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#enemies to friends to lovers
skazoo · 2 days ago
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apology of a jerk.
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↳ hwang hyunjin x f!reader
drunk crying in the cold has its perks or how you found out you were a horrible person.
length. 1.1k
genre. angsty, friends to enemies to possible friends to hypothetical lovers :)
warnings/tags. language, alcohol consumption, crying, mentions reader throwing up.
networks. @kflixnet
notes. wrote this in a hurry before i lost the inspiration and idk how good it could be but ANYWAYS. exams preparations are kicking my ass and i could go on a short hiatus! still thinking about it but ok, hope you enjoy
ps. is till don't know how to get rid of the repeated paragraphs so i'm sorry if thy bother you but i'm working on it!
if anyone has tips i'd be glad <3
i'm desperate for feedback and i love comments with your opinion!
(cross-posted on ao3 only)
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“you’re drunk Y/N.”
you scoff. “you are too, but you don’t see me patronizing you.” 
the four shots of tequila you drowned twenty minutes ago shield you from a particularly freezing gust of wind that messes with your hair in a rather unceremonious way.
“i’m most definitely not drunk but i know you will regret this conversation as soon as you realize it was me you were talking to, so i think i’m gonna go.” he moves to get inside the sweaty heat of the loud frat house with a sour expression on his beautiful face.
“come on hyune, we’re best friends! we tell each other everything, right?” you slur your words and you find yourself leaning into his heat, sniffing his sweet cologne, peeking at his hard eyes.
“come on hyune, we’re best friends! we tell each other everything, right?” you slur your words and you find yourself leaning into his heat, sniffing his sweet cologne, peeking at his hard eyes.
“come on hyune, we’re best friends! we tell each other everything, right?” you slur your words and you find yourself leaning into his heat, sniffing his sweet cologne, peeking at his hard eyes.
he grimaces as he feels your alcohol-filled breath fan his nose. he keeps you at arm’s length and lets his eyes wander around, probably looking for your designated driver who got you out of the house when you told her you had to throw up and that as soon as she saw hyunjin’s familiar face, dipped and left you outside to fend the cold on your own.
“jinnie, are you listening to me?”
his eyes widen for a second and he looks just like your high school best friend. just for a second, you’re teleported to a past where you two were two peas in a pod, where you loved him and he loved you unconditionally, always, and forever.
you shake your head to shoo away the bitter nostalgia and focus back on the not-so-hard task of making hyunjin snap. “jinnie, i said that we-”
“for fuck’s sake, Y/N we were best friends! i don't want anything to do with your bullshit and stop calling me like that!” 
and here he is. the person he’s become. the person you’ve spent your college years hating because you forget but never forgive.
the statement and his tone would make you flinch, they would ruin your mood and make you cry at night in the lonely silence of your bedroom if you weren’t so irrevocably drunk.
but you are so the seriousness that seeps through his words flies over your head, missing you by a lot.
“okay, jinnie but i- listen i’m serious!” and your mind doesn’t register the exasperated sigh that the boy in front of you lets out.
“i’m telling you! i always choose jerks to date! like the dude in high school you remember him, right?” you make an ugly gagging noise before going on with your rant. “he was such an asshole! and the guy from our shared class? you know the one with the ugly watch, and-”
hyunjin holds a slender hand to your face and for a moment you’re completely enraptured by the silver twinkling of his rings. between the cracks of his fingers, you can see his dark eyes and furrowed brows pin you down.
“Y/N, give me at least three reasons why you are not a jerk.”
your lucid eyes widen and you take a little step back. “i- uh, well, i treat people nice? on the internet? sometimes? and i’m… not… mean?”
he’s looking down at you with something dangerously akin to pity. why is hwang hyunjin pitying you? why do you feel the need to say you’re sorry? why can’t you find the words?
“and i’m… i mean i can be, uhh…” 
damn it.
“...fuck.” 
was that a revelation so groundbreaking that you feel the sting of tears threatening to shame you in front of the only person who should never see you in a vulnerable state?
maybe you’ve been lying to yourself your whole life, but if that was true then also every other person you’ve ever met had done the same. everyone except hyunjin, that is.
“jinnie, i’m a jerk!” you crouch down on unsteady legs and drunk tears that wouldn’t be a surprise if they tasted like alcohol, start to fall from your eyes. “fuck, jinnie! i’m a horrible person and i just found out now! how is that normal!?”
hyunjin beds to the waist and takes your trembling hands off your face and he just looks like an angel sent by a cruel god to shame you. “you are a jerk, Y/N.” at that you sniff loudly. “why do you think i left you after high school, uh?”
“it was because you made new friends and-”
“no, Y/N. it was because i wasn’t as smart as you wanted me to be. i wasn’t smart enough to hang out with a top student, that’s why i left. you treated me like shit and had the guts to be offended when i would say no to your hangouts.” his tone is soft and resigned like he’d been trying to make you understand on your own this whole time but failed.
“i just found friends who loved me for who i was, Y/N. it’s not that complicated.”
you shoot back up and almost headbutt him in the face. the alcohol is fading and you shiver as you grip his arm with determination.
“but i did love you, jinnie! i’ve always loved you and always will, remember? we made a promise…”
he shrugs your arm off and turns around to leave, hiding his watery eyes from you.
“you broke the promise two years ago.”
“but i can fix it! i know i can! i want to, just tell me how”
he looks at you over his shoulder. “figure it out yourself, Y/N.” and it’s not a no. it’s not a no, so you have hope and a new goal to achieve. a goal that is so much more important than any other thing in your life right now.
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the months after the sudden epiphany pass slowly. they’re cold and stiff but there's a new fervor keeping you warm. 
every coffee order you place on his desk on monday mornings is a step closer to seeing him smile at you again. 
every little ‘hey’ you throw at him and his friends when you pass them in the hallways, is a win for your sorry heart.
every ‘goodnight’ message you send to him on the number he had in high school –most definitely too old to still be his– makes your guts flutter in anticipation and your eyes cry with disappointment every night.
every night but not tonight when while you’re brushing your teeth you feel the short vibration of your phone in the back pocket of your pajama. 
it reads a simple ‘goodnight, Y/N’ but it’s enough to make you spit toothpaste on your bathroom mirror and dream of him. 
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quizasvivamos · a day ago
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About-Face: Chapter 40/42
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About-Face (167880 words)
by quizasvivamos
Chapters: 40/42
Fandom: Glee
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blaine Anderson/Kurt Hummel
Characters: Blaine Anderson, Kurt Hummel, Pam Anderson, Cooper Anderson, Blaine Anderson's Father, Burt Hummel, Carole Hudson-Hummel, Bryan Ryan, Shelby Corcoran, Tina Cohen-Chang, Mercedes Jones, Rachel Berry, Sam Evans, Finn Hudson, Brittany S. Pierce, Santana Lopez, Quinn Fabray, Will Schuester, Emma Pillsbury, Sheldon Beiste, Sue Sylvester, Jesse St. James, Becky Jackson, Mike Chang, Noah Puckerman, Hiram Berry, Leroy Berry, David Karofsky, Artie Abrams, Sugar Motta, April Rhodes
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - High School, Angst, Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Closeted Character, Slow Burn, Insecurity, Jealousy, Mutual Pining, Alternate Universe - Marching Band, Marching Band, Drum Major Blaine Anderson, Color Guard Captain Kurt Hummel, Nerd Blaine Anderson, Dancer Kurt Hummel, Musician Blaine Anderson, Mental Health Issues, Coming of Age, First Time, Hand Jobs, Minor Violence, Minor Injuries, Underage Drinking, Consensual Underage Sex
Summary: At the start of the Marching Band season his sophomore year, Blaine is the youngest Drum Major in McKinley High history. However, none of his peers believe he deserves the title, especially a handful of embittered upperclassmen, including one particularly stubborn Color Guard Captain, who challenges him in more ways than one.
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lady-of-the-spirit · a year ago
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Enemies to "I accidentally came across you while you were vulnerable and scared and I'm not a total asshole so I tried to help you" to "accidental mutual uncovering of softer sides and vulnerabilities" to "I can't be mean to you anymore, not out of pity but because it would feel weird betraying that brief truce we had" to "Fine I'll make an effort to be nice to you now I guess" to "actually now that we're not actively hating each other you're not so bad I guess" to "i think we're friends but I'm not going to say that because I'm afraid you're not gonna feel the same way" to "oh you also think we're friends? Great" to lovers
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thatsweetdagger · 6 months ago
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I love it when someone says things like “Would've been more fun if you were here" or "I wish you were here so we could do this and this". It shows that you kinda matter to them to certain degrees, that your existence matters. They mean that your mere presence could have a difference. And what's so subtle yet beautiful than this ?
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furious-runaway-dream · a month ago
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Bitches with trust issues love enemies to lovers because they love the idea of seeing someones worst traits first and still be able to fall in love them without the everpresent underlying fear of weather their worst is something genuinely evil. It's me. I'm bitches.
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itsjuliak5 · a year ago
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Someone on TikTok said that bitches with anxiety love the enemies to lovers trope because the idea of having someone see all of our negative traits first and then still fall in love with us is really comforting since we worry that if someone sees our negative traits after they fall in love, they’ll leave us.
It’s me, I’m bitches.
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whumpyourenemy · 6 months ago
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Hidden Injury dialogue that makes my heart just stop beating
'Whose blood is that?'
'Do you know how pale you look right now?'
'You're burning up'
'You're sick'
'You can barely keep your eyes open.. When was the last time you slept?'
'Take off your shirt. Don't give me that look'
'What was that? You winced.'
'You've got to do better than that if you want to fool me'
'Walk then. Come on, walk towards me. I bet you can't even take a step'
'You're hurt'
'I know you're hurt. And I'm tired of waiting for you to bring it up'
'You can trust me' (Whumpee denies it) *Caretaker gives them a pat and leaves. The first aid kit sits in their place
'I knew it, you're sick.' 'Go away'
'I'm fine'
'Don't give me that bullshit'
'We need to get you to a medic NOW'
'I just need to rest'
Caretaker desperately shaking whumpee awake, calling their name over and over
'How could you let it get this bad?'
'I'm no use to you, injured' 'You're even less use if you're dead'
EDIT: PLEASE TAG @whumpyourenemy IN YOUR WRITINGS IF YOU USE ANY OF THESE! I'D LOVE TO READ YOUR WORK 🥰
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rorycxre · a month ago
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“I like you.” 5/10 Basic, could do better. Points for straight forwardness.
“You are the bane of my existence and the object of all my desires.” 100000000/10 No explanation needed it’s perfect.
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crystallizedpistachio · 4 months ago
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Some of you need to understand that enemies to friends to lovers is " we started on the wrong foot and eventually learned how to look past eachother's flaws and gradually start to love the whole person" not " I hate you but I tolerate you because I want sex"
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strayberryminhos · 2 months ago
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Bickering & Butterflies
pairing: jungkook x reader
genre: enemies to lovers
word count: 5.6k
fic tags: enemies to lovers, bickering, flirting, college au
author’s note: based on this post and my very specific tags for it lol
summary: Jeon Jungkook is the epitome of obnoxious - always arriving to class five minutes late in his fuckboy hoodies, with nothing but a spiral notebook and his cellphone in his hand. Every day, he sits beside you and every day, he pokes you in your arm just as lecture is starting to ask you for a pen. Each time you consider giving him the telling off he deserves, he flashes that stupid, sheepish, puppy-dog-eye smile at you, and you cave. Only for the brat to spend the entirely of lecture chewing on the cap of the very pen you’d lend him! Yeah, you kind of can’t stand Jeon Jungkook. So then why does your heart race a little bit every time he pokes your arm? And why, when he’s absent, do you find yourself almost *gasp* missing him?
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The first day, you could forgive it. Everyone was a little out of sorts on their first day, rushing around campus and trying to find their classes. You could forgive it, when the boy rushed in a few moments late, the door to the lecture room swinging open and banging jarringly against the wall. You could forgive it when he sauntered in, in his oversized black hoodie and combat boots that squeaked annoyingly across the tile floor. You could forgive it when he sat next to you, setting the single black spiral on his desk with seemingly nothing more in his possession apart from his phone - taped together with clear, plastic packaging tape. You could even forgive it when he poked you in the arm and whispered, “Hey, you got a pen?” You wanted to tell him off a little, give him a bit of a lecture just so it’d stick and he’d remember his own supplies next time. But then the boy shrugged so sheepishly, puppy-eyes on full display as he sent a soft, shy smile your way. And you couldn’t help but cave. You gave him your best pen - the one that wrote smooth as silk. 
What you could not forgive however, was the fact that the little brat proceeded to chew the cap of your pen throughout the entire lecture. 
You kept shooting him glances, hoping he’d get the memo and your furious stare would be enough for him to stop his disgusting habit - at least when it came to your own property. But he completely ignored you, eyes focused straight ahead. Except for the one time he actually caught your gaze, and lazily smiled - well, smirked - around the cap of your pen. You swore steam must have shot from your ears. It only served to widen his smile. 
“My pen, please,” you’d said at the end of class, holding up your palm expectantly.
“Right,” he grinned, slapping it down in your hand.
You made an entire show of wiping the cap off on the leg of your jeans.
“Do you always slobber on other people’s property?” 
The boy just smiled brightly - large brown eyes practically sparkling as he said, “Nah, just yours.”
“Flattered.” You’d responded flatly, tucking the pen back in your pencil case, and making a quick exit, still feeling very much pissed off. Who the hell chewed on other peoples’ pens when they were so kind to lend them in the first place?
It turned out, this was not a one-time thing. The following class, Wednesday, the exact scene repeated. He burst in, late, with just his notebook and phone. Right as the professor was starting his lecture, you felt the dreaded poke to your arm.
“What do you want?” You hissed.
“You got a pen?”
“Are you gonna slobber all over it?” 
“Quiet in the third row,” the professor scolded before turning back to the blackboard.
“You got in trouble,” he sing-songed, much to your dismay.
“Are you ten?”
“Maybe. So…pen?”
You wanted to say no. You were prepared to say no. You were turning to say no, when….he flashed that signature sheepish smile and puppy eyes. You groaned, reaching into your pencil case and pulling out the pen he’d used Monday.
He beamed, taking off the cap and sticking it on the end, before resting it to his bottom lip. You were seething again, watching as he tapped the pen to his lip before sticking it in his mouth and began chewing. You were aghast. Even more so when the professor called on you to answer a question about the reading assignment from Monday, and you couldn’t because you’d been too busy glaring laser beams at the boy next to you.
“Try paying closer attention, Y/N,” the professor scolded. You wanted to melt into your seat then and there. To your dismay, the boy began to snicker. You had half a mind to yank your pen out of his mouth and thwack him on the head with it.
On Friday, you swore you weren’t going to give in. There was no way. You were beyond pissed off now. Now, it was starting to affect your behavior in class, and you were not about to let that continue. Nope, it was time to put a stop to all of this. He’d just have to start bringing his own pens to class. 
Of course, when he arrived late, poking you in the arm, you made every attempt to hold true to that. You turned to him to tell him enough was enough, that he needed to bring his own supplies. You barely got a word out before his puppy-eyes widened in full-force and he let out a quiet little, “Please?”
“Ugh, fine!” You caved, handing him what you dubbed ‘his’ pen.
“Thank you,” he smiled shyly from the side of his eye as he began to scribble down the professor’s notes from the board. You would be lying if you said you didn’t find that soft, shy little voice of his adorable. But then you saw him bring the pen to his mouth and chew and you were livid once again. 
At the end of class, he handed it back to you with a soft smile.
“I’m Jungkook, by the way.”
“Y/N,” you said, taking the pen and, again, wiping it on your pants leg. 
“Nice to meet you, Y/N! So, are you a literature major too?”
“I’m annoyed is what I am, Jungkook. Every day you come to class without a pen, and you ask me for one and then have the absolute nerve to chew on it like a puppy! Who even does that?”
“Then stop giving me pens.”
You blinked.
“What?” Jungkook grinned, chuckling slightly, “You’re the one who keeps giving them to me.”
“B-because….” you felt your brain short-circuit. How could you possibly explain to this little brat that it was because of his big, brown eyes and little pout that had you so completely whipped every single day. 
Jungkook just grinned, “Have a good weekend, Y/N.”
You stood there, watching him head out the classroom, and something in your stomach flipped. Jungkook was an absolute brat. You were not going to cave to him. Monday, you were going to be firm. No backing down. No caving. You were going to show him!
Monday came, and with it, your professor writing the dreaded words - POP QUIZ - on the chalkboard. You froze in place. What would Jungkook do if he didn’t have a pen again? There was no way you could let him get a zero on the quiz because he didn’t have his supplies with him. Though maybe it would teach him a lesson….still, you knew you couldn’t do that to him. So when the door clamored open and Jungkook rushed in late, as usual, you were already digging “his” pen out from you pencil case.
He looked at it curiously.
“Pop quiz,” you said as means of explanation.
“Ah,” Jungkook took the pen from you, “And here I thought you were just charmed by me.” He had the nerve to wink at you. You were about to tell him off, when the professor called the class to attention.
“Alright everyone! First pop quiz of the semester. I’ll pass out your quizzes, please just circle the answer you think is best. No talking. And no looking at your books. This quiz should be fairly easy if you did the reading.”
You turned your attention forward and waited for your quiz. You were done giving Jungkook any attention. You needed to focus.
The professor passed out the quizzes and just as you began to read over it, you saw Jungkook begin to put the cap of your pen in his mouth. After a week, it was already all mangled and gross, and he began to chew on it in earnest, making a smacking noise as he did. You tried to focus on your quiz, but after you realized you had spent five minutes on one question because you kept getting distracted by his chewing, you decided immediate action was in order. You reached over and smacked him on the arm.
“Ow!” Jungkook hissed, shooting you a glare. He actually had the nerve to glare at you!
“Stop chewing on my pen, asshole!”
“What’s going on over there?” The professor glared from his desk, “You two, focus on your own papers.”
Sighing, you turned back to your quiz, not wanting to risk being given a zero or something. Jungkook surprisingly finished first, standing to take his quiz up to the front, but not before flicking you on the shoulder as he passed. You gasped, glaring as he handed his quiz to the professor with a charming smile. What a dick. 
Not long after Jungkook took his seat, you got up to turn in your own quiz. Before you passed him, you pinched him on the arm, making him bite down on a cry.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He asked, rubbing his arm when you returned to your desk.
“You started it.”
He stuck his tongue out at you. You rolled your eyes.
“You are an actual five year old. You’re a brat and you drool, are you sure you shouldn’t be at the campus daycare center?” 
Jungkook let out an amused bubble of laughter, “Nice. And don’t blame me just because I totally have you wrapped around my finger.”
“Oh you do not!”
“Oh yes I do! You hate giving me your pen, knowing I’m just going to chew on it, and yet you give it to me. Every single class.”
You gave him the middle finger before turning back to the front of class, waiting for the other students to finish their quizzes. Beside you, you could hear Jungkook chuckle.
The next day, you again swore you weren’t going to give in.
Until you felt that familiar poke on your arm. And saw that familiar puppy-dog look.
“Oh damn it,” you slapped the pen down on his desk.
“Thank you!” Jungkook grinned, bright as ever.
At the end of class, the professor passed back the quizzes from before. For whatever reason, he’d decided to just go one row at a time, and hand the stack to the first person in each row to pass back to the each person. Which meant Jungkook would be seeing your quiz as he handed it to you. You inwardly groaned. You knew you’d done well, but still….it was the principal of the matter.
“Oooh, someone didn’t do too hot,” Jungkook giggled, staring at your paper with a scandalized look on his face.
“Gimme that!” You tried to grab the stack of quizzes from his hand.
“Maybe you should study harder next time, Y/N.”
“Jungkook!”
“Alright, alright,” he gave in, handing the rest of the quizzes to you. Sighing, you passed the rest of the stack to the person beside you, before looking at your own.
“Jungkook, this is an 87. I did perfectly fine.”
“Hmm. Maybe. But as someone who made a 98, I’d have to disagree.”
“You didn’t!”
“But I did,” Jungkook jutted out his bottom lip in mock sympathy. “Maybe study harder?”
You couldn’t believe it. “You are such an ass,” you snatched your pen off his desk, shoving it back into your pencil case.
“You forgot to wipe it off.”
“Oh fuck you!”
Jungkook just laughed, bright as ever. “Look, Y/N, if you ever want to study with someone to help you bring up your grades, just let me know….”
“Jungkook, you are single-handedly the most obnoxious person I’ve ever encountered!” You stood from your desk, swinging your backpack onto your shoulder, lightly kicking him in the calf has you walked past. You could still hear him laughing as you headed out the door.
