Actions

Work Header

A Love For Small Things

Chapter Text

The thing is: Namjoon has always been the clumsy one. Almost from the very beginning, when he was still in his diapers, crawling on the floor in his parents' house and looking like an overexcited Corgi while making gurgling baby sounds instead of giving eloquent speeches in front of the UN and thousands of fans.

The moment he started to walk was the very same moment his parents seriously considered getting him a helmet for his soft little head, some kneepads, and maybe even wrapping all corners in the house with bubble pack. They didn't, obviously, but only because the next shop with helmets was already closed, and Namjoon's grandmother mumbled about 'Letting the boy make his own mistakes. It won't hurt him.'

It hurt him, from time to time.

When he got older and his limbs longer, gangly like half-cooked spaghetti, it got worse.
He stumbled and tripped over non-existent barriers, fell down or up some stairs, and hit his elbow on probably hundred different surfaces.


He hit himself in the face, not once, but many times. With spoons when he tried to help his Eomma cooking, with different balls in school sport, which made him the 'awkward kid.' His utter excitement to study and learn everything, soaking new and interesting things up like a sponge, might be another reason for that, but Namjoon never tried to dwell on that.

He hit himself with pens, hairbrushes, and even a few times with a microphone.

He ripped his pants, while falling, but often enough because he couldn't calculate his new-found teenage-strength when he tried to jump into them after his alarm buzzed off the seventh time and his mother was calling him 'to get out of bed already, or you'll regret it, young men!'. He ripped his shirts on different and very embarrassing occasions and even once a hat, although he couldn't remember how it happened.

Naturally, he had been banned from the kitchen after too many burnt arms, cut fingers, falsely sliced onions, and chili rubbed into his eyes. No one in his family and later Seokjin would let him enter the kitchen without supervision. Not even to make himself a cup of tea. Not that he didn't break a considerable amount of cups and plates in a short period, but still. How could they not let him make his own cup of tea?

The memory of not one, but two snapped sunglasses was following him like a dark shadow, and he was pretty sure that no one would ever forget it — especially not ARMY's.

Namjoon lost almost EVERY IMPORTANT belonging he has, at least once, like the ring Yoongi gave him and his reading glasses. A dutiful cameraman picking them up and shuffling behind him, trying to give him his glasses back.
He lost his wallet and his passport. Which happened only twice, mind you, but he did lose it and made everyone freak out. Hell, HE freaked out.

He couldn't even remember a time when he didn't break anything on a MV set, not to mention that it was all on camera for thousands to see.

He was the clumsy one. God of destruction and could even be considered as a severe threat for all humankind in the wrong environment, like a room full of breakable glass containers with deadly viruses in it. The thought alone made Namjoon's large hands sweat profusely.

 

When he had been a lot younger, his whole body still chubby with baby fat and the cutest little dimples a human could have on their cheeks, his mother had held him into her arms while standing in front the cradle where his little sister Kyungmin was sucking on her thumb, sleeping soundly.

Namjoon loved his baby sister so much, even if he didn't know how to express it adequately. His playful cuddles had led the boy to be a little too wild, a little too rough with the one-year-old baby until she screamed blue murder, which made him cry in return.

Now, that Kyungmin was asleep, the room filled with warm blue light and sparkles, reminding Namjoon of the night sky, his mother stroke his tear wet cheek and whispered, 'Joonie, my baby boy. I know you didn't mean it. Eomma isn't angry with you. Kyungmin isn't angry with you as well.'

And somehow, Namjoon would remember the following words forever. They burnt into his genius brain and popped open whenever he needed a small reminder.

'You are such a sweet boy, but you are strong and big. That means that you have to be careful while holding someone, especially if they are smaller than you are. You don't want to hurt them, don't you?'

He shook his head and buried his face in the crook on her neck, trying to suppress the still coming sobs.

'I know that you can do it and be gentle.'

And then she kissed his forehead and sat him into the baby bed next to his snuffling sister, who automatically made grabby hands towards him.

Very slowly, very gentle, Namjoon curled up next to her, sniffling until the smell of baby powder and chamomile filled his nose, and the last word in his head before he fell asleep was 'Gentle.'

 

Another thing was: Namjoon loved small things. He seriously did.

Small things, cute things, sweet things.

He always had loved them.

The very first small thing he loved had been almost as big as he was, still a baby — a summer sun sky blue blanket with bright orange crabs on it. His Appa's best friend's wife had found it and sent it as a gift after Namjoon was born, and he didn't let go for a very long time.

He took the blanket with him wherever he went, didn't loosen his grasp around it and cried extensively when his parents tried to put it into the washing machine to clean it for once.

His father even had to run back to the kindergarden after Namjoon forgot it on the bench while trying to tie his shoes on his own because he was a 'big boy already.'

Luckily the young assistant was still in the building and handed the blanket over with a knowing smile. It wasn't the first time a sweaty and stressed parent came rushing back to them because their beloved child forgot their beloved plushie or blanket.
Namjoon still has the blanket. Somewhere. Maybe in his bed, but he wouldn't admit that.

 

The second small and cute thing Namjoon started to love was Kyungmin, right after his father told him in little words and gestures, that he would be a big brother soon.

He had been far too young to understand completely, but still, Namjoon laid his ear or tiny mouth on his mother's big belly and just loved so much.

The very first moment he saw his little sister, his face lit up like sparklers on New Year's Eve with the most prominent heart eyes possible. She was so small, with her tiny feet and tiny fingers, the small pout, and the huge eyes.

'Aegyo,' he whispered and grinned from ear to ear, showing off his dimples.

Kyungmin was his whole world, and he loved her more than anything, telling everyone about how beautiful and smart she was, although she wasn't even able to turn on her stomach on her own in her small romper.

He still loved her when they were teenagers and fighting over the only PC in their household, and he just wanted to play his games.

When he left Ilsan to go to Seoul to pursue an incredibly risky career with an unknown outcome, he missed her almost the most, although he never told anyone about it.

 

Namjoon loved sweet food. Sweet fruits and cakes and everything sugary, like cotton candy. Particularly when the cotton candy looked cute, like Mickey Mouse or Ryan.

Oh, he loved Ryan so much, he started to collect everything related to the Kakao mascot. Others might consider his little obsession a little bit weird since there was almost no space in his bed anymore, but if he was honest, it didn't matter what other people might think about him. He had always been the weird kid, so it wasn't something new.

He was caught several times by Seokjin or Yoongi, and even once by Jeongguk, putting sugar in his mouth, the disgusting crunching almost too loud in the small kitchen while they gaped at their leader. If he remembered correctly, there was some footage of him doing that during a Run Episode. His mother calling him afterward and scolding, how unhealthy it was for his body and blood and teeth. 'Joonie. You can't just put sugar in your mouth. It's bad for you.'

 

When Namjoon was nine and still in elementary school, a new girl came into his class five days after the new school year started.

Her name was Linh Bo Huang, and she moved to Ilsan with her parents only a few days earlier. She was from China, and her Korean was shaky and still full of mistakes.

Namjoon immediately liked Linh Bo the most. With her short hair and huge glasses and the way, she pressed the huge book about mountain gorillas to her chest, like she was scared to lose it.

The first time Linh Bo laughed at one of his jokes made his stomach rumble loudly, and his heart flutter like a hummingbird.

When she came to his birthday party in a green summer dress with white dots and ladybug-pattern on her rubber boots, he knew he had his first crush. His hands were twitching, wanting to hold her hand just for a little while.

Linh Bo was smart and funny and so, so cute. He eventually told her when they were almost twenty-two years old and only friends and occasionally calling each other from different countries. They laughed about it, and she thanked him for his silent love. It made her feel precious, even if he didn't love her like that anymore.

Namjoon never told her that he thinks he'll always love her, just because he could and because she deserved it even if he didn't want to hold her hands anymore.

But he told her, she should wear rubber boots with ladybug-patterns again. Just because they were cute.

 

If they were all honest with themselves, they knew for what Namjoon's heart was gone the moment his baby fist grabbed the blanket and put it in his mouth, wetting it with too much saliva.

Crabs and other little creatures.

The whole family was for a holiday at the beach near Dangjin, and his father had shown him how to dig for the little sea creatures. The first time his father held out his large hands with a hermit crab, a five-year-old Namjoon squealed with delight, jumping excitedly on the spot, 'Aegyo!'

When his father placed the crab in his hand, and it fitted quite right, he immediately remembered his mother's words from a lifetime ago:

'Gentle'

So he held it gentle, not moving too much, not touching it too much. He couldn't explain why it made him so happy to see the crabs and felt their tiny legs tickling over his skin, but it always made his heart roar with joy and sent a smile on his lips.

Something he wouldn't ever stop doing.

The first time his grandmother had tried to feed him shellfish after that, Namjoon had screamed bloody murder and cried until his parents promised him, he didn't have to eat them ever again.

Crabs were friends, no food.

 

The second time Namjoon had a crush on someone, he'd been a lanky boy of the age of 16 years and living in a small dorm in Seoul with a handful of other boys.

Donghyuk, better known as Supreme Boi, was his Hyung and friend.

When Namjoon saw him for the first time, he thought 'cute.'

The other boy was a talented rapper and producer, and Namjoon wanted to impress him, wanted to be respected by him. So he worked harder every day and blossomed like a flower whenever such as a compliment reached his ears from the other boy.

At first, he didn't quite understand the admiration he felt towards his Hyung, always misinterpreting it for admiration, listening closely to the things Donghyuk had to say. It was important for him, important for the group.

More than once, he caught himself watching Donghyuk when he was sitting in their small studio or in their dorm, working on some beats and lyrics.

Namjoon's eyes would find the older boy without meaning to, fixating on the almond-shaped eyes or his full lips. Those lips. The moment he recognized Donghyuk's lips, Namjoon knew.

He knew he wanted to hold his hands and make him laugh and maybe show him how to dig for crabs if the other wanted that. He wanted to kiss him and tell him that he looked cute with the huge sweater and the dark red beanie. And after he understood his feelings, he wasn't able to forget them anymore.

It wasn't that his feelings got out of hand. Namjoon was a private person, and he knew how to hold a secret.

However, one evening Min Yoongi asked Namjoon to join him for a walk to the convenient store six streets away, and although Namjoon didn't want to, Yoongi was his Hyung as well, so he followed.

It was a cold evening, their breath came in puffy clouds, and their walk was in complete silence.

'Do you want some ramyun?' Yoongi asked him when they were in the store, and again, although he didn't really want to, it was clear that the elder wanted to talk to him privately, so Namjoon simply nodded.

They sat down on the plastic chairs next to the entrance door and ate the noodles in silent.

'Namjoon-ah.' Yoongi started but stopped himself.

For a moment, Namjoon got scared. Did Yoongi want to leave them as well? Because the group wouldn't be entirely HipHop, but they trained to become Idols now? He wouldn't be the first, maybe not the last. And although Namjoon knew that Yoongi wasn't happy with the decision, he'd never said he'd wanted to leave.

'Hyung?' His voice cracked as any voice of a 16-year-old would.

For a moment, the other looked like he was contemplating the next words, but then Yoongi said loud enough that Namjoon couldn't act like he didn't hear him, but silent enough that no one else understood, 'Joonie, do you like boys?'

The noise that made its way out of Namjoon's throat couldn't be possible human. His hands pressed so tightly against the table that they were completely white, and was it hot in the store? It must have been because suddenly he was sweating like crazy.

He'd never really thought about what liking Donghyuk made him. Was he gay? Was he bisexual? He didn't know. He didn't want to know.

How could Min Yoongi invade his privacy with a cup of cheap ramyun and a question like that?

Far too late, he remembered to respond, so he only shook his head.

'So, you don't like Donghyuk?' Yoongi asked him casually, 'Because if you do, you should know that there is nothing wrong with it.'

'Is it?' Namjoon croaked out in a semi-sarcastic way. Both of them knew how full of prejudice their society still was. Not only theirs, but South Korea was still very traditional, still not ready to face this topic.

Yoongi shrugged his small shoulders, 'Just because others might not like it, doesn't mean it's wrong, you know?'

And he guessed Yoongi was right. Sometimes he wondered where the other boy got all his knowledge from since he was only one and a half years older.

Sometimes Namjoon wondered if Yoongi had lived a thousand lives already.

He shook himself out of his thoughts and asked, 'Why are we talking about it anyway?'

'Because you are my Dongsaeng and I don't want you to hurt, because you fell for a straight guy. Which is always a bad idea.', Yoongi stated without fuss and reached for the empty ramyun cup before standing up and stretching like a cat, 'Liking someone of your gender isn't something you should be ashamed of or even be afraid of, but your heart is important, and it shouldn't break over someone who won't return your feelings.'

And again, Namjoon guessed the older was right about it, so he stood up and followed him out of the store into the cold.

When they reached the doors to their dorm, Namjoon's hand reached out to touch Yoongi's arm and hold him back.

'I...Hyung.' He adverted his eyes shyly, not knowing how to phrase his fear for a moment.

'You can ask me anything you want, Joon-ah.'

'Was it so obvious?' He whispered, 'Me liking him?'

'No.,' Yoongi stated, his hand patting Namjoons shoulder awkwardly, 'No, it wasn't. I don't think anyone else noticed. Don't worry.'

Relief was tingling down his spine like water drops on a window on a rainy November afternoon.

'Then how do you know?'

Right before Yoongi opened the door, he sent him a small, somewhat sad grin, 'Takes one to know one.'

 

It took Namjoon a while to get over this crush, even after Donghyuk told them that he wouldn't stay in the group but work for BigHit as a producer.

Sometimes, even after all those years, Namjoon caught himself watching his friend's lips when he explained some lyrics when they worked together thinking: 'Cute.'

 

Knowing all this, it had been inevitable:

Namjoon liking Jimin.

Because Jimin was cute. His small hands and puffy cheeks. The way he pouted those lips. Namjoon always was attracted to soft lips like Jimin's.

Because Jimin was small. Not 'small' small, but the shortest in their group and he often got annoyed by it, which made his cheeks glow pink and his eyes turn into angry slits.

Because Jimin was sweet. His voice was as sweet as a ripe mango on warm summer days and made Namjoon's insides to jelly. Jimin's kindness and patience with Namjoon when he stayed longer with the older in the studio to help him through a new choreography, left a feeling inside his heart very similar to the delight when he held a crab gently in his hands.

So, Namjoon should have known this would happen.

Because he'd always liked small things, cute things.

He just asked himself, sitting in his own studio, with the bright lights from his PC shining into his eyes, unable to concentrate on the work in front of him: 'How?'

Was it the very first day they met? The moment when Namjoon thought that he needed to be gentle with the boy in front of him?

Or when they moved in together, all seven of them as Bangtan Sonyeondan?

Maybe, he thinks, maybe he shouldn't have raised his hand and volunteered like Katniss for the Hunger Games to initiate more skinship with another member to distracted from the fact that their two youngest were disgustingly in love.

Namjoon wasn't sure how it could have happened without him recognizing, but somehow, gradually, Park Jimin had marched into his heart and made himself at home.

Chapter Text

Summer 2012

It's far too warm in the training room. The window is completely open, filling the room with hot, humid air, and they are all tired. Almost on the edge of despair because of how exhausted they are.

Namjoon seriously hates dancing. Not only is he isn't good at it, but apparently, his body is not made for it as well.

His body is lanky and long, and so out of tune. It's not swinging with the beat, no matter how loud Hoseok screams 'Bam Bam Bam Bam' for every step he had to take.

His arms won't cooperate with him, and whenever he sees himself in the huge mirror, thrusting his hips in a semi suggestive way, he cringes so hard his whole body shivers visibly.

He looks stupid. Not like Hoseok or their youngest, even Yoongi is better than him despite his grumbling protests every time before they start dance practice and he has to dance like he never wanted to. 

The music finally stops, and for a moment, Namjoon isn't sure if he can breathe. If his lungs allow him to breathe. He gasps for air, and his heart runs a mile inside his rib cage.

When Sungdeuk-nim, their choreographer, stops the music altogether and says something about a break, Namjoon wants to cry. He is just not sure if he can, since the shell which holds is personality, his soul, all that make him him, must have sweated out every last drop of water. At least, it feels like that.

Without hesitation, he slides to the floor and lays down. His shirt is sticking to his sweaty body, and he wishes for a cool breeze and maybe for a new body with more muscles and stamina. He pants loudly enough to drown his own heartbeat, which is still racing through every fiber of his being.

Namjoon hates dancing. He hates to move when he was just not built for movements like that. He hates his body and his muscles, or better his non-existing muscles. Sometimes he wonders if he should have worked out more, but then he shakes his head. He doesn't like working out. It's boring.

Namjoon takes long walks in parks or rides his bike along the Han River, in the rares cases he might consider to go for a run. But always in his own pace and not with a 'Bam Bam Bam,' shouting Hoseok by his side. It helps him think, helps him to organize his overstimulated mind, and finds answers to questions he didn't even think about before. But not this, never this.

He hates breathing right now almost more than on average practice days, since the air is sticky with humidity, and it reeks of pubescent boys. It's disgusting, and Namjoon tries not to breathe through his nose to avoid the urge to gag.

"I hate this." He mumbles, and from somewhere to his right, Yoongi agrees with a loud noise, "I'm not made for this."

He knows he is exaggerating a little bit. He knows it fully well.

"Me, too. And me neither. I look pretty. I'm not a dancer.", Seokjin mumbles back as if he doesn't dare to speak out loud, out of fear to awaken the devil only a few steps away, still eager to continue the practice.

Namjoon loves Hoseok, he really does. They are friends and go to the same class and laugh about the same things like Seokjin's tries to rap or Yoongi singing Whitney Houston songs when he drunk too much cheap beer. But right now, he wishes he would never have begged Bang Sihyuk to keep him in the company.

'He's important for our team. We need him. Jung Hoseok is our mood maker. He is our hope. We need him.'

And he meant every word he said. He really did.

But right now, Namjoon wants to slap his past self, because right now he hates Hoseok. And Seungdeuk. They are monsters, devils, demons on earth just to torture him and his fragile physique.

From somewhere on the other side of the room, he can hear Taehyung and Jeongguk excited giggles, and he wonders how they do it. How are they able to giggle when everything must hurt? Don't they hurt the way he does? Are they still full of energy and have enough air left in their lungs to do more than laying on the floor? How?

Then he hears Hoseok clapping into his hands, indication another run through, and he wants to groan, but no sound is coming out of him.

Najmoon just wants to shower. It doesn't matter if the others use all the hot water and it's freezing cold, making his skin look like a plucked chicken. Just a shower and obtainable a decent meal from his mother. It has been months since he last ate his mother's dishes, and he misses it, although Seokjin's Bibimbap would be an excellent substitute.

Kim Seokjin had been a huge surprise altogether.

The first-moment Namjoon saw him; he wasn't sure if the older boy fit in their group. Kim Seokjin couldn't dance, he wasn't trained in singing, and he'd never produced a song in his whole life before. He was absolutely not hip hop. Too soft-spoken, too Idol. Or what they compound with the word.

Seokjin attended university to become an actor, not a singer, and it showed. He lacked in experience, and Namjoon and Yoongi sent each other doubtful glances.

'Well, at least I'm the pretty one.' Seokjin had said with a sarcastic tone, knowing fully well that he needed to work hard to archive musical knowledge to keep pace with them, which he definitely did. Seokjin worked harder than most people Namjoon met and it shows, but he had been right.

Seokin was, no, is beautiful. The first time he smiled at Namjoon, huge eyes sparkling under dark, thick, and long lashes, Namjoon's face must have turned bright red on the spot because Seokjin started to laugh. Loudly and in such a bizarre way that Namjoon couldn't help but laugh as well. It was one of the most infectious laughs he'd ever heard, and it made him forget how embarrassed he had been within seconds.

Somehow the elder became a part of their team, and Namjoon wouldn't want it in any other way.

Seokjin still lived in his student flat, because 'I'm not giving up my own apartment too early to live with you slobs. Let me be, Joon-ah.'

'But your cooking is the best, Hyung.'

'Then ask me nicely, but don't invade my privacy, you punk.'

And this is why Namjoon is sure if he just smiles his dimple smile and looks like a beaten puppy, Seokjin would cook for them today. Because Seokjin is their Hyung, and he loves them to death, especially the little ones like Jeongguk and Taehyungie.

So, a cold shower, Bibimbap, and sleep. That is all Namjoon wants right now, laying on the floor in their practice room and feeling how his shirt made the wood under his shoulders wet. Disgusting. Utterly disgusting.

Maybe he would listen to some music which was not made for hip hop dancing, thank you very much. Jazz or classic would do, he thinks. He could listen to Ludovico Einaudi's album 'La notte della Taranta' while lying in bed and sleeping or reading. Namjoon can't remember when was the last time he held a real book in his hands, feeling the pages and breathing in the scent of literature. Namjoon is a hundred percent sure if someone let him sniff Amortentia, he would smell books and old libraries and cotton candy.

And right now he wants this so much, not the Amortentia, but the shower and the book and some warm Bibimbap, he seriously has to try not to let out a sob.

Instead, he has to greet another trainee after practice.

'It would be good if you greet the newbies and get an idea about them since you are the leader, Namjoon-ssi.', Hitman Bang had said, and Namjoon knew he was right. He had greeted the others as well, Hosoek, Seokjin, Jeonggukkie, and Taehyung, and he knew how important the first impression was.

It would be beneficial for their group, knowing the new faces and feeling, if they were right for their little group, but Namjoon wonders why he couldn't take a shower before he meets the new guy.

Wasn't is civil to not reek like an old gym bag?

Namjoon hopes the new guy fit into their group, he really does. They want to debut sometime in their lives, possibly soon, and the management wants them to be seven guys. He's not sure why they need to be seven since six is a good enough number as well. But in some ways, Namjoon knows they are right. Somehow, one spot is still empty, they are missing a piece, and Namjoon hopes, the trainee is their lost piece and fits into the empty spot like a puzzle.

Someone crouches next to him and presses a cold water bottle against his forehead.

"You have to drink something, Hyung.", Taehyung's deep satoori penetrates his ears, and of course, it's Taehyung.

The boy, who's an older brother where he comes from and is not able to let go of this role completely. Not that Namjoon is complaining.

Slowly he sits up and takes a deep gulp from the bottle, watching Hoseok carefully from the corner of his eyes, "Thanks, Taehyungie. I really needed that."

The younger hums softly and sits next to him, "You have to drink a little bit more, Hyung. Dehydration is the worst in this weather."

Dehydration is the worst in any weather, he thinks but doesn't say it out loud.

"I know.", He pats the younger's knee gently. He likes Taehyung. He's quirky and weird, sometimes completely lost in his own little world, but a hard worker. Determined to make up for any disadvances he might have. Taehyung has a fascinating mind, and if someone might ask Namjoon what he thinks about the other boy in one word, he would say 'Genius.'

Somehow, Taehyung had tickled Jeongguk out of his shell, with soft-spoken words, late-night Overwatch matches full of shouting and bright laughter and huge boxy grins while curling around the maknae.

"So, you are going to meet the new trainee today, right?" Taehyung asks loud enough for everyone to hear. Probably so, Hoseok would let them sit for a few more minutes. See, Genius.

He is nodding and sees how Jeongguk slowly creepy towards them since their two youngest are inseparable. Where one goes, the other follows within seconds.

"His name is Park Jimin. Apparently, he's from Busan as well.", He says and sending Jeongguk a smile, "And a 1995 liner."

"Yes.", Taehyung shouts and makes a triumphal fist.

"And what is he good at?", Yoongi asks the most critical question, who is sitting next to Seokjin now, nursing on his own water bottle and watching them through his cat-like eyes.

Namjoon shrugs his shoulders, "I wasn't able to see his audition tape until so far, but we will find out."

"You should have.", Seokjin says without hard feelings, stretching his legs out, groaning softly and making a face.

Namjoon knows that, thank you very much, but when? He doesn't even have the time to go to the toilet in peace.

"When?"

"Well.", Yoongi grins, "We all know what you hid on your PC. Instead of watching these videos, you could have watched Park Jimin's audition tape."

Namjoon feels his face heat up, but he raises an eyebrow at his friend, "As if you don't watch them as well."

"What videos?" Jeongguk looks even younger than a minute before, voicing out this question, his huge doe-eyes turning around questioning.

"Just rapper stuff, Kookie.", Hoseok chimes in brightly and ignores the youngest question, if he can watch the video as well and Seokjin's silent all-body laughter, but says instead, "Anyway. I heard he's a pretty good dancer."

Namjoon twitches. Another good dancer would mean more dance practice, right?

For a moment, he exchanges glance with his oldest Hyungs, and he sees their mild panic as well.

For a second, his mind provides him with the image of two Hoseok's screaming 'BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!' over loud hip hop music at him and more silent tears on cool, wooden studio floors. What a nightmare.

Another Hoseok would break them; he is sure of that.

"Alright, guys." Seungdeuk claps into his hands, and Namjoon can see him moving towards their music system, "Up, before you're too cold to dance. We do another round."

Groaning and mumbling to themselves, they stand up and shuffle into positions, and right before the music starts, Namjoon hears Yoongi say, "Hopefully, it's not another rapper, you know."

Yeah, he knows.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Park Jimin is not another rapper.

Honestly, Namjoon is not sure what he expected, but not this.

Until the moment Seungdeuk turned off the music for good, Namjoon hadn't thought about the new trainee, but then his mind filled immediately with his next task.

He is even hungrier and more exhausted than before, but Namjoon is nothing if not a real professional. If he had to face a new boy in a sweaty tank top and smelling like Victorian peasant, it's just the way it is. It will just show the new boy how their life as a trainee works.

He grabs for his snapback to hide his filthy hair and a new water bottle and says goodbye to the others, but not before he smiles at Seokjin and asks in an innocent voice, "Hyung, could you come to the dorm today?"

For a moment, Seokjin looks like he wants to decline, knowing the meaning behind Namjoon's question, but then Jeongguk joins them and looks up to Seokjin through his lashes, making huge doe-eyes, "Hyung, you're coming to the dorm? Do you make some Bibimbap? Or Gaeran Mari with kimchi fried rice? Do you?"

At his own words, Jeongguk's stomach grumbles loudly.

"Aish," Seokjin groans, but he loves them. He seriously does, especially the little ones. No one can resist Jeongguk's baby face and doe-like eyes.

Namjoon can literally see Seokjin's resistance collapsing like a house of cards in a storm.

"Alright, but you help me in the kitchen, Kook-ah.", the eldest says before he turns away to change into a clean shirt, not seeing Jeongguk fist-bumping Namjoon, still whining quietly to himself about respecting their elders and why it was always him.

Namjoon grins and walks down the corridor towards the main office, where he is supposed to meet Park Jimin.

The prospect of a decent meal helps him to stay positive and soothes his mood.

When Namjoon turns around the corner and sees a boy standing next to the office, he isn't sure if this is Park Jimin.

The boy wears black sweatpants and a grey shirt so big he's drowning in it. To his feet rests an old American military backpack, and he is fiddling with the wire of his headphones.

When he looks up, seeing Namjoon, an unsure smile creeps onto his face.

The boy looks young. Far younger than 16. He could be Kookie's age, maybe even younger than their maknae.

He could be Jimin's younger brother, waiting with him, Namjoon thinks, looking around, searching for another person.

When he comes to a halt next to the boy, no one else nearby, he asks, "Are you Park Jimin?"

The boy nods and then bows in an almost 90 angle a few times, mumbling his greetings. It's a bit too much, and Namjoon is not sure if the boy tries to suck it up or is just overly polite due to his nervousness.

But when Park Jimin stops bowing and looks up to Namjoon, he can't find any maliciousness or hidden agenda in those big, brown eyes.

Jimin is short. He's not small as in a fragile shape, but nicely build as far as Namjoon can see though his baggy clothes. Just short for his age. He might be even shorter than Jeongguk.

"My name is Kim Namjoon, and I'm the leader of the group.", He explains with a friendly voice, playing with the lid of the water bottle in his hands. Talking to new trainees is always awkward, he thinks, "Have you been waiting for long?"

Jimin shakes his head and bites his bottom lip for a moment, then wets them with his tongue.

Oh, Namjoon thinks, blinking.

He has very, very nice lips.

The boy's face is soft, with puffy cheeks and a button nose. His eyes are huge and dark and really nice to look at. They have an interesting shape. His hair, well, it's 2012, and somehow the hairdressers are still not over the Justin Bieber look, but it fits Jimin. It looks good on him. It just makes him look even younger.

Are they sure he was born in 1995?

Namjoon almost asks him, but Jimin is faster.

His voice trembles a little bit, when he replies, "No, not for long. My parents have just left. My brother is waiting at home alone. They couldn't wait longer. I hope it's alright."

Jimin, Namjoon finds, has a gentle voice. The Busan satoori is still very prominent, although the younger boy tries to restrain it. The way the words rumble over his tongue makes Namjoon want to ask a lot more questions, just to hear the other talk some more.

"I'm sorry. It would have been very nice to greet your parents."

It was pretty common for him to meet the parents of new trainees, explaining to them a little bit how living and being a trainee works in Seoul — taking away their fears. Namjoon met all the member's parents when they came to BigHit, except for Yoongi's.

Once he'd asked him if he'd run away from home. Rather than answering the question, Yoongi had raised an eyebrow and sent him into the kitchen to heat some water for instant ramyun. Namjoon never got an answer.

"And I'm really sorry if I smell, we had dance practice until now, and there wasn't any time to take a shower."

Jimin's face lights up after his words, ignoring the fact that Namjoon might stink, "How was it? What did you practice exactly?"

So he really is a dancer, Namjoon thinks and remarks sarcastically, "Sweaty."

The boy snorts quietly, raising an eyebrow, slowly getting relaxed, "Well, it's warm today."

"Yeah, the windows are too small, you know? But even if they were larger, with the weather like today, it wouldn't have changed anything. It was disgusting.", He takes a small sip from the water bottle, and his stomach grumbles loudly, reminding him that water is nice, but a meal would be a better option. So he suggests, "Would it be alright to go to the dorms? Seokjin-hyung is cooking today, and I'm kinda starving. If you want, we can come back later, and I show you the studio and practice room. Or tomorrow?"

Jimin nods without hesitation, "It's alright. Tomorrow sounds fine.", and bends down to pick up his back.

It's fast, and Namjoon almost doesn't catch it, but there it is: Two big eyes and a smiling mouth right at Jimin's butt.

He's barely able to suppress his laughter and leads the way down the corridor, "You have an interesting choice of clothing."

"Why?"

Namjoon grins and shakes his head, asking instead, "So, I wasn't able to see your audition tape. What are you good at?"

"I'm a dancer.", Jimin states and Namjoon can hear the smile in his voice, "Contemporary dance."

Namjoon tries to imagine the boy next to him in leggings and white tops and then tries to imagine him in their group. They are hip hop, Idols, so he's not sure if contemporary dancers fit in a concept like theirs.

As if Jimin heard his thoughts, he continues fast, "But I dance hip hop as well. And I sing. I'm a tenor in the countertenor territory.", He sounds like he's repeating what his vocal teacher might have told him before, a bit unsure about the terminology, "I'm better at dancing, but I'm working on my singing skills every day."

Namjoon doesn't doubt him. He looks like the kid who's seeking out perfectionism.

"What's with you, Namjoon-sunbaenim?"

And with that, Namjoon almost trips over his own feet and only doesn't fall, because Jimin's hand reaches out to grab him, steady him. Then he splutters over his words, feeling the heat rising in his face, "Oh god, don't call me sunbaenim. I'm only a year older than you, Jimin-ah."

"Oh." Jimin replies, looking equally embarrassed as Namjoon feels, and lets go of his arm, "Then, how should I call you?"

"Namjoon, Joonie, Hyung.", Namjoon says and walks a bit faster as if he could outrun the awkward situation and his embarrassment.

"Ok, Hyung. What about you?"

Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees a smile on Jimin's face.

 

The very same moment they enter the dorm, Taehyung is clued to Jimin's side. The two bond over being born in 1995, and after ten minutes, Taehyung exclaims loudly that the two are soulmates, and he never wants to let go. Jimin doesn't look like he minds.

Jeongguk joins them a moment later, finally escaping from the kitchen, and they talk about games and dance and home. Jeongguk looks like he might cry with relief for a second after the older boy ruffles his hair and talks to him in such a heavy satoori that Namjoon has to strain his ears to understand them.

Then Yoongi comes out of the shower in nothing but a towel around his waist, greeting Jimin awkwardly with a wave, but before someone can say anything, Seokjin calls from the kitchen, telling them to help to set the table.

When Jimin bows to Seokjin, Namjoon knows that the boy is just really polite and didn't try to suck it up before, but then he hears an uncharacteristic loud laugh.

He sees Yoongi holding his naked stomach and pointing at Jimin, howling with laughter, "Jiminie, is that a face on your ass?"

And Jimin blushes furiously, stammers some kind of explanation, but is interrupted by Hoseok questioning him about dancing and Seokjin's rants that Yoongi should at least put on some damn pants, "Punk."

The two youngest setting the table, but shouting so loudly about games, Namjoon thinks they might actually fight over something, even though they agree with each other.

The air is humid, it's too warm in the dorm, and he still wants to take a shower, but it smells like Bibimbap AND kimich fried rice.

Namjoon sees Jimin laughing about something Hoseok has said, his eyes vanishing completely. It looks adorable, and he thinks they need to be specifically gentle with him.

Namjoon still doesn't know what to think about Park Jimin after they had dinner.

Because Jimin is not what he expected. Whatever it is, he expected.

He exchanges a short glance with Yoongi, seeing the elder grin in his cup of tea. Seeing in his grin and eyes, what he thinks himself:

Jimin fits right in.

 

 

March 2013

The lights in the room are dim, and he shivers from time to time, although he's wearing the soft jumper his mother sent him after the management announced Jimin as their last official member and that they would start to work on songs and promotion soon. This was almost three months ago, and Namjoon is grateful. He's happy. Happy that they are finally able to work on something specific.

It's already pretty late, and Namjoon is still in the studio, sitting on the small leather couch, balancing a cup of coffee and his notebook on his knees, trying to pour out some lyrics.

He knows he should be back in their little apartment by now, but this is more important. He needs to finish the song, needs to show Bang-Sihyuk he made the right decision when he called Namjoon the leader, when they called all seven boys into the office, smiling wildly and telling them that yes, they would debut. Soon. In the summer.

He still can remember Taehyung's and Jimin's big grins, faces overflown with joy because they would debut together in the same group. He remembers Seokjin and Hoseok fist-bumping each other with relieved smiles on their tired faces and Jeongguk's nervous gulps. And he remembers Yoongi swallow breathing, bowing his thanks and then vanishing into one of the bathroom stalls as soon as he was able to, sobbing silently. When Namjoon had knocked on them, his friend let him in, and they hugged like they never hugged before.

"Oh god, Joon-ah.", Yoongi breath into his neck, clinging to Namjoon's hoodie, "Finally."

Later that night, they got shitfaced in Seokjin's flat, all six of them while Jeongguk slept in Seokjin's bed like a newborn, talking about the future. And about girls and sex, wanting. Wanting so much more than just that.

Namjoon thinks he'll always going to remember this day. He believes he'll probably remember it when he's 100 years old and can't even remember his own name.

Namjoon is happy, but still, he's anxious as well. He has to work hard, has to prove they made the right decision.

So he's still in the studio, tired, cold, and nursing his eighth cup of coffee while trying to write and produce like he's supposed too when his mobile lights up with a message.

 

Hobi: Are you still in the studio, Joon-ah?

RapMonster: Yeah, working on some lyrics right now. What's up?

Hobi: Have you seen Jiminie? He doesn't pick up his phone. Tae's crying.

RapMonster: Yoongi?

Hobi: Still out working. It's Friday.

 

A few days after Bang-Sihyuk told them Bangtan Soyeondan was complete, he told them Taehyung is a hidden member, and they were not going to release his name until shortly before debut. Taehyung isn't allowed to interact with them in the early promotions. He's not allowed to be a part of their vlogs, and he's not going to be a part of Jeongguk's middle school graduation celebration outside their dorm. He has to do his vlogs alone, without any of the other members to help him struggle through the first awkwardness of talking into a camera completely alone. It makes Taehyung nervous, anxious the management might still kick him out of the group if they find another trainee. Someone better

And it is not fair. To say, Namjoon isn't happy with the decision is an understatement. He's so fucking angry he stormed into Hitman Bangs office, demanding to reveal Taehyung as a member. Because he is a member of their group, and it's not fair to hide him away like an unwanted child in the 1800 century. Because Taehyung is needed in their group, and they cannot ever consider another person for his spot. Like Hoseok and Jimin. Namjoon knows the management contemplated kicking the Busan boy out multiple times, although Jimin never said a thing.

Taehyung is good enough, he states to the perplex producer, who's not processing what is happening in the late-night hours on a Tuesday mid-January.

"The group needs Taehyung," Namjoon was breathing hard, watching the man in front of him fiercely.

He needs Taehyung. Namjoon doesn't lie; they need the farmers boy. And then he stormed out of the room as fast as possible because there was a familiar burning in his eyes and a heavy weight on his chest, and he was not going to cry in the middle of the night on a Tuesday in mid-January. He was not.

He knows he won't be able to change their minds if they seriously want to kick Taehyung out, but he also knows that Bangtan won't survive it. They almost didn't when Hoseok left and nearly didn't come back.

Sometimes, when Taehyung misses home too much, sitting alone in the room, trying to record himself talking happily about their progress and songs and recordings, he just can't. And then he gets afraid, the panic starting to rise inside him, almost spilling over, the boy starts to cry.

Jimin, of course, is the person who can comfort him the most because they are soulmates.

"And idiots," Hoseok sometimes mumbles with a fond smile. He's as soft for the maknae line as all of them. With his strong koala-like hugs under the blankets and whispering about who knows what, Jimin tricks Tae's anxiety away.

The next best person is, surprisingly, Yoongi. Yoongi, who sneaks into Taehyung's bed, wrapping himself around the younger boy while speaking in a heavy Daegu satoori, murmuring into those huge ears until Taehyung is soundly asleep and the only reminder of his prior stress are tear-streak cheeks.

However, Yoongi works every Friday night at a friend's bar to earn a bit more money and to feed the younger ones more than instant ramyun from shabby convenient stores late at night.

Namjoon knows Hoseok and the others are able to handle Taehyung as well, but it's still easier if it is Jimin or Yoongi.

 

RapMonster: I'm going to look for Jimin. Just cuddle TaeTae until then.

Hobi: Get it, come back as well. Jin made dinner a few hours ago.

 

Namjoon stands up and leaves the studio. Obviously, the practice room is the first place Namjoon is going to check.

The company is entirely silent. Most employees went home hours ago, only the cleaning staff, the janitor and night guard at the receptionist are in the building.

And perhaps Donghyuk and one of the other producers.

Surprisingly, Jimin isn't in the dance studio, but he sees Jimin's phone connected to the speakers, and the ugly jute bag with a SpongeBob pattern is lying on the floor, next to Jimin's shoes and jacket.

Namjoon sighs, thinking about leaving without Jimin's stuff, but he knows it's faster if he packs it and takes it with him instead of coming back.

He grabs the abandoned shoes, bag and jacket and wonders briefly why the younger left them behind.

When he disconnects Jimin's phone, it lights up, and he sees more than ten messages from Hoseok and Seokjin, even one from Jeongguk, who never really replies to any of his Hyungs, let alone initiates a conversation. So it must be really bad tonight.

He has six missed calls, three from Hoseok, two from Seokjin, and one from his mother. Namjoon wonders if the boy misses his family as much as he does, especially Kyungmin. Jimin has a younger brother and once he told them that they were pretty close when he was still living at home.

Then he recognizes the lock screen and snorts out loud. It's a picture of Taemin from the MAMA's the year before.

They watched it together, all seven of them huddled in front of the small studio TV. Namjoon still remembers Jimin raving about SHINee's maknae a bit too loud, a bit too much, that Yoongi couldn't hold himself back any longer and asked with a knowing glint in his eyes if the boy had a crush.

"NO!", Jimin nearly yelled out loud, flushing bright pink and hugging his knees to his muscular chest, "Taemin is my role model. Have you seen him dance?"

"YA!", Hoseok exclaimed, "I thought I'm your role model."

Namjoon knows that Yoongi pulled the boy aside and bullied him into a walk to the convenient store, much like he did with Namjoon almost two years prior.

Namjoon doesn't know if Jimin is like them, 'queer' because Yoongi never talked about it.

"It's not my place to tell anything if there is something to tell.", Yoongi had said once and then turned back to the screen, pointing at a part of the bridge in their song, "It sounds off; let's work on that part again, Joon-ah."

The next two places, Namjoon should be looking for Jimin is either the small fitness studio three blocks away or one of the rooms for vocal training, where the acoustic is so much better.

Logically speaking, Namjoon doesn't even think about the fitness studio twice, since he's sure the other boy wouldn't leave his phone back in the company building, let alone his shoes.

Sure enough, when he steps into the corridor one floor above, he sees the light filtering through the frosted glass window from one of the doors.

He doesn't bother to knock, opens the door without hesitation, and there he is.

Jimin stands with his back to Namjoon, in ripped black jeans and the biggest hoodie he's ever seen. He's barefoot, much like Namjoon has expected. His toes are wriggling, rocking on his feet up and down.

Jimin sings without words, trying to steady his voice in the higher vocal range, but he's not quite there yet. Namjoon still thinks he sounds really nice. He's got better since he became a trainee. They all know Jimin's unhappy with his voice because he sounds too feminine, and he's not 'good enough,' and how are they even going to work with him in their current concept anyway? He does not fit in, all soft and light voice, so he goes to the gym every day and tries so hard to look manly. Namjoon doesn't really understand his problem, he believes, Jimin's voice fit perfectly in their group and their concept. 

Jimin's shoulders are tense, and Namjoon can almost taste his frustration on his tongue.

Somehow, Namjoon feels like a voyeur, out of place, and like he isn't supposed to watch his friend like that.

So he knocks lightly at the door frame, "Jiminie?"

The other boy whirls around, startled, a hand clasps his hoodie firmly, right above his heart.

"Hyung!" His eyes are enormous, and his bare face looks so soft, Namjoon wants to pinch his cheeks. Inwardly screaming, 'it's so fluffy I'm gonna die!'

Namjoon doesn't understand why, but instead of telling him immediately about Tae, the next words come out without warning, "Why are you barefoot?", the same moment Jimin declares, "You should have said something. I think my heart is going to explode!"

Then he looks down, inspecting his feet as if he just realized he isn't wearing any shoes and shrugs his shoulders awkwardly, "I like it. It grounds me."

Oddly enough, Namjoon gets what he means, nodding silently and then holds out his hand, with Jimin's phone, "Taehyung."

Jimin snatches his phone from his hands with a concerned grimace and scans his messages quickly.

"Aish." He murmurs, tipping furiously on his screen, faster than anyone Namjoon's ever seen, probably telling Hoseok he's on his way.

"I brought you your other stuff as well. You're good to go.", He hands him his bag and the shoes, earning a thankful smile.

"Thanks, Joonie.", slipping into his socks and shoes, "You come as well?"

Namjoon thinks about his bed, about the dinner Hoseok mentioned before, but shakes his head, "Nope, I want to finish the lyrics tonight."

Jimin looks like he wants to object, but doesn't. He probably knows it won't change Namjoon's mind since he's the same with dancing routines as well.

More than once, Yoongi or Namjoon had dragged the boy out of the studio at 3 am, scolding, that he needs to rest.

It's a bit hypocritical since they stay late in the studio, as well.

"Alright, see you later, Hyung.", Jimin waves goodbye and rushes out of the room.

Namjoon can hear his squeaky footsteps on the floor, running around the corner, and slowly, he turns the lights off and closes the door.

Now, knowing Jimin isn't in the building anymore, it feels completely deserted, and he wanders back to his studio. It's not that he feels specifically lonely, but sometimes the silence gets to him. Messes with his head and makes his stomach clench in a way, he can't really explain to others. It's not exactly loneliness, but the knowledge of being alone.

His coffee is cold, and he contemplates drinking it anyway. Coffee is expensive, and Namjoon is a broke artist. His spot on the couch is cold as well, and maybe he should get a blanket for the room, eventually.

He sighs when he sits down, grabbing his notebook and the abandoned pen when the door flies open and Jimin's standing in the door frame, slightly out of breath.

After a few heartbeats, his hands in the pockets of his jacket and a light frown in his face, almost completely hidden under the Justin Bieber fringe, he reaches out a hand, "Come home with me, Hyung."

Home.

The whole time since Namjoon lives in Seoul, home was still a small house in Ilsan, with too many books to read and a messy, uncared garden full of weeds since his parents have no time to take care of it, and Kyungmin and he are far too lazy.

Home, now, is a small two-room apartment with too many boys, a shabby shower that runs out of warm water after 13 minutes and 36 seconds, forcing them to share on multiple occasions with awkward smiles and awkward glances. A place without enough space to breath properly, let alone move without stumbling over another pair of limbs or articles of clothing.

Home, now, is a room with seven beds for seven boys, dreaming the same dream every night and day, who fight and laugh and cry, and Namjoon is thankful for it.

Home, now, is a place that smells like Seokjin's cooking and Hoseok's cologne, sounds like Taehyung singing in the shower, and Jeongguk's squeaky teenage-boy laughter and Jimin stealing their shirts and Yoongi's notes all over the place.

Home, He wonders when he closes his notebook for the night and takes Jimin's outstretched hand before turning off the light and closing the studio door, is maybe not a place, but the people filling it.

And for a second he wonders when they became a family.

 

February 2015

"It's strange working on the next concept right after ending the other.", Namjoon mumbles into his coffee cup, sitting shoulder to shoulder next to Yoongi, working on Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa, the most beautiful moment in life. This time he has a blanket on his legs, and he isn't freezing anymore.

"It's strange to work on it right after moving dorms.", Yoongi replies equally tired, nursing his own giant cup of coffee, "How do you sleep in your new room anyway?"

They moved into the new dorms only a few weeks ago, and it still smells like paint and new furniture. They, yet, don't know all corners and which button is for the lights and which for the ventilation in the bathroom. The slightly bigger flat is still unfamiliar.

Namjoon runs his hand through his blond hair and tries to disentangle the knots. He likes the platinum blond hairstyle. It looks good on him, but he doesn't like how damaged they are and how easily they tend to knot during the day.

"It's....different.", He answers truthfully. He shares his room only with Jeongguk, and although their maknae is a pleasant roommate, he still has to get used to the lack of noises from more than two people in a room.

Yoongi sighs, bumping his shoulder into Namjoon's, "I get what you mean. It's rather quiet. I like rooming with Seokjin. He's perfect, but somehow I miss your snoring."

"And Hobi's purring when he pets himself to sleep.", Namjoon agrees, grinning. He doesn't miss Yoongi's flushed ears after saying their eldest is perfect, but he doesn't mention it. His friend will tell him on his own if there is anything to tell, Namjoon knows. And as far as they are concerned, Seokjin is as straight as uncooked spaghetti.

"Anyway.", Yoongi says, turning back to the screen, "I wanted to meet up with Kihyun soon, and whenever he goes out of the house, Changkyun follows him like a lost puppy, and then Jooheon follows, too, which means Jackson is going to come as well. And then he will whine why you didn't come along. So, wanna come as well?"

Namjoon snorts loudly, reaching for his phone, "Jacks' and I wanted to hang out today, actually, but I wouldn't mind. As long as you don't."

Yoongi doesn't mind, even if he sometimes acts like he doesn't want to hang out with any of the others, but Namjoon suspects he has a soft spot for Changkyun and likes the other two rappers just fine enough.

They all keep up to date about No.Mercy, because of Yoongi's friendship with Kihyun.

 

RapMon: We still hang out later?

JWangPuppy: Definitely, how about Pizza and The Last of us?

RapMon: You're still not over that game?

JWangPuppy: Bro, Dude, Mate, I'll never gonna get over Joel and Ellie.

RapMon: Wow, too much, Jacks. Not sure when I get out of the studio, but I'm gonna text you later, alright?

JWangPuppy: No problem.

RapMon: Btw, Yoongi told me he's going to meet up with Kihyun, which means you are coming as well?!

JWangPuppy: Apparently, I do?! Just tell me when.

 

Before he can reply again, the door to their studio opens, and Sejin-nim steps into the small room.

Surprisingly, their manager looks troubled.

"What's wrong?" Yoongi doesn't beat around bushes. The other man sighs, tilting his head quickly, a small habit Jeongguk adapted a few months prior, "Bang Sihyuk scheduled an emergency meeting in an hour. Could you call the other boys in?"

"What?" Namjoon stutters, "An emergency meeting? What's wrong?"

Sejin shakes his head, "Just be in the conference room in an hour. Don't be late, please."

And then he is gone, as quickly as he came.

 

RapMon: Meeting in an hour, don't be late.

I'mHope: What meeting?

MinGenius: Sejin-nim came in and told us. Emergency.

ChimChim: An EMERGENCY MEETING?

Kookie: Did we do something?

WorldWideHandsome: Who's at the dorm? I'll pick you up.

I'mHope: TaeTae and me, thanks.

ChimChim: Seriously, did we do something?

RapMon: I don't know, he didn't say anything. But everything will be alright, don't worry.

I'mHope: Oh god, do you think someone saw me last week? With Heeyoung?

 

Namjoon doesn't know what to say. They don't have a dating ban, but being an Idol kind of requires to be single. They all are discreet when they are meeting with partners, but you'll never know. One wrong move, a blast of air or the wrong neighborhood and someone might have seen them.

Hoseok is probably the most discreet one of all of them. Mostly not even telling them about his partners, but it is different with Heeyoung. He likes her, and they are going on dates for almost six months now, so he told them and the management about her.

 

MinGenius: Nah, don't think so, or we would already know about it. Just come to the office. Tae-ah, are you ok?

I'mHope: He can't find his phone, but he's alright.

WorldWideHandsome: Where are you, Jimin-ah?

ChimChim: Kookie and I are in the dance studio.

RapMon: Alright, meet you guys in the conference room in 20?!

Kookie: k

I'mHope: yes, leader.

ChimChim: See u in 5

WorldWideHandsome: Now, all breath. Everything is alright.

 

But is it? If it isn't about Heeyoung, what is it about? Are they tired of Bangtan? Will they disband them? Are they not doing the next comeback?

Namjoon gasps for air, staring at the lyrics Yoongi and he wrote only a few minutes earlier.

They are going to disband, and then it's over. He can't breathe, he can't see, he doesn't hear anything, until Yoongi slaps him out of his spiraling thoughts, literally.

His cheek stings, but he blinks, and suddenly, he can breathe again, "Oh god."

"Joon-ah, it's alright.", Yoongi says, watching him with solemn eyes, "Everything is alright. Come one, let's get out."

Outside their studio, they see Jimin and Jeongguk, equally agitated. Jimin's pale and gnaws at his lips furiously, while Jeongguk steps from one foot to another. They are both in training clothes and smell like exercising. Slowly, without talking, they walk to the conference room, Jimin slipping next to him, sitting closer than they usually would. They need proximity to calm their nerves.

After a few minutes, Seokjin, Hoseok, and a pajama-wearing Taehyung stumble into the room. Without hesitation, Jeongguk stands up and reaches for Taehyung's hand, curling around him, and for a short moment, Namjoon isn't sure if they even share a chair.

"Anything new?" Seokjin asks, sitting next to Yoongi, looking out of place and nervous. Hoseok doesn't even sit down, walking through the room and fidgeting with his leg, reminding him of the bunny from Bambi.

"No, nothing.", Namjoon's voice is raspy. He wishes for some water or tea and his bed. Maybe he should text Jackson that they're not going to meet later, but he forgot his phone in the studio and also IF they disband, he thinks, he needs his friend.

Slowly, Sejin-nim, Hitman Bang, Bang Sihyuk, even Donghyuk, and Seungdeuk come into the room.

Namjoon feels like suffocation. It's too warm, sticky with too many people in a room too small. He wishes he could open the window, but it's still February and cold outside. It's even snowing, so he isn't sure if the others would allow him to open the small window.

When he breathes in, it smells like fear, sweaty, and Axe deodorant. For a moment, Namjoon wonders if he should finally tell Jeongguk not to use Axe because Axe is garbage. It barely conceals the smell of teenage sweat. Axe is the modern equivalent for using perfume 1750 in Versailles when nobody used water to clean their bodies but used scented powder and oils, wearing wigs full of fleas all day long.

The thing is when Namjoon is really stressed, his mind seems to want to tell strange or funny facts.

Like now, his brain wants to tell everyone in the room, that Napoleon used to write letters in which he was asking his beloved one not to wash herself until he came back home from war. It used to be for months, and it's somewhat revolting thinking about how she must have smelt, and the only reason he doesn't say anything is that suddenly, he feels Jimin's hand on his knee, squeezing it lightly. He looks to his knee, watching Jimin's small hand gripping tighter.

After a heartbeat of hesitation, Namjoon places is own on Jimin's, very gently.

Before their CEO can say anything, Taehyung asks in a tiny, timid voice, "Do you want us to disband?"

Namjoon shakes himself. He has to snap out of himself, be professional. He is the leader, and he should at least try and make them feel save.

For a moment, he looks around, seeing Taehyung's lips tremble slightly.

"What?" Bang Sihyuk seems shocked.

Namjoon takes a deep breath and speaks up, "Since we didn't know what the emergency meeting would be about, we are worried about not continuing working on a comeback."

Their CEO and Hitman Bang almost shout, talking too fast, "No. no, don't worry. We don't want to lose you."

All seven of them sigh out with relief, their shoulders sack like they are puppets, and someone cut the strings off.

Now, Namjoon isn't sure what the problem might be, but then he sees Bang Sihyuk's eyes resting at Taehyung and Jeongguk for a moment too long.

Their two youngest sitting an inch too close, and Namjoon knows. Shit.

And he feels sick all of a sudden. He can't save them from the following humiliation, and he is incredibly glad he didn't mention Napoleon.

Bang Sihyuk starts to talk about how vital skinship is in their business and that he doesn't mind them to be close with each other, hell, no, it actually helps them provide more fans from all over the world. That he is glad, the boys are all so comfortable with each other to initiate it among themselves, and they never had to force them to it, which is true. They were never forced to do any kind of skinship they might not be completely comfortable with, except maybe the awkward smooch between Hoseok and Taehyung almost two years ago, but even then, the staff made sure the boys didn't have to do it. Turning off the camera for a few moments and talking to them.

Their closure developed over time, and they all feel comfortable with each other.

Yet Bang Sihyuk says, he doesn't want to appear like that 'arsehole,' but,

"Taehyung and Jeongguk, you two are too close in front of the camera."

And their relationship, although there is nothing wrong with being gay and an Idol, the man states without hesitation, and Namjoon has to give him credit for it because homosexuality is still a foreign concept in Korea and not that readily accepted.

"It is just that it has to stay out of the public, you know.", Hitman Bang says, and his voice is soft and full of understanding for the two boys.

Namjoon feels Jimin's hand tighten, even more, it nearly hurts.

The problem is, there is no relationship. Taehyung and Jeongguk might be extremely close, and yeah, they also might be in love with each other, but Namjoon is sure they never actually talked about it.

Hell, it might even be highly possible they didn't know about it until now.

Seeing Jeongguk blushing bright red and trembling like a leaf and Taehyung's stony masc, not moving an inch and nearly as white as the wall behind them, he knows they didn't know.

"I'm not...", Taehyung forces out in a voice Namjoon has never heard before, "We're not...!"

Bang Sihyuk and their main producer are looking lost for a second, before Sejin continues, "That's alright as well. We are sorry for assuming."

And then they talk that Taehyung and Jeongguk still have to distance each other hereafter. Of course, only in front of the camera, which is rather stupid to say, especially since cameras always follow them, but Namjoon doesn't object. He doesn't want to make it harder than it already is.

Besides, the management thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring up a different pairing as a small distraction — an unlikely pairing.

"How about Yoongi-hyung and Namjoon-ah.", Donghyuk suggests with a mischievous smirk, but everyone shakes their heads immediately.

"No, it would be awkward, primarily because they are bad at initiating skinship.", Hoseok responds with a grin of his own.

"How about more skinship within an already established pairing, like Namjoon-hyung and Jin-hyung?", Jimin pipes up, but his suggestion falls on deaf ears.

Sejin tilts his head, "No, no established pairings. It has to be something new, for example, Taehyungie and Yoongi-ssi."

Both cough and eyeing each other out of the corner of their eyes. Namjoon is glad that Taehyung seems to back to life gradually.

Yoongi grumbles, "Yah, why not."

Then Jimin proposes, "How about two new pairings? Twice the impact, you know? And I don't mind more skinship."

"Do you have someone in mind?" Bang Sihyuk asks, and for the first time, Namjoon looks at Jimin. His cheeks a rosy, probably because of his boldness.

Namjoon feels his small, slightly sweaty hand through the fabric of his jeans and thinks, Why not?

He raises his hand, smiling lightly, "How about me? It would be very unlikely, right?"

And then it's settled.

Bang Sihyuk and Hitman Bang ask him and Yoongi how the new songs are coming along and if they want to share it already.

Then they tell them to provide them with a small plan until Friday, about how much and what kind of skinship they are comfortable to do, and gradually the room empties.

When it's only the seven of them, Hoseok groans loudly, "They could have at least told us the topic of the emergency meeting. I might have sent Heeyoung some strange messages, and she must be freaking out by now!"

Without looking back, he takes out his phone and dials his girlfriend's number, walking out of the room.

Seokjin stands up as well, stretching like a lazy cat and looks to their two youngest, asking tentatively, "Do you want to go home?"

Then Namjoon looks to them, Jeongguk still hasn't moved, and Taehyung seems like he might getting sick.

"Come on.", Namjoon's standing up, but doesn't let go of Jimin's hand, pulling the younger with him, "Let's wait outside, alright."

The four of them stumble out of their chairs, stepping out of the room, but before the door closes behind them, they hear Taehyung's soft voice, "Kookie?"

"Don't touch me!" Jeongguk suddenly shouts, "I'm not like THAT!"

The way he says it makes Namjoon freeze. Like it's something sickening, something unnatural.

And he knows, Jeongguk doesn't mean it. They all talked about the LGBT+ community after Yoongi indirectly admitting in one interview that gender doesn't concern him while dating.

They talked about openly supporting the LGBT+ community as much as possible, without getting into trouble, how utterly unfair their society still is towards this topic, and how very much Yoongi likes guys as much as girls. Namjoon didn't come out that night. Mostly because he still isn't sure about his sexuality and doesn't want to talk about it until he knows in which box he fits. Not that he wants to fit in a metaphorical box, but still, he feels like he needs to figure it out before talking to other people about it.

He's glad, Yoongi didn't seem to mind and didn't pressure him into talking.

That's the reason why he knows, Jeongguk doesn't mind homosexuality, and he doesn't mean the way he said what he said. He's probably scared and insecure and pushed into a corner, but it still hurts.

Namjoon feels Jimin's hand in his own and squeezes for a moment, unsure what to do.

Taehyung comes storming out of the room, ignoring them, tears streaming down his face, his shoulders shaking helplessly, and without hesitation, Jimin follows his best friend, letting go of Namjoon's hand.

Suddenly he feels cold and lost, and his finger curls around the cool air automatically.

"SHIT!" Namjoon hears Jeongguk cry out and some crushing. They hurry back into the room, and Namjoon sees him holding his hand, silently sobbing.

"Kook-ah." Yoongi mumbles, stepping closer and reaching for him.

"I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean it.", He sounds so lost and thoroughly ashamed of himself, rambling, "I just don't like guys like that. Tae is my Hyung. I like IU!"

Namjoon thinks, the boy lies to himself, but who is he to judge?

So, he doesn't say a word, only watches Yoongi patting their youngest shoulders and leading him out of the room, "Let's go, Kook-ah. How about some lamb skewers? It's Hyungs treat today."

Before they are gone, Namjoon remembers and says, "I'm meeting up with Jackson in his dorm later. Do you want to come with me and visit Yugyeom-ah, Kookie?"

The boy only nods and follows Yoongi out of the room.

Namjoon and Seokjin look at each other, and after a moment, Seokjin sighs, "Coffee?"

"God, yes, please."

 

Later that day, Jeongguk says, he's going to apologize to Taehyung after they come back that night, and Namjoon leaves the topic be.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon loves to hang out with Jackson. The Chinese rapper is funny, but also very serious, and they can talk in English with each other all night long. They are sitting on Jackson's bed, pizza between them and PlayStation controller in their hands, staring at the screen, trying to kill some zombies.

He told him about the little emergency meeting and how utterly out of dept Namjoon feels about the idea to do more skinship with his fellow group member even if he volunteered.

"It's not that I don't like Jimin.", Namjoon says again, chewing on a piece of pizza and groaning, "It's just that I'm bad at it. How am I able to do that, when I'm not even able to receive a damn single normal handshake?"

Jackson snorts loudly and very unattractive, "Well, Joon-ah, you have to let it grow, like a flower."

"You are full of shit, man.", Namjoon retorts, stretching out his legs, laughing silently. He is very aware of the fact that his friend is incredibly good at skinship with EVERYONE. Jackson is natural, without hesitation, and sometimes a bit clingy.

"Thanks, my friend. I never enrich you with my wisdom again. Now you have to use common methods."

"And that would be?"

"Google.", Jackson smiles, "Just google."

Suddenly the door opens without warning, and Mark comes in, "Oh."

The air shifts from friendly and relaxed to slightly awkward.

There is one thing, Jackson doesn't know about Namjoon:

Namjoon and Mark have a past.

A short past, only like ten kisses, four very inopportune blowjobs, and three fantastic fucks. Mark is Namjoon's first kiss with a guy, his first time feeling the velvet skin of a penis on his tongue and two first times. Because of Mark, Namjoon knows he likes being on top with a guy more than being a bottom, but doesn't mind either way, depending on his mood and the person he's with.

They weren't in love with each other, just two queer Idols bonding over precisely this fact, over being rappers and fluent in English, searching for intimacy, distraction, and a person outside their group.

Namjoon still doesn't really know why they stopped meeting and doing things, but they didn't fight or something similar. Perhaps they stopped doing it together because there was never enough time, never enough opportunities to meet regularly. The phone calls and messages became less each week, and then it stopped.

The thing is, they're both not casual about intimacy, which makes them awkward around each other.

They share a small, very heavy glance, and Namjoon can see Mark blushing, turning around on the spot and leaving without another word.

"What the fuck was that?" Jackson asks bewildered, not for the first time, but Namjoon only shrugs with his shoulders, because this is the only thing Jackson doesn't know about him and Namjoon doesn't want him to.

Because sometimes, Namjoon can still feel Marks' smooth lips and sharp teeth on the spot behind his ear, which makes him shudder with anticipation.

Sometimes he can still hear the breathy moans he coaxed out of the other man.

Namjoon tries to suppress these thoughts because now wasn't the right time for that.

Instead, he grabs another slice of Pizza and questions out loud, "What should I do with Jimin?"

It's silent for a moment, Jackson's concentration on the game.

"How about you let him call you Oppa?!"

Namjoon almost chokes on the cheesy bite in his mouth.

Chapter Text

February 2015

Jeongguk is almost asleep, sandwiched between a snoring BamBam and a furiously whispering Yugyeom, ranting about the game in front of them when Namjoon finally emerges out of Jackson's room.

"Kook-ah." He gently touches the boy's shoulder, "Manager-nim is waiting in the car. We have to go home."

Slowly, he helps Jeongguk off the couch and into his shoes and jacket, since the boy doesn't seem to be able to open his eyes properly, not even responding to Namjoon's question if he had fun.

He bids his goodbye, seeing out of the corner of his eyes Mark standing awkwardly in the door frame of their bathroom, sending him a nod of acknowledgment, before embracing Jackson in a brief hug, who say far too loudly, "Seriously, Joon-ah. Just let Jiminie call you Oppa. The girls will have a feast."

"Jackson!" He groans in response, trying to hit the other's shoulder with a fist, "Don't be an idiot, please."

But his friend crackles up, wheezing, "Imagine it."

His voice goes soft and girly, "'Namjoon-Oppa, I like your raps the best.'"

A smirk spread on his face, and even Mark seems like he can't suppress a light chuckle.

"I hate you.", Namjoon sighs, grabbing his leather jacket and sending Jeongguk a warning glance since the boy seemed to find it as funny as his friend, suddenly wide awake, "No Oppa-calling on my watch. See you, Jacks'! Bye, Mark."

"Bye, Joon-ah."

With that, he steps out of GOT7's dorm, Jeongguk, in tow, who luckily doesn't say anything.

The drive doesn't take too long, hardly any traffic at the time of the day.

Namjoon leans his head on the window, staring out into the night. The city is glowing with the streetlights and advertising signs. Mostly in orange, red, and an off-white from the other cars, but every so often a blue or green one.

He loves it. The city by night, it's relaxing. If he could, Namjoon would walk home. Walking through the city, the empty streets by night, only hearing his footsteps on the asphalt and letting his mind wander on its own. Now that they are doing better, getting more recognition and new fans every day, he's not able to do it as often as he used to. Maybe, he thinks, he should do a bicycle tour the next time they have a day off. At the Han River, with the prospect of a hazel latte and one of the chocolate-carrot cakes he tried last summer. He can almost taste the cake on his tongue.

"Do you think Taehyung is still angry with me?" Jeongguk's soft voice tears him out of his dreams, and he accidentally hits his head on the window.

"Shit, uh.", He rubs the stinging spot and turns to the younger boy. Jeongguk looks so much smaller than normal, and his brows are drawn together, obviously distressed.

Namjoon is glad that Jeongguk's still thinking about the incident earlier, that he feels ashamed of his behavior and wants to make it right, but at the same time, it somehow hurts him to see his friend struggle.

"No, Kookie, I think he wasn't angry in the first place.", Namjoon answers thoughtfully, putting his hand on Jeongguk's knee for reassurance, "Taehyungie was just as stressed about the whole meeting as you were, and, honestly, your harsh reaction might have hurt him a little bit, but if you talk to him and explain what was going on inside your head, he'll understand it."

"You think so?" huge doe-eyes looking up to him, and Namjoon only nods his head, squeezing his knee gently.

"I am sorry about the way I've spoken earlier, you know.", Jeongguk continues, "It was very disrespectful. Although I seriously didn't mean it like that, I should have thought more before speaking out loud."

Namjoon chuckles a bit, "Did Yoongi-Hyung said this to you?"

"Yeah.", He admits embarrassed, rubbing his cheeks and tilting his head to one side, "He also said, I should apologize to you as well."

"Oh, did he?"

Jeongguk nods slowly, "He didn't say why, and I'm not entirely sure what I did wrong towards you, but if I've said anything to offend or hurt you, Hyung, I want you to know I'm truly sorry about it."

Namjoon can't help but smile at that. They all did good, raising the boy from Busan, he thinks before answering, "It's alright, Kook-ah. I forgive you."

They stay silent for the rest of the drive, each following their own thoughts.

Sometimes, Namjoon thinks he should tell them all about his sexuality, even if he didn't find the right term until so far. Perhaps he would find a fitting term easier if he would talk with other people about it; if he didn't feel like he has to hide this fact about himself.

He never really talked to anyone about it before. Yoongi figured it out all on his own and Mark, well, they didn't necessarily talk about the thing between them.

He met Mark at one of those private parties for rookies and Idols almost one year ago.

When Jackson introduced them, the first thing Namjoon noticed was the heart-shaped lips and sharp teeth. Then Mark started to talk, switching between English and Korean when he couldn't remember the correct words, and the next thing Namjoon remembers are those lips against his, in the tiny bathroom stall. His back pressed against the door and his hands tangled in thick, red locks, tugging him closer, melting into the kiss.

The only person knowing about his short affair with the other rapper is Yoongi, and only because Namjoon's bag slipped out of his hand and a pack of condoms and lube rolled out of it when they were in the safety of their studio.

Before Namjoon could grab the things, Yoongi picked the lube up, turning it around in his hand and raised an eyebrow, "What's with that, Joon-ah?"

"Nothing, Hyung.", He snatched the lube out of Yoongi's hand, trying to hide his blush and change the topic immediately, but the older wasn't distracted easily.

"You've got a girlfriend?"

"No."

"Boyfriend?"

"God, no, could you stop, please."

"So, a one-night-stand?"

"Hyung!" He kicked the securely closed bag under the small table and curled up on the couch, knees raised to his chest, burning face hiding in the fabric of his hoodie, "I don't know. We didn't talk about what this is, ok?!"

"Who is 'we'?"

"None of your business.", Namjoon snapped and reached for his coffee, regretting his effervescent behavior instantly.

"Ok.", Yoongi busied himself with some lyrics, ankles crossed under him and balancing his notebook on his knee, not taking Namjoon's behavior seriously.

After a while, Namjoon sighed, "Mark Tuan."

"He's pretty. You made a good catch."

"Yeah, he is."

Slowly, Yoongi looked up, his sharp eyes fixating on Namjoon's face, and without batting an eye, he said, "You know, you have to be very careful. Preparation is incredibly important before you guys have sex. You have to stretch the anus and rectum carefully before you can..."

"OH MY FUCKING GOD, HYUNG!"

They never talked about Mark or any similar topic again. And Namjoon would never ever, even with a weapon against his head, admit, that he later researched profoundly how to do anal sex correctly.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The first thing Namjoon noticed when he opened the door to their home, is that the lights are still turned on in the kitchen and someone is using the electric kettle.

It's long past midnight, and they have an early start the next day. The leader inside him wants to admonish, whoever is currently boiling some water, that sleep is essential, and they shouldn't be up so late.

Suddenly, Jimin is standing in the hallway, lured in due to noises Namjoon and Jeongguk made while taking off their street clothes.

"Oh, hello Hyung, Kookie.", the other boy says, smiling, dressed in an old shirt, which is worn out at the collar and shows too much skin, "I'm making tea, do you want some?"

"Yeah, I would like one before going to bed.", Namjoon replies, yawning loudly and strolls towards the kitchen, where it is warm.

"And you, Kook-ah?" Jimin invites warmly as if the afternoon never happened.

"Hmm, no, I think I should, you know.", the youngest points towards the bedrooms, but doesn't move. Hesitantly, he bites his lips, but before he can voice his concern, Jimin says nonchalantly, "Taehyungie went to bed only a few minutes before you guys came home. He's probably still awake, you know."

The maknae nods and turns on his heels, wanting to solve the fight with his best friend as fast as possible, but before he's around the corner, he looks over his shoulders and says, smirking, "Jackson-Hyung said, you should call Namjoon-Hyung Oppa!"

Before Namjoon can say anything, the boy darts out of sight, and Jimin's breathless laughter fills the kitchen.

"This brat.", Namjoon grumbles under his breath, taking two cups out of the cupboard and hands them to Jimin, who places some ginger, a lemon, and some honey on the counter.

He hums quietly to himself while he cuts the lemon and ginger, shooing Namjoon away before he can grab for the sharp kitchen knife.

Namjoon leans against the refrigerator, crossing his arms in front of his chest, "Why are you still awake, Jiminie?"

The younger boy prepares the cups, pours in boiling some water and gestures towards the honey, "You want some as well?"

After Namjoon nodded in agreement, Jimin hands him the steaming cup, with an absentminded, "Careful, Joonie, don't burn your tongue."

"Thanks.", they sit down on the counter, hands wrapped around the cups, enjoying the company of the other.

"Taehyungie and I stayed in the studio and danced out some tension, you know. The events kinda shook him.", He finally answers, smiling brightly, playing with the little spoon in his cup and adding hastily "But he's ok now. Don't worry."

Namjoon nods and tries to take a small sip of the hot drink.

They are silent for a few moments, the clock in the kitchen ticking loudly, and Jimin next words take him by surprise, startle him out of his own mind, "Should I?"

"Should you what?"

"Call you Oppa?"

Namjoon almost spits out the tea, coughing with tears in his eyes.

"Please don't.", He presses out, rubbing over his tired eyes, "However, we should probably talk about it."

"You're right.", Jimin agrees, biting his lip and looking up to him through thick lashes, "I know, I'm a bit clingy and a bit too much sometimes. You have to tell me when I make you uncomfortable."

"You'll never make me feel uncomfortable. It's just.", Namjoon sighs theatrically, "I'm extraordinary bad in initiating skinship. You've seen it."

Jimin chuckles lightly, reaching out and lays his small hand on the inside of his forearm, tickling his sensitive skin, "It's not so bad, Joonie. The most important thing is that we stay open with each other and say if there is something wrong."

When did he grow up? Namjoon thinks, smiling hesitantly, and enjoying the warm fingers on his skin.

They stay silent until their tea is gone, and the clock seems to scream at them to go to bed already. Namjoon cleans up after Jimin went to the bathroom at first, rinsing out the cups after throwing the content away and putting them back into the cupboard since Hoseok would smack them with it first thing in the morning if they let it stand on the counter without cleaning up after them.

When he steps into the hallway, Jimin emerges out of the bathroom, wet hair, and looking incredible delicate, and he stops for a moment to contemplate.

"Joonie?" the soft whisper reaches his ear, and before Namjoon can change his mind, he asks, "Wanna start the skinship today?"

The younger snorts, hiding his bright grin behind the sleeves of his jumper, but nods nonetheless, "Sure, Jeongguk's probably in my bed anyway."

It's not that rare that they share beds from time to time, but Jimin mostly stays with Hoseok or Taehyung, occasionally with Jeongguk, and Namjoon likes to curl up next to Seokjin, Yoongi or, surprisingly, Taehyung, since the boy gives the best hugs in the world.

Somehow, Namjoon never really shared a bed with Jimin; it occurs to him after he spits out the toothpaste and looks at himself in the mirror. The unnatural lights highlight the dark bags under his eyes and he blinks a few times.

Falteringly, he steps into his room and then into his bed. Jimin is already under the blanket, his naked feet instantly pressed against Namjoon's calves, who hisses, "Jezz, why are you so cold?"

"Don't know.", The younger mumbles sleepily and moves a bit closer, "I always get cold right before I go to bed."

Namjoon turns off the light, and after hesitating for a few heartbeats, he reaches around Jimin's waist, pressing closer to warm him up, whispering into his ear with a sarcastic tone in his voice, "Well, I snore."

He rather feels the giggles than hears them, "I know, Hyung, witnessed it before. Once or twice."

He pinches Jimin's waist lightly but closes his eyes and breaths deep in. Oddly enough, after taking a shower Jimin still smells like ginger, lemon, and honey, and right before he slips away, he thinks, that skinship like this is wonderfully comfortable.

He isn't sure if it should be this easy and comfortable.

 

June 2015

Every day feels the same: the 3 big P's. Practice, Promotions, Preparations.

They are in the middle of the cruelest schedule ever.

Practice the dances, the songs, even how to change their clothes within seconds and not how to look out of breathe.

Promotions for Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa. They are on broadcasts, interviews, head to one more photo shooting, one more MV, meetings with the company, meetings with fans, meetings with MC's, meetings in general.

Preparations for the upcoming tour schedule abroad. They just came back from Malaysia, now preparing to head to Australia, then North and South America.

"At least we are visiting Busan at the end of the month.", Jeongguk had whispered with a shy smile when they were waiting at the airport another time, at another unfamiliar place, "Then we can go and visit my parents, if you want to."

They all agreed to see his family before heading back to the capital.

"The three big P's," Yoongi had declared at another 4 am night in the studio, clutching the sleeves of his jumper like a drowning man, the tips of his ears visible under the snapback, looking like a tired pixie.

They are tired. So incredibly tired.

Namjoon can't even remember the last time he slept longer than two hours, forty-two minutes, and a handful of seconds. And he can't remember when the others did as well.

Now, Yoongi doesn't give a fuck anymore. He curls up in a tiny ball of human, looking more like a cat and sleeps on any available surface, ignoring everyone and everything around him. Jeongguk adapted the great ability to sleep in the chair, while busy stylist-noonas take care of his hair, his skin, his make-up, cooing loudly when the boy happens to, god-forbid, breathe or smack his lips sleepily. They all had known he would be a heart breaker, but couldn't he wait a few more years?

Somehow Jimin and Taehyung are still able to annoy the shit out of them, although Namjoon had found the boy from Daegu once or twice desperately hugging a pillow, hidden in their closet while listening to classical music, whimpering, "I can't sleep anymore, Hyung."

It wasn't new that Taehyung battled against insomnia before, but now his all-nighters considerable increased.

All the while, Jimin never really comes back home anymore, he stays late in the dance studio, because he can't get the move just right, Hyung!

Namjoon knows that the boy refuses to eat properly, and he happened to come into the studio a few times early in the morning, finding a sleeping Jimin, passed out on the hard, wooden floor. After nights like these, Namjoon is able to get him out to their favorite coffee shop near the river, feeding the boy a muffin or anything with too much sugar to be good for their health. Namjoon doesn't care, as long as his friend consumes a few calories.

Hoseok and Seokjin try their hardest to solve the tension in the group, acting like their personal mood makers and rays of sunshine, but still. Both of them fall asleep in the van as soon as the engine starts every single time as if someone turned their power buttons off. Each of them using Namjoon's broad shoulders as a pillow and drooling down his neck.

Namjoon doesn't really know how he does it — taking power naps all the time, at the weirdest places, when he's waiting for the coffee to finish in their little kitchen, when the staff tapes the microphone on his cheeks with a piece of transparent sticky tape so they could dance and sing at the same time. Even a few times under the warm shower, now incredible thankful that the one in their new flat doesn't turn cold after 13 minutes and 36 seconds. The 13 became their most loathed number over the years because no one wants to take a cold shower. Well, no one in their right state of mind.

"I hate the number 13.", Taehyung had whined once, coming out of the bathroom in their old apartment, with goosebumps on his arms and making grabby hands towards Seokjin, who immediately got another towel and rubbing the boy's skin until his teeth stopped chattering.

"The correct terminology to be afraid of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia, did you know that?", Namjoon had proclaimed, looking up from his half-finished book and got stern glances from the others.

"Literally, no one cares, Joon-ah.", Seokjin had replied, embracing Taehyung in a tight hug, "Please talk to the janitor, so they fix this stupid shower!"

They never got the shower in the old apartment fixed.

 

So, Namjoon really doesn't know how he does it — surviving the cruel schedule between power naps, an unhealthy amount of coffee and the small, tickling happiness that their career, their music is finally going somewhere.

He's glad that the new skinship with Jimin doesn't feel off. They approach it slowly, so subtle that it's almost invisible. But the fans still catch on, because this is Jimin and Namjoon. Jimin, who is touchy and clingy and open with his affection, and Namjoon, who is not. Namjoon, who doesn't even get a simple handshake right.

There are mellow smiles, soft glances, and a feather-like touch on his upper arm when Jimin rests his hand there for a second or leans against his frame with his whole body.

Surprisingly, Namjoon enjoys it. It makes him warm and tingly, his skin crawl, and he wonders if he is so touch starved that his subconscious is happy with anything, taking whatever it gets. He likes the flirting, it's fun and somehow feels natural. He and Jimin get along pretty well, joking behind closed doors about their little acts.

Yoongi and Taehyung, on the other hand, struggle a lot. They are too hesitant, too distant, and tend to overthink their subtle touches. They should start with something small, Jimin had suggested, perhaps hand-holding.

It would be so much easier if Taehyung and Jeongguk would just act normal around each other.

That night, after coming back from the GOT7 dorms and Namjoon sleeping next to Jimin for the first time, waking up with their feet tangled and his nose pressed into the dip of Jimin's collarbone, Jeongguk and Taehyung had talked and made up. They were fine, apparently.

Still, they didn't act fine with each other. They are hesitant and shy and utterly unsure of how to approach each other. The air around them shifts whenever they are in the same room. It feels more substantial, and the tension is almost tangible.

One night, when Namjoon came home late after midnight from another long day in the studio, a soft hammering behind his eyelids, he heard Taehyung and Jimin in the small living room, talking quietly.

"I just don't know how to act around him anymore.", Taehyung had said, and Namjoon could almost taste the sadness on his lips, "When I touch him, hug him, like before, I always think, that everyone might still see us like that. Like they interpret more into our actions."

Namjoon quietly leaned on the wall, searching for support while he took off his shoes. He didn't want to eavesdrop, trying to be as loud as possible so they might hear him, dropping his boots on purpose and tinkle with his keys, without waking the others.

"But then, when I don't act around him like before, it feels off, too. Like I'm avoiding him, do you know what I mean? I don't know what to do anymore.", He heard Taehyung say when he stepped around the corner to make his presence clear.

When Jimin saw him, the boy smiled and waved a small hand, looking completely lost in the huge black jumper he was wearing. Namjoon's huge, black jumper.

"Hello Joonie, Jin-Hyung left some Soondubu Jjigae for you. And I made some tea a while ago, take one.", then he turned back to Taehyung and continued their conversation normally as if he wasn't there with them.

Jeongguk, on the other hand, started to isolate himself even more. Staying in their shared room to play Overwatch or learn how to edit videos. The boy was an introverted before, valued his alone time more than anything, but now, he only seems to be comfortable around Yugyeom anymore.

On different occasions, Namjoon tried to talk to him, but Jeongguk only shook his head, not ready to express his feelings and would escape to either Seokjin's bed or into the dance studio with Hoseok.

 

So, they all are exhausted, sleep-deprived, completely overwhelmed with promotions, broadcasts, interviews, photo shootings, and the upcoming tour and vibrating with tension within their group.

But there was one thing all of them love, no matter how exhausted they were and how long their days had been:

Fan signings. It's one of those things that gives them energy and motivates them to continue their hard work.

Namjoon loves it.

He loves to interact with their fans, seeing their faces, and hearing their names. It's satisfying to see their smiles and somehow get to know the person behind the likes on twitter, the comments under their MV's on YouTube, and behind the numbers of each sold record. Talking to the people who interact with them during their vlives and chant their names when they are on stage.

It makes him happy to see them happy, see their beaming smiles when they act stupid in front of the crowd, when they wave at them grinning and talk to them while signing the albums.

Namjoon loves their soft-spoken conversations, the shy glances, and the letters they receive. He takes them with him, reads them until late at night, and sometimes takes them with him in his backpack.

'Oppa, did you sleep well?'

'Oppa, stay healthy and smile a lot.'

'Oppa, I like your rap parts the best.'

It makes him feel special and somehow loved and cared for.

Namjoon loves their sweet gifts. The cute headbands or stuffed animals. Most items of his Ryan collections were gifts from fans, and he values them a lot.

He tries to remember every name of each person he meets at the fan signings; he really does.

And here they are, yet again at another fan signing and he's excited and happy and giddy.

The room is a bit small and sticky, too many people in one place, but the lights are bright and warm, and he feels welcome. He hears their fans whispering, giggling and cooing at their nonsense, and like magic, his exhaustion is gone.

Jimin touched his shoulder four times already and leaned into his side while he spoke to the small audience, thanking them for coming and supporting them. He jokes with Yoongi a bit, talks about their newest music and their nervousness because of their upcoming concerts oversea, stuffing his mouth as fast as possible with as much chocolate as his manager lets him go away with.

Namjoon sits at his place, fiddling with his water bottle and the small black choker around his neck while listening to Seokjin trying to tell another bad dad joke, laughing his windshield wiper laugh, when Jimin suddenly appears in front of him.

The boy crouches down and grins at him like the cat who caught the canary, his plump lips shiny with lip gloss and spit where he bit down on it.

If Namjoon weren't so nervous about what the other boy might do, he would appreciate those lips a bit more and maybe even say something about them to make their fans coo, agreeing with him. But he can't move, frozen like a statue, blinking stupidly.

"What are you doing?" He whispers towards the red-haired boy.

Namjoon thinks Jimin looks good with the red hair, which he re-colored only two days prior, right after they released the MV for Dope. He looks good, of course, he does. Namjoon even said it at the beginning of the fan sign, "Did you see Jimin-ssi's hair color? He looks so handsome, right?"

But Jimin ignores his question, smirking like the devil and biting his lip to prevent himself from laughing out loud.

