It was a Tuesday.
Namjoon was slouched next to the counter, one hand slipped into the front pocket of his jeans, the other holding his phone as gum bubbled between his lips before snapping back on his tongue. The perfect image of teenage insolence and boredom.
"One large Americano and one iced latte?" The barista held two cups out to the teen. He nodded, slipping his phone in his pocket and reaching out to take the drinks with ring covered fingers. He turned, eyes roving over the various tables before they came to a stop on a broad shouldered figure hunched over in the corner. The boy's hair was jet black, fringe brushing over his eyelids as he drummed long fingers on the table.
"Here," Namjoon pushed the iced latte towards the older boy. Seokjin looked up from beneath his bangs with kohl lined eyes, thanking him quietly before taking a sip.
"So, how was Australia?"
"It was good," Jin sighed, resting his chin on his palm, "I can't speak English for the life of me though. You would have done better."
"I don't know why you went," Namjoon pulled the gum from between his teeth and jammed it underneath the table, ignoring Jin's wrinkled nose of disgust, "you're shit at English."
"I thought it would be fun. Turns out not speaking the native language limits your ability to make friends."
"No fucking shit," Namjoon snorted, downing his coffee, "meanwhile I got a job at the school radio station."
"Nice," Jin grinned, "now you can stop spongeing off me every time you want to buy a new CD."
"Hey, we have joint custody of Revival, it's not spongeing if it's half yours."
"I don't even like Eminem's music why would I want joint custody of his album?"
"Sorry hyung, forgot you were more of a Britney bitch."
"Ya," Seokjin threw a straw at the younger boy, "where's the respect you brat?"
"You lost it the second I saw you slut dropping to Beyonce."
"You little-" Namjoon laughed as Seokjin began pelting him with balled up napkins, voice rising in pitch and indignation as he cussed his best friend out. They only stopped when the barista threatened to have them removed and even then, Namjoon saw a glint of mischief in Seokjin's eyes. He was so gonna pay later.
But for now, he'd enjoy his coffee and the presence of his hyung.
It was a Tuesday.
"Yah I can't believe you're ditching me next year, hyung." Namjoon huffed as he tapped his spoon against his mug.
Seokjin rolled his eyes, blowing a strand of pink hair from his eyes, "why, you gonna miss me?"
"Yeah, right," the younger scoffed, "the only thing I'll miss is you driving me to school. Now I'm gonna have to get the bus."
"Get one of your other friends to drive you," Jin grinned, sipping his iced latte, "or have you got no other friends?"
"Hey!" Namjoon kicked him under the table, leaning back and folding his arms as he sulked, "I have Jimin and Taehyung. I don't need you."
"Well if that's the case, I guess I'll leave huh?" Jin made to stand up, but Namjoon kicked his shin again, clenching his jaw, "c'mon hyung stop teasing me."
The elder sat back down, frowning at his dongsaeng. The younger didn't seem like his usual self, his rough exterior not as strong as it usually was. He seemed almost... vulnerable. Seokjin's heart clenched, his skin tingling uncomfortably at the thought of Namjoon's sadness.
The younger looked up at him, lips pressed tightly together.
"We'll still meet up every Tuesday, yeah? I'm not going far, I'll be at KNU. We'll still see each other."
Namjoon smiled slightly, "You sure you're not the one who's gonna be missing me?"
Jin snorted, shaking his head, "ah Kim Namjoon, what am I gonna do with you?"
It was a Tuesday.
Seokjin's hair was a bright shocking purple, strands cut short from falling into his eyes. The kohl was gone, but his heavy eyebags, borne of nights spent writing essays, were erased by a layer of concealer. His iced latte was sat in front of him on the table, condensation slipping down the side of the glass and pooling on the wooden surface. His lips were pulled up into a smile, nose wrinkled and cheeks plumped up by his laughter. He had never looked more beautiful than he did like this, happiness radiating from his every orfice, teeth bared in joy, eyes crinkling.
It was at that exact moment, on that exact Tuesday that Namjoon knew he was in love.
