Cameras flashed, fans screamed and press called out requests, it was all muted noise to Kim Namjoon as he forced the faintest smile on his face under the intense heat of flashing camera lights. This was possibly the producer’s least favorite part about the music industry, image was everything regardless of how Namjoon felt about the superficial practices. Although it wasn’t a surprise that the crowd was this rabid this evening, it was a huge event for anyone who was anyone in the industry. It was unofficially dubbed Namjoon’s return to public life after being withdrawn from the industry for over a year and half. The producer was well-known enough that could have just skipped the event all together and sent a heartfelt speech in his place.
However, when a trembling, but warm hand wrapped around his own, the producer glanced down warmly at the reason to him coming at all. Wide, nervous doe eyes sought reassurance as Namjoon pulled the young singer closer to him as if that would shield him from clicking camera and screams of fans. A shuddering sigh at least told him that Jeon Jungkook welcomed his presence. This was the hotshot singer’s first big event, unprecedented for someone as early in his career as Jungkook was. Yet, it was his connection to Namjoon that granted such an esteemed invitation.
In truth, Namjoon had been pulled from his isolation as soon as he played the demo that a friend had sent him, singing praises about the twenty-two year old singer’s talent. Such a sweet and passionate voice made Namjoon return to his music for the first time since..a long time. The singer’s shy nature was unexpected as Namjoon had the mindset that someone with that type of talent would have had a larger ego. It had taken months and months in professional and unprofessional setting for the younger to drop formalities and even whisper out the term hyung. Yet, now Namjoon welcomed any affection that the younger had become endeared to provided him.
Their age difference was only by three years, but that didn’t stop tabloid articles and revolting paparazzi from taking photos of public outings and writing false claims. In the past week alone as Namjoon had left his studio, his steps had been dogged by large cameras and questions about if he was attending the event tonight, his relationship with Jungkook and how would HE be feeling about the entire thing. Namjoon felt his chest tightened at the mere question, even if was one that he refused to answer.
“Hyung. Should we go inside? Jungkook asked softly as the producer had came to a complete stop once the pair had managed to make it through the welcome carpet. Jungkook squeezed his hyung’s hand once again in hopes of making the living statue return back to life.
“Ah. What. I am sorry Jungkook. I have never really cameras in my face..its’ never been my comfort zone” Namjoon apologized sheepishly as he gently returned Jungkook’s earlier squeeze, making the younger smile brightly.
The pair quickly blended into the small crowd entering the main foray of the concert hall as passing waiters offered them sparkling glasses of champagne. Both men gratefully took one as they knew tonight tongues would be wagging from start to finish. Namjoon bit down on his tongue as soon as he saw a woman’s hand raise to whisper to something to her soon giggling companion. Wrapping an arm around Jungkook’s waist, Namjoon was quick to lead the young singer away from the gossips. The kid didn’t need anymore pressure than was already on his mind. All the attention that landed on the young singer tonight, should be about his voice and performance, not his speculated romance with the famous producer.
Safe shelter was found near a table filled to the brim with fresh raw seafood as Namjoon felt a pang of pity for his sea creature friends, but said nothing when Jungkook picked up a small plate of pink shrimp. The soloist’s cheek flushed pink as soon as he realized what he had done as he opened his mouth to apologize knowing his hyung’s dietary habits.
“Don’t apologize, Jungkook. I would rather you be eating instead of going to bed with an empty stomach. Just don’t overdo it and remember to eat a light breakfast tomorrow morning so you have energy to perform.” Namjoon lectured gently as Jungkook happily popped a detailed shrimp into his mouth.
“Yes, hyung.” Jungkook chirped as soon as his mouth was clear. An appetite meant he wasn’t feeling a nervous as he thought was going to be. Hopefully his practice run through tonight cleared him of any remaining jitters.
“Ah. No one would suspect the seafood-hating Kim Namjoon to lurking near this table. What good thinking Namjoon-ah”. A loud voice called as Namjoon barely had a second to turn before finding himself wrapped up in an tight embrace by a pair of scarlet covered arms. Even if his space had been invaded, the producer couldn’t but smile at the brilliant one being shown to him.
“I have gotten quite good about lurking and not being seen. Jung Hoseok. No all of us like having the spotlight all the time.” Namjoon teased as the suited and redhead rapper released him from his grip.
Jung Hoseok was melodic, kind and passionate rapper with little peer in terms of his style of flow and fashion. An industry darling by all accounts of those that worked with him, an idol to his younger peers and a harsh teacher to the few students he took under his wing in the art of dance. Yet, always the man seemed to have thousand watt smile, tonight wasn’t an exception. Cool-looking shades framed tousled chestnut color locks as the rapper gave Jungkook a friendly shoulder pat in greeting. Somehow the rapper managed to pull off a brilliant red suit without looking too cliche and loud.
“Hoseok, I told you to NOT leave me to fend for myself. The damn baby piranhas swarmed me as soon as you vanished into the crowd. Please don’t do that again.” A new voice said in tone that was edging on begging as a blonde locked man ducked under Hoseok’s waiting arm. The stiffness in the newcomer’s form melted away as the rapper pressed a kiss to the shorter man’s forehead.
Namjoon coughed loudly as the tender moment was broken. The blonde stranger flushed, but glared at the producer who gave him a quick wink. Still, the icy persona dripped away slightly as Jungkook’s shy smile.
“Yoongi hyung. How are you?” Jungkook asked politely as the elder sighed as if that was most burdensome question that he had been asked all night.
