turning to Yoongi in surprise. “I thought you said they weren’t here, yet.”
Yoongi made a face as they stepped into the hallway. “I never said that,” he muttered.
“You maybe could have led with that information,” Jimin retorted as they walked at a somewhat brisk speed down the hallway. They quickly exited the building and began moving across campus. They headed towards a restaurant nearby where his parents were supposedly waiting. “You know, maybe when I asked you if they were waiting the first time, you could have just told me yes.”
“I told you – I’m not working today,” Yoongi reminded him with a relaxed expression. “If I was, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you like a friend should about Jungkook, would I? So, since I’m not working,” he continued in a lowered voice, as if hoping the security team around them wouldn’t be able to hear his words, “I can tell you – as your hyung – that I really, truly hope things work out for the two of you.”
Jimin was startled by the sincerity in Yoongi’s voice. He glanced over at the man as they walked, smiling happily. “Thanks, hyung.”
“Yeah, just… Don’t tell my boss,” he muttered, maintaining a stone faced expression. “I’m technically not allowed to encourage your relationship with Jungkook, but I’ve also watched the two of you dance around each other for months. There’s really no point in denying what the two of you have.”
Jimin held a hand over his heart as he acted touched by Yoongi’s words. “Hyung, I had no idea you were so sentimental!”
“Shut the fuck up,” Yoongi grunted, simultaneously throwing Jimin off balance as he threw his shoulder into Jimin’s while they walked. “If I ever hear you repeating what I said to anyone else – security clearances be damned – I will actually kill you.”
“I at least have to tell Taehyung,” Jimin insisted with a teasing grin, realizing just how much it seemed to bother Yoongi. “He would love to hear what you told me.”
But to his surprise, the tips of Yoongi’s ears turned red and he nodded.
“Ok,” he murmured. “You can tell Tae.”
Jimin’s jaw dropped.
“Oh my God!” he exclaimed with a loud guffaw. “You’re trying to win points with Taehyung, aren’t you?” Jimin punched Yoongi playfully in the shoulder. “You want me to tell him that you stopped by this morning to cheer me up, don’t you?” Jimin laughed incredulously at the situation. “You know what?” he suddenly decided. “I’ll do it. I’ll tell Taehyung what a great friend you are, just so you can get laid. But you have to promise me you’ll keep Jungkook on the team in return.”
The amusement in Yoongi’s expression suddenly faded from his eyes.
“Jimin,” he began in a solemn tone. “You know I can’t – ”
“I know,” Jimin cut him off with a nod. Even though he knew it couldn’t happen, he still needed to hear something reassuring before he left – anything to keep his hopes up. “Just – lie to me if you have to. Say that you will.”
Yoongi nodded slowly. “Yeah, ok. I will.”
Their previously lighthearted conversation dwindled as silence filled the air between them.
“Sorry I mentioned it,” Jimin quietly apologized. “It’s just… on my mind.”
“I get it, kid,” he sympathized. Then he reached out and slung an arm around Jimin’s shoulder to hug him to his side as they walked. “It’ll work itself out. I promise.”
“Yeah,” Jimin agreed with a nod. “It would just… you know, be nice if he at least called me to tell me what was going on, or something.”
Yoongi’s arm was still draped over Jimin’s shoulder, so he used his free hand to pat Jimin comfortingly on the shoulder. “He might be head over heels for you – but he still has the social skills of a teenager.”
Jimin snickered at the jab. “Hyung.”
“Hey,” Yoongi countered, holding both hands up defensively. “I just call it like I see it.”
The tiny smile lingered on Jimin’s lips as they arrived at the restaurant. He and his parents had planned to have a large brunch before his graduation. As they got closer and Jimin noticed the lack of patrons milling around, he began to feel guilty that he’d even mentioned coming to this restaurant in the first place. He knew that there must have been dozens of other students with the same idea of meeting their parents for breakfast that morning. Unfortunately, none of them were able to enter this space since Jimin’s request had resulted in the entire restaurant being rented out in order for his father to be able to dine there safely.
