#vmin au where they've been dating for years. on the surface, they're the perfect couple but years later, things start dwindling & emotions get stale. they feel stuck, helpless, frustrated. the spark is no longer there & eventually, they break up because they think it's (cont.)
better to just let each other go, that maybe they've crossed the point where things would still have been salvageable. they let each other go because they still love each other, because they respect each other to let one another go before things sour completely.
they tried to make it work, they did. because what they have is specialㅡbecause it will always be special, but somewhere between late nights and a lack of intimacy, between heavy hearts and fewer conversations, they lose the spark that had held them together for so long.
It's not that they gave up too soon because they didn't. They've had a long run, a good one. They know it. They found each other at fifteen and stumbled into something so beautiful, so exciting and so rare.
They became fast friends, so quickly in fact that Jimin was a bit apprehensive at first because Taehyung wasㅡisㅡevery bit the opposite of himself. Everything about Taehyung is so large, so expansive and luminous, taking up the biggest parts of Jimin's life and his heart.
And it's easy, to go from being friends to best friends to something more. They're twenty one when Taehyung first kisses him, out of breath and on a post-concert highㅡand Jimin kisses him back because after all these years, it makes sense. Everything finally makes sense.
They're twenty one when Taehyung looks at Jimin underneath the stars and tells him, "I think you're my soulmate," and it takes Jimin a few months before he can look into Taehyung's eyes shyly and say, "I think you're mine."
When they're twenty three, Taehyung steals a kiss underneath the blankets and Jimin forgets how to breathe. It's only their second kiss, and they're stuck on the precipice between being friends and being something more, held back by the nature of their professions.
At twenty three, they've practically been dating for the better part of the last few years, but Jimin still blushes when Taehyung talks to his friends on the phone and tells them that he's with his boyfriend. It's the first time either of them has said the word aloud.
At twenty three, things are suddenly official. They kiss a lot more, everywhere. They kiss like they can't bring themselves to stop, unable to hold themselves back from wandering hands and chasing lips. There's so much lost time to make up for, & so much more to look forward to.
At twenty four and twenty five, the world stops for a while. Life comes to a standstill even as the seasons bloom by, adorned with cherry blossoms and falling snowflakes. Just like the precipitation, Jimin and Taehyung fall a little deeper, a little harder.
At twenty five, the world is frozen but Jimin makes a home for himself in Taehyung's quiet apartment and inside of his heart, amidst the blues and greys that came with growing older. Jimin is violet and yellow, a sunrise amidst the twilight that settles in Taehyung's bones.
The world has slowed down just enough that when Jimin rests his head against Taehyung's heart, he can hear two beats together instead of one. And like this, suspended in the eternal blue, Jimin thinks they could find forever together.
Taehyung writes him a song, or two. Maybe five, or twenty. He plays him the piano and strums at guitar strings and Jimin thinks that Taehyung looks like something that's stepped out of his favourite movie.
Taehyung writes him love letters and traces his name into the bare skin between Jimin's shoulders, with the pad of his finger, and when they're twenty six, they get matching tattoos that Taehyung affectionately dubs as their soulmate marks.
Jimin's things are all over the place. His socks and laundered underwear hang out of the washing machine, peeking out of half opened drawers that Taehyung closes with fond exasperation and an affectionate sigh.
His shirts end up in the laundry basket and stay there, as he wraps himself in clothes that smell more like Taehyung. They're huge & he drowns in the cotton, & when it gets cold, Taehyung giggles as he tries to get underneath the hem of a shirt that fits them both inside of it.
They kiss underneath the cotton, trapped inside of a t-shirt that's far too big for both of them, and when they shimmy out of it, goosebumps on their skins, the smiles on their faces are identical.
When Taehyung gets home from his enlistment, years later, two days after Jimin, he's greeted with an apartment filled with candles and balloons and Taehyung's favourite roses. They kiss at the foyer and fall together again, easily because it's always been easy.
They're twenty nine and still going steady, and Jimin doesn't think he could ever stop loving Taehyung, doesn't think things could get better than this until things simply stop getting better, and start to run stale.
"Happy birthday." Jimin's smile doesn't reach his eyes as he leans over and presses a chaste kiss to Taehyung's left cheek.