“Ugh, I cannot stand him! He is such an ass.”
“But….you keep giving him the pen?”
“I don’t know why! But I do. But Jimin, I’m telling you, next class I am refusing to give in to him! No amount of puppy-eyes can sway me. I am done. He is an ass. He chews on my pen. He mocks my grades. I don’t even know how he’s doing as well as he is! He doesn’t even bring a book to class. Just his stupid spiral and his busted up phone. And yet he’s out here making close to 100s. It’s just not fair!”
“Alright, so stop giving him your pen. But at this point, it’s been two weeks, and I just…”
“What? What do you ‘just’ Jimin?”
Jimin took a sip of his boba tea, “I just don’t see you doing that.”
You rolled your eyes, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. Just…it’s been two weeks of this. You haven’t put a stop to it yet, so I just don’t see you doing it now. That’s all. Besides, it sounds like the two of you have this whole little….thing going on.”
“There is no….thing….going on between Jungkook and me,” you soured.
“Alright, alright,” Jimin held up a hand, “But I’m just saying….wait….Jungkook? As in Jeon Jungkook?”
“Uh…yeah? You know him?”
“Yeah, he works the nightshift here at the tea stand with me.”
“Oh.”
“Yeah. He’s actually really sweet, and lots of fun to work with. But…he’s under a lot of stress. This tea stand job is one of three he’s juggling on top of his schoolwork. Maybe…that’s why he doesn’t have school supplies. But it doesn’t really make sense. He said his older brother is like super strict about his grades. I don’t imagine he’d be letting him off to class without at least a pen.”
You were beginning to understand there was a lot to Jungkook you really had no idea about. You’d sat next to him for the last two weeks, bickering and bantering back and forth, and you knew absolutely nothing about him. You decided maybe you should change that - get to know him a little bit. After all, if you were stuck next to each other in class, you might as well. You decided next class, you were going to stand firm on the no-pen thing, but make a genuine effort to get to know him better. And when Friday came, you found yourself genuinely excited for class, and getting to talk to Jungkook. Jimin had said he was really sweet and fun. You wanted to know more of that side, and not just the menace that slobbered all over your school supplies.
You found yourself anxiously waiting for Jungkook. Every time the door open, you found yourself looking up expectantly. But every time it did, someone other than Jungkook came into class and found their seat. You were starting to deflate when it’d been ten minutes into class, and no Jungkook. You found yourself missing the familiar poke to your arm. You found yourself even missing the puppy eyes, and maybe even the awful, horrid sound of his chewing. It felt weird not having Jungkook here. And for some reason, you found yourself worrying. You hoped everything was okay, and you felt childishly sad that you’d have to wait until Monday to see him again. 
After class, you met up with Jimin at the tea stand after his shift.
“Jungkook wasn’t in class today.”
Jimin passed you a strawberry melon tea he’d held over for you as you both took a seat on one of the benches, “You sound sad about that.”
“Well….it was weird not having him there.”
“You missed him!”
“I did not!”
“Oh you totally did!” Jimin giggled, “You have this whole little crush going on and you missed him!”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about Park Jimin.”
“Uh-huh...” Jimin took a long sip of his tea, giving you his best judgmental side-eye.
“Stop that!”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“You know what you’re doing!”
Jimin chuckled, “Alright, alright. I just think it’s interesting is all.”
“Nothing is interesting. Drink your tea.”
Jimin giggled.
Monday, you took your seat, placing the pen on top of Jungkook’s desk, and waited patiently, hoping he’d come today. You tried not to turn every time the door opened. Annoyed with yourself, you pulled out a book from your backpack and buried your nose and your focus among the pages. It was ridiculous to be paying so close attention to every single opening of the door. You were going to just focus on your book, and if Jungkook came, well…
Suddenly you felt a poke, not to your arm but to your side. You yelped, flinching slightly, hearing an amused chuckle beside you.
“Brat,” you closed your book, turning to him. Jungkook just beamed, bright and happy.
“Hi.”
“Hi yourself. Where were you Friday?”
“I was sick,” Jungkook slid into his seat, “Why, did you miss me?” He flashed you his best, most obnoxious smile. You groaned.
“Don’t flatter yourself. I was just….curious is all.”
“Uh-huh. Right.” 
You rolled your eyes. Jungkook reached for the pen, uncapping it, but didn’t put it to his lip this time. In fact, all of class, he didn’t once chew on it. You were about to comment on that at the end of class, when he said, “So….I missed one day and I feel so behind. Would you mind if we meet up and you go over what I missed Friday?”
And there it was. The shy, sheepish smile, the soft puppy eyes.
“You sure you want to get class notes from someone who makes 87s?”
Jungkook ran a hand through his hair, “Hmm. Good point. Maybe I should ask the professor who has the second highest score and ask them. But….maybe I can risk sub-par tutoring if it means getting a tea with you?”
“Oh, you think if you flirt, I’ll say yes?”
“I mean, it’s worked this far.”
You nearly choked on your spit. Gathering your composure, you tucked your hair behind your ear and hoisted your bag onto your shoulder. “Meet me at the tea stand in ten minutes.”
“Alright. See you then, Y/N.”
Jungkook flashed you a bright smile, and you swore you could feel butterflies blossom in your stomach. Stupid Jungkook and stupid butterflies.
You told yourself it was just because you were windblown from your walk across campus earlier that you were ducking into the bathroom before meeting Jungkook, to run a brush through your hair and check your makeup in the mirror. It had absolutely nothing to do with him that you reached into your bag and sprayed your favorite jasmine spray. Nope. Nothing to do with Jungkook at all.
You found him sitting at one of the benches, already sipping a tea. There was a large cup of something that looked suspiciously like strawberry melon. 
“What is this?” You asked, sliding into the bench across from Jungkook.
Jungkook shrugged, “Park Jimin meddles. He texted me a few days ago and told me I should bring you a strawberry melon tea sometime.”
“Well, thank you,” you took a sip of your tea, “You didn’t have to buy me a tea.”
Jungkook shrugged again, this time a pink blush stained his cheeks as he mumbled a quiet, “I wanted to,” to his hands that were folded on the table.
“Well I appreciate it a lot. Thank you. So…English Lit 315, huh?”
“Yeah,” Jungkook winced, “I missed that one day and I feel I’m behind by like a whole week!”
“Well, thankfully you really didn’t miss too much,” You pulled out your binder and flipped to the section from Friday. “Here are the notes you missed, and Friday we have our first test.”
“Okay….has anyone ever told you you take like, ridiculous notes? Do you just write every single thing down?”
“Pretty much.”
“Wow. And….it’s all….color coordinated.”
“Yeah, it helps those of us who make 87s,” you lightly kicked at his ankle under the table, making him laugh, and suddenly it was as if the air around the two of you was suddenly much lighter. Jungkook laughed too, flicking you on the wrist. 
“Alright, I’m just gonna copy this down and we should be good.”
You watched in shock as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pen.
“You have a pen?”
“Of course I have a pen,” Jungkook ran a hand through his hair, “But how else was I going to strike up a conversation with the pretty girl beside me?”
“I cannot fucking believe you! You had a pen this entire time and every day you were taking mine and chewing on mine and….and….did you just….say I’m pretty?”
“Well, yeah,” Jungkook glanced up at you, suddenly a lot shier than a moment before, the blush returning to his cheeks and that sheepish smile back on his face. “Is that okay to say?”
“Yeah…yeah it is,” you nodded, your brain still trying to process what had just happened.
“Okay, good,” Jungkook turned back to the notes he was copying down. You brushed your hair back behind your ear, fidgeting slightly as you took another sip of your tea he had bought for you. Nothing about any of this made any sense. Jungkook was obnoxious. He was a brat. There was no way he had lied this entire time just to talk to you. 
“You lied to me,” you blurted out accusingly.
“Excuse me?” Jungkook chuckled, glancing up from the notes, “Y/N. I never lied to you.”
“But…but you…”
“All I ever said was ‘you got a pen?’ Your answer was to give me one every single day. I never once said I never had one.”
Your brain was still playing catch up when you tossed your arms over chest and said, “You are seriously the most infuriating person in the entire world, Jungkook.”
Jungkook just laughed, going back to his notes.
“Brat.”
“Did….did you just call me a brat?” He laughed, amusedly as he set down the pen and turned back to you, his brow quirked.
“What? Like you’ve never been called that? I’ll bet you’ve been called that more times than either of us can count.”
“Well, yeah,” Jungkook chuckled, “Mostly by my big brother though. And it’s usually followed by a headslap,” Jungkook narrowed his eyes at you, “You aren’t going to slap me, are you?”
You couldn’t help but smile as you shook your head, “Not that I haven’t considered it. And I don’t doubt you didn’t deserve it every single time, by the way.”
“Mean,” Jungkook stuck his tongue out at you, “I have a feeling you and Yoongi-hyung would get along fantastically.”
“Mean? You say about the person who has let you borrow pens and chew on them for like the past three weeks, and is letting you copy their notes now so you won’t fall behind? I see how it is.”
Jungkook lightly kicked at you under the table, “And you say I’m a brat.”
You gasped, opening your mouth to retort, but coming up short as Jungkook simply chuckled and turned back to the notes. After about ten minutes, he’d gotten everything copied down, and you weren’t really sure where to go from there. For some reason, you hated the idea of saying goodbye and going your separate ways until Wednesday. You were enjoying spending time with him, and even though it was mostly spent with him copying notes, the two of you still had a whole back and forth of kicking each other under the table. It was ridiculous and stupid and for some reason, the butterflies were back in full bloom.
“So….do you want maybe….”
“Oh shit!” Jungkook glanced at the clock on his phone, “I’m sorry, Y/N. I’ve got a shift at the bookstore in ten minutes. I’m running late!”
“Oh,” you tried not to visibly show your disappointment, “Yeah, Jimin mentioned you worked a few jobs around campus.”
“Jimin exaggerates,” Jungkook chuckled, tucking his spiral under his arm, “I just work here and the bookstore a few times a week. It’s just my hyung and me, and he already spreads himself thin making sure I’m looked after. I’m not gonna have him worry over me more than he’s going to anyway.”
You hoisted your bag onto your shoulder as you said, “I stand by you being a brat. But you’re sweet too, Jungkook.”
Jungkook’s blush deepend as he lowered his gaze, suddenly intently interested in his clompy boots, “You think?”
“Don’t make me regret saying it. One question though,” you asked, following him towards the bookstore, “Do you always chew on all pens, or just mine?”
Jungkook tossed a grin your way, “How else was I supposed to get you to pay such strong attention to me every single day?”
“Jeon Jungkook!”
Jungkook giggled, running off towards the bookstore, leaving you standing on the quad with your mouth hanging open. 
Friday, you took your usual seat, waiting for Jungkook. Sure enough, five minutes into class, the door banged open and he hurried inside, taking his seat next to you. Within a few seconds, you felt a poke to your side, making you flench.
“I know you have a damn pen,” you turned to him, unable to hide your smile when you met those brown eyes.
“Just saying hi,” Jungkook grinned, “But I do know of something you don’t have.”
“And what’s that.”
Jungkook just smiled, quickly writing something down on a corner of his notebook, before ripping the corner off and passing the scrap of paper towards you.
“Okay, that was the cheesiest thing you’ve ever done, Jeon.”
Jungkook just giggled, “What? I figured if we’re going to be study partners now, you needed my phone number. After all, we’ve got to get that 87 up for the test.”
You stuck your tongue out at him, “And what makes you think I’m going to text this number? You spent the last weeks chowing on my pen like a chew toy, and I don’t appreciate those snide comments about my grades, Jungkook.”
Jungkook just smiled, “You’ll text it.”
“And what makes you so sure?”
You should have seen the puppy-eyes coming from a mile away, that same sheepish smile and soft little, “Please?” 
“You know there’s gonna come a time when that doesn’t work, Jungkook.”
He shrugged, unaffected, “Maybe. But I’ve yet to see it.”
You rolled your eyes. After class, you stood from your seat, swinging your backpack on and giving Jungkook a sharp flick on the shoulder just for prosperity. You weren’t as easy as he thought you were. You weren’t going to just text him right away simply because he flashed his puppy eyes and said please. 
Nope. You were going to stand firm. You were not going to give into Jeon Jungkook. Not this time around, any way.
Your resolve lasted all of ten minutes.
Brat.
Is that my contact name in your phone? Aww, babe! You have the sweetest nicknames for me <3
I could change it to asshole, asshole.
LMAO okay, okay. I’ll try to behave.
Is behave even in your vocabulary?
Depends on who you ask :) Though should I *really* be taking vocab lessons from someone who makes whole letter grades beneath me? O.O
I will block your number. And refuse to sit next to you on Friday.
Nooooo! :( I’ll be good, I promise!!
Uh-huh. Sure. I’ve yet to see it.
:p So wanna make friday interesting?
I’m scared….
Shut up :p Whoever scores the highest on the test buys dinner when we get the grades back
You sound confident, Jeon
Just based off prior experiences, Miss 87 :p
Put your tongue back in your mouth. Alright. sounds fun. instead of just dinner though…. ….lowest grade buys pizza for movie night at the other’s dorm highest grade picks the movie!
Friday came and went, and all weekend you found yourself texting back and forth with Jungkook, much to Jimin’s amusement. You couldn’t help but smile every time your phone pinged, a little jolt of excitement racing through you whenever you saw the contact name in your notifications: Brat (Affectionate).
On Monday, once the tests were passed back, you steeled yourself. Jungkook checked his paper, grinning as he set it face down and folded his arms smugly over his chest, waiting for you to get your test back. Once you did, you peeked at the grade and smirked. 
“On the count of three,” Jungkook said.
“Alright. One.”
“Two.”
“Three.”
You both flipped your tests over, jaws dropping when you’d revealed identical 95s. 
“Well….now what?” Jungkook asked, almost looking disappointed. The lack of smile on his face was something you quickly wanted to correct. 
“Hmm. I buy pizza and you pick the movie?”
Jungkook beamed, “Sounds good! I like extra pepperoni.”
“You’ll get the pepperoni it comes with and be happy.”
Jungkook chuckled, “Fair enough. What movie do you think you might want to see?”
“Hmm….it has been awhile since I watched The Hannah Montana Movie….”
“Y/N….”
“Kidding! Come over at seven. I’ll text you the address.”
Jungkook arrived at seven sharp. You’d just finished shooing Jimin out three minutes prior, begging him to go spend the evening with his own boyfriend and leave you alone for the evening. After making you promise to tell him all the details, Jimin had finally left to go find Taehyung, and the doorbell had rung announcing Jungkook. You quickly smoothed down your hair and checked your outfit in the mirror by the door before answering. 
Jungkook was not dressed in his usual oversized baggy hoodie. Instead, he was dressed in a soft pastel purple sweatshirt with white stars all over it, and light washed blue jeans. He looked cute as hell, and very cuddleable. You almost couldn’t wait to get him on the couch with you.
“Hi,” he said shyly.
“Hi. Come in, come in.”
“Right,” Jungkook stood a little awkwardly in the entry way of your dorm apartment, and it was then you truly realized just how shy he really was. In spite of all the teasing and bantering, Jeon Jungkook was truly shy at heart. It was the most endearing things.
“Come on,” you said, taking his hand in yours and tugging him towards the living room, “You have a movie to pick out.”
Jungkook’s walls began to crumble slightly as he grinned, happily following you to the couch, “Hmm….what about horror?”
“If you pick a horror movie, I will never speak to you ever again.”
“I’m kidding,” Jungkook giggled, “Alright, let’s see what’s on Netflix. Ooh, Spiderman!”
After deciding on Spiderman and placing the order for the pizza - with extra pepperoni, but Jungkook didn’t need to know that just yet, the two of you settled onto the couch, leaving a cushion between you. You still didn’t really know where you stood with him, or what this whole thing was just yet. You didn’t want to presume, and Jungkook hadn’t made any effort to pull you closer to him, so….
“Still can’t believe you actually made the same grade as me,” Jungkook crossed his eyes at you, “I must be slipping.”
Fuck the empty cushion and the awkward shyness. You narrowed your eyes at him, barely giving him a moment to continue being a little shit before tackling him back against the couch cushions and tickling him. After a few minutes of letting himself be tickled pink, you suddenly felt a hand wrap around both your wrists, stilling you. Swallowing thickly, you realized just how dark Jungkook’s eyes had become.
“Honey,” his voice was deceptively sweet as he smiled saccharinely, “Do you really think you can beat me in a tickle fight?”
Your life genuinely flashed before your eyes before the doorbell rang, pulling you away from his threat, the tension suddenly dissipating. Everything suddenly felt awkward again as you both sat up and untangled from each other, cheeks red with embarrassment. You stood to go get the pizza as Jungkook attempted to smooth his hair. 
“Extra pepperoni?!” His eyes lit up when you sat the box down on the coffee table.
You shrugged, handing him a slice on a paper plate, “You said it was your favorite.”
Jungkook pinkened, taking a small nibble of his pizza before suddenly letting the shyness crumble again and saying, “Don’t go thinking this is making me give into Hannah Montana,” he stuck his tongue out.
“Stick your tongue out again and it’s gonna get bitten,” You said without thinking.
Jungkook nearly choked on his pizza, “I-is that a promise?”
Shit. “You want it to be?”
You were sure he was blushing down to his toes as he reached for the TV remote, turning on Spiderman, mumbling softly, “Maybe not when I have pizza breath.”
He looked so precious and pouty, you couldn’t help but lean over and press a kiss to his cheek, watching him blush even redder. 
“Put the movie on, JK.”
An hour into the movie, and the pizza was devoured and the two of you were cuddled up on the couch together, you tucked into his side, his arm over his shoulders, his fingers playing softly with your hair. 
“Hey, Jungkook.”
“Hmm?”
You felt the butterflies swarm in your stomach for a moment before they stilled. Nothing about this moment feeling any kind of anxiousness. You felt one hundred percent confident as you said, “Kiss me.”
He didn’t have to be told twice, leaning down, intwining his fingers in your hair at the nape of your neck as he brought you close to him. The kiss was every bit as sweet and gentle as you knew it would be, Jungkook absolutely perfect. But he wouldn’t be the brat you knew, and would one day very soon, love, if he didn’t say upon breaking away, “I suppose it’s safe to say that chewing on your pen paid off?”
You smacked him with a throw pillow.
917 notes · View notes
noyzinerd · 2 months ago
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Me: I'm looking for a slow-burn fic. Like the slowest of slow-burns.
Fanfictions: "They had been friends for years, now, with neither willing to take that extra step-"
Me: Slower.
Fanfictions: "They had never actually met before today-"
Me: Slower!
Fanfictions: "They had only heard rumors of each other's existence-"
Me: EVEN SLOWER!!!
Fanfictions: "They had absolutely hated each other immediately on sight. Being near each other made both of them physically ill. They refused to even live on the same continent as one another and were actually both happily married to other people. The chances of them becoming romantically involved with one another was such a laughable notion that anyone who thought it possible would sooner see the sun implode."
Me:...Go on.
732 notes · View notes
parkdatjimin · 15 days ago
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-> The two of you have been at odds since the old days, back when you raced homemade cars on concrete sidewalks for lollypops. But those days are nothing compared to the big league, where you're challenged by tragedy, injury, and unresolved feelings.
Pairings: racer!Jimin x racer!reader
Genre/au: angst, smut, fluff, racer!au, childhood enemies to friends to lovers, coming of age, minors dni please
Warnings/ [TW]: minor character death (OC's mom passes away), grief, mentions of crippling epilepsy, mentions of violence (car crash) and injury/pain, hospital visit, nudity, explicit sexual content, competition sex (idk how to say it just read it?), low-key soft sex bc I'm soft, teasing, fingering, teasing, light nipple play, penetrative unprotected sex (buckle up kids), teasing, oc rides Jimin's face, biting/marking/scratching, squirting, did I mention teasing? confessions mid sex which is always fun, Jimin is a massive sweetheart because I can't write my bias any other way, and there's like three time jumps whoops but it's not confusing I swear
Wc: 21.3K
a/n: y'all can thank @jookiemonie for sending me this and inspiring this monster 😉 also disclaimer I know nothing about NASCAR okay I actually researched for this so y'all better at least give me feedback 👉👈
taglist: @staerryminimini​ @unicornbabylover​ @kookieswan​ @sugarflywme​  @mwitsmejk​ @dvalitaes​ @still-with-koo​ @kookiecrumb​ @jeonsjiddies​ @taeshobipop​ @jktones​ @myooniverse​ @writtenwhalien​ @miscelunaaa​ @hobipost @lookhere-2seok @purplebeebs @justanotherstarlightmonger @bbl32 @highly-functioning-mitochondria @syhh1310 @armys-dna @thesugatoyourtae @anqelkoo @missseoulite @jiminshiinekoya @ashslytheringoddess @jimilter @kofisips @generousrunawaylove @jmforevs 
Disney's Cars taught you that red is unquestionably the fastest color, and since your car is red, there's an unquestionable assurance you'll win.
