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gossamer in the light

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When Jimin wakes up the next morning, bright rays of sunshine are streaming through the glass wall, reflecting and shining directly into his eyes. He winces, barely awake, shifting his body slightly, trying to orient himself in the unfamiliar bed.

As he moves, he realizes there’s something unfamiliar touching his cheek. Warm, soft... skin? He opens his eyes, squinting. He’s greeted by the sight of a tattooed arm so close to his face that it takes a moment for his eyes to focus on it.

Jimin wakes up the rest of the way with a jolt, his eyes flying open in panic.

He quickly assesses the situation. Jungkook still seems to be asleep, and Jimin quickly thanks every single deity he’s ever heard of for that, because the situation they’re in is—well, it’s compromising, to say the least.

They must have gravitated towards each other in their sleep. Jimin is much closer to the center of the bed than he remembers, and Jungkook’s arm is flung out over Jimin’s head. Jimin’s cheek is pressed to his bicep. Jungkook’s other arm is loosely draped over Jimin’s waist, and Jimin has both calves tangled up in Jungkook’s legs.

They vaguely resemble some sort of human pretzel. It’s not entirely clear who is ultimately responsible for it. Jimin blinks, comically frozen, trying not to move a single muscle.

How the hell is he going to untangle himself without waking Jungkook up?

Because waking Jungkook up, allowing him to discover this, is not an option. What if Jungkook thinks that Jimin snuggled up to him in the middle of the night? How embarrassing. Jimin would never do something like that. Except, well, he did, apparently. So maybe he would. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because he’s going to get out of this before Jungkook has any idea of what’s happened.

He starts with his left leg, slowly pulling it out from between Jungkook’s calves. When he gets it all the way out, Jungkook’s leg falls down onto the mattress with a gentle thud. 

Jungkook groans.

Jimin’s eyes go wide. He freezes, holding his breath.

But Jungkook doesn’t wake up. He bends his leg at the knee a little, sighing in his sleep, eyelashes fluttering. 

Jimin knows it’s a race against the clock now. He decides to work on Jungkook’s arm next—the one that’s looped around Jimin’s waist. It feels like a dead weight lying on top of him. It’s so heavy, actually, that Jimin wonders how it’s physically possible for it to weigh that much, but now is probably not the time to try and solve that mystery. 

Jimin grabs it carefully, wrapping his fingers gently around Jungkook’s forearm, and then he starts to pull it off his body, inch by inch. He stares directly at it, moving very slowly with laser focus.

When he’s finally maneuvered the arm back onto the mattress and he’s about to remove his hand, he looks back up at Jungkook’s face—and he finds Jungkook staring right back at him.

Jimin yelps, yanking his hand away from Jungkook’s arm like he’s been burned. He pulls his other leg out of the pretzel, then lifts his face off of Jungkook’s other arm, staring at him with wide eyes.

“Good morning,” Jungkook murmurs, his voice scratchy and deep. He’s barely awake, but there’s a tiny hint of a smile on his face. 

“Good morning,” Jimin croaks, leaning up on one arm and trying to act nonchalant, although that’s probably useless at this point. “I was just… it seems like we—I guess overnight, we—”

“I probably should have warned you about that,” Jungkook says, still sounding sleepy. “My friends call me a koala, sometimes, because I just latch onto things in my sleep. I was going to try not to do it to you, but… I guess that was kind of dumb, in retrospect, since I’m asleep when it happens.”

“Oh,” Jimin says weakly. “A koala. Okay. Yes. I see.”

“Sorry,” Jungkook says, rubbing some sleep out of his eyes. “We can build a pillow fortress between us tonight, if you want.”

I absolutely do not want! is what Jimin would like to say.

Jimin ponders how he can communicate that without blowing his cover. “Oh, don’t worry about it,” is what he settles on, trying to sound casual. “It’s okay. I get cold at night, anyway.”

He silently curses at himself. That did not sound cool and unbothered. That sounded very much like: “No! I am begging you to snuggle me, if you erect a wall of pillows between us I will quite literally freeze to death, your body heat is all I’ve ever wanted, let me be your bamboo stalk, I’m ready and willing—” 

“Okay,” Jungkook says, rolling onto his back and stretching his arms above his head, yawning. 

Well. That’s that, apparently.

“Are you hungry?” Jimin asks, sitting up in bed and combing fingers through his hair, trying to smooth it down. His cheeks feel hot. “I’ll be eating breakfast with my coworkers this morning.”

“No, I don’t usually get hungry until later,” Jungkook says. “Don’t worry about me. I can hunt down some food.”

Jimin slips out of bed and slides his feet into the slippers he’d left waiting on the floor last night. “Are you getting up now, or do you want more sleep? I can get ready in the bathroom, so it’ll be quiet out here, if you want to sleep more.”

“It’s okay. I should get up and go to the gym anyways,” Jungkook says, sitting up and leaning over to check his phone. It feels so strangely intimate, seeing him like this, all bleary-eyed with messy hair in the early morning light. 

He stays in bed for a little while longer, scrolling through his phone as Jimin gets ready for the day. There’s a big conference room in the main hotel building where Jimin is supposed to meet everyone at 9AM sharp. He’s not sure exactly when they’ll be done, but he assumes it will be sometime in the afternoon. Jimin gets dressed, then packs his backpack with some essentials: his work laptop, a water bottle, an extra tube of sunscreen. 

“I’ll text you whenever I’m finished,” Jimin calls out to Jungkook from the bathroom, where he’s leaning forward and combing his hair in the mirror. “And then I can just come meet you wherever you are. There’s a dinner tonight, by the way—it’s optional, but we should go, because Namjoon will be there.”

“Oh? Is it fancy?”

“It’s on the beach,” Jimin says. “Should be nice enough.”

“That does sound nice. I will be on my best boyfriend behavior.”

“Thank you. If you’re very good, I’ll introduce you to Namjoon.”

“Really?” Jungkook sounds excited. “Ah, I’m nervous. I’ll probably say something dumb.”

“Impossible,” Jimin reassures him, stepping out of the bathroom and slinging his backpack over his shoulder. He slides out of his slippers, then into the sandals he’d left by the door last night. “You good? Need anything before I go?”

“I’m good,” Jungkook says, sitting up and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. “Have a good day, okay?”

It’s such a domestic and boyfriend-like thing for him to say, especially while perched on the edge of the bed they shared last night, that it makes Jimin stutter for a moment.

“Yeah, um—I will. Don’t have too much fun without me.”

Jimin slips out the door, letting it swing closed behind him, then makes his way down the hall and into the bright heat of the early morning sun. He puts on his sunglasses, muttering to himself as he heads down the path towards the main building.

“You usually have no trouble with flirting at all,” he grumbles, adjusting his backpack on his shoulder. “You flirt with everyone! You flirt with inanimate objects! Why are you being so fucking awkward!” 

A frog leaps across the path in front of him, croaking twice, like he’s directly answering him: It’s because you really like him, you idiot.

“Nobody asked you,” Jimin tells the frog, carefully stepping around it. It croaks once more before hopping away. “Have a good day, though. And be careful. I almost stepped on you.”

When Jimin enters the conference room, he’s one of the first few to arrive, and after nodding a few polite hellos to his coworkers, he plops down at an empty table, pulling his laptop out of his backpack and connecting it to the hotel wifi. If he has a few extra minutes, he figures he might as well use it to catch up on work stuff.

He scrolls through his email inbox, trying to scan through and open anything that seems important. He has hundreds of unread emails already, so it’s a little difficult to wade through the mess. He almost misses it as he’s scrolling, but he spots it just before it vanishes off the top of the screen—from late last night, there’s an email from Yoongi.

It’s unusual for Yoongi to email him about work-related things. Usually, he’d just text him instead. Jimin clicks on the email, one eyebrow raised.

 

From: Min Yoongi <min.yoongi@fila.co.kr>
Date: August 5, 2021, 9:49PM
Subject: Fwd: Finance team opening

Hey you,

Some intel about the motherfucker. Figured you’d want to know.

-MYG

Sent from my iPhone

<begin forwarded message>


From: Kim Eunji <kim.eunji@fila.co.kr>
Date: August 5, 2021, 12:32PM
Subject:
Finance team opening

Hi team,

We have an urgent opening to fill in the finance department. Park Hyungsik has put in his two week’s notice, and Jeong Ryung will be stepping up to fill the team lead role, but that leaves us in desperate need of a replacement for him, as the team is already understaffed. The position will be posted tomorrow. Please check and see if anyone might be a good candidate for an inter-departmental transfer.

Best,
Kim Eunji
Senior Recruiter

 

Jimin blinks at his computer screen, processing the news. Hyungsik is leaving Fila?

His first reaction is overwhelming relief. If Hyungsik is leaving, that means Jimin will never have to see him again. It means Jimin will actually be able to go down to the finance department floor without having to send someone else in his place. Most importantly, it means Jimin can finally move on and forget all about Hyungsik—faced with no more awkward reminders of what they were, or what he did to him. 

Jimin quickly realizes something else, though. If he’s never going to see Hyungsik again, that means there’s definitely not going to be any reason to carry on his fake boyfriend arrangement with Jungkook beyond this trip. 

He sort of figured that might be the case, anyway, but the finality of it squeezes his heart in a vice grip that he wasn’t expecting at all. 

He’s sure that he and Jungkook will still be friends when this is all over, but it won’t be the same as this. It won’t be the same as this weird, thrilling, confusing thing they’re doing right now. 

Jimin frowns, leaning back in his chair. Why does he feel more upset about breaking up with his fake boyfriend than he felt about breaking up with his real boyfriend?

“Hey, you,” a voice says directly behind Jimin, and a friendly hand clamps down on his shoulder. Jimin jumps in his seat a little, startled out of his thoughts. 

“Sorry, didn’t mean to catch you by surprise,” Namjoon says. “I just wanted to say hi since I hadn’t seen you yet. Are you having a good time?”

“Oh, hi,” Jimin says, forcing a smile. “Sorry. I was just zoned out. Yes, this resort is really nice. You really outdid yourself this year, huh?”

Namjoon smiles. “Only the best for my best of the best. You like your room?”

“They gave us an insane upgrade. We’re in one of the swim-up suites. We have our own hot tub and pool. It is the fanciest hotel room I have ever seen.”

“Don’t tell anyone about that,” Namjoon whispers. “The others, I mean.”

Jimin raises an eyebrow, lowering his voice. “Wait. Are you the one who got us upgraded?”

“I can neither confirm nor deny that,” Namjoon says in a dramatic whisper.

Jimin’s eyes widen. “No way. Namjoon, you didn’t have to—”

“I know,” Namjoon says, cutting him off. “But you deserve it. So enjoy it. Is your boyfriend enjoying himself?”

“Boyfriend? My—oh. Right. My boyfriend. Yeah, he is. He’s just gonna have a lazy day today while I’m occupied. Well, his version of a lazy day, which means he’s going to the gym.”

“Going to the gym on vacation,” Namjoon says, shaking his head. “I’m sure he’s a nice person, Jimin, but that’s a red flag.”

Jimin bursts into laughter. “I’m with you on that one. But, no, he is a nice person. You’ll meet him tonight, hopefully.”