It's the most intimacy they've had in weeks, perhaps months.
Taehyung blows out the candles, putting out the '33' atop a store-bought cake, and for a moment, they sit there, letting the darkness and silence wash over them.

There's a long pause, one where they both seem to ponder at the awkwardness in the air and feel sick.

"Thank you."
They stay like that, until their eyes adjust to the dark, lone cars honking outside past midnight.

Taehyung feels Jimin sigh rather than hearing him, and when Jimin gets up to turn on the lights, he hates that he feels relieved.
They eat in relative silence, forks scraping against ceramic plates. Even Yeontan is silent tonight, as though he can feel something strange in the air, the currents shifting.

The ring on Taehyung's finger shines pitifully under the light, its brilliance a little lackluster.
They go to bed without a single word between them, separated by the pillow that Taehyung holds instead of Jimin's body.
"Let's break up," Jimin says one day. It's April and the cherry blossoms have just begun to bloom. The streets are overflowing in shades of love and Taehyung looks up, setting down the phone in his hands.

He stares at Jimin, at the way he hesitates by the kitchen, looking small.
Suddenly, the apartment feels too big, too vast. There are too many rooms and too many windows, all of them carrying traces of Jimin within the floorboards and the walls.

Taehyung swallows thickly and he bites his lip. "Do you want to?" He asks softly.
Jimin breathes out a laugh at that, hollow. Bitter. Sad.

"You say that as if it would make me happy," he says, and he looks like he might disappear into the walls because for the first time, he feels too far away, too out of reach from Taehyung's earnest hands.
"Isn't that why you said it though? Because you want to be happy again?" Taehyung murmurs.

"Tae..." Jimin hesitates, apprehension and guilt glimmering in his eyes. "Don't do this."

"Do I make you unhappy, Jimin?" Taehyung's voice is barely above a whisper.

Jimin pauses. Gulps.
Jimin hesitates, and then. "No."

Taehyung pauses, looks down at his hands. "Do I...make you happy?"

Jimin swallows again, past the lump in his throat. "Taehyungㅡ"

"Do I? Or do I not?" Taehyung asks again. He refuses to look into Jimin's eyes.

"No. Yes. I don't know."
"Okay." Taehyung murmurs.

"Tae, you do...you do make me happy," Jimin starts, making amends. He sounds apologetic, looks upset. Torn. Conflicted. "You'll always make me happy, just...notㅡ"

"Like this?" Taehyung asks, slipping a finger through the hole in his cardigan.
Their eyes meet again and Jimin looks trapped. He shakes his head a little, as if pleading. "Don't do this to me, Taehyung," he whispers, voice shaking. "Please."

Swallowing, Taehyung pretends he doesn't see the tears glimmering in Jimin's eyes even from a distance. "Okay."
Jimin leaves the next morning, but Taehyung pulls him back in. They fall against the door, lips pressed together as their hands wander.

Taehyung kisses Jimin like he can change his mind, like maybe if he pours his heart out like this, Jimin might stay a little longer.
They kiss until they're out of breath, clothes falling over the floor as they stumble towards the bedroom.

And Jimin stays, if only for one more day, because if he leaves, he wants to be able leave with Taehyung's taste on his lips and his warmth under his skin.
Taehyung wakes up alone, a note taped to the door. Jimin's keys are laid out on the kitchen counter, and suddenly, the world feels too big for Taehyung to face all alone.
Later, Taehyung wonders if he'd been holding onto Jimin because he was in love with him, or because he was used to him.

The answer settles over him in the middle of the night, and it washes over him with shame.
He'd been willing to exchange their happiness for familiarity, had been willing to hold onto this dead weight for the sake of his own comfort.

He wonders if he'd even been in love all this time, or if he'd simply been holding onto his first love long after he'd fallen out of it.
With a sinking feeling, Taehyung realises, as he stares at Jimin's smiling face over his phone's wallpaperㅡ

Looking at him no longer makes his heart race. Instead, there are daggers where there once used to be butterflies, and Taehyung wonders how long it's been this way.
He changes the wallpaper. It's a picture of the sky.

Tossing his phone aside, Taehyung doesn't look at it the rest of the day and tells himself it's not because Jimin hasn't called him since he left.
Jimin is thirty six when he finds out Taehyung is becoming a father. It's been three years since he'd left, fifteen since their first kiss. Twenty one since the day they'd first met.

He clicks out of the tabloid page and tells himself he's happy for Taehyung. Truly.
"Are you going to be okay?" Jungkook sounds tentative, hesitant. As if Jimin is fragile. (He might as well be).

Smoothing down the front of his suit, Jimin smiles wryly. "Why wouldn't I be?"

He isn't Taehyung's best man.

(He's relieved.)
"Congratulations on the shot-gun wedding." Something in Jimin's voice is biting, a little bitter. Petty. He knows he has no right to be. He was the one who left.

Taehyung's gaze is unreadable, but he smiles anyway. "Thank you."

Jimin leaves early. Jungkook leaves with him.
Taehyung is thirty nine when he sees Jimin again, his hand in another man's.

The ring on Taehyung's left hand is missing. His marriage had been a product of rushed mistakes and hasty decisions.

It's not based on love & looking at Jimin, Taehyung doubts it ever will be.
Taehyung loves his daughter. She has his smile & his eyes, & in another world, Taehyung thinks it would have been nice to share this with Jimin.

Instead, he wakes up in the mornings to a wife he does not love & he tries not to think of what could have been.
At forty two, Taehyung breathes out a sigh of relief as he pens his signature down on the divorce papers.

His daughter is eight and his wife is in love with another man. Taehyung is relieved.

That makes two of them.
Jimin is in France. Taehyung wonders if he'll ever come back.

There are tabloid articles about Jimin and his new girlfriend. She's pretty, in a familiar kind of way. Like the girl next door.

When Jimin comes back to Seoul, he's alone. Taehyung hates himself for feeling happy.
They're forty three and lonely.

It's been twenty two years since their first kiss, twenty since their second. Ten since their last.

• 'how are you?' ㅡ 03:49 AM

Jimin stares at the text over his screen until the words begin to blur, eyes hot. He blames the jetlag.
• 'okay' ㅡ 06:27 AM
• 'you?' ㅡ 06:52 AM

Taehyung's heart skips a beat. It's been ten years since the word 'Penicillium' has pushed its way up to the top of his phone.

He'd never bothered changing it back to Jimin.
Or Park Jimin. Big Hit Park Jimin.

Too awkward. All of it.
They meet at the park again, for old times' sake.

It's autumn and Taehyung is reminded of that night over 20 years ago, when he'd looked at Jimin and realised he was in love with him.

Standing across from him now, he feels a little nostalgic. Belatedly, his heart skips a beat.
"Hey," Jimin says. His voice has changed. It's a little tired, deeper than Taehyung remembers it to be. It lingers in the air, like the faint beginnings of smile lines and crow's feet along the corners of Jimin's eyes.

Something inside of Taehyung twists a little at the sight.
They've known each other for nearly a third of their lives. In every dip and countour, every crease and every line, is a memory that they've shared over the yearsㅡthe decades.

Somehow Taehyung had always known they'd end up here again. How could they not, when they were them?
So he steadies himself & braces his heart as he says, "Hey."

He's itching to reach out, itching to wrap his hands & his arms around Jimin's entire existence so that he can bottle it up & take it home with him; so that he can fall asleep with the memories underneath his pillow.
"So," Jimin starts, wringing his hands together.

"So," Taehyung echoes.

"Here we are," Jimin whispers. He looks beautiful. Always has, Taehyung thinks.

"Here we are."
"Now what?" Jimin asks, voice hushed. Like he's afraid. Like he feels foolish for running away all those years ago, only to end up here again, five feet away from the swings & the yellow gingko trees.

"Have you been happy?" Taehyung whispers, like he's scared of the answer.
This time, the answer sticks to the roof of Jimin's mouth like something heavy and bitter. He swallows.

"No," he whispers.

"Do you think you could be?" Taehyung asks.

('With me,' is what he doesn't say.)

He holds his breath.



Things aren't easy anymore.

Not like they used to be. They don't come together like magic. There's no spell, no mysterious force of gravity that drives them together.

Things aren't easy, but Jimin is still Jimin & Taehyung is still Taehyung. At least that hasn't changed.
Taehyung's daughter is all wide, curious eyes & quirky smiles. She says whatever comes to her mind & she turns her nose up at peas & beans. She's just like her father, & the Jimin first meets her, his heart twists.