In one hand, Jimin has a microphone, raising it slowly to his mouth, but in the other, he holds a piece of paper, which he slowly, very slowly pushes towards Namjoon, "You have to show it to our ARMY's, Hyung."

Carefully, Namjoon takes it, his eyes not leaving Jimin's. He folds it opens and holds it up without taking a look first.

The first girls begin to giggle, and when Namjoon turns the almost 11,5 x 16 inches huge poster to himself, he silently swears.

It's him. Of course, it's a picture of himself, but it's pre-debut when he still had the cuts on his eyebrow, and his hair was curly. Like, really curly.

Where the hell did he get that from? Namjoon wonders, raising a thankful cut-free eyebrow.

"Jiminie." He utters, his voice with a warning undertone, but then Jimin bats his eyelashes at him and pouts, and Namjoon knows he should just play along instead of making an unnecessary scene.

It's not the first time they act like this, it's fan service, but still, he feels like a storm is coming.

"Can I get an autograph?" Jimin requests innocently, the microphone on his lips, and somehow he sounds breathy, seductive, and the fans are losing it. Giggling louder, some of them screaming.

I hate you right now, Namjoon tries to tell him without saying it out loud, with a simple twitch of his eyelid, but he plays along. He takes one of the black pens, twirling it between his fingers and murmurs just loud enough for everyone to hear, "Sure. What should I write down?"

"For 'my' Jiminie.", the other pips up and sends a massive smile over his shoulder to the audience.

"Which is your favorite song?" Namjoon asks, curious because Jimin never said it, acting as if the boy in front of him is seriously a fan.

After a moment, Jimin answers with a smug smile on his lips, "I really like Hold Me Tight the most."

"Really?" Namjoon isn't sure why it surprises him so much, because Jimin is someone who likes calm songs to listen to. So he sends him his dimple smile, "It's a good choice, Jiminie."

"Thank you so much." His eyes turn into thin crescents, and it's somehow Namjoon's favorite look on the other man, but then Jimin continues and takes Namjoon's breath away, "I like Dope as well, especially your part because RapMon-Oppa is my favorite!"

RapMon-Oppa is my favorite. It takes him a few moments to fully understand Jimin's words, but then he feels like dying and drowning, or maybe like flying. His heart speeds up, and he is infinitely grateful for the thick layers of make-up because he is blushing. Furiously.

His skin feels hot, and he tries to swallow, but his mouth is as dry as the desert, and why is he reacting like that? It's not like he likes it that much, right? He doesn't have a kink. Well, maybe he has, since he is unhealthily focused on lips, but not the Oppa thing.

"YA!" He shouts far too late, almost not audible over the excited screams of their fans, "YA! I'm not your Oppa, you punk!"

Namjoon knows he sounds like Seokjin, but doesn't care. His blood is thrumming through his veins, and his hands are shaking.

He notices and decides to ignore Yoongi's curious stare, turning away.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon slips into his shoes, supporting himself on the corner of their hallway, while watching his friends in their living room, fighting over the best seat on the couch in front of the television,

"Are you sure you don't want to come as well?" Yoongi pips up next to him, pulling the dark blue beanie over his blond hair.

"Nah.", Seokjin grins over Jeongguk's shoulder, playfully hitting their maknae when he tries to steal the controller out of his hand, "We're going to game until late at night and enjoy our free day."

Somehow they almost have one entire day off, beginning at this very moment until the next day around 3 pm, to be exact.

And even more surprisingly, Yoongi, finally, managed to arrange a get together with their friends.

They're going to meet up with Kihyun, who brings Changkyun along, who'll be followed by Jooheon. Jackson had announced to come as well and even Chanyeol messaged them. They want to meet up in the bar Yoongi had worked until 2014, just a small and comfortable meet up with their friends.

The next day they have to catch a flight and head over to Sydney for their second half of the tour. Namjoon isn't sure if this night is a good idea. It might be very irresponsible, getting drunk right before they have to take a plane for hours, but none of them know when they are free the next time.

So, it's more an: Now or never event.

"Jiminie?" Hoseok asks next to him, adjusting his jacket and face mask, "You're sure you don't want to come? Chanyeol-ssi is coming as well."

No one really knows how it happened, but Jimin and the EXO rapper somehow became friends sometimes earlier that year, and they tend to hang out from time to time when their schedules allow it.

For a moment, Jimin looks like he seriously considers it, but then shakes his head, "No, thanks Hobi. I might go to the studio later. I've forgotten something."

They all know it's a lie, but it's their first day off in months, and no one, especially not Namjoon, wants to start an argument, so Hoseok only sighs quietly, "If you change your mind, you know where we are going."

The younger boy grins brightly at them, nodding enthusiastically, "Thanks, and send him my greetings."

"Send them yourself, brat. You have his number", Hoseok only replies and marches towards the door.

They share a taxi to the bar at the other end of the city.

"You have to talk to him, Joon-ah.", Yoongi says, folding his legs and playing with his own mask.

"Who?"

Hoseok sighs again and pinches his sides, "Jiminie. He's working too much."

"I know. It's just..." He moves his hands in a wide gesture as if this might explain his hesitation.

Namjoon is very much aware of the fact that he is their leader, and he should stay home to talk to Jimin about this...this problem, instead of driving to a bar to hang out with friends and drink Soju until he sees double and can't walk a straight line anymore.

It's just that he is a guy of twenty years who works continuously and without a break for almost six years now, and he needs a break — a moment for himself, where he isn't responsible for six other guys and their career.

Even if it means, he's going out with his two friends and co-worker and other guys with the same career choice to get smashed in a small bar in a side alley, which is smelling like old beer and where his shoes keep sticking to the floor, because they haven't cleaned it in more than ten years.

Namjoon knows he shouldn't go, but he also knows, if he stays home and works instead of enjoying himself as other twenty-year-old people do, he might combust at any given moment.

And Yoongi and Hoseok know, he doesn't need to explain this to them, which is why they drop the topic and staying silent until they reach the bar.

When they walk into the bar, Kihyun is already seated on one of the bigger tables in the back, surrounded by Changkyun, who never leaves the elder's side, and Jooheon.

Chanyeol is standing at the bar, getting them something to drink when he spots them and waves a friendly hello, his face somehow falling, "Hu? Jiminie's not coming?"

"Sorry." Yoongi shakes his head and greets his friend with a brief hug, "But he sends his greetings."

There is a light nip at his guts, but Namjoon ignores it and turns to greet the other three at the table.

The door opens, and Jackson, followed by Mark, enters the bar, and it gets loud instantly.

Jooheon and Jackson almost jump each other, the rooms filling with 'buddy, mate, bro, pal' energy, and Yoongi rolls his eyes annoyed.

"You love them.", Hoseok whispers and smirks when Yoongi kicks his leg, replying, "I certainly do not."

When Mark and Namjoon's eyes meet, the Californian turns bright red and fiddles with the napkin on the table.

"Are you two still meeting?". He hears Yoongi's voice murmuring into his left ear, so near he can almost feel his lips.

"No.," He clears his throat and sends Yoongi a pleading glance, to not mention it again and let it go, please, thank you very much. It was uncomfortable enough.

It doesn't take them long to be seated at the table, talking all at once and over each other, getting louder every passing minute.

Then suddenly, Chanyeol smirks over the rim of his glass and says to no one specifically, "I saw something very interesting on Twitter the other day."

Everyone is looking at him, and the smirk on his lips spread even wider, looking around and then fixating on Namjoon, who turns bright red.

The other doesn't need to tell him, he's seen it as well.

And not only at Twitter, but on every other social media as well, even at YouTube with the title "Minjoon <3."

Namjoon has seen the videos of him and Jimin at the fan signing, where the other boy called him Oppa in front of a few dozen excited girls.

"Did you?" Namjoon raises an eyebrow, trying not to look suspicious.

Jackson starts to laugh loudly, slapping a hand on the table, "I've seen it as well."

He searches in his pockets for his phone and then shows them screenshots of Namjoon's flabbergast face and his nervous smiles, the tips of his ears dark red.

"There. Do you see his ears? And the way he's smiling, all dimples and embarrassment.", Jackson cracks up, howling with laughter and a hand slaps on the table, "Joon-ah, I never thought you would do that."

"I didn't know he would do that.", Namjoon tries to protest while simultaneously wriggling Jackson's phone out of his hand to delete that stupid screenshot, "It's all your fault anyway."

"Mine?" The Chinese looks shocked, a hand clasps above his heart mockingly, "How is it my fault? I didn't tell Jiminie to do that."

"Because of you, Jeongguk heard it, and the little brat told Jimin the very same moment we got home that night!"

"Good boy.", Chanyeol laughs, and Namjoon contemplates his life. He wonders why he has friends like them, all laughing about his misery. He doesn't try to understand why it bugs him so much. He's not ready for that.

 

When he gets up to go to the toilet, his legs wobble a bit, but his mind is still clear, and he's happy, while Hoseok has already fallen into his sad-and-empty-drunk state, his head leaning on Chanyeol's shoulder for support, an half-empty water glass in his hand.

The moment he closes the door to the bathroom stall, he hears the main door open and close and then footsteps.

"Joon-ah?"

It's Mark.

"A second.", He says, and for a moment he hesitates, but then opens the stall for the other to come in.

His cheeks are red from alcohol and the stuffy air, and he's biting his lips nervously, "Should we talk?"

Namjoon sits down on the closed toilet lit and looks up to the man he'd kissed and fucked, and he isn't sure what to say, so he shrugs his shoulders, "About what?"

"I don't really know. I'm drunk, I think.", He answers in English, and it makes Namjoon lips twitch in delight. He'd always liked it when Mark changed the language mid talking, "I'm sorry I stopped calling and, you know, responding to your messages."

"Don't be."

"I'd like you to know that it was nice being with you, and you didn't do anything wrong."

"I figured.", And he really did. Namjoon never really thought Mark didn't want to see him again because he didn't enjoy their time together. It was always more like a time issue and perhaps not fitting together like they wished they would.

Because one thing Namjoon learned from his time with Mark, was that just because of meeting another queer Idol doesn't mean they have to be together. He liked Mark, still likes him. He's attracted to the other man as well, thinks he's hot, but that doesn't mean he wants to be with him in a certain way.

"I might have fallen in love with someone while we were together.", Mark suddenly states, and Namjoon wants to laugh. Laugh because Mark obviously thinks he broke his heart or, at least, hurt his feelings in some kind of way. Which he didn't.

"Hyung." He chuckles, "Don't worry. We are ok."

Mark looks at him like he wants to disagree, but Namjoon says, "Really. I enjoyed our time together, but that's it. I'm not hurt or anything. And now get out, I need to take a piss."

With that, the other turns around, laughing and stepping out of the stall, "It's not like I haven't seen you naked before."

"True." Namjoon answers, shaking his head in disbelieve, "But I still don't want someone looking over my shoulder while I pee."

"I never wanted to make it awkward between us, you know?" Mark states after Namjoon finishes and washes his hands, looking at each other through the mirror. Studying each other in a way, they weren't able to in the prior months.

"Yeah, I know. We are good, Hyung.", He smiles and turns around, leaning on the sink, biting his lips before asking, "It's Jacks', right?"

Mark doesn't have to respond; the bright red of his ears is answer enough.

Namjoon smirks, "So, we shouldn't tell Jackson about last year?"

"Actually, I thought you already have."

"Nah, he doesn't need to know everything."

"I might want to tell him, would you mind?" Mark looks at him with solemn eyes, scared as if Namjoon would object.

"No, I wouldn't mind.", He reassures him at the exact same moment the door opens with a BANG, and Jackson barges into the bathroom, looking at them with wild eyes, "There you are! We already thought you flushed yourself down the loo and went to the ministry of magic. We are doing a rap contest!"

And then he is gone again, leaving Namjoon and Mark back in the room, with open mouths, baffled.

"Well, maybe we tell him after the tour?", Namjoon suggests, but Mark shakes his head in disbelieve, "After he'd grown up."

"Do you think he's ever going to do it?"

"Eventually?" Mark says, hesitantly, opening the door, "I'm not entirely sure."

 

They are right in the middle of the rap battle, Yoongi against Changkyun, both of them looking far too severe, but Namjoon can see the happy glint in his friends' eyes when his phone vibrates violently in his pocket.

 

WorldWideHandsome: Joon-ah.

WorldWideHandsome: Namjoon-ah.

WorldWideHandsome: Brat!

WorldWideHandsome: You're drunk?

RapMon: Jezz, what's wrong, Hyung?

WorldWideHandsome: Good, you are there. How is it going?

RapMon: ....nice?!

WorldWideHandsome: Good. Sorry.

RapMon: Alright, tell me, what is wrong?

WorldWideHandsome: Jiminie went to the studio again. To 'rehearsal' the dances.

WorldWideHandsome: Around 4 hours ago, like, right after you guys left.

WorldWideHandsome: He doesn't pick up his phone and doesn't answer our messages.

WorldWideHandsome: And he refused to eat with us before going. Again. I tried to use the Hyung-card. I seriously did, but it's not working, and I am really sorry, Joon-ah, but I need you home and be the leader. Like, right NOW.

RapMon: Shit, ok ok. Are you sure he's at the studio?

WorldWideHandsome: Where else would he be?

RapMon: Idk. I'm on my way.

WorldWideHandsome: I'm sorry, Joon-ah.

RapMon: It's alright. Not your fault.

 

"Are you ok?" Mark asks him, his brows drawn together, and Namjoon simply nods.

He's not ok, thank you very much, "Jin-Hyung needs help. I have to go now."

"What does he need help for?" Hoseok looks up from his place next to Chanyeol.

"Jimin's at the studio again.", He states without fuss and sees Hoseok's face turn into a mask, who's mouth twitches dangerously.

"Now? It's almost 11 pm.", The EXO rapper looks at his mobile to check the clock.

"It's...complicated.", Namjoon answers him vaguely, but the other looks at him like he understands it anyway, a sad frown on his face. They all do understand. Knowing the pressure society and the music industry puts on them. They all have at least one friend, one group member who's struggling with the inaccessible images to be perfect.

"Do you need help?" Yoongi stands next to him, ready to go, but Namjoon shakes his head.

He doesn't think it would be a good idea to rush into the studio with the whole rap-line. It's complex enough already, and the pressure of more than one person might be too much for Jimin. Could make him feel cornered and trapped, and a normal conversation might not be possible.

"No, stay, Hyung. You guys have fun."; Namjoon replies, grabbing for his jacket and his wallet, but Yoongi shakes his head.

"Hyung's paying today."

He waves his good-bye and accepts a brief hug from Mark, who whispers into his ear, "For a smart man, you're surprisingly stupid sometimes, you know?" before stepping out of the bar.

He doesn't understand what the other meant by it. His mind is foggy with alcohol and lack of fresh air, and he needs to focus on Jimin and his task ahead, so he pushes Mark's remark in the back of his mind. Perhaps he's going to think about it tomorrow or sometimes after the tour.

Perhaps the other was just as tipsy as he is and didn't mean anything by it.

Luckily the company building isn't too far away, and it's a beautiful and warm summer night, so Namjoon walks down the streets.

It's been a while since he last walked alone at night, and the fresh air makes him feel more alive and less drunk every passing minute.

If people recognize him as RapMonster from BTS, they don't address him, for which he is incredibly thankful for. Namjoon isn't sure if he wants to talk to strangers right before he has to set his teammates and friends head straight. He has to concentrate on it and doesn't need any distractions.

A talk like this is long overdue. Namjoon should have approached Jimin about this issue months ago. They can't and shouldn't ignore it any longer.

This kind of attitude will hurt the dancer in the long run, and Namjoon cannot let this happen.

He tries and fails to understand Jimin's constant need to 'be perfect' since perfection is an unattainable concept. It's not real. Nobody and nothing is perfect, but how do you tell this to someone who's mindset is on the wrong track?

It's not like Namjoon doesn't feel the pressure, doesn't know how depression and being damaged in the inside feels like, but this, he thinks, this is different.

When Namjoon reaches the building, his mind is clear, and he doesn't feel the alcohol anymore, even if he knows he's still tipsy. He nods his greetings towards the night watch at the entrance and takes the stairs instead of the elevator to bid a little bit more time.

He can hear the music outside the studio, loud beats, and deep bass making the door vibrating a little bit.

Jimin, when he enters the room, lays at the floor, his eyes closed and panting harshly. Sweat is trickling down his temples into his hair, his shoulders are tense, and there is a deep frown on his face. It's almost a grimace resembling sadness, distress, and anger.

Namjoon hurts seeing the other man like that, and he is so tired of it. Tired of Jimin drowning in his swirl of emotion, tired of not being able to help him.

Carefully, to not startle Jimin, he steps into the room, turns off the music, and lies down next to him. He doesn't touch him, doesn't say something, just trying to reach out with his presence only.

Now, it's nearly too quiet, the room is only filled with Jimin's sharp breathing, and Namjoon's heart is beating too loud in his ears.

"I know you are angry with me.", Jimin's voice startles him out of his thoughts, and it doesn't sound right. Like he's holding in, holding back.

"I'm not angry at you, Jiminie."

"You are not? Are you sure?"

Namjoon wants to hold his hand, but he doesn't. He can't move and only replies, "Yes."

Namjoon feels the sob rather than hears it, wrecking Jimin's body in silent shivers. It takes him a while to stop, his hand now above Namjoon's. He can't recall when the younger had reached out, but it doesn't matter, as long as he holds on, "I'm scared, Jiminie."

The noise Jimin makes, a sound like crying and laughing at the same time, and Namjoon slowly turns his head towards the man, searching for his eyes.

"I'm not sure if this helps me, Joonie.", He smiles with quivering lips, although his lips are still trembling.

"What am I supposed to say? It's awful to see you hurting. It hurts us as well.", He squeezes the small hand and links their fingers together, "We are family."

Silent tears are trailing down Jimin's temples, mixing with the sweat and vanishing in his hair, leaving no visible tracks, "I don't know what to do anymore. I want to be enough for once."

"You are, Jimin. You are enough and I would like you to see it."

 

It takes them some time to stand up and gather Jimin's belonging. After Namjoon asked him if he wants to grab a bite, Jimin only hesitates a few heartbeats, but then nods resigned.

They stop at a small noodle shop a few blocks away and then sit down on a bench next to the Han River.

Namjoon sends Seokjin a short message, telling him that they are ok, eating something, and then come home.

It's past midnight, and the air finally cools down a bit, but it's still nice outside.

Namjoon tells him from the evening at the bar. Tells him about Yoongi's new favorite, Changkyun, and how much they teased him for the Oppa-incident.

He even mentions Chanyeol and that the rapper missed Jimin that night.

"How did you even become friends?" He asks after they finished their meal, watching the sky while waiting for one of their drivers to pick them up. The bus would take too long, and both are too lazy to walk thirty minutes.

"Long story short: Hobi introduced Yoongi to Sungwoon, Yoongi introduced me to Sungwoon, who introduced me to Jongin, who introduced me to Chanyeol.", Jimin laughs out loud, his eyes vanishing into tiny half moons, "This sounds ridiculous."

"I'm glad you get to know nice people with whom you can have good friendships, Jiminie. It's amazing."

"You know what's even more amazing?" He stretches out his legs and doesn't even wait for an answer, "I met Taemin through Sungwoon and Jongin. I nearly fainted when he was at the restaurant the last time as well."

Namjoon can almost picture Jimin's nervousness and his open mouth, seeing his role model for the first time in a private environment, "I hope you get along with him."

"We do."

They stay quiet for a moment, Namjoon watching the street and his phone, while Jimin looks up to the sky. There are no stars in the sky. They can't see them because of the city lights and pollution. Somewhere, Namjoon read that over one-third of the world's population is not able to see the Milky Way anymore. It's sad, he thinks, since it's such a beautiful sight.

"I lied.", Jimin says eventually, slowly turning towards Namjoon, "Whalien 52 is my favorite song, but I couldn't say it since ARMY hasn't heard it yet."

"Mine too."

 

They get home not long after that, and this time, Namjoon gets into the shower at first. He takes his time, washes away the alcohol and sweat and fear of losing a friend to something he can't fight.

Jeongguk sleeps in Jimin's bed, so his own room is empty and quiet, and Jimin doesn't hesitate before turning to him, asking without a sound.

It's not like he has to ask, Namjoon would have left the door open for him anyway.

He makes some tea while Jimin's in the bathroom and then sits in his bed, back propped up at the headboard, and reading a book without reading it. His eyes only roam the pages, and he feels the words under his fingertips, but he doesn't understand them, too tired, and doesn't try in the first place.

His room smells like peppermint and chocolate, and he hopes, Jimin drinks the tea, hopes he'll find some peace for the night.

The door opens and closes softly, and when Namjoon looks up, the other man stands in his room in nothing but short boxer shorts and a loose black tank top. He looks good in the soft light of Namjoon's bedside lamp, all enlightened in warm gold light.

He has a towel in his hands, carefully patting his hair to knead out the wetness. They are not allowed to rub their hair, instructions from their stylist-noonas because it damages the structure, and with all the bleaching and coloring, their hair is damaged enough.

Namjoon holds out the cup of tea, non verbally urging the other to take it, which he does, sitting down at the edge of the bed, towel forgotten, "Thanks, Hyung."

Gently, Namjoon takes it and continues Jimin's task to dry his hair.

Gentle, He hears his mother's voice.

"It feels nice." Jimin slurs, leaning into Namjoon's touch while taking one sip after another, quietly giggling, "I might need to go to the loo later and wake you up."

"I don't mind.", He mumbles under his breath, standing up to take the towel to the bathroom, and when he comes back, when Jimin's already laying under the thin blanket.

Gentle, he crawls under the cover as well, turning off the lights.

Somehow the whole room feels different. There is tension where it wasn't before, and Namjoon wonders why and what exactly changed.

"Hold me tight tonight.", Jimin whispers into the darkness, and Namjoon does, getting as close as possible. Jimin's cold feet press against his legs, and he feels the soft hair on his leg, tickling him, his small hands fists the fabric of Namjoon's shirt, right above his beating heart.

Jimin's face is in the crook of his neck, and warm breath breezes over his sensitive skin. Automatically, goosebumps rise on his arms and neck, and Namjoon can't remember the last time he was this close to another person.

It might have been Mark, the last time they were intimate with each other. Perhaps it was the girl he met at the MAMA's six months ago, brief intercourse without any feelings. He never even got her name, and Namjoon isn't sure if she even spoke a language, he's able to understand except for the few broken words in English.

Jimin urges closer, shuffles into him and all at once, his lips touch the point behind Namjoon's ear, the one that makes him shudder and lowly moan with anticipation. Namjoon's extremely sensitive on that spot, and he can't suppress the tremor, beginning where Jimin's lips are connected to his neck, running down his spine, spreading more and more goosebumps all over his body.

Namjoon is sure the other feels his body reaction, laying completely still, frozen in place.

And then he does it again, presses those soft lips harder against his neck, opening them, and a wet tongue quickly licks against the shell of his ear. 

"Jiminie?" Namjoon's voice breaks, the hands gripping in front of his chest, tighten, tugging at him until he turns in the bed, rolling over and between Jimin's muscular tights. He feels Jimin's hard length at his hip, triggering his arousal instantly.

"Oh.", He breaths out.

Teeth bit down his neck, not hard enough to break some skin or leave a mark, but still sufficient to be on the edge of pain. Then his tongue licks over it, easing the ache and his lips closes around the spot. Jimin's breathing is hot and loud against his ear and Namjoon loses it. The groan comes from deep inside him, powerful and utterly wrecked.

His body moves on its own, seeking friction, his hands tangling with the still damp hair, tugging slightly, coaxing out a helpless moan.

Namjoon's lips search for the thick, damp lips, but then Jimin turns his head away, laying his neck bare, rasping out, "No, no kissing."

He stops for a second but understands. Kissing is for lovers, for people who share emotional intimacy. It's not for them, not for Namjoon to endeavor.

He doesn't understand why his heart squeezes painfully in his chest, blaming it on the state of his arousal and even a little bit on the heart surgery he had five years ago.

He's a bit disappointed, it feels like a significant loss not to feel Jimin's plush lips against his own, but he understands and respects his decision.

So, Namjoon simply nods, moves his lips down Jimin's cheeks, to his ear and neck, and dips his tongue into the small hollow of Jimin's collar bone. He's gentle, ever so gentle, slightly gazing his teeth against the pale, delicate skin, until Jimin's moaning noisily and claws at his shoulders, almost tearing his shirt, "Off. Off with it."

They take off their clothes all at once, not stopping at their underwear, and Namjoon can't help but look. He doesn't see much. It's dark in the room, the streetlight not bright enough, the moon not quite full enough on the night sky.

But what he can see takes his breath away. Jimin is beautiful. His body is hard and lean and soft at the right angles. The hard penis not too long, not too thick and glistening with pre-cum.

"Fuck," Namjoon swears and lets his hands wander over the muscular chest and stomach, watching Jimin twitch under his fingertips. He leans down again, completely naked between his friends' legs, and brushes his lips against every inch of skin he can reach.

What are they doing? His mind chants over and over again, tasting the warm skin under his tongue, almost flourish under the soft moans escaping Jimin's lips. Jimin tastes like nothing, clean skin, but he smells like heaven. Like peppermint tea and fresh lemons and something indefinable. Like home and security.

"Joon-ah," He begs breathless when Namjoon's nips down the velvet skin on his hips, "Please."

"Please what?"

"Please touch me."

And he does, kissing and nipping and licking on the taunt skins at Jimin's stomach, while his hand wraps around the hard penis, gently moving up and down.

One hand clutch his shoulder, hard, and Namjoon is sure he's going to see a light bruise the next morning, the other goes through his silver hair, running his fingers against his scalp.

The air gets warmer, and Namjoon feels sweat running down his spine. Hot tingles spread in his groin, and he never felt this good before, he's sure of this.

"I need...I need you up here.", Jimin groans, tugging at his hair, and Namjoon follows, laying down between his legs, chest to chest, brushing his lips against Jimin's earlobe, until its too much, and he shudders under Namjoon's body, under his hands, softly gasping for air, "Joon-ah."

Hearing his name said in such an erotic way, breathy and positively wrecked, pushes him over the edge as well.

It never happened like this before, never untouched, and he would like to say it's because the last time was a long time ago, but it's not true. He can't lie about this.

When Namjoon comes, he squeezes his eyes tight. Lips open in perfect round shape, almost inaudible. There is the slightest hitch in his breathing and then his heart explodes, "Fuck."

It takes him a few heartbeats to come down from his high, panting into Jimin's neck, but then he still feels petite hands caressing his shoulders and the small of his back, lips still pressed against his collar bone and the wetness between their bodies.

"Urgh." He makes after moving away, feeling their mixed cum on his groin and stomach, elicits a small laugh out of the man under him.

"My shirt is somewhere right next to you.", Jimin rasps out, and his voice sounds like sex and satisfaction, "You can use it to clean us. I don't wanna get up know."

Namjoon only nods, searches for the tank top and cleans of their mess, right before they put on their boxers at least.

Jimin's hand finds his arm, tugs him closer again, and murmurs right before he drifts to sleep, "Joonie, let's not make it awkward, please."

Chapter Text

June 2015

Like predicated, Jimin wakes him a few hours later when he climbs over Namjoon out of bed to go to the toilet. Instead of rolling out of bed on his side, that idiot.

The other man accidentally kicks him into his side, murmuring, "Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean to," before Namjoon slowly opens his eyes, watching Jimin shuffling out of the room. He's almost entirely naked, his muscular back on display, the black boxers low on his hips. It is a fascinating sight, watching the muscles move under Jimin's tight skin, and for a moment, Namjoon wishes he could see the other dance like this. In nothing but black boxers hugging his legs tightly and in the soft moonlight, highlighting him in such a beautiful way.

And it actually doesn't bother him that he was awakened so rudely from the best night sleep he had in a long time.

It's still early, not quite dark anymore, but not bright enough, the sun's not up so far, and they have at least three more hours to sleep. Namjoon feels groggy with the lack of sleep and the rest alcohol running through his veins, but he feels good at the same time. His limbs are heavy, and he still tingles with post-orgasmic bliss. It had felt really good to be with someone else pressed against his body instead of only his hand and some stupid porn he tends to need due to the lack of his erotic imagination and the daily stress.

He wonders if he can't go back to sleep now, could he, at last, try to sleep the plane ride away. Typically, he and Yoongi tend to work on some lyrics or discuss the upcoming interviews or shows they take part in, but for once, his friend will manage on his own, he thinks, tiredly pressing his face into the pillow, snuffling, groaning slightly. Everything smells like Jimin, like peppermint and chocolate and lemons and man. It makes Namjoon want to taste him again, touch him again, and he hugs the pillow closer, listening for returning footsteps, contemplating if they could do it again.

Should do it ever again. It might be a bad idea.

When Jimin enters his room again, he can feel him pause at the door. Standing still, like a deer in the headlights and waiting.

Slowly Namjoon opens his eyes again and looks at his friend, struggling to decide if he should come back to bed or rather turn around and go away.

And Namjoon can't let that happen, can't let Jimin feel out of place and as if the last night had been a mistake. Which hadn't been. It might have been stupid, but definitely no mistake and Namjoon would do everything to show Jimin that. He automatically lifts his hand, palm open and welcoming, his voice is rough with sleep and exhaustion, "Come back to bed."

Jimin's shoulders slump as if he had been scared Namjoon wouldn't want him back now that they are fully awake and might remember what they did, might realize that starting something like they had might be a reason which could destroy everything they worked for.

Within three steps, Jimin is by his side again and wriggles under the thin blanket, his naked back pressed against Namjoon's chest.

It is in the middle of summer, it's humid and warm, and Namjoon can feel their skin stick together with sweat, but again, he doesn't mind. He doesn't understand why, since he usually would pull a disgusted face and shake his head vigorously, trying to avoid any skin contact on days like this.

Instead, his arm sneaks around the other smaller waist, and his fingertips trail lazy pattern on Jimin's skin. He can feel the other's heartbeat against his hand, erratic and a bit too fast, but he finds it calming anyway. He knows it will steady in a bit, and until then, he's going to hold him close.

Without a second thought, without intention to do so, Namjoon rubs his lips against the crook of Jimin's neck, softly kissing him, pressing his nose into the soft hair where the spine ends, where Jimin smells even more like himself and not like cologne or some ridiculous expensive shower gels. Where he smells fantastic.

Tentatively, he sticks out his tongue, and Namjoon feels Jimin shudder, and then there is a feather-like touch on his arm. Fingertips caressing his sensitive skin, and he feels Jimin's chest expand before questioning, "We are not making it awkward later, right?"

He sounds as insecure as Namjoon feels, and it hits him right into the chest. He doesn't want to lose a friend over something so simple as this, or bring more tension into their tight schedule and unbalances the whole group with his actions. And Jimin seems to feel the same.

"No, we're not.", He replies after a while, thinking about how he should explain something he doesn't have words for, "This is just..."

"Seeking out intimacy with someone you feel safe with.", Jimin ends his rambling, and Namjoon nods in approval.

Because that's what this is. It has no meaning. There are no feelings between them than deep friendship and a sense of self-made family.

Jimin doesn't love him, and he doesn't love Jimin. Well, not romantically, anyway.

This, all of this, is only being with someone without fearing the media will find out. Touching someone, getting touched by someone. It's almost similar to him and Mark, only he and Jimin work together directly, sharing a home.

It feels right and somehow like a terribly bad idea at the same time, although Namjoon can't figure out why.

"It doesn't have to happen again.", He says, and all at once, Jimin completely relaxes into his touch. It feels like someone opened a small valve, and the anxiety left him like air from a children's balloon. Finally, his heart starts to beat in a normal rhythm.

"I try harder to be healthy.", Jimin whispers into the darkness, changing the topic abruptly, not answering Namjoon's implied question, "I'm going to try harder not to overwork myself anymore."

"I'm glad to hear that, Jiminie, but you have to be reasonable and get help when you can't do it alone."

He feels proud of the man in his arms to talk about this serious problem, and that he didn't need to force it, yet that Jimin trusts him enough to speak about it on his own.

"I know, I promise I'll get help if I need it."

Namjoon trusts him to be entirely honest and ask for help if he needs it. He knows others might disagree with his decision to let Jimin do it on his own, but he knows it doesn't always work like that, being invading and persuasive and forcing help onto someone.

He has to have faith in his friend. Trusts him to be dutiful enough to seek out help and to trust Namjoon in return with this.

They stop speaking after that, drifting in and out of sleep, all the while still touching each other, caressing their skin, trailing lips and tongues and hands along unseen paths, releasing a contented sigh now and then.

Namjoon lays with his face crushed into Jimin's neck, breathing in his soothing scent, and feeling lighter than all year.

 

They don't talk about it afterward. It's not like they specifically ignore the fact that they got off with each other, that they felt the soft skin of the other under their fingertips, and know how their moaning sounds like. Know their O-faces.

It's one of those memories Namjoon will presumably never forget, no matter how his life turns out. Jimin's half-lidded eyes, eyebrows drew together. A soft flush spreading on his nose and cheeks while even sweeter gasps escaped his pouty lips.

Knowing all this, they didn't ignore it per se, but...they do ignore it.

Somehow, Namjoon doesn't know how they do it, but it doesn't get awkward.

They don't blush around each other, don't hesitate to touch, still leaning against each other, putting a hand on the small of their backs. It's not like it was for Namjoon and Mark when being in the same room, made the air shift into nervous energy and turning them into a jittery mess.

It even didn't get awkward after Jeongguk came into the room to get some fresh clothes out of his wardrobe. Waking them, pulling them out of their light slumber, and staring at them with wide eyes and an open mouth, "Why are you naked?"

"We are not, and as far as I know, I'm still wearing some underpants.", Namjoon responded voice rough with sleep, Jimin's face still pressed into his chest, softly nuzzling into him, holding on for a moment longer. Their naked skin stuck together, and it was a bit gross and uncomfortable. But again: Namjoon didn't mind.

"Ok," Their youngest said hesitantly, sounding a bit stunned, but letting the topic go, reaching for one of his many white shirts, "Breakfast is ready, by the way. Tae made some coffee."

"Sounds great." Namjoon murmured, stretching his legs, entangling himself from the smaller body against him. He didn't want to have any kind of conversation right now, especially not this, not without any caffeine in his veins. The good thing is that Tae, next to Yoongi, makes the best coffee in their group, and when he got out of bed, a massive pot with extra sugar and milk would already wait for him on the counter.

It didn't get awkward when Namjoon was seated at their kitchen counter a few minutes later, a steaming cup of coffee and one of Seokjin's egg toast in his hands, and Jimin, then finally fully dressed again in yet another black tank top and sweatpants, came in, leaning on Seokjin's shoulder, popping a few grapes into his mouth and smiling, "I'm sorry I made you worry."

"It's alright, Jiminie, but please listen to us when we try to help.", their eldest said, petting Jimin's head like a puppy.

"Will do.", He turned away, reaching for a toast himself and then smiling at Namjoon, "Thanks for last night, Hyung. It helped me a lot."

Jeongguk, apparently, never told anyone about them together in a bed, half-naked, cuddling like some long lost lovers, and although Namjoon could see him glancing at them from time to time, the maknae remained silent. Namjoon ignored the looks and the heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

 

 

July 2015

Life is a living hell.

It is remarkable how much a person's life can change within a month.

Namjoon never felt fear like this before. Fear so deep, so thoroughly real, he can feel it in his bones and makes him want to crawl out of his skin.

Usually, he is an analytically thinking person. He isn't afraid of the dark or of monsters under his bed. Not for years anymore. Unrealistic things other people tend to get scared off like Clowns or Zombies or snakes, for fuck sake, don't scare him even a little bit. He can watch movies with as many ghosts and Ouija boards as he wants to and still doesn't blink when the lights go out, and undefined noises reach his ears.

But now, however, Namjoon is terrified.

The day before, they held a concert in LA, and now they just landed in Mexico, and he thinks the country is beautiful. It's warm and loud and full of new impressions he wants to soak in like a dry sponge. He should enjoy himself. He should enjoy the summer sun and some fresh street tacos with guacamole, should enjoy the language, the street art and the music, but he can't.

Because he is frightened.

Eleven days ago, they got pulled aside by Sejin-nim, a stern expression on his face, who said, "I got a call from the company, and I need you all to take deep breathes. Everything will be alright, nothing is going to happen to you, but there were some severe Twitter posts the police is going to investigate."

Sever posts, the police is going to investigate, nothing is going to happen to you, those were the words all of them registered, and suddenly the room was filled with loud, incensed voices. All of them talking over each other, demanding to know what was going on.

As it later transpired, after all of then turned quiet enough to let Sejin speak again, there were some death threats. Someone with a gun threatened to come to the concert in Dallas on the 17th of July.

"Against someone specifically?" Seokjin asked, voice shaking, holding Taehyung's hand in a death grip.

Sejin-nim turned to Namjoon and nodded. Their manager didn't need to say anything, didn't need to tell them, but did anyway. It's not like they wouldn't find out on their own ten minutes on the internet, right?

"Against you, Joon-ah."

Namjoon didn't react. He might not have processed completely what was going on, ignoring his friends' shocked expressions and Jimin's small hand on his arm, gripping so hard he could find purple fingerprints on it a few days later. He should have felt as shocked as his friends, but the only feeling running through his body was relief. Relief it was him the person wanted dead and not the others.

They promised not to leave the hotel without supervision, better to not leave it at all. No vlives, no tweets as long as they are in Dallas, due to the possibility their location could leak out. At least not before the police found the person behind the tweet.

That night they shared one single room, huddled together like a pile of stray cats in a place far to small for seven adults. It somehow reminded him of their time in the old apartment.

None of them wanted to leave Namjoon alone, wanted him out of their sight. He just lay awake, that night, sandwiched between Taehyung and Seokjin and staring up to the warm yellow ceiling, asking himself why.

Why did someone threaten them? What did they do?

"Everything will be alright.", Seokjin whispered into his ear, pulling him closer, "You'll see Joon-ah."

He wished he could believe him.

 

Now they are in Mexico, and he's looking forward to performing on stage again, to jump with the crowd, to feel his music vibrating through his body and do what he loves, despite how exhausted he is from their prior performances and jet leg. They have two days to acclimate to Mexico, to relax before they're going on stage again, a small break in then turmoil their life has become.

Still, there is another one again, Sejin-nim told them when they reached the hotel, with stressed eyes and an even more stressed voice.

Another death threat against Namjoon. And it is so severe, his mother called him, begged him to be careful, to please come home soon, to call her every day until he steps back into Korea where he is safe!

And his mother doesn't even use the internet, let alone any social networks. He wonders if Kyungmin had read the tweets and told his mother or if one of the neighbors did.

Jackson sends him messages all day long, although he must be busy as well. Asking what he's doing, what he's eating, how he slept in yet another different hotel bed, asking everything, and talking about anything, as long as Namjoon replies in a steady rhythm.

Even Mark sent him a few voicemails, asking if he is doing ok. If he needs to talk to someone.

And Namjoon, Namjoon, is scared. Scared shitless for the wrong reason. He is not stupid, and he knows how dangerous this could be, knows what the worst outcome could be.

However, somehow, he can't seem to care about himself.

No, he is scared for the other six men who are going on stage with him to perform.

When he is able to sleep for more than a few heartbeats, he wakes up at night, panting, drenched in sweat, after yet another nightmare where some faceless person shot one of his friends, one of his brothers. Namjoon, standing on stage, blood on his hands, death around him, and the gun right in front of his feet.

Namjoon isn't stupid. He doesn't need a psychologist to explain his dreams to him. He knows he would never ever forgive himself if something, anything happens to his family.

He's scared, so utterly frightened; it feels like his skin might burst open in any given moment and leave him back as defenseless as a slug on a bicycle lane.

The tension is strained to the breaking point. Every staff member is alert and tiptoes around him as if he's made of glass. The hotel staff is alert, the police and especially the security at the concert halls.

The others are watching him through hawk eyes, searching for something Namjoon isn't able to place. He tries to do his job, being the leader, as accurate as possible. Tries to sort through his cloudy mind and act normal. Normal, what does this even mean anymore? He's just a boy from Ilsan, South Korea who wants to do some music. Why?

Everyone told him multiple times that he is allowed to not go on stage. No one would be angry with him; no one would hold it against him. ARMY might be a little bit disappointed and sad, but his health and well being are more important to them than a concert. They all would rather not have a concert at all instead of him or the others hurt or worse.

Namjoon knows this, and he doesn't care, he wants to be on stage. He feels like he has to, for reasons, he doesn't want to voice out loud, so he doesn't upset the others more than they already are. He bits the insides of his cheeks rare to hold back his thoughts, to not let them out.

Namjoon feels like he's walking through fog, doesn't feel his limbs, doesn't feel anything. They are all pressed into the small lift, no one is talking, all he can hear is their breaths and the rustling of clothes. He knows Jeongguk is clutching Taehyung's arm, too scared to let go, and Yoongi is scrutinizing him from behind his big sunglasses, the rest of the face hidden behind a black face mask.

The lift opens the door at their floor, and Namjoon wants to ask them if they're going to watch a movie later, hang out all together, but the words caught behind his teeth, his lips won't form any words, his tongue glued to the palate.

Only then, Seokjin holds his arm and looks at him with intense eyes, saying again that Namjoon is allowed to not be on stage, that he doesn't need to force himself and Namjoon just snaps.

They all stand in the hallway to their hotel rooms, and he can feel the thick, red carpet under his feet, the heavy bag on his back, and the pressure on his shoulders. The pressure of them all staring at him as if they are waiting for him to break.

The pressure to perform, to be a good leader, and to take care of them.

He lashes out in a way he never did before because Namjoon usually is the quiet one. He doesn't do loud, doesn't do violence.

He's the guy who talks about his problems and tries to find a way to resolve it in a calm, adult way, instead of shouting until his throat hurts. This is why the management made him the leader, not because he was the first one, although he doesn't like to hear that, tend not to believe it.

"For fuck sake.", He yells, ripping his arm out of Seokjin's warm hand. Now he knows how Jeongguk might have felt back then in February — cornered like a scared animal, unable to help himself in any other way than lashing out.

And he shouts, screams at Seokjin and Yoongi, who's trying to calm them down. He ignores the youngest frightened faces and Hoseok's twitching mouth.

Namjoon can't really remember what he's saying the very same moment the words are out of his mouth. It's a river of shouted words, pouring between their bodies and clinging to their skins like water drops on their clothes during the monsoon time in Thailand.

Something about that he has to be on stage if someone comes with a gun and wants to shoot them down. Something about, if he is there, then the others might not get hurt because if he's not there, the offender might change his mind and maybe hurt Kookie or Tae or Seokjin. And he can't let that happen, he can't be backstage and maybe hear them scream and lose them. And he is so fucking scared for them he can't sleep anymore.

Because his life is not as important as theirs, and if it means he has to be on stage so someone can kill him with a god damn fucking gun if it means that they are safe, he will stay on every stage with wide-open arms until the rest of his god damn fucking life.

He doesn't remember his exact words, but he sees in their faces when they understand the precise meaning of his words.

Namjoon sees it in Seokjin's big eyes. The shock, the fear, and he feels so ashamed of himself. Sees it in Yoongi's pale face, and the tears in Jeongguk eyes. Sees, that they are as scared for him as he is for them, and his words hurt them. Hurt them, and therefore hurt him.

"I'm sorry, Hyung. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that.", He says hastily, his heart is pounding in his chest and his blood running through his ears, "I'm sorry. I...Jen-Jang!"

He stops because he doesn't know what else to say. Scared, that whatever words come out of his mouth might make it worse, hurt them more.

Shame washes over him in hot waves, making him burn with the need to apologize, but his jaw is clenched shut. He isn't able to say another word, and he turns on his heels to flee into his room. For the first time since this started, he is grateful for his single room.

Usually, he shares his room with either Jeongguk or Seokjin when they are out of the country and touring, occasionally with Hoseok, because they are best buddies and like to make music until late at night and talk about shit and the world.

Normally, they all fight over the single room where ever they go, their most used methods rock paper scissors, or drawing straws, but now he gets a single room all the time. Like he needs his space and wants to be alone.

He doesn't. Now, being in another room he doesn't feel comfortable in, he feels isolated, locked away.

Namjoon finds himself missing the others snores, the rustling of fabric and the heavy breathing of sleeping people around him. It calms him, reassures him, especially after another nightmare. 

But he doesn't know how to ask them not to leave him alone. He's never been good at asking for the things he needs.

Now, the door closing behind him with a loud thump, he's grateful for his own space. He isn't sure if he could look them into the eyes.

The flower-patterned curtains are half-closed, and the room is filled with light and shadows. The room is a weird mix of traditional and moderns furnishing. Big LED lights on the ceiling and a new double bed framed by two white nightstands. The walls have a creme-white, and the floor is made of a light wood. The covers on the bed, the bedside lamps, and the closet, however, are old and somehow remind him of an English bed and breakfast - lilac flower pattern and antique pink lace.

With a heavy sigh, he falls on the bed and let go of his bag, which slips to the floor.

Right next to him on the beige wall is a print of a colorful painting, Namjoon remembers seeing a few years ago when he was still at school and scrolling though his art book.

Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central, the words forming in his mind without him wanting to, providing him with information about Diego Rivera.

Born 1886, married to Frida Kahlo, who had been over twenty years younger than him, one of the most significant painters of his time and essential for the Mexican modern art revolution, known for political views which are reflected in his works.

He feels empty, staring at the painting next to him, analyzing the arrangement and colors and the feeling it should trigger inside him.

Namjoon is no stranger to depression. He struggled with his mental health for a very long time. He can't even remember a time when self-doubt, self-hatred, and depression wasn't a constant companion in his life. By now, it's a part of his being, his thinking, the way he sees the world, and learns and adjusts to it. It's a part of his brain, the psychologist Mrs. Im he visited when he was fourteen and in danger of dying during a complicated heart surgery, had said.

'It happens a lot,' the woman had told him, people with a high IQ tend to struggle with mental illnesses such as depression, ADHS, or other more severe ones more often than others.

Most of the time, Namjoon does fine. He handles his depression with gentle hands and good enough strategies so he doesn't need any medication or regular visits with his psychologist. Most of the time, he can get out of his spiraling thoughts and focus on the essential things after a few long walks, taking one shaky breath of air after another and sometimes a call or an email to Mrs. Im, but today it feels like his depression sneaked up on him and hit him over the head - with a baseball bat.

He knows he needs to stay focused. They are in the middle of a tour, that he is in Mexico, and he has to take care of them as their leader.

But he can't.

He can't breathe. An invisible hand curling around his neck, squeezing tight, he can almost feel finger dipping into the muscles shielding his throat, closing tighter and tighter.

He's slipping, drowning in fear and sorrow, and all-embracing loneliness. His self-doubts, depression, and the anxiety gripping him by the ankles like a Kappapulling him deeper and deeper into the darkness, no matter how hard he struggles against it, how hard he kicks his feet and tries to reach for the surface.

Namjoon doesn't hear the knock on the door or subconsciously ignores it, in favor of switching glances between the replicate at the wall and his folded hands between his legs.

When the door opens anyway, he's suddenly aware of how dark it became. There is barely any sunlight anymore, the shadows more prominent, more intimidating in the room he doesn't know. A place he doesn't feel at home.

How long is he sitting on the bed already? It feels like only seconds past, not like hours. But it must be at least one hour, probably longer.

Namjoon hates it when he loses time like that. Hates that his depression isolates him from reality, makes him slip and stumble, and time becomes an abstract construct he can't follow anymore.

He hears the person fiddling with some buttons, switching on the big light at the ceiling at first, but then turns it off immediately, and the smaller light next to Namjoon enlightens a second later.

He blinks, even the small light hurts in his eyes, and looking at his hands seems so much easier.

Shame is still running through his veins, makes him want to lie face down on the floor and maybe hide in a pillow fort like when he had been four years old, and Kyungmin destroyed the painting he made for their grandmother.

He can't face whoever steps towards him, only sees some naked feet in the most hideous 'Birkenstock' shoes only ahjussis' in the countryside like to wear. They look like something Taehyung would buy, and a small smile steals itself on his lips.

All at once, the room smells like melted cheese and the distinctive scent of warm pizza, and his stomach rumbles a bit. He's just not sure if it is because of hunger or because he might throw up.

"Joonie." Jimin's soft voice pips up, and he feels how the other places the food next to him on the bed before crouching in front of him.

Jimin takes his tense hands in his own, brushing over the skin between his index finger and thumbs.

Concerned eyes search for his own, and Namjoon feels like his heart might burst for a moment, "Do you want to eat with me? I think I won't be able to finish it on my own."

Namjoon knows he's lying to him. If Jimin wants to, he can finish more than one pizza at once alone, but he appreciates the sentiment.

Jimin, he finds, is one of the only people in his life who make him feel at home where ever he is. His presence alone makes the foreign hotel room seem like home.

Over the last month, they became even closer, despite their weird sexual intercourse back in Seoul. Their touches became more frequent, lingered more on the same spot, and somehow, Jimin adapted the habit to lay his hand on Namjoon's leg, caressing the clothes flesh carefully. Even when they are not surrounded by cameras.

Namjoon doesn't mind the warm, steady pressure that became a part of his daily life.

Slowly, he nods, indicating Jimin to sit on the bed, while he finally takes off his shoes and changes into comfortable clothes.

He doesn't bother to go into the bathroom to change, they've seen each other multiple times in similar situations.

All the while, Jimin's slipped off those shoes, and turned the television on, zapping through the program. He's sitting cross-legged on the huge bed, back leaning against the old-fashioned decorated headboard and holding one very cheese pizza slice in his other hand.

"I can't understand anything.", He whines softly when Namjoon finally wriggles on the bed next to him, reaching for the pizza, "It's all in Spanish."

"Obviously.", Namjoon raises an eyebrow, "We're in Mexico."

After a few more frustrated sighs, Jimin stops at a random sitcom and places the remote control on the side stand, turning to Namjoon with a big smile. The loud laughter of the background audience and a steady ramble of Spanish phrases fill the room. Namjoon never understood the laughter of an audience during American sitcoms. Do they need it to know that the words the character said were a joke? Do they not understand a joke when they hear it?

"I like it when we share food and eat together.", Jimin comments, biting into his pizza and then licking the grease off his lips, "The others are in Kookie's room and watch one of Tae's dramas. One of the better ones, you know. Even Yoongi-Hyung went, but I'm not sure with which promises they coaxed him out of his room. Sometimes I wonder if he was something like a troll or goblin in his previous life. 'I hate water, I hate sunlight, I hate humans, gnah gnah!' Sometimes he reminds me of Gollum, particularly when he holds on to his music equipment, you know?"

Namjoon can imagine it, Yoongi hunched over his keyboard in the darkness of their studio, gripping the keys and growling, 'My precious.' He tries to suppress the snort but isn't able to, and it feels good to do that. Jimin smiles at that in return, obviously happy he made him laugh.

They stay mostly silent, eating the pizza, watching the show without understanding anything at all, which doesn't bother him in the slightest. Occasionally they comment on the acting or the way the female protagonist pouts and puts her hands on her hips.

"She looks just like my Eomma when Jihyunnie made her angry."

When he finished his food, stretching out his legs, Jimin stands up to put the pizza box into the bin, taking a deep breath before saying, "I hope you do know that none of the others are angry with you."

Namjoon doesn't look at him, nervously playing with the hem of his jumper. He isn't sure if he's ready to talk about the previous events already.

"Because they aren't.", Jimin continues, ignoring his obvious displeasure, "They are sad and scared for your safety. And maybe Jin-Hyung feels a little bit guilty for letting you stay alone at night the past two weeks, although you obviously needed someone with you."

"I don't need someone with me.", Namjoon denies through clenched teeth, but Jimin moves his hand in such a dismissive manner, it looks a bit like he's trying to scare away Namjoon's words or a bug, "Don't lie, you are not very good at it anyway. What I was trying to say is that we shouldn't have left you alone at nights, and we are sorry."

"You don't have to be sorry. I haven't said anything. I could have told you that I can't sleep because of those dreams."

"Yeah, you could have, but didn't and we should have known better, but didn't.", He steps back to the bed, sitting so close to him, Namjoon can feel the heat radiation.

"It doesn't matter.", Namjoon says, closing his eyes as if he could fade this conversation and the whole situation all together out of his mind.

"You are right.", Jimin replies, placing his hand on Namjoon's leg, "Because you are not alone tonight and tomorrow. And as long as you want to. I'm staying with you."

"Do you now?"

"Yeah, and maybe we find a way to loosen this tension between your shoulders and get you relaxed, you know."

"Like what, Jimin?" He snorts, slowly turning back to the man beside him, opening his eyes to see his face, "You gonna let me fuck you?"

It's much harsher than he intended, it sounds filthy and too invasive.

Namjoon wants to slap himself, apologize because this had been out of line, and he shouldn't have said this to his friend, who only tries to help him.

But then he sees it: The light blush spreading on Jimin's cheeks, the way his eyes got larger, and his pupils dilated. Namjoon never thought he would see something like this in his life, always associated this with fiction and corny rom-coms with adorable but stupid main characters and strong female lead roles.

For the first time since Jimin entered the room, Namjoon takes him in. Really looks at him. He's pale, and there are dark shadows under his eyes, like everyone else has as well. He is bare-faced, no make-up, no concealer hiding the few random spots on his otherwise perfectly smooth skin, and there is a light shadow on his cheeks because he hasn't shaved that morning. The red in his hair slowly loses color, fading into an off-orange, which suits him - naturally. He's only wearing some stupid grey baggy sweatpants and a black shirt, which reminds Namjoon of the first day he'd seen the other man. No jewelry, nothing that could remind him of the stage persona the man can be, but only Park Jimin. The man who loves to dance more than anything in the world and has the voice of an angle.

Namjoon realizes that this Jimin, next to him at this very moment, is his favorite. 

He licks his lips and can see when Jimin's eyes drop down to his tongue, following the movements. He swallows thickly, and the thoughts in his mind turn into vivid pictures. Jimin's lips are slightly open and still shiny with olive oil and maybe a bit spit, his breath is swallowed. Right before he answers, Jimin's teeth gaze his bottom lip, and Namjoon wants to press himself against him, devour him, taste him, "If you want to. I thought more about a massage and a stupid comedy show we both understand this time, perhaps with a beer, but..."

The younger grins slightly, one eyebrow raised cockily.

And with that the tension, the electricity in the air vanished, leaving Namjoon back with his stupid thoughts and crazy desires.

Now Namjoon tries to hold himself together, either holding back in laughter or crying, he isn't sure. So he merely snickers, quietly, shaking his head, embarrassed, "That would do as well, you're right. I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Jimin says unabashed, and Namjoon wants to ask him when he became so...open and experienced. The last time Namjoon looked at him, he had been a boy who blushed while reading Sense and Sensibility and giggled like a schoolboy when someone mentioned the words penis or, god forbid, vagina.

"How about I search for a movie on Netflix, and you get comfy, maybe take a shower before coming back to bed.", Jimin says while busing himself with Namjoon's laptop. He should feel uncomfortable at how domestic their behavior is, at the realization that Jimin seemingly knows his password without even having to ask for it at all.

Silently, still shaking his head, he grabs for a fresh shirt and boxers before going into the bathroom.

He turns on the shower before he even shads himself out of his clothes, knowing that a lot of them take a while before warm water comes out of the shower head. He leans on the sink and watching his face in the mirror.

He's pale, his lips are chapped, and he shakes his head when he thinks about the words he had said to Jimin, 'You gonna let me fuck you?'

He shouldn't have said that, breaking their silent agreement to not mention the incident at all. Above all, he shouldn't even think about Jimin like that. Not that he had thought about him in such a setting before. He hadn't, but now, like someone switched a button in his head, he couldn't get the image of Jimin under him, above him, all over him, out of his mind. He wonders how the others might like it, was he a top? Would Jimin want to fuck into him mercilessly, hip thrusts similar to some of the dance moves they practice almost daily? Would he like to lie on his back, legs parted and clawing on Namjoon's shoulders for support, while he would thrust into the wet heat?

"You're such an idiot, Kim Namjoon.", He murmurs to himself, before stepping into the shower and sighing with relief when the hot water pours down his shoulders, hopefully washing his inappropriate thoughts away.

Jimin's company had helped him to get out of his more and more growing anxiety, at least for the night, and he is thankful for such friends.

He should talk to Seokjin and Yoongi first thing in the morning, over a cup of coffee and perhaps a warm buttered croissant. A small guilty pleasure Seokjin tried to hide from all of them when they have to be on a diet, mainly their managers. He would apologize again, this time properly, and ask them for forgiveness as well as for help. He would be the leader and manage the next few weeks. He's going to talk to them about his fears that something could happen to them and that they need to figure something out. He'll hug Taehyung and Kookie because this would be the thing both of them required more than reassuring words. He will pull Hoseok aside, get a drink with his friend, and do what they do best: talk shit about the world and do music.

And he's not going to think about faceless peoples with guns in their hands and blood all over the stage. He's not going to imagine it, not know, not tomorrow, nor ever. It won't happen, it will not be real.

He rests his forehead against the cool tiles, unable to move, to clean himself properly, just letting the water run down his spine and face and tries to breathe through the steam in the room and the haze in his mind.

This time, however, he hears the soft knock. This time he can't ignore it, can't pretend it is only his imagination.

There is no painting on the wall he can look at, so he watches the door which opens after a few moments, Jimin stepping in, not waiting for his ok.

Namjoon doesn't even think about shielding his groin. He just stares open-mouthed at the younger man, who bits his lips hard.

"Joonie." He whispers, and Namjoon is surprised he can hear him over the steady patter of the water around him, so similar to a warm summer rainstorm in Ilsan he loved as a child.

Carefully, without looking away, Jimin's pulls off his shirt, lets it fall to the ground, carelessly. He stands there, toes curling into the fabric and looking at him as if he's searching for something in his face. He musters Namjoon, and when he finds what he's looking for in his eyes, his hands find his waistband, thumbs slipping under it, and then removing both sweatpants and boxers in one go. Not once averting his gaze.

It's a bit like Jimin tries to stare him down, dares him to say anything to ruin whatever is going on between them.

And Namjoon isn't sure he what he could say, if he was able to speak, which he isn't. All saliva left his mouth, every swallow feels like pouring sand down is throat, and all he can do is gasp, watching Jimin completely mesmerized.

Namjoon has seen Jimin before in so many different contexts. In their old apartment, when they weren't able to hide anything, losing every last bit of shame of being naked. Behind the stage, when they need to change clothes within minutes, but it has never been like that. Not even when Jimin had been in his bed, under him, coming between their bodies, moaning filthily.

This is different. The lights in the bathroom are almost harsh, outline every inch of Jimin's body, and Namjoon can see each and every single dip, curve, and stretch marks. He can see Jimin's penis, half-hard and slightly jerking under Namjoon's scrutinizing eyes. There is a small mole right next to his hipbone. How could miss it the last time? He must have kissed the spot that night.

"Namjoon." Jimin's voice tears him out of his thoughts, out of his observation, and he looks up, back into his face, "Let me in, please."

It sounds like so much more than just letting Jimin step under the shower with him.

He moves aside, making more room under the hot spray, they are back to chest and Namjoon can feel Jimin's puffy breaths against his shoulder blades.

A small hand reaches around him for the shower gel, and Jimin starts to massage Namjoon's back, kneads the muscles under his strong hands. Fingertips trailing along his spine, making him shudder and goosebumps rising on his whole body. Soft gasps escaping his lips.

Namjoon always had been very sensitive to any kind of touches. His mother, just like Hoseok's, petted him to sleep like a cat, long finger softly running through his hair, and it was one of those touches he missed the most in his adulthood.

Jimin's hands are everywhere, on his chest, his collarbone, his shoulder, and suddenly on his waist. A strong body is pressed against him, and it feels so good being taken care of.

And then the other drops to his knees, hands massaging his legs and even once or twice his butt, and Namjoon thinks he should feel overwhelmed, maybe a bit awkward, but he doesn't.

"Turn around, Joonie.", Jimin's voice echoes through the small room, and Namjoon obeys, only thinking about objecting for a second. He's an adult, he doesn't need someone to wash him there, he can do that on his own, thank you very much, but then he sees Jimin's face.

Looking up to him, heavy water drops dripping down his long lashes and running down his cheeks, looking like he is crying and he's biting his lips, hard. He looks so gorgeous it hurts.

Those lips are going to be his death, Namjoon assumes, taking a sharp breath when they brush against his leg, barely touching his skin.

Then Jimin puts more pressure in it, trailing his lips up his legs to his groin, licking Namjoon's hip and gently biting into the dip of his navel, never stop looking into his eyes.

"Shit."

It's nothing really, barely a real touch, but almost too much. Because Namjoon has a small lip-kink, an even bigger one for Jimin's, who are on Namjoon's skin at the very moment, making him jerk slightly.

Jimin's tongue darts out to lick over the soft side of Namjoon's cock. He's not fully hard, not yet anyway, but it won't take long when Jimin takes him into his mouth.

It's so good, so hot and wet. When Jimin hollows his cheeks, Namjoon is sent to heaven.

The steady stream of "Oh fuck, shit, ah.", gets louder. There are hands on his legs, squeezing the flesh hard and wander to his butt and hips, and it steadies him when he nearly slumps forward. One hand touches his side, moves up to one nipple, pinching him lightly, and Namjoon can feel the grin around his dick when he hisses loudly.

He shakes so bad, and he's afraid he might fall over or burst into million tiny pieces if he doesn't hold on to something, carefully groping for the shower head to hold on to, but then Jimin took his searching hand and put it in the nap of his neck. Signaling him, to hold on to him, tug at his hair and take control.

It's been so long since the last time he had a blowjob. There had been a few before. From some girls, he randomly met in the past, from Mark, obviously and from one guy he talked to at an award show almost a year ago, shortly after Mark stopped responding to his calls and messages.

Namjoon knows how blowjobs work, in theory, or at least through what he experienced before, and he'd seen porn, more than enough for a whole lifetime, but he'd never taken control. He was never really allowed to or not familiar enough with the person and the mouth around his cock to do that. Handling them and pushing inside while being a bit sterner. Namjoon was always scared to hurt them or doing something the other participant wouldn't like.

He's afraid he might get too rough, too careless with Jimin as well, that he might hurt him, and then they would never do that again. Not that he thinks they are doing this again, it's just a fleeting thought. He wouldn't mind it happen again. Now, since he knows how good Jimin's lips feel around his cock, but still he shouldn't fuck the other's mouth, shouldn't tug his hair harshly. What if he hit the other's throat and then he won't be able to sing in two days at the concert? What could they even say as an explanation? Definitely not, that a dick was pushed into his mouth too strongly, they can't say that to ARMY. What kind of media conference would that be? He imagines it, Sejin-nim sitting at the table, holding a microphone, thanking everyone for coming and explaining why Jimin won't be able to sing and why.

"Stop thinking, Joon-ah.", Jimin hums, feeling Namjoon's mind running in circles, and he sounds so utterly wrecked, his voice rough and filled with lust, "Just let go. You won't hurt me."

And it's almost enough to make him come down his friend's throat, his long fingers tangling with now dark red wet hair because Jimin's voice is virtually better than the hot tongue pressed against the sensitive spot on the underside of his penis.

Jimin closes his lips around the tip and starts to suck, making him groan out loud, his hands grabbing his neck harder and guide himself deeper, pushes in. 

He's still gentle. Even in moments like this, his mother's words don't leave him alone.

Jimin lazily looks up to him, blinking a few times, and he looks so good. Plush lips round Namjoon's dick, cheeks blushed brightly, and Namjoon's hand tightened in the wet hair, moving his hips unintentionally.

With that, Jimin moans loudly, leaning into his hand and pulling Namjoon's hips towards his face, indicating him he's allowed to thrust into his mouth. The sound is vibrating around him, and Namjoon can't help it. He comes with a shout so loud, he's sure their manager two floors down must have heard him.

"Fuck, Jimin.", He gasps for air, earning another moan and nearly drops to his knees next to Jimin, who's still holding him tightly, nuzzling against his softening cock, "God, fuck."

The other chuckles smugly and slowly stands up again, groaning a bit, rubbing his knees.

He's half-hard, but when Namjoon wants to take him into his own big hands, Jimin slaps them away, tiptoeing and reaching for the shampoo, "This is not for me. Let me take care of you."

Namjoon almost whines, begs, that he wants this as well, but then Jimin is grinning at him, "Besides, I already came."

Namjoon coughs on his own spit, "You what?"

The younger turns pink, biting his swollen lips, hesitantly, "I liked what we did a lot."

He doesn't elaborate, but Namjoon understands him nevertheless. Felt it a month ago as well, coming because of the other's pleasure triggered his arousal more than any touch could ever do.

"Bend down a bit, please or I can't reach your head.", Jimin pours some shampoo into his hands, and Namjoon complies, making himself as small as possible, so Jimin can massage his scalp. It feels like heaven. All tension leaving his body, and he feels his eyes drop, his limps growing heavier with time. His mind is mushy and soft, and he doesn't feel like drowning anymore.

No, Namjoon is floating.

Jimin rinses out the shampoo and then steps out of the shower at first, reaching for some towels, carefully drying Namjoon. For a second, it feels like he's five again, at the beach in Dangjin, and his father shows him crabs, while the beach towel hangs off his shoulders. But then he opens his eyes, comes face to face with Jimin's naked body and he can't help, but places a light kiss on his abdomen. Jimin giggles at that, pulling him away, finger tangling into his hair and rubbing his neck, "Don't. It tickles."

When they are dry enough and brushed their teeth, Jimin leads him back into the room without picking up his clothes from the bathroom floor. Namjoon's laptop sits on the small desk next to the window, closed, and the television is turned off, the curtains were drawn close. Namjoon wonders how long he was in the shower before Jimin decided to join him. The soft light from the bedside lamp makes the room almost homely.

Jimin sits on the bed and pulls him with him onto the soft mattress, utterly undisturbed by his nakedness, and breaths into his ear, "Let's sleep naked, I want to feel you."

Namjoon can feel goosebumps spreading from on his neck down his spine, and he's sure, that if he weren't so tired, he would push the other on the bed and finger him open and fuck into him in a steady rhythm, but instead, he chuckles, "I'd like that, but what if the others come in?"

"None of them come in, I made sure of it.", Jimin crawls on top of him, makes him lie down after he turned off the lights, and lies his head on Namjoon's chest, his ear right above his heart. They say nothing for a few moments, and Namjoon knows Jimin's feeling his heartbeat. Then the younger whispers very gently, "We are all terrified of what happened the last few weeks, Joonie."

"I'm sorry.", He replies automatically.

"No, you don't have to be sorry. Those people who threatened you should be.", Jimin responds harshly, breathing heavy through his nose, "They should be ashamed of themselves. How can humans be so evil? I don't understand it. But what I was actually trying to say is that we are family. We all are and, no matter what, you shouldn't hold back, but talk to us, seek comfort in us."

"I do."

"No.," Jimin whispers, sounding dejected, "Not the last few weeks. We could see how awful you felt, Joonie, but you didn't let us in. You closed the door inside you. It never happened like this before, and it scared us. It scared me."

He wraps Jimin into a close hug, skin against skin, legs tangled, and his lips brush against his forehead, "I'm sorry, Jiminie. I truly am."

"Just.", Jimin moves, and although he can't see him in the darkness surrounding them, Namjoon knows that the other is looking at him, a small hand lying against his cheek, "Just don't cut us off. Trust us with your hurt, like we trust you with ours."

Namjoon's own hands, which were pressed against Jimin's ribs, move on their own, up his body, and into his still-wet hair. His thumb caressing Jimin's soft cheek, "I promise."

Somehow it feels like he promises so much more than that, something he can't grasp and understand now.

Jimin is so close Namjoon imagines he can taste his breath on his lips. He wonders what the other man tastes like, probably like mint toothpaste right now.

For a moment, Namjoon thinks they are going to kiss, properly, lips against lips and he lets his eyes fall shut, but then he feels those soft lips pressing into his cheeks, "Next time, we're doing this in a comfortable bed and not in a hard shower."

Namjoon's eyes fly open, and the hand in Jimin's hair stiffens automatically, "Next time?"

"If you want to.", Jimin says shyly, lying down again, "Like you said before, it doesn't have to happen again."

But he wants this to happen again. Namjoon, never in his entire life, felt this comfortable with a person next to him. He's not stupid, he knows he looks good, knows his body looks good, with his long legs and broad shoulders and defined chest, but he still never felt like this before, let alone with a lover. Not that they are lovers. 

It should feel wrong, being this close to his friend. However, it doesn't, and he's not ready to let this go, let it slip between his long fingers, "Actually, I would like to do this again, but with more reciprocity, you know?"

He feels Jimin giggle into his sternum, "That would be nice."

"Do we need to talk about this?" Namjoon asks carefully. Because they should probably talk about it. Should make clear what this is between them, maybe put a label on it, friends with benefits like in those stupid American movies. He has so many questions, starting with: Are you gay, Jiminie? Where did you learn to suck cock like this? Would you mind letting me fuck you into oblivion?

"We should, but not now."

Jimin's right, they should talk about it in another situation, when he isn't as tired as he is and he's not battling against his own mind. If he's looking at this thing between them objectively, he can't ignore the fact that this seems like a very unhealthy copy-mechanism for their mental struggles.

But when he voices his concern out loud, Jimin only bites his chest playfully, before hissing, "Shut up, Joon-ah."

Then he kisses the spot gently, "It helped, right?"

It did, Namjoon thinks and lets his eyes fall shut, gradually drifting to sleep.


🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon wakes with a start.

His heart is racing, running miles within seconds, and the scream is caught in his throat, his lungs constricting.

He can't breathe, can't scream, no sounds are coming out of his mouth, which is open, gasping for air. The shot is still ringing in his ears, he can hear their screams, their cries. There is so much blood. On the floor, on his hands, on his face.

He tries to wipe it away, his fingers clawing at his wet cheeks and arms.

He still can't breathe, taking one rattling gulp of air after another.

"Joonie.", a soft voice pulls him out of his thought, fingers wrapping around his wrists, "Joonie, stop it, you're going to hurt yourself."

"Blood." He croaks, trying to shake off the steady, but gentle grip, "There is blood all over my face."

"No.," the voice says, gripping him harder, "There is no blood, Namjoon, you were dreaming. It was just a dream."

Slowly, Namjoon opens his eyes, it's dark, and he's in a room he barely recognizes. He's not kneeling on the stage in a puddle of blood, but sitting on a fluffy bed.

"Breath with me. In - one, two, three. Hold it and count to six.", The voice continues, counting to six, and somehow Namjoon knows the voice, the person behind it. But it can't be. The person is dead, he had seen it only a few moments ago. He held his face in his hands, smudging over the red liquid. The person can't be speaking with him. It's impossible.

"And out. That's good, you're doing so good, Joon-ah. Now again. In - one, two, three. Hold your breath."

He looks up. Jimin is sitting in his lap, naked, gripping his hands, breathing with him. He's repeating the counting until Namjoon's heart slowly stops racing, until the buzzing in his ears gets weaker, and he stops shaking.

He still has the urge to wipe off the blood, but Jimin lets go off one of his wrists, laying his warm and dry palm on his cheek, "There is no blood, Hyung."

Right, it was a dream, again. The moisture might be sweat or tears, but no blood.

"Fuck." He whispers, because fuck, those dreams messes with his brain. He lets his head fall on Jimin's shoulder, who instinctively wraps his arms around him. Namjoon listens to his steady breathing, tries to adapt it, and one hand automatically reaches for Jimin's chest, feeling his heart.

There it is, softly drumming behind his rib cage. He is alive. He's not dead to Namjoon's feet.

"You're alive.", He doesn't mean to say it, but his exhausted body and mind have a will of their own, and the words leave his chapped lips without permission.

"I am. I'm here with you.", the younger replies, nose pressed against his pulse point. He is so close, his body heat presence that Namjoon can't help but let out a sob, "You didn't lose me. Everything is alright."

Namjoon wants to laugh.

Obviously, nothing is alright, but he can't. It's the first time since the dreams started, he snapped out of his post-sleep stupor within minutes. Usually, he isn't able to calm down for hours. Of course, the nightmares don't stop after one blowjob in the shower, he shouldn't have felt invincible, but still, Jimin's proximity soothed him, helped him figure out that they are alright.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Jimin asks, still sitting in Namjoon's lap, and it should be inconvenient and odd, but Namjoon's feels truly save for the first time in weeks.

He shakes his head. He doesn't want to tell Jimin about the way he'd seen him fall, microphone rolling out of his loose hand. Maybe he shouldn't have watched so many graphic action and horror movies when he was younger.

He's sure Jimin knows about the content of his nightmare anyway.

"You can let me go.", He whispers and hugging Jimin tighter, closer, "I'm ok."

"Do you want me to let go?" Jimin asks instead of moving away, and Namjoon shakes his head again, "Good because I don't want to. Only, let's lie down again, Joonie."

Carefully, he leans back, Jimin on top of him.

"Do you want to talk about anything else?" He asks after a while, his fingertips playing with Namjoon's collarbone, who presses his face into the soft hair.

"No. Let's just lie here."

"Whatever you need.", Jimin replies without delay, softly caressing his chest.

It doesn't take Jimin long to slip back into sleep, his breath even and peaceful, disturbed from occasional sniffles when he presses even closer.

And Namjoon knows he won't be able to go back to sleep, holding on for dear life. He's calm now, he knows it was only a dream, the wetness on his hands not blood, but his own tears, but the images still linger behind his eyelids.

He should contact his psychologist again when they are back home in Korea. He knows without a doubt his night terrors are a normal reaction to this situation, and he's grateful for his friends' support, but they are by no means qualified for this. He doesn't want to hurt them or doing any harm, so he makes a mental note to write an email to Mrs. Im as soon as possible.

When it is clear that sleep won't come back soon, and he gets antsy, he gently entangles himself from the sleeping body on him. Jimin doesn't wake up, fingers loosely grasping the thin blanket when they can't find Namjoon's body anymore. His exposed back peaks out of the cushions, and for a moment, Namjoon lets himself linger. Looks at him, lets his finger wander down the spine until he reaches the dip of Jimin's waist.

As silent as possible, he stands up and shuffles towards the bathroom to wash his sweaty face. The lights are harsh and hurt his sleepy eyes. He's as pale as all the other nights before, but the normally sick tint, grey-ish green is nowhere to be seen. His eyes are red-rimmed and the shadows as prominent as ever, but he's not crying anymore.

It's progress, he thinks and turns off the lights again before getting to the desk and taking a bottle of water.

Surprisingly he manages to walk through the darkness to the window without bumping into any furniture before he opens the curtains.

They don't stay in a fancy hotel.

Not yet, but Namjoon believes in them and knows, someday in the future, they will. Some day, they will stay in a penthouse and be on top of the world, he can feel it.

But this time, they aren't. Their hotel room is on the eighth floor of a not so fancy hotel, and the cars speeding down the streets aren't tiny like ants. It's not like he would imagine, not like Namjoon wishes for, but it's enough right now. The red and white car lights moving fast, distracting him from his inner turmoil. Namjoon is sitting on the floor of a hotel room, naked as the day of his birth, and watching cars and the dark grey sky, and he almost loses it. Laughing out loud, hysterically. The only reason he swallows it down is the man sleeping soundly behind him in bed and his common sense. He doesn't have time for a breakdown.

As quiet as possible, he searches for his phone.

It's almost 3 am, and although he's sure the others are already asleep, he sends Seokjin a message, doesn't expect an answer before breakfast time.

 

RapMon: I'm sorry for my behavior, Hyung.

 

Then he finally answers Jackson's frantic messages.

 

JWangPuppy: Yo, talk to me when you're there.

JWangPuppy: I don't mind midnight talks. Can't sleep anyway.

JWangPuppy: I mostly sleep in the car on Mark's shoulders anyway. Or JB's. They are kinda comfy.

JWangPuppy: Not like Yugyeom or BamBam's, they are bony

JWangPuppy: And hurt my cheek or head. Especially when the car drives over a pothole, and it's all bumpy.

JWangPuppy: You there?

JWangPuppy: Joon-ah

JWangPuppy: I miss you, come home soon.

JWangPuppy: Wow, I officially called Korea home for the first time.

JWangPuppy: I hope you weren't kidnapped by Mexican drug dealers and gang members with awesome tattoos.

JWangPuppy: Were you?

JWangPuppy: Kidnapped?

JWangPuppy: Send one of those poop-emojis if you're kidnapped

JWangPuppy: Send an eggplant if not.

JWangPuppy: Well, maybe don't do that, or our FBI agent will think we are gay

JWangPuppy: Like, for each other. Which I am not.

JWangPuppy: For you.

JWangPuppy: Anyway.

JWangPuppy: I know about you and Mark btw

JWangPuppy: I don't mind, I think. You could have talked to me.

JWangPuppy: Are you ignoring me bc I know you suck dick occasionally?

JWangPuppy: Please don't ignore me, I really don't mind about you and dick sucking.

JWangPuppy: I might mind about you sucking Mark's dick.

JWangPuppy: But not you sucking in general.

JWangPuppy: And not YOU, you know. It's Mark's dick I'm concerned about

RapMon: Jesus fucking Christ, Jackson! Shut the fuck up. It's 3 am

 

Namjoon thinks it doesn't matter that he's awake anyway. It feels good to reply like that.

 

JWangPuppy: Thank god you're not kidnapped and stuff like that. A poop-emoji would have been awkward to explain.

JWangPuppy: Sorry for waking you. I thought this is important. Like, you know, me making it clear that I don't mind your sexuality. As whatever you define yourself.

JWangPuppy: And it's your own fault if you didn't change your phone to silent mode

RapMon: I was already awake, don't worry.

 

His mobile lights up with another message, but this time from Mark. Of course, they are with each other right now and talking about him.

 

CaliforniaSun: I'm sorry I told Jackson about us.

CaliforniaSun: I know you wanted to wait until you're back in Korea, but

CaliforniaSun: We did things, and he wanted to know why I know how to do bj's. And I didn't want to start this thing with lies. I hope you don't mind.

CaliforniaSun: Are you alright, Namjoon-ah? Do you want to talk about what's happening right now?

RapMon: Congratulations on the 'things and the thing,' but no, I don't want to talk, Hyung. Thanks anyway.

CaliforniaSun: I'm here if you need something.

RapMon: Thanks =) And seriously, I don't mind about Jacks' knowing. I'm happy for you two.

 

RapMon: So, you did 'things' with Mark, huh?

JWangPuppy: Well,... yeah?!

RapMon: Don't hurt him.

JWangPuppy: I won't. Although it might surprise you, I have an enormous heart and an even bigger place for Mark-Hyung in it.

RapMon: I know you do, but you're also an idiot, so don't hurt him.

JWangPuppy: I will take your words into account. But don't worry, he's very dear to me.

JWangPuppy: Just, please never touch him again. I share my smoothies with you, but not my 'things'

JWangPuppy: But all stupid jokes aside: Are you alright? I was worried, didn't think about the time differences.

RapMon: Seriously? I'm not sure.

RapMon: Don't laugh, Jacks, but right now, I'm sitting completely starkers on the damn fucking floor, looking out of the window, and I might have a minor mental breakdown.

JWangPuppy: Like really starkers? All bollocks out?

RapMon: Nice to see that you concentrate on the important piece of information, but yes.

JWangPuppy: Oh, wow.

JWangPuppy: Namjoon-ah.

JWangPuppy: Don't be angry.

JWangPuppy: But when you didn't reply earlier, I was really worried about you.

JWangPuppy: And I've sent Hobi a few messages. Just asking if you're alright. If you're hydrated, ate enough, slept enough, all that stuff.

JWangPuppy: And he was kind enough to let me know that you are probably hydrated and ate some pizza and are asleep.

JWangPuppy: And you're fine and, like, you know, not alone....

JWangPuppy: .... bc ChimChim's with you tonight.

JWangPuppy: And I wonder: are you completely starkers, like all bollocks out in the open, even with Jiminie in the room?

 

Namjoon can't help but snort. This is ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous and he loves Jackson so much, his heart starts to hurt. This guy on the other side of the world, 15 hours later than where he currently is, is one of his closest friends, and he had been worried, and Namjoon seriously loves him.

 

RapMon: Maybe.

JWangPuppy: Oh, wow. Does he care?

RapMon: He's asleep, Jackson. It's 3 am.

JWangPuppy: You know it's really concerning that you are utterly nude while your friend is sleeping in the same room as you are.

JWangPuppy: Except if he's nude as well.

JWangPuppy: Is he?

 

He turns around a bit, with the curtains open and the faint lights of the traffic and city, he's able to see Jimin's bare skin. He is soundly asleep, nose scrunched a bit, lips barely open, snoring lightly.

And Namjoon can't bring himself to lie. It could be a good thing to talk to someone about this thing, he hasn't figured out yet or even a name for.

 

RapMon: Yeah, he is.

JWangPuppy: Wow. Ok. Is this a Bangtan-thing? Sleeping nude next to each other? Is this why you are all so close with each other?

JWangPuppy: Ha! Metaphorically, but yeah...

RapMon: No, it's not.

JWangPuppy: Namjoon, are you sleeping with him?

RapMon: No, we're not. Not now.

JWangPuppy: I mean sex and not sleep-sleep.

RapMon: I know what you mean, do you think I'm an idiot?

JWangPuppy: Well, if you're asking me like that.

RapMon: We didn't do it until so far.

JWangPuppy: But you want to?

RapMon: Idk, yeah, probably. It has been a while, and he's hot.

JWangPuppy: Wait, isn't it something serious? Mark said

RapMon: No, it's not. Just...messing around, I guess. What did Mark say?

JWangPuppy: Nevermind.

JWangPuppy: So, you don't have any feelings for Jiminie?

RapMon: Not like that, no.

JWangPuppy: And he hasn't any feelings for you?

RapMon: No...

JWangPuppy: Ok, I'm not gonna judge. You're an adult, an idiot, clumsy and sometimes kinda stupid, but an adult nevertheless.

JWangPuppy: But seriously, do you think it's a good idea? Banging you're group member without feelings?

RapMon: Would it be better with feelings? And who are you to talk about that?

JWangPuppy: Everything is better with feelings, see, you're an idiot. An excuse YOU, my friend, and dongsaeng. But I have feelings for Mark, and the thing between us is more than a thing.

RapMon: Good to hear. I would have slapped you if it wouldn't

JWangPuppy: This sounds awfully like you have feelings for my Mark.

RapMon: 'Your' Mark? Jesus, when did you become such a sappy guy?

JWangPuppy: It happened sometime between last Chuseok and Buddha's birthday.

RapMon: Wow, so this is going on for a while now. But seriously, Jacks, don't worry. I've never been in love with Mark. It was just a fling.

JWangPuppy: Like you and Jiminie?

 

His heart makes an uncomfortable jump in his chest, and for a moment, Namjoon's breath falters.

This thing with Jimin is nothing like it was with Mark.

Except, rationally, it is, right? They are with each other because it's convenient. There are no stupid butterflies in his stomach, no crazy spring fever that makes him want to write poetry like he wanted to for Donghyuk.

Jimin is his friend, who sucked him off. And that's it.

He doesn't understand why his stomach drops at these thoughts and why every fiber of his being yearns to touch the other now, seeking out reassurance.

As send from heaven, his phone lightens again, and there is a message from Seokjin.

 

WorldWideHandsome: Are you still awake, Joon-ah? I just finished 'EAT Jin,' and I'm in need of a tea or coffee.

RapMon: Yeah, I'm still awake, Hyung.

WorldWideHandsome: Want to come down to the lobby and annoy some Mexican hotel employees?

RapMon: I'm down in 5.

 

RapMon: Sorry, Jin-Hyung messaged me, I need to go now. Thanks for the talk, Jackson.

JWangPuppy: No problem, bro. If you need to talk to someone, I'm there for you.

RapMon: I know, HYUNG. Don't worry.

JWangPuppy: No matter what, Joon-ah. Don't forget that, even about Jiminie, alright?!



Namjoon stares at the last message in wonder. What does that mean? And why does it sound familiar? And why do those words taste like Soju and smell like a summer night in Seoul?

He shakes his head, vanishing his thoughts and grabs for some black jeans, a black hoodie, and his thick glasses.

Now, doesn't he look like a moody teenager?

Seokjin is already waiting for him at the elevator, smiling lightly and rubbing his stomach, "Took you a while."

He almost says he had to search for his clothes, but then shrugs with his shoulders, hands deep in the pockets of his hoodie, "Didn't want to wake Jiminie."

"You're alright with him staying with you?"

"Yeah.", He answers truthfully, "It helps, knowing he's there with me. In the darkness, when I wake up, you know."

Hesitantly, the older reaches out for him, one hand on his arm, "I'm sorry for letting you alone. We thought it would be something like a treat for you, not having to share a room all the time."

"Don't worry, Hyung. I could have said something, right?"

They reach the lobby and walk over to the small cafe-bar space. Namjoon orders them two cups of tea, earning them a slight frown since no ordinary people order tea at half-past 3 in the morning. Ordinary people order beer or cocktails.

"Still, Joon-ah.", Seokjin looks at him, smiling sadly when they are seated at the furthest table in a corner, "It's our responsibility to be there for you like you are there for us all the time. And we failed you."

For a moment, Namjoon contemplates to raise up his legs and wraps his arms around them to curl into a small ball, but it feels like the wrong place for doing that, even if there are almost no people in the space.

"You didn't fail me, Hyung.", He murmurs instead, sipping his tea slowly, "I know I get stuck in my head a lot, but that doesn't mean you have to take care of me like a small child all the time. You and Yoongi-Hyung are doing fine, and none of you failed me in any way. I should have said something."

Seokjin musters him, slowly nodding, "Yeah, you should have. Why didn't you?"

It's easy to talk to Seokjin. He's emphatic but doesn't try to pamper him. Namjoon can speak openly, without fearing the other might start to stick to him like a mother hen, but he won't devalue his thoughts and feelings.

"I don't know.", Namjoon replies, but tilts his head after a moment, because that's not true. He knows why "Perhaps because I didn't want to scare you more than you already are. Especially the little ones. It's just so strange."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He hesitates, not really wanting to share his thoughts and dreams, but at the same time, he knows it would help him. Maybe even help the others to understand.

Namjoon just doesn't know where to begin with, where should he start. He looks around. The bar is almost entirely empty, only one lonely man sitting on the high bar stool, nursing an amber drink suspiciously looking like pure whiskey. The bar is rather dark, modern, and blue and purple lights shine through the room.

It looks nice on Seokjin's face.

"I actually slept a bit this night, thanks to Jiminie.", He starts vaguely, hiding his hands in the sleeves of his sweater before wrapping them around the cup again, "I woke up because I dreamed someone shot him in the face."

From the corner of his eyes, he sees Seokjin swallowing, hard and uncomfortable.

"It's not only him. Sometimes it's you or Yoongi-Hyung. Sometimes Kookie or Taehyungie. Sometimes it's all of you, and I still stand on the stage. My shoes soak with your blood, and depending on how close I was standing to you, there is blood all over my face. Tonight I dreamed I was standing right next to Jiminie when he was hit."

He still sees it behind his closed eyelids. Sees how Jimin falls to the floor, blood sprinkles on his white clothes and face. He can feel the drops hitting his face, warm and real.

"Anyway.", He sighs, not wanting to continue the horror stories from his dreams, "I dream this, night after night, but it's always one of you. Never me. I'm not stupid, Jin-Hyung. Don't act as Sigmund Freud, please."

And there it is, a small, almost inappropriate smile on his friend's face. It's exactly what he wanted to archive, the topic heavy enough, real enough.

And he tells Seokjin, how disconnected he feels from reality, from his body and mind. It's like all of this happens to a stranger, to someone he's watching from afar.

"I know I should be scared about my well-being, too. Don't even mention it.", Namjoon says he puts the cup back on the table, and a bit of tea splashes on his hoodie and the wood and Seokjin passes him a napkin without really thinking, his movements trained over the years, "It's just, that I don't. You know, feel scared about me."

"I don't even have to say anything, right? You analyzed yourself already, it's so scary sometimes. I wouldn't want to be your therapist, you would piss me off so much."

Namjoon laughs, loosely and a bit too loud, maybe he still needs to have a real mental breakdown, "Because I would be faster doing your job."

"Yeah. It's unhealthy."

"Well, better than having unhealthy copy-mechanisms, right?" he murmurs, not really intending Seokjin to hear him over the lofti-hip hop in the bar, but the other did anyway. He raises an eyebrow, blinking slowly, "Do you want to tell me something?"

"Hell, no, Hyung.", He snorts, changing the topic, "But I wanted to apologize, that's all. I was really out of line earlier, and I shouldn't have said anything of that."

"Joonie." Seokjin groans, fingers playing with the spoon in his cup, "Stop, I don't wanna hear it again. You are sorry, I'm sorry, Yoongi is sorry, even those horrendous shoes Jiminie was wearing today are sorry."

"Oh god, yeah, I've seen them as well. They were actually the first things I've seen when he entered my hotel room."

Seokjin makes a face, "I would have sent him away."

"They are hideous. Where did he get them from?!"

"Taehyung, from whom else?"

"Ha, I knew it."

They chat for a while after that, talking about missing home, missing their families and Seokjin tells him with a faint blush on his cheeks, that he met a girl before they left Korea for the tour.

"She's a cook.", He tells him, smiling lopsidedly, "She's the sister of a friend of a friend of my brother's new girlfriend."

"Does she likes you as well?" Namjoon asks, returning his grin.

"Well, who wouldn't?" the other says, laughing, but his hands moving around nervously, "I'm not entirely sure. We exchanged numbers right before we left home. She's funny and cute. I like her personality, she isn't shy with me, you know?"

Namjoon knows. It often happens that people, especially girls, get extremely shy and nervous around his Hyung and then tend to pretend to be someone else in order to please him.

"It would be nice to be with someone again.", He says, turning pink because of his own words and what he's implying with it.

"Would it?" Namjoon smirks and raises his eyebrow playfully.

"Well, don't you miss it?" Seokjin retorts, adding shamelessly, "I can't even remember the last time I saw boobs in real life."

"God, please, don't.", Namjoon groans, shaking his head, unsure what to answer to that. He can't very well tell Seokjin that he received a fantastic blowjob only a few hours ago. Instead, he takes another sip from the lukewarm tea, before saying, "I guess you're right."

"You guess? Namjoon, are you broken?" The other laughs, leaning all over the table to slap his arm, "Since when don't you take any opportunity to get laid?"

He shrugs, unsure what to say.

Namjoon knows the next words don't mean the same to Seokjin than to him, but it still makes him tense up, and his heart flutter.

"Well, I guess you have Jiminie now and don't need a nice girl to flirt with."

"What do you mean by that?" He clears his throat, trying to sound nonchalant, while anxiously waiting for Seokjin's answer.

"Just that you two have excellent chemistry, Joon-ah. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like fan service, you know.", He musses, grinning brightly and slowly standing up, grabbing for their empty cups.

Namjoon follows him on stiff legs, snickering, "Like you and me? Namjin, Eomma, and Appa of Bangtan."

"Ha, I wish, Joonie.", Seokjin laughs, wrapping his arm around Namjoon's shoulder and pulling closer, "You and I are awkward, but you and Jimin. Man, if I didn't know any better, I would think you two are seriously hooking up."

Namjoon almost trips over his own feet after hearing his statement, hastily pulling Seokjin into the elevator, "Hyung! You can't say that, what if someone hears?"

"And who would understand us? In Mexico?" His mouth twitches dangerously, he's barely able to contain his loud laughter, "It's just, you two were always somehow close with each other, but since you started this skinship act, it's like you're joined at the hip, even when the cameras are off. Even worse than Taehyungie and Kookie."

They reach their floor, and the door opens with a loud ping, but before Seokjin could say anything else, Yoongi walks towards them with a deep frown on his face.

"What's wrong?"

"The kids.", He emphasizes, "Drank alcohol. Each of them one beer, and now they are drunk in my room."

"And Hobi?" Namjoon asks, leaning against the wall, knowing the answer already.

"Tonight he's one of them.", Yoongi grumbles, crossing his arms in front of his chest, scrutinizing them, "Did you drink as well? You're not coming into my room to sober up. Taehyung is enough already."

Namjoon snorts loudly, "Nah, we only had tea."

"Thank god two reasonable people.", He sighs, running his hand through his hair, "Where is Jiminie? I hope he didn't get drunk with those idiots."

Namjoon feels a blush rising on his cheeks, "Last time I checked he was still sleeping."

"Alright, I correct myself. Jiminie is the only reasonable person in this group because he is in bed and sleeping."

"Ya!", Seokjin yells, slapping the others shoulder lightly, "Why are you awake then, Yoongi-ah?"

Namjoon doesn't hear the murmured response, suddenly remembering a pink-faced Yoongi in their studio, saying he's perfect.

He wonders if his friend got over his crush and if he knows about the girl Seokjin met. They are pretty close, so he might know about it.

"You're alright, Joon-ah?" Yoongi's delicate hand rubbing over his arm tears him out of his thoughts, and he slowly nods, "Sure, Hyung. I'm sorry, by the way."

"I know, don't worry about it. Go back to bed, you look like you need it the most."

"What's with me?" Seokjin interrupts them.

"You take care of either Hobi or Taehyung because both of them will probably start to puke soon.", Yoongi replies with contrived anger, "At least Kookie holds his liquor. I still don't understand it, since he's the youngest."

"It's because of all those muscles."

They both reach out for Namjoon and pat his cheeks as if he's a dog and not their friend and leader of their group, "Go to bed and sleep in. We don't have anything on schedule tomorrow.", before turning and walking down the hall, quietly bickering with each other.

He watches them go, silently shaking his head. He loves them so much and moments like these remind him of this simple fact.

For a moment, Namjoon fiddles with his key card, he never gets the door open on the first try, but then he steps into the dark room.

His eyes need a few heartbeats to get used to the darkness in the room, and he quietly gets out of his shoes.

"Joonie?" Jimin's sleepy voice reaches him, and he starts to smile, "Yeah, it's me."

He steps out of his clothes and crawls completely naked back into the bed to Jimin, who lazily wraps his legs around Namjoon's hips and murmurs, "When I woke up, you were gone, and for a moment I thought I did something wrong."

"You didn't.", Namjoon whispers back, pressing his palm against Jimin's lower back, pulling him closer, their groins touching softly and it sends a shiver down his spine, "Jin-Hyung and I went to the bar for some tea."

"Tea?" Jimin sounds amused.

"Yeah, tea, but don't be surprised tomorrow, Hobi, Kookie, and Tae will have a hangover, because they weren't as responsible and didn't drink tea."

"It's funny that only our little Kookie can hold his liquor, but Hobi-Hyung is drunk after one sniff of beer, right?", He says, chuckling quietly, "Do you think you can go back to sleep?"

"Yeah, theoretically.", Namjoon says honestly, brushing his lips against Jimin's shoulder, who hums lowly.

"But?"

"But I think I want to do something before sleeping."

"Is that so?" He hears the grin in Jimin's still sleep-raspy voice.

"Hmm, yeah.", He says, gripping Jimin's waist and turning him around until he's lying on his back and slowly trails hot, open-mouth kisses down his stomach and his groin.

It is something like the irony of fate that at the very same moment Namjoon's lips wrap around Jimin's erect cock, and his tongue tastes him for the very first time, while deciding that Jimin tastes as good as he smells, his mobile vibrates with a message from Seokjin.

 

WorldWideHandsome: Joon-ah, I'm sorry for my stupid joke earlier about you and Jiminie hooking up. You two are really good at fan service and don't let me make it awkward between you two. And anyway, I know you don't like guys like that. Sleep well, and stop worrying.

Chapter Text

🐨🐥🐨🐥

They don't talk about their thing. It stays a small secret between them, bright grins, and shared glances are the only reminder of their nighttime adventures. They don't have to talk about it, falling into a comfortable routine without help.

Most nights during the rest of their tour, Jimin sleeps next to him in the bed, curled around him, icy feet pressed against Namjoon's legs. They don't always reach out at night, touching each other and exploring their bodies. Often enough, they don't have the time or energy to do that. Touring had always been exhausting, draining them thoroughly. However, when they do, it makes Namjoon's muscles shake with bliss, and his body sings with passion.

Namjoon still hasn't kissed Jimin properly. He indicates that he wouldn't mind, but can wait until the other wants to. From time to time, he caught himself staring at Jimin's lips, fantasizing about how good they would feel against his own and how utterly sweet he would taste. Namjoon understands the concept of not kissing someone due to the lack of romantic love. He understands that friendship isn't enough for Jimin in such a situation to give himself to Namjoon, to surrender. Namjoon's body and mind, however, seem to have a different opinion about this. Because he seriously craves to kiss Jimin.

Even so, he learns so much about the dancer's body in the darkness of the nights in different places and beds. He knows, Jimin likes it when he tugs his hair roughly and when his lips gaze against the inside of his thighs, where he's sensitive to any touch, moaning sensually.

Namjoon knows that Jimin likes to sit on his lap, to frot against him, riding him, while his hands bore into the tender flesh of his chest, leaving fingerprints for everyone to see. They never go all the way due to tiredness and lack of time, and perhaps because they are nervous and don't want to move too fast.

He knows, Jimin notices his weakness to get kissed behind his ears and neck and enjoys the steady weight of another body against his own in any position. That he doesn't mind wandering hands all over his body, even some finger brushing over the sensitive rim. He noticed Namjoon's fondness to swallow Jimin down, licking and tasting him until he comes down his throat.

"You like doing blowjobs.", Jimin rasps out one night, panting loudly, his chest expanding visible and both his hands clutching the sheet to hold on to something. His legs quiver slightly, another post-orgasm phenomenon, and Namjoon kisses the inside of his thigh, smirking, "Yeah, I like it a lot."

Jimin puffs out a small laugh, on hand reaching for his head, petting his temples, "Good for me."

The thing between them falls into place like a missing puzzle piece. It is comfortable and natural, and after the first real night in Mexico, they don't waver anymore before reaching out.

The others don't notice, and if Jeongguk still suspects anything, he keeps it in, never question their newfound closeness.

When they are not able to keep their eyes open after a long day, and their muscles ache with weariness, they cuddle up in bed and watch movies and rom-coms, even a few episodes of 'Game of Thrones'

"Jaime is so in love with Brienne.", Jimin laughs, his feet lying on Namjoon's lap, occasionally nudging him into his side when he stops petting his legs. Namjoon thinks it will be a sad ending for both of them but doesn't say anything.

They are not always alone. Sometimes Taehyung and Jeongguk join them, sometimes Hoseok as well, and on infrequent occurrences, all of them are sitting on the hotel bed together, watching Jon Snow battling the white walkers. Jimin's head on Seokjin's legs, Yoongi curled up next to Namjoon's arm, muttering from time to time something about the plot. Taehyung and Jeongguk on the floor, watching with open mouths and shouting over each other which character is worse than the other, while Hoseok lies with his back pressed against either Namjoon or Yoongi.

Namjoon loves those evenings when they are not tired of their presence even after years of being around each other and they are only friends, and not just coworkers on a mission. Sometimes he thinks he should send Jackson a picture of them like that, as an explanation why they are so close, and not because they lie naked next to each other in bed like they joked.

He does explain the situation about him and Jimin to his friend, eventually. And like promised, Jackson doesn't judge him, doesn't try to coax more out of Namjoon as he is willing to share. In return, he gets multiple pictures of Mark in different situations. With bed hair and dropping eyes on the kitchen table, nursing a tea. Sleeping in Jackson's bed with an open mouth. Sitting in the car, on their way to another show or photo shooting, staring out of the window.

"He's so beautiful.", Is the only thing Jackson tells him most times.

One night, after Namjoon nibbled down Jimin's spine and licked and sucked at his rim until the other came with a shout, something he never tried before, he gets a lengthy description from Jackson how all this with Mark happened, which he reads with Jimin lying on his chest, humming to himself and scrolling through a manhwa.

Jackson tells him how he found himself suddenly in love with his friend and group member. That their daily life and the way they acted around each other was so domestic, so much like they were already in a relationship, that none of the other boys are batting an eye at them now. It actually started with him noticing Mark disappearing from time to time, coming back home, smelling like sex, and looking thoughtfully disheveled. It made him jealous, so incredibly jealous he got angry from time to time. Lashing out at Mark, telling him he needed to stop doing that, that he was putting their entire career on the stack. He didn't realize at first that he never got angry with the others. It took a serious conversation with Jinyoung to finally figure it out.

Now Jackson knows it had been Namjoon, now he doesn't feel so bad about it anymore. He is still jealous that Namjoon had been with Mark, but he can't change it, and it's not like Jackson hasn't been with different people as well, right?

Jackson tells him how he didn't realize it happening, falling in love with his best friend, until it was too late, and he wasn't able to change it. How his heart bursts every time, Mark happened to breathe into his direction and how much he pinned for him, without knowing that the other was in love with him as well.

It feels strange to read Jackson's message, feeling a tugging in the abdomen, and he wonders what it is that makes him envious. Is it because Jackson found someone he can share his love with? Or did he have feelings for Mark without it apprehending? He looks at one of the pictures Jackson sent him and doesn't feel anything except for a hint of nostalgia. When he isn't able to place his feeling, give it a name, he does what he's good at: ignores it, pushes it back into the last corner of his mind and puts his phone away in order to let his hand wander through Jimin's hair and along his vertebrae.

When Namjoon isn't sharing his room with Jimin, he's either with Hoseok, who started to pet Namjoon to sleep like their mothers did for them when they were little or Taehyung, who almost always strangles him in his sleep. Hugging him so tight with all his long limbs like an angry octopus while they're listening to Bach, Brahms or Tchaikovsky.

Namjoon finds himself gravitating towards Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons', particularly Allegro non moltoIt surprises him how easily sleep comes while listening to classics.

"I do it for years because of my anxiety.", Taehyung confesses one night, hugging him so close, Namjoon isn't sure how he's supposed to breathe, "It's just really calming to hear notes a person long gone thought would sound beautiful."

Namjoon is doubtful if he would use this example to explain to others why classical music calms him, but he somehow understands the other man. He was always able to comprehend Taehyung's different views about life.

The whole group doesn't leave Namjoon alone anymore, except he asks for it explicitly. And, although all about the last weeks had been hell, it made them even closer.

Bangtan Soyeondan is a strong force, and Namjoon knows they will take over the world, no matter how much hate they receive or how hard they struggle from time to time. They'll make it, and then everyone will see.

Two days after his late-night tea with Seokjin in the bar in Mexico, he messages Mrs. Im and asking for therapy sessions via phone calls or emails until he comes back to Seoul. Her response comes only a few hours later, and Namjoon, despite his anxiety, smiles at it, "I was actually wondering if you would contact me now or after coming back to Korea, Mr. Kim. Since I always try to stay up to date about my patients, I know what has happened, and I'm more than willing to help you via calls and emails. I'm very proud of you for taking the initiative and reaching out for help rather than waiting until it is inevitable. Please send me your schedule with the actual time in the places you are going to stay and the Korean times, so we can figure out when phone calls are the most reasonable. Please keep in mind that I am still available for emergency calls."

The first time he calls Mrs. Im is within the same week right after their concert in Sao Paolo.

With a racing heart and clammy hands, he tells her about his dreams, and he sometimes feels like he loses time, and his body and mind aren't connected anymore.

Namjoon knows how the woman looks, knows the way her thin mouth tend to purse when she's thinking about something he had said and the way her delicate hands brush over the thin notebook on her lap, where she occasional writes down important parts of their conversation. It is unpreventable to notices the ticks of a person you know for years.

He also knows that she's probably frowning while telling him that his out-of-body experiences are most likely dissociations triggered by trauma and stress.

"I don't think I have a trauma, Mrs. Im.", He says, sitting on yet another hotel bed, ankles crossed and stares at the display of his laptop in front of him, fingers playing with the wires of his headphones.

"So, you wouldn't call 'getting multiple death threats' a traumatic experience?"

"Well, of course, I would, but..."

"Don't but me, Kim Namjoon. You being the receiver of such inhuman acts doesn't make them less severe. The very moment it would happen to someone of your family or friends, you would call it a traumatic encounter and won't belittle it, am I right?"

He can never argue with Mrs. Im, she is most of the time right.

"The breathing method your friend Jimin used was perfect.", She says later during their session, "It's common for panic attacks, you should continue with this after nightmares. I can send you an APP and some articles to help you through it if you find yourself alone. And about the night terrors, they will fade eventually, notably when you are in an environment you're feeling comfortable and save in. Leaving places every few days isn't exactly healthy for your mind at the moment, but we can't change that."

She also assures him that being with his friends and adapting a little daily routine would help him, as well. It's nothing new for him, but hearing Mrs. Im telling him what he can and should do, is a help in itself.

"Are you still going on walks from time to time?" She asks and advises it at the same time, "Besides, if you think you can't sleep at all, I will send a prescription and protocol to the next hospital, where you'll be able to get some sleeping medications."

"No, I think I'm good without any pills."

"You don't have to force yourself, Namjoon.", She says kindly, but changes the topic anyway, letting him decide for his own, "Then let's talk about how you handle your depression. How bad is it today, from one to ten?"

"Seven, I think. Might be a six now after the concert."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The moment they step back into Korea, leaving the airplane and going through securities, Namjoon knows Mrs. Im had been right again.

He loves being abroad, visiting new countries, new places. Experiencing the sun on his skin from different places on this earth and smelling what the rain smells like on the other side of the world. Rain in Canada has an entirely different scent than rain in Korea.

But being back home, where everything is familiar to him, lifts the weight from his shoulders and loosens the hard, invisible grip around his throat. He's suddenly able to breathe a bit better, the small tremor in his hands lessens.

Namjoon walks behind Sejin-nim and Jeongguk, face hiding behind a face mask and a dark snap back when he hears them.

"Joon-ah!"

He looks up so fast, he fears he might snap his neck, but there, in the crowd, behind the cordon, are his parents and Kyungmin, waving excitedly at him.

"Surprise.", Seokjin whispers into his ear while he takes Namjoon's bag out of his lose fingers, and sends him with a slap on his back towards his family.

Namjoon wants to cry, walking quickly, almost running through the crowd towards his family and then burying his face in the crook of his mother's neck. Now, he has to lean down to do that, but she still smells the same, hugs the same, and her voice is still his mother, "Joonie, my big baby boy. I'm so glad to see you healthy and back home in Korea."

He almost doesn't let go, but he can hear Kyungmin whining beside him and the gentle chuckling of his father's deep voice.

Without lifting his head from his mother's shoulder, he extends his arm and hurls his little sister into a hug, whispering, "I missed you so much."

He doesn't care if it is proper or anyone might see them, he's back home, and his family is with him.

It's the best surprise they could give him.

After a long time, after he hugged his father in a death grip, his common sense comes back, and he lets go of them.

His parents hug the others as a welcome and a thank you for taking care of him. They embrace them as a substitute for their parents, all of them missed dearly but aren't with them now, and it's messy and loud. His mother pressing each one of them against her chest, commenting about their appearance, pinching their cheeks, "Yoongi-ah, you have to eat more. Your legs look like chopsticks, my dear." Which makes Jeongguk and Hoseok snort into their face masks.

Namjoon can see Taehyung's eyes water when his mother cups his cheeks and tells him how big and handsome he has become. They all know how much Taehyung misses his family, occasionally getting physically sick because of his homesickness.

Kyungmin is bickering with Yoongi.

"My legs don't look like chopsticks.", He pouts, but Kyungmin only laughs, "True, more like noodles. Yoongi-Oppa, you are so skinny."

Namjoon still doesn't know why and how they became friends a few years ago, but they are, and if they want to, they alliance into one force to make Namjoon's life a living hell.

His sister looks like she wants to add something, but then her hand reaches out, and she pokes Jimin in the sides, laughing her loud laughter, which is the same as his and says, "Jiminie-Oppa, you kinda destroyed my brother when you called him RapMon-Oppa."

"Can't we already forget that, please?" Namjoon whines, rolling his eyes so hard it hurts a bit.

Kyungmin only ignores him, "I haven't seen him so embarrassed since he ..."

Namjoon's palm automatically presses against his sister's mouth, hissing, "You said enough, little devil."

"Oh, I would like to hear that story, Joonie.", Jimin grins and bumps into his shoulder, but thankfully they are interrupted by Sejin and his father, telling them they need to leave the airport now, and that the cars are already waiting for them.

Namjoon follows his parents, listening closely, "Sadly, we don't have a lot of time, and we are aware that you must be very exhausted after the flight, but would you like to go out for dinner with us now?"

"Is this even a question?" He answers, curling his hand around Kyungmin's wrist when he takes a seat in the old car. She lets him without questioning his behavior. When they were younger, he always held her hands in the car, because she often got sick and it made her calm down. Now, he holds on to her because he missed her, and it is so familiar, it makes his heart jump.

They go to a small family restaurant near their dorm, where they can eat undisturbed and out of the public eye. The owner, Mr. Gwok, knows him and the other boys well since they often come to the restaurant to have private celebrations. He knows them by names and always takes care that they get seats in a calm corner, behind some rice-paper walls and where no one can eavesdrop on their private conversations. The food is nothing special, but traditional, rich in flavor, and really tasteful.

Namjoon almost moans when he tastes Seolleongtang again. What he almost misses the most when they are out of the country, except for his family, are Korean dishes. Namjoon is very picky when it comes to food, and Korean food outside their country just isn't the same. No matter how much they like Panda Express.

He tells them about the tour and how amazing their ARMY had been, how supportive they all were, and how thankful he is for all these opportunities.

He also talks about his therapy sessions with Mrs. Im.

"It helped a lot to talk to her again. The nightmares are getting better now.", he tells them with a mouthful of kimchi fried rice.

His family, of course, knows about his mental struggles and insecurities. He never hid it from them before, never tried to act like everything was ok when it wasn't.

They talk about his mixtape and how open he was in it about his fears and the struggles he faces in the music industry. He's thankful for their support, their concern that it might be too much for him to work in such a competitive environment, but they still try to help him through it.

Namjoon feels like the luckiest kid on earth, receiving so much support, knowing that his parents even remember some of his lyrics. His father tries to rap his favorite part of Joke, failing miserably, spitting over the table and making Kyungmin and him roar with laughter, while his mother slaps his arm, looking around embarrassed and hopeful no one saw his behavior. They are genuinely his biggest fans.

He listens to Kyungmin talking about university, about her planing to go abroad to study the following year. He thinks it is a fantastic idea, while their father thinks otherwise.

"I just don't like both of you out of my eyesight. And who knows? What if you get sick and can't leave the bed?" His father says with such a prominent pout, it makes Yoongi's look small and insignificant, "Your brother is at least not alone."

"Well, I, for once, can go to the loo without a cameraman following me.", Kyungmin mentions, poking her beef with her pinkie, "It would be such an amazing opportunity, Appa."

"I just don't like it.", He replies.

"Despite everything.", His mother says loudly to drown out their upcoming discussion, since it is a regular thing, and turns to Namjoon with twinkling eyes and the chopsticks half-way to her mouth, "You look a lot happier. Did you finally met a nice girl?"

He coughs loudly, suddenly very interested in the wallpaper behind his mother's head. It looks like rice paper with painted white-naped cranes. He never noticed before. He should compliment Mr. Gwok on his taste.

Namjoon knows his parents are open-minded. Everything he knows, he learned from them. They taught him about the LGBT+ community, and that love was natural no matter between which genders. That homosexuality wasn't immoral.

But now he wonders how they would react if he and Jimin were in a serious relationship and he would tell them. Would they be sincerely happy for him? Kyungmin would be ecstatic about it without a doubt, she worships Jimin, but his parents?

He knows his parents want him to be happy, but they also wish to have grandchildren in the future. And in addition to that, Namjoon knows that supporting a minority from the outside is always different than being a part of it, even if it's only due to their son's 'queerness.' He isn't sure if they could accept it easily, and for the first time in his entire life, he hesitates to tell them something. Normally, he can talk to them about everything and never wavered before but know he can't bring the words over his lips, gulping a few times.

Met a girl, he thinks, making a grimace. The person waking up next to him earlier that day had certainly not been a girl.

"You know I don't have time for a relationship.", He says cagey after a few moments, trying to shake off his thoughts about Jimin lying naked next to him.

"Well, Hoseok-Oppa told me that he has a girlfriend now.", Kyungmin chides up unhelpfully, and Namjoon wants to kick her into the shin.

"Yeah, well, Hobi-Hyung didn't produce a mixtape this year on top of everything else.", He replies with a sour face, picking up some kimchi and chews loudly, "And since when do you two talk behind my back?"

"I'm friends with the others, you know?" She's waving her chopsticks like a weapon, "And it's called: establishing priorities, Joon-Oppa."

His sister snickers into her water at his perplex expression and Namjoon has to restrain himself from sticking out his tongue like a five-year-old.

"We only want you to be happy.", His mother adds to that, refilling his water glass and pushes it towards him, "It would be nice to hear about you falling in love with someone. It would only be normal, you are so young, and sometimes I fear you missed out on that. Like other, normal teenagers."

It doesn't really matter that he isn't a teenager anymore.

"Eomma, when I do fall in love, you're the first one I'm gonna tell about it.", He promises, smiling, and means it.

When he sits in the backseat of their car, next to his sister, he wonders if he should tell her at least about his sexuality.

Being with Jimin helped him figure out what gender someone has or what's between someone's thighs doesn't matter to him. He's not attracted so their sex, but to their personality and doesn't really have a type. It's true, he likes cute people, with nicely-shaped lips, but otherwise? It doesn't matter what skin color, eye color, hairstyle, and so on the person has. He still wouldn't mind them wearing converse, which he finds oddly charming, but otherwise, he doesn't seem to care.

Namjoon knows he doesn't need a metaphorical box with a label about his sexuality on the shelves in his mind, where he stores all facts about himself, but now that he knows the label, he wants to tell someone.

He takes out his phone and opens the chat with Kyungmin and types in before he can change his mind. He's never come out to someone, and it feels fitting to tell his sister first. It doesn't matter that other people already know about it.

 

RapMon: I'm pansexual, I think.

 

His heart beats so fast and so loud, he thinks he might get sick for a second when he feels the vibration of Kyungmin's phone in the pocket of her pants.

Anxiously he watches her taking it out and typing in the password. He can see her surprise when she sees it's a message from him. He can see it in her face the very moment she reads his message. For a moment, she lies her phone on her legs and looks to him. Her mouth is slightly open, and her eyebrows drawn together, and Namjoon fears it had been a mistake. Fears, he shouldn't have told her, but then she lifts her phone up again and her fingers racing over the display. He can hear the distinctive clicking sound.

 

KyungMin🐨: Congratulations?!

RapMon: That's all? I nearly pissed myself.

KyungMin🐨: Please don't, I'm sitting right next to you, and I have to stay seated until I'm back in Ilsan. Do you remember Byungcheol-Hyung, when we went to Uljin and Appa made him laugh so hard he peed his pants?

RapMon: Urgh, don't remind me of that, I was sitting next to him, not you.

KyungMin🐨: See, so please don't pee now, but I'm not sure what kind of reaction you expected from me.

RapMon: Honestly, I'm not sure as well. I'm actually a bit surprised you know what pansexuality means.

KyungMin🐨: I do have friends, you know, and some of them are LGBT+.

RapMon: You have friends?

 

She reaches out and slaps his leg hard. Both ignore the warning finger his mother raises at them and the look she sends through the rearview mirror. If Namjoon didn't need to withdraw his long legs, it would feel exactly like in their childhood.

 

RapMon: Sorry, sorry. I'm glad you are supportive.

KyungMin🐨: Did you expect something else? Wait, did someone give you a hard time because of that? You know I would kick them in the balls or could ask Jiyeon to do that. It would be a bit more effective.

RapMon: No, no need to kick some balls. Although, good to mention Jiyeon, I have to answer her later. Totally forgot.

KyungMin🐨: She won't mind, at the moment she's really busy with fights, she's trying to get into MMA.

RapMon: Wow, she was always scary when fighting, I can imagine she will do fine. But yeah, no need for asking her to kick ppl, you are the first person I come out to, others figured it out on their own, but yeah. You are the first person I actively tell.

KyungMin🐨: Oh, now I feel honored, but seriously, Oppa, don't change the topic. Did you react so weirdly to Eomma's question because of that? Do you have a boyfriend?

RapMon: No, I don't have a boyfriend.

 

He sees her studying him, and then she smirks like the cat caught the bird.

 

KyungMin🐨: But you ARE seeing someone.

RapMon: It's nothing, just...doing stuff together.

KyungMin🐨: You mean 'having sex.'

RapMon: Yah, not precisely, didn't go so far, but yeah. Why am I even telling you this sort of thing?

KyungMin🐨: Idk, maybe because you need to talk? But do I know him?

RapMon: Not telling you.

KyungMin🐨: OMG, I do know him. Who is it?

RapMon: Nope.

KyunMin🐨: Oh, come on. You can't drop a bomb, but not ignite it. It's mean.

 

The phone buzzes a few more times, but he only smirks at his sister and hugs her even tighter when he has to step out and go back to the dorm.

"Thank you, Kyungminnie, you are my favorite.", He whispers into her ear before he turns on his heels and steps to the door to his home, ignoring her shouts out of the open car window, "Tell me, Oppa. You have to tell me!"

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The dorm smells unused and like dust when he steps into the hallway, slipping out of his boots and putting his keys into the small bowl on the shelf next to the door. They explicitly got the bowl for him a few months ago, so he could put them into it when he comes home and wouldn't lose his keys at home.

He can hear the faint sounds of someone in the shower and some rattling in the kitchen.

He knows, in a few days, it will smell normal again, like home. Like coffee and warm rice in the kitchen and soap and seven men living in one space.

When he looks around the corner, he sees Jimin on the couch, typing on his phone, legs drawn to his chest. After he notices Namjoon, he waves and then points to one corner.

The small plant his uncles gifted them when they moved the dorm stands in their living room looking half dead now. The leaves are turning brown and wrinkle at the ends. The staff who takes care of their home when they're away, always forget the plant. It is in the corner behind their television and mostly hidden behind the curtain, but they told them about it, and Namjoon shakes his head, lamenting, before walking to the kitchen to get a small glass full of water in order to save the poor thing. Yoongi even gave it a name. Esmeralda, after the oldest turtle in the world.

"Because it can not be killed and will live on forever." 

Jeongguk and Taehyung stand at the stove, far too close, and whisper to each other. When they see him entering the kitchen, they jump away from each other, and Taehyung nonchalantly leans at the fridge, looking at him with wide eyes.

"Hi.", their youngest breathes out and turns red, and Namjoon wants to laugh at them.

Something changed while they were on tour. They are still awkward, but they are drawn to each other more, orbiting in one small space, circling around the other like they are the sun and the stars and the whole universe.

"I think they are finally figuring it out.", Jimin had said one morning, voice thick with sleep, and his chin on Namjoon's shoulder while he was already sitting on the edge of the bed and looking out of their window, "It's about time, don't you think?"

"Can you give me the water can?" Namjoon says, acting as if the air in the kitchen wasn't too warm and sticky and uncomfortable with sexual tension, "They forgot Esmeralda again."

"Oh, Jin-Hyung already watered her.", Taehyung says before jumping up to the counter and letting his legs dangle like an overexcited child, "Do you think we should take her with us the next time we are out of town?"

It's such a Taehyung-thing to say, and it makes his heart burst with affection for his friend.

"You've probably eaten already, but would you still like to hang out with us? We thought about eating together and watch a movie later.", Jeongguk asks and steps away from the stove to hand Taehyung a spoon full of soup to try. He smacks his lips, and Jeongguk is lost, staring at them like a lovesick fool. Which he is.

"A bit more curry."

"What?" Jeongguk tilts his head, tearing his eyes away from Taehyung's lips and blinking at the spoon.

"Curry, Kookie."

"But, there is no curry in it."

"That's why I said you should put some in the soup."

"But.", Jeongguk starts again but then tilts his head a second time and grabs for the spices, "Alright, curry it is then."

"So, do you stay with us tonight?" Taehyung takes up the question, while he twirls the spoon between his fingers.

Namjoon, who opened the fridge a second before to take out some mango juice, nods his head, "Is that even a real question?"

At least, the staff though about filling the fridge this time, he thinks. The last time they came home well after midnight, the fridge had been empty except for some very sad looking radish in a corner and an odd smelling juice. It had been an excellent excuse to get take-outs, but he still appreciates this version more.

"Well, Yoongi-Hyung almost went to the studio again, but Hobi-Hyung could change his mind."

Jeongguk laughs at that, curry bag in his hands and looks over his shoulder, "More likely, he sat down on him and hasn't moved until now, so Yoongi-Hyung can't get up and out of the house."

"What do you want to watch anyway?" Namjoon asks, already knowing Jeongguk's answer.

"Avengers!" there it is.

"How about Night Flight?" Taehyung suggests, and Namjoon vaguely remembers the plot. It's about three friends who start to drift apart from each other, the struggle of puberty and growing up, as well as one of them realizing their homosexuality.

But before Namjoon enquirer if it is actually the movie he's thinking about, he can hear loud footsteps and Jimin's expressive giggles right before Seokjin starts yelling from the bathroom, "YAH! Who turned the lights off? I can't see anything. YOU PUNK!"

A moment later, he comes running out of the bathroom, only a small towel around his hips and a wet flannel in his hand, which he's using to hit Jimin on the naked arms.

"Save me!" Jimin screams, slithering into the kitchen, and trying to hide behind Namjoon's shoulders, laughing hysterically.

"Oh, hey, Joon-ah, I hope you had a nice dinner with your parents, but move aside, please.", Seokjin shouts, waving the flannel, and Namjoon doesn't linger before shifting away, whispering over his shoulder loud enough for everyone to hear, "You're on your own with that, ChimChim."

"What the fuck is going on here? Why the fuck are you naked in the kitchen, Hyung. It's unsanitary." Yoongi screeches, eyes fixed on Seokjin's naked backside, trailing into their kitchen behind Hoseok, who holds his stomach, laughing.

Later that night, when he can't sleep because the bright screen of Jeongguk's computer is shining into his eyes and he's hearing the clicking of the keys and mouse, while the younger man swears now and then after missing another target, until well after midnight Namjoon doesn't mind.

They might not be Pando, one of the largest living organisms on earth, but they are certainly in unison like the Populus Tremuloide clone colony in Utah. One group, one family and in moments like this, Namjoon thinks, he doesn't ever want to live in a world without them.

 

 

September 2015

 

"This is not a good idea.", Seokjin says, but opens the bottle of Soju anyway, grinning brightly.

It Jeongguk's 18 birthday and they shouldn't drink in the middle of the night when they have dance practice at 7 the next morning, and later that day have to prepare to fly to Shanghai the day after that.

The leader in Namjoon's mind is yelling at him furiously, that their behavior is irresponsible and childish and that he indeed will regret the Soju in the morning when Hoseok shouts BAM BAM BAM at him. Making his head throb with a hangover even more.

But he silences the voice in the back of his brain with yet another sip of his beer and turns on some music and fiddling with the music system until the bass sounds right.

They got home only a few minutes earlier after filming the birthday vlive for Jeongguk. The small coffee table is already piled high with snacks, beer, and Soju, as well as Seokjin's seaweed soup. A small cake is waiting in the fridge.

They decorated the living room before they went out for the day. A few balloons are lying on the floor, and colorful streamers are hanging from the wall.

"You are not going to shave his head.", Taehyung states again, leaning protectively over Jeongguk's arms, shielding his hair from them and slapping Namjoon's outstretched hand away, "We are not doing this!"

"At least my idea was creative.", Namjoon retorts and laughs aloud when Taehyung only grips Jeongguk tighter, "Better than 'playing games.', Taehyungie."

During their vlive, when they were asked what they would gift their maknae now that he became 18 years old, Namjoon had jokingly said he would shave his head.

"I like games.", Jeongguk's muffled voice pips up, and he tries to loosen Taehyung's grip around his head at the same time when Seokjin says, "True. You didn't even say what kind of games you want to play."

"Well.", Taehyung starts and finally lets go of Jeongguk, turning on his seat and smirks, "We could play one now."

Namjoon instantly has a bad feeling. Not a really bad one, like driving a car while being drunk-bad feeling, but playing games while being tipsy-bad feeling.

Because they are all tipsy and with being tipsy and playing games never comes anything good.

And there it is, Taehyung holds up an empty bottle, waving it meaningfully, "Let's play spin the bottle."

He slides to the floor and crosses his ankles before he lies the bottle on the floor, turning it around a few times.

"Aren't we a little bit too old for that?", Yoongi asks with a pout, and his Daegu satoori is heavy on his lips. He always falls back into his satoori after a few drinks, which makes Taehyung ridiculous pleased, switching as well.

Hobi, who's already tipsier than the rest of them, and kind of an idiot, agrees to it loudly, "Yeah, let's play. I haven't done that in years."

"What do you want, Kook-ah?" Seokjin asks, at least one of them remembers who is the important person of the day it is, but Jeongguk beams at them and nods enthusiastically, "Let's play."

"So that Jimin can give you his gift, right?!", their eldest jokes and, oh yeah, Namjoon remembers. A kiss. He had thought Jimin meant it as a joke, but now he feels envious. He knows he shouldn't, but the prospect of Jimin kissing Jeongguk because of a stupid, tipsy game, but not him, when he sucked him off multiple times in the past, makes his stomach churn uneasily.

He really shouldn't be envious, especially not because of Jeongguk, who's not responsible for this weird situation.

"I don't want a kiss from Jiminie-Hyung.", Jeongguk says as if he heard Namjoon's thoughts, and kicks Jimin lightly when he tries to crawl on his lap, making sickening kissing sounds, "But I wouldn't mind a kiss from I.U."

"Sure you won't, Kook-ah.", Hoseok is patting his cheek with much fondness.

"Are we all ignoring the fact that I made the only sensible gift suggestion?", Yoongi lets himself slide next to Taehyung on the floor, eyeing the bottle with distaste, "I meant it, Kookie. Let's go out and look for music equipment soon."

Namjoon catches Jimin's raised eyebrow, mouthing, "Gollum, Gollum." and he has to hide a snicker behind his hand.

"Are you all ignoring my game suggestion?" Taehyung retorts, crossing his arms in front of his chest, pouting.

Seokjin, who's reaching for some crab chips, that monster, crabs are friends and not food, replies, "Make it more interesting than only spin the bottle, then I'm in."

Now, he let the devil loose, Namjoon thinks and watches Taehyung, who lightens up with delight, suddenly sitting straight in his place.

"Alright, listen carefully, my friends.", He says, shaking with excitement, "It's spin the bottle, right? But only for dares, like the bottle points at Yoongi and he wants to do a dare, and I say he has to wiggle his bum, only he has to do it. For truth, it's more like 'never have I ever,' so all of us have to answer by taking a sip from the beer."

"And when I don't want to wiggle my bum or answer the truth as well?", Yoongi asks, obviously not averse to Taehyung's idea.

"Then you have to take a soju shot, and the others don't have to answer as well. But you only can decline to answer one time and for a dare three times."

"Sounds actually good.", the rapper says, and Namjoon wants to groan out loud because he thinks it doesn't sound good, but then he sees how Jeongguk eyes light up, and all of them shuffle to the floor around the empty bottle, and he can't help, but do the same.

It is such a bad idea, incredibly irresponsible because they are going to get so, so drunk. Namjoon only hopes, Hoseok will not get up in the morning for dance practice because of his hangover, and they can skip it for once. The leader voice in the back of his brain doesn't agree with his small hope, but he can ignore it for now.

They start, and it is kinda fun. Unsurprisingly, Taehyung asks the strangest questions for truth.

"Did you ever befriended a butterfly?" No, none of them had.

"Have you dreamed about touching the sky before?" Metaphorically, all of them dream about it daily, so all of them drink.

"Do you ever wanted to make out with a fan you saw at a concert or fan signing?" Yeah, yeah, they all wanted to do that before.

"Do you remember the fanboy in Tokyo last year? The one with the blue hair." Yoongi grins after taking a large sip from his beer, "He was really cute."

Yoongi and Hoseok make the funniest dares.

Seokjin had to call his crush and explain to her the rules of monopoly, without explaining why he is telling her about it. She doesn't think it's weird and listens to his chattering for ten minutes before she tells him, she has to go to sleep, but wouldn't mind them talking the next day again.

Namjoon doesn't miss Yoongi's crestfallen face.

Jeongguk has to talk in his Busan satoori for the rest of the night and had to act like a cat until it was his next turn. Namjoon didn't know the boy could purr.

Yoongi indeed wiggled his bum to Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda,' and thanks to Taehyung, Namjoon knows that Jimin is so flexible that he can place his leg behind his ear. This is a piece of information Namjoon tries to save for later.

Namjoon has to add "your holiness" at the end of his sentences whenever he speaks to Seokjin and had to do their dance of 'We Are Bulletproof Pt2'.

When the bottle stops in front of Jimin, Yoongi cackles like a demon,

"I dare you to tell us: who was the last person who sucked you off?"

Namjoon's heart stops beating immediately, and he feels cold all of a sudden.

"Is this even allowed? To dare someone to answer a truth?" Seokjin wonders out loud, but Jeongguk nods approvingly.

So, the golden maknae agrees and boom, it's allowed.

"Why?" Jimin asks innocently, but Namjoon can see the nervousness in his twitching fingertips and the way the squints at the small digital clock behind Yoongi.

"Because you are far too cheery the last few months, and I wonder who's the lucky person you're spending your time with. You're practically glowing with satisfaction."

Jimin gulps, eyes flickering to Namjoon, who tries to act like he's not even in the same room, but then he grabs for the Soju and drowns a shot without even pulling a face. Jimin had always been able to hold his liquor fine, despite his petite frame.

"It's because of the dancer metabolism.", He had said once.

"And what's with Hobi-Hyung?"

"Oh, Hyung is just delicate."

When he puts the glass back on the table and licks over his lips, Namjoon can't stop himself from looking. His mind is going crazy with desire, and he can't stop the words falling over his lips, "Do you know it only takes roughly six minutes until your brain catches up and starts to recognize the alcohol. Soon it will send the information C2H6O through your body and makes you drunk."

"You're such a nerd, Joon-ah.", Hoseok giggles next to him and leans on his shoulder, "Only you would say the chemical formula of alcohol while being drunk. It's adorable."

"Actually," He starts, but Yoongi interrupts him by throwing a paper ball against him and whines while refilling the glass with Soju, "I really wanted to know. You never hid your lovers from me before, Jiminie."

"Who says I have a lover?"

Seokjin snorts unattractively, scrunching up his nose, "You did with drinking the shot. If you're not seeing anyone right now, you would have told us the last person's name."

"Damn, can't argue with that.", Jimin murmurs and spins the bottle for the next round.

It continues like this for a while, but then the bottle lands on Namjoon, and he says without thinking, "Truth."

"Never have I ever had anal sex."

He snorts lightly and all of them, except for Jeongguk drink. When he holds the bottle in his hand and wants to spin it, Yoongi stops him.

"Wait.", He says, leaning forward on his knees, "Wasn't the question a bit, you know, vague? Shouldn't we at least made it clear what kind of butt sex?"

"Are there so many different types of butt sex that we have to define it?" Seokjin laughs, gripping Taehyung's arm, but Hoseok tilts his head, "Well, definitely two, right? Are you at the receiving end or doing it?"

"Right enough!" Taehyung musses, "Let Kookie decide if we have to answer it."

For a moment, Jeongguk looks taken aback, but then he grins, "Raise your left hand when you did the sex and the right when you got the sex."

"Actually, it doesn't work like that, you do have sex no matter which position, but yeah, agreed.", Yoongi says and raises both hands without hesitation.

It's no surprise, when Seokjin and Taehyung only raise their left hands, both looking incredibly smug, but then Namjoon sees Hoseok raising both, just like himself. And from the corner of his eyes, he sees how Jimin, with a bright pink face, only lifts his right hand.

Well, if this isn't interesting, he thinks.

Seokjin is looking at the dancer as well, his mouth opens, but then Taehyung almost screams, "Hobi-Hyung! What the fuck? Joon-Hyung?"

Hoseok is blushing and grabs for his beer but says with mirth in his voice, "Well, you see. It happened like this: I asked Heeyoung if she would let me do it with her, and she said yes. But under one condition. I let her do it to me first."

"And you let her do it because you are a horny bastard.", Yoongi says sarcastically, sends a fit of laughter through the group.

"I let her do it because she has an amazing butt, mind you." Hoseok replies without an ounce of shame, "And because I am a horny bastard. You are completely right about that, Hyung."

"Oh my god, was that the night when I saw you researching anal sex on an incognito window on your laptop?", Jimin's gripping Jeongguk's arm, and both can barely conceal their laughter.

"Yeah, it was. In general, the whole experience was kinda funny, you know. She came out of the bathroom with a strap-on around her hips, and the dildo wiggled around.", He says and moves his arm floppily, "I couldn't control myself and kind of couldn't stop laughing all the while, you know. Well, until she stuck her fingers inside my butt, that stopped my laughter. It was pretty awkward.", his face turns darker with each word because of his embarrassment.

"And?" Seokjin smirks, raising his beer to his lips.

"And what?"

"Did you like it, Hobi-ah?"

"Well, it wasn't that bad.", He replies, but then turns to Namjoon, "Are we all ignoring that you raised both your hands as well?"

Namjoon snorts, shrugging his shoulders, "There isn't much to say. I did it, it was interesting, but I like it the other way round more."

"Was it a guy?" Taehyung asks with wide eyes.

"What do you think?"

"Well, Hobi-ah made it pretty clear that you don't need one to have anal sex."

Namjoon sees Yoongi hiding his smirk in the collar of his shirt when he tilts his head vaguely.

"But with whom?" Jeongguk asks curiously.

"Nope, I'm not telling you."

Before they can ask him more questions or even turn to Jimin, who is partially hiding behind Jeongguk, Yoongi changes the topic again, urging Namjoon to spin the bottle.

It's rather harmless for a while until Hoseok says, "Next person has to kiss Kookie because it's his birthday! And for real, no small peck on the cheek."

It's fate, Namjoon thinks when the bottle slowly stops in front of Taehyung, barely passed Jimin.

Fate, because he doesn't have to endure watching Jimin kissing their youngest and fate because it's Taehyung.

He doesn't try to analyze his thoughts, the way he violently doesn't want Jimin to kiss anyone in this room, or even worse, outside of it.

He doesn't want to know what it means to feel this possessive over your friend-with-benefits.

Namjoon doesn't feel like he is ready to understand it, so he ignores it yet again. He does know, but he doesn't want to admit it. Not yet.

Taehyung and Jeongguk are watching each other nervously. He can see them gulping, Adam's apples popping, and there is a faint blush on Jeongguk's nose.

Taehyung makes the first move, slowly raises to his knees and shuffles towards him, wipes off the sweat from his hands on his loose pants.

"For how long?" He asks no one in particular, doesn't look away from the boy in front of him, and his voice his so deep it makes Jeongguk, and even Namjoon, shiver.

For a moment, Namjoon asks himself if he's going to witness Jeongguk's first real kiss. It certainly will be their first kiss, and once again he thinks, Hoseok is evil.

He had thought that back then in 2012 when he had been a lanky teenage boy of the age of seventeen, lying on the wooden dance floor and feeling like dying.

Hoseok is evil because he says without pausing, "Not less than a minute, I tell you to stop."

Jeongguk is bright red and trembling like a leaf in an autumn storm, and it's almost cruel to let it happen. They all could at least have the decency to turn away or leave the room, but somehow it's like a car accident. You don't want to look but can't avert your eyes. Nevertheless, if it helps them figuring their relationship out, Namjoon won't prevent it from happening.

At first, the kiss is chaste, their lips are barely touching. They are looking at each other, cross-eyed, and when Taehyung winks at Jeongguk, he snorts into the kiss.

Then, however, Taehyung's hands sneak up, and his long fingers brush Jeongguk's cheeks, curling into his hair and pulling him closer.

They all can hear the soft, low moan coming from Jeongguk's throat, and see the way Taehyung's eyes flutter closed when they deepen the kiss.

And Namjoon feels a bizarre mixture of 'gross, my brothers snog each other' and 'damn, they're kinda hot.' He knows he makes a face, grimaces at them, and when he realizes that he is watching them, he feels horrible. It's like being a voyeur, watching them at such an intimate moment.

So, he tears his eyes away, trying to shake off those mental imbalances, and turns around. All of them are staring at the two youngest with fascinated and disgusted faces, except for Jimin.

Jimin is watching him, sipping from his beer and licking his lips, which forms into a leer when he realizes that Namjoon is watching him in return.

And, oh boy, he should look back to Taehyungie and Kookie thrusting their tongues into each other's mouth, instead of looking at Jimin, because Jimin makes his skin burn with desire and he feels his pants becoming tighter.

This is such an awful moment to get horny. He shifts on his knees and tries to adjust the fabric around his boner, and Namjoon can feel Jimin's heavy glance on his body. Knows the other notices his erection.

Would it be a bad thing to kick Jeongguk out of his own room on his birthday so that he can fuck Jimin into the mattress? It would be rude, right?

He wishes he could do that, he really, really wants to.

There is a sharp intake of breath, and Taehyung groans loudly, and why is no one stopping them? The minute is already over.

Tae is now sitting on Jeongguk's lap, pressing closer to the body under him, and they definitely make out for real now. Hands moving and bucking into each other.

Out of the corner from his eyes, he sees Jimin standing up and walking towards the kitchen, sending him suggestive glances over his shoulder.

Without wavering, Namjoon stands up as well to follow him out of the room.

His own movements, a bit uncoordinated due to one or three beers too many, break the spell in the living room, and the two kissing boys break away with stunned expressions. After a few heartbeats, Taehyung jumps away entirely, while Jeongguk looks mildly horrified about his actions, rubbing his hands over the hem of his shirt, trying to hide his body reaction from the others.

I feel you, Namjoon thinks compassionate, adjusting his own pants while turning away.

Seokjin makes a stupid joke, he doesn't really catch, before following Jimin out of the room, but the others do, and the air around them fills with roaring laughter.

When he steps into the kitchen, Jimin is already sitting on the counter, popping grapes into his mouth, and grinning at him, looking at Namjoon's tight pants.

"Don't let Jin-Hyung see you sitting there.", Namjoon says, leaning at the fridge from where he can watch at the other man without having to crane his neck and shielding his groin with his palms. Jimin looks really good that night, a faint blush on his cheeks, and Yoongi had been right. He looks like he's glowing. Is it really his work? Is he responsible for Jimin looking like a fairy prince, sparkling and glowing with satisfaction? He would love it if it is his work, his personal piece of art.

"Oh, I do it all the time.", Jimin replies, beaming, "Jin-Hyung only scolds you and Taehyungie, you know."

"That's not fair.", He grumbles under his breath.

"I would say it's only reasonable since you two damaged the most kitchenware over the years.", Jimin puffs and hands him a few grapes as well, bending forward and swaying dangerously.

They are amazingly sweet, and Namjoon wonders if Jimin tastes like them as well while savoring each bite with a deep moan and closed eyes. Wondering if Jimin's lips taste like grapes and Soju and cheap beer.

"Joonie." He hears the other whisper, and it makes him shiver.

Why is he so much bolder than Namjoon? Where does he get his confidence from? And sure enough, when Namjoon opens his eyes again, Jimin shifts his legs to make room for him, making grabby hands at him. He steps between them, and after a moment, Jimin curls them around his waist, drawing him even closer.

They must look like some teenagers at an American house party, his hands on Jimin's legs, drawing circles and looking up to the man he wants to touch, to feel. Namjoon is sure that Jimin can feel his half-erected penis pressed against him, but he doesn't comment on it.

"I miss being with you.", Jimin murmurs into his hair, nose and lips pressed against his forehead.

Since they are back in Korea, it isn't so easy to find some time alone. They aren't able to sneak into each other's beds with Jeongguk in Namjoon's room and Jimin sharing with Taehyung and Hoseok. They wouldn't want to do anything with the others in the rooms, in any case.

They sleep next to each other from time to time, but they are never alone or not alone long enough to get each other off. However, after the nightmares don't come as frequent as before, which is a fantastic improvement, Namjoon doesn't want to sound bratty, they can't use it as an excuse to share beds anymore.

They sneaked away a few times, hiding in the studio or in one of the empty offices at night, but it's not the same. It's rushed and unfulfilling. Not enough after they experienced to wake up next to each other, chest to back, and lazy kisses along their spines and necks.

"Me, too.", Namjoon lets his hands wander under Jimin's shirt, brushing his ribs and the strong muscles in his back. He knows someone could see them, could walk into the kitchen, and there would be nothing they could say to make it less like it actually is. But he is tipsy and impatient and wants to feel Jimin's skin under his palm again. Being near him like that is a bit overwhelming. The heat of Jimin's body, as well as his scent, fills the air, and it's all around him, clouds Namjoon's mind more than any alcohol could ever do. He feels so good.

"Do you wanna tell me with whom you had sex?" Jimin asks him suddenly, muffled and calm.

"Do you?" He ripostes, feeling Jimin shaking a bit with silent laughter.

All he wants to do right now is pulling his head under the black baggy shirt and mouthing his skin. Instead, Jimin seems to want to talk about their past hookups.

"I tell you when you tell me."

Namjoon contemplates it for a moment, but before he can answer him truthfully, he hears some footsteps and Yoongi asking if the others want more beer as well.

Namjoon steps away from Jimin, let's his hands fall to his sides, and opens the fridge to get out a few bottles before Yoongi comes into the kitchen, yelling over his shoulder, "Not you, Taehyungie, you're drunk enough!"

After Namjoon places the bottles on the counter for Yoongi to take with him back, he puts another grape into his mouth, crushing his groin against the chair so the other won't see the tent in his pants.

"You.", Yoongi points at Jimin, still sitting on the counter, "Take care of your soulmate before he decides the couch is a good place to puke again, and Hyung has a crisis."

Jimin pulls a face, but jumps to his feet and vanishes with a small wave, swinging his hips a bit more than necessary. Namjoon blinks a few times while still staring at the door frame after Jimin's out of the room, trying to get his shit together.

The other rapper copies Namjoon, sticking some grapes into his mouth and chews slowly, "What's going on between you two?"

"Nothing, Hyung."

"Are you sure about that? It sure didn't look like nothing."

Namjoon is aware of the fact, that he is unfair, but he says it anyway, "What's going on between you and Jin?"

Yoongi chokes on a grape, and after he finished coughing, he sends him a nasty glance, eyes watering, "Touché. And it's Jin-Hyung for you, brat."

"Sorry." Namjoon sighs, running a hand through his hair, "It wasn't proper. I tell you if there is something to tell."

"Don't do anything stupid, Namjoon-ah.", He says, bumping his shoulder into Namjoon's as a peace offer, and then they hear it.

The distinctive sound of someone retching, yelling from the living room as if the apocalypse knocked on their door, and then Seokjin's appalled shouting, "Get a bucket. Oh my god, get the bucket. Taehyungie is puking."

Jeongguk dashes into the kitchen and takes the bucket Yoongi just pulled out of the cupboard under the sink and runs out again, all the while Seokjin's screaming and Taehyung's puking fill the air.

Shortly after, Hoseok comes into the kitchen, pale and a bit unsteady on his feet, "He didn't hit the couch this time."

They don't move, just lean against the counter of their kitchen and share a glance, popping more grapes into their mouths and are barely able to suppress their laughter.

 

 

After they showered Taehyung and put him into bed, as well as convinced Hoseok to move their practice to a few hours later, Namjoon lies on his stomach in his bed while reading. He feels content and happy, the alcohol long-vanished out of his mind.

Jeongguk is sitting on his desk, smashing some keys and playing a bit Overwatch with some friends before sleeping, headphones on, and a determined face, when his phone suddenly vibrates.

 

ChimChim: Are you still awake? I see lights from under the door.

RapMon: Could be Kookie. Stalker.

ChimChim: Ha! We all know Kookie would game with the lights off if you're already sleeping.

RapMon: Good observation, Jiminie. What's going on?

ChimChim: We were very rudely disturbed, and now, since Tae is asleep, I thought we could continue our conversation from earlier.

 

Namjoon turns around, closing the book and sends a small glimpse towards Jeongguk, but the boy is busy with his game. He tugs the blanket over his head, shielding himself away before answering again.

 

ChimChim: We don't have to talk about it, if you don't want to, Joonie.

RapMon: No, no, it's ok. I just put the book away.

RapMon: And made sure Kookie can't look on my phone.

ChimChim: Really? So, you're ready for the talk ;)

RapMon: If you say it like that, I'm not so sure anymore.

ChimChim: Oh come on, are you ashamed of it?

RapMon: No, not really. It's just that I actually never really talked to anyone about it.

ChimChim: What? Yoongi-Hyung looked like he knows about it.

RapMon: That's bc I'm an idiot, and the lube fell out of my bag.

ChimChim: Oh god, Joonie, that's so...you.

RapMon: Yeah, I know.

ChimChim: So?

RapMon: So?

ChimChim: Namjoon-Hyung.

RapMon: It was with Mark, both times.

RapMon: We met at a party, made out, and exchanged numbers. After that, we met up for some time, and it was a good enough chance to have some sex with a guy.

 

He sighs and lifts the blanket. Jeongguk sends a questioning look, but he shakes his head, smiling and points at his phone. He doesn't understand why it is so hard for him to talk about it, above all, since Mark talked to Jackson as well. Maybe it is like this for him, because he learned to always bottle his feelings about his sexuality up before and hasn't shared it with anyone.

Maybe it's like this because he learned to be a very private person.

 

ChimChim: Oh, so you weren't in love with each other?

ChimChim: Wait, Mark, as in GOT7's Mark? 

RapMon: Yeah, the one and only Mark Tuan.

 

Namjoon sees the "is typing" appearing and vanishing a few times.

 

ChimChim: Oh. He's pretty. 

RapMon: He is, I guess.

ChimChim: I didn't think he would be your type.

RapMon: Why is that so?

ChimChim: Idk. You seem like the type of guy who likes delicate and cute guys. 

RapMon: Guess I do, somehow. I don't really have a type, Jiminie. I like interesting people with passion and stories to tell.

ChimChim: Ok, so, that's why you're at their dorm all the time?

RapMon: Are you jealous?

ChimChim: No.

 

He replies so fast that Namjoon knows he's lying. It's adorable and makes his heart flutter like an excited hummingbird. For a moment, Namjoon considers teasing Jimin about it, but it feels wrong to do so. They have a semi-serious conversation, and he doesn't want to ruin the moment, the honesty between them.

 

RapMon: Don't worry, Mark and I stopped seeing each other a year ago. We never had feelings for each other. When I'm at their dorm, I only see Jackson, as friends, but you should actually know that.

ChimChim: I'm no worried, you can hook up with whomever you want.

RapMon: Wouldn't you mind?

ChimChim: I mean, we're not in a relationship, you are not in love with me, and I can't dictate you not do be with others if you want to, you know?

 

Namjoon actually does know, and he understands, in some ways. It doesn't change the fact that his stomach squeezes tight with jealousy at the thought of Jimin with someone else. He just doesn't want to share. And still, they aren't in a relationship, which means that Jimin can do whatever he wants to. It's just good to know so he can be prepared if the other decides to be with someone how isn't Namjoon.

 

RapMon: Yeah, I understand. So, we're not exclusive, that's good to know.

RapMon: But, back to the topic. How about you?

ChimChim: Lim Sungbin

RapMon: Wait, Lim Sungbin as Beenzino?

ChimChim: Jub...

RapMon: Wow, I didn't know he's gay.

ChimChim: I'm not sure if he is, never asked him. And it was just a one-time thing. I met him through Chanyeollie-Hyung and Baekhyun-Hyung, they are friends.

ChimChim: It was pretty awkward, bc I didn't have lot's of experiences and didn't know him well. I think I called him all the while sunbaenim and made it very awkward.

RapMon: Oh, wow. That...really awkward.

ChimChim: I know. I've never been more ashamed. And now, every single time Chanyeol asks me if I would like to meet up with him again, I have to refuse, bc I'm thinking about it. It embarrasses me so much.

RapMon: Do they know?

ChimChim: Chanyeol and Baekhyun-Hung? About my sexuality?

RapMon: Yeah.

 

For a second, Namjoon thinks about stopping him answering the question, because he realizes he doesn't even know about Jimin. They haven't talked about it.

 

ChimChim: Yeah, they know. How about you?

RapMon: My sister knows. She was the first person I came out to, but Yoongi actually knows for years. He figured it out on his own.

ChimChim: Same here. He bullied me into going out with him for ramyun and Soju, and bluntly told me about him knowing about my crush.

RapMon: At least you got Soju, when he dragged me to the convenient store in 2010 there was no Soju, only ramyun. In plastic cups.

RapMon: And don't be angry, but we ALL know about your crush on Taemin.

ChimChim: YA! I never had a crush on Taemin, he's my Hyung. 

RapMon: You didn't? Are you sure?

ChimChim: I am absolutely sure about that, but before you ask about the crush: nope, not telling. That's my secret. ;)

RapMon: Ok, I won't ask. Did you have sex with others?

ChimChim: Only a few girls, never with another man.

ChimChim: It's just such a hassle to get out and hide it at the same time. It's complicated enough to hook up with a girl.

RapMon: Totally understand that. I met a few ppl. after Mark, but like you said: it was always so stressful to keep it in hiding. Didn't want that anymore.

 

"Hyung." Jeongguk turns on his chair, the headphones lying abandoned next to the keyboard, and the desktop is dark.

"What up, Kook-ah?" He looks up from his phone, seeing their birthday boy nervously nibbling on his lips.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Sure, let me just end the conversation, is that alright?"

He nods, and then gets up from the chair, out of the room, murmuring, "Toilet."

 

ChimChim: True. It's good you have me now ;)

RapMon: I hope you do know that I don't choose to be with you just because it's convenient.

ChimChim: I know, Hyung, didn't mean it like that.

RapMon: I have to stop now, Kookie wants to talk. Sleep well, Jiminie.

ChimChim: Oh, ok, take care of the little monster and sleep well, Hyung.



He puts the phone under his pillow and sits up in his bed, accidentally kicking out some of the Ryan plushies, but before he can bend down to pick them up, the door opens again, and Jeongguk comes back into the room.

"Is it ok, if I turn off the lights?", He asks noticeably shy about the whole situation, "I think I can talk better with the lights out."

Namjoon understand. Of course, he does. Talking in the darkness of the night, when no one can see your mimic, can see your hesitation, it's always easier.

That is the reason why Yoongi picks them up to go with them to the convenience store in the middle of the night instead of the broad daylight.

"Of course, Kookie. Whatever you need to feel comfortable.", He replies and shifts under his blanket.

The lights click shut, and it's almost entirely dark in their room. He hears Jeongguk walking to his bed, stepping over his abandoned shorts and tripping before falling knees first on his mattress, giggling slightly, "Man, I think I had more to drink than I realized."

"Are you sure you want to talk about whatever is bothering you when you are still tipsy?" Namjoon asks hesitantly, staring at the ceiling he can't see, since his eyes still have to get used to the darkness.

"Nothing is bothering me, Hyung.", Jeongguk replies and emphasizes the word bothering more than necessary, "It's just, that I don't know with whom I can talk to. You know, without getting judged."

"I won't judge you about anything, Kook-ah.", Namjoon says, turning his head a but and tries to squint through the gloom in their room, "You can ask me anything."

Those words feel somehow familiar, and Namjoon remembers a cold night almost five years ago, Yoongi's hand awkwardly petting his shoulder in reassurance.

Now he knows how his Hyung had felt, what he meant with those words.

You don't have to be scared. You can talk to me and tell me what grips your heart. Don't fear rejection. You are protected within these walls, and as long as I am with you, no harm will ever come upon you. Don't ever feel like you have to hide away the person inside your heart.

"I...", Jeongguk stutters, and Namjoon lets him. He will speak up when he's ready.

Somehow, he already knows what he will question and that, deep inside, it will revolve around Taehyung and his feelings.

"Earlier, you raised both your hands, Hyung.", He whispers into the night, voice tight with anticipation, shaking slightly.

Namjoon swallows. It is different from telling Jimin about it through text messages or others figuring it out on their own than voicing it out loud.

But he promised.

"Yeah, I did."

"Are you... I mean, how was it?"

Ah, he thinks, biting his lips for a moment, "It was strange but good at the same time."

He takes a deep breath, prepares himself for this kind of conversation, and then just starts, "At first it feels bizarre like there shouldn't be anything inside. It can hurt from time to time, which is why there have to be stretching and a lot of lube and preparing involved. It's not like with a girl."

His face is burning now, and god. No one prepared him for having this kind of talk with the younger ones when they told him to be the leader of a pop group.

"Don't get me wrong, you can't just go and do the deed with a girl without taking care of her first."

"I know, Hyung.", Jeongguk whines, equally embarrassed, "I'm not a little virgin anymore."

"You are not?" It shouldn't have come out like that. He actually didn't think Jeongguk has a lot of expertise in this field, but somehow the uneasy tension resolves, making Jeongguk giggle lightly.

"Well, I'm a handsome Idol, I know my way around."

"That sounds kinda terrible.", Namjoon laughs, shaking his head a bit, but then continues, "However, I meant it. You can't just jump right in with a guy, but at the same time, it takes a lot of trust into the other person to let them touch you there. It's very intimate and kind of feels invasive, but once you get comfortable, it can feel pretty good."

"You said you like it the other way more."

"I do."

"Why?"

Namjoon never thought about that. Why does he like to be on top? Does he really enjoy to be on top more, or had he not been ready for it when he let Mark fingering him open and thrust into his body?

"I actually never really thought about it, Kookie.", He answers truthfully, twisting his finger in the blanket, "There has been only one man I've been with like this, and we didn't try out a lot."

"Were you in love with him?"

"No, I wasn't."

"Maybe you don't like it equally because the love was missing.", Jeongguk points out, and it sounds so easy. Like it's the most natural thing in the world.

"That seems very romantically of you.", Namjoon chuckles good-heartily, "But you might be right, you know."

"Were you ever in love with another guy?" Jeongguk asks, and now his voice shakes vehemently, vibrating in the air, and Namjoon wishes he could take away his worries.

"Love is such a huge emotion. I don't know if I've experienced it before.", He whispers, feeling lonely and hollow all of a sudden, "I had a crush on an idol trainee back then."

"Did he like you back?"

"He's very, very heterosexual."

"But.", Namjoon can hear Jeongguk moving on his bed, the fabric rustles and whispers, and he can imagine that the other lying down in Yoongi's favorite position: on the side, knees up and hands squeezed between them, while his cheek is pressed against the soft pillow, hair falling into his Bambi-eyes, "But it can happen, right? A straight guy falling for you?"

"I'm not sure. They might not be straight if they fall in love with someone of their own gender. But it could happen from time to time.", Namjoon musses, remembering an article he read a few years ago, about straight men falling on love with other men only once in their lives.

"Do you think a straight guy could fall in love with me?"

Namjoon exhales, quietly, unsure what he should say, how to approach the Taehyung-topic, "Do you know about his sexuality?"

"He never said anything."

"You know that doesn't mean anything, right? Look at me.", He laughs, turning to lie on his side, just like Jeongguk does, facing him. He can imagine he sees his friend on the other side of their room, "He might not have told anyone about it, because he's scared about rejection, intolerance, and harm."

"Is this why you didn't tell us?" Jeongguk suddenly asks, voice small and vulnerable, "Because you thought we wouldn't accept you?"

"No, Kookie. I didn't tell anyone because I wasn't ready. There was fear, obviously. Fear of being misunderstood and loneliness, but I never felt like you guys would turn away from me. I just wasn't ready."

"What changed it? Why are you ready now?" The question is rather innocent and doesn't mean anything, in general, but suddenly Namjoon's mind is filled with a light laugh, warm hands, and the scent of peppermint tea.

When he closes his eyes, all he sees is Jimin. Jimin kneeling in the shower, Jimin dancing on stage, Jimin lying in Namjoon's bed and whispering, Hold me tight tonight.

Namjoon blinks, trying to get rid of the images behind his eyelids. His mind might still be a bit muddled due to the intoxication. It's the only logical explanation he can think of.

"I'm not sure.", He says, feeling warm and tingly, "It suddenly happened. I came out to my sister after we came back to Korea, and now to you, too."

"Well, I would say you came out to all of us indirectly during the game.", Jeongguk cackles lightly, "But I'm glad you don't want to hide anymore."

"Me, too, Kook-ah."

They are quiet for a long time, and for a moment, Namjoon thinks the younger might be already asleep.

"Do you think Tae-Hyung will ever love me like that?" Jeongguk whispers, and it echos in their room, almost deafening although his voice is barely audible, "Wait, don't answer, please. Don't. I don't wanna hear it."

"Alright, Kookie, I won't answer it.", Namjoon comforts him, "But will you tell him?"

"Not now. Maybe someday.", He exhales loudly, turning away, his voice is muffled, "Good night Hyung, and thank you."

"You too. And Kook-ah?" He replies, turns around as well and lets his hand searching under the pillow until he finds his phone, "Happy birthday! We love you so much, I hope you know that."

"Don't be such a sap."

Namjoon puffs out some air, quietly laughing, and turns his phone on.

It's past 4 in the morning, and he hopes Hoseok won't wake up soon and still demand them to go to dance practice.

He checks Twitter first, with trembling fingers, since he is still afraid of what he might find on the app, and then grabs for his headphones so he can listen to some classical music for sleep.

Before he's going to sleep, he opens the chat with Jimin. There is another message he hasn't seen earlier.

 

ChimChim: Are you going to tell me when you're with someone else?

RapMon: Like as a fling or serious?

 

Jimin answers him almost immediately.

 

ChimChim: Both.

RapMon: If I meet someone I want to try something serious, you are the first person I'm gonna tell about. And of course, I will tell you, if you want to know about flings.

ChimChim: Ok, that's relieving.

RapMon: Are you going to tell me? Like, when you suddenly want to meet up with Sungbin again ;)

ChimChim: Ha Ha Ha, do you hear me laughing? Jin-Hyung would be so jealous of your joke.

ChimChim: And don't worry, Hyung. Sleep well.

RapMon: You too, Jiminie.

 

Only a few hours later, when he wakes up to coffee in the air and Hoseok's shouting, he realizes that Jimin didn't really answer his question.



🐨🐥🐨🐥

They are out of the country again. This time in Jakarta in Indonesia for another fan meeting. It's painfully hot and humid for September, but at least the monsoon time hasn't started until so far.

It had been a lot of fun seeing their fans and interacting with them again. Namjoon still buzzes with energy and endorphins after stepping back into the hotel. Their fans had been euphoric and cheerful that day, hyping them up so that the silly games they had to play on stage didn't make them feel as bad as it would otherwise.

The hotel they are staying in is slightly more luxurious than the ones in South America. It is modern and white and shiny, and from the wrong angles, it looks too sterile, like no one lives there.

Still, Namjoon likes the room he's staying in. It's bright due to a large window facade, and the bed looks incredibly soft. They are on the 17th floor, and now the cars look like tiny crawling ants, so much different than in Mexico. It's yet another step forward in the right direction, he thinks.

Since they ended the filming for his birthday the next day earlier and already had dinner in Seokjin and Yoongi's room, they all persuade him to go to the club on the 23rd floor.

One moment he was sitting on Yoongi's bed, holding a glass of champagne in his hands, and the next he's seated at the bar, nursing yet another drink and stares at Yoongi next to him, equally looking out of place, blinking baffled.

"How could this happen?"

"I'm not sure, I would have stayed in the hotel room as well.", Yoongi grumbles next to him and lifts the long cocktail glass to his lips, sipping through a bright pink straw, while poking the piece of pineapple at the rim, "Why do they always put fruits at the rim?"

"Maybe because then you eat something healthy while destroying your body with alcohol and don't feel so bad about it anymore?", Namjoon retorts and eyes his own drink. It is milky blue, and he isn't exactly sure what it is. He isn't even sure if he wants to know the substances.

"Then why do they add those disgusting fake cherries? They make me feel even worse about drinking this than without it."

"Because it looks fancy? I don't know, Hyung, why are we even discussing the fruits in the cocktail?"

Yoongi sighs, crosses his legs on the tall bar stool, and for a second it looks like he might fall over.

They are not drunk already. Just tired with jet lag and exhaustion. And slightly tipsy, if he's being honest with himself.

"Because I don't think I want to talk about something else right now.", Yoongi replies and takes another sip, "I hate club culture. It's loud, and the bass is hurting my delicate ears."

"Delicate ears?" Namjoon snorts mockingly, but he does get it. It's loud, they almost aren't able to have a normal conversation, and the songs streaming through the speakers are out-dated enough to be appealing for an older generation than theirs and on the wrong side of feeling right. The bass booming a tick too much, and Namjoon knows his ears will ring later.

Right now, Namjoon would rather be in his studio or his hotel room so he can work on some songs than here. Since the insomnia is almost completely gone, he can finally concentrate again and his mind is overflowing with ideas for new songs. Shred of lyrics are swimming in his head, randomly popping up and never leave him until he writes them down.

He has even a small idea for a choreography. A hand running up a chest and then curling around someone's throat.

"Yes, delicate ears.", Yoongi states, putting his elbow on the bar counter, propping up his chin on one hand, while the other plays with the straw of his drink. His pinky is delicately touching his cheekbone. Namjoon doesn't know how he does it and if he is even aware of it, but Yoongi always looks so soft when he leans his head on his hands.

"I don't mind so much.", Namjoon says, turning their conversation back to the part of club culture. Usually, he would mind, but not today. Not when he's turning twenty-one in less than two hours, and everything feels mushy and good.

Yoongi snorts loudly, staring over his shoulder where Namjoon's eyes stayed for the most part of the night, "Yeah, I can see that, Joon-ah."

There, in the flickering lights on the small but full dance floor, are the others. Seokjin and Taehyung have their hands in the air, swaying them like seaweed in the water. They look ridiculous, and it makes Namjoon grin from ear to ear. A few feet away are Jeongguk and Hoseok rolling their bodies to the music and seriously dancing to the beat, occasionally shouting each other something in the ear and then adding some choreography moves to their freestyle dance.

But this isn't it why Namjoon's eyes are fixated on the dance floor. Right in the middle, completely alone and turned to him, is Jimin.

Jimin has his eyes closed, his body moves fluently to the beat, shoulders rolling, hips swinging, hands shifting around.

Jimin dances like he isn't aware of the eyes on him. Like the dance floor is his and his alone, and his body moves on its own.

But Namjoon knows, Jimin feels the stares, noticed Namjoon's eyes on him. Trailing down the sharp jawline and to his exposed collar bones. He knows, because each time Jimin makes a particular sexy move, he bites his lips which prevents him from laughing, knowing what he does to Namjoon.

"You know.", Yoongi says and tears him out of his thoughts, making Namjoon slowly look away from Jimin's muscular thighs and round bubble butt, "It is absurd how much you stare at him."

"I don't stare.", Namjoon mutters embarrassed, taking a sip from his cocktail and makes a face. It is kinda sweet, but sour at the same time, and the alcohol burns down his throat.

"Of course, you don't, Joon-ah. Just make sure your eyes don't pop out next time Jiminie shakes his butt. Although, maybe we should tell him to stop looking like he wants you to fuck him against the bar counter."

"Hyung." Namjoon yelps indignantly, "Oh my god, please. Why are you like this? Don't you have a brain to mouth filter on you when we are alone?"

Yoongi smirks, showing his gummy smile, "Do I need one with you?"

Of course, he doesn't, Namjoon thinks. He is grateful for Yoongi to be so open with him and speak his mind instead of hiding behind his stoic masc and judging eyes. However, this doesn't mean he should always say those things out loud.

"And why are you even so attentive?"

"You should already know that I worry about the lot of you too much.", Yoongi simply states, patting Namjoon's leg, "And it's not that hard to see that something is going on between you two. I'm not sure what and if I even want to know, but."

He stops for a moment, obviously considering if he should continue, but then looks at Namjoon through his cat-shaped eyes, "I know it's none of my business until it affects the group, but Joon-ah. Please be careful. Jimin."

He sighs and shrugs his shoulders, "It's not my place to tell you, but Jimin hurts a lot. He has a sensitive heart, and I don't want to see him hurt more than he already does. So, please be careful."

Namjoon doesn't know what to say. He didn't realize Jimin was hurting, as Yoongi stated. He never mentioned it to Namjoon, as well. When they are together, they joke, they laugh, they touch, and they talk, but not about prior things in their lives. Maybe he should ask him, ask what makes Yoongi so scared for his heart.

"I will.", Namjoon says with earnest eyes, "I care about him a lot, and I would never do something to hurt him."

"Just don't do anything stupid, alright?"

"Yeah, I won't, besides it's not like this is a something.", Namjoon emphasizes it, trying to make it clear that there are no feelings involved, and therefore there is nothing to worry about.

Yoongi looks at him as if he's seen a rare animal, threatened with extinction.

"God, I can't believe how fucking stupid you are. You should be lucky that you are so astonishingly talented, Joon-ah.", Yoongi says with a final tone, and Namjoon wants to ask him what he means. Tell him, make it clear, that he hasn't any feelings for Jimin and the stupid little flutter in his stomach is just...what it is. Undefined and nothing, really, it is nothing.

But Yoongi already turned back to the dance floor, ignoring Namjoon's dumbstruck expression and the way he opens his mouth to reply something, anything, but raises an eyebrow."Why do they look so obtuse?"

Yoongi's eyes are on Seokjin and Hoseok, grinding against each other, but laughing uncontrollably at the same time.

"This is so ridiculous. I should have stayed in my bed.", Yoongi mutters, hand winking the barkeeper to them to get another drink.

Their two youngest are nowhere to be seen, but it doesn't surprise Namjoon. The room is getting fuller, more and more people pressing on the dance floor and move in the dim, flickering lights.

Jimin is watching him through hooded eyes, licking his lips seductively. His hand raises and brushes through his thick hair and then slowly runs down from his neck over his chest. He's touching himself like Namjoon would touch him behind closed doors. His pale skin is glowing under the club lights, white and inviting.

Peaches and cream.

Jimin is smirking at him, a hand reaching out to him, fingers wriggling. Come, they seem to say, come and dance with me.

And Namjoon stands up, drowns the rest of his drink in one go, and cautiously steps towards the dance floor.

Hoseok slaps his back approvingly when he passes him, "Finally. I thought you would never come and dance with us."

"Were are Tae and Kookie?"

Seokjin tilts his head towards the other end of the room, "Last time I saw them they were giggling like schoolgirls somewhere in this direction."

"Joon-ah.", arms wrap around his waist, and he can feel Jimin's breath the crook of his neck.

Sweeter than sweet.

Namjoon leans back against him. Let's himself be guided, moving in sync with the body pressed against his back.

Namjoon doesn't hate dancing anymore. He's still convinced his body isn't made for movements like this, and he still struggles to learn each step and even remember them after a few days, but he doesn't hate it anymore. Dancing in Jimin's embrace and Hoseok's happy laughter, makes him want to do it all night long.

He's turned around, chest to chest with the Busan boy and Jimin's eyelashes brush his cheeks, and a warm smile on his plump lips. Namjoon wants to taste them. Want to cup his cheeks and mold his mouth against Jimin's, kiss him until their lips tingle with pleasure.

Chocolate cheeks.

"Do you want to go to bed?" Jimin asks him innocently, batting his eyes and smiling. Namjoon can't talk, his mouth is dry, knowing what Jimin implies, knows that they are finally able to be together again, undisturbed, so he only nods.

Small hands curl around his wrists, and when they are sure that none of the others take notice, they sneak out of the club.

Namjoon's eyes lie on Jimin's back, shoulder blades prominent under the dark shirt, moving, and he imagines to lick his way down his spine, burying his lips into the soft flesh.

And chocolate wings.

They don't wait for the elevator but go for the stairs. No one will take the stairs, and they will be alone. The bass of the club is still resounding in his ears, and his whole body is vibrating with excited energy.

The door to the stairwell slams shut, and Jimin presses him against the door, hands suddenly under his shirt, pinching his nipples.

Namjoon can feel his breath on his face, can smell the sweetness of the cocktail Jimin drank, and all he wants to do is kiss him, but he knows he's not allowed to. So he tilts Jimin's head, mouth finding his neck and sucking on the creamy skin. He doesn't care if he leaves a mark. For once, Namjoon wants to take what is offered to him without thinking of the consequences. Jimin tastes like sweat and cologne, and when he dips his tongue into the hollow of the base of Jimin's throat, the other whimpers. The sound echoing through the stairwell, it makes Namjoon's blood sing with satisfaction.

Nae pi ttam nunmul.

He grips Jimin tight and turns them around, pushes him against the dark grey wall, his legs pressed against his groin, rubbing against the hardened length. He growls, can't help himself. It is so, so good.

"Joon-ah, fuck.", Jimin groans, face tilted up to him, lips brushing Namjoon's jaw and the corner of his mouth, making him quiver with desire. Namjoon's palm lies on Jimin's cheek, his thumb caressing the smooth skin on his high cheekbones and then trailing to his lips, brushing over them, wet with spit. Fingers dig into his nape and pull him closer. Their noses are touching, hot breath ghosts over Namjoon's skin, and he can almost taste him. Almost.

"I want you so much. I want you to fuck me so well.", Jimin preens into the space between their lips, one leg lifting up and curling around Namjoon's hip, drawing him closer, always closer.

wonhae manhi manhi manhi.

And god, it's so filthy, so promising that he almost comes into his jeans. He wants to push Jimin into the wall, lift him up and fuck him right then and there, but they can't do that. What if someone sees them? What if there are any cameras and the whole world will see them?

He shouldn't lose control like that. They shouldn't lose control.

"Come on.", Namjoon murmurs, voice thick with passion, "Let's go to my room."

It takes every bit of strength to let go of Jimin's body and take a few steps back.

Jimin looks thoughtfully wrecked. His cheeks are bright red, his eyes glassy with heat. Before he can jump him again, Namjoon turns around. They don't talk during their way down the stairs, but Jimin slips his hand into Namjoon's and squeezes tight. A small smile on his plush lips.

Promising.

Before they can step into the hallway of their floor, Jimin pulls him back, grinning brightly, his lips brush Namjoon's ear, making him shudder, "Joonie.", He whispers, his palm wandering up his arms and then down his chest before he lingers at Namjoon's waistband, moaning lowly, "You will make it feel so good, right?"

Then he squeezes him through his pants, making Namjoon swear under his breath, "Shit, Jiminie."

All coherent thoughts have vanished from his mind. He can't think clearly anymore. The only images are Jimin under him, smelling like heaven and coming, moaning.

He grasps Jimin's neck and makes him look up to him, trying to tell him how much he wants him, how much he is needed with his intense gaze.

Jimin's eyes widen, lashes fluttering, and he exhales loudly. There is something in his gaze Namjoon can't place, a flickering of something heavy and significant, but before he can try to seek it out again, Jimin losses Namjoon's grip on him and whispers, "Let's go. Come one."

They step into the hallway, the air tight with tension and anticipation, and Namjoon can already feel the wet heat around him, when he suddenly sees a slumped figure in front of the door to his hotel room.

His steps falter when he realizes that the person under the black hoodie is Jeongguk, "Kookie?"

Jeongguk has his knees drawn to his chest, arms hugging around them, and face pressed into the sleeve of the fabric. 

He lets go of Jimin's hand and crouches down next to the boy, who slowly looks up. His eyes are red, and his lips quiver, wet tear streaks on his cheek, "Hyung."

"Hey, hey, what's wrong?" Namjoon's hand finds his cheek without hesitation, brushing away the tears, but his soft words make the other cry even harder. The steam of words falling out of his mouth between hard sobs are almost unintelligible, but the way he says Taehyung's name multiple times, makes Namjoon's heart squeeze tight.

Jimin, who's standing next to them, pulls out his phone, and Namjoon can see him frown in confusion when he dials his best friend's number.

Meanwhile, Namjoon grabs the other boy under his arms, "Come on, Kook-ah. Let's go into the room, and you can tell me everything."

He slips his keycard out of his wallet and opens the door after a handful of tries, and then leads Jeongguk to the soft bed, opening all curtains to let the city lights into the room.

From the other side of the room, he hears Jimin's concerned voice, "Tae, what's wrong? Why is Kookie crying?"

Jeongguk pushes off his shoes, ignores the older man, and lies down, face first, the hood of his sweater still up, hiding completely. His shoulders are shaking violently.

"Oh," Jimin says, looking at Namjoon and shakes his head slightly.

Namjoon steps to him and sits down on the edge of the bed, one hand rubbing his back soothingly.

He watches Jimin, who leans on the wall, phone on his ear, biting his lips, "I'm coming to you. Give me a second. No - no, it's alright, Tae. I'm with you in a heartbeat."

He ends the call, stepping towards them and bends down to give their maknae a small kiss on the temple, whispering, "Everything will be fine, I promise."

For a moment, Jimin's hand lingers on Namjoon's arm, squeezing lightly, but then he is gone for the night.

Namjoon doesn't talk when he climbs into the bed to hug Jeongguk tight, waiting for him to calm down again.

It takes a long time until the sobs finally become less frequent, and Jeongguk's ready to take a tissue to blow his nose.

"My head hurts.", He croaks out, rubbing his red-rimmed eyes with his sleeves.

"Do you want a pain killer and some water?"

The boy only nods, so Namjoon stands up and gets a bottle of water from the table and rummaging through the mess of his bag until he finds what he's searching for.

After Jeongguk drowned almost the entire bottle in one go, he lets himself fall back onto the pillow, "I'm so tired, can we go to sleep, Hyung?"

"Of course, Kook-ah.", Namjoon reassures him and turns off the small light before he gets ready for bed.

When he lies next to their youngest again, Jeongguk lifts his head and asks in a small voice, "Can we cuddle please?"

Without answering, Namjoon draws him closer and goes into koala-mode.

He feels the still coming tears seeking through his nightshirt but doesn't mind.

"I'm sorry, Hyung.", He suddenly says into the darkness and crook of Namjoon's neck.

"Why are you sorry?"

"Because it's your birthday, and it seemed like you and Jimin-Hyung wanted to celebrate."

Namjoon almost snorts at that. This is one way to think about what they actually intended to do.

Instead, he asserts, "There are much more important things than a small birthday celebration."

"Thank you."

"You are so much more important than this. I hope you always remember that, Jeonggukkie."

The large hand on his shirt clutches tight, and Namjoon feels the body against his shaking with another wreck of sobs.

"We kissed again.", He whispers, and Namjoon hurts with him. 

"He kissed me. And then he sent me away, because.", Jeongguk stops, trying to breath deeply through his snotty nose.

"Because he doesn't love me like that.", the way Jeongguk voice breaks makes Namjoon ache. It hurts so much, "He kissed me like he meant it, and then he pushed me away."



🐨🐥🐨🐥

Blue, white, red, yellow, pink. Flickering all around him.

The lights are so bright, they hurt his eyes, and he can't see any of the faces in front of him properly. On other days he would be sad not being able to see his ARMY's, but not today.

Today it doesn't matter, because he's on stage. The familiar weight of the in-ear and the microphone in his hand, and the screams of the crowd.

It's like the sea, and he rides on top of it. Takes every wave the way it hits him, never falls, never hesitates.

It feels like he is high. His body vibrating with energy.

Namjoon has never taken any drug, never gave in when some of his friends from the underground hip hop passed a joint into his direction or once a small pill with an X on it.

Never took anything, and still, Namjoon knows that this feeling right now, that's how it is to be high.

Because he is high, jumping on stage, higher, higher.

The stage is his and his alone. The screams and shouts and hands in the air only for him.

Namjoon can't remember when he agreed to go on stage for the All Force Concert in the AX Halls in Seoul, alone. Solo. But apparently he did, and now he's in front of the crowd, performing songs from his mixtape.

He forgot how it feels to be on stage alone, without his members, his brothers to hide behind, to share the spotlight.

Now he can't hide in their presence, and it's ecstatic. Sweat is running down his temples and neck, vanishing inside his shirt, and it should be fucking disgusting, but it makes his blood boil and mind scream with pleasure. His heart hammers in sync with the beats, and hearing his fans chanting his lyrics makes his hair stand on stack.

This is where he belongs. Right here and right there. The stage, any stage, is his home. This is his home. His territory and he will bite away every enemy trying to take it away from him, snarling, baring his teeth like a wild animal. He's a monster on stage.

Sometimes, it's like he loses his humanity on stage, and for a moment, he feels aggression running through his veins when he sees two other people joining him, but then he feels the familiar presence of Suga and J-Hope. They are a union, they are allowed next to him.

Then Supreme Boi comes out, and Namjoon thinks he fucking loses his shit. He missed going on stage with his Hyung so much. For a moment, old, long-forgotten feelings of admiration and desire spread through his body.

Cypher pt3, Killer. He's jumping, can't control his limbs, they move like one, spitting out there verse, and the mess is on fire.

Fuck, it's his, and fuck anyone trying to tell him or his brothers that they don't belong in the industry because they do. They are better than all the others, and Namjoon will show it to them, and rub it into their faces with a smug grin.

Time on stage, like during his depressions, is a strange construct his brain can't follow. Times stands still, and he doesn't.

Suddenly, it's over, and Namjoon stumbles back into another version of reality, going backstage again, pulling out the in-ear with energetic fingers and handing over his microphone.

Back into a version where he's Namjoon again and not RapMonster, a version where he doesn't need to rap out his soul and lay it bare for everyone to see and feel.

He's still high, he feels like he can go on for more hours. He's hot, heat pooling in his groin.

It happens from time to time when the thrill and the adrenaline takes over his body, and it reacts. It's normal. He knows that, researched it when he was fifteen and back from one of his first performances, overflowing with arousal and excitement.

Sometimes he steps down from the stage and thinks he can fuck anyone within reach, sometimes even wants to do so.

Tonight it's barely different. And Namjoon is glad for the baggy clothes and the tight briefs, even if they rub against his hard dick and makes it even worse.

One of the make-up-noonas steps to him, hands him some tissues to get rid of his sweat, smiling sweetly at him.

She's cute, has beautiful eyes, a light brown, and there is a freckle at the corner of her cupid bow.

"You were amazing, RapMon-Oppa.", She smiles at him while applying fresh makeup, biting her lips in an alluring way. He tries to remember her name.

Namjoon knows they told him before he went on stage because he always makes sure to get to know the staff's names, it's polite and proper to do so. But if he's honest now, he can't even remember how he got to the hall in the first place. Probably in the backseat of Sejin-nim's car.

For a moment, he thinks about luring her out in the hallway, find a quiet place, and fuck her against a wall. He can imagine her hot breathy panting into his mouth, and the way her tits must feel against his chest. They way her smooth legs would feel around his naked hip and if she's bare between her thighs or has a small trail of hair. He doesn't care either way. He wonders if she's already wet for him.

As if she knows what he's thinking about, she asks with a faint blush on her cheeks, "Do you go out with your friends later, or are you enjoying your free time soon?"

He clears his throat, smiling at her, "I'm not sure what the others planned. It's Eunyoung, right?"

The girl beams at him for remembering her name, and he wants to pat his own shoulder like a puppy and say, Good boy.

Obviously, he doesn't, it would be weird.

"Yeah.", Eunyoung says, lying her small hand on his upper arm and starts to write down her numbers on it with eyeliner, the waxy pen feels strange on his hot skin, "I'm off in two hours, if you're still here and want to go out for a drink, you can call me."

He wants to say that he certainly will do, that he will call her and then fuck her, but then he feels someone staring, boring into his neck.

And sure enough, when he turns around, only slightly looks over his shoulder, he sees Jimin leaning against the door, talking with Donghyuk and Hoseok.

Namjoon totally forgot that the others are there, as well. Not only Yoongi and Hoseok, but all of them to support Namjoon on stage and he wonders if Jimin and the others were in the crowd during his performance, jumping and spitting his verse with him. It makes him feel fussy and warm, and his stomach grumbles a bit.

Jimin smirks at him and Eunyoung, but it doesn't reach his eyes. His glance is dark, intense, hungry, and it sends shivers down his spine.

The dancer raises one eyebrow, questioning, and licks over his front teeth. It shouldn't be this hot, shouldn't send Namjoon into passion-filled oblivion, but it does. He can barely conceal the low moan, which is coming out of his chest on its own. Jimin's mouth twitches, and then he turns back to the conversation, putting his hand on Donghyuk's arm while laughing out loud, and Namjoon snaps.

He smiles at the Eunyoung while turning away from her, "Thanks, I'll keep it in mind."

However, before he reaches Jimin, Seokjin and Yoongi hold him back, "That performance was awesome, Joon-ah."

"Thanks, Hyung.", He murmurs, tries to control the blood in his veins, and his stupid drumming heart, "It was really fun."

"Congrats," Yoongi says, nudging him and points at the numbers on his arm, "She's cute."

Namjoon looks up, back to Eunyoung, and yeah, she is. She has long legs, nice breasts, and beautiful long hair. When she senses his eyes on her, she looks up and smiles, waving lightly her delicate hand.

She's cute, but suddenly he can't remember why he considered to fuck her against the wall when Jimin is right here. Right there and wants him too.

"I guess.", Namjoon retorts, and they step to the others next to the door, Donghyuk asking them, "You guys gonna party with us?"

Yoongi looks like he wants to decline, but Seokjin agrees, lying his arm around the other rapper's shoulder, "Sure we go."

Before Namjoon can answer, he feels a hand on his arm, rubbing over the same spot where the phone number is scribbled, smudging the eyeliner, and Jimin smiles, "Sorry, but Hyung and I need to go back. We wanted to work on some recordings for his next solo song."

"Oh, do you now?" Yoongi's voice is dripping with sarcasm, eyes lingering pointedly on Namjoon's arm.

Namjoon wants to kick him, but nods slowly, "Of course."

"Really?" Hoseok questions, watching them with a stunned expression, "Are you sure it can't wait until another day?"

"Ah, you know how full our schedule is for the next few months."

"I didn't know you work on new songs already.", Donghyuk blinks surprised, "Is it for another mixtape?"

Namjoon shrugs his shoulders, sending Jimin a glance. What have they done? Now he would have to write a song, let Jimin record some singing and show them in a few days, so they wouldn't raise anymore suspicions.

His heart is pounding in his throat, and he swallows, "Yeah, I'm gonna show it to you soon."

"Alright, I tell Sejin-nim that we are ready to go.", Jimin states, making a small grimace as if he wants to tell him he's sorry for this mess, and then walking into the room, followed by Seokjin and Hoseok, but Yoongi stays still, eyeing him with a stern expression.

The air between them shifts. It's thick and muddy with tightness, and the unspoken argument they have is obvious for everyone.

Donghyuk, for a moment, stands between them, but then points at the room, tilting his head unsure, "I...go as well, so you can talk?!"

After the door falls shut, Yoongi says with a warning voice, "Namjoon-ah."

"No, listen, Hyung."

"You listen to me.", Yoongi interrupts him, a frown on his face, "I meant what I said on your birthday. Don't do anything stupid."

"What are you even implying? It's not like he loves me."

Yoongi opens his mouth to retort, but stops. He narrows his eyes, studies him, "Wait. Are you?"

"No!" He almost yells, panic raising, daubing his arousal, "Of course not."

"Namjoon-ah."

Namjoon shakes his head, he's not ready to think about it. To analyze what is happening. He can ignore it a while longer until he is ready to face it, and then, then he will do something against it. But now, he wants. He wants to have something he wouldn't have otherwise, shouldn't have or even want, and he won't let Yoongi and his admirable observation skills take it away from him.

"No, Hyung. You misunderstood. It's not like that", He lies, god, Namjoon lies, but he doesn't care.

Because it is not like this.

"Everything alright?" Jimin asks, coming back out of the room, looking at them suspiciously, but Yoongi shakes his head, more to himself than towards them, "Have fun and show me the recordings soon."

Jimin nods, automatically gripping for Namjoon's bare arm again, "Sure, will do, Hyung. Sejin-nim said we should wait in the car for him. Are you ready to go?"

Namjoon nods and sends Yoongi one last, almost pleading, look before following Jimin to the parking place.

Only when they are seated in the black van, Jimin turns to him, "I'm sorry."

"Why?"

"I don't know. For making it awkward. For forcing you to work on a song with me."

Namjoon chuckles at that, slowly relaxing again, "Don't worry. I thought we could do a collab anyway. It would be a good idea to start with it."

"Really? I would like that.", Jimin looks genuinely happy about the prospect of working on a duet together, but his face falls again, "I'm sorry about Yoongi-Hyung."

"Don't be, Jiminie. You didn't do anything wrong."

"What did he want anyway?" Jimin's voice sounds anxious. Probably not wanting the other to know about their friends with benefit-situation, so Namjoon lays his hand on Jimin's thigh comforting, lying, "It was nothing, just, that we work too much."

"Oh, well he is right, you know.", Jimin states, after placing his hand above Namjoon's, "You do work too much."

"There is no such thing.", Namjoon mumbles, staring at Jimin's hand, which let's go his own and wanders down his thigh, squeezing him through the fabric of his pants, "Jiminie, what are you doing?"

The other smirks again, the uncomfortable tension is gone, and the post-concert high and his lust are coming back, running through Namjoon's body.

But before Jimin can say anything, the car door opens, and Sejin comes in, looking back to them, "Are you two sure you don't want to celebrate with the others?"

Namjoon nods, "Yeah, definitely."

Jimin's finger brushes the inside of his leg and creeping up, and Namjoon has to bite down on his lips to prevent from groaning out loud.

"So, back to the dorm or the studio?"

"Dorm, please.", Jimin answers, sounding utterly normal as if nothing is amiss, and his hand doesn't curl around Namjoon's clothes cock, making him twitch with anticipation. The car starts moving, Sejin talking about his performance, and Namjoon only tries to breath normal, deep in and out.

 

Namjoon doesn't know how he survived the drive home. It's not a long way, and the streets were moderately empty, but halfway through, Jimin's hand moved from his leg into his pants, stroking him gently and twirling his finger around the wet head of his cock.

"What are you doing?" He mouthed to him, eyes begging, but Jimin didn't look his way, lips bowed into a small smile and eyes watching the contraflow.

After Sejin finally stopped in front of their home, they bowed their thanks, and the door clicks shut behind them, Jimin is on him instantly. Biting into his neck hard enough to leave a mark, tearing on his clothes, "Off with it!"

"Shouldn't I take a shower? I'm drenched in sweat."

"No! I don't care.", Jimin growls, hands already busy with the zipper of Namjoon's jacket, "I like it. You smell so good right now."

"Oh, fuck.", He breathes out when the words sink in, "Fuck Jimin."

Namjoon pulls his jacket away, slipping out of his shoes, kicking them towards the corner, where the shoe cabinet stands. He knows Hoseok will come at him the next morning, holding a lecture for not putting them away like a neat adult, but right now, he really doesn't care, because all he can focus on is Jimin.

Jimin, who's already pulling his shirt over his head, walking backward with his naked skin on display, right into Namjoon's room.

Jimin, who's smiling over his shoulder, hair falling into his eyes, which make him shiver, skin heating up with desire.

Namjoon starts walking, following him, already slipping his fingers into his waistband, to pull them down, watching every move of Jimin in front of him. Jimin is crawling on Namjoon's bed, losing his tight pants in the process and is now only wearing his Bordeaux red briefs and one sock.

Where did the other go? He didn't see him getting one sock off.

He leans back, long, pale body exposed, and there is a visible bulge in his underwear. A darker spot were his erect cock presses against it and wets it with precum. And god, he looks so beautiful. Automatically, Namjoon palms himself to stop the excited twitching, breathing hard.

"Joonie, stop looking and come here already.", Jimin's voice tears him out of his mind.

He finally gets out of his pants and pulls his shirt over his head in one fluent movement, "I merely appreciate the view."

Jimin chuckles shyly, "You can do that later, but now I really, really want you to fuck me."

"That sounds so filthy.", Namjoon murmurs, crawling onto the bed, between Jimin's legs and kisses his stomach and chest, making him clench and buck against him, trying to get more friction.

Namjoon lets his hands wander, feeling his skin dip under his fingertips, and the heat radiating from him. He's licking, nipping, kissing the insides of Jimin's thighs when he stops him, his small hand clutching his own, "I'm mean it, Joon-ah. I want to feel you now."

"But don't you want some foreplay?"

"We had a month worth of foreplay.", he retorts and wriggles out of his underpants, hard cock slapping against his stomach when it comes free, and Namjoon automatically reaches out to touch the velvet skin, making the other whine. He strokes his penis a few times until Jimin's legs start to shake, trailing lower and lower.

When his finger brush against Jimin's rim, he moans loud and open. He's not really wet, but surprisingly already lose. Namjoon dips his index finger in, slipping in easily enough. They did that a few times in the past, and Jimin had never been this easy to enter.

"What?" Namjoon looks up to the other, sees him blushing furiously and trying to hide his face behind his arm, "I might have stretched myself completely before coming backstage."

"You did what?"

"I - Namjoon.", Jimin whines again, voice going higher, and it sounds like heaven, "I want this so much, and I want it now. Don't wanna wait any longer."

"Shit, alright, don't move.", Namjoon jumps up again, almost tripping over his own, overexcited feet when he steps to the small sideboard and opens the first drawer to get some condoms and the lube.

He tosses them next to Jimin on the bed and then slowly steps closer again.

Suddenly his heart his running in his chest and he is nervous. This is not his first time, but it's their first time. He doesn't want to ruin it, doesn't want to make them uncomfortable. What if he hurts Jimin? His dick isn't over-sized, but long and thick enough it could make him feel pain. What if it makes it awkward between them?

What if Jimin doesn't want to be with him after this again?

What if this is the biggest mistake they are going to make in their entire life and Namjoon will lose this? Their friendship and closeness and all this.

"Hey, do I always have to remind you to stop overthinking the situation?"

Namjoon exhales shakily, "Sorry. It's just a lot, you know."

"No, I don't know. You have to talk to me, communication is key.", Jimin replies, sitting up in bed and swings his legs over the edge, so Namjoon stands between his knees. His lips brush over Namjoon's navel and his sensitive hipbone, looking up, and somehow this position is familiar.

"I want to make you feel good.", Namjoon whispers, finger trailing into Jimin's hair, "And to make you not regret it in the end."

"You will, Joonie. I'm sure about this. So far, I know that you are a very generous lover."

Lover.

It's just a term. Only a word without a special meaning and it shouldn't stand out to him. But somehow it does, and it stuck with him. He lets Jimin pull down his own tight briefs, the fabric catches a bit on his ankles, but then he's able to step out of them.

"Do you even know how good you look on stage? How fucking hot you are? Seeing you rapping your songs, spitting out those words, fuck, I wanted to go down on you in the middle of the hall.", Jimin mutters, nuzzling into his groin, hot breathe ghosting over his hard cock, "And alone this made me feel good, so please touch me. Let's not waste anymore time."

And Namjoon agrees, he doesn't want to waste their time. They could never know for sure when the others would come back or what other unexpected occurrence could happen soon.

He pushes Jimin back onto the bed and kneels between his legs, squeezing some lube on his hand.

"You don't have to prep me.", Jimin whispers, when his finger reaches between his butt cheeks.

"I know, I want to touch you there.", Slowly, almost lazily, Namjoon begins to trail his lips along Jimin's neck, curling his finger inside him, reaching for his prostate.

Jimin is completely still, breath catching until Namjoon finally finds the soft spot inside him, making his hips arch off the bed, moaning his name over and over again.

When he finally slides into Jimin, lips detached to his collar bone, sucking dark purple marks onto his pale skin to not kiss Jimin fully on the lips, his world goes white. It never felt this good before. With no one, and nothing will ever compare to this.

Namjoon always thought that nothing could make him feel as good as being on stage, but he had been a fool. Such a fool.

"Namjoon, please.", He hears Jimin's pleas falling over his lips, and he thrusts harder into the wetness around him, angling their hips until he brushes against the same spot over and over again, making the other whimper in pleasure. Namjoon can feel the steady weight of Jimin's legs around his waist and hands roughly tugging at his hair, drawing him closer with every thrust. It's a bit like being on stage, riding the high, and losing time to his desire.

"I'm coming.", Jimin rasps out, groaning aloud, and Namjoon looks at him. Looks into his face, his eyes, sees the orgasm hit him. Rolling over him, wave after wave, mouth wide open in a mute moan and eyes fluttering shut, when Jimin can't keep them open anymore.

He clenches so tight around Namjoon, it almost hurt.

"Jimin." He murmurs into the space between their lips and lets his own pleasure drown him, heart bursting into million tiny pieces, "Jimin."

It never felt like this with anyone before.

And Namjoon knows somehow, it will never feel like this with anyone again.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon wakes with a start again. This time it isn't a nightmare, but the faint sounds of Jimin mumbling against his naked chest.

Grey lights are filling the room, and he knows something is different. The place looks utterly familiar, and after a few heartbeats, he realizes that they are in his room in their home. Naked. Next to him on the floor lays a used condom and the lube has fallen down, open and poured out some of its content. The air smells of sex and bodies and intimacy.

Jeongguk!

Namjoon sits up, letting go of the warm body in his arms and looks around, but the boy's bed is untouched. The small light in the corner of the room is turned off, but it could have been Jimin, he thinks and tries to remember.

He doesn't really remember a lot after they had sex. He still remembers Jimin coaxing him out of bed and into the shower. Cleaning the sweat of the concert and the sex off his body. The way Jimin cleaned away the numbers of his arm, whispering, “You don't need it. You have me.”

He remembers Jimin pressing his butt against his groin again and him fucking the other in the shower under the hot water with worn-out limps, slowly pushing into him while trailing open-mouthed kisses down his shoulder and biting into Jimin's neck when he came with a raw groan.

Namjoon remembers curling around Jimin's still wet, steaming, and beautifully naked body, whispering nonsense into his ear until sleep took over him.

When he looks back to Jimin, he can see his teeth imprinted on the creamy skin and red blotches where he grasped him too hard, too harsh.

Gentle, he thinks, leaning back down and kisses his way along every exposes patch of skin.

"Hmmm." Namjoon hears the other purring, stretching lazily, and then Jimin rolls onto his stomach with a satisfied smile on his lips, "You should always wake me up like that."

"Can do.", Namjoon replies, his voice is rough with sleep, "Did you hear the other come back?"

"No, why?" Jimin slowly opens his eyes, staring at his naked skin openly, almost with a hungry expression.

Namjoon smirks when he sees Jimin's cock jumps at the sight, "Kookie's wasn't here."

The other turns his head as well, peering to the other side of the room, "They might be still out."

"Or he's in your room."

Jimin shakes his head with a sad frown, "I doubt that. Tae's there as well."

Namjoon considers to reach for his phone and ask their maknae directly, but then he feels Jimin's palm on his back, running up and down his spine, "Come lie down again."

 

Later, when he walks into the kitchen with a satisfied smile, Jeongguk is sitting at the counter, nursing a cup of tea and nibbling on a banana.

"Oh, you're home.", Namjoon says surprised and pours himself some coffee before sitting down in front of the younger man, "I thought you didn't come back until so far."

"Ah, yeah. You know." Jeongguk avoids looking into his eyes, and Namjoon knows. Knows Jeongguk came home last night, came into their room, and saw them.

"Oh." He exhales, feeling his heart sink, "Where did you sleep then?"

Jeongguk bites off too much of the fruit and then chews slowly, taking his sweet time before replying, "On the couch. Didn't want to wake you."

Namjoon tries to take a sip of his coffee, but his hands are shaking too much.

"I also saved you from Hobi-Hyung's wrath, you know."

"Is that so?"

"Your shoes and your jacket were laying in the middle of the hallway." Jeongguk nods towards the hallway, and then a small grin appears on his face, one eyebrow raised, "Must have been urgent."

"Brat," Namjoon mutters, reaching over the counter to ruffle his bed hair, but snorts all the while. They sit in silence for a long time, listening to the annoying kitchen clock ticking, but when Namjoon reached the bottom of the cup, all coffee gone, he says, "Sorry for making you sleep on the couch. And thanks."

"No problem, Hyung.", He answers without wavering, "I mean, I don't mind to sleep on the couch from time to time, but maybe consider to put on some clothes after...you know...doing the deed."



Winter 2015

It feels like as if with winter and the cold, the tension in their group came back.

It is unbearable, making Namjoon want to claw at his skin.

Jeongguk and Taehyung don't talk if it's not necessary. Only Jimin and Namjoon know what has happened in Jakarta, but the others aren't stupid or oblivious to their behavior. Asking from time to time, but when neither Jeongguk nor Taehyung explain what has happened, they stop.

Seokjin's taking Taehyung under his wing, going out with the other boy to the cinema or to actor friends on set, showing him around for some connections and new friends, while Yoongi drags Jeongguk to the studio where he teaches him everything about producing. Lavishing lamb skewers on the boy until Hoseok and their stylist-noonas fear he's going to put on some serious weight and they have to take Yoongi aside and beg him to stop doing that.

Their youngest get along in front of the camera, they are professionals after all, but the very moment the camera turns away from them, they avoid each other like the plague.

Seeing Jeongguk hurt is something Namjoon doesn't know how to handle. Seeing Taehyung making himself smaller and trying to vanish whenever they are in the same room, makes Namjoon want to reach out and somehow help them figuring this situation out.

He asks his therapist, Mrs. Im, what he should do about the situation, but her reply isn't helpful in the slightest, "You have to let them make their own mistakes. They will overcome it in their own time, and you or anyone else meddling within it will make it even worse."

He knows, of course, he does, but stepping into their home feels like stepping into a swamp and sinking deeper into the earth until someday someone digs you out as a piece of peat and uses you to make a fire or something similar.

It wouldn't be so bad if Seokjin wouldn't have come home a month ago with the brightest smile Namjoon has ever seen on his Hyung's face and telling them that his crush finally agreed to date him.

The moment his words left his lips, Namjoon watched Yoongi from the corner of his eyes. His friend continued to smile, but it didn't reach his eyes anymore, and his usually pale skin went ashen.

Her name is Harin, and she's indeed a cook. She went to school for it in France and came back to Korea only a year before.

Namjoon thinks she is lovely. She doesn't seem to mind Seokjin's antics and doesn't mind his busy life.

They all met her after a few days. She's small and a bit chubby around the hips, but her smile is bright, and her laughter nearly as contagious as Seokjin's. They love Harin. 

And the worst thing is that Yoongi actually likes her.

"She is perfect for him.", He had stated after they met Harin for the first time, and Namjoon couldn't find a single trace of sarcasm in his face, "She is funny and witty and puts the idiot in his place without being mean. Fuck, I can't even dislike her."

They were sitting in the studio, only Yoongi, Hoseok, and him. Yoongi walking up and down the room, creating a small path on the floor and pulling at his hair, "Shit, seriously, why can't she be a bitch?"

After that, Yoongi started to isolate himself more again. Working in the studio until the next morning, ignoring their worried glances when even a thick layer of makeup didn't cover up the dark circles under his eyes.

"Hyung, you have to come home and sleep." Jeongguk continuously begs him, "Please."

"I'm working on my mixtape.", He always announces, but lets the youngest inside, sitting with him in front of his keyboard or on the leather couch.

"We are bounding over a broken heart, Hyung.", Jeongguk said one night into the darkness with a quiet, sad chuckle, "Don't ever tell anyone. That sounded really cheesy."

In addition, more and more plagiarism accusations reach them and sent Namjoon right back into the pit called his depression.

It's not as bad is in summer, but still, from time to time, he can't breath, can't stand up, and only gets out of bed because Jimin takes him by the hand. Literally.

"It's all my fault.", He says during one of the meetings with Bang Sihyuk, but the other man shakes his head, "I will not listen to such things, Namjoon-ssi. We all should have been more observant. We are sorry to get you boys into such troubles, and all of us will find a way."

Now Namjoon thinks that it's a good thing for Jeongguk to know about them. He gives them space, let them have the room for themselves some nights. Most of the time, they don't fuck. Namjoon can't find the strength to do so, and Jimin is content enough to just lie next to him.

"I like sleeping next to someone, Joon-ah.", Jimin had declared, flopping down on top of him, "You don't always have to bone me."

 

They start to work on their performance for the MAMA in Hong Kong.

Somehow they had the idea to do a dance collaboration with GOT7, and working with Jackson at close quarters helps to lift Namjoon's mood, as well as Jeongguk's, who is now allowed to stay with Yugyeom a lot more often. They are clued to the hips, always seen together, followed by an animatedly talking BamBam.

From time to time, Namjoon catches Jimin eyeing Mark from the other side of the room, face a blank mask and eyes dark, not moving and unnerving.

"Are you jealous?" Namjoon asks him one night in the safety of his room, legs draped over Jimin's possessively.

"No.," Jimin lies and turning away from him, breathing hard through his nose, "Ah shit, I might be. A little bit. He slept with you."

"Yeah, but now he doesn't anymore.", Namjoon says, pulling him closer, "Now you do it with me."

"I'm kinda aware of that, thank you.", Jimin replies sarcastically, wiggles against his dick, making Namjoon hum lowly, "It's just, we never do it the other way."

"You want to?"

"I.," Jimin turns his head to him, looks him into his eyes and seems to search for the right answer, "Yeah, I think so."

"Alright. I don't mind."

"You don't mind?"

"Jimin." He sighs, pulling him completely around so they can look at each other while having this conversation, "You never said anything, and I thought I made it clear that we can switch if you want to."

"But I've never done that, what if I hurt you?"

He snorts, one thumb brushing over his cheekbones while the other hand reaches for the dip of Jimin's back, "We will figure it out."

"Oh, ok."

"By the way.", Namjoon declares, while his finger finds Jimin's butt from their own, "You really don't have to be jealous of Mark."

Only after he sees Mark kissing Jackson in the kitchen of their dorm during a movie night, disguised as a training evening, Jimin starts to talk normally to the GOT7 rapper.

"You could have told me, idiot.", Jimin uttered, lying next to Namjoon on the couch, face pressed into Namjoon's side, face red with embarrassment.

"Nah, it was a lot funnier to watch you staring daggers at him."

"I did no such thing."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

One night mid-December, Jeongguk stumbles intoxicated into their shared room.

Namjoon is still awake, sitting in his bed and working on some lyrics when the door opens and the other steps inside, looking at him like a deer caught in the headlights and then waving stupidly, before tripping over his too low sitting baggy sweatpants and landing ass first to the floor.

"Kookie?"

And there are finger guns, why is he doing finger guns?

"Everything alright, Hyungie.", Jeongguk slurs and wriggles on the floor to pulls down the pants, "Wanted to sit down anyway."

"Are you drunk?"

"No?"

Namjoon doesn't know if he should laugh at him or scold him, "Why are you answering with a question?"

"Why are you?" He counters with a sly smirk.

Namjoon sighs, rubs the bridge of his nose like his father tends to do, and then asks, "Jeongguk, where you out drinking alone again?"

"Nope." He lets the P pop loudly and giggles about the sound, "Not alone. Yoongi-Hyung and Kihyun-Hyung and Changkyun, well, he is still older than me, so he's a Hyung as well, and yeah, a lot of Hyung's were with me."

"At least you were surrounded by responsible adults, right?", He responds sarcastically.

"Yeah."

Namjoon stands up from the bed and holds out his hand to pull the boy who's sitting on top of a pile of old clothes and wearing boxers with polar bears on ice floes up again. Before taking Namjoon's outstretched hand, Jeongguk follows his glance and turns pink when he recognizes the pattern on his boxers, but smirks nonetheless, "You wanna know something unfortunate?"

He takes Namjoon's hand and stands up, swaying a bit, almost falling down again and then cautiously sitting down on the edge of his bed.

"Sure."

"The polar bears are losing their home because I'm so hot I melt the ice caps.", He points at one of the polar bears on an ice floe and makes yet another finger gun.

Namjoon can't suppress the small laughter bubbling up and out of his throat, "This sounds awfully like something Seokjin-Hyung would say."

"He did say it to me when he gave me the pair last year."

"Well, then it's a funny gift, right?"

Suddenly, Jeongguk looks seriously sad, biting his lips hard and his eyes water, "He gave another one to Taehyungie."

Oh.

Namjoon sits down next to him, not touching, just sitting close in case Jeongguk wants to reach out.

"I miss him."

"I know, Kook-ah. It will get better."

"How do you know?" His voice breaks, and he sniffles into the large sleeve of his jumper.

"It always gets better. Sometimes it takes a lot of time, sometimes it takes a person to make you feel happy again.", Namjoon answers with a soft voice, staring at his bed, where the abandoned sheets of paper with lyrics about love and loneliness and forgiving lay.

"Like Jimin-Hyung is for you?"

His head snaps up, "What?"

Jeongguk grabs for his blanket and pulls it around him, only his head peeks out, looking like the sad burrito comic, "Isn't Jiminie the person for you who makes you happy the most?"

"Kookie. It's not like that between Jimin and me."

The words hang heavy in the air.

Namjoon had said them multiple times in the last year. Had thought them even more, but they never felt this significant, suffocating.

"We are not in love, you know.", He states, and his voice trembles, his heart in his throat, and he wants to pinch the fluttering bastard hard until it stops being so weird.

"Oh." Jeongguk looks at him with sad, understanding eyes, "I'm sorry."

Namjoon wants to say, he doesn't have to be sorry. For what even?

It's not like...

Like he likes Jimin, right? Not like...not like Jeongguk likes Taehyung, and Seokjin likes Harin, or even Yoongi likes Seokjin. Especially not like Hoseok fucking loves Heeyoung, letting her peg him with a strap on.

It's not like his parents love each other.

It's not the same.

It's not.

"Hyung, can I ask you for something? A favor?"

"Sure.", He says, trying to steady his mind, his voice, and his trembling hands.

"There is this song I would like to cover, and I thought it would be really cool if we could do it together.", Jeongguk explains while he moves around to hang over the edge of his bed and grab his pants, "Wait, I'll show you the song after I found my phone. There it is."

With much more effort than required, he pulls himself in an upward position again and unlocks his phone.

"There. The artist's name is Troye Sivan.", at once he's whispering as if his loud voice could break whatever spell is happening. Namjoon can hear the faint sound of the speaker connecting with Jeongguk's phone, and then the phone is forced into his hands, "Please watch the MV as well, Hyung."

The first sound of the piano is everything Namjoon needs to accept Jeongguk's proposal and make him want to cover it with Jeongguk, but then he sees the two boys kissing in the MV, understands what it means, and is determined to do it, no matter what anyone might think or say about it.

He's staring at the phone with an open mouth, taking it in, feeling the lyrics imprint on his soul like only good songs tend to do.

"I would understand if you don't want to cover it.", Jeongguk whispers, "It's very open and kind of a give-away."

"Let's do it."

"What? Really?"

"Yeah.", Namjoon states, smiling at him, "Yeah, I would like to cover it."

"Thank you, Hyung. It means a lot to me."

 

After Jeongguk is finally asleep, softly breathing into his pillow, Namjoon listens to the song again.

And again.

And thinks, yes,

 

Only fools fall for you, only fools. Only fools do what I do, only fools fall.

Chapter Text

January 2016

 

"Harin asked if you guys would like to come to her restaurant tomorrow as well.", Seokjin announces into the dim room.

They all came home half an hour before, dropping their shoes, jackets, and bags on a pile in the hallway and crushed on the couch and cushions on the floor of their living room they put there a while ago. 

"It's much more comfortable like that.", Yoongi had said shortly before Christmas and let a few pillows and IKEA blankets slide to the floor.

Only the small flickering light of a candle and the holiday lights above their window lighten the room.

It's warm and cozy, and they haven't spoken the whole time, too exhausted from the shooting for the Infinite Challenge Show earlier the day.

Namjoon is incredibly thankful for this opportunity since they were the first Idol group ever to perform for this show, but he still thinks his bones turned into hummus by now. It aches everywhere, and in places he didn't know, he had muscles. He's not sure if he ever gets used to the physical exertion his job entails, because if others do, he should be used by now as well.

They didn't even bother to turn on the television or some music, both too far away and out of reach, and none of them seemed to want to move one little bit.

They are so spent that even Taehyung and Jeongguk sit next to each other without springing apart after accidentally touching. Their shoulders are brushing against each other when Taehyung shifts the pillow in his arms.

After releasing the cover of Fools, they started to talk again, cautiously, about mundane topics like dance practice and school assignments, Jeongguk still has to manage. It isn't the same anymore, their friendship is strained, and distance like there is an invisible wall to hold them apart. They don't hang out alone, only when Jimin or Hoseok sit with them, gaming or talking about music. Still, it is an improvement, and Namjoon is proud of Jeongguk to make the first step to overcoming his lovesickness.

Seokjin, who's seated on the violet armchair and is holding his phone in one hand, loosely as if he doesn't have the energy to hold it properly, murmurs loud enough for everyone to hear, "All of the furniture is in now, and she wanted to celebrate before the restaurant opens in February."

After coming back to Korea, Harin has been working consistently on making her dream come true: Opening a small restaurant in Seoul.

It's one of the reasons why she doesn't mind Seokjin's busy daily life since she works every day as well, never really getting rest of her own. For a while, before she agreed to date him, she had three jobs and only slept for a small number of hours a night.

After finding the perfect spot and being financially stable enough to try opening her own place, she finally accepted his courting and decided to give it a try to date him.

When Seokjin called her at Jeongguk's birthday to explain the rules of monopoly to her, she just had come back from one of her jobs and viewing yet another estate, ready to sleep.

"It would have been a stupid idea to invest time and energy into a person I barely knew when I needed it more for this.", She had stated, arms wide open when she showed them the tiny, dusty space in Haebangchon and eyes sparkling with happiness and accomplishment, "But after that night I knew, I found the place I was looking for, and it would only be fair to accept the man I wasn't looking for."

Namjoon thinks it was really responsible of her to wait and focus on her dream rather than on getting into a relationship. He admires her strength and passion. It reminds him of themselves, and she fits into their group.

"The location will be rather modern. All hipster.", She had laughed after Yoongi asked her about it one night when they all were sitting together, and his friend finally got lose enough to open his mouth around the young woman he doesn't want to like, "I want to try to combine traditional Korean dishes with french cuisine while creating a cozy but fresh atmosphere for younger and older people to enjoy."

"I'm not sure if I can come.", Hoseok answers their eldest at first, shifting on the couch and groans slightly due to his movements, making Yoongi's feet slip from his lap and sofa, "Heeyoung and I wanted to spend the day together. We haven't been out for weeks, really, and I'm not entirely sure if she wants to come."

It's no secret that Hoseok and Heeyoung are struggling for a while now since their schedules get more and more hectic every day. At first, it had been alright for Heeyoung to see him only once in a while. Their relationship had been healthy and new enough. But now, she wants it to be more serious. Wants him to be with her more often and get into a more grown-up relationship, which doesn't revolve around sex and occasional phone calls from somewhere in the world only.

Namjoon and the others haven't stayed in one place longer than four days in the last month, and above all, they have absolutely no time to spend their free time with someone. Because there is no free time.

Seeing Heeyoung only a few times the last three months and never having enough time to speak to her on the phone longer than half an hour a day, makes Hoseok stressed and kind of aggressive during their dance practice, he'd become impatient and rude.

They can't blame him for it, but it still makes it uncomfortable for all of them, scared to make a wrong move and trigger his fury.

Namjoon hopes Hoseok resolves his struggles with Heeyoung soon before he has to act like the leader and scold him for his behavior.

Seokjin smiles at him in comfort, "You can join later if she wants to."

"When do you go to Harin-ssi's restaurant?" Jimin asks in a muffled voice, lying spread-eagled on the floor, eyes closed, and secretly holding on to Namjoon's ankle next to him. For support. Or not to fall asleep still wearing makeup and sticky hair products.

"We thought about late afternoon, but I'm going earlier to the place. Harin and I thought about cooking together for you guys.", Seokjin replies with a huge grin on his face, obviously in love with the idea and the woman.

They are like those disgustingly happy couples in school, always holding hands and kissing and calling each other 'my little honey bear' or 'ma sweet chocolate Muffin.'

"They are like end-game.", Yoongi had whispered on a night in December after Seokjin held Harin's bag and opened the door for her with one hand on her upper back and called her 'Blossom' as endearing, "They are going to marry each other one day."

Namjoon is surprised how easily his Hyung adapted to the situation, and he wonders from time to time if it might be because Harin makes it so easy to like her.

"It's not like I don't still have feelings for him.", Yoongi said with a grimace after the words came out of his mouth when Namjoon asked him, unhappy about his statement, "It's just that he is so happy and content with her that I can't feel bad about it."

"More likely have a nice shag and inaugurate the place.", Jeongguk adds with a sly smirk and yelps when Seokjin actually stands up to kicks him into the side.

"Don't be crude, you are supposed to be our innocent little bunny.", the elder exclaims with a faint blush on his cheeks, "Besides, how do you know we didn't do that already?"

"I hope you didn't do in the kitchen or at least cleaned it thoughtfully afterward.", Hoseok interferes with a grimace.

Namjoon shudders and actively tries to stop his brain from going on this path, creating images in his mind, "Gross."

"Alright, we talked enough about Jin-Hyungs sex life, I don't want to know or imagine anything, can we stop now?", Taehyung whines and his head rolls back, resting on the edge of the couch and hugging the pillow closer to his chest, "Jiminie asked because we have plans later that night."

He stretches out his legs and groans in a similar way Hoseok did a few moments earlier, "We are going to a concert."

The thumb brushing over Namjoon's ankle stops for a moment, but then Jimin's finger grip harder, and Namjoon melts into his touch.

"You can still come and stay as long as you want to.", Seokjin replies to that.

"Good, then we are in, right, Jiminie?"

The other only exhales loudly, nodding his head and gripping Namjoon's ankle tighter, "Now let me die in peace. Everything hurts."

"If you ask nicely, Namjoon-Oppa could give you a massage.", Jeongguk cackles and jumps away just in time to avoid Namjoon's kicking foot as well.

Since the night after the All Force concert and catching them in bed, Jeongguk teases them on no end, always making suggestive jokes and gestures in their direction, but never openly enough for the others to catch on, "Stop being a brat, or I won't let you come with me to meet up with Jackson and Mark."

"That's not fair.", Jeongguk whines lowly, sending him puppy-dog-eyes.

For the last few months, Jeongguk started to trail behind Namjoon when he wants to hang out with his friends, especially if it means he's able to stay at the GOT7 dorms and with Yugyeom later.

"It's your own fault.", Namjoon says with a grin but turns back to Seokjin to finally answer his question, "If it is alright with you, I will bring Jackson and Mark over. We wanted to go out for dinner anyway."

"Sure.", Seokjin nods, tapping on his phone all the while, "I don't think she'll mind. If it's ok with everyone that her little sister is going to come later as well. They live together, and she shouldn't stay at home alone all the time."

Yoongi, who lies with his head on Namjoon's lap, eyes closed and nibbling the inside of his cheek, which is the only indication the other is still awake, says in a raspy voice, "Don't think anyone would mind as long as the girl can keep us all a secret, right?"

"I met Misun already, she's a nice girl and isn't interested in our business or Idols and gossip.", Seokjin replies, "She actually didn't know who I was. Was a bit of a blow."

Namjoon chuckles, earning narrowed eyes from Yoongi, "Well, then we have to work harder and get better, so everyone, even none-Idol fans, will recognize us."

"If I work even harder, then I will never sleep again.", Jimin murmurs from the floor and starts to sit up again, "I think I'm going to sleep, can't keep my eyes open anymore."

Namjoon looks at him, raising a questioning eyebrow, and when Jimin nods, he can't help but smile.

When Jimin finally stands tall in the room, Taehyung holds his hand up, "Pull me up, Jiminie, and can we cuddle in bed? I think I don't want to be alone tonight."

Normally, Jeongguk would have jumped right in and told Taehyung that they could cuddle all night, ignoring his own need of personal space, and even now Namjoon sees his mouth twitch dangerously, but the youngest turns away and studies the hole in Seokjin's left sock. Toe pocking out and bobbing to an unknown beat.

"Sure, Taehyungie.", Namjoon hears Jimin sighing, knowing that this night he has to stay alone again, and suppresses the forming frown on his face.

He moves his leg to gently poke Jeongguk in the side with his toe, "Do you want me to ask Jackson if you can stay at their dorm tomorrow?"

The boy nods enthusiastically, trying to not look in Taehyung's direction, "Please."

 

RapMon: Yo, you want to go to Jin-Hyungs girlfriend's restaurant tomorrow? She wants to celebrate before opening.

JWangPuppy: Sure, sounds good.

RapMon: Can Kookie sleep at yours after?

JWangPuppy: Ha, I knew you would ask. Yuggie-ah already asked.

RapMon: They became so greedy.

JWangPuppy: It feels more like we are their parents, and they gang up together to pressure us into giving them everything they want. Eomma-Jinyoung should take action already. I'm not old enough to be a father.

RapMon: Then be careful and don't knock Mark-Hyung up.

JWangPuppyDanhobak can't get pregnant, didn't you listen to your biology teacher back in school?

JWangPuppy: I meant Markie

RapMon: Of course I did, and don't even try to cast it off that you called your boyfriend 'sweet pumpkin pie'. It's like with Jin-Hyung and Harin-Noona.

JWangPuppyAhgases gave him this nickname, I only adapted it.

RapMon: Sure, Jacks, sure.

JWangPuppy: Talk is cheap, bro. How many nicknames do you even have for Jiminie?

RapMon: I definitely don't call him such endearments.

JWangPuppy: You don't call him anything in bed?

RapMon: His name is Jimin, I call him Jimin.

JWangPuppy: But you would like to...

RapMon: No.

 

He feels a movement on his leg, and when he looks up, only Yoongi and Jeongguk are still in the living room.

"They went to bed already.", Yoongi answers his questioning glances, "Do you want to go into the bathroom at first?"

"No, it's alright. I'm having a talk with Jackson right now.", Namjoon responds, looking right back at his phone before adding, "By the way, Kookie, Yuggie-ah asked already as well. You can sleep over tomorrow."

"Yes.", The boy exclaims loudly, jumps up, and runs out of the room. He can hear the faint sound of the bathroom door closing and then the running water of the shower.

"Wanna cuddle tonight as well?", Yoongi invites, slowly sitting up and stretching his arms and his shoulder crack loudly.

Yoongi doesn't ask for a company for the nights often, mostly sleeping alone and cherishing the fact that only in his sleep he doesn't have to share space and time and his whole life with the others. So when he asks for cuddles, all of them jump on that opportunity and can't refuse it.

"Sure Hyung.", Namjoon replies, "Didn't want to stay alone tonight, anyway."

"Yeah, thought so, your face was a give-away. Only Taehyungie was faster, right?" He smirks, and Namjoon overcomes the urge to poke him, but says instead, "Well, Tae needs it more than I do."

"Sure he does, doesn't mean you can't feel dejected about not being with ChimChim."

They didn't talk about this weird situation between Namjoon and Jimin again after the concert, and Yoongi seemed to realize that nothing really changed. They are acting completely normal around each other.

From time to time, Namjoon can feel his heavy glances and knows the older is watching them, searching for any indications that they are not doing fine or Namjoon's falling helplessly in love, but he never says anything.

He shrugs his shoulders, "It's not like I have a claim on him."

Without intention, his voice breaks a bit, sounding utterly devastated, and Namjoon feels like an idiot to even opening his mouth.

Yoongi opens his mouth to retort something, but before you can say anything, Jeongguk shouts into the living room, "Bathroom is free."

 "Stop shouting, brat.", they hear Seokjin from his room, and then Hoseok's reply, "Goes for you as well, Hyung. Shut up all of you, I'm tired."

"What a mess.", Yoongi grumbles under his breathe and walks out of the room, "See you in a bit, Joon-ah."

He unlocks his phone again.

 

JWangPuppy: Sure, and now you are lying to yourself and to me.

JWangPuppy: I thought we were friends and could talk about everything and braid our hair.

JWangPuppy: And now you are ignoring me, are you?

JWangPuppy: You actually do! Namjoon-ah, come on. It's not like it's a bad thing to want to call Jiminie your anything.

RapMon: I wasn't ignoring you.

JWangPuppy: Sure, you didn't.

RapMon: Nah, talked to Yoongi-Hyung and told Kookie that he can sleep at yours tomorrow. The boy went from sad to happy in like 0.1 second.

JWangPuppy: It's bc we're so much cooler than you guys.

RapMon: Sounds wrong, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

JWangPuppy: Seriously, back to the topic. I think it's important to tell you that it's alright if you have feelings for Jimin.

RapMon: I don't have feelings for him, and who are you? My therapist? Shall I call you Mrs. Im now?

JWangPuppy: Denial doesn't suit you.

RapMon: Listen, I acknowledge I like Jimin more than I like the others, or, respectively: I like him differently than the others, but that might be because I suck him off on a regular basis. I liked Mark as well and sucked him off, remember? Though, I still didn't want to call him 'you're my honeybunch sugarplum pumpie umpy umkin.'

JWangPuppy: wow, thanks for the earworm. And please never make a reference to your time with Mark.

JWangPuppy: Anyway, it's not like I don't know what you are going through. It was kinda similar with Mark, wasn't it? Suddenly I fell in love with him, and everything went wild.

JWangPuppy: I just didn't shag him before we got together.

JWangPuppy: Nevertheless, I think you're lying to yourself about not wanting to call him cute names and hold his hands and about your feelings, and it's unhealthy. You don't have to talk to me, but maybe to Mrs. Im?! Or Yoongi. Or the old lady next door.

JWangPuppy: The main thing is that you finally talk about it.

JWangPuppy: Bc, I can see that you suffer bc your heart does what it wants to do, and you don't like the disobedient thing.

JWangPuppy: But you can't work on it when you ignore it.

JWangPuppy: And now you are ignoring me, right?

 

"You can use the bathroom now, but be careful. One of them flooded the room, and the tiles are slippery.", Yoongi walks past him to the kitchen, "Want some hot lemon drink as well?"

"A tea sounds great, actually, but no lemon, please.", Namjoon stands up and nods, "Do you want to sleep in your bed or mine?"

"When was the last time you changed your sheets?"

"I don't know. Why?" He blinks bewildered before it occurs him.

Yoongi looks around the corner of their kitchen and makes a face, "Then mine. I don't want to sleep in a place full of body fluids."

"As if you don't jerk off in your bed and spread some 'body fluids.'", Namjoon retorts with a raised eyebrow and walks out of the room before Yoongi can yell at him, "It's still different when the fluids come from more than one person."

 

RapMon: Yeah, I do, bc I'm going to shower and then to bed. With Yoongi.

JWangPuppy: With Yoongi?

RapMon: Yeah, do with the information whatever you want.

JWangPuppy: At least you don't sit naked on the floor again while the other sleeps in the room. I'm still not over this, all bollocks out...

RapMon: Bye, Jackson! See you tomorrow Jackson. I'll send you the location later, JACKSON!

JWangPuppy: Love you, too, bro.

 

The bathroom is slippery as fuck, just like Yoongi warned him, and it takes a lot of effort and a hard grip on the sink to not crash to the floor when he steps out of the shower. Probably Jeongguk's fault, the boy just doesn't know how to shower without making a mess. He sits on the closed toilet lid while brushing his teeth furiously and looking at the chat.

Namjoon knows Jackson is right.

He also knows that ignoring the increasing tugging in his groin and the fluttering of his heart in Jimin's embrace won't do in the long run.

It's not the same as it was for Jackson. Namjoon didn't wake up one day and realizing how utterly in love his is with his friend, co-worker, and fuck-buddy.

He is not in love with Jimin, not yet anyway.

But he knows he could be, and he shouldn't. Jimin made it clear that this situation is only what it is: 'Seeking out intimacy with someone you feel safe with.'

So ignoring seems like the best alternative until he stops liking him or meets a person, he's able to fall in love with without ruining everything they are working for.

He sighs loudly after rinsing his mouth with water and applying some creme to his face, before walking into his room to get his sleeping pants and an additional pillow.

Jeongguk sits with his legs cross-legged on his chair at the desk, the game still loading, "Is it ok if I game a bit more?"

"Sure, I stay with Yoongi tonight anyway.", Namjoon answers, leaning with one hand on Jeongguk's shoulder, "If that's ok with you."

"How old do you think I am?" the other looks at him with a half annoyed, half appreciative facial expression.

"Not older than five.", Namjoon replies and turns to leave the room, "But don't stay up too late. Sleep is important."

"Yah yah.", Jeongguk waves his hand dismissively and turns to his game, finally ready to play.

"And next time clean up after you come out of the shower, the whole room was flooded.", Namjoon criticizes him, but Jeongguk already put on his headphones, completely immersed in his game.

Namjoon closes the door behind him, shaking his head, amazed about their maknae's behavior.

When he walks into Yoongi's and Seokjin's shared room, the other is already under the blanket, two cups of tea on the small shelf above the headboard. It is cold in the room, and Namjoon feels goosebumps raising on his legs. There are some sheets of paper all over the place, and Namjoon counts six pens, two of them missing the cap.

"I'm becoming more and more like my father.", Namjoon groans quietly, sitting on Yoongi's bed and reaching for the tea. It peppermint-chocolate, and his heart jumps at the smell, although he doesn't like it too much. At least, it's sweet enough.

"Why this?" the other asks, only the tip of his nose and his mint-colored hair.

After taking a sip of the already cooled down tea, he states, "I scolded Kookie because of the bathroom, and when he ignored me, I only shook my head like a fool. Nothing else."

Not that Namjoon thinks his father is a fool. On the contrary, he thinks his father is a fantastic person with lots of wisdom to share and stories to tell, but he's soft. He never scolded him or Kyungmin. It had always been their mother's warning tone in the air and a raised finger when they did something they shouldn't have, but never their father. He tended to vanish in his study, hiding behind a thick book until their mother stopped yelling at them and then opened the door for him and Kyungmin to come in and read in silence.

"It's because you love the kids.", Yoongi murmurs and shifts under the covers, "I hope you are warm because I'm freezing right now. Jin-Hyung opened the window for the whole time he was under the shower, and now I can't feel my toes anymore."

Namjoon gulps down the rest of the tea in one go, and climbs under the blanket, throwing an arm around him, feeling Yoongi's moderately cold geed against his calf, "It's not so bad as with Jiminie, he's always ice cold before sleeping."

"Is he?" his voice is dripping with sarcasm, but Yoongi still wiggles closer.

"Yeah, his feet are always cold. Even back in June, when it was too hot for existing."

"So, this goes on since summer?"

"We are not talking about this now, Hyung. I had to cut off Jackson as well today, and I'm not in the mood to talk about this thing.", Namjoon whispers furiously, anxious Seokjin might still be awake and listen to their conversation, "Let's sleep, please."

"Alright, I'm spent anyway. This was too much today, I'm glad we have a day off tomorrow."

He reaches over Namjoon's head to turn off the lights, earning them a "Thank god, finally." from the bed next to them.

"Stop eavesdropping, Hyung.", Namjoon bellows, making Yoongi twitch in surprise.

"I didn't hear what you said, but the lights were annoying.", their eldest says, turning in his bed and making huffing sounds, "And anyway, why didn't you tell me it's cuddle time tonight? Maybe I wanted one as well."

"Don't be greedy.", Yoongi retorts, "You can cuddle with Harin-ssi tomorrow."

"Right enough."

Slowly, listening to the soft breathing next to him, Namjoon falls into a deep slumber, only waking up when the bed dips next to him, and a third body crawls under the sheets.

"Kook-ah?"

"Sleep, Hyung.", the younger whispers and rolls into a small ball into his side, "Didn't want to stay alone."

"Five years old.", he chuckles but pulls Jeongguk closer, so he doesn't fall over the edge. A standard twin bed not big enough for three adult men. For a moment Namjoon thinks, he should send Jeongguk to Seokjin, but he actually doesn't mind the close proximity for now.

"Shut it, Hyung."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Right before Namjoon steps out of the car, seated on the passenger seat, Taehyung asks him to get the hoodie he forgot the other day, and Jeongguk looks out of the window with an awkward grimace, biting into his bottom lip so hard, Namjoon fears he is going to tear the skin.

"I'm back in a second.", He says to them and earns a pleading look. It's not like he wouldn't let Jeongguk rush into the company building to pick up Jimin and Yoongi for their afternoon at Harin's restaurant, but before they called the taxi, he received a message from Jimin:

 

ChimChim: I'm at the company, Suga-Hyung refuses to leave the studio; he's in full Gollum mode. I need help.

RapMon: We're on our way.

 

And Namjoon knows that Yoongi would stare their youngest down, and suddenly both of them would hide and barricade in the studio, working on more songs, so he decided to get in and coax the older rapper out for the afternoon instead of Jeongguk.

After he picked up the hoodie, Taehyung asked him for, Namjoon can hear them talking before he walks around the corner of the hallway. He can see Jimin standing at the door frame of their studio, shoulders leaning against the door and arms crossed in front of his chest. The hair in his neck is still a bit wet from the shower he must have taken which are next to the practice room, and for a second, Namjoon wants to lick off the drops before they can vanish in his shirt.

"Hyung." He whines, and Namjoon can see the pout on his slightly chapped lips, "You said you'll come to Harin's restaurant as well."

"I didn't." Namjoon hears his friend's muffled voice coming out of the open door, sounding gruff and annoyed, "You lot said you would go, I did no such thing."

Jimin shifts from one foot to the other, eyes narrowing, "But you stayed in the studio the whole day already, and it's our free day. It means some time off from work and not continuing it throughout the entire day."

"Exactly. It's my day off of you guys, as well. Let me be, Jimin-ah.", Yoongi replies irritated, and Namjoon can almost hear the way he must roll his eyes at the younger.

Gently he steps forward, so he doesn't startle Jimin and looks over the other's shoulder into the studio. The smaller man is automatically leaning into his chest, losing a bit of the tension in his shoulders. Namjoon lies his hand on Jimin's waist, a tiny thrill running through his veins, feeling the other body against his.

"Please say something. It's not healthy.", Jimin says over his shoulder, nose brushing Namjoon's jaw, and Namjoon misses.

Yoongi sits on the floor of their barely lit studio, a dozen sheets of papers around him, and the little mixing station on his lap, a pen behind his ear, and a microphone in hand. He has some black ink smudges on his chin, his hair unkempt, and the glasses on his nose slipping down to the tip of his nose when he bends over the equipment, pushing buttons seemingly at random.

All in all, the whole picture in front of him projects a vivid image of LotR in his mind, and he smiles fondly, "Hyung, Jiminie is right. At least come out for a few hours and stretch your back and neck before going back to work."

Yoongi looks up so fast, Namjoon fears he snapped something in his neck, and then grumbles, "Where the fuck do you come from?"

"I knew you would be a fuss and came to the studio to collect you.", Namjoon simply states, smiling, "And you should come now. Kookie and Taehyung are in the car, completely alone, and they are probably sweating because of the close proximity and not being able to talk to each other normally."

"They're probably talking about the fabric of the seatbelts right now.", Jimin mumbles, fingers dancing over Namjoon's hand, "I can really imagine it. Jeongguk plays with the seatbelt, Taehyung wants to say anything and probably say something about how velvet the belt feels in his hands, but not on his neck."

"Let them.", Yoongi retorts, but puts the mixing equipment carefully away after hearing their youngest name anyway, "Could help them to figure this shit out."

"Could, but won't, and you know it. Besides, you are not a cruel person, Hyung.", Jimin pips up, smiling sweetly, "You can't let them sit there in awkward silence."

"Ya, you two are shitty brats.", the rapper tells them, but stands up and stretches, his back cracking loudly, and ignores Namjoon whine, "I'm stuck anyway."

"How long did you sit in that position?"

He shrugs his shoulders, "A while."

"Jesus, that didn't sound right.", Namjoon shakes his head, "You should really see someone because of your shoulder."

Namjoon is the only one who knows about Yoongi's accident pre-debut, where the other crashed his shoulder and never said anything in fear he would have to go and lose his trainee status. The shoulder never healed properly, and both of them take care that Yoongi doesn't put a lot of pressure on it while dancing, but it also means that he shouldn't sit huddled in the studio for hours no end.

"Oh come on, Joon-ah. Do you remember when you were in the very same room to work on your mixtape, and we all thought you would start growing moss on you because you didn't move an inch for almost seven hours?"

"Hey," Namjoon returns and steps around Jimin to go into the studio. He picks up Yoongi's scarf and the woolly hat to make him change into his street clothes faster, "At least, I went out for walks every day and got some fresh air."

"Do I look like a dog to you?" He snaps and puts on his jacket before grabbing the scarf out of Namjoon's hands, who smirks, "No, you don't, little meow meow."

"Aish!"

"Hyungs." Jimin groans, shifting from one foot to the other, "Come on, the others are waiting."

 

Right after they closed the door of the car and Namjoon sits down on the place next to Jeongguk, the maknae whispers with a small voice and grateful eyes, "Took you long enough, Hyung."

"Next time, I'll send you to get him out of the studio, and then tell me if this had been a long time.", Namjoon slaps his knee playfully, but asks quietly, "Was it alright?"

"No, it was so awkward. He actually started to talk about bees. Thankfully the driver seems to know a lot about bees, and they are talking about it ever since."

Sure enough, Taehyung is sitting at the passenger seat and talks animatedly with the driver, while he waits for them to be seated.

Namjoon is always surprised how easy it seems for Taehyung to connect with strangers. Taehyung only has to step into the backstage room at variety shows or award ceremonies, and he has comfortable conversations with at least a handful of people he'd never spoken to before. He's one of those guys in the neighborhood every ajumma knows and loves, pinching his cheek and asking when he starts looking for a nice woman to settle down while asking him to join them and their lovely granddaughters for dinner next Saturday.

Jeongguk leans his head on the window, closing his eyes and holding the small bag on his lap tightly, obviously not wanting to continue the conversation.

"By the way.", Yoongi starts, sitting in the row behind Namjoon and Jeongguk next to Jimin, and laying his hand on Namjoon's shoulder, "I talked to Seungdeuk-nim earlier. They had a small, unofficial conference next to the coffee machine earlier this year, brainstorming about the next comeback."

Namjoon turns around in his seat as far as he can, looking at the older expected, urging him to continue talking.

 "He said they thought about including some solo songs in the new album."

"Solo songs?" Jimin interrupts, frowning slightly when Yoongi nods, "But we never did solo songs before. Isn't it antithetical to include solos and being a boy group?"

"Why? Are you scared about singing alone?" Yoongi snorts and Namjoon knows the other rapper hit the mark.

Jimin is still very self-conscious about his voice and performance when he isn't only dancing, and the prospect of being on stage alone, singing without the opportunity to hide behind another member, is scary.

Scary, because unlike Yoongi or Namjoon, Jimin had never been on stage alone to sing.

"It's not fixed, right?" Namjoon is looking at Jimin, sending him a reassuring smile.

"No, not really.", Yoongi says, "But I think it would be a great opportunity to show ARMY and the music industry our individual voices and talents. It could be amazing, and it's somehow different from other artists, isn't it?"

Yoongi is right. It is a good idea and would make them stand out a bit more, could the antis finally show that every single member is talented as fuck and Namjoon would love to work on such a concept.

 

"Welcome to Le Chemin vers les étoiles.", Harin greets them with the biggest smile and rosy cheeks, pointing at the silver and blue sign above their heads, and it only takes a second before Yoongi completely relaxes and starts chatting with her about the dishes she plans to make in a heavy satoori. Harin, just like Yoongi and Taehyung, comes from a small district outside of Daegu. Her family, similar to Yoongi's, owned an insignificant family restaurant, and they were pretty poor when she had been younger.

It's somehow bizarre that Yoongi and Harin became friends in the last few weeks. They manage to get along the best of all of them, and Harin voiced more than once how much respect she has for her fellow man from Daegu.

"We both made something out of our lives. It's not that common.", She had said once, sitting sandwiched between Seokjin and Yoongi, nursing her Soju, and patting Yoongi's knee fondly.

After she sends Seokjin back into the kitchen with a stern glance and a tiny kiss on the cheek, she shows them around.

Namjoon, like most of them, had been to the place before, but then the walls had been in a dark beige color, yellow-ish with too many traces of usage, and there hadn't been any furniture. It had been dark and dusty, stains on the floor, and the door rusty, making loud noises when being moved.

Now, he can't help but stare with an open mouth.

The tables and chairs are made of dark wood, but the decoration is colored in subtle silver and dark blue, and in one corner sits an old wing chair and sofa next to a small bookshelf.

"For our coffee guests.", Harin smiles, hopping on the couch and bounces up and down a few times, hair jumping around her face, sticking to her lips.

There is a small spiral staircase up to a second floor for more private tables and the bathrooms.

The room, although the walls are colored in a grey-ish blue and decorated with an actual star constellation, doesn't look too dark.

"Wait a minute.", Taehyung breathes out, blinking and pointing at the constellation, "Isn't it Ursa Minoris?"

"Yes, it is.", Harin steps next to him, petting his chin proudly, "The Little Dipper. Ursa Major is in the kitchen."

"Has it a special meaning?" Jeongguk questions, standing next to them so the two boys framing Harin between them, and somehow it looks like they are her personal guard.

"According to Greek mythology, they represent the nymph nurses who took care of Zeus and hide him away when his father Cronus wanted to kill him together with his siblings, because of a prophecy.", Namjoon interrupts them, looking at the wall as well, "Ida and Adrasteia."

"That's correct.", Harin states, punching her shoulder into Jeongguk's arm, who playfully tried to push her to the side, "It's for me and my little sister, Misun. She is a huge mythology geek, and we grew up reading books over books about it."

She turns around, putting one of her hand on her full hip and angles for her phone, "Actually, she should be here soon. Misun had a competition earlier, but it must be over by now. I hope it's ok with you guys, she won't talk about it to her friends."

"Don't worry, Noona.", Jeongguk says and trails behind her towards the kitchen, "As long as you don't mind our friends and us."

"Hyung, look up.", Jimin whispers next to him, and Namjoon does as he was told. He had wondered why the place isn't too dark but blamed it on the big windows.

There, hanging from the ceilings, are eight different colored spheres in various sizes, illuminate the place in a warm light. At first, Namjoon thinks that they are placed randomly, but somehow it reminds him of something.

"Is that the earth?" Jimin points at a blue-ish sphere near them, and Namjoon almost squeals.

"Oh my god, it is.", He yelps and almost runs into the kitchen, "Your lights are the solar system!"

It smells like fresh, self-made Ddukbokki, Hoeddeok, and Samgyetang, as well as Flamiche, and still warm Baguette, and it makes his stomach rumble loudly.

Harin giggles into Seokjin's upper arm, nodding slightly, "Yep, it is."

"But there are only eight spheres.", Jimin, who followed him into the kitchen, announces, "Where is Pluto? Just because of some strange people deciding Pluto isn't a real planet doesn't mean we should ostracize it."

"Exactly my thought.", Harin musses and smiles, mischievously, "But Pluto is roughly 5.869 billion kilometers away from Earth, so it wouldn't make sense to place a sphere in the main room."

"It wouldn't, right?"

"Where?" Jimin breathes excitedly, bobbing up and down on his toes.

"Above the toilet entrances."

Without hesitation, Jimin dashes out of the kitchen, followed by Taehyung and Jeongguk, and when they reach the toilets, Namjoon can hear excited shouts.

"You worked really hard, Noona.", Namjoon says and leans against one of the counters, smiling to himself, "It shows. This place is amazing."

Harin blushes a bit, reaching for some of the bread to do anything with her hands, "Thank you. It means a lot to me. I was petrified to do this, you know. Restaurants aren't exactly rare in Seoul, or any place on this planet."

"It will work out fine.", Seokjin mumbles into her hair, lips brushing her head, although he has to bend down quite a bit to do so, "You'll see."

"Yes, yes, I know, now let go of me or the soup starts to overcook."

"Can we help?" Namjoon asks, but Seokjin interrupts him with a yelp, "Everyone except you and Taehyungie. You two are going to burn down the place before it's even open."

"How about you sit on the couch and read or ask Hoseok if he and Heeyoung are coming?", Yoongi says and ushers him out of the kitchen.

Jimin, who heard them and is now following them to the cushions, retorts, "He sent me a message that he's on his way. Didn't sound so good, actually."

"What do you mean?"

"Lack of emoji's."

They all know that something is utterly wrong when Hoseok sends messages without any emoji's.

Jimin gives him his phone and shows him the text message.

 

I'mHope: On my way, make sure to save a seat for me and don't let Kookie eat everything.

ChimChim: You're alright, Hyung?

I'mHope: Sure.

 

Namjoon grimaces, that actually really doesn't look good, "I don't think Heeyoung is coming with him."

"Me neither.", Jimin replies, putting his phone away and sitting closer, their legs are touching.

 

Sure enough, a few minutes later, there is a soft knock on the window of the door, and Hoseok is standing in front of the restaurant. He's wearing a dark beanie, a facemask, and sunglasses, although it's gradually getting dark outside.

Jimin jumps up from his place on the couch, opening the door for him, and hugging him without questions.

It's evident that they had a big fight.

"Wanna drink something?" Namjoon asks and already moves towards the kitchen.

He looks inside and sees Jeongguk and Yoongi are at the stove, while Harin and Seokjin prepare some of the vegetables.

When Yoongi sees his face, the gummy smile on his face falls a bit, "Hoseok?"

"Yeah.", Namjoon replies simply, "Where do I get something to drink for him?"

"What does he want to drink?" Harin asks, already brushing her wet hands on the apron around her hips.

Namjoon looks over his shoulder and musters his friend, peeling out of the enormous winter coat, dark gaze on his face, "How about a Soju and then only tea?"

Yoongi makes a face, "Well, that doesn't sound good. So no questions today about Heeyoung, understood?"

All of them nod, although the interjection wouldn't have been necessary.

Right after Namjoon places the Soju and a sweet-smelling tea in front of Hoseok, his phone buzzes with an incoming call.

"Ya."

"It's me.", Mark states, and Namjoon can hear Jackson's enthusiastic voice in the background, "We are at the corner of the street you told us, in which direction do we have to go?"

"Wait, I step outside for a moment, you should actually see me from where you are standing.", He says and opens the door to step out into the winter air, waving towards the two shapes in the darkness, "You see me?"

"Are you the idiot waving at us?", Jackson shouts into the phone, although Namjoon hears him without it anyway.

"I hang up now."

They hug for a moment, slapping each other's backs a tad too hard for good measure, and then he lets them in.

After they did the collab at the MAMA's the year prior, Namjoon's friendship with Mark went from awkward to completely normal, which he is incredibly thankful for.

"Are you're friends here already?" He hears Harin, walking towards them, "Jin didn't tell me who they are, said it would be such a huge sur-"

Suddenly there is a loud bang, and then Harin squeals loudly, turning bright red on the spot, "Oh my god!"

"Surprise.", Seokjin says, standing behind his girlfriend, who seemingly forgot how to breathe, looking at their stunned friends with wide eyes.

"Oh my god.", She whispers again and then bows to them, "I'm such a huge fan. I actually went to Japan to go to your first concert in Osaka in April 2014."

She seems to vibrate with excitement and clapping in her hands a few times.

Turns out, Harin is an Ahgase since the very beginning of GOT7.

"She didn't react like that when she met us for the first time.", Jeongguk grumbles loud enough for everyone to hear which makes Jackson roar with laughter, clapping the younger man on the shoulder, "Tough luck, my friend."

It loosens the atmosphere, Harin suddenly snapping back into her usual self, offers them something to drink and sends Taehyung and Jimin to take care of the biggest table on the next floor, "Please set the table for me."

"Sure, Noona."

Then she vanishes back into the kitchen again, bickering with Seokjin, "You could have told me. I made such a fool out of myself."

"You didn't."

"Yeah, and you're blind when you didn't see it."

"Want to hear a good joke?"

"They are never good, Jin.", she replies, but her contagious laughter still echos through the kitchen after he told it to her.

 

It doesn't take Taehyung and Jimin long to set the table, including lightening a few candles. When he passes Namjoon on his way back to the kitchen, Jimin's hand finds his neck and linger a bit longer than needed, making him vibrate. He tries to ignore Yoongi's small glance, and Jackson's lifted eyebrow, heart-shaped lips turned into a miniature "Oh."

He tries to ignore Mark's meaningful expression and engages Taehyung into a messy conversation about the earlier mentioned bees.

They gather around the table on the next floor, eating and talking all over each other, soft music playing in the background.

Even Hoseok, who's still frowning into his drink, jokes with them and participates in the conversations around them.

It feels like being in a cheesy romcom, taking part in one of those get-together's where everyone seems happy and joyful. This must be the way normal twenty-one-year-old feel, going out with their friends, enjoying life outside of the music industry, and daily life. It feels wonderful. Namjoon loves his job, loves music. It's his passion, but sometimes it appears like he is missing out on something, just like his mother said. Everything comes with a prize, he knows this very well, and if he has to pay it for the things he wants to archive in the future, he will pay it without wavering and a glad smile. It doesn't mean that moments like this won't be with him forever, imprinted in his memory.

The air is warm and smells like delicious, homemade food. It's completely dark outside by now, and only the planets, some of the stars at the walls, which turned out as small light bulbs as well, and a few candles lighten the room, making it cozy and inviting.

Harin, he thinks, has outdone herself with the restaurant, while he looks around and takes the place in.

Jimin sits across from Namjoon, talking with Jackson and Taehyung about their upcoming shows, and when Namjoon stretches out his long legs, their feet touch under the table, sending each other secretive glances and smiles.

For a moment, after finding out that Harin is a fan of GOT7, Jackson and Mark tried to act like normal friends and group members, but Harin told them somewhere after eating the soup about her former roommate in France, a butch lesbian named Bechette, who had blue hair like Emma from the movie Blue is the warmest colour.

"She loved that movie.", Harin stated and sent a knowing smile towards Mark and Jackson, "I had to watch it with her multiple times. Our flat was somewhat like an LGBT+ asylum for some of her friends when they had problems with their parents or just wanted to hang out."

She tells them about the colorful flag at their kitchen window, making one neighbor in particular angry, and about Bechette's girlfriend, who had started cooking school after spending too much time with Harin. When Harin talks about France and her friends and her life before she met Seokjin, the way she pronounces each syllable changes a bit, sounding foreign. It's charming, and Namjoon can see Seokjin's smitten gaze.

After that, Jackson and Mark started to act like usual, soft touches and light hugs. Not too much, but still recognizable for what this is: a relationship.

Namjoon sits between Yoongi and Jackson, trying to have a decent conversation with them, but it's kind of too loud and utterly cheerful, and he has to forcibly try to stay concentrated on the conversations around him.

"Earlier, you implied that you're stuck with some of the songs of your mixtape.", Jimin says to Yoongi, who has to lean over the table a bit, to understand him over the noises of their friends around them.

"Kind of, yeah.", He answers with a small nod, "It's not the music or lyrics I'm stuck with, more about being unsure if I should include some parts."

"What makes you hesitate?" Mark chimes in, bending over Jackson's chair back and pressing his boyfriend against the table.

"Careful.", the Chinese murmurs and tries to distance himself from the hard wood, "If you push me against the corner, I might burp. I totally ate too much."

"Sorry, but told you so.", Mark replies without sympathy, but brushes his palm gently over his nape and turns back to Yoongi, listening closely.

Yoongi pauses a moment, before answering, "It's very personal, and I'm not sure if the music industry and our fans are ready to hear about stuff like that."

"If it is personal and it tells them about who you are and what made you to the person you are today, they won't mind.", Harin joins in, her fingers wrapped around Seokjin's, "And it might help some people who are in a similar position like you were to deal with it."

"Might be true.", Yoongi mumbles, picking up some rice and then glances at the clock of his phone, "We'll see how it works out in the end."

For most time of the evening, Namjoon has seen Yoongi checking his phone at regular intervals, sometimes unlocking it and typing a message.

"Do you need to be somewhere or why are you checking the clock all the time?", Namjoon challenges him, making him blush slightly, "So eager to go back to the studio?"

"Shut it, Joon-ah.", The other mumbles sheepishly and puts his phone back into his pocket, looking thoughtfully embarrassed, and Namjoon wonders what this is about.

Since Seokjin officially dates Harin, he noticed Yoongi vanishing from time to time for some hours. Always late at night. He never tells them where he's going. Most of the time, Namjoon assumed he is going back into the studio to get some work done, but now he's not so sure anymore.

It wouldn't surprise him if Yoongi tries to shag out his heartbreak and the hopeless crush on their eldest member.

There is a loud knock downstairs at the door, and Harin stands up to open the door, "Finally. I thought she has gone missing or something."

"Her sister, Misun.", Seokjin answers Mark's questioning look, and they all listen to the turmoil downstairs.

"Where have you been?"

"Sorry, sorry.", a high voice states, "We totally forgot the time, and then it was so late, but I took a taxi like promised. Didn't take the bus. I actually think they don't come regularly at the moment. There is a small snowstorm outside."

Namjoon hears the door closing again, the keys rattling and footsteps. When he looks around, he sees that he is not the only curious person on the table. All of them stare into the directions where the sisters come back, waiting for the new face to appear.

He's not sure what he expected, probably a younger version of Harin: long black hair, a bit small and with a chubby figure, cute face, huge eyes. All in all, a girl everyone would want to pinch the cheek while squealing, "Aegyo."

But Misun looks nothing like her older sister. She's roughly around Jeongguk's age, a lot taller than her sister, maybe even taller than Jimin and Yoongi.

She's all tall, lean, and sharp edges. Her hair is cut in a short pixie look, which enhances her sharp cheekbones and even sharper eyes. The heavy boots she's wearing make loud noises with every step, and her hands are hidden in the pockets of a thin leather jacket. A snowflake clings to her long lashes, and her nose and the apples of her cheek are all red due to the stinging cold outside.

Namjoon can see Seokjin smirking into his glass, probably enjoying their surprise and waving at the newcomer.

"Did you actually only wear a thin jacket?" Harin scolds her, frowning at her sister, who waves back with a broad smile and pointedly ignores her sister's nagging.

"How did it go?" Seokjin asks her, making a bit room for the girl to sit at the table and distract his girlfriend before she can go into mother-hen mood, who's mumbling about the cold weather and the absent of scarves. They were made for a reason.

"Urgh." Misun sighs, reaches for the Baguette with herb butter, taking a bite, and then greets them all with a small bow, "Hi everyone. We won, but barely. It was a mess."

"Misun!"

"Sorry, Unnie, I'm just starving.", She states with a full mouth, chewing and looking up to her sister like a scolded puppy. After a few more bites, she's finally peeling off her jacket, before turning back to Seokjin, passionately telling him about her competition, "The other team was really strong, had a few advances, probably playing a lot longer than we do, but it went alright."

What the girl reveals under her jacket makes Jeongguk yelp in surprise,

"Is that Ashe?"

Misun sends him a glance, looking at her shirt and then looking him up and down, smirking, "Yeah, why?"

"What kind of competition did you do?" Jeongguk leans forward, ignoring Jimin, who is in his way and gets smashed between his chair and Jeongguk's upper body.

"He!"

"A gaming-competition. It wasn't anything serious, but my team and I try to get into the next championships for LOL this year."

"You play Overwatch as well?"

"Yes, why?"

"Hi." He holds out his hand, fingers trembling excited, and Namjoon almost snorts out loud, "My name is Jeon Jeongguk."

Misun bites her lips to prevent from giggling, extending her hand as well, "Choi Misun. What's your favorite character?"

Before he can answer, Jimin urges him to change seats, and Harin places a plate with different dishes in front of her sister, sighing fondly, a hand running through her sister's short hair.

Now that everything is settled, they all fall back into their previous conversations, but Namjoon can see Taehyung stealing glances in Jeongguk and Misun's direction from time to time. He doesn't seem to look too happy about the situation. The small pout on his lips getting more and more prominent, and to distract him from his imminent mood, Namjoon asks, "Which concert are you guys actually going to?"

From the corner of his eyes, he sees Jimin pausing in his movements, his coke halfway to his mouth.

"Well, actually, I was a little bit overzealously.", Taehyung answers him truthfully but smiling now that he has a topic to talk about instead of eyeing Jeongguk and the girl next to him, "It's only a small private party with a few other artists."

"Chanyeol-Hyung asked me if I would like to go to one of their private parties. It's only a little bit of drinking, sitting together, and making music together.", Jimin interrupts, fidgeting with the fabric of his scarf. The scarf Namjoon gifted him for Christmas last month, and he never seems to take off, except if he has to for shows or sleep.

"Sounds good, why didn't you tell us before?" Namjoon questions with a raised eyebrow and Jimin averts his eyes, rosy blotches on his cheek.

"Wasn't really important.", He replies, and Yoongi interjects, "Who's going to be there?"

"I'm not entirely sure.", Jimin says at the same time when Taehyung responds, "As far as Chanyeol-Hyung told us, Taemin and Heechul will be there. Oh, and Beenzino, I'm kind of very excited to meet him."

"Beenzino?" Namjoon repeats slowly, looking to Jimin, who nibbles at his bottom lip nervously. There is a small sting in his heart, and his stomach jumps uncomfortably, but Namjoon tries to remember that he is not in the position to be jealous.

Jimin, all of him, is not something for him to endeavor.

He tries to ignore the hurt he's feeling. Jimin never promised him to tell him about flings.

"Yeah, did you met him before, Hyung?", Taehyung smiles, utterly oblivious to the tension around them.

"No. Only heard about him.", Namjoon reactions, feeling hollow and dull. 

"Oh," Yoongi exhales next to him and looking painfully out of place, apparently knowing about Jimin's history with the other rapper. He said it before: Jimin had never hidden any lovers from Yoongi before Namjoon.

Two small hands are squeezing Namjoon's knees, and when he looks down, he sees Jackson's and Yoongi's hands on top of his legs for support. He slaps them away as inconspicuous as possible. It doesn't matter, Jimin can do whatever he wants, and his friends don't have to treat Namjoon as if the other man stepped on his heart. Because he didn't, although it suspiciously does feel like it.

"We actually need to go now, Taehyungie.", Jimin murmurs, looking ashamed and Namjoon feels him searching for his eyes, trying to tell him something.

When Namjoon doesn't look back at him, Jimin bows his thanks to Harin, telling her how utterly beautiful Le Chemin vers les étoiles became since the last time they were here and how impressed he is with her decorations, especially the spheres, all the while grabbing for his coat and beanie.

Shortly after they said their good-bye's Namjoon phones buzz in his jacket, the name on display making his heart jump.

 

ChimChim: I didn't know. Chanyeol only told Tae. I only kind of expected him to be there as well.

RapMon: It's alright, Jiminie. You can do whatever you want. You don't have to justify anything.

ChimChim: Still, I think you should know that I didn't know for sure he would come and that I won't try to have anything with him.

RapMon: It's your decision.

ChimChim: I know, and my decision is to come back home later and get fucked by you since Kookie won't be home, and we have the room to ourselves.

RapMon: Jimin.

ChimChim: See you later.

 

Namjoon doesn't really understand why Jimin's text doesn't stop the uncomfortable feeling in his guts. It's kind of the other to make it clear that he only wants to be with Namjoon at the moment, but he knows Jimin could change his mind at the party. Could let anyone touch him, and Namjoon is in no position to deny it to him, to ask him to stop.

"Are you alright?" Jackson whispers into his ear, and Namjoon contemplates showing him the messages or ignoring it for the rest of the night.

He chooses to ignore it, shoving the phone into his pocket and leans back on the chair, listening to the conversations around him, indicating Jackson to stop fussing over him.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

When Mark's phone rings with a message of their manager a lot later that night, telling them he picks them and Jeongguk up half an hour later, they all stand up to help Harin cleaning the dishes and put away the leftover.

Except for the two youngest, Misun and Jeongguk, who are immersed in a heated debate about Overwatch and League of Legends, sharing the last bite of the Baguette and Flamiche. Not only bonding over gaming but also stuffing themselves with as much food as possible and being sporty.

Before Jeongguk follows Mark out of the restaurant, waving his good-night, Namjoon can see them exchanging their Kakao accounts and promising to game with each other soon.

"You could have told me that your maknae is fun to be around, Oppa.", Misun teases Seokjin while sitting on the counter of the small coffee bar next to the wingchair and bookshelf, long legs dangling in the air.

"I had my reasons.", the man returns, dodging out of reach from her kicking legs and sending her a disapproving look, after she cackles loudly, "See, that's what I meant. Them together in a room, and we are all doomed."

"Not when you get them into a room full of games.", Harin says and stands on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek.

With that, Yoongi, who had been next to Namjoon, fiddling with his beanie, turns away, reaching for his phone, "I should go as well."

Not for the first time, Namjoon wonders how he does it, acting all indifferent towards them, but hurting so much in the inside. Yoongi must be glad about his ability to set his face into a stern mask, not giving away one single thought. 

They all bid their good-bye, and somehow the image of Seokjin closing the restaurant door behind them, bickering with Misun in the dim lights of the planets above them and Harin's faint laughter, makes Namjoon smile with how utterly domestic the scene behind the windows seem.

"You're not going back into the studio, do you, Hyung?", Hoseok studies him with a strict glance, knowing Yoongi long enough, but the older shakes his head. It's shortly after midnight, freezing cold, and it snows for a few hours now. It won't stick until the next day, it mostly never does in Seoul, turning into a mushy sea of grey, but for now, their footsteps make crunching noises on the fresh snow.

"No, I." Yoongi stops short, the muscle in his cheek twitching lightly, "I'm meeting a friend."

"Ah.", the dancer makes, smirking a bit, "Does that mean it's only us tonight, Joon-ah?"

"Seems so.", He replies, watching Yoongi, who waves a taxi to them, nose already turning red with the cold, "Are you sure you don't want to come home as well?"

"Definitely not.", Yoongi replies, stepping into the halting taxi, "See you tomorrow."

Namjoon and Hoseok watch the car drive away, wet slush sprinkling onto their legs, hands in the pockets, and facemasks around their upper face.

"Do you want to take a taxi as well?" Namjoon steps to one foot, already feeling his toes getting wet and cold, but the other shakes his head, wiggling his eyebrows, "How about walking? It's not too far away, and we can stop at a convenient store and get some soju."

"Just like old times.", Namjoon laughs, clapping Hoseok's shoulder in a good manner, "Sounds good to me."

It's been a while since he and Hoseok hung out alone without any of the others, and Namjoon takes what he gets.

They stop at one of the stores, get two small bottles and hot coffee for their freezing hands, walking in solitude, occasionally bumping their shoulders into each other.

Namjoon doesn't know how long they walk, doesn't feel his feet or hands or nose. Slowly getting drunk with every step and sip, he takes and only appreciates the wintry scene around him and picturesque sky. They are already in the small park near their home, where everything is familiar, and Namjoon knows in which direction the trees bend with a full crown in summer and where the most squirrels live.

Now, there are sparkling in the moonlight, ice crystals cover the dark barks. Transforming them into a winter wonderland.

"It's lovely," Namjoon whispers while looking up to the sky, all clear, a small cloud appearing in front of his face.

"Yeah, it is."

"Wanna talk about Heeyoung?", If Namjoon were entirely sober, he wouldn't have asked like that, but he isn't, and he thinks his friend needs to talk about it before he swallows it again and then punishes them at dance practice for making one wrong move.

"Wanna talk about Jiminie?", Hoseok replies with a hard voice, and Namjoon almost trips for stopping so suddenly. He wonders why Hoseok knows about Jimin as well. Now, only Seokjin is missing, because Namjoon can't imagine Taehyung not knowing about them, as Jimin's platonic soulmate and favorite person in the whole world. Maybe they should tell Seokjin as well. It makes it easier to find time alone to fuck and not tiptoeing around them.

Namjoon looks at his friend, watches his through wide eyes, but then slowly nods.

"Ok." He breathes out, heart hammering in his chest, "But you start."

They barely walk anymore, making one tiny step after another, swaying with every movement. Coffee, and soju all gone and hands back in their pockets.

"I don't know what to tell, exactly.", Hoseok starts, eyes turned down, "She ended the relationship because I don't have enough time."

"Shit."

"Yeah.", He exhales loudly, laughing without humor, "I mean, I'm lucky, right? She didn't cheat on me. Not like before."

Hoseok's first girlfriend cheated on him and then left him for another man. He never explicitly said it, since most people from his past environment know his ex-girlfriend and he didn't want to make it too hard for her, but Namjoon had always wondered.

"Heeyoung said that it feels like she's in a relationship with a shadow, or like a pipe dream. The love isn't gone, she still has feelings for me, just that she doesn't know how long she could bear this kind of situation any longer, and since it seems to go very well for us, it won't change soon.

"More likely to get even more stressful, and less time, and she's scared I meet other women when we are out of the country or another pretty Idol, and it becomes more convenient than being with her."

One of his hands run through his hair, hood slipping down a bit and exposing pink elf-like ears.

"I told her, that I don't want to meet other woman and other idols are not what I'm looking for, and that it might be hard now, but it will be worth it in the end, as long as we stick together, you know?", And the way Hoseok's voice breaks makes Namjoon want to extend his arm, grab him and crush him in a hug, but the other walks a bit faster, not allowing him to do so, "It's like loving someone, caring deeply for them, is not enough."

"I'm really sorry."

"Don't be, it's not your fault.", He replies, shrugging his shoulders, "I mean, I could have told her to make it official, informing the public and ARMY."

"Why didn't you?"

Hoseok is quiet for a moment, pondering over the question, "Because I don't want to risk our career. We worked so hard for years, and it's finally going somewhere. I just didn't want to jeopardize it. Does this make me a bad person? Favoring the stage instead of my loving girlfriend?"

"No, I don't think it makes you a bad person, Hobi.", Namjoon explains gently, "The whole situation is unfair, making you have to choose between two things you love instead of accepting that you can have both. The entire industry is full of bullshit, giving all those people the wrong hopes just to fulfill a fantasy and let the artist starve for emotional intimacy, as well as in other ways, too."

They nearly reach the end of the park, and Namjoon turns to one of the benches, covered in ice and snow, but sits down anyway, silently praying that they won't get sick the next day.

"However, I do understand Heeyoung's feelings, but I think it's not fair of her to force you to choose. When you two started the relationship, she knew what awaited her. I know for sure you two talked about it profusely. Still, she had chosen you and what comes with being in a relationship with you.", Namjoon crosses his angles, legs outstretched, head tilts back, and watching the stars above them.

"I know.", Hoseok whispers next to him, in a similar pose, smacking his lips under the black mask, "The saddest thing somehow is, that I never even told my parents about her. You guys and the management knew, obviously, but not my parents or hers, by the way. Isn't it strange?"

"Why didn't you?"

"I always waited for the right moment."

It hits Namjoon in a very particular way, knowing this kind of hesitation, "Yeah, I think I know how that feels."

Hoseok shifts next to him, their legs pressed together, "You're sexuality?"

"Exactly." Namjoon inhales sharply, the cold air hurting his lungs, "I told Kyungmin last year, but I don't know how to approach it with my parents. It's not like I think they would disown me or something like that, but I can't seem to tell them, no matter how hard I try."

He thought about it the last couple of months, tried to tell his mother whenever they talked on the phone about mundane things or their songs, or Kyungmin finally persuading their father to let her go studying overseas. Still, the three simple words 'I like boys' just don't come out.

He shakes his head a bit, eyes closing, "How do you even know about Jimin and me?"

"Honestly? I walked in on you after the All Force concert. When we got home, I saw Kookie sleeping on the couch. Thought the idiot fell asleep gaming on his phone or something, and wanted to send him to his own bed, but he strongly refused. So I thought you two had a fight or something and wanted to criticize you.", He chuckles, it sounds familiar, like the Hoseok he is used to, and takes Namjoon's fears away, "And there you were, both of you naked and the whole room smelled like lube and condoms and sex."

"Oh god.", Namjoon groans, leaning forward and hiding his blushing face in his hands, "So, both of my closest friends walked in on us after our first time."

"Really? That was your first time?"

He clears his throat, "Yeah, first time really doing it."

"And what is this between you two anyway? Are you in a relationship?"

Ah, there is the question he feared all the while.

"It's not like that.", He whispers, trying to swallowing down the lump and failing miserably, "He doesn't love me that way. It's just...convenient."

"You really think that way, Namjoon-ah?" Hoseok voice sounds strange, like from far away.

"I know it.", He replies, "Jimin and I talked about it right when the thing started."

"Ok. I'm surprised but ok."

Namjoon wants to ask him what he means by it, what he thinks.

But maybe he doesn't want to hear the words. He doesn't want to get the metaphorical mirror shoved into his face, confronting reality.

"Jimin just doesn't strike me as a casual person, just like you.", Hoseok continues anyway, not noticing Namjoon's inner confusion, "How about you? Are you in love with him?"

"I.," Namjoon stops. He wants to decline, to deny, to tell his friend the same thing he tells Yoongi and Jackson and even himself, but maybe it's the alcohol, losing his tongue, or maybe it's their honesty, "I might be falling for him. A bit. A small crush."

They are silent for a while, in thoughts of their own. It hurts to lay his heart and soul bare, although he knows his friend wouldn't use it against him, won't do anything to shatter it into pieces, and still, Namjoon wants to cradle it into his chest, shielding it away.

"Who else knows about it?"

"Apparently, everyone except for Jin-Hyung, although I'm not sure about Tae. Jimin didn't say anything to me."

Hoseok laughs, "So, that's way Yoongi watches you two like a hawk. I was already wondering."

"He's judging us so hard."

"No, Joon-ah, Yoongi is only worried about you two breaking your hearts."

Namjoon doesn't want to talk about broken hearts anymore. It's cold and dark and rather fitting for his mood.

"Wanna go home?" He croaks out, standing up, brushing the snowflakes away.

"Hell yeah. I can't feel my legs anymore.", Hoseok mumbles and holds up his hand for him to pull him in an upward position, "Are we going to act tomorrow like this part of the conversation never happened?"

Namjoon snorts and nods before slinging his arm around his friend's shoulder, "Absolutely. I've never told you anything about anything."

"Whatever you need, man."

With long, brisk steps, they walk out of the park. It's only a handful of minutes until they'll going to reach their home, but now Namjoon shivers violently due to the cold. His teeth are clacking together, but then he remembers something, "Do you actually know where Yoongi-Hyung went? He's not back in the studio, right?"

Hoseok burst out laughing, his usual one, bright and happy and with a scrunched up face, "Ha. No, he's not. Yoongi actually meets up with someone for, let's say it like that, pleasure."

"Oh, really?" He hadn't been sure about it, and Namjoon wonders why it surprises him that Yoongi is casual enough about sex to only meet with someone for this, "Do you know who it is?"

"No, he didn't tell me. Just said that the other guy is an idol as well, but not out to his management and group members, and wants to keep it that way for now.", Hoseok shakes his head, "Sounds kind of difficult. Hiding all the time."

"You don't say so.", Namjoon murmurs, clenching his frozen fingers in hope to return some feelings, "It's hard but manageable."

"Shit, sorry. That must have sounded pretty ignorant."

"Don't worry, it's not like I've ever said anything, right?"

"Namjoon, you can tell me anything, I hope you know that.", his friend murmurs, shoulder leaning against the door frame and looking up to him.

Namjoon wonders if it would have been different if Yoongi didn't come out to them years ago, and it wouldn't be so evident that their two youngest were disgustingly in love with each other. Would this talk about him falling for another man and kind of his sexuality have been so much harder if Hoseok didn't already know how to handle it? Or how it would have worked out if their group members weren't as open as they are. Not for the first time, Namjoon is thankful for his Hyung, grateful he took the first blow and questions and stares, so he and the others didn't need to handle this.

"I know, Hobi-ah."

He searches in his pocket for their keys and opens the door with numb fingers.

The first thing Namjoon notices after closing the door to their hallway is that it's far too warm, meaning that someone forgot to turn off the heater while they were gone. Probably Jimin again, he always forgets it or leaves it on purpose.

Except then, he sees a faint light coming from the kitchen and hears voices, engaged in a heated argument.

"He loves you so much.", Jimin says, almost pleading.

"No, he doesn't!"

"Tae, please. Stop acting so irresponsible and childish."

Namjoon shares a look with Hoseok, who's bending down to get rid of his shoes, frowning and equally unsure if they should tell them about their presence.

"No, you listen to me.", Tae replies loudly, and it sounds frustrated like they are not having this conversation for the first time, "Kookie just turned 18, and he doesn't have a lot of experiences. We are his family, and he gravitates to someone he's comfortable with. It's nice that he's finally able to admit his sexuality, but he doesn't know what he is feeling. It's not that kind of love, Jiminie."

"Why not?" Jimin retorts, "Why do you think Jeongguk can't be IN love with you? Is it because of his age? I was 16 when I fell in love, you know that. Age doesn't define the intensity of your feelings, it only matures the intention behind them."

"You're an exception.", Taehyung sighs loudly, frustrated, "Listen, I know what you mean, and I won't deny Kookie's feelings for me, but it's still different. We had some time to explore before becoming trainees and Idols, but Jeongguk came to Seoul when he was what? Eleven? Twelve? I just don't want to be his bi-curious experiment, giving him everything, and then he suddenly decides that he's not interested after all."

"It doesn't work like that, Taehyung, and you know it."

Namjoon feels a soft tap on his arm, and when he turns to Hoseok, he sees him opening the front door wide and then closing it with a loud noise, saying, "Fucking cold outside."

The voices in the kitchen stop, and after a few seconds, he hears the chairs moving, screeching over the floor, and Taehyung's head appears in the hallway. Barefaced and tired eyes, "You are already back?"

"So are you.", Hoseok replies in a light, simulated slur, making grabby hands towards the Daegu boy, "Come, help Hyung out of his jacket, I can't feel my body anymore. Namjoon decided it would be a fantastic idea to make a midnight stroll through the snow."

"Hey!" He tries to slap his friend's side, barely missing, and snorting loudly, "Wasn't my idea."

"Are you drunk?" Jimin asks with a frown on his face, watching their antics, "And where is Yoongi-Hyung?"

He wears a huge jumper, Namjoon distinctively recognizes as his own, hands vanishing in the sleeves, making him look so soft and small. Cute, his mind helpfully tells him.

"We are not drunk.", Namjoon says, sending him a reassuring smile, reaching out to pat Jimin on the cheek, "And Hyung won't come back home tonight."

"Holy Mother.", the other shouts, jumping away from his hand, "You are freezing. What the hell did you do?"

Jimin grabs his hands between his own, warm and dry, and it makes Namjoon's skin tingle, "We walked."

"From the restaurant? The entire way?"

"Yeah.", Hoseok chimes in, and steps around them sending Namjoon a small glance, "Why?"

"Then it's not surprising that we are home at first.", Taehyung retorts, walking towards the kitchen, calling over his shoulder, "I'm gonna make some tea, you go take a shower."

"Wanna go first?" Hoseok asks, but Namjoon shakes his head, following a furious looking Jimin to the couch and lets himself be wrapped into a blanket and hug.

When they can hear the kettle in the kitchen and the shower running, Jimin finally looks at him, "That was kinda irresponsible, you know?"

"What? Walking home?"

"Yeah, you could get sick. We don't have time for that."

"We don't have time for anything at all.", He replies and watches Jimin's face, smooth skin, and warm red lips. He sits so near and smells so good. Maybe he is tipsy after all.

"I know, it's just.", Namjoon sighs, moves his hands vaguely, "Felt like the right thing to do, talked to Hoseok about Heeyoung and stuff."

"Oh." Jimin moves closer, hands cupping his cheeks to warm them up, "They broke up, right?"

"Hmhm."

They sit in silence, Namjoon breathing him in, the soft scent of aftershave, peppermint and purely Jimin around him, and Namjoon feels the urge to kiss him once again. He wonders when it will stop. If it will ever stop.

"How was the party?" He asks instead, watching the Christmas lights flickering above the window.

"It was obnoxious.", He says with a small chuckle, "A lot of people fighting for musically dominance, kind of a metaphorical dick-measurement contest. A lot of drunken shit talks, and I don't know. It wasn't enjoyable for me. Although I think Taehyungie liked it. Meeting new people and stuff like that."

"What did I like?" Taehyung asks, immersing from the kitchen, four cups of tea balancing in his hands, slowly walking to the couch.

"The party."

The younger boy makes a face, hands him one of the cups, saying hesitantly, "It was interesting."

Namjoon snorts. He could have told them that parties like this always tend to be a over-compensation and kind of obnoxious.

They are no strangers to aftershow parties similar to this. It's kind of common in the music industry, even in Korea, although Namjoon suspects it to be less intense than in other countries. All scared of causing a scandal and ruining their entire career. He met Mark at one of those parties, after all.

Yet, they tend to stay out of it, celebrating within themselves. None of them are huge fans of too much alcohol, not to mention any other kind of drug. They tried those parties, got a taste, and all decided that it wasn't worth it.

"It was nice to meet a few new people, and talking to Baekhyun-Hyung.", Taehyung continues, sitting cross-legged on the floor and nursing his tea. If Namjoon wouldn't have heard their argument, he would never guess. Perhaps Jimin and Taehyung are so much in sync, that they don't need to mop about things like that, forgotten after a minute.

"He seemed taken aback as well, like the party they intended to have, was a bit different than what actually happened."

"I wouldn't be surprised if it escalated a bit without them wanting to.", Jimin laughs lightly, hand automatically finding Namjoon's leg, caressing him through the fabric, "Especially Baekhyun-Hyung isn't a great fan of those parties as well. They intended to have a small get together like you did last year in the bar. Ah, be careful, Joonie, the tea is still hot."

He says it without really looking at Namjoon, reaching for his hands, and steadying them before Namjoon can empty the hot drink on his legs or burn his tongue.

It's fascinating, how natural and domestic their behavior has become, He thinks, pressing into the warm touch. Taehyung doesn't even seem to notice.

His heart a lot less hurting and mind less running in circles than an hour before, now that Jimin sits next to him, but isn't still at the party and chatting up other people. And he's almost able to forget the quiet confession he voiced out loud in the snow.

Falling a bit. A crush.

He can see Jimin's long lashes brushing his cheeks when his eyes flutter closed and the way his lips shine in the soft kitchen light after taking a sip from the tea.

Almost.

 

He's drifting in and out of sleep, fuzzy from the hot shower and the rest alcohol in his system. The bed is warm and comfortable.

There is a light knock on the door, just like he expected, and then Jimin steps into his bedroom, slowly creeping towards his bed.

"Are you still awake, Joonie?" He hears his soft voice, and Namjoon sits up in the bed, lifting the cover for Jimin to slip in.

He feels the familiar body in his arms, naked chest and the cold feet against his legs, and sighs. He likes that Jimin adapted to come into his bed without a shirt by now. It's easier, more convenient instead of fumbling with the fabric when they are eager with passion, but also it helps Namjoon to let his hands roam freely on nights when they don't do anything except for sleeping tightly pressed against each other.

"Are you angry with me?" his breath brushes over Namjoon's skin, goosebumps rising.

"No, I'm not.", He answers, grabbing Jimin's hips gently and tugging him closer, "Like I said, you can do whatever you want. I just wish you would, I don't know, warn me?!"

Jimin moves out of his arms, and slowly inching on top of him, sitting on his lap, hands running up and down his chest, "I thought I made myself clear at Kookie's birthday."

"You didn't.", Namjoon exhales softly, body reacting to the feather-like touch.

"Then I tell you again.", Jimin whispers, finger tracing Namjoon's ribcage and down to his hipbone, making him buck into the touch, "You don't have to worry about me being with anyone. As long as you'll have me, I won't be with someone else."

"Me too. I don't want to be with someone else.", His words hang in the air, almost tangible. Heavy, and with so much intensity, so much meaning, it makes Namjoon swallow hard.

It's too dark in the room, and Namjoon can't see his face. God, he wishes, he could see his face right now. See what Jimin is thinking about this exclamation.

Jimin has always been very expressive, not able to hide whatever is going on inside his mind.

He feels Jimin's finger hooking around his underpants, and he automatically lifts his hips to make it easier for him to pull them down.

"Namjoon." He pronounces softly and says nothing else, "Namjoon."

It sounds like he is trying to tell him something. Equally important, like his own statement before. But it can't be. It must be his simple state of mind, alcohol still in his veins, and the rare openness of his heart after the talk with Hoseok. Wishful thinking.

Small palms brushing over his growing erection, making him whimper with longing. Jimin slides between Namjoon's legs, lips, and teeth gazing over his penis, softly sucking on the tip while he pulls down his own boxer until they are entirely naked in each other's embrace.

Namjoon lets go, lets go of the day, the talk, his jealousy, because right now the man he wants is with him and with no one else. He tries to stop overthinking, he has gotten better at it. Seldom falling into a minor crisis during their intimate moments anymore.

When Jimin kisses his neck and chest, he wants to cry, finger kneading into his hair, tugging, urging him on.

It feels so different, the air around them, he thinks, one hand steadying his penis while Jimin gently lowers down on him, the other on his chest right above Namjoon's thrumming heart. The other must feel it against his palm, feeling him falling apart.

Everything's warm and soft and slick, and it's familiar but so entirely different. Their soft moans fill the air, echoing in the silent room. The first slide in is always the best. Better than being high, better than being on stage. Nothing can compare to this.

Namjoon can't breathe, gasping for air while his feelings suffocate him, his hands clutching Jimin's hip, hard, stopping him from moving.

It's too much, it's too different, but then two small hands touch his face, caressing his cheeks tenderly, and he hears Jimin's delicate voice, "Joon-ah, touch me, please."

And he does, fingers running over Jimin's sides, dipping into his skin and leaving indentations of his soul all over Jimin's shoulders and down his torso. He knows the others will see it the next day. Will look at him with knowing eyes.

You did that.

And he doesn't know if he should be proud or ashamed of it.

Namjoon's heart is beating everywhere, beating so loud that he fears the other must hear it in the darkness of the night. But he can't, Jimin's riding on top of him, sinking deeper with every movement, panting quietly. Normally, he is loud, moaning out his pleasure, not caring if anyone could hear them. But it's different today, and Jimin is quiet, affecting.

Namjoon's arousal is swirling in his chest, tingling down into his pelvis, and spreading through his whole body.

Wherever they touch, he's melting in the heat, overwhelmed with desire.

"Jiminie." He groans his name, babbling, eyes closed, thrusting inside him.

I want you so bad. I want you. Please, please, please be mine.

He doesn't say it, doesn't voice it out loud, but his body screams it with every fiber. He's leaning up on one arm, the other clawing on Jimin's back, squeezing him closer, lips closing around one nipple.

"Oh god.", the man above him moans, arms circling around Namjoon's head, closing him in. Jimin's hard cock grinds against Namjoon's stomach and spreading wet precum on his skin. Namjoon can't speak, only choked noises coming out of his raw throat, licking the trail of sweat from Jimin's neck.

"I think I'm coming." Jimin moans, hips drive forward into the air, seeking more friction, body tightening around him.

Namjoon grabs him to roll them over, bending his legs over his shoulder and slowly thrusting into him, brushing over his prostate with every move.

Jimin nearly cries out loud, fingers clawing into the sheets, and Namjoon doesn't slow down the strokes, carrying him through the last of his orgasm. They don't look away, don't close their eyes. He clenches violently around Namjoon's hard length.

It feels so different. It feels too much.

He tries to let go, to slip out of him, but Jimin's legs hug him tight, the heels pressing into his lower back.

"Don't stop.", Jimin pants, finger finding their way into Namjoon's hair and pulling him down and flat against him, reaching up both arms to loop them around the back of Namjoon's neck, "Don't stop. It feels so good."

He must be oversensitive by now, but still, Jimin meets every thrust with eager hips, quiet moans and words falling over his open lips. A sea of undefined words swirling around them.

"You feel so good. Don't ever let go. Namjoon, Namjoon. Namjoon.", his voice unsteady in the aftermath.

Namjoon feels the wetness of Jimin's cum between them, helplessly moaning into the space between their mouths, "Jimin, please."

He doesn't know what he's begging for, can't grasp it, define it, but somehow the other seems to know, whispering, "Just this once."

When their lips finally met, Namjoon's hips stutter, panting into his mouth, "Fuck, oh fuck."

Feeling Jimin's soft lips against his, sends him over the edge, spiraling down in the abyss.

His whole body vibrates with love and desire and hurt, all kinds of emotions. Lips wrapped around Jimin's, breathing hard through his nose. He feels his eyes water, whether, with lust or emotions, he can't tell. Only closes them, moving against Jimin's lips through shuddering breaths. He doesn't want to let go, not now, feeling rather than hearing the soft moan against his tongue. And Jimin doesn't seem to want to let go as well, hands buried in Namjoon's damp hair, lingering and warm against him. That sudden overwhelming expansion of affection and protectiveness in his chest hurts.

"Jimin." He mumbles between each kiss, still keep on going, not letting go, hands framing his cheeks. Because if the other man meant what he said, this was his only chance. He wouldn't be allowed to do it again. He sucks and bites on Jimin's bottom lip, tongue running over teeth and flesh, not stopping, even though his lips feel swollen and bruised and sore.

They kiss and kiss until Namjoon can't keep his eyes open any longer, tossing the used condom aside, and seating back between Jimin's soft, quivering legs, still kissing, never leaving, falling. He's falling. And for the first time, Namjoon is afraid of the impact.

 

July 2016

 

One entire year. It's only one, and Namjoon can't believe it.

One year ago, he received death threats, and his throat closed off with terror and helplessness. One entire year after feeling weak in the tight grasp of his depression.

But it's so much better now. He still catches himself scrolling through twitter with trembling fingers or jerking when some of the staff say something offhanded about tweets and potential threats.

Occasionally, he wakes up drenched in cold sweat, panting. Still hearing the gunfire in his ringing ears and tasting the familiar copper on his tongue. Nightmares like this happen so rarely that they leave him awake with a racing heart and ice-cold hands, but never shock him to the core again. He manages to calm down thanks to the breathing techniques, and the knowledge that nothing is going to happen to his family.

Namjoon doesn't have to talk to Mrs. Im anymore, but he does anyway. It helps him clean his mind, make him apprehend things more efficiently, and helps him through his daily struggles. Unravel them like a ball of wool, a kitten found to play with and left behind as an utter mess.

They talk once a week. Sometimes via Skype or phone calls, sometimes he sits on her soft green couch, looking at the even greener devils' ivy on the wall.

"I got her after university.", Mrs. Im told him once, smiling brightly at the plant climbing up the creme-colored wall, "My father gave her to me."

"Does she have a name?"

Mrs. Im only smiled, and Namjoon thinks she might tell him someday. He, afterward, told her about Esmeralda and Taehyung's desperate attempts to take her with them to the MAMA's last year and the way Sejin-nim almost had a mental breakdown, begging the boy to let go of the plant when they were at the airport.

So, they talk, every week and Mrs. Im always asks the same at the beginning, "How is your depression today. From one to ten?"

He rarely says a number above three anymore. His mind stable enough to deal with small incidents without having a breakdown. The articles about panic attacks and handling depression helped him a lot during the year, as well as some of the APP's she recommended.

Only once, he said an eight again.

Right before Yoongi's mixtape was released and they all were allowed to listen to it in their small living room through the speakers for the first time.

Namjoon loves Yoongi's raps, always has. They are raw and open. Unsophisticated. His voice makes you shiver with anticipation.

They sat there, all of them listening, except for Taehyung's occasional jumps in the air, dabbing like those idiots on YouTube, hyping the songs like the fanboy he is.

But then The Last comes, and it is different than the usual songs Yoongi produces. It tugged at his heart, clawed at it until Namjoon sat there with wide-open eyes and bleeding soul.

Imi minyungineun jugeosseo (naega jugyeosseo)

They all had known about Yoongi's struggles. Namjoon maybe a bit more than the others, being with the older for the longest time. He had seen him in his worst states, hadn't he? Sitting next to Yoongi in their small studio, when the older was trembling with anxiety and tears streaming down his ashen face, clawing at his throat, unable to take one steady gulp of air after another.

Namjoon wonders if he should have been able to help him more. Like Yoongi helped him. He loves the other man like a brother, he is family, and somehow listening to the rough sound of his voice in the song, telling them he considered suicide before, makes Namjoon feel like he failed his friend. Finally, entirely understanding Seokjin's words in a shabby hotel in the middle of the night in Mexico City.

Mrs. Im told him he couldn't do more than he already did, and it was enough since Yoongi was still here. Still alive, and doing so much better now. Namjoon tries to believe her.

Yoongi told him he did enough. They, all seven of them, talked that night. With tears in his eyes, Taehyung clutched Yoongi's arm so tightly, the other must have been covered in bruises the next day.

The words coming out of their second eldest mouth were honest and heart-wrenching. None of them stayed dry of long, blinking furiously against the wetness in their eyes and trying to swallow the lumps in their throats.

"I feel so loved.", Yoongi laughed through a snotty nose and scrubbed at his red-rimmed eyes, boxing Jeongguk playfully in the side, "I feel accomplished."

He doesn't define it, but the look in his eyes explains that he doesn't mean the money he's always joking about. They explain that he made the right decision, staying with them, making music with them, and forming a bond stronger anyone of them had before. Accomplished because of their self-made family. Accomplished because of their music and how much they've grown over the last few years.

It was an eight that day, and Namjoon feels proud that he can talk about it. That he can finally talk about his emotions outside of his songs.

It's progress, he thinks and feels loved in return when they all sit once again exhausted in a van, in a different hotel room, in their living room.

 

It is one full year of gentle touches, lips scraping over heated skin and soft moans in the darkness. Naked bodies pressed against each other.

One year since Jimin licked his neck and one year since Namjoon let him come into the shower, making room and open up to him.

Namjoon, let me in, please.

He still hears Jimin's whispered voice, self-conscious, scared to ruin everything they worked for.

They haven't kissed since that night in January, were having sex felt more like making love.

Namjoon thinks they probably won't kiss ever again, and it hurts. It hurts a lot because this has been one year of him, gradually realizing how much he likes Jimin.

It is one year of Namjoon learning how it feels to fall in love for real, as an adult.

It's different than it had been for Jackson, who woke up one morning and suddenly was hit by the force of being in love with his best friend, thinking 'Oh.'

For Namjoon, it's waking up every morning and seeing one new thing he hadn't seen before, explaining why he is falling in love with Jimin. A new of many reasons why his heart decided to attach itself to the petite dancer, instead of going for anyone else.

The way Jimin's left eye tends to stick close due to the tiredness after sleeping while his right eye opens more easily. The way Jimin smacks his lips, quietly purring right before he drifts into a deep sleep. Or the way, only on his left side and head goosebumps appear when he is listening to a particularly beautiful song. The way Jimin always brushes his teeth under the shower, instead of doing it before or after.

"It saves time.", he had said once, toothbrush between his lips and water running down his muscular body. And the way, Jimin likes to take a shower or a bath in almost complete darkness, only a small flickering battery-powered candle on the shelf next to their towels. The way Jimin makes a funny grimace, teeth showing, when he hears a cheesy line in one of the dramas Taehyung likes to watch and forces Jimin to do so as well. The way Jimin lightens up when he sees that one of the manhwas he's currently reading online released a new chapter. The way he hides his face behind his hand when he feels embarrassed or ashamed about something he'd said, done or others around him did.

There are so many trivialities Namjoon noticed over the year that made him fall in love, day by day. And he knows, he is still falling. He hasn't reached the bottom so far, because every time he looks at Jimin, he notices another, new thing, yet again.

Namjoon is falling all the time, heart in his throat, stomach churning, skin tingling with every smile Jimin smiles only for him.

He didn't need to realize that he is in love because he understands why it makes sense to fall in love with Jimin.

He gets Jackson's need to show him pictures of Mark in any situation, with bed hair and drooling in his morning tea, looking more like a ghoul than a living being, because Namjoon wants to do it as well. Wants to snap pictures after pictures until his memory card is full. However, he is not permitted to capture Jimin in every scene of their daily life, so he only saves those images inside his mind and soul and memory. Knowing one day, he will look back and remember the soft dip of Jimin's lower back and the freckle on his leg.

After finally admitting what he can't change, he told his mother.

Called her from Sweden in the middle of the night, eight hours earlier than back home in Korea.

It was the day he stood at the front of the boat at the cruise, grasping the railing, trying to ignore the cameras and questions and the need to perform for Bon Voyage and the feeling of sadness, that he had to leave for Korea early due to his problems with his passport, when he recognized that he needed to tell her.

He tries to not let the night with Hoseok in the winter snow count, not being his first time telling someone about his feelings for Jimin. They had been tipsy in the park in the middle of the night, the perfect place and time to spill out little secrets without meaning to. He said he might fall in love, a bit, a crush, but didn't say he actually was in love.

So, Namjoon called his mother, scared shitless, almost not able to breathe properly.

He was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, tiles freezing cold, hiding from the others, and his hands were shaking so violently, he was nearly unable to dial his mother's number.

"Joon-ah?" her familiar voice shouting out of the speaker, sounding anxious, because he never calls her when he's out of the country, only in case of an emergency, "Is everything alright?"

"Do you remember?" He rasped, clearing his throat so she would understand him, "Eomma, do you remember, I promised to tell you first?"

"What are you talking about?"

"That I would tell you first when it happens.", he said. When, not if, because Namjoon had always known he would fall in love eventually, had always been full of love, he wanted to share, "When I fall in love with someone."

"Oh, honey.", she replied, and her voice became even, relaxed again, "You did promise."

"I'm falling. All the time. I'm falling right now, Eomma.", He whispered into the phone, "And I've never been so scared before."

"Joon-ah, you don't have to be scared. Love is nothing to be afraid of."

Namjoon thought she lies. Meeting his father when she was a teenager, and it had been kind of easy for them. Still does think she lies. Love is the scariest thing he ever experienced, even more terrifying than death threats.

"Does she know about your feelings? Does she love you as well?"

She. She. She.

He wanted to scream and laugh. Of course, she. He never told his parents, after all, how should his mother know?

Namjoon swallowed hard, could hear it clicking in his throat, and he was so utterly scared. But he remembered the walk through the woods with Jimin, side by side, and the other man dancing on his way up the hill. Only followed by a camera team, and it still felt kind of being alone with him. He remembered Jimin's confused and then embarrassed face when he realized he'd forgotten his bag on the bus because he had been too busy talking with Jeongguk about Misun and the ongoing championship and had to walk back to retrieve it. He remembered the feeling of Jimin's hands in his own, the trains rattling under him, and his stupid act to be interested in his rings, even though everyone knew Namjoon only wanted to hold Jimin's hands in his.

And he didn't want to back out, didn't want to lie about his feelings for the other man, because Namjoon wasn't ashamed of his love. 

"No.," licking his dry lips, trying to summon some courage, "No, he doesn't love me back. I'm falling alone."

There was a sharp intake of breath and then a soft sob, "Oh."

And for several heartbeats, Namjoon felt like he did the wrong thing. Like he shouldn't have told her. You cannot outrun traditions and old believes. Outrun what's in people's mind for generations, and maybe, he misunderstood his parent's open-mindedness, but then she whispered, "Oh my baby, Joon-ah. Eomma loves you so much, do you know that? I'm so incredibly proud of you. You don't have to be scared of telling me about falling in love, no matter with whom. I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression."

And Namjoon cried, sobbed so heart brokenly, clutching his phone to not miss one word, that Seokjin was knocking at the bathroom door, asking with a worried tone in his voice if he was alright. And yeah, yeah, he was more than alright.

"You don't have to be sorry, Eomma. I wasn't ready to tell."

"I'm so relieved.", His mother told him, hiccuping with every word, and Namjoon wanted to laugh because it's the same sound his sister did when she was crying as a child, "I'm so relieved you are telling me. Who is it then?"

And he answered, "Jiminie."

There was a small giggle, "Of course it's him. He is exactly your type, small and sweet."

He wanted to protest, telling her he doesn't really have a type, but somehow it felt wrong. Somehow she was right.

"You were always so fond of small things. The crabs, the frogs. You probably won't remember. You were only two or three years old, but one time, we were walking in a park and sat down, and one small butterfly was sitting on your chubby hand, and you didn't move for hours, not until it was well-rested and flew away on its own."

And Namjoon wanted to laugh and cry at the same time and tell Taehyung that he befriended a butterfly before, but couldn't remember because it was a lifetime ago.

His mother told him how much she loves him and that nothing, especially nothing like such a mundane thing like falling in love with another man, could ever change that.

And maybe, if he holds on strong and doesn't waver, Jimin might open his eyes and heart and see Namjoon as well.

"I know he is special.", She said right before they bid their good-bye's.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Now, it's the end of July, and Namjoon is sitting on top of the roof of their company building, back leaning against the wall, and watching the sunset.

The concrete underneath his fingers is still warm from the summer sun, and the humid air clings to his skin, makes his cloth sticky.

It's a beautiful sunset, all kinds of colors painting in the sky. Purple, blue, orange, and dark red. It makes his soul sing with satisfaction, and mind filling with sappy lyrics for love songs. He feels content and happy, untouched by his unrequited love. He feels free, somehow. It's one of those feelings everyone knows, being young and wild and open, thinking I'm right where I'm supposed to be.

Namjoon knows that Yoongi and Hoseok are out with Kihyun again, and not for the first time during the last months, he wonders if the Monsta X singer is the unknown Idol Yoongi meets from time to time.

Yoongi never told anyone who it is, not even Hoseok, who is closet to him. General speaking, it doesn't really matter who the mysterious guy is. The other rapper vanishes in the middle of the night, coming back home with the first rays of sunshine, looking tired, but satisfied, happy. He stopped looking hurt and guilty when he's around Harin, stopped tearing his heart into little pieces because he went against his own advice from years ago: don't fall for a straight guy.

He doesn't blush around Seokjin anymore, and Namjoon only would like to know the other guy, who helps Yoongi finally to let go of his unrequited crush, just to give him a bouquet of flowers and thank him on his knees.

"Here you are.", Jimin's familiar voice reaches his ears, tearing him out of his thoughts about Yoongi and his lover, and Namjoon slowly turns his head towards the man he's so utterly in love with.

Jimin is only wearing a tank top, revealing the skin on his sides.

Instead of sitting down next to him, Jimin urges Namjoon to open his legs and makes room for him to sit down between them. His back squeezed against Namjoon's chest, his hair tickling Namjoon's under his jaw.

"What are you doing, Jiminie?"

"Cuddling in the sunset."

"It's too warm to cuddle."

"It's never too warm to cuddle in the sunset, Hyung.", Jimin murmurs, and he can feel it vibrating against his chest.

Namjoon puffs out a small laugh, "Why don't you cuddle with Tae then?"

"I don't want to cuddle Taehyungie.", Jimin turns his head a bit, and he can hear the pout in his voice, "Besides, he went out with Bo-gum again."

After starting to filming in the drama Hwarang earlier this year and being the social butterfly he is, Taehyung made a lot of new friends. The other Idols and actors adore him to no end and pamper him since he is their dongsaeng. And Taehyung enjoys it, goes out with his friends as often as he is able to, going to bars and to karaoke, drinking coffee in small sideways coffee shops or walks in one of the many parks or along the Han River, as long as he can spend his time with them.

He especially seems to like Park Bo-gum. They share a close bond, and more than once, Namjoon caught the younger, quietly talking to his new friend on the phone when they weren't able to meet up due to their hectic schedules.

Somehow, this and Jeongguk's new-found friendship with Misun made them closer again.

Since Namjoon had to leave northern Europe and go back to Korea, he missed the critical moment, but Jimin had told him about it anyway. One day, they weren't exactly on speaking terms, trying their hardest to get along, and the next morning they all woke up to Jeongguk cuddling Taehyung in the small bed in the camping van, and all had been forgotten.

They talk and engage with each other again, almost normal. Apparently, Taehyung thinks Jeongguk and Misun are in a relationship, and it made it possible for him to act normal around their maknae again. No one seemed to have the heart to tell him.

"We don't want to get involved.", Jimin had said one night, "And besides, didn't Mrs. Im told you, we shouldn't meddle within it. They will work it out on their own."

"Tae thinks Kookie is in love with Misun, don't you think we should at least tell him?"

"Do not meddle.", Jimin said, sing-song voice, "And if Taehyung wants to know, he could simply ask Kookie."

"You are evil, Park Jimin.", Namjoon had replied and earned a loud cackle.

Namjoon thinks Taehyung has to be an idiot if he doesn't see the stares Jeongguk sends his way. The boy has only eyes for Taehyung, never even looks into anyone else direction, except maybe for IU. But IU is talented, beautiful, and incredibly funny and kind.

"And old habits die hard," Jeongguk had said after they watched one of her performances, smiling secretively.

He still fears for Jeongguk's heart, and for Taehyung's as well, now that he knows the other only doesn't open up to Jeongguk because of his fear of being an experiment.

They all try to ignore the elephant in the room when Jeongguk once again trips over his own feet while staring at Taehyung's lips, and Taehyung is sitting far too close, hands, knees and everything between are touching too often.

Namjoon thinks he is a very patient man, very, very patient.

Do not meddle, let them figure it out on their own, it's his daily mantra, but sometimes he wants to shake them, push them into a room and only open the door after they made out and confessed.

Do not meddle.

"Were you here the whole day?" Jimin asks, finger softly patting his knee, running under the fabric of the holes in his jeans, and circling on his skin.

"Where else would I have been?"

"The studio? I don't know, Hyung.", He's leaning more into Namjoon's chest, "What did you do then?"

"Sappy things.", Namjoon laughs, reaching out and brushes his lips over Jimin's ear, "Watching the sunset and thinking about how good the year as been until so far. It's a good year, more or less."

The other hums agreeing, "That's true. We were fortunate."

"What did you do until now?"

"Kookie and I watched our Nagoya performance. It finally aired in HD.", Jimin answers, vibrating with excitement, "We were amazing, Namjoon. You have to watch it."

During their tour, they decided to film their performances in Japan, and they were in Nagoya almost two weeks ago.

Namjoon still remembers the thrill of being on stage in Japan, their ARMY's lovely as usual, feeling invincible.

"Were we?"

Jimin exhales, shakily, "Hobi-Hyung was... I don't even have words for his performance during Baepsae and No more dream. And you. Joon-ah. You don't even understand how much power you radiate on stage without even trying."

"Is that so?" Namjoon snorts but makes a mental note to watch it as well later.

"Yeah, you are so hot.", Jimin remarks, head falling back against Namjoon's neck, fitting perfectly into the crook of his neck, "And I've never been more in love with Whalien 52."

He remembers a night, over a year ago, when Jimin told him it's his favorite song of their comeback. The night everything started, and Namjoon kind of feels like he should be a bit more honest, so he says, "The lyrics, you know."

Jimin nods lightly, hair brushing against Namjoon's heated skin.

"It's very, very personal. The whale, it's me, and...and.", He stops because suddenly he doesn't know what he wanted to say, what he is trying to say, his heart pounding hard against his ribcage.

"You know what I read in the aquarium in Nagoya?" Jimin whispers softly, head turning slightly, his lips graze over Namjoon's jaw, "I read, that the heartbeat of the blue whale can be heard from over two miles away."

"Really?" Namjoon whispers back, and it is kind of funny, that his own heart his beating so vehemently in his ears.

"Yes, so even if I don't speak the same language you do, and.", He stutters, breathing deeply, "And it's hard for me to understand what you are trying to tell sometimes, I still can hear your heart, Namjoon. I hear you."

I love you. Namjoon wants to say, but only lifts his arms and curls them around Jimin. It is warm and humid, and his clothes are sticking to his skin, but hugging the man between his legs is the only prevention to not blurt it out and still tell him what's repeatedly going on inside his mind.

I love you. 

They sit there for a while, watching the sunset, and then is Jimin pointing at one of the colorful whirls on the sky, "Kookie and Jin-Hyung went to Harin for the rest of the day. They asked if we would like to come to Le Chemin vers les étoiles later and eat with them."

It sounds so utterly domestic, it makes Namjoon's heart squeeze tight. He wishes it would be real, him and Jimin, in a relationship and visiting his friend's place, holding hands and being...in love.

There are so many moments when Namjoon thinks that they might be in a relationship. It feels like it. In moments like this were, they are close without having to do so, and when it isn't sexual.

Moments like the day, they visited the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium hours before their show started.

Only Jimin, Taehyung, Jeongguk, and him. Walking through the crowds of school classes and tourists, learning about different sea creatures and how everything within their world is connected. The way every different ecosystems influences each other.

It was the moment, Jimin stood so close to him, in front of one of the tanks, all dipped in blue lights, watching stingrays and crabs swimming on their own small world. Hands almost, almost touching and a smile of delight on his face. Namjoon remembers the animals and pieces of information about the natural habitats and diets of belugas vaguely, but the image of Jimin laughing, eyes two crescent half-moons, are imprinted in his mind. It's one of his fondest memories of this year.

"I think it would be nice to eat with them.", He says, hugging Jimin closer and watching the sky becoming darker.

I still can hear your heart, Namjoon.

Chapter Text

August 2016

 

The first time Namjoon hears Taehyung's solo song for the upcoming album, he walks into their kitchen almost mid-august when the sun isn't up yet.

Their first drafts and ideas have to be finished in a few days, so the producers can work on them with all the members together.

Namjoon couldn't sleep, he still struggles with insomnia from time to time. His body is sometimes so overwhelmed with stress and nervousness he cannot fall asleep at night.

"The sickness of your generation," Mrs. Im called it once, sending him a small smile, "Roughly 10 percent of the entire population suffers from chronic insomnia."

In addition, Jimin went out of his room hours ago, back into his own bed, to not make Hoseok begin to wonder. Namjoon couldn't bring himself to tell the other that Hoseok definitely knows about them, even a little bit more than the rest of the members, since he never told anyone else about his feelings.

Although, Jeongguk seems to know about his growing feelings, looking at him as if he wants to say that he is not alone with this thing. He wonders if Yoongi still suspects it after their talk in the hallway after his solo concert, but just never says anything or forgets because he is seriously busy with his phantom lover.

He sighs loudly into the empty room, blinking a few times. With Jimin gone, the sheets next to him cold and empty, and Jeongguk staying with Seokjin this night, without his friend's soft snores, the room seems to be more desolate than usual.

There are only so many hours someone can stare at the ceiling, counting the bumps in the wallpaper before going crazy, so he sits up to drink a morning coffee and maybe get ready for the day, already heading to the studio. It wouldn't be for the first time, and in general, Namjoon doesn't mind. He often tends to be more productive during such days and then falling into his bed later that night, sleeping soundly.

Though, when he steps out of his bedroom and around the corner, he can hear someone humming softly.

Taehyung has his back to him, cutting apples into small squares, and something is steaming on the stove, coffee already beautifully black in the glass pot of their simple filter coffee machine.

Namjoon leans silently against the door, trying not to startle him since he's still handling a sharp knife, and then he hears it,

"I'm sorry my brother. Sumgyeodo gamchwodo jiwojiji anheo. Are you calling me a sinner."

Namjoon instantly knows it is a part of Taehyung's own song, although he never heard it before, "That was beautiful."

"The hell.", The younger hisses, jerking violently and turning around slowly, "You startled me."

"At least I waited until you put the damn knife away. Some of the others wouldn't."

"That's because Jiminie is a damn Slytherin.", Taehyung replies with a stern expression but opens the cupboard at the same time, reaching for Namjoon's favorite mug. The one with Ryan, obviously, and hands it to him so Namjoon can get his daily caffeine input ready.

"I'm making some porridge with apples and chocolate, do you want some?" Taehyung asks while holding up a spoon with an undefined grey gruel, and Namjoon can barely stop the disgusting grimace creeping on his face, "No, no, I don't think so."

"Then how about just some fruits and eggs?"

He nods and puts another spoon with sugar in his coffee, ignoring Taehyung's frown, "You shouldn't put so much sugar in your coffee, it's unhealthy."

He adds another one just to make Taehyung grimace even more.

When he is finally seated at the counter, the clock ticking behind him, he says, "Was that a part of your song?"

Taehyung hums approvingly, taking a sip from his tea.

"It sounded really good. I'm looking forward to hearing it."

"Really?" Taehyung sounds surprised as if he couldn't imagine someone liking what he came up with.

"Yeah, the bit I heard. It was good."

"You wanna hear the rest? I mean, all of it?" He looks so excited that Namjoon nods.

Hearing Taehyungs song, Stigma, as he learns later, at five in the morning, only interrupted by the first birds singing outside their kitchen window and the occasional blubbering of their old coffee machine, makes Namjoon's heart ache.

The song is raw and open, untouched by others' opinions, others interfering. No one, none of the other producers, their managers, anyone, has worked on it until so far. It's only Taehyung singing in the kitchen, wearing a mint green pajama with bunnies and light brown hair disheveled with sleep, a small stain of chocolate on the corner of his lip.

The true original, and the lyrics, honest, open, dark, make Namjoon choke and tears filling his eyes.

When the last note fades away, and Namjoon can only hear the birds and the clock and an exhausted puff of their coffee machine, he reaches out a hand to hold Taehyung's in his own, "It is beautiful."

"You think so?" The other asks insecure, fingers under Namjoon's twitching lightly, "I know they will change it a lot."

They both know. The real meaning behind Stigma stays out clear, it's not hidden behind clever lyrics like Namjoon or Yoongi would have done, but bluntly told, right into the listeners face. Taehyung doesn't try to hide, doesn't want to store it away, and decorate it with a society friendly wrapping paper.

Are you calling me a sinner?

Everyone will know what this is about: his homosexuality, and they know that the music industry and their country are not ready, no matter how much they want it.

Stigma won't stay as it is right now, Hitman Bang and the others going to tear it apart until only the core representing Taehyung's raw heart will still be there. Perhaps they can work together to let them not change so much, let it be more like it is today.

Namjoon knows, seeing the glint in his friend's eyes, that Taehyung will fight tooth and nails for every little word, and if he lets him, Namjoon will do the same.

"It's beautiful.", He says again, smiling, "It means something."

"Oh, all our songs mean something.", Taehyung responds, lifting his teacup to his mouth and pulling his hand out of Namjoon's grasp, "Did you listen to the others before?"

Living with Jeongguk in one room made him listen to his song a few times already, helping the younger with some blemishes in the lyrics. He likes Begin. Likes that Jeongguk sings about their history, about his love for them. Smile with me.

He had listened to Yoongi's first few notes on the black piano, which stands in one of the rooms for their vocal training. Had seen his friend's fond gaze while his fingers wandered over the black and white keys, coaxing out a sweet melody, "I think I'm going for a love song."

Seokjin had stuck to Hoseok, both of them working together on their songs, but Namjoon knows the other rapper decided to produce a song about his mother instead of a girl.

"She was always there for me.", He'd said, smiling softly, "Her support and love made me the person I am today, and I think it's time to give her something back. Show her how much I appreciate her love."

"How do you like Jimin's song?" Taehyung asks, putting a spoon full of porridge in his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.

"I didn't hear it until so far."

At first, Jimin had been extremely stressed about the whole solo song thing and ranted about it for days, telling them that he can't do it, doesn't know what to do, wasn't good enough anyway, until Yoongi literally dragged him into the studio, closed the door behind them and talked. When they emerged a few hours later, Jimin had been calm and seemed to know what to do, but he didn't talk about it anymore. At least not with Namjoon. He asked a few times when they were in bed together, but the other only ever shook his head until Namjoon stopped asking.

"He didn't show me.", He knows his voice sounds a bit hurt, but if Jimin doesn't want to show him, then he is by no means in the position to be grumpy about it,

"What?" Taehyung looks at him with surprise, "Oh, ok. Well, I thought he would show you, since, you know."

"'You know what', Tae?"

"Well.", The other stutters a bit, ears bright red, "Since you two..."

He stops and makes such a vague and suggestive hand gesture, Jeongguk would be proud of, and Namjoon tries to hide his amusement behind a dumbfounded expression.

"'Since we two'?"

"Urgh, don't make me say it. It's awful enough to wake up at night because your best friend tries to sneak out of the room to get some dick."

"Taehyung!" he yelps indignant, "Jesus, why are you all so crude? It's almost as bad as Jeongguk."

Taehyung shrugs, "We probably learned it from Jin-Hyung."

"Sounds about right.", He grumbles and sounds just like his father, "So, Jimin told you, yeah?"

"Yes, well, not really. At first, he tried to keep it hidden, but you two are not as sneaky as you think you are."

"I noticed, now only Jin-Hyung doesn't know about it."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that." Taehyung chuckles, but then changes the topic, "Anyway, why are you up anyway?"

"Couldn't sleep."

"Because Jimin went back into his own bed?" It doesn't sound like his friend tries to tease him, more like he is actually concerned about Namjoon's lousy sleep pattern, so Namjoon answers him truthfully, "Among other things."

"Ah, you know, Yoongi-Hyung started to meditate with me a few months ago. He even lets me play classical music. It helps with my insomnia a lot."

A few months ago, Seungdeuk-nim started to teach them some yoga and meditation to 'release the tension in your shoulders,' and it's not clear why, but Yoongi adapted a small routine into his daily life after that. He seemed the only solemn one about these exercises, seriously enjoying it.

"Then why are you awake instead of sleeping in as long as possible?"

Taehyung makes a small grimace, "Hyung is out again, and I'm not comfortable enough to do the meditation alone. I always get distracted when he's not with me."

"Do you want to do the meditation with me when he's out with whoever it is?"

"If I don't deter you from your pleasure time with Jiminie, it would be nice." Taehyung says, grinning into his porridge, "And, I think I know who it is."

"Yoongi's lover?"

"Yeah, I saw him with another guy last week when I met up with Bo-gum-Hyung.", Taehyung replies, "But don't worry, it was a private location. No one else could have seen them, and even if; they might think that they are only friends."

It's good to know that his Hyung doesn't forget to be discreet about his fling. The last thing they need now is a scandal like this.

"And you are not going to tell me?"

"Nope, definitely not.", He jumps up to put his dishes into the sink and refill his cup, "Besides, they actually looked very much in love, and maybe Hyung will tell us soon about it anyway."

"Yoongi-Hyung is in love with him?"

"No, not yet anyway. But the other obviously is, just like you, and they might get their shit together soon."

"What did you say?"

"That Yoongi-Hyung and the other guy might get their shit together soon?!"

"No, no, the other thing."

He shakes his head, confused, "What did I say?"

Namjoon sighs exaggerated, letting the topic go and taking a bite of his melon instead. If Taehyung wants to, he's going to elaborate, and if not, Namjoon might consider hitting his head against a wall instead of trying to coax it out of the other. Would be more efficient.

"Did you see the email Bang Sihyuk sent a few days ago?", He asks instead.

"Yeah, they want us to move into a new flat at the end of the year. Isn't it a bit early for planning? They don't even know if the new comeback will work out fine."

Namjoon thinks that the new comeback will work out. The album is almost finished, only their solo songs still missing, and he feels it in every fiber of his being that this time, it will be more than fine. That they are finally going to 'make it.' But at the same time, he believes that Taehyung is right.

They are living in this flat for over one and a half years. It's not much, definitely much better than the small two-room-apartment before, but still, it's their home. And Namjoon doesn't feel ready to let go. Let go of his small, shared room with Jeonggukie. The narrowed space in their living room, floor cluttered with blankets and pillows from last winter, and the blinking Christmas lights still above their window. The messy kitchen, he is currently sitting in and having a hearty breakfast with his dongsaeng.

"They said that the new flat will have one more bedroom.", Taehyung says in a small voice, playing with the spoon in his mug.

"Do you want to sleep in the extra room?"

"Alone? Are you crazy? Definitely not.", Taehyung's chuckle is hollow, "When I have to stay alone, I'll probably never sleep more than an hour. I actually wanted to ask if you would like to share one bedroom with me."

"What's with Jimin?"

The other makes a funny sound in his throat and looks at him with a smirk, "Jimin will definitely stick to Hobi-Hyung, they are like infinite roommates. If Yoongi has to share a room, then he would only choose Jin-Hyung or you, and not me. He would push a pillow on my face and wait until I don't move anymore after three days rooming together, and you know it."

He might be right, Namjoon thinks, trying not to laugh about the mental image of Yoongi pressing his pillow on Tae, who still wouldn't shut up.

"Obviously, it would be a bad idea to share with Kookie, so that actually leaves you.", He frowns, looking worried and a bit sad.

Namjoon ponders about talking with him about Jeongguk for a moment, "You know Kookie wouldn't mind sharing with you."

"I know.", The other exhales, "I don't think my heart would survive that."

Namjoon had always been impressed with Taehyung's openness, even at roughly five in the morning, when most people aren't able to hide their feelings because of the time and mindset, Taehyung doesn't seem to tell him things he might not want to share.

However, Namjoon understands. This is why he didn't even allow himself to think about rooming in the same bedroom as Jimin in their new flat when he read the mail. It would only hurt, never being able to isolate the reason of his emotional distress.

Instead of acknowledging it out loud, Namjoon says, "Let's share the room in the next flat. That only means that Kookie and Hyung's have to fight over the single room."

"Kookie will win, you know that."

Namjoon snorts, nodding his acclaims.

They are silent for a long time, just enjoying the early morning, but then they hear the keys and the front door opening.

Yoongi doesn't see them, tiptoes as quiet as possible through the hallway, passing the door to the kitchen. His lips are still swollen, and he as a healthy blush on his cheeks, looking tousled and thoughtfully shagged, and Namjoon grins, "Is it Kihyun?"

For a moment, Taehyung looks at him in wonder, but then he shakes his head, "Nope. It's not Hyung."

"Damnit. I really wanna know."

After a few moments, they hear the bathroom door open again and then Yoongi's shambling steps. The older raises an eyebrow at seeing them in the kitchen, looking around suspiciously, "Thought so I could smell coffee from the loo."

"Want some?" Taehyung asks and jumps to his feet to get a mug out of the cupboard. Namjoon can see his friend watching him, still looking around as if he's searching for something.

"Does Jin-Hyung know you two are unsupervised in the kitchen?", Yoongi asks them, blowing at the steam when Taehyung finally gives him the mug.

"Hyung is still asleep."

Yeah, I know.", the older rapper states, "Still, please tell me you didn't break anything."

"He!" Namjoon exclaims loud enough to wake the others, but before he can say anything for their defending, he sees Taehyung turning red and rolling an apple around on the counter.

"No, Tae!"

"It was only one of the small plates you put under a teacup, no one is going to miss it."

Yoongi pinches the bridge of his nose, while Namjoon cackles, "At least it wasn't me!"

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Once again, Namjoon is sitting in the tiny, sticky conference room.

It reminds him of the afternoon back then in February last year when the air smelt like exercising, and his brain made inapplicable connections to Napoleon's wife. For a second, he considers to tell the story and historical fact to them this time, but once again, it wouldn't be appropriated.

This time though, the window is open, and there is no scent of AXE deodorant. It's not snowing outside, but far too warm for their own good. They all use the papers and lyric sheets to fan some fresh air into their faces, and half-empty water bottles and an iced coffee for Yoongi sit on the table. The ice has already melted, and Namjoon can see the condensated water running down the glass and making a small pool around it. Namjoon feels like it is an appropriated representation of himself. He is sweating like crazy, thankful for the short khaki and black shirt he's wearing. At least no one sees the stains under his arms and between his shoulder blades.

Although it's summer and hot and disgustingly sticky in the room, Jimin's small hand lies on Namjoon's naked knee, and he wouldn't change it for anything. He can endure the warm skin against his since Jimin's fingertips play an anxious rhythm on his skin like an overexcited guitar player plucking the strings.

Today they present their ideas for their solo songs, and Namjoon can only imagine how nervous the man next to him must be.

Jimin, who didn't write a song on his own before, only ever sat next to Namjoon and Yoongi and did it with them.

Jimin, who still struggles with his vocal range and self-confidence, although there is nothing wrong with it, and Namjoon wishes the other man could see and hear him through his perspective and eyes for just one day.

Jimin, who didn't show the song to anyone except for Taehyung, Yoongi, and their producer DOCSKIM.

Namjoon tries not to be jealous.

It seems like this is kind of his default-state since he realized his feelings for the other. Don't be jealous. Don't feel like the other man should give you more than he's already giving you. Because he is not yours to have. Jimin is not his boyfriend. Jimin is not.

But he should, a tiny voice in the back of his mind, tends to pip up and makes Namjoon antsy.

Taehyung started the conference by showing them Stigma. It was clear from the very beginning that they had to change a lot about the song, so the proverbial LGBT+ message wouldn't slap the South Korean society in the face, but Namjoon was seriously surprised to see the approving nods of Hitman Bang and the other producers, as well as Sejin's proud smile after listening to Taehyung's draft. There is a tiny flame of hope inside Namjoon's chest that the producers are not going to change too much about the song and let it be Taehyung's own oeuvre.

Namjoon presented his own song already, getting a mixture of approving, impressed, and worried glances.

The line about him saying that he hates himself might be the reason for it, and Namjoon knows that their manager will take him aside later, quietly and with a worried look in his eyes, asking if his sessions with Mrs. Im are going fine.

The last note of music stops, and he is barely able to blink away the burning in his eyes. Since when did he become such a sap?

Seokjin presented his solo song, and Namjoon feels incredibly proud of the older man. The lyrics for his song Awake are touching and so much Seokjin. The part of him singing about carrying six flowers in his hands while still going on made even Yoongi choke with emotions.

"Hyung." Hoseok says, leaning his head on Seokjin's broad shoulder, hiding his red eyes, "It's beautiful."

"I absolutely agree.", Their Bang Sihyuk smiles, "You did very well with this song. We might want to get more into depth with the beats, but the lyrics sound pretty good to me."

He makes a note in his notebook, Namjoon imitates it, hand scribbling onto the white paper next to the notes he did during listening.

"Who's next? Jimin-ssi?"

He feels the other jerk a bit, slightly shaking with nervousness, "It's called Lie."

Jimin stands up to hand Sejin, who sits next to the stereo, his USB stick, and then sits back down.

Automatically, Jimin's hand falls back on Namjoon's leg, and he reaches out to interlace their fingers. Jimin's hand is a bit sweaty, and he can feel the rings Jimin's wearing digging into his skin. He doesn't let go or even loosens his grip when the music starts playing.

The first thing Namjoon notices is that it's rather dark and sinister, and then Jimin voice comes out of the speakers, and Namjoon closes his eyes and only listens.

Caught in a lie.

Jimin's finger tightens around his own. The words are pained, and Namjoon can almost feel his agony. To know that Jimin seems to feel like this, thinks like this, makes him want to let go of all of his professionalism and drag Jimin out of the room. And shower him with affection.

Please save me.

Namjoon slowly turns his head and opens his eyes. Jimin's anxiously nibbling on his bottom lip, a small frown on his face, but when he notices Namjoon's stare, his mouth twitches slightly. A tiny smile appearing.

One day, Namjoon thinks, one day, he is going to write a song about Jimin and his feelings for the other man and let him sing it.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

It's in the middle of the night when his phone rings loudly next to his head, and Namjoon almost has a heart attack.

With fretting fingers, he's searching for the small vibrating monster and squints his eyes at the bright display, trying to make out what the hell is going on.

The number and name he reads is one he didn't speak to for quite some time, so he sits up, "Linh Bo?"

"Happy Birthday, my favorite Idol!" his childhood friend's voice squeals out of the speaker, and Namjoon can see Taehyung squirming in the bed next to him.

"Just a second, I'm in the bedroom.", He whispers back at her. As quiet as possible he stands up, grabbing his favorite hoodie and makes a beeline for the door, before the other wakes up completely, the soundtrack of Never Let Me Go still echoing through their room.

Taehyung had watched the movie a few weeks ago and fell head over heels for it.

"It's art.", He had told them, eyes bright and honest, "A piece of art! And the story line. It hurts so good."

Namjoon closes the door behind him and tiptoes to the kitchen. All the lights are out. Everyone must be asleep already, and he tries to make no noises, but still manages to stub his toe at the corner, he never fails to miss.

"Now I'm in the kitchen and able to speak.", He says, turning on the lights and grabbing for the kettle to make himself a cup of tea.

He and Linh Bo don't talk too often, but when they do, their phone calls can go on for hours.

"Then again, Happy Birthday, Namjoon-Oppa.", She says warmly, her Chinese accent still lingering, and suddenly his heart squeezes tight. He had missed her, not knowing how much he did.

"Thank you, Linh," He smiles.

"I'm still on time, right?"

And with a short glance at the kitchen clock ticking above the entrance, he nods, completely forgotten that she can't see him, "Yeah, we have a few more minutes."

"Perfect." She says, and he can hear her rattling in her own space, "I don't need to sing for you, right? It might hurt your ears."

"Then, please don't."

She laughs, and it's exactly like it had been years ago. High pitched and squicky, sounding a bit like an excited meerkat, "Tell me then, how was your birthday?"

And he tells her how they mostly worked because that is his life. But also about Seokjin's seaweed soup and Jimin's surprise birthday cake.

"It was a Ryan cake. I almost lost my shit.", He laughs into the speaker, balancing his cup to the couch, the Christmas lights blinking above the window.

"I'm 100 percent sure it wasn't nearly, but you did lose it!"

"You might be right, but have to watch our videos to know!" He curls his feet under his legs and puts the phone aside for a moment to get comfy with his hoodie and the tea, "It was a real surprise. I loved it."

"I can imagine. Jimin-Oppa chooses the perfect gift for you then."

It's innocent and doesn't mean a thing, and still, it makes Namjoon's heart explode. Because, yes, it had been the perfect gift. His entire birthday had been wonderful, from the start till the end.

He woke up with Jimin kneeling between his thighs, tongue twirling around his half-erect cock, and a murmured, "Happy Birthday best leader in the world."

"Fuck." His tired hands automatically moved to Jimin's neck, guiding him to the right place, a muffled groan escaping his lips.

Most of the day they were in the conference room, talking about their Blood, Sweat, and Tears dancing routine as well as their visual concept. Using their breaks for another small blowjob in the bathroom stall, this time Namjoon on his knees and savoring Jimin on his tongue. The cake and then dinner at Harin's restaurant.

He doesn't say any of these things, only mumbles in respond, "It was lovely."

"I'm happy for you.", Linh replies, and then it occurs to him, "Wait, you just said that you are not sure if you're on time. I'm not out of the country, which means you are! Where are you Linh?"

She laughs loudly, the connection cracking with it, "Took you a moment, my old friend. I'm in Vietnam right now for a small project."

"Small project.", He repeats, tea warming his hands.

Linh Bo Huang was not only one of his closest friends since they were seven, but the only other person who understands his complicated mind, because she was a gifted child herself. She knows about the struggle of living with a high IQ, and the pressure society tends to put them under. In comparison to him, however, Linh choose an adequate career path, never got told, she could have done so much more and greater things with her life. She decided to study veterinary medicine and is one of the best in her field, already working on her master degree at the age of twenty-one.

"I'm here to help with the rhino population. You know that the Javan rhinos are almost entirely extinct, there are only a few dozen left, and we try to get them to breed more efficiently. The problem is that the population is still going down, probably because of an implanted disease, and we don't know what to do."

Namjoon loves to listen to her, hear her talk about the job she loves, and always wanted to do.

The first day he met her, she hugged a book so tight to her chest, it must have hurt, and when he asked later what it was about since it was all in Chinese and he didn't know how to read it, she told him it was about Gorillas and Dian Fossey and her work with the great apes.

Linh Bo had been only seven years old, but she told him proudly, tipping her huge glasses back and playing with the short strands of her hair, that one day she is doing something similar, something to change the world, and maybe one day she is allowed to hug a silverback as well.

"I'm so happy for you.", He says out of nowhere, "You can be so proud of yourself, Linh."

"Oh, don't get sappy, Joonie. Or I might cry."

"Still, you were always so passionate, it inspires me a lot.", He continues, ignoring her sniffles, "Did you know I had an enormous crush on you?"

"You did not!"

He can't help but grin at her tone, "I did. Realized it at my birthday party, remember? When you wore the rubber boots with ladybug pattern?"

"Oh my god, I do! My mother has a picture of us on her fridge, you know that?"

It makes him cradle the cup even gentler, all warm and fuzzy in the inside, "That day I wanted to hold your hand so desperately. Kyungmin noticed and tease me like hell about it for almost an entire year."

He still remembers how often his sister walked by his side and sung, "Linh Bo and Kim Namjoon are sitting on a tree and NOT kissing because he is a coward!"

Somehow, nothing had changed, he thinks, remembering her high pitched scream when he tried to push her off the chair. He is still a coward, thinking of the man sleeping in the other room.

"I loved the shoes. They were really cute." He says and means it, "You should wear them again."

"Just imagine, in the middle of the Vietnamese jungle on my way to search for rhinos, me in rubber boots with a ladybug pattern. No one would take me seriously."

And he imagines it, all behind his closed eyelids, "It would be so funny."

"It would."

And then she is silent for a while, Namjoon drinking his tea, watching the lights flickering and thinking about the girl he had been in love when he didn't comprehend what love was. She is the only other person he felt this strongly about next to Jimin and Donghyuk.

It's funny, he thinks, because sometimes he still loves her a bit, just because she is the person she always was and makes him feel at ease.

"Thank you, Joonie.", She whispers, and he doesn't understand what she means by it.

"Why are you thanking me?"

"For loving me. It makes me feel..." Namjoon hears her swallow, chuckling on the other end of the line, "...precious and loved. Although you don't love me like that anymore, right?"

He wants to laugh about her sneaky question because no, he doesn't want to hold her hand anymore, not with that intention, "No, I don't. But I still think that the rubber boots would be cute. You should wear them from time to time."

"Then send me some. You are the rich boy, making money being a star and stuff.", She counters, laughing loudly, all meerkat squeaking, "It's going well for you, isn't it? I try to stay up to date with your music."

"It's going very well. I think you are going to like the new concept."

And he tells her about it. Confidential information, he shouldn't leak out, but Linh Bo never told anyone before, so he doesn't care.

He tells her about their new hair colors, they don't have until so far. Their songs and music, and the way it makes him jittery with enthusiasm because he wants to share it with ARMY and the world already.

And he tells her, in small words and without much content, that he has a crush on someone. That the crush might not be a crush, but he's in love.

"You are in love, are you?" Linh says after he ranted about Jimin's lips and voice and the way he moves and talks and how utterly kind he can be but a devil as well if he wants to, and he can hear her smile. Namjoon doesn't tell her who it is. Not yet.

"I am."

 

December 2016

 

Namjoon sits in the van between Hoseok and Jeongguk. It's already getting dark outside, the streetlights bright and beautiful. He wishes he would sit at the window except for their maknae and could more easily watch the passing cars and lively shops outside.

Namjoon took off the choker his stylist-noona forced around his neck prior this day in order to breath properly, playing with it in his hands. He lets the velvet fabric run through his fingers. Why is it always so much softer when it is not around his neck?

"I hate those things.", he murmurs, earning a small chuckle from Jeongguk.

"I think Jiminie likes it on you."

Namjoon thinks Jeongguk might be right about that. He still feels Jimin's wandering hands on his body and the tightness around his cock after they won their first Daesang for Young Forever two weeks before.

The moment they stumbled back into their home, tired, excited, overwhelmed, Jimin sent Jeongguk away, "I don't care where you sleep tonight, Kookie, but not in your room.", and then grabbed Namjoon by the hands and sent him flying onto his bed.

"Don't you dare and take off that choker.", Jimin had growled into his ear, tearing away his jacket and red shirt until Namjoon was lying utterly naked except for the choker around his neck in bed, toes curling with how fantastic it felt.

Needless to say, they fucked the whole night like rabbits, and now even Seokjin seems to know or at least suspects about them. Namjoon doesn't care, and apparently, neither does Jimin.

Now, they are in the van on their way to the MAMA's in Hongkong, and Namjoon is nervous. Nervous for multiple reasons, like performing, hoping for yet another Daesang, but not daring to wish for it, for failing.

He doesn't know what exactly it is, how could they even fail? This year has been a blast until so far.

Maybe he's scared Jeongguk falls, the wires not stable enough to cushion the fall, or anyone of them slips on stage or anything to make them fail miserably. Fail, because they are now rising artists and allowed to perform at the MAMA's. They worked incredibly hard, and Namjoon knows that the performance will be amazing if nothing goes wrong.

He can't explain what makes him tense, but Hoseok seems to feel his uneasiness and gently holds him by the wrists. It's amazing how empathic Hoseok can be. Namjoon had said it before, and he still stands with it: Hoseok would have been an astounding leader, knowing them inside-out and always being able to make them feel better, knowing the right words to say.

The moment the doors of their car open and they step out and down the red carpet, everything is a blur.

Camera flashes blinding him, people screaming. They're bowing their greetings, their gratefulness for being allowed to be there. He can hear Taehyung whispering next to Yoongi, hears his own heartbeat in his ears, and smiles. Smiles bright and happy. He is happy.

He feels Jimin's small hand in the dip of his back when they walk through one of the doors, out of sight from the cameras, and then follows Sejin down the vast hallway where their steps echo from the walls. Ushered into their backstage room where the rest of their make-up will be applied. Their team is already there, loud, antsy, scurrying around, shouting orders, and asking for paraphernalia they need.

His stylist-noona, Seoyeon, fusses disbelievingly when she sees that he removed the choker, "Where did you leave it?"

"In the car, I think.", He mumbles, trying to hide the choker in his sleeve, Seoyeon is always scary when she gets stressed, but he knows she loves his dimples, so when he smiles at her, all bright and dimple showing, she only flicks a finger against his temple, "If your head weren't connected to your neck, Kim Namjoon, you would lose it on your way through life."

He smiles even brighter, thankful that her light bickering helps him to ignore the growing nervousness, "You are absolutely right, Noona."

She pinches him, but a fond smile appears on her lips, and she indicates him to lift up his head, so she can work on his eye make-up.

From the corner of his eyes, he can see the other walking hectically through the room. Jeongguk talking to the camera about him being the intro, grinning from ear to ear, and scrunching up his nose, while Jimin sings, warms up his voice, and Namjoon thinks it sounds utterly beautiful. Taehyung sits with his chest against the back of the chair and waits patiently for another stylist to apply the marks on his back. He's humming quietly under his breath, Jeongguk watching him with an affectionate smile, while Hoseok rehearses his dance moves with a stern expression on his already perfect face. Yoongi is talking to another camera, mumbling quietly, and Namjoon fears that the team won't be able to hear his words later, with the tumult around them. Jimin singing, Seokjin's jokes, and Hoseok's movements, the stressed shouts of their staff.

He wants to shake them all and tell them to sit still for a few seconds, but he knows that they need this before going on stage. It takes away the jitteriness. Instead, he takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and tries to fade out the metaphorical whirlwind around him. Only feeling Seoyeon's brush on his skin and her gentle fingers moving his head the way she needs it to work without disturbance.

There is a knock, and then Chanyeol emerges around the corner, "You still have some time?"

And Jimin nods, smiling, following his friend and EXO rapper out of the room, while Namjoon is sitting on the chair, Seoyeon applying more make-up on his face and can't follow them.

The sick churning in his stomach makes him want to tear his entrails out and throw it into the trashcan next to him, followed by his painfully jumping heart.

"I'm going to search for another choker, you wait here, alright?", Seoyeon says, patting his shoulder and vanishes in the crowd.

He closes his eyes again, trying to ignore everything, exhaling loudly. Silently praying she doesn't find another choker.

He feels a hand on his arm, squeezing lightly and Hoseok says, "Jealousy doesn't suit you, my friend."

"Doesn't suit a soul, but thanks for telling me that I'm apparently an open book to everyone who might look my way."

"You're not.", the dancer replies and sits down next to him, white shirt moving and revealing a bit of a collar bone, and Namjoon thinks, ARMY would have a feast, "I don't think a lot of people recognize the twitch above your right eyebrow as jealousy. More like normal irritation."

"Well, it's both today."

"You know Chanyeol isn't interested in Jiminie, right?"

"Sure he isn't.", Namjoon responds, blinking a few times, always looking around for eavesdroppers.

The other snorts quietly, "Chanyeol-Hyung already has a very special person in his life, he's not interested in your little dancer."

He heard about the rumors. Obviously, all of them heard about matching wedding rings and soft glances. But they are rumors, and Namjoon doesn't listen to them, doesn't want to get influenced by things like that. He always makes his own mind about things, never wants something like this to influence his opinion about the people around him. It might be one of the reasons why he often ignored the audition tapes and met the new trainees with a blank page. Ready to be written on with his own observations.

"Not now, Hyung, please.", He says, seeing from the corner of his eye Jimin coming back, looking utterly normal, sending him a small smile, "Let's concentrate on the performance."

"I know it's a bad moment, but maybe you should actually start to talk to him about it. It's almost a year since I know about your feelings."

Is it already? It didn't feel like it, the year almost over again. Almost one year since he realized how much he likes Jimin, almost one year gone by since their kiss. Time flies by he wants to say, but stops. He doesn't want to sound like his grandmother or the other ajummas in Ilsan sitting in the public park and playing chess.

Namjoon looks at him with critical eyes, "Can we not talk about it here, with all the cameras and shit?"

"Then, will you talk to him about it?"

Namjoon shrugs his shoulders, "Eventually. Not yet."

"You're an idiot.", the other mutters, shaking his head disbelievingly and stands up to join the maknae line doing shit.

Namjoon feels like he actually starts to understand what all his friends are trying to tell him since this all began nearly two years ago. You are an idiot for not realizing that you would fall for Jimin, and then jumping into this friends with benefits situation without being remotely prepared about it.

They are so right: he is an idiot.

He sighs, hands automatically coming up to rub at his eyes, and he can hear the faint scream of Seoyeon, hands outstretched, "DON'T YOU DARE SMUDGE MY WORK!"

 

When they get the O.K. to go on stage, Namjoon is ready.

The fear, the worries, the nervous jittery is gone. Namjoon is gone and replaced by RapMonster, the artist. The stage persona.

It's incredible how much more confident he feels when he plugs the in-ear finally in and checks his microphone for the very last time before he rolls his shoulders and steps up to the stage.

He sees Jimin fiddling with the red blindfold before he vanishes to go up on stage, one last wink into Namjoon's direction.

Namjoon knows the other man will be astonishing, and still, there is a small pinch in his belly that he won't be able to see Jimin and Hoseok's dancing to Boy Meets Evil from the front line, but has to watch it later on YouTube.

Wings, in total and like predicted, was a blast. After the album released, they all sat together in their small living room, handing the soju around, bickering, laughing, and talking all over each other.

They were and still are very proud of this era of their career.

"I like this concept a lot.", Seokjin had said, smiling at the small cover of their physical records.

When he is on stage, dancing, rapping, performing for ARMY, he doesn't care where he is. The second the first notes of Blood Sweat and Tears start, it doesn't matter that they are at one of the most significant award ceremonies of the year and perform on stage. He can see Jimin dancing in front of him, hips moving to the beat of their song, and Namjoon never felt like their lyrics were more accurate.

Everything works out fine, they are incredible, and Namjoon feels kind of invincible.

After, their faces clean from sweat, hair blow-dry again, and make-up fixed, they sit next to the stage, watching the other artist perform and watching the prize-giving.

They are nominated as well. Artist of the year, next to EXO, Twice and Gfriend and Taeyeon. Big groups and well-known artists, and Namjoon and the other feel thankful to be nominated for such an award, but know that they won't get it. It couldn't be.

So, he isn't really listening when the MC talks that she would like to give them all an award but only focuses on her face, smiling when she scrunches up her nose, because of the situation.

"I will announce the winner.", she says, the screaming around them getting louder while she fumbles with the paper cube, "The winner is..."

 Seokjin is clutching his hand so tight it hurts, and Namjoon can feel Jimin's right leg jumping up and down, bouncing. It's not going to be them, probably EXO, well-deserved, because Monster had been fantastic.

The MC leans to the microphone, double checks the written winner on the small golden card, smiles, and reads, "Bangtan Sonyeondan. Congratulations!"

The hall explodes with noises, and Namjoon can't believe it.

She must misread it, Seokjin's hand grasping even tighter and Jimin's leaning forward, hands shielding his ears and head.

He can faintly hear him mumbling, "Oh my god. Oh my fucking god."

Namjoon's hand reaches out, squeezes Jimin's leg while he moves to stand up, his own legs shaking.

They won.

Artist of the year.

He can't believe it, even when their song starts to play, drowning the noises of their fans and the audience a little bit. He's walking towards the stand, where they receive the award, Taehyung right next to him, looking around with big, incredulous eyes. Looking as shocked as he feels.

They won, fucking hell, they won! His hands come up, and he can just suppress the urge to rub over his face, still hearing Seoyeon's shout in his mind, but presses them together and holds them against his nose. He feels the tears tickling in his eyes, blinking rapidly. He can't cry now. Doesn't want to.

And shit, he has to talk, right? The others won't do it, which means he has to concentrate now, be professional. He can be happy-excited jumping around later, just like Jimin and Yoongi do behind him, still walking down the path. And why is it such a long way? It feels like hours.

When they finally reach the stand and the MC, the award is handed into his own hands, bowing their thanks, he doesn't know what to say. His head is empty, and his eyes wet, still trying to suppress the tears coming up.

"Army.", He says into the mic, leaning down to it, and he rather feels than sees or hears the upcoming tears in his friends, group members, and brother's eyes, "Thank you so much."

Jimin is turned to him, watching him through wet eyes and a tiny, proud smile on his beautiful face. Lover.

"Seriously.", Namjoon starts blinking, taking one breath after another and trying to focus on this, "We went through a lot since we debuted, and there were people who said we wouldn't make it."

Sometimes it was another artist, judging them for their choices, like all those times they were cut out of broadcasts and shows, performances not even uploaded to YouTube or calling them girls for wearing make-up on stage. Sometimes it was one of them, doubting they would ever make it. Whispering their anxious thoughts out in the night, in their shitty apartment, seven boys sleeping in one room. Namjoon still remembers Taehyung's high teenage voice, nights after they finally debuted, "Do you think we'll make it?"

It had been dark already, and Namjoon thought the others were already asleep, but after Taehyung's voice rang through the air, the soft breathing around them stopped, and it was so utterly silent; it was deafening.

"Yes, yes I think we can make it.", Yoongi had said, sitting up in his own bed and reaching for the other boy from Daegu, "We can do it."

He remembers them huddled together, hardships crashing down on them like angry waves on a ship during a storm.

"Thanks for believing in us until the end. This is something we only dreamed about, so thank you for making our dream a reality.", His voice breaks, and god, why does he have to do the speech?

From the corner of his eyes, he can see first Jeongguk and then Seokjin starting to sob, tears streaming down their cheeks, and he knows it would be a good idea to wrap this up. So he thanks their company, the people who always stood behind them, helped them to make it this far. He even mentions Donghyuk, a small smile is stealing on Yoongi's face.

"And ARMY's all over the world.", The noises become deafening again, ringing in his ears, "Let's fly with our beautiful wings in 2017 as well. BTS loves ARMY's as always. Thank you very much!"

It trips Yoongi over the edge, he can see it. His friend's hand rising up to shield his face, not caring for his make-up or stage persona, turning away and shoulders shaking with the sobs spilling over his lips. They all hug, and he's still rambling things into the microphone, but he can't remember the words right after they left his mouth, feeling his Hyung crying next to him.

He doesn't know how they got backstage again, hugging again, pressing Yoongi against his chest, listening to his exclamations, and fuck. This is so surreal.

They won. They made it. They finally made it.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Later that night, after Namjoon talked to his excited parents on the phone, sent his sister a dozen smileys, and comes out of the shower on shaking legs, he still feels like he's walking through a fog. Or a dream.

 

ChimChim: Tell me, why is Kookie in Tae and my hotel room, lying on my bed and telling me that I am in the wrong place?

 

It was planned that he shares his room with Jeongguk in Hong Kong, but now, now he needs. He needs to feel Jimin, wants to be with him, rides this wave of exhilaration after winning once again. Winning so big.

 

RapMon: Bc, you're in the wrong room. Come over now. I'll even wear a choker again if you want to.

ChimChim: I'm on my way.

 

Namjoon sits on his bed, wearing nothing but the bathrobe and holds the choker in his hands, for the eventuality that Jimin wants him to wear it. He is nervous like he hasn't been for a very long time.

He can hear the door opening, and then Jimin steps into his room, only wearing a huge woolen jumper and his sweatpants, the small bag hanging from his shoulders.

"Hi." He says, letting the bag slide to the floor and surveys Namjoon from head to toe, "Are you alright?"

"I want you to sleep with me.", He whispers, voice shaking.

They talked about it. A year ago, and a few rare times during the last months. Namjoon had said, he didn't mind letting Jimin be on top, and he meant it. Until now, they didn't do it like this. It just never happened, and Jimin never asked, never took the initiative.

He walks over to Namjoon, climbing on his lap, "I need to take a shower and, you know, prep' me, before we can do anything."

Namjoon's hands circle around the other's waist, nose burying into his chest. The jumper is soft and tickles his irritated skin. The make-up remover always leaves his skin feeling tight and irritated.

"You don't need to.", He whispers, slowly looking up through his lashes, searching for his reaction, "If you want to."

Namjoon has stretched himself in the shower, head against the tiles, panting quietly, thinking about Jimin, and how good he would feel.

Jimin's eyes go wide when he understands the meaning behind his words, mouth turning into a small round shape.

Namjoon's heart his pounding against his chest, it almost hurts, and his mouth is dry, "Do you? Want to, that is."

Instead of answering, Jimin slowly lets his hands wander through Namjoon's wet hair, down his neck, and then under the white fabric of his bathrobe. Loosening it until it slides off his shoulders and leaves him bare. Jimin nods, biting his lips hard, and Namjoon can feel the growing erection against his stomach.

Jimin stands up, takes a few steps back, and just looks at him. Taking him in. He can feel his stare on his naked skin, feeling like he discloses so much more than just his exposed body.

"Can you please take off your clothes?" He exhales, stuttering into the room, a prickling feeling rising under his skin.

Jimin nods and lifts his jumper over his head, leaving his hair disheveled. He's a bit leaner than the last years, muscles still prominent, rippling with every movement under the soft lights in the room, but he lost the bulky image from their debut times. Namjoon doesn't mind either, as long as Jimin is happy and healthy and comfortable in his own skin. His small hands push down the pants, and then he stands in yet another hotel room in a different country, naked, except for some hideous Christmas socks on his feet.

Namjoon can barely conceal the snort when he sees the reindeer on the fabric, "Cute."

Jimin follows his glance and turns bright red, smiling softly, "You think so?"

"Yeah."

"How do you want to do it? Is there a position you like the best?" He looks a bit anxious, hands in his hair.

Namjoon thinks that it's such a wonderful thing that they are so comfortable with each other that they don't feel the need to hide away their naked groins, erect penises proudly on display. With anyone else, he might have felt uneasy, but not with Jimin.

"I'm not sure. It has been a while.", He answers him, holding out a hand, winking him closer. When the dancer is within reach, Namjoon lets his finger wander. Feeling the soft skin, the small trail of hair growing at his belly button, going down. He kisses Jimin's strong stomach, feeling him twitch under his lips, the wet head of his cock brushing his throat.

"Then it might be a good idea to do it doggy. The easiest way to reach the prostate, right?" Jimin pants, already riling up under Namjoon's soft touches.

Before he can answer, the dancer goes down on his knees, hands pushing Namjoon's legs to make some room and starts to kiss and lick at every path of skin he encounters. Palm soothes over the inside of Namjoon's thighs, where he's always been sensitive, making him choke on a whine.

"Shit," he breathes, voice deep and guttural when Jimin's lips wrap around his leaking cock. He can feel the flush rising on his chest, fingers gently touching his testicles, trailing behind them, and over the sensitive skin.

"Lube?" Jimin murmurs against his groin, and Namjoon fumbles next to him until he finds the bottle of liquid and gives it to him, "Turn over."

Namjoon does, turns, chest lying on the bed, legs shakily standing, and Jimin kneeling behind him. It should feel humiliating, breath ghosting over his rim, making it flutter, but it doesn't. Instead, it makes him shiver, wanting to press back. One hand pulling one of his cheeks aside a bit before there's the soft press of a slick fingertip against him.

"You don't have to prep' me.", he moans, one finger sliding in. These words feel utterly familiar, and Jimin chuckles lightly, teeth grazing over the skin on his butt, "Yeah, I know. But I want to touch you."

The stretch is gentle, a soft burn up his spine since he already did the most under the shower earlier, but it's still different when another person touches him there.

Jimin curls his finger, and it's a bit too short, barely touching his prostate, but it's still so good it makes his eyes water. His other hand is kneading Namjoon's leg, massaging the tense muscle, "Shit, you have such beautiful legs."

"Shut up.", He shakily says, head falling down on one of his forearms, slowly thrusting back against Jimin's finger and arching his back when he feels another pushing in, "Fuck."

"Such beautiful, beautiful legs.", Jimin murmurs again, standing up and leaning over him, licking his neck, and Namjoon can feel his penis against his leg.

"Jimin, please."

"Are you ready?" and his voice is husky, right behind his ear, making him shiver, and fuck yes, he is ready.

He clenches around nothing when Jimin pulls his fingers back, but he doesn't let him wait too long. He can hear the wrapping of the condom tearing apart, and then there is more lube, slightly cold, and he's wincing at the sensation, "Sorry."

Jimin hands are on his hips, drawing soothing circles on his skin while he slowly presses in, inch by inch, and Namjoon gasps.

He totally forgot how it feels to be penetrated. Being with Mark feels like a lifetime ago, and the occasional finger inside is by no means any comparison.

Jimin isn't precisely on the big side, more average, but it still burns, and for a few moments, Namjoon thinks he can't breathe.

"You do so well.", the other whispers, quivering, trailing hot open-mouth kisses down his spine, not moving, "You feel so good, Joonie. Fuck, I've never thought it could be like this. It feels so different."

And Namjoon remembers that this is Jimin's first time doing it with a guy. It makes his heart burst open, knowing he is the first man Jimin ever did this to.

It makes him move his hip, the sting shooting up his spine mingling with pure fucking bliss, and he groans, "Shit, move. Move already."

And now, that Jimin got permission, he starts to push inside him. First, it's incredibly gentle, making him get used to the feeling of Jimin moving inside him. Hands wandering over Namjoon's back and ass, gripping one leg to pull it up on the bed. He can feel Jimin sucking a mark on the spot between his shoulders, licking the skin softly. When he feels how responsive Namjoon gets, pushing back with every thrust, Jimin gets bolder. Fucking harder into him. The pace isn't brutal, or even fast, just more deliberate, angling his hips until he brushes over Namjoon's prostate all the time.

The new position gives it a kind of intensity that makes the blood boil in Namjoon's veins and inhaling feels kind of impossible. He's sucking on every breath, leaning onto his hands, panting into the room. His penis rubs over the fabric with every thrust. He can see that his cock is leaving a clear trail of liquid behind, precum dropping on the bed. His head spins, fireworks go off behind his tightly squeezed eyelids and fuck.

It feels so hot and heavy and fucking perfect. Jimin, who had been on the receiving end more than they both can count now, knows what feels good and what makes his toe's curl with pleasure.

Jeongguk had been right.

He had been so fucking right. It feels so much better when you actually like someone. When you are in love with the other person.

The groan spilling over his lips is almost animalic, harsh, and broken. He moves one arm behind him, trying to reach for Jimin, and then the other's hand finds his. Finger interlacing with each other. It's almost romantic, he thinks, and a light chuckle bubbles in his chest, gradually becoming louder and louder, but end up in moans.

They hips slam together, making his teeth clutter, and Namjoon thinks he might actually manage to come untouched if they continue like that, the friction against the beddings enough.

"Joon-ah." Jimin's voice sounds utterly devastated, and Namjoon can't keep his torso up anymore. Arm quivering, and he collapses on the bed, face to the side, trying to breathe properly. Jimin doesn't let go of his hand, only pulls it up, above his head and buries his mouth between Namjoon's shoulderblades again, panting against his heated skin, "Joon-ah. Fuck, you feel so good."

Jimin is mumbling nonsense against his shoulder, lips brushing against his skin, and Namjoon can feel his hole clenching violently.

"Shit, shit, shit.", Hips stutter, cock jerking inside him, and still brushing the sensitive spot inside him.

He feels Jimin's other hand fumbling at his side, and then a warm hand wraps around his throbbing cock, squeezing his head lightly.

It's enough, the swirling feeling of his desire in his crotch dissolving in a climax, washing over him in giant waves.

He knows his mouth is open in a silent shout, Jimin still moving inside him, and he feels kind of dizzy, might have blacked out for a few seconds or a few hours. But when he comes back to his senses, he's lying on the bed, Jimin seated between his legs, kissing his chest and neck, stroking his arms and sides.

"Hey there.", The younger whispers, smiling brightly, and Namjoon's hands find their way in Jimin's hair on their own. He likes the blond, it suits him.

"Hi." He exhales, sending Jimin into a silent fit of laughter, "I think you damaged my brain."

"That's kind of the best compliment I got for a long while now."

"Really?" Namjoon asks, feeling his limbs getting heavier and his eyes dropping, "Are you sure that this was the best?"

"We're talking about your brain, right?"

"Yeah.", Namjoon mumbles, hugging him tighter, feeling himself drifting into unconsciousness.

"Then it's a pretty big compliment, trust me."

"Jimin.", burying his nose behind Jimin's ear, breathing his scent in, his voice slurred with tiredness and spend from the orgasm.

Namjoon doesn't know if his words are audible, mumbling while falling asleep.

When he wakes up a few hours later in need to go to the loo, Jimin's legs are tangled with his own, and his fingers lying on Namjoon's chest, right above his heart.

 

 

March 2017

 

Their new flat is not home until so far.

They are living in it for almost two months, and Namjoon still wants to walk back to their old home when he comes out of the studio late at night. The scent in the air is all wrong, the arrangement of their furniture is all wrong, the new kitchen too big and too pale. All chrome and white. All wrong.

The feeling he gets in their new home is different than it had been when they moved into their last flat. It is the same as two years ago, it smells like fresh paint and new wooden furniture, and they all stumble through the new space, not knowing where anything is, searching for things, hitting their elbows on corners, they forgot would be there, and it feels stupid.

He can understand that the management thought it would only be fitting to get them into a better, more luxurious home since they are becoming more and more famous with every passing day. Every single time Namjoon opens the Twitter APP he sees that their followers have increased over night, their vlives getting more and more attention, and a few ask for collaborations reached their mailbox. And still, he can't really understand why they needed to move since their old home had been good enough, and they are out of the country more days than not. But there was no point to voice it out loud, so he said his good-bye reluctantly.

Like predicted, Jeongguk got the only single room, winning after rock paper scissors.

"He always knows what Jin and Yoongi-Hyung will do.", Taehyung had whispered from his place on the couch, grinning.

Namjoon likes his room with Taehyung, likes that the other man listens to classic before sleeping, and they often talk until late at night, about lyrics and life and friendship and art.

He'd always liked to talk to Taehyung, who has such a different, but unique view on the world.

They get along very well. Only a few times, Namjoon had to send the other to the bed and scold him because of his all-nighter gaming sessions.

Those are the only positive things he has to say about the move and that he's going to get his own new studio.

All this, and more, he tells Kyungmin when they meet at Le Chemin vers les étoiles for their last dinner together before she goes to study in Rome for an entire year. Their father finally gave in and let her move abroad.

It's not like he sees her much anyway, but still, it feels final that for once, she is going away, and not him.

They are sitting on one of the smaller tables on the upper floor, where they are undisturbed and out of the public eye. The spheres shining softly, and she looks so grown-up.

Sometimes, Namjoon forgets that his sister is an adult now, just like him, and not the little girl with two fishbone braids and wearing a school uniform that day he sat in a bus on his way to Seoul, waving his good-bye.

Now, she wears her hair cut into a wavy bob, and her lips are painted dark red, almost black. She doesn't take a schoolbag with her anymore, but a creme-colored purse just big enough for her wallet, a planner, and a few pens.

"You should try it, Oppa.", She had said, handing him her planner, all self-made, "Bullet journaling is very meditative, and it's fun."

"I don't have time for this.", He responded, but still admired the small artworks between her daily to-do lists and appointments, decorated with cute stickers and washi tapes.

"The new haircut suits you.", He says, still looking her up and down, after they sat down on the table, "You look so grown-up, Min-ah."

She snorts, dark red mouth turning into a huge grin, "Hogwash, Oppa! I look like always."

"Well, then I must have missed it.", He shakes his head, thoughtfully, and for a moment, she looks sad. He gets it, they both missed so much of their lives due to the distance and busy days. Sometimes he feels like someone, he, made a break when he was barely sixteen, and now he missed out on all the strange and funny stuff other siblings talk about during the wedding speech to embarrass the shit out of each other.

There is a soft ping and Namjoon can feel the phone vibrate with yet another message, he's never alone with his family. Being a star, he still can't use the term without cringing, it comes with it.

"By the way, would it be a problem if Jiminie and Taehyungie join us later? They still have vocal training until six, but when I told them that this is the last time before you are going to abandon us, they asked if they could come as well."

"I'm not going to abandon you!" She shrieks quietly, hand stretching over to slap his arm, "No, no, I would be happy to see them."

"All right, I'm going to message them that they can come. They would probably have come anyway, but it's better to ask, right."

She nods, reaching for the menu, and he can see her ears and the tip of her nose turning red, "Will Hobi-Oppa come as well?"

"No, not as far as I know. Should I ask him?"

She hums, legs bouncing under the table, and Namjoon can't see her face, hidden behind the galaxy-colored paper, but her voice sounds a bit uncertain, "Only if he wants to."

"Is everything alright between you two?"

Namjoon knows that they both started to text each other more often over the last few months. Kyungmin, because she wanted to rant about her university and their father and life in general, and Hoseok, because he wanted to talk to someone outside their group, but still familiar enough that he didn't need to hide any specific information. They are friends for a very long time now, and it only developed naturally to talk to each other more often.

Until now, Namjoon never thought twice about their closeness, but now, seeing his sister blushing and unsure about her actions towards his friend and Hyung, he wonders.

"What's happened between you two?" He was never really patient with Kyungmin before, just because she's a grown woman now, won't change his behavior towards her.

"Nothing.", She yelps, smashing the menu on the table and sends him a stern look, nude colored-nails clicking on the wood, "What are you implying?"

"I don't know. You two are just very...cozy with each other for a while now, and.", Namjoon had seen his friend retrieve to chat with his sister multiple times, and maybe, he should ask his friend what this is about.

"Listen.", Kyungmin says, leaning towards him a bit, voice getting darker, and sometimes Namjoon is a bit scared of her, "Hobi-Oppa was very heartbroken because of Heeyoung-Unnie, and we talked a lot about it, but only this: Talking. Just for the last two months, he's a bit distracted, I would say. At first, I thought it is because you guys are very busy at the moment, and it's over a year ago since she left him, and it might have hit him a bit. But now. I don't know. I'm a bit worried about him."

As far as Namjoon can recall, Hoseok didn't act any indifferently in the last weeks. He might have said something about his ex-girlfriend now being with a new partner, but he didn't really seem to mind. Being happy for her happiness, just the way Hoseok is.

They are incredibly busy again. Just preparing to go to Hawaii for Bon Voyage season two and it is a bit hectic at the moment, she is right about that, but Hoseok never said anything about being more stressed than usual.

"I can ask him if you want to.", Namjoon answers, seeing her trouble, and getting his phone out of the pocket to look up the messages, tell the boys they are welcome, and ask Hoseok to come as well.

"That would be very kind, and I appreciate it, Joon-ah.", She replies, now scanning the menu again.

 

RM: Do you want to come to Harin for dinner as well?

I'mHope: When?

RM: Now, or later with Jimin and Tae. Kyungmin and I are already here.

I'mHope: Kyungmin?

RM: Yeah, last day before she leaves for Rome, already forgot?

I'mHope: Of course not. I get the boys. :)

RM: Is there something going on between you two?

I'mHope: Who?

RM: You and my sister.

I'mHope: O.ô...nope.

RM: Hyung!

 

"He's coming with the other two.", Namjoon says, smiling at her when he received an affectionate laugh.

From the corner of his eyes, he sees Misun walking up the stairs, a dark silver apron around her hips and black boots loud on the wood. It is almost normal to see the girl in the restaurant as well. Misun helps her sister out a few times a week since she started university last semester, and want to save money for who knows what.

"You already know what you want?" She asks, all dark make-up and sharp angles, "And, does Kooks' come as well?"

Namjoon shakes his head, "Sorry, he has to pre-film for a broadcast tonight."

She clicks with her tongue, smiling, "Shame, you guys are so busy all the time. I wanted to show him the new shirts for the next LOL championship. My team got nominated."

"Congratulations."

They talk a little bit longer, telling her what they would like to get to drink, what food they would recommend today, but want to wait until the others come as well.

"That's so funny, then almost all BTS members are here again. Only Kooks' and Yoongi-Hyung are going to missing again."

"Jin-Hyung is here?"

She makes a grimace, "Yeah, he's in the kitchen, making all lovey faces and ogling my sister, and the last time I checked, they stirred the soup together. Got a few disgusting Ghost vibes, you know? The movie from the nineties."

"Urgh." Namjoon makes, shaking his head, earning a burst of laughter from his sister, "Oh come on, the movies isn't so bad."

Namjoon shares a short glance with Misun, who shakes her head in disbelieve, "And I thought you've got some taste."

"MISUN-AH!" He hears Harin shout up, and the girl winces, "Oh, well, I have to go now and actually work. See you."

"She's funny.", His sister says, all smiles and bright eyes, "Are she and Kook-ah dating?"

"No, no, they are not. Kookie works hard to finally win Taehyung's heart."

"Still working on that?" She snorts, putting the menu aside and fiddling with the handle of her bag, "Isn't it going on for years now?"

"They are going to figure it out, eventually.", Namjoon says, eyebrows raised, "We collectively decided to not interfere, you know."

"You're sure it is a good idea? Maybe if you just push them in the right direction.", She shrugs her shoulder and thanking Misun silently, who brings them their drinks, vanishing again, as fast as she came, "How about you then?"

"Me?!" Namjoon chokes on his tea, coughing a bit, "What's about me?"

"Are you finally dating someone?" Kyungmin asks, smirking at him like the devil, "I know for sure you told Eomma about your sexuality."

"Did she tell you?"

He should have known that his mother would go and scream it from the rooftops. At least he didn't need to go through it during Chuseok, sitting at the table and smiling over his very nontraditional sexuality.

"No, she actually started to include LGBT+ topics in her talks at the dinner table, like, she dropped pieces of information all the time. It was hilarious." Kyungmin states, changing her voice to imitate her and she actually sounds exactly like their mother, "'Have you heard that the lady at the supermarket has a bisexual daughter?' or 'I wish Korea would be a bit more open-minded about homosexuals, what do you think?'. She even bought Appa a whole bunch of gay books for his birthday, but I think a few of them are homoerotic. He might get a shock from reading them."

Namjoon can only imagine his father in his study, sitting in the old wingchair, listening to Brahms in the background, long legs stretched out, and reading a book about gay love, face changing into a surprised grimace.

"Oh god.", He starts to giggle, face hidden behind his fingers, eyes squeezed tight, "Can you imagine his face?"

His sister starts to laugh as well, "Yeah, and you know him. He's going to read every last sentence, so he can tell her about it and explain what he liked about the book. This is going to be so, so awkward."

Now, Namjoon can't stop thinking about it, imagine of his parents sitting in their bed, Rapmon lying to their feet, and he telling her in all details about the sexual encounters of the books, "Oh my god, we have to stop them."

"We?" His sister hollers, "We? Nope, you! You are the queer family member, do it on your own."

"And I thought you are an ally!"

She raises her perfect eyebrow, just like their mother tends to do, "Well, with that, you are on your own. But back to the topic, you didn't really answer."

"About what?"

"You and dating. Do you still meet with the same guy from 2015?"

Namjoon actually blushes, and it must be answer enough, because his sister nods approvingly, "You still haven't told me who it is."

For a moment, he thinks about not telling her, ignoring her blunt questions, but even his mother knows by now, so he states, licking over his dry lips, "It's Jimin."

"Really?" She tilts her head for a moment, eyes wide, "Why am I not surprised about this?"

He shrugs his shoulders, taking a sip from the tea. It's hibiscus with lemon and ginger. To soothes his throat in the cold winter time and actually not drinking too much sugar in the form of sodas since now even his grandmother had scolded him about his disgusting habit to put ounces of sugar in his coffees and teas.

He can see the door open to the restaurant and Jimin, followed by Hoseok and Taehyung coming in.

"Is it just a fling, or do you actually have feelings for him?"

"Kyungmin." He says with a warning tone, "Let's not talk about it now, please."

"Why? We just started the conversation."

"No, no.", He interrupts her and jerks his chin towards the stairs, where the others come up, looking flushed from the cold winds. She makes an apologizing face at him and stands up to greet them properly.

They take turns to embrace his sister into a hug, and Jimin sits down next to Namjoon without a second thought. Hand finding his knee automatically, "Your fingers are cold."

"Sorry, sorry.", Jimin mumbles, fiddling with his scarf and shrugging off the coat, still not really letting go of Namjoon's thigh, "Couldn't find my gloves."

He puts away his black beanie, and his pink hair looks disheveled, a bit like cotton candy. Namjoon loves this look on Jimin. Light pink hair, big brown eyes. He looks beautiful, soft, and so, so cute, it makes Namjoon want to bounce up and down, cooing with joy.

Hoseok sits next to his sister, and Namjoon can see him blush from time to time, talking in a respectful tone with her about the upcoming journey to Europe.

Shortly after, Misun joins them to take their order and chat for a few moments with Jimin. She's still unsure how to act around Taehyung, and Taehyung still thinks she's Jeongguk girlfriend, which makes it even more awkward to watch their interactions.

Jimin's hands finally start to get warm again, and he tells Namjoon in a quiet voice about their vocal training, and that he and Yoongi have to give Taehyung more parts.

The lights shine warm, and it feels so much more like home than the building he should call it at the moment.

The mood is comfortable and relaxed, until Taehyung asks rather loudly, "And how are you, Kyungmin-ah? Have you found a boyfriend yet?"

Namjoon sees her blushing, and to his surprise, Hoseok morosely taking sips from his drink.

"Well no, not really.", She answers, picking at the steaming bread in front of her, "Met a guy a few months ago, and we went out on some coffee dates, but now, with me going to Rome, we decided to not meet again until I'm back."

"What?" Namjoon hears about it for the first time, and when he looks at Hoseok, the other isn't even looking at him. So, his friend knows about it, but not him. Why didn't she tell her brother?

"Oh, come on, Joon-Oppa. It's not like I'm a child.", Kyungmin continues, putting a piece of bread into her mouth, "If he's still single and I'm still interested, we'll going to date for real."

"Do you now?"

"Yeah.", She stares him down, making it clear that this not his to judge or dedicate about, so he only sighs, and Kyungmin turns to Jimin, "Well, let's change the topic, shall we. I've watched your performance with Taemin-Oppa at the KBS earlier this year. You were amazing."

On the first January, Jimin performed with Taemin on stage, and they were actually amazing. It was something like a dream come true for the dancer, being on stage with his role model, dancing and performing together, and seeing Jimin happy, made Namjoon happy as well.

At the same time, though, it got kinda hard to ignore his irascible jealousy whenever Jimin went away for another training evening with the other man or the way they talked and hugged backstage after the award shows and fuck, it made Namjoon's blood boil. They are friends, and Namjoon is glad for Jimin, but still. Even now, two months later, he still has to silently talk down his stomach to not growl with envy and possessiveness.

The thing is, he never was like this before, and he doesn't like it. Never felt like crawling out of his skin when he didn't want to share anything. It's not like he would voice his jealousy out loud if they were in a relationship, because Jimin is his own person and can meet and be with whomever he wants to.

Namjoon can feel his sister's eyes on his skin, and he's trying to hide his mixed feelings, but she knows him the best. Knows what's going on inside his mind and says with an evil smirk, "Ahh, and the small interview with Chanyeol. You were so flirty, Oppa."

And yeah, of course, he remembers it as well, the way Jimin smiled and made Chanyeol stutter like a lovesick idiot. Namjoon wanted to punch something, and talking about it now doesn't change it. Carefully, he tries to kick his sister into the shin but hits Hoseok, who's sitting next to her by mistake.

"Sorry.", he mumbles, avoiding his Hyung's reproachful glance, feeling a small hand placed on his leg.

What a mess, he thinks, sipping his tea in silence, what a fucking mess.

 

After dinner, when Kyungmin is safe in her hotel room, Taehyung gaming on the couch, and Jimin still under the shower, Namjoon slips into Hoseok and Jimin's room.

Two small beds next to each other against the darker wall and teddy-lamp between them.

Namjoon likes their room, it's small and kind of homely. The made the best pout of the close quarters, with warm colors, it seems bigger and more open than it actually is.

His Hyung sits cross-legged on his bed, typing something on his phone, and Namjoon asks himself if he's already talking to his little sister again.

Hoseok is watching him, eyes narrowed, and head still turned down, and Namjoon slowly sits down on Jimin's bed. It smells like him, and for a moment, he thinks about just lying down and pulling the blanket over his head. Hiding under the covers until the other comes back from the shower, and they can cuddle.

"So.", He says instead, clasping his hands together, but before he can voice out his question, Hoseok says, "Namjoon-ah. It's not me, alright."

"What?!"

"The guy Kyungmin went out, it's not me.", Hoseok sounds like he wishes it would have been him, "And before you ask. No, I don't have a crush on your sister."

Hoseok blushes furiously, and Namjoon thinks he's lying, badly.

"Alright, it's not you.", Namjoon repeats, rubbing his hands together, "Then what is your problem? Kyungmin said you kind of ignored her messages, and she was really worried about you."

His friend looks up from his phone, puts it away, eyes wide and hopeful, "Was she? I mean, the guy she met. He's..."

He stops, frowning, "You see, he is nice but at the same time not?!"

"You are jealous."

"No!" Hoseok shouts, closes his eyes, and inhales shakily, "OK, let me talk for a moment, Joon-ah. So, besides probably liking your sister a bit more than I thought I would at first when we started to talk more often, I believe that the guy is...ehm...alright?! But at the same time, he kind of demanded Kyungmin to stay in Korea, and told her that her dream to study abroad is shitty."

He stops for a moment, trying to find the right words, and Namjoon gradually understands what he is trying to say.

"And it doesn't matter what I might feel for her, but she shouldn't let people like him tell her that her dreams are worthless or that she isn't good enough for more than being a good housewife and mother and girlfriend. And the guy, kind of, is such a person, and I think she deserves so much more than that. Not like me, you know? It would be nice if she likes me, but I mean, if she wants to be with someone like him and stuff, then it's alright, but yeah."

They are silent for a very long time, only listening to the noises outside the room. Jimin, under the shower, Jeongguk and Taehyung's conversation in the living room and Seokjin preparing breakfast for them in the kitchen while talking to his brother on the phone about a project he doesn't want to speak to them so far. He knows Yoongi already got home earlier, lying in his own bed, sleeping soundly.

Namjoon thinks about what Hoseok said to him, and what he didn't say, but meant.

Your sister is worth a lot, and she shouldn't undervalue herself by giving people like this guy her attention. Her dreams and plans for the future, no matter how mundane they might seem to other people, are still important to her, and therefore, they should be important to the person being with her.

Hoseok has shown Namjoon that he respects his sister for the person she is: a woman who wants to be her own person and have her own experiences. Who has dreams and will fight to make them come true.

Even if he didn't try to get Namjoon's approval, he got it. And if Namjoon is completely honest, his friend had his approval even before his little speech. Not that there has to be any approval since his sister is able to make her own decisions, and it doesn't really matter what Namjoon thinks.

"Thank you.", He simply states and smiles at his friend, who looks gobsmacked.

"What?"

"For caring about her.", He answers, standing up to leave the room again, "Can you tell Jimin that Taehyungie is going to sleep at Kookie's room tonight."

"Can't you tell him yourself?"

"Nope." Namjoon closes the door behind him and slips back into his own room. It's chilly inside, and he shivers a bit, getting into his bed.

 

RM: Don't let anyone ever tell you that your dreams are not interesting enough or that you have to change for anyone.

KyungMin🐨: ... I won't. Where does this come from now?

RM: Just a thought. Talked with Hobi-Hyung btw. He's alright, don't worry, but maybe ask him yourself directly. I think he would appreciate it.

KyungMin🐨: Ok, I'm gonna talk to him. It was a really lovely evening, Oppa, thank you.

RM: You don't have to thank me, it goes without saying.

KyungMin🐨: Can I ask you something?

RM: Sure.

KyungMin🐨: Why don't you tell Jimin-Oppa?

RM: Ah. I wondered when you would go back to that topic. ;) Honestly, it's never the right moment. I think about a way to do it, planned something, it's just complicated, you know.

KyungMin🐨: You should tell him.

RM: I know, and I will, soon.

 

The door opens, and Jimin steps into his room like so many times before, "Hey."

"Hi." He says, puts his phone away, and lifts the covers for the other to crawl in, feet ice cold.

"Why does Taehyungie not sleep here tonight?" Jimin asks quietly, almost whispering. As if it is only reasonable to not speak too loud, with the dim light and the time of the night.

Namjoon buries his face in Jimin's soft, pink hair, murmurs, "They have a gaming event tonight, and I kicked him out of the room because I'm a sane adult and want to sleep."

He feels Jimin giggles, his cold hands crawling under Namjoon's shirt, tickling his skin in hunt of a warm place to press them against it.

There is another thing Hoseok's little speech made Namjoon realize. Jealousy happens, it's almost naturally, human. The important part is to not let this emotion take control of your actions and words.

"I'm very proud of your performance with Taemin.", He whispers, feeling Jimin's hands stop for a moment.

"Really?", and he sounds so uncertain, Namjoon wants to shake himself for not saying anything sooner. He should support Jimin and voice it out loud, whether he likes it or not.

"Yes.", searching with his own hand for Jimin's heartbeat, he wants to feel tonight. It's a steady rhythm, familiar by now and so comfortable, "You did incredibly well. And I'm happy you could do something like this with someone you always admired. It must have made you feel very accomplished."

"Yes, it did.", He feels Jimin inhaling, holding it for a second and then exhaling stuttering, arms closing tighter around him, "Thank you for saying that."

 

I'mHope: Whatever you said to your sister, thank you!

 

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

For the first time, since they moved into the new house, it feels like it could be home in the future.

It's loud, warm, and smells like homemade food.

It's Yoongi's twenty-fourth birthday, and Namjoon doesn't know how the other made it, but somehow, they are able to celebrate it at home with his friends. Harin stands in the kitchen, shouting orders from time to time and anyone in earshot obeyed, running into the kitchen to help her to whatever she wants them to do. Mostly it is Seokjin and Jimin, since Taehyung and Namjoon are generally not allowed in the kitchen, and Yoongi is the happy birthday boy, so they usher him out with stern glances and raised wooden spoons.

Instead, they work together to make the new living room look like someone is actually living here, and it's not a semi-finished model in an IKEA. Taehyung has found the pillows Yoongi bought a year prior and decorates the room artfully, while Namjoon takes care of their Christmas lights, "It didn't bother anyone in the old flat, so we should hang it up again."

"It's March."

"And? Didn't matter before.", He grumbles, balancing on the high sofa back while trying to attach the light chains above the new window, wobbling dangerously, which makes Jimin leap to his feet and hold on to Namjoon's legs.

Jeongguk und Misun have vanished into his small bedroom, the golden closet as they all call it, right after the girl slipped out of her shoes, and none of them have heard or seen them again for hours. The only indication that they are still there is the soft light coming from under the door.

Hoseok is still out because of a meeting with their choreographer, but he promised to come home as soon as possible, being responsible for the cake.

When the doorbell rings, Yoongi is working to fix their music equipment, while Namjoon still struggles with the lights.

"Can someone open the damn door, please.", Seokjin shouts from the kitchen after the bell rings for the third time, and Namjoon can hear a smack, Harin scolding him like a naughty puppy, "Watch your mouth."

"I'm going," Taehyung says, running to the door, dangerously sliding around the corner in his woolen socks, and Namjoon fears for an accident for a moment, but then he hears more voices, the door slamming shut and Taehyung running back into the living room, "Hyung. Kihyun-Hyung and Jooheon-Hyung are here."

The other stands slowly up, knees and shoulder cracking loudly, and Jimin winces, "Hyung, you have to let someone look at that."

"Talk is cheap, my friend.", Yoongi retorts and walks towards the hallway to greet his friends.

"What does he mean?" Namjoon asks, jumping down from the couch, looking at Jimin with worried eyes, trying to find out what is wrong with the others, but before the dancer can answer him, Harin asks for his help once more, and Jimin vanishes with a soft smile on his face.

"Where is Changkyun-ah?" Yoongi asks his friends when they come back into the room, greeting the others quietly.

It's not the question per se that makes Namjoon halt for a second, but the way he pronounces it and when he sees Taehyung's knowing smirk, he feels like someone slapped him with a wet towel.

"He was at the studio, but he said he's on his way and should be here by no later than ten minutes.", Jooheon replies while walking towards the kitchen to say hello and probably to nick something to snack.

Yoongi only nods, turns back to the equipment on the floor, but Namjoon can see the light blush on his neck and ears.

How could he be so utterly blind?

"Finally caught up, Hyung?", Taehyung whispers, sitting down on the couch next to him, arms crossed in front of his chest.

"Hell, shit yeah.", He mumbles and watches his Hyung through his lashes. Yoongi looks like nothing is out of the ordinary, except for the still-lingering blush on his cheeks and the way he's biting the inside of his cheeks with anticipation.

How, and when did that happen? He wonders, but memories over memories flooding his mind. Moments in the last two years, so many indications, like Yoongi sitting on their shabby studio sofa, watching each and every single episode of No.Mercy, ranting about Kihyun's competitors, and still praising Changkyun's talent.

Yoongi, going out as often as their scheduled allowed to meet up with the Monsta X members. Sometimes taking Jeongguk with him to hide his fling. The night after they got their first Daesang back in November, Yoongi sneaking out of the backstage room, telling them that he only needs to go to the loo, and Namjoon later sees Changkyun disheveled and getting seriously scold by his stylist-Noona in the hallway, everyone within reach heard.

The fond smile when he told Namjoon multiple times how nice the other looks on stage and doing his work as the maknae, especially with the rough start, perfectly.

The damn fucking rap-battle at the bar. The tension.

There is another ring at the door, and this time, Yoongi jumps up and almost runs to the door, waddles, as ARMY would call it.

"Holy shit.", Namjoon says again, hands rubbing over his face, "I can't believe I didn't think about this possibility before. It's so obvious!"

Taehyung chuckles quietly next to him and nods towards the door, where both come through, talking with each other, almost touching, shoulder brushing. Changkyun holds a small gift in his arm, but his hand is inching forward to the older rapper, a bright grin on his lips.

"Are they in a relationship?"

"Not yet.", Taehyung answers, "You know what Yoongi-Hyung thinks about relationships. Work is more important, yadda yadda, but I feel like Changkyun-ah is getting there."

He can see what Taehyung means. The way Yoongi sits close to the other rapper, legs pressed against each other and the soft tug at his lips, whenever Changkyun says anything remotely adorable.

Yoongi is smitten, and it shows.

The front door opens, and Namjoon can hear Hoseok throwing his keys into the bowl next to it, they adapted this into their new home as well, and then him shouting, "I've got the cake, what's up!"

With that, the door to Jeongguk's room opens with a loud noise, and both of them come running into the living room, "Cake?"

On his way to the kitchen, Jeongguk slaps Jooheon on the back, greeting Kihyung and Changkyun with a friendly smile, asking, "Can I help you, Noona?"

Misun throws herself next to Namjoon on the couch, crossing her ankles under herself, watching Yoongi fiddling with the wires, "What are you doing, Oppa?"

"I'm trying to get this shitload working.", He grumbles, quietly enough so Harin wouldn't hear his swearing.

Jooheon, who just had put another dumpling into his mouth and who's cheeks are puffy and round, almost chokes on his food when he sees Misun. Ogling her long legs and sharp cheekbones, obviously liking what he sees.

"Hey." He says, swallowing hard, trying to smile, and she grins at him, "Hello, are you one of Yoongi-Oppa's friends?"

Namjoon can barely conceal his laughter, when the other rapper frowns, telling her he's in the group Monsta X, and Misun only looks at him expectantly, not knowing what he is talking about.

"Monsta what?"

"I...Monsta X. It's a music group.", He says, but when Misun still shrugs her shoulders, he adds with a soft sigh, "Yeah, I'm a friend from Yoongi."

"So, you are an Idol as well?" She asks, and when he nods, Misun turns around, one arm hugging the back of the couch and shouts into the kitchen, reaching out to poke Namjoon in the cheek, "Jin-Oppa, why didn't you tell me all your Idol friends have dimples?"

"Ah, I see you met Joo-Honey.", Seokjin comes out of the kitchen, smirking at the embarrassed rapper, carrying the seaweed soup and a basket full of small sesame buns, "Please help Harin to get everything to the table. Not you, Joon-ah."

Namjoon, who stood up to help them, sits down with a sigh again, "It's not like I always break something."

"No, true, but before you throw Yoongi-Oppa's birthday dinner to the floor, let the others take care of it.", Misun giggles, stands up while leaning on his shoulder, and says before walking to the kitchen to help, "By the way, Oppa, you plugged in the wrong adapter. That's why it isn't working."

Yoongi scrutinizes the wires and then turns bright red, "Aish! She's right."

 

The entire evening, Yoongi doesn't seem to leave Changkyun's side. They sit next to each other at the table, and Namjoon knows without looking, that they are holding hands under the table, legs still brushing and knees bumping into each other.

Misun sits between Jeongguk and Jooheon, who tries to follow her fast rant about the upcoming championship and seems utterly fascinated about her excitement, missing his mouth once in a while, looking only at her.

Harin frowns at that, but doesn't say a word after Seokjin looked at her pleadingly, as if he wanted to say, "Let the children have some fun for once, darling."

They are disgustingly domestic, even Kihyun makes a face at them while talking with Namjoon about their tight schedules, "How do you do that? I know you guys are already working on new songs, still performing the Wings album, preparing for Hawaii, and a new tour."

"The three P's.", He says, smiling, not sure what else he could say, "Practice, promotions, and preparations. Maybe a bit sleep between, but yeah, that's it."

Because it is worth it, in the end, he thinks, looking to the shelf at the wall where the Artist of the year award sits proudly. He can still feel the adrenaline running through his body after they received it. Still feels Jimin biting his shoulder and fucking into him.

Jimin, who sits next to him and talks in a quiet manner to Taehyung and Hoseok, who's toes rubbing up and down Namjoon's leg, under his pants in a promising way.

Once again, if Namjoon wouldn't know it better, he would think that they are in a relationship. Not much better than Harin and Seokjin, whispering into each other's ears and bickering lovingly. The way Jimin acts around him these days is so different from they way he acts around others or him, before everything started. Maybe Namjoon still doesn't know the etiquette how to handle your fuckbuddy.

 

It's a lot later that night when he sees Yoongi leaning at the doorframe, nuzzling Changkyun's neck, "Are you sure you can't stay tonight? Jin-Hyung is leaving with Harin in a bit."

Their eldest and the two sisters are still in the living room, playing Mario Kart, while Hoseok and Jimin are cleaning the kitchen, engaged in a heated argument about their choreographer's suggestions.

Kihyun already left hours ago because he had to get up earlier than the two rappers due to his vocal lessons the next day, while Jooheon now is waiting in the taxi outside their house.

Namjoon just came out of the bathroom, wanting to go to bed, knowing that Taehyung is also already in their room, waiting for him to start their meditation, but stops short to not startle them.

"I'm sorry, but we start really early tomorrow, and when I stay, I'll definitely oversleep.," Changkyun replies softly, pressing his lips against Yoongi's temple, "But we could try to meet up before you guys leave for Mexico."

They are going to the KCON to South America in a week and then will be out of the country for a long time due to their upcoming concerts and the stay in Hawaii.

"Sure.", Yoongi doesn't sound too happy about it, pouty, "It's just we didn't spend a lot of time together the last few weeks."

"I know, Hyung. It makes me sad too."

Namjoon can see how Changkyun hands cup Yoongi's face, lifting his lips up to embrace him into a heated kiss.

They are obviously very familiar with each other, kissing without hesitation, closing every gap between each other and pressing closer. It's a very intimate scene, and Namjoon knows he should turn away, not eavesdropping and watching them, but it is the first time since he met Yoongi over six years ago, he sees him in such a beautiful situation.

"Love you.", the younger murmurs between their lips, "And one day, you are going to say it back."

"Shut up, brat.", Yoongi snorts, pecking him one more time and then opens the door to push him out of their home, "Thanks for coming, Kyunnie."

Changkyun laughs quietly, steals another kiss before Yoongi can close the door again, and then runs down the stairs to go to the taxi waiting for him. He can hear his footsteps echoing.

Yoongi chuckles, hands coming up to cup his blushed ears and hides his face, before slowly turning around. When he sees Namjoon leaning at the door, watching him and the prior scene, he grimaces, "For how long are you standing there, Joon-ah."

Namjoon shrugs his shoulders with a smirk, "Oh, not too long."

"Don't you dare say anything."

"I'm not saying anything.", Namjoon retorts, still grinning and bumping into Yoongi's shoulder, affectionately, "Just, I'm happy for you."

"Yeah, sure you are. Now shut up Joon-ah.", Yoongi says, but embracing him into a hug nevertheless, before walking back into the living room to chat with Misun a bit more.

Namjoon closes the door to their room behind him. Taehyung has turned off all lights, only a scented candle is flickering at the window sill. He's lying on his bed, feet pop up against the wall, head hanging over the edge.

"Are you alright?" Namjoon asks, walking to his wardrobe to get a fresh shirt. Taehyung nods, hair waving in the air, "Just started to mediate without you."

"In this position?"

"Yeah, I read somewhere it can help with clearing someone's mind since all blood is coming to the brain."

Namjoon doubts it will really help, but he doesn't say anything against it, just sits down on the small carpet, and tries to relax enough for their nightly meditation session.

He inhales deeply, holds it in, and tries to stop his mind from racing. When he exhales, he can literally feel the tension loosen. Since he started this routine with Taehyung, and sometimes Yoongi, he can sleep a lot more easily, mind clear and body unwound.

Mostly they don't really talk about anything until after, but today Taehyung seems to have something different in mind, "You guys could have told me that Kookie and Misun aren't in a relationship."

Namjoon chokes on the breath he was taking in, "So, you know."

"Yeah, saw her exchanging numbers with Jooheon-Hyung, and when I asked Jeongguk about it, he simply laughed.", Taehyung pouts, blinking reproachful, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"You were finally talking to him again, and you know.", Namjoon jerks with his hands, gesturing wildly, "We didn't want to interfere. You two have to figure it out on your own."

Taehyung hums quietly and turns on the bed, so he is lying on his stomach, chin leaning on his arms, feet still in the air, "You know that I had a boyfriend until last year?"

Namjoon hadn't been sure about it, only suspected it with the increasing coffee meetings, and walks through the parks. Taehyung never said anything to them, and they didn't ask. Knowing he would tell them on his own when it was serious enough.

"I suspected, actually.", Namjoon replies, unfolding his legs and leans against his bed.

"Kookie found out in winter 2015, you know.", He sighs, "He started to go out partying all the time, and I was really worried about him."

Namjoon still remembers the last few months of 2015. Yoongi stressed because of Seokjin's new relationship, Hoseok stressed because of Heeyoung. The fight on Namjoon's birthday and Jeongguk going out all the time, drinking alcohol more often. They were all worried about him, so Jimin or Yoongi decided to take the boy with them and at least supervise him while he was trying to forget his crush over another soju and a night out in a club.

"All of us were worried about him.", Namjoon says, kneading his hands, not knowing how to do this conversation. It would have been better if he would have been prepared.

"And after he met Misun, it got better again, right?", Taehyung whispers, shadows dancing on his face, "I thought she is doing him some good, and he started to talk to me again. It wasn't easy to go back to where we are now, after the kiss."

Namjoon wants to ask him what exactly happened in September one and a half years ago but doesn't dare to. It's not his right to ask or even to be in the position to know about it. Only when Taehyung wants to tell him.

The man licks his lips, "The night in Jarkata was such a beautiful moment in our lives. We had so much fun, and Kookie made my heart burst. We were at the roof patio, and no one was there. We were completely alone. The moon was high in the sky, and the city looked so nice, all blinking lights and people living in their own worlds.”

Namjoon can almost imagine the scene, images flickering behind his eyelids, looking familiar to places like Mexico and New York. He remembers Jarkata's city lights through the vast window front in their hotel room.

“He kissed me first, and I won't say that it is his fault, because I kissed him back with everything I have, but I was already in a relationship at that time. So, I sent him away, and everything went downhill."

He snorts, turning his head to lie his cheek on his arm, squishing his face, "It was such a mess. My ex-boyfriend was really nice, you know. He respected my terms and boundaries, and never made me feel bad about being busy and stuff, but I couldn't forget Kookie's lips against mine. We ended it right before going to Bergen for Bon Voyage last year. It was pretty painless, and we are still friends."

Namjoon wonders which of his many friends it is, and if Taehyung will ever tell him. Then he feels bad for being curious about other people's private life, something he shouldn't be since he wants to keep his life private as well.

“Kookie somehow found out, probably because Jimin mentioned something, and we made up, or something similar,“ Taehyung stares at him, blinking, hair in his eyes, "I was happy for Jeongguk and his relationship because he seemed a lot more content. But now I found out that he wasn't in a relationship with her at all, all the while I suffered the whole fucking year. I hurt every single time I saw him with Misun-ah, and I despised her for something that isn't even true. I felt so bad for disliking her. I just wished you guys would have told me."

"You do know that he only ever loved you, Taehyung. And don't get mad at me for saying this, but no one ever told you he's with her, right?"

Taehyung nods slowly, and Namjoon continues, "No one lied to you, you thought he was with her, but instead of asking him, you choose to ignore it and move on, suffering in silence, while he was looking at you as if you hung the fucking stars at the sky all by yourself. Tae, you choose to not see him and tell him about your feelings."

"As you are any better, Hyung.", Taehyung barks at him, furious look in his eyes, "Why don't you tell Jiminie that you are in love with him?"

"We are not talking about me, Taehyung.", Namjoon sighs defeated, knowing that he is still right, "Also, Jimin is in love with someone else."

"What?" Taehyung sits up abruptly, watching him, "What did you say?"

Suddenly, Namjoon feels so small, speaking out loud what he had heard over a year ago, leaves him with tight skin, ready to break, and his heart his pounding, "I know that Jimin is in love with someone since he was sixteen. I don't know with whom, he never told me. But that is not the point, you should finally talk to Jeongguk about your feelings and end this plight. I'm tired of watching you two being hurt because you are cowards."

Taehyung clutches his pillow to his chest, staring at him as if Namjoon is a rare animal. As if he's seen something utterly fascinating and implausible.

"Tell him."

"How about you? Are you going to tell Jimin?"

"Yeah, maybe.", He says, eyes automatically wandering towards the small nightstand where a notebook lies, filled with ink, with words only waiting to being sung.

"If I confess to Kookie, are you going to confess to Jimin?", Taehyung kneels on his bed, inching forward.

"Alright."

"Pinky promise?" The other extends his arm, pinky slightly crooked, and Namjoon can't help but snort, "How old are you?"

"You are never too old to do a pinky-promise."

Slowly, Namjoon kneels up as well, pinky linking with Taehyung's, and he whispers, "Alright, I promise to tell him in my own way."

"Good enough." Taehyung smiles, getting back into his meditation position from earlier, head hanging over the edge of his bed, "And sorry, I snapped at you."

 

 

Summer 2017

 

The moment Namjoon steps out of the airport and takes his first deep breath in, he knows he is going to love Hawaii.

It is magnificent, the landscape not only from the window seat from their plane ride picturesque but even on foot.

Everything is green, such a dark rich green, Namjoon can almost feel it on his tongue. He had always loved nature, walking through parks, hearing the sounds of animals in their habitats, being only a small person in a big, big world. It helps him think and unravel his thoughts like a ball of wool.

Almost everywhere he can hear the ocean, waves crashing, people laughing, seagulls screaming. It's music to his ears, and more and more ideas for new lyrics start to form in his mind. Always humming, always whistling new tunes.

He's kneeling at the beach, right next to him a giant turtle, and holy mother nature, how can he be so lucky?

Not for the first time in his life, Namjoon is grateful for every decision he ever made, no matter how hard it is to be an Idol.

The air smells like the sea, salt, and a whole world he couldn't explore until so far. All he wants to do is feel the sand under his feet, walking down the beaches, eating local food, well, maybe not if it's seafood, but all the fruits he would try. He wants to get to know the culture all by his own, wants to learn about traditions through getting to know people, and not reading about it in books. He would like to ask one of the older women sitting on the bench at the beach, ask what is your story? Could you tell me everything you know?

The feeling inside him reminds him of a six-year-old him, all in camouflage and dirt on his nose, notebook under his arm and pen behind his ear, exploring the woods behind his grandparent's house. Kyungmin in toe, always niggling that it was too cold, too wet, and why are they even exploring the wild without their uncle, who could explain every leaf to them?

He always wanted to get to now the world on his own, no clouded judgments, no different opinions.

It's no different in Hawaii, but he can't.

Namjoon knows he's not entirely for fun in Hawaii, no matter how much his heart wants to act like a petulant child, screaming and throwing a tantrum at the supermarket.

They get free time, not always followed by the multiple camera teams and other staff members trying to never let them look like any other way than godlike, makeup bags and water bottles strapped to their hips, always sun blocker and an umbrella to hands. People he calls family by now.

Sejin reminds them that they don't have to do anything they don't want to, but that it would be nice to show ARMY as much as possible. Letting their growing fan community know more about them as a person, and not only about their stage persona.

Yet, filming Bon Voyage is work, and they tackle it professionally, like always. At least they get to sleep in more than usual.

"Still, it would be a good idea to show a bit skinship. The way you would act around each other at home.", their manager says, smiling under his straw hat and trying to make it as easy for them as possible, "You don't have to strain yourself, only with the things you're all comfy with."

They all try to be more affectioned on camera with each other, try to show ARMY how they are at home when they are not followed by cameras.

Somehow, Taehyung and Yoongi get on with their 2015 promised skinship. What started with a random suggestion became the inside joke of the whole season. Taegi holding hands when they disagree with each other. It's a joke, for them, for the staff, who giggle behind the cameras and the ones who have to look through the complete footage and cut the content, which is a huge task and a whole lot of work. Namjoon tries to remember and send them tea and coffee to keep up the good work.

It's a whole new level of skinship between them, holding hands, going out eating together, walking at the beach, buying matching necklaces, they'll even intend to wear back home in Korea from time to time. Obviously, Yoongi forgot to wear it right after the first night, making Taehyung seriously grumpy and miserable. He didn't forget to wear it for one minute after, but still.

And Namjoon knows that ARMY will have a feast, enjoying seeing their quality time and making cute compilations about them later.

Jeongguk, however, is not amused about the entire situation. He watches Taehyung with narrowed eyes and a small pout on his lips. He doesn't dare to be rude to Yoongi. Not because he is scared of his wrath, but to not disappoint his Hyung, and the one member working so hard with Jeongguk to help him get over his heartbreak the last two years.

Namjoon understands that their maknae feels left out, and seeing the man he loves, having some quality time with another person, must hurt a lot. He knows because Sejin took him and Jimin aside, right after they stepped into the first accommodation.

"Listen, I got a call earlier, and how do I break it as smooth as possible?", The man started to ramble, scratching nervously behind his head, "I don't know what's going on between you two, but no or only very little skinship between you two."

His words made Namjoon's skin crawl. Just like two years earlier, it must have been for Jeongguk and Taehyung. Uncomfortable, scary others might know what was going on, mortifying that his feelings might be exposed for everyone to read. Helpless, because no matter how much he wants to, he can't change the music industry, Korean society and peoples believe in one go, so he has to obey and hide his feelings away.

Sometimes, Namjoon wonders if he will ever be able to step out of the closet, walls suffocating close around him. If he will ever be able to walk down the streets, holding the hand of a person he loves and not needing to care about their opinion and about his career.

It must be a nice feeling, he thinks.

"I'm really sorry, guys." Sejin said, face scrunched in a pitiful expression, "It's only for when the camera is rolling, ok?"

Jimin only nodded with a stern expression, eyes blank, and turned away to join Taehyung in the kitchen. They talked at nights, but never really had the opportunity to experience Hawaii together.

The only moment they were able to enjoy their company together had been the night at Manua Kea. When they sat at the wooden bank, eating lukewarm ramyun under the night sky and the biggest moon Namjoon had seen since forever, legs brushing against each other and Jimin's bandaged hand on his knee. Hidden, always hidden. Out of sight is out of mind, right?

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

"Come on, Kook-ah, it's just fanservice.", Namjoon says, patting his cheek in reassurance, but the other looks at Yoongi's neck where the black necklace is visible for everyone.

They just got back from the cruise, all of them tired and in a strange mood, not wanting to leave so soon and being emotional over their letters. Although it made them all emotional, Namjoon thinks the letters had been a wonderful idea. It made them feel a bit closer again after the last stressful months.

Taehyung is already in his room, waiting for Namjoon to do the meditation routine while Seokjin, Hoseok, and Jimin are still outside, enjoying the pool for a few more minutes. Yoongi sits a few feet away on the couch, legs curled under him, headphones on, and working on a track. Toes bobbin with the beat and lips formed into a concentrating pout.

"Just fanservice.", Jeongguk replies with a frown, playing with the cap of his water bottle, "Like you and Jimin, right?"

Namjoon knows he doesn't mean it. Just being hurt about something like this can't be brushed away with the rational part of someone's brain. Jealousy is such an ugly thing, he thinks, looping his arm around their youngest.

Namjoon wishes he could just tell him about Changkyun and Yoongi. About Taehyung loving so much, he made a mistake, which left him hurting as much as it hurt Jeongguk. But it's not his secrets to tell.

"Trust me, Kook-ah.", He says instead, embracing him in a tighter hug before standing up to go to bed for the night, "It will work out fine. If you need something, just ask, alright?"

He goes to Taehyung, who's already put some candles on and eyes closed, trying to concentrate on his nightly routine. The room is almost entirely dark, the window is open. Fresh air coming in, making the curtain flutter.

As quiet as possible, he sits down next to his friend, breathing deep in and out, trying to loosen his shoulders. He can how the day falls from his body, the emotions rolling off with every steady inhale he takes, and exhale he does. They are pretty good at this by now. Their steady breaths make the other concentrate on the task, and when Namjoon has to do the meditation on his own, he feels like he is missing something. A presence right next to him.

He doesn't know how long they are doing this. His feet and hands are heavy, and his mind perfectly blank.

"Thank you for your letter, Hyung.", Taehyung whispers into the room, red-rimmed eyes still blinking furiously, shadows dancing on his face, just like a few months ago, "It was lovely."

"I meant what I said Taehyungie. I'm very grateful that you are a part of our team, and that I can call you my brother."

He meant it. Every single word. He had fought tooth and nails for Taehyung back then in 2013, and he still thinks it was the right thing to do. The right decision, worth it. Bangtan wouldn't be the same without him.

"Stop, or I'm going to cry again.", a small sob escaping Taehyung's lips, hands hiding his face, "I'm just so happy to be here with you guys."

Before Namjoon can say something, he hears a voice.

Faint, almost inaudible, if they wouldn't have the window open for a fresh breeze, he wouldn't know it's there.

Jeongguk's singing, sounding utterly melancholy, "There is nothing like us."

The wind almost drowns his voice, but Taehyung hears him as well, stirs next to Namjoon. Hands falling into his lap, eyes going wide with surprise, looking towards the window.

"There's nothing like you and me."

It's almost entirely dark in their room, the candle flickering in the soft wind.

"Together through the storm."

There is some much longing in his voice, achingly sweet, and Namjoon can't take it anymore. Do not meddle is long forgotten.

"Taehyungie." He whispers, hands feeling for the younger's wrist, squeezing lightly, "Please. It's time to finally do something."

For a moment, Namjoon fears Taehyung won't agree, won't take this opportunity, and finally confess. He wants to beg him, on his knees, if needed.

"There is nothing like us."

However, then Taehyung nods, breathing out, "Yes."

Only one word and it feels like a mountain rolls off Namjoon's heart. Only one word, and they might finally do the right thing.

Carefully, Namjoon climbs to his feet, searching for his the turtle shoes he got with Hoseok a few days ago, and turns to the door, but says before opening, "If you need, you know, the black bag in the nightstand in my room. Yoongi won't ask."

"Hyung." He looks utterly mortified, a blush so dark spreading on his tan skin, it makes him look like a boiled lobster.

"Better safe than sorry, alright."

When he opens the door and slips out of the room, he can see faint lights coming from Seokjin's place, but otherwise, the house is completely silent and dark.

Jimin and Hoseok are probably in his room talking, while Yoongi might have gone to bed already.

He tiptoes through the hallway, trying to not bump into anything in the unfamiliar space and then slips out of the back door.

He can't see Jeongguk, hidden in the shadows, but he hears them, hears Taehyung's voice, "Kook-ah?"

"Yeah?" And he sounds so lost, so broken and still so hopeful, Namjoon hopes that whatever happens tonight will change this, because he doesn't want to hear his hurt spilling out like blood from an open wound ever again.

"Can you come inside?"

"To you?"

"Yeah, to me."

Before he can listen to more, Namjoon turns on his heels and walks towards the small door of the fence to walk.

He isn't around the corner when he hears footsteps next to him, sandals flapping loudly at the asphalt. And sure enough, when he turns around, Jimin is running towards him, shielding his injured fingers a bit, "Where are you going?"

"Just taking a walk."

"Alone?" Jimin comes to a halt next to him, brushing his hair out of his eyes.

"Apparently not.", Namjoon smiles, nods towards the beach down the hill, "Wanna do a beach stroll?"

"How utterly romantic.", Jimin muses but starts to walk again, bouncing with every step.

And it occurs to Namjoon that they are finally alone, no cameras, no other members, not hidden in one of the rooms. Just them in the moonlight in Hawaii.

It is rather romantic, he thinks, hands in his pockets. Very romantic. His parents would kill for this chance, wanting to walk at a beach in Hawaii for years.

They stay silent, don't have to talk to each other, but enjoying the others company.

He can hear the waves gently crashing against the shore. No birds this time, since it's late and most seagulls sleep at night. It's fascinating, that is.

The moon reflects on the ocean, and Namjoon feels so small. The world, the whole universe is so big, and who is he? Just Kim Namjoon, walking down the beach in Hawaii, knowing his manager would have a stroke if he ever finds out about this.

The moment Namjoon's feet hit the sand, and his toes curl into the grains still warm from the sun, running through his fingers, he feels at ease. They sit, sheltered from the sea wind, legs curled up, and far too close for a normal friendship, and Namjoon wonders if right now would be the right moment to tell Jimin. Should he make a move and finally tell him, just like Taehyung did by now? He can't just kiss Jimin. It's not a private beach, and although it's late at night and they sit in the shadows, there are too many people out, and someone could see and recognize them. It would be such a mess. Obviously, he can't act on his feelings like he wants to. Can't choose the easy way to express what he needs to tell, and he tries to muster the courage to use words.

Because normally, Namjoon is very good with them, but right now, all he can think about are finches and what he read about them a month ago.

"Taeniopygia guttata, you know.", He announces, and what the hell is his brain doing? Why is he now talking about birds?

"Yeah?" Jimin says after he stays silent for too long, trying to encourage him to speak out his mind. He turned his head to gaze at Namjoon, eyes soft and sparkling in the moonlight. Like two small stars.

And shit, he can't get out of this, right, so he lets his thoughts come out, "Did you know that male zebra finches are more likely to woo a female when they have a strong bond?"

"Really?" And Namjoon wants to laugh because Jimin actually looks like he is interested in his rambling speech. And it makes him fall even a little harder. Jimin is always so kind, so caring.

"Yeah, when they live in the same social Colonies and formed a friendship, they are more likely to breed with each other. It reminds me of human courtships, a bit, you know?"

Jimin nods earnestly, "I think I understand, just like Taehyungie and Kookie, right? They were young and friends and then fell in love because they know each other so well."

And fuck, no. That was so not what he meant, but Namjoon can't disagree since it fits. He really hopes their two youngest are getting it on right now, and why is Jimin making it so hard?

It's not like it is the first time Namjoon tries to tell him since his stupid pinky promise with Taehyung.

There were many moments where Namjoon struggled to just tell him, and Jimin didn't understand.

Maybe he should just blurt it out, tell him in easy words, and not making a fuss about it, but the words just don't come. He tried that before as well, tried to say, "Jiminie, I love you."

But all he says are things like, "Jiminie, I love the way you move."

"Jiminie, I love the coffee you made for me. You are an angle."

"No, I'm a fairy."

"Jiminie, I love your face when you dance..."

Jiminie, Jiminie, Jiminie.

And god, he is such a fool. He sighs, leans back on his elbows to watch the sky. The stars are not as bright as in Mauna Kea, and still, they make Namjoon's heart stutter. There is something utterly magical, lying at the beach in the middle of the night and watching the stars in the sky. He can hear Jimin breathing next to him, body heat radiate, and making him shiver.

"I'm glad we are here together.", He whispers it's the best he can do tonight. And one day he will tell him.

"Me too."

 

 

When they step back into the house, Hoseok sits wide-eyed and with such a frightened expression at the couch, and for a second, Namjoon hearts stop pounding. It looks like something happened, something terrible.

"Did something happen?" Jimin yelps and runs towards their friend, to hug him.

"Taehyung and Kookie.", The other says with a flat voice, and Namjoon is ready to run to Jeongguk. Shit, he should have waited until they actually talked and not leave. God, he hopes Taehyung didn't break his heart again.

"What's with them?" He says much sharper than intended, but his Hyung shakes his head, "Just listen!"

They all stand still, not moving, not breathing, not thinking, just listening. Waiting to hear their fight, waiting to hear broken sobs and broken cries.

And there it is, not extraordinarily loud or intense, but soft moaning and Taehyung's husky voice filling the air, "Fuck, Kookie. Fuck, you feel so good!"

Not that he wanted to hear that, thank you very much, but this is a relief. They are, unmistakably, not fighting.

"Oh my god!" Jimin squeals, eyes wide in shock, hands flying to his ears, "OH MY GOD! I don't want to hear that!"

"What do you think how I feel?" Hoseok shouts indignant, "I walk IN on them, all getting cozy and ready to fuck. With candles! And,...and...LUBE, And fingers up someone's ass."

"Actually.", Namjoon chimes up, trying to block the noises coming from the room down the hallway, "The candles were already lit for meditation, just a coincident."

"You knew?" Hoseok shouts, "YOU KNEW!"

"Well, I didn't know they would get that going so fast, but yeah. And why are you shouting at me?"

"You could have warned a brother!"

"The fuck is wrong with you guys?" Yoongi storms into the living room, disheveled, eyes puffy and looking tired, "It is almost four in the fucking morning, why are you all still awake?"

At that moment, a particular loud 'AH FUCK YES!' probably from Taehyung reaches their ears, Yoongi's mouth drops.

Namjoon can see the realization hit him, a blush spreading upwards from his collar bone, and then he makes a grimace.

"Hell no no no no. I'm not going to listen to that.", He winces and turns on his heels, fleeing to his room to put on some headphones. All the while shouting, "No, no, no, no, good, NO!"

Namjoon exchanges a glance with Jimin and then can't help but burst out in a loud roar of laughter.

Tears prickling in his eyes, hands leaning on the chair next to him, so he doesn't topple over like Jimin does from time to time, and laughs his heart out.

"That's so not funny, Joon-ah!", Hoseok remarks, slapping his shoulder and making him howl with laughter even more, "You weren't the one walking in and seeing what I saw."

He can see Jimin's own laughter bubbling up, hands holding his lips together, eyes shut tight, doubling over and falling from the couch.

This is a mess, such a mess, but a beautiful one, and he can't stop laughing. Hearing that they finally got together, although in such a bizarre situation, makes him incredibly happy. Anxious tension of at least two years fall from his shoulder, because finally. Fucking finally! Literally.

He even can't stop laughing after he hears Jeongguk's frantic shouting, "I'm coming, fuck, I'm coming, fuck!" right after Taehyung moaned loudly, coming with Jeongguk's name on his lips.

"You think that funny now.", Hoseok warns him with a solemn face, but grinning eyes, "Just wait until you see what hell gate broke lose tonight!"

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Turned out, Hoseok had been right.

It's not like Jeongguk and Taehyung exaggerate their closeness after their first night in Hawaii, but since then, they are joined by the hip again. Not quite like they were before they had this god damned meeting years ago, because now where ever Namjoon goes, he can see them being all lovey-dovey. Cuddling in Taehyung's bed, fingers interlaced, and Jeongguk quietly murmuring nonsense into his boyfriend's ear, making him smile like Christmas came early.

They cuddle on the couch in the living room all the time, controllers long-forgotten laying on the ground, while the Dragon Age Inquisition Theme echoes from the new speakers they got a while ago.

Taehyung always tends to kiss Jeongguk's neck when he steps into the kitchen after the sun rose, arms around his chest, and watching him making pancakes or fried eggs or whatever Taehyung wants to eat for breakfast.

Thank god they never sleep in Taehyung and Namjoon's shared room, always vanish into the golden closet, and at least they try to keep the noises down. They rarely hear what is going on inside the small bedroom, but all of them know.

At least they have a healthy sex life and enough stamina for dance practice and shagging the whole night.

Namjoon is happy for them. They deserve their happiness, finally able to be with each other, but at the same time, it makes him icy cold with jealousy. It's not like he would do all those gross couple things they do, but he would like to have the possibility with Jimin.

At the same time, Namjoon can feel Taehyung's narrowed eyes, watching him and sometimes holding up his pinky, wiggling it, as if he wants to say, "It was a promise. I did my part, now you have to fulfill yours."

And he, for all gods sakes, tries.

He tries so hard if his life were a sitcom, the audience would scream with laughter. Stumbling over quiet love confessions, and Jimin never understanding them. Maybe he doesn't want to understand.

They are back in Korea, at least for a few weeks, and Namjoon, just like the others, works hard on their new songs for the next album. The concept they try to get approved is actually something he is more than looking forward to.

Love yourself, starting with Love yourself: Her.

All his life, Namjoon felt less like a person, but more like an expectation to be fulfilled. Never due to his parents. They never made him feel this way, tried their best to shield their highly gifted son from society, and what his IQ could demand from him.

Namjoon is not stupid, despite what his friends tend to tell him for the last few years, he knows how hard it is for their generation not to crumble like an old fortune cookie under the pressure and expectations of their elders and the world.

And he knows how it feels to not love yourself, to wake up every morning and facing himself in the mirror, thinking, he could do better. He should be able to be more. A person.

He'd seen how Yoongi struggled with it almost his whole life. Knowing he had to make it, or he would go back to Daegu, back into poverty and a place without dreams.

He'd seen Taehyung lying awake for hours after hours, never able to shut his brain and stop his racing thoughts. He still remembers how the younger man often hid in their small wardrobe, when he was still so small and his ears a tint too big, whispering, "I can't sleep anymore."

Namjoon had seen Jimin strain himself, watching from the sideline, never really able to help him to get rid of his need for perfectionism. There are days when Namjoon sees Jimin's appearance crack like ice on a warm summer day, looking himself up and down in the huge mirrors in their practice room, an expression of disgust on his face.

So, the new concept and songs hold something very dear to him, and he can't wait to see it all come together, performed on stage, and hopefully being an inspiration for all their ARMY's to go on and never stop. Never let life crush them.

Currently, he is sitting in his studio.

His own studio, MONstudio. Coming back to Korea and seeing that Bang Sihyuk's promises come true and he has now his own studio made him weep happy and sad tears on the old, rugged leather couch in their small, dark, and old place. Sitting next to Yoongi, arms touching. Not ready to let go of this room, just like it had been for their apartment.

He still can't believe that he has his very own space now, sitting in the bright room and working on his songs.

There is a soft knock, and when he turns to look over his shoulder, the figure behind the glass door looks suspicious like Jimin, waving and then opening the door.

"You're still up for the walk?" He asks, lashes fluttering, and there is a small drop of sweat running down his jaw.

They do this from time to time, trying to get out of the building and away from work. Cycling down the Han River, walking in one of the many parks Seoul has to offer. They did it back before they debuted to get to know each other better and to get out of the dorm and stuffy studio, anxiety making them fidgety.

The last few times they went out, they ended at the small coffee shop Namjoon found a few years ago, drinking iced hazelnut latte and eating chocolate-carrot-cake. It tasted just as good as before, and even Jimin ate a whole piece without being too hard on himself, enjoying the flavor on his tongue and making soft humming noises in his throat.

"Sure.", Namjoon stretches his arms over his head, glancing at the small clock next to his desk, "I totally forgot the time, sorry."

He is sitting for far too long in one place, pondering which direction he wants to go with the song he's working on, trying to find the right tune. A walk, the sun, and fresh air will do him good.

"It's alright, Hyung." Jimin smiles, hands playing with the hem of his shirt, "Where do we want to go today?"

After another small glance at the clock to make sure he read the time correctly, how is it possible for his brain to forget the time instantly?

Namjoon knows where he wants to go with Jimin, already thought about it before.

It is not too late, and if they hurry, they might have enough time to actually enjoy it. 

"Do you wanna know, or shall I surprise you?" He grabs his facemask and a snapback to hide if he needs to and steps out of the studio with Jimin.

"Surprise me."

They stroll next to each other, hands touching from time to time, and Namjoon smiles.

It feels like they are on a date.

Talking about their day, about what they did until now, and how much progress they made so far. Jimin tells him how he and Jeongguk worked on a new dance routine and how much Seokjin will like it if they can convince Hoseok to let them do it.

"I think Sungdeuk-nim liked it.", Jimin announces happily, "We only need to show Hobi-Hyung and hope for the best. We think it would fit pretty good with DNA. If you want to, we can show it to you tomorrow."

"I would like that."

They walk into the Seoul forest, a huge park they visited a few times before. Here it's cool, the leaves making shadows on the paths and protect them from the sun.

Somewhere, Namjoon read that it is possible to cool down an entire street by more than five percent with plants. They plant eco-systems on buildings, skygardens and therefore help to absorb pollution and produce oxygen. There are a few skygardens in Singapore already, making the city look greener. He tells Jimin about it, feeling his excitement pouring out, voice getting a bit faster, breathier like always when he is passioned about something, "There is one in Seoul too. Open since May, Seoullo 7017."

"I read about it.", Jimin tells him, walking closer, "It's the old highway overpass, right?"

"Yeah, do you want to go there next?"

"I would love to. I heard the skygardens are especially beneficial for bees, you know.", Jimin tells him, equally excited about the green route in the middle of Seoul.

The park is not too full, and most people don't seem to recognize them, and if they do, they respect their privacy. Rarely an ARMY comes up to them, but for moments like this, Namjoon always takes a camera with him, acts as if they film for Run episodes or extra material for upcoming broadcast to be not disturbed by any strangers. All their fans respect their boundaries, they never have to be rigid or have to ask them to leave them alone. Mostly they get a polite nod and a whisper, 'Thank you for your hard work. Hwaiting!' with a bow.

So, most of the time, Namjoon snatches photos of Jimin just for his pleasure. Small souvenirs for him to look at, pictures of Jimin sitting on a bench under a blooming tree. Jimin feeding the ducks some cut grapes or lettuce. Jimin seated on the bike, holding a cone of ice cream in his small hand, grinning widely, eyes little crescents.

Namjoon showed him the pictures once, asked if he would like to have them and eventually share them on Twitter, he shook his head, "No, ARMY don't need to know everything. These are our moments."

So, Namjoon doesn't share them, he has a file with the vacuous name summer2017 on his laptop where he stores them, and only sometimes looks through them.

When they reach the building behind a corner, all green and kind of hidden, he can see Jimin's eyes go wide, "The butterfly garden?"

"If you want to.", Namjoon retorts, stepping one step towards it, but Jimin doesn't listen to him, almost runs to the door.

Just like the outside, the inside is green and fresh. So shortly before closing time, almost no one is in the garden. A soft breeze hits his heated skin, and from far away, Namjoon can hear the sounds of running water. The butterflies are gorgeous, all swirling around them, landing on the flowers and on them. It reminds him a bit of the Pocahontas scene when she sings colors of the wind.

Watching Jimin enjoying himself, pointing at the picturesque insects fluttering around them, dancing in the air, just like dust only visible in the sun, make his heart jump with joy. An emerald-colored one sits down on Jimin's neck, looking like a fancy brooch, wings slowly moving, making him giggle with delight, and Namjoon knows, now is the right time.

They sit on the bench, small water fountain and pond in front of them and the butterfly on Jimin's white skin.

"I wrote a song."

"Oh did you now? I mean, it's such a surprise, since it's your job, Joonie." Jimin exclaims rather sarcastically, but he turns to Namjoon to show him he has his full attention, still careful to not hurt the butterfly.

"Don't be like this.", He sighs, running a hand through his hair, "I try to have a moment here, you know."

"Oh, alright, tell me then."

Namjoon wants to tell him that it is for him. About him. That he would love to sing it with him and perform it on stage and that every single word he's written is true. Every single one, and if he could, he would write entire sonnets about Jimin's voice and his kind eyes and kinder heart. About the way, his lips felt against his own so long ago, and he still can't forget it. That he dreams about a cold January night full of long-lasting kisses all the time. About all the little things that make Namjoon fall in love with him every single day once again, but naturally, Namjoon can't bring the words over his lips. Gasping for air, mouth moving without any sounds, and he must look like a fool, like a fish out of water.

"Do you wanna hear it?" He asks instead, already reaching for his phone and the headphones, handing one over and plugging one into his ear as well.

"Ready?"

Jimin nods, studying him with lightly open lips, and Namjoon presses play.

When his voice starts to sing, he cringes a bit. Namjoon is a rapper, not a singer, and he doesn't really like to listen to himself sing. But working on new songs, producing a draft, it's part of the process. How else is he able to show the other artists what he had in mind?

Unmyeongi uril jakku jiltuhaeseo.

He watches Jimin, seeing his eyes flutter closes, taking the lyrics and the flow in. He can see in the line of his mouth when he realizes what this song is about. His head nods gently to the beat.

Let me love, let me love you.

He can see Jimin's surprise, although he nearly doesn't move at all. And Namjoon hopes, he understands the lyrics, understands the meaning. The why behind them.

When the last note echos through the headphone, Jimin slowly moves his hand to put the headphone out of his ear, "This was very beautiful."

"Thanks."

"Do you already know who should sing it?"

Namjoon nods, tries to pull up all the courage inside him, and he murmurs, "I wrote it for you."

"You did?"

"Yeah, it is yours, if you want to.", He says, staring into Jimin's eyes and trying to tell him, just like my heart. Take it. It is yours.

"Just me?"

"Well.", Namjoon clears his throat, "I thought we could try to do it together as a duet, but you know how it is. I don't think it will get approved, but it's yours. As a duet or solo."

"As a duet?" Jimin breaths, voice almost inaudible, "Are you sure you would want that?"

"Yes, as long as you want to. I've written it for you.", It could be the wrong thing to say, Namjoon thinks, but then he feels the feather-like touch, small finger curling around his', palm flat on the bench. The contact is hidden in the small space between their legs, but Namjoon feels like he might dare the world to ever say anything against them.

It's almost like holding hands, freely and maybe, he thinks, now everything will work out between the two of them. Maybe Jimin understood the meaning.

"What is it called?" the other's voice tears him out of his thoughts, and Namjoon smiles at him, all dimples, "Serendipity."

 

 

December 2017

 

JWangPuppy: Are you back in Seoul?

RM: Yeah, what's up?

JWangPuppy: Do you have time to meet up?

 

Actually, Namjoon doesn't have time to meet Jackson. It's the end of the year, they just got back from the MMA and now have to prepare for the final concerts of their Wing tour in Seoul.

Namjoon doesn't have time to go to the toilet without taking his phone with him to answer messages and emails, let alone breath.

He's in the bathroom stall at the company building right now, phone in his hand, reading Jackson's message.

They just ended the rehearsal for the concert, and the only thing he wants to do is laying in his bed and never move again. His head is leaning against the door, eyes burning with exhaustion and legs shaking after their dance routine, feeling like cooked spaghetti.

Love Yourself goes down with ARMY and the international music industry incredibly well, and sometimes he and the others are overwhelmed by the sheer force of fame, rolling over them like an avalanche.

Namjoon doesn't have time. But something is wrong with Jackson's messages.

The thing about a good friendship is that you don't need a lot of words to know when something is off. Something about the way they write, the pattern of their words, and time between each text and syllable.

He feels that his friend wouldn't have sent him a text message almost at 11 pm in the night if everything would be alright.

 

RM: Of course, calling or meeting?

 

Namjoon doesn't have time, but if he learned one thing over the last few years, then it is that sometimes friendship is much more important than your bed.

 

JWangPuppy: Meeting, if it's possible.

RM: I'm coming to your dorm. Is that alright?

JWangPuppy: Sure.

RM: You need anything? Booze? Noodles? Chocolate ice cream?

JWangPuppy: Yeah.

 

He doesn't elaborate, and Namjoon knows it's fucked up, whatever happened.

He flushes the toilet and heads out, washing his hands as fast as possible. When he comes back into the practice room, the music is turned off, and they all are changing into less sweaty clothes, pulling scarves and winter coats on.

He sees Yoongi yawning, jaw almost unhinges with the force and grabbing for his phone.

Probably texting Changkyun, asking if he would like to come to their dorm tonight since Seokjin is going to sleep at Harin's place.

They finally admitted that this is more than just a fling between two idols, and even told their managements.

The other members of Monsta X seemed more than alright with it, loving their maknae half to death, and Kihyun had been fake crying, brushing off his imaginary tears, "Finally there are riding into the sunset."

"Fuck off, Ki!" Yoongi had replied but grasped Changkyun's hand a little bit tighter, a content smile on his lips.

Taehyung has his eyes closed, standing next to Jeongguk, who has his arms around his boyfriend, trying to steady him, already dozing off.

"You come home with us?" Hoseok asks him, tying his shoes, Jimin is sitting next to him, eyes dropping from time to time, just as tired as Taehyung.

"No, I'm going to Jacks'. Somethings wrong.", Namjoon searches for his keys and bag, already typing a message to Sejin, asking for a ride.

"I can drive you, Joon-ah.", Seokjin says, pulling his phone out of Namjoon's hand before he can send the message, "If you want to."

"Thanks, Hyung."

"What do you think happened?" Jimin pips up, stretching his legs and massaging his sore muscles, "Do you think he had a fight with Mark-Hyung?"

It already occurred to him that this might have happened, but then he wouldn't want to meet up in his dorm, "Don't think so, but I'm not sure."

"Maybe the public found out.", Jeongguk adds with a grimace, hands tighten around Taehyung, lips brushing his ear.

It would be a disaster for them, and Namjoon, although an atheist, prays to every god that this didn't happen.

"Haven't seen anything on Twitter.", Jimin says, finger flying over the display of his phone, and Hoseok kicks his leg, "We told you to stop obsessing over Twitter. Get off the APP, Jiminie."

One day, during their tour, Sejin called them all into one room, and it felt just like back in July 2015.

"There are some tweets again.", Their manager had said, fury in his eyes, "The police are already investigating."

This time it had been Jimin, and although he didn't seem to mind, all of the others did. Jimin was not allowed to be on Twitter, in case he sees some of the tweets, and they could make him feel insecure about himself or his performances.

"I'm not a child, would you stop being a mother hen for a few minutes.", Jimin snaps and kicks right back.

The situation is not as bad as it had been years ago, and Jimin had multiple times assured that he doesn't care about tweets like that, and still, Namjoon can see the anxious twitch of his mouth when he scrolls through Twitter.

"Right, no more mother hen.", Hoseok says and stands up, holding out his hand to pull Jimin in a standing position and then turns to Namjoon, "Don't stay too long, even if it's an emergency."

It's not for the first time, Namjoon thinks that Hoseok would have been a good leader in his place, and Namjoon nods, "Sure, Hobi."

Taehyung and Jeongguk follow Hoseok and Yoongi out of the room, while Jimin lingers for a moment, hands brushing Namjoon's shoulder, "Don't come home too late."

He grabs for his own bag and jacket and waves his goodbye before running out of the room, "Tell Harin-Noona I said hi!"

It's not like anything changed between them since the day in summer when Namjoon practically gifted him Serendipity. They still act the same around each other, they are not like Taehyung and Jeongguk.

It's still the same, same fanservice, same tiptoeing into Namjoon's room in the middle of the night, sharing a bed, fucking, but it's different.

Different, because Jimin seemed to be more inside his own mind, eyes trailing at him, unclear and blank. As if he tries to figure something out.

It's the same, just like before, and still so different.

Namjoon actually didn't really expect a lot to change. He just wished Jimin would talk to him, even if it meant for him only to know who the other is in love with and why Namjoon never seemed to get a chance.

"I do have to stop at the convenience store before going to Jackson if that's alright with you.", Namjoon tells Seokjin, who is waiting at the door for him.

"It's alright.", the older replies waving goodbye to the cleaning lady down the hall, "I hope it's not too bad."

"I'm really not sure. When I asked him if he wanted anything from the store, like some alcohol or ice cream, he just said yes."

Seokjin chuckles lightly, also knowing how focused Jackson is on healthy eating and nutritious food, making a face when eating chocolate. Jackson doesn't do alcohol or chocolate without a special meaning, like celebrating.

When they are in Seokjin's car, waving their good night to the night guard, he finally asks what he wanted to know for a while now, "So, why were you so jittery today, Hyung?"

Seokjin had been overwrought the whole day, jumping around, making one dumb joke after another, and it had been quite exhausting by the end of the day.

He hums, and starts the car before he answers, "You know about the project with my brother and Harin?"

Namjoon remembers the few times their eldest sat on the kitchen table, phone clammed between ear and shoulder while twirling a pen in his hands, talking to his older brother, and making plans he didn't want to tell anyone, so Namjoon makes an assenting noise.

"Well, you see.", Seokjin starts, rubbing his neck and scrunching up his nose the way he always does, "Seokjun-Hyung and I worked on opening a restaurant. It's finally confirmed."

"You did what?" Namjoon almost shouts, making the other jump in his seat, and the car vibrates dangerously.

"We always wanted to do that, and somehow, Harin helped me to work on it. Her words gave me the courage to try and yeah.", He stops, blinking in the lights of the traffic, a happy flush on his cheeks and ears.

"When?"

"In April. Hyung has to manage the whole thing alone, I only did the planning and founded it, you know. Never thought I would ever pay for my brother's business.", he laughs loudly, all windshield-laughter, "He's not going to like that he has to do most of the work on his own now, but we will be busy, right? Probably out of the country."

They don't have their schedules for April yet, but Namjoon knows that he is right, and they will not be able to attend a restaurant opening.

"Are you sad you won't attend the opening event?" Namjoon asks him, watching his face, shadows, and light illuminating his flawless skin.

"Actually, a bit, yeah, but Bangtan is doing so good right now, and I can hardly be mad about it.", He answers truthfully, fingers tapping against the wheel, glancing at Namjoon for a short moment before looking back to the road, concentrating, "I'm not sure if I've said it before, but you have outdone yourself this time."

"What do you mean?"

"Serendipity." Seokjin simply states, and Namjoon swallows.

The song didn't get approved as a duet, as predicted, but Jimin had been allowed to sing it alone. It was even the main focus point of the comeback trailer, and Namjoon's heart burst with sheer joy.

For Jimin, that he had been in the spotlight and could show the world how much talent he has. And for Namjoon because Jimin sang his song in the most beautiful way, he could have ever done.

He thinks Jimin made Serendipity the highlight of their new record.

Namjoon puffs out a laugh, hands playing with his bag nervously, "Thanks. It means a lot to me."

"My compliment or the song itself?"

Namjoon stops for a moment. It's over a year ago since Jimin pulled him into the bedroom after receiving their first Daesang, choker, and tight black jeans, as well as the high of endorphins letting him not care about the other's opinion.

One year and Seokjin never said a word, never made any jokes about them like he does with Jeongguk and Taehyung. And Namjoon somehow had thought, the older wouldn't ever ask, long forgotten and dust in the wind.

"Both.", He mutters hesitantly.

"I see.", his friend laughs, without much humor, "Does Jimin know?"

Namjoon sighs, tries to look out of the window, and he shakes his head. "I don't know, really. I thought he did, thought I made myself clear, but.", He stops, unsure of how to proceed.

It's not that he thinks Seokjin will blurt it out the first moment back into their dorm or that he can't tell what's in his mind, but he doesn't know how much he should mention, because all the things should be said to Jimin and not anyone else, "I just don't know."

"Perhaps you should tell him with explicit words, Joon-ah."

"Easy for you to say."

"You really think that?" Seokjin says, eyes on the road ahead of them, "It wasn't easy. Harin didn't want me at first, and I made a damn fool out of myself. And then getting more and more fame, we all saw how it influenced Hobi's relationship with Heeyoung. And Yoongi."

He stops, and for the very first time, Namjoon hears, sees, that the oldest knew about it.

Seokjin exhales loudly, hands grabbing the wheel so hard, it looks almost uncomfortable, "It wasn't easy to break his heart. I never intended to."

"It's not your fault.", Namjoon reaches out to pat his arm, "You can't change your sexuality."

"There were a few moments, I wished for it. He's so good, Joon-ah, and seeing how hurt he was because I couldn't give him what he deserved or wanted, it made me feel awful. I love Harin, with every fiber of my being, but sometimes I wished I could be as queer as the lot of you."

Namjoon can hear the sincerity in his voice, the way it breaks, and how utterly careful the words spill out of his mouth.

"It wasn't easy. Love is never easy."

"We didn't know you know about it."

"I think I know a damn much more about you idiots than you think. Of course, I knew about Yoongi's feelings, I'm not blind, and he told me about it.", He says, turning around the corner and halting in front of the GOT7 dorm, "Listen, Namjoon-ah. Whatever is going on between you and Jimin, it's none of my business, and like we did with the boys, I don't want to interfere. It's just, maybe you should tell him. Like, from face to face."

"I think about it."

"Didn't you wait long enough, now?" Seokjin challenges, face turned to him, and an earnest expression on his face, "Isn't it going on for years?"

Namjoon doesn't know what it is, but the unsettling feeling in his stomach whenever someone tells him, he should already have acted on his feelings, makes him even more stubborn, defensive, mostly in a hurtful way.

He grabs for the door, "I said I think about it, Hyung."

"I just don't want you to be hurt."

"I know."

He knows. He felt that way about Jeongguk and Taehyung, felt the urge to protect them and make the damn situation happy and right for them. He knows it must be kinda similar for Seokjin, watching him and Jimin dance around each other, but it's different.

Because Namjoon is in love with him, but Jimin, Jimin isn't. Instead of telling this, he says, "Thanks for the drive, Hyung. And please tell Noona to come to our last concert."

He gets out of the car before Seokjin can add anything and runs towards the door, pressing the doorbell in earnest. It's so cold, his finger cling to the handle of the door for a moment, and then then it buzzes open.

He sprints the few steps up, trying to clear his mind so he can concentrate on Jackson and his problem, instead of thinking about Jimin and their stupid thing.

"I hope you do know, ringing the bell more than once is kinda offensive.", Jinyoung greets him with a sarcastic tone and a clap on the shoulder.

"It's fucking freezing outside.", He simply replies, stepping out of his shoes, "Where is he?"

Jinyoung nods towards the door at the end of the hallway, "In bed. Mark is still out of the country, he's coming back tomorrow."

"Did they fight?"

The other grimaces, "No. It's about his parents."

"Aish, ok, thanks, Jinyoung-ah.", He steps down the hallway, waving his greetings to the other boys in the living room, before knocking on the door.

Jackson doesn't reply, so he opens it and gets inside, without a second knock. The room is almost entirely dark, only the lights of the TV flickering on the walls, and it's sticky, smelling like man, cologne, and dirty shirts.

He turns on the smaller light, earning a groan from the bed, and puts the bag with the Soju, ice cream and other snacks on the table at the side, while peeling himself out of the jacket.

"Can I open the window for a moment, Jacks'?"

"Sure."

Jackson is curled under a blanket, facing the wall, and although the other man is kinda small in comparison to him, he seems even smaller tonight. Namjoon opens the window and turns off the TV, the loud voices and crashing explosions of the action movie distracting.

"Do you want to drink alcohol or tea?"

He hears him mumbling, but can't understand.

"Sorry?"

"I don't care."

"Alright, I'm coming back in a second, stay under the blanket until I close the window again, ok?"

Namjoon heads out of the room again and almost colliding with Jinyoung balancing two steaming mugs, "Tea?"

"Yeah, thanks.", and it feels a bit like at home, when one of them feels bad, all of them are out of tune, but at the same time moving at once. They all know what to do to make the other feel better, and Namjoon is grateful to see that it's for Jackson and the other's of GOT7 the same.

"Just call if you need anything else.", The other says and opens the door to Jackson's room, closing it behind him, so Namjoon doesn't have to juggle with the cups in his hands.

He puts them next to Jackson's bed and closes the window again, shivering in the cold air, and then, he climbs into the bed like he does with all his other friends, asking quietly, "Can I touch you?"

He knows, Jackson will welcome the closeness, but at the same time, it is always advisable to ask before hugging a person in distress.

"Yeah.", Jackson mutters, shifting under the blanket a bit, and Namjoon can see his unkempt hair, closing the distance between them and looping an arm gently around his friend.

Namjoon knows his friend is crying, although he doesn't move, doesn't make a sound. And it reminds him so much of Yoongi or Hoseok, both of them almost always silent crying, tears just rolling down their faces. They stay like this for a long time, hugging. Jackson trying to catch his breath again.

"Just so you know, this is why we are so close in Bangtan.", Namjoon starts and feels the soft chuckle of the other, probably also remembering a conversation long ago.

"At least I wear some clothes.", Jackson says, and there is a bit of his usual mirth, and he slowly turns around. His eyes are red-rimmed, and his face is puffy, but there are no tears anymore. Dry like the desert.

"Are you?" Namjoon retorts, raising an eyebrow, smirking, "You are under the blanket, who knows?!"

"Dude, I knew you would come, why would I be naked?"

"Because you are a dirty little dick sometimes.", Namjoon says, boxing him into the chest, coaxing out a small laugh, "Want some tea? Jinyoung made it."

Jackson nods and slowly sits up, blanket around his shoulders, "Please, his tea is the best."

Namjoon reaches for the cup and tries not to spill any on the bed, "Wanna tell me what happened with your parents?"

"That fucker told you?"

"Nah, not really. He just said it was because of your parents. Didn't you want to stay with them until next week?"

Jackson's hands shake a little bit when he takes the cup and takes a small, delicate sip from it, "I wanted to, yeah. With Mark."

Namjoon has a horrible feeling.

"I came out to them.", Jackson whispers, sounding so small, so damaged, "They don't approve of it."

There it is, what Namjoon feared. What he already suspected.

Jackson loves his parents, always had, and they usually have a good relationship.

"I mean, it's not like a career choice or what fucking coffee I want to drink. I didn't go out one morning, debating with myself if I wanted Starbucks or the good one from Flat 274."

Flat 274 is one of the most famous coffee shops in Seoul, the place filled with art and sometimes even with live music, and Jackson told him once that he and Mark had their first real date there.

"I fell in love with Mark, and that's it. Can't change it, didn't choose it, but fuck, it's the best thing ever happened to me. I know my parents love me.", He continues, head tilting a bit, "I know they do, and I know they will come around someday. It's just so frustrating that they are still bogged down with prejudice and all that bullshit."

Namjoon doesn't say anything. Just lets him talk, get his anger and disappointment out.

"They are scared for my future, obviously. Talked about children and marriage and that I can't have that with a man, and that I will be dying lonely in a house or getting sick."

He gestures with his hand, making a point, doesn't want to speak out what his parents meant with sick.

HIV.

Such a stigma, such a partiality. A lot of people still believe that HIV is mostly prevalent within the LGBT+ community, which isn't true anymore. The statistic shows that the new infections within homosexuals decreased, especially since the prevention and education, as well as free condoms and support if something went wrong, is strong in the LGBT+ community.

"I tried to explain to them that they don't have to be scared about me getting ill or something and then my dad asked if I don't use my brain since I could cause a scandal, right?", He licks over his lips, blinking new coming tears away, "And when I told them that Mark and I go strong for more than two years now, without causing a damn fucking scandal and damaging our careers, it made them furious because I didn't tell them earlier."

Jackson looks so lost like he wants to pull his hair and maybe smack the cup against the wall, scream until his throat is raw and no sounds come out anymore, "I mean, I get it. Not telling them is like lying to them, but I knew they would react like this. Being all 'it's a shame, you shouldn't be that way, you can choose' yadda, yadda. And I didn't want to go through it, but we told Mark's parents as well, and it went so good. So good, Joon-ah, you can't even imagine."

He can, remembering his mother's voice, his sister's grin.

Namjoon always thought there shouldn't be the concept of coming out. He shouldn't have to tell people about his sexuality just because then they don't assume anymore. It should be as easy as for straight kids, bringing home their first crush, and that's it.

And still, the world isn't entirely ready to accept that homosexuality, or in general not being straight or fitting into a heteronormative society structure, it is normal. Completely normal, there are over 450 species with homosexual tendencies. Therefore it's only logical that this is natural. But apparently, not for a lot of humans. So coming out of the metaphorical closet is still a big thing, and when it works out alright for a person, it's the best thing possible.

Namjoon had been incredibly lucky so far.

"It went so well that I might have had too high expectations.", Jackson ends his rant, red blotches on his cheeks, looking defeated and tired and lost, "And Mark comes home tomorrow, not knowing what they said about him and our relationship. And I don't think I can tell him. He will feel so awful."

Namjoon knows about Mark's fear of rejection. When they still had their thing, they didn't only fuck but talked about their lives and dreams as well. It was the thing Namjoon missed the most after Mark didn't reply anymore.

Mark told him how scared he was of his parents and family finding out until his sister came out, and everything went smoothly.

"I'm scared I might be a disappointment.", He had said one night in a hotel room in Busan, red-haired and head resting on Namjoon's leg, "That they might feel like they did wrong."

After his sister came out and married her girlfriend, it got easier.

"You should talk to him about it.", Namjoon says, shoulder bumping into Jackson's, "It will help you to stop feeling so bad about what happened, and it will help Mark to understand you and your feelings much better."

Jackson huffs in annoyance, "And who are you, Mrs. Im? By the way, are you still seeing her?"

Namjoon nods, "Once a week, and don't change the topic. You should tell him, he will feel bad, true, but also you two will find a way to make your parents change their minds."

"I just really, really love him, and I don't want to see him hurt.", Jackson mutters, ears turning bright red. He never stated the obvious quite like that. They all know how Jackson feels, and Namjoon is pretty sure that Jackson says it around a bazillion times a day to Mark, but never to others.

"That's why you should tell him even more.", Namjoon replies, standing up to get the ice cream and the Soju, "Because he loves you as well."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

"What should I say.", Namjoon holds the microphone in both hands, lights shining too bright, and he can almost not see the people in the audience.

He sighs and smiles.

Sadly, he can't see their faces and tell ARMY directly how much he loves them and appreciates their support. It's one of the only downs about the hall they are currently in, but this will do. Smiling into the direction of hundreds of faces.

It's their last concert of the Wing tour, and they are back in Seoul. The hall is enormous, and there are so many people, he couldn't count them as quickly as it had been before, which is a fantastic thing. The hall is full and loud, and he can hear them coo and giggle at them. ARMY bombs and small placards with their names or, from time to time, funny memes are raised in the air, boobing to the sound of their music, to their songs and voices.

"It's the fate of the leader.", He hears Jimin say to his left, and it makes him smile even more.

"It's a mingled feeling.", Namjoon states, looking around and trying to take all of this in, "It's like a flash."

The tour had been...he doesn't even have words. It was, like always, exhausting, and they hurt and fought and strained themselves, but at the same time. It had been amazing. They received so much love and support from their fans, and it is the best feeling any artist can get.

They rehearse for moments like this. To hold speeches and telling them how grateful they are, but right now, Namjoon speaks freely.

He looks to Taehyung, sees him grin under the fringe of his hair, and all he wants to do is remember. Remember the small things they went through together.

"When I first met Taehyungie, a grubby boy in my room.", He hears ARMY's start to laugh, and he wishes he could show them what images are right behind his eyelids.

Taehyung, in his red jacket, and big, big ears, all boxy-grin and chocolate stains on his jeans, nervously bowing his greetings. And how strange the farmer boy had seemed to him, and now, like he had written in the letter months ago, he wants to tell them that he is grateful. So utterly grateful that his friend came to Seoul, instead of playing the saxophone.

He remembers Yoongi dragging him out of the dorm on a cold night, placing a steaming cup of cheap ramyun on the table, and telling him that there is nothing wrong with his sexuality, whatever it even was. Namjoon can't say this, obviously, but they came a long way, the two of them.

"Me having an argument with Yoongi-Hyung at the blue house in Nonheon-dong.", they fought a lot, at the beginning. Namjoon younger than him, the leader, and Yoongi, so stubborn and angry with the world.

They resolved it, and Namjoon is grateful for this friendship, he never thought he would get.

"Me surprised by Jin-Hyung's handsome face.", He remembers seeing Seokjin for the first time and actually feeling his brain freezing because the man at the other end of the conference table was one of the most beautiful people he'd ever seen, "And jealous of being a university student."

Seokjin makes a funny gesture, head in his neck, and it fits him so well.

"Jeonggukie's big innocent eyes.", He lifts his hand, forming a circle, and he still remembers the small boy, so shy, he didn't even dare to take a shower when the others were awake, "Saying 'Pardon, Hyung.' And now he is...Yes."

Jeongguk is a man now, no little boy admiring Namjoon's thighs, and the grin he receives is everything to make Namjoon feel more grateful than he already is.

He chuckles and then turns to Jimin. When he looks at the man beside him, he can't help himself and reaches out, touching his arm, almost reaching for his cheek. The things he remembers are not for anyone else to hear. He doesn't say, how wonderful his lips felt against Namjoon's almost two years ago, or the way Jimin arches his back, mouth open when he comes. The way his feet are always, always cold right before going to bed, no matter what he does, and how comforting the freezing toes against Namjoon's calves have become.

Instead, he says, thinking about the little free times they had in the summer and all those lovely pictures stored away in a file named summer2017, "And Jiminie, having a meal with me, biking with me."

And Jimin turns to him, smirks, the little black choker around his neck so alluring, raising an eyebrow while saying, "And?"

"I remember your muscles back then.", Namjoon replies, smirking as well, earning a wave of laughter and Jimin turning away a bit, nodding with an embarrassed smile, "Okay, satisfied."

"And Hobi.", He can't help himself and laughs, memories of Hoseok kneeling in their very first apartment, flat palms hammering against the old, shabby TV right before they wanted to watch the MAMA's in 2012, mumbling, "This shit won't work, why does it never work?"

He remembers their midnight walk in January, the world a magical winter wonderland, ice and snow twinkling in the moonlight, "I remember you crouching down in front of the TV."

He can see Hoseok remembering it as well.

"So, I'm the only grubby one?" Taehyung comes to him, smiling brightly, and yeah, he had always been the only other one with food or coffee stains on his shirts, potato crisps all over his bed. The only one next to Namjoon himself.

"Honestly, yes.", He laughs, and Jimin agrees, making ARMY laugh louder, and it is such an enjoyable experience to share this with their fans and express what they are feeling. But they are not the boys from years ago anymore. Taehyung barely has any stains on his clothes anymore, and Seokjin already graduated from university. They have a TV, which never makes any problems, too large and bright, and so different from the old, flickering tube television they once had.

Namjoon almost never fights with Yoongi anymore, and Jimin. Jimin lost his muscular physique and doesn't force himself to the gym every day.

And he, Namjoon himself, has grown up as well, grown into a man, the boy he once was, would be proud of, "I think it is time to say goodbye to who we were. Desert and ocean, your slogan."

Everything changes, moves, and shapes into something different, and still stays the same, right?

"We were terrified when we made our debut."

He remembers the times when Yoongi couldn't move away from the couch, limbs too cold because the heater didn't work so well in their studio, and he was gripping his pen and notebook desperately. Forcing lyrics after lyrics and beats out of his brain onto the paper, and still thinking, it would never be enough.

He remembers times when two or three of them shared the shower, racing through their cleaning because, after 13 minutes and 36 seconds, the hot water would run out. Namjoon always counted, mostly loud, for all of them to hear.

He remembers Taehyung's anxiety, frantically hugging Yoongi or Jimin until he could breathe again, probably the days when he developed his insomnia, the fear that he would never be good enough, and now? Look at him, Namjoon thinks, seeing the man with blond hair and silver dangling earrings, one of the most talented men on this planet.

Namjoon remembers how Seokjin had to hide a lot of his personality in the first years since he is the oldest, he should be the responsible one, solemn, and handsome face. His fear that he would never improve his singing skills, and by now, he made the most progress. It's admirable, and Namjoon is so proud of his Hyung.

He remembers Jimin, broken, trying to fit into a stereotype he doesn't want to fit, and neither does even if he tries. How much it damaged his soul and how long it took to get him into this place now, happy and self-confident with himself.

"We were really worried that we end up as a failure.", Namjoon senses that the other's move from foot to foot, and he feels kinda bad to talk about something like this right now, but they promised once that they would always be honest with ARMY and their music, so he continues, "That we'd be hated. So we were like, 'What should we do?'"

They were so many nights, they all lay awake in the small room with seven beds, listening to the sounds in the walls, knocking and howling, and the irregular breathing of the others.

"Will we ever make it?" They asked themselves, sometimes, asked out loud, scared, and lost, because no matter how the world saw them, most of them were kids at that time.

Would people like this?

No, no, I don't think they will.

What should we do? What?

He hears their whispered conversation in the back of his mind, still feels the anxiety in his bones, like these days, are not that long ago.

"We always talked about this stuff.", He sighs, and tears are burning in his eyes, wanting to come out, but he doesn't want to cry now, it's not so bad, because they made it.

"I will keep this a memory. I won't forget it.", He says, swallowing hard, "I don't want to forget the past because it is a part of us, who we were, so I don't want to forget it."

When he moves his head to the right, he can see Jeongguk fighting against his tears, and half of Yoongi's face vanished in the bandana around his neck, trying to hide away, "I'm sure things will not always go as we wanted. But now I know so many people trust us and like us, always."

Namjoon is so grateful for all those people in front of him, around him, listening to the words he says, trying to express their feelings.

"So we will overcome whatever we face.", It's a promise that one day, they will be even greater than now. One day they will show the world what it meant to underestimate them, "We may feel sad, but it won't be sadness. We may feel afraid, but it won't be fear. That's BTS."

The hall is utterly silent, and he knows they all listen to him, knows that now is the best time to say this.

"And the last thing I wanted to tell you is that you often tell us in person or write us that you are happy we made a hit, but you are kind of confused that you feel like you are still there while we step forward and improve. But see, we didn't trust ourselves. We weren't sure we would succeed, would make a hit. 'Do you think we can have a show in a stadium before we die?'"

He still hears Taehyung's question, still knows exactly where they were, what he wore that day, and how utterly small Jeongguk looked, all long limbs and teenage acne.

"Well, I don't know.", Yoongi had said, curled around the other like all the times he did when Taehyung couldn't move, didn't dare to speak because his homesickness and anxiety petrified him, "I don't know."

Namjoon looks around in the concert hall, seeing more and more individual faces in the crowd and through the bright lights, chuckling at his own words, "So I really want you to know that all of us were messy and small. We made it. It's you who made us realize our dream, and if we, BTS, our music or show can support you, not just for your dream but for your life, if we can cut the pain and sorrow just a little down. If we can help you, that enough proves who we are. Love you so much."

He can hear them shout and coo, some isolated laughter, and he is rambling because there are still so many more things to say, and he needs all of them to know, to understand.

"Sorry I keep talking.", He smiles, looking to Jeongguk, turning away from Jimin because he knows he'll break just a little bit if he looks at the man on his other side, "People say we were very lucky. And I agree, especially I am. I won't find people like our members elsewhere."

Automatically his hand finds Jimin's shoulder, seeking out the touch like a moth the lights.

"They have never broken a promise, and always have trusted me, relied on me saying I'm the leader."

It hadn't been easy. Not even with Yoongi, but Seokjin and Hoseok as well, both of them older than him, too. Both so grown up and capable of taking over his part in Bangtan, and still, they managed. They always trusted him.

And he smiles against the tears, hoping they won't spill over the edge, "I'm so blessed."

And that's all, he thanks the staff, the people who helped them make this dream come true. Thanking ARMY, and with that, the tour ends.

They walk off the stage, get the photo like they always do, and Namjoon's feelings are a storm of ambivalent emotions.

He is happy and sad and thankful and utterly devastated. He wishes he could call Mrs. Im, but it's too late, and he doesn't want to disturb her since this isn't an emergency. He will get through his swirl of emotions alone.

He sits on the couch, carefully dabbing the makeup remover on his skin to not irritate it more than it already is. He can see Taehyung and Jeongguk share a short peek on the lips, both with teary eyes and bright smiles.

Harin, grinning proudly, stands behind Seokjin, talking quietly while he takes off the stage persona like a second skin. Hoseok and Yoongi sit next to him on the couch, both on the phones, smiling, and damn those fools are so in love.

When Namjoon looks up, he can see Jimin watching him, mouth pursed, and head jerking towards the door.

"Follow me.", His eyes seem to say, and Namjoon carefully gets up and follows him out of the room.

The hallway is full of people, busy with the aftermath of the concert, nodding politely when they spot them.

Jimin vanishes behind a corner, walking towards the space under the stage, where it is dark and not so full of people.

He leans against one of the metal pillars, arms loosely crossed in front of his chest, "That was a beautiful speech, Kim Namjoon."

He snorts, looking at Jimin, still dressed in his stage outfit, bare face, and his eyes are huge, sparkling in the dim light. He looks beautiful, and Namjoon says it. Whispered, not loud enough, but still, Jimin hears and blushes furiously.

"Why are you such a sap tonight?" He jokes, hands touching his cheeks, trying to hide his shyness.

"Should I lie to you?" Namjoon retorts, taking a step forward, hand finding Jimin's collar bone and brushing over the soft skin. The other shakes his head, licking over his lips, "Don't ever lie to me."

It should sound like a funny threat, nothing serious, but Jimin's voice does what it wants, and makes it feel like a plea.

"I won't.", Namjoon promises, pulling him flush against his chest, "I won't lie to you, Jimin. Never did."

"Good." The man in his arms says, "Can I come to you tonight?"

"Sure."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

When Namjoon comes out of the shower, towel around his hair, Jimin is already sitting in his bed, talking to Taehyung, who gets ready to go to Jeongguk's bed.

They talk about the small break they have over Christmas and what they want to do.

"I'm going home and visit my family.", Taehyung says, patting his cheeks rather aggressively, an important part of his skincare routine, "And you Hyung?"

Namjoon shrugs his shoulder, "Probably staying here, working on some tracks."

Taehyung frowns at him, but doesn't say anything, grabs his pillow and waves them goodnight, walking out and to his boyfriend's room.

"You're not going home?" Jimin asks, feet rubbing against each other under the blanket seeking out warmth, which makes Namjoon smile fondly. Gently he sits down on the bed, one hand sneaking under the sheet and wrapping around Jimin's icy foot, soothingly rubbing over the smooth skin.

"No.," He shakes his head, the towel sliding down a bit, "My parents are in Rome with Kyungmin. Appa didn't want to let her stay alone for too long, and since they haven't seen her for more than six months already, it was the obvious decision."

Jimin hums, presses his foot further into Namjoon's touch, "Don't you miss them? Maybe you could go with them to Rome?"

Namjoon lets go of the towel, lets it fall to the floor and takes his shirt and sweatpants off to crawl under the cover as well, "I miss them, but Kyungmin should enjoy their time together. It's okay for me."

They move around each other until finding the perfect position, chest to back, and one of his arms serves as Jimin's pillow.

"You could come to Busan with me.", He murmurs softly, playing with Namjoon's knuckles, and he can feel Jimin's heart beating hard against his chest, right under his large palm, "If you want to. My parents wouldn't mind, and Jihyunnie stays with his girlfriend in Geoje."

Jimin told him a few months ago that his younger brother met a girl in university who comes from the small island south of Busan. She seems to be very lovely, and he's happy for his brother's happiness.

"It's strange, isn't it? How fast they grow up and live their own lives.", He had said and smirked when Namjoon thought about his sister and her steady conversations with Hoseok. They still don't really date, don't make it official, but Namjoon knows the moment his sister steps back into Korea, his friend won't hesitate to ask her out on a real date.

"Are you sure you want me with your family this year and don't enjoy a small break from me?" Namjoon whispers his breath ghosting over Jimin's ear, making him quiver.

Namjoon thought about either visiting his grandmother over Christmas or working in the studio and hanging out with Jackson and Mark, eating fast food, and watching shitty sitcoms.

Visiting Busan with Jimin and staying with him, sounds so much better than his previous plans.

Jimin slowly turns around, only kicking him once in the process, smiling apologetic, "We could go to the beach, and it might be freezing cold, but it's really nice there in winter, and we actually celebrate Christmas with everything like in the movies."

He bites his lips, hesitantly, fingers wandering over Namjoon's naked chest, leaving a hot trail of mushy feelings behind.

"I would like to stay with you.", Namjoon whispers into the space between them, and his words mean so much more than what he's actually saying.

And there it is again, Jimin looking at him, studying him as if he tries to figure out a hard riddle or the theory of relativity. Blinking unhurriedly, lips in a soft pout, hands pausing on the spot. It looks like he is miles away, maybe even in another universe.

"Jimin? Where are you right now?"

The other giggles at his words, shaking his head a bit, and then he says, "I want to feel you tonight."

They didn't have had sex for quite a while. The end of the year award shows, the last concerts, the three P's, made it sheer impossible, and Namjoon craves for Jimin's touch. Missed it so much, eagerly nodding, "Yes. How do you want to?"

They switched a few times since last year, tried out so much, a Kamasutra guru would have been proud of them. Namjoon actually started to like it both ways. With Jimin, it doesn't matter to him. The main point is, it is with him.

"Just like this, close.", Jimin replies, blushing a bit, hands moving down to wiggle out of his boxer shorts, "I just..I didn't prep myself before coming to your room."

No matter how often Namjoon told him that he didn't need to do that on his own and he would love to experience it with him together, Jimin never let him. Always coming into his bed, already loose and wet, ready to have sex.

"Do you want to top?" Namjoon asks, copying Jimin and taking off his underpants, but Jimin shakes his head, "No, I want to feel you."

The air shifts into something else. Something dark and heady and hot.

And Namjoon nods, reaching for the lube in the nightstand next to the bed, already turning back to Jimin, finger running over heated skin.

Namjoon doesn't want to rush through it, even if his body seemed to mind his hesitation and lingering touches, but this. This is special, and he wants to savor it.

Slowly, he lets his hands, and then lips wander over taut skin and tight muscles. Jimin's skin is almost entirely white in the moonlight shining through the window, illuminated, magical.

"Like a fairy.", He murmurs against the dip of Jimin's collar bone, feeling the other chuckle, gentle reverberation against his lips.

"I'm an angel."

"You are both.", Namjoon whispers and carefully bites into the soft skin behind his ear, sucking until the skin must turn a light red. Never too hard, never leaving marks visible for others, since that one time after they fucked for the first time and their stylist's screaming blood and thunder at them.

He can hear Jimin's breath catch with every flickering of his tongue or when his finger runs over Jimin's nipples and knead into his flesh, right where the tattoo is.

Nevermind.

Namjoon can feel him growing needy with every touch. The sounds more desperate, urgent, but he doesn't want to hurry.

Let me have this, he wants to say. Even if it is just for one night.

He kisses every exposed skin on his way, blooming like a flower with every moan he coaxes out of Jimin, breathy little noises.

He thinks that if his hands were dipped in acrylic or oil paints, Jimin's whole body would be a messy painting by now.

He's going down, down, down, taking Jimin's leaking cock inside his mouth, one hand still on his chest. And there Namjoon feels it, thrumming hard and fast. Jimin's heartbeat so strong underneath his fingertips. This is one of the best feelings Namjoon ever had, pleasuring the man he loves while feeling his heartbeat strong and alive. Exhilarating.

Jimin's small hands are in his hair and against his neck, gently touching him, letting him do whatever he wants, only clinging to him. Like he is scared to fall if his hands don't hold on to something.

Namjoon grabs for his leg and lifts it up a bit, so his finger would reach the small puckered hole between Jimin's cheeks more easily, kissing open mouth kisses along his thigh. He tries to warm the lube on his fingers before reaching out and gently touching him, dipping in first one knuckle.

Jimin is so tight, Namjoon can't move his finger at first, nuzzling against his groin, "Relax."

Only getting a soft moan in response, and Jimin gradually melts under his touch.

It is so tempting, so good listening to Jimin's voice. Body warm and relaxed under his fingers, heat is blazing through Namjoon's veins. Hearts racing in tandem, feeling it against his palm and hearing his own in his ears.

Every single time with Jimin is the best he ever had.

"Please.", Jimin mumbles, head turned, and the soft fabric of the pillow almost burying his face, hips moving against Namjoon's finger, seeking out more.

He doesn't need to elaborate, and Namjoon moves in a second finger, scissoring and stretching him carefully. He tries to brush the small spot inside him, making Jimin buck, mind hazy with the aching need to be closer, while Namjoon sucks Jimin's cock into his mouth. Tasting the salty and still sweet precum, groaning audibly around him. Jimin is always so sweet.

"Stop sucking me off, or I might come," the other says, hoarse, "Don't wanna come like this."

Namjoon lets go, moves to trail kisses along Jimin's abdomen and over his chest, tongue leaping over the dark nipples.

"Another one.", Jimin exhales, pressing his butt against Namjoon's hand, "Then I'm ready."

Namjoon presses another finger in, gentle, ever so gentle. He can see Jimin leaking on his stomach, precum wetting his skin. Heated eyes watching him, watching Namjoon's chest move with every gently thrust into Jimin.

"You look so good.", The dancer says, a hand brushing over his shoulders and arm, which is strained, trying to curls his finger just right to make him feel desperate with lust.

They know each other's bodies by now, probably better than their own, and it is so easy to make Jimin gasp for air, eyebrows drawn together, goosebumps raising.

He tugs at Namjoon's arm, pulls his fingers out, and turns around to lie on his stomach, back arched, knee bent, "I'm ready."

"Jimin." Namjoon mumbles, he presses a tentative kiss to Jimin's neck, right where his pulse is the loudest and thinks of how badly he wants to kiss him again, moving between Jimin open legs, reaching for the condom beside them.

For a moment, Namjoon just hovers above him, unable to do anything than stare at Jimin. A flush and a path of petals colored in red and violet blossoms on his skin, and it is utterly gorgeous.

Jimin is neither delicate nor fragile, and still, when Namjoon finally drives inside him, he doesn't move, always so careful.

Gentle.

He leans on his hands, cornering Jimin's head, and kissing the spot behind his ear, whispering, "God, you feel so good. So good. It's like coming home."

And Jimin moans, broken, hoarse, begging, moving against him, "Please."

He presses against Namjoon, leaning on one arm, the other hand reaches for Namjoon's neck and tugging him closer. He can smell the scent of peppermint and Jimin's current favorite cologne all around him, the air hot and stuffy, like on warm spring days. A smell so familiar by now, he could recognize him within thousands of people.

He clenches around him, and Namjoon feels dizzy with desire and passion and love, overwhelmed by their closeness, whispering, "Jimin."

They take their time, not like on other days like this, pounding, fucking hard, and running to the finish line. No, this is different, and somehow it feels more intimate than ever before.

Is this what making love means?, He wonders.

With every soft thrust, Jimin's voice gets louder, and Namjoon is sure that the other's might hear them. He is touching Jimin with his whole body, curled around him, fingers interlaced, holding on for dear life.

"I wanna see you.", Jimin rasps out, moving under him to turn around. Missionary, Namjoon knows by now, is Jimin's favorite position. It feels the best to him, and seeing the other's face, makes it more intimate.

It takes a moment until they find together again, but then Jimin is looking at him with big eyes and fluttering lashes. His eyes dark and so warm. It's almost painful to breathe, to move, so Namjoon stays, trying to adjust to this position, this sensation. Being with him always affects Namjoon in a certain way, makes his heart burst with desire, and his brain shut down, but this night is different than all the hurried handjobs of the last few months.

Jimin's hands curl around his cheeks, thumbs brushing over his skin, "Don't lock yourself away now."

"I won't. I'm here with you." Namjoon whispers back, closes his eyes and nuzzles into the touch, lips gazing against his wrist, right were the pulse point his, and he imagines he can feel it fluttering under the tip of his tongue. His hips jerk a bit, moving, trying to find a less maddening pace. Not too fast, not too slow.

"I want.", Jimin gasps due to the sensation, shuttering breaths and filthy moans spilling over his lips, "I want you to kiss me."

And Namjoon's world stops spinning for a moment. Everything slows down, breath hitching, heart tripping in his chest. Times stands still. The finger on his cheeks pressing closer, tugging him, and he leans down, crashing their lips together in a heated kiss. Namjoon always missed his kisses. Jimin's lips, but only now it is clear how much he ached for it. Longed for it to happen again.

Healing, it's like healing on the spot, Namjoon thinks, and wonders how much he has to heal, deepening the kiss.

He gets lost in the feeling of Jimin, around him in the air, scent clinging to him. Of his lips, his skin sliding against his, never leaving his lips for a moment.

After more than two years of being intimate with each other, Jimin doesn't need to tell him when his orgasm his starting to hit him. Namjoon can feel it in the way Jimin clenches around him, the way his breath gets deeper and throaty, fingers curling around the fabric of the sheets or Namjoon's neck and arms. Body going ridged and then so soft, melting into the beddings.

He feels Jimin's cum hitting his skin, smearing between their bodies, and then his own orgasm catches him by surprise. Namjoon doesn't understand why it always surprises him when his own pleasure is triggered by Jimin's. He should be used to this by now.

He can't keep track of his movements anymore, everything is hot and wet and feels so, so good, Jimin's tongue gliding against his. His body seems boneless, and he is breathing harshly through his nose, doesn't want to let go of his lips.

Jimin doesn't stop to kiss him back, giving as good as he takes, hands rubbing soothing circles and patterns on Namjoon's sweaty back, who's still shaking with the aftermath of his orgasm.

"You are heavy.", He says eventually, words like a summer breeze against Namjoon's lips, and he chuckles lightly when Namjoon moves to lie beside Jimin, groaning.

Namjoon's body throbs from the concert and the sex, but Jimin follows him, reaching for the condom, throwing it over the edge of the bed, pressing yet another small kiss on his lips.

"We should at least put on some clothes.", Namjoon yawns, doing the same, his lips against Jimin, "Promised it Jeongguk once."

Jimin climbs on top of him, settles his ear against Namjoon's chest, "Don't want to. Sleeping nude is much healthier. He's going to live. Besides, I don't think he'll come into your and Tae's room."

"Who knows.", Namjoon replies, reaching for the covers before looping his arms around Jimin, "Kiss me again, please."

And the other does, a small giggle escaping his lips, clashing their teeth together. It hurts for a second, but then a tongue brushes over the spot, making it better instantly.

"Don't stop kissing me again, Park Jimin.", He whispers against his lips, and Jimin hums quietly, eyes dropping, lying down again, nose pressed into the skin of Namjoon's neck, breath already deepening. Snuffling like he always does.

Namjoon lies quiet, not moving, lets Jimin fall asleep on him, fingers brushing down his spine and shoulders in a calming way.

He thinks about the day, the concert, everything of the last years that brought them here, together. He doesn't want to wait any longer, doesn't want this in-between tearing at his skin one more night. He can't wait two more years for the next kiss, he just can't.

"Jimin? Are you still awake?" Namjoon whispers into his hair and the darkness, "I need to tell you something."

The other hums quietly and shifts a bit, hands tighten around Namjoon's middle.

"I'm in love with you."

Jimin doesn't say anything, just breathes deeply, and Namjoon sighs.

Tomorrow, he tells himself, tomorrow, right after we wake up, I'm going to say it again.

He lifts the covers a bit and curls around Jimin even more, cocooning the blanket around them. Nose buried into Jimin's hair, and he inhales his scent deeply. Their legs are tangled and Namjoon's reaches for Jimin's hand, interlacing their finger again, palm flat against the other.

 

 

When Namjoon wakes later that night, it's still pitch dark, and his body aches with weariness. He can't remember the dream he had, but he still knows that it had been wonderful. Warm like spring and with softly whispered conversation. It smelt good too, and it's such an extreme contrast to his cold bed on a December night, it makes him shiver.

Cold bed.

Namjoon opens his eyes, and when he turns in his bed, it is empty.

Chapter Text

February 2018

 

Namjoon wonders if this is what a broken heart feels like.

When he was seven and had a crush on his best friend, because she was kind and intelligent and could talk to him about the world, it didn't hurt so much when they never held hands.

When he had been sixteen, popping inappropriate boners from time to time while watching his Hyung rapping or working on the soundbox in the studio, knowing the other artist was straight and very much not in love with him, it wasn't so bad to leave the dorm to masturbate in a silent corner while trying to think about someone else. It didn't hurt so much.

Even with Mark, after getting fewer and fewer replies to his messages, it didn't hurt, although it could have damaged his self-confidence.

But Jimin? It hurt with Jimin.

He is so exhausted, so tired of all this. He can't even define what this is.

Namjoon only knows how depression feels like, fought against it, years after years, and this, right now, doesn't feel like depression. It feels different. It's new, and he doesn't know how to handle it, doesn't even know what to call it, trying to decipher it with Mrs. Im.

"When did it started?" She had asked him earlier this week, while he only looked at her evergreen ivy whose name he still doesn't know, shrugging his shoulders. Namjoon didn't really know.

No, it's a lie.

He does, but he doesn't want to acknowledge it. Because acknowledging would mean he lost against a person he never met.

The night he woke up to an empty bed and cold sheets, it wasn't the first time Jimin vanished in the middle of the night to go back into his own bed, go to the shower, leave their home and the warmth of Namjoon's proximity for some extra hours at the dance studio.

It wasn't the first time for Namjoon to wake up and being alone, but usually, Jimin had told him before leaving. Or woke him up, whispering, "I can't sleep, going to the studio. Don't worry."

And at first, Namjoon didn't think about it any differently, just felt a slight pang in his lower belly to wake up alone and not being able to tell Jimin about his feelings right away, like he promised himself before his eyes fell closed that night. He waited so long, he could wait a few more moments. It wasn't so bad, really.

However, then their schedules changed, and Namjoon wasn't able to leave Seoul with Jimin to experience Busan's beaches in the middle of winter.

Instead, he got to work with an artist on a song he had written and produced, and it took all his extra time and energy, he didn't spend in the practice room with his members or in the conference room, working on all their new songs and the general concept of Love Yourself.

So, Jimin left without him while Namjoon worked in Seoul, thankful for this opportunity, always so thankful.

He received a few blurry pictures on Christmas Eve from Jimin, showing the grey beach, stormy and deserted, with captions like, "Too cold, can't feel my fingers. Shame, you are not here as well."

Namjoon missed Jimin so bad during the few days without him, he picked up one of Jimin's pillows and took it to bed with him. Trying to let the soft scent wash over him and soothe him. 

And then they got told about the new home arrangments and had to pack their stuff to move home once again, all the while being busy with their normal life.

They moved to live into a new space, and this time, Namjoon doesn't know what he feels about this change. All of them, except for Hoseok and Jimin, who didn't want to stop rooming together, got their own bedrooms, and Namjoon likes his new room.

It's big enough to fit everything he owns and his incredibly huge clothing collection. He even has enough space to fit his Ryan collection and another small mixer at the desk next to the window.

The kitchen and living room area are bigger than the entire apartment they lived in in 2012. They have a massive patio with enough room for deck chairs and an extra table so they can eat their dinners outside. When they are home. They have multiple bathrooms, two of them even have a whirlpool.

The new flat, a luxurious apartment in the Hannam area, is nothing but what the management promised.

Spacious, modern, smelling like money and success, and Namjoon should be proud of this new home, but all he feels is grief.

Grief because he misses his shared room with Taehyung and even the all in white and chrome kitchen of their previous flat, which had always seemed so sterile, so unused. He misses the Christmas lights in their living room and the garden he never used because he never had enough time, but he could see from his bedroom window. He misses the funny noises the second stair from the bottom made whenever anyone stepped on it. The vast space of the new apartment makes him feel lonely in his own room, and he rarely can hear the others shout through the flat anymore. They didn't take the Christmas lights with them this time, and somehow it makes him hate the new apartment even more.

It's not as bad as the year before when moving into their slightly bigger home, into the small house made him anxious and unsure about the change. This new apartment shows precisely what they accomplished in the last few years, and Namjoon should feel happy about it. Proud.

They are doing so good. So incredibly good, but at the same time. It feels like the world around him crumbles into a thousand tiny pieces every single day.

And the confession he wanted to make got lost in time, time he doesn't have.

Initially, it didn't feel like something was changing until it had been too late.

Not for the first time, since they started to be with each other, Namjoon and Jimin didn't have enough time or power to be intimate. Exhaustion leaking out of every pore like water from a breaking causeway.

He didn't notice at first since Jimin still lays his hands on his knees, still sits too close to him, all legs and arms touching, but the rest stopped.

Jimin, now, never crawls into Namjoon's bed at night, not even for cuddling like they used to.

Jimin doesn't touch him anymore like they used to, touch him with intention.

His eyes still linger on Namjoon, still like he is trying to figure something out, but can't solve it.

They haven't kissed again.

For almost two months, Namjoon's bed stays empty, and his questioning eyes and quiet ask unanswered.

And it hurts because all Namjoon wants to do is be with him. He doesn't need to have sex with Jimin, doesn't need to touch him all the time. He wants to, obviously, but if this were the prize to be with Jimin on another level, emotional intimacy, he would pay it.

Namjoon remembers a night in December when Jeongguk told him he misses Taehyung, although the other was right there, and seeing him made the ache in the back of his heart stronger every day, and Namjoon understands. Within reach, but so far away.

If he wants to, he can walk right up to Jimin and pull him into a hug, and he would still feel like they never touch anymore.

Yet, if Namjoon learned one thing, then that you can't force feelings, and you should always respect a person's decision.

If Jimin doesn't want to be with him any more than he won't object, won't press for intimacy he is not entitled to.

Slowly, Namjoon lets go. Or at least, he tries to.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

So, there he sits, in his studio. Trying to hide away from the world and his stupid, broken heart and Jimin and his soft, empty touches and the luxurious apartment he kind of hates. Wondering if this is what lovesickness actually feels like.

Perhaps he should talk with Mrs. Im about it, but who has time for this? Also, she is his therapist, they speak of insomnia and depression and anxiety, but not about his stupid crumbling heart. He can work on that alone, at least he thinks so.

It's dark, and only the sharp lights of his computer burn in his eyes. He already exchanged his contacts for the black-framed glasses in order to spare his too dry eyes, and still, he is blinking furiously against the burning sensation.

He knows he should get up for a moment and either stretch his neck and get something healthy to drink, or at least just turn on the big lights, but somehow, he can't be bothered.

Tired eyes drooping, staring at the bright display in his dark studio, fingers typing furiously on the keyboard, but he knows if he would lie down, sleep won't come.

He is tired, and everything feels wrong, so wrong.

His body feels wrong, like his limbs are connected to the wrong places, hands backward, and skin crawling. His mind is all pell-mell, and even his music doesn't want to work like he wants it to. Everything sounds off, the lyrics too melancholic, and he actually considers to punch his head against the wall to make it stop, until he shifts into a blissful unconsciousness, which doesn't seem to come on its own anymore.

There is a knock on his door, and he doesn't want to acknowledge it, but he knows he's in this room since the sunrise, probably hasn't moved for more than six hours, and whoever it is, it must be important if they actually disturb him on days like this.

"Door is open.", He says after another knock, his voice is rough from being unused, and he looks around, searching for some water. In the corner, right between wall and computer is a small bottle, but it's already open, and he doesn't know since when it lies there. Water, as most people don't seem to know, can become depraved.

The door opens, and Seokjin steps in, "Jesus, why is it so dark in here?"

The older pushes the button, and Namjoon blinks against the bright lights shining from the ceiling.

"Hell, Joon-ah, you look like shit." Seokjin announces after taking him in, walking towards Namjoon, door slamming shut behind him again, a cloth bag in his hands, "Brought you something to eat."

"Thanks, Hyung.", Namjoon only replies and turns back to his computer to save the document he didn't do anything with for hours but only stared at, feeling his shoulder crack with the long-overdue movements. The other peels himself out of his winter clothes, black facemask falling to the floor, and Namjoon crouches down to pick it up, realizing he should let the cleaning lady in for a short hoover session, dusting off a few crumbs and dust bunnies from the black fabric.

"You shouldn't thank me when I insult you.", Seokjin retorts, sitting down on the extra chair next to him and examines him from head to toe. He must look like the living dead, all pale and tired eyes. He knows there are a few stains on his clothes, just like it used to be with Taehyung, and his glasses have probably smudged fingerprints on the glass. At least he showered before going out to work, he thinks.

Namjoon can feel what the other wants to say. How worried they are, that he has to sleep, that he has to take care of himself and the team, and whatever it is, he should speak up.

But he doesn't, Seokjin only stares at him for another moment and then opens the bag to hand him some self-made bibimbap and stew with fresh Naan, the latest preference of Harin.

"Eat now, it's still warm.", he says and leans back, watching Namjoon's every move, "Brought some to Yoongi-ah and Hobi-ah as well."

Carefully, Namjoon starts to eat, his stomach grumbling loudly, telling him it was about time to feet him something properly, instead of only drinking coffee and eating a granola bar.

"Tastes amazing." He murmurs, chewing the still warm Naan, the flavor of herbs and butter melting on his tongue.

While Namjoon is eating in silence, Soekjin starts to talk about the restaurant and the upcoming opening. How nervous his brother is, alway calling him or Harin. He talks about their plans for the future, about small dreams. About the way, she moved some space in her closet for him and bought him a Super Mario toothbrush mug where he can leave his brush instead of putting it right back into his bag. About the enormous encloser, they built together for Odeng-ie and Eomuk-ie and how much Harin loves the two tiny sugar gliders.

"I think.", Seokjin says, swallowing slightly and ears blushing bright red, "I think I'm going to ask her, you know?"

"Ask her what?" Namjoon raises an eyebrow, smirking, slurping the rest of the stew, and already knowing his friend's answer.

"To marry me.", Seokjin mumbles, fingers playing an anxious rhythm on his leg, "After military service if she still wants me then. I already have the rings."

"You do?"

Seokjin laughs loudly, face scrunched up, "Yeah, I have the rings, and I'm going to ask her soon. Before we go to Malta. Hopefully, she doesn't mind to wait until after...everything."

Everything. Military service, Seokjin's career as an Idol, singer in a group of seven, maybe an acting career as well.

Namjoon boxes him lightly against the shoulder, grinning, "She won't mind. Harin loves you enough to wait."

"You think so?" And he sounds so unsure, so self-conscious it hurts. Seokjin still smiles, bright and warmly.

"Definitely." He replies, grinning and brushing the last few crumbles off his jeans, "Besides, you are a good catch. She wouldn't let you go."

"Ha! Who would have thought she would be with Worldwide Handsome, right?" He laughs for a moment, but then it turns quiet, "Thank god, she loves me for more than that."

He'd known before that Seokjin was scared people only ever saw him as Jin from BTS. A handsome, funny man who isn't a real person, but a fantasy on stage. Harin sees him fro who he is. For the man who has two small sugar gliders, who loves to cook in his free time and who is serious and humorous at the same time.

Namjoon looks at his Hyung, one of the people he always relied on and sees how his smile slowly vanishes, eyes still kind, uneven blink, "Actually, I needed to talk to you. Not as friends, but as your Hyung and you as our leader."

Namjoon's stomach drops, although he already suspected this. It's not uncommon for any of them to come to the studios, bringing Namjoon and Yoongi something to eat, reminding them to breathe and taking care of themselves. Yet, the atmosphere in the last weeks and the stolen glances from Hoseok and Seokjin towards him, were already an indication, that this conversation had to come.

Namjoon licks his lips and slowly turns to Seokjin, nodding because he is Bangtan's leader and can be professional, "I'm listening."

"We need a break."

It's not exactly what he'd expected. He had expected to hear questions about him and Jimin and why they act so strange, why Namjoon was so sad and why Jimin never seemed to leave the dance studio anymore.

Seokjin sighs, hands rubbing over his arm, "We all can't go on like this for any longer. We need a bit of space to breath. Hobi-ah is almost finished with his mixtape, and it would help him to have a few days off where he is able to concentrate only on it. Jiminie, I don't know what's wrong with him, he doesn't talk to anyone. He started to skip meals again."

Namjoon had noticed. Also tried to reach out to him, speak to him, but Jimin had only smiled and said, "Do you remember when I told you I would ask for help if I need to? I'm alright."

Instead of pressuring him into talking and eating, Namjoon asked Taehyung and Hoseok to leave granola bars, and fruits and the ginger honey tea Jimin loves in the studio for him to eat. It has to be enough until he decides to reach out for help on his own. There is nothing else they can do except for making it clear that they are there to help, and Jimin is not alone.

"Taehyungie would like to go home for a bit. His grandfather." Seokjin stops and sighs again.

"What's with him?" Namjoon remembers the old man, who visited them once in Seoul, bright boxy-smile, just like Taehyung and telling them all about the small farm where their second youngest grew up.

"He's getting old, and Tae told us that he diminished a lot since his grandmother died."

Taehyung's grandmother died on the third of September in 2016, only a few weeks after Namjoon listened to Stigma for the very first time, and it had broken Taehyung. For him, family was the most important element in the world and losing his grandmother. It had been bad. Taehyung was walking around, holding it all together by sheer force, overwhelmed with grief and sorrow.

"His mother guesses it won't be long anymore until..."

"Shit, I didn't know.", Namjoon feels his heart squeezing tight. He should have known, should have done something, and reach out to Taehyung.

"He only told Kookie and Jiminie, and Jimin told Yoongi, who told Hoseok, who told me, and I'm here with you right now." Seokjin responds, and although the situation isn't funny, the is a soft twitch around his lips, "I know, it's not my position to do all this, but I already checked our schedule in the next few months, and we could get off a few days before Hobi-ah's birthday."

Without hesitation, Namjoon reaches for his phone and checks the calendar. One thing he adapted from his sister's bullet journal are the color-coded inscriptions. It's so much easier to see through all the meetings when they are not only in one color. Blue for interviews, green broadcasts, red for concerts.

"No, don't worry, Hyung, you did the right thing.", Namjoon is scrolling through his phone and looking for more open days, more free time they could try to steal away, "It looks good, shall I talk to Sejin then?"

"Would be the best."

Their management won't be too happy about this, but if Seokjin says they need a break, Namjoon will do everything until they get one.

He types a quick message to their manager and requests a last-minute meeting that day and then looks up again.

Seokjin is still watching him, eyebrows furrowed.

"What?"

"You will not kick me out if I ask you about Jimin?" Seokjin questions bluntly, and Namjoon winces, head tilting, already turning back to his computer.

"Nothing happened.", His voice sounds strange in his own ears, and he knows he can't foul his friend, but Seokjin only lies his hand on his shoulder, squeezing lightly.

"Come and talk to me when you are ready. Maybe we find a way to resolve this."

"Thanks." And Namjoon wonders if the other knows more than he let on, just like he told him before.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The exact moment, Namjoon steps into his childhood home in Ilsan, old door jammed on the same part of the floor like it had always been, jute bag hanging over his shoulder like a soldier coming back home from war, he can breathe again. His skin doesn't feel too tight anymore, and he can barely conceal the small sob of relief in the back of his throat.

It smells like his mother's self-made Doenjang Jjigae and the lavender-thyme candles she always lightens in the evening. The same childhood pictures are framing the wall, and the tiny dresser with the Buddha statue still sits at the same corner.

He is home.

Namjoon almost expects Kyungmin to walk down the stairs, the teenage-sullen expression on her face and her big, bright orange headphones, the ones with cat ears, on her head. It won't happen, her still being in Rome, eating gelato and getting chubby because of too much pasta with parmesan.

"But it's so worth it.", She had laughed in one of her video calls, walking through Romes street to show him her home for now, chubby cheeks on display, "So, sooo worth it."

And she looked happy, the thick woolen scarf around her neck and dark red lips and hair even a tad shorter than last year, turning the phone around to show him the stone cobbled streets and the tiny bakery right under her flat.

Rapmon, however, runs towards him to greet Namjoon, jumping up and down and trying to reach for his hands. Namjoon let's go of his bag and keys, slips out of his shoes, to crouch down and pats the exited dog, "Hey buddy. Did you miss me?"

He hears the radio volume turned down a bit, and then his mother peers around the corner, "Joonie!"

Namjoon is early. Actually, he shouldn't have come home before dinner time, but somehow they all got out of the dorm over-punctual, and before he knew what was going on he was sitting in the backseat of Seokjin's car right after breakfast, next to Misun, while his Hyung and Harin bickered the whole time driving from Seoul to Ilsan.

It's not a long way, but still, Misun, and he started to mimic them after ten minutes into the journey, making fun of them like silly teenagers, and it had been a pleasant experience. Namjoon understands why Jeongguk, and now even Taehyung, like to be around the girl. She's witty and doesn't mince her words, but is still very respectful and thoughtful about her words and actions.

"Have fun home. Don't call." Seokjin shooed him out of the car, waved his goodbye, and then he was gone, made the tires scream on his way around the street corner.

Namjoon stands up to greet his mother in a tight hug. It has been a while since he was home the last time. Most of the time, his parents visited him in Seoul since it was easier for them to come to the capital instead of him to go out of the studio.

Nothing really changed in the house of his childhood, and at the same time, everything was different. It's that feeling after moving away and coming home again. Knowing every little quirk of the house, and still feeling like an intruder.

But embracing the woman who raised him and taught him almost everything valuable he knows, it is making him feel like being home again. At ease.

He asked them a while ago if they would like to buy a new house, a bigger one without so many quirks and little construction zones like the plumping system, and now he is thankful his father was against it. He doesn't want to lose this house. Doesn't want to visit his parents in a domicil he doesn't know and never really would.

Her hands cup his cheeks, and he has to look down to look into her eyes, "You look..."

She stops and frowns, a small line appearing between her eyebrows.

"Terrible." He finishes her sentence, knowing what she must see in his pale face and dark, dark circles under his eyes, barely concealed by his thick-rimmed glasses, but she shakes her head.

"Of course not, Joonie." She disagrees, hands squishing his cheeks together like Jimin likes to do and then letting go, "Just really tired. Come, I'll make you some tea."

He follows her through the small hallway into the kitchen in the back of the house, trying to avoid to stumble over Rapmon, who's still eagerly running around his legs and huffing out a bark from time to time.

While his mother tampers with their ancient kettle, the ones who whistle when the water is hot, Namjoon peels himself out of his winter coat and sits down on the floor, cuddling his dog in earnest.

"Appa is still out, but he should be back before dinner.", His mother leans against the counter, mugs, milk, and sugar ready on the table and now only waiting for the water to boil. She studies him, eyes lingering on his long feet, voice stern, "You have a hole in your sock."

Sure enough, when he looks to his feet, his left toe wiggles free, and he makes an apologetic face, "Yeah, we rushed a bit to get out before anything could come in again, changing the plans."

And that's exactly what they did. All of them out of bed right after sunrise, running through the apartment, searching for the stuff they wanted to take with them. Namjoon doesn't know how many times Yoongi and Jeongguk collided in the hallway, and he can still hear Jimin's shouts, "TAE, HURRY UP!" when the other was still naked under the shower, humming softly.

And they might have ignored the loud ping, coming from all their phones at the same time, meaning it was an emergency mail from Bang Sihyuk. Just sharing a glance, all pausing like deers in the headlight, and when Namjoon pushed his phone deeper into the pocket of his jeans, all did the same, starting to run around again. When Namjoon put on the socks, it was with a little bit more force than necessary, and he tore it a bit but didn't want to get another pair in case any one of the management would come to their apartment, and they couldn't get out in time.

Namjoon read the message in the car, nothing too bad, and it could actually wait until their short holiday ended in a few days and promptly forgot about the hole in his sock.

"That bad?" His mother asks, reaching for the potholder Kyungmin had crooked in kindergarten.

Namjoon likes how much his family values the little things in life. His parents still have every painting, both of them ever did, no matter how bad or rushed they are. Like circles all in blue wax crayons or the time, Namjoon drew an elephant with three noses and one leg. Some of them are still hanging in his father's studies. He knows, somewhere in the attic are a few boxes with self-made wooden figures Namjoon carved with his uncle and so many more things, which would flood his mind with childhood memories.

Maybe he should go up there later that day and check it out. Being nostalgic instead of heartbroken.

"It's a lot at the moment.", He answers her and then tells his mother about their struggles. About Yoongi battling against his depression at the moment, not feeling the hoped-for relief after finally being more than a small fish in the ocean, but worldwide stars. It had been disillusioning to learn that fame and money wouldn't change anything about their mental health or the way the world would view them.

"He always thought that once we reach this goal, everything would be alright, but it's actually not like that."

About Hoseok working all the time on his mixtape, and trying to still be their hope and sunshine in the apartment. Namjoon tells his mother about the apartment, "I hate it. It's too big."

He talks about Taehyung and his fear of losing his grandfather soon, now being on his way to Daegu and the old farm, and probably saying his last goodbyes.

"It hurts to watch your friend grieving and not being able to do anything against it.", He hugs Rapmon tight and is glad that the white dog lets him do it.

"And Jiminie?"

Namjoon shakes his head, "I'm not sure. We can see that something is going on, but he doesn't talk about it."

He asked Jeongguk to speak with Jimin during their drive south to Busan and hopes their maknae can find out what exactly makes Jimin tense and uptight. Sometimes, Namjoon wonders if Jimin might have heard him and left because of this. Perhaps Jimin heard his whispered confession, and it discomforts him, makes him overthink everything, and falling back into bad habits. Because a bandmate being in love with him is inconvenient and a problem, he doesn't know how to handle it.

"Are you still in love with him?" Namjoon knew this question would come eventually, so it doesn't surprise him. Still, he doesn't want to tell his mother about his own struggles, the long nights in the studio, eyes burning, heart in his throat, and always feeling like he is made of old china, crazed and brittle, ready to break apart and falling into dust.

Yet, he nods, looks away, and swallowing around the lump in his throat, "I try to let go."

He doesn't need to explain. She knows what it means. Knows that Jimin doesn't reciprocate his feelings.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Joonie.", She replies with a kind voice and indicates him to get up and sit at the table and putting the sugar out of his reach, "Do you have anything nice to tell?"

Namjoon snorts, thankful for the opportunity to change the topic, "Seokjin-Hyung is going to asks Harin-Noona to marry him."

"Is it the girl with the restaurant?" His mother asks and turns away to get some cookies from the cupboard, and Namjoon steals a few sugar cubes and lets them fall into his cup, "Kyungminnie told us about her. She seemed very nice."

"Yeah, it's her. You should come to the restaurant soon. It's lovely."

"How long are they together now?" His mother sits down at the table again, raises an eyebrow, "And I know you put more sugar into your tea. You shouldn't do that, it's unhealthy."

"Two and a half years.", He replies and reaches for a cookie, slowly chewing on it and ignoring her scolding, "I think he is going to ask her today."

"Is he? Won't it be a problem with the media and some fans?"

They don't have a dating ban, never had, and BigHit would never have done this to them, but the industry didn't change during the last few years, and Idols don't date. Period.

"He wants to wait until after the military service with the marriage.", Namjoon explains, and his mother cups the mug with both hands, warming her fingers.

"So, you won't renew the contract after next year?"

Namjoon swallows. He never really thought about it. Never wanted to, it goes too well for them at the moment, and thinking about the end of their contract makes him anxious and unsure. He doesn't know what the others want. They never spoke about it, never even mentioned it. Bangtan doesn't seem to have an end, but now, hearing his mother's question, he wonders if Seokjin would even want to continue this journey. He has to serve at the latest in two years for two more. Namjoon doesn't know if his friend and Harin would want to wait for such a long time until they marry, and then if they renew the contract, it might go one for even longer.

It's ridiculous that he never really thought about it until now, just passing thoughts from time to time.

He should have kept it in mind.

"Namjoon?" His mother tears him out of his thoughts, and he shakes his head for a moment, "I actually didn't think about it. I don't know, we didn't talk about the contract. It seems like a long time until then."

"Maybe you find your time to think about it here and talk to the others when you get back."

She is right, he thinks. As the leader, he should try to be prepared, to have pro and contra arguments for both sides.

"Yeah, I might do that.", He replies and smiles at her, reaching out to rub over her small fingers, "It's good to be home. I missed you, Eomma."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Later, after a hearty dinner and when his parents already are in bed, his father probably propped up on the headboard and telling his mother about the books he read, Namjoon sits in the attic, phone in one hand and the small traditional Hwarang toy in the other. The bow has broken off, and the color spalls on a few places, the traditional makeup peeling away and leaving the wooden figure bare and naked. It's funny how much symbolism he holds in his hand.

The Hwarang were the warrior elite that originated in the Silla Kingdom, prominent in the Korean Peninsula until the 10th century. They were trained in material arts, as well as the fine arts like poetry, culture, and spirituality by monks, and lived most of their lives sequestered. Hwarang means flower boys, the literal meaning of the Hanja ideographs 花郞.

The youth, mostly known because of their beauty and feminine appearance, and not their skills.

It's familiar, Namjoon thinks, rolling the small figure in his hand, eyeing it from all angles. Just like Idols.

As far as he can recall, popular men during the late 1990 and 2000 were often referred to as Kkotminam, which also means flower boys, and the term still lingers in their industry. Idols are flower boys. Some more fitting than others. Jimin fits perfectly into the stereotype, all soft and angelic, and at the same time, a skilled warrior. Namjoon has never seen anyone dance with so much passion, except maybe for Hoseok. One of the best, and still often overlooked because he isn't the stereotypical male, all hard angles.

But being an Idol, it cuts both ways. For once, Idols are famous, now all over the world, admired by thousands of fans of different ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. At the same time, their success and talent are often not taken seriously.

"Wearing makeup, like girls.", once another rapper said to him and Yoongi, and Namjoon probably will never forget the icy feelings running down his spine. As if wearing makeup or being a woman is something despiteful. Something no one should ever want. As if being the persona on stage, wearing makeup makes them less a man, less desirable, less anything.

He wonders what those people would think if they knew about his sexuality, about him being in love with another man.

Flower boys. Kkotminam. Hwarang.

Namjoon sighs, rubbing a bit of the peeling paints away. Under all the colors, they are all just the same. And he doesn't understand why people don't see it.

 

RM: Have you ever thought about what would happen after next year?

MinAgustD: What do you mean?

RM: After the contract expires...

MinAgustD: ...sometimes, yeah. Where does this come from now?

RM: Eomma asked me today.

MinAgustD: What do you want?

RM: Idk, I never really thought about it ending so soon, but the others might not want to.

MinAgustD: Why do you think so? Has anyone said anything?

RM: No, just Jin-Hyung is going to ask Harin to marry him, and do you think he wants to wait another 7 years?

MinAgustD: I think Hyung gives a shit what anyone thinks about him when it comes to that. As long as we are okay with it, he would make it official. We had worst than a dating scandal. It won't change anything.

RM: and Taehyungie? 

MinAgustD: What's with him?

RM: Idk, maybe he wants to do more acting and doing tours, and shit will keep him away from it.

MinAgustD: I think you worry too much right now. If it makes you feel better, you should ask him what he wants, as well for Hyung.

RM: What do you want?

MinAgustD: Honestly, I can't imagine being without you guys, but if we don't renew the contract, I'm going to concentrate on the producing career.

RM: So, you thought about it.

MinAgustD: Yeah, haven't you?

RM: No, not really.

MinAgustD: Maybe you should, but don't overthink, Joon-ah.

RM: I try.

 

He didn't exactly think his free days would go like this, but they are all right. He needs to think about it and figure out what he would do and keep in mind all the what-ifs. He will figure it out, will find a way. Maybe he could concentrate on another mixtape. Maybe he could write and produce more songs for other artists like he'd done in winter. He will make it work.

Slowly, Namjoon stands up, head almost touching the wooden ceiling, and creeping down the creaking stairs, Hwarang figure still in his hand.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon spent most of his free time in Ilsan strolling through his old neighborhood, walking through Ilsan Lake Park, and meeting people from his past, with whom he's still in contact but didn't meet for a long time.

A few of his old underground friends and school mates answered his text, and they met for a get together in one of the smaller Korean barbeque places, drinking soju and exchanges pieces and bits about their lives. It's fascinating to meet his old friends from school, all living their own lives. Some of them are still university students, already out of military service, and getting cozy with long-lasting girlfriends.

"We're thinking about children.", Junghwan, one of the guys who took him to his first rap battle a lifetime ago, when Namjoon still was an awkward, pimple-faced teenager, told him, cheeks rosy with the heat of the grill and the alcohol, "I think it would be nice to gradually start my own small family."

They ask him about women he met, about secret relationships, and Namjoon always only said, "I...We all try to concentrate on our careers. There is not enough time for a relationship."

The glances he gets after those words are sympathetic, pitying, and it makes him shiver. 

"And you never really meet up with someone to.", Dongchul made a dirty gesture with his hands, wiggling his eyebrows suggestive, "You know, get the juices flowing."

No matter how great their friendship has been, he doubts telling them about his sexuality would be a good idea. Some of them might be okay with it. Namjoon's own generation changed and is so much more open-minded than the older folks, but still. You never know. Information like that could leak to the media, and he doesn't want to risk it.

So, Namjoon only smirked, didn't reply to that, and let them think whatever they want.

One afternoon he visited his grandmother in her small Hanok, drinking tea and eating so much food he guessed he will never be able to walk in a straight line, stomach cramps trying to take him down. All the while, his grandmother questioned him when he finally gets a real job and starts to act on getting serious in a relationship.

"Those rabbing.", She grumbled over her bowl of Bibimbap, and ignoring his correction, exaggerated pronunciation, "It's called raP, not raB."

"It's not a good job.", She pointed at him with one of her chopsticks, "You could have done such great things with the brain of yours. Instead, you go around and rabb for a few people. No one wants to see that."

He loves her, he seriously does, but they had this discussion every time he visited her in the last few years, and by now, he doesn't try to change her mind. Namjoon is aware of the fact that he could probably have studied everything he wants, but he's chosen this, and it was the best decision. There were many moments in the past, making him question his decision. A decision a child had made, 15 years old Namjoon, but he never regrets it. It's hard but worth it.

Maybe, he thought, maybe he is going to show her one of the upcoming concerts and the few people who watch him stutter on stage.

However, not that day.

Namjoon tried to change the topic smoothly, talking about Kyungmin and her stay in Rome, which brought his grandmother to talk about greatgrandchildren, "She should get a man already. I want to see them before I die."

For a moment, he considered burying his face in the pot of rice, drowning her nagging. She is family, he repeatedly told himself, family.

 

The last night at home, after dinner, Namjoon maintains a custom. When he was younger, most days, he went with his father into his study to read with him in peace and quiet.

Namjoon always loved this room the best. It is next to the kitchen, the brightest room in the house, a big window front with the view of their small garden and with his father's desk in front of it. On warm summer days, when his father leaves the window open, they can hear the gurgling sounds coming from the tiny pond.

Huge bookshelves framing the walls with too many books to read about everything you could wish for, except for one small space where a few pictures and paintings pinned to the wall. The room is crying out for his father's influence. Old-fashioned standard lamp slightly flickering and the heavy scent of books, papers, and ink filling his nose.

Earlier during his stay at home, his father gave him a book about Dionysus to read with a twinkling in his eyes, "You might like that."

Namjoon sits on the floor, like always, back leaning against the small couch and long legs stretched wide, Rapmon lying between them and occasional bumping him with his paw, so he doesn't forget to pet him.

On the first day back home, his mother asked Namjoon if he ever considered to tell his father about his sexuality and perhaps even about Jimin, and Namjoon thinks it's time to do so.

One of the shelves next to the desk is full of books, Namjoon identified as LGBT+ readings, and he has to stop the unattractive snort when he sees And Tango makes Three, a children's book about two male and very gay penguins who want to start a family.

It's charming how much thoughts his mother put into the books and how much she cares for him, hoping this could help his father to understand and accept this part about him better.

"I'm always fascinated with the Arabic writing style.", His father mumbles, turning the page of his books, "You should read some poems. I think you would find them interesting."

"Will do, Appa.", He replies and inhaling the scent of his childhood deeply, all heavy wood and lilac, patting Rapmon's head, who huffs quietly, "Can I talk to you for a moment?"

It takes all his courage to look up to his father, hands clenched into Rapmon's fur. His heart jumps up into his throat, and he's never been so scared before. Not even with his mother. Not even his first time on stage.

It's ironic that his father is the first person he tells from face to face, not trying to use any alternatives like text messages or a phone call from a cold bathroom floor in northern Europe.

How do you start such a conversation without making it weird? Without making your father freak out and being scared for his future, like Jackson's parents had been. They are still struggling with their son's sexuality and his relationship with Mark, but they try. Try to understand and try to learn, so Namjoon is hopeful that even if his father should react badly, it could work out fine.

He can see how his father closing the book on his lap and adjusts his glasses, "Of course."

There is a serious expression on his face, just like all those times when Namjoon was a child and did something against the rules, apologize and make it right to his father.

"I...I'm.", He stutters and licks his lips nervously, "I like men as well as women."

Namjoon can almost see the wheels turning behind his father's eyes, thinking about his words and slowly, gradually realizing. Eyes flickering to the books on the shelf, scanning the spines, and remembering all those stories he read and then looking back to him.

"Ah. I see.", He retorts, fingers flipping through the book, bending the pages, the atmosphere is heavy and awkward, "Does this mean you are bisexual?"

Namjoon doesn't know if this is the perfect moment to explain the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality, so he only shrugs his shoulders slightly, "Something similar, yeah."

"I see."

They are silent for a moment. Namjoon tries to calm his racing heart, and his father seemed to process the news, "How do you know?"

This wasn't exactly the question he expected, but it's better than nothing, so Namjoon answers him as calmly as possible, "I met someone."

"So, you have a." He stops, rubbing the bridge of his nose, "A boyfriend?"

When he shakes his head, a frown appears on his father's face, "You shouldn't do that."

A small nervous giggle escapes his mouth, and he shakes his head a little bit, "I don't have casual hook-ups, Appa."

"Then how do you know if you actually like...being with another man?"

"How did you know you like women?" He retorts, and looking up to his father, watching his expression fall, thinking about his words.

"I just knew."

"Me too."

"I see.", His father stands up slowly, stretching his legs and walking towards the bookshelf, ignoring Rapmon, who's jumping around his legs and grabbing for a book with a blue and white binding, "Your mother gifted me a few books about homosexuality. Does she know?"

He turns the book in his hands, fingers playing with the pages, making some breeze with them.

"Yeah, I told her after I realized that I fell in love with someone.", Namjoon answers truthfully.

"That explains...", His father gesticulates towards the books and sends him a small smile, "I'm glad you told her about it. She was very eager to get me into the topic and to learn about LGBT+ history, as well as to understand it a bit more."

He stops for a moment, pondering about his next words and then steps towards Namjoon and gives him the book in his hands, "I still don't really understand, but I don't understand heterosexuality as well. It's just a normal instinct, right?"

It's such a thing his father would say. Normally, because sexuality is an instinct and therefore there is nothing to try to find out about it 

Namjoon turns the book in his hands, eyes flying over the name Song of Achilles, written by Madeline Miller, "You could say that. It's natural and never a choice."

"Do you know that Achilles was bisexual as well? Patroclus was his lover." His father asks und nodding towards the book, "Take it and read it. You will like it."

They stay silent for a moment, his father scanning the books on the shelf, and Namjoon feeling the soft pages under his fingertips.

"And you are in love with another man?" His father asks suddenly, making Namjoon's heart jump painfully, and he doesn't really want to talk about Jimin, but it feels like he owes his father to be completely honest about this whole situation.

"I am, yes.", He sighs and thinking about how to explain this mess with the other man, "I fell in love with Jiminie. We... it's very complicated and doesn't really matter. He doesn't like me that way."

"Jimin? Your Park Jimin?" His father looks surprised and then laughs quietly, huffs, "That explains why your mother always talks about him."

Namjoon remembers all the times his mother asked him if he would like to invite Jimin into their home for a break and the subtle questions if it is going fine with him or going somewhere in general.

"It's been a while for you then, right?"

"A few years, yeah.", Namjoon answers and leans his head back, eyes closed.

It's fascinating how his life and Jimin's role changed in the last few years. How the other man started as a stranger and then Namjoon fell in love, gradually, slowly, and day by day.

Sometimes he wonders if he'd been in love with Jimin right from the start, and his feelings only made themself known after the thing between them started. Namjoon knows he'd always been fond and kind of protective of the dancer.

"Jimin is also interested in man?" His father's voice tears him out of his mind, away from his thoughts about the other man and unrequited feelings.

He nods, "We never explicitly talked about his sexuality, but as far as I know, he might be bisexual. It's just..."

Namjoon shrugs and opens his eyes again, blinking towards the ceiling, "He's probably not interested in a relationship."

"I see.", His father answers and sits down on his wingchair again, fiddling with the closed book full of Arabic poetry, "So, did you know about this...sexuality thing for long?"

"Yes.", Namjoon says, swallowing hard, "For almost eight years."

"Ah."

Namjoon still remembers the day when he saw one of the older boys from the Taekwondo school club train outside. The way his lower belly clenched after seeing play the shadows and sunlight on his exposed skin. The first harmless dreams about a firmer body and a flat chest pressed against his and a masculine scent in his nose.

And then he met Donghyuk, and his heart fluttered like the wings of a hummingbird, while his brilliant mind decided to not function properly for a while.

"Were you too scared to tell us?" His father questions, eyes still switching between him and the small book collection about same-sex-love.

"At first, I just didn't know what I should tell you because I didn't know what I felt and how to define it correctly, and then it felt like time run through my fingers. There was never the right time to do so.", Namjoon rambles, trying to find the right words to explain why he never told his parents before. Why he left his father out and kept such an important part of himself a secret.

His father crosses his legs and opens the book again, adjusting his glasses, and the soft baritone of his voice fills the room, "I only hope we never made you feel like you have to hide away and you can't tell us things like this. I might not understand entirely the concept of homosexual love and why you might be in love with another young man, but it doesn't matter in the end. The only important part is that you are happy."

Namjoon didn't think his father would react badly in general, but somehow he didn't expect him to react this open-minded and accepting about this fact that his son is queer and very much in love with his band member.

"There was an Emperor.", His father starts, turning the pages without reading the content, fingers moving over the letters and long foot bobbing with an inaudible tact, "Emperor Ai, who was in love with a younger man, do you know that?"

Namjoon shakes his head, not really understanding why his father wants to tell him this story, but he leans his head back against the cushion and only listens.

"Well, Emperor Ai loved this young man a lot, and one night they met. to be together.", He stops, and Namjoon can almost feel his father's embarrassment about what his words imply, "When Ai had to get up in the morning and leave the bed, his young lover was tangled with his silky robe, and he didn't have the heart to wake him up. Instead, he cut his sleeve and left the bed without disturbing his lover's sleep."

It's rather poetic, Namjoon muses, remembering all those nights when he left the bed and tried to disentangle his long limbs from Jimin's without waking the other. He understands the Emperor Ai, knowing he would cut his sleeves for Jimin as well.

 

May 2018

 

The aircraft's engines hum softly, sending slight vibrations through his tired body, convulsed muscles aching with every movement in his first-class seat. Next to him, Seokjin hugs his RJ plushie tight, sleeping soundly. He knows, somewhere next to them is Yoongi with Sejin, probably writing some beats, playing with his little soundbox on his tablet for hours now.

In the seat in front of them are Taehyung and Jeongguk, holding hands under their airplane blankets and probably sharing their headphones, listening to Taehyungs recent discovery, Duke Ellington.

Jimin and Hoseok went to sleep even before the plane took off, hoodie's in their faces and eyemasks to disregard the world and the turmoil around them.

They are almost in Korea again after the Billboard Awards if Namjoon's watch shows the correct time, and he did the math correctly. The last few days were ridiculous eventful and somehow one of the most stressful weeks in this year until so far.

On the one hand, it had been fun and exciting. They met a few western musicians they might be interested in doing some collaborations at the Billboard Awards and in some of the talk shows. America, as always, had been palatial, loud, and so astonishingly different than their home, it made Namjoon's heart ache with homesickness.

On the other hand, Namjoon is mentally exhausted, as if the few days off in February never happened. Not only being the leader of their group, but also one of the only members with enough knowledge to have a fluent conversation in English made him responsible for a lot of things in the other country. He tended to undertake the translations for them and switching between languages all the time, considering the number of mistakes all of them could do in behavior or keeping in mind their schedules and meetings almost made his brain explode. His cheeks hurt from smiling and fake laughing about the crude jokes some of the reporters made, and he is looking forward to his own bed. Where the beddings smell familiar and like home. 

In general, the interviews with all the American reporters were kinda generic and nothing new. There was almost no question they didn't get before. Multiple times Namjoon had to suppress a sigh after hearing or reading one of the other questions.

What's your favorite food in America?

Which places do you wanna visit next? Who inspires you to make your music?

Honestly, Namjoon was sick of these questions. Always the same, never something interesting.

They all answer them without much thought anymore.

Panda Express, New York, my parents.

It's a joke between them all when the reporters ask, with whom they would like to collaborate with.

Saying each other's names, never saying another artist, hence real collaborations stay a surprise and hidden.

Jimin, once again, said Namjoon's name, and he stonewalled him.

"Shut up.". He'd said and turned away from Jimin, ignoring his funny behavior, the way Jimin hit his chest a few times.

Generally, since they all came back from their mini-holiday in February, the situation between Namjoon and Jimin was strange, tense, and uncomfortable. Jeongguk couldn't tell him what exactly was wrong with Jimin after their holidays, although he seemed to know more about the dancer's issues since they talked during their journey south to Busan and back again.

Namjoon doesn't know what went wrong between them, but they don't seem to be able to talk to each other anymore without avoiding their eyes or touch each other in a normal manner.

All Namjoon wants to do is reach out and take Jimin in his arms, but the other doesn't seem to want to, even stopped sitting close to him, lay his hands on Namjoon's tights or avoids any embraces overall.

Namjoon wished Jimin would talk to him, tell him what he did wrong in the first place, and maybe let him do it right again. But every time Namjoon reaches out to him and tries to understand, ask what happened between them in the last few months, Jimin only says, "Nothing. Everything is alright."

He knows the other is angry with him, ignored Namjoon all the way to the airport in L.A., and switched seats with Seokjin in order to avoid Namjoon's proximity.

 

RM: Talk to me. What did I do wrong again?

 

He asked Jimin through text messages right before they stepped into the plane, but didn't get an answer until so far.

Namjoon couldn't sleep the whole journey, lying awake, eyes closed under his Koya mask for most of the time when he didn't watch the clouds outside the window to his right.

Through his headphones, Namjoon can hear the soft announcement of the pilot that they will land in the near future. Carefully Namjoon takes his headphones off and reaches out to shake Seokjin awake, who only grips RJ tighter against his chest and buries his nose in the fabric of the plushie.

"Hyung, wake up.", He whispers, untightens Seokjin's hands from RJ, and plugs the face mask from his face. The elder squints tiredly at him, voice thick with sleep, "What?"

"We're landing in a few minutes. Do you wanna brush your teeth before leaving the plane?"

Seokjin nods slowly, face scrunched up in a huge yawn, and stands up to grab the small hygenic pouch, "Should I wake the others as well?"

Namjoon nods and stands up to put his belongings in his backpack, hands reaching out to wake Jeonggukie and Taehyung in the row in front of them. Taehyung's eyes fly open immediately, always a light sleeper, but Jeongguk only turns his face to press his nose into the crook of Taehyung's neck.

"I'll wake him up.", the singer tells him, smiling softly, his mouth brushing Jeongguk's forehead and hand coming up to cup their youngest cheek, murmuring, "Kook-ah, we're landing."

From the corner of his eyes, Namjoon can see Seokjin waking Hoseok and Jimin on the other end of the plane, shaking their shoulders slightly and whispering.

And Yoongi is already sitting in his seat, facemask in place, and hat on his head, eyes closed, while Sejin stands up to talk with the rest of the crew before they leave the plane.

Seokjin falls back into his seat, looking slightly more alive than a few minutes earlier, "Did you sleep a bit?"

For a short moment, Namjoon considers to lie, but then he shakes his head, "Not really."

"Yeah, it shows. You look like shit.", Seokjin replies, eyeing him carefully and worried.

Namjoon knows how bad he looks, dark shadows under his eyes, chapped lips and pale like the death. It's a look he might not get changed for the next few months, "Thanks."

The older pats his knee with a bright smile, winking, "You are welcome."

Before Namjoon can say anything else to Seokjin, his phone in his hand vibrates lightly.

 

ChimChim: Nothing

RM: Jimin, we need to talk about whatever happened. It can't go on like this any longer.

ChimChim: Let's talk at home.

RM: Promise?!

ChimChim: Sure.

 

"Are you ok?" Seokjin asks, watching him thoughtful, and Namjoon can only shrug his shoulders.

"I don't know anymore.", He whispers, rubbing his tired eyes and then moving his hand into the pocket of his jacket, fingers brushing against a hard material.

When he wraps them around it and puts it out of his pocket, the old wooden Hwarang soldier comes to light. Frowning, he scrutinizes it, fingertips peeling the already faded coating away, feeling the wood. He totally forgot he put the figure into his pocket earlier, "Can I ask you something, Hyung?"

The hand, still on his knee, squeezes lightly, and Seokjin nods, reassuring, "Sure."

"Have you ask Harin-Noona to marry you already?"

Namjoon can see in his friends face that this question wasn't something he expected, but he slowly nods, "Yeah, I proposed to her in February, when we visited my parents. Why?"

"For how long are you guys really willing to wait?"

Seokjin removes his hand carefully, leg bobbing up and down, "A bit, maybe a few years, why do you ask, Joonie?"

"Have you ever thought about what happens next year? If we should renew the contract?"

After the week home in Ilsan, Namjoon had thought about it almost daily. About a new contract and about what he would like to do if the others wouldn't want to renew it. Namjoon knows he could go solo or start to work as a producer. Or maybe he could start to study something real like his grandmother would like him to do so.

"Do you want to?" Seokjin asks him, and Namjoon finally looks up, turning away from the small wooden figure in his hands and looks into his Hyung's face.

"I don't know.", He whispers, heart beating hard against his chest and mouth dry, "I mean, after seven years, don't you think, it's time to move on?"

Seokjin shrugs his shoulders lightly, biting his lips, worriedly, "No, not really."

"I just thought that it would be, maybe, you know, a good idea, to talk about. And kinda, seven years is a long time, and perhaps it's enough, you know?", His hands are sweaty, and the Hwarang soldier almost slips from his fingers, falling to the floor, "I think, it might be time to disband next year."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

Namjoon steps out of the shower in their apartment, steamed up mirror and hot fumes around him, and he still shivers slightly. Goosebumps rising on his exposed skin.

He knows, a few doors away, Jimin is already waiting for him to have a conversation he wanted and now is dreading.

Very tardily, he rubs his limbs dry and steps into some old sweatpants and a hoodie, hair dripping wet.

He walks to his room, wanting to get some fresh socks and then go to Jimin to have this conversation, but when he opens the door, the other man is already sitting on Namjoon's bed, cross-legged and a blanket, Namjoon's galaxy pattern blanket, around his shoulders.

"Oh."

Jimin looks up from his phone, where he is probably reading a manhwa or watching a video, "I thought it would be a bit more private than in my room, right?"

"Right.", Namjoon replies and slowly walks into the room, hanging the wet towel over the back of his chair and gently sits down on the free place of his desk, "Right."

Jimin doesn't really look at him, eyes roaming the room and Namjoon realizes that the other never really been in his bedroom before since they moved into the new apartment.

"I like your room.", Jimin murmurs, eyes fixated on the bedside table and the collage of polaroid pictures of some of their trips, "It suits you very well."

"Thank you, Jimin.", He retorts, and somehow all his patience leaves him. For months now, Jimin is avoiding him, ignoring his questions, and pleas to talk to him, and now the other wants to talk about Namjoon's room? Something snaps inside him, all hurt, incomprehension, and anger, voice growing hard, "Why were you angry with me in L.A.?"

Jimin jerks slightly, taken aback that Namjoon obviously isn't interested in some small talk anymore, coming straight to the point.

"The way you acted in the interview.", Jimin answers quietly.

"Which interview? We had a few more than just one."

Jimin huffs, crossing his arms in front of his chest, "Obviously, I had to take part in them as well. I meant the one where I said I would like to do a collaboration with you."

"Jimin, it's a joke between all of us, and for once I didn't find it funny.", Namjoon sighs, mimicking his pose.

"It wasn't a joke."

"Huh?"

"I said.", Jimin sits up straighter, eyebrows drawn together, lips in a small pout, "It wasn't a joke for me. Don't you remember?"

"What should I remember?"

Dark red blotches rising on Jimin's skin and Namjoon can see him biting the inside of his cheeks, arms pressing tighter against his chest and his voice turns hard as well, louder, angrier, "Before we...had sex for the first time, you said we could do a collab together."

"I...What?"

"You and me, a collaboration! You made music with Taehyungie, with Yoongi-Hyung, with everyone, but not with me. Why not?"

Namjoon gasps, trying to say something, but Jimin continues to talk, fast and angry, "All those years, I'm waiting for you to make some music with me, but instead you go and want to cover another fucking song with Kookie! Is it because of my voice? Because it's not good enough? Do you hate me?"

"No, of course not! I don't hate you or your voice, Jiminie.", Namjoon slowly steps towards the other, who jumps from the bed, blanket still around his shoulders like a cape in blue with stars.

"Then why? And why are you dismissing my request like that and made me look like a fool in front of EVERYONE?", Jimin is almost screaming now, breathing hard, and Namjoon just wants to reach out, which he does, but the other slaps his hand away, "Don't touch me."

"Serendipity," Namjoon mumbles, stepping even closer and trying to capture Jimin's eyes with his own, anger long gone, only the always present aching of his heart prominent, "I wrote you a song."

"You write songs for everyone, Namjoon!"

"No, listen. I wrote this song for you, because of you and only with you in mind.", His voice has gone gentle, now standing right in front of the other man, hands reaching up and cupping his cheeks, thumbs caressing his heated skin, and Namjoon can see some wetness in Jimin's eyes, "I wrote it for you. It's yours. I thought you knew."

He tries to find something, a small indication that his touch is welcome, that his words and honesty are welcome, and slowly raises his head to lock eyes.

"I'm in love with you.", Namjoon says gently, pronouncing every syllable with earnest, "Serendipity is your song because I love you and I thought you knew that you only had to say one word and I would only ever make music with and for you."

And Namjoon knows, feels it deep in his bones, that this was true. One word, one slight indication in the dark eyes looking up to him, and he wouldn't ever write another song for anyone else.

"I know.", Jimin whispers, blinking, long lashes brushing over his bare skin, tiny freckles on display, "I know."

His delicate hands reach up to Namjoon, wrapping around his wrists and gently squeezing his arm.

"I love you, Park Jimin."

"I know.", He whispers and closes his eyes.

Chapter Text

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The thing is: Jimin has always been the clumsy one. Almost from the very beginning, when he wasn't able to voice out loud his discomfort in any different way except for screaming blood and thunder and his body was still an uncoordinated mess instead of moving to their own beats and songs in lascivious body rolls and hip thrusts.

The moment the boy with pouty lips and chubby cheeks started to walk, his mother didn't leave his side, trying to catch him from falling all the time, scared for his small hands and knees.

Especially when he robbed into the kitchen, speedy like a weasel and fingers outstretched, trying to play with the ancient, heavy stove, drawn in by the warmth and the ornaments.

"Don't you dare, Park Jimin, you are going to hurt yourself!", His mother shouted, running towards him while holding on to her growing belly, pregnant with his little brother Jihyun.

He dared multiple times and always regret it in the end.

"One day the boy will learn.", His uncle had said, wrapping a cold pack around Jimin's burned fingers after he played with the grill on the table and searching for a patch with colorful dinosaurs in the first aid box.

At some point, he had learned it and started to listen to his mother more, trying to avoid those situations.

Nevertheless, Jimin always tripped over his own feet, hit his elbows or knees, and sometimes even his head. There is one corner of his childhood bed he always hit with his little toe, face scrunched up in an angry grimace full of agony, puffy cheeks bright red.

Jimin can't even remember a time when he didn't lacerate his knees, holes in his trousers and jeans, coming home after a long day playing football with his friends outside and making his Eomma scolding him loud enough for every neighbor to hear.

But then, one day, he got into dancing, and everything changed.

Well, not everything. Jimin always was and always will be clumsy and unfortunate enough to hurt himself, but the first time Jimin stepped into a practice room, all windows, bars, and big mirrors, everything changed.

Jimin had been known for never staying with one dream, one goal in life. He wanted to become a chef, a pirate, a driver, a policeman, many things, and never was able to choose only one. Apart from that, sadly, his parents would never have let him become a pirate, no matter how determined he would have been.

The very same moment Jimin stepped out of his street clothes and put on his first pair of dancing clothes, walking into the bright room smelling like old wood, rubber gaskets, and human sweat, he knew, he was finally home.

Jimin would never lie about dancing, and if someone would ask him if he liked the first time, he would shake his head, but still, smile graciously.

"I got used to it.", he would say and remember the first few months, legs and arms and every little bit of his body hurting, aching, but he never felt at peace like this before.

He savored the aching burn in his limbs every time he stretched his body, bending down and staining it until it didn't burn anymore, and he was able to do every dancing pose without twitching.

Jimin fell a lot, even during dancing, especially during dancing. Slithering on the smooth floors, shoes finding no grip. There were multiple occasions, also visible for ARMY, where he slipped and fell and made a fool in front of thousands of people.

Falling from chairs while laughing, slipping during performances, or even one time when he fell on stage while Hobi-Hyung tried to do a speech.

He will probably never forget that embarrassing moment when he wanted to sit on a chair and somehow hitting himself with his own leg.

So when he was around five years old, he started to stay on the floor after falling down. Lying on wood, concrete, or sometimes even meadow, breathing in the strong scent of freshly mown grass, feeling his body relaxing on the hard surface, was something soothing, something familiar. When he lies flat on the floor, arms and legs stretched wide, he can feel again. Breathing deep in and out and sometimes even feels like he's somewhere else. When he closes his eyes, he could almost imagine being in another universe. It's one of those things you can't really explain with many words.

"Jiminie, why are you lying on the floor?" Taehyung asked him once, and when Jimin shrugged his shoulders, unable to explain his peaceful mindset, his best friend laid down beside him, arms and fingers touching, quietly whispering about a dream he had.

One time, when Jimin struggled with his being, his inner self and confidence, Namjoon found him silently crying on the splintering wooden floor in their training room and laid down beside him, not unlike Taehyung had done as well, holding his hand and telling him, "You are enough."

Losing his belongings had never been a massive deal for Jimin since it never was as bad as it had been and still is for Namjoon, who lost his passport twice.

But once, he was so absorbed in his conversation with Jeongguk Jimin forgot his bag on the bus and had to walk back, trying to retrieve it unable to understand or speak the language in a foreign country. Or that time when he lost his phone, which was later found in Namjoon's hotel bed, who used it as an alarm clock instead of telling Jimin he had it.

And maybe, that one time he forgot to pick up his little brother from kindergarten is mentionable as well. It was in his first month of school when his mother wasn't able to pick them up for once, and Jimin got the critical task to leave his school on time and fetch Jihyun two blocks away before going home.

Honestly, the boy just forgot, mind still with his friends and games they played that day and how much he loved mathematics, he walked home, humming softly under his breath with the nagging feeling that he forgot something significant. After shouting out his brother's name at home, asking if they wanted to play some Mario Cart before their mother would come home, he remembered. Needless to say, Jimin ran back the ten minutes footpath and found his little brother sitting on the steps to the building, legs dangling and smiling brightly after seeing him, asking if they could get a popsicle before going home. Jimin bought him two, just in case.

Their mother never found out, and even after years, Jimin thinks it would be a good idea if she never knew.

It always happened because Jimin's with his mind somewhere else.

His grandmother constantly said, patting his cheeks fondly and smiling with her few teeth, "Jimin is a dreamer. The boy lives in a cloud castle on the highest mountain, bridges as bright as the stars in the universe. Just like his grandfather."

 

 

Another thing was: Jimin had always been fond of gentle creatures. Giant beings, caring individuals, animals, and humans alike. He seriously did.

The very first person Jimin loved more than anything on this planet had been his father. A huge man with a voice so deeper than the ocean, with even bigger hands, holding him tightly and gentle in his arms.

His mother always joked that Jimin only ever reacted to his father's voice before he had been born, kicking and boxing inside his mother's belly when his father asked, "How is my little champ'?"

Jimin still remembers various occasions were his father carried him in his strong arms or on his broad shoulders, walking down the beaches of Busan, pointing out big waves or loud seagulls.

When nightmares about dark creatures with long fingernails and high screeches haunted Jimin's sleep for months, the little boy crawled to his father's side, face buried in his chest and quietly hiccuping, tears clinging to his long eyelashes.

"Nothing will ever harm you.", His father reassured him with his rumbling voice, getting out of bed, and carrying him to the kitchen for a glass full of warm honey milk. Jimin always knew, as long as his father was with him, he'd be safe.

The second gentle giant Jimin started to love was his neighbor's dog. A huge black Great Dane called Queen Min, named after the first official wife of the first emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire.

Queen Min was big enough for Jimin to ride on her back, and the dog loved Jimin very much in return, licking his small, chubby face and hands, guarding him at every turn and following him through the garden and house like a friendly shadow. They were inseparable, not unlike Jimin and Taehyung later. Queen Min often laid down to his feet and slept soundly, snoring so loud she woke up because of the noises, looking around irritated and judging every person in her presence.

When Queen Min had been too old, muscles not strong enough anymore, and her snout had been more grey than black, his neighbor decided to let her go, let her sleep, and Jimin never wept more than after losing his first and best friend.

He'd always been a child of nature, running through the woods and exploring every tree and every bush. One of the first books he got for Christmas had been a simple natural history book with detailed descriptions and pictures of plants and animals. Jimin took it with him everywhere, trying to decipher every plant and fish he could find.

Needless to say, Yeontan, Taehyungs dog, was also very fond of Jimin, letting himself be carried and played with the dancer whenever they had enough time to do so.

When they worked on a foto shooting for their summer package in 2017, Jimin met a cat named Brandley at the beach and fell helplessly in love with the furry four-legged friend, cuddling instead of posing for the camera.

Although it didn't matter which animal you put into Jimin's orbit, whether a dog, cat, or even a stingray, he was the happiest person on earth.

Jimin had always looked up to strong men with a kind sense of humor, similar to his father, which might be one of the many reasons why he became such good friends with Tony Jones, being very much attached to the man during and even after their show American Hustle Life.

ChimChim will probably be forever his favorite nickname, and he wished he could meet up with the other man once in a while.

And if he would be completely honest, Jimin might have had a small crush on the man, gripping Tony's arm tighter when they tried on some Hanbok, being incredibly happy that he was the one showing the other musician something about their culture and traditions.

His love for strong thighs is known by everyone by now, Jimin's hands finding his targets without much intention, especially Taehyung's or Namjoon's legs.

At first, before Jimin was hit by the force of puberty like with a baseball bat, he didn't know the differences between his general admiration for men he looked up to because of their commendable characteristics and the feeling of being attracted to strong muscles, sharp jawlines, and big hands.

It changed when he was thirteen and met another dancer, a guy four years older with already manly features, broad shoulders, and muscular thighs. His name was Daichi, an exchange student from Japan, and Jimin, kind of, had a crush on the guy immediately. 

He never said anything, obviously. Still, from time to time, Daichi took his time and trained with the younger boy, helping him stretch properly and showing him the correct way to practice pirouettes, which are considered as one of the hardest poses in ballet.

No matter how often Jimin messed up, fell or turned his body the wrong way, Daichi stayed patient and corrected his pose with gentle hands and a warm, quiet voice, "One day, it will work pout and then you'll never unlearn it. Don't worry, Jimin-chan."

They sat under one of the trees behind the studio, stretching their legs and face lifted up to the summer sun, enjoying the warmth of the day. From time to time, Jimin opened his eyes and glanced at the other, eyes roaming over his body, enjoying the view, golden skin decorated with patches of the shadows of the tree. Feeling his fingertips turning hot and the characteristic tingling in his stomach.

The day, Daichi said his last goodbye before leaving for his home in northern Japan, Jimin swallowed down his lightly broken heart, blinking his tears away and boxed the other boy in the sides, thanking him for all his time and friendship.

He never heard from Daichi again, and Jimin slowly forgot the other guy.

 

Knowing all this: it had been inevitable:

Jimin being in love with Namjoon.

Because Namjoon was gentle. Voice and hands soft and always deliberate. He might be prone to small accidents, hurting himself, or even destroying and losing his belongings, but he never used his strength or intellect to hurt someone.

Because Namjoon was big, not 'big' big, but in comparison the biggest in their group and next to Jimin, he was a giant.

Because Namjoon was a force of nature. Open and loud and left deep marks inside Jimin's heart right from the start, right after the very first moment, Jimin saw him. Holding on to Namjoon's thighs or hands or even from time to time to his warm, strong chest, made Jimin's heart flutter with delight, kind of similar to the feeling he gets when a cat curls on his lap, purring loudly.

So, falling in love with Namjoon had been inevitable for Jimin.

Because he had always liked strong and gentle things.

Jimin didn't have to ask himself how it happened, because he knows. He knows because his mind stopped working, and his heart dropped to his stomach the very same moment Namjoon came around the corner, greeting him with a small, tired smile, saying, "Are you Park Jimin? My name is Kim Namjoon, and I'm the leader of the group. Have you been waiting for long?"

Chapter Text

Spring 2012

It's far too warm in the small training room at his school. All windows above the ballet barres are open, and from time to time, a tepid sea breeze ghosts over his warm, sweaty skin.

The weather in Korea isn't muggy yet. Spring is still prominent and doesn't want to give way to the hot summer sun and humid air.

For Jimin, dancing is like going to sleep, it's like recharging a battery or the accumulator of his phone.

All exhaustion and tiredness fall away from him, leaving his mind and body fresh and awake. Dancing is for him like for other people meditation, yoga, and having a coffee date with their best friends, drinking a Chai Latte with pumpkin spice, wearing cozy socks, and the biggest jumpers you could find.

For Jimin, dancing is like coming home after a long day after his studies or two weeks with his grandparents, which is one of the most exhausting things he does from time to time. He loves his grandparents, but they love to have him and Jihyun around and therefore the daily plan is always packed with different activities. So, dancing is like coming home after visiting his grandparents and burying his nose in the softly smelling pillows and inhaling deeply the scent of his childhood. Dancing is everything for Jimin.

His body moves to the loud music, echoing through the muscles playing their game under his tight skin. He knows his body must look impressive for a sixteen-year-old boy, all hard muscles, lean body, except for his still chubby face. When he opens his eyes, he can see his silhouette dancing at the light green wall with him, moving in the same rhythm, almost looking like a piece of art. When he had been younger, he always thought about Peter Pan when dancing in the sunlight and seeing his shadow moving with him.

Sometimes he wonders if he could do a performance like this one day, maybe for his final assignment. Only his big shadows dancing, showing on the screen, all shades and lights.

Jimin knows which wooden board on the floor squeaks when stepping on it and which is in serious need of an enthusiastic session with some sandpaper, sometimes irritating their skin when doing poses on the floor. One of the old heaters makes gargling noises from time to time, giving the room a vibe of an underwater world. For Jimin, dancing to the music, to the bubbling sounds of the heater, are an essential part, and he doesn't want to miss it in his daily life.

Knowing the dance studio inside out, makes him move with his eyes closed most of the time. He doesn't do a specific choreography today but moves his body on instinct, lets the music guide him through every movement.

This time, the sounds coming out of the speaker are a weird mix of classical and modern pop songs, or adaptations of different movie soundtracks like Now We are free of the movie Gladiator.

The only thing that counts is the beat vibrating in his veins, making his hair stand on no end, and his muscles twitching under his skin. His heart is thrumming in a hard and steady rhythm in his chest, telling him he is still alive, still going on.

His bare feet are slithering over the floor, making slapping sounds from time to time, sweat is running down his spine, tickling right above the waistband of his dark grey sweatpants. He knows he should wear shorter pants, tighter clothes are more adequate for dancing contemporary dances, but today he couldn't be bothered. All he wants to do is dance and move until he falls into his bed, mind and arms and legs numb from all the exertion.

They fought again, his father and Jimin, and dancing is the only thing that makes the boy forget what's going on at home.

A few days ago, one of his dance teachers, Mrs. Myeong, called him to her office after practice and told him about an audition a company wants to hold in a few weeks and asked him if he would like to participate.

"I think you would do very well.", She had said and pushed the paper into his direction, almost entirely upset her coffee cup and spilling a bit of the content on the student files next to her arm. Cautiously he took the paper into his hand, reading the inscription, while she busied herself with cleaning the paper, dabbing a napkin delicately over the records.

BigHit is the name of the company, he'd never heard about them before, so he assumes that they must be pretty small and unknown. In comparison next to JYP Entertainment, probably nothing and kinda obscure.

"I'm not sure.", Jimin mumbled, holding on to the handout in his hand, fiddling with one corner until shreds of paper fluttered to the floor. In dark paint, it said that they want to hold the audition for singers, rappers, and dancers. It means the audition is for Idols. It wasn't mentioned explicitly, but Jimin isn't stupid.

He never thought about being an Idol in the Korean music industry. Not really. Most of the time, he'd dreamed of being a dancer, and a dancer only. Maybe going to London or Paris in the future, working for different musicals or in smaller ballet performances.

Maybe, but he would never voice it out loud, he'd dreamed a few times about dancing at the SAC, Seoul Arts Center, the home for the Korean ballet and contemporary dances. He remembered one time being there with his class and being incredibly impressed by the building, the people, the show.

"Why not?" Mrs. Myeong questioned him, eyeing him from head to toe, "You would fit in, and trying it out won't do any harm, don't you think?"

"My voice, I'm not that good with singing, and I've never tried to rap before.", He mumbled, looking around the office to avoid her sharp glance.

It was a small room, a coordinated chaos, full of photos and paintings made by her children hanging on the wall. There are a few books on one sideboard and one, sad-looking plant, a small palm tree with withered leaves, which Mrs. Myeong must forget most of the times, because Jimin had never seen the thing looking any differently than on the edge of being dead.

Jimin knew, in the first drawer of one of the file cabinets next to the small window, were letters from former students, greeting Mrs. Myeong and telling her about their life, updating their favorite teacher about their well-being. She did her job for years already, working with young people like Jimin, trying to fulfill their dreams of dancing and art, and everything similar they teach in his school.

Jimin knew that she never put them into the trash, but saving every single one of them and re-read them again and again, whenever she was doubting the entire education system. 

"Park Jimin.", The older woman in front of him sighed, "Listen, I know you think your voice isn't good enough, but did your vocal teacher ever complaint about your abilities?"

He shook his head. The moment he got the approval from his parents to go to the Busan High School of Arts, he worked hard on every aspect. Dancing, vocal training, mathematics, languages, every lesson.

Singing had been a part of his education from the very beginning on this school, and he worked hard to prove that he should be there next to the other, more talented students. Tried to please his teachers and parents, and even himself, but really thinking about making his voice a part of his dream, the job he wants to do in the future? A goal he would like to pursue? He never thought about it before.

He'd always been a good student, top grades, which made his parents, especially his father, aghast when Jimin decided to go to a school for dancing and arts, instead of studying something normal.  Something useful, like trying to work for the government or being a manager and white-collar-worker in an office in Seoul or Busan.

It had taken a teacher, his mother, and Jimin months to persuade his father to let him go to this high school.

"There we go. Your voice is nice, you only have to train harder and focus on developing it a bit more, but it will be good enough."

Good enough for being an Idol? He thought, jerking slightly. He knew what all his friends and the boys from other schools they hang out with from time to time believe and say about the boys who tried to get into the big companies to become an Idol.

They aren't talented. They are just pretty boys, who are willing to touch each other for some fangirls screaming their lungs out.

They're gay.

And being gay was, where Jimin came from, nothing good, nothing worth of striving for. To put it this way.

He doesn't know if he wanted to do this, going to a company and try to be one of those guys with tons of make-up on their faces and dancing to generic pop songs, being on display all the time and never being able to slip and show some humanness, especially with his closely guarded secret. Something he could probably never tell anyone. All the more to no one in this industry, since it could destroy his entire career.

"Think about it.", Mrs. Myeong said, tearing him out of his spiraling thoughts and laid her small, wrinkled hand on his arm, "I imagine it would be a good idea."

That night, after thinking about the prospect of being an Idol and working in this kind of industry, thinking about it profoundly, making a pro and versus list, he asked his parents if they would allow him to go to the audition. Needless to say, his father wasn't thrilled about the idea in general, regardless of whether the audition was in Busan or in any other city with a longer access route. Which it wasn't.

In Jimin's family, they don't shout or scream while fighting with each other. It's more a displeased tone, voice growing hard, and then a hushed silence falls over the house, making his hair stand on end, uncomfortable goosebumps rising on his skin. Sometimes Jimin thinks with a loud fight, bridling up and shouting at each other, it would be so much easier than their angry silence, where he's watching every step and every breath he takes at home, feeling like he's suffocating on their anger and disappointment.

Somehow, he can understand why his father doesn't want him to walk into such a business. It isn't save, it isn't for a long-time period and it is unsure what he could do after retirement since the average age for professional dancers is around thirty-five. He could try to work as a teacher after it. If he gets into the industry anyway.

So, Jimin understands his father's worries and reluctance, since they are his own as well, but Mrs. Myeong had been right. Is there anything to lose if he tries it at last? He would always wonder about it when he doesn't go to the audition. Always wonder, if this could have been the right thing to do. And if it doesn't work out, he will be still able to do something else.

Somehow, he knows, his father will come around and fill in the needed permit for BigHit, their fight at the moment is just an unnecessary situation. He only wishes every decision about this part of Jimin's life wouldn't be such a fight every single time with his father, who only means well.

The song ends, and Jimin is breathing so hard, it kind of hurts in his lungs and his arms are shaking, making it clear that it is enough for today. He collapses on the floor, spread-eagled, and panting loudly into the silence, hearing the noises echoing from the walls. Blood rushing through his body, mimicking the sounds of a stormy day at the sea.

In the back pocket of his sweatpants, he can feel the crumbled-up flyer of BigHit with all information about the audition. Feeling it, knowing it's there like an unhelpful reminder that he can't change if his father decides against it.

He hears a soft knock on the door, and when he turns his head, opening his eyes slowly, he sees a group of girls. In-a, the girl he crushes on for a very long time now, among them.

In-a is a year older than him, and the very first moment he saw her dancing, he knew he would like her. They never really talked with each other, nothing more than a few hello's and good-bye's, and sometimes a "You did pretty well" and "Thank-you's".

And still, whenever Jimin sees In-a, his heart decides to play a funny song right in his throat, unable to swallow his spit and he can feel the blood rushing to his cheeks, making him look like a ripe apple.

"Do you still use the room?" One of them asks him, scrutinizes Jimin's sweaty body on the floor and his red face, now turned even darker due to his embarrassment because the girl he likes is seeing him like this. He sits up fast enough to lose his balance and shakes his head, hands outstretched to grip for support if he's going to fall, "Nah, I'm done for today."

The girls step in, talking quietly, laughing from time to time, and starting to warm up and stretching, not minding his presence.

He disconnects his phone from the speakers and grabs for the small bag and his shoes, when he sees In-a fiddling with one of the windows.

"It gets stuck easily since the storm last week, be careful with your hands later.", He says, tipping with his fingers against the old frame, where the wood bent a bit, and the material is splintering.

"Oh, thank you.", The girl says, smiling and reaching for her long hair to put them into a bun on her head, "Are the others working alright?"

Jimin looks around, and as far as he remembers and knows, they do, so he nods, "I think so, shall I close this one for you?"

"That would be very kind of you.", In-a answers him and steps a bit away, making room for him to close the window. It takes a little bit of time and more strength than it should, but after a little bit of jiggling and slamming the window shut, he can turn the handle around, and it's finally close.

"They should repair it.", one of In-a's friends says with an annoyed voice, leaning at one of the barres and tilting her head a bit, "It could get dangerous for someone with less power."

"As far as I know, Mr. Chio is already alert and wanted to work on it during this weekend, so he doesn't disturb the students dancing time.", Jimin replies without looking at her, ignoring her tone, slipping into his shoes.

If there is something he really doesn't like, it's people who don't appreciate the hard work other people around them do, but take all those little things which were done by others for their safety and comfort for granted.

A janitor might not have the highest education or has ever been in university, but that doesn't mean the person is either stupid nor a bad person. And especially Mr. Chio is one of the kindest people Jimin knows. But before the girl can reply anything else which would make him angry and eventually lash out, Jimin waves his good-bye and steps out of the room, runs down the stairs, out of the stuffy building.

The sun is still up, and the air smells like a city and ocean, and maybe like it might rain later.

He could take the bus, but for once, he thinks a short walk wouldn't hurt him. Every step he takes, almost like dancing, eases his mind. He tries not to think about his father, the situation at home. He even doesn't want to think about In-a, and what the girl might think about him now after his departure, rushing out of the room like this.

He doesn't want to think the boy he met a few weeks earlier at a get-together with other friends from the hip hop dance club, he sometimes takes part in.

Jimin doesn't remember his name but knows the way his lips molded against his own. Remembers how strong his fingers felt against Jimin's hipbones and the way his shoulder blades scrapped against the hard wall behind him when he was pushed backwards, a hand tugging at his hair and how hot his breathe felt against his wet mouth.

It had only been one kiss, in the back alley of the karaoke bar, behind two big roll-out containers, where it smelt like cigarettes, beer, and foul vegetables.

It hadn't been the best kiss Jimin ever experienced, not that he has a lot of experience to compare it, but it had been the first kiss with another guy, and that had been good enough. Had make it something special, something worth remembering.

He'd known about his sexuality very early on, never really questioned it, never thought twice about it, and even telling his mother once, when he had been too young to understand the concept of liking other people in a certain way, that one day he wanted to marry a man like Appa.

His mother had snorted and told him that boys don't marry boys, and he could marry a girl similar to Appa, and Jimin had been a child, so he only nodded.

When he grew older and gradually started to understand the differences between different sexualities and how the society he's living in, stands to anything differently than heterosexuality, he began to hide it away. Still remembering the words, some of his classmates' spite out after seeing two boys holding hands. Never said once again that he likes boys as much as girls, only ever writing it down in his tiny journal his aunt gifted him once.

But maybe, he thinks, maybe some of the other guys were right, and in the music industry he might meet people just like him.

He can still feel the flyer in the pocket on is right buttock, rustling lightly and inaudible, but since Jimin knows it's there, he fancies he can hear it loud and clear. As if it is whispering to him, promising him every dream would come true when he goes to Seoul and BigHit.

 

 

Summer 2012

 

"Do you have everything?" His mother asks probably for the tenth time, and Jimin almost shouts, stomping his foot on the floor, wanting to tear his hair out. He can't hear it anymore. He doesn't want to hear it anymore.

For days now, she is asking him at regular intervals if he packed everything for his move to the capital and if the military bag he got from his uncle years ago is enough for all his belonging.

"Yes.", He retorts again, almost not able to oppress the annoyed tone in his voice, slamming the door to his childhood room shut and breathing through his nose in and holding the air in his expanded lungs.

Today, he's going to move to Seoul, into the dormitory with five other boys, as far as he can recall from the email the CEO of BigHit had sent them a few weeks earlier. It's not like he read the email over and over again and is able to retell it from memory.

Dear Park Jimin, dear Mrs and Mr Park, we are happy to inform you...

In a few hours, Jimin will be in Seoul, and will start his training to become an Idol, a member of a boy group.

He still doesn't know what he should think or feel about it, but whatever other people might think about him, Jimin isn't stupid, and this is a perfectly good chance, like any other he could ever get.

It would be stupid to not try it at least, especially after he convinced his father with much-needed arguments and a few heated debates.

As far as he understood, the group won't be a generic Idol boy group, but they want to focus more on hip hop elements in their music. It will be shown whether he fits in with his classical education, but Jimin doubts it a bit. Of course, he will try to show the company as well as the other boys, that he would be a great catch, no matter their general concept.

Somehow, he still doesn't know how and why, but Jimin believes it might be his mother's good work and her tongue of an angle, which made his father change his mind one night.

Two days before the auditions, Jimin and his father actually hold their first, and hopefully last, shouting match until Jimin was crying soundly, tears clinging to his eyelashes like liquid diamonds, and his father's voice was raw and his face red with anger.

"You will do a proper job! We will no longer support this pipe-dream of yours.", He'd shouted and slammed his hand on the table, "This dancing nonsense will end after this school year, and you will start to grow up!"

Never in his whole life, Jimin's father raised his voice like this or even used such a hurtful way of language. His parents always encouraged him in everything he did and hearing his father's actual thoughts stung in a very particular way. As if his family didn't believe enough in him and his abilities.

Followed by these words, Jimin ran up the stairs, banging the door to his room right under the roof shut and buried his face into his pillow, screaming loudly, pounding his fists against the mattress. He didn't now what to do, how to explain to his father that without letting him go to the audition, Jimin would never get opportunities to work as a dancer, and everything he worked hard for would be for nothing.

 

Jihyunnie : You're alright?

PJ : What do you think?

Jihyunnie : Well, obviously, you might have the time of your life right now.

Jihyunnie : Sorry, I know it's not the right time for sarcasm. Do you wanna stay alone tonight?

 

From time to time, Jimin and his little brother sat together for the entirety of the night, talking or doing art together, listening to some music. But not that night.

 

PJ : Yeah, sorry, I don't think I want to see anyone right now.

Jihyunnie : No problem, just text me if you need anything.

PJ : Will do, night baby brother.

Jihyunnie : If you call me 'baby brother' one more time, I might not help you in the future.

PJ : As if you would ever say no.

 

The morning after, Jimin woke up with a pounding headache and a rough voice but found the signed permit on the kitchen table, right next to a hot pot of fresh sage tea with honey and a little bit of fresh ginger, just like Jimin loves it.

A small post-it note in the shape of an elephant on the clean cup next to it, saying, "I'm sorry, my son, let's not fight like this ever again. Hwaiting!"

It was a small gesture, but for Jimin, it meant everything.

The post-it note is, save, in his small wallet, next to the polaroid photo of his brother and him when they were still far too young, grinning brightly and the sea behind them.

 

Jimin leans against the thin door behind him, shoulders flat against the hard surface, and his head tilts back with a soft clonk, eyes closed.

He doesn't dare to open his eyes, doesn't want to say good-bye to the room he lived in his whole life. He's excited, he is looking forward to meeting the others and to work hard to become someone worthy in the music industry, but saying good-bye to his home, to his own room, to everything familiar is still harder than expected.

If they wouldn't live in Busan, a city with almost four hours of routeway, it might not be so difficult, since he could visit more often.

But they don't, and Jimin can't change the fact that almost all big companies working with Idols, musicians, actors and dancers are based in the capital, and therefore multiple miles away from home.

Slowly, he opens his eyes, squints through his lashes, and takes the small room in. There is almost no space to move properly, and when he walks to the left side of the room, he has to duck his head, since the pitch of the roof starts right above his small single bed with the blue covers, and although Jimin isn't considerable tall, he could bang his forehead on the wall.

On the wall with the slope, Jimin has the posters of his role models hanging, fixated with too much sellotape, and a few pushpins, where the tape didn't stick properly to the old wallpaper.

There are a few pictures of Seongho Cha, a famous ballet dancer, he'd cut out of some professional journals, since he couldn't get his hands on a regular poster.

Seongho Cha started dancing when he was fifteen years old and became pretty known in Korea after winning top honors at a national competition, and Jimin always admired the man's strength and passion, always wanted to be like him.

Right next to the pictures of the ballet dancer, is a poster of G-Dragon with his turquoise hair while being on stage. Jimin loved the rapper from Big Bang right from the start. Loves to listen to his rap and watch his performances on stage or in the MV's. And then they are some posters of his guilty pleasure, posters which he can put away easily in one of his drawers if some of his friends come over.

Posters of the maknae, dancer, and singer Taemin from the boy group SHINee.

Jimin would never admit it, but he looked up to the slightly older male a lot. He would never admit that he likes to watch Taemin's fan cams right before going to sleep, and if he has enough time, he attempts to copy the Idols dances and movements.

And he would definitely never admit that he thinks Taemin looks very handsome, with his soft face and full lips, but hard dancer body.

Right at the end of the bed in front of the window is a single desk with an ancient lamp and a basket full of unused ballpoint pens and an old, tattered rubber with many holes where he stuck the point of his pens in, while being bored at school. Under the deskpad might still be some unmade homework papers from fourth grade and one of Jihyun's caricature about their grandfather of his seventieth birthday.

On the small patch above the window, his mother drew some clouds on the light blue wall when he was still too young to go to the loo on his own, making it look like the sky was right in his room, open and wide.

On the ceiling, still there from the time when he was a toddler, are those funny, fluorescent stickers, which look like stars and glow in the dark.

His father put them up when Jimin had been a small boy and started to voice out his love for astrology and the night sky.

Jimin had been one of those children who didn't want to learn how to talk properly or how to ride a bike but started to memorize every single stellar constellation from the age of one and a half.

To this day, he knows them all, even when looking up to the sky, and he still owns a few books about the night sky and its phenomenons.

Jimin never owned a standard closet, but a small dresser with four drawers, all in boring, light brown wood, like most furniture in their house. The bottom drawers and the sides of the furniture are full of stickers of the late nineties and early 2000er. Dinosaurs, the Power Rangers, Batman, Pokemon, and whatever else was in and easy to get at that time.

His mother tried to scrape them off a few times, but either they stuck to the wood too good, and she wasn't able to get them off without damaging the wood, or they left sticky leftovers, now brown spots dirty with dust and lint.

Slowly, Jimin slides to the floor, his back scratching on the door, and he lies down, face turned up to the ceiling.

It's too bright in the room, and the few fluorescent stars in the ceiling are more green-ish than any other color. He will miss this room, miss the stars, miss the distant noises of the ocean, and the loud screams of the seagulls.

Earlier that morning, right before everyone got out of bed, Jimin went and said his good-bye to Queen Min, sitting next to the chewing bone overgrown with moss and the small, flat stone with her name on it.

"I'm going to Seoul.", he'd whispered to the grass patch, growing wildly above her grave, "And I don't know when I come back home. Maybe they don't like me, and I will be back in a few days, but that would be such a shame. I think then Appa won't let me continue dancing, because it would be like an admission that dancing will be a failure for me, you know what I mean?"

He sat there, the sun just rising up and the first warm summer sunbeams hitting his back, the air already humid and smelling like salt and seaweed, and homesickness started to spread in his gut although he didn't even left his home yet.

There is a light knock on his door, and when Jimin doesn't answer, his brother steps into the room, sitting down on Jimin's bed, looking around.

"Can I have your room now?" Jihyun asks with a light voice, legs are drawn to his chest, and there is a small, kinda sad smile on his lips.

Jimin realizes for the first time how similar they are, how very much alike they look. Same eyes, same chubby cheeks, same full lips. They look like their mother.

They had always been very close, rarely fought over anything. The last time Jimin and Jihyun really had a fight was around six years ago when his brother accidentally destroyed one of his Star Wars figurines he got from a friend for his birthday that year.

"Maybe in a year.", Jimin replies, closing his eyes again, arms behind his head, and using them as a pillow, "I might come back in a few days because they realize that I'm not made for it."

It. The music business. The industry that spites out perfect people, able to do anything without any flaws. Very unlike Jimin.

"Bullshit."

"You never know.", Jimin sighs, trying to ignore his heartbeat, getting faster every minute that passes by.

Jimin is scared of the future. Scared he won't fit in and fail what he wants to do. Scared that he will never be good enough and he will disappoint his family, will make a fool out of himself and won't be popular among the future fans of the group because he's not hip hop, but only a contemporary dancer with an average singing voice. Scared because he doesn't want his friends and the other people at his school look at him, whispering behind their hands, "It's the boy who was not good enough to be an Idol." Scared, his perfectionism will make it even harder for him. Scared someone will know about him liking guys. Scared.

He can hear his brother moving on the bed, fabric rustling, and then a toe pocks him into his ticklish side, making him almost giggle, "You can do it."

He slaps his brother's foot away, "If you say so, oh wise man."

"Well, they weren't opposed to your face after the auditions, so I'm hopeful you'll do alright among the other guys."

Jimin snorts loudly, turns his face towards Jihyun, and opens his eyes, looking his brother up and down, "You do know, that we look alike."

"You wish.", His brother says with a teeth showing smirk, "I look much more handsome than you'll ever will."

"Sure, you do.", Jimin laughs out loud, moves his own leg to pock Jihyun in return, "You do know it's kinda delusional, right?"

The doorbell rings, and both brothers look at each other, all fun and amusement vanishing from their faces.

"It's probably uncle Jeonhyuk.", His little brother whispers, slowly getting off the bed and holding his hand out for Jimin to grab it. With a strong pull, Jimin stands next to him, and they embrace each other in a tight hug.

Their parents decided to let Jihyun go with their uncle, his wife, and their cousins to the beach, having a fun day at the ocean instead of sitting with them for hours on no end in the car, driving north, and then back again.

Jimin closes his eyes again, eyes burning and throat closing. He doesn't have a reason to cry, not really, and still, going away like this feels permanent, final.

Jihyun smells like always, like the chamomile shampoo his mother gets him all the time he actually doesn't want to use and teenage boy.

It's a smell Jimin knows inside out, and he knows he will miss it incredibly.

"Text me when you are there, and you met the others.", Jihyun says and boxes him on the shoulder, before stepping away and with a last awkward wave of hand out of the room.

Jimin can hear his heavy footsteps on the stairs, all creaking and old, almost rotten wood. Their parents wanted to renovate the house years ago, but they always have to pay for something else instead.

The car repair two years ago, when it stopped working while his mother drove back from work, Jimin and Jihyun's education, his grandfather's funeral the year before, the replacement of the plumping system a while ago.

Jimin's parents aren't very wealthy, never were, and things like this diminish the money they saved through the year.

One day, he promises himself, he will give them enough money to do all those things and still have enough to go on holidays in Europe or Australia, like they always dreamed of. One day.

"Jimin." He can hear his mother stepping on the bottom stair, shouting through the staircase, "Are you ready? We would like to go now."

For one last time, he looks around, fluffy clouds above the small window, stars on the ceiling, old, faded stickers on his drawer and breathes deeply.

Everything will be alright.

He will do fine.

And one day, he will come back.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

After the CEO Bang Sihyuk, one of the managers named Kim Sejin and one of the producers, Jimin couldn't remember the name of the company, greeted them, talked to him and his parents, telling him everything relevant for the day and that one of the final members, who is going to be the leader of the group, Kim Namjoon, will get him later, said their good-bye, Jimin, and his parents stand in one of the yellow-grey-ish hallways, big military bag to his feet and sweat running down his spine.

Jimin is thankful for wearing one of his biggest shirts, a light grey one where no one will see any stains of sweat, but his mother is not amused about his outfit.

"I still can't believe you greeted the CEO and your manager wearing this outfit.", She sighs again, closing her eyes resigned before sending him reproachful looks, "You look really sloppy."

"Eomma, they didn't care. Did you see what Bang Sihyuk wore himself?" Jimin squeezes his eyes shut. He's thirsty and tired, and he would love to take a shower, all sticky from the long car drive, pants sticking to places no pants should cling to. He's pretty sure that in the backseat of their old car with the broken air conditioning is a damp, slightly darker looking spot resembling his frame, especially his butt cheeks. The air in Seoul is entirely different than at home, not as clean and refreshing, and the sea scent is, obviously, missing.

His phone is almost dead, the storage battery less than thirty percent and, although Jimin doesn't know why, after his phone reached the thirty percent mark, the battery will lessen even faster than before. Sometimes he can watch the number go down, without even doing anything on the phone. He does know that he actually needs a new one, but his parents couldn't afford it so far, and he will work with it for a few more months. It will probably mean fewer video sessions at night and mobile games, and with that, he can live. Probably.

"What did Mr. Kim say, when will this Namjoon boy come and greet you?", His father asks, glancing at his clock with a guilty look in his eyes. They left the car at one of the shopping malls, where they have to pay for every hour parking an incredible, obscene amount of money, and watching the clock hand on his watch moving is like hearing the money vanishing from their bank account. Like the sound comics make when coins come out of a gaming machine in a casino.

"Sejin-nim said that they still are in dance practice, but they shouldn't take too long anymore.", Jimin doesn't want to say good-bye to his parents so soon, but he knows how expensive it is for them and who actually knows how long the other guy, this Kim Namjoon, takes until he's coming to get him. "But you don't need to wait with me. It's alright."

"Oh Jimin.", His mother says, grabbing his shoulders and forcing him into a too tight hug, "Are you sure it's alright for you?"

He nods, buries his nose in the crook of her neck, and for a short moment, he lets himself be young and a child again. Not that being sixteen makes him less a child, but right now, he feels small and insignificant, and like everything will work out just because his parents say so.

"Sure.", He replies and squeezes her close before he lets go and turns to his father. Without a second thought, he curls his arms around his father, only reaching his collar bones with his forehead and enjoys the strong hug coming from the man who raised him.

Somehow, he is thankful that the other guy isn't there with them to witness such a familiar scene and maybe take it as an opportunity to make fun of him in the future.

His good-bye, the hugs, it's only for Jimin, and it's nobody's business than his alone.

"Call if you need anything.", His mother says again, patting his cheek, "And maybe you can come home for Christmas, and we can celebrate like always."

And with a last, wet kiss on his cheek and a rough slap on his shoulder, his parents walk around the corner and are gone.

For far too long, he stares at the place his parents were before, knowing that seconds turn into minutes and then into almost two hours.

He can't listen to any music since his phone is now blinking red, and he didn't take any books with him, so he stands in the hallway, leaned against the wall, and waits.

From time to time, he greets office workers and by-passing people with a polite bow and a nod of his head, but none of them are Kim Namjoon or stop to talk with him.

His fingers play nervously with the wires of his headphones, so he has something, anything to do with his hands, while he stares at the floor, at his dirty shoes, more grey than white after using them for almost two years. Stares at the wall in front of him, which has a few blotches and traces of usage. Somebody dropped a cup of coffee or black tea, and the content have decorated the floor and parts of the wall with brown splashes. It's fascinating what a brain starts to do when you're bored and have to wait for literally hours in a foreign place. Jimin knows now how many dark grey linoleum covered floor tiles are in the hallway. 198 to be exact, and if he did the math correctly, with the knowledge that the building has three floors with each having two hallways, there have to be around 1.188 plus the ones in the rooms.

He just put his phone back into his pocket after checking the time, which he forgot instantly again, signing quietly and stepping from one foot to another, when he hears some footsteps in the hallway and a boy, not much older than himself comes around the corner. Curly hair showing from under a black snapback and black pants hanging low on his hips. He looks sweaty and kinda disgusting and in serious need of a shower, and he's gripping a small bottle of water. If Jimin is completely honest with himself, Kim Namjoon, if this is the guy he's waiting for literally hours now, doesn't look like he'd expected.

Somehow he thought Kim Namjoon, whether he is a rapper or not, would look more like Taemin or Hee-chul from Super Junior, all soft and pretty and delicate, but not...as manly as he actually does. He doesn't look like the perfect Idol boy. He's kinda tall, with long, lanky limbs and legs without an end, and his chest is already wider than most guys their age. Namjoon's skin has a warm caramel tone, unlike most Idols who are pale, full lips, and Jimin can see the hint of a dimple on one side. Further, he is looking like he isn't a hundred percent comfortable in his own skin, tripping over his big feet with every step, reminding him of a newborn giraffe.

"Are you Park Jimin?" He asks, and his voice is a bit rough and sounds pretty exhausted, but he's still gentle and friendly.
Jimin nods, trying to smile and bowing the way his parents and even his grandparents would be proud of. It feels a little bit too much, a little bit exaggerated, but its only proper to do so, he thinks.

When he looks up to again, the other studies him with dark but friendly eyes, and Jimin feels his heart jump in his chest, "My name is Kim Namjoon, and I'm the leader of the group. Have you been waiting for long?"

Jimin buries his teeth in his bottom lip, contemplating if he should tell him how long he's already waiting for him, but he doesn't want to seem rude or unfriendly, so he licks over his lips and shakes his head.

Surprisingly, the other's eyes follow his movements, lingering on his lips, and a light blush spreads on Namjoon's cheeks. However, it could be just the shadow of his snapback. Still, it looks beautiful, and Jimin automatically feels more relaxed in his presence.

Oh.

"No, not for long. My parents have just left." He replies finally, lying because as far as he knows, his parents are probably half-way back to Busan and it seems like Kim Namjoon is one of those people who would feel guilty about him waiting for far too long and looking at the guy in front of him makes his voice shakes like leaves in an autumn storm, "My brother is waiting at home alone. They couldn't wait longer. I hope it's alright."

"I'm sorry. It would have been very nice to greet your parents.", Jimin can see Namjoon's face fall, actually looking guilty, apologetic, and it makes his stomach tingle pleasantly, and his heart flutter like the wings of a hummingbird, "And I'm really sorry if I smell, we had dance practice until now, and there wasn't any time to take a shower."

Namjoon wrinkles his nose, disgusted as if he can smell himself, and Jimin almost snorts out loud. The other guy doesn't stink, not in the slightest, but his sweat smells like heaven, like home, the way the other dancers on his former school smelled after a day full of practice, like someone who worked their hardest, fresh soap and warm aftershave, and Jimin swallows hard.

Oh no.

It's strange, he thinks, he met a lot of people before, and he never felt like this, like such an intense pull in his lower belly before.

Jimin had been crushing on people before, but this, he knows instantly, this is entirely different, and it kinda scares him. Making goosebumps rise on his neck and arms and on the left side of his head.

Somewhere he read that, especially after listening to a good song, the reaction of piloerection, goosebumps, and pupil dilation is a similar reaction of the body when having an orgasm.

Remembering this fact, feeling the shiver running down his spine although it is at least around 35 degrees Celsius in the building, makes him wonder if his body had a small orgasm without any extra stimulation except for looking at the guy next to him and hearing his smooth, free of puberty vocal range voice.

"Would it be alright to go to the dorms? Seokjin-hyung is cooking today, and I'm kinda starving. If you want, we can come back later, and I show you the studio and practice room. Or tomorrow."

Of course, Jimin doesn't mind if he sees the building and practice rooms the next day, hearing Namjoon's stomach rumble loudly, and he desperately wants to please him. So Jimin bends down to grab the handle of his bag. When he looks up again, Namjoon is grinning brightly, eyes two half-moons and his face all dimple, lips and straight teeth.

Oh no oh no, he thinks, staring at him, trying to hide the emerging blush on his apple cheeks.

"You have an interesting choice of clothing.", Namjoon only says, and Jimin panics inwardly. What does he wear? Why is it interesting? From the look, except for the snapback, he wears almost identical clothes like the other.

"Why?" He asks suspiciously, but the rapper only chuckles to himself and jerks his head, starting to walk down the hallway, and Jimin went to motion, trying to follow the guy with the giant legs, but has to take two steps where Namjoon only takes one. He seems to realize how fast he's walking and slows a little bit down, so Jimin doesn't have to run next to him.

Naturally, he asks Jimin about his skills, and when he answers him with the truth, that he's a contemporary dancer, he can see Namjoon's face fall a bit. Disappointment. As if being a dancer like this makes it clear right from the very beginning that Jimin won't fit into their group. It makes his heart squeeze tight, throat closing a bit, and Jimin adds hastily, "But I dance hip hop as well. And I sing. I'm a tenor in the countertenor territory. I'm better at dancing, but I'm working on my singing skills every day."

He doesn't tell Namjoon that he doesn't like his own voice, that he thinks it's a forlorn hope and that his teacher said he needed to work very hard or he would fail miserably. Something he is aware of all the time, fears it with all his heart.

"What's with you, Namjoon-sunbaenim?" Jimin questions to distract him, but then Namjoon coughs loudly, trips and would have fallen when Jimin didn't grab his arm at the last moment, pulling him back into an upright position. His skin feels hot against Jimin's fingertips, and heat is rising in his belly.

Oh fuck.

"Oh god, don't call me sunbaenim.", Namjoon stutters utterly embarrassed and rubs his neck with his flat hand, "I'm only a year older than you, Jimin-ah."

Hearing his name like this makes Jimin blush furiously, and he is incredibly thankful for his embarrassing slip mere seconds before.

Oh fuck, oh fuck.

Jimin actually wants without a doubt to sink into the earth because of shame, "Oh. Then how should I call you?"

Namjoon doesn't look at him but starts to walk again, face bright red as well, and he replies with a soft voice, "Namjoon, Joonie, Hyung."

Joonie, Jimin thinks, repeating the nickname in his mind, and it feels so utterly right, he almost says it out loud, but maybe Hyung would be the better option since the other is older than him, and it would show some respect, as well as familiarity.

With a bright smile, he says, "Ok, Hyung. What about you?"

He sees Namjoon's eyes turning to him, lingering on his lips again, eyelashes fluttering a little bit, and then he answers, "I help to produce songs and I rap, but I'm like seriously the worst at dancing."

"That's pretty cool.", Jimin replies and imagines Namjoon in one of the small studio boxes, writing his songs and playing with some beats, head and feet bobbing to the rhythm and then rapping his verse, holding on to the headphones, lips almost brushing the popscreen. The picture in Jimin's mind makes him salivate, hoping that one day he will be able to see the other guy working like this in real, "And I don't believe you're so bad at dancing."

"Ha! You'll see it tomorrow.", Namjoon laughs and pushes the button from the elevator.

When they finally step out of the building, the sun is already setting, golden and red with a few specks of violet and blue, but no cloud in sight.

"Do you want to take the bus?" Namjoon asks him, rolling his shoulder, probably fighting against the stiffness, and stretches his skin towards the warm sunshine, like a single sunflower in the middle of a field, "Or would it be alright to walk? It's not too far away."

"Walking sounds fine. The car drive made me a bit itchy.", Jimin replies, still wanting to stretch his legs and walking instead of taking the bus sounds actually really good since he'd seen one of the buses earlier. Jam-packed, sticky, and kinda disgusting. He really doesn't want to take a bus with too many other people during the summertime, no matter how long he has to walk.

"It must have been really awful driving the car during the heat.", Namjoon says, shoulders brushing his while walking and Jimin jolts a little bit, but moves a bit closer without a second thought.

"I had more pleasant days, actually.", Jimin laughs but shrugs his shoulders, "Thou, the air in Seoul is far worse than the car drive, to be completely honest. It's really sticky."

Namjoon chuckles a bit, nods, "Kook-ah said the same, he's our maknae, and also from Busan."

Jimin smiles, it's good to know that there is another boy with the same rough accent with whom he can share the feeling of home and affection.

"How many are living at the dorm?", He asks, backpack sliding a bit from his shoulder, humid air hitting his face, making him sweat even more.

"We are five, with you six, but Seokjin, he's the oldest, doesn't live at the dorm with us, because he has a small apartment near the campus. He's actually an acting student and wanted to stay in his own place until it's official with the group."

"The one who cooks for you guys today?"

"Exactly. Hyung's an excellent cook.", Namjoon nods, "Yoongi-Hyung is the second oldest, and he's also a rapper. Sometimes he seems a little bit distant, don't worry, he's a nice guy. Our lead dancer is Hoseok-Hyung, he's my age. I think you're going to like him. And then Taehyungie, his a bit younger than you, but still your age group. He's looking forward to meet you."

Jimin wonders how it is to live with five other guys all the time, sharing the bedrooms, the showers, eating all meals together, and never being alone completely.

It might be similar to his life at home with his brother, but at the same time entirely different, since now he has to be with more than one boy.

He hopes he's going to get along easily with the others.

As if Namjoon felt his uneasiness, he says with a gentle, reassuring voice, "They are all very friendly, you don't have to worry."

Jimin doesn't answer to that but asks about their daily life instead.

And Namjoon answers him every burning question without getting tired or annoyed, talking about their schedules, like getting out of bed very early, vocal training, writing sessions, school and homework time, dance practice, and acting lessons. It doesn't sound like they have a lot of free time, a lot of time for themselves, and Jimin doesn't know how to feel about it.

"We get a lot of time to get to know each other better, for bonding, you know? And Sejin-nim already told us that after we have the final lineup for the group, we are going to move into one apartment.", Namjoon's arms sway, and he accidentally hits his hand on a lamp post but doesn't make a face at all. Jimin thinks the other might be used to accidents like that already.

"The management is really good in comparison to other agencies. We have a lot more freedom. Kihyun, a friend of Yoongi-Hyung, is a trainee in another company, and they are very strict."

Jimin read the contract and had been actually pleasantly surprised by all the freedom they have, so he nods, can only imagine how hard it must be for this Kihyun and other going-to-be artists out there.

They walk silently for a while, but it isn't uncomfortable like it often tends to be with someone you don't know for long and good enough, and Jimin kinda enjoys his company.

Namjoon points at a grey building at the end of the street and then searches for his key in the pocket of his pants, "We're almost there."

Namjoon didn't even put the key in the lock when Jimin hears loud footsteps, a shout, and the door opens wide.

A boy with large protruding ears and a wide grin resembling a box, stares at them, wiping on his feet up and down, "Hi, I'm Kim Taehyung, and I was also born in 1995, but just barely, because my birthday is on the 30th December."

And within a second, Jimin is pulled into the apartment and into a room with a few beds, Taehyung pointing at one, heavy satoori pronounced, "This is yours if you want to share a room with me and Hobi-Hyung and Kookie. If you want to. Do you?"

Taehyung looks so hopeful that Jimin just drops his backpack on the free bed and grins at the boy. He knows that they are going to be good friends, and when Taehyung exclaims a few minutes later, sitting in the small living room, where they can hear the rattling from the kitchen, that they are soulmates, Jimin nods enthusiastically, feeling the connection as well.

Jeongguk reminds him of his younger brother, the age, the satoori, the awkward smile, very similar to the two years younger boy he left back in Busan. He letting him reach out a hand to ruffle Jeongguk's dark hair, smiling brightly at Jimin. He can see how attached the boy is to Taehyung, how close they sit, but it doesn't feel like he's intruding something. They just let him in.

Suddenly, a thin boy, pale like the moonlight, emerges in the hallway, only a small towel around his hips and dripping, black hair in his eyes.

"Yoongi-Hyung," Taehyung whispers into his ear, and Jimin feels his face flush with embarrassment, lifting his hands in an awkward greeting, unsure what to say to such a welcoming.

The moment Seokjin comes out of the kitchen, scolding the other boys in the living room and then turning to Jimin, greeting him with a warm smile on his incredibly handsome face, everything turns into a loud mess.

"Jiminie, is that a face on your ass?", Yoongi almost drops his towel, howling with laughter, and Jimin suddenly remembers what sweatpants he's wearing, realizing why the Namjoon laughed about his clothing choices. He got the sweatpants a year ago from some friends as a joke for his birthday, because is butt was round and prominent in every pants, and two eyes on the buttcheeks seemed like a good enough joke.

"Oh god.", He whispers, mortified, and feeling his face heat up, but thankfully is saved by a guy, asking him about his dancing skills, who turns out as Hoseok, the lead dancer Namjoon told him about.

 

The room is warm, sticky, and Jimin thinks that Yoongi shouldn't have showered before dinner, which is a chaotic affair, loud and messy, and so different than at home. Taehyung and Hoseok integrate him into the conversation, eating the warm Bibimbap and kimchi fried rice, everyone talks over each other, and in the background, he can hear the radio.

He watches Namjoon from the corner of his eyes, doesn't want to take him in too obviously, glancing through his lashes towards the other.

Within a few hours, one short evening with the other guy, Jimin already knows he likes Namjoon's smile the most. The one showing off his deep dimples and teeth.

He likes Namjoon's long fingers and strong forearm, and that his skin looks healthy and glows.

He likes his full lips and the way Namjoon purses them when he tries to concentrate.

He can see how Namjoon and Yoongi exchange a small glance, obviously able to talk without any noises, and he hopes the bright grin that appears on Yoongi's face is a good sign.

 

 

Winter 2012

 

Like predicted, Taehyung became his best friend, and Jimin can't even imagine a day without the boy from Daegu. He'd never met anyone with whom he could cuddle, talk and simply be himself like this except for his mother when he had been still a young child. It's strange, but he never had a best friend before, not like with Taehyung now. When he had been younger, still in kindergarten, he had a really good friend named Kimoon, with whom he always played at the beach or behind their distract in the woods. But when they were old enough to go to school, they went to different schools and after a while lost sight of each other.

But Taehyung knows almost everything about Jimin only after a few months and still loves Jimin the same amount, still calls him his soulmate. And Jimin knows that their CEO called Taehyung into his office to ask him what he thinks about them being a part of the same group.

"You don't have to ask me what I answered.", Taehyung whispered into the night of their room after that day, soft moonlight enlightening the space between them and Jimin could hear Hobi-Hyungs light snores. Jimin could see his face in the silver moonshine, eyes blinking softly and a huge boxy-grin on his lips, "I said that I would love to be with someone like you in a group since you are very important to me."

The final line-up is still uncertain, but Sejin told him that all the other boys would love to work with Jimin, and the agency might decide and start to promote them very soon. Probably around the first two months in the next year.

Jimin hopes, they take him in as well. He's living with the other boys for a few months now, experienced three birthdays, including his own with them, and getting out of bed, taking in their breakfasts, practicing together, and so on, made him feel like being a real part of them and their dynamic. Like they start to become something more than just seven boys dreaming one dream and working for one goal. Something more than a simple friendship.

Jimin knows precisely how long Yoongi takes in the shower and how much he hates it when others rummage in his notebooks and papers but doesn't mind sharing his shirts and pants, neither his boxers or socks.

He knows how Taehyung likes to cling to Jimin's back, face pressed into his hairline while lying in bed, talking about his siblings, the farm, and his very much missed grandmother, who sends him hand-written letters every week. Now even including Jimin in her greetings as well.

He knows how much Jeongguk loves to sing to American punk rock music from the late nineties, ignoring his puberty squeaking, headbanging so hard Jimin sometimes fears he's going to lose some brain cells, and how much the boy missed the Busan satoori because his parents are not much for calling, but writing long emails.

Jimin also knows how Hoseok feels the most comfortable after warmed-up and stretched adequately, dancing for hours on no end in the small training room, shoes creaking on the floor, shouting BAM BAM BAM with every beat, and how he tries to hide his late-night phone calls with his mother because they always make him emotional and missing his family harder.

He knows, how Seokjin actually doesn't mind staying with them more and more nights, saying he's 'too tired' to walk back to his own flat but loves to cuddle up to one of them in the bed and taking care of them, making them some proper breakfast and healthy drinks for school. And how he doesn't really think he's that handsome, but fears that he will never be good enough to be an actual singer.

And Jimin knows how Namjoon sounds while sleeping, snoring louder than his greatuncle who got his nose broken multiple times.

The way Namjoon taps his finger against the rings of his notebook while writing some lyrics, eyebrows drawn together and sometimes biting the inside of his cheeks nervously.

The way he doesn't seek out a lot of physical contact, but when he does, he considerable leans into the touch.

The way his eyes don't open completely before drinking his third cup of coffee and how utterly in love Namjoon is with crabs and other little creatures, calling out a happy Aegyo from time to time after seeing some in real life.

The way he can't turn away from sweets like honey and sugary cakes.

One of the things Jimin actually didn't imagine about the other guy are books, but Namjoon can't walk away from a bookshop without at least delve among the bookshelves, opening some of them, reading a few lines, while his fingertips follow the dark script. From time to time, Jimin accompanies him on his strolls at the Han River, riding a bike, drinking iced coffee, and almost always ending at a bookshop. Once Jimin asked him if he would have to decide between coffee or books, what he would choose, and Namjoon glanced at him with mild horror.

"Books, of course.", He'd said, caressing the cover of one of the novels next to him gently, "I could switch to tea more easily."

Jimin is utterly fascinated by Namjoon, his heart a thrumming mess, and his mind a hazy turmoil, and sometimes he's scared that some of the others would find out about his feelings.

Taehyung knows, obviously. Somehow, after one week, the other boy hugged Jimin tight from behind after dance practice, lips almost brushing his ears and murmuring, "You are staring at his legs."

"I don't." Jimin replied and felt how his whole body heating up.

"Apparently, you do, or you would have asked me who I'm talking about instead of denying it poorly like you did."

Jimin closed his eyes, so he wouldn't have to look at them in the mirror or even glancing back to Namjoon at the other end of the room, drinking water like a man in the desert, joking with Hoseok about something that happened in their class earlier that day.

"Don't worry." Taehyung whispered, "I'm not telling anyone, it's cute, actually."

And with that, the Daegu boy turned away, jumping towards Yoongi and Jeongguk to make them laugh about something.

After that, they didn't talk about it again, and Jimin relaxed gradually since his new best friend didn't seem to mind his feelings for another guy.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

When Jimin, Jeongguk, and Taehyung enter the small studio room with the almost ancient TV after coming back from school, he could see Hoseok kneeling in front of it, hammering against the sides, swearing like a trooper, "This shit won't work, why does it never work?"

"What's going on?" Taehyung asks, letting his schoolbag slide to the floor and sitting next to Hoseok, watching him fiddling with the TV.

"We wanted to watch the MAMA's tonight, but with these problems, I'm not sure whether we can get the station in at all."

"Yoongi wanted to get a new wire, he should be back in half an hours.", Namjoon retorts right after stepping in as well, carrying some snacks and a few blankets to sit on with him, "Could you guys get the heater from the flat as well? Seokjin-Hyung said he would drive you. And I would appreciate it if someone helps me to get some drinks."

"Sure.", Jimin replies, grabbing his scarf and woolen cap, "Kookie, are you going to help Hyung with the drinks? I'm going home and get the heater."

He ignores Taehyung's significant glance, the raised eyebrow like he wants to say, "Dude, are you stupid? You could go with Namjoon and be alone with him while Kookie gets the heater.", and then gets out of the room and building, headphones in place, loud music in his ears, and walking down the street.

Even in winter, Jimin tends to walk instead of getting into one of the many, and always sticky, overheated, and full buses with too many people. Walking through the city and unfamiliar streets, made him start to like the capital. A little bit. Seoul is not Busan, it's different but similar. A city with too many living creatures and too many cars, too many coffee shops closing way too fast after realizing that there are more than enough shop in the district already. It's a steady changing, within a week the shops in one street can be completely different than before.

It's freezing cold already, and Jimin buries his hands in the pockets of his coat since he forgot his gloves again. As far as he knows, he might have lost them, or Yoongi snatched them before going out to help his friend at the bar, where he gets some extra money.

Jimin knows, he could have been the one walking to the small convenience store a few streets away, talking to Namjoon and enjoying some more alone time with the rapper, but the short walk to their dorm was something he needed more than that.

A few days ago, his brother moved into Jimin's old room and found a small notebook behind the bed. A notebook Jimin had used as a diary for some time and totally forgot he had it after the whole audition thing.

A notebook he wrote in about feeling attracted to boys as well as girls, about being bisexual and unsure how to handle it.

A notebook his brother didn't think might contain such content, opened it, and read about Jimin's secrets.

 

Jihyunnie: Do you have to tell me something?

PJ: ...? As far as I know, nope.

Jihyunnie: Are you sure? 

PJ: ...I'm not coming home for Christmas, probably?! Idk.

Jihyunnie: Hyung.

PJ: No, Jihyun, I don't know what you mean. Can't you just tell me?

 

His brother sent him a picture of the notebook covers, and Jimin panicked. Because suddenly, he could remember what he wrote inside it, about his fantasies of one of the other dancers, about the kiss behind the karaoke bar and the two dumpsters, about the way he would like to feel another guy pressed against him.

Knowing, his little brother might have read it, made him feel nauseated, breath swallow and circulation crushing, making him look like a ghost and answering with shaking fingers, almost missing every button.

 

Jihyunnie: Do you have anything to say?

PJ: It is rude to read someone else's diary.

Jihyunnie: That's all? You don't want to tell me how you fantasized about sucking dicks?

 

Jimin didn't reply to that until so far, and the walk, some alone time, might help him clear his head and find a way how to approach this topic with his brother. He doesn't know how to tell him about it, without making it weird, without making his brother hate him.

Because if he is entirely honest, Jimin doesn't know if Jihyun or his parents would be alright with his sexuality. At home, they never talked about it, never really mentioned anything other than boys love girls, and that's it.

He wishes he could talk to someone with more experiences and who would have some good advice for him. How to approach it with his family without making a huge thing out of it or even get into a fight, without denying it during a confrontation. Once he's said it, he can't take it back, and Jimin doesn't know if he's ready for that.

When Jimin steps into the apartment, Seokjin is already waiting for him, smiling brightly and holding up his phone, "The guys told me you would come, which makes absolutely no sense since I could have get that thing on my own."

He's right. The heater is a waist-high plastic frame with some fancy, but not working, buttons for different levels, and makes funny noises when you try to get over 29 degrees Celsius. Jimin could have got it on his own and walking back to the studio without any problems, but this is alright as well.

"Then let's get a few more pillows as well.", Jimin replies, almost doesn't feel his ice-cold lips anymore, he's always been more a summer child, seeking out the warmth and sun, instead of the snow and the cold, "Namjoon-Hyung got a few blankets, but I think it won't be enough to be comfy."

Seokjin nods, "You get the pillows, I get the heater and in five minutes at the door?"

Jimin does the same, nods his head jerkily, and steps into the bedroom, grabs a huge bag, and puts a few of their pillows in it. When he reaches for Namjoon's pillow, hands outstretched, he can't stop himself and presses his nose against the fabric, kinda like a freak, and inhaling the scent as deep as possible. From the very first day, Jimin liked his scent and the gentle, almost unnoticeable way it washes over him. It calms him in a way almost nothing does. From the corner of his eyes, he sees how a white shirt falls to the floor and when he bends down to get it, it's Namjoon's sleeping shirt.

He glances at the door and then to the tiny clock at the bedside drawer, contemplating if he should let his heart decide for once, and then lets go of everything in his hands. As fast as possible, he gets out of his cloak, jumper, and shirt, pulls Namjoon's shirt over his head, and then slips back into his winter coat and cap, reaches for the pillows, and runs back to the door, before Seokjin can shout for him.

"What took you so long?" the elder asks him with a raised eyebrow, holding on to the wire and plastic, but Jimin only shrugs with his shoulders, "Nothing."

When they sit in the car, Seokjin fumbling with the keys, Jimin buries his nose in his coat, closing his eyes and inhales sharply. There it is, the delicate scent of soap and something that is just Namjoon, a scent Jimin seemingly can't define, no matter how hard he tries. He feels like a creep, sniffling at Namjoon's worn clothes, like one of those old men who like to buy used panties. He shudders, and still, the scent calms thrumming heart.

"You're ok, Jiminie?" Seokjin asks, hands grasping the wheel hard, and he blinks against the many street lights, the sun already going down and eyes dry because of the contacts he wears most of the time.

"Sure, Hyung."

"Really?" The other presses on, sending him some looks from time to time, "You seemed quiet the last few days? Did Bang Sihyuk threatened to kick you out again?"

Jimin chuckles, thinking about their CEO, who tends to call him into his office almost weekly to kick him out but actually never does, which became a small running-gag within their group,  "No, it's not that."

"You do know that he won't kick you out, no matter how often he curses about you, right?"

"Sure.", Jimin grins because he knows it, "It's actually because my brother and I had something like a fight, not sure how to explain it."

"Wanna tell me?"

Jimin looks out of the window, watching the cars and people on the sideways, thinking about counting all red items to do something to soothe his racing mind, but then he says, "He found my diary and apparently read some of it, and there is something I'm not comfortable sharing with him or anyone, but now he knows, and he seems to be angry with me for it."

It's as much as Jimin dares to share with his Hyung without telling him everything about his sexuality, and still, this makes him feel itchy like he needs to scratch his whole body and maybe should walk instead of sitting in a tiny, narrowed car, where it is hard to breathe and harder to get the jumpy energy out.

Seokjin hums affirmative and doesn't ask any further questions, "I think I do understand it. You had a secret he found out, and now he is disappointed or even angry with you for not telling him earlier, which you weren't ready to do so, right?"

Jimin nods, hoping the other sees it without taking his eyes away from the road and causing a car crash, "He might be angry because he doesn't like the secret in general."

"If I were you, I would call him or send him a message, telling him why I didn't want to tell it until so far, explaining that it has absolutely nothing to do with him, but because it's very private. And I would try to explain to him that reading someone's diary is very impolite and he should apologize to you soon."

It sounds like Seokjin knows exactly what the issue about Jimin and Jihyun's fight had been and like he understands in some strange ways.

"Would you be angry with your brother if he keeps something very personal a secret?" Jimin asks and turns to look at the older male next to him, studying his profile view. The prominent jawline, the straight nose, and eyes with the perfect shape and the soft, plump, and very pink lips. No wonder the man was going to be the future visual of the group.

"Not angry, no.", Seokjin replies, looking over his shoulder so he wouldn't bump into the car behind them while getting into the parking lot, "I mean, it depends on the situation, right? Disappointed, maybe, for not trusting me enough to tell me, whatever it is."

"Yeah, you might be right.", Jimin mumbles, and gets out of the car, stretching his legs and then reaching for the bag full of pillows in the back.

When he turns back to Seokjin, he can see the other studying him from head to toe and then tilting his head, "Something looks different. Did you change your shirt before coming back?"

For a moment, Jimin wants to shout out a loud NO, but that would be suspicious, so he only replies, "Yeah, the other smelled funny."

"Is that so?" The older says, reaching for the heater and the wires, closing the car carefully, glancing back to him, "It's just that it looks like the shirt Joon-ah wore this morning."

Jimin feels the blush creeping onto his face, so he turns away, walking towards the building, waving a greeting with his free hand to the guard.

"Jiminie?" Seokjin follows him with an evil grin, "Do you wear Namjoon's clothes?"

"Might be.", He hisses, trying to stay as quiet as possible, "You know how messy the dorms are."

"Sure, it's because of the messy dorms."

Jimin doesn't react to that, doesn't want to try to decipher what Seokjin actually means with it. Doesn't want to even imagine if that means that the other figured out about Jimin's hopeless crush.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

Watching the MAMA's is a funny affair. They all shout over each other when one of the artists makes a particularly good move, hit the note just right, or made an emotional speech after receiving an award. They hand around cheap take-outs, other snacks, and some ice-teas and beer.

At first, Seokjin eyes the peach ice-tea as if it personally offended him, "I thought you get something delicious instead of this liquid sugar."

But after a few minutes and a handful of tentatively sips, the older curls his hand around the bottle and doesn't let go anymore. The room is filled with the noises of people eating, chips getting crushed, and the steady murmuring of multiple people talking at once about everything and nothing in particular.

It's nice to be with all of the other boys in one place without being sweaty and exhausted from practice, in need of a good nights sleep, or a ginger-lemon tea for their throat, and enjoy a little bit of free time between school and trainee life. Like other teenager tend to so.

"Did you see that?" Jimin shouts out loudly, overly excited, pointing at the flickering screen, trying not to move the TV too much, because then it might turn off due to the intermittent contact, "Taemin!"

The others found out about his slight obsession quite fast, when Jimin told them about his role models at the K-pop industry during his first week in the dorm.

"Do you have any musicians you're looking up to?" Yoongi had asked him one morning over a cup of coffee and a half-eaten banana, all stony face and intimidating eyes. And Jimin, in his panic, told him for a good half an hour how much he likes Taemin and how much he influences him in his dancing.

After that, Jimin was doomed. They didn't stop to make fun of him about this. Although it is significantly different than the teasing, he or other boys had to get through, at school. The boys around him now are never cruel, never mean, and they take as good as they get.

He can hear Seokjin sighing, not wanting to listen to Jimin's raving about the K-pop Idol again, as if he does it every other day. Which he doesn't, mind you. Only from time to time. And from the other side of the room, he can hear Hoseok and Namjoon snickering, "Jimin, we can't see him when your head is right in front of the screen."

"Yeah, sorry.", He leans with his back against Taehyung's knees, fiddling with the hem of his shirt. He still gets nervous while talking about things that make him excited, "But you have to acknowledge that he is outstanding, and making music for years. Also, did you see the move with his hip while jumping? It's tough to do it, and when it's done incorrectly, you can hurt yourself pretty bad."

He hears Yoongi chuckling and then asking him in a voice full of mirth, "Jiminie, do you have a crush on Taemin-sunbaenim?"

Wait, he didn't ask that, right?

"NO!", Jimin nearly barks out loud, feeling the bright pink blush rising, ears burning with embarrassment, and he hugs his knees to his chest, heart pounding in his throat, "Taemin is my role model. Have you seen him dance?"

"YA!", Hoseok hollers loudly, followed by a squeaky laugh when Jimin reaches one arm out to punch him into his sides, "I thought I'm your role model."

"Definitely not!" Jimin retaliates, pointing back to the screen where they can see Taemin dancing, moving gracefully, just like Jimin learned it himself, a familiar technique he sometimes seemed to miss while jiggling his limps to heavy hip hop beats, "He is the one I'm looking up to, and you are my Hyung."

Hoseok's toe hits his leg hard, and Jimin knows he will get a bruise from it, but he starts to laugh, grinning brightly and turning back to the TV. It's a desperate attempt to ignore the slight teasing of the others.

God, he hopes that they don't think anything by Yoongi's words, don't believe it, or even worse: find out about his sexuality. What if they aren't as comfortable with it as Taehyung? What if it makes them decide against Jimin in the group? He doesn't want to make them uncomfortable, but doesn't want to make a big deal about it as well. 

He feels a reassuring hand, Taehyung's, at his shoulder, squeezing lightly and full of comfort, making him lean into the warmth automatically.

Besides, Taemin is only his role model. Jimin never felt any attraction towards the other male, never felt the slightest pull in his guts while watching him dance, not like, with Namjoon. In comparison, Namjoon would lose everything while dancing, especially his dignity ans shaking his long limps uncoordinated, but still, Jimin loves to watch him move under Hoseok's strict instructions. Loves to see his face when he finally catches up and is able to dance the whole routine without a mistake. It's endearing to see him looking around, proudly searching for acknowledgment.

He squints towards the rapper, watching him relaxing against the cushion of the couch and hugging his pillow to his chest. The lights from the TV flicker over his face, and Jimin thinks he looks incredibly handsome like that. For once, there is no frown on his forehead, no tense shoulders or sad-looking mouth, but Namjoon is looking like a boy his age, enjoying his free time with some friends, sipping his beer, and talking animatedly about things he loves, like music or his little sister Kyungmin, who started to date her first boyfriend a few weeks earlier. And made him freak out a bit.

"She is too young to date.", He'd said, and Taehyung and Jeongguk looked at him with wide eyes.

"Kyungmin-ssi and I are almost the same age.", Jeongguk said, eyebrows raised challenging.

"Exactly!" Namjoon had groaned, "You're too young to date as well, Kook-ah."

Jimin buries his nose in the shirt, watching Namjoon through his lashes while inhaling his scent, and wishes for so much more than he will ever get.

It's not that he craves the physical affection, like sex, not that Jimin knows how sex feels like. He doesn't. He only knows how his hands around his dick feel and careful finger between his buttocks under the shower. It would be enough if he could just sit next to Namjoon and talk about everything and maybe, only hold his big hand in his own, feeling the velvet skin on his own. He sighs quietly, and when he wants to turn back to the TV, he sees from the corner of his eyes, that Yoongi is studying him. Following his glances, scrutinizing Namjoon, and then shifting back to him, noticing the shirt and the faint blush on Jimin's apple cheeks.

And Jimin knows that Yoongi knows.

Aish.

Slowly, he turns away again, trying to concentrate on the TV in front of him and to ignore his stupid, stupid heart, and stupid, stupid attentive Min Yoongi.

 

After the awards show ends and cleaning up the studio space is done, as well as bringing all blankets, the heater, the pillows, and a sleepy Hoseok and Jeongguk to Seokjin's car, Jimin reaches for his coat and cap, wanting to walk the short way back home and get into his bed, but before he can get out of the studio with the other boys, Yoongi grabs his arm.

"I need to go to the store before going home, you are coming with me."

"But.", He tries to object, but Yoongi grabs a bit harder, fingers digging into his arm and says with a sarcastic tone, "When Hyung asks you, you go with him. Period."

Taehyung and Namjoon are standing by the door, waiting for them and watching the scene, and there is a strange look on the rapper's face as if he knows what Yoongi is planned for him.

"Well, then see you later.", Namjoon waves a hand, an awkward smile on his lips and reaching for Taehyung's arm, "Come, they are back home soon enough."

"Can you get me some of the shrimp crackers?", Taehyung asks them before Namjoon can drag him out of sight, so they only hear Taehyung's loud shout, "PLEASE?!"

Jimin angles for his phone and sends Taehyung a short message, saying that he'll even get him the one with cheese flavor if he warms Jimin's bed until he comes back and then he follows Yoongi out of the studio, turning the lights off and waving their good-bye's to the guard and one last office worker, who's getting a fresh coffee at the old machine at the ground level.

They don't really talk during their walk to the store, Yoongi wearing Jimin's gloves like he already knew because the rapper always steals their warm clothes, and Jimin burying his hands in the pockets again. It's already so freezing in Seoul, they can see their breaths, and the cold is almost hurting in his eyes.

"EXO did pretty well today.", Jimin says to Yoongi, their shoulders brushing while walking down the street. They won in the category Best New Asian Artist, and Jimin keeps track of the new group since their debut this year. If they debut next year, Jimin thinks, EXO will be a vast concurrent, and he hopes it will work out fine for all of them. He's looking up to Jongin, who's a dancer as well, a lot, and he wishes the group lot of success.

"True and deserved." Yoongi mumbles into his scarf, just loud enough for Jimin to hear, "But they are all pretty nice. Kihyun-Hyung is friends with two of them, and we all met for a drink before."

"Really, with whom?"

"Baekhyun-Hyung and Chanyeol-Hyung.", Yoongi replies and opens the door to the store, the bell ringing quietly above them.

"With Chanyeol? Amazing, he is so talented. