th's sister is getting married on a beach. she notices over the days leading up to the festivities, as they spend more & more time near the sea, that her big brother grows quieter. so she asks him one night. she joins him as he sits by the shore, gaze lost to the dark ocean
he smiles at her gently, lets her settle by his side, head on his shoulder. "you okay oppa?"
th kisses the crown of her and smiles gently. "i'm okay. just reminiscing."
"you've been so quiet. a-are you not happy for me?"
he shakes his head.
"yeonjun is a good man, he clearly adores you. i'm over the moon for you. I look at you and I see love and comfort. it has being reassuring watching him care for you these past few days," th says and watches as his sister's face lights up with happiness.
she settles back against him and together they watch the sea for a while, quiet and content.
"have you felt like that?" she asks.
he hums. "a long time ago."
"who was it?"
"jimin. we met on a beach in california when i was studying there. he was the son of a big shot producer."
"how was he?" his sister asks quietly, absorbed in th's words.
"he had red hair and a crooked tooth. dimples by his mouth. his personality was bigger than the ocean. he was a dancer but he also liked sailing. he took me on his family's boat and we sailed for days."
"that sounds nice," she sighs. he smiles despite the dull ache in his chest. he doesn't tell her of the nights they spent in each other's embrace, with the sea and the moon as only witness. he doesn't tell her that jm kissed him like he was the only thing that mattered.
"it was the best year of my life," th says. he didn't particularly like being away from his family, didn't enjoy rubbing elbows with some of the white people on campus but the art program was the best and jm made things a lot easier. falling in love with him wasn't planned.
it still happened. it was a long time ago. enough time that th doesn't think of jm every day. but he aches for him sometimes. like this week, at the beach. he misses him and wonders where life lead him.
"oppa, don't worry. you'll meet the love of your life one day, i promise." th kisses her forehead gratefully and doesn't tell her that he already did.
the day of the wedding proper, th's friends are set to arrive. the night before jungkook, his best friend calls him to ask if he can bring his cousin. the guy came to visit unexpectedly and jk feels bad for leaving him behind. th acquiesces easily.
namjoon and seokjin, th's cousin's are the 1st to arrive. followed not long after by jk.
"HYUNG!" jk shouts, half hanging from the SUV's window. th is surprised to see that he's not driving. jk looooves driving. th is distracted by the happiness on his friend's face.
the younger manages to jump out of the car window without any problem.
th shakes his head and the 3 of them open their arms for him. th is busy cooing at jk; that's why he doesn't see him immediately. but then someone says, "taehyung?" with surprise.
a part of th recognises the voice before the rest of him does. maybe his heart. he freezes with his hand in jk's hair and slowly turns toward the car. there, standing by the open booth, one hand holding a bag, stands jm.
his hair is black now, falling artfully across his forehead. he's wearing a white linen shirt and ample jean shorts. he has yellow converses on his feet but th's eyes get stuck on the moon tattooed on his calf.

his eyes jump back to his eyes when jm drops his bag.
"taehyung?" jm asks again, shock dissipating into a softer expression. "oh, it's you," jm grins before taking a few steps towards the group.

"you know each other?" jk asks surprised.

jm nods. "we're old friends," he says with an intimate smile.

th is close to tears.
"hey," jm says quietly as he come to stand right in front of th.
there's wet laughter lodged in th's throat. he chokes it out as his visions grows blury.
"jimin-ah?" he says and he reaches out, cupping jm's cheek with his left hand.
"why are you crying," jm asks tone soft as he
wipes away th's tears. he's still so gentle. th's heart bleeds.

"it's really good to see you," he whispers, a little brokenly.
jm grins, long dimples creasing the side of his mouth. th used to kiss those whenever they appeared. the urge remains.
"it's wonderful to see you, too, sweetheart," jm answers and shuffles closer until he can gather th in his arms and sway him gently.

"what is happening?" jk asks quietly.
"remember the biy th met when he was living abroad?"
"the one that got away?" jk replies, eyes wide. "oh."
"they broke up when th moved back home," sj continues.
"yeah," nj adds. "he seemed pretty torn up about it."
"that would make taehyungie hyung the reason why jm never really dated anyone in years," jk tells them.
"we can hear you," th says, nose still buried in jm's neck.
"maybe we should go greet your family," jk suggests.
"good idea," jm says, hands stroking across the expanse of th's back.
they leave and th doesn't want to step out of jm's embrace but he's got a million things to do. so, just like he did years ago, he lets go.
he's got tears running down his cheeks still and he scrunches his nose when jm laughs and wipes them off again. he does the same with the tear tracks on jm's skin.
"thank you for allowing me to attend this special day," jm says.
th wants to kiss him. "stay?"
"of course," jm nods, his smile so pretty that th can't look away from him. "go. i bet you have things to do, i'll see you later." he squeezes his hands and urges th away.
the rest of the day is a blur. nothing ever goes exactly as planned during a wedding day and th's family is huge so it's a bit chaotic but it's still wonderful. th cries a lot. he dances and even drinks. but all day, his eyes barely stray from jm.
he cuts such a gorgeous figure in his light grey suit. jm is the kind of alluring that burns. he has a way of holding himself, of looking out of the crowd that is measured and meant to attract gaze. even the way he jugs back shots of peach soju is attractive.
all day long, th has heard the excited murmurs, has seen the flutter of eyelashes, the blushes and the hungry gazes that followed him.
"if I wasn't so gorgeous, i'd say jimin really stole my thunder," th's sister comments with a laugh during dinner.
th doesn't reply, too shocked
to hear a member of his family say his name. when he came back from his studies, heartbroken, half a man, th kept jm secret. not bc he was ashamed or afraid but rather bc he didn't wanna share his memory with anyone. it took months before he told sj and nj.
his sister looks at him now, her gaze soft. "it's him, isn't it, oppa?"
"huh?" th says before clearing his throat.
"he's the guy you told me about the other night, right?"
"how do you know?"
"you look at him like jun-ah looks at me," she replies.
th swallows a laugh, his eyes finding jm sitting between yoongi and hoseok. as if sensing his eyes, he looks up and meets taehyung's gaze. he smiles at him, like a flower blooming. he waves at th, curling shyly into himself.
over the years, th has often come to the realisation
that he never stopped loving jm, that he'll miss him for as long as he roams the earth, that he might love other people but his heart has long decided his home was jm's soul.
it's a strange thing to be reminded of it as jm sits in the same room as him.
"it's him," his sister says next to him and when th looks at her, she has a smirk playing on her lips.
"shut up," th rolls his eyes but he can't hide the grin on his face.
"awwww oppa," she teases. "he's very hot," she adds.
"i'm not having this conversation with you."
"get ready to have this conversation with mum because she has seen these looks you've been exchanging with jimin all day and she is besides herself at the thought," she says before taking a bite of her food. th's expression must be a mirror to the sudden fear inside him bc she
giggles. "yup, you're screwed," she adds and th can't help it, he laughs.