Later that night, he cries for the first time in years.
"How old is she now?" Jimin asks, tentatively, weeks later.

"Nine in a few days," Taehyung says.

"A few days?"

Because somehow, all the best things in Taehyung's life seem to fall in the month of October, and so he smiles faintly and lifts a shoulder in a shrug.

Jimin's birthday comes first, five days before Yerim's.

It hasn't been easy, but they're getting to know each other again amidst the questions glimmering in Yerim's eyes. She knows Jiminㅡknows of him. There are several photos of him tucked away amidst Taehyung's belongings.
Between newspaper clippings and magazine articles lie a handful of discreet polaroids and fading photographs. Yerim knows that Jimin is her father's friend, that they'd done big things together long ago. Been the first of many.

They'd shared in each other's golden years.
But as the days & weeks turn into months, something in Jimin's eyes fades from apprehension into something soft that Yerim is too young to understand even as she eyes the way Taehyung hesitantly brushes the edge of his pinky alongside Jimin's when they think she's not looking.

They're forty four, veering into forty five, and Jimin kisses Taehyung first this time.

He leans into him, drunk on wine and longing, and Taehyung catches him readily. Like he's been waiting with his arms open, ever since Jimin had walked out of them.
"I love you," Jimin says, and he silences Taehyung before he can say anything back. His fingers brush over the curve of Taehyung's lips like they're something sacred, and he leans in close until their noses are nearly touching. "I love you."

Taehyung's heart skips a beat.
Taehyung opens his mouth, chasing the words as they leave his heart, but Jimin cuts him off again. He kisses him, slow and sweet.

"I'm sorry," Jimin whispers, and he's crying in that way he used to whenever embarrassment got the better of him. "I was soㅡso stupid, I just."
"Don't be," Taehyung whispers, and he's.

Gentle. Quiet. Understanding. Heart open, arms ready. Patient.

Jimin thinks doesn't deserve him. And so he swallows thickly, eyes welling with tears that cling to his lashes as shame settles beneath his skin. "I felt stuck," he whispers.
"I know," Taehyung whispers, and he brings his hands up to wipe the pads of his thumbs over Jimin's cheeks and beneath his eyes.

"I just," Jimin tries, words catching along the base of his throat in a lump. "I couldn'tㅡI thought it was too good to be true, too...soon, we wereㅡ
"Young," Taehyung finishes for him. He smiles faintly. "We were so young, Jimin."

And Jimin nods fervently, trying so hard to swallow past the weight in his throat that extends all the way down to his chest.

"I was scared thatㅡwhen I stopped feeling...excited, I thoughtㅡ"
"I know." Taehyung does know. He knows the fear that comes with over-familiarity, with too much time spent living together, working together, traveling together. Loving together. Too much. Too young.

They were only fifteen when they first felt it; the edges of love.
Now, with thirty years between the press of their palms together, Taehyung leans in & brushes his lips over Jimin's so gently that it brings a tremor to his heart.

"I didn't know who I was," Jimin whispers, between kisses, "who I could be. I didn't know me without you."
"Jimin," Taehyung cuts in, voice gentle.

"Yeah?" Jimin's voice is barely audible over the hum of the heater. The tears in his eyes cling to his lashes like pearls, and Taehyung wants to kiss them away too.

"You don't have to explain yourself to me," he says instead, voice soft.
At that, the tears break free, brimming over the edge of his lashes & over his cheeks as Jimin finally swallows down the shame & regret. The guilt. The love.

"As long as you're happy," Taehyung whispers, gently nudging his nose alongside Jimin's as he chases his lips for a kiss.
"Why are you so good to me?" Jimin whispers, feeling small even as Taehyung holds him up on a pedestal inside of his heart.

"Because," Taehyung murmurs, "You're you."
Standing here in Taehyung's arms, by the curtained windows, Jimin thinks he might have forgotten how to breathe. His eyes rake over Taehyung's face like he's trying to memorize him all over again, trying to fill the gap of the last ten years in a game to find the differences.
Thirty years.