Min Yoongi was a producer with a status rivaling Namjoon’s own. While taste in producing leaned towards harder hitting brass, bass and aggressive pacing in comparison to Namjoon’s poetic, whimsical preference towards ballads and alike. Both producers were desired by all sorts of musicians. Unfortunately, Yoongi had a strict one client per session policy. Now what defined a ‘session’ could range from the recording of one song, a cd or an entire live jam and review which the artists gave feedback on possible beats. Namjoon’s own policy had been even more strict as he signed his creative love to one single man alone. At least he did..until last year.
“Fine, Jungkook. I am glad to see you are at least eating. Thank you, Namjoon by the way for accompanying him tonight. I have a feeling he would been eaten alive by a few of the old toads here. Or gotten himself into an awkward situation like the baby piranha I just escaped. I managed to distract one of the old toads by pointing out the duo’s choice of hair color. That launched into what I am assuming to a long and drawn-out lecture about young people and respect for dress-code etc.” Yoong grumbled as Hoseok poked at his cheek with disapproving glance.
“I can’t believe you would do that. They don’t mean anything ill-willed toward you, Yoongi. They really really just want to work with you and prove that they won’t waste your time. Maybe next time- “ Hoseok suggested in a low voice as his fingers brushed through his lover’s lower locks softly. Yoongi caught onto the physical manipulation within seconds as he ducked away from the rapper’s arm, looking scandalized.
“Hoseok. I told them no, in several ways; by PA, by email, by phone call, even slamming my studio door in their face that one time they managed to sneak into the building. I want to focus on you for now. I told you that” Yoongi said in a level voice as Hoseok’s smile faltered slightly.
“I don’t mind sharing.” Hoseok teased as stepped up to his grouchy lover once again. Yoongi rolled his eyes , but tugged on Hoseok’s tie to bring him down to eye level all the same.
“Well. I do. Let me be selfish with you, Jung Hoseok” Yoongi muttered as he pressed a soft kiss to the rapper’s lips as if it was only them in the room now. Namjoon hastily looked away and kept himself occupied with draining his champagne glass. Was he ever that personal with HIM in public events like this? Then again HE always did love the cameras flashing about, while Namjoon was content to just stand proudly by his side. Even if it was embarrassing with how over the top the photos could come out at times.
“Jimin and Taehyung are here?” Jungkook asked surprised to hear that his friends were in attendance. While the duet singers were a bit older to the industry, it still took connections to gain an invitation to tonight. Yoongi sighed at the question, that was all it took to confirm the question. The bluenette and pink haired singers were in the building.
“How?” Namjoon asked inquisitive. It was genuine curiosity without a hint of mocking. He had heard a few samples of the duet’s vocals, but couldn’t find the inspiration in them at the time, until a few months later when he connected with Jungkook.
“You know Ahjumma Oso. That once really really famous opera singer who made her fortune on stages across the world. The woman known for her generous wallet and nurturing personality? Ya, those two somehow managed to con her into funding their invite after someone reaching her PA with a video of their performance from last May.” Yoongi began, but was quickly interrupted by Namjoon’s question.
“That cover ballad that moved the crowd to tears. The one that you audibly hear weeping in the background.”
“Yes. That one. The old lady thinks the two are good wholesome ballad singers that always dress up in white smart suits meant to make young and old women hearts race with artfulness sweetness.”
“Oh no.” Jungkook muttered as his own heartbeat sped up as he knew that the one video was a very very poor representation of the duet’s style of performance.
“Oh yes. The old lady is gonna have heart attack and need vapors once she sees their actual performance tonight. Something tells me they aren’t going to hold back after all the effort it took to get here..” Yoongi said amused now at the chaos that could break-out tonight. It would at least liven up what could be quite a stuffy affair.
Park Jimin and Kim Taehyung oozed charisma and sex on the stage, it became a chemical explosion when both of them were synced with one another.
“Well, we might as well drink to their health and reputation tonight. Cheers everyone” Namjoon said as he snagged another full glass of champagne from a passing tray as he silently raised it to his companions. His companions returned the gesture as Jungkook spoke up after taking a sip of his glass.
“Namjoon hyung. Is it alright if I go try and find them? I really don’t want them to get kicked out before performing. They will totally prove themselves, I just know it!” Jungkook asked with passion in his voice. Namjoon sighed, the kid really did put his hundred percent behind those that were closest to him.
“Fine, Jungkook. Just remember your rehearsal starts at eight thirty sharp and we want to be able to run through the entire thing at least twice. So have fun, but don’t get into too much trouble..” Namjoon stated softly as a dimpled smile appeared on his face at Jungkook’s eager nodding.
At the granted permission, the young singer vanished into the crowded room with seconds, a grin wide on his cheeks. The three older men sighed, each sharing the same look that asked if they ever had that much energy in their youth. Not that there was much of an age difference to make a huge difference.
“Ah. I better follow him just to make sure their combined energy doesn’t explode a hole in the wall. You good, Yoongi?” Hoseok said as Yoongi pressed a kiss to his lover’s hand in a short answer of yes.
“Oh, whatever will I do if I am not apart of..that” Yoongi deadpanned with an edge of disgust as there was a loud yell of surprise from somewhere in the middle of the crowd. Jungkook had been found by the pair evidently. That just hastened the rapper’s departure all the quicker as Namjoon chuckled.
Comfortable silence took over the pair as glasses were drained after clinking together once. The producers had been close for years, Yoongi was the only confidant that Namjoon poured out his heart and soul to. As a icy as the elder seemed, Yoongi was a quiet, respectful and secretly endlessly kind to those that got to know him. Namjoon felt the back of his neck heat up as the cold booze slid down into his stomach. All it took was a head nod from Yoongi in the direction of the open air balcony on the side of the room for the pair to begin making their way over there.