Yoongi walked Jimin up to the door, ignoring the barrage of photographers several yards away from them. He gave Jimin a smile. “You’re graduating,” Yoongi reminded him. “Just remember – this is a happy day. Ok?”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Jimin agreed.
“You should feel proud of yourself,” Yoongi reminded him.
Jimin’s smile widened into a grin. “I do.”
“And tonight, you can celebrate with Taehyung and me.” He opened the restaurant door for Jimin to enter. “He said he wants to invite you and his friends to dinner and then – ”
Yoongi abruptly stopped speaking, staring at the scene in front of him. Jimin’s gaze followed, peering inside the restaurant doors.
His jaw dropped open.
Jimin stared in wonder, trying to understand why his parents were sitting at a table in the middle of the restaurant – directly across from Jungkook. Out of any scenario Jimin could have predicted for him to reunite with Jungkook, this was the absolute last one he ever would have imagined. Jungkook’s chair scraped noisily across the floor when he suddenly sprung out of his seat to face the door. “Jimin,” he breathed as they entered the room. “Um.” Jimin watched him visibly swallow and nervously clench his hands into fists at his side. “Hi.”
Yoongi cleared his throat loudly, breaking Jimin from his blatant staring. “Yeah, I think, uh… I’ll just go,” he said, pointing to the door over his shoulder. He gave Jimin one last pat on the back, nudging him forward towards the table. “Good luck, kid.”
The door closed quietly behind Jimin.
“Jimin,” his father greeted him. He gestured to the open chair across from him without standing. “Join us.”
Jimin staggered forward. “Dad,” he spoke in a thin voice, “I – I can explain. It’s not his fault – it’s mine. You can’t – ”
“Jimin,” his mother cut him off. She reached out for his hand and smiled maternally. “Please sit down.”
Jimin was all too grateful to sit down when his knees grew shaky. Carefully, he lowered himself into the seat beside Jungkook. He looked at him, catching Jungkook’s nervous expression before he turned back to his parents. Clearly, Jungkook was just as confused about his presence as Jimin. “Why… why is Jungkook here?”
His father’s tone remained patient. “I understand there is some news you would like to share with us.”
Jimin’s head whipped back towards Jungkook in surprise.
Had Jungkook told his parents about their newfound relationship? When he’d told Jimin he was going to fix everything, Jimin hadn’t anticipated him talking directly to his father – the president – about the matter. For an instant, he opened his mouth to ask Jungkook what he had said, but he suddenly turned back to his parents.
No matter what Jungkook had done, Jimin knew now what he needed to do.
“I love him,” he confessed quietly. “I love Jungkook. And I know it’s against protocol or whatever, but he’s one of the best agents you have. You can’t fire him.” He shook his head adamantly. “You can’t.”
Jimin’s mother hid a giggle behind her hand at Jimin’s sudden declaration. His father, though he held a better poker face, seemed to be equally as amused. Slowly, he turned to his wife as a smile quirked at the corner of his lips.
“I certainly expected this interrogation to last a bit longer, didn’t you?” His father arched an amused eyebrow. “He caved rather quickly.”
His mother only laughed.
Jimin turned to Jungkook in confusion.
“I didn’t… I don’t…” Jungkook stammered, equally as perplexed. “They just… invited me for breakfast.”
“What?” Jimin hissed back. “And you just came without asking either of them why?”
“What was I supposed to do?” Jungkook countered with wide, terrified eyes. “Turn down the President?”
“It’s because he has good manners,” Jimin’s father interrupted them as he nodded in Jungkook’s direction. “You would do well to learn from him, Jimin.”
“I – I – ” Jimin let out a laugh of disbelief as he simply tried to comprehend their current situation. “I’m sorry – what’s going on right now?”