“I’ll look forward to it.” Namjoon slaps Jimin on the shoulder again. “Enjoy yourself this week, okay? I’ll try not to drag out the festivities too long today.”

“Thank you,” Jimin says, smiling. “I hope you get to relax while you’re here, too. I think you deserve it slightly more than I do.”

“After today, you won’t hear a peep from me,” Namjoon assures him. “I’ll be in the pool for three days straight. I even brought my own inflatable swan floatie.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I am not.”

“Don’t mention swans to me. I’m going to start having war flashbacks.”

“What?” Namjoon asks, eyebrows furrowing.

“Nothing. But it was your fault, apparently.”

“Okay. With you, I learned not to ask questions a long time ago. I apologize in advance if you see me in my swan floatie and it triggers any… unpleasant feelings.”

“Thank you.”

Namjoon smiles an awkward smile, then leaves to go talk to someone at the next table over. Jimin resumes scanning his email inbox, trying not to think too much more about the news of Hyungsik’s departure.

Although Jimin would rather not be trapped in this windowless conference room while he’s on vacation, the day of activities passes by rather quickly. They start out with opening remarks from Namjoon, thanking everyone for being there and talking a bit more in depth about Fila’s strategy for the next year. There are a couple of different presentations from HR and marketing, as well as a few team-building activities, and a brainstorming workshop to come up with new methods of collaborating between different divisions. 

They have breaks for breakfast and lunch, too, but by the time 3PM rolls around and the brainstorming activity ends, it’s obvious that everyone is getting antsy. The woman sitting across the table from Jimin looks like she’s at risk of falling asleep. One of their other table companions excused himself to go to the bathroom an hour ago and just never came back. Jimin figures he’s already two beers deep by now.

Namjoon walks to the front of the room at that point, clearing his throat to get everyone’s attention.

“I think I’ve made you all suffer enough. As a token of my appreciation, before you go, I’d like to do a quick drawing and hand out some prizes. Consider it my way of saying thank you for putting in a little work while all your spouses and family members were relaxing on the beach.” There’s a polite chorus of laughter around the room. “These are vouchers to be used for resort activities. Some are for excursions, some are for the spa, and so on.”

Namjoon walks over to the nearest table, where there’s a clear glass vase filled with tiny folded slips of paper, along with a stack of what Jimin assumes are the aforementioned vouchers. Then he starts drawing names out of the vase—five total, since there are five vouchers to be given away. Someone wins a zipline excursion, and the next person wins a mud facial at the hotel spa.

“Our next winner is…” Namjoon digs into the vase, pulling out the next slip of paper with a flourish. He unfolds it, then smiles brightly. “Park Jimin!”

“This is rigged,” someone complains from the next table over, but they’re obviously kidding. Jimin laughs, shaking his head.

“You win…” Namjoon picks up a voucher from the top of the stack. “A couple’s massage at the spa!”

Jimin blinks. A couple’s massage? What does that… entail, exactly? He’s never had a massage before. What, in particular, makes it a couple’s massage? He has many questions. None of which he can ask Namjoon. Or anyone, actually. He’ll need to search it up on Naver later. 

He forces himself to smile. “Thank you,” he tells Namjoon, walking up to collect his voucher. “That sounds… lovely.”

Namjoon winks at him when he hands him the voucher, which Jimin finds very concerning. 

They’re free to go after Namjoon has handed out the rest of the prizes, so Jimin packs up his laptop in his backpack, eager to head back to the room and get changed. There are only a couple of hours until the dinner on the beach, so he wants to be sure to squeeze in some poolside time beforehand.

As he walks out of the conference room and exits the building, stepping into the bright afternoon sun, he slips his phone out of his pocket, checking his texts, since he’s been MIA pretty much all day. He has texts from Taehyung and Jungkook. He taps on the one from Taehyung first. 

 

taehyung 1:47PM

so :) did i win yet :) 

 

Jimin laughs, rolling his eyes. He types a quick response, glancing up every now and then to ensure he avoids any potential crash collisions with sassy frogs. 

 

jimin 3:13PM

no, you didn’t. sorry love. i think yoongi might have this one in the bag.

taehyung 3:14PM

????? absolutely not. you still have two more nights there. this game is far from over. 

honestly, though, i’m kind of surprised?? i really thought you were into him

jimin 3:15PM

i have avoided speaking with you about it, because that would make it into...a thing, but yes, i have realized i am very much into him

taehyung 3:16PM

!!!!! OKAY WELL THEN!!!! I AM TOTALLY GOING TO WIN!!!! i don’t mean to make this all about me but listen… the stakes are high 

jimin 3:17PM

as i already told you, i DON’T want to know.

look i’m sorry but… i don’t think you’re going to win. i’m legitimately not sure if he’s into me

taehyung 3:19PM

ah, my sweet oblivious jiminie. some things never change. you are simply adorable

i’ve seen the way he looks at you. there is no doubt in my mind that he’s into you. he would eat you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you only gave him permission

jimin 3:19PM

he was PRETENDING, though

and he’s obviously a very good actor

taehyung 3:21PM

nobody is that good of an actor. trust me.

 

Jimin sighs, deciding it’s not worth arguing with him further. He exits the conversation, tapping to view Jungkook’s texts instead. 

 

boyfriend 💖 11:34AM

done my workout! the gym is really nice, and there was basically no one there

jimin 3:22PM

probably because you are the only weirdo who wants to work out on vacation

what are you up to now? i just got done with my work stuff

boyfriend 💖 3:23PM

oh hello! yay! come hang out with me :) 

i’m by the pool, if you swim out from our patio to the big pool, i’m in one of the chairs on the right side

jimin 3:24PM

ok! lemme change and then i’ll meet you

 

Jimin makes swift work of getting changed once he gets back to their room. It’s a little weird, being alone in here, able to just change out in the open. He sifts through his suitcase until he finds his other pair of swim trunks—the pink ones with daisies embroidered on them—then puts them on, not bothering with a shirt, since he’s going to be swimming through the pool to get to Jungkook anyway. 

That means he can’t take his phone, either, so he leaves everything but the room key, sliding it into the pocket of his swim shorts. He doesn’t even bring shoes. Just walks out onto the patio in his bare feet, climbs into the pool, and starts lazily paddling his way out to the main pool.

He hangs a right, avoiding two teenage girls in the middle of a splash fight, and he eventually spots Jungkook lying back in a reclined lounge chair. He’s underneath the shade of an umbrella, and there’s a half-empty beer bottle on the little table next to him. He’s got one arm swung over his eyes, and a paperback book is resting on his bare stomach, opened and turned over to keep his place.

“Am I interrupting your afternoon siesta?” Jimin asks, hoisting himself out of the pool in front of where Jungkook is lying. He does his best to not splash him, running both hands through his wet hair to push it back off his face. 

Jungkook removes the arm from his face, smiling lazily when he sees Jimin. “Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.”

Jimin blinks at him. “Me? I’m—”

“Come here,” Jungkook says, sitting up and setting his book aside, then reaching out to drag another lounge chair closer to him, so that it’s partially under the shade of the umbrella. He pats the chair.

Jimin walks over and sits. “Have you been out here for a while?”

Jungkook nods. “For a few hours. I just had a beer, but it made me sleepy.”

Jimin allows himself to steal one full-body glance. Jungkook’s wearing black swim trunks today, slightly longer than the ones he wore last night, so his thigh tattoo isn’t visible at all. His hair is damp, starting to curl slightly, and there’s a thin sheen of something—Jimin’s not sure if it’s sweat or pool water—glistening on his chest and across his collarbones. He has very nice collarbones.

“Do you have sunscreen?” Jimin asks, swiveling away to face the pool. “Since I swam over, I couldn’t bring anything with me.”

Jungkook nods, angling his head towards the small table between them. Jungkook’s cell phone and a bottle of sunscreen are sitting underneath it.

Jimin grabs the sunscreen, squeezing some out into his hands, then starts rubbing it into his arms and shoulders. It smells good—like coconut and banana. It reminds Jimin of his childhood, of long days spent by the sea, with sticky feet covered in sand.

“Dinner on the beach starts at five thirty,” Jimin says. “So we only have a little while before we’ll need to go back and shower.”

“Who eats that early?” Jungkook whines. “I wanna nap.”

“I know. I think it’s because it’s supposed to be like a big party. So dinner is earlier because there will be drinks afterward. Making an appearance is the most important part, though, so once we do that, it doesn’t matter how long we stay.” Jimin tilts his head to the side, rubbing sunscreen into his neck.

“Do you need me to do your back?” Jungkook offers.

Panic bells instantly start ringing inside Jimin’s head. It would be helpful, since Jimin knows he’d miss spots if he tried to do it himself, but—Jungkook’s hands? His big, tattooed hands—are going to be all over him? In public? Is that even allowed? It seems like it should be illegal. Everything about Jungkook seems like it should be illegal, actually.

 “Oh. Um, sure! Thanks,” Jimin finds himself saying anyway.

Jimin takes a deep breath, turning around in the chair and swinging his legs over to the other side so that his back is facing Jungkook. Jungkook leans over, picking up the bottle of sunscreen off the ground and squirting some into his hands. He rubs it between his palms to warm it up first—very considerate, Jimin thinks—and then two broad palms are rubbing over Jimin’s shoulder blades, working the sunscreen into his skin.

A tiny strangled noise tries to work its way out of Jimin’s throat, but he manages to keep it in.

“How was your work stuff?” Jungkook asks, thumbs rubbing over Jimin’s shoulders. Jimin is not entirely sure if that particular motion is necessary for effective sunscreen application.

“It was fine,” Jimin says. “Oh, actually, I forgot to tell you. I won a prize for us.”

“Yeah?” Jungkook asks, squeezing more sunscreen into his hands and rubbing it into Jimin’s lower back with firm strokes. It is very difficult, but Jimin somehow resists the urge to arch his back like a cat in heat.  

“Mmhmm. Namjoon gave out vouchers for stuff around the resort. We won a couple’s massage.”

Jungkook makes an abrupt noise that sounds halfway between laughing and choking. “Oh, really? Wow. How...romantic.”

“Yeah,” Jimin says, laughing weakly. Jungkook is still rubbing his back, although Jimin is pretty sure all the sunscreen must be absorbed by now. He lets his head loll to the side a little bit. It feels like he no longer has any bones. They have evaporated.

“You’re all set,” Jungkook says, giving Jimin’s shoulders one final squeeze before leaning back in his chair. “When’s the massage? Tomorrow?”

Jimin nods. He spins around in his chair to face Jungkook again. “10:30AM. Appointment’s already booked and everything. All we have to do is show up. I mean, only if you want to. If it’s going to be too awkward or something—”

“No, no, we should go,” Jungkook insists, lying back in his chair again and picking up his book. “It’s been forever since I had a massage.”

“Same,” Jimin says, deciding not to reveal he has never had one before. Apparently Jungkook is not disturbed by the couple’s aspect of the massage, so maybe it will be fine.

Jimin eventually ends up grabbing a pool raft and floating in the pool right in front of where Jungkook is lying, close enough that they can still talk. But time ultimately passes way too quickly, and he’s barely soaked up any sun before it’s time to head back to their room to shower and get ready for dinner. 