He should have told his friend right there and then. Should have taken his gorgeous hands in his own and confessed. Confessed that he was in love with his best friend, in love with his ridiculous laugh and his crazy coloured hair and his pretty lips and his warm heart. But he didn't. Because he had thought they had time.
But time was a bitch. She screwed everyone over.
It was a Tuesday.
Namjoon sat in the usual chair, legs stretched out to the side of the narrow table. Jin always complained when they knocked knees, blaming Namjoon's additional inch of height every time their shins collided. So the younger had taken to sitting sideways, careful not to trip anyone over as his trainered feet tapped a rhythm on the floor.
Seokjin was late.
This wasn't new. The older boy was at university after all, lack of sleep and last minute assignments made his tardiness quite common. What was new was the lack of message in Namjoon's phone. There was always a quick apology, a dashed text of how long he'd be or where he was.
Today there was nothing.
It had been an hour. And another hour passed in relative silence. Namjoon's eyes were trained on the door, assessing every person who came and left, looking for the familiar shock of violet hair that belonged to his friend.
He sent a text. Placed a call. No response.
Worry gnawed at his stomach, his Americano stone cold where it sat untouched on the table. The ice cubes in the latte he'd bought his friend has long since melted. Where was Seokjin?
Another hour. Another. The barista kept glancing at Namjoon, her brows furrowed. He couldn't care less.
He'd been in the cafe four hours when he finally stood up, fury and anxiety writhing through his veins. Seokjin wasn't going to show up, and he clearly hadn't had the decency to let him know why.
He stormed out of the shop, door swinging wildly behind him.
It was a Tuesday.
There were papers strewn across the table as Namjoon chewed on the end of his pen. God, who were these fools that claimed that university was the easiest time of your life? He was two years in and hadn't had a moment of reprieve. But maybe that was because he was studying medicine and... well... It wasn't exactly known for being an easy course.
It wasn't what he would have chosen, if he'd had a choice.
Seokjin had always scolded him for throwing away his dreams, for following his parent's wishes instead of his heart. He'd confided in his old friend his secret passion for music, for rapping, producing, lyricism. Seokjin had scoured through his lyric books so intensely that he'd felt peeled open, bared to the one person whose opinion he cared about the most. Seokjin had looked up at him, tears in his eyes and said two words which had sent warmth cascading through his veins.
And god, had he wanted to say something corny like "no, you're beautiful." But he hadn't, because he was a coward. And now it was too late.
It had been a year since Seokjin had left, back to his hometown to care for his mother. For the first couple of months it had been easy, texting one another, keeping up with the usual banter. But when uni had started back up again, when Seokjin had to be at the hospital long hours with his mother... It wasn't the same.
Nothing was the same.
He unlocked his phone with a click, opening his messages and chewing harder on his pen.
Hey Namjoon-ah. Sorry, just got back from seeing mum. Hope you had a good day.
He hasn't responded, hadn't wanted to, hadn't known how to. Their conversations were fizzling to nothing, neither having the time to properly communicate and... It hurt. He was losing him, he was losing his hyung. His best friend. The man he loved.
And all because he was a coward.
He couldn't get that word out of his head, it was stuck there like a festering wound in the back of his mind. He had nearly told Seokjin that he loved him, but he had been to cowardly to do so.
It was something he knew he would regret for the rest of his life.
It was too big a thing to send over text. Too meaningful to share by phone conversation. And what kind of confession would it be, anyway, shared in the brief snatches of time they had to spare? Seokjin deserved more than that. They both deserved more than that. He had been told, all his life, to seize every opportunity because you never knew if you were ever going to get another chance. And he had squandered his opportunity.
Namjoon was pulled from his downward spiral of thoughts by the sound of splintering plastic and a sharp shard on his tongue. He'd bitten his pen so hard it had broken, and he quickly pulled it from his mouth to prevent any ink from spilling. That would be the icing on the cake.
He sighed, gathering his work and stuffing it in his bag before pulling out a notebook. His songbook. It was filled to the brim with scraps of lyrics and notes, concepts and indications, falling apart at the seams from years of use. It fell open, naturally, to the page he spent hours poring over.
It was his song for Seokjin.
Namjoon often prided himself on being able to hide his emotions. But now, as fear and heartache warred within him, he felt tears brim at the edges of his vision. He ducked his head to hide them, fingers trembling on his pen as he scrawled down words, pouring his heart out,
"Yes I hate you, you left me
But I never stopped thinking about you, not even a day
Snowflakes fall down
And get farther away little by little
I miss you"
He wiped his eyes with the heel of his hand, sitting back and staring at the lyrics. They were all he had left of his friend now. Just words on a page.
The glass was cold beneath his palm as he pushed open the familiar door. It was still the same one, framed black and bearing the opening times in stark white lettering. It had been three years since he was last here.
Three years since he'd last seen Namjoon.
Jin's eyes were immediately drawn to the table in the corner and before he knew what he was doing he was stood beside it, finger grazing over the old wooden surface. It was the same table, the one that Namjoon had spilt countless drinks on, the one that they'd laughed and talked over, the one they'd sat at every Tuesday morning. The exact same table.
He dropped down into the chair (thank god they'd replaced that, it had been squeaking horribly when he was last here) and closed his eyes, head tilted back. How many hours of his life had he spent here? Probably more hours than he'd spent asleep. He breathed in deeply, taking in the rich aroma of coffee that he'd missed so dearly. The coffee shops in Gwacheon just weren't the same.
That's where he'd gone to, three years ago. Back to his hometown, to tend to his sick mother. To hold her hand and whisper soft words of encouragement as she went through hours of painful treatment. To kiss her cheek and wipe her tears when they finally got good news. To support and care for her as she rehabilitated, until she was well enough for him to take a trip back to Seoul.
Back to Namjoon.
They'd text, several times over the years, daily in the beginning and then gradually fizzling out until they barely spoke at all. The last text he'd received from his dongsaeng was on his birthday. It was March, now.
Seokjin pulled out his phone, chewing his lip nervously. He'd wanted to text his old friend, to explain, to catch up, to make up for lost time. But fear had frozen his thumbs before he could open his contact, had made him swallow and put away the device. But now, now he pulled it up, smiling a little at the old picture. Namjoon's hair was white blonde in the picture, shaved at the sides and slicked back with too much gel. He wondered what he'd look like now. Surely he'd have outgrown the varsity jackets and ridiculous sunglasses. His heart warmed with fondness at the memory of 16 year old Namjoon begging Seokjin to help him dye his hair a ridiculous bright green. It had looked like a pile of seaweed atop his head, but he'd strutted around so proudly that Seokjin hadn't had the heart to burst his bubble.
His smile faded as he realised those precious moments were only memories now.
"One large Americano, please," a smooth voice interrupted his thoughts.
Seokjin's mind went perfectly blank.
It was the same order. The same voice.
He doesn't even realise he's stood up until his knees knock into the table.
"N-Namjoon?" He manages to stammer out, eyes fixed on the paralysed boy.
Instantly he regretted his decision to open his mouth, his stomach writhing like a pit of nervous snakes as his vision flashed red with panic. What had he done? What if Namjoon saw him and turned away? Got angry? Got upset? His heart wouldn't handle it, would shatter like one of the countless cups of coffee Namjoon had dropped onto the solid wooden floor. He loved Namjoon, with every fibre of his being, even after the past few years. And yet he'd left the younger without so much as a goodbye, abandoned him to fend for himself when he knew he was so terrified to venture into the world of university. Hell, he hadn't even managed to stay in touch with him properly, hadn't treated Namjoon's feelings and friendship with the time and care he properly deserved. He probably hated him, would glare at him in utter disgust and yell at him for having the audacity to come back here.
Seokjin wouldn't blame him if he did.
Namjoon seemed to turn from the counter in slow motion, coffee in his hand as he tried to find the source of the voice. And then he stopped. Stared.