The crisp, but comfortable evening air was welcome to Namjoon’s hot skin as he leaned against the marble railing of the balcony. It was a lovely evening as the bright lights of Seoul danced about the skyline as Namjoon looked up to see the faintest signs of stars determined to shine all the brighter. It reminded him of someone. His hands clenched around the top of the railing as a deep sigh came from him. He shouldn’t be thinking about the past, not tonight above all things.
“You know, I am surprised you came tonight. You haven’t ever been the one for the spotlight. Yet the fact that you chose to show up tonight as your ‘comeback’ to the music industry with the kid at your side made a statement”.
“I know, hyung” Namjoon muttered as he didn’t dare look at the man that reclined against the railing with his back. Namjoon could see delicate fingers idly twirl the stem of the champagne glass as the elder seemed to be trying to find his words.
“I mean its’ only been a year. Are you really ready…” Yoongi’s voice trailed off as Namjoon could feel the bitter taste of anger on his tongue as his friend was only trying to make him feel better, but it really really wasn’t the time.
“Ready for what? To get back to producing? I can’t let you have all the trophies, hyung” Namjoon teased even though his tone was beyond flat. It was just an attempt to steer the conversation away from its uncomfortable impasse.
“Namjoon. I meant are you ready to start da--”
“I AM NOT SLEEPING WITH JUNGKOOK” Namjoon snarled as he turned to face his now shocked friend. His outburst had attracted more than a few stares from onlookers. Yoongi forced himself to remain in place as the pissed producer leaned down to his eye-level.
“I am not sleeping with my soloist. We are just freinds. There hasn’t even been a single bit of flirting. I can’t believe you have been reading the damn crap in the tabloids. You of all people” Namjoon snapped as his frown worsened when Yoongi let out a few chuckles.
“I can’t believe you thought I passed my time reading gossip rags. You are really damn dense aren’t you. You don’t see how that kid looks at you sometime. Like a puppy wanting a bit of praise. Or how his eyes light up when you give him any sort of physical contact. I know you are used to heavier handled ways of flirting by the way of Kim Seok--” Yoongi’s explanation was cut off as Namjoon let out a ragged breath as his posture deflated at the almost mentioned name.
“Please don’t say his name..” Namjoon asked softly as Yoongi patted his freind’s back gingerly. The elder didn’t know how deep the wound that Kim Seokjin had carved into his friend’s heart, but for the younger to have such a reaction, it was painful. Pain reflected in Namjoon’s gaze as the conversation drifted into silence.
“You are right. I didn’t notice or..chose not to notice, Jungkook’s little crush on me. It wouldn’t be appropriate on a professional level. I suppose I am going to need to have a conversation with him about that. Huh?” Namjoon said evenly as his tone was far too chipper for the depth of emotions that had been ripped from him
“Namjoon, please. We still need to talk about tonight and about Seokjin.” Yoongi whispered softly as his friend’s eyes went wide. Cheeks went pale as not even Yoongi calling Namjoon’s name could call him back as the producer had turned heel and run back into the main area at the mention of his lover’s name.
Too many people stared at Namjoon as he darted this way and that through the crowd. All he needed was space, just for now. Just a few moments of quiet as he felt his throat go dry as that little idea seemed to be impossible. Damn it, his hands felt clammy as he held them together. The polished floor seemed blurred as heat raced up his neck as he could hear his heartbeat throb in his mind.
A break in the crowd as Namjoon winded his way through it to push through a black oak door into the the unknown room. It was a private bathroom by the look of it as shaking fingers turned the lock until it clicked loudly in the room. Shaking wrapped around Namjoon’s frame as his back slid slowly down the door. It shouldn’t hurt this much anymore as Namjoon clutched at his chest like his heart was going to burst from his chest.
The few therapists he had seen in the past year all had told him the same thing, that only time would mend the broken feeling inside him. Not even all the recommended literature that he had poured over every night since that event, could stop him from curling into the empty spot on their bed. Even burning the damn thing in a recommended catharsis session had still ripped into him. Namjoon had practically shoved Hoseok and Yoongi out when the pair had come by one day after seeing the ash pile in the yard. A poorly timed suggestion of burning a few of Jin’s shirts to add to the pile was met with cussing and hysterical yelling as the pair wrapped up their distraught weeping mess of a friend into an embrace right there in the yard.
As Namjoon’s breathing steadied as Namjoon slowly pushed himself off the floor to take a look at his reflection in the mirror. His face was pale, but his cheeks remained free of tears. There wasn’t even a hint of red in the eyes as Namjoon let out a shaking breath.
“God damn it. I..I..miss you Jin. So damn much. I wish you could hear me. I wish you were here with me. I could really use a trademark Jin humor joke..” Namjoon muttered with a pitiful laugh as he washed his hands in the sink. It would help hide the clammy feeling from earlier.
A buzzing sound came from his pocket as Namjoon took out his phone within seconds. It was text from Jungkook, asking where he was. That if it was possible to start rehearsal a bit earlier than scheduled as he hoped that he would be able to attend surprise plans tonight. It was time to return to reality as Namjoon wiped his hands on a towel, told Jungkook to stay put and left the bathroom.
Within a few moments after his departure, the hot faucet burst from an unknown force. Hot water flowed uncontrollable from the break as water dripped onto the floor. Steam soon filled the bathroom as soon there would be alarmed whispers from staff once the water seeped under the closed doorway. Condensation coated the mirror as letters were slowly spelled out from it.
The staff that would later discover the two words would dismiss it as the accidental prank of some intoxicated patron of the party. The unlucky soul that was left to mop the flooded floor would feel a faint chill go down his spine as his rag wiped away the statement.