dinner is cleaned off the tables and people readjourn to the danse floor. th makes the rounds, checking on aunts and cousins, chatting with grand uncles and his father's friends. everyone is getting a lil
drunk which makes conversations... interesting to say the least. th hears at least 3 family secrets he's not supposed to.
then, he feels a tap on his shoulder and when he turns around, jm is standing there.
"would you like to dance," he asks.
th looks around, feeling elated and
a little embarrassed.
"well, don't make him wait," his gran aunt nudges th towards jm, with surprising strength considering her old age. th laughs and looks at his family. everyone quickly pretends to be busy talking or drinking but th sees the sly looks and hidden smiles.
"dance with me, tae-yah," jm says taking a step closer and offering his hand.
"yeah," th breathe. "of course."
he takes his hand, feels the touch shiver down his spine and try not to cling too hard.
just as they step into the dancefloor the song changes and th almost stumbles.
he looks up toward the DJ booth and finds sj there. he holds his flut of champagne up, as if toasting th. he gives him a glae but sj laughs.
"oh," jm says and th looks down at him. he finds him with a soft blush on his face, eyes tender.
"you remember?" th breathes.
from the speakers, etta james sings about her love coming home at last.
jm smiles, an intimate and soft tilt of his lips, before wrapping his arm around th's waist. he lays his head on th chest and together they sway.
"do i remember the night the love of my love told me he loved me for the 1st time while we were dancing to this song under the moonlight?" jm asks, voice quiet and reverent. he tilts his head, chin resting on th's chest. "yeah, it left an imprint."
th licks his dry lips, tries to quiet his thunderous heart, to no avail.
"the love of your life?" he asks.
jm's smile is small but earnest. "what's the point of lying. it's been years and just the sight of your sweet face has made me happier than i've been in years."
he shakes his head. "i wanted to run after you the moment you got on that plane. i almost did. i almost flew here hundreds of times," he confesses. th shudders. "i didn't bc i had responsibilities and letting you go had been so hard the 1st time around. i couldn't do it again."
th doesn't know what to say. he settles on, "i missed you so much, beloved."
jm exhales, a shiver passing through his frame. he closes his eyes and hugs th close, cheek once again resting against his chest.
"i missed you calling me that."
they share a few dances, hs, jk and sj joining them after a while. th dances with his mum and sister. he settles by his father who gives him a knowing look.
"who is he?" he asks while sipping on a beer.
th wouldn't know how to describe jm to his father. his long lost love,
his best love, his favourite story, his most tender bruise? he doesn't know.
"he's an old friend."
"friends don't look at each other like that."
th blushes. "he mattered to me. he shaped me. he made me a better me."
"are you going to ask him to stay?"
th doesn't know.
the night is slowly coming to an end but as the bride's brother, th will be amongst the last to leave. jm approaches him again later.
"Kookie is drunk, i'm going to drive him back to the hotel," he says, with a smile playing on his lips.
th nods. "okay. drive safe."
"i will," jm says and steps forward to hug him. "i'll see you in the morning, alright?"
th clings to him, takes a deep breath, coating his lungs in citrus and tries not to be dramatic.
"okay," he says and steps back. jm leans away, peering up at him with stars in his eyes.
"how mad would you be if i kissed you right now, in front of your entire family?"

th chokes on air. "what?"

jm shakes his head & sighs as if put in a difficult spot. "it's either now or i wait for a more private moment but god knows when that will be."

"jimin..." th breathes.
"i guess i can wait. been waiting years for this moment, anyways. might as well make it count," he says before pulling th's face down and pressing a kiss to his forehead. "did you really have to look this fine, though?" he asks when he pulls back. "seriously, tae-yah?"
th laughs. he take jm's hand and turns it over to kiss the plushest part of his palm. jm looks at him with reverence.
"have you seen yourself today? no shame, stealing my sister's thunder," he tsks and rejoices at the sight of jimin's blush.
they're startled out of their little
UST bubble by jk leaning on the horn.
"hyung come on! i'm about to fall asleep and i can assure you, you don't want to carry me to my room," he yells drunkenly.
jm rolls his eyes. "i have to go."
"okay, cinderella," th teases and jm shoves him playfully.
jm joins jk in the car and drives off with a few honks and a wave of his hand. th watches him go and only realises too late that his mum has come to stand next to him.
"so, i'm gonna be accepting another son-in-law, soon, huh?"
th's laughter is startled out of him.
she pats his cheek, only a little patronisingly. "it's okay, baby bear. no one can fault you for falling. haven't seen a face like that in a while."
she giggles as he glides away. th shakes his head and goes back to his obligation as co-host.
the night is long. th cries again as he hugs his sister good bye and then cries some more when he and his brother watch her drive away towards her honeymoon. the thing about having siblings, even when you don't live together anymore, is that they're a part of you. the thing they
don't really tell you about life is that your siblings mark you in a very specific way; they're not your parents, they're not like your friends, they're the people who know you best, who've seen the worst of you and hate you for it. but they're also the only ppl you can call
in the middle of the night bc you need a ride to the hospital.
growing up, you can't even fathom a day when they'll no longer be there to annoy you and yet one that day comes, the sadness it brings is unlike anything you've ever imagined.
his brother throws one arm around th's
shoulders and th leans into him.
"you're next, hyung," his brother says and th groans.
"not you, too," he complains. his brother laughs but pulls him closer.