“I’ll walk around the long way, since I have my phone and stuff,” Jungkook says, getting up off the chair and stretching. “I’ll see you back there?”

“Okay,” Jimin agrees, one leg dangling off his raft, kicking gently in the cool water. 

He stares a little too long at Jungkook’s retreating form, admiring the way his back muscles shift as he walks away. Then he closes his eyes, sighing.

He almost shared the news about Hyungsik quitting while they were lounging by the pool, but he changed his mind at the last minute. He’ll try again at dinner. Jungkook deserves to know he’ll be off the hook after this, even if it makes Jimin terribly sad. 

 

  ҉  

 

“What do you think?”

Jimin blinks, tilting his chin up towards Jungkook. “Hmm?”

“Do you think Namjoon liked me?”

Jimin smiles. “Yes. You’re very polite when you actually try to be.”

Jungkook leans a little closer, one eyebrow shifting down worriedly. “Hey. I’m polite all the time, aren’t I?”

“Historically, you’ve done a few things in my presence that were rather impolite.”

They’re standing under the large white canopy that has been erected on the beach for the company dinner, string lights strung up along the inside of the tent to provide some soft illumination. Outside the tent, it’s nearly pitch black, the dark ocean subtly glittering under the moonlight off in the distance.

They’ve stayed longer than Jimin thought they would. After dinner, they mingled with Jimin’s coworkers, and Jimin introduced Jungkook to Namjoon while he was still relatively sober. Namjoon seemed awfully charmed by Jungkook, which is not surprising at all.

Now they’re a few drinks deep, and they’re standing off to the side of the small dance floor, although they’re not really dancing. They’re just talking, and standing way too close to each other, and looking at each other with starry, googly eyes, and kissing every now and then, just like fake boyfriends ought to do. They’ve always been believable, but there’s not a single person out there they wouldn’t fool tonight.

Jimin is taking advantage of every possible opportunity to touch Jungkook in ways that would usually not be permissible, which he probably would have denied if you asked him before tonight, but he’s come to terms with his delusional crush at this point.

“What kind of things?” Jungkook asks, dipping his head lower. Jimin’s nose brushes against his cheek. He reaches up and places a hand on Jungkook’s bicep, barely resisting the urge to squeeze. With some alcohol in his system, it seems he’s regained his ability to flirt with Jungkook without blushing and stuttering like a teenager.

“Your tongue has been in my mouth on more than one occasion.”

“I wouldn’t say that’s impolite. It was consensual, after all.”

“I suppose it was,” Jimin says, tilting his chin up further.

“I’m only doing my job. I like to do things well.”

“You’ve done it very well,” Jimin assures him.

“Which part?” Jungkook asks, rubbing his thumb along Jimin’s jaw softly.

Jimin swallows, trying not to reveal how affected he is. “Hmm?”

“The fake boyfriend part, or the kissing part?”

Jimin’s drunk enough to be honest. 

“Both,” he says quietly. 

Jungkook tilts his head a little. “You think I’m a good kisser?”

“Don’t act surprised. I’m sure you must already know you’re good at it,” Jimin says. “There’s no way this is news to you.”

“Maybe,” Jungkook says. His hand gently wraps around the back of Jimin’s neck, and Jimin shivers. “The part that’s news to me is that you think I’m good at it.”

“Oh,” Jimin says weakly. “Well.”

Jungkook leans in, lips pressing lightly against Jimin’s as his fingers thread through the hair at the nape of Jimin’s neck. Jimin opens up to him immediately, and Jungkook smiles against his mouth.

“I thought you said no tongue in front of your coworkers.”

“Did I say that?”

“I think you did,” Jungkook confirms. “I believe you said you have a reputation to uphold.”

Jimin decides it might be a little too obvious if he directly asks Jungkook to stick his tongue down his throat. He just hums instead, then kisses Jungkook one more time, soft and purposely chaste, before pulling away.

He suddenly feels like he’s given away too much, so to help offset his painfully transparent desperation, he decides that now would be an ideal time to share the news about Hyungsik.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” Jimin says.

“Hmm?” Jungkook asks, his hand moving from Jimin’s neck down to the small of his back instead. 

“I found out Hyungsik is leaving Fila. In two weeks, he’ll be gone. I’ll never have to see him again.”

Jungkook blinks. “Oh. Wow. That’s good, right?”

Jimin nods. “Yeah, I think so. I’m happy he’s leaving. It’s just… since I won’t be seeing him again, that means after we get back, you won’t need to pretend to be my boyfriend anymore.”

Jimin doesn’t know why he expects Jungkook to seem relieved by this news. Maybe it’s because he sort of dragged Jungkook into this against his will, at least at the beginning. 

But surprisingly, Jungkook doesn’t seem relieved at all. Instead, he’s frowning.

“Oh. Okay,” he says.

“We can still hang out,” Jimin assures him. “We just won’t have to do… you know, this.”

“Right,” Jungkook says, swallowing visibly. “That makes sense.”

“You’ll finally be free,” Jimin jokes, tilting his head and trying to smile. 

This is not going how he expected. It feels like he’s ruined the mood, which is the opposite of what he wanted to do.

“I guess so,” Jungkook says. He sounds terribly despondent.

“I thought you would be more excited about your newfound freedom,” Jimin says, frowning.

Jungkook takes a deep breath, then totally transforms his facial expression, plastering on a soft smile. “Don’t worry about me. Do you wanna get out of here?”

“Yeah,” Jimin says, nodding. “I don’t think I want to go back to the room yet, though.”

“Me neither. Want to sit on the beach with me?”

Jimin smiles. “Yeah.”

Jungkook leads the way, and Jimin silently follows him. They head out of the tent and onto the dark beach beyond it, slipping off their sandals so they can walk across the sand in their bare feet. As they put distance between themselves and the tent, they veer closer down towards the water, to where the sand is slightly damp and cool beneath their feet. The chattering and clinking of glasses audible from the tent gets further and further away, eventually drowned out by the sound of the waves.

“I can’t even remember the last time I went to the beach,” Jimin says, slowing down once they reach a particularly flat and smooth area that looks good for sitting. Jungkook plops down on the sand, then offers up a strong hand to Jimin, which Jimin uses to help him ease himself down next to him.

“Me neither,” Jungkook says. “It’s been forever since I left the city at all. I always feel bad when I take time off work, so I haven’t been on a proper trip in ages.”

“That’s why you were so excited to come with me, right?”

“One of the reasons,” Jungkook says, nodding. “My team is really small, so if I take time off, it’s not like there’s anyone there to do my job. The work just piles up until I get back. So that makes it hard to relax while I’m away. Since this was only a few days, I figured it would be okay.”

“It’s important to take time off, though,” Jimin says. “But I understand how you feel—I’m Namjoon’s only assistant, so it’s not like there’s anyone else there doing my job whenever I’m gone. Namjoon always stresses how important it is for me to take a break sometimes, though, which I really appreciate. It makes me feel less bad about it when I do.”

“I wish my boss was like that. Namjoon seems really great.”

“He is,” Jimin says. “Maybe you should look for another job? You deserve to be able to take a vacation without your boss making you feel bad. You’ll burn out, otherwise.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook says. He sounds hesitant. “I’ve thought about it. About switching careers entirely, actually.”

“Really?” Jimin asks, surprised. “What would you do instead?”

“That’s the problem. I don’t know,” Jungkook says, laughing sadly. “There are lots of things I like doing, but I don’t know how to turn any of them into a career. Development is all I’ve ever known how to do. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it—it pays well, and I’m good at it. But it doesn’t feel completely fulfilling sometimes.”

“There has to be meaning behind it,” Jimin murmurs. “I get that.”

“Do you feel that way about your job? Like it has meaning?”

Jimin nods. “Yeah. For me, I think my primary motivation has always been to help people. Not only in my career, but, like—in life, in general. And I know Namjoon is only one person, but my job pretty much consists of helping him in one million different ways, so it is fulfilling for me. Especially because I think he’s a really good human. It feels meaningful to help him. He helps a lot of other people in return.”

“I noticed that about you,” Jungkook murmurs. His gaze is fixed on the ocean in front of them, hair blowing softly in the warm breeze. “The night we met, you were so hellbent on repaying me for helping you. Like you couldn’t accept the help without feeling like you needed to offer help in return.”

“I guess I’m…” Jimin trails off. “I guess I’m not used to being the one who’s helped. Usually it’s me who’s doing the helping.”

Jungkook hums. “That sounds like it might be a little exhausting.”

“Yeah,” Jimin breathes out, nodding. “It is.”

“It’s tiring when you give and give and don’t get anything back,” Jungkook says. “I’ve been there before, too. It sucks.”

Jimin leans backward until he’s lying flat on the sand, staring up at the starry black sky above them. A moment later, Jungkook lies down too. There’s about a foot of space between them.

“I feel like—um. I don’t know how to explain it, but I don’t feel that way with you,” Jimin mumbles. “I worry a lot about whether I’m doing everything I should be, about whether everyone has everything they need—like, what I should be doing for people. But with you, I feel like I can just… be? Like I can relax and put my guard down and actually have fun.”

Jungkook turns his head to look at him. “Good. That makes me happy.”

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want you to come on this trip as a form of repayment for helping me, but… that wasn’t the only reason. I really, legitimately have fun with you. I wouldn’t have brought you if I didn’t.”

Jungkook smiles. “I have fun with you, too.”

Jimin meets his eye for a long moment, then glances away.

“You promise you’ve been having fun?”

“Mmhmm,” Jungkook says, nodding. “I’m having a great time.”

“Well, good. What do you want to do tomorrow night? It’s our last night here.”

Jungkook is quiet for a few seconds, thinking. “It doesn’t really matter to me. We can do whatever you want.”

“Maybe we can go to the bar,” Jimin suggests. “I kind of wanted to have at least one night out while we were here.”

“This doesn’t count?” Jungkook teases.

“Nah. We had everybody watching us tonight. Tomorrow night, it can just be us.”

“Okay,” Jungkook says. He rolls over onto his side a little, facing Jimin. “After we go back home, we’ll still hang out, right? You weren’t just saying that to ease the sting of breaking up with me?”

Jimin turns his head to look at him. “Of course we’ll still hang out. And for the record, I didn’t break up with you. That would require us to be together in the first place.”

“You kind of did,” Jungkook says, pouting. “You fake broke up with me.”

“I just thought you deserved to know.”

“That my services were no longer needed?” Jungkook sighs deeply. “Couldn’t you have employed me for a bit longer? I like feeling useful.”

Jimin’s stomach does a nervous flip. He’s not sure if Jungkook is just being silly and flirty like he always is, or if he’s trying to imply something more.

“It had nothing to do with your performance. Your performance was excellent,” Jimin assures him, reaching out to pat his hand. 

“Seokjin is going to be so disappointed when I tell him I don’t need his acting lessons anymore.”

Jimin bursts out laughing. “He was giving you acting lessons?”

“Against my will, yes. Usually he’d corner me while I was in the shower and had nowhere else to go. I would cower behind the shower curtain while he yelled at me about Stanislavski's method.”