Namjoon was quick to find Jungkook as he agreed to the singer’s request. All he had to do was find the head stagehand and get them to agree to allow the pair into the stage area ahead of schedule. Thankfully, the stage manager was a huge fan of a now blushing Jungkook, who led them personally to the main stage, barking orders into hand-held walkie-talkie. All it took was a few minutes of waiting for the stage to light up, music played quietly in the background as Namjoon made his way back to the sound booth as Jungkook stretched on the stage.
“Play this track please. Don’t worry about the mixing board. I will fix any sort of issue with the audio” Namjoon said as the sound technician scooted over to give the blonde full range of the massive board. Settling down into the comfortable leather chair, Namjoon stood up to look down at Jungkook, seeing if the singer was ready.
A thumbs up confirmed everything was good to go. Namjoon put a bright, but false smile at the singer’s cheerful expression. It only took around thirty minutes for the first run through went off with a few mistakes here and there. Another run through with only two mistakes.
“Jungkook. Can you manage a third run through? I just want to tweak one or two things with the audio. The drums seem a bit too loud at some parts. It’s not on your part, I am just being a perfectionist” Namjoon asked as he put his finger on the ‘speaker’ button’ of the board.
“Ah. Hyung. One more time, just for you!” Jungkook called as Namjoon grinned at the admirable determination of the singer. The kid looked tired from down on the stage, but still got into position for the third time in a row. This time Namjoon put on headphones as his fingers tapped on the board to the beat. Moving pitches up and down here in there as the drum banged about at a faster portion. Perfect it was all going perfectly as Namjoon smiled satisfied.
That smile turned into a firm line as his ears caught the first twinkling notes of a piano chord. Hissing under his breath, Namjoon’s fingers quickly checked the piano section of the board. It was all off. Was it a machine malfunction? Still the notes sang all the louder in his ears as Namjoon wretched the headphones off and stood up, much to the surprise of the technician.
Making a cutting motion as the audio fell away as only the pure vocal of Jungkook’s voice echoed in the hall as Namjoon wearily made his way down the aisle. Jungkook was so caught up in his singing that he didn’t even notice his hyung sitting down in the front row, his expression fatigued. A slow clap startled Jungkook as he finally realized that Namjoon had changed location.
“Um. Is something wrong? Why aren’t you in the sound-booth?” Jungkook asked with a tilt of his head as he climbed down the stage to take a seat next to an exhausted Namjoon.
“No. No! Jungkook, you were perfect. I just..started hearing different audio issues. I am probably just imagining it. We had a busy day, I am just tired..” Namjoon reassured the singer as he gripped Jungkook’s hands tightly in his.
“You do look tired, hyung. I think you should go to bed early tonight” Jungkook suggested with a worried tone.
Namjoon hated seeing that look on the youngster’s face. The kid didn’t need to worry about his hyung’s problem on top of his own. The music industry could find that weakness and burrow into it like a bark beetle without mercy.
“Yah! Are you giving your hyung an order? I think your stellar performance and drinking has made you entirely too bold, Jungkookie” Namjoon teased as Jungkook flushed bright red and made soft sounding protests. It was when the youth began leaning his face closer to Namjoon that made the elder panic into a fit of coughing, as he backed up in his own chair.
“You should go to bed. Hyung. Sleep well.” Jungkook said gently as his cheeks still burned. Without another word, Jungkook got up and left as Namjoon raked a hand through his blonde locks. He was really going to need to have a talk with Jungkook. It was going to be a difficult one, given that the kid had shot his chance at a kiss.
It was fatigue and stress talking, those were the reasons Namjoon bounced around his brain for the unknown addition of piano to the track. It wasn’t like he never used piano in productions, it was a signature instrument of his. It was just that the faint pattern that was being played was an exact replica of one of the first songs’ that he and Jin had worked on together. Somehow his mind was always going back to Jin as Namjoon sank into the plush couch of his hotel room. Rubbing blurry eyes as Namjoon exhaled loudly hoping that would blow all the stress from his body. It didn’t work.
So Namjoon did the next best thing. Put on a simple piano mix and pop open the iced bottle of white wine in the fridge. A hot shower and a glass later, Namjoon happily curled into the softness of his hotel robe as he reclined in the center of his massive bed. The room had spared no expense for such an esteemed guest. A full service bar in the corner of the living room area. A huge couch to sit and watch the massive flat screen. The bathroom had been most impressive, with its’ shower head boosting three different types of jet streams as a ‘waterfall’ feature. Perfect it was all perfect as Namjoon took another sip from his glass.
All expect for the cold realization that he would be alone in a massive bed. In a hotel room. It had been over a year since he had done anything of the sort as his stomach was quick to reject the wine as he threw up the contents into the toilet after a mad dash from the bed.
Heaving the last remains until Namjoon could only taste bitter stomach bile as he pressed his sweaty forehead against the porcelain rim. One single realization screamed in his head now.
Kim Seokjin had died in a hotel room.
It had been a rainy October night as an event very similar to this one had been a rousing success. Drinks flowed freely after the last performance was wrapped up, all attendees were in good spirits. Aside from Namjoon seeking to console himself in the bottom of a soju bottle. Yoongi had been by his side trying to get his unusually sullen friend to talk. Eventually liquor had loosened the man’s lips as it turned out that he and Seokjin had a fight before the singer’s performance.
It started out as something silly when Namjoon mentioned possibly meeting with a few upcoming artists, just to feel them out. That simple mention turned into a loud argument as Jin heatedly suggested that Namjoon was getting bored of him as both an artist and lover. Why else would the producer want to break their deeply intertwined professional lives. Everyone knew that Namjoon only produced for the singer Kim Seokjin, if that changed what would people say. Was a break-up in the future? Would Namjoon find someone more inspiring, younger, and different?