After several laps around your humble culdesac, your precious 1979 Chevrolet Corvette is undefeated and so is your confidence.
"Who wants to lose next?"
Park Jimin, arguably the most boisterous of all the third graders, waltzes across your driveway with a smug look strapped across his face.
You find this dangerously presumptuous considering he moved in next door over two weeks ago and hasn't spoken a word to you yet. You noticed him in home room, which is the only reason you know his name at all and the fact that he exudes false humility.
It was last year, when all the boys started getting taller than you. All of sudden they just grew like trees, but you didn't. It hurt your pride a little bit considering you were superior to them in every other sense. A part of you likes the fact that Jimin is at least an inch shorter than you. But it's not enough to make you like like him.
"I wanna race."
You scoff at his empty hands. "You can't race without a car, dummy."
"If I get a car, can I race?"
"Those are the rules. But it has to be a remote control car," you instruct, waving your remote through the air, "like mine."
He nods and quickly turns on his heel, speeding back into his house only to return a few moments later.
Your jaw drops. In his tiny, chubby hands is a shiny superfast Alfa Carabo No 75. It's blue.
He presents it to you, the smirk he wore before returning in full force. It is remote control, no bigger than yours, so how come it looks so much cooler? All the kids in your neighborhood have crowded around him now, Jimin's puffy cheeks flush a light pink at the attention but he doesn't shy away from it either. He shows off his contender while your jaw tightens to an uncomfortable extent.
"Okay okay whatever, we gonna race or not," you huff and begin setting up your car at the start line.
Jimin asks if anyone else is going to race but the neighborhood falls silent, so he shrugs and sets up his car beside yours, eyeing you suspiciously when you scoot your front wheels a centimeter past the white chalk drawn on the road.
The stark difference between the red and blue makes it feel like a championship or something, but the unsettling aura of your opponent makes it feel like a suicide mission.
"Three laps. No hitting."
"Wanna make this more interesting?"
You pause at his suggestion, lowering your shoulders but never your guard. "Like how?"
"If I win, you have to admit I'm the best racer."
How childish. You'll die before you admit that.
"And what if I win?" you ask.
Jimin gestures to his Alfa Carabo No 75, the evening light reflecting off it's bright paint and onto your solid red Corvette.
"I'll give you my car."
Everyone gasps, only proving to escalate your reaction time. Hands shoot over mouths and instant whispers filter through the crowd of elementary students. Jimin locks eyes with you and somehow you know he's serious.
"Deal!" you quickly agree before he can back out.
What a stupid bet, you think. If you win --- you always win --- he loses his racecar. A true racer would never put something so valuable on the gambling table.
You both ready your engines (step to the side and turn on your controllers), and prepare to begin the race.
Glancing at the boy to your left, you chuckle behind your lips, attempting to make him even a little bit apprehensive.
"I should warn you. I am speed."
Without even looking at you, Jimin cocks his head and smiles. "I eat losers for breakfast."
When the whistle blows, both cars take off in a whir. Around and around they go, side by side, seemingly evenly matched. For now.
Lap 1.
The first thing you notice is how much smoother Jimin's Carabo drives than your Corvette. Your baby bumps and stutters over the road while his seemingly glides over every rock and crack. Up until this point you've always had the fastest and bestest car in the neighborhood, but Jimin is on like a whole nother level. You have to focus so hard to keep straight, using the subtle movements of your joystick to avoid bigger obstacles. Jimin yawns.
Lap 2.
The second thing you notice is the subtle but obvious way Jimin's car speeds up and slows down according to your rhythm. His wheels surpass you completely and then they fall back in line with yours, sparking a consequential hope that you're somehow gaining on him, but in reality, it's more like pity or teasing. He keeps pace with you, purposefully not engaging all his horsepower in order to make the race feel like a close call when it's really not.
Lap 3.
The home stretch proves to be even more strenuous for you. Although you know your street backwards and forwards, you've become so flustered that not only are you forgetting potholes but your undefeated Corvette keeps hitting them and jolting on the road. In the last curve, Jimin's car speeds forward, effectively crossing the finish line with you behind by several seconds, absolutely fuming.
Disbelief and fury boil within your bones. Without thinking, you shove your way through the neighborhood crowd that's surrounded him and start accusing as best you can.
"You cheated!"
"Did not."
"Did to!" 
"Oh yeah? Prove it." He crosses his arms, waiting for your evidence, as are all the kids that have created a battle ring around you.
But you can't. He didn't rear-end you, he didn't hit you, he didn't block you, he didn't touch your controller. The only thing he did was humiliate you by holding himself back so you could even keep up with him. Everyone saw. He won fair-n-square.
Jimin gives you a flat smile, blinking his expecting and flaunting eyes at you like he's some innocent bystander. If you were allowed to curse, you'd call him a shitty butthead right to his face. No, really you would!
He waits patiently while you boil under the evening sun. Darkness will set soon and your dad will call you inside for dinner and bedtime. 
But before you go, you made a deal.
"Don't you have something you wanna tell me?" he sings, bouncing on his toes with his hand cupped behind his ear.
You snarl at him, retrieving your racecar and stomping your way back towards your house, red cheeks and furious tears swelling in your eyes.
No one wants to be friends with a loser.
"___!"
His voice brings you pause. The first time Jimin ever says your name. It sounds like sandpaper on a chalkboard. 
You whip around and stick your tongue out at him. He just got lucky, that's all.
"I'll beat you next time, Park Jimin! Just wait!"
::
7 years later
Your father's sturdy hands clamp down on your heavy shoulders, fingers digging into your tense muscles in an attempt to relax them.
"You've got this," he cheers into your ear. "Just remember--"
"I know, I know. Break on the inside," you sigh, trying to remain focused on your upcoming race. "Dad, I really wanna win this."
He beams. "I know, darling. But no matter what happens, we're proud of you, remember that." 
"Is mom here yet?"
"She should be arriving right about now." With a hand to shield his eyes, he looks towards the sun setting behind the front seating and squints. "I should go see if she needs help. Hey, what's our motto?"
You roll your eyes. "Safety first."
"Safety second."
"Coolness third."
As childish as it is, you still appreciate your father's unwillingness to give up your old chant from elementary school. He ruffles your hair, bits of ponytail falling around your round face.
"Stop," you whine through smiling teeth, pushing his hand away, "I'm not a baby anymore, Dad."
"I know, it's just...you don't have to grow up so fast. Can't you stay little for a few more years?"
You wrap your arms around his neck, squeezing in one last hug before your big race.
"Nope. Sorry!"
His arms are strong, muscles built over several years of helping you carry heavy car parts and an even heavier marriage. Closing your eyes, you make a promise to yourself in that moment. You will win this and you know exactly what you'll do with the cash prize.
Finally, you'll be able to help carry the load at home.
With that thought, you head to the garage.
Passing by the main gate, you flash security your entrance badge and they direct you to the changing rooms in the back. You pat the bag hanging off your shoulder. As long as you have your lucky tracksuit, nothing can stop you.
This is it. This is what you've been practicing for. While there are three prizes available, you won't be satisfied with third or second place. Nevermind the trophy and some pretty rad bragging rights, you simply cannot walk away without first place.
Stepping from the changing room, you make your way towards the lockers, scanning the labels for your assigned #11. Once located, you enter your passcode and begin tossing your stuff inside.
The back room is bustling with life, drivers from the ages of fourteen to sixteen preparing themselves, some for the very first race of their future career. You know most of the racers by profile and you're pretty sure you can beat just about all of them with minimal effort.
Everything is as you imagined it. The smell. The sounds. The atmosphere feels like a race. You can taste the competition in the air and you love it.
Until.
"___, you're here!" A familiar voice rings from behind you, instantly melting the smile from your face.
Taking a deep, steady breath to prepare yourself, you turn to see Park Jimin coming closer. His iconic orange tracksuit and stickered helmet continue to mock you. Not only have your personalities clashed as you've aged, but he just had to choose such a god-awful color like orange to clash with your beautiful red aesthetic.
Even if you wanted to, you can never forget how brutally he's treated the racetrack. After racing him (and losing) for half a decade, the failures have only led you to despise him and his uncanny ability to rule any track. However, it's also led you to develop more self-motivation than most adults.
"Thought you gave up after I beat you at the county race fair. Or was it when I beat you at the school's semi-annual festival?"
"I never quit, for your information."
"So where were you last year then? You turned fourteen, why didn't you race?"
His casual speech drives you up the wall. Like you're friends or something. It frustrates you to no end, how nice he always is to other people while he's constantly teasing you about everything.
"None of your business, that's where."
Tongue in cheek, you flick your ponytail at the pointless question and turn on your heel. His eyebrows shoot up, jerking back to avoid a face full of hair. The very tip brushes his nose and he pinches it to keep from sneezing.
Why do you always smell like strawberries?
"The Junior NASCAR league is all you've ever talked about," he points out, "there has to be a reason you didn't come last year. Why'd you wait?"
"Like I said," you repeat through clenched teeth, "it's none of your business."
But Jimin's interest has piqued, he can't help it when it comes to you. Since third grade, he's hunted for your reactions. They urge him on and he likes watching your face when it distorts because of something he said. He casually leans on the open door to your locker while you strap on your gloves and wrist guards. They're red like your helmet.
Strawberries are also red.
Slowly, a nosy pointer finger slinks it's way to your cheek, poking it over and over as he annoyingly chants, "tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me--"
"Ugh! I didn't meet the weight requirements, okay!" You slap his hand so it painfully retracts to his chest. "Happy?"
The locker door slams, embarrassment flooding to the tips of your ears as he peers down at you with wide eyes. He's so much taller than you now. What gives? 
Jimin doesn't respond immediately. His silence is unconventional considering his large mouth. Carefully, you lift your eyes to find him watching you, honestly flabbergasted. In the next moment, his shocked eyes and slack jaw twist into a genuine smile.
"Well, I'm glad you're here now." His sincere comment almost almost makes you blush. That is, until he adds, "...so I can kick your butt again."
"Your butt kicking days are over, Jimin," you calmly inform him, crossing your arms and popping your hip to feign superiority. "I'm winning the race today."
There it is. That darn smile. It's not like his usual smile. This one only appears after you've said something overly cocky, usually related to beating him at something. He feeds off the competition, that teasing tongue coming out to taste his lips every time he gets fired up by your accusations.
"What do you want if you win?"
You understand Jimin is not referring to the previously mentioned cash waiting at the finish line. No, his comment is steered towards another obvious.
The bet, the one that's been ongoing since third grade. No matter how many races, how many wins, it's like he can't let it go. Not that you mind. It's just another reason that you have to do your best to win.
"I'm thinking about it. What do you want?"
He taps his chin, as if he has to think about his answer. He always bets the same thing. "If I win, you admit I'm the best racer."
"In your dreams."
"Believe me, you are."
"What?"
The whistle is loud, high pitched and signaling it's time for action. Jimin gives you a wink and falls away from your side, collecting himself to follow the crowd of racers to the track. You quickly fall in line behind him.
Always behind him.
With your helmet tucked underneath one arm, you turn to give the gathered crowd a confident wave. They did pay to come see you race after all.
Scanning some familiar and some strange faces, you eye the ones you really care about sitting in the front row. Your mother waves back and blows you a kiss, an excited smile covering her face as your father sits next to her, placing a secure arm around her back. You feel better just knowing that he's with her.
The other racers join you on the track soon after, each climbing into their respectful cars, the crowd instantly roaring with cheers. Hesitantly, you lift your hand to wave again when you spot the real reason for their sudden uprising in the corner of your eye.
Jimin flashes you a smile, lifting his helmet into the air happily and assuring the crowd with a loud shout that he'll race his hardest for them.
He places his lips by your ear. "Made a decision on your bet yet?"
"Grant me a wish."
"A wish?"
You nod. "One thing. Anything I want."
"What do you want?"
"I'll tell you when I win."
With not much time to consider your bet, he agrees and keeps moving. He walks past you, all the way to first place where his orange Toyota is being fed enough gas for 3 laps. Sixty glorious minutes of absolute focus.
Clenching your hand into a fist, you shove your headset in your ear and drop your helmet over it. A short-lived huff to calm your nerves and then you slip feet first into your Chevrolet, starting the engine and pumping the gas.
The roar of the crowd is soon overtaken by the rumble of your race car. The inside is snug, just how you like it. The feeling of the steering wheel beneath your hands is euphoric, and when you grip it, it feels like you're taking charge of your life.
Control. You have control.
The static sound of your pit crew captain comes over your headset. "Okay, ___, you ready for this?"
"More than ready. I'm gonna get first place," you reply through the radio.
"Just race your best. And don't scratch my car."
Cars filter onto the track and you fall into eleventh place. As one of the newest drivers, you haven't established a placing yet. Just means you have to race extra hard to overcome the douchebag in first place. That disgusting orange won't be there for long. You'll replace it soon with a beautiful, shiny red.
As soon as the pace setter exits, you press onto the gas, watching your speedometer carefully raise little by little until it reaches near top speed. A wise racer saves some for the end, for that last stretch when they need an extra boost of speed to ensure victory.
Somewhere in the stands your mom is snapping blurry pictures of you and your dad is shouting loud enough for the both of them. Your heart is so full knowing that they support you, even in last place, it's more than enough for them just to know that you're doing what you love. 
But it's not quite enough for you.
In first place, Jimin has the advantage of a clear track but you also know he's at the biggest disadvantage when it comes to the actual race. From back here, you can see everything that happens. From up there, he's left with more than one blind spot. All you have to do is find it and pass it.
The first few noobs are the easiest to pass. By the second bend, you've slid into ninth place, holding yourself steady there for another quarter lap until you can secure another chance to move forward.
"Take it easy," your captain advises, "you've got plenty of time."
But there's only three laps! If you're gonna get first place, you need to step it up.
As the next curve in the track approaches, you lean to the inside and manage to make another pass, the sound of engines behind you skipping gears when you suddenly cut them off.
Sitting prettily in seventh, you imagine what the crowd must sound like. What the announcer must be reporting about this fifteen year old girl who's taking Junior NASCAR by storm, an overly confident smirk grows on your lips.
But it's still not enough. Not enough until you've crushed that first place stealing bastard.
You're trapped here for longer than you'd like to be. The first lap comes and goes but you can't seem to get around this illegally sponsored bozo. Each time you attempt to break the inside, he blocks you.
You'll have to try the outside.
With a sharp jerk, you redirect your wheels to the right, slipping to the outside and giving just an ounce more gas to keep pace with him. Up ahead you see the next bend in the track and you know you won't be able to keep up while this close to the wall.
Unless...
As the next turn approaches, you stomp on your clutch, shoving your car into a lower gear before flooring the gas. Adjusting your grip on the wheel, you throw it to your left, rubber screaming across the asphalt as you pass that ugly green loser and slide into a place far ahead of where you were.
Smoke inhibits your view for only a moment until a clearer sight of the track appears.
"What the hell are you doing!? You don't have drifting tires, idiot!"
You can buy new tires. You can't buy another chance to win this race.
Breaking on the inside seems to be the main strategy of every other racer here, but as you continue to drift around the outside, your precious Chevrolet passes yet another place. The driver in fourth place must have been watching you until now. He follows you from side to side, easily blocking any chances for you to drift past him.
Above you flies an intimidating, white flag, signaling there's only one lap left to go. You're anxious to reach first, where Jimin has been fiercely defending this entire race. Some might be happy knowing they managed to pass eight places in two laps. Not you. Not when there's still 5,280 feet of a chance left to win.
Flashes of white suddenly overtake your vision. Something isn't right here. A dread you weren't expecting but you can't take heed of it right now. Just put it off. Deal with it later. Your chest sinks a thousand leagues into a dark, deep pit. Blink through it, get over it. Nothing you can do about it right now. Shake it off. Win.
"If you don't pit right now, I'm calling your contract! Those tires won't hold out, get your ass in the pit now! You've lost!"
With another thrust of your clutch, you use the inside of the first bend to cut into third, nothing but the horrific smell of rubber and the coveted first place up ahead. With ease, you shove any more static warnings from your pit captain into the trunk and press on, pushing your car harder than you ever pushed in practice, racing harder than you've ever raced before.
That's the only way you'll win.
With that disgusting orange in sight, you've got yourself wired. Adrenaline at its max sends your mind and veins into a frenzy.
Driving neck and neck with second, you floor the gas pedal with everything you've got, slowly but surely sneaking up behind an orange bumper. Your brow is sweating, flashes of white blurring your vision and decisions.
Close, you're so close! There's not much time left.
Third place feels like last.
A few moments later, a gun fire sounds from behind you.
No. Not a gun.
The nose of your Chevrolet is mere inches away from Jimin's obnoxious ass when the burning stench of your tires overcomes your windshield in a blinding curtain of grey fluff. The finish line is only a few yards away, if you just keep straight, you can make it. Just keep your foot on the gas and don't lose focus! Hurry up! 
But it's no use. The harder you drive, the slower you go.
When your blown tires manage to cross that cursed checkered line, you're not sure what you placed.
Pulling into your pits, there's a designated crew waiting to assess you and the car for any damage, but it's clear they're more concerned about the vehicle than its driver.
"What the hell were you thinking out there!?" the captain shouts at you as his team removes the ruined tires from the smoking Chevrolet.
"What did I place?"
"Forget it, I'll never let you drive my cars again! Don't you care about anything other than winning?! You almost caused like four wrecks!"
The first time there's a lul in his scrutinizing, you ditch faster than any car on the track.
"Hey, wait! Come back, you need to decompress!"
You need to see those final moments. You need to see what you placed.
Rushing to the garage, you can feel the adrenaline stabbing at your chest, like hot iron branding the inside of your skin.
Without regard, you shove your way to the front of the crowd to see a replay of the final moments of the race. Just as you recall, your car erupted in smoke, beginning from your tires but also from behind.
More and more of the track is covered in smoke as you watch, but somehow you kept the wheels straight. How come your captain didn't mention anything about that impressive stunt, huh?
As the video replays, you notice more and more racers passing you at the last moment. Your beautiful, red racecar falters more and more before it finally crosses that checkered line.
"Sixth?" you mutter in disbelief. "I got....sixth?"
It's horrific but you can't tear your eyes away. For some reason, your brain insists that if you just keep watching the tape that eventually the results will change. But they don't.
After a few more reruns, the camera cuts to a live feed of second and third place providing interviews for the public. They speak about the difficulty and excitement of the race, how they felt on the final lap, thank their family and friends.
And then it cuts to the first place winner.
Jimin's hair floofs when he removes his helmet, obnoxiously falling around his face, sticking up in random places like he's cute or something. He's sweating, lips glistening from biting them probably the whole race. You can always recognize when he falls back into that habit because his lips get shinier and more sensitive.
He's so indescribably aggravating.
Guess there's no point in hanging around. No one ever interviews sixth place.
Without asking, you tear your so-called lucky tracksuit off and shove it to the bottom of your bag. A t-shirt, some jeans, and a pair of red Converse later, you slam your locker shut and trudge your way outside.
The sunlight is far too bright for the dark day you've had. Pulling a ball cap over your eyes, you attempt to avoid as many people as possible, especially you-know-who.
It's odd your parents aren't by the bottom of the bleachers. They always wait for you after races.
How are you gonna face them after that? They're the ones who supported you emotionally and financially so you could follow your dream, and the first chance you get to be in the big leagues, you blow it. 
Sixth place. You're a disgrace for a daughter.
What's that sound? An ambulance?
A blinding white starts to overtake your vision once again. It's subtle at first, as if the sun suddenly escaped the clouds in the sky, but then it gets brighter and brighter, becoming painfully so. Simultaneously, you feel a hundred anxious bubbles rising from your stomach as you watch a bright red, very loud emergency vehicle whip past the front of the arena.
Your knees are about to give way. Seriously, you're gonna collapse at any second.
"___! Hey, wait up!" He's excusing himself from an interview so he can run to you, a stupid smile on his stupid face. "I'm glad you didn't leave yet. I watched the replay, that was some crazy racing out there. Congrats."
"Congrats?" You slowly turn around to reveal damp, red eyes. "Are you serious right now?"