“Wow.”

“I know.”

“He and Hoseok are such a surprising couple. Hoseok seems so chill and easygoing.”

“That’s why they work, though. Seokjin is a lot, but Hobi is the perfect person to handle him. He’s go-with-the-flow enough that he’s never bothered by Seokjin’s antics at all. He mainly finds the craziness entertaining, I think.”

“It seemed like he didn’t like me,” Jimin says, smiling softly and glancing over at Jungkook. “Seokjin, I mean. I think that’s why I find him so intimidating.”

Jungkook shakes his head. “No, he likes you. He wouldn’t have been giving me acting lessons if he didn’t like you.”

“But he was so scary.”

Jungkook smiles. “It wasn’t about you. He was just worried about me.”

“Why?”

“Well, before we left for the bar, I was ranting to him about how I was swearing off dating forever. I told him I wasn’t going to flirt with anybody, or dance with anybody, or… yeah. So he was obviously very confused when he saw us together.”

“Why did you say that?” Jimin asks, eyebrows furrowing.

“Ah, it’s kind of what I explained already.” Jungkook blinks up at the sky, thinking for a moment, digging his toes into the sand. “I had started talking to this guy—nothing serious, we hadn’t even gone on our first date yet—but it turned out he was really only interested in hooking up. Not that there’s anything wrong with hooking up, but… I want more than that. And it seems like all the guys I meet only want me for my body. They don’t care about me. You know?”

Jimin rolls over to face Jungkook, resting his head on his hand, frowning. “There is a lot more to you than your body.”

Jungkook smiles a sad half-smile. “You think so?”

“Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s very—well. You know. It’s... a nice body.” Jimin clears his throat awkwardly. “But what’s up here is also nice.” He leans over, gently poking Jungkook’s temple with his pointer finger. “It’s like what you said to Hyungsik that night at the gala. You do have many redeeming qualities.”

“Like what?”

“You are very funny. You make me laugh so much. You’re so easy to get along with. You’re sweet and not at all threatening, unlike a lot of guys. You’re generous, and kind, and you seem very reliable. And you’re so smart.”

“Okay, you can stop,” Jungkook says, running his hands over his face, embarrassed.

“Fine. Now it’s your turn to flatter me.”

“Ah, Jimin,” Jungkook says, sighing. “We’d be here all night.”

Jimin’s heart does an obnoxious topsy-turvy thing. He rolls over onto his back again. “We have plenty of time.”

Jungkook smiles. “If you insist. Um… well, you’re really fun. Like, seriously, so fun. You’re also super thoughtful, and you genuinely care about other people in a way I think is kind of rare. You’re very passionate, and energetic, and… I don’t know how to describe this part, but you’re really genuine? I’ve always felt like I could trust you, even before I knew you well. Honestly, I like everything about you.”

“Oh,” Jimin says, breathing in. He can feel his cheeks flushing. “Thanks.”

Jungkook’s nose scrunches a little. “You know, when you chose me at the bar that night, I assumed it was because of how I looked. I figured you were just going to be like everyone else. You’re not, though—not at all.” Jungkook goes quiet.

“Actually, I had only seen you from the back,” Jimin says, laughing. He wipes off the sand stuck to his hand, then brushes some hair out of his eyes. “I had no idea what you were going to look like when you turned around. I literally just turned and grabbed the closest person. It just happened to be you.”

“That was lucky,” Jungkook says, smiling. “I’m really glad I met you, Jimin.”

“I’m really glad I met you, too.”

 

  ҉    

 

“God, it’s hot today,” Jimin groans, shading his eyes from the sun as they make their way down the brick path to the hotel spa, which is all the way on the other side of the resort. Seagulls fly above them in the cloudless sky overhead. There’s no breeze to offer any respite from the heat, which is already suffocating.

“Right? It’s barely past ten,” Jungkook says. “It’s so humid, too. I wonder how hot it’s going to get by the afternoon.”

“At least this is an air-conditioned activity. Maybe we should spend the rest of the day in the pool.”

Jungkook nods. “Or we can start your bar crawl early.”

“I don’t know if I have that kind of stamina anymore,” Jimin says, sighing. “My youth is so far behind me.”

“Jimin. You’re 26.”

“And?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “I’m willing to bet your stamina is more than adequate.”

Jimin is mid-sip, drinking the last of the iced americano he’d picked up earlier that morning, and he nearly chokes. He plays it off, keeping a straight face as he sucks down the rest of his coffee, slurping at the bottom.

They arrive at the spa, which is a small white building nestled back among some giant bushes dotted with bright pink flowers. The air conditioning is so strong that goosebumps rise on Jimin’s arms when they walk in. Inside, there’s a welcome desk and a waiting area, and a young woman with dyed blonde hair is sitting behind the counter.

“Hi there,” she says, smiling politely. “Welcome to our spa. Do you have an appointment?”

“We do,” Jimin tells her. “We have a couple’s massage at 10:30.”

“Oh! How lovely,” she says, clapping her hands together. She glances back and forth between the two of them. “Our couple’s massage is very romantic and sensual. Trust me, you won’t regret setting aside time for this. Everyone raves about it!”

“Very romantic and sensual,” Jimin repeats, his voice flat. “Great. Perfect.”

Jungkook slides his arm around Jimin’s waist. “It was his idea to book the appointment,” Jungkook lies, surely just to fluster Jimin, which seems to be one of his favorite pastimes. “He’s a big romantic.”

She practically coos, batting her eyelashes at Jimin. “Ah, that’s so sweet! Aren’t you lucky. Well, you gentlemen can follow me, if you’re ready.”

They follow her down a narrow hallway, then into a large treatment room, where two massage tables have been placed side-by-side, a couple of feet apart. The atmosphere is calm and relaxing: there are no windows, and the walls and floor are made of dark panelled wood, with a slow and soothing instrumental track playing softly over the speakers. There’s a tiny waterfall fountain built into one wall, water trickling down quietly over the rocks.

“Please take off your shoes,” the woman says, pointing to a mat by the door. “Make yourself comfortable, then go ahead and get completely undressed. In about five minutes, I’ll send in your massage therapists.”

“Com—completely?” Jimin squeaks.

“Yes. This is a full-body massage, so you’ll need to be completely undressed,” the woman explains. “Have you had a massage before?”

Jimin shakes his head. Jungkook glances at him in surprise.

“Ah,” she says, understanding. “I can see how that might be alarming if you weren’t expecting it! Don’t worry. Our massage therapists are professionals, and they’ve seen it all before. Besides, I’m sure he has too, right?” She looks over at Jungkook, winking. 

Jungkook looks like he’s two seconds away from dissolving into laughter. The corners of his mouth twitch. 

Jimin laughs weakly. “He sure has! Yes. Many times. Ha-ha.”

“Enjoy your massage,” the woman says, smiling. She leaves the room, the heavy door closing behind her with a solid thunk. Jimin feels like he’s just been locked inside a death chamber.

Did you know we were going to have to get naked?” Jimin hisses at Jungkook in a loud whisper, eyes rapidly scanning the room, looking for something—a robe, a towel, anything at all to cover himself. There’s nothing. 

“I mean, I kind of assumed,” Jungkook admits. “It’s normal for a massage. But I thought you knew that! You didn’t tell me you had never had one before! So I assumed you were okay with it.”

“I had no idea. I figured we would just have to take our shirts off or something!”

“Look, it’s really not a big deal. They give you a sheet to cover your butt, and they only take it off when they need to massage that part. See?” Jungkook points at the table.

Jimin glances over. Calling it a sheet is a sweeping exaggeration. It is merely a scrap of cloth. 

“I don’t even think that’s big enough to cover my ass.”

“Well, I mean, your… um. You know what—no comment, actually.”

“We’re on a countdown here,” Jimin reminds him. “We have five minutes.”

“Okay,” Jungkook says. “I’ll turn around, if you want.”

“Yes, please. Wait, shouldn’t we both turn around?”

Jungkook shrugs. “You can do whatever you want. I just want you to be comfortable.”

“I’ll turn around!” Jimin huffs, walking over to the table on the right and turning his back to Jungkook. “There’s no reason for me to—why would I—I’ll turn around.”

“Okay,” Jungkook says, laughing a little. “Alright, I’m turned around now, too.”

“Okay.”

Jimin takes a deep breath. He starts to unbutton his shirt very slowly. Jungkook doesn’t seem to need as much time to work up to it. Jimin hears the sound of his shirt rustling and being pulled over his head, then a few footsteps as he steps out of his shorts. And underwear. Presumably. 

Jimin slides his shirt off his shoulders, folding it on the table next to him. Then he reaches down to the waistband of his shorts, hesitating for a moment before pulling them down.

He’s daydreamed a lot about what it would be like to get naked with Jungkook for the first time, and while the mental scenarios have been adventurous and highly creative, he definitely did not anticipate it would happen like this.

He folds up his shorts and underwear and carefully places them on top of his shirt. The room feels a little hot. He is as nude as the day he was born.

“You ready?” Jungkook asks.

“No!” Jimin yelps. “Hold on.”

“Okay, okay,” Jungkook says, laughing under his breath. “I’m still turned around.”

“I’ll get on the table first,” Jimin says. “And then you can turn around, once I’m under the sheet.”

Jimin is so panicked, it’s only as he turns to climb onto the table that he remembers turning around will give him an up-close-and-personal view of Jungkook’s ass. But by the time he realizes, it’s too late—he’s already seen it all. 

And Jungkook is, indeed, still turned around. That much is true. He’s got his hands on his hips, he is very naked, and he has one of the best butts Jimin has ever had the privilege of witnessing in real life.

Jimin slaps a hand over his eyes, letting out a noise that’s somewhere between a whimper and a wheeze.

He lies face down on the table, reaching behind himself awkwardly to pull the sheet over his bottom half. He adjusts it nervously for a moment, then lets out a breath.

“Okay. You can turn around.”

Jimin hears the sound of the table next to him creaking under Jungkook’s weight as he climbs on top of it. “Did you look at me?”

“What?” Jimin croaks out. “No! Well, I mean—yes, but… accidentally! Passively!”

“Mmm,” Jungkook says, a little muffled now, presumably because he’s now facedown on the table as well. “Interesting.”

“It’s not interesting at all!”

“What isn’t? My butt, or the fact that you looked?”

The door opens. Jimin is so startled that he nearly falls off the table.

“Hello,” a friendly female voice calls. “I’m Iseul, and this is Nabi.”

“Hi there,” another voice chimes in.

“We’ll be your massage therapists today. Are you ready to begin?”

“Yes,” Jungkook tells them, which is helpful, because Jimin is still too tongue-tied to form words at the moment.

“This is a full-body massage, which means we’ll massage your neck and shoulders, your back, glutes, thighs, calves, all the way down to your feet. Is there anywhere you want us to avoid today?”

Although this is admittedly a foreign experience, the thought of having his muscles worked from head to toe actually sounds amazing to Jimin. Especially now, considering he is terribly stressed.

“No, that’s all good,” Jimin says. 

“Same,” Jungkook says.

There’s a brief moment of silence while both therapists squirt some warmed massage oil onto their hands, then they start working it into Jungkook and Jimin’s shoulders.