All these words were thrown in Namjoon’s face as the singer stormed off onto the stage. His craft was flawless even when his emotions were high. Namjoon knew he had really hurt Jin’s feelings, when his lover had shoved his waiting bouquet of red roses back into his arms. It was rare for the couple to fight, it was explosive when they did. Endless regret would follow Namjoon as he wasted time trying to figure out his own problems in the bottle instead of going up to their hotel room.
Any memories after that become blurred and foggy, aside from one crystal-clear picture of Seokjin on their bed as if asleep. An open bottle of wine of the nightstand, half empty. An expensive vintage of the singer’s preference. The bedspread is a dark crimson, always was right? It just makes the pale complexion of Jin’s skin all the whiter. The coldness of his cheek when Namjoon reached out to wake him. An apology turns into a broken yell as Namjoon’s world shatters into tiny pieces all within a few seconds.
The police arrive, take statements. Its’ all white noise for Namjoon as he has collapsed out in the hallway as strangers in uniforms go in and out of their. No. His hotel room. Even when Hoseok and Yoongi usher him into their room, a hot bath and comfortable sleep wear. He can’t feel anything. He can’t understand their lips even though he sees them move. The days are a strange mix of fast-paced but painfully slow as he can’t even remember the coroner telling him the cause of death. Seokjin’s funeral is an intimate affair, close friends and family only. Namjoon asked for a closed casket, he couldn’t bear to see his now dead lover’s face again. A yelling match takes place when Yoongi quietly suggests that they open the casket to say goodbye one final time. Yelling. Why is that all that Namjoon can remember now.
A cold sensation trickles down Namjoon’s spine as he forces himself up from the cold bathroom floor. Wiping down the sweat from his forehead as minty toothpaste erases any taste of his earlier accident. Sleep, he just needs to sleep now as he crawls into bed. Exhaustion hits him within a few minutes, lulling him into a deep sleep. The sheets aren’t even properly covering him, but somehow the producer couldn’t seem to stave off sleep. The clock on the nightstand shines a bright ten pm, still early for a few hotel residents.
A grandfather clock in the hallway chimes loudly as the clock hands strike midnight. Namjoon still sleeps deeply even as a semi-translucent figure slides into the room. The human eye could make out the fine tailoring of a suit and shined shoes. Dark locks brushed into a pristine manner. Full lips form the faintest pout as the corporal figure sighs deeply. Its a mere whisper of noise despite the effort of the figure.
Kim Seokjin knows that he is dead. The whole freezing sensation of his body, passing through doors and looking consistently handsome was an obvious thing. Well, expect for that last thing. Yet, his appearance never changes, he looks just the same as he did the day that he died. Stranger yet is how the world looks to him. It’s black and white like the film of an old movie. It was maddening at first as his mind would could remember what the sky’s color looked like in life, but now it was dull cry. The first few days of his existence were frustrating ones. It was worth it as he takes another step closer to his dozing lover.
Jin rolled his eyes fondly at his lover’s sloppy manner of sleeping. That was Kim Namjoon without a doubt. It wasn’t uncommon for Namjoon to come to bed early in the morning after spending hours in the studio, rumpled clothes and all. The sudden jostling of the mattress would wake up Jin, he would sigh and tuck his lover into bed. Namjoon would whisper a sleepy ‘I love you’ and curl up to Jin.
Without really knowing what he was doing, Jin’s hands grasp the sheets of the bed and toss them over his lover’s uncovered form. The ghost had come to understand that in moments of strong emotion that he could actually touch things. It was like the faintest sensation on his fingertips. At least Namjoon wouldn’t wake up with a cold as the producer sighed softly at the warmth of the sheets. A content expression on his face.
The sight tugs at Jin’s heart painfully as trembling fingers brush against his lover’s locks. The hair barely shifts even when Jin brushes a hand through it. A choked cry emits from Jin’s lips as he can barely feel it. It isn’t fair. It’s NOT. Despite the tears that threaten to fall, Jin leans down to brush his lips against Namjoon’s. A chaste kiss goodbye.
“Don’t forget me, Namjoon” Jin whispered as their lips separated.
Namjoon would wake up to bright sunlight streaming through the window. An alarm on his phone chirping cheerfully as his hand groped for it without looking. Silence took over the room as Namjoon sat up slowly, hair rumpled from sleep. He felt well-rested at least as he looked around the room with blurry eyes. It’s when licks his dry lips that makes him go deathly still. It’s wrong, the taste is wrong. At most his lips would taste like the faint mint of his toothpaste from last night. Yet, now they taste like the rich aromatic fruits of aged wine..that’s not right. Another taste makes him gag as he dashes into the bathroom to empty his stomach once again.
The taste turned revolting like the wine had been left uncorked, left to be covered in dust and grime. Bitter, it had gone impossibly bitter as Namjoon sighs into the toilet. He must have not washed as well as he thought he did. He was quite tired after all, at least that what he tells himself. One quick shower and outfit change later, Namjoon heads down to meet Jungkook and the others for breakfast. The awkwardness between him and Jungkook has faded as the younger begins offering him food as soon as he sits.
The entire day goes on at an impossible pace as Namjoon shuffles Jungkook from wardrobe, make-up and everything else the singer could possibly need. That includes plenty of hugs and shoulder pats as he can tell the singers’ nerves are starting to act up as soon as the performer before him bows to thunderous applause. Warmth spreads through Namjoon’s chest as he finds himself trapped in tight embrace. Jungkook is shaking slightly as a loud sigh comes from the younger when Namjoon runs a hand through brunette locks.
“What kind of flowers do you like, Jungkook?” Namjoon asked softly as the youth looks up at him with a confused expression.