“The head of security approached me this morning,” Jimin’s father explained. “He informed me that there had apparently been a false alarm on your panic button last night. Apparently,” he spoke carefully, “Jungkook was already present in your room when you appeared to have… accidentally set off your panic button.”
Jimin’s face turned pale for a brief moment before immediately flushing in front of his parents.
“Sir,” Jungkook tried to speak through his own embarrassment, “I can – ”
Jimin’s father held up a hand to silence Jungkook.
“He told me that Jungkook had come to him to apologize for the situation and submit his resignation.”
Jimin turned back to Jungkook with sad eyes. “You didn’t.” Jungkook stared back solemnly. “Why?”
“That’s what I asked,” Jimin’s father continued. “The last that I heard, you said that Jungkook had earned your trust and was an excellent bodyguard. It just didn’t make sense.” He gestured vaguely towards his security team surrounding them. “So, when the head of security explained that it was Jungkook that had been caught in a compromising situation with my son, it was fairly easy to piece two and two together.”
Jimin swallowed. “He saved my life,” he reminded his parents. “Without him, I wouldn’t be alive – and there’s no possible way he would put me into danger. He would never do that.”
“Jimin,” Jungkook quietly chastised him. He rotated in his chair to meet Jimin’s gaze. “It’s a bad idea for me to stay,” he confessed. “I love my job, but… I don’t think I can focus on my job if you’re always there to distract me. I may not even do anything intentionally – but there’s always the chance I could make a mistake or – ”
“You won’t,” Jimin argued.
Jungkook sighed when Jimin refused to back down. “But I could.”
Jimin shook his head sadly.
“You see,” Jimin’s father quietly continued, “when I was told that Jungkook was resigning because he valued my son’s safety more than his own job, I knew that I had to meet him.” He smiled politely at Jungkook. “And that’s why I invited him to breakfast.”
“Sir,” Jungkook tried again. “I’m terribly sorry that – ”
“Sorry?” Jimin’s mother interrupted. “What on earth are you sorry for?” She leaned forward as the smile grew on her face. “It’s incredibly touching to see just how much you care for my Jimin.”
Her words were simply too much for Jimin to stomach. He ducked his head in embarrassment, though he couldn’t figure out whether it was because of his mother’s lavish praise of Jungkook, or the fact that Jungkook could also hear every word that she said.
“It’s sweet,” she cooed happily. “You’re just the type of young man we would love to see spending time with our Jimin.”
“Mom, stop,” Jimin pleaded softly. “We’re just… this is new,” he feebly protested as he gestured between him and Jungkook. “You’re making it awkward.”
“I’m your mother,” she pointed out with a pair of raised eyebrows. “I’m allowed to make it awkward.”
“Ok, but – can we stop focusing on that right now,” Jimin abruptly changed the conversation, “and maybe talk about the fact that it would be a serious mistake to fire Jungkook? He deserves to work for the president!”
Jimin’s father appeared moderately surprised. “Oh – I’m not firing him,” he corrected Jimin’s misconception.
Both Jimin and Jungkook looked to each other with shock filling their expressions before simultaneously looking back at the president.
“You’re… n-not?” Jungkook stuttered.
“Of course not,” he insisted. “Well – I suppose I agree with you. You can be very dangerous on Jimin’s security detail with the direction things appear to be going between the two of you…” he amended. “But I don’t see any reason why you can’t just be reassigned to my wife’s security team.”
Jimin’s hand involuntarily went out to clutch onto Jungkook’s wrist as he was nearly barreled over in shock at the announcement. “You mean it?”
Jimin’s mother didn’t wait for confirmation of the announcement. Instead, she simply leaned across the table towards Jungkook with a wide grin. “I have so many baby pictures to show you,” she teased. “Jimin was such an adorable child.”
Jungkook, clearly at a loss for words after he had somehow unintentionally met Jimin’s parents, been unemployed, and subsequently rehired in the span of ten minutes, could only murmur, “Yeah. Ok.”