“Oh, wow,” Jimin practically groans. “That feels amazing.”

“Is this your first massage?” the woman massaging him asks.

“Yup. Can you tell?” Jimin asks.

“You’re very tense,” she says, laughing. “I knew it had to be your first, or you hadn’t had one in a long time.”

Of course I’m tense, Jimin thinks. I am naked and Jungkook is also naked and he is very close to me while we are both naked, and also, I saw his butt. 

“Am I tense?” Jungkook asks.

“Not at all,” his massage therapist says. “Your muscles are loose and relaxed.”

Jimin’s eyes roll under the table.

“Are you two enjoying your stay here so far?” 

“Yes,” Jimin says. “We’re here on a company trip. Well, I am. Jungkook came as my plus one.”

“How nice,” Jimin’s therapist says. “How long have you two been together?”

“A year,” Jungkook says immediately, long before Jimin even has a chance to try to mentally calculate how long they have been fake boyfriending. 

“Wow,” she says, thumbs pressing into the back of Jimin’s neck. He groans a little. “Good for you. How did you meet?”

Please don’t say it was at a sex shop, Jimin attempts to silently and telepathically communicate to Jungkook.

“At the zoo,” Jungkook says. “I was looking at the tigers. As it turns out, Jimin loves tigers. We struck up a two-hour-long conversation about tigers. The rest is history, as they say.”

Jimin truly has no idea how Jungkook comes up with this shit.

“Is that why you have a tiger tattooed on your arm?” the woman massaging Jungkook asks.

“Yes,” Jungkook says wistfully. “I got it right after we met, because I knew he was the one. It’s a symbol of our love.”

“That’s so romantic!” Jimin’s therapist sounds like she is swooning a little. “What a beautiful gesture.”

“It was the least I could do. Jimin is truly my entire world.”

Jimin does his best to choke back a laugh.

“What about your tattoos?” Jimin’s therapist asks him. “Are any of yours dedicated to him?”

“Oh, yes,” Jimin lies. “On my wrist… the 13th of June is the day we met.”

“Oh, wow,” the woman massaging Jungkook says. “You two are so romantic! You must be so in love!”

I had literally never seen his butt until today, Jimin thinks.

“We are,” Jungkook says, sighing. “Can you go over that spot a little harder, please?”

The rest of the 60-minute massage passes by relatively quickly, and Jimin’s hard-earned tension is eventually worked away by his massage therapist’s skilled hands. It feels incredible. He almost manages to forget about Jungkook’s butt, but then he has to hear Jungkook groaning when they get to that part of the massage, which fills his mind with so many inappropriate thoughts that he has to imagine all the least sexy scenarios he can think of (Public embarrassment! Cat poop! Horrible accidents! Mass casualties!) in order to avoid popping an incredibly ill-timed boner.

Eventually, once the massage is over, the massage therapists leave the room so that Jungkook and Jimin can get dressed again. Jimin is not sure how he is going to get off the table. He feels like he is made of jelly.

“I don’t think I can move,” Jimin mumbles.

“I’ll go first,” Jungkook offers. 

“Wait!” Jimin says. “Let me make sure you can’t see my ass.”

He reaches around, feeling to make sure the sheet is in place. His arm wobbles a little. 

“Okay. Tell me when you’re dressed,” Jimin says.

Jimin hears Jungkook hop off the table, then tries his very hardest to not think about the fact that Jungkook is still naked. You would think he’d have to have accepted this fact sometime over the past hour, but apparently not. Visions of Jungkook’s butt are still swimming behind Jimin’s eyelids, unrelenting. 

There’s the sound of clothes rustling, and a minute later, Jungkook says “Okay, I’m dressed. Want me to turn around?”

“Yes? Of course I want you to turn around,” Jimin says. “Did you think you were going to get a free show?”

“It was worth a shot.”

Jimin’s cheeks flush. “Turn around, you little perv.”

Jungkook bursts out laughing. “Hey, you looked at my butt. What does that make you?”

“A victim,” Jimin says flatly.

“Okay. Sure,” Jungkook says. Jimin can hear the smile in his voice. “Seems like you did it on purpose, though.”

“No. If I wanted to see your butt on purpose, I would ask you directly.”

Jungkook pauses. “Would you?”

Jimin blinks. 

No, I guess I wouldn’t.

“Let’s talk about something else,” Jimin declares loudly, pushing himself up on his arms. He glances over at Jungkook, who has turned to face the wall. “Stay turned around. I’m gonna get dressed.”

After his clothes are back on, he walks over and taps Jungkook on the shoulder. “Let’s go. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this hour of unexpected exhibitionism.”

“I did, actually,” Jungkook says brightly, following Jimin out of the room. 

 

  ҉  

 

“You did what?” Jimin asks, bursting into laughter so violently he almost topples over onto the brick path underfoot. He grabs at Jungkook’s arm to steady himself. “You’re kidding me.”

“Nope,” Jungkook says, tongue poking at the inside of his cheek. “And it worked, too. I never heard them again.”

He’s just told Jimin another Seokjin story—there seem to be an endless number of them. Apparently when Seokjin first started dating Hoseok, they were getting it on so loudly that it was keeping Jungkook awake at night. When Jungkook decided he had had enough, he plugged in his keyboard at full volume and started playing the theme song to every cartoon he could think of. As well as his five-year-old-equivalent skill level would allow, anyway—which is to say, not very well.

Seokjin eventually burst in, yelling over the music, demanding to know why Jungkook was ruining the ambiance. Jungkook told him that was exactly the point, and then he threatened to play the Spongebob theme song on repeat any time he was able to hear them through the wall after midnight. 

“Does it have to be Spongebob?” Seokjin had exclaimed, face flushed with exertion. 

“Yes,” Jungkook had said. 

And that was the end of that. 

“Wow,” Jimin says. “And yet he still loves you so much.”

“He does,” Jungkook confirms, wiping a little sweat off his brow. The day’s heat hasn’t subsided at all, despite the sun setting over an hour ago. “I think it’s because I can cook.”

“You can cook?” Jimin asks, eyes widening. “I didn’t know that. When we get back, will you cook for me?”

Jungkook smiles at him. “Yeah, I’ll cook for you.”

They’re walking back to their room together, a little bit tipsy after wrapping up their resort bar crawl. After their massage, they’d spent the day trying to stay cool in the pool, but eventually gave up and decided to retreat to the relief of air conditioning instead. They ate an early dinner, then bounced from bar to bar until the sun went down. They only had one drink at each, though, so they’re really not that drunk, especially considering the way they both manage to hold their liquor.

Jungkook opens the door to the building and gestures for Jimin to go in first. He does, then glances back at Jungkook with a quizzical look on his face as they walk down the hallway. “Why does it feel so hot in here?”

“I dunno. Maybe we’re just overheated,” Jungkook says with a shrug.

They reach the door to their room and Jimin unlocks it. They open the door, and when they walk in, an oppressive wall of hot, stale air hits them right in the face.

“No, this isn’t right,” Jimin says. “It’s like a sauna in here.”

“Did we accidentally turn off the AC?” Jungkook asks, slipping off his shoes and walking over to the thermostat. He taps on the screen, frowning. “It says it’s on…”

“Let me call the front desk,” Jimin says, sitting down on the bed next to the table with the room phone. “I’ll never be able to fall asleep if it’s this hot.”

He picks up the phone, pressing the button to reach the front desk. It rings a few times, then a friendly female voice answers. “Hello?”

“Hi there. We’re in room 186, and we seem to be having some trouble with our air conditioner? It says it’s on, but the room is very hot.”

“Ah, yes, is that one of the swim-up suites? Unfortunately, we've been experiencing some problems with the AC in that building since this afternoon. I believe we have a technician on site now investigating the problem, but I’m afraid I don’t have an estimate on how long it might take until it’s fixed.”

“Do you think it will be tonight?” Jimin asks. “It’s, like, very hot in here.”

“Yes, I expect it will be sometime later this evening. I’m just not able to give you an exact ETA.”

“Okay. Thank you,” Jimin says, sighing.

“You’re welcome. Please accept my deepest apologies for the inconvenience. Do give us a call if you need anything at all.”

“I will, thank you. Bye.”

Jimin hangs up the phone, then turns to Jungkook. “The AC’s busted in the whole building, apparently. She said it should hopefully be fixed tonight, but she’s not sure exactly when.”

Jungkook already looks a little damp. His face is glistening. He dabs at his forehead with his hand. “What are we gonna do?”

Jimin hums. “Maybe we should hang out in our pool? That’ll probably be the coolest option... unless we want to go out again.”

“I’m too sleepy to go back out,” Jungkook says, shaking his head. “The pool is a good idea, though.”

They get changed into their swim shorts—a much less awkward routine, now that they’ve had a few days’ worth of practice—then grab two towels from the bathroom to use to dry off when they get out of the pool. Jungkook is wearing his navy swim trunks, the ones that show off his thigh tattoo a little bit.

Jimin follows Jungkook outside, towel slung over his shoulder. 

“It literally feels the same out here as inside the room,” Jimin says, whining. “There’s no difference. Except there’s a little breeze, so if anything, it’s better.”

“Maybe it’ll be fixed by the time we go back in,” Jungkook says. He sets his towel on the ground, then steps down the stairs leading into the pool, wading into the water. The pool is glowing fluorescent blue in the dark, the rippling water reflecting in waves of light across Jungkook’s body. “Oh, this is much better.”

Jimin steps down into the pool, and the water is pleasantly cool against his bare skin, a welcome respite from the heat. It’s not chilly enough that he needs any time to let his body adjust before dunking himself in all the way, so he immediately disappears under the water, seeking its cool relief. He reappears after a moment, running both hands through his wet hair to push it back off his face.

“This is much better,” Jimin agrees, wading over to the other side of the pool. He leans back against the wall, supporting his weight with his arms. Water drips from his hair down his neck, and the breeze tickles it, cool and comforting.

Jungkook grabs the foam raft that’s floating off to one side of the pool, then pulls himself halfway onto it, so that his chin is resting on his crossed arms and he’s able to kick his feet a little.

“I guess there could be worse ways for us to pass the time,” Jungkook says.

“Mm-hmm. Many.”

“What time is our flight home tomorrow?” 

“It’s at 2:30,” Jimin says. “Checkout is at noon.”

“I can’t believe we’re already leaving. It feels like we just got here.”

“I know,” Jimin agrees. He sinks down a little deeper into the water. “It went by really fast.”

“I’m sad. I will miss our private pool and hot tub.”

Jimin sticks out his tongue a little. “What about me?”

“What about you?” Jungkook asks, tilting his head.

“Are you going to miss me, too?”

Jungkook pulls himself up a bit further onto the raft. “That depends. Am I going to have to?”

Jimin smiles. “Only if you want to.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works, actually.”

“Mmm?”

“Missing someone,” Jungkook says, frowning. “It’s not a matter of whether or not you want to. When you miss somebody, you feel it with your whole body. Maybe you can try telling your heart that you don’t want to feel it anymore, but it doesn’t usually listen. You’re just along for the ride until it ends.”

“How does it end?” Jimin asks quietly.

