Calico Moon - cakeandruin - 방탄소년단 | Bangtan Boys (2024)

A quick web search would have Jeongguk believing that dying from sleep deprivation was actually incredibly rare, but even so, he was certain of two things: firstly, that the internet was a dirty f*cking liar, and secondly, he was absolutely going to die from this.

It had been three days since his last night of sleep.

Three long, agonizing days of bone deep exhaustion, of feeling like the world was trapped inside an upside down glass, distorted and fractured. The hallucinations he was told to expect hadn't begun quite yet, but as he stared at the neon 3:09 on his alarm clock, he had a feeling he was only a handful of hours away from tap dancing Choco Chex for breakfast.

This wasn’t his first foray into insomnia - he’d been here plenty of times, but it had never been quite this bad. Usually he scraped by with four or five broken up hours a night, but now he was down to fifteen minutes here, an hour there. It was torture, pure and simple, to go to bed after days without sleep and finally pass out only to wake up twenty minutes later, wide awake.

He closed his laptop and pushed it to the side, pulling up his covers again and wriggling until he was comfortable. After watching the ceiling for a moment he closed his eyes slowly and deliberately, breathing to a four-count in his head.

Over the years he’d tried everything he’d been told to try by family and friends alike; hot showers, herbal tea, more sun and more exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, supplements, meditation, you name it. Nothing had worked, at least, not for more than a night or two. But his room was cool, his bed was comfortable, there was absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be able to just close his eyes and relax and breathe and finally… fall…

Nope.

He spared a glance at the clock again, certain he’d been trying for at least twenty minutes.

The red 3:13 on the readout seemed to mock him mercilessly.

With a soft whine he kicked off his covers, twisting to sit up at the edge of the bed and burying his face in both hands. He sucked in a deep and frustrated breath, rubbing his face roughly before he stood and padded out of his room and down the darkened hallway towards the living room. With the sounds of his movement covered by the hum of the air conditioner, he slipped out through the sliding door, hit immediately with the stifling summer heat and the echo of distant traffic.

Barefoot on the balcony, he stared up at the stars, or what few he could see. He missed them dearly; the stars he used to know back home, drowned out now by city lights - even with the missing moon and the inky spread it left behind. He slumped silently when he noticed its absence and let out a suffering sigh.

It had become a running joke now with his roommate and best friend, Min Yoongi, that the moon was running away from him. Every time his insomnia was at its worst and he made his way outside for comfort, the moon would be gone with no sign. The ongoing coincidence of it had left a big enough imprint on his psyche that he’d transferred it to his skin; the spread of constellations and galaxies that decorated his right arm spread out beneath a crisp circular hole in the design on the curve of his shoulder - obvious what was meant to go there, but no definition, no detail. No moon.

Yoongi had told him the last time he was at his absolute worst, when he couldn’t write and couldn’t sleep and had cried himself sick about it, that someday he would find the moon again - or whatever it was holding a metaphorical place for; the missing thing in his life.

“It will come,” Yoongi had said. “You just have to be patient, Gguk-ah.”

“Or?” Jeongguk had asked.

“Or buy a bigger ladder.”

Yoongi’s wisdom had always been esoteric and often mistaken for cynicism or mockery - but Jeongguk knew him better. To Jeongguk it always felt like quiet optimism, uniquely attuned to him, sweet and purple and bright.

With the sky a dull haze of light pollution blinding his beautiful stars, Jeongguk stood still for a moment, leaning against the railing and closing his eyes to listen to the city’s sounds instead. In his head he played the beats like a personal kind of percussion, finding the rhythm of it. He felt music in his blood, rushing in his veins, at all times - even if he was too exhausted to effectively transfer the feeling to paper right now, he trusted that it would always be there. The song of the city after midnight was comforting to him, and he let it swallow him whole for a moment, emptying his mind of anything else.

After a few minutes, he opened his eyes wearily, wetting his lips and tasting sweat.

Pushing away from the balcony rail to head back inside, he slid the door shut behind him and flinched as his gaze landed on his guitar. It sat in the corner on its stand alongside Yoongi’s piano, unassuming, unmoving, but Jeongguk could feel its judging eyes follow him from the door back to the hall and to his bedroom.

With a quiet groan, he ran both hands through his long hair, ruffling it absently before he stretched and let out a shuddering yawn. It was going to be another day without sleep, another day desperately struggling to rummage the depths of his brain for any lyrical crumb he might tease out. The last two songs he’d finished had been absolute garbage, he was certain, and while he’d been too ashamed to even present the first one to Yoongi, he was desperate by the time he’d finished the second.

Yoongi’s lack of judgment was a true kindness, but equally, the absence of even the most basic praise gave him away.

The album was coming along all too slowly, and Jeongguk blamed himself terribly for not keeping up his side. They’d amassed enough of a local audience and enough monthly listeners on Spotify from the last few EPs to make a solid name for themselves in the local music scene, but without new material they would lose all that momentum in a heartbeat. The industry was cruel and unforgiving, and they both knew it. In the meantime at least he had enough side jobs to keep up his share of the rent.

It was almost depressing that just as his music career seemed to be barely treading water, his modeling career was taking off at a startling pace. But that was down to kismet and connections - namely, Yoongi’s boyfriend.

Kim Taehyung was a photographer with a unique gift and a truly dizzying number of industry contacts, all of whom seemed to think Jeongguk was god’s gift to the lens. It wasn’t so bad, really; it paid more than enough to cover his needs, and he’d picked up the intricacies of photoshoots fairly easily with Taehyung’s expert guidance. And since he’d taken the advice to grow out his hair, the number of boring business suit shoots had thankfully dwindled down to nothing, replaced by a more eclectic range of high fashion labels desperate for whatever aura it was he gave off with shoulder length waves and bangs.

He didn’t mind the hair that much, even in the unforgiving summer heat. For all the nuisance of the extra upkeep, it was worth it for the times Yoongi would weave fingers through it and scratch his scalp in approval, or Taehyung would tuck a lock back behind one ear affectionately. Jeongguk adored, more than anything, to be touched by the people that loved him, and if his longer hair was a flashing neon invitation, that was more than fine by him.

Resigning himself to his sleepless fate, he scooped up a magazine off the pile by his bedside, flipping it open and flopping gracelessly back on the bed. Tae always brought him copies of the ones he featured in, which he appreciated. The glossy pages were smooth under his fingertips, and he took a moment to enjoy them slipping by before he held his advert up above his face, examining it. When his grip loosened on one side, a few pages dangled, and he let out a startled noise when a card fell out and struck him square in the face. Glaring and rubbing at the spot on his forehead where the sharp corner of the card hit, he snatched it up between two fingers.

It was Taehyung’s business card. Jeongguk had seen it a million times, and he narrowed his eyes in confusion as to why Taehyung had included it for a moment before flipping it over and making a soft oh face at the scribbled English on the back.

ASMR - Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

He remembered now; Taehyung had laughed at him that day. It had been a morning shoot a week or so ago, and Taehyung’s mocking chuckle hit him while he was sitting in his chair with a frustrated makeup artist slathering concealer over his dark eye circles.

“Still can’t sleep?” Taehyung had asked, already knowing the answer.

“It’s fine, I’m fine,” Jeongguk had lied.

Taehyung had snickered at that and plucked a coffee from its cardboard cradle on the bench, passing it over.

He’d grown strangely serious in that moment as he sat down and watched Jeongguk for a quiet beat, like he was measuring up the worth of spilling some deep secret. Then he pulled out his business card and started scribbling.

“I’m going to give you a gift,” he’d said.

Jeongguk slurped the coffee. “Oh?”

“You’re going to look this up tonight,” he instructed. “ASMR - it’s huge on YouTube, helps you relax to the point of-”

“I know what ASMR is,” Jeongguk cut him off with a roll of his eyes.

“You’ve heard of it?”

Jeongguk pulled an irritated face at him, and Taehyung’s body language shifted almost immediately.

Jeongguk grimaced at the memory, wishing he’d been a little kinder when Taehyung was only trying to help him. Unfortunately when Jeongguk was exhausted his inner brat came out swinging, and the sheer volume of sleep advice he’d been given over time had lent itself to a lot of repeat suggestions.

The truth was, as he’d gone on to tell Tae, he had tried ASMR more than once - as he had with most things people insisted would surely help him sleep. He knew the different sounds people made in ASMR videos were supposed to elicit a sense of wellbeing, of relaxation and peace - but all the tapping, clicking, rustling and mouth sounds initially left his skin crawling. His second attempt was a little better, and he’d found one or two videos that he could see some small appeal in, but what drove him absolutely mad was the whispering.

“Why?” Tae had asked.

“It’s bad for your voice,” Jeongguk insisted, gesturing with his coffee. “It damages the larynx more than talking normally.”

Taehyung’s mouth curled into a smile, eyes dark and glinting in the makeup mirror lights like he knew something he wasn’t saying out loud.

“What?”

“Nothing, you just remind me of someone.” Tae waved a hand dismissively and returned to scribbling on his card. “Ignore all the other channels, just try this one. Trust me. He’s a friend. He knows what he’s doing. And he doesn’t whisper.”

Jeongguk’s gaze had returned to his coffee as he’d tuned out, and Taehyung huffed a fond but exasperated breath before producing a magazine and tucking the card into it.

“This is yours. Your last ad is on page 124,” he’d said a little louder, and Jeongguk gave him a thumbs up as the makeup artist started dabbing at his lips with a brush.

Laying in bed, Jeongguk drifted back to the present and let his eyes linger over the writing at the bottom of the card.

Calico Moon ASMR

He traced his thumb over the indent of the pen strokes, blinking slowly. After a moment of consideration, he drew a deep, steadying breath and pressed his lips together tightly, letting his tongue play over his lip rings. Anything was worth trying at this point, he reasoned, feeling on the verge of tears again. In this condition he felt like a raw nerve, completely overwhelmed and overexposed to every emotion.

The vision of Taehyung’s glinting eyes came back to him, full of amusem*nt and secrets.

With a wet sniffle he rolled over and retrieved his laptop, prying it open and watching it flash back to life before he rummaged blindly in his bedside table and located his airpods.

He spared one last glance at the card, hearing Taehyung’s voice once more. Trust me.

YouTube came up with a single click, and he let his fingers race across the keyboard briefly before deliberately and dramatically striking the enter key.

Calico Moon ASMR, it turned out, was a popular channel with almost a million subscribers and beautiful watercolor graphics. On the main channel page a video began playing automatically, and Jeongguk blinked owlishly at the head-and-shoulders shot of a beautiful man with dark hair and near-perfect features. After staring into the camera for a moment, the man smiled, and Jeongguk found himself smiling stupidly back at his screen.

Behind the man another figure passed by, smaller, and visible only from the neck down. It took Jeongguk a moment to realize the one in the chair was a model and not Calico Moon, or whatever his real name was.

His eyes flicked to the video title: ASMR Healing Aromatherapy Massage (Stress Relief, Soft Spoken) with Seokjin #EatJin

Movement pulled his eyes back up to the video, and the stunning Seokjin bit his lip after a moment when a pair of hands landed on his shoulders. It struck Jeongguk out of nowhere that he’d not seen a male model used for ASMR very often.

He watched as the video cut to Seokjin reaching for his phone and tapping on it a couple of times. “Just switching it to airplane,” he said softly before he put it back down, and a little hum of approval came from the figure behind him. Another cut; the hands on Seokjin’s shoulders squeezed gently, and he let out a breathy laugh in response.

“Nervous?” a voice asked.

“Yah, I’m not used to having my mouth shut on camera,” Seokjin said with a grin, and the musical laughter behind him made Jeongguk’s mouth fall open in surprise.

Another quick cut showed Seokjin drawing a deep breath, his big shoulders visibly lowering as he began to relax, beautiful eyes trained once more on the audience.

“Hey everyone,” the other voice said in a gentle sing-song, and Jeongguk felt his heart stop. He tipped the screen back and made the video full size, feeling sheepish after a moment when he realized nothing he did would reveal the speaker’s face.

“I missed you all,” the voice went on, not whispering but speaking with a clear and gentle tone as his hands slid over Seokjin’s shoulders and up into his hair, petting gently.

Jeongguk felt a strong, pleasurable shiver run down his spine and shook himself a little.

Oh. That was new.

Something about the visual combined with the voice and its sweet, musical cadence seemed to reach right to his spine and play it like a harp string.

“Today we are joined by a very special guest whom you may recognize,” the voice said, and Seokjin beamed that dazzling smile again. “Jin-hyung and I have been very good friends for a long time, and I am so proud of him. You probably already know his channel Eat Jin, which has just reached an incredible 7 million subscribers this week. If you’re not familiar, you’ll find a link in the description. And shame on you.”

Seokjin giggled, now with his eyes downcast as his friend spoke.

“Today we’re going to be working on reducing Jin-hyung’s stress and anxiety with a soft-touch massage and hair play,” he explained, “just working out the tension from his body and easing his mind.”

Another little shiver passed through Jeongguk as the speaker’s fingers spread out in Seokjin’s hair, cradling his head. Seokjin’s eyes fluttered closed, mouth falling open as both thumbs worked against his scalp.

Jeongguk sank back into his bed and let it wash over him; the soothing sound of that voice, the soft rhythm of the massage and movement of his practiced fingers on screen. The warm afternoon light the video was filmed in was just as comforting, and the way the voice spoke of the methods he was using and the essential oils he’d mixed for Seokjin’s specific needs sent little tingles across Jeongguk’s skin. He soaked up as much of it as he could through half-lidded eyes, mind wandering over the fragrances the voice mentioned as he tried to recall the ones he knew.

He’d always been extremely sensitive to two things: sound and scent. The former had given him his gift for music and his ability to hear it in everything, and the latter had seen their apartment slowly flooded with a diffuser in almost every room. Even so, he’d mostly only bought pre-made blends boasting “anti anxiety” or “creativity boosting” and never paid much attention to the individual oils they were composed of, which in this moment he was coming to regret.

His brain stumbled from one hazy train of thought to another as he listened, and his body grew heavier, sinking down into the mattress as he slumped over with the laptop starting to tilt. It was only when a jarringly loud piano began to play in his ears that his eyes shot open to discover a day spa scene on screen. The autoplay had led him to another random ASMR channel that was heavy on both their background music and their whispering.

Wincing, he clicked the back button a few times and scrolled, searching for a playlist of Calico’s videos. In the long list of previews Jeongguk was met with beautiful face after beautiful face, most of them women, a few men. After a moment, he caught a title that made his eyes narrow.

Attempted Massage (Failed ASMR) with Hoseok - WARNING: LOUD

Jeongguk couldn’t help the amusem*nt that curled his mouth at one corner, and, too curious, clicked on the link as he tapped on the reduce volume button a few times in preparation.

Even the video title didn’t prepare him for the sound that burst through his airpods; the peel of wild, ear-splitting laughter that came from the model had him wriggling in bed, mouth a wide grin.

Failed ASMR was an accurate description - for most of the video Jeongguk found himself with hands clamped over his mouth trying not to laugh aloud and wake Yoongi in the next room. The fond huffs and laughs of exasperation from Calico every time Hoseok spoke at an incredible volume made Jeongguk’s chest feel warm, and he watched the video through to the end, brimming with delight at their easy banter and endless teasing. When Calico finally slumped and gave in, announcing that he didn’t know what he’d been thinking inviting Hoseok to do ASMR, that laughter sounded again and Jeongguk’s nose scrunched up tight as he giggled along with them both.

When Calico ended the video stooping to smack a kiss on Hoseok’s forehead, Jeongguk shot up in bed, gripping his laptop tight. It was only a split second, and still mostly off camera, but he felt a thrill at how close he’d come to finally seeing his face.

Caught up in a sudden, desperate need to know more, Jeongguk searched every tab of the channel, reading community notes and browsing thumbnails looking for anything that might give him a face or a real name. His breath caught as he reached a post that announced there’d be a face reveal at 1 million subs, and he scanned it quickly. His eyes flicked over to the sub counter; 912 thousand was so close, but still so far away. All the same he traced his finger across the trackpad and hit subscribe immediately before settling back against the pillows and resuming his scrolling, tongue absently rotating his lip rings.

After a moment of consideration, he clicked on a preset playlist that boasted 8 hours of healing massage therapy. A column of pretty watercolor-style thumbnails filled the right side of his screen as the first video began with soft birdsong in the distance and the gentle tinkling sounds of Calico arranging glass vials on the bench behind the model. Jeongguk’s eyes were trained on him in the background until he left the shot again, and it cut to a moment later. In front, a girl named Eunchae blinked at the camera with huge, pretty eyes, her long blonde hair flowing in waves over both shoulders.

Calico’s manner was more formal this time, his touch somehow even more gentle and respectful as he spoke of Eunchae’s neck pain and headaches, and wanting to relieve them if he could. While he talked about her interests and her beautiful singing voice, he took the time to work on her scalp and brush her long hair slowly, smoothing it after each pass. The sound of the custom-made rosewood brush raking through her thick hair made Jeongguk’s spine vibrate in that same sweet way it had before, and he immediately decided that hair brushing was his new favorite sound.

Well, second favorite, after Calico’s voice.

He blinked blearily at the screen as Calico started talking about a toner he’d mixed especially for her hair, and somewhere between hearing the analgesic benefits of German chamomile and the soft shfft shfft shfft of the spray bottle, Jeongguk’s eyes drifted shut.

“I want her to feel safe, and warm, and free of any pain here,” Calico said softly. “I know she’s been extremely busy, and her schedule is overwhelming, but here she can finally let go of that stress and that pressure.”

Jeongguk’s breathing evened out, head lolling to one side as the dulcet tones of Calico’s voice washed over him and sent him down, down.

“I want everybody who comes here to feel safe,” the words kept coming from the video, but Jeongguk couldn’t hear them anymore.

“I want them to feel like here, they can finally be free - to truly, deeply, rest.”

*

When he woke again, it was afternoon.

He knew this immediately because Yoongi was standing at the foot of his bed with a mug, which he sipped before he said “Good afternoon.”

Jeongguk blinked up at him, eyes still a little blurry. Yoongi was dressed in baggy sweats and a too-big black shirt with their band logo on the front that almost dangled off one shoulder, his longish hair loose and framing his amused face.

“Afternoon?” Jeongguk croaked.

“Mmm.” Yoongi took another sip.

Jeongguk rubbed his eyes, grinning. He’d slept. He’d slept through the entire morning.

With his smile his mouth felt strangely tight, and he touched his fingers to his lip and chin only to discover a decent amount of dried drool.

Pulling a face, he ignored Yoongi’s snort.

“What time is it?” Jeongguk wondered, shifting his laptop to one side and peeling back the covers.

“Just after two,” Yoongi answered, eyes on the laptop.

Jeongguk stretched bodily, letting out a loud, garbled groan as he felt all the muscles in his back spasm - probably from sleeping half-sitting-up. A massive yawn followed almost immediately.

He tried to remember the last time on the clock before he’d fallen asleep, but his brain was a fuzzy mess of barely awake. A part of him was still in shock; he’d actually slept. For at least eight hours, maybe more?

“What were you watching last night?” Yoongi asked as he took another sip.

Jeongguk opened his mouth to answer and stopped dead, eyes wide as the gentle voice of Calico Moon echoed in his ears.

“Nothing. Some ASMR,” he answered, face growing hot as he moved past Yoongi and slipped out into the hall.

Yoongi said nothing, and Jeongguk didn’t see his wide and gummy grin.

*

For the first time in years, Jeongguk slept every night that week.

Somehow he’d finally found a rhythm; the gym or his boxing class when he first woke up, work through the afternoon, a walk after dinner, and more work on the album til midnight - then he’d curl up in bed with his laptop and go back to his favorite place in the world. Each time he’d pick out a video he hadn’t seen yet to begin with so he could enjoy it while he was still conscious enough, followed by the familiar playlist to fall asleep to.

The channel, he soon discovered, updated with a new video every Monday night at 6pm KST. When an unfamiliar thumbnail appeared on the front page a week or so after he’d started watching, his mouth fell open in surprise. The model was a man, uniquely attractive with thick, short black hair and stunning eyes.

Jeongguk clicked on it immediately.

Despite having countless videos, Calico had only featured a total of three men on his channel so far - this new video being the fourth. Going by view count alone, they were easily his most popular uploads, usually reaching millions of hits. The Eat Jin video had more than almost all the others combined, but that made sense, he figured, given Seokjin’s YouTube fame. The second most popular video featured a truly ethereal looking model named Taemin, a dancer whom Calico had described as a generous soul and a loving mentor.

Given his own predisposition towards men, Jeongguk had wondered if there was something universally appealing in watching strong, handsome men be cared for in such a contrastingly gentle and delicate way; watching them be so openly vulnerable. It certainly put a quiet ache in his own chest every time he watched, a longing he hadn’t realized he felt until now. He tried not to dwell on what it would feel like, to be touched so deliberately and gently. Even though he had friends and family that certainly didn’t hold back their physical affection, Jeongguk was so inherently tactile that he was always left longing for more.

The video began with the model (Namjoon, the title informed him) laughing softly, eyes crescents as he rocked forward in his chair.

Jeongguk smiled back at his screen. He loved the way Calico began every video with a clipshow of these tiny moments leading up to the massage, always showing his model’s character, their laughter or jokes as they eased out of nervousness and into the peace of being in his chair.

He watched as Namjoon adjusted his hair in the viewfinder before Calico deliberately mussed it again, giggling. Calico asked if he was comfortable, and Namjoon nodded, craning into the fingers that played in his hair briefly. When Namjoon grabbed one of Calico’s hands and held it to his own cheek, eyes closed for a moment, Jeongguk felt a strange sensation twist in his chest.

This video was different.

He heard Calico begin his introductions, but Jeongguk’s eyes were locked on Namjoon this time; Namjoon and his warm, confident, I-know-something-you-don’t-know smile. There was no nervousness in him, not like the others. There was no formality in the way he and Calico touched each other. Every gentle stroke of his hair, every brush of his cheek, was done with a similar fondness to the Seokjin and Hoseok videos, but there was something else there this time, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on until…

“Namjoon-hyung and I - have a long history-” Calico said carefully.

Oh.

Jeongguk felt his heart sink.

“He’s truly one of the best people I’ve ever known, and I am so grateful to be - his friend,” Calico went on, massaging fingers across Namjoon’s scalp.

The video played on, and despite the sickly swell of jealousy he’d felt at the start, Jeongguk found himself utterly transfixed by their chemistry. There was something warm about the two of them together and their comfort, their ease with each other, and the beautiful way they seemed to anticipate each other’s movements and thoughts. It made Jeongguk’s tension and envy melt away.

As Calico described each of the oils he’d chosen for Namjoon’s blends, Jeongguk looked them up one by one to get an idea of what they might smell like, skimming over the descriptions. He’d gotten into the habit after the first few nights, and had a slowly growing list of oils he’d decided to buy for himself on his bedside table.

When the video neared its end, Calico asked Namjoon if he’d been working on anything new he wanted to share, and Namjoon gave a sweet smile, eyes soft and relaxed from the session. He began to quietly recite from memory what sounded like a poem, and Jeongguk sat, awed, listening to his words and holding his breath.

He scrolled down to the description, realizing he’d missed any mention of what Namjoon’s vocation was, and found it there; Kim Namjoon - songwriter & poet.

Scrolling back up, he clicked around on the time bar until he found the beginning of Namjoon’s poetry and listened again, tears pricking the corners of his eyes. He reached for his notepad.

“Falling from the sky, from the divine,” Namjoon repeated on screen, “from the divine into the dirt, scratched knees and certainties, finally knowing who we’re meant to be.”

Jeongguk hit pause and tapped his pen against his lip rings.

What are we but fallen stars, he wrote quickly. What are we but what we are?

When the video ended, he started it over again.

*

It was a quiet Friday afternoon when Jeongguk sleepily emerged from his room to get some food, and instead found a shirtless and clearly post-sex Taehyung sitting on the kitchen counter eating cereal from the box.

Jeongguk let out a groan. “Do you have to do that while I’m in the apartment?”

“What, it’s better out of the box,” Taehyung insisted with a sh*t-eating grin.

“That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it,” Jeongguk kicked the fridge door shut after gathering his breakfast supplies.

“It’s my apartment too,” Yoongi called from the living room.

“Besides,” Tae slipped off the counter, pursuing Jeongguk a little too closely. “You slept right through it.”

“Thankfully,” Jeongguk said, firing up the burner and setting out a frypan to make his eggy sandwich.

“You’ve been doing that a lot lately. What’s got you sleeping so well, Jeongguk-ah?” Taehyung asked.

“Nothing, I-”

“He’s got some ASMR channel he’s obsessed with,” Yoongi cut him off.

Jeongguk tried not to go red, and failed, focusing on the bag of bread as hard as he could and regretting telling Yoongi anything.

“Oh?” Taehyung crunched loudly on his cereal for a moment, radiating smugness. “Do tell.”

Jeongguk sighed, shoulders slumping. After a beat: “You were right,” he conceded weakly.

“I knew it!” Tae whooped, leaning over the counter and calling back to the living room. “Did you hear that, hyung?”

“Sure didn’t,” Yoongi answered, deadpan.

Jeongguk’s nose scrunched in amusem*nt as he cut his bread slices and cracked eggs into a bowl to whisk.

“I knew it. He’s got a great voice,” Taehyung insisted, “and he just gives off this aura, it’s like magic. I knew it’d work. He’s the best.”

Jeongguk froze mid-pour. The bowl, now empty, hovered over the frypan as his entire world narrowed to a single, ridiculous moment of realization: Taehyung knew Calico.

His Calico. The voice that had cradled him to sleep every night for over a month. The only person who’d ever been able to help Jeongguk when nothing else in the world helped. The inspiration for almost everything he’d written for weeks. Calico. Who was a real person. Who knew Taehyung.

And what’s worse, Taehyung had told him as much when he gave him the card, and Jeongguk, in his sleepless and addled state, had completely f*cking forgotten.

“You know him,” Jeongguk managed to get out after a moment, still in shock.

“Yah, I told you that.”

“You know him,” Jeongguk repeated, eyes still huge.

Taehyung’s lips spread into a cheshire cat grin.

“You said that part,” Yoongi added helpfully from the other room.

“Thanks, hyung,” Jeongguk called, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. He needed a minute to process.

“Your eggs are burning,” Taehyung teased with a nod to the pan.

“f*ck!” Jeongguk scrambled to get the pan off the heat, but the eggs were too far gone.

Taehyung seemed content enough to wait until a second and more successful attempt at a breakfast sandwich was complete and plated, at which point Jeongguk swallowed heavily and turned to face him.

“Wh-what’s his name? Just out of, you know. Curiosity,” he said, trying to sound as calm and casual as possible while they walked together to the living room.

“Whose?”

Jeongguk’s jaw twitched.

Taehyung grinned at him again before bending to kiss his boyfriend on the way past. “Oh, you mean Calico Moon?”

Jeongguk noticed Yoongi’s gaze flick up curiously at the mention of ‘moon’, but he ignored it.

“Come on, hyung,” Jeongguk pleaded softly, eyes huge and brows pulled tight.

Taehyung laughed. “Oh, I can’t say no to that face, Jeonggukie, with the eyes and the… oh god,” he said, making a show of not being able to look at Jeongguk straight on and earning a laugh. “Fine! I submit.”

Jeongguk found a seat on the couch, pleased.

“He’s my best friend, actually - his name is Park Jimin,” Taehyung informed him, and Jeongguk straightened.

Jimin.

It suited the voice, the gentleness of him. Jimin.

“He’s mine though, bad luck,” Taehyung added playfully.

“This is the one I met a few times?” Yoongi asked, and Taehyung hummed a confirmation.

Jeongguk studied Yoongi’s face for a moment to gauge his reaction, but as ever he gave almost nothing away. His smile was small and knowing, and Jeongguk got that creeping feeling again that he knew something he wasn’t saying out loud.

For some reason, it made him think of Namjoon.

“Actually,” he said around a bite of his sandwich, “I thought he was with someone else.”

“Oh?” Taehyung locked on Jeongguk with a flash of interest. “Who?”

“Namjoon-ssi,” Jeongguk offered.

Taehyung narrowed his eyes, peering at Jeongguk like he’d said something he wasn’t supposed to know. “How did you figure that out?”

Jeongguk shrugged, trying not to look as sad as he suddenly felt. “One of his videos,” he said. “Namjoon-ssi was the model. They were really good together.”

Taehyung’s smile was fond and his expression softened. “They were, yeah,” he agreed, “but that was over a while ago.”

A little thrill shot through Jeongguk.

“They love each other like family, just not - in love. Good that they realized before it got toxic, you know, staying for the sake of staying,” Taehyung clarified, then snorted. “Absolutely obnoxiously amicable breakup too, felt like they were almost showing off.”

Jeongguk’s face hurt from smiling too much, and he tried to school his expression into something more impassive. He did not have a raging crush on a faceless stranger from the internet. He was not secretly thrilled to learn that the beautiful poet lyricist was his gloriously ex boyfriend. He did not dream about being in that chair every night when he fell asleep. He was perfectly mentally well and not in any way unbalanced, thank you.

“That’s sweet,” Jeongguk said honestly.

“He’s sweet,” Taehyung replied, reaching back over the couch and scooping up his phone. “And funny. And a brat like you. You’d like him a lot.”

Jeongguk shot him a fond scowl, struggling to figure out how to tell Taehyung that he already liked Jimin a lot without sounding weird.

“I put the finishing touches on Firmament this morning,” Yoongi piped up. “It’s really good.”

Firmament was the latest song for the new album, and Jeongguk lit up at the mention of it. He had a feeling when they were writing it, half-drunk on soju one night and scribbling down each verse on sh*tty napkins, singing and laughing like men possessed, that it was going to be one of their best.

Going by the confident gleam in Yoongi’s eyes, he wasn’t wrong.

“I wanna hear,” Jeongguk insisted, pushing his plate aside before he rushed over to the table where Yoongi’s laptop and equipment was spread out with a chaotic but pleasing kind of gestalt.

Jeongguk pulled up a chair, straddling it backwards as Yoongi slipped a plush set of headphones over his ears and hit play. The piano intro began and Jeongguk closed his eyes, breathing slow.

As the song unfolded around him, bright and full of longing, he felt a familiar ache spread in his chest. The only person he’d ever met who felt music the way he did was Yoongi, and in the moments when they shared the way it moved them there was a magic that he couldn’t name. It was intangible, and beautiful, and rare - and he never understood how he’d lived a day without it before they met.

When the song was over, Jeongguk looked up at him with wide, glassy eyes.

“It’s perfect!” he yelled, and Yoongi flinched at the sudden volume.

Chuckling, Jeongguk slid the headphones off with an apologetic look and sniffed. “It’s perfect, hyung. It’s so good. We did so good.”

“It’s not bad,” Yoongi conceded with a pleased smile.

Jeongguk leveled him with an unimpressed look and Yoongi held his gaze fondly for a moment.

“Gguk, you’re still lactose intolerant, yeah?” Taehyung asked from the couch, eyes glued to his phone as he typed.

“Don’t remind me,” Jeongguk said.

Yoongi huffed a laugh and turned his laptop back towards himself, clicking around the screen. “I need to get some drums down on Firelight today,” he said, “and backing vocals from you on Let it Break.

Jeongguk nodded and reached for Yoongi’s iced americano, stealing a sip just as Yoongi’s phone pinged with a message. The confused look on Yoongi’s face when he checked the screen lingered as he quickly typed an answer and set it back down, glancing over at Taehyung with narrowed eyes.

Amused that his coffee theft went unnoticed, Jeongguk bit his lip and shifted in his seat eagerly. “Hyung, do you think we could finish the recording before the end of the month?”

Yoongi shook from his momentary distraction, eyes returning to his roommate. “Maybe,” he conceded. “If we work through the weekend.”

“You don’t have any weird skin conditions, do you Jeonggukie?” Taehyung asked.

Jeongguk’s face scrunched up. “What?”

“No rashes or anything?” Taehyung clarified, still typing on his phone.

“Of course not, why- what are you doing?” Jeongguk asked, baffled.

Yoongi’s phone pinged again, and this time he rolled his eyes.

Jeongguk glanced over just in time to catch the lit screen and read it.

Tae❤️

Is he telling the truth hyung be honest

Jeongguk straightened in his seat, glaring in Taehyung’s direction. “Yes I’m being honest!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Taehyung feigned innocence, still not looking away from his phone.

Yoongi’s pinged again and Jeongguk craned to read it on the table before Yoongi could pick it up.

Tae❤️

Just be real subtle but can you find out if he has any other allergies

Torn between amusem*nt and irritation, Jeongguk exchanged a questioning look with Yoongi. When Yoongi’s expression dawned into one of realization, Jeongguk’s brows shot up.

“What is he doing?” Jeongguk asked softly.

“No other allergies,” Yoongi announced. “Just lactose intolerance and a hatred for mint.”

“That was not subtle, but I respect it,” Taehyung replied. “Hates… mint…” he added, tapping his phone.

“Taehyungie-hyung,” Jeongguk warned, getting up from his seat and walking back to the couch. “What are you doing that needs to know things about me?”

“Nothing. Modeling gig things. Carry on music-ing,” Tae said with a dismissive wave.

Yoongi’s phone pinged again. “He’s literally right there,” Yoongi said, exasperated. “Ask him.”

“Jeonggukie, what’s your skin type?”

“Taehyung!” Jeongguk whined angrily.

“Oho!” Taehyung laughed at the lack of honorifics. “He’s real mad.”

“You are being kind of a dick, babe,” Yoongi noted.

“Fair,” Taehyung patted the couch next to him invitingly. “Come on, Gguk-ah, finish this with me so we can make your dreams come true.”

Frustrated and feeling left out of a joke he was certain was being made at his expense, Jeongguk pouted. His curiosity eventually won out, and his brow knotted together as he acquiesced and flopped into the seat, seizing a throw cushion and hugging it to his chest. “What dreams?”

Taehyung held up his phone, scrolling back to the top of the email he was on.

Jeongguk read the screen carefully, blinked a few times, and then read it again.

From: Jiminie ([emailprotected])

To: TaeTae ([emailprotected])

Subject: RE: Super cute model wants to work with u

Stop he sounds perfect are you making this up?? You better not be

Just have him fill out the form & get him to email me so I actually believe he’s real

I swear to god if you catfish me I will end you I know so many things that would leave no trace I would totally get away with it

Love you call me

JM

[Attachments: 1]

Jeongguk felt like his heart had stopped. He was pretty sure his mouth was still open, but he couldn’t quite figure out how to close it.

“I’m going to take the look of shock on your face as a sign of gratitude and delight,” Taehyung told him matter-of-factly, flicking the screen over to the form and offering the phone.

After staring blankly for a moment, Jeongguk reached out and cradled it, thumbing back to the email.

He sounds perfect.

Jeongguk swallowed hard, heart speeding up violently in his chest. Jimin had written that about him. What on earth had Taehyung told him?

He stared and stared, barely blinking. He could feel the panic building.

What if he couldn’t live up to it?

“Here,” Taehyung said gently, taking the phone back after a moment. “I’m sending this to your email. When you’re ready, fill the form out and send it in. If you’re not ready, just let me know. Nothing’s set yet.”

Jeongguk nodded along, still numb.

“You okay Gguk-ah?” Yoongi asked.

Seizing an audible breath, Jeongguk stirred out of his trance. “Yeah! I’m - yeah.”

“You really like him, don’t you?” Taehyung asked, head tilting as he studied Jeongguk closely.

Jeongguk laughed, shaking his head. “It’s nothing like that,” he lied.

Taehyung’s smile was kind. “He’s gonna adore you, you know,” he said, leaning forward and smacking a kiss on Jeongguk’s temple as he got up. “Like we do.”

All Jeongguk could do was let out a shaky exhale.

Taehyung had talked him up, no doubt, had exaggerated and praised and lined him up as the perfect model, like he did for every job. There was no way Jeongguk could live up to that, not when he would be too nervous to speak, or move, or do anything. It was Jimin. It was the one person who’d been there when nobody else could help him, who had been there for him, night after night.

And now, it was real. He was real.

And it was terrifying.

*

Jeongguk didn’t stop working all weekend, determined to stay focused on the album and distracted from the email. By Sunday night, another two songs were recorded, bringing the total to eight. Four more, just four songs to get down, and they could start properly mixing their first album.

He hadn’t slept since Thursday night, fueled only by the excitement of nearing the end and the desire to make Yoongi proud. By the time he crawled into bed on Sunday he was certain he would pass out easily from the exhaustion alone.

He lasted exactly thirteen minutes before he was digging around in bed for his phone.

At this point he’d read the email often enough to commit it to memory, but this time he took a moment to glance at the form. Scanning each line, he wet his lips absently and took a slow, deliberate breath.

He could put in his name, at least, that wasn’t hard. He didn’t have to fill out the whole thing, or send it. Just - put in his name.

As he clicked on the field for his name, he noticed a little italicized notation above it under the form title that said please note with an asterisk anything you’d prefer I not mention during filming.

The edge of his lips curled into a smile as he typed in the name he used for his music. Jungkook.

Date of birth was easy too, and pronouns, no harm in putting those down, so he filled in both. Profession and promotion links? He typed in musician and added their band website and Spotify page. The next section was physical details, and he ticked the boxes next to medium (past chin) for hair length, and normal for skin type.

He huffed a quiet laugh when he saw ‘allergies and sensitivities’, remembering Taehyung’s less than subtle line of questioning. He was actually quite impressed Tae had gotten this far down before he’d been busted.

After a beat, he typed in lactose intolerant, cheeks going red. He left the sections for ‘recurring injuries to avoid’ and ‘skin conditions I should know about’ blank, given he had neither.

‘Other areas of concern’ made him pause to think. He winced as he typed in chronic insomnia and anxiety.

After ticking no on whether or not he was vegan, he marked down that he was okay with oils being used on his skin and hair. He knew how Jimin worked, he’d watched so many hours of his videos, and he’d never had particularly sensitive skin to worry about.

The thought of a blend of scents mixed by Jimin just for him made him shiver, and his breath came out uneven. He paused for a moment to compose himself, eyes closing. He could do this. He didn’t have to send it, it was just - daydreaming, really. That’s all it was. Just a happy dream.

The last section was about his preferences, and he was lost in thought for a long time as he tried to come up with his favorite scents. He loved so many different ones, it was a difficult thing to narrow down. It took him making a separate list on paper and crossing things out to bring it to three, and he returned to his phone to type in gardenia, orange blossom, and pink grapefruit. ‘Scents to avoid’ was easy, and he capitalized every letter in the word ‘MINT’.

When he saw that Jimin had asked for ‘favorite tea’, he felt a fond kind of warmth spread in his chest. Of course. At the end of every video, he would give his models a drink or some food for their blood sugar. He smiled softly as he typed in sweet hibiscus tea.

The last question stared back at him, and he felt a flutter in his stomach as he read it.

Experience with ASMR: Modeled Before, Regular Viewer, Casual Viewer, Never Heard of It

He wondered if there should be a tick box for ‘you and only you’ or maybe ‘you saved my life and my sanity’. His eyes prickled with tears.

How on earth was he going to look this man in the face and not tell him absolutely everything?

Maybe he didn’t have to finish the form. It’s not like he was going to send it - he could just leave as it was. Just a daydream he could cling to when he needed comfort.

That’s all it ever had to be.

With a sigh he scrolled back to the top, pressing the little arrow to go back, but the tiny shoop! noise his phone made in response had his heart leaping into his throat.

He narrowed his eyes at the little arrow, and noticed - too late - that it had a little envelope next to it. He’d hit ‘send’, not ‘back’.

With a loud wail of despair, he threw himself backwards onto the mattress.

“Gguk-ah? Was that you?” Yoongi’s voice came, muffled, from the next room. “You alright?”

“Fine, hyung, sorry!” He cried, audibly agonized.

“You super don’t sound it.”

That had to be Taehyung.

“I’m fine,” he said, voice cracking as he wrapped a pillow around his face to scream into.

It was a moment before a sleepy Yoongi pushed his door open wearing baggy summer pajama shorts and Taehyung’s t-shirt. “You sound like you’re dying.”

“I am,” Jeongguk said. “I’m dying of being a f*cking moron.

“Oh please, that’s not fatal,” Taehyung said with an eye roll from behind Yoongi.

“How do you know?” Jeongguk shot back.

“He’s still here isn’t he,” Yoongi added, jumping with a laugh when Taehyung’s fingers dug into his sides playfully in revenge.

Jeonnguk made a show of pretending to smother himself with the pillow and Taehyung barked a laugh as Yoongi moved over and sat heavily on one side of the bed, snatching the pillow away.

“Come on, Gguk, it can’t be that bad,” he said.

“I sent the form,” Jeongguk told him.

Taehyung’s face lit up. “You did?”

“By accident,” Jeongguk whined. “I didn’t even finish it, he’s going to think I’m an idiot.”

Yoongi placed a hand on Jeongguk’s knee comfortingly while Taehyung disappeared from the doorway and returned a moment later with his phone in hand.

“Jeongguk-ah, why does it mean so much?” Yoongi asked. “You watch his channel. You model for a living. You’re perfect for the job.”

Jeongguk tilted his head to the side, face red, eyes brimming with tears. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I’m so scared. I don’t just like him, hyung, he’s… I don’t know how to explain it.”

“He’s important to you,” Yoongi offered, trying to understand.

With a teary nod, Jeongguk covered his face with both hands. “I’m so f*cking weird. I know he’s just a guy on the internet. I’m nobody to him. It’s so stupid.”

“It’s not stupid,” Yoongi countered. “It’s because he helped you when nobody else could?”

Jeongguk nodded rapidly under his hands.

“And I’m guessing you don’t know how to tell him what he means to you without the risk it’ll come across the wrong way?”

The nodding continued.

“Well, the bad news is - you are stupid,” Taehyung interjected, holding up his phone, “but the good news is, because I forwarded it to you in the first place, you sent it to me, not Jiminie.”

Jeongguk shot up in bed, hands falling away. “Really?”

Taehyung smiled kindly and showed him the phone.

There it was, sitting in Taehyung’s inbox.

Heaving a deep breath of relief, Jeongguk flopped back again dramatically, arms akimbo.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi said after a moment of quiet.

“Yeah?”

Yoongi waited for him to look up and meet his gaze.

“You should send it for real,” he said.

Jeongguk’s eyes went wide. “Are you serious?”

Yoongi squeezed his knee. “You always tell me that you’re missing something,” he said.

Still looking at Yoongi, Jeongguk rubbed the empty circle on his shoulder.

“You’re never going to find it,” Yoongi told him, standing, “if you’re too scared to look up from time to time.”

Jeongguk sniffed wetly, nodding that he understood.

As Yoongi looped an arm around his boyfriend’s waist to lead him from the room, Taehyung threw a wink over his shoulder at Jeongguk.

When the door clicked shut behind them, Jeongguk screwed his face up tight, letting the tears come. He felt ridiculous, embarrassed, and overwhelmed all at once. It didn’t matter. It mattered so much. It mattered more than anything. He was so grateful to Jimin that his heart hurt, he wanted to tell him everything. But Jimin didn’t even know him.

After his tears slowed and stopped, he lay still for a while, tracing the stars and constellations down his arm slowly and lightly, as he often did to calm himself.

Then he lifted his phone, and finished the form. He changed the To field to Jimin’s email address, added the form, took a deep breath, and began to type.

From: JK ([emailprotected])

To: Jimin ([emailprotected])

Subject: RE: FWD: RE: Super cute model wants to work with u

Hi! This is Jeon Jeongguk, Taehyung said I should send this in. Love your channel, it helped me a lot. Can’t wait to work with you.

[Attachments: 1]

After a long, ragged exhale, he looked up to the corner of the screen at the send button and - with his heart in his throat - pressed it.

The shoop! was instant, and he closed his eyes and grabbed for the pillow once more to cover his face.

It was an alarmingly short time later that he heard a soft tone from his phone that wasn’t the group chat or message notification. He blinked, lowering the pillow.

Slowly, he lifted his phone, and tapped on the new email icon.

From: Jimin ([emailprotected])

To: JK ([emailprotected])

Subject: RE: RE: FWD: RE: Super cute model wants to work with u

Hi Jeongguk thank you for filling out the form

I’m free this week most afternoons from 3pm, let me know a good day & time when you can come by and we can do a session

Address & map are attached

Excited to have a model that knows the channel and how I work!

Really glad that I could help you & hope I can live up to the hype in person

Looking forward to working with you!

[Attachments: 1]

After a moment, Jeongguk let out the breath he’d been holding and glanced over at the clock where it flashed a red 2:18 back at him.

Apparently, he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t sleep.

*

It was easy to set up a time to meet; apart from the set recording days they’d already booked in, Jeongguk’s schedule was free enough until more modeling jobs came up. Knowing he would be a nervous wreck until the day, he decided to opt for sooner rather than later, but without looking too eager: Tuesday, 3pm.

By the time he reached his bed on Monday he was certain he was in for another sleepless night, this time infused with nervous energy and anxiety. It wasn’t until he brought up the page for Calico Moon he remembered that it was a Monday night - and a new video sat waiting for him.

The model’s name was Yunjin, and Jeongguk made the video fullscreen just as she wiggled nervously in the chair, getting comfortable while Jimin arranged things behind her. After a quick cut, Jimin’s hands swept through her long dark hair, lifting it and dropping it slowly around her face where it swished prettily, and she giggled.

Jeongguk smiled softly back at the screen, and something in him finally unclenched. He’d been so lost in his fears, he’d completely forgotten that Jimin always made everybody in his chair so comfortable so quickly, that he had a gift for knowing just what to do to set them at ease.

Jimin would do that for him, too, he just knew it. A sharp little thrill of excitement shook him momentarily, and he bit his lip as he kept watching and listening.

After the usual introductions, the rosewood brush came out, and Jeongguk let the soothing sound of the bristles gliding through her hair seep into his bones, the repetition akin to slow waves rolling in and out of shore. Yunjin, he learned, was a dancer, and she spent much of the video with her eyes closed and her mouth slightly open in a state of bliss as Jimin worked on her sore muscles with his strong hands and some smooth jade tools that he explained were for something called gua sha.

When the video ended after nearly forty minutes, Yunjin opened her eyes groggily, revealing with a soft laugh that she’d fallen asleep.

Watercolors bled across the video signaling the end screen was coming up, and Jeongguk glanced to the sidebar - immediately picking out Namjoon’s video to rewatch. It had rapidly become his favorite of all of Jimin’s videos, and he’d seen it an obscene number of times at this point, but never seemed to tire of it.

Lying on his side, laptop on the pillow next to him, he closed his eyes and just listened this time through to the fond and familiar sounds of the two of them together. His mind began to wander to different places as it drifted gently into unconsciousness; could I meet Namjoon too someday? Namjoon is a lyricist. What if I could play him our music? Would he like it? Would Jimin like it?

What if I could write music for Jimin?

As he drifted off, at the edges of his final thoughts, he heard the distant sound of the piano intro of Firmament playing; soft and sweet, and filled with longing.

*

Jeongguk hated summer.

The map was easy to follow, and once he’d realized Jimin’s apartment was only around 20 minutes walk away he’d had to fight to control his nerves and excitement all over again. But the problem wasn’t navigation or transport, or even his nerves.

The problem was that 20 minutes in the middle of summer in Seoul was just enough time to have him red-faced and drowning in sweat by the time he got there.

He caught sight of his reflection in a set of glass doors just as he arrived and let out a panicked noise, adjusting his ponytail and frantically fanning his flushed face. He was violently regretting not borrowing Yoongi’s car and making it a 5 minute drive instead of a 20 minute walk. But no. It was fine, he told himself. It was only meeting the person he secretly adored for the first time ever. No big deal if he looked like a damp tomato.

At least he’d worn a dark shirt.

Yoongi and Taehyung had watched him get changed a half dozen times through the early afternoon, panicked and shaking. At the time he’d already begun to go over all the worst case scenarios in his head, but it was Taehyung who’d distracted him away from his catastrophizing.

“I know you really like him,” Taehyung had said around shirt number five, “but have you considered you might not feel the same way after you meet?”

Jeongguk paused. “I … no? Why wouldn’t I?”

“I don’t know,” Taehyung went on, “you haven’t even seen his face. What if you think he’s ugly?”

Jeongguk shook his head once in the mirror, still focused on his shirt. “Don’t care.”

Taehyung looked at Yoongi, who shrugged with a small smile.

“What if he’s-”

“Hyung, whatever hypothetical you’re about to come up with, the answer is I don’t care,” Jeongguk told him. “He’s still the one who helped me. That’s all that matters.”

Yoongi watched him for a moment, expression unreadable, mouth curving on one side.

“I just mean that people aren’t always exactly what you expect in these kinds of situations,” Taehyung clarified. “Trust me, as someone who’s met plenty of models I’d only ever seen on the page before and learned the hard way, people can be sh*tty.”

“He’s not sh*tty,” Jeongguk said simply.

Taehyung deflated, annoyed that his point didn't seem to be landing. “I know he’s not, but your expectations are just-”

“I get what you’re saying, hyung, but nothing you can come up with is going to change how I feel. I don’t know how to explain it, I just,” Jeongguk pressed his hands to his chest, taking a moment to consider his words before he went on. “He matters to me. So much. He fixed me. I was so broken, and then I found him, and he fixed me. And if he doesn’t want to be my friend, I will cry.”

Yoongi’s bark of laughter was ignored.

Taehyung smoothed down the shoulders of Jeongguk’s shirt - a black balenciaga tee - after he changed it one more time. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, somehow,” he said. “I just want you to go into this without putting him too high on that pedestal. It’s a long way down, Gguk-ah. And he doesn’t deserve that.”

“I know.”

“And neither do you,” Taehyung added.

Jeongguk held his gaze for a moment.

“What if he doesn’t like me?” he whispered, eyes huge and afraid.

Taehyung tilted his head, eyes fond. “Not possible.”

Jeongguk had accepted a hug from Taehyung and a thumbs up on the shirt from Yoongi before he’d left, scrambling for the stairs and yelling about not wanting to be late and make a bad first impression.

Now he was finally here - a few minutes early, to boot - and everything he’d said to Taehyung was still echoing in his ears.

It was all true, all of it. This was Jimin. His Jimin. Even if he never knew that’s how Jeongguk felt, at the end of the day, this was still the man he admired so much, the one that saved him. That gratitude existed as its own entity, alive and warm and buried deep in Jeongguk’s chest. It would always be there, no matter who Jimin turned out to be in real life.

After a few futile minutes of staring at his reflection and trying to fix the flush of his face, he finally gave in, resigning himself to his fate. He pulled out his phone for the right number: 6/13. Seizing all his courage, he reached out and pressed the button for #6 on the intercom.

Traffic honked and rumbled on the street behind him as he waited, heart pounding in his ears. There was a lens above the intercom. Jimin was going to see him.

He was fine. Everything was fine.

“Hello? Jeongguk-ssi?”

Jeongguk felt himself trembling. “Hi,” he said, voice cracking. He winced.

A delighted giggle came through the speaker, and Jeongguk found himself grinning in a daze so heavy that he jumped when the buzz sounded for the door.

He pushed in after a moment, making his way up the stairs and finding the apartment with relative ease. Just as he reached out to knock, the door swung open.

Jeongguk felt the air leave him as time seemed to slam to a standstill.

An unfamiliar man stood in the doorway, his dark eyes wide in surprise. His soft blonde hair was swept back away from his face, beautiful beestung lips parted and hanging open as he stared back at Jeongguk, searching his face in awe. The soft, white, v-neck shirt he was wearing hung too loose on his frame, and his bare feet poked out from under the cuffs of dark skinny jeans.

For a moment they both stood still, breathless and lost for words.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry!” Jimin caught himself first and backed up a little, flushing and bowing. “I didn’t mean to- Hi! Hello, I’m Jimin. You must be Jeongguk-ssi. Please come in-”

Jeongguk hadn’t figured out quite how to breathe just yet, but he was working on it. He did manage to put one foot in front of the other, which was in itself a small miracle, and he registered that the door had closed behind him. For now, at least, he couldn’t take his eyes off Jimin, blinking rapidly as if he wasn’t sure anything was real at all.

How are you real?

“It’s so hot out, I should get you some water,” Jimin said suddenly, avoiding Jeongguk’s gaze and gesturing to a shoe rack before he turned and disappeared down the hall.

With a sharp rasp Jeongguk pulled in a lungful of air, eyes darting around as his brain finally kicked into gear. He toed off his boots and socks as quickly as he could, setting them on the rack before following.

How is any of this real?

His mouth fell open as he took in the apartment that opened up in front of him. The living room was at the end of the small entry hall and it was decorated elegantly in shades of brown and cream with splashes of color here and there; a soft blue lamp, a vase of pale pink blooming flowers, a pile of books with a rainbow of different covers, a splash of green leaves. He rocked on his heels in the doorway as his gaze fell on the open sunroom at the back of the space where a familiar chair and bench sat in front of a tripod and camera bracketed by large microphones.

Just when Jeongguk’s heart had begun to settle, Jimin reappeared with a pitcher and two glasses, gesturing to the couches. “I like to talk for a bit before we record, if that’s alright? Get to know you a little.”

Jeongguk nodded rapidly, chewing his lip. “You’re - it’s so beautiful here,” he finally managed to say, voice shaking. He silently hoped that Jimin wouldn’t notice.

“Thank you,” Jimin smiled, sitting and pouring two glasses before he looked up and met Jeongguk’s eyes again. He gestured all around. “It’s my favorite place.”

“Mine too,” Jeongguk enthused, moving around the couch to sit opposite him. “I mean, it would be mine too if I - if it was my-”

“If you lived here?” Jimin’s smile widened. “You live with Yoongi-hyung, right?”

Jeongguk’s surprise must have shown on his face, because Jimin laughed.

“Taehyungie is my best and oldest friend. I have heard-” he gestured with both hands for emphasis, “literally every single thing there is to hear about Min Yoongi.”

Jeongguk grinned. He never doubted that Taehyung loved Yoongi, but hearing just how much filled him with joy. Yoongi deserved the world.

“When they started dating, I swear I’d never heard Yoongi-hyung talk that much in his life. About anyone, or anything,” Jeongguk said. “Except maybe music.”

Nodding along, Jimin perched on the edge of the couch, shifting his legs around to get comfortable. Jeongguk watched him move, his every gesture laced with a stunning and simple kind of grace.

“You’re a musician too, right? You make music with Yoongi-hyung?”

Jeongguk reached out a hand for his glass, noticed it shaking, and withdrew it quickly, hiding both hands under his armpits.

“Yes!” He said a little too enthusiastically, trying to cover. “We’ve almost finished our first full album, actually, it’s - I mean - I can’t even put into words - It’s been so -” He felt himself struggling to get out a full sentence and tried not to panic. “We’ve worked so hard.”

Jimin, thankfully, hadn’t seemed to notice - his focus was firmly on Jeongguk’s right arm. Jeongguk followed his eyeline down to his tattoos; the Libra constellation was on show on the outside of his forearm, tangled up with Virgo.

He glanced back at Jimin for a moment, concerned at first that he’d offended him somehow, but his expression wasn’t one of irritation. Instead his eyes were big and bright with wonder, his face open and his look vulnerable in a way that made Jeongguk weak.