it's a long night.
instead of turning in for the night however, th cuffs the hem of his slacks, takes off his shoes and socks and starts walking along the shore. he walks as the sun rises, walks until he reaches the small private port on this side of the beach. he stares at the boats docked there.
one of them in particular attracts his gaze. it's so familiar but he can't be sure. he walks up to it until he can see the word Serendipity etched on the side.

it's Jimin's boat.
he's surprised to see it here. he hadn't thought he'd ever see it again, in fact. sometimes he feels like his year in the U.S has only happened in his own head, the memories of it starting to blur, like a dream.

seeing the serendipity here feels surreal.
he's not sure what he should do. he wants to get on board but he's not sure if jm is inside or if it's still his family's boat. plus it's really early, he could be disturbing whoever is inside.

he's ready to turn away when he hears it. Love On The Brain. The sound is muffled, as
if coming from a phone. he follows the sound and finds himself at the bow of the boat. there, sitting facing the rising sun, jimin sits, a bear in hand, wearing nothing but the same jean shorts he was wearing earlier in the day.
th's breath is stolen from him, the sweet agony of the familiarity of it all making him shake inside. he feels it, the moment his heart settles home.

he takes a deep breath and says, "permission to come aboard?"

jm startles, almost dropping his beer.
jm's slow smile is more beautiful than the rest of the view. he gets to his feet, leaving his beer behind and comes to help th get on.
"permission granted," he says softly, squeezing his hand.
the song changes to Tightrope and th feels once again like he's in a dream.
"how did you find me?" jm asks, leading him to the blanket he had laid out on the bow. they sit down, th facing the sea and sun while jm faces him, their hands still linked.

th shrugs. "i don't know. i just took a walk and here I am."

"here you are," jm smiles.
th grins, feeling warm down to his bare toes. he takes off his tux jacket, undoes a few buttons and unties his bowtie.
"i didn't know your boat was here," he says, taking jm's hand again. "but then again I didn't know you were jungkook's cousin."
jm scrunches his nose. "we're not, like... cousin cousin, ya know. no blood relations. our grandmas are best friends. our mums grew up together until my mother moved to the U.S for her studies."

"ah, the POC cousin," th nods. he has dozens of those.

jm giggles. "yeah."
"i'm between gigs right now. it's been hard. uh, I broke my ankle a couple of years back," he admits in a smol voice, fingers playing with the silver bracelets on th's wrist. th's heart breaks for him. the only jm loved more than the sea was music and dance. on his greyest days,
th thinks jm loved dance more than he loved him. more than their relationship.

the truth is, jm's love of performing mattered more than wanting to try long distance. he had to focus on his career. th understood. th let him go.

it hurts to know that jm lost his favourite thing.
"i'm sorry, love," he says. " i know how much you loved dancing."

jm shakes his head, tears springing to his eyes. he scrunches his nose, trying to keep himself in check. when he looks at th, though, his eyes are intent and clear.

"wasn't as bad as losing you," he croaks.
th's heart cracks open. "jimin."

"it's true. i mean i'm not gonna lie, it was the fucking worst. dancing is my oldest companion, the thing that made me understand myself and the world and not being to dance professionally has been... well, it sucked. but the worst was realising
that i would no longer have a distraction from the routine pain of living without you," he says, a tear stroking his cheek. he wipes it away quickly and shakes his head. "I knew from SNS that you and jk were friends. this trip was not as impromptu as I let jungkook think it was."
th stares at him, eyes wide, heart in his throat.

"i didn't know about today though."

"huh?" th grunts.

jm laughs. "hyuuuuung," he says imitating jk's whine. "joonie hyung is going to be here today. i need your moral support," he finishes and they erupt in laughter.
"oh yeah, his crush on hyung is pretty bad," th nods.

"i mean he once say he would fight a tree bc namjoon tripped on the roots. it's more than a crush," jm says.

th snorts. "hyung is pretty hung up on him, too."

"maybe we could team up again and scheme," jm says with
a devilish stare. th is going to bite him if he doesn't stop being so cute. "but yeah, at no point did he mention it was YOUR sister's wedding," jm gets back on track.

"would you have come if you knew?"

jm sobers up. he looks at a point over th's shoulder, lost in thought.
"I was coming to you," he says, focusing back on him. "i've been touring the world. going from port to port, staying in places until storms passed. looking for something, i don't know. a new goal, maybe a new home. i didn't realise," he shakes his head with a self deprecating
"didn't realise what?"

"that my heart was heading back home," he says.

th's own heart wails at that. "fuck," he breathes.

jm laces their fingers together. "i didn't know much about you, i never told kookie i knew you bc i didn't want him to feel obligated to tell me
anything. jungkook... he minds his own business and never shares other people's personal stuff. the times he talked about his best friends was to complain about how much you baby him or when you beat him at a game," jm grins and th hiccups a wet laugh.
"sometimes he would mention that he went out with "taehyungie hyung and his new boyfriend or his new girlfriend" but that was just in passing. i had no way of knowing if you were ever in a relationship, serious or otherwise," jm says and he sounds a little ashamed.
th cups his chin, makes him look at him, bores into his eyes. "i stalked your instagram for months after we split and every new face on here was like a tear to my still bleeding wound," he says.
jm grabs his wrist, laying his cheek on th's open palm and resting there for a moment
the sun is up now, the soft sea breeze ruffles their hair. th doesn't move, just soaks it all up. the smell of the salt meeting jm's natural citrus. the way the sun hits his skin, the way his pale skin contrasts against the dark ink of his tattoos, the brown of his nipples and
cherry of his lips. the light freckles kissing the bridge of his nose.

"you're so beautiful," he breathes out and jm shifts until he can look at him properly. he curls in a bit on himself, as if hiding from the praise but he doesn't look away from th, doesn't waver one bit.
"i think," th starts but he has to clear his throat. "i think i loved you so much that part of me wanted to live in that part of my mind where your memory was preserved by nostalgia, making you shine, ya know?" he says. jm's expression is pained now.
"it helped a little. imagining that i was maybe deluding myself, that we weren't as special as we truly were, that my brain was tricking me to help me heal. everything, from the very moment we're born, everything makes believe that true love is a myth, that romance is dead."
th passes his thumb over jm's cheek, catching the corner of his mouth and remembers as if it was yesterday the last kiss he pressed there.

"it's real. love; it's real. it's not easy, it's not like in the movies. but it exists, it can bloom inside of you like an eternal spring,
keeping you warm, keeping you alive, making you hope. i wasn't making any of it up. you were that amazing, we were that special and you're still the most beautiful person i've ever seen," he finishes.
jm lets go of wrist and moves up to him. he straddles th's lap and wraps his arm around his neck.

"this okay?" he asks. th nods. "I just wanted to be a bit closer," he adds.

"you could crawl under my skin and it still wouldn't be close enough," th says. jm laughs.
"then why are your hands on the bow of my boat and not on me?" jm asks nudging his nose with th's. "you can touch me, taehyung. i'm not going to melt," he says in a tender whisper, just a little teasing.

"in my dreams, this would be the part where I wake up," th admits.
jm's smile slips off his face. th adds, "every dream, the moment i touch you, you disappear."

jm lets go of his neck and takes one of his hands. he brings it to his own bare chest and places it over his thundering heart. th bits back a gasp.

"feel that?" jm asks.
"yeah," th swallows. "you're real."

jm nods. "i'm here, sweetheart."

"for how long?" th asks. not that this will influence his next move? whether jm is here for a day or for weeks, he will spend every second jm will allow with him.

jm shrugs, once again wrapping his arms
around th's shoulder. he wraps his arms around his waist, pulling him closer. under the early morning sun, the black of his eyes almost looks obsidian.

"like I said, i'm in between gigs. i have all the time in the world. what are your plans?"
"i have a job but right now I can't remember what it is," th says eyes straying to jm's lips. he sees the moment they turn up into a pleased smirk, that tantalising small dimple appearing. he squashes the urge to lick it.

"your father mentioned that you were a teacher," jm says.
th is momentarily distracted. he looks up. "you spoke to my father?"