“Well, it ends when you don’t miss them anymore. Either because they’re there, so you don’t have to anymore, or because your heart finally realized there was no point. That it was never going to end.”

“I don’t want you to miss me,” Jimin says. The pool water laps at his shoulders, tiny ripples sent his way by Jungkook’s slow, stationary kicking.

Jungkook laughs softly, although Jimin isn’t sure what’s funny. “Jimin, honestly, I feel like I miss you even when I’m looking right at you.”

Jimin’s stomach flutters. “You—what?”

“I think it’s the anticipation,” Jungkook says, glancing away. “Of knowing that I will, later on. Eventually.”

“Then don’t.”

“What do you mean don’t? I already told you that’s not how it works.”

“You also told me that your heart will stop doing the missing once it doesn’t have to anymore.”

“You’re very confusing, you know that?” Jungkook says, pushing himself off the raft, back onto the balls of his feet at the bottom of the pool. “Last night, you broke up with me, and now you’re telling me I won’t have to miss you.”

“I didn’t break up with you,” Jimin says with a sigh. “We went over this.”

“Maybe not, but it felt like you did.”

“I thought it was what you’d want.”

“Did you ever consider asking me what I want?”

The pool raft floats between them. Jungkook is staring Jimin straight in the eye, something flickering in his gaze that Jimin doesn’t recognize. It’s not anger—his face is soft, his brows upturned. 

“I thought…” Jimin swallows. “I guess I thought I already knew.”

“Maybe you should ask me, then, and see if you’re right.”

Jungkook pushes the raft aside, taking a few steps toward Jimin. Jimin has nowhere to go—his back is already pressed against the wall of the pool. 

“Ask you…” Jimin trails off, his chest rising and falling visibly. “Ask you what?”

Jungkook draws closer, right up into Jimin’s space. He plants one arm on either side of Jimin, gripping the edge of the pool, caging him in. He’s so close that Jimin can see the water droplets clinging to his eyelashes, reflecting the blue water like tiny crystals.

“Ask me what I want.” Jungkook’s voice is soft, more velvety than Jimin has ever heard it.

Jimin’s heart speeds up, beating frantically against his ribcage.

Jimin tilts his chin up, looking Jungkook in the eye. Trying to seem braver than he feels. 

“What do you want?” Jimin asks quietly.

Jungkook doesn’t answer. 

Instead, he leans in, pressing his mouth to Jimin’s in a kiss so unexpectedly heated that Jimin’s knees nearly give out.

His mouth is warm and soft, and he’s surrounding Jimin from every side, his arms slick with pool water under the moonlight. He tastes like salt and chlorine and everything Jimin has ever wanted.

“What are you—” Jimin manages to gasp after a moment, his arms coming up to clutch at Jungkook’s shoulders. Jungkook pulls away, just enough to let him speak, their noses brushing.

“Jungkook, there’s no one here to see.”

“I know that.”

Jimin’s breath is shaky, irregular. “So then you weren’t just—”

“Jimin, tell me if this is what you want. I can never tell what you’re thinking,” Jungkook says quietly. His eyes are dark and vulnerable, reflecting the glowing light of the pool.

“Yes, I want you,” Jimin breathes, one hand moving up to tangle in Jungkook’s wet hair. Jungkook pushes all the way forward, his chest pressing against Jimin’s body. The edge of the pool digs into Jimin’s back.

“Then let me kiss you when no one is looking,” Jungkook murmurs.

So Jimin lets him. It’s frantic and heated, a blur of hands everywhere all at once, all their clandestine feelings finally flooding out into the open for anyone to see. Their quiet gasps, the nip and pull of Jungkook’s bottom lip between Jimin’s teeth, Jungkook’s broad hands sliding up Jimin’s stomach—this is the most honest they have ever been with each other.

“God, ever since I met you, this is all I’ve been able to think about,” Jungkook breathes, his voice a little labored. His fingertips press into Jimin’s back, supporting his weight. Jimin is grateful to be pushed up against the wall, because otherwise he would probably be at actual risk of falling over. 

“I didn’t think…” Jimin trails off, groaning softly as Jungkook’s mouth trails down his neck and across his shoulder. “You told me you were really picky, so I thought that was your way of telling me—”

“I am picky,” Jungkook says, lips brushing against Jimin’s skin as he speaks. “And I am picking you.”

“Oh,” Jimin says weakly, eyes fluttering closed as Jungkook’s tongue makes contact with his collarbone. “Okay.”

“You told me you had sworn off men,” Jungkook complains. Jimin is so consumed by the heat of him, the weight of him, that he can barely process the words. He wiggles against him, seeking some friction. “I am a man. I thought I was included.”

“I have decided to make an exception,” Jimin says. “But only if you stop talking and kiss me again, please.”

Jungkook smiles. He cups Jimin’s face with both hands, wet thumbs brushing over his cheeks. “Only because you asked so nicely.”

Jimin is already kissing him before he can finish saying it, swallowing down the rest of the words with his eager mouth.

Any time they’d kissed before this, Jimin always had to hold back a little. No tongue in front of coworkers—no allowing himself to get actually, legitimately turned on—no crossing the blurry lines they’d tried to establish between themselves. More than anything, he was trying to protect himself emotionally. If he kept telling himself it was fake, he was less likely to get hurt.

Now, though, he doesn’t have to worry about any of that. Although it hasn’t quite sunk into his shell-shocked, lust-addled brain, he’s now armed with a thrilling and terrifying piece of information: Jungkook wants him

And that confirmation sets Jimin free. He can finally act on all the pent-up hunger that he’s been trying—and failing—to ignore. He can be selfish. He can act how he feels: needy and demanding and brazen. He can touch everything that he’s been dying to touch. 

His hands greedily explore wet, smooth skin: Jungkook’s arms, shoulders, chest, stomach. The way Jungkook’s muscles clench under his hands sends a jolt of desire straight down through his belly. He lets his hands trail down to Jungkook’s ass, which hasn’t left his mind since they had their massage earlier that day. He squeezes a little, testing Jungkook’s reaction.

Then he uses his grip on Jungkook’s butt to pull him in, dragging him forward until their hips collide. Jungkook is already so hard that Jimin can feel the distinct shape of his cock pressed up against him under the water. Jimin shifts his weight, slotting one thigh slightly between Jungkook’s legs, a better angle for him, then shifts his hips, grinding against him. Jungkook makes a tiny strangled noise, then drops his head onto Jimin’s shoulder.

“Fuck, you’re so hot,” Jimin breathes, hands skimming along the waistband of Jungkook’s shorts. “I’ve been going crazy over you.”

“I really didn’t know,” Jungkook says quietly, inhaling sharply as Jimin presses against him again. 

“I’ll make it up to you. Can I touch you?” Jimin murmurs, hand trailing lower. 

Jungkook’s eyes widen. “Out here? I mean—yes, I want you to, but—”

Underwater, Jimin palms him through the thin material of his swim trunks, and Jungkook groans, head lolling forward again.

“Okay, maybe just a little,” Jungkook gasps. “God, I don’t know why I’m so sensitive, I’m—”

The rest of that thought is cut off when Jimin reaches down the front of Jungkook’s shorts and wraps his hand around his cock under the water. There’s barely enough space between their bodies for Jimin to have any room to maneuver, but he starts to jerk him off slowly, using his other hand to grab Jungkook’s hair and gently pull his head back off of Jimin’s shoulder.

“I want you to look at me,” Jimin murmurs, using his grip to tilt Jungkook’s head back until he’s looking him in the eyes. “While I touch you.”

Jungkook’s chest is starting to flush pink. He stares back at Jimin, chest heaving, lips parted, water dripping down his neck. Jimin tightens his grip on Jungkook’s cock, slowing down his strokes, and the noise Jungkook lets out in response is obscene.

“You are so stupidly, unbelievably hot,” Jimin tells him. “But you also need to be quiet. Someone might hear us.”

“Can’t be quiet,” Jungkook says, shaking his head. He’s nearly pouting. “Didn’t wait so long for this only to have to be quiet.”

“Then we’ll save this for later,” Jimin says, removing his hand from Jungkook’s shorts. Jungkook lets out a tiny whine. 

Jimin loops his arms around Jungkook’s neck and wraps his legs around his waist, hoisting himself up, letting himself be carried by the buoyancy of the water. Jungkook doesn’t even need to support his weight. 

It puts him at the perfect angle to feel Jungkook’s hardness right against his own. He rolls his hips in a slow circle, eyelashes fluttering closed at the delicious friction. It’s too good. He buries his face in Jungkook’s hair, moaning softly.

“Is this supposed to be better?” Jungkook wheezes, hands pressing into Jimin’s shoulder blades. “You’re going to make me come in my pants if you don’t stop.”

“Mmm, we can’t have that,” Jimin murmurs into his scalp. “When you come, I want it to be inside me.”

Jungkook makes a choked noise. “I actually don’t know if I can survive you. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.”

“You haven’t bitten me at all, yet, actually. Maybe you can do that once we get inside.”

“Let’s go inside, then. You want me to fuck you?” Jungkook breathes, looking up at him. His cheeks are flushed, his eyes dark, wavy strands of wet hair clinging to his forehead. Jimin brushes some hair back off his face, running his hand through it.

“Yeah. Please.”

Jungkook starts to walk them back across the pool, over to the stairs, moving easily through the water. Jimin expects him to struggle once he starts walking up the steps, losing the buoyancy that was keeping Jimin afloat, but he climbs them easily, arms under Jimin’s thighs to help support his weight. Water drips off them both, running down onto the tile in rivulets, soaked shorts clinging to their bodies.

“Should we dry off first?” Jimin asks, eyeing the towels sitting on the ground by the door. 

“Nope,” Jungkook says brightly, using one hand to slide open the door. “That would take too long.”

Jimin giggles into his hair, holding on tightly as Jungkook closes the door behind them. He takes a few steps toward the bed, and he’s about to drop Jimin down onto the mattress, but Jimin clings to him tighter, yelping. “Wait!”

“What?” Jungkook asks, looking up at him with concern, gripping his thighs again.

“We’re going to get the bed all wet.”

“Oh. You’re right. Hmm.”

“Just fuck me on the floor,” Jimin whines.

“Are you serious?” Jungkook asks, laughing. “I mean, I’m cool with that if you are. I would fuck you anywhere.”

“Less talking about fucking me and more actual fucking me, please.”

“So demanding,” Jungkook teases, pivoting and walking over to the closet, Jimin still in tow. He uses one arm to open up the closet door, then grabs one of the extra blankets that’s folded up on the top shelf.

“I believe you’ve said that about me before.”

“Yes, I have. My opinion hasn’t changed. Hold on tight.”

Jimin clings onto him as he shakes out the blanket, laying it out on the floor next to the bed. 

“You know, this would probably be easier if you just put me down,” Jimin says.

“I don’t wanna.”

“You’re going to have to put me down before I can get down there, anyway.”

“Nope.”

Jimin raises an eyebrow at him.