“For after your performance. To mark the occasion” Namjoon muttered as Jungkook thought for a moment. His eyes practically shined as the idea came to him,
“White roses. Please Namjoon hyung.” Jungkook asked softly as Namjoon just smiled. The singer was looking forward to his reward, nerves all but forgotten.
Namjoon forced himself to remain still when Jungkook’s hands slid from his waist down to his hands as Jungkook looked at him with an expression that Namjoon had never seen before. It was an infatuated, sappy look that Namjoon had seen on his own face once upon a time. It was scary as Jungkook opened his mouth to say something, Namjoon’s heart beat all the faster.
“Jeon Jungkook! You are up!” A stage attendant shouted as the singer’s eyes went wide in surprise. Namjoon quickly wished him good luck as the singer was ushered away.
The performance went off without a hitch as Namjoon was one of the watchers that cheered the loudest. Jungkook’s grin went even wider as soon as he heard the producer’s shouts. Beaming, the singer was beaming as he accepted the gorgeous collection of white roses from the slightly blushing producer backstage. Tonight was going well. Too well. Soon the pair from themselves surrounded by friends as there was celebratory drinks to be had. Eventually Jungkook spoke up about wanting to change clothes before things got too hectic.
Now it was just Namjoon and Jungkook in the hallway leading to their hotel rooms. Jungkook’s hands tightened around the bouquet as Namjoon’s room came closer and closer with each step. Namjoon’s focus was entirely on the party downstairs as he looked over in alarm as he saw the bouquet drop from Jungkook’s grasp. As he turned to bend down and grab it, Jungkook’s hands curled around his collar to back him up against the outside of his door. Eyes connected as Namjoon tilted in question ever so slightly as Jungkook’s eyes seemed to flicker from his face to his lips.
“Jungkook?” Namjoon muttered as if it was completely normal to be manhandled by his singer. The tiny bit of booze that the singer had drank had made him bolder. He wasn’t sure if he liked or disliked that.
“Namjoon hyung.” Jungkook whispered as a faint scarlet brushed over his cheeks. Namjoon could see his cheeks a shade darker as their lips met, chaste at first. It turned heated as soon as both the men heard the telltale click of a key-card being swiped over the door. All it took was Namjoon’s hand around Jungkook’s tie to drag him into the room. Hands roved each other as Namjoon felt the throbbing of Jungkook’s pulse as he hastily undid the younger man’s tie. Namjoon’s tie soon followed as outer jackets fell to the floor as the pair backed up onto the massive king-sized bed.
Namjoon’s hazy brain was now reminding him that Jungkook would live at the gym if his schedule allowed it as his fingers dripped over well-formed abs. As much as a gym bunny that the young singer was, his actions were sweet and innocent as he shuddered into the touch. Even his kisses were gentle as he whined softly when Namjoon licked at his mouth asking for entrance. Sweet Jeon Jungkook was turning into a mere puddle in his lap. It was right, this felt right as his senses hummed in pleasure as the singer finally began touching him back. Hesitating like Namjoon would break under his touch.
Something shattered in the closed bathroom. It was like switch flipped in Namjoon’s mind.
Wrong. This was wrong.
Jungkook wasn’t his Jin. While Jin did occasionally ambush him for kisses against a hotel door, he wasn’t meek about stripping Namjoon of clothes, sometimes even before the privacy granted to them by the private room. Kisses weren’t sweet and slow, but passionate and needy as Jin would take full advantage of lavishing his lover’s face and mouth. Skilled hands would slowly pop buttons of shirts, while Jin would perch happily in his lap, completed clothed still. It would drive Namjoon mad when he would be stripped naked, all while Jin hummed over his form. It was the sound of Jungkook’s shirt hitting the floor that finally broke the spell.
“Stop. Jungkook. Stop” Namjoon whispered weakly as he tried to ignore the sensation of the man’s lips on his neck. Hands had grown bolder as they went lower on his back.
“Why?” Jungkook asked huskily as his eyes were dark with want. Beautiful, the singer looked beyond beautiful as Namjoon brushed his cheek with a gentle stroke. That minor action sent pink to the young man’s cheeks. That did and not the fact that he was in Namjoon’s lap and shirtless. Namjoon sighed as Jungkook leaned closer to kiss him, only to have himself held back by Namjoon’s firm grip.
“Why?” Jungkook asked again. Expect this time his voice trembled with emotion as the heated moment was broken. Tears gathered in the corners of his eyes as Jungkook hid against Namjoon’s collarbone. Guilt curled in Namjoon’s gut as he ran a hand through the singer’s locks.
“I..just..can’t. I am sorry Jungkook.” Namjoon sighed out as he wrapped his arms around the younger, holding him closer. If only just for a little while, things wouldn’t be the same between them again. Had he ruined their bond with this rejection? The producer wouldn’t find that out as silence took over the pair. That was until Jungkook wiggled out of his lap, snatched his fallen clothing items and darted out of the hotel room.
Namjoon fell back into the middle of his bed with a huff. His hair was a mess from his actions as he attempted to fix it with a few idle strokes. It didn’t help. His shirt was half unbuttoned and there was an obvious issue with his pants. Not to mention the pressing matter that it was obvious his friends would send a search party for the pair soon if neither of them bothered to show back up downstairs. Namjoon had created an entire mess of problems. Not to mention that loud noise from the bathroom. Had a glass dropped or something?
Rolling onto his side off the bed, the producer peeked into the bathroom as his eyes went wide in surprise. The bathroom mirror had shattered and was now fragmented into tiny pieces of the floor. While a few defiant bits sat in the frame still. How had the mirror burst? It was like something had been thrown at it in a fit of rage. Yet, it was only Namjoon and Jungkook in here. Nor was there any sort of windows that could cause a gust to toss something in here.