He'd grown into his face, his features somehow softer now his jawline had sharpened, gorgeous eyes hidden behind round wireframes, hair silky and brown and perfectly swept aside. It's Namjoon. His Namjoon.
And suddenly he's rushing forwards, and the elder flinches, ready for whatever is coming, but the taller is crushing Seokjin to his chest, a breathy "hyung" spilling from his lips as his coffee spilt all over their coats. But they didn't care, too busy holding each other, taking each other in, letting themselves make up for all the lost moments from the past few years. Seokjin took in a deep, shaky breath, his mind reeling at this reunion, a far cry from what he'd been expecting. Namjoon's cologne was woody, masculine unlike the sharp, youthful scent he'd worn in his teen years. It was new, but it was nice. Jin could get used to it.
"Your hair isn't purple," Namjoon choked out a laugh as he buried his nose in the natural mahogany locks.
"You still drink americanos," Seokjin sniffled, his hands fisted in his friend's woollen coat.
"I still spill americanos too, apparently," Namjoon huffed, gently pulling away and taking Seokjin's face in his hands, "god hyung, you don't look a day older than when you left."
"I'm a vampire, eternal youth y'know?" Jin chuckled, sniffling a little, "oh, your Americano.. "
"It's fine, I can get another one... I hope your coat wasn't too expensive though." Namjoon bit his lip as he took in the dark stain marring Jin's beige coat.
"Don't worry, I needed to buy a new one anyway," Jin smiled shakily, taking in the younger, drinking in his features that were so familiar yet so different.
"Do you want me to buy you a drink? We can sit and catch up for a while if you like..?" Namjoon's eyes were anxious, voice hesitant. Jin's heart leapt into his mouth at that, hope warming his insides as he nodded enthusiastically, "I'd like that," he beamed as he shed his coat and sat in his chair, "I'll take a large cappuccino please."
"Cappuccino?" Namjoon raised an eyebrow as he himself took off his wool overcoat, Jin's eyes immediately drawn to the boy's legs.
"Mmhm... got a little tired of the same thing," Jin muttered distractedly as his eyes lingered on the younger's jean-clad thighs.
Namjoon smirked, "my eyes are up here hyung."
"W-what?" Jin looked up blushing madly, "sorry it's just... your style has changed. Alot. You'd never have worn skinny jeans when you were younger."
"And you'd never have a natural hair colour," Namjoon joked back, "but that was back then. We've grown up, now."
His smile was kind as he turned to the counter to place their orders. Seokjin couldn't believe it. Here he was, three years later, back in the same cafe, with the same boy, who still had the same stupid coffee order. It felt surreal, like the universe was offering him a golden thread of reconciliation and he had grasped it tightly with both hands. He wouldn't let go, this time. This was a second chance he had never thought he would get.
"So," Namjoon said a few minutes later, placing their drinks down and sitting opposite the elder, "how's your mum doing?"
"Ah my mum's recovering well ... you should come visit at some point, when you're not busy. You still at university?"
"Yeah... this course is so much different to the last one I did," Namjoon laughed a little, "but at least I enjoy this one, y'know?"
"Made any new friends?" Seokjin teased, "replaced me?"
"Yah, no-one could replace my best friend," Namjoon smiled down at his drink, "but I have made a couple of friends, Yoongi and Hoseok... they both study Music Production too..."
"And we're sure they're just friends, huh?" Jin wiggled his eyebrows, "you got a crush?"
"Oh god ... no I mean... I have... dated a few people. No-one who stuck, though."
Namjoon was slowly getting more red as he gazed down at the table. Seokjin's eyes softened as he reached across to take Namjoon's hand in his, a smile gracing his lips.
Their eyes locked over the steam curling from their separate cups. Maybe they had grown, maybe their hair was a different colour, their style more mature, their faces older. Maybe their coffee order had changed. But they hadn't.
Ultimately, they were still Kim Namjoon and Kim Seokjin. Ultimately they were the same people.
Ultimately, they were still in love with one another.
It was a Tuesday.