"I just meant--"
"Please don't patronize me, Jimin," you sigh, pressing your hands to your knees in an attempt to stay standing.
"I'm really not," he replies sincerely, picking a flower from his massive first place bouquet. "Just wanted to give you this."
Tentatively, you accept it. "What's this for?"
"You know," Jimin mumbles, a hand behind his neck, "it's whatever."
It's natural for your aura to soften. Twisting the stem between your fingers, you take notice of the several pink and yellow flowers in his bouquet and the only one with red-ish petals, the one he gave to you.
"Thanks."
"Are you okay?" Jimin asks.
"Just, umm..."
"The ambulance."
"Yeah."
"Where's your mom?"
"I can't find her," you admit, voice beginning to shake while a single, terrified tear drips down your cheek.
He immediately reacts, disregarding his first place flowers to instead offer his reliance. You grip his forearms to help stay steady. 
"I'll help you look for her. Don't worry, she's probably just in the bathroom or something."
"Okay," you sigh, finding some kind of calmness in his gaze and words. "Jimin?"
"Yeah?"
"I'm scared."
"It's gonna be okay," he assures you, stepping closer so you can still hear him when he lowers his voice, using his thumb to dry beneath your eyes. "I'm right here."
There's a tap on your shoulder and you whip around to see a young woman standing in a white and red uniform, hair pulled back, and a quite serious expression. You immediately recognize her and your heart drops.
"Nurse Hari. What are you doing here?"
"Your mother had another seizure and was taken to the emergency room during the race. Your dad is--"
"But I saw her take her Carbamazepine this morning," you urgently insist. "How long was it? Can she breathe? Is she okay?"
"We don't know yet," she says sympathetically and begins trying to rush you along, "but your dad is already there with her and I'm gonna escort you now, okay? Are you ready to go?"
You quickly nod, pulling your bag up on your shoulder and hurrying after the EMT worker, feet shuffling on the concrete and knees shaking with every step.
You knew it. You just knew it.
Every nerve ending in your body was trying to tell you something wasn't right, and it wasn't just that your tires were ruined. Your subconscious felt the distress and it tried to warn you, but you didn't listen.
Now you can't seem to feel anything. The world begins to spin, pressure entering and stretching your ears until you can't barely make sense of your surroundings. Everything is dizzy and discombobulated.
One more step and your legs crumble beneath you, crashing face down on the concrete.
"___!"
When you look around, Jimin is quickly shuffling after you, abandoning his gloves and wrist guards so you can properly hold onto him. He reaches to help you stand, taking your hand without question and holding it close by his side.
"Careful," he urges you, "did you even decompress after the race?"
Ashamedly, you shake your head to admit that no. You didn't.
Jimin helps you get back on your feet but everything is still spinning around you. When you look up and see his face, it's still. A solid point standing firm in the midst of a blurry, scary circumstance. He's strong in your mind and sight, something you'd never openly admit, especially not to him. 
"I can't breathe," you admit, clutching his hand. "They said she wouldn't survive another one that bad. What if she's--"
"We don't know anything yet. Let's just get to the hospital first, okay?"
"Okay. You're coming with me, right?"
"Yeah," Jimin promises, squeezing your hand back, "of course, I am."
::
7 years later
Jimin crosses the finish line. 
"Forty-four seconds," his coach whistles, impressed, double checking the speedometer to make sure his eyes aren't playing tricks on him. 
Jimin takes another leisure lap around the arena before gliding into the pits. He thrusts the gear into park and pokes his head out the window, sitting his hips on the ledge and resting his arms on the car's roof. 
"How was that?" 
"New personal best," his coach claps. 
Jimin smiles satisfied, hoping out of the vehicle and pulling his gloves off finger by finger with his teeth. "Thanks for letting me try out the car, Lee. She drives like a dream come true." 
"Hey, what are old friends for? Whatever you need, just ask anytime." 
It feels good to take off his helmet after training. Slick, sweaty bangs fall across his forehead, evidence of hard work dripping down his temples. Jimin has never been one to take things easy. Still he knows his limits, and he's more than ecstatic to be pushing them further. 
Combing his hair back with a rough hand, Jimin takes a look at the details of his drive recorded by his coach. Not too bad. Shaky around the last bend but he can easily fix that. 
Lee drops a hand on Jimin's shoulder. "You've got an audience," he says, nodding towards the gate at the front of the track. 
The arena is open to the public today, so technically anyone could slip inside and watch. No one is expected but when Jimin sees who's decided to drop by, he drops everything else and jogs his way across the track, waving as he goes. 
"Hey!" his sweet voice calls to you once you're within earshot. 
With one leg inside and one still hidden behind the gate, you linger there, half way committed to entering and half way hesitant. 
He stops in front of you, lacing his fingers through the gate directly above yours but not touching. You smile in greeting, leaning your shoulder into the edge of the gate to appear inconspicuous but Jimin doesn't care why you came. In his mind, you still have just as much reason to be here as anyone. 
"Whatcha doing?" he asks, slightly out of breath after driving and then running to you. 
You shrug nonchalantly. "I heard you were trail racing today." 
"Did you see my last run? Broke a personal record," he boasts with a cheeky grin.  
"Yeah, I saw. You did good." You catch sight of that smile, feeling the immediate need to avert your eyes. "You're shaky around the last bend though." 
Jimin tries to hold back but he can't help it. You make him smile so easily. He unconsciously leans closer until just the gate and a few inches of space keep you from noticing all the secrets he's been harboring for the last years. 
"Thanks for the tip." 
While he tries to catch your eyes again, they're currently caught on something further away. Inside the arena, the pits, the car, the scoreboard, the newly paved asphalt. They flutter to disguise the daydreams behind them, the nostalgia and yearning you can't hide no matter how much you try. This isn't the first time Jimin has caught you loitering around the track, using his practice as an excuse to gaze at the old days. 
"Miss it?" 
"Not really."
"Liar." 
You shoot him a look but you both know his accusation is anything but false. 
"Why don't you race again?" he asks with genuine concern. 
With a shake of your head, you answer as if fate has locked you in place and you have no choice anymore. "I can't." 
"There's nothing stopping you." And in his mind, there really isn't. You clearly love it, but avoid it unnaturally well. "Hasn't it been long enough? Don't you want to be out there again?" 
Your expression turns to longing, practically desperate but still, you don't allow yourself to step closer to the track. Each inch of space you maintain between yourself and racing the better. No matter how much it pains your heart to stay away, you think racing would hurt even more. 
You dream about it sometimes, racing again. With eyes straight and uncharacteristically blurry, you daydream that you're in first place and everything is good. And then you get this sinking feeling in your gut that something really bad is about to happen. And no matter how fast you drive...you never make it in time. 
It's been this way since your mom passed away. Jimin knows. He was there. Hell, he sat outside the hospital room with you listening to the doctors and your father discuss arrangements for her body. 
The day your dad shut out the world. The day he shut you out. 
Jimin watched the passion fade from your gaze and every ounce of warmth turn to ice in your chest. He watched you change. He watched you grow up faster that day than he ever considered possible. 
You were just a little girl back then and it wasn't fair when your mom was one of the good ones. She never did anything wrong but she got taken away while your (ex) friends continued to complain about how mean their moms were for not letting them go to slumber parties. Life screwed you over and you never forgave it. Furthermore, you never forgave racing. 
But Jimin was always there. No matter how bad things got, you held tightly to the subconscious assurance that he would care. Even if he was never anything more than a competition to you, even if you never verbally admitted it, you trusted and needed him more than anyone. 
"Remember how much you used to love racing? Don't you want to let that grudge go?" 
His hand slowly falls down the rough grate of the fence until he's centimeters away from aligning with your fingers on the other side, but your hand jerks away before he can thread his fingers through the spaces to touch you. 
"I'm not sure I can," you reply, stuffing your hands into your pockets and watching the ground. "I'd like to be able to race again but...maybe it's not a good idea." 
"You won't know unless you try," he sings, tempting you with a welcoming gesture to his car still sitting in the pits, ready and waiting for a driver of ample skill to take it by the wheel. 
While you still see a beautiful vehicle with the power to demand a track and put men on their knees, you also see the exact thing you've attempted to blame for your mother's passing for the last seven years. 
You know it's not right or logical to blame racing for her death, but your fifteen year old brain needed a way to cope back then. And it found it. By refusing itself happiness and pushing the guilt onto something else. 
Jimin offers you his hand one more time. "Just come watch me then. You don't have to drive. But I know you want to be closer to the action, don't you?" 
Tenderly, you begin to follow him back to the pits, hands still tucked into your pockets. "Is it okay for me to be here?" 
"The arena is open to the public today, so it's fine," he says. "Lee!" 
The middle aged man picks his head up from studying the tires on his beloved racecar for long enough to greet you. 
"You must be ___." He smiles. "How do you do?" 
"Fine. Thank you," you accept his handshake despite the smudges of greece. 
It reminds you of when you used to come home with black stained hands as a child. But unlike the rest of the kids in your neighborhood, you were never guilty of playing in ditches or mud pools. You had a habit of tinkering with cars. And the palms of your hands always paid the price for it. 
"She's pretty, ain't she?" 
Your brain must have short circuited because for a second you swear Jimin was referring to you. 
"Huh? Oh, yeah she is," you agree, running your fingers across the rim and sneaking a peak under the hood. "She hasn't seen a lot of races though." 
You can't help but study the impressive machinery underneath with a gentle hum and innocent tinker here and there.
"What do you see?" Lee casually asks you. 
"I'd say her average is around 690, although with a turbocharger like that she probably maxes out at 750 horsepower. In which case, Jimin could break another personal record if he handled her right." You eye Jimin with a teasing pull at your lip. "Are you granny shifting again?" 
"What? No, I broke that habit a long time ago," he insists, turning away with a shy blush.  
"Oh really?" You can't help it. Poking his side until he breaks into a massive smile, attempting to block your ruthless tickle attacks but he's much too weak when it comes to your cute antics chasing him around the back of the car. 
Lee laughs and gives you a short applause. "Impressive. Jimin told me you're one of the best racers out there. You seem to know your stuff." 
"Oh no, well...I used to be...something like that." 
"But not now?" the man asks curiously, eyeing Jimin in the background. It's almost obvious the two have discussed you before, which doesn't bother you but it does make you curious about what Jimin has told Lee about you. 
"It's a long story." 
Jimin glances between you and his coach. "Lee, how many cars do you have in the garage today?" he asks, subtly gesturing to you from behind your back. 
The man taps his chin as he recalls. "At least one more," he eyes you with a suggestive brow. "Should I bring it out?" 
You immediately shake your head, hands held up in polite refusal. "No, that's not necessary, really." 
"Come on," Jimin urges you, leaning against the car and tapping his fingers against the gorgeous carbon. "Race me." 
"Jimin--"
"Just one lap. Please?" he asks with a cute scrunch of his nose. 
Lee waits for you to say so before calling for his other car. He assures you he doesn't mind pulling it out if that's what you really want. He's clearly on Jimin's side here. 
"I don't know."
"If you win, I'll grant you a wish," Jimin offers, casually pushing off the car and tempting you with open arms. "Anything you want."
"And I'm assuming that if you win, you want me to admit you're the best racer?"
"Naturally."
You crack a small smile at the nostalgia. Despite your refusal to admit it, the request warms your heart, surfacing the memory of before your last race when there was energy in your veins and a desire to do well you haven't felt in several years. 
"It's red and shiny," he sings, tempting you with a finger tracing the hood. 
Jimin counts your smile as his victory and his prize. 
"Okay, fine," your chuckle morphs into a nervous sigh, "one lap."
Somewhere in the back of your mind, you wanted him to convince you to race. You've been dying for some action, an opportunity to react to something bigger than yourself. Already, you can feel a sense of progress for the first time in seven years. 
And then Jimin hands you his helmet and gloves. 
Holding the gear in your hands feels foreign. But it shouldn't. You don't remember a time when you weren't attached to things like this. 
With a deep breath, you place the helmet on your head, your sense of hearing fading into a blurry background. The only thing you can be sure of is the pounding of your heart and your own breathing. 
The world goes into slow motion as you climb into the driver's seat and wrap your hands around the steering wheel. 
You knew this would bring back memories. But you're surprised at how many there are of Jimin popping into your mind. 
Jimin pulls up beside you in his own car. It's the same model, maybe a year or two older, and sky blue. 
His engine roars when he presses the gas, taunting you to do the same. Still in park, you give the pedal gentle insentive, gasping when the car trembles with power. The pure bass of the engine calls for a race, calling you to win.  
You look at your challenger and he gestures through the open windows, cheeks hidden in the padding of his helmet but you can tell he's smiling. Fuck that contagious smile. You're overcoming childhood trauma over here and he has the audacity to make your heart skip a beat. How rude. 
You follow him onto the track, pausing at the checkered start line. 
Your heart is racing before you even start. But as soon as that buzzer goes off, it's as if your muscles act on their own. Your grip jumps at the gear shift, shoving it into second and stomping the clutch. From zero to at least fifty in a split second, your tires smoke and off you go.
Jimin isn't far away. He purposely trails behind for the first few yards, watching carefully while you steady the wheels. You're out of practice, but it's impressive how you remember where the track leads you and how to hold your place inside the bend even now. 
You've never gripped the steering wheel this hard before, not ever. White knuckles and aching palms seem to become part of the car, your fist on the gear shift just as tough. 
You shift again, checking either side of you for Jimin's location. He creeps up beside you, clearly having a much easier time of controlling his car. Glancing at him through your passenger window, you notice that same smile has yet to leave his eyes, although there's also a familiar sense of determination and fun. 
All your attention is focused on controlling your emotional responses. Every physical response is automatic; you couldn't verbally say why you do the things you still do, but your body is in the moment and it's fighting to win. Like you trained it to respond all that time ago. 
The road is twisted and unsure, but the longer you watch it, the smoother it becomes. Your mind clears and suddenly everything makes sense again.
Those blinding lights dim to a comfortable visibility and the deafening bass eases into the soothing rumble of the car. Years of stress and anxiety and guilt fall onto the track in front of you and then your wheels crush them like bugs, sending a victorious kind of power through the car and into your mind. 
No way. It couldn't be this easy. All those years you spent fighting and blaming and avoiding can't be pointless. Can they? Was this all you needed? Just to race again and feel that burning inside your bones to win after feeling so numb for so long? 
You're in first place. You're winning. And while you could listen to that small voice telling you Jimin is letting you win, it doesn't matter as much as the healing you're experiencing just by racing him. 
That checkered line comes into view as you make the last bend. Jimin's wheels align with yours and you push yourself just a little bit more to make it at least a tie. That competitive nature you thought you lost returns full force and goosebumps trail all over your skin. 
And as you pass that finish line, it's like reaching the end of an seven year long race with yourself. And knowing you finally won. 
You hop out of the car and the first thing you see after removing your helmet is a beautiful, ecstatic Jimin flying towards you with open, ready arms.
He scoops you into his embrace, immediately lifting your feet off the ground and spinning you around until you bury your face in his shoulder and the breath you were holding is heavily released. 
You were halfway expecting him to carry you for the rest of existence, but eventually your heels found solace on the concrete again. You pull your face back and your hands slide to his biceps, but he keeps you closer than considered friendly. 
"That was some good racing out there," he tries to say casually, but there's no hiding his pride. He's so proud of you. 
After catching your breath and suppressing the last of your giggles, you reply with an attempted casual, "Yeah, you too."
"How do you feel?"
"Actually...I feel really good," you say honestly, gazing up at the boy who did more for you in one race than countless therapists did in seven years. "Thank you, Jimin. I don't think I ever would have done this if it weren't for you."
"I'm glad you're finally feeling some closure. You deserve it," he says, tucking your loose hair behind your ear. 
All you can do is smile at him. Words won't ever be enough to accurately and sufficiently express just how much you feel for him at this moment. 
"I've got a race next week. If I save you a ticket, will you come watch me?" he asks hopefully. 
"Depends. Will you get first place?"
"That's the hope."
"Then no."
"No?" His shoulders and smile drop. 
"I'll only go if you promise to win first place. The only one to put you into second should be me."
And there you are. The girl Jimin missed for years, the girl he feared was lost for good. But when he finally sees you again, it takes everything left in him not to scream from the rooftops. He feels the need to confess everything he's been through without you and everything he wants to do with you from now on, all his feelings he's kept pushed down beneath all those times he's wanted to grab your hand or feel your lips. But for now he'll be satisfied with your support and genuine encouragement. 
"I promise. I'll win for you, ___." 
::
You forcefully shove your way up to the ticket booth, crowded and pushed by every shoulder around you. The man in the booth seems unimpressed and bored with his job. He waits for you to get into a position where you can actually speak and rolls his eyes. 
"Is there a ticket on hold for ___?" 
With absolutely zero sense of urgency, the man checks his records, prints the ticket, and slides it underneath the transparent glass towards you. 
"Front row. Aisle A. Seat J." 
"Thank you!" you shout as people begin throwing you out of the way. 
You stumble out of the crowd and into an open space past the entrance to the track. Straightening your denim jacket and high ponytail, you huff at the inconsideration being exemplified here. Suppose you never really thought about it since you were always the one in the garage prepping for the race, but man, fans can be sucky people. 
You glance at your ticket and notice it's got a backstage pass stamp on the front. The smirk on your lips isn't meant to be suggestive but you can't help but feel special knowing how much more expensive these tickets are compared to the basic seats. And Jimin held it for you. It's not like you've never been backstage before but your heart suddenly flutters in anticipation. 
Gripping it in your hand like a prized lottery ticket, you make your way past the gates, running through them with confidence and an eagerness to see him before it’s too late. Maneuvering the crowd and ducking below elbows, you make your way to the garage entrance. 
They let you pass with no concern once you flash your fancy ticket and drop the name, "I'm  a friend of Park Jimin, thank you very much." 
The garage is busy, much busier than the ones you spent time in as a junior. It's not quite the same as seven years ago. The smell is similar, competition thick in the air when you breathe, but the feeling is different. 
It's weird to be back here and not in uniform. Your hands feel empty, like they should be dressed in rough gloves or holding a helmet at least. For the first time in a long time, you wish you were racing too. 
“Jimin?” 
He turns around with an expectant smile when he hears that precious voice. Immediately, his eyes light up, following your body as it dodges other racers, spinning to expertly avoid random limbs and helmets being tossed around. 
“You came,” he says with a slight hiccup when you crash into his arms. 
He hugs you tightly, already dressed in his bright orange suit. It feels rough against your short sleeve baseball tee but it’s kinda nice. Nostalgic. Familiar. Like him. 
“Yeah well, I couldn’t let a perfectly good ticket go to waste.” 
“Whatever, as long as you're here. I think I can win now. You're gonna be my lucky charm, okay?" 
His smile is contagious. It’s not your fault a smile forces its way across your lips. 
He's been doing that lately. It's odd because growing up, the two of you never really got along. You hated Park Jimin for always taking your first place prizes and you just assumed he hated you too. But recently, as you've grown and matured and healed from past trauma, your personal reflection has revealed that maybe you never hated him. Maybe he never hated you either. Maybe it was all healthy competition and your young mind was so clouded over by the need to win that it never considered the possibility that Jimin is actually a good guy. 
A really good guy. 
“___? You good?"
It’s now you realize you’ve been staring at him. 
"Sorry, yeah. Good luck out there." 
"You're gonna bet on me, right?" 
You're suddenly tempted to hug him again for whatever reason, but you crush that desire real fast and give him two thumbs up instead. 
"Only if you win." 
Then he goes one way and you go another. But it's not unexpected to find him checking for you over his shoulder when you look back. Your eyes meet for a brief moment before he disappears around the corner, off to greet the crowd. 
Speaking of crowds. This one is the worst! It takes you a solid ten minutes just to get to your seat despite it being in the front, and once you get there, you're stuck between two sleazeballs who don't know the difference between a cylinder and Cinderella. 
But you've got a free seat, one close enough to catch Jimin waving at you before he climbs into his ridiculously orange race car and starts the engine. It growls. Damn, that's nice. 
A gunshot, a waving flag, and off they go. Jimin starts in third. 
Why he didn't start in first place, you're not sure, but either way it's not long until you notice him strategically making his way to the front. Just like butter, he smoothly maneuvers the track, forcing it to do his bidding and bend to his every will. 
Jimin has always been like this. Demanding of his car and his track; he wants the best and he drives to get the best. He won't settle for second, it's simply not in his vocabulary. You must admit, his competitive nature is hella attractive and you don't mind a guy who goes after what he wants. After all, you're inclined to do the same. 
If you were racing him today…you wish you were racing him today. 