His answer came as soon as he turned around toward the bedroom. His heart dropped into his stomach as his eyes must have been playing tricks on him. The phantom of Jin was standing by the bed, just glaring at the edge of the bed, where Jungkook and Namjoon had sat minutes before. Glaring, his lips were even forming an angry pout that Namjoon knew he did when he was upset about something.
“Jin..Seokjin..I..How?” Namjoon stuttered out as he walked around the edge of the bed. In disbelief that the phantom looked up at him directly when he said his name. Dark anger still haunted his handsome face as Namjoon opened his mouth to call him again.
His questions didn’t come out before Jin’s hand struck him hard in his right cheek. Namjoon felt ice race down in veins as soon as the phantom’s hand struck his cheek. Somehow that made his flesh burn all the more from the impact as the skin reddened from the strike. He had felt that. He had felt Jin’s hand as real as his own. What was going on.
“You’re replacing me. You are replacing with some brat that can hold a note. YOU ARE REPLACING ME, NAMJOON” Jin’s shout reached a new fever pitch as his expression turned from anger to anguish as hands curled up into black locks. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair at all. All while Namjoon just stood shell-shocked as Jin felt his heart breaking into tiny pieces. Somehow that made Jin even angrier as his hands curled around his shocked lover’s shirt collar and shook him.
“You couldn’t have even kept my feelings in mind even a year after I was buried? Did my heart mean nothing to you? Was I already a mere blemish in your mind as soon as dirt piled on my coffin?” Jin asked mockingly as he shoved his living lover into the middle of the bed with little resistance. Unlike Namjoon, his touch was muted even as he was able to grip the fabric of shirt with ease. Namjoon’s eyes were still wide as his breaths came quicker when Jin straddled his body with that mocking look on his face. This was a dream. It had to be.
“Maybe now I am a bit more interesting to you..” Jin hissed in a low purr as he rolled up the wrists of his finely pressed suit. Deep gashes scarred his wrists as crimson blood began freely pouring from the wounds with each twitch of a finger. Namjoon could feel the sticky sensation oozing through the fabric of shirt as Jin freely bled without a single change of expression. Like he wanted Namjoon to find him interesting again.
“Seokjin”. Namjoon whispered as Jin leaned down until their faces were inches apart. Namjoon could smell the sickly scent of copper, feel the hot blood dripping down his neck as Jin’s hand brushed over his cheek.
“Yes, darling?” Jin responded with that same mocking tone. He couldn’t feel the pain and joy that radiated in Namjoon’s chest. He was dead, not omnipotent.
“I miss you.” Namjoon said brokenly as his throat closed up preventing any more words from escaping the producer. He missed him. His heart was breaking once again at each word the phantom spoke, the scent of Jin that was undeniable. He hadn’t smelled his lover’s natural scent in over a year. It was unbearable. It wasn’t fair.
“I--” Jin’s voice was muted as there was undeniable emotion in Namjoon’s voice. His eyes radiated love and sadness even as Namjoon pressed a kiss to the heels of Jin’s hands, ignoring the blood that trickled down his throat. Namjoon’s hands curled around the back of Jin’s neck, tangling in the hair that he thought he would never feel again.
“Kiss me.” Begging, Namjoon was begging.
Lips met in a passionate dance as Namjoon pulled his lover as close as possible. Jin was cold to the touch like he had been swimming in a cold body of water. But he was there, Namjoon could feel goosebumps ripple over his skin when his fingers brushed the back of his neck. Even his taste was the same as when Jin licked at the seam of his mouth, wanting more than gentle kisses. Namjoon complied as tongues teased and retreated.
“Watch it..” Jin hissed as Namjoon bit down hard on his lover’s lower lip. It didn’t hurt the phantom, but it was natural reaction all the same. It even sent a faint feeling of pain through his system.
“Just, testing..” Namjoon rumbled as Jin clicked his tongue at him before faintly smiling when Namjoon pressed a chaste kiss to the bitten flesh.
Evidently that wasn’t enough appeasement from the ghost as cold fingers brushed over the buttons of his lover’s shirt. There was something missing from the scenario as Namjoon blinked slowly at him when a bit of mischief sparked in his gaze. His lover was completely clothed still. That wasn’t right.
“You are entirely too dressed, darling..” Jin teased as a manicured nail popped the first button of the shirt.
“You aren’t exactly naked either, Jin.” Namjoon deadpanned as Jin popped another button.
“Well, I am wearing the clothes I died in. I can’t seem to change that. Trust me, I tried. Thankfully I fill out a suit nicely.” Jin drawled out as Namjoon smirked when his hand curled over his lover’s suited butt. Well, he wasn’t lying about the last part at least.
“Strip me, then Jin. If it would make you happy.” Namjoon’s smile matched Jin’s own finally as this scenario was one that had been played out many times in their living relationship.
So the phantom did just that as nails dragged over Namjoon’s pecs as the man arched underneath him from the action. A moan came from the producer as Jin repeated the action, but pressed his hips into Namjoon’s arching ones. Jin nipped at the producer’s throat with pearly teeth as he muttered praises of endearment as Namjoon rubbed against him. It was almost enough for the phantom, it was right..but not perfect.
“I hope these pants are expensive, Namjoon.” Jin purred in lover’s ear as he nipped at the flesh there with tiny marks to remind him. A hand slipped into Namjoon’s pants as the man began bucking in earnest. It was all Jin could do but watch as Namjoon’s face flushed with pleasure, as eyes turned into molten liquid within minutes. A faint laugh escaped Jin as he could only imagine the strange sight the pair would make.