Jungkook lowers himself down carefully, bending at the knees, then easing onto his calves. It doesn’t seem like it requires any effort at all. Jimin fleetingly wonders how much he can deadlift. Once he’s seated on his knees, he leans forward, gently lying Jimin down on the blanket. Jimin stares up at him, starry-eyed. Tiny droplets of water drip off Jungkook’s hair, landing on Jimin’s cheeks, and Jimin scrunches his eyes shut, laughing.

“Hi,” Jungkook breathes, sinking down on top of him, their noses bumping.

“Hi, cutie.”

“Pet names already? I don’t know if my heart can take it.”

“Don’t be so cute, then.”

“There is a small problem,” Jungkook admits. “I didn’t bring condoms with me. I didn’t want you to think I was, like… a predator.”

Jimin closes his eyes and silently thanks Taehyung.

“I have some. It’s a long story. Taehyung packed them in my bag.”

Jungkook bursts out laughing. “What? Why?”

“Let’s just say he was rooting for you. Wanna get them? There should be lube, too. They’re in the inside pocket on the left side.”

“Don’t go anywhere,” Jungkook says solemnly, climbing off him and walking over to his suitcase in the corner. 

“I wasn’t planning on it. Not after you deposited me with such care.”

“Do you want a pillow?” Jungkook asks, rummaging through the suitcase.

“No. I want you to fuck me.”

“Okay, I get it,” Jungkook says, laughing. He eventually locates the lube and condoms, then pads back over to the blanket with wet feet, leaving small puddles in his wake. His swim trunks are obnoxiously tented at the front.

He climbs back on top of Jimin, setting the goods off to the side. “You want my fingers first?”

Jimin’s dick twitches instinctively. “Yes, please.”

“Okay,” Jungkook says, pressing a kiss to the side of Jimin’s head. It’s the beginning of  a trail down: across his jaw, down his neck, down the center of his chest. He kisses each individual letter of Jimin’s tattoo. Jimin starts squirming—he’s so hard that he’s starting to hurt a little bit.

Jungkook reaches Jimin’s stomach, and he kisses right above the waistband of his shorts, underneath his belly button. 

“Jungkook. Wait,” Jimin says.

“Hmm?” Jungkook asks, thumbs rubbing tiny circles into Jimin’s hip bones.

“You know I don’t do one night stands,” Jimin says quietly.

Jungkook smiles up at him. “Trust me, Jimin, this definitely won’t be a one night stand.”

“Oh. Okay,” Jimin breathes. “Take them off.”

Jungkook pulls down his swim trunks, not without a bit of effort, as the wet fabric clings to Jimin’s thighs all the way down. His cock springs out, red and leaking. He truly can’t remember the last time he was this turned on. Jungkook could ask to fuck him with no lube and he would probably agree. 

“So pretty,” Jungkook murmurs, wrapping a hand around Jimin’s dick and squeezing lightly. Jimin moans, high and cracked, his back arching.

“Don’t, don’t,” he gasps. “Seriously, I’ll come.”

“Did I get you that worked up?” Jungkook says, pressing a kiss into Jimin’s inner thigh. “Let me fix it.”

He pushes Jimin’s legs apart gently, easing them open. Then he reaches over and grabs the lube, squirting a little bit onto his fingers, taking a moment to warm it up. And then one long, skilled finger is pushing its way into Jimin, slippery and hot.

“Oh, fuck,” Jimin whines, spreading his legs further. 

“Is that okay?” Jungkook murmurs, sliding out halfway, then back in. He curls his finger a little, up towards Jimin’s prostate, pressing upwards. Jimin lets out a strangled moan, throwing his arm over his face.

“I’m going to assume that means it’s okay,” Jungkook says, barely giving Jimin a chance to recover before he’s repeating the motion. 

“Stop trying to make me come,” Jimin chokes out, dick twitching against his stomach. “Just get me ready. Please. Want you to fuck me.”

“You’ve said,” Jungkook says, smiling. He eases in another finger slowly, carefully. This one burns a little more, but the stretch isn’t totally unpleasant. “Sorry. It’s just really hot to watch you like this.”

“You know what would be even hotter?”

“Let me guess,” Jungkook says, crooking his fingers again. “Fucking you.”

“Yes,” Jimin moans. 

Jungkook finally manages to stop teasing Jimin long enough to get him thoroughly prepared. By the time he’s worked three fingers in, Jimin is writhing underneath him on the floor, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. He wants Jungkook so badly that he is literally on the verge of tears. 

“I’ve got you,” Jungkook murmurs, slipping out of him and sliding back up his body, leaning down to kiss him. “Do you want to stay like this?”

“Please,” Jimin begs, half-delirious with want. “Want to see you.”

“Okay,” Jungkook says, kissing him one more time before pulling back slightly and reaching for the condom. He quickly slides down his shorts, stepping out of them, then rips the condom open, rolling it on hastily. He places both hands on Jimin’s thighs, pushing them back for easier access. 

“Can you hold yourself like that for a minute, baby?”

“Mmm,” Jimin hazily agrees, reaching down to hold his legs. 

Jungkook lines himself up with Jimin’s entrance, then pushes in slowly. Jimin throws his head back, letting out a gasp. Jungkook is big—not monstrously so, but enough that there’s a burn and stretch as he slides in all the way, grabbing Jimin’s thighs again. 

“Fuck, Jimin,” Jungkook breathes shakily, leaning down closer. “You’re so tight. Oh my God.”

“More, more,” Jimin gasps, hands flying up to tangle in Jungkook’s hair. 

Jungkook reaches one hand behind Jimin’s head, cradling it in his palm, softening his contact with the hard floor. Then he sinks down, pressing their bodies together, pulling out and sliding back in slowly. It’s warm and wet and Jimin can’t remember the last time he felt anything like this—this overwhelming electricity, this heat coursing through his whole body. 

“You feel so good,” Jungkook groans, hips stuttering once he’s all the way in. His chest is glistening with sweat, every muscle in his body tensed. “Even—even better than I imagined you would. Ah, fuck, Jimin—” he inhales sharply as Jimin clenches around him.

“You thought about this,” Jimin says, moaning a little as Jungkook thrusts into him again. He tilts his head back into Jungkook’s hand, staring up at him, lips parted. “About fucking me?”

“So much,” Jungkook breathes, picking up the pace a bit. “Wanted you so bad. Couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

“I thought about you when I—” Jimin gasps as Jungkook adjusts the angle of his hips slightly and hits his prostate head on. “When I’d jerk off. Would think about you inside of me. Wanted you so—so fucking bad.”

“Fuck,” Jungkook whines, leaning down to bury his face in Jimin’s shoulder. “We need to stop talking if you don’t want me to come in, like, five seconds.”

“You can come whenever you want,” Jimin breathes. “Want you to feel good.”

“Want you to come first,” Jungkook says, still cradling Jimin’s head. “Do you want me to touch you?”

“Please, yes—please.”

Jungkook leans down and kisses him, and it’s messy and uncoordinated, but lovely all the same. Jimin sucks on his bottom lip, whining quietly as Jungkook repeatedly hits just the right spot, quickening his thrusts. Jimin wants more, wants to have him inside and out—everywhere he touches, tastes, feels, he wants to find only Jungkook and nothing else.

Jungkook reaches down between them and wraps his hand around Jimin’s cock, slick and dripping with precum. He pumps it slowly, working up his speed until he’s moving in sync with his thrusts, and the pleasure is flooding Jimin’s senses, a familiar heat building deep inside him, like a coil winding up tight in his belly. 

“Jungkook, oh—”

He’s barely cognizant of the noises he’s making anymore—he’s only thinking about Jungkook’s breath, hot on his shoulder, overwhelmed by the feeling of being filled and stroked simultaneously as Jungkook murmurs quiet praises into his skin. 

It hits him before he’s expecting it, crashing over his whole body with a jolt, his limbs trembling. He comes with a choked moan, muscles tensing, spilling white all over his stomach and Jungkook’s hand.

“So beautiful like this,” Jungkook pants, hand splayed across Jimin’s stomach. “Ah, Jimin—”

Jungkook keeps fucking him, but he doesn’t last long, egged on by Jimin’s whines, teetering on the edge of overstimulation. He comes loudly, his thrusts turning irregular, Jimin’s name escaping his lips in a guttural moan that Jimin immediately wishes he could hear again. 

Jungkook collapses on top of him, breathing hard.

It’s suddenly so much quieter.

Jimin wraps both arms around him in a hug, nuzzling his nose against Jungkook’s collarbone. They’re silent for several moments as they let the world fade back in around them, catching their breath.

“We’re on the floor,” Jungkook eventually says, sounding like he’s only just realizing it now.

“We are,” Jimin confirms.

“What are we, Neanderthals?”

Jimin laughs. “You should be thanking me. Now we don’t have to sleep in a soggy bed.”

Jungkook lifts his head, nudging it upwards until he finds Jimin’s mouth. He kisses him, smiling a little. It’s chaste, but tender. 

“I’m so sleepy,” Jungkook mumbles. “It feels cooler in here too, now, doesn’t it? Maybe the AC started working again.”

“Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Jimin says, laughing. “You are literally still inside of me. I am slightly distracted.”

“Ah, sorry,” Jungkook says, looking sheepish.

“It’s okay.”

Jungkook pulls out of him slowly, and Jimin winces at the sudden emptiness. 

“Wanna sleep,” Jungkook says, rolling off Jimin a little. “I’m so tired I don’t know how I’m gonna get up off the floor.”

“I’m exhausting, I know,” Jimin says with a smile.

“In all the ways I dreamed,” Jungkook tells him, nose scrunching.

“We should shower. I need to wash the chlorine out of my hair or it’ll turn green. Also, my come is all over you.”

Jungkook glances down at his stomach. “Ah. Right.”

“Do you wanna shower with me?” Jimin asks. “No funny business. I don’t have the stamina. It would just mean we can go to sleep quicker.”

“At some point, I’m going to have to test this theory about your stamina,” Jungkook tells him. “But not tonight, don’t worry. And yes, I would love to shower with you. But you might have to carry me in there.”

Jimin brushes some hair out of Jungkook’s eyes. “I think you might be out of luck, then,” he says. “You’re huge.”

Jungkook bursts out laughing. “I’m not huge. Just… heavy.”

“You’re huge compared to me.”

“That just means you’ve acquired a new mode of transportation. I can carry you wherever you would like to go. Congratulations.”

“Okay. To the shower?” Jimin says brightly.

“I started this conversation questioning how I could carry myself to the shower. I’ll start my job as your new mode of transportation tomorrow.”

There’s something about that thought—about having a tomorrow with Jungkook—that makes Jimin’s heart do a tiny flip inside his chest.

Jimin eases himself up off the floor, groaning, then offers an arm to Jungkook to help him up. As he takes Jimin’s hand and stands up, Jimin glances down the length of his body, eyebrows raising.

He’d been so distracted while he and Jungkook were fucking that he didn’t even notice it, but with his shorts off, Jungkook’s thigh tattoo is in full view. It’s a floral piece, a black and white arrangement of tiger lilies and peonies. It’s gorgeous. The design perfectly accents the curve of his muscular hip.

“Your tattoo is pretty,” Jimin murmurs. He reaches out and brushes a finger across it lightly. “I always wondered what it was. Especially after all your tormenting.”

“Thank you. I was hoping you would get the chance to see.” 