As the race goes on, your mind flashbacks to memories of your childhood, before you lost your mom, before your dad became a shut-in, before you lost yourself so dramatically like you did. Back when you raced homemade cars on concrete sidewalks for lollipops, when things were simple and racing was fun and Jimin was…well, back when things were simple. 
Life is so complicated now. Why do things have to get so messy? 
At least it's soothing to watch Jimin race like this. A sense of eagerness is rising in your gut, one which hasn't been there in a long time. He's doing so well, holding first place like he was born to do. In the back of your mind, you remind yourself he's just keeping that spot warm for when you make a return to the track. 
Yes. You will return. And you'll kick ass. 
The final lap comes around the bend. The race has been steady up until this point, Jimin easily leading the group of frustrated racers behind him. But now drivers are getting anxious and daring to win at the last second. 
You're not sure how it happened. Actually, is anyone? It all happened so fast, even though you were looking directly at his car, the moment it flipped you felt pulled into the present while confusion and terror flooded your veins. 
The nose of Jimin's car bounces off the ground as it tumbles towards the center of the track. It skids across the grass in the middle of the action, pieces of metal and engine flying from the wreckage as the machine is thrown across the arena. A cloud of smoke and rubble erupts while the rest of the racers make the last turn and cross the finish line. 
You're on your feet in a second. It's hard to see now that his car has settled to a stop, upside down and completely crushed. 
There's no telling how many people you shoved out of the way to get down there, but security stops you at the gate so you can't get through. 
"Jimin!" you screech, pulling and pushing to try to see where he is. 
Shit, you can't see a thing. 
People rush the scene. Lee, Jimin's pit captain happens to be one of them, along with several other people you don't know who have no fucking business being in there when you're stuck out here. 
"Let me through! He's my–" 
A bigger commotion instigates when several other men are called over and they all attempt to lift the car, two more people reaching underneath to pull a body out. Medical staff is on the scene now, kneeling beside a limp Jimin and tearing into his ripped up orange tracksuit. 
You've leaned over security's shoulder at this point, eyes wide as you watch the scene unfold before you. Frightened tears fall but you can't be bothered to wipe them away. 
Is that CPR? Are they giving him oxygen? Wait a second, where are they taking him? 
Jimin's arm hangs off the stretcher as they haul him towards a back exit to the arena much too quickly so he's shaken around and bumped through the rush. It's comedic, your pitiful attempts to jump over the shoulders of countless security guards, shouting at the top of your lungs. 
"Hey, wait a second! Jimin!" 
How Lee manages to hear you over everything is a miracle in and of itself. He gestures for security to let you through and you stumble your way over, knees buckling every few steps. 
Lee catches you in his arms, pulling you along towards a waiting ambulance. 
"She's with me," he says quickly and ushers you inside, leaving your exasperated lungs in the parking lot. 
His eyes have yet to open and yours have yet to stop crying. Other than your wet cheeks and blurry vision, you appear to be quite stable. Steady hands clutch Jimin's swollen and dirty fingers close to your heart. 
The EMT is hard at work doing whatever the crap EMTs do these days. Jimin's heart is still beating and that's what matters. 
You focus on breathing, Lee's hand running up and down your back as he confirms what sounds like nonsense with the medical worker. It's all muffled rambling in your ears at this point. 
The ambulance sounds desperate as it cuts through traffic. Or maybe that's the siren going off in your own heart and mind. Your eyes trace the multiple scratches across his cheeks and down his neck for the hundredth time, memorizing every bump and bruise. 
"Can he hear us?" 
"Probably not." 
"Is he feeling a lot of pain?" 
The EMT slowly looks at you. "Probably not." 
Right at that moment, you feel Jimin's hand subtly squeeze your fingers. When your eyes go back to him, you spot a small drop of salty agony falling from the corner of his eye. 
"It's gonna be okay," you whisper, "I'm right here." 
:: 
The first thing Jimin sees is a white ceiling. Which, if he thinks about it, is kinda odd considering the last thing he remembers is grass. Lots of green grass and dirt. 
Slowly, his hand comes to his face, gently feeling over his bruised cheek bone with a hiss. Damn it, his throat hurts too. 
Blinking a few times, he attempts to steady himself. Despite laying on his back completely still, the amount of meds they've pumped into his system make the room spin. With a groan, he tries to sit up, but immediately a stabbing pain rips through his side and his head falls back again. 
"The doctor said you shouldn't sit up yet." 
At least he can turn his head. When he does, Jimin sees you coming out of what he assumes is a bathroom. You look trashed, hair in a messy bun, long sleeve shirt stretched and obviously slept in. Heavy, black circles under your eyes and seemingly permanent red cheeks. 
You sit next to his bed and softly smile. "How do you feel?" 
"Uhh," Jimin blinks, "I'm not sure. Okay I guess." 
"Well, you took quite the tumble," you chuckle, but the sound quickly transitions to a struggling sigh as your expression breaks. 
Jimin shifts as best he can towards you but again, he can't get past what pain is shooting through his side. 
You quickly stop him with a hand on his shoulder. "No, stop moving. You need to rest still for now." 
But you're crying, he wants to say. He should hold you when you're crying. 
Nonetheless, Jimin sets himself back onto his pillows after you adjust them for him. He's so tired, exhausted really. 
"What happened?" 
The look on your face says you're surprised he asked such a question. "You crashed. Don't you…remember?" 
The door opens and in walks who must be the doctor you mentioned earlier, although Jimin doesn't recognize him. 
He stops at the end of Jimin's bed and picks up a metal clipboard with several pages to flip through. "Good to see you're awake. How do you feel?" 
"Kinda dizzy," Jimin answers honestly, looking between you and this new visitor in a while coat. "My side hurts." 
The doctor puts down his chart and sighs, "Well, you did break a few ribs, that's probably why. But down worry, they'll heal fine on their own as long as you rest." 
Oh. Jimin's never broken his ribs before. Is this what that feels like? Like someone's continuously slashing through his side with a knife that's on fire. He wants to scream and pass out at the same time, but when he looks at you and your already tired, worried eyes, he feels the obligation to stay strong. 
The doctor gestures to you. "I understand you and Lee are the patient's primary caretakers?" 
"That's right." 
"In that case, I want to give you a full report on Jimin's condition." 
You swallow and prepare yourself for the worst. Jimin is eagerly listening as well, although he can't seem to focus much at the moment. 
"He's broken three ribs on his right side — thankfully they didn't puncture any major organs or cause too much damage internally. His left wrist is fractured and he has a mild concussion. He needs complete bed rest for at least a week, two weeks to be on the safer side, and then limited physical activity for the next three months to heal completely." 
You instantly sigh, hand shaking in relief as it reaches out to pet the back of Jimin's fingers, eyes casted low and chest hung. 
"Do I have to stay here that whole time?" Jimin asks. 
"No, you'll be discharged after tomorrow given everything is okay in the morning. But do you have someone who can stay with you during your recovery months?" 
"I can," you volunteer, maybe a bit too eagerly. "Lee will help too."
The doctor smiles. "Great. Just call us if there's an emergency. I'll prepare for his discharge in the morning." 
With that, the doctor exits, leaving you and Jimin alone once again. You don't move away, much to Jimin's approval. It's as if his hospital bed is a magnet and you need to be in contact with it in some way constantly. 
"___, you've got a life, I can't let you do that." 
"Shut up." You pull the covers further up his chest and flatten them out, being cautious not to put any extra weight on his body. "You took care of me for seven years. Now I'm gonna take care of you. End of story." 
As nice as it would be to have you wait on him hand and foot while he heals for the next three months, he doesn't want to be a burden to you. If Jimin wasn't 80% drugs and 20% pain right now, he might feel up to a playful argument. But with his current state threatening to pull him back into a deep sleep at any moment, he doesn't have the energy to oppose you. 
As his eyes gently close again, he feels you rest your elbows on the edge of his bed, laying your head on your arms. 
There you stay for the rest of the night. And when Jimin periodically wakes to the ache of his back and the screaming of his ribs, he can fall back asleep each time because you're still there. 
He places his not fractured hand on your head and pets the softness of your hair while you breathe, silently thanking whatever universal power brought eight-year-old him to your neighborhood all those years ago. 
::
You reach over his shoulder to open the front door and push his wheelchair into his apartment. 
"Home sweet home," you sing softly. 
Jimin sighs, gripping the arm rests of his wheelchair when it bumps over the threshold. It hurts to hold his breath but he manages to keep a whine from slipping out. You know the state he's in and yet he doesn't want to show any weakness or pain in front of you. 
"Are you hungry? Hospital food is so shitty." 
"Actually, can you just help me sit on the couch?" 
"Of course!" 
Watching you run around his apartment is humorous. While he sits in the audience seat, you scamper like a little chipmunk gathering pillows and blankets and a heating pad and moving the coffee table (now foot rest) into a good position before getting him a glass of water and fluffing the couch cushions and— 
"Hey, ___." The sound of your name in the form of giggles is the only thing that can stop you. When you turn around, the first smile Jimin's worn since the crash is spread across his precious lips. 
"Come here," he says, unable to lift his arm very high. 
You hurry over and reach out to eagerly take his hand. "What is it?" 
"Look," he says with a chuckle to mask the sting of pain to his gut, "you're fucking adorable running around, but please chill. I promise, I'll recover faster if you don't stress out over me, okay?" 
"Oh...okay." 
With a subtle blush and a nod, you help him out of his wheelchair and onto the couch, slipping your arm around his hip like they taught you at the hospital while endless sorry's slip from your mouth. He tilts his head towards you despite the pain and whispers softly against the skin of your ear, "stop apologizing, silly." 
As much as you want to do for him, Jimin really doesn't ask for much. Most everything you've done this afternoon is on your own intention, and while he's thankful, he kinda feels like a sack of rocks on your back digging into your spine for the sole purpose of being annoying. 
Jimin has never been one to be waited on. He'd much rather spoil other people than be spoiled himself. But if you insist on spoiling him, and since you're here, he might as well make the most of it. 
"Anything else?" 
"Watch something with me." His first request since he asked you for his pain meds two hours ago. 
"Lee will be here soon to help you go to bed," you remind him of your previously established arrangement. Since you work evening shifts at the garage, you get to care for Jimin during the day and Lee spends the night with him.
"We've got time to start something at least," he chimes. "Come on, this will help me feel better." 
The couch dips when your weight sinks into the spot next to him, not too close but close enough. He lifts the remote and voice activates Disney+ to start playing. 
"Cars?" You can't help your smile. 
"It's my favorite movie." 
"Of all time?" 
"Well," he snickers with a shake of his head, "I mean probably." 
It hurts to laugh but he wants to. Your giggles cause that kind of reaction in his brain, his daily boost of serotonin. Even when he's delirious off pain killers and can't feel his left hand, the moment has never been nicer because you just smiled at him. 
As the opening scene plays, you catch Jimin low-key lip syncing every word with a fond gaze over his eyes. It's such a childish thing to be attracted to, but also you can't take your eyes off his lips. 
"Who's your favorite?" 
"Mater. Hands down." 
"What about Lightning?" you ask, slightly offended for your personal favorite character. "He's got a 750 horsepower V8 engine and rear-wheel drive with coilover shocks and A-arm front suspension. He's so cool!" 
"But Mater can drive backwards," Jimin replies matter-of-factly. "He's literally the best friend everyone wants." 
You chuckle and turn up the natural sarcasm that teases your lips every time you spend time with him. Jimin has an uncanny ability to make you feel playful and competitive somehow at the same time. 
"Lightning can drive backwards at the end of the movie, you know," you argue with a smile. 
"Yeah and who taught him how?" 
"But Lightning is the only reason Mater got to ride in the helicopter." 
He blinks. "What does that have to do with driving backwards?" 
"Literally everything."  
Jimin doesn't mind losing arguments like this one. The fun part is riling you up, teasing you with stupid comebacks or watching your eyes bug out of your head when your tongue gets tied. Every scene offers him the perfect opportunity to forget about his injuries and the fact that you're leaving in a few minutes. 
As the movie goes on, you find yourself somehow moving closer without moving closer. It just happens like this, it has since your mom passed. One moment you're on your own and then, you're next to him. And he's there. And things are okay. 
Jimin doesn't seem to mind. In fact, you're not sure he's ever really noticed your developed habit of clinging to him. It's unconscious…usually. 
While his evening dose of pain meds threatens to pull his eyelids shut, you pull out your phone and answer a call. 
"Hey, Lee. Where are you? My shift starts soon so I gotta leave." 
"Listen, I know," he sighs, the background noise almost as loud as him, "but something happened at the track. I'll tell you about it later but I'm not gonna be able to stay with Jimin tonight. Could you do it?" 
"But I don't know what to do." 
"Just help him change and get to bed. He's so knocked up on meds he'll pass out as soon as he hits the pillow." 
"But what about—" 
"I gotta get going. I promise I'll be there tomorrow night, okay?" 
He doesn't give you a chance to answer. The phone call drops and all you've got left is the sound of Mater driving backwards like a lunatic on the television screen and Jimin grunting in pain as he tries to readjust on the couch. 
After giving your work a quick call, you come back to where Jimin sits with his head swaying in a desperate attempt not to fall asleep right where he is. He sucks in a breath and looks up at you, eyes half way glazed over in prescription. 
"Time for bed, Jimin."
"What about Lee?" 
"He's preoccupied apparently. It's just us." 
He nods with an agreeable hum and lifts his arm so you can slip underneath it to help him transfer to his chair and then push him to the bedroom. 
"Where are your pajamas?" 
"Top drawer," he tells you and watches while you hold up a t-shirt you found on top. "There should be one that buttons up in there somewhere." 
"Umm," you dig a bit more and then pull out a shirt matching his description, "this one?" 
"Yeah, that's good." 
Without commenting on how ridiculously soft his pajamas are and how nice it would probably be to cuddle with them, you approach where he sits on the bed with blushing cheeks. 
"I'll, umm, change your shirt now." 
"Okay." 
This point of view only ever happened in his daydreams. You kneel in front of him, button by button slowly undoing his top until it's freely hanging like curtains in front of his wrapped ribs. Your fingers bravely reach past them to brush the rough, white gauze covering his delicate, bruised skin. 
"You really scared me, you know." The words come out before you realize your tongue has even moved. "You could have…I thought…" 
But no matter the words you speak, Jimin can only pay attention to your eyes, the way they pitifully watch his chest as if they're to blame for his pain. 
"But I'm not," he whispers, hand gripping your wondering fingers and squeezing them tight. "See? I'm fine." 
As much as you formally disagree with that statement, you decide to let the conversation drop for the time being. You're too emotionally charged and Jimin is too drugged for this to end well. 
Carefully, you strip his shirt off his shoulders, hissing in unison with him when he reaches his arms back to remove the shirt. 
"Sorry…" 
"It's okay," he assures you again. 
You throw his worn shirt in the dirty clothes, informing him that you'll do a load sometime tomorrow or something. Carefully, he slips his arms into the sleeves of his clean pajama top and you button it up for him, slowly coming up to meet him nose to nose. 
"You did so good," you smile and he copies your expression with a childlike sleepiness in his eyes. You can tell, he's fighting so hard to stay present and conscious, but those drugs seem to be winning the war. 
You don't take much time with the rest of his bedtime routine. His jaw hangs open while you brush his teeth, head rocking back and forth while you brush his hair — he claims he didn't fall asleep to the soothing brush of your fingers against his scalp but you're pretty sure he slipped a couple times. It's okay. It was cute. 
Once he's laid back and tucked in, you go to turn off the light and possibly finish the movie on your own. 
"___?" 
"Yeah?" You instantly lift your sight to meet his gaze through the dark. 
"This…my crash hasn't hurt your resolve to race again, has it?" 
Of course, he would be thinking of you. Of all the things to be thinking about while he's lying literally broken in half with agonizing pain being numbed by god knows how many milligrams of painkillers, he's thinking about you. 
"No, idiot," you reply with a gentle smile to hide the sudden tug at your heart, "it hasn't." 
"Promise?" 
"I promise. Goodnight, Jimin." 
::
You're woken to a muffled groaning from Jimin's bedroom. Stumbling off the couch and into the hallway, you attempt to peel your eyes open enough to make sense of your surroundings. 
You open the door to find him there, immediately any idea if sleep is sucked from your chest, every ounce of attention you have at this ungodly hour in the morning set on his sweating temple and furrowed brow. 
"Jimin?" you whisper at first, and then a bit louder, "Hey, Jimin, open your eyes for me." 
He does but it's so dark and there doesn't seem to be any focus within them. You click on a small side lamp but the sight of him struggling through so much pain makes you so sick to your stomach that you want to turn it off. Pushing the urge down, you feel his forehead and sigh when you decide he doesn't have a fever. But he's still stuttering like an overheated engine, shaking his head and squeezing his sheets between his hands. 
His eyes gently travel to meet yours but he doesn't speak anything. It doesn't appear that he has the strength to talk right now. 
"Okay okay, just wait a second and I'll get you the painkillers," you tell him before running to gather some cool water and his medicine bottle. 
When you return, he's got his fractured hand clutching his stomach. 
"Shhh, let go…that's it," you hush him while removing his hand and helping him take the pills.  
He tries to grip your hand but as much as you want to hold onto him, you know it wouldn't be good for his fracture. Instead, you use your thumb to stoke his palm, following the lines of his hand with your fingertips in a soothing kind of repetitive motion. Up and down, back and forth, until the subtle pressure sinks into his skin and massages harmony back into his limb. 
It seems a cool cloth on his head helps too, but his breath still staggers and his body is beyond fatigued. 
With a thick swallow, you watch Jimin slowly fall back into a semi peaceful state of mind. His body twitches and flexes every few minutes, reminding you that no matter how soft he looks on the outside, his body is fighting ruthlessly to heal itself as quickly as possible. 
Leaning forward, you place your soft lips against the bruise on his cheekbone, allowing them to linger there until his face relaxes. Pressing your forehead to his, you hover above his stressed expression and whisper as calmly as humanly possible. 
"You're gonna be fine. I'm right here." 
It's a long night. One you know Jimin would gladly face for you a thousand midnights over. So, you put aside sleep and focus on what you can do to help the boy who's beginning to mean more than you even realize. 
::
The bottom of your shoes burn like the rubber on tires as you run. Actually, you're pretty sure you can smell them burning. Or is that leftover musk from working in the garage all last weekend? 
You totally forgot you agreed to pick up extra shifts this week. With Jimin's crash and looking after him and trying to find time to get back into shape for racing, you've been overworking and exhausting yourself to the bone. 
You would ask for help but you know Lee is also working himself to death handling all Jimin's legal crap. Turns out it's suspected foul play was involved in Jimin's accident and the case was immediately subjected to be investigated further. You haven't heard much since the initial announcement but Jimin always spills details he's heard from different sources to keep you updated on things when he can. 
Actually, you're relieved he's doing much better lately! His check ups have been proving to be optimistic moments, showing that he's healing faster than the doctor originally expected. Still, he's not ready to be left on his own yet.  
Your ruined Nike's tap the cracked concrete while you wait impatiently for the light to change. As soon as you see that green silhouette, you start kicking up dust. 
"I'm here!" you announce to the apartment, kicking off your shoes and dropping your bag by the closet. 
"___!" Jimin's happy voice appears before he does, carefully making his way on his own two feet from the kitchen to the common area where you are. 
He's a bit shaky but at least stable enough to greet you with a gentle hug, sweeping beneath your arms so they wrap around his neck and then pulling you against him for a moment. He nuzzles his nose into the crook of your neck and the outline of a smile against your skin, a habit he developed not long after he started healing. He never hugged you like this before, but you won't say it bothers you. 
"I'm doing alright, huh? Walking all on my own and it only hurts my entire body." 
Rolling your eyes seems to be the only response you can register right now aside from pink cheeks and a relieved heartbeat. 
"You're so impressive." 
"I must be since you keep smiling at me." 
At least his personality is back. Jimin isn't himself if he's not teasing you, setting charge to the engine pumping blood from your chest to the tips of your ears. 
These kinds of mornings have become more than routine. They're a comforting pattern of steady healing for the both of you. Every time Jimin comes around that corner – flashes of him in his wheelchair, followed by crutches, and now walking on his own with a smile adorning his bruise-free cheeks — there's a small hint of something bigger creeping up your throat, gaining little by little. It's only a matter of time until it comes out. You're not sure what it is, only that you won't be able to stop it when it inevitably takes form on your tongue. 
Jimin shows off his blank wrist, waving it in front of you like a trophy. "Got my cast off too, thank god." 
"Congratulations." 