Jimin huffed, glaring at his mother. “You can’t do that,” he argued. “He has to work when he’s on duty – you know that. He’s supposed to be protecting you.”
“Oh, you mean like he was working when they found the two of you with half of your clothes missing in your dorm room?” she challenged with a devious grin.
“He was off duty,” Jimin ground out, attempting to maintain a steady glare at his mother from across the table. He felt his face heat up at her comment nonetheless. Even his father appeared to be affected by the secondhand embarrassment and was tactfully turning his head in the opposite direction. Jungkook, however, had shrunk in his seat in mortification and was busy clutching his hands together until they had turned a ghostly shade of white.
Jimin’s father cleared his throat. “Well,” he broke the awkward tension in the air. “Perhaps we could use our time now to get to know Jimin’s boyfriend a little bit better?”
The word “boyfriend” caused Jimin’s ears to perk up in interest. He glanced over at Jungkook, curious to find out whether Jungkook seemed to have had the same response. Sure enough, Jungkook was looking at Jimin with a mildly surprised look.
Were they dating, now? They’d certainly entertained the idea. They discussed giving their relationship a chance, but had immediately jumped into the physical aspect before they could really discuss it much further. Jimin knew that if he had the option, he certainly wanted to be dating Jungkook, but he also knew that his life was far from the norm. More than enough things had happened to Jungkook because of Jimin in the last twelve hours that would have sent most people running for the hills, and Jimin wouldn’t have blamed any one of them. The real question was – had Jungkook been scared away after it all? Did he even want anything to do with Jimin anymore?
Were they boyfriends?
But then a gentle smile – the first Jimin had seen all day – spread across Jungkook’s lips.
And he answered both Jimin’s unasked question along with his father’s
“Yes,” he murmured. “I would love to.”
“Fuck – you’re such a mess right now,” Yoongi grumbled as Taehyung wobbled along the sidewalk beside him with more than enough alcohol in his system to qualify for a successful evening out. “How are you still vertical?”
“It’s one of his many talents,” Jimin commented from Yoongi’s other side. He searched for Jungkook’s hand, swinging them happily between them as they walked. “He told me he likes to act drunk when he wants someone to take him home.”
“Oh, really?” Yoongi turned to look at Taehyung with a scrutinizing gaze. “And how many other guys have you tried this tactic on?”
“No!” Taehyung protested indignantly. He turned to Yoongi with wide, innocent eyes. “I’m really, really drunk, Suga,” he cooed his pet name for Yoongi, suddenly batting his eyelashes. “I think you need to take me home.”
“Yah.” Yoongi’s ears were tinged red at Taehyung’s openly suggestive remark. He’d long since stopped worrying about the rest of the security team knowing about his relationship with Taehyung. He’d grown comfortable with the idea of holding his hand and having Taehyung press a chaste kiss to his cheek in front of his co-workers, but his embarrassment at his over-the-top affection never seemed to fade. Yoongi may have acted bothered by Taehyung’s attempt to flirt with him in public, but Jimin suspected that he secretly enjoyed all of the attention. “Do you really need someone to tuck you into bed?”
Taehyung’s innocent expression rapidly morphed into a conniving one.
“It doesn’t have to be a bed,” he said in a low voice. “I’m open for experimentation.”
“And that’s our cue to leave,” Jungkook loudly announced. He released Jimin’s hand and wrapped his arm around his shoulders instead, ushering him in the opposite direction.
Jimin laughed, eagerly following Jungkook’s steps. He glanced over his shoulder to wave goodbye to the quibbling pair. “Bye, Tae! See you tomorrow, hyung!”
Neither one of them seemed to be listening to Jimin, especially when Taehyung suddenly gripped Yoongi’s hand and dragged him towards a tiny, hidden alcove in front of a closed shop.
And Yoongi was following obediently with a tiny smile.