A blood-stained producer about to ruin expensive trousers due to some attention from year long dead lover that reappeared as a ghost. Someone get the screenwriter’s now, it would be a romantic hit of the year. Jin’s thoughts were interrupted as Namjoon shuddered with a hoarse shout as faint words of love slipped from the producer’s lips. Jin wrapped the drowsy producer into his arms as he pressed a kiss to his lover’s forehead.
“Sleep, Namjoon. I love you..” Jin muttered as he could feel Namjoon’s fingers tighten around his suit. As if afraid he was going to vanish into thin air after the amorous encounter.
“Jin, I love you. I always will love you.” Namjoon defiantly fought sleep now as he met Jin’s lips in a surprise attack. It made the singer chuckle before shushing him. The last thing Namjoon heard was the warm lull of Jin’s humming in his ears. It was as good as a sleeping pill.
A loud banging and none-too quiet conversation woke Namjoon with a start. The producer yelled for the visitors to quiet down as he stomped to the door. His visitors fell silent as soon as the producer opened the door. As Namjoon glared at their staring. Why were Taehyung and Jimin banging on his door, if it was only to stare.
“Have you seen Jungkookie?”
“ Is someone in there with you, Namjoon hyung? Your chest is a…sight..”
Both men asked their questions at once as Namjoon pressed a firm hand to Taehyung’s shoulder as the man tried to peek around the producer. The hand kept him in the hallway as Namjoon glanced down at his naked upper half for the first time. The past hour came flooding back into him in moments. A quick glance over at the bedspread stained with crimson spots here and there, confirmed what he thought had happened.
“Uh. Hyung, are you okay?” Jimin asked gently as Namjoon flinched when the warm hand touched his wrist.
“Jimin, I told you, he has someone in there. He about jumped out of his skin when you touched him”. Taehyung teased with a smirk as Namjoon rolled his eyes.
“Who? It’s not Jungkook right?” Jimin asked with wide eyes as Namjoon nodded no. Perhaps a bit too quickly as the pair soon had matching grins on their face.
“Don’t you two have some old lady to grovel up to after your little performance on stage.” Namjoon snipped as he folded his arms over his chest hiding the evidence of his activities. Seokjin hadn’t been gentle with his scratching as clear nail marks had been dragged down his prominent pecs. It screamed that Namjoon had sex recently.
“Can we see your back?” Taehyung lecherous asked with a waggle of brows as Namjoon all but slammed the door in the pairs face. Thankfully after their fit of giggles subsided, Namjoon could hear their noisy conversation fade with their retreating footsteps.
Namjoon didn’t dare touch the stained bedspread nor could he bring himself to look at it. He merely edged along the bedroom wall to duck into the bathroom. Using a spare towel from the rack, he gingerly picked up the pieces of shattered mirror to toss into the waste basket. This had happened. Seokjin was haunting him from beyond the grave. This wasn’t some spiked drink that had turned Jungkook into the form of his dead lover. Someone his brain was quite rational with these concepts as his fingers gingerly inspected the red marks on his chest.
“You are still that territorial, Jin?” Namjoon asked amused to the empty air. Who knew if the ghost could even hear him at this point. He should have asked all the apparent rules that ghosts had to follow. What was obvious is that Seokjin still retained all his feeling even from beyond the grave, that thought warmed Namjoon’s heart. Was it unsettling that his lover seen fit to smash his mirror in a fit of jealousy while Namjoon had made out with Jeon Jungkook in the other room as a cry for attention. Yes. Namjoon would have to set guidelines for that if this whole..haunting..was going to work between them.
Like no more smashing any of Namjoon’s personal belongings. Especially in his studio where all his machines could be a pretty penny to replace if even dropped once. Jin had been jealous in life, but not to the extent of throwing crap around for attention. Did he have to be a in a state of high emotion to do such things. All these questions swam around Namjoon’s mind as steam filled the bathroom as Namjoon wanted to relax in the bath. The party was completely forgotten about at this point. All he wanted to do was sink into the heat and forget everything. Like a bath would solve all his problems.
The heat was a blissful sensation against Namjoon’s skin as he sunk into the water. As he washed it was like each gentle lap of the water made each worry vanish with each pass. Steam curled in the bathroom as Namjoon watched it swirl with unusual interest. His head rested against the edge of the tub as he could feel fatigue begin to make his head feel stuffy. He shouldn’t feel this tired, especially after sleeping. How long had he slept for? It wasn’t like he was some teenager that needed a full day’s recovery after sex. With each blink his eyes felt heavier and heavier as his last blink showed the shined buttons of man’s suit standing next to the tub.
The hallway felt endless as Namjoon sighed for what felt like the tenth time in a row. It was all the same door after door each with a number one off from each other. It was going to drive him crazy as the elevator always seemed to be just another few steps out of reach. He was going to be late to the party without a doubt. He still needed to apologize to Jungkook for his behavior earlier. That their..event could only be just that, their relationship had to be kept on a professional level. That he did still care deeply for the young singer, and wanted to help see his career flourish.
Gossip hounds Jimin and Taehyung would have to lectured too. Who knew who those could tell about their speculation about Namjoon’s guest. Not to mention that Namjoon’s grave would be dug deeper if Jungkook was told, the kid would never forgive him for rejecting him, but accepting a complete stranger instead? Namjoon’s brow furrowed as he could imagine the scolding that he would get from Hoseok and Yoongi. That as the hyung to Jungkook, he should have known better than to let that situation get so far.
Namjoon ran a hand through his hair, frustrated at this never ending walk. Had the hallway really been this long before? It was a huge sigh of relief as he finally pressed the button to go down to the lobby, the attendant smile brightly and Namjoon smiled back.
“Hello, Kim Seokjin.”
“Hello, Kim Namjoon”
Hands intertwined as the elevator door closed on the pair with a soft chime.
Kim Namjoon had died in a hotel room.