"Alright, kids," Lee appears next, a hand on Jimin's shoulder and a flat smile stretching his lips from ear to ear, "I'm off. Medication is on the counter," he pokes your cheek, "make sure he takes it. See ya tonight!" 
And with that he's gone with a click of the deadbolt followed by a deep sigh from Jimin's chest. 
"So," you rock back and forth on your toes, pressed lips and big eyes directed towards him, "what do you wanna do today?" 
"Well," he draws out the vowel, lifting his hand to wiggle his fingers at you with a suggestive wink, "now that my cast is off and my wrist is healed, there is something I've been dying to play with…" 
:: 
"Fuck!" you whine, squirming in place on the couch, brow furrowed when you glance at his fingers and how they work so smoothly. "How are you this good?" 
"Takes skill." He's so smug with his eyes dancing over at you just to prove he doesn't even have to be looking to completely wreck you. "I got skill." 
This doesn't make sense. You chose Mario because this is Mario Kart. His name IS the fucking title, so logically he should be the best character. So how the hell is Jimin ruthlessly destroying your ass with Luigi right now? 
"You're cheating!" 
"Am not," he says calmly, using his elbow to bump your arm. 
"Don't hit me!" Your words are coated in giggles as your kart drags across the rainbow trail on screen, combining with his laugh to overpower the background music and shouts from on-screen characters. 
"I didn't." 
"You totally just hit my arm." 
"It was an accident." 
"Yeah right." 
With a snap of your finger, Mario transforms into a bullet and bulldozes his way to second place, right behind where Jimin is about to take the final turn to the finish line. 
Your characters race side by side around the bend. But then suddenly Luigi boosts forward, ultimately passing the finish line a mere two seconds before Mario. 
"Hey! How'd you even do that, you didn't have a power up?" You drop your controller and shoot him a suspicious side eye. "Spill your secret." 
He smiles like an idiot, unable to contain the sheer amount of happiness he gets from beating you. 
"Drifting." 
You gasp, "That's my move!" 
"You don't own drifting. It's a common strategy in racing," he tells you amidst your giggles. No matter how much his abdomen shrieks when he lets out a cackle, he can't not express happiness when you smile at him like that. 
"Nah ah! It's only my thing, no one else can do it." You manage to take a breath between laughing, playing along with the moment, feeling a sense of carelessness wash over you for the first time in a long time. 
"What about me?" Jimin asks, rearing up his defense if you insist he isn't an exception. 
You scan him up and down, humming thoughtfully while trying to appear serious, although your lips threaten to burst into another unrestrained smile. 
"Fine. But I also patented it, so you have to pay me every time you do it." 
He scoffs, "Are you scamming me right now?" 
"Sir, you can trust me," you say with a cross of your heart and two fingers held up high, "scout's honor." 
"That only works if you're a boy scout, and it's three fingers not two, idiot!" His words fade into a fit of giggles, head thrown back and hand holding his side where he's stabbed every time he tries to catch a breath. "Fuck, it hurts to laugh!" 
For the first time in perhaps your entire life, you don't mind that you lost to him. Seeing him laugh this much after everything that happened seems to be enough reward. It's the first time you've been able to laugh freely since what feels like an eternity of grieving. You thought the process would never end. All those visits to grief therapists and one sided rants from your dad, turns out all you needed was to play Mario Kart. 
Jimin wipes his eyes, sniffling away the leftover giggles before turning to you again. 
Reaching out to you, he tucks your hair behind your ear to see your face still flushed from laughing. 
"How about a deal? I'll let you have drifting if you fulfill your promise to race me for real." 
"I never promised that." 
"Didn't you?" He smacks with his tongue in his cheek. "Maybe I dreamed it." 
"Oh, so you dream about me now?" 
"Of course, I do." 
You want to have a comeback, something clever, but nothing comes to mind. It's as if his words forcefully empty your thoughts and all you're left with are descriptions of how his eyes shimmer from laughing and his lips mimic what you anticipate clouds to feel like. 
The response was unexpected and it shifts the atmosphere to something slightly less friendly. The way he's looking at you right now encourages it, leading you to fall further into this moment of unexpected vulnerability. Your eyelids flutter while your brain processes the slowly diminishing space between you two. 
He's mere inches away, body turned to face you and head tilted just enough to slot your lips together. His breath smells like mint and medicine, a sharp contrast to the shy way his eyes continue to check your voiceless cues, making sure this is okay before leaning in further. 
His hand rests on the back of the couch behind your shoulder. It must be painful to twist his body like that, but you can't find it in yourself to move an inch, whether that's to fall into him or run away. 
Just as his lips brush against your mouth, the obnoxious ring of your cell phone causes both of you to jerk in your seats. 
"Lee," you sigh when answering on speaker, "what's up?" 
Jimin sits back and adjusts himself with a pain-filled grimace. 
"I have some exciting news!" 
You both listen in anticipation. 
"The police have made an arrest. One of the other drivers tampered with Jimin's car before the race and they caught video evidence of the driver hitting his bumper during the race. Soon we'll have a court date for Jimin's accident. As far as I can tell, we've got a sure chance of winning and getting a hefty compensation for damages." 
Jimin nods, brushing through his hair with his hand repeatedly. "That's great news, man. Thanks for helping me with this stuff, no way I could've handled that on my own." 
Lee chuckles happily on the other end followed by a lengthy sigh. "Just glad it's almost over and no other surprises popped up. I know you're ready to race again, so hopefully this'll be wrapped up by the time you fully heal." 
"Yeah, that'd be—" he clears his throat, throwing you an awkward glance, "that'd be awesome." 
"Hey! We should all go out to celebrate your recovery when you feel up to it! Whadya say, ___?" 
"Oh," you nod to cover up a thick swallow, "sure, yeah that sounds great, Lee." 
"Alright, well I know you kids are busy doing nothing so I'll let you get back to it. Hey, it's noon, Jimin, don't forget your meds." 
"Got it," he assures the man with a distracted nod. 
The phone call ends and so does the moment. Jimin can't even convince himself you were unaware of his intentions to ease the embarrassment. You're nowhere near clueless, and the obvious, subtle brush of his lips against yours can't be denied. 
But with one word — no matter if he was going to say something about it anyway — you make it perfectly clear that whatever just happened can and will be ignored. 
"Lunch?" 
::
Jimin crosses the finish line, passing you in a blur of orange and white promo stickers. Your heart runs a thousand beats a second; this is his first drive since the accident and you can tell he's taking it kinda easy around the curves. Jimin has always been a good driver but he's not normally this cautious. 
That's expected though, you tell yourself. He hasn't changed. He's just getting back into the swing of things. 
"That was the best lap of the day," you comment, showing him the recorded speed and time on your iPad as he approaches you, "by half a second." 
He chuckles breathlessly, "I'll take it. Half a second is still an improvement." 
His hand ruffles through his hair now that his helmet is put away, brushing the bangs from his eyes just for him to shake his head and make them fall over his face again. 
"Wonder how long it'll take to get back to where I was though," he frowns. 
"I'm sure you'll be back in shape in no time. How do your ribs feel?" you ask, taking a step closer to examine his stance thoroughly. 
"Doesn't hurt." 
"And your wrist?"
"Fine." 
"And your head?" 
"___, I'm okay," he assures you, lightly running his hands down your arms until they reach your hands and he can bring them to hover between your bodies. "The doctor said I'm completely healed and it's fine to race again as long as I'm careful." 
You sigh, "I remember. I was there. I just...."
"I know, I know," he chants, rolling his eyes and taking the iPad from you, "you worry cause you like me." 
"What?" You follow him around like a puppy as he turns off equipment, scoffing at his sudden accusation of your supposed feelings towards him. "What makes you say that all of a sudden?" 
He glances back at you with a teasing grin. "It's kinda obvious."
You cross your arms. "I don't like you." 
"Is that why you played nurse for me for the last three months?"
"You were crippled!" 
He scowls at you, lips pushing into a pout. "That's insensitive."
"Shut up," you laugh and shove his shoulder since you know it won't hurt him anymore. "Are you gonna do another lap?" 
He checks the time and the sky. The last drop of sunlight falls behind the horizon, splashes of pastel and thin clouds disappearing to make way for brighter stars. 
Shadows dance across Jimin's face by the lights of the track as he shakes his head. "It's late now. I can practice some more tomorrow. I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to drive though." 
You shrug. "That's okay. I'm not really dressed for it anyway," you comment, ruffling your skirt and showing off your converse. 
"Yeah, what's with the cute getup?" Jimin remarks with a scan of your abnormally adorable outfit choice, playing off his interest with a casual frown. "You got a date or something?"
"Uh no, I just had a…thing." 
Part of you is relieved he doesn't remember; he's got a lot to be dealing with anyway. But the other half of you kinda wishes he did, considering he was such a huge part of the reason you made it through that day. 
It flashes behind his eyes and bounces around inside his head before tumbling out of his mouth. 
"Oh my god," he goes to you, hands open in apology, "I totally forgot that it was today. I suck, ___, I'm so sorry!" 
"Really, it's fine," you assure him honestly, "I just went to her grave on my own and I got to talk to her and took flowers so...I'm better now. Seriously, I'm okay." 
But no matter how much you insist, Jimin doesn't look convinced. He hasn't missed the anniversary of your mother's passing in seven years, how did he blank on it now? It doesn't matter what you say, he's gonna beat himself up over this for a while. 
His nose scrunches until it's nothing but a button in the middle of his face. "I feel like a jerk." 
"You're not a jerk." You give into the temptation and give his nose a boop. "If anything you helped take my mind off things today, which I'm thankful for." 
"You promise?" 
"I promise." 
The corner of his lips turn upward and you count that cute smirk as a win. There's still a hint of something in your eyes — despondency? Jimin isn't quite sure. All he knows is that you're strong enough to stand on your own. But that doesn't lessen his desire to have his arms around your waist. 
It doesn't take long to pack up the track. You only had enough equipment out to record Jimin's progress, and everyone else already packed up their part before leaving. 
All that's left is to drive the car back into the garage. But you keep catching Jimin's eye and now you can't let it go. 
"What is it?" 
"What?" he replies innocently. 
"You have that look." 
"What look?" 
"That 'I have something I wanna say' look." 
He rolls his lips, a pink tongue poking out between them for a moment while he translates his thoughts into words. With a few swayed steps towards you, he starts a conversation you certainly were not expecting or prepared for. 
"Do you really not like me, ___?"
"It was a joke, of course I like you." 
"But not…romantically." 
Your expression falls along with your arms, shoulders sinking and aura tightening like the sudden nervous pressure in your gut. "Why are you so serious all of a sudden?"
"Because I like you. Romantically. I have for a long time," he confesses. 
"Jimin, don't prank me," you breathlessly request, an unconvinced chuckle on your lips, "not about this."
"I swear it's not a prank," he tells you, taking the final step to be near to you. When his eyes finally peel off the ground, he brings them to your gaze with sincerity. "I like you, ___."
"You're just thankful I stayed with you while you were hurt," you start rationalizing, indirectly asking for confirmation before your heart starts jumping even faster. 
"No, that's not it. I liked you before the crash." 
"Really?" 
"I, umm, thought it was pretty obvious when I tried to kiss you." 
"Guess I wasn't paying attention." 
He grips your lowered chin between gentle fingers and pulls you back to him. 
"Are you paying attention now?"
Your nod is so small, you weren't sure he even noticed it. But when his lips crash against yours, everything falls away into sudden inhales and held breaths. 
He moves against you expertly, his hand sliding into place on your cheek and holding it there. A gentle movement guides your head to tilt so he can shuffle closer to you with mouths opening and closing in time, the taste of his tongue like ruined childhood under the scope of nostalgia and competition. 
His lips are everything you imagined, soft and firm and irresistibly delicious. They slot between your lower lip, dragging out the kiss with a gentle nibble just to entice a desire for him to drag those teeth over every inch of you. 
He opens his eyes to find you already watching him, entire body completely breathless. His hand remains on your cheek, fingers unable to detangle from your hair. 
"Please tell me I didn't just screw everything up." 
Your arms recklessly fall around his neck just to pull him down the distance your tiptoes can't take you. 
"You didn't." 
He easily leans into your lips, following their lead while his hands follow the curve of your waist. But they don't stop there. 
You feel the palms of his hands slip from your waist to your thighs, dipping just barely underneath the hem of your skirt so he can lift you off the ground and place you onto the still warm hood of his car. 
"Your ribs—" 
"They're fine, just kiss me." 
Leaning over you know, his hips slot between your legs, your hands tangling into his hair to pull him impossibly closer. It's when his kiss decides to fancy your neck that you feel the first involuntary arch in your back start to take shape. 
Your profile falls to the side, a fire-like reaction sending heat straight to your core, causing your hips to roll in place. If the car had an alarm, you're sure it would have gone off by now, what with Jimin's frame trapping you on the hood and his weight pinning you against metal so roughly like this, hips following your lead and hands pushing their way further up your thighs until they're testing boundaries about to be broken.
"Jimin," you didn't mean his name to come out so breathlessly, but suppose it was inevitable since he stole the very air from your lungs. 
"Hmm?" he hums with a nibble around your earlobe, letting it slip between his teeth before he returns to your lips. 
"Isn't this Lee's car?" 
"And?" 
"What would he say," you manage to slip words between his kisses, "if he found out," plump lips pressing hard against your mouth, barely giving you a moment to sigh, "we had sex on it?" 
His smirk breaks the kiss for only a microsecond, mumbling against your lips as he dives back in, "Oh, is that what we're doing?" 
"Did you have something else in mind?" 
"Just teasing you." 
"You know just teasing won't make me cum." 
"Mine will," he whispers against your lips confidently. 
"Maybe it's enough for you, but it takes more than a little teasing to make me cum," you challenge with an obvious roll of your hips against his crotch. A chill runs through his bones. 
He stops and lifts his head, peering into your eyes something shiny and excited, more excited than you've seen him in three months. 
"Wanna bet?" 
:: 
The two of you stumble into his bedroom, undressing each other like it's a race. 
Because with you two, of course, it is. 
"First person to make the other one cum wins." 
"Go!"
His shirt is the first thing ripped from his body, followed quickly by his jeans. He trips out of them, hands refusing to not be touching you. You make quick work of your bra while he helps tear your skirt from your hips. 
He chuckles at your damp panties as they hit the floor. "You're so turned on right now. This will be easy, huh." 
"Not as easy as yo— whoa!" 
He picks you up and throws you into his bed – for real you counted at least three seconds you were physically airborne — and you land on your ass with an umph under your breath. Immediately, he's onto you, hovering with his bangs ticking your forehead and his lips just out of reach. 
That sultry look in his eyes whispers his determined to tease the hell out of you, so you don't even have a chance to win. He wants you writhing under his touch, moaning his name like you used to curse it on the racetrack. 
With your fingers tangled in his hair and his lips pressed into your neck, it doesn't take long before there's a terrible itchiness between your legs you're beyond desperate to scratch. He's rubbing against you now, the push and pull of the kisses directing the pressure of his hips. While the indirect friction is nice, it's not nearly enough. 
Time for a preemptive strike. 
Your one hand starts to drift lower, but he stops you by your wrist before a fingertip can touch him. 
"Ladies first," he whispers with a rumble in the back of his throat that makes your knees clamp to his hips. 
Next thing he's lowering himself onto you again, shifting your knees towards your chest with his hands under your thighs. 
A whine of his name slips out before you can even help yourself, but he seems to pick up on your distress fairly easily if his fingers are any evidence. They follow the lines under your thigh until they disappear deep between your bodies. 
He starts slowly, agonizingly so. Not sure what else you should have expected. He told you what he planned to do, and while teasing is nice in theory, the actuality of it is frustrating as heck. Especially when you're as goddamn good at it as Park Jimin. 
Light touches and half finished circles have you squirming within seconds, only irking that unsatisfied itch between your folds. He pets your slit as if it might break, tiny taps to your clit just to send pulses of pleasure through your veins that aren't nearly enough.
"Coward," you smirk up at him with a tempting flutter of your eyelids, "if you're gonna tease me, do it right. Those fingers can do more than that, can't they?" 
"If I do too much then it's not teasing, is it?" 
"Don't talk back, just touch me properly, dammit." 
"Whatever you want, baby." 
You're not sure what's got you shivering so violently. The newly acclaimed nickname spilling from his lips so naturally, as if he's called you it for years. Or his teeth against your neck, taking his chance to separate you from the rest of the world, pretty and bruised with endearment. Or maybe it's his fingers suddenly reaching inside you and pulling a drawn out gasp from your lungs. 
A chill starts between your legs and tickles up your spine, shaking your shoulders and making your toes curl. He noticed. And while it's still slightly embarrassing to admit he has this much of an effect on your physical body, you'd rather let your body say it than have to admit it with your voice. 
He works you through and through. Every stretch of his digits inside you coursing pleasure into your veins and sending it to the tip of your ears. His body feels like a heated, weighted blanket draped over you like this. 
"Go on, babygirl," he urges with his fingers knuckle deep inside you, just his very fingertip teasing your g-spot, "let me see that beautiful face when you cum all over my fingers." 
You bite your lip and shake your head, refusing to orgasm and lose to him. 
His hot mouth traps your right nipple between his lips, sucking for all it's worth, the tip of his tongue flicking the sensitive nub over and over, only for his teeth to graze over it when you cry out. 
"Do it for me, baby, I know you want to." 
"Na ah," you swallow, gripping his hair and pulling his lips back to yours for a lingering kiss. "I win this round." 
Much to your dismay and victory, Jimin removes his fingers and licks them one by one. He doesn't seem so upset to lose. 
Gently, you begin to sit up and guide Jimin to his back, hovering over him like a hot temptress. He watches you, hypnotized eyes locked onto the dip of your waist as your leg swings over his body. When his gaze lifts to your face, he's in disbelief. 
You're naked straddling his hips with an eager bite of your lips, looking at him with that same smile he used to stare at from across the room and daydream about causing. 
"Ready to lose, big shot?" 
"Do your worst." 
Your nails drag from his collarbone to his waist, tiny trails of red appearing just to entertain, spasming muscles and experimental expressions. 
"How's that?" 
"I've wanted you for so long," he desperately confesses. "Mark me anywhere, as much as you can. I want evidence this was real." 
There's a magnetic pull to his lips you can't ignore. Even more, there's something amazing about being on top. You like it better, leaning over him like this, your hair framing the kiss and his palms on your ass like they're kneading dough. 
You could ride like this. Ride for hours and make him cum three times before you cum once. 
But first, tease. Win. 
Lowering yourself down the expanse of his torso, you layer kisses across his abs, using your teeth to leave a small mark just above his hip bone in the shape of your initial. It's nice for him, provides a false sense of security or idea that you'll be nice. 
"Mmm, baby," you say impressed, hand coming to stroke his upright cock, "you're awfully hard."
"Yeah well, that's what happens when your dream girl kisses you naked." 
His comment is cute but you can't get hung up on the title of dream girl when you've got a mission. 
"Dripping already?" You lean forward to kitten lick the precum from the tip. 
Jimin shivers, hand gripping the sheets but hopefully you don't notice he's slowly losing control. (You do.)
"Looks like you might lose at this rate, baby. And this isn't even my worst." 
Jimin chuckles, but it comes out strained, "I'm fine." 
"Really?" With no warning, you take him halfway into your throat, using your tongue to suck once, twice before immediately pulling away again. 
"Fuck…" Jimin mutters under his breath, eyes closing tight and head falling back. 
"Don't seem fine." You slowly work a handjob up and down his swollen cock as you talk. "Should you give up? Cum for me already." 
"Nah it's good, I can't take, shit…I can take more," he repeats breathlessly, a hitch in his voice when your thumb rolls over the tip. 
"Okay, baby, whatever you say." 
Your next move is gentle kisses down the side, tracing that prominent vein which has between your legs swollen and dripping as well, allowing just the first few inches to slip past your lips, circling with your tongue until you feel his cock twitch and then letting go only to repeat the agonizing process. Your efforts earn you a whine, a pathetically muttered beg if you will. Jimin repeats your name until it sounds like gibberish spilling from his mouth. 
"What's the matter, baby?" you sing to him, leaning over the kitten lick at his cock again. "You wanna cum in my mouth?" 
"Yes!" 
"Go on then," you open your mouth and hover over his cock with a waiting tongue, fondling his balls in your other hand, "let me taste you." 
Much to your surprise, he doesn't. Not yet! He sits up and looks at you with sweaty bangs and distant eyes tired from holding back an obvious orgasm. With a smirk, he shakes his head. 
"I win this round." 