"delightful gentleman. very handsome," jm grins. he trails one finger down th's jaw. "must be a family thing," he comments.

th glares at him and jm giggles. it all feels so easy and familiar.
"what did my father say?" he insists.

jm's laughter subsides. "he indulged my curiosities. i tried to be smooth about it but i think he caught on to my intentions," jm admits with a pout. th finds himself leaning closer to kiss it. when he doesn't, jm's pouts intensifies.
"he told me about your pup yeontan and how great of a son you were. said he was really proud of you for how hard you work and how much you care about your kids at school. he told me you don't talk much about your love life. he said," there jm stops and swallows.
"h-he said that he suspects you once knew a great love and that you never really recovered from losing that person," jm tells him, lips trembling.

th clears his throat. "i didn't know my father was this much of a gossip," he says. "an astute one at that."
"i'm sorry," jm says.

"don't apologise. it's what it is. or was. it needed to happen like that. you lost me, too. don't apologise."

"i'm still sorry."

"me too."
"now what?" jm asks, carding his fingers through th's hair.

"i was thinking i stick by your side until you get tired of me but the idea of having to let you go once again is kind of cramping my style," th says.

jm's eyes smoulder. "what if i never let you go?"
"that would be my favoured outcome," th answers.

"okay," jm breathes. "okay," he smile, a promise in his eyes.

"okay," th repeats, grinning, heart aflutter.
"now," he says, hands splayed over jm's back. "what was it you said about kisses?"

"does your family need you today?"

th frowns. "i'll probably need to have dinner with the aunts and uncles before they go back home," he says.
"good, that leaves us at least ten hours of kissing time," jm says.

th laughs. "ten whole hours?"

"you'll be allowed food and water breaks," jm says leaning forward, his breath falling on th's lips. "but yeah, ten hours is a good start."
he's so close, he smells so good and he feels so solid in th's arms. it feels a bit like coming back to life, having him like this. like winning the lottery without having even played.

"i doubt that would be enough," he says before closing the gap between them.
there's a bit of sea salt against his soft lips, and under that the bitter taste of beer. it's a shock to the senses at first, like a sudden wave but th melts into it, open his mouth for him, invites his tongue in.

under salt and beer, there's jm and he's still as sweet as ever.
jm kisses him slowly, oh so gently as if invited at a table of one of the biggest chef and wanting to take his time with each savour. he kisses th like he's been waiting for exactly this moment, like he's thought about it every day since th left, like he's been planing each brush
of their lips. and yet it's so candid, so artless, so sweet that it unmoores th. he comes undone under his tongue, lets himself get swayed by the waves of his love.

jm's hands are on his face, gentle & warm and soft. he guides th into the kiss, tilts his head to kiss him deeper.
yet, he seems to grow frustrated as the kiss on. he pulls back suddenly and says, breathless, "kiss me back taehyung-ah. i've missed your hunger. make me shiver with your desire. no one ever kissed me like you did," he says.

he begs.

th unravels.
th wraps his arms firmly around him, cradles the back of his head gingerly and moves them until he can lay jm over the blanket. he settles over him, grunting as their hips brush. he strokes a hand down jm's chest, thumb catching a nipple, fingers moulding over ribs and hips.
he drags his hand down his jean clad thighs and curls it around jm's knee. He guides it until jm wraps his leg around his waist.

"the moon on your calf," th murmurs as he nuzzles him.

jm nods. "it's you, moonchild. i wake up at 4 o'clock some days, just so i can stare at the
moon and think of you. i used to wonder if you did the same but then i realised how silly that was. times zones," he rolls his eyes. he seems embarrassed, retracting into himself. th pulls him back with a swift kiss.

"i did. maybe not at the same time as you. but i did."
jm's face is pinched, his eyes glassy again. he cups th's face in his hands, pushes his hair out of his eyes.

"i meant it earlier. it wasn't just a quip. you really are the love of my life. even if you've changed, even if it's been years, i still see home in your eyes," he says.
th nods. "i know. i know bc without even making the conscious decision, i've been waiting for you to come back into my life. i think i would have waited forever," he says.

"i'm glad you didn't have to," jm whispers before pulling him down for another kiss. and this time,
th gives as good as he gets.

in the end th doesn't ask jm to stay. he doesn't have to. jm stays and mama kim gets to welcome a new son-in-law in the family.
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