In a heartbeat the expression was gone, replaced by a gentle smile as Jimin glanced up once more. “I bet it sounds amazing, I can’t wait to hear it,” he said. “I’ll admit I’ve been listening to both of your old EPs on repeat for days. Euphoria is my favorite song, but Stay Alive is a close second.”

Heart stuttering violently in his chest, Jeongguk blinked at him.

They were both his songs.

“They’re - those are good,” he managed to get out, voice barely there.

“Your tattoos are so beautiful,” Jimin enthused, pointing to them. “Do you need me to cover them for the video? Please say no.”

Jeongguk shook his head, glancing at them again. “No, not at all. I’m - no need.”

“Good,” Jimin grinned. “You watch the channel, you said?”

Jeongguk nodded. “I - yes,” he breathed.

This was it. Now was the time to tell him everything.

He could feel it in his chest, burning hot and bright, full to the brim with emotion and sincerity; how much it meant to him, how much all of it had changed everything.

But the words didn’t come.

“Do you have a favorite video?”

Jeongguk blushed lightly, looking away. “Yes, uh - the - Namjoon-ssi.”

Jimin’s brow lifted slightly. “I’m finding he’s a lot of people’s favorite lately, the comments got a little out of hand on that one.”

“Really?” It struck Jeongguk that he’d never even thought to look at the comments, and he resolved to do so the second he got home.

“Yeah, he’s very popular,” Jimin said. “Something about a beautiful man with a deep voice reading his own poetry, I think. But that’s Namjoon-hyung, he’s irritatingly just as beautiful inside as he is on the outside.”

Jeongguk tilted his head. “It’s not just him, it’s - the way you are together. In the video. It’s … it’s so comforting.”

That seemed to please Jimin, and he put his drink back down, resting his chin on his palm. “I got very lucky with Namjoon-hyung, he makes it so easy.”

“You two are-”

“Not together,” Jimin insisted quickly. “Not anymore. He’s one of my dearest friends.”

Jeongguk nodded, trying to look like didn’t already know that. “I’m a little jealous,” he admitted.

“I mean, I can always introduce you,” Jimin offered, sinking a little in his seat.

Jeongguk laughed nervously. “Not like that, I mean - I wish my exes were more like that.”

Jimin made an oh face. “They’re not friendly?”

“No,” Jeongguk mouthed dramatically, and Jimin giggled. “But that’s my fault, I always used to go for mean guys. I knew they were all going to be that way going into it, I shouldn’t have expected anything different on the other side.”

When he noticed Jimin’s brow lift again, he realized he’d started to overshare. He went to apologize, but Jimin spoke first.

“You were trying to punish yourself for something.”

Jeongguk’s eyes went wide, and he shifted uncomfortably. He’d heard it before; it was Yoongi’s theory, too. That Jeongguk always chose men that would hurt him because he felt like a part of him deserved to be hurt.

He blinked, unsure of how to answer.

“I’m sorry that was-” Jimin cleared his throat, straightening. “I didn’t mean to get so personal, I’m sorry. I can be blunt sometimes.”

“It’s alright,” Jeongguk insisted, trying to smile reassuringly. How did he get here so fast? Why was he bearing his soul to a man he’d only just met?

Jeongguk swallowed hard, eyes on Jimin.

He knew why.

“Is there anything you want to ask me?” Jimin inquired.

There was so much Jeongguk wanted to know, but even after so many nights spent lying in front of his laptop listening to Jimin’s voice and wondering, wanting to know everything about him, his brain refused to cooperate.

“I, uh,” he stammered for a moment. Then a thought solidified. “Has Taehyungie-hyung ever done it?”

Jimin let out a surprised laugh. “No. I’ve tried, believe me. He always says he’s better behind the camera, not in front of it. But I’m determined to get him in the chair someday.”

Jeongguk grinned back, enjoying Jimin’s delight.

“Him, and Yoongi-hyung, someday,” Jimin insisted.

“Good luck,” Jeongguk chuckled. “Yoongi-hyung would never.”

“Oh I have a feeling he would if I asked nice enough,” Jimin said, sipping his water and setting it down again.

Jeongguk felt heat flush him from head to toe at the tone of Jimin’s voice, and he looked away, hoping that it didn’t show on his face.

“Do you watch many other ASMR channels?” Jimin asked. “Any favorites?”

“Just yours,” Jeongguk admitted.

Jimin’s mouth curled at the edge as he held Jeongguk’s gaze for a moment.

“Is there anything you want me to include in particular?”

“Include?” Jeongguk asked, unsure. He reached out nervously for his glass, taking a long sip.

“In the session.” Jimin gestured towards the sun room. “I know the main things I want to do to you, but if there’s anything you want me to make sure I do-”

Jeongguk tried not to choke on his water, completely missing the mischievous glint in Jimin’s eye as he returned his glass to the table.

“I mean, I…” Jeongguk’s brain was blank. Suddenly he couldn’t remember a single thing about any of Jimin’s ASMR sessions. He’d watched every one of his videos, and every single one of them was just - gone.

“I’ll improvise,” Jimin offered. “I usually do, but if you have any requests, please let me know. Just a few things about the session before we get into it: if you have a negative reaction to anything, a sound, a scent, a sensation or a touch, just let me know right away. Don’t feel like you can’t speak up just because the camera is rolling, that’s what editing is for. Your comfort is paramount.”

Jeongguk nodded. It made sense.

“My main rule though is no whispering, just speak softly, if you want to say anything,” Jimin added. “Whispering is bad for your voice.”

“I say that all the time,” Jeongguk replied, smiling.

“I knew I liked you,” Jimin said with a grin. “When you’re in the chair, it can be hard to relax at first, being right in front of the camera. It’s difficult to disconnect from that self-consciousness if you’re not used to it, but try to just take in the different scents and sensations, and just listen to my voice.”

Jeongguk nodded again, wetting his lips nervously. Jimin’s eyes flicked down briefly and back up.

“Are you used to being touched by other people?” Jimin asked, head tilting.

Flustered, Jeongguk stammered over a few sounds before he managed to get out: “Yes, and no. The hyungs do, sometimes, I mean, just friendly touches. But I’m not, uh. I’m single, so-”

“Understood,” Jimin replied. “Do you get massages very often?”

Jeongguk shook his head.

“I know you wouldn’t have come if you weren’t interested in the experience, but even so - if you find you don’t like it, just let me know,” Jimin said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Some people just don’t.”

“I do,” Jeongguk insisted.

Jimin’s smile returned. “Good.”

Jeongguk took a deep, steadying breath.

“Do you have any other questions for me before we start?” Jimin asked.

Jeongguk thought for a moment, searching the space. When nothing came to him, he gave a short, sharp shake of his head.

Tell him now, a voice cried desperately in the back of his mind. Just tell him how you feel.

Jimin tilted his head in the direction of the sun room with a grin, standing, and Jeongguk silently moved to follow.

“Tae mentioned you’ve got a thing for scents?” Jimin added as he walked ahead. “You like complexity, lots of different ones?”

“Oh, I - yes,” Jeongguk stammered.

“Did you want your shirt on or off?” Jimin asked.

Jeongguk froze.

His brain helpfully replayed little visions of Seokjin’s video where he wore a white tank top. Hoseok too. Namjoon and Taemin, he realized, had both been shirtless.

“I can - take it off,” Jeongguk said weakly.

“You don’t have to,” Jimin said with a soft laugh. “It’s just a lot nicer for you if I can work skin to skin.”

Jeongguk felt like he was trembling, but he didn’t know how to stop. He’d never been embarrassed to be shirtless before; he walked around without one at home often enough, and he’d been stripped down and changed on photoshoots so many times he’d lost count. This was no different, he told himself.

“Shirtless,” he confirmed, a little stronger this time. He still felt unbalanced, he was still shaking, but his voice at least was steady.

“Excellent,” Jimin said, glancing over his shoulder. He stopped when he caught sight of Jeongguk, and his face fell slightly.

Jeongguk felt a sudden surge of panic.

Wait, what did I do?

Before he could ask, Jimin turned and stepped into his space. Jeongguk stopped still in front of him, blinking rapidly, mouth working around words that wouldn’t come to him; excuses for whatever it was that Jimin had seen that had disappointed him.

“Jeongguk-ssi,” Jimin began gently, holding up his hands. “I’ve done this so many times, I’ve seen people so nervous before, and this is more than that. Are you going to tell me what’s really wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” Jeongguk lied.

“You’re shaking,” Jimin countered. “You’re so pale, you look terrified. All we did was talk. I need to be able to touch you for this, but I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. Are you certain it’s alright?”

Jeongguk’s heart was pounding in his ears. “Of course.”

“You’re okay?” Jimin asked.

“Yes,” Jeongguk lied again.

Jimin watched him for a moment. Then slowly, deliberately, he stepped in and placed a hand over Jeongguk’s racing heart. His eyes never left Jeongguk’s, silently challenging, but without any bitterness or frustration. Just endless patience.

Jeongguk felt something hot and thick lodge in his throat. Jimin knew he was lying. He knew, and he was giving him time to explain why. To tell him.

It was hard to escape the difference in their sizes standing facing each other. Jimin was so much smaller than he’d imagined in person, but in that moment, Jeongguk couldn’t have felt smaller himself if he’d tried.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, you know,” Jimin insisted, gaze dropping to his hand on Jeongguk’s chest. “Or we can talk for longer, and do the session another day. I’m not that scary, I promise.”

“It’s not-” Jeongguk tried, choking slightly. “I mean-”

Jimin waited for him, watching him, his expression soft.

“It’s just that-” Jeongguk tried.

He had to tell him. He had to.

He placed both hands over Jimin’s hand on his chest.

“You helped me. A lot. When nothing - nothing else - did.”

Jimin blinked at him, confused. “That’s good though?”

“You don’t understand,” Jeongguk said, eyes welling with tears. “You fixed me.”

“You’re not broken,” Jimin insisted without hesitation.

“I was.” Jeongguk put both hands on his head as Jimin’s hand fell away. He felt a hot tear race down his cheek. “I was so broken. For years. I couldn’t sleep - I just couldn’t. And it was torture. For so long. I couldn’t think straight, or write songs half the time, I couldn’t - be me.”

Jimin's eyes were big and sad as he listened.

“I was in pieces, and I barely held myself together. The music held me together. And Yoongi-hyung, and later Taehyung-hyung, and just trying to believe there was an other side to get through to, to come out of,” he rambled, “and then - then I found you. And you changed everything. Just the sound of your voice.”

Jeongguk wiped his face, looking down at the teardrops that collected on his fingertips.

“You fixed me. You saved me. I didn’t know how to tell you that without it being - too much,” Jeongguk admitted. “Especially for the first time we met. But I need you to know.”

There was a moment of quiet, and he couldn’t bring himself to look up.

Then, Jimin leaned in and caught his eyes.

“You know, people always compliment me on different things,” he said. “My aesthetic is pleasing, the models are beautiful, the scents sound so soothing. But nobody else has ever told me that before. That I helped them.”

Jeongguk blinked, and more tears fell.

“You have no idea what it means to hear that,” Jimin promised. “It’s not too much. It’s everything.”

With a soft, damp laugh, Jeongguk ducked his head, trying to hold down a sob.

“Shh, hey,” Jimin closed the distance between them and wrapped his arms around Jeongguk’s waist, resting his head on his shoulder.

The flood of relief was overwhelming, and Jeongguk let it wash over him as he clung tight to Jimin’s frame, riding out the emotions that swelled and broke like waves crashing in his chest. He wondered if he would ever be able to properly convey the depth of his gratitude, but holding Jimin, smelling the orange blossom scent of his hair and feeling the warmth of him in his chest; something told him he was going to get the chance.

After a long time they finally parted, and Jeongguk sheepishly played with his ponytail, eyes cast down. “I’m sorry-”

“Don’t ever be sorry,” Jimin cut him off. “Not for that.”

Jeongguk nodded.

“Do you still want to record?” Jimin asked.

“I do, so much,” Jeongguk promised. He took a moment to compose himself, wiping away the last of the tears and taking a deep, calming breath.

With that, Jimin took his hand again and led him into the sun room, gesturing to the big soft chair that sat squarely in the center of the space.

Jeongguk stopped briefly to take in the entirety of the room. The bench that was built into the back wall held an array of beautiful things arranged on it for the camera: bottles and vials, flowers and plants, candles and stacks of books. Beneath it, hidden from view, was a small fridge and round stool. The main chair was white and soft, wide in the seat, with a low back so it wouldn’t show up in the shot or get in the way of the massage.

As Jeongguk stepped forward and sat down, he felt himself sink slightly, and watched as Jimin moved to double check the viewfinder and ensure the shot was just the way he wanted it.

There was a soft blip.

“It’s recording,” he said quietly, moving around behind Jeongguk again.

“Already?” Jeongguk straightened, startled, and Jimin chuckled under his breath as he struck a match to light the candles.

“I record everything I can, not just for the videos but for me. Some of my favorite things aren’t really right for the channel, but I still get to keep them this way.”

Jeongguk smiled at the thought. How beautiful, to be able to collect some of your favorite moments in time.

After a few minutes of quiet and comforting sounds while Jimin set up, he felt fingers pluck at the back of his shirt.

“Off with it,” Jimin demanded, and Jeongguk laughed as he complied and hooked the hem, dragging the fabric up over his head and tossing it aside.

There was a soft, shaky exhale of breath from behind him.

Then a hand took a gentle hold of his ponytail, easing the hair tie out. “This okay?”

“Yes,” he breathed, then remembered the no whispering rule. “Of course.”

He felt his hair fall around his ears and reached up to brush his bangs with his fingers and even them out, stopping after a moment when he realized Jimin would want to do it. Then, without warning, there were careful fingers raking through his hair, dragging across his scalp. He felt a shiver ripple down his spine.

It only lasted a moment before the hands moved down to his neck, and then his shoulders, pressing down lightly every so often on the way.

“Still nervous?” Jimin asked.

“Not anymore,” Jeongguk replied truthfully, smiling as he realized it.

“Why’s that?”

Jeongguk tipped his head back, grinning up at Jimin above him. “You’re here.”

Jimin’s surprised smile was beautiful and it lit up his face. “Cute.”

Looking forward again, Jeongguk laughed silently to himself, flushing pink. Nobody had ever called him that before.

Behind him, Jimin retrieved something from the little fridge and began to organize his vials, the glass tinkling softly. Jeongguk drew a long, deep breath, and let it out slowly as the ambient noise seeped into his senses. The light that filtered in through the thin curtains was warm on his bare skin, making him almost sleepy, and he silently prayed he wasn’t sweating so much that it showed up on camera. With a little gasp he remembered his phone, and pulled it out to set it to airplane mode before shoving it back in his pocket.

He felt Jimin press close to his back again, fingers brushing over his shoulders this time, focusing on the right hand side.

“Do you mind if I trace these for the video?” Jimin asked softly as he touched the tattoos. “They’re so beautiful.”

“No, of course not,” Jeongguk answered, looking down at them. Jimin’s hand lingered on the blank circle for a moment, thumb brushing over the skin gently, before he moved on.

“I’ll start,” Jimin said, “and then do an introduction.”

Jeongguk nodded once, eyes closing as Jimin’s hands began to explore his shoulders and trace lines across the muscles with light touches. He caught a sudden scent in the air; sweet and bright, coming from the candle wax - gardenia. He drew a sharp, shallow breath in surprise.

“You alright?” Jimin asked, lifting a hand to stroke his cheek.

He nodded again, leaning into the hand against his face briefly, eyes still closed.

“Are you too warm?” Jimin asked. “I have chilled cloths to cool you, just let me know if they’re too cold. I’ll use them in a minute.”

“Okay.”

Jimin moved his hands back to the base of Jeongguk’s scalp and gently finger-combed his hair again before tucking it around his ears.

The silence pressed in as Jimin kept going, sweeping fingers up and back again, acclimating him to the sensation and setting him at ease. Jeongguk focused on the feeling, reveling in the simple joy of being touched with such care. Nobody had touched him this way before, so carefully and deliberately, and just to make him feel good.

He heard Jimin’s voice a moment later as the introduction began.

“Hey everyone,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk tried not to smile too wide and ruin the moment. “It’s been a long week, and I missed you all so much.”

Jeongguk tried not to think about his own facial expressions, instead focusing on the sound of Jimin’s voice and the feeling of his hands against his neck, tracing up and down.

“My guest this week is going to be familiar to anyone with good taste in music,” Jimin went on. “Jeongguk-ssi is a songwriter and a musician, and he is one half of Rook, one of my new favorite bands here in Seoul. If you’re not familiar, definitely check them out on Spotify, and you can find their band website in the description.”

The hands at his neck moved to his shoulders again, pressing down lightly.

“Jeongguk-ssi and I have just met today, but I can’t help but feel like we’ve known eachother forever,” Jimin said. “I can already tell he’s very passionate, and emotionally driven, empathetic, and kind - in a way that moves me.”

Jeongguk was silently relieved that he’d kept his eyes closed as they almost welled up again.

“I’m so grateful for the chance to work with him, to get to know him,” Jimin said, “and I hope we can spend much more time together in the future.”

As the hands moved back into his hair, Jeongguk tried to calm his racing heart.

“He suffers from chronic insomnia and anxiety, and although it’s been better recently, I still want to help as much as I can today and make sure that he leaves this place with a sense of greater peace,” Jimin went on. “So we’re going to work today to diffuse that anxiety and keep on repairing his sleep.”

“To begin, it is summer here in Seoul, and his skin is very warm from the sun so I want to try and bring his temperature down just a little, to start the soothing process and just make him more comfortable. I’ve talked before about these,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk felt the press of a chilled cloth to his shoulder. “They’re so useful in the summer, and so easy to make. Just a damp face-washer or hand towel that you can add oils to and roll up and place in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. For Jeongguk-ssi I’ve added a few drops of roman chamomile and ylang ylang oils, to begin his relaxation.”

The scent of the two combined reached Jeongguk’s nose by the third pass of the cloth over his shoulders and collarbones, and he breathed in deeply as Jimin talked about the benefits of both oils. He let Jimin tilt his head gently to one side as he worked the cloth down his neck, wiping away the sweat. So much of Jeongguk’s body already felt lax and pliant that he let himself be guided by Jimin’s practiced hands without any resistance.

By the time Jimin was finished with the cooling cloth, Jeongguk felt like he was floating.

“I’m going to work next on his beautiful hair, and for that I’ve made a light herbal toner,” he went on.

Jeongguk tuned back in, trying to keep from drifting down too deep.

“So this toner is made on marshmallow root and horsetail herb tea, both of which have incredible benefits for the hair and scalp,” Jimin explained as he played with Jeongguk’s hair with his free hand, “as well some some essential oils of black pepper to stimulate circulation, clary sage for growth, and rosemary to strengthen the hair.”

The soft, repeating shfft of the spray bottle sounded as droplets rained down around him, and he wiggled slightly in the chair, letting out a quiet laugh.

Jimin made a questioning noise behind him, and Jeongguk bit his lip. “Tickles,” he said, nose scrunching.

He felt Jimin press a cheek to his crown affectionately, hands squeezing his shoulders tight as he shook lightly with laughter.

There was a pause as he moved away, and Jeongguk realized he was picking something else up.

“I’m going to brush the toner through his hair gently,” Jimin told the camera, his voice still warm with fondness. “As always, I’m using my custom-made rosewood brush which is designed to smooth tangles without any pain, and stimulate the scalp at the same time.”

Jeongguk had never had long hair before, and certainly never had another person brush it for him. Even brushing his own hair, he’d never seen the point in being gentle, favoring speed over care.

With one hand cradling his jaw, Jimin brushed his hair smoothly and slowly for him, using just the right amount of pressure to send ripples of pleasure down his spine and make his eyes roll back into his head. The sensation was completely new, and a little overwhelming. Nothing else felt like this, at least, nothing he’d ever known.

After a moment he realized the thumb on his face was stroking across his cheekbone comfortingly while the brush worked, and he felt a flush of heat creep up on him.

With each pass he felt himself melting in the seat, lips parted and eyes closed, head tipped back as Jimin cradled his face and kept working.

When the brushing was over, he heard Jimin’s voice again, this time talking about jojoba oil, and rosemary and lavender. He heard the tell-tale croaks of the vial droppers behind him picking up liquid as Jimin mixed the oils on his fingertips and returned, hands sinking into Jeongguk’s hair to massage his scalp.

“Scalp massage can be very effective in enhancing circulation,” Jimin said, and after a moment Jeongguk felt him gather handfuls of hair. “I’m just gently, very gently, going to pull on his hair in small bunches - not enough to hurt, just enough to release tension and increase blood flow.”

Jeongguk was completely unprepared, and tried not to moan as Jimin’s fists tightened in his hair. The rush was dizzying, and the sudden spike of arousal in his belly made him struggle for breath.

Jimin was saying something about fascia and muscle tension, but Jeongguk’s brain was too busy short-circuiting violently to absorb any of it. He felt himself grip the arm of the chair until the hair pulling finally slowed, and the scalp massage resumed as if nothing else had happened.

As his body unclenched, he let out a soft, shuddering breath and let himself sink once more while Jimin’s strong fingers kept working in circles above his ears to his temples. He wanted so badly to listen to what Jimin was saying, but he felt so warm and so safe that he couldn’t help but sink deeper and deeper into the sensations and the building cloud of different scents.

It was a while before he drifted back close to full consciousness, only pulled back up by the sudden absence of Jimin’s hands in his hair.

“Jungkook-ssi’s massage oil today is one I’ve blended specifically for him with his skincare and emotional needs in mind,” Jimin was saying. “It’s a lot more - potent - than my usual blends simply because he is very deeply driven by his sense of smell and I think he’s more likely to appreciate the complexity of all the notes I’ve included.”

Jeongguk blinked blearily, almost swaying in the chair. He pulled a long, deep breath into his lungs, letting his chest expand. The new scent reached him just as Jimin spread the oil across his shoulders.

“This blend includes an undercurrent of lavender, as you would expect in any sleep aid combination as it is the gold standard for sleep, and frankincense, which is such an incredible essential oil for insomnia and anxiety, and has such an ancient, powerful scent.”

His eyes drifted closed again as Jimin’s strong hands began to work, the intoxicating fragrance swirling up around him.

“I’ve combined them with clary sage; a sedative that also helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol, as well as one of my rarer inclusions which you may not have seen me use before, but it’s a personal favorite in combination with the others - carrot seed oil. It can revive the mind, calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and diminish feelings of emotional fatigue - which is very common with insomnia sufferers.”

Jeongguk could barely understand him, lost in the soft, sweet sound of his voice and the feeling of his hands working up and down his neck, back to his shoulders again. A hand came up once more to cradle his head to one side as the pressure increased down the length of his neck in long strokes.

“I’m just using my knuckles - to stretch the muscles,” Jimin explained, “just gently working the tissue and releasing any built-up tension. We carry so much in our shoulders, and it’s very beneficial from time to time to break it down and release that pain.”

There was a short span of quiet as Jimin worked, and Jeongguk felt only the rush of blood to his brain from the massage, and the dizzying bliss that came with it.

“All of these oils are also amazing in skincare and have restorative and skin balancing properties. The carrier oil is grapeseed, which is a lightweight oil and is non comedogenic. It’s wonderful for carrying heavier essential oils like the blend I’ve used, and it’s high in antioxidants, linoleic acid, and vitamin E.”

Jeongguk had no idea what any of it meant, but it sounded amazing.

“I’ve made an additional vial of this oil for Jeongguk-ssi to take home with him for a self soothing massage before bed, and hopefully we can eliminate his insomnia for good.”

It became impossible to tell how long the quiet stretched between each time Jimin spoke, but his voice never disturbed the peace, only ever seeming to add a soft, musical quality to the ambiance of the room.

“Jeongguk-ssi has … the most beautiful tattoos that I’ve seen in a long time. When I saw them earlier I knew I wanted to work with them with the oil, and I love to watch them darken, and see the extra definition in the galaxies and all the beautiful colors.”

He felt Jimin lift his arm gently as he worked on it, guiding it up into the camera’s view.

“I love that all the constellations here tie into the next one, and this-” his fingers danced on Jeongguk’s forearm- “this one is my favorite, because I’m a Libra, and I know Jeongguk-ssi is a Virgo. And it feels like we were supposed to meet - just like this.”

Jeongguk felt the air leave him for a moment, lips trembling as the weight of what Jimin had said sank in. He remembered the day that Libra and Virgo were filled in on the work as it bloomed down his arm piece by piece; done as a pair, entwined from the beginning.

Jimin kept sliding his fingers along the muscles, working them slowly and evenly before lowering the arm once more and switching to the other side.

In the quiet, Jeongguk let himself relax again; let his mind wander over the patterns on his skin and the way Jimin had traced each one. The powerful combination of the different oils scents along with the rhythm of Jimin’s hands left him feeling weightless and somehow all too heavy at the same time.

“With every session I always try to ensure that my guest leaves my company feeling safe, and cared for, and like they can fully let go of any pressure or stress or fears they may feel,” Jimin began softly. “I also want to make sure that his blood sugar isn’t too low as massage can sometimes cause it to dip - so I have set aside for him some sweet hibiscus tea, just to help revitalize him a little.”

Jeongguk felt his eyes drift open, suddenly aware that the session was coming to a close. He realized after a beat that Jimin was waiting for him to take the glass, one hand still gently petting at the back of his neck.

After a long sip and a moment to enjoy the cool, sweet taste, Jeongguk let out an audible breath, still blinking slowly as he came back to himself.

“How do you feel?” Jimin asked.

“That was incredible.” Jeongguk huffed a breathy laugh, tipping his head back to look up at Jimin again. “I feel like I’m floating.”

Jimin’s smile was beautiful, even upside down. He combed his fingers through Jeongguk’s hair gently on either side of his face, smoothing it and tucking it back behind his ears.

“I want to thank Jeongguk-ssi so much for being my model, and thank you all for watching, and I will see you - next week.”

Taking another slow sip, Jeongguk swallowed and closed his eyes, enjoying the last few moments of Jimin’s attention.

“Just take a minute to relax,” Jimin told him. “Take your time, don’t stand up yet.”

Jeongguk nodded, still enjoying his tea.

He heard the sounds of Jimin puttering around behind him, closing up vials and blowing out candles, and caught the sudden sharp scent of the carbon and candle smoke over his beautiful oils.

“I hope I didn’t drool,” Jeongguk said, touching fingers to his lip and grinning at Jimin’s musical laughter.

“No, no drool, but you came close a few times,” Jimin teased. “Pass me your phone.”

Jeongguk did without a second thought, still hazy.

Jimin leaned over and held it in front of Jeongguk’s face for a beat to unlock it before he tapped at the screen a few times, typing rapidly. When he passed it back, Jeongguk realized he’d added his number as a contact.

“I should clean some of that oil off before you put your shirt back on,” Jimin said, pointing at Jeongguk’s arm as he stooped to retrieve another cool cloth from the fridge.

“Oh wow.” Jeongguk glanced down at the darkened and intensified hues of his tattoos under the thin sheen of oil, awestruck. “It makes them stand out so much.”

“I need to get the name of your tattoo artist,” Jimin insisted, coming over to wipe the oil away, “or get you to take me with you when you go next time to finish it.”

Jeongguk took another sip before turning to set down the glass. “It’s finished.”

Jimin’s eyes narrowed slightly and he gave Jeongguk a puzzled look.

“You noticed?”

“The giant hole in it? Yeah, I noticed that,” Jimin joked, reaching out to touch Jeongguk’s shoulder again where the circle sat. “I thought you’d put the moon there.”

“I will when I find it,” Jeongguk said.

Jimin made a soft ah noise, reaching to retrieve Jeongguk’s shirt and holding it out for him. “You left it empty for a reason.”