How in the world, you're not sure. He looks beaten down and tortured with his flushed cheeks and scarred chest. Fuck, he's hot. 
With your tongue tucked in your cheek, you lay on your back and spread your legs for him, preparing yourself for the no doubt relentless teasing you're about to endure. If you can survive just a bit longer, you know you can make him cum next round. 
"Nah ah, baby," he says while remaining on his back. "Come here." 
You do as instructed and straddle his waist again, sitting comfortably while you wait with interested eyes. 
"Higher." 
You scoot a little higher on his abdomen. 
"Higher." 
You scoot even higher onto his chest. 
"Higher, baby." 
"Jimin, I'll be sitting on your face." 
"That's the point," he smiles, massaging your waist with his hands. 
"That's…that's against the rules," you say shakily, your pussy already pulsing at the thought of riding his tongue. 
Jimin has never manhandled you before but this is borderline if you have any say on the matter. He shifts underneath you as well, meeting your jerked body halfway until you're positioned directly above his waiting mouth. 
"What rules?" he chuckles, a disgustingly precious smile on his face right before it's covered up by your hips.
"What are you…oh shit! That's n-not teasing, you jerk!" 
His mouth attaches to your clit with a determination like a bite, one that has you verbally screaming his name. His lips move as if kissing you, tongue expertly pleasuring your clit and teeth grazing in all the right places. You instantly want to cum but your will to win is also strong. 
Immediately you're gripping his hair with one hand, pulling at his roots to keep your balance and sanity somewhat. Jimin keeps you stable with his hands on your ass, like holding the bottom of a ramen bowl and he's slurping straight from it. 
You can't help it. It's only natural that your body would respond this way. After even just a few seconds, you feel yourself finding the edge of what little self control you have left.
But it's at this point, you shockingly realize he isn't doing squat! Jimin is just lying there with his mouth open, cocky and happy as can be while you ride yourself on his tongue. You're the one putting in effort, working your hips back and forth, back and forth like a desperate animal. This jerk is gonna win without doing a damn thing! 
There's only one way out of this right now that you can think of. 
"Jimin, please just fuck me already for the love of god!" 
"Fuck, finally." 
Without a second to spare, he throws you to your back and hovers over you again, consciously landing you on a pillow for your lower back. 
As soon as he's above you, spreading your legs and looking into your eyes with that completely euphoric face, any competition leaves your mind. It's not about that anymore. For the first time, you couldn't care less about winning. 
It's all about him. 
He interlocks your fingers above your head as he pushes into you. And when he bottoms out, his forehead drops onto yours, a satisfied sigh escaping you both simultaneously and bringing giggles to your lips. 
"Does it hurt?" 
"Not much," you assure him. "Perfect fit." 
"Cause you're really tight," he groans as he starts to pick up pace with every thrust, "and warm. And wet. And fuck, that feels really good." 
His breathing also increases with his speed until he's sighing against your cheeks, slipping in little kisses across your face. You feel his hands squeeze your interlocked fingers, signaling he's a lot closer than he was letting on before.
Then again, so are you. His hips brush your clit at just the right angle, your legs wrapped around his waist to help with leverage so you can meet him with every thrust. He doesn't let your hands go. He holds onto them as if his life depends on it. 
"...pretty." 
"Huh?" You open your eyes to see him watching your scrunched nose and parted lips. 
"So fucking pretty. How are you so pretty?" 
His lips are on yours like routine, tiny smacks here and there while his body shakes and rocks above you. Your silhouettes dance across the walls like a moving picture, when your head falls to the side, he's leaning into you, the images solidifying in your mind while the feeling of his kisses on your neck and collarbone fill you with the most intense sensation and realization. 
"Jimin?" 
"Yeah?" 
"I…I really like you." The confession comes spilling out when the knot in your gut starts to become undone. 
He nuzzles your skin, smiling at you like no one ever has. "I know, baby." 
"No, I mean—" you turn your head to catch his eyes, staring up into them with a sincerity and vulnerability you could never share with someone else, "I'm in love with you, dammit."  
And it didn't really matter if you let go first. It was expected after you felt Jimin hit that perfect spot inside you repeatedly, like a fucking pro. But it means a lot to feel Jimin let go at the same time. Just as your body arches into him, he wraps his arms around you, hugging you close as the most engaging and pleasurable orgasm of your life washes through your body from head to toe. Jimin's entire body is trembling around you and inside you. You reach your arms around him as well and trail your nails down his back, only proving to edge his orgasm on for longer. 
But when it all calms down, you're left in each other's arms, all sweaty and gross and stained and perfectly content. 
"Hey," Jimin mumbles into your neck, "I think we tied." 
You can't help but laugh. When your body starts giggling, Jimin hugs you tighter. 
"Yeah, looks like it."
After a moment, he lifts his head to see you disheveled and thoroughly fucked out and beautiful. Glistening lips and sensitive skin, glassy eyes and heaving chest, marked skin and tired legs. He sees all of you, and as his mind races with what to say, he can only think of one thing. 
"I love you too." 
"I can't believe you came because of emotional intimacy. I kissed your dick." 
"Hey, you're the one who confessed mid fuck." He leans down to nuzzle his nose against yours. "But it was still a tie."
For once his mockery makes you feel good, despite the context and overwhelming pitch in his voice. It's uncomfortable when he has to pull out, but the aftercare is really nice. You always kinda knew Jimin would be good at this part. (You knew he'd be good at all of it, but especially this part, that's all). A cool cloth to clean your skin, lotion to soothe your hickies and between your legs, a clean shirt to snuggle up in, his chest as the perfect pillow. 
Where was your mind all those years you spent disregarding his affection? Feeling sorry for yourself for not racing? Avoiding the feelings you knew were buried deep inside somewhere? Maybe timing wasn't on your side, or maybe you just weren't on your side. But thank god Jimin always was. 
"This doesn't mean I'm gonna let you win the race, you know." 
"Good," you remark with a confident smug, "I can beat you fair and square. And I will." 
You can feel the swarm of affection in his chest underneath your cheek. 
"Can't wait to see you try." 
::
7 months later
The day of the big race is here, the last race of the season! Expect a burning sun, loud engines, and even louder crowds. You're excited to get back on the track after so many months of practicing. It's been good for you, to have time to readjust and get back into the swing of things. Racing is just as tough as you remember, if not more so. But it's also just as fun. And you don't hold any grudge towards the sport, which makes driving around those bends and pressing on the gas pedal that much better. 
If only you could get to the track. 
"Jimin, let me gooo," you giggle, hands reaching for the edge of your king sized bed, the sheets white and clean and slippery from your escapades last night. 
He doesn't let up. His hands grip your bare hips, pulling your naked body back to him so he can roll over you, a habit he's developed over the last few months of having you in his bed. 
Now that you share a bed — and an apartment — you have no excuses to escape his captivity. (Not that you want to.) 
He's very handsome from this angle, you think. Lying beneath him like this with the sunlight coming through the windows, warming his cheeks and your breasts. He leans down to kiss your lips and consequently plant the biggest smile there. 
"Why do I have to let you go?" he asks. 
"Because we need to get ready," you tell him with a swivel of your hips. 
"Why?" 
"Because we have a race today." 
"Why?" 
"Because we're racers." 
"Why?" 
"Because we chose that career!" 
"Why?" 
"Because shut up!" 
Your giggles are everything to him. And while he would much rather stay in this dreamland for the rest of today and torment you with unnecessarily obnoxious questions, he'll have other chances. 
It's been seven months since you started dating this man but it feels like so much longer. Perhaps it comes with being childhood enemies turned friends turned now lovers but there's something different about your relationship with him. It's so…fast. 
But that's okay. You like fast. 
Tickle fights to get out of bed. Brushing your teeth together in the mirror. Helping each other get dressed. Feeding each other breakfast. Trying to do the dishes with his weight on your back and lips on your neck. 
If you didn't believe in paradise before, you sure as hell do now. Inside that apartment, heaven exists. 
Leaving it hasn't been easy, but today especially you have something bigger pulling you out the front door. 
"You're here!" Lee announces as he runs up to you. "Thank goodness. These reporters are getting antsy." 
"Reporters?" 
He points over his shoulder. "You've got an audience. Both of you." 
Just at that moment, the boundary is rushed with cameras. They beg for your attention, calling through the tempting flashes of lights and sounds of clicks. Suddenly, you're fourteen again, except this time all those front pages you so desperately wanted to be on don't appear as attractive. In fact, they look kinda scary. 
"But we haven't even raced yet?" 
"They want stories," Lee explains. "Your sudden exit in an ambulance and then returning almost eight years later. Jimin's crash and recovery. It's frontpage stuff for the sport's world." 
"Really?" 
You can hardly believe you're worth front page news now. You've learned too much, been through too much. Those cameras and interviews don't look as inviting as they did before. They feel more like a trap than a treat. 
Jimin looks to you. "What do you think?" Of course, he's dealt with them before and longer than you have, so he isn't fazed. 
You, however, have never been interviewed before. It's nerve-racking and you're not entirely sure it's something you still want. Racing isn't to put you in the spotlight, not like it was all those years ago. 
He places a hand on your shoulder. "I'm gonna say a few words just to ease the tension. You don't have to say anything if you don't want to." 
You nod, still unsure you want to take on that beast right now. With your heart and head still processing so much just being here with your helmet and intentionality, you don't need cameras to add to that pressure. 
"I'll go with you," Lee says to him. 
Watching Jimin easily manipulate the crowd of reporters is breathtaking. He's so smooth and charming and the cameras absolutely love him. You remember being jealous as a kid, wishing you were the one being interviewed and praised for your racing. Now you think all that stuff is secondary to what you've found in racing, in Jimin, and in yourself. 
"___." 
You freeze at the sound of his voice, heart plummeting and then slowly, cautiously lifting back up as you turn to see him. 
"Dad." 
In the flesh with a glimmer of pride in his eyes, but there's something else there too. He's a little ashamed of himself, as he should be in your personal opinion. But that doesn't stop him from approaching you. 
"What are you doing here?" you ask with a small shuffle in your place. 
He sighs and shrugs, holding out a hand which you take out of obligation as his only daughter and child. It's hard, when he flashes you that smile, to remember the way he shut you out after your mom passed away. 
"I came to see you race." 
"Why?" 
"I've...missed you," he admits with an out of place smile. 
Over the last few years, you've thought long and hard about what you would say to the man who shut out the world, who shut you out, his only daughter. But now that he's standing here in front of you…
All those hateful feelings you had built up because of him and his decision to abandon his daughter in exchange for unending grief, they all just dissolved into nothing somehow. It doesn't make sense to you either, because you had it all planned out. When you would see him again, what you would say, how you would leave for good. 
Now you finally have the chance.
But try as you may, the only thing your trembling lips can form is a quiet and timid, "I've missed you too." 
You used to think there were only two options of how to deal with disappointment. Let it fester and boil inside you until it explodes in unchecked rage and aggression. Or let it fill you with a victimized mindset until you can't barely think without feeling sorry for yourself. 
But there's a third option. And it's not something that comes naturally most of the time. You can just….let it go. 
He disappointed you. And that made you mad. Just because he showed up to your first race in eight years doesn't make everything alright. But it starts a process of healing you didn't realize could still be started after all this time.
"Can I give you a hug?" 
"I think…it's a little early," you reply with awkward hands by your side. "Thanks though, for coming to see me race. I'm gonna win." 
"Of course, you are. You always do." 
You're not sure what's got your father's memory so screwed. Has your dad thought differently about your racing career this whole time? Have these last eight years been a misunderstanding of blame between you two? 
He can't possibly blame himself…can he? 
"Two hundred laps is a lot," he says, trying to lift the atmosphere. "Are you ready?" 
"I think so." 
"Safety first." His expression slowly falls when the words come spilling out, like routine or habit he failed to break even after eight years of being locked away by his grief. 
Those unexpected yet familiar words spark something sharp behind your ribcage. While the happenings around you continue, they can't tear your attention away from the man in front of you. 
Your lips tingle when they part in order to reply, quietly and slightly terrified to start the process of becoming close to someone who hurt you so much for so long and yet you've missed more than you even realized.
"Safety second." 
"Coolness third," he finishes. 
You show him the first smile since you were fourteen. 
"Cheer for me. I'll be the one at the front, in first place." 
He nods, eyes glistening with tears as he returns the smile, and your relationship takes its first steps towards the right direction. A better direction at least. In the back of your mind, it feels like a car finally able to start driving after sitting in the garage collecting rust and grubs for eight years. 
The racetrack feels different this time. You have to give credit to your mother's passing and then not attending for almost eight years and then witnessing that awful crash. This place isn't magical anymore. It's much more real and dangerous. And while reality can carry a similar excitement for you, it just isn't the same. It never will be. 
Even Jimin's tracksuit. That god-awful orange  doesn't look so bad next to your beautiful red now. Perhaps it's because you've seen and experienced what's underneath — a heart which holds such a wonderfully obnoxious amount of affection you could actually explode. It doesn't bleed any particular color. Just beautiful. 
"Hey." 
You turn your head to see him leaning on your locker door, a smugly bitten lip adorning his features. The race is in less than an hour and this guy is busy flirting with his girlfriend. 
Typical. 
"Hi," you reply, putting on your gloves and wrist guards. 
"How are you feeling?" he asks you. 
"Fine. How are you feeling?" 
"Fine," he says but it's not very believable. He's hiding something. 
You give him a once over, raising a brow in suspicion as you do on a regular basis since you started dating the king of suspicious behavior himself. Jimin sees it and immediately knows he's been caught. 
"Okay, maybe I'm a little nervous," he sighs with a timid smile. 
"You always race well, there's no need to be nervous." 
"...not about that," he whispers so low you fail to catch his comment. 
You've only seen him genuinely nervous a few times but it's become easier to determine his authentic emotions from anything else. He thinks he's got such a good poker face. Silly boy. He can't hide anything from you. 
"If I win, I want dinner. A nice dinner. With lobster and that fancy melted butter," you tell him with a confident and expectant straight face. Your efforts are worth it when you see his expression shift into a familiar somewhat shy grin. 
"Bet," he agrees, casually hanging his arm over your locker and watching you finish getting ready, "and what if I win?"
"I know I know," you say with a roll of your eyes, "you want me to admit you're the best rac—" 
"Marry me."
"What?"
"If I win…will you marry me?" he repeats. 
Your heart beats as if the race has started and you're barreling down the track, unsure of the next four turns let alone the rest of your life. 
He's waiting with anticipation behind his eyes, as one does after they propose to their partner. It just came out of seemingly nowhere and you're not entirely sure how to react. For a moment, all you can do is watch him. 
"That's not very fair, is it?" you respond nonchalantly, playing off his proposal with rolled lips and shrugging shoulders to downplay the hurricane happening inside your chest. 
But as Jimin's smile grows wider, you get the impression your act isn't fooling him one bit. "Maybe. I guess it depends on your answer. Is it a yes?" 
You shut your locker and step closer to him, eyes flickering over the flawlessness of his skin and sparkle in his eye. He pulls you closer by your waist and leans down to brush your lips. 
"I'll tell you after I win the race," you whisper against his kiss.
"I won't go easy on you just because I proposed, you know." 
"You better not," you threaten him with a finger to his chest and a sway to your hips when you walk away. 
Over your shoulder, Jimin catches you sending him a fleeting wink, only teasing his heart into skipping a beat.
"Meet you at the finish line, Park Jimin." 
:: 
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serino137 · 3 months ago
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Do you like enemies to friends to lovers because it's hot or do you like it because you think your worst traits make you unloveable and you fear rejection after someone sees the worst sides of you so you love the idea of someone being able to see the worst sides of you and hating you so much that they want to kill you and then slowly have them start seeing that you're not as bad as they think you were to the point that you two become close friends and they know the worst sides of you but still decide to love you and they start to see how lovable you are as opposed to how hatable you are and they realize that even though they wanted to kill you at first, you are slowly starting to become everything to them to the point that they pin after you but refuse to say anything because they love you too much to confess incase it ruins your relationship and you're in love with the fact that someone can see the very worst in you and still not run away and learn to love you despite your worst?
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kinanabinks · 5 months ago
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Maple Syrup Memories 🥞 Biker!Bucky x Reader
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Summary: Your father and George Barnes ran the most notorious biker gang in the country - until George betrayed your father, tearing the family into two. Almost fifteen years later, you assume that the Barnes gang faded into obscurity - until you hear rumors of a certain brunette riding around your territory.
inspired by the lovely and always creative @camilledove​, hope you enjoy!
Content Warning: Biker!Bucky x Biker!Reader, a little Biker!Sam x Reader, Biker!Peter, Biker!Steve, strong language, heavy angst, mention of dead dads, mention of domestic abuse, violence, blood, glamorization of crime and criminals inc. money laundering, vigilantism, gangs, theft
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"It’s because you haven’t put enough maple syrup on ‘em.”
The boy's words made you frown as you looked over to him, your vision blurred through your tears. “What?”
“Your pancakes,” The boy went on to say, pointing at the stack that sat in front of you. “They’re nowhere near syrup-y enough. That’s why you’re so upset, Blue Jeans.”
You unclenched your fists and sighed, blinking away the tears that sat on your waterline. “Well then, what are you waiting for, Buck? Go get me some more maple syrup.”
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"Eat up,” Peter orders, patting the table. “Big day ahead of us.”
You look down at the plate and grimace. “Can’t fuckin’ stand pancakes.”
“Well, they’re the only thing I had the ingredients for,” He says with a shrug as he pours you a coffee. “You don’t have time to be picky. Eat. Rubber hits road in ten minutes.”
“Coffee’ll fill me up,” You insist, adding in more sugar than you probably should to your cup. Peter isn’t happy with your stubbornness, but he knows there’s no use trying to change your mind once it’s made. And you’re technically his boss, so pushing your buttons isn’t in his best interests.
Thirteen minutes later, you’re pulling up outside the garage, mentally preparing yourself for the day. Since taking over for your father, you haven’t carried out an operation as high-stakes or risky as the one you're planning on carrying out today, so you’re understandably on edge.
“Mornin’, ma’am,” Sam greets you with a wide grin as he walks out of the garage, hands resting on his hips and looking as beautiful as ever. “Excited for today?”
“Sure,” You reply casually, allowing him to pull you in for a hug. His big arms almost crush your body, but you’re not one to mind his less than gentle touch.
“I’ve got the money counted and packed up,” He informs you once he pulls away. “Everything’s ready.”
You nod, hoping the fact that you’re nervous beyond belief isn’t obvious. These men are your inferiors; you’re their leader. If you’re scared of today, why should they respect you at all? It took a long time for them to accept you as head of the gang when your father passed, because your father was such a strong figure. The fact that you're a woman didn’t help, and it was as though you had to work twice as hard to prove yourself as worthy of leading them.
“How long until the meeting?” You ask, looking over your shoulder at Peter who glances down to his watch.
“Two and a half hours,” He replies before looking back up at you, squinting under the sun. “We got time, boss.”
Needing to take your mind off of things, you turn back to Sam. “Who was that guy who wanted to talk to us, again? Something about his daughter, and he drove that old Mustang?”
“Billy Harris,” Sam answers you. “Can’t remember what it was specifically, but his daughter was having boyfriend troubles. You wanna talk to him?”
Nodding, you take a step backwards towards your bike. “Call him. Tell him to be at the Dragon’s Head in twenty minutes.”
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"My friends tell me not to talk to you,” Bucky revealed as you each sat over the edge of the abandoned, empty swimming pool. “They say your dad will kill me.”
You took a sip of the slushie before handing it back to him. “My dad has no reason to kill you. Your dad is his best friend; he loves you s’much as he loves me.”
“Yeah, but,” Bucky took a sip through the straw, his shoulders shuddering as the ice-cold liquid runs down his throat. “But if I ever hurt you, or somethin’, he’d shoot me right in my face.”
“Why would you hurt me?” You questioned with a suspicious frown. “We’re friends, aren’t we?”
He nodded quickly, giving the slushie back to you. “Of course we are, Blue Jeans. But my ma told me that sometimes, men break women’s hearts without even meaning to. What if I do that to you?”
You turned to look at him, playing with the straw. “You don’t have to worry about my dad, Buck.”
“I don’t?” He asked with wide eyes.
“No,” You replied curtly. “‘Cause if you ever break my heart, I’ll kill you myself.”
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“I’ve tried talking to her,” Billy cries, clutching onto his handkerchief. “She’s too scared to leave him. Won’t listen to a thing me or her ma say.”
Narrowing your eyes, you lean forward, resting your fist on the table. “Mr. Harris, as the daughter of the most fierce man I ever knew, I can’t seem to understand why you haven’t killed this son of a bitch yourself yet.”