“They’re disgustingly cute,” Jimin commented with a grin. They walked towards Jimin’s dorm, jogging up the steps and stepping inside the warm building. “Don’t you think?”
“I think,” Jungkook began slowly, “it’s interesting that the last time you and I talked about Yoongi and Taehyung’s relationship, you were telling me how jealous you were of your friend.” He quirked his head to the side in thought. “And then I’m pretty sure someone tried to shoot you.”
“I guess you’re right,” Jimin agreed with a tiny smile.
Jungkook looked over at Jimin as they walked. “You aren’t jealous of Taehyung anymore?”
Jimin looked right back with an adoring smile. “Not anymore.”
For a moment, Jungkook’s usual confident façade faltered as he blushed at Jimin’s compliment. “Yeah, well…” He cleared his throat loudly and tightened his arm around Jimin’s shoulder. He fumbled for the right words to say, before finally ending on, “Ok, then.”
Jimin giggled at his flustered expression.
As they approached his dorm room and Jimin pulled out his key, Jungkook seemed to hesitate. The door swung open and Jimin entered the room, but Jungkook remained outside, suddenly looking nervous.
“What is it?” Jimin asked with a frown. He paused in the process of kicking off his shoes to look back at Jungkook. “Aren’t you coming in?”
Jungkook looked over his shoulder at Jimin’s security team that was following them. He sighed, turning back to Jimin. “I’m not on your security team anymore.”
Jimin nodded. He was a bit confused as to where Jungkook seemed to be going with this information. “Right…?”
“And… you don’t have to invite me inside,” he told Jimin. “I mean – before, you did it because I was you personal bodyguard and you wanted protection, but… I’m not anymore.”
“No, you’re not,” Jimin confirmed with a gentle smile. He moved away from his door and sidled up next to Jungkook, running a hand up his chest until he was tugging lightly on his collar to entice him to step forward. “And that’s why I want to invite you inside.”
Jungkook’s eyebrows shot up. “Yeah?”
Jimin bit his lip to hide his grin, but was unsuccessful. “Yeah.”
While Jimin had expected Jungkook to immediately follow behind him, he was surprised when Jungkook turned his gaze on the nearby security team.
“Would you mind… just… fanning out a bit?” Jungkook asked in a soft voice. “Maybe, you could… stand a bit further down the hallway instead of, you know… right outside his door?”
The men were obviously confused by Jungkook’s words. None of them seemed to know how to handle this situation, considering that Jungkook used to be their superior, but was now no longer a part of their team. “Sir,” one of the men in suits bravely spoke up, “I’m not entirely sure we should – ”
“Please,” Jungkook suddenly burst out in the most demanding sort of a plea Jimin had ever heard. Jimin was sure he wasn’t imagining the desperate sound of Jungkook’s voice. “Just – give us a bit of privacy for a few hours, would you?”
Finally, the men seemed to register just what Jungkook was asking. Slowly, they began to give tiny smirks to one another before one of them eventually nodded. “Sure,” he finally granted. “Just this once.”
Jungkook smiled appreciatively. “Thank you.”
Jimin looked up at Jungkook when the other agents took a few steps away from them so they were no longer stationed directly outside Jimin’s door – and would therefore be unable to hear any of the extracurricular activities that the two planned to participate in that evening.
“Privacy for several hours?” Jimin inquired in a low, seductive voice. He slipped his hand into his pocket, pulling out his panic button. With a fairly deliberate move, Jimin made it clear to Jungkook that he was placing the small device on his desk. He did not want to make the same mistake twice. “That’s a fairly bold statement, don’t you think?”
Jungkook arched a challenging eyebrow back at Jimin. “You think I can’t do it?”
Jimin’s teasing smile returned. “I didn’t say that.”
Jungkook snorted in disbelief. He reached out for Jimin’s shoulders, swiftly turning him around and pushing him further into the open room as he kicked the door closed behind him. “You’re going to regret your words, Park Jimin.”
Jimin giggled. “I look forward to it.”