Pulling his shirt on, Jeongguk wriggled in his seat. “When I couldn’t sleep, on the worst nights, I’d go out and look up at the stars. I’ve always had a thing for stars,” he lifted his arm, “obviously.”

“Obviously,” Jimin echoed with a smile.

“But every time, there’d be no moon. It started as a little joke and grew into this,” he gestured with both hands, “this bigger thing with this greater meaning. The moon was gone, and at my very worst, my way of holding on to hope was holding onto the dream of it, the idea of it. It came to represent this hole in me, this - thing that’s missing from my life.

Jimin’s expression did something strange, clouding and clearing again as he seemed to want to say something and thought better of it.

“Do you know what it is?” he asked, standing by the camera.

Jeongguk glanced over at him.

“I mean, the thing the moon represents?” Jimin clarified.

Jeongguk shook his head lightly. “I just know it’s out there somewhere. And I’ll know it when I find it.”

Jimin watched him closely for a moment. Softly, barely audibly, he said; “You will.”

“What about you?” Jeongguk asked, scooting forward in the seat. “Any tattoos?”

With a laugh, Jimin adjusted his own shirt. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“That’s not fair,” Jeongguk teased. “I showed you mine.”

Jimin laughed again. He held up his wrist, showing a little 13 on the inside.

“I saw that one. Birthday?” Jeongguk guessed, and Jimin shot him an impressed look.

After a moment he stepped closer and tilted his head, brushing his hair back on one side. As he held his ear forward and crouched down, Jeongguk focused on the detail hidden behind the shell of it; a little white five-pointed flower surrounded by a stunning brushstroke of pink and purple watercolors.

“It’s beautiful,” he said.

“Neroli,” Jimin told him, letting go of his ear.

Jeongguk’s brows pulled tight as he tried to remember where he’d heard the word before. “That’s an essential oil?”

“It is. It comes from the flowers of bitter orange trees,” Jimin explained.

“Birth flower?”

“No,” Jimin said. “Just - the thing that saved me.”

Jeongguk’s face bloomed into a look of surprise, and Jimin chuckled at the reaction.

“We all need help, sometimes. I had terrible headaches. I was very sad,” he explained. “A long time ago. When I was very young, I wasn’t who I was supposed to be, and I kept trying to make myself be a different person. The person I thought everybody wanted me to be. I thought if I just tried hard enough, I could fake it until it transformed me. But that’s not how any of it works.”

“No,” Jeongguk agreed, listening intently.

Jimin bit his lip and seemed to briefly consider how much he should say. “Then I figured out who I was, and I thought I’d found what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life. I threw myself into it. I trained all day and all night, I worked so hard. I was a dancer,” he said, smiling sadly. “Then, in a heartbeat, I lost everything.”

Jeongguk felt his frown deepen. “Injury?”

“Bad landing,” Jimin said with a shudder, his eyes downcast. “Broke my back. Took a long time to recover - but it was just too dangerous to dance ever again.”

An ache spread in Jeongguk’s chest seeing the hint of tears in Jimin’s eyes. Everything in him longed to reach out, but he held still.

“All of this,” Jimin went on, gesturing around them both. “This saved me. Neroli was the first one I found, for the headaches. And it helped with the sadness. I just fell in love with the smell of it, the way it made me feel. The rest followed. Finding this, loving doing this, it saved me.”

Jeongguk smiled softly, studying Jimin’s face. The warm late afternoon light filled the room and seemed to make his already stunning features glow.

Now the candle smoke smell had faded, every breath Jeonnguk took was laced with the beautiful combinations of oils in his hair, on his skin. But for some reason, all he wanted to smell was neroli. He wondered if it was the scent he’d caught in Jimin’s hair when they’d hugged.

After a beat, Jimin used Jeongguk’s knees to help himself stand, groaning exaggeratedly and earning a soft laugh. He turned and pressed a button on the camera before he looked back to Jeongguk.

“Come with me,” he said, holding out a hand.

Jeongguk took it without hesitation.

As Jimin led him back to the living room, he felt like he was still somewhere outside of himself, not completely grounded just yet. Jimin squeezed his hand once before letting go.

“Sit for a minute before you go,” Jimin instructed. “You’re still coming down from it.”

Jeongguk did as he was told, sitting and scooting back deeper into the couch, watching Jimin as he moved to a nearby stereo and set a soft tune playing. He listened carefully, taking a moment to absorb every detail of Jimin’s taste in music. The song was unfamiliar, but it sounded beautiful, and it reminded him of Jimin.

“Would you like another tea?” Jimin asked, and Jeongguk shook his head.

“I’m alright, thanks.”

Jimin came and settled on the other couch, lifting both legs to tuck to one side.

“I hope I lived up to the legend,” he teased.

Jeongguk laughed softly, scooping his hair back out of his face. “It was so good.”

“Good,” Jimin eyed him fondly. “You were wonderful. One of the best models I’ve had.”

Making an embarrassed face, Jeongguk swayed from side to side, and Jimin giggled at him.

“I mean it,” he said. “So many people just sit so still, they’re afraid to speak or move. You were so responsive.”

“You know so many beautiful people,” Jeongguk said. “I swear everyone on your channel is practically an idol.”

“The benefit of having a best friend with endless modeling connections,” Jimin told him.

“Oh! Right.” Jeongguk felt silly for not realizing that link sooner.

“Sometimes I think of doing something different,” Jimin admitted. “I have so many ideas, but people have come to expect me to do what I do the way that I do it, and I don’t want to let anybody down.”

“Ideas?” Jeongguk asked, intrigued.

Jimin shrugged. “Just - things I want to try. Things I think would be beautiful to watch, or relaxing to listen to, that aren’t the massage and the aromatherapy.”

“Like what?”

“I guess,” Jimin looked down at his hands, “like when I’m blending the oils, the sounds of the glass and the vials and the jars, I really love those sounds. Or - I had an idea that I - I really want to paint someone.”

Jeongguk’s brow lifted.

“Not with paint-paint, that’d be a little too messy. Just like soft brushing on skin,” Jimin explained. “Slow, with a body brush or soft fan brushes. I think about how that would sound, and look, and feel.”

A delicious shiver went down Jeongguk’s spine at the thought of lying down, spread out for Jimin, letting him brush over his body slowly, stroke by stroke.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do - I love bringing people that peace. And now I know there are people I’m helping more deeply, I never want to stop.”

“So just do other things on another day, maybe,” Jeongguk suggested. “Monday video, the usual. Then like - on Thursdays, something new.”

Jimin bit his lip.

“Just an idea,” Jeongguk said, shifting to get up.

“I’ll think about it,” Jimin promised him as they both stood.

There was an awkward moment where they both simply stared at each other, unsure of what to say next, both hesitant to say goodbye. Then, Jimin gasped softly.

“I almost forgot!”

Jeongguk watched and followed him for a few steps as Jimin made his way over to a lamp table and retrieved something.

“This is for you,” Jimin insisted, closing the gap between them and thrusting it at Jeongguk.

The brown paper bag was emblazoned on the side with the watercolor Calico Moon logo and was heavier than he expected, tinkling softly as he took it. Inside he found two glass vials and a glass spray bottle.

“I wanted you to have some of the toner and the massage oil from the video,” Jimin noted, pointing each of them out, “and the third one is something for when you’re writing your music.”

Jeongguk eyed him curiously before he retrieved the third glass bottle. The label was handwritten with his name, under which Jimin had scrawled Neroli & Pink Grapefruit.

“If you have a diffuser or-”

“I have-” (Jeongguk wondered how embarrassing the real number would be to admit) “-a few of them.”

“Good, add this to the one in your work space,” Jimin instructed firmly. “Trust me.”

“I do,” Jeongguk answered without hesitation, and Jimin beamed at him.

“Thank you - I -” Jeongguk looked down at the bottles and then back up at Jimin, sliding the bag handles onto his wrist. “Jimin-ssi, I’m so grateful, I don’t know how to thank you-”

“Jimin-hyung,” Jimin corrected him. “And you already did.”

“Jimin-hyung,” Jeongguk repeated, grinning and pressing his teeth into his lip briefly. “How much older?”

“Yah,” Jimin swatted at him playfully, and Jeongguk grabbed his wrist, “a couple years, don’t be a brat.”

Holding Jimin’s hand in both of his own, he brought it to his chest. “Hyung, it meant so much to me. All of it.”

“Me too,” Jimin answered gently, eyes on his own hand engulfed in both of Jeongguk’s. He looked up.

Jeongguk realized how close they were a moment too late. Jimin’s hand against his chest bloomed like a flower, fingers opening against his breastbone, and he was suddenly deeply aware of the rise and fall of each breath he took, and the wild race of his heart. Jimin had to be able to feel it, jackrabbiting in his chest. He had to know.

Blinking slowly, Jimin swayed closer, and Jeongguk felt his heart stop just as Jimin pressed a sweet kiss to his cheek.

“Take care of yourself,” he said as he leaned back. “Take it easy when you get home, too, it might be a while before things feel back to normal.”

Nodding weakly, Jeongguk tried to hide his disappointment. “I will. Thank you - again.”

Jimin smiled at him and they began to walk to the door. “Any time. If it gets bad again, you call me.”

“I can?”

“You can,” Jimin confirmed. “I want you to.”

After pulling his socks and boots back on, Jeongguk reached for the door, sparing a moment to look back one last time.

Jimin was watching him, leaning against the wall, arms wrapped around himself.

“Goodbye, Jeongguk-ah,” he said sweetly.

“Good night, Jimin-hyung.”

When the door shut with a click behind him, Jeongguk closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The scent of the massage oil lingered on his skin, in his hair, like a beautiful cloud that followed everywhere where he walked.

Even as he made it to the street and the wash of sticky summer heat consumed him, he couldn’t keep the grin off his lips.

*

Tapping in his apartment code and slipping in the front door that evening, he picked up on the sound of rapid footsteps betraying Taehyung’s attempt at a casual appearance.

“Oh, it is you,” he said.

Jeongguk fought down his amusem*nt as he took off his shoes. “Who else would it be?”

“It went well, then?” Taehyung asked airily.

Jeongguk tried to play it cool, but the blissed-out grin on his face was unretractable. “It - went -”

Taehyung was hanging on every word, hands grasped together in delight and anticipation.

Jeongguk let out a happy sigh. “Hyung, it was so good.”

Thrashing on the spot in victory, Taehyung closed on him, hugging him tight. “I knew it! I knew you’d both- oh, god, you smell so nice!”

With a laugh, Jeongguk squeezed him back, his brown paper bag dangling around his wrist over Taehyung’s shoulders.

“What’s that?” Tae wriggled, trying to reach the bag.

“Just some things he made for me,” Jeongguk admitted, blushing.

Taehyung grinned and followed as Jeongguk passed him. “How’s my Jiminie?”

“He’s wonderful,” Jeongguk said, closing his eyes for a moment. He remembered Jimin’s face as he’d left, the gentle look in his eyes he couldn’t quite place.

Yoongi chuckled from his seat at the table, and Jeongguk turned, noticing him for the first time. “Hyung, do you need me?”

“Done for tonight,” Yoongi told him, turning and leaning on the table with a gentle smile. He watched Jeongguk for a moment, pleased. “You look happy, Gguk-ah.”

Jeongguk beamed at him, pushing his hair out of his face and pressing his teeth into his lip rings.

“It’s good.” Yoongi closed his laptop. “Take the night off. I sent you Falling Pt 2, listen tonight, tell me if you’re happy with it tomorrow.”

“File name: Falling Pt 2, underscore final, underscore finished, underscore keysmash, underscore really done this time, underscore f*ck it,” Taehyung added, dodging the empty paper cup that his boyfriend launched at his head as all three of them laughed.

“Didn’t lose the file this time, hyung?” Jeongguk teased, nose scrunching up as Yoongi collapsed on the table and let out an exasperated groan.

“I will murder both of you,” Yoongi replied, voice muffled.

“After dinner you can murder me all you want,” Taehyung said, moving to slide a hand over Yoongi’s back comfortingly.

“Gross.” Jeongguk rolled his eyes, heading for his room.

“You want Thai food Jeonggukie?” Tae called, pulling out his phone.

“Yah, the usual,” Jeongguk called back from his room, pushing the door halfway shut behind him.

He took a moment just to breathe in the space, eyes flicking around the room before he pottered around mindlessly for a while, trying to gather his thoughts. It felt so surreal, everything was suddenly so normal - it felt almost like the entire afternoon had never happened.

But it had. Even if it felt like a dream, he knew it was real. And he had the proof.

Eagerly he reached into the bag he’d set on his desk and retrieved the third bottle, uncapping it and spreading a few drops between his fingers. The smell struck him right away, rich and bright and beautiful; his favorite pink grapefruit, tangy and sweet, over the heady, complex floral notes of the neroli. It was him, and it was Jimin; both of them together in a single breath.

It was everything.

He rubbed the oil on his fingers into his pulse points, taking deep, deliberate breaths to enjoy as much of it as he could.

With a grin he took out his phone, tapping on his messages. There he noticed the new contact, and a single message sent to it already. He blinked. A little starry emoji stared back at him, sent from his phone to Jimin’s.

It took a split second for his brain to kick in and realize that Jimin had sent the message to himself when he borrowed Jeongguk’s phone, just so he’d have Jeongguk’s number too.

He took a deep breath and began to type.

Jungkook

The third blend is amazing

Thank you for everything, Jimin-hyung

I still smell so good

He hit send on the third message and flinched. Stupid. He sounded stupid.

His screen lit up.

Jimin-hyung

You’re welcome Jeonggukie

I thought you might like it it’s my favorite blend

Jungkook

It’s beautiful

He lowered the phone, heart racing. A moment later he lifted it again.

Jungkook

Today was a dream and I feel like I woke up too soon

He watched the dots on screen hover, and disappear. Then reappear, and disappear again. Brow furrowing, he waited as the minutes ticked on. Then the message finally came through.

Jimin-hyung

Can I see you again?

Jeongguk gasped, eyes huge while he tried to process the words on screen and fumbled his phone briefly, catching it before it hit the floor. Righting it in his hands, he typed as quickly as he could.

Jungkook

Like now?

Jimin-hyung

ㅋㅋㅋ cute

Jeongguk bit his lip, unable to stop smiling.

Jungkook

When?

Jimin-hyung

Very soon

I didn’t want you to go

Jungkook

I didn’t know

There was another long pause, and he held his breath.

Jimin-hyung

Now you do

Letting the breath go, he spun on his heel and flopped backwards onto his bed, clutching his phone to his chest, mouth a grin.

It took him a moment to register that he hadn’t replied, and he held the phone up above him, tapping on the screen as his brain ticked over what he had left to work on that week. He had an album promo photoshoot on Thursday, the cover art to approve, and more meetings with the label that Yoongi had insisted they both had to attend for decisions on the first single and the schedule. It was packed.

Jungkook

This week is crazy with the album

But I can find a way

Just let me know where I’ll be there

Jimin-hyung

I can’t wait to hear it

Any chance I can get an advance copy?

Jungkook

I could do that

I know the band and everything

Jimin-hyung

I’m so impressed

Jeongguk played with his lip rings with his tongue, eyes bright in the glow of his phone screen light. He was lying on his back, staring up at it like a lovestruck teenager when Taehyung stuck his head through the door gap.

“Food’s here!”

Jeongguk slipped and dropped the phone on his face, letting out a shocked shout just as Taehyung doubled over with laughter.

“Shut up,” Jeongguk grumbled, rubbing his face and retrieving the phone as he sat up.

“Food’s here,” Tae reiterated and nodded to the phone. “Tell him I said hi.”

He disappeared from the doorway, and Jeongguk ducked his head sheepishly.

Jungkook

Taehyung-hyung says hi

Food’s here

Jimin-hyung

Tell him how good it was in the chair today

Tell him if he doesn’t come for a session soon I’m filing for divorce

Jungkook

ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Done

You deserve better anyway

Jimin-hyung

And you deserve the moon

Eat well Jeongguk-ah

Jeongguk blinked at his phone, mouth curving into a soft smile as he pushed his hair out of his eyes. He read it again, and again. One more time, and he let out a slow, uneven breath before pocketing the phone.

With a skip in his step, he made his way back out to the others.

*

As it turned out, the comments section of Calico Moon was comparatively tame.

Jeongguk had spent the night browsing under all of his favorite videos, enjoying the sea of kindness and compliments leveled at Jimin from every direction. Nothing about him escaped their praise, from the soothing sound of his voice to the depth of his research on the oils and equipment he used. So many were simply thankful for the gift of relaxation; most speaking of themselves, some talking about their babies or loved ones.

It was the Seokjin video that first showed him the other side, and his brow shot up as he scrolled down to the first few comments.

@eatjinlover92

OPPA YOUR SHOULDERS 😍

@lalunelady

So handsome! Calico my life for your good fortune ㅜㅜ

@squidsandcats

I’m a lesbian but he can throw me over those massive shoulders anytime

Covering his mouth, Jeongguk kept scrolling and laughing into his hand as the thirst comments got worse and worse. After a moment he slid his fingers across the trackpad and opened up Namjoon’s video from the playlist in the sidebar.

Adjusting himself in bed to get more comfortable, he let the familiar sounds of the video play on in his airpods as he scrolled down, smiling softly. So many people had been moved by Namjoon’s poetry like he had been, and the usual array of compliments for Jimin were still there, just as lovely as before. His smile faded as he started to pick up on a few stray comments about their relationship, a few insisting they were certainly dating, a few crude ones about how good their sex life must be. His eyes lingered on one and his brow furrowed as he read it.

@calico*kittystar

I’m so happy he has someone 😭 Calico deserve to be loved the way he loves! He needs someone who will do this for him!

Jeongguk blinked, eyes wandering away from the screen as he thought of Jimin and wondered what it would feel like to touch him the way Jeongguk had been touched. To run hands through his soft, pretty hair. To trace his fingers over the muscles of his shoulders, over his collarbones, down his arms. Jeongguk looked down at his own big, broad hands for a moment.

He remembered how easily they’d engulfed Jimin’s hand when he’d taken it, and shivered. In his mind he traced the swoop of Jimin’s nose with a finger, slowly slowly down to his beautiful lips, and lingered there. Jimin’s big, bright eyes stared back at him in his fantasy, filled with that same wonder Jeongguk had seen in them when Jimin had spotted his tattoo for the first time.

Sucking in a sharp breath, Jeongguk rocked back and lay flat in bed, eyes fluttering closed as the video played on and the sound of Jimin’s voice filled his ears again.

“I’m just going to use light pressure here on his shoulders. I know a lot of people prefer massages to be intensive, and with heavy pressure. For a lot of people it doesn’t feel remedial unless they feel pain with the tension release. But I am a strong believer in the benefits of light touch massage-”

Jeongguk’s hand was resting on his belly, and he tried to ignore the curling heat there, spreading into his hips as his mind carried on its journey down Jimin’s body. Jeongguk remembered his collarbones peeking out from the v of his shirt, the way the shirt had clung to him when he stood up from crouching in front of Jeongguk in the sun room. The narrowness of his hips, where Jeongguk was sure his hands would fit so perfectly. The curve of his ass, the length of his legs - how tiny and cute his feet had been, poking out of his trouser cuffs.

Jeongguk felt like he was sinking all over again. The edges of the oil fragrance still lingered in his hair, and he turned his head against the pillow into it, inhaling deeply.

Like a bolt of lightning the memory of Jimin pulling on his hair struck him, and he arched lightly, gasping, hand slipping under the band of his soft shorts. He’d already been half hard from daydreaming, but the combination of the scent in his hair and the shiver of memory had his co*ck full and heavy in his palm. He squeezed lightly, letting out a soft hiss.

“I want him to feel the relief, feel the peace and the calm that has escaped him for so long-”

Jimin’s voice from the video laced through the haze of his arousal was dizzying. Reaching his hand over the edge of his bed, he groped blindly for his pump bottle of lube before finding it and gathering enough on his fingers, carefully pushing his hand into his pants again. His eyes rolled back as he listened and let his hand glide up and down, breath evening out.

On an upstroke he twisted his fist slightly, the way he liked most, and imagined Jimin’s beautiful lips again. That voice in his ears came back, and Jeongguk felt himself shudder exquisitely at the sound of it, the soft tone reverberating in his head.

He remembered those hands on his skin, in his hair. His head tipped back on the pillow and he moaned as his hand kept up its pace, his eyes closed tight, body pulled taught like a bowstring as the heat grew and spread through his veins.

When he imagined hands in his hair again, this time they were pulling hard, drawing him in, making him obey. Jeongguk let out a soft cry as he spilled over his fist suddenly, eyes wide in shock at how fast that single thought had ended him.

He wanted Jimin over him, all around him, owning him. He wanted it so bad he ached.

After a moment to come down from the liquid rush of pleasure that spread in his brain post-org*sm, he finally extricated his hand, wincing, and looked around for his tissues.

Cleaning up quickly, he settled back in bed, face aglow in the laptop screen light as he focused on it. In his ears, Namjoon had just finished his poetry, and was smiling softly at the camera. Then he heard Jimin’s voice again.

“I hope you all have a beautiful, peaceful rest after that, with beautiful dreams,” he said gently. “Sleep well. Good night.”

“Good night,” Jeongguk breathed, and closed his laptop.

In the dark, he lay back and let his eyes fall shut, wetting his lips and thinking about what just happened.

With a soft laugh, he covered his face with both hands.

He was so screwed.

*

Jeongguk spent the week glued to his phone.

With the mixing phase of the album almost complete, everything had gotten ten times more chaotic and complex. The small label they were signed to had been gracious about the time they’d taken to finish the pre-production and recording, but in the final phases their involvement became almost overwhelming.

Jeongguk found himself tuning out of discussions more often than not, eyes dancing across his phone screen and Jimin’s latest reply, a smile on his lips.

In between back to back meetings and photoshoots he’d barely kept afloat, grateful every time his phone vibrated in his pocket. In the raging sea of his week, Jimin was his life preserver, and he held on for dear life every chance he got.

He made it to Friday before everything else came crashing down.

Hours after midnight, still awake and sore from crying, Jeongguk blinked up at the ceiling. His eyes hurt, and his jaw ached. He wanted so badly to take back everything he’d done that day. He had taken it all back, or tried to. But he couldn’t stop playing it over and over in his head.

He glanced at his phone, flinching at the time and the glare of light. There was no way he was going to be able to sleep, not after what he’d said.

It was too late to call.

Swallowing against the lump in his throat, eyes burning as more tears threatened to creep up on him, he opened his messages and began typing.

Jungkook

Hyung I did something awful

He was typing his next message just as the response came in.

Jimin-hyung

Are you alright?

Blinking, he looked again at the time in the corner of his screen. He let out a soft, miserable sound and deleted what he’d been writing, typing instead:

Jungkook

Sorry if I woke you

Jimin-hyung

You didn’t

He let out a sigh of relief.

Jungkook

I said something awful to Yoongi-hyung

I can’t stop thinking about it

And I can’t sleep

There was a pause, and just as his overtaxed brain started insisting that Jimin had decided he was a despicable person who wasn’t worth knowing, his phone buzzed violently in his hand as it rang.

“Oh!” He slid his finger across the screen and held it to his ear. “Hyung?”

“What happened?” Jimin’s voice came through.

Jeongguk sniffed quietly. “I said something - I was awful to Yoongi-hyung.”

“What did you say?”

Screwing his face up tight, Jeongguk clutched his head with his free hand. “I can’t say it again.”

“That’s alright, you don’t have to. Can you tell me what he said to you?”

Jeongguk blinked, feeling tears roll down his cheeks. “What do you mean?”

“What did he say to you right before you said it?” Jimin explained.

Swallowing hard, Jeongguk felt the memory come back to him, just as raw and painful as the moment it had happened. He hadn’t fought with Yoongi for years, and they’d never actually hurt each other before - not on purpose. The guilt flooded him again, choking him.

“Shh, it’s okay,” Jimin’s voice was kind and gentle.

After the rush of emotion died down, Jeongguk caught his breath again. “Yoongi-hyung, he has this way of being - he’s so honest. He says what he thinks. Sometimes it’s just harsh, and I got defensive and I-”

“You hurt him back,” Jimin said.

“I did,” Jeongguk sobbed. “He said that I didn’t care enough. No, he said - we were talking about the cover, and I suggested a change - he said he didn’t think I was that invested, that I didn’t care that much about the album.”

“Why would he say that?” Jimin asked.

“I’ve been distracted lately, I’ve been-”

“Talking to me?” There was no judgment in Jimin’s voice.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk breathed. “I should have paid more attention. But he said it, and it wasn’t mean on purpose, he was just being honest. But I was embarrassed and defensive and I just- I was so cruel. I don’t know why I said what I said. I didn’t mean it.”

“Does Yoongi-hyung know that?” Jimin asked.

Jeongguk nodded even though Jimin couldn’t see him.

“I realized what I’d said and I just,” he gestured with his free hand, “I fell apart. I couldn’t believe I said it. I told him how sorry I was.”

“He forgave you?” Jimin asked.

“He didn’t even hesitate,” Jeongguk said, voice shaking. “He just forgave me. Just like that.”

“He knew you didn’t mean it.”

Jeongguk shifted in bed, brushing away his tears. “He did. He does - he knows I didn’t mean it. That I wanted to take it back more than anything. He forgave me.”

“So why can’t you forgive yourself?”

Feeling numb, Jeongguk searched the ceiling again, not really looking at anything at all. “I still said it.”

“Oh, Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin said. “You need to stop punishing yourself.”

Jeongguk closed his eyes, a shaky breath dragging in and out. In a small, broken voice he replied: “I don’t know how.”

There was a long pause, and Jimin’s voice when it came through again had that same gentle tone that soothed Jeongguk so easily. “One day you’re going to forgive yourself for being human like the rest of us.”

A wet chuckle escaped him. “One day.”

“I know the album means a lot to you,” Jimin said. “I’m so sorry if I caused-”

“No, hyung - I mean, it does mean a lot to me, but please don’t apologize. I would have gone mad this week if you hadn’t been there.”

“It’s really hectic, huh?” Jimin asked. “I can’t even imagine how much it takes to put together a whole album.”

Jeongguk smiled, face tacky and stiff from his tears. “It’s worth it.”

“I can’t wait to hear it.”

“One of the songs makes me think of you, actually,” Jeongguk admitted. “I wrote it when I started listening to your videos. Yoongi-hyung and I wrote it together. We record really fast, him and me, once we have a song rehearsed we can lay it down in a day.”

Jimin was quiet for a moment. “You wrote a song because of me?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk said, not wanting to admit he’d written a lot more than one. “It’s called Firmament. It’s about a moon that’s lost in a sea of stars, and a beautiful voice calls it home again. It’s about being who you really are no matter what.”

The quiet lingered for a long moment, and Jeongguk bit his lip.

“Jimin-hyung?”

“Sorry,” Jimin said quietly. “Can - can I hear it?”

Jeongguk rolled over and opened his laptop, finding the file. “I’ll send it to you. It’s my favorite from the whole album.”

It took a moment to send, but after it did he lay back again against the pillows, closing the screen.

“Tell me what you think,” he said.

The minutes waiting for Jimin to listen and speak again felt like an eternity, but every sharp intake of breath, every soft noise Jimin made in reaction made him feel giddy.

“Ohhh my god,” Jimin said finally. “Jeongguk-ah, it’s so beautiful.”

“I’m very proud of it,” Jeongguk said, grinning.

Jimin sniffed quietly. “That was. Wow.”

Beaming, Jeongguk shifted, wriggling under the covers again. “You really liked it?”

“I love it,” Jimin admitted. “So much.”

Jeongguk caught the flashing time on his alarm clock in the dark and blinked his sore eyes slowly. “It’s so late. I’m really not keeping you up?”

“I’m a night owl,” Jimin said. “I go to bed at 5am most nights.”

“Five?” Jeongguk asked, stunned. Then he realized. “That’s why you only meet after 3pm.”

“I sleep through the mornings, film on selected evenings, edit all night,” Jimin told him, then let out a soft cuss.

“What is it?”

“Nothing, just a package of carrier oils and some new scents I was expecting didn’t come today. It’ll show up Monday,” he explained.

Jeongguk glanced over to the bottle of massage oil on his bedside, barely visible and outlined only by the clock’s red light. He’d taken to using it on his skin before he went to bed, but in his distress after the fight he’d forgotten.

“How’s our session edit going?” Jeongguk asked, reaching for the bottle and spreading some oil on his fingers before he began to work it into his bare shoulder..

“I’ve finished with the version for the channel, that’ll go up Monday night.”

“Are there other versions?” Jeongguk asked, curious.

Jimin was quiet for a beat. “Just things I like to keep.”

Jeongguk remembered Jimin’s habit of collecting his favorite moments that he shared with his models and felt an odd surge of longing. He wanted so badly to see what Jimin had kept for himself from their session.

“Will you show me one day?” he asked.

Jimin’s soft, musical laugh made him smile.

“I will, I promise,” Jimin said.

Jeongguk had no idea how long they talked into the night, only that he never wanted the call to end.

He told Jimin about his music and the way that it made him feel, about the way he could hear it in almost everything around him. He told him about the music he heard in the sound of his voice, how it made Jimin’s channel different from all the other ASMR he’d tried, and how he was certain it was why he was finally able to sleep.

In turn, Jimin told him about his years of dancing on stage, and the joy it had brought him, and the agony of its loss. He spoke of his love for the scents he blended, and his methods for finding new combinations, and how good it felt to have someone else to share it with - someone who loved the complexity of scents the way he did.

Eventually, eyes heavy, breath deep and slow, Jeongguk felt the phone slipping on his pillow and pushed it back up into place with a yawn.

“I’m falling asleep,” he admitted, “but I don’t want to.”

“You should sleep,” Jimin said. “I should too, soon.”

“I don’t want you to hang up,” Jeongguk whined.

“I won’t,” Jimin promised.

Jeongguk could hear movement and rustling on the other end for a while and let his eyes drift closed.

“I wonder if there was a moon tonight,” he said quietly.

“Still looking?” Jimin asked, a note of amusem*nt in his voice.

“I’ll find it,” Jeongguk mumbled sleepily. “I’ll get there someday.”

Jimin’s laugh was beautiful. “You’ll go there? To the moon?”

“Why not?” Jeongguk smiled.

“I’ll take you,” Jimin said. “You and me, we’ll go to the moon together.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

There was a long silence on his end, but through the phone he could hear the sounds of Jimin climbing into bed.

He could feel himself fading, trying desperately to cling to consciousness and feeling it slip away piece by piece.

“You’re still there?”

“I’m here,” Jimin told him. “You can sleep.”

His reply came out a mumbled hum as he drifted down deeper, slipping away. As he passed out, he missed the last sound of Jimin’s voice, sweet with unspoken fondness;

“Good night, my Jeongguk-ah.”

*

Jeongguk had never been as excited as he was come Monday afternoon, waiting for the clock to tick down to 6pm. So much of his ASMR session with Jimin had faded in his mind, or never formed a solid enough memory to recall in between the euphoric haze of scents and the depth of his relaxation. He wanted to see it all again, to properly hear everything Jimin had said, to see what his own reactions had been to every touch.

He’d made a space in his evening schedule to watch right when it went up, and with five minutes to spare he got back to the apartment and beelined for his room. He retrieved his airpods and pushed them into his ears before digging his laptop out of his bed covers.

Refreshing the front page a few times, he glanced at the time: 5:59. He pressed his lips together tightly, wriggling in his impatience.

As soon as the hour ticked over, he hit refresh again with a grin.

The page remained the same.

Blinking, he tried one more time.

Nothing.

Confused, he looked at the time. Still 6:00.

He waited until 6:01 and hit refresh again, with the same result.

Deep in his chest he felt a strange, quiet note of warning: something is wrong.

Shaking his head, he took a slow and deliberate breath. It was only a few minutes, there was no need to panic or overreact.

He pulled out his phone, thumbing over the last day’s messages filled with photos of his dinner (Samyang Stew Type, he’d insisted, was the food of the gods), and Jimin’s hilarious reactions to the things he’d added to it.

Down further, Jimin had sent him a picture from an outtake of the video; a shot of Jeongguk staring just past the camera (at Jimin, he’d realized). In the image the late afternoon sun had lit up Jeongguk’s features just enough to give him a soft, complimentary glow that made him look almost angelic, face framed by his dark tousled hair, hands in the air gesticulating as he spoke.

The message Jimin had sent underneath stared back at him.

Jimin-hyung

This moment was so beautiful

Eyes flicking back to the clock after another failed refresh, he quickly scrolled to the end of their string of messages to type a new one.

Jungkook

Is everything okay?

The longer his phone screen remained unchanged, the faster his heart thundered in his chest.

Jungkook

Jimin-hyung?

He hit refresh on the laptop again. No change.

The sound of the front door opening made him jump, and he moved as quickly as he could, tossing aside his airpods and scrambling for the hall. He made it through the living room just as Yoongi and Taehyung came pouring into the kitchen, arms full of groceries.

“-and I told her I refuse to work that way, it’s not fair on the model,” Taehyung was saying. “Funny how the second I threatened to walk away she was suddenly so respectful.”

“Funny that,” Yoongi agreed, stopping when Jeongguk came rushing at them.

“Hyung-” Jeongguk began, eyes on Taehyung.

“Jeongguk-ah, what’s wrong?” Yoongi’s face was lined with concern.

“It’s Jimin-hyung, he’s not answering,” Jeongguk insisted, holding up his phone.

“He’s probably just in the shower or something.” Taehyung waved a hand after setting down his groceries and opening the fridge to put them away. “I swear you two are as bad as each other.”

“No, you don’t understand,” Jeongguk insisted. “His channel - his video didn’t go up. He’s never missed an upload, he told me once, not ever. Hyung, he’s not answering. Something is wrong.”

Taehyung shot him a sympathetic look, pulling out his own phone before tapping it a few times and holding it to his ear. The longer he waited and listened to the ringing, the deeper his frown grew.

Letting out a growl of worry and frustration, Jeongguk pushed past them and made his way to the front door, pulling on his shoes as quickly as he could.

“Where are you going?” Yoongi asked, following.

“I need to borrow your car,” Jeongguk said. “I can be there in five minutes if I drive.”

“I’ll drive,” Yoongi insisted, looking over his shoulder. “Are you-”

“I’m coming,” Taehyung cut him off.

Jeongguk thought that the five minutes he’d spent refreshing the channel were the longest he’d ever experienced, but he was wrong. The drive was.

By the time they made it to the main door of Jimin’s building, he’d lost count of how many times Taehyung had tried to call.

Jeongguk pressed the big #6 button, and then again when there was no answer. Face lined with panic, he turned to Taehyung, who stepped in front of him and pressed #5. After a moment, a woman’s voice answered.

“Ayah?”

“Eunseo-ssi,” Taehyung said, stepping back to wave at the lens above the intercom. “It’s Kim Taehyung, Jimin-ssi’s friend?”

“Ahh,” the voice came. “He’s a good boy, Jimin-ssi. Oh, yes. I remember you!”

“Yes! Yes. He’s not answering and we are worried for him. Could you please let us in?”

The door buzzed loudly, vibrating metal on metal, and Jeongguk rushed to push through before climbing the stairs two at a time with Taehyung close behind.

They made it to Jimin’s door and Taehyung didn’t bother knocking, tapping in the code and shoving the door open yelling: “Jiminie!”

They heard two sounds at once: the first a loud THUMP as the door struck something solid, and the second a broken voice calling Taehyung’s name in return.

“Jimin?” Taehyung called again.

Jeongguk crouched quickly to move the cardboard box that had blocked the door. It was big and heavy, and marked Serendipity Fragrance Co in swooping letters. Beyond the box was a body on the ground.

“Hyung!” Jeongguk cried, skating on his knees to reach him.

“Jeongguk?” Jimin called back, voice cracking again. He sounded hoarse, as if he’d been yelling. “Help! I can’t move!”

“Oh my god.” Taehyung caught sight of him as he stepped in, moving around the box to crouch down on Jimin’s other side. “You-”

Jimin let out an anguished noise, tears slipping down his temples. “Tae, my back.”

“Ohhh kay,” Taehyung said, reaching out for Jimin before he stopped himself and pulled back. His eyes flicked to the box, putting together what had happened. “Okay. No. Okay, it’s going to be fine, baby, you’re okay.”

“It hurts,” Jimin whimpered through his tears.

“We have to get you to the hospital,” Jeongguk insisted.

“Got it,” Yoongi’s voice came from the doorway, and Jeongguk glanced up to see him there with his phone pressed to his ear. “Yah, I need an ambulance-”

No,” Jimin whispered. “Not again, please not again.”

“It’ll be faster in the car,” Jeongguk insisted, getting in position to scoop Jimin up as gently as he could.

Taehyung hissed at him quietly and held out both hands. “Stop, just - stop. You can’t. We have to wait for the ambulance.”

Why?” Jeongguk asked.

Taehyung looked at him with eyes that betrayed just how scared he really was. “We can’t risk moving him,” he said softly.

Jimin’s shattered sob tore Jeongguk’s heart in two. He let out a quiet, miserable huff of breath as he wiped away his own tears.

“I can’t. Not again-” Jimin managed to get out, teeth clenched.

“Shh, hyung,” Jeongguk moved to lie down alongside him on the floor, hand coming up to stroke through his hair gently. “I’m here. We’re right here. You’re going to be okay.”

More tears trickled down into Jimin’s hair as his lips trembled.

“We’re going to the moon, remember? You’re going to be fine,” Jeongguk said.

“We’re going to the moon,” Jimin echoed.

“They won’t be long,” Yoongi said gently from the doorway before slipping out into the hall.

Jeongguk caught the distant sound of him in the hallway reassuring the neighbor, but it felt unreal, and so far away.

“I can’t b-believe you came,” Jimin stuttered through his tears. “I kept hearing my phone ringing. I just k-kept begging for someone to come. Nobody h-heard me.”

“Your phone.” Taehyung pulled himself up, stepping carefully over Jimin and going in search.

“It’s in the study,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk echoed him loud enough for Taehyung to hear.

“I was getting r-ready to schedule the video when the delivery - they left the b-box at the door. I sh-shouldn't have picked it up.”

Jeongguk brushed his fingers rhythmically through Jimin’s hair, desperate to comfort him as much as he could without moving him. After a moment, Taehyung returned with the phone.

“It hurts so m-much to yell, but I kept yelling and nobody heard me.” Jimin’s face contorted again in pain, and Jeongguk felt more tears rush down his face as he lay helpless alongside him.

“Shh, Jimin-hyung, don’t talk if it hurts, they’re almost here,” he said.

“Tae,” Jimin’s eyes flicked over to his best friend, terrified. “My back.”

“I know,” Taehyung said soothingly, crouching and brushing away some of Jimin’s tears gently. “Shh, I know. It’s gonna be okay.”

It wasn’t long before Jeongguk heard the paramedics coming up the stairs, and saw Taehyung shift in his peripheral vision. He knew he had to move out of the way too, but his body wouldn’t cooperate.

“Come on, Gguk-ah,” Yoongi said, bending and tugging on his shirt sleeve. “You have to move.”

“J-Jeongguk-” Jimin said, panicked.

“I’m not going anywhere, I promise,” Jeongguk insisted as he got up. “I’m right here.”

“Don’t leave-” Jimin begged.

“They just need to reach you, Jiminie, the entry is narrow,” Taehyung explained. “He’s right here.”

Jeongguk watched the paramedics work rapidly, checking Jimin over and asking him a million questions before setting up the spine board. When they lifted him onto it in one smooth movement, Jeongguk flinched, eyes closing tight at the pained cry Jimin let out.

“I’ll go with him in the ambulance,” Taehyung said, moving after the paramedics and calling back: “Follow in the car!”

Yoongi nodded before reaching out to squeeze Jeongguk’s shoulder. “It’s going to be okay.”

Jeongguk let out a long, shuddering breath.

“Thirteen,” he whispered.

“What?”

“It’s my favorite number, and it’s his favorite number,” Jeongguk rambled, feeling numb. “We have the same one. We were talking nonstop and we started - we started asking those questions you ask, you know? What’s your favorite this or that.”

Yoongi nodded, tilting his head.

“What’s your biggest fear, I asked him.” Jeongguk gulped, tears spilling again. “This is it. This is the thing he’s most afraid of, hyung.”

“You found him, Gguk,” Yoongi said. “You did good.”

Jeongguk finally got his feet to move, one in front of the other, and Yoongi led him silently back to the car, letting him cry without another word the entire trip.

If there was any feeling worse than helplessness, Jeongguk didn’t want to know it.

In the end it was a few hours before Taehyung found them in the waiting room. He looked exhausted, but he was smiling, which was enough to get Jeongguk eagerly to his feet despite his own fatigue.

“He’s alright,” Tae assured them. “He didn’t break it.”

Jeongguk felt his body flood with relief and he slumped. He felt Yoongi’s arm wrap around his shoulders in support, helping him stay up.

“MRI confirmed it’s muscular, thankfully, not bone this time - but this degree of strain is a lot. It can feel like a break when it’s this bad,” Taehyung explained.

“Is he awake?”

“Yes. Medicated,” Taehyung said. “He’s being discharged with some heavy pain meds, but he’s got strict orders to do nothing for two weeks at least.”

Jeongguk nodded, head aching from crying. “We can take him home?”

“Yah,” Taehyung confirmed, voice shaking slightly.

Yoongi let go of Jeongguk so that Taehyung could step into his arms. After a beat, Taehyung wrapped both arms around him, burying his face in Yoongi’s neck.

Jeongguk watched, feeling a quiet rush of adoration for them both. Taehyung, who’d known how to get into the building, knew just what to say, and stayed with Jimin the whole time when he couldn’t. Yoongi, who’d always made a face and pushed away any attempt at public physical affection before, now holding them both tight without question. Yoongi who, with a thousand and one things on his plate, still sat in the waiting room for hours into the night, just so Jeongguk wasn’t alone.

Getting Jimin home was another issue entirely, and it took all three of them moving very slowly and carefully to maneuver him into the car’s passenger seat. The medication was doing its job, at the very least, and Jeongguk had never been more grateful; his heart couldn’t take another moment of seeing Jimin in pain.

After some brief discussions on how to keep Jimin comfortable once he was home, Taehyung had turned to Jeongguk in the back seat, brow creased. “You’re stronger than both of us,” he said.

Jeongguk blinked at him, not following.

“You need to carry him up the stairs,” Taehyung told him.

Jeongguk nodded along, brain immediately working on the logistics of how. The strain was thoracic, the doctors had said, which meant he could support Jimin under his thighs and his hips or lower back, hopefully, without hurting him.

After Yoongi pulled up, Jeongguk got to Jimin’s car door, and he smiled softly as Jimin’s unfocused eyes seemed to find him.

“I’m going to carry you, hyung, are you ready?”

Jimin gave a tiny nod as Jeongguk undid his seatbelt.

“Put your arms around me if you can,” Jeongguk told him, scooping him up carefully.

He heard Jimin’s shaky breath and stilled. “Does it hurt?”

“No pain,” Jimin insisted, slurring slightly.

“Good.” Jeongguk straightened, lifting Jimin the rest of the way and turning to find Taehyung had already opened the building’s front door.

Halfway up the stairs, moving as smoothly and slowly as he could, Jeongguk felt Jimin’s head rest against his shoulder.

“I fell so fast,” Jimin mumbled, eyes closed.

Jeongguk wet his lips in confusion, still focused on his careful ascent. “You did fall, but you’re okay.”

“I fell so fast,” he repeated. “I never do.”

Ahead of him, Taehyung threw a strange look over his shoulder at them both.

“What is it?” Jeongguk asked, concerned.

“Nothing,” Taehyung said dismissively, keying in Jimin’s door code and pushing the apartment door open as he stood aside. “Bedroom is second on the left from the living room.”

“Got it,” Jeongguk sidestepped the offending box in the entryway and made his way to the bedroom, using his elbow to flick on the lights.

He waited for Taehyung to catch up and come and organize the pillows, feeling Jimin sigh softly in his arms. After a moment he pressed his lips to Jimin’s hair, murmuring quietly. “Almost there, hyung.”

“Done,” Tae said, pulling back the bedspread on the side he’d set up.

Easing him into the bed, Jeongguk pulled the covers over his legs, tucking them around him gently.

Jimin immediately sank into the pillows, head falling back against them as his hazy eyes searched Jeongguk’s face.

Jeongguk stared back at him, mouth curving into a worried smile.

Taehyung, who had been typing frantically on his phone, looked up at them both. “He needs to rest now, Jeongguk-ah.”

Nodding, Jeongguk pulled away, and Jimin’s hand reached for him weakly before falling to the bed.

“Tired.”

“Rest, Jiminie,” Taehyung instructed, leaning in to press a kiss to his forehead and place a phone on the side table. “Your phone is right next to you. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Jimin’s eyes closed at the kiss, but his brows pulled together in a frown. “I fell so fast.”

Taehyung tugged on Jeongguk’s sleeve, guiding him out of the room as Jimin’s head lolled to the side.

“Why does he keep saying that?” Jeongguk asked.

“Who knows, probably just the medication,” Taehyung lied, glancing over his shoulder just as Yoongi came in with the box of oils and set it on a table. “I’ve taken a few weeks off work and I’ll stay here and take care of him.”

“We’ll be nearby if you need us,” Yoongi said.

“I know you’ve got the last of the sound mixing and more meetings.” Taehyung moved towards his boyfriend, leaning in and giving him a quick kiss. “I won’t call unless I really need you, but I love you for offering.”

Yoongi gave him a pressed-lipped smile in gratitude.

“For now, we need to order food, because I’m f*cking starving,” Taehyung said right before he seemed to have a moment of panicked realization and dug around his pockets for his phone.

As he typed out messages rapidly, Yoongi pulled out his own phone and organized the food.

They were all sitting on the couches by the time Taehyung seemed to tune back in. “Alright, the group chat has been informed. Everybody is freaking out. I had to talk the hyungs down from coming tonight, but they’ll be here tomorrow.”

Yoongi nodded along before he held up his phone to show Taehyung the dinner order.

“Perfect. You always know what I need,” Taehyung said. With a heavy sigh, he finally relaxed, slumping sideways against Yoongi and settling his head against his shoulder.

Jeongguk hugged a throw pillow to his chest, eyes cast down and staring into space as he tried to process the night.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Tae said after a long span of quiet.

Jeongguk looked up at him.

Taehyung had never cried - not in front of them. He made a joke of fake crying so often that Jeongguk had wondered if he even could, but now seeing the tears in his eyes, Jeongguk felt ashamed for ever having doubted him.

“Thank you,” Taehyung breathed.

Jeongguk, feeling his own tears well up, nodded.

Yoongi rubbed Taehyung’s shoulder lightly as he wiped at his tears, embarrassed.

After another quiet moment, Taehyung’s phone made some soft trilling noises, and he pulled it out to scroll his messages, laughing.

Yoongi looked at the screen over his shoulder, amused.

“Jin-hyung wants to know if we’ve eaten,” Taehyung explained, typing his response. “And Namjoon-hyung wants us to make sure Jimin’s diffuser is going in his room. And Hobi-hyung says he’ll get a community post up for Jiminie’s viewers with a vague explanation about the delay.”

“I’ll do the diffuser,” Jeongguk insisted, pulling himself up.

“He keeps his night blends in his bedside table,” Taehyung told him.

Jeongguk slipped as quietly as he could back into Jimin’s room. Taehyung had turned off the main light, but left a side table lamp on, and the pink bulb gave the room a stunningly ethereal glow. The diffuser, Jeongguk saw, was on the other side table, next to Jimin’s sleeping form.

Tip-toeing to the drawers, he opened the top one and removed one of the bottles. He squinted to read the label - in Jimin’s handwriting it said Insomnia. Smiling to himself, he slipped it carefully back into the drawer and picked up the next. Stress.

Jimin stirred lightly next to where he was crouched, and he froze still, waiting for the movement to stop again before he picked up a third bottle. This one said Healing.

It took a second to figure out how to open the diffuser, but once he did, and added the water and the drops, he set it going and watched the soft orange glow of it blend with the pinks of the room. In the campfire-like light, Jimin’s delicate profile caught his eye, and he stared for a moment as the blend of lavender, ylang ylang, and frankincense filled the air.

Jimin was breathing slowly and evenly, and Jeongguk couldn’t tear his eyes away.

Fairytales are written about people like you, he thought affectionately.

“Sleep well, hyung,” he whispered, easing himself upright in the darkness.

When no reply came, he smiled to himself, padding back over to the door before he slipped out once more into the light.

*

It was late the next day when his phone vibrated again in his pocket. Taking his headphones off, he pulled it out and glanced at the lock screen. Jimin’s name caught his eye for a split second before the phone unlocked from his face and the screen flooded with apps.

He tapped on the message icon.

Jimin-hyung

My turn to save you again next time

Jeongguk laughed softly, thumbs passing over the keyboard on screen.

Jungkook

Are we taking turns at it now?

Jimin-hyung

Fair’s fair

Your save was a little more gallant than mine

Show off

Unable to control his grin, Jeongguk felt his cheeks ache.

Jungkook

That’s me

How are you feeling?

Jimin-hyung

Sore

Embarrassed

But mostly just grateful

Stroking the rough spot on the edge of his phone where it had been dropped one too many times, Jeongguk pressed his lips together tightly, trying to summon some courage.

Jungkook

Can I come see you?

Jimin-hyung

I was going to ask

Can you come tomorrow?

Jungkook

Yes

He paused after he hit send, realizing he should probably have actually checked with Yoongi first if he was going to be roped into any meetings or had any real work to do. He winced.

Jimin-hyung

I’ll tell Taehyung-ah he can go have lunch with his boyfriend

He’s been pining

Jungkook

It’s been one day

Jimin-hyung

It’s Taehyung

Jungkook

ㅋㅋㅋ Fair

I’m grateful he’s with you though

Jimin-hyung

He’s been amazing

They all have

Jungkook

They?

Jimin-hyung

I am drowning in hyungs right now

Jeongguk chuckled softly.

Jimin-hyung

They are very protective and it’s very sweet

But if one more person asks me if I need anything I am going to end up on the news

Jeongguk let out a bark of a laugh this time, spinning his chair in delight.

Jungkook

You need some space

Jimin-hyung

I need some space

Preferably with you in it

His heart stopped for a second, and he stared at the screen for far too long before finally shaking himself and replying as quickly as his fingers could manage.

Jungkook

I’ll be there

I promise

Jimin-hyung

I’ll let you work

See you then

Jeongguk stared at his phone for a moment longer, going back up a few messages to make sure it had all been real.

It was all there. Jimin wanted to see him. Just him.

Feeling like he was floating, he lifted his headphones back to his ears and tracked the song he was working on back to the start one more time.

*

He’d arranged with Taehyung to swap places at Jimin’s around 1pm, relieved to find out that the day only held one short mid morning meeting he had to attend. With the album on the verge of being sent to the mastering engineer and the schedule locked in, his day to day involvement was about to reduce significantly. Luckily, the free time had afforded him the chance to make something good to bring them both to eat.

After Taehyung buzzed him in he met him at the apartment door, breezing past with a wave.

“He’s awake and washed, which was hilarious, dishes are done, hyungs’ numbers are on the fridge, if you need someone for an emergency don’t call Namjoon-hyung he can’t drive, gotta go, byeeeee.”

Jeongguk stood briefly stunned as Taehyung disappeared down the stairs, feet clattering loudly on the metal strips and echoing through the building’s open hallway.

“Bye,” he said, amused, before he stepped inside and let the door swing shut behind him.

“Hyung?” Jeongguk called after he took off his shoes, heading in. “I brought lunch.”

“Yah, what did you bring me?” Jimin called, sounding excited and intrigued.

“Tteokbokki,” Jeongguk said, holding up his bag of tupperware as he stepped into the doorway of Jimin’s room.

Jimin was sitting up in bed against a plethora of pillows, hair still wet from the shower that Taehyung had apparently managed to get him into and out of with some degree of comedy. There was a laptop on his legs and other scattered items across the bedspread, and a soft mist coming from the same diffuser Jeongguk had set going a few nights ago.

Jimin smiled at the sight of Jeongguk, but it fell away into shock as he looked at the tupperware in the bag.

“Wait,” he said. “You cooked for me?”

“You said bring lunch,” Jeongguk replied, suddenly unsure.

“I thought you’d pick something up, not cook me an entire meal!” Jimin gushed, eyes wide. “Are you serious?”

Jeongguk nodded, grinning. “Tteokbokki,” he reiterated cutely, holding up the bag again.

Jimin laughed, holding his face. “Stop. I can’t handle it.”

“Do you have a tray or-?”

“Kitchen; the door is straight across the living room,” Jimin said, pointing and flinching at the sudden movement before lowering his arm. “Ow.”

Jeongguk winced in sympathy. “Careful.”

“Yah,” Jimin eased back against his pillows. “There’s a bed tray in the kitchen.”

“Got it,” Jeongguk said, spinning and heading to retrieve everything he needed for both of them. When he returned Jimin had removed all the stray things from the bed and set his laptop aside. There was a small blue blanket spread across the space now, likely to keep food from getting on the quilt.

“You should have let me do that,” Jeongguk said, brow creasing.

“I could reach it all without straining,” Jimin told him, slowly stretching out eager grabby-hands for the tray. “Give it!”

With a chuckle Jeongguk moved to place the tray across Jimin’s lap, looking around for where he could set up to eat.

Jimin eyed him. “Sit,” he instructed firmly, pointing to the bed.

Blushing to his ear tips, Jeongguk climbed onto the end of the bed and sat cross-legged in front of Jimin.

Jimin took a moment to sniff his bowl before diving in, eyes crossing deliberately after the first bite while Jeongguk giggled.

“I can’t believe you made this,” Jimin said around a mouthful of rice cake.

“I love to cook,” Jeongguk told him before stuffing in a mouthful himself, blowing air quickly when he realized it was still far too hot.

Jimin watched him and laughed, cheeks and nose flushed red.

“Not too spicy?” Jeongguk asked, worried.

Jimin shook his head, scowling playfully. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

He’d remembered Jimin’s reaction to his noodles in their messages, and his confession that he loved very spicy food, even if he couldn’t always keep a straight face through it. Jeongguk had admitted he could handle nuclear levels of heat - which was true enough. Jimin’s reply about having someone to pass his Samyang 2x Spicy Hot to when he couldn’t handle it anymore had made Jeongguk beam at the time.

He’d made the tteokbokki with Jimin’s precise tolerance in mind, and was relieved to see it seemed to be sitting just at the right point of hot-but-not-too-hot.

“You put my diffuser on for me the other night,” Jimin said suddenly after a short, companionable silence.

Jeongguk’s eyes flicked over to the side table. “I did. I hope I picked the right bottle.”

“It was perfect,” Jimin said. “Thank you for doing that. I was so out of it, I don’t remember anything about the hospital or getting home, but waking up to it was - it was lovely.”

“It was actually Namjoon-ssi’s idea to put it on,” Jeongguk admitted softly, regretting that he hadn’t thought of it himself.

Jimin huffed in amusem*nt. “Really?”

Jeongguk nodded.

“Sorry, he just. He never cared that much about all of that,” Jimin said. “Not when we were together. It’s funny that he’s such an incredible and caring friend, but together we were never very good at being boyfriends.”

“Love changes things,” Jeongguk said, and Jimin’s expression in response surprised him.

“We weren’t in love,” Jimin admitted. “I wasn’t, anyway. I love him dearly as a friend. I loved the idea of us together. But I wasn’t in love.”

Jeongguk felt a pang of sympathy, setting down his empty bowl. “I know what you mean. My first boyfriend was like that.”

“Oh?” Jimin looked up over his last few bites, interested.

“Much older,” Jeongguk said, feeling suddenly nostalgic. “I loved the idea of him so much, I would have done anything he asked. But I never loved him as a person. And he was just using me, so it was for the best that it ended how it did.”

“You pick the mean ones,” Jimin recalled, a touch of sadness in his tone.

Jeongguk blushed, looking down at his bowl. “I used to.”

“Have you ever been in love?”

Jeongguk felt strangely self-aware, skin flushing hotter still as he remembered the hollowed-out feeling in his chest when the paramedics carried Jimin away.

“I, um,” Jeongguk blinked rapidly, flustered. “I don’t know.”

Jimin watched him, his expression unreadable.

“What about you?” Jeongguk asked.

Jimin’s lips parted just slightly as he thought about his answer, enough that Jeongguk couldn’t look away from them for a moment. When he looked back up at Jimin’s eyes there was something there he hadn’t seen before. Something that made him ache.

Then Jimin spoke.

“I’ve had boyfriends that I’ve cared about very much, but was never in love with any of them,” he said carefully, putting on a soft smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I always felt like there was something wrong with me because it felt like I just couldn’t fall in love. I know so many people who fall in love so easily.”

I never do, he heard Jimin’s voice echo in his head, sounding like he was in a stairwell. Jeongguk’s brow furrowed as the sudden deja vu made him shiver.

Jimin arranged the empty bowls back on the tray, setting down his chopsticks. “That was - so good,” he said, shaking them both out of their sudden discomfort. “You can make me that anytime.”

With a grin, Jeongguk reached out and gathered everything up, shifting on his knees before he slid off the bed and returned it to the kitchen.

“What did you think, by the way?” Jimin called after him after a short while.

“Think of what?” he called back just as he padded back to the bedroom.

“Of the video, dummy,” Jimin teased. He pulled down his laptop as carefully as he could manage and opened it.

Jeongguk froze in the doorway for a beat.

“Wait, it’s up?” he said, eyes huge as he climbed onto the end of the bed again.

Jimin’s brow shot up in surprise and he grinned. “Of course it is! Hobi hyung put it up for me yesterday, with many apologies to viewers in the community notes and the description.”

“I haven’t seen - I didn’t know - I just-” Jeongguk babbled, stunned.

“Come here,” Jimin said, patting the bed next to him as his eyes returned to the laptop.

Jeongguk’s sudden overwhelming need to see the video quickly smothered any nervousness he had left as he crawled up and slid into place next to Jimin in bed. When Jimin passed him a pair of headphones and turned the laptop towards him slightly, Jeongguk did his best to position himself comfortably without disrupting any of Jimin’s supports.

It was a moment before he realized the video had begun, and felt a sudden blush rise to his cheeks as his own face filled the screen, lit up in the late afternoon glow of the sun room. He was surprised to see how relaxed he looked, given what had transpired only minutes before they began filming.

Seeing the two of them on screen together felt like a dream. The warm feeling that always came with watching Jimin’s videos filled his chest, amplified by the memories that were rushing back to him with every little familiar sound.

Jimin’s gentle voice came through the headphones, asking if it was alright to trace his tattoos. The video cut to another moment right after; Jimin asking if he was still nervous. He heard his own voice say no. Why not? Jimin asked.

He watched himself stare up at Jimin adoringly, head tipped back. You’re here.

Jeongguks heart fluttered wildly in his chest.

The video played on as he watched, caught up in the wonder of living it all over again. It wasn’t until he felt Jimin shift against his side that he realized he’d begun to relax so much he was sinking into the pillows. He held very still as Jimin moved carefully beside him, repositioning himself with a soft grunt of pain and laying his head gently against Jeongguk’s shoulder, gaze never leaving the screen.

Jeongguk closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the weight of Jimin against his side and the soothing sounds of the massage in his ears.

When he looked back to the screen, video-Jimin was tracing his tattoos slowly with the oil, the purples and blues of the galaxies under each constellation deepening with every press of his fingers. Jimin’s words about the entwined star signs came back to him just as he heard them again..

It feels like we were supposed to meet - just like this.

The video was almost forty minutes long, but it felt like it went by in a heartbeat when it came to an end. He pulled in a deep, steadying breath, slipping off the headphones.

“That was…”

He felt Jimin press a smile into his shoulder.

“It was just as wonderful as I remembered,” Jeongguk told him sincerely, eyes still on the screen.

Then he saw the view count.

“Wait, is that real?”

Jimin looked up, blinking. “Is what real?"

“The views?!” Jeongguk said, astonished.

“Yah. Read the comments,” Jimin prompted, and Jeongguk tapped on the touchbar, scrolling down and letting his eyes trail over the first few lines.

@tuxedokat

dude - Calico started massaging him with the washcloth and Jungkook pretty much died in his arms lol same tho

@purpleglitterglue

I wish it were normal for people to touch each other in such intimate and caring ways. I imagine it feels like a gift.

@bananananamilk

dude had his mouth open for 35 minutes but never drooled that's pure skill

@armyranger95

I am impressed that Jung Kook stayed upright couldn't be me

@punkrockracer

OMG I LOVE ROOK BAND! SUGA OPPA NEXT!

With a soft laugh, he kept reading, skipping over the worst of the thirst comments quickly whenever he came to them only to feel a light slap on his arm from Jimin.

“Those are my favorites,” Jimin teased.

Jeongguk scrunched his nose up with a grin and kept scrolling down the page, soaking in all the tattoo compliments and ignoring some of the more suggestive comments lined with horny emojis.

“Read these ones,” Jimin pointed at the screen, and Jeongguk obeyed.

@sarahndipity83

When Jungkook said he was ticklish from the spray bottle I DIED

We need him back again soon!!

@moongazer71

Calico always shows us what real intimacy is. The most beautiful video yet.

@calico*kittystar

OMG This is a masterpiece! 😍 Jungkook is so perfect please tell me we'll see him again? 🥺

@twilightwatcher222

can we talk about this guys shoulders. he could crush me. he should crush me.

@babygirlbun

HIS LIL FACES!! JUNGKOOK IS SO FREAKING CUTE!! 😭WE NEED MORE JK!!

@pinkbunny97

did you see his eyes roll up lol boy got hairpulled into another plane of existence

@callmebora

god really does pick favorites huh

The last one made Jeongguk shake lightly with laughter, and he felt Jimin laughing along beside him.

The next comment down made him pause.

@adorahey

Every time Calico talks Jungkook smiles why doesn't someone love me like that

That warmth in his chest made itself known again, sweet and thick like honey.

Jimin rubbed his cheek against Jeongguk’s shoulder gently. “Everybody wants more of you.”

Jeongguk nodded, scrolling down further past countless requests, and some demands, for his quick return. “They loved it.”

“I knew they would,” Jimin told him. “You were wonderful. The numbers are going up so much faster than I’m used to, I think we might have been featured somewhere.”

“That happens?” Jeongguk asked, and Jimin nodded against him. “That’s so cool.”

“It’s never happened to me before. My subscribers are going up fast too.”

“You deserve it,” Jeongguk told him, and felt Jimin’s grip on his arm tighten slightly as he hugged it to his chest.

A small flash of realization struck Jeongguk then, and he narrowed his eyes. “What’s happening next Monday?”

“Hmm? Oh you mean, with the upload?” Jimin said, pausing to yawn heavily before he went on. “I have a few backups filmed for rainy days, so one of those will do for next week. Hopefully I can be out of bed before I need to use both.”

Jeongguk shifted slightly to look down at him. “You need to rest.”

“No I don’t,” Jimin said, betrayed immediately by another yawn.

Jeongguk chuckled. “You can sleep if you want to.”

“Noooo,” Jimin whined.

“I won’t go anywhere,” Jeongguk promised.

Jimin seemed to reconsider. “You won’t?”

He shook his head, leaning back and easing Jimin back with him until they were both heavily nestled in the wall of pillows behind them.

Jimin let out a soft, happy sigh, nuzzling into Jeongguk’s sleeve. “Just a little while.”

“Just a little,” Jeongguk agreed. “Go to sleep, hyung. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Jimin yawned again as he settled, letting out a tiny, adorable squeak at the height of it that made Jeongguk chuckle.

The gentle whooshing of the mist drifting up from the diffuser and the soft watery sounds it made inside were all that Jeongguk could hear after a few minutes, and he sighed gently, warm and comfortable with Jimin still resting against his shoulder. The fragrance on the air was different from the other night, and he tried to identify which oils he could smell; neroli and chamomile, and something else he didn’t know. He resolved to ask Jimin when he woke up.

The moment Jimin fell asleep, Jeongguk felt it - a sudden heaviness to him that was out of his control. He smiled to himself, closing his eyes and enjoying the weight.

When he opened them again, he realized he’d fallen asleep too, and his mouth opened wide in a yawn. His right arm felt numb, and he looked down at it to find another long, pale arm wrapped around his, fingers interlaced with his own. The contrast of his colorful tattoos against Jimin’s skin was stunning. He stared at it for a moment, brain slowly catching up. In the scattered thoughts that came with waking, he wondered if he’d reached for Jimin in his sleep, or the other way around.

Beside him, Jimin stirred gently.

Jeongguk rubbed his eyes with his free hand.

“We slept all afternoon?” Jimin mumbled, head lifting.

“I think so.” Jeongguk turned his wrist over and looked at his watch. “It’s almost five.”

When Jimin’s hand let go of his, Jeongguk flexed his fingers, grimacing at the pins and needles as feeling rushed back to them.

Jimin rubbed at his face with both hands, grunting softly in pain.

“It hurts?” Jeongguk asked, careful not to move too much.

“Meds wore off,” Jimin told him, face scrunched up tight.

“Where are they?” Jeongguk asked.

“I hear voices,” Taehyung said, and Jeongguk glanced up to see his head poking in the door.

“Tell your therapist,” Jimin shot back, and Jeongguk huffed a laugh as Taehyung stepped in with a glass of water in one hand and pill bottle in the other.

“Ohhh I take it back,” Jimin said when he noticed the pills, hissing softly as he shifted to sit upright. “Gimme.”

“Bossy,” Taehyung chided as he came around Jimin’s side of the bed.

Jeongguk extricated himself carefully, taking the opportunity to use the ensuite bathroom while Jimin took his medication. When he returned, Taehyung was sitting on the edge of the bed talking softly, grinning like a satisfied cat.

“-and here you told me you’d never never! Oh, you’re so far gone,” he teased, Jeongguk just barely catching the end of it.

“Shut up,” Jimin said quietly, eyes flicking over to Jeongguk over the rim of his glass as he sipped more water and then set it down.

“I should probably go.” Jeongguk gestured vaguely in the direction of the door.

“Yah, hyung wanted me to shoo you back home to him by five thirty for some label thing that came up last minute,” Taehyung told him, “but I explained the situation.”

“What situation?” Jeongguk asked, confused.

“That you’re both stupid crazy in l-” Taehyung thrashed, shrieked, and fell off the bed as Jimin dug three fingers into his side viciously.

Jeongguk doubled over with laughter at the sight of him flailing and hitting the floor, completely missing what was said.

After a moment Taehyung recovered relatively gracefully, brushing himself off and sitting back on the edge of the bed.

“What was that about?” Jeongguk managed to get out, breathless from laughter.

Taehyung opened his mouth to speak, eyes checking in with Jimin for a split second before he said: “Nothing.”

“Good boy,” Jimin said under his breath.

Taehyung winked at him, and Jimin rolled his eyes. Jeongguk watched their quiet exchange in amusem*nt, completely lost, but endeared all the same.

“I’ll walk you to the door,” Taehyung insisted, hauling himself up to his feet and reaching out to pat Jeongguk on the back.

Glancing over his shoulder as he was led, Jeongguk gave a little wave.

“Thank you for lunch!” Jimin called, deflating a little, eyes half-lidded from the pain. “Thank you for everything.”

“Any time, hyung!” Jeongguk called back.

At the door he stopped to put on his socks and boots, suddenly aware that he was being watched. He glanced up at Taehyung who was standing over him, arms folded, expression set in a knowing smile.

“What?” Jeongguk asked.

“You’ve known each other for a week,” Taehyung said.

Jeongguk felt the heat in his cheeks immediately and looked away, tying a shoelace. “It feels like forever,” he said softly.

“Jiminie is special, Gguk-ah,” Taehyung told him seriously. “But you already know that.”

Jeongguk stood, meeting Taehyung’s eyes.

The blank, searching expression on Taehyung’s face curled into a smile. The speech he’d geared up for fizzled on his tongue, and he reached out and smacked Jeongguk’s chest twice with the flat of his hand, earning an oof and an amused wince.

“Look at you,” Taehyung said mostly to himself as he moved past. “You’re maybe the only person in the world who will love him more than I do.”

Jeongguk felt the air leave him, and he stumbled through the door as it was opened for him, turning. He felt like the state of his heart was written all over his face.

Taehyung chuckled softly when he saw it.

“Go,” he said fondly.

Jeongguk took a step back and headed for the stairs.

“Kiss my boyfriend for me!” Tae called as the door swung shut. “Use tongue!”

With a huff of laughter, Jeongguk turned and clattered down the steps to the front door, pushing out onto the sidewalk. A warm breeze lifted his bangs off his forehead as he walked, lost in thought and a little dizzy with realization.

The music of the street sounds picked up in rhythm as he went, the drum beat of his boots keeping time. Quietly, under his breath, he sang along to himself as words flitted through his mind unbidden. After a moment he gasped, stopping and shoving his hands into his pockets to retrieve the pen he kept there for moments like this one.

He scrawled on his bare arm:

Awake in a daze where awake is enough

Pretending like I had a choice

But I know now that I didn't know love

Till I fell asleep to the sound of your voice

*

Jimin’s recovery was going to take a few weeks, and Jeongguk was content to spend most of it spread out on the end of his bed, listening and talking and laughing. After the first few visits, at Jimin’s insistence, he brought his guitar and some home cooked samgyeopsal for what Jimin later dubbed the Park Bed Picnic Concert.

He’d barely managed to snatch his lyric notebook out of Jimin’s grip before he opened it that afternoon, grinning and teasing as he held it up high.

“Oh you can’t reach it? Sad.”

“Really? You’re playing keep-away with the injured guy?” Jimin exclaimed, amused but annoyed.

Jeongguk threw his head back with a laugh.

“I’m just going to have to assume there’s songs about me in there,” Jimin said, eyes on the notebook as he sipped his drink.

“Come on,” Jeongguk tucked the book back into his guitar case, “you have to let me keep a little air of mystery.”

“Oooh, sexy mysterious Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin teased, making big eyes at him. “He’s so mysterious and sexy.”

Feeling his cheeks flush, Jeongguk ducked his head, still grinning. “Brat.”

Jimin put on an innocent face, pointing to himself, fluttering his eyelashes adorably.

Jeongguk huffed another laugh and pressed both hands to his own face. “So cute.”

It was so easy when it was just the two of them, and Jeongguk wondered if he was caught up in some strange daydream. With the album still going through mastering and his afternoon schedule mostly free, he lost himself in Jimin’s company each day, learning everything he could about him and the things he loved.

He even helped Jimin mix new blends in bed one afternoon, bottles and cups set up on the kitchen tray, discovering some new scents and combinations that made him feel invigorated and energized, and others that put him immediately at ease. He learned very quickly that he still hated mints and all menthols, loved light florals and citruses together, and (after an unfortunate spill) that rose oil gave him a pounding headache.

It wasn’t until the second week on a quiet Thursday afternoon that he got a message from Taehyung while he was preparing to cook their lunch.

Taehyungie-hyung

Better not come over today Gguk

He stared at the screen, confused.

Jungkook

Something wrong?

Taehyungie-hyung

Not a good day

Jeongguk felt a spike of anxiety. What did that even mean?

Jungkook

What happened? Is he okay?

There was no answer, and Jeongguk was just about to send another message when the phone buzzed repeatedly in his hand. He answered the call with a swipe of his thumb.

“Is he okay?”

“Yah, he’s fine, he’s just-” Taehyung’s voice trailed off, and Jeongguk heard the sound of a door closing on the other end of the line. “He’s just been stuck in one room for the last ten days, and it’s too much like it was when - it’s just too much.”

Jeongguk’s mouth fell open as he put together what Taehyung was trying to say. Jimin had spent four straight months in bed last time, trapped and broken and miserable. He’d told Jeongguk once that he couldn’t remember a darker time in his life, that it had felt as though his spirit was dying, caught like a bird in a shrouded cage.

Now here he was again. Of course it was going to bring everything back in the worst way.

“Can I do anything?” Jeongguk asked softly.

“Honestly, I don’t think he would have made it this long without falling apart if you hadn’t been here every day,” Taehyung said. “You kept him afloat, but he’s just a little overwhelmed today.”

“He doesn’t want me to see him,” Jeongguk realized aloud.

“Not like this,” Taehyung confirmed.

Jeongguk slumped bodily. “But I can help,” he said in a small voice.

“I know you want to, Gguk-ah,” Taehyung’s voice was kind, but firm, “and you have been, and you will. Just not today.”

Pressing his lips together tightly, he nodded. “Okay.”

“I’ll let you know when to come back again, but in the meantime, I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything,” Jeongguk said.

“I need you to get Yoongi-hyung to stop working and eat something and rest, even if it’s just for like, five minutes,” Taehyung begged.

“I can do that,” Jeongguk confirmed, voice a little stronger.

“You take care of him for me,” Taehyung insisted.

“You too, for me,” Jeongguk said.

“I will,” Tae replied. “I promise.”

Closing his eyes, Jeongguk let out a little sigh.

“See you again soon, Gguk-ah. Bye.”

“Bye.”

He watched the phone screen go dark in his palm after a beat, thinking.

Growing determined to not spend the rest of the day consumed by his anxiety and his worry for Jimin, he opened his messages.

Jungkook

Have you eaten?

Suga-hyung

At some point in my life

Jeongguk grinned, resuming his cooking plans but switching out the ingredients to ones he’d put aside just for Yoongi.

Jungkook

I’m making makchang for you for lunch

Suga-hyung

I’m not home

Jungkook

You will be

Suga-hyung

Are you stating a fact or threatening me I can’t tell

Jungkook

ㅋㅋㅋㅋ both

Where are you?

Suga-hyung

On my way home

Jungkook

Look at that

It was the makchang wasn’t it?

We’re on the same wavelength hyung

Kindred spirits

Two peas in a pod

Suga-hyung

Please stop

Jungkook

Joined at the hip

Bosom buddies

We should write music together or something

Suga-hyung

No ❤️

Cackling, Jeongguk switched on the grill and went about making lunch.

*

The days that followed seemed to crawl by, and Jeongguk felt himself awash with a quiet kind of anxiety. No matter the task, he couldn’t relax, doomed to fidget and spin on his chair and tap his pen mindlessly for hours, his focus long gone.

It had been impossible not to feel the cloud that had settled over all of them. Yoongi’s silent melancholy was the most obvious, given their proximity, and Jeongguk was all too familiar with it from their roughest patches in the past. Usually the combination of music and Jeongguk doing something obnoxiously endearing brought Yoongi out of it - but not this time. After trying everything he could think of to no avail, watching Yoongi closely and catching the soft ways he left a space for what was missing, Jeongguk had grown certain that this time the only cure was the return of Taehyung.

Equally, every message from Tae himself lately had been clipped short, devoid of his usual teasing and absurdities - the telltale sign of his own unhappiness. He knew Taehyung didn’t blame Jimin, but it was still hard to be kept away from his own routine and life, and love.

And then there was Jimin.

Jeongguk felt a raw kind of emotion in his throat every time he thought of the agony that would surely come with reliving the worst days of your life. While he ached with every fiber of his being to help, he’d kept himself from sending messages, reluctant to disturb Jimin’s need for solitude or impose himself where he wasn’t currently wanted.

All the same, he checked his phone far too often, desperate for any sign of life. It stared back at him each time with the same goodbyes they’d sent days ago.

It was late on the Saturday evening that his phone finally buzzed, and he scrambled for it.

Taehyungie-hyung

Do you know what oils I’m supposed to mix for this healing blend I’m all out

He struggled for a moment, trying to recall what he’d caught in the air that night. Then he remembered what Jimin had shown him during their blending session.

Jungkook

Frankincense and ylang ylang and lavender I think

But check the green notebook

Left bedside drawer

It has ratio notes and all the blends written out

Taehyungie-hyung

Thanks

Jungkook

Why didn’t you ask him?

The pause made Jeongguk nervous.

Taehyungie-hyung

He’s not talking to me right now

Jungkook

What happened?

Taehyungie-hyung

He tried to do too much

Didn’t make it worse but it was close

I snapped at him

Words were said on both sides

We’re both tired, Gguk

Jeongguk slumped with a sigh, sinking down into his seat.

Jungkook

Is there anything I can do?

Anything at all

Please

Taehyungie-hyung

He misses you

He misses seeing the sky

And I think he misses being himself

But mostly he misses you

Tears trailed down Jeongguk’s face silently as he read. He remembered that feeling, standing on his own balcony, trapped under the weight of years without real sleep, staring up at the pathetic scattering of faded stars and aching just to feel like himself again. Aching for relief that never came.

Not until Jimin.

With a sniff, he started typing his reply and froze halfway, eyes wide as the answer came to him in a heady rush.

He deleted his response of I miss him so much and started frantically typing anew.

Jungkook

I need your help hyung

I have an idea

There was a pause, then Jeongguk smiled as the reply came through.

Taehyungie-hyung

What do you need?

*

Enacting his plan wouldn’t be easy, especially without telling Taehyung the entirety of it, but Jeongguk was determined. By the time he’d gathered everything he needed and arrived at Jimin’s building he was shaking almost as badly as the first time.

He was buzzed in without a word, and made it up the steps with armfuls of boxes and bags to find Taehyung waiting at the open door.

“Is he-?”

“He’s still not doing great, but he’s better than he was. We made up, like we always do,” Taehyung said. He looked exhausted, but his eyes lit up at the sight of Jeongguk’s supplies. “Whoaaa, Ggukie! Did you clear out the whole city?”

“Probably. Does he know I’m here?” Jeongguk asked, panicking. This would fall apart quickly if Jimin still didn’t want to see him.

“Yah, we had a talk about that,” Taehyung said, amused. “He was barely moving or speaking before I told him you wanted to see him. The look on his face, I swear.”

Jeongguk’s heart hurt. “He’s okay with it?”

“He’s better than he’s been for days, knowing you’re coming,” Taehyung insisted, turning to lead him back inside. “Come on.”

“Wait,” Jeongguk reached out and caught him by the arm, stopping him in his tracks.

With a questioning look, Tae turned back to him, brow furrowing as Jeongguk took him by the wrist and deposited something in his hand. He blinked down at the car keys before casting a baffled look in Jeongguk’s direction.

“Hyungs’ turn,” Jeongguk said with a little grin.

Taehyung’s eyes went wide again and he drew a sharp breath. “Oh!”

Jeongguk let out a little teasing oof as Taehyung stumbled into his arms.

“Thank you,” Taehyung whispered against Jeongguk’s shoulder. “Oh my god, thank you.”

“Go, go,” Jeongguk said, squeezing before he let go. “Kiss your boyfriend. Use tongue.”

With a damp chuckle Taehyung stumbled past the piles of boxes and bags and out the door, jogging to the stairs.

Jeongguk managed to get his supplies to the outside of Jimin’s bedroom door with very little noise, stooping to snatch something from the closest one. He took a moment to calm his nerves and gather himself before knocking lightly.

“Jeongguk-ah?” Jimin’s voice was excited and uneven, and hearing it again made Jeongguk’s heart race even faster.

When Jeongguk stepped into the bedroom, Jimin looked up at him from his seat in bed, holding his gaze for a moment. The excitement on his face was betrayed by a hint of fear in his eyes, and so much sadness that Jeongguk was already moving towards him.

“You came,” Jimin said.

Jeongguk settled on the edge of the bed next to him and felt Jimin’s hands as they took his arms, his wrists, his hands - not quite knowing where to settle in his eagerness just to touch.

“I missed you,” Jeongguk confessed, smiling softly.

Jimin smiled sadly back at him. “You’re so tired,” he said, head tilting. “You’re not sleeping?"

He was right, of course - Jeongguk hadn’t had a restful night since Jimin had asked him to stop visiting.

He took Jimin’s hand and met his gaze with a reassuring expression. “I’ve had worse.”

Jimin looked just as tired, he realized after a moment, but that made sense. Trauma and sadness always seemed to come with a deep and lasting fatigue that settled in the soul.

It was that tiny twinge of nervousness, of fear in Jimin’s eyes, that worried him more.

“Hyung, what are you scared of?” Jeongguk asked gently. “It’s only me.”

Surprised, Jimin thought for a moment on what to say, how to explain.

“I was afraid you’d see me like this and think…”

“Think what?” Jeongguk asked as Jimin trailed off.

“You weren’t supposed to see me like this,” Jimin said, sounding like he was holding back tears. “I’m so angry, Jeongguk-ah, and so sad, and it makes me so ugly, and I didn’t want you to see. But I- I couldn’t stand it anymore.”

Jeongguk reached out a hand to brush Jimin’s hair out of his face. He made a point of watching Jimin’s features a moment longer, studying them closely.

“All I see is you,” Jeongguk promised him softly. “Just my Jimin-ah.”

Jimin closed his eyes and let out a teary laugh. “Brat.”

Jeongguk grinned back. “I know I can’t fix it,” he said, “only time is going to do that. But I wanted to give you something that might help.”

“You brought me something?” Jimin’s eyes opened immediately, intrigued, his tears forgotten.

“First, I need you to trust me,” Jeongguk said, making a show of holding up the scarf he’d plucked out of one of the bags on his way in.

Jimin stared at it for a second.

“Blindfold,” Jeongguk told him, and Jimin’s gaze flicked back to him with a flash of interest, a slight flush to his cheeks.

Folding it neatly into a strip in his lap, Jeongguk took a moment to hold it up, asking one last time for permission before he put it on. Jimin nodded, holding very still as Jeongguk secured it in place and stood up.

“How many fingers?” Jeongguk said, holding one up.

Jimin managed to find and smack him on the third attempt.

“That’s good enough for me,” Jeongguk laughed, moving to the door and pulling it open to gather his bags.

Jimin tilted his head slightly. “I hear rustling.”

“You’re a menace,” Jeonnguk insisted. “No cheating.”

The rustling continued as he meticulously set up everything he’d brought around the room, and he could feel Jimin growing excited and impatient with every passing moment and every little noise. Filling the diffuser was harder than setting up the first part, given how close it was to where Jimin sat. His head turned sharply in Jeongguk’s direction just as Jeongguk closed it with a light click, and he cursed quietly at being caught.

“Interesting,” Jimin said, brows lifting above the blindfold.

“Ah, you think you know,” Jeongguk teased.

Jimin’s laughter was sweet and bright, and Jeongguk found himself staring at his beautiful smile. Even if his big surprise fell flat, all of it was worth it for this one moment. Joy, once again on Jimin’s face.

The final stage’s setup was easier to do on the opposite bedside table, knowing that the lamp there meant it had at least one power outlet behind it. When he was finished, Jeongguk took a moment to glance around the room before he set the diffuser going, turned on the bedside lamp, and switched off the main light.

Jimin turned his head in the direction of every beep and click, hands clutching the quilt.

“Do you remember,” Jeongguk began, watching Jimin closely, “that night we talked all night long-”

“You’re going to have to be a little more specific,” Jimin said dryly, and Jeongguk let out a breathy laugh.

“What’s your favorite this or that,” Jeongguk reminded him.

Jimin thought for a moment. “I remember,” he said softly.

“What’s your favorite number, Jimin-ah,” Jeongguk asked playfully.

“Thirteen,” Jimin said, sounding accusatory.

Jeongguk laughed again, moving to the end of the bed. “What’s your favorite food?”

“Kimchi jjigae,” Jimin answered, following the sound of Jeongguk’s voice as he got closer.

“What’s your favorite song?” Jeonguk moved to the other side of the bed and knelt on the edge.

Firmament,” Jimin said quietly.

That one made Jeongguk pause. That wasn’t the same answer as last time - and his little surprised gasp made Jimin smile.

“What’s your favorite flower?” Jeongguk said, moving onto the bed and up against Jimin’s side.

“Spirea, and white ro-”

Jeongguk pulled the blindfold off.

“-ses,” Jimin finished.

The gathered strings of fairy lights around the room glittered brightly in the darkened space, woven between sprays of hundreds of white flowers. The scent of neroli oil filled the room slowly, the diffuser’s mist bright with pink and orange light.

Jeongguk-” Jimin said, breathless.

“White roses and spirea,” Jeongguk confirmed.

With a shaky exhale, Jimin blinked back more tears.

“Is it - did I do the wrong thing?” Jeongguk asked, suddenly worried.

“No,” Jimin breathed. “It’s so beautiful.”

Jeongguk reached out and found Jimin’s hand, holding it to his chest.

Jimin’s gaze followed it, and after a moment Jeongguk felt Jimin’s fingers open against his shirt, the same way they had once before, blooming like a flower over his heart.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin’s eyes trailed up to his.

“You like it?” Jeongguk asked, hopeful.

“I need you to kiss me,” Jimin said firmly. “I need you to kiss me, please, because if you don’t I think I’m gonna die.”

Jeongguk let out a shocked laugh in disbelief. “You’re just gonna ask me like that?”

“I am going. To die,” Jimin insisted, looking around the room again.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Jeongguk said, shifting up onto his knees.

“Do you want to kiss me?” Jimin asked, incredulous.

“Yes!”

“Then figure it out!” he demanded, playfully pushing Jeongguk’s shoulder as he came around in front of him.

“I thought I was gonna get to be cool about this,” Jeongguk objected fondly. “I was going to be so smooth.”

Jimin laughed again, and Jeongguk stopped moving, resting back on his legs and watching him shake lightly.

“You’re so beautiful when you laugh,” Jeongguk told him, voice thick with adoration.

“Jeongguk-”

“Yah, you’re gonna die,” Jeongguk said, grinning.

“You’re gonna let me?” Jimin challenged.

Jeongguk shuffled so his knees were either side of Jimin’s legs.

“My turn to save you,” he said, and Jimin sobered immediately, eyes big and full of glittering lights.

Moving forward, Jeongguk bent and cradled his face in both hands, bringing their lips together.

For every time he’d imagined kissing Jimin for the first time, he was certain no dream came close to the real thing. He felt Jimin open up underneath him, aching and eager, sweet and warm. He felt Jimin’s hands fist his shirt just as he deepened the kiss, pulling him closer before clutching his waist desperately. The soft noise of bliss that Jimin made against his mouth made Jeongguk shiver, and he pulled away briefly, eyes fluttering open.

“Okay?”

Jimin’s eyes were still closed. “Again.”

Jeongguk complied with a soft chuckle, stroking Jimin’s cheekbone with his thumb as they kissed again and again, lost in each other.

When they finally broke apart he opened his eyes, reluctant to move away.

Jimin’s hands were still tangled at his waist, holding him close and bunching his shirt. As they both caught their breath, Jeongguk couldn’t tear his eyes away, reaching out and brushing a finger over Jimin’s swollen pink lips before he ducked to kiss them one more time.

This time when they parted, Jimin’s mouth visibly tried to work around a word for a moment, struggling briefly before he spoke.

“I have to tell you, I’m- I-”

Jeongguk waited, hand moving to rest at Jimin’s collar, cupping his neck.

Jimin tried again: “Everybody… Everybody I know falls in love so easily, but I never do. I never did.”

Jeongguk felt a sudden awareness that Jimin tried to tell him this once before.

“You fell so fast,” Jeongguk whispered.

Jimin blinked up at him, surprised.

“You said that all the way home from the hospital,” Jeongguk explained.

“Oh my god,” Jimin covered his face with both hands.

Jeongguk laughed, reaching out for Jimin’s wrists and trying to ease his hands away from his face. “Don’t worry, I had no idea what you meant.”

“Oh so we’re both stupid,” Jimin said dryly.

“Yah,” Jeongguk agreed, seizing a breath as he held Jimin’s hands in his own. “I love you, Jimin-ah.”

Jimin grew very still.

“I think I’ve loved you the whole time,” Jeongguk went on, “but I only realized what the feeling was after the first time we fell asleep.”

Jimin watched him for a moment, eyes glassy and bright.

“I loved you at the door,” he breathed.

Jeongguk let out a surprised laugh.

Jimin ducked his head, embarrassed, but he still let Jeongguk cup his jaw and kiss his cheeks and his lips again gently, resting their foreheads together.

“Can I show you the rest?” he said after a beat.

Jimin rocked back into the pillows. “There’s more?”

Jeongguk beamed, slipping off the bed and circling it to the other bedside table. “I wanted to give you something that would help with the sadness.”

“I think you managed that,” Jimin said, amused.

“When I couldn’t sleep, when I was at my worst, those nights I would always go out onto the balcony and look at the stars,” Jeongguk explained. “It’s harder in the city, but I felt like if I could just see my stars, everything would be okay.”

Jimin listened and watched him, a soft and adoring smile on his face.

“So I thought, if you couldn’t see the sky in here, I could bring the sky to you.”

Jeongguk switched on the projector box, and they both looked up as the empty space filled with a million stars, twisting and rotating amidst galaxies of blue and purple and green.

He glanced at Jimin after a beat, and his grin spread wide. Nothing was as beautiful as Jimin when he was alight with wonder and surprise, lips parted and wide eyes blinking slowly, reflecting the night sky.

“Jeongguk-ah,” he said.

“Do you need me to kiss you again?” Jeongguk teased, glancing up.

When he caught the way Jimin was looking at him, he felt his heart stutter.

“Come here,” Jimin said.

With the floor filled with fairy lights and flowers, and the ceiling filled with stars, Jimin slowly lay back against his pillows, breathing deeply. The bed dipped just as Jeongguk knelt on it once more, crawling over as carefully as he could.

Jimin reached for him as he grew near, ignoring any pain he felt from the stretch, pulling on his shirt and then his arm until he was close enough to hold.

“I’m here,” Jeongguk said softly, laying down.

“Stay,” Jimin said insistently. “You have to stay.”

“I’m here for the night,” Jeongguk told him, pressing a kiss to his temple.

Jimin closed his eyes as Jeongguk settled into the pillows beside him. They lay still for a few minutes, gently entwined, staring up at the trails of stars.

He didn’t know how long it was before he heard Jimin’s voice say his name, but it was a long time.

“Jeongguk-ah?”

“Yeah?”

“This is the most magical thing that’s ever happened to me,” Jimin told him. “But I don’t know - I don’t know how to stop from being sad tomorrow when I’m still broken.”

Jeongguk thought for a moment.

“You don’t have to,” he insisted. “You don’t have to stop being sad. You’re allowed to be sad. Something horrible happened to you and it feels like it’s happening again, you’re allowed to be angry, and sad, and scared.”

Jimin turned his head gently to look at him, listening.

“But I’m not going anywhere,” Jeongguk said.

Jimin sniffed softly, his hand finding Jeongguk’s on the bedspread and lacing their fingers together as he looked back up at the stars.

It wasn’t long before Jeongguk felt his body grow heavier, and he blinked slowly, breathing in the sweet scent of orange blossoms, thumb stroking over Jimin’s hand. When he glanced sideways at Jimin again a while later, his eyes were closed. Jeongguk took a moment just to watch the rise and fall of his chest, to linger on the slope of his nose and the swell of his lips, the fan of his eyelashes against his cheeks.

Fairytales are written about people like you, he remembered thinking once, and it was no less true now.

It was the last thing he remembered thinking before he fell asleep.

*

When the week flew by like a dream, Jeongguk found himself wondering if he’d imagined most of it. His days had been largely spent with Jimin, kissing his beautiful face at every opportunity and holding him gently as he made his way around the apartment, stretching and growing accustomed to which movements hurt and which ones didn’t. He improved in leaps and bounds as the days slipped by, until one afternoon when Jeongguk keyed in the apartment code and stepped in to find Jimin alone and on the couch with his laptop.

He glanced around. “Where’s-”

“Home,” Jimin said, snapping his laptop shut. “He left a few hours ago.”

Jeongguk’s brow shot up. Taehyung hadn’t left Jimin completely alone for weeks.

“We went to the doctor today,” Jimin said, his voice a little strange.

“Oh?”

“I woke up this morning and there was no pain.” Jimin looked down as he spoke, picking at a loose thread on the couch. “I just wanted to make sure. So I went in, and the doctor says I’m all clear.”

Jeongguk let out a laugh of relief, moving towards the couch. “You’re-?”

“I’m ‘free to resume normal activities’,” Jimin quoted in a pompous voice that Jeongguk could only assume was an imitation of the doctor. “I’m free. Tae is free. Everything can be…”

The surge of joy in Jeongguk’s chest was dimmed only by the look on Jimin’s face.

“What’s wrong?” he asked as he took a seat across from him. “I thought you’d be happy?”

“I am,” Jimin said. “I just need to talk to you.”

Jeongguk tried to fight down a sudden spike of anxiety, absently playing with his lip rings to settle himself.

“I haven’t, um,” Jimin looked flushed and a little flustered as he began. “Since my back broke.... Jeongguk-ah, I need you to know that I haven’t been with anybody in a long time.”

Jeongguk blinked, dumbfounded. “You haven’t had sex?” he asked.

Jimin let out a sigh of relief that Jeongguk had asked so plainly. “Not since the accident,” he confirmed, constantly watching for Jeongguk’s reaction.

Jeongguk was stunned, and then confused. “Namjoon-ssi-?”

“We did everything else, just not the actual thing,” Jimin said. “He understood why I couldn’t; he was so good about it. After him I tried a couple of times, thinking I could just do it and get it over with. I brought guys home from a club or a bar, but we’d do some stuff, get so close to the actual sex and I just - I couldn’t. It feels stupid, but I didn’t trust anybody not to hurt me, not to break me all over again.”

“It’s not stupid,” Jeongguk insisted quietly, face drawn in sympathy.

“But the doctor told me today that I can be normal again,” Jimin said, adjusting himself on the couch. “And my first thought was, well…”

Jeongguk flushed a soft shade of pink, and Jimin stopped to admire him for a moment with fond eyes.

“I need you to tell me what you’re thinking,” Jimin admitted after a moment, his tone serious. “I need to know where you are on this, if we can talk about this-”

“Of course we can,” Jeongguk said, moving to sit closer. “Hyung, I just want to be with you, I don’t care how.”

“That’s very sweet,” Jimin told him, patting his knee, “but I just spent the last hour fantasizing about you f*cking me senseless on this couch, and I need you to do that really, really soon.”

Jeongguk let out a shocked laugh.

“I used to love sex. I loved it so much, Jeongguk-ah, and nobody’s touched me like that in so long. And I hated not having it, but I accepted it, because I thought I had to. But I trust you. I love you, and I trust you,” he rambled before throwing up both hands in amused exasperation when Jeongguk continued to roll with laughter alongside him. “Stop that! It’s not funny! I only ever want to be honest with you, and yah, sometimes I know I’m too blunt. I know that I’m a lot.”

“You’re perfect,” Jeongguk insisted, pushing himself upright. He leaned in and seized Jimin’s lips in a rough kiss, pressing him back into the couch cushions as he moved to straddle him. “You’re so perfect, I love you so much.”

“Do you you love me enough to f*ck me into next week is the real question,” Jimin said grumpily.

“I can do that.” Jeongguk ducked to kiss him again, trailing lips to his jaw and down his throat, cupping it either side with both hands.

Jimin whined softly, shivering under his touch.

“I dreamed about you so much,” Jeongguk confessed, mind returning to the first night after their ASMR session.

“Me too,” Jimin said. “The number of nights I spent in that stupid bed with my dick in my hand daydreaming about you inside me, I swear to god. Do you know how much of your back you use when you org*sm?”

“All of it?”

“f*cking all of it, Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk laughed against his collarbone.

“I’m so sorry, hyung,” Jeongguk said in mock sincerity, leaning back to look him in the eye.

“Good, ‘cause it’s all your fault,” Jimin replied, eyes roaming down Jeongguk’s body. His fingers tangled in the hem of Jeongguk’s shirt.

“The number of times I came to the sound of your voice,” Jeongguk told him, brushing hair away from his face lovingly.

Jimin’s eyes flashed with something hungry, and Jeongguk leaned in to kiss him again just as a phone trilled loudly, grinding on the glass coffee table.

“Ignore that, it’s probably just Tae,” Jimin said between kisses.

The phone kept buzzing, sliding along the table.

“It sounds serious?” Jeongguk said, curious and glancing over his shoulder.

Jimin let out a frustrated sound, and Jeongguk tried not to laugh as he reached for the phone and retrieved it before handing it over.

With a sigh, Jimin unlocked the phone a split second before his mouth fell open in shock.

“What is it?” Jeongguk asked, leaning in and twisting to look.

Jimin’s group chat was open on screen and messages were pouring in.

HOBI

1 MILLION SUBS JIMIN-AH YOU DID IT!!

SEOKJIN

Congratulations Jiminie! What an achievement!

HOBI

We need to celebrate!

NAMJOON

Good job!

I knew you’d get there fast

TAETAE

THAT’S MY JIMINIE!

BIG YOUTUBE STAR!!

“Oh my god,” Jeongguk said, clutching Jimin’s shirt excitedly. “You did it!”

Jimin was still staring at his screen, stunned speechless. After a moment he thumbed the message app away and opened YouTube, clicking through to his channel.

There it was. One million.

The smile that lit up his face turned his eyes to happy crescents, and Jeongguk grinned back.

The group chat kept buzzing violently with notifications, and Jimin thumbed back to it to answer quickly as Jeongguk rolled to settle alongside him on the couch.

JIMIN

Thank you all!

I totally missed it

NAMJOON

Proud of you!

HOBI

You know what this means right

NAMJOON

Taehyung-ah video time!

HOBI

Exactly

TAETAE

We should really be focused on Jimin’s amazing accomplishment right now

SEOKJIN

Taehyung-ah hasn’t filmed yet?

Aren’t you his best friend?

HOBI

Oooo Jin-hyung coming in with the public shaming

TAETAE

Oh please

I have no shame

Jeongguk stopped reading after a moment, resting his head on Jimin’s shoulder and closing his eyes. With their sudden serious discussion he hadn’t had time to process that Jimin was fully healed, and the relief of it washed over him in slow waves, filling his chest with warmth.

Jimin huffed a laugh quietly next to him after a short time chatting, lowering his phone.

“Told them I’m better,” he explained. “They’re all coming on Friday night.”

“Do they know about me?” Jeongguk wondered quietly.

“They do,” Jimin pressed a kiss to his forehead, “they insisted on you being there. You and Yoongi-hyung.”

“We’ll be there,” Jeongguk promised, leaning back to look Jimin in the eyes for a moment before he captured his lips in another kiss.

Jimin kissed him back deeply, passionate and slow, dropping his phone and bringing both hands up to Jeongguk’s jaw as he turned towards him. As they broke apart, breathless, Jimin pressed a soft peck to his lower lip once, and again.

“I have to figure out who to film for Monday,” Jimin said with a sigh as Jeongguk kissed along his jaw. “And I have no idea what to do for the face reveal, either.”

Jeongguk nuzzled into Jimin’s neck after a moment, digging in his pocket for his own phone.

“What are you doing?”

“Magic trick, just wait,” Jeongguk said, tapping out a message, then another.

Jimin waited patiently until his own phone trilled beside him, and he reached to pick it up, glancing down at the new messages.

MIN YOONGI

I will be there tomorrow at 3:30pm

I am not filling out a form

Jimin’s face lit up as he looked back to Jeongguk. “How did you-?”

“You were right,” Jeongguk said, beaming. “I just asked him very nicely.”

“You and those big doe eyes, hyung probably has a hard time saying no to anything.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jeongguk replied innocently.

Jimin shot back a quick reply thanking Yoongi before bringing up his contacts and dialing Taehyung.

“Hi - yes it’s me. No, I’m fine,” Jimin said, “I just need some information.”

After Jimin explained the situation and began to ask for some details about Yoongi’s history and taste and favorite fragrances, he glanced around quickly, snatching up a notebook from the side table and gesturing for something to write with. Jeongguk dug around in his pockets for his favorite pen, passing it over and watching fondly as Jimin got everything down and tried to keep Taehyung from veering off on too many tangents. Yoongi was, after all, his favorite subject.

When he eventually hung up, Jimin heaved a satisfied sigh and glanced over his notes.

“Jasmine and orange-mandarin, definitely. Maybe some oakmoss, ooh - or cedarwood.” He started jotting down ideas.

“Show me,” Jeongguk said, nudging his knee. “I want to see all of it.”

Jimin looked up at him, chewing on his lip in thought. “You don’t have to, you know. You don’t have to be interested in all of this.”

“I am, though,” Jeongguk said honestly. “I want to know what everything smells like and what the different combinations are and what they do. I love hearing you talk about all of it. I could listen to you all day.”

The look Jimin gave him was soft and adoring. “You may have to,” he sighed, glancing back to his notebook and scratching his temple with his free hand. “I have so much filming to catch up on. I’ll have Yoongi hyung’s video for Monday, but I need new backups, and the face reveal on top of that. But what I really want to do is film you again.”

Jeongguk thumbed across the back of Jimin’s hand. “I’m all for it. But I have one request.”

“What’s that?”

“We do something different this time,” Jeongguk insisted. “One of the ones you’ve always wanted to do. Thursday video.”

Jimin nodded, lost in thought. “I can do that,” he said, a smile pulling at his lips. “Actually I have the perfect idea.”

“Oh?”

As his smile grew wider, Jimin lifted Jeongguk’s hand and kissed his fingers before holding it to his chest.

“Trust me.”

*

Jeongguk had a plan.

After blending oils for Yoongi’s session with Jimin he’d made his excuses and gone home that night with a kiss goodbye and a promise to see Jimin tomorrow. He’d set up his laptop and done his research, and figured out the timing of going to Jimin’s place the next night right after Yoongi’s session finished. He’d put together a playlist, thought about a fragrance blend, the physical logistics, even the lights. Given what Jimin had told him about how long it had been, he wanted it to be perfect.

It was a great plan.

When he and Taehyung had arrived at Jimin’s apartment the next evening, Tae had to all but carry a soft and blissed out Yoongi back to his car. Jeongguk had stopped to give his hyung a hug before they left, deeply enjoying seeing him so loose and relaxed after so long working himself to the bone. Yoongi had blinked at him slowly, a soft smile on his lips, but said nothing.

As the door swung shut behind them, Jeongguk was ready to put his plan into action - but everything ground to a screeching halt at the sound of Jimin’s squeaky yawn, and the noticeable slump of his shoulders. Immediately changing course, Jeongguk gathered him up in his arms and settled him on the couch.

As it turned out, coming off of weeks of heavy pain medication had messed up Jimin’s sleep completely.

Even clueless as he was to Jeongguk’s (flawless, perfect, golden) plan, Jimin had apologized, eyes heavy, half-lidded and red from how much he’d rubbed at them. Between as many little kisses as he could plant on Jimin’s face, Jeongguk had managed to get him to eat dinner and brush his teeth half awake before getting him to bed early with the promise of filming their second video the next day.

“Sleep well, hyung,” Jeongguk said as he moved quietly to the door.

There was no answer but a soft hum, and he smiled as the door slipped shut behind him.

The plan, he decided, could wait.

*

It was early afternoon when he returned to Jimin’s apartment, keying in the code and calling out that he’d arrived. Jimin had declined to tell him exactly what the second video would entail, so Jeongguk was a tangled ball of nervous energy by the time he got there, dripping with excitement and summer sweat. Whatever it was he had planned, at the end of the day Jimin was still his Calico - the one person that saved him. He trusted in that more than anything.

Jimin emerged from the bedroom bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet as he hurried over to the couch and scooped up a blanket that was draped over the back of it. “Almost done!” he said, gesturing for Jeongguk to sit before he darted back into the bedroom.

Jeongguk nodded, taking a seat on the couch and letting out a soft, confused laugh as the blanket was ejected from the bedroom a moment later when Jimin changed his mind.

After a beat, he reappeared in the bedroom doorway.

“SO!” he said, making a box shape with both hands, “the vision I have for this is simple.”

Jeongguk grinned. He loved seeing Jimin in his element like this; excited and lit up with creative energy and ideas. He still looked impossibly beautiful in just soft pants and a black v-neck shirt that was a little too big for him, as most of his clothes seemed to be. The low collar of it exposed his long neck and clavicles and part of his chest, and Jeongguk was having a hard time looking anywhere else as he listened.

“I was thinking about my painting-without-paint idea,” Jimin admitted. “Body brushing, basically.”

Thinking, Jeongguk shifted in his seat. “So brushing on skin?”

“Yes. You’d be shirtless again,” Jimin said, pointing to Jeongguk’s t-shirt, “and lying down this time instead of sitting up.”

Jeongguk nodded, tearing his eyes away from Jimin long enough to glance at the sun room. The camera and tripod were both gone.

“I thought the couch would be fine, but then I tried to set up the camera and I realized the back of the couch would get in the way, and it could be awkward, and where would I sit? So…” he tilted his head towards the bedroom, and Jeongguk caught on, getting up from his seat.

He followed Jimin into the room and pulled in a deep breath of the scents in the air, picking out the ones he knew: pink grapefruit and rose geranium, maybe tangerine and jasmine, the rest were so subtle and melded together so well that he couldn’t discern them. Jimin’s more complex blends left him awed most of the time, lost in the joy of the fragrance and what it did to his senses and his moods.

When he turned his attention from the scents, he caught sight of the camera, set up at a down angle over the end of the bed on the tripod’s extension arm. The bedspread was new, too, a beautiful bloom of interwoven flowers and leaves in purple and silver with a spiraling pattern that spread from its center. There were pillows set up at the bed head, vials on the bedside table, a little towel, and a spread-out roll of fabric to one side filled with pockets, each holding makeup brushes and body brushes of different sizes and shapes.

He took it all in with wide eyes, glancing from this to that and back again.

“So you’ll-” Jimin moved to the bedside, gesturing to the space under the camera, “lie here, no shirt, and I’ll sit here,” he moved to the bedhead, “and start with a scalp massage and then body brushing. I finally get to use these!”

Jeongguk watched as Jimin picked up two little armbands from the bedside table, each with a little plastic square affixed to it. It took a moment for him to realize they were microphones.

“So cute!” he said, grinning.

“They’re so cute and tiny!” Jimin agreed with a smile. “I got them so long ago but I preferred the big mics for massages, these were a little too loud for that - but for how quiet body brushing can be they’ll be perfect.”

Jeongguk nodded, leaning against the door frame. “It looks amazing,” he said, and he wasn’t lying. The entire set up was just as beautiful and serene as he’d expected it would be, even with the looming camera.

Jimin gave a sharp nod. “Shirt off,” he said, moving to adjust the camera’s angle and double check the settings. “It’ll be waist-up, mostly, and I’ll stay out of shot behind you. At the most they’ll see my legs and hands.”

“You’re sitting behind me - so I’ll be-”

“Your head in my lap, for the most part,” Jimin said matter-of-factly, and Jeongguk tried not to short circuit.

He took a moment to wipe away the last of his sweat with his shirt once it was off, enjoying the feeling of the cooler apartment air on his damp skin. Stretching his arms up over his head, he arched for a moment, popping his back with a soft and satisfying clunk.

When he looked back, Jimin had finished putting on his microphone wrist bands and was watching him, eyes filled with a fond kind of accusation.

Jeongguk blinked innocently. “What?”

“You did that on purpose,” Jimin said quietly.

“Did what?”

With a fond shake of his head, Jimin set the camera recording. “Come on,” he said, climbing onto the top end of the bed and settling back against the pillows.

Stepping lightly around the tripod, Jeongguk climbed onto the bed and turned, lowering himself backwards and shuffling up slightly so that his head could reach the small pillow that Jimin had placed in his own lap.

“No introductions or talking in this one with how loud the mics are. And we might have to film more than once if the volume levels aren’t picking up the brushes, or if the angle doesn’t work out,” Jimin told him. “I did a few tests and I’m pretty sure it’ll be okay, but I’ll check them again after and we can do-over if it fails.”

Jeongguk hummed in acknowledgement, settling into a comfortable position while Jimin picked up some drops of oil from the vials on his bedside table. The bedspread beneath them was surprisingly soft, and the scent of his toner oils on Jimin’s fingers filled Jeongguk’s senses, blissfully familiar.

“I’ll start with a scalp massage and then some light face brushing, and work down. Then we’ll turn you over and I’ll do your back.”

The little beeps from the wrist mics turning on were the last thing Jeongguk caught before Jimin sank his hands into his hair, calluses dragging along his scalp. Jeongguk couldn’t help but arch a little on the bed at the sensation, eyes closing and mouth falling open.

He’d felt this good the last time, he remembered all too well, but there was something different in lying down this intimately, his head in Jimin’s lap, those hands in his hair and the warmth of his body so near, that made Jeongguk shudder with pleasure. Jimin either didn’t notice or wanted to cause more of it, because he didn’t hold back for a moment.

Jeongguk lost all sense of time, of his breathing or his appearance as a kind of euphoria set in, and he found himself floating in a deep, blissful place. When he finally felt Jimin’s hands leave his hair and caress his face, his brow twitched, brain slowly processing the knuckles stroking over his cheekbones, down his neck to his collarbones where both hands pressed lightly and rested for a split second.

He didn’t hear the sound of Jimin picking up the first brush, but when he felt it on his skin he took a sharp breath. It was incredibly soft, and he let himself enjoy the new sensation, chest rising and falling slowly. The flutter of the fan of bristles over his cheeks and jaw was pleasant without being ticklish.

It was the feeling of Jimin’s free hand on his shoulder after a few minutes that made him rise back up closer to consciousness again, but he kept his eyes closed. He felt his head roll naturally to one side on the pillow as the gentle sweeping sensation of the brush moved down his neck and onto his chest, spreading in sweeps of Jimin’s arm as he brushed outwards and over the top edges of both pectorals in turn, tracing the lines of his chest.

Jeongguk hadn’t considered what would happen when Jimin brushed over a nipple until it happened, and the shiver that rippled through him was exquisite. He wondered if the odd sound he heard came from him, and realized it must have as Jimin paused for a moment.

Jeongguk held still, hoping he hadn’t moved too much or been too loud and ruined the video.

Then, Jimin did it again with more pressure.

Jeongguk gasped. His eyes opened, blinking wildly up at Jimin who was smirking lightly at him.

Two realizations came to Jeongguk at the same time: one, Jimin did that on purpose, and two, there was nothing he could do about it.

As the brush continued its path down his chest, circling back around again and passing one more time, Jeongguk was suddenly incredibly aware of every nerve ending in his body. The scalp massage had already left him warm and pliant, but the jolts of pleasure from the brush over his nipple had started something else entirely. Jimin’s free hand moved back up and stroked his cheek before carding through his hair, thumb firmly moving back and forth.

The brush made its way up again, and Jeongguk tried not to hold his breath, letting his eyes close.

Relax. He was relaxed. He could be so relaxed right now.

The heat pooling low in his belly began to simmer as Jimin’s fingers worked absently against his scalp. The brush disappeared, and he almost breathed a sigh of relief before another one took its place, bigger, but just as soft and light. Jimin kept tracing the natural lines of his chest, moving over his abdomen and back up again.

When the brush passed over his other nipple Jeongguk turned his head into the pillow with a barely-there whimper, arm coming up to clutch at Jimin’s thigh. He could feel himself getting hard, grateful suddenly that the camera was waist-up only.

Jimin’s hand, he realized, had shifted to brace his arm and hold him still, but he hadn’t stopped the sweeping strokes of the brush.

Jeongguk tried to get his brain to work, but everything he had left was focused on staying still for the video and not coming in his pants as Jimin kept touching him, sweet and feather-soft. How did Jimin not see that he was absolutely coming apart? Hadn’t he already ruined it? He felt like his skin was on fire everywhere the brush swept, and he bit his lip hard to keep from arching off the bed. On instinct when the brush came close again, he squeezed Jimin’s thigh and felt the brush stutter in its path briefly before continuing. He tried to let out the breath he’d been holding evenly and failed, hearing the ragged sound.

After a few more passes Jeongguk realized his co*ck was heavy and full in his pants, pushing against the fabric, and it took every last bit of restraint he had not to writhe in Jimin’s lap.

Somewhere in between the haze of his overwhelming arousal and his fight for self control, he remembered what he’d realized only a moment ago:

Jimin was doing this deliberately.

When he opened his eyes, his pupils blown wide, he looked up and found Jimin watching him intently. The brush stopped.

“Does it feel good?’ Jimin asked, and the sound of his voice made Jeongguk’s hips buck lightly.

Jimin smirked.

“Oh my god,” Jeongguk breathed. “You did that on purpose.”

“You started it,” Jimin accused.

Jeongguk was too turned on to understand what he meant, but quickly realized the only thing that was worse than Jimin touching him right now was Jimin not touching him.

“Hyung-” he said. “Please.”

Jimin tossed the brush aside, hands coming back to cradle Jeongguk’s jaw and stroke his cheeks as he bowed over him. The look on his face was tender and open and hungry, and when he heard the word please his eyes flashed wide.

“You want me to touch you?” Jimin asked, voice thick with promise.

“P-please, hyung,” Jeongguk begged quietly, hips shifting off the mattress again.

Jimin’s gaze followed the movement and he wet his lips. “Jeongguk-ah,” he said, petting Jeongguk’s hair. “What do you want? Tell hyung.”

“I want you,” Jeongguk managed to get out, too worked up to be embarrassed. “I want you to touch me. I want to touch you so badly.”

The fingers in Jeongguk’s hair tightened and pulled, and Jeongguk let out a long, broken moan.

“Then touch me,” Jimin said, letting go.

Jeongguk writhed on the bed, twisting and turning over in Jimin’s arms before he surged to crash their mouths together. Between desperate kisses they groped at each other, arms going in every direction trying to negotiate some kind of hold until Jeongguk took Jimin’s waist and pulled him down the bed, dropping to push up the hem of his shirt. His lips found the barest swell of Jimin’s belly and he ducked to press open, wet kisses along the softness of it, keeping a grip on Jimin’s sides as he whined softly. When he brought a hand down to palm Jimin through his pants, he was glad to find him just as achingly hard and eager, hips grinding up seeking blissful friction.

Jimin panted as Jeongguk continued his merciless path up his chest leaving red marks and bruises in his wake, one hand working Jimin’s co*ck through the soft fabric. When Jeongguk’s lips found a nipple and sought immediate revenge, taking it into his mouth, Jimin threw his head back against the mess of fallen pillows behind him and yelped. Jeongguk didn’t stop, and Jimin’s fingers laced through his hair again, pulling it taut over his knuckles.

“You keep doing that and I will come in my pants,” Jeongguk warned him brokenly.

Jimin’s fingers loosened and tightened again, and Jeongguk’s eyes closed for a moment as he rode out the sensation, shuddering. Sparks of pleasure licked down his spine, and the heat in his belly surged as Jimin’s hands tightened a third time.

Hyung,” he whined.

“Come for me. Good boy,” Jimin said, fingers squeezing tight and pulling harder, making him obey. Jeongguk moaned at the command and the praise, hips grinding against Jimin’s thigh as the wave took him and he came hard.

Jimin’s grip released, and he cradled Jeongguk’s head to his chest lovingly while he rode out the aftershocks before finally stilling.

“Shh, good boy,” Jimin purred, pressing a kiss to his hair. “That was so good, baby. You’re so gorgeous when you come.”

Jeongguk lay gasping, loose and heavy and half on top of Jimin. He tried to cling to any solid thought and failed, shaking lightly and trying to come back down from the euphoria of his fantasies being fulfilled all at once.

After a few moments he finally realized what had happened and what a mess he was, grunting when he tried to lift his weight. “Gimme a second.”

Jimin chuckled.

When he was finally able to push himself up on shaky arms, Jeongguk shifted onto his knees and stepped off the bed, dragging down his pants. After using them to clean himself up as quickly as he could, he tossed them aside and turned back.

Jimin was watching him, gaze dragging up the length of his body slowly, taking his time.

Jeongguk took a moment to stare in turn, overwhelmed at the sight of Jimin spread out in front of him. He was a wanton mess; lips pink and wet and swollen, eyes dark, shirt rucked up to his armpits, his hair disheveled. His breaths were short and uneven, like he was barely hanging on too.

Jeongguk had never wanted to touch anyone so badly in his life.

Whatever Jimin saw staring up at Jeongguk must have made him feel the same, because they reached for each other at the same moment, crashing together again and kissing messily as Jeongguk climbed back onto the bed. He tugged and pulled at Jimin’s shirt, slipping it over his head, and Jimin managed to drag it off - along with his bundled up armbands - and throw it to the floor.

Jeongguk could still feel how hard Jimin was against him, and sank lower with each press of his lips to Jimin’s skin before he hooked the band of his pants and pulled down. Jimin kicked them off the rest of the way just as Jeongguk’s hands found his hips and held them down to the bed. Jimin’s breath caught in his throat when Jeongguk’s mouth mapped a path up the inside of his thigh, biting the meat of it lightly and smoothing over the bite with a kiss. Jimin writhed, co*ck straining against his belly and leaking obscenely.

When Jeongguk took him into his mouth, Jimin let out a broken and beautiful sound that shot straight down his spine. Jeongguk sank slowly, one hand moving to grip the base of him as he pulled back, reveling in the noises falling from Jimin’s lips when he sucked hard on the head and swirled his tongue. He sank again after a moment and built a rhythm, hand moving in time with his mouth.

Jeongguk had always been very good at this, and enjoyed it more than he’d ever told anyone. He resolved to tell Jimin the first chance he got afterwards; how good he felt, how he tasted - how much Jeongguk loved every part of it.

His train of thought quickly derailed when Jimin’s hands wound into his hair again, pulling lightly. Jeongguk’s glassy eyes flicked up to meet his gaze.

Jimin’s lips were parted, body trembling as he held Jeongguk’s stare for a moment and tried to say something - instead letting out a shattered moan when Jeongguk sank down and swallowed around the head. The taste of Jimin spilling down his throat made Jeongguk close his eyes, taking every last drop before he pulled off, a wet trail strung between his lips and Jimin’s co*ck briefly before it broke.

Jeongguk wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“God I love doing that,” he said.

Jimin let out a breathy, disbelieving laugh, struggling for a minute to get words out. “You - you love it? Oh my god, Jeongguk-ah. Your mouth.”

Jeongguk grinned, rubbing a warm and comforting hand over Jimin’s belly. “Good?”

“I just forgot my name for a second,” Jimin admitted, “and yours.”

Nose scrunching in amusem*nt, Jeongguk crawled up the bed. He hovered over Jimin on hands and knees, hesitant to put his full weight down.

“Kiss me,” Jimin demanded, reaching up for Jeongguk’s neck to guide him down.

Jeongguk did as he was told, long hair falling around his face as he lowered himself, bangs stuck to his forehead with sweat. He kissed Jimin deep and slow, elbows bracketing his face, fingers combing through his hair gently.

When he pulled away, there were tears in Jimin’s eyes.

“Wh- did I hurt you?”

“No,” Jimin shook his head. “I want - Jeongguk-ah, I want you to f*ck me so badly, I need to feel you inside of me. But I’m so scared.”

“We don’t have to,” Jeongguk said softly, wiping away the tears as they finally spilled down his temples.

Jimin’s face screwed up with frustration, not wanting to hear it.

“Shh, hey,” Jeongguk said.

“My body was mine. It was mine, and it was wonderful, and it did so many things and I loved every one of them, and then it broke,” he explained, hands on Jeongguk’s neck and shoulder. “It took everything I loved away from me, and I never thought I’d get any of it back again.”

Jeongguk brushed away his tears, listening patiently.

“But this,” he said, settling his bright eyes on Jeongguk. “It’s more than just the sex. I need you, Jeongguk-ah. I thought I was going crazy because I fell in love with you at the door. I thought I was insane. I never fall in love, never, but that’s just it - it’s not just being in love with you. It’s more than that. I feel like…” he trailed off, upset that he was struggling to find the words.

“It’s okay,” Jeongguk kissed the side of his head. “Take your time, I’m right here.”

Jimin’s gaze fell to his hand on Jeongguk’s shoulder and he drew a sharp breath, fingers sweeping over the circular hole in his tattoos.

“It’s this,” Jimin said.

Jeongguk followed his eye line. “The tattoo?”

Jimin started to move. “I have to show you.”

“Show me what?”

Jimin turned over in his arms and Jeongguk helped him, rising up to give him room and stroking down his back as Jimin settled on his belly.

Then he saw them; one after another, five imperfect circles down Jimin’s spine. Moons.

With a soft sniff, Jimin turned his head against the pillow to look back at him, waiting.

Jeongguk spread his long fingers over the ink, dragging his hand down the length of Jimin’s spine gently. He blinked, dazed and overwhelmed, heart thundering in his chest.

I just know it’s out there somewhere. And I’ll know it when I find it.

“Say something,” Jimin whispered.

When no answer came, Jimin’s brow furrowed briefly in worry. A moment later, Jeongguk stooped to kiss the first crescent at the base of his neck, and Jimin’s eyes drifted closed.

Jeongguk continued down his back, kissing each of them in turn, stroking the skin with callused fingertips before he pressed his forehead to Jimin’s back.

“I knew it was you,” Jeongguk said tearily, “I don’t know when, but I already knew it was you. It was always you. These are so beautiful, Jimin-ah.”

“When I healed, I got them done one at a time,” Jimin told him. “Each moon has a different meaning - they all meant something for me.”

Jeongguk brushed his fingers over them again, awed.

“When you told me the moon was missing from you, I felt like something just - fit into place,” Jimin confessed. “I wanted to tell you I was right here. I was yours. That you were missing from me too. But I’d just met you. I felt crazy.”

“You’re not crazy,” Jeongguk said softly, resting his head against Jimin’s back. “We’re not crazy. You’re mine. I’m yours. I’ve always been yours.”

The rise and fall of Jimin’s body soothed him, and he kept touching him lightly, kissing at the tattoos and tracing fingers down his spine slowly, reverently. It felt like worship; devotion. He took his time, paid attention to every place he could touch, sucking marks into his skin, making goosebumps rise with the brush of his fingertips. He could spend all day just like this; just making love to Jimin in all the smallest ways.

When his hand finally slipped between Jimin’s thighs, enjoying the warmth of his body, he felt a little jolt beneath him.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin said breathily after a moment. “If you keep touching me, I’m going to get hard again.”

“Good,” Jeongguk said. “I’m going to keep touching you.”

Jimin huffed in amusem*nt.

“I’m going to take care of you,” Jeongguk promised. “I want to have all of you, I need you to trust me.”

“I do,” Jimin said without hesitation.

Jeongguk’s kisses moved down his spine again, stopping at the top of the swell of his ass. Easing Jimin’s legs apart, Jeongguk settled between them, rubbing Jimin’s hip comfortingly when he started to tremble. A kiss to the curve of his left cheek made him laugh, and then the right, before Jeongguk spread him open and dragged a hot, wet tongue over his rim. Jimin let out a broken whimper, burying his face in the pillow as Jeongguk’s tongue pushed inside of him.

Hands full, Jeongguk tried a little more pressure, sucking on his rim and pressing back inside, working the tight hole open slowly. It had been so long for Jimin, and all Jeongguk could think about was making him feel good, leaving him breathless and desperate for more.

It didn’t take long for him to get what he wanted, with Jimin coming apart rapidly, both fists full of bedspread and pillow as he moaned Jeongguk’s name. It was music, sweet and heady, and Jeongguk encouraged every note with the unending rhythm of his lips and his tongue.

When he finally pulled away, Jimin let out a soft sound of objection. Pressing a kiss to his hip, Jeongguk shifted, moving up the bed and opening the drawer for the little bottle of lube he’d seen in there once before. He found it quickly enough, kneeling alongside Jimin and reaching for some pillows.

“Jeongguk-ah?” Jimin asked.

“I’ve got you,” Jeongguk said, rubbing his back comfortingly. “I need you to roll over, hyung.”

“On my back?”

“On these.” Jeongguk showed him the pillows.

It took a moment to set up, and Jimin watched Jeongguk with interest as he positioned the pillows for Jimin to lie back on, supporting his spine.

“You did research?”

“I did,” Jeongguk admitted proudly, coating his fingers with lube.

Jimin reached out and stroked his cheek, eyes soft with adoration.

With his other hand in the small of Jimin’s back, Jeongguk eased him down onto the pillows, kissing down his jaw and neck and chest in turn once he was settled.

Jimin spread his legs once more, hips up on a pillow, too needy to feel self conscious at being on display. After a moment Jeongguk’s finger found its mark, rubbing gently over Jimin’s already wet hole before slipping inside. Jimin’s little gasp and sigh of pleasure made Jeongguk’s co*ck twitch as he pressed over and over into the heat of his body, giving him a moment to adjust and enjoy the sensation.

Jeongguk took his time and worked slowly to open him up, eyes trained on Jimin’s beautiful face as his expressions bloomed from one kind of pleasure to another with each finger he added. He stroked against Jimin’s walls until he found what he was looking for and heard a soft cry and the sound of his name, feeling his own co*ck plumping quickly in response.

“I’ve got you,” Jeongguk promised him, working at the same spot firmly and watching Jimin’s breath grow rapid, hands fisting the sheets as he let out another litany of sounds.

Jimin’s eyes were unfocused, his co*ck fully hard again and bobbing against his hip with the rhythm of Jeongguk’s hand.

“Oh god, J-Jeongguk-” Jimin babbled, head tipped back. “f*ck me please, I need you to f*ck me.”

Jeongguk moved quickly, pulling his fingers out and moving up on his knees, hearing the soft cry of protest from Jimin. Jeongguk loved being fingered and hated nothing more than the moment the fingers went away, so he wanted to make sure it was as short a gap as possible. The lube bottle was where he left it, and he was ready quickly, moving back to Jimin’s hips and carefully lining himself up.

When he finally pushed inside, the world stopped. He shuddered bodily, lost in the incredible, tight heat of him, the awareness that nothing in the world could ever feel this good. Jimin moaned when he pushed in further, hips rolling, a few shallow f*cks and then deeper, and deeper again as Jimin’s body opened up and his head rolled back on the pillow.

“Oh god, yes. f*ck!” he cried, rocking on the bed with Jeongguk’s thrusts as he started to move quicker.

Jeongguk was entranced, caught up in the flushed spread of Jimin underneath him and the way he took him so easily, staring for a long moment down at the vision of his own thick co*ck disappearing inside of Jimin’s body. It was gorgeous, and obscene, and so hot Jeongguk couldn’t handle it.

But it was the sight of Jimin’s face that made him feel like he was going to fall apart; head thrown back in bliss, lips parted wide around a silent cry, back arching without pain.

He lost all sense of time, giving himself over to the pleasure and the feeling of being complete again, of belonging to someone.

“Harder,” Jimin eventually whimpered. Jeongguk braced him before he snapped his hips forward, burying himself to the hilt and reveling in Jimin’s long, broken moan as he did it again, and again.

“f*ck, oh god, Jeongguk, oh my god,” Jimin babbled. “I’m gonna come, Jeongguk-ah, please, don’t stop-”

Jeongguk thrust forward hard again, driving himself deep, a firm grip on Jimin’s hips to make sure he held still and took all of him in one stroke each time. Jimin’s words turned to incoherent sounds as he arched again, body pulling tight as he thrashed and came untouched, spilling over his abdomen.

“Oh, oh god,” Jimin whined as he came down, still taking Jeongguk. “Come inside me.”

The words made Jeongguk’s hips jerk out of rhythm. “You want-”

Jimin nodded rapidly. “I want to feel it. I want to be a mess, baby, I want you to come in me so bad. I need you to.”

Every word was heat in his veins threatening to overwhelm him, and Jeongguk brought his hips forward again hard, enjoying Jimin’s little cries of pleasure every time he was buried to the hilt. He sent himself deep once, and again, before he shuddered violently, body contracting as he came with a long, low groan.

Everything drowned out to a droning whistle of sound like a bell reverberating in his ears, and he felt his breath slow down to a loud but even rhythm as he bowed over Jimin’s body. There were hands in his hair again, pushing it out of his face, cupping his jaw and lifting it up.

He opened his eyes and took in the vision of Jimin, thoroughly f*cked out and spread open under him, staring at him with a look so raw it made his heart ache.

“I love you,” Jeongguk said, pressing a kiss to Jimin’s palm.

Jimin smiled at him, still breathing heavily, mouthing the same words.

After a moment Jeongguk shifted back onto his knees, pulling out as gently as he could before he slipped off the bed and padded to the bathroom for a washcloth. The clean up for both of them was quick, and he ducked to kiss Jimin afterwards, blindly throwing the cloth in the direction of the hamper.

The roll of Jimin’s tongue in his mouth was sweet and perfect, and Jeongguk lost himself in the taste of his lips, the warmth of him. He tried not to cry again, suddenly overwhelmed by a surge of emotion in the aftermath. He had never loved like this before; he would never love like this again. He never wanted to love anybody else.

As Jimin ended the last kiss with a soft laugh, Jeongguk gave him a fond but questioning look.

“You did research,” he said, eyes bright.

“I had a whole plan,” Jeongguk told him, then: “This was not the plan.”

“No,” Jimin agreed calmly before his eyes grew impossibly wide. “Oh my god.”

“What?”

“Camera!” Jimin exclaimed, glancing over Jeongguk’s shoulder to where the tripod still stood at the end of the bed.

Jeongguk looked back at it, mouth falling open in surprise before he felt Jimin shaking with laughter underneath him.

“I guess that’s one way to do a face reveal,” Jeongguk suggested, giggling.

“That was not a face anything, Jeongguk-ah!” Jimin protested, still laughing. “That was a-”

“Sex tape?”

“Oh my god, wait,” Jimin sobered. “I was lying right here when you saw them - so it would be on the tape.”

Jeongguk realized what he was talking about. “Your tattoos?”

Jimin nodded, eyes flicking back and forth as he thought about what the camera might have caught. “I want to keep it. The tape.”

“So do I,” Jeongguk admitted.

With a soft sigh of relief, Jimin pressed a kiss to Jeongguk’s shoulder and let his head fall back.

It was so easy to just lay together, Jeongguk found, kissing slowly and touching each other, tracing fingers along a hip or down a thigh, over the dark lines of a tattoo. He wanted to stay like this forever; at peace, wrapped up in Jimin, lost in his own contentment.

He didn’t know how long they’d been lying together when Jimin finally spoke again.

“You took care of me so well,” he said softly, kissing the bridge of Jeongguk’s nose, and then the tip. “Next time hyung will take care of you.”

Jeongguk shivered. “You did. Or don’t you remember me coming in my pants in record time?”

Jimin’s face lit up with a bright and beautiful smile. “To be fair you were cooking for about twenty minutes of nipple play before I pulled your hair.”

“That’s right,” Jeongguk said. “You started it!”

You started it,” Jimin countered. “Stretching with your shirt off, showing off. Then I brushed a nipple and you moaned, Jeongguk-ah. I was half hard already.”

“This video didn’t stand a chance,” Jeongguk lamented, enjoying Jimin’s laughter before he pressed a kiss to his neck and then his jaw.

“We can try again another day,” Jimin said, enjoying the attention and letting his eyes flutter closed.

“Another day,” Jeongguk agreed.

“Can we just stay here?” Jimin asked after a moment.

“We have to eat, hyung,” Jeongguk told him, amused at his little huff of disappointment. “And we should probably shower.”

Jimin groaned, snuggling closer, and Jeongguk laughed silently as his arms tightened around him. He gently stroked a hand up and down Jimin’s spine, fingers trailing over the moons he knew were there but couldn’t see.

“You said they had different meanings?” Jeongguk remembered.

It took a moment for Jimin to realize what he was asking.

“Mmm,” he said, closing his eyes as Jeongguk’s hands continued to trace. “The first one is for healing wounds. Waxing crescent moon.”

Jeongguk listened, fingers moving down to where he thought the second might be.

“First quarter moon,” Jimin told him. “For pushing forward, taking action. Then the full moon… releasing pain. Forgiveness.”

WIth an adoring look on his face, Jeongguk kept up his path down to the fourth tattoo.

“Last quarter moon: letting go, endings. Making choices.”

Jeongguk’s hand flattened over the final tattoo.

“Waning gibbous moon,” Jimin explained, smiling softly. “Adjustment. Gratitude. And taking care of others.”

Overwhelmed, Jeongguk pulled in a ragged breath. It was all so beautiful, and so perfectly Jimin, he didn’t know what to say.

Jimin reached up and brushed the hair out of Jeongguk’s face gently, little fingers stopping to trace his features.

“You took care of me,” Jeongguk whispered. “You saved me. All those years I spent half-awake. Half-alive. I was so broken, and then I found you.”

Fixing him with the softest look, Jimin searched his face for a moment. “You found me,” he said.

Jeongguk kissed him again deeply, arms crossing over around his waist as Jimin’s hands pushed through his hair.

There would be time for everything, he decided. For cleaning up and finding dinner, for watching the video, and figuring out the next attempt. For plans, and parties with their friends. For whatever it was that came next.

Right now, all that mattered was lying in Jimin’s arms; whole, and real, and healed.

All that mattered was the moon.

*

It was two days later, late on the Saturday morning following their get-together with the hyungs, that both of their phones trilled loudly with a notification tone and shook them from sleep. Jimin reached for his on the bedside table while Jeongguk groaned loudly next to him, pawing around the bed for his own and not finding it.

With a chuckle, Jimin kissed his crown. “Bad?”

“So much ow,” Jeongguk mumbled, hands in his own hair. “How are you fine?”

“I never get hangovers,” Jimin said casually, swiping over his phone and throwing his head back with a laugh at the screen.

Jeongguk lifted his gaze to look.

[ SEOKJIN CREATED THE GROUP CHAT: Seokjin and His 6 Babies ]

SEOKJIN

Good morning children

What a great night!

Congratulations again on 1 million Jiminie!

Sound off who’s still alive

HOBI

Hyung why

I was having the best dream

NAMJOON

Present

TAETAE

We’re here

Whose shirt am I wearing

JIMIN

I heard a groan which one of you is out there on my couch

HOBI

Me

TAETAE

Me and Yoongi-hyung

NAMJOON

I’m on the floor technically

But it was Hobi-hyung who groaned

TAETAE

You can tell by the volume

SEOKJIN

I’m out getting breakfast who wants what

Jimin heard the sound of voices beyond the bedroom door discussing different food options and lowered his phone as the orders started piling up in the chat. He leaned in and kissed Jeongguk gently, rubbing his back.

“You want breakfast?” he asked.

Jeongguk rested against him, rubbing his eyes and smiling at the chat screen. “There’s seven of us now.”

Jimin glanced back to the phone, grinning. “Yeah.”

TAETAE

Shirt mystery solved it’s hyungs

JIMIN

Which one babe you’ve got five of us

NAMJOON

Which one do you think

TAETAE

Every time someone sends a message Yoongi-hyung’s phone buzzes under me

And I’m not going to say exactly where it is

But pls stop

Jeongguk cackled into Jimin’s shoulder as the messages kept coming. His head hurt, but his heart was full. Breakfast was on the way, Jimin was beside him, and his friends were all still here and laughing in the next room, waiting for them.

It was already the best Saturday ever.

*

Jimin’s eyes were closed, his breathing slowing down as Jeongguk moved around behind him. The heavy rays of light were still warm on his skin through the gauzy curtains of the sun room despite the hour; the benefit of late summer. Jeongguk nervously adjusted the vials on the bench and opened the little fridge, retrieving some cool towels.

Sinking into the wide center seat, Jimin smiled at the camera softly, waiting. When Jeongguk came up behind him and placed both hands on his shoulders, Jimin reached up to stroke down his arm adoringly, mindful of the fresh tattoo filling the once empty circular space.

With a squeeze of Jimin’s shoulders, Jeongguk signaled he was ready to begin.

Jimin beamed at the camera, cheeks flushing a pretty light pink. “Hello everyone. I’ve missed you all so much.”

Jeongguk, his face off camera, couldn’t hold back his smile either.

“I promised a face reveal, so here I am,” Jimin went on. “I know it’s taken a little longer than expected, but I wanted it to feel right - so, this is me.”

Jeongguk’s hands began to move lightly, stroking at Jimin’s hair.

“Today’s video - you may have guessed - will be a little reverse of our usual video,” Jimin said. “Jeongguk-ssi will be taking care of me today, so I will leave all of you in his very capable hands.”

Trailing fingers up and down the back of Jimin’s neck and passing them over the top crescent moon tattoo, Jeongguk stopped to work his thumbs firmly at the base of his skull and heard a soft, happy sigh.

“I want to make sure that Calico-hyung gets to experience all the gifts he gives to all of us - with every video he makes,” Jeongguk began gently, hands never stopping. “So I’ve mixed a few blends specifically for him today. He doesn’t know what they are yet, I made these myself. I’m hoping that I can give back a little with today’s session, for everything he’s given us for so long - with so much love.”

Jimin shivered lightly under his touch, and Jeongguk kept going, all nerves forgotten. Jimin’s eyes were closed, head tipped back in Jeongguk’s hands as he dragged his fingers in gentle patterns over his scalp.

“I want him to feel safe,” Jeongguk said, remembering Jimin’s own voice the very first time his voice cradled him to sleep, so long ago. “I want him to feel cared for, and loved,

And free,

To truly, deeply, rest.”

*

@hayleysoo

HOW IS ANYBODY THAT BEAUTIFUL OMG CALICO

@bluesandgreys28

The way Calico looks up at him right at the end I legit stopped breathing for a sec who’s gonna ever love me like that

@bloomtilweache

This was so beautiful 😭 Finally seeing Calico’s smiling face was worth the wait!

@bulletproofbabe

Calico drop that skincare routine boy how you GLOW

@silveryspoons76

(@bulletproofbabe) I’d glow too if Jungkook touch me like that

@rookbandfan

STREAM ROOK BAND ✨SEA OF STARS ✨ !! ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!!

@calico*kittystar

The joy I felt seeing Calico in the chair for the first time and Jungkook back again!! You both deserve the world!!

@summerrain

I’ve been having trouble getting to sleep at night for so long

This video had me out in 10 minutes

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Calico Moon - cakeandruin - 방탄소년단 | Bangtan Boys (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Neely Ledner

Last Updated:

Views: 6093

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Neely Ledner

Birthday: 1998-06-09

Address: 443 Barrows Terrace, New Jodyberg, CO 57462-5329

Phone: +2433516856029

Job: Central Legal Facilitator

Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.