He sniffles, shaking his head as his weak hands shiver. “I am but an old man, Blackjack. I’m weak. I wouldn’t be asking this of you if I wasn’t desperate.”
Blackjack. The nickname you inherited when your father died. You don’t much like it, seeing as you haven’t earnt it and you don’t suit it, but it’s how the people of the town see you: an extension of him. Those closer to you don’t use it, which provides you with some solace, at least.
“Your father used to use my business to clean his money. I run a restaurant; it’s very successful,” Billy says, sitting up. “Bruce will be able to tell you all about my relationship with your old man. If you agree to protect my daughter, I can do the same for you as I did for Blackjack.”
His offer intrigues you. After today’s deal, you’ll be coming into a lot of dirty cash - it would be useful to keep the law off your trail, and money laundering could be the perfect front. You glance back at Sam, who is standing behind you with his arms folded across his chest. He looks down at you, giving you a single nod.
Looking back at Billy, you sit back in your seat. “Alright. What's this bastard's name?”
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"I oughta teach you to do more with your fists,” You told Bucky while wiping the blood off his cheek. “Can’t keep pulling out that dagger.”
“It helped me win, di’nt it?” He asked with a smile.
You shook your head, opening up a band-aid. “If our dads find out that you’ve been fighting at school, they’re gonna kill you.”
“Not when I tell them what that punk said about you,” He retorted, his eyebrows furrowing together. “I should’ve used the dagger.”
“You would’ve been kicked out of school. You know what your dad would do to you if you got kicked out of school?” You warned him, carefully putting the band-aid onto the small cut on his cheek.
“Who cares? Johnson was being a dick,” Bucky spat bitterly. “Nobody talks about you like that and gets away with it.”
You rolled your eyes, patting his arm. “I don’t need you to stick up for me, Buck. I can do that all by myself.”
“Yeah, but you shouldn't have to,” He said sheepishly. “You shouldn’t have to waste your time on low-life punks like that.”
“And you should?” You challenged him, raising a brow.
“Damn right,” Bucky stated with a nod. “I’d waste all my time beating up punks for you. Every second of every day.”
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Striding into the fancy bar, you catch the attention of almost everybody there. They aren’t used to seeing your type in there; it’s a little too high-class for your leather and denim. On any other day, you wouldn’t be caught dead in here, but today you have a mission. This is the type of place where white-collar men with cushy jobs spend their evenings drinking, before going back to their unhappy homes. Men like Vance Hanson.
"Hey there, sunshine,” You greet him with a smile. “Having fun?”
He’s surrounded by his friends, a frown growing on his face. It’s obvious that he recognizes you, but he’s still confused as to what you could possibly want with him. “Can I help you?”
Pulling up a chair, you sit on it backwards and take his whiskey, having a long swig of it before wincing. “Ugh. Watered down bullshit. Just as weak as you.”
Vance sits up, narrowing his eyes. “Just what is it you want from me, Blackjack?”
“So, you know who I am,” You say, raising a brow.
“Course I do,” He scoffs. “The leader of the lowlife bikers who ride around trying to intimidate everyone. I’m surprised you haven’t been locked up, yet.”
Rubbing the sides of your mouth, you stand up, dropping his glass to the floor. “I’m gonna cut to the chase here, Hanson. You’re gonna stay the fuck away from Lindsay Harris, do you understand me?” 
Sam and Peter take a step forward just as Vance gets up to his feet. “Who the fuck are you to talk about my relationship?” He huffs, while his friends cower backwards.
Having had enough of his irritating face, you punch him square in the jaw. Billy’s story about what Vance would do to Lindsay drives your rage, and you grab his collars before climbing over the table and pushing him against the wall. “You ever go anywhere near Lindsay again, and I’ll fuckin' castrate you," You spit harshly.
He attempts to fight back but you knee him in the groin, making him double over. You serve him with one last uppercut to the jaw before leaving him to slump over on the seats, while his friends just watch with fear in their eyes. Blood pours from his nose and coats the bottom half of his face, and he whimpers while holding his arms up in defence.
“Bye, now,” You call out sweetly, shooting his terrified friends a wink before turning and leaving the nice establishment with Sam and Peter hot on your heels.
Once you’re hit with the sunlight, Peter rushes to catch up to you. “You said that I could be more involved the next time you had to rough someone up," He whines.
You roll your eyes, making your way to the bikes. “I let you come in with me this time, didn’t I?”
He lets out a huff, and you pretend not to hear it so you don’t have to beat the living daylights out of him for being disrespectful. Last time you did, his black eye didn’t fade for three weeks, and it didn’t feel good to see his adorable puppy expression tainted.
You lean against your bike and pull out your small tin box of cigarettes. Taking one out, you put it in your mouth and wait for Peter to stumble through his pockets, rushing to find his lighter. Once he does, he brings it up to your mouth, lighting your cigarette before stepping back.
"Meeting's in an hour," Sam informs you from a few feet away. "We should head back to the garage. Make sure we're prepared for them."
"Alright," You say, taking in a puff. "Let's hit the road."
"Hold on a sec, boss," Sam calls out. "We might have some trouble. Hawk-Eye spotted some out-of-towner gang up on West Side. Said they didn't just look like they were passing through."
Thinking over his revelation, you can't find it in you to prioritise anything over today's meeting. "Well, s'long as they keep to the West, we won't have any trouble, will we?"
Nodding slowly, Sam walks up to his bike. "Guess not."
"Great. Tell Hawk to stop being such a scaredy-cat. And to keep his eye on them," You mutter, throwing your half-smoked cigarette to the ground and crushing it under your boot. "Let's head back."
The three of you set off, making your way back towards the outskirts of town where your garage is. It isn't much of a garage as it is your headquarters, seeing as it doesn't get many customers outside of the gang.
Once you're there, you tell Peter to work with the others on cleaning up and making the place presentable for your guests. Meanwhile, you take Sam up to your office to discuss the plan of action.
"I just hope they don't disrespect me," You say as you stand at your desk, resting your hands on your hips. "There's enough pressure on me as is, what with this being my first big deal."
"It'll be fine," Sam promises you smoothly, walking up behind you. "I don't know much about how your dad ran things, but I do know that you make a damn good leader. They will take you seriously, and this deal will be done seamlessly."
His assurance brings a small smile to your lips as you turn your head to him. "You're being awful nice today, Sammo."
He moves closer, resting a hand on your lower back. "I'm always nice to you, baby."
Your jaw clenches. "Call me baby again, and I'll see that that wandering hand of yours gets twisted six ways to Sunday."
A chuckle leaves his mouth. He never has been scared of you; something you've always resented. The others are easy to keep in line, but Sam's willing to surpass your limits. It's as though he knows none of your threats will ever see the light of day.
"You seem to be under a lot of stress for today," He says, bringing his hands to your hips as his lips brush against your ear. "Lemme soothe you, honey. Make you feel better."
You want so badly to push him off you, but you'll let him feel you up for just a little longer. "You should stop before you get ahead of yourself there, Sam."
"Come on," He whispers, pressing his front to your back. "That one night was enough for you?"
You wince at his question. You knew it was only a matter of time before he brought up that damned, drunken night. "It was two months ago," You mutter. "Get over it."
"Are you kidding me?" Sam scoffs softly.
"What happened to the pretty little thing you were dating last month?" You ask him, turning your head to look at him. "The one that worked at the chocolate shop?"
"Didn't I tell you?" He asks with a frown. "She moved out of town."
Sighing, you shrug. "Well, I’m sure there’s a long line of other pretty little things just aching to take that spare seat on your bike."
"What if I said," He begins, holding you tighter. "That I didn't want any ass but yours taking up that seat?"
"I'd say," You smirk up at him. "You should be so lucky."
"Ain't no luck about it," Sam says, shaking his head. "It's all about skill. And baby, you know all about my skill."
"I don't know; it's been a while," You mumble, unable to stop yourself from flirting back. You know you shouldn't, but Sam makes it so damn hard to keep things professional.
"Hey," He mutters softly, nudging your arm. "Look at me."
Slowly, you do as he says, tilting your head up at him. "Hmm?"
The second your eyes meet, he's got you. He knows it just as well as you. The smirk on his lips prove his arrogance as he begins to lean in, taking advantage of the fact that you're too distracted by his chocolate drop eyes to notice his hands feeling up your ass.
You feel his facial hair whispering against your skin and just as your lips are about to touch, the door opens, forcing you apart.
Peter stands in the doorway, eyes wide and filled with terror. "Boss, I'm sorry, uh... Stark's here early."
Saying nothing, knowing it's best to stay silent, Sam walks right out of your office, leaving you alone with Peter who's practically shaking like a leaf.
"Come over here, Pete," You say calmly, leaning against your desk. "Shut the door behind you."
Timidly, he does as you say, slowly making his way over to you. "Y- yeah, boss?"
"Now, I've told you that I appreciate knocking, haven't I?" You ask him.
"Yes, boss," He replies obediently. "I apologize; I was rushing because I figured you'd want to know ASAP-"
Standing up straight, you harshly wrap your hand around the back of his neck, making him wince. Lowering your voice, you move closer to him. "You walk in on me unannounced like that ever again, and I'll break your fucking hands, seeing as the only thing you know how to use them for is making pancakes and jerking off."
For some reason, his breakfast offering really hit a nerve and stuck with you. It conjured up an onslaught of memories you really don't need today of all days, and you're definitely punishing him for it.
"Yes, boss," Peter says firmly, nodding. "I apologize, again."
"Bygones," You utter casually, letting go of his neck and smoothing down his collars. "Now, let's go make a deal with the devil."
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"Why've you been mad at me all week?" Bucky asked you, pouting. "Did I do something?"
"Yeah, you did," You replied bitterly, kicking rocks. "Leave me alone, Barnes."
"Come on, Blue Jeans, don't be like that," He whined, pulling on your arm. "At least tell me what made you so mad."
"You kissed Angie!" You burst out, hitting his shoulder. "Traitor!"
"What?" He asked, frowning. "What are you ta- who said that?"
"Janet told Miya that Angie said you kissed her after English class on Monday," You said with a glare.
Bucky slapped his forehead with his palm, groaning. "Oh, brother. This is why I told you that girls are stupid and you shouldn't hang around with them."
"I'm a girl too, Buck!" You yelled, infuriated. "And so's my mom! And your mom!"
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry!" He said, grabbing your hands in an effort to calm you down. "Not all girls. Just those ones."
"Well, you didn't think Angie was too stupid to kiss," You grumbled, looking down. "Can't believe you gave her your first one."
"Blue Jeans-"
"You said if you ever wanted to kiss a girl, you'd kiss me!" You recalled angrily. "You're a liar!"
"I'm not!" He promised. "Angie's the one lying! You really think I'd kiss her?"
Faltering, you took a step back. "I... I don't know. She's pretty."
"Who cares?" Bucky asked you with an incredulous look. "A promise is a promise. And I'd never break a promise; especially not one I made to you."
"How can I believe you?" You questioned him. "I know you and all the boys think Angie's the prettiest girl in our year. In fact, you probably have a crush on her- yeah, you probably do. I'm not even surprised-"
You were cut off by his lips which he pressed to yours in a soft kiss. It didn't last very long, but it was enough to send tingles through your whole body. When he pulled away, Bucky had an aggravated look on his face.
"There. Now you have my first kiss, and I have yours, and there's no more confusion," He stated sternly.
"Oh," You said simply, eyes wide. "Okay."
"Yeah," He mumbled, shrugging before kicking a rock and continuing to walk. "Now come on, Blue Jeans. Your dad'll kill me if you're not home by 4."
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You bring the cool beer to your mouth and take a long sip. The success of today's deal has put you in a good mood, and you deserve a break.
"Here's to you, boss," Sam says, raising his bottle and shooting you a wink from across the booth. "For scoring the biggest payday the Black Wings have seen in years!"
The other men in the bar cheer, clinking their glasses and bottles together in celebration. "To Blackjack!"
You lean back in your seat, reeling from the good vibes. It hasn't felt this good to be a Black Wing since Bruce's baby was born, and you feel a strong sense of community that you've been missing for a long time.
Clint slides into the booth next to Sam, a slight hint of tension in his features that pulls you out of the good mood. Immediately, you put down your beer and sigh.
"What's wrong, Hawk?" You ask him, leaning forward.
"Uh, you know those out-of-towners I saw this morning?" He asks, prompting you to nod before he continues. "Well, they've been seen on Black Wing territory. They were at the Cashew Pub an hour ago."
"What the fuck?" You spit, frowning. "I thought I told you to keep an eye on them."
"I was having a smoke break-"
"How did you earn the nickname Hawk-Eye, huh?" You ask him with a glare.
"I'll have you know, your dad himself gave me that name," Clint says proudly. "He seemed to think I deserved it."
"Yeah, well Dad was wrong about a lot of shit," You grumble, before standing up.
"Where you going?" He asks you with slight panic.
"Sam, round up some of the boys," You tell him, ignoring Clint. "Let's show our faces at the Cashew. Make it known to those out-of-towner bastards that we run things around here. And keep it quiet - I don't want our guys causing a kerfuffle."
He gets up and does as you ask, picking out a few of the men that are still sober and muttering instructions in their ears. The rest know not to ask you what's going on, watching on in silence as you and the small group leave the bar and get on your bikes.
It's a short ride to the Cashew, and by the time you get there, a few of the outsiders are standing on the side of the road, having heard the roar of your engines.
You park at the front of your gang, having to make a strong first impression so they know exactly who's boss. Judging from their faces, none of them are in charge, and you're not in the mood to waste your time with the right-hand men. You need the big dog.
Pushing past them with a blank look, you enter the pub, feeling Sam and Thor hot on your trails. The pub is filled with loud, rowdy men, all of them wearing black leather jackets with an emblem you don't recognize. Your entrance immediately causes them to silence, all of them staring up at you.
To your utter confusion, you recognize a few of them. There's a vague sense of nostalgia as their familiar eyes and noses fill your view- and then, to your utter horror, you see him.
No way. No fucking way.
"If you leave, you're leaving me behind too," You said, watching as he packed up his stuff.
"I'm sorry, Blue Jeans," He replied with regret, shaking his head. "What your dad did is unforgivable. How could I stay?"
"After last night, you're just gonna up and leave?" You asked him, feeling nauseous. "You said you cared about me. We slept together, you bastard-"
"And if I knew what your dad had done, I'd have never gone anywhere near you!" He yelled suddenly, fury in his eyes.
Taken aback, you let out a dry laugh. "Blaming me for what he did. Real nice, you prick. I can't believe I ever let you touch me."
"The feeling's mutual," He grumbled, glaring you down. "Now, would you get out my apartment?"
Your heartbreak quickly translated into pure anger as you clenched your hands into fists. "I'll be glad to see you and your scumbag father leaving. If I ever see you around here again, I'll fucking kill you."
Standing here, you feel numb with shock. To see him, looking so much older, standing opposite you with that same old look you remember so well.
"Hey there, Blue Jeans," Bucky greets you with a smirk. "Miss me?"
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hi! i no longer have a taglist, but if you follow @kinanabinksupdates and turn on notifications, you'll know when i post 🥰
also, if you are willing and able, i would appreciate if you buy me a kofi - even the smallest of donations help me out so much! ❤
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she-who-fights-and-writes · 11 months ago
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Hello! Do you have any advice on writing enemies to friends to lovers? Thanks!
How to Write Enemies to Friends to Lovers Romance
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It's the dynamic we've all come to know and love. The pièce de résistance of romantic tropes that has ascended to popularity through various series like The Cruel Prince, These Violent Delights, Red White & Royal Blue.
Featuring couples that start off hating each others' guts (but eventually wind up together in the end), the enemies to friends to lovers trope is quite possibly the most sought-after romance at this current time, blowing away the era of the love triangle and childhood friends to lovers.
But the only problem is that, despite the demand, this trope is quite possibly the most difficult to write, as it involves were complicated and intertwined character relationships that can be easy to mess up or misrepresent.
Here are some tips to help your scuffling protagonists finally realize that they were meant to be!
1. Heavy on the "Enemies" Makes the "Lovers" All the Sweeter...but don't make it TOO heavy
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A lot of fanfiction and even some published books that feature Enemies to Friends to Lovers often fall into the trap of rushing the romance. The authors are desperate to make characters fall in love, and the constant dancing around and angry bantering between their characters is awfully exhausting to write.
However, without enough time to relish in the frustrating arguments, backstabbing, and almost-understandings that end in disaster, the readers won't have the full experience of appreciating when they finally give in and make out.
"Enemies" has to be more than "He bullied me in second grade and now I hate him and refuse to believe he's changed even though we're both 20 now."
Misunderstandings are NEVER a good conflict, even when it doesn't come to enemies to friends to lovers.
Have them both be at fault, doing each other wrong to the point where you can't possibly think it could be forgivable.
Here are some ways your future main pairing can rip each other apart:
Breaking/Stealing each other's stuff
Insulting/Threatening each other's friends/companions/family
Bringing up dead relatives/past tragedies in each other's lives
Attempted murder!
Sabotaging each other's plans
Pranking each other in mean ways (itching powder, salt bomb their food)
Embarrassing each other in front of other people
Making fun of things they like
Sure, all of these things are sure to make your characters seem like assholes, but in the end it's all forgivable to some degree, though most take longer than others (This also depends on exactly how they cross the line between Enemies and Friends, which will be discussed later).
However, even though this is all in good fun, you have to understand where it goes too far.
Some things really are well and truly unforgivable, and if the relationship continues it'll most likely viewed to be unhealthy or toxic rather than a genuine connection.
If Person A killed Person B's Parents/friends on purpose with the sole intent of hurting B...then I don't think they'll be eligible for redemption in their eyes.
(You can totally still write it! But the readers are gonna be a bit wary of their relationship and may not consider it to be healthy.)
2. The Most Crucial Part is the Transition from Enemies to Friends
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Friends can easily become lovers, but enemies cannot easily become friends.
Friendship is built on a foundation of trust and connection that romance can flourish in, but the barren grounds of archrivals are hardly a place for love to grow--sexual tension perhaps, but certainly not love.
In order for this romance to be the most believable, you need to justify why these two characters decided to offer each other flowers instead of knives to the throat.
Here are some ways your characters can become friends:
Character A realizes that Character B was right the whole time and apologizes
One of them saves the other's life or the life of a loved one
They are forced to combine their efforts and realize they work very well as a team
Sexual/aesthetic attraction is irresistible, and once they get to know each other they can overlook past misdeeds (This is enemies to lovers, in case you wanted to ditch the whole "friend" part)
One of them helps the other on a whim, and that small act of kindness snowballs into multiple acts of kindness
They get to know each other and realizes their feud was childish
Of course, there are definitely more examples that I can't think of off the top of my head, but I would certainly suggest using the "one of them saves the other's life" for more severe cases of enemies. The bigger the trespasses, the more extreme the apologies must be.
3. Suggestion: Take It Slow...perhaps even in an "enemies to friends to lovers to enemies to lovers again" kind of way
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People who read enemies to friends to lovers are usually not looking for a quick fix. They're looking for heart, for dedication, for the endgame to be held tantalizingly out of reach.
Unless you well and truly don't feel like it, don't have your characters' relationship evolve linearly. They need ups and downs, stops and starts, fights and forgiveness.
I understand that people aiming to write professionally and need to keep their word count down cannot do this too much, but if you're doing fic, what's stopping you from making this the slowest burn possible? The kind of slow burn where they don't even become friends until 50k in?
Of course, you don't have to make it agonizingly slow just for it to be good, but consider how fantastically rewarding it will be when they finally confess their feelings for one another!
Hope this helped, and happy writing!
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furious-runaway-dream · 2 months ago
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The "Hero finds out they are working for the currupt/evil side and the villian is actually the good guy" literally never had a bad track.
Angsty "And who decided I'm the bad guy? My enemies." SLAPS, extended " I'm no expert but that might be a bit biased." ROCKS
The hero now having to work with the villian. YES. Getting a bastard-isation arc cause "they are my family." It got better. Long drawn story filled with side switching and double-crossing, TEN season/book material right there m'lord.
The AGGRESSIVELY UNDERLYING message of, overthrow your local currupt government today. Gets me every time!!!
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skriveting · 6 months ago
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Enemies to lovers in a nutshell:
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shayarbel · a year ago
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i don’t make the rules
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[ID: Enemies to Friends to Lovers, though i would barely call it enemies, more like annoyed with feelings]
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professionalfoodstalker · 8 months ago
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The choke hold the "I hate everybody and everything but you." trope has me in is fucking disgusting.
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