Taehyung is no longer smaller than him, like he had been when they had first met at the door of their dorm. The little, red shorts that hung loose on his slender waist back then would probably have a hard time coming over his hips now.
No longer is his nose the forefront of his features; he's grown into it, as well as his ears. His face has filled out, jaw angled & brows defined.

His hairline has begun to recede a little & the creases along the corners of his eyes have deepened into valleys, full of happiness.
There are lines on his face now, creases that are new to Jimin, untouched by his hands and the brush of his lips. The ghost of a frown between his brows. The edge of a smile beneath his dimples. A new freckle here, a little scar there.

Jimin wants to learn all of it.
He starts with the frown, and he pushes himself up on the tips of his toes so that he can press his lips to the space between Taehyung's brows, like he can kiss away the years without Jimin that had left Taehyung feeling weary.
Pulling back a little, Jimin lifts his eyes to meet Taehyung's underneath the starlight, unable to help it when he asks quietly, "Do you still love me?"

Taehyung blinks, taken aback, and then he breathes out a quiet laugh, whispering, "I hardly think I'd ever stopped, angel."
"Not even back then?" Jimin dares to ask, words hushed.

Taehyung thinks back to it, to the way his heart had stopped skipping stones & instead tightened around itself. Not a lack of love, but perhaps. Too much of it, and fear.

"Never," Taehyung whispers. "Not for a single day."
"You got married," Jimin whispers, lowering his gaze. It's been weighing heavy on his heart ever since, the bitterness sitting on the edge of his tongue ever since that night. "I thought you moved on."

It's Taehyung's turn to look embarrassed, regret burning at his skin.
"I didn't," Taehyung starts, the words catching over his tongue, "love her. Not like I loved you."

"Then whyㅡ" Jimin asks, something heavy swelling up inside of his heart.

"I don'tㅡ" Taehyung pauses, hesitating, "know. IㅡYerim."

Jimin swallows, because yeah. Yerim.
"What about Yerim?" Jimin asks, voice quiet.

"What about her?" Taehyung echoes, eyes searching Jimin's.

"What will we tell her?" Jimin asks, nervousness settling along the edge of his heart.

And Taehyung hesitates a little before shaking his head. "We'll figure it out."
"Do you want her to know?" Jimin asks, voice growing smaller, quieter, like he's afraid of the answer. "About me? About...us?"

Taehyung's hands come up to cradle Jimin's cheeks, firm yet gentle as he lifts Jimin's face so that he can look into his eyes.

"Without a doubt."
"Without a doubt, Jimin," Taehyung whispers, words firm as he leans in and presses their foreheads together.

"What if she hates me?" Jimin whispers, round eyes wide under the moonlight as they glimmer with unshed anxiety.
"Jimin, she is half of me," Taehyung murmurs, breathing out a broken laugh. "I think she'd love you even if she didn't know you."

"Yeah?" Jimin's bottom lip quivers.

"With every bone in her body," Taehyung promises.

"She looks like you," Jimin whispers.
"She acts like me too," Taehyung whispers, the hint of a laugh lacing his words. His smile falters & then he looks down, quiet for a moment. For a moment, his breath hitches, eyes damp. He swallows thickly, confessing, "I don't regret having her, Jimin. She's so...she's soㅡ"
"I know," Jimin whispers, hands coming up to wipe at Taehyung's cheeks this time.

When Taehyung looks up, his eyes are rimmed red, nose pink, and he takes in a shuddering breath. He swallows, feeling suffocated, and his voice wavers as he whispers, "I love her so much, Jimin."
"I know it sounds shitty of me, but I don't regret that we broke up," Taehyung admits, and the words get stuck somewhere along his throat, where it's becoming hard to breathe. His bottom lip trembles, hot tears brimming until they spill forward and Jimin shakes his head.
"I love her," Taehyung whispers weakly, curling in on himself like he's ashamed.

Jimin sniffles quietly and pats his hands over Taehyung's cheeks, whispering, "I know, pretty."

"But I love you, too," Taehyung breathes, heart too big for his body.

"And I, you," Jimin whispers.
"We don't have to rush, you know," Jimin murmurs. "Nothing...official. That's soㅡwe've been through that. We've done that already, for so long, we can justㅡ"

"Yeah?" Taehyung whispers.

"Yeah," Jimin nods, nudging their noses together gently before stealing a fleeting kiss.
"Okay," Taehyung murmurs.


This time, neither of them is sure who leans in first, but when they kiss, it feels like their first time all over again, fireworks exploding beneath their skins like something surreal.

It's not easy, but Jimin thinks he could get used to finding Taehyung's hand in the dark again.

He could get used to the weight of their bodies together, to the clumsy, embarrassed laughter that comes with finding pockets of soft belly & softer thighs under the night.
He thinks he can get used to learning one another again, pressing his lips over the subtle signs of aging & summer lethargy. They're not old at all, but there are lines where there was once smooth skin, & softness where there was once rigidity.

Jimin wants to map out all of it.
They hold hands underneath tables and over the blankets and Jimin traces his fingers over the little tattoo that sits along the inside of Taehyung's ring finger. It matches his own and he smiles faintly at the faded ink and the barely raised skin.
When they have a reunion, the others are pleasantly surprised to see them together again.

("I told you," Jungkook says instead, triumphant as Seokjin slaps down a 20,000 won bill into his hand.

"Don't tell me you guys actually made a bet onㅡnever mind," Namjoon sighs.)
When Yerim is eleven and Jimin turns forty eight, she shyly wishes him a happy birthday and addresses him as, 'appa.'

It's still new for her, still a little different, but at Taehyung's quiet request, she lets the word 'appa' slip past her lips and Jimin nearly drops the plates.
Later, after Yerim is fast asleep and Taehyung is watching the way Jimin avoids his eyes, he can't help but smile and tease, "Are you crying?"

"No," Jimin says firmly, crying. He sniffs and wipes at his eyes furiously even as he busies himself with scrubbing down the dishes.
"You are," Taehyung says, laughing. He wraps himself around Jimin in a warm embrace, like afternoon sunlight and sweet perfume. Tucking his chin along the curve of Jimin's neck, he wraps his arms around Jimin's waist and holds him close, smiling softly.
Their hands meet underneath the running water as Taehyung gently thumbs off the soap suds from Jimin's knuckles before intertwining their fingers together. They sway a little, from side to side, and Taehyung waits until Jimin's quiet hiccups have subsided before he speaks up.
"Jimin?" He asks, voice quiet. They turn the faucet off and suddenly, they're shrouded in silence.

Jimin sniffs a little, the last of it, and he hums softly, losing himself in the way Taehyung rocks their bodies gently from side to side.

"Are you happy?" Taehyung whispers.
At that, something pulls at Jimin's heart strings and he twists around in Taehyung's hold, turning to face him with a look in his eyes that makes Taehyung want to bask in it forever.

"Oh, Taehyung," Jimin breathes, heart heavy with how full it is.
"I don't think I could be any happier," he whispers, bringing his hands up to cup Taehyung's face between his palms.

At that, Taehyung's mouth quirks upwards, his eyes honest as he leans in and brushes their lips together. "Do I make you happy?" He asks softly.
"If you made me any happier, I think it would be a crime," Jimin murmurs, the edge of a joke in his voice. He smiles up at the younger softly, damp hands coming down to rest over Taehyung's chest.

He pauses, hesitating, and then almost shyly: "Do I make /you/ happy?"
"You always have, Jimin," Taehyung whispers. "Every single day of my life, since I've met you."

"You'll make me cry," Jimin mumbles. There's a smile playing on his lips, gaze impossibly soft. They fall into a comfortable silence, minutes ticking by.

"I'm going to kiss you now."
And as Jimin closes his eyes, waiting with a patient smile over his lips, Taehyung ducks down to close the space between them.

They're fifteen again, and twenty-one, twenty-three, thirty and forty-five. They' were in love, always have been. Still are. Always will be.
Taehyung wouldn't change any of it for the world.
ㅡ fin. ㅡ
A/N: aaaa i didn't intend on turning this into a full fledged mini au but it was fun to write so! 🥺 thank you to those who read this and those who enjoyed it and interacted with this thread pls it made me so happy and it made this so fun!!! thank u thank u
P.S. here's another fic i recently posted after a long time, and worked hard on 🥺👉👈 boosting it here hehe https://mobile.twitter.com/vmxn__/status/1386439585165676545
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