They head into the bathroom together, and Jimin turns the handle to start running the shower, the bathroom quickly filling with steam as the water heats up. Luckily, the shower stall is more than large enough for two, and they’re able to make quick work of getting washed up. 

The heated desire that had consumed them earlier has been sated for now—this is all soft and domestic, the way Jimin helps Jungkook wash his hair, the way he runs soapy hands over his stomach to help scrub off the aftermath of their floor aerobics. Jungkook is sleepy, barely able to keep his eyes open once he’s under the hot water. He mostly just stands there and lets Jimin do the work, giving him an occasional forehead kiss as a thank you.

“You wouldn’t be so tired if you hadn’t spent ten minutes hauling me around to every corner of the bedroom earlier,” Jimin says, laughing as he tips Jungkook’s head back to help rinse out the shampoo. “I told you it was unnecessary.”

“But I wanna be your mode of transportation,” Jungkook mumbles sleepily, wrapping both arms around Jimin and trapping him in a hug.

“Yes, you did tell me that,” Jimin says, smiling against his chest. He rests his cheek there for a moment. “You’re so funny. Also, I can’t believe I am in the shower with you right now.”

“I can,” Jungkook murmurs against the top of Jimin’s head. “After all, I have spent the past three days trying to woo you. I was starting to think my efforts were not going to pay off.”

Jimin pulls away, blinking up at him. He laughs. “Trust me, Jungkook, you didn’t even have to try.”

After they’ve both gotten all rinsed off, Jimin turns off the shower, then helps Jungkook step out, handing him a clean towel. He ruffles it over his hair, trying to dry it a bit. “I’m going to look like a monster in the morning, going to sleep with my hair like this,” Jungkook warns him. “You might be scared of me.”

“I don’t think I will be,” Jimin says, smiling.

The rest of it is calm and quiet and comfortable: they each get dressed in their pajamas, completing their respective pre-bedtime routines, turning off all the lights and crawling into bed. Jimin’s in a clean white t-shirt and gym shorts, and Jungkook is only wearing sweatpants. Jimin has never appreciated a warm, dry, freshly made bed so much before.

“Snuggle,” Jungkook demands in the dark, rolling to face Jimin and opening his arms.

Jimin laughs. “I thought I was supposed to be the demanding one.”

Jungkook pouts. 

“I’m just kidding. Of course I’ll snuggle with you. I’ve been fantasizing about being your bamboo stalk for days.”

“What?” Jungkook asks sleepily, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

“Nothing.”

Jimin scoots over, letting Jungkook wrap both arms around him. He nuzzles in against him, placing a palm flat across his chest, then closes his eyes, sighing.

“You’re going to be asleep in, like, three seconds, aren’t you?” Jimin asks.

He’s met with silence in response. Jungkook’s breaths are evening out, slow and long. Jimin just laughs quietly against him, shaking his head.

“Goodnight,” he whispers into Jungkook’s chest.

He falls asleep soon after that, snug under the weight of a heavily tattooed arm, feeling overwhelmingly safe and content, wishing he could stay here in Jeju with Jungkook forever.

 

  ҉  

 

When Jimin wakes up, he’s being actively crushed by a solid body. Jungkook has climbed almost fully on top of Jimin in his sleep, both arms and legs wrapped around him tightly. Jimin’s face is pressed against his shoulder. Jungkook is still fast asleep, his head on Jimin’s pillow, his breaths soft against Jimin’s cheek.

“Jungkook,” Jimin wheezes out, rubbing his arm a little, trying to wake him up. “You’re squishing me.”

Jungkook groans, turning his head, then dropping it onto Jimin’s pillow, face down. “Mmm?”

“I think you accidentally activated killer koala mode.”

Jungkook’s eyes squint open slightly, and then he seems to realize just how much of his weight is currently resting on top of Jimin’s body. He rolls off him, repositioning himself so that he’s lying on his side. 

“Sorry,” Jungkook mumbles, still half asleep. “Did I squish?”

“Yes. Very aggressively,” Jimin confirms.

“It’s because I like you,” Jungkook murmurs, leaning over and resting the side of his face against Jimin’s bicep.

“Oh,” Jimin says. He leans down and kisses the top of Jungkook’s head. “I like you too.”

“Mmm. Cute.”

Jimin scrunches his nose. “I’m glad you think so.”

Jungkook is quiet, sighing against Jimin’s arm.

“Are you going back to sleep? I think we should probably get up. We only have a couple of hours before we need to check out.”

“Mm-hmm. I’ll wake up,” Jungkook says. “This is just nice.”

Jimin rolls onto his side a bit more, so that he’s facing Jungkook directly. He looks beautiful like this: lashes sleepily fluttering against his cheeks, hair wavy and messy, his cheeks pink from where they were squished against Jimin as he slept.

“Are you okay with what happened last night?” Jimin asks him quietly.

“Okay is quite an understatement, I think,” Jungkook says. He opens his eyes, blinking to clear them. “I am… jubilant.”

“Ah, jubilant. That’s a good word.”

“I am actually more interested in hearing how you feel about it,” Jungkook says. He sounds a little nervous all of a sudden. “Jimin, before last night, I didn’t… I really, legitimately didn’t know how you felt. It felt like I was taking a huge risk, kissing you like that.”

“I’m sorry,” Jimin says softly. “I think I was just scared of getting hurt.”

Jungkook frowns. “I wish you didn’t feel that way. But I understand it. Especially after what happened with… actually, I’m not even going to say his name. I don’t even want to acknowledge his existence.”

Jimin smiles. “Honestly, I’m happy he did that to me.”

“What?” Jungkook asks, brows furrowing.

“If he didn’t, I wouldn’t have met you. So I think it was probably all meant to happen this way.”

Jungkook’s face softens. “Oh.”

“I like you so much,” Jimin says quietly, suddenly feeling too nervous to look him in the eye. “It stopped being fake for me a long time ago.”

“It was never fake for me,” Jungkook admits, reaching out to tuck a bit of Jimin’s hair behind his ear. “Which was highly emotionally irresponsible of me, so you can imagine how relieved I am now.”

“Not even at the beginning?” Jimin asks, eyes widening.

Jungkook shakes his head. “I’m actually not a good actor at all. It only seemed real because I didn’t have to pretend.”

Jimin snuggles in a bit closer. “We’re both idiots.”

Jungkook bursts into laughter, tightening his arms around Jimin. “I think we were doing our best.”

“This feels like a dream,” Jimin murmurs against Jungkook’s chest, eyes closing.

“Oh, Jimin. You can’t say stuff like that to me.”

“Why?”

“You’re going to bring out my fatal flaws. I’m going to scare you away.”

Jimin pulls away to look at his face, his eyes twinkling. “Oh, no. Jungkook, please don’t tell me you’re in love with me. It’s been a day—

Jungkook laughs, then rolls over so that he’s halfway on top of Jimin, smiling down at him. His face gets a little more serious, like he’s pondering what he’s going to say for a moment.

“I’m not going to tell you that I’m in love with you. But I’ll tell you this…” he swallows. “I think I will fall in love with you. If you give me the chance.”

Jimin’s heart skips a beat.

“I will give you the chance,” Jimin says softly. “If you give me the chance, too.”

Jungkook leans down, pressing his mouth to Jimin’s. The kiss is gentle and featherlight. It feels like a promise. 

“Okay,” Jungkook says, smiling. There’s a tiny dimple in his left cheek, and Jimin reaches up to poke it. “Let’s go home.”

 

  ҉  

 

“What do you think about potatoes?” Seokjin asks, his voice demanding. “Answer quickly.”

“I think they’re great?” Taehyung responds with wide eyes. “Why do I suddenly feel like... that was the wrong thing to say?”

“No, that was the correct answer,” Seokjin says, draining the rest of his beer. “They are the perfect food. The best ingredient. If you’d have said anything derogatory, we wouldn’t have gotten on well. I think this friendship is off to a great start.”

“He loves gamja hotdogs,” Hoseok helpfully pipes up from across the table.

“I feel like you two are going to get along just fine,” Yoongi says flatly, looking between Seokjin and Taehyung.

“Because you’re both weird,” Jimin whispers loudly.

“Weird!” Seokjin gasps, setting down his glass. “I’m not weird. I’m merely… distinguished. Perhaps a little eccentric, on occasion.”

“Life is easier once you own up to it,” Taehyung tells him, reaching across the table to pat his hand.

“Jungkook, I’m trying very hard to like your boyfriend’s friends,” Seokjin says. “Please tell me I’m doing a good job.”

“You’re doing a great job,” Jungkook reassures him. 

The six of them are seated together in a large booth at the White Rabbit, the same bar where Jungkook and Jimin first met. Jimin is curled up against Jungkook’s side, Jungkook’s arm looped around his shoulders.

“You know, I think it’s funny that you always used to make fun of me and Yoongi for our public displays of affection,” Taehyung says to Jimin, waggling his eyebrows. “Now look at you.” 

“This is very tame!” Jimin says, crossing his arms. “Family friendly, even.”

“This shouldn’t be surprising to you,” Yoongi says, turning to Taehyung. “They’ve always been all over each other, even when they were pretending to pretend to like each other.”

“Pretending to pretend to like each other,” Taehyung says, eyebrows furrowing. “That is too many pretends for me to parse.”

“What an exhausting phase,” Seokjin says flatly. “I had to listen to Jungkook drone on about Jimin all day every day. I almost asked him to start going to therapy.”

“What?” Jimin asks, eyes widening. 

“He’s exaggerating!” Jungkook says, laughing nervously. “Ah, Seokjin, you’re so funny. Such a comedian!”

“You cried over his butt once,” Seokjin says. “That alone warranted therapy, I think.”

What—” 

“Why don’t we go dance?” Jungkook suggests loudly, his cheeks turning pink. “I think we’ve had enough to drink. Clearly.”

Jimin dissolves into laughter next to him, clinging to his arm.

“Thank God. I couldn’t bear another minute of this. No offense,” Yoongi says. He slides out of the booth, and Taehyung follows him, taking his hand as they make their way out to the dance floor, weaving through the crowd.

“Let’s go,” Hoseok urges Seokjin, and they climb out of the booth as well. “You guys coming?”

“In a minute,” Jimin tells them, smiling.

They walk away, leaving Jimin and Jungkook alone in the booth.

Jimin turns to Jungkook, trying to keep a straight face. “You really were down bad, huh?”

“You already know I was!” Jungkook says, covering his face with his hands. “This is not new information.”

“It’s okay,” Jimin says, laughing and pulling Jungkook’s hands away from his face. “I was too. You just didn’t know.”

“I am truly so grateful that those days are behind us.”

“Me too,” Jimin says, leaning forward and kissing him softly. He lingers for a moment before pulling away. “Although they were kind of fun, in their own way.”

“I think being able to kiss you whenever I want is more fun, actually.”

“I can’t argue with that.” 

Jimin scoots across the booth and climbs out, rising to his feet. He reaches out a hand to Jungkook. “Shall we dance?”

Jungkook takes his hand, rising to his full height and stepping in close.

“Do you just want to dance, or do you want to put on a show?”

Jimin smiles. “Let’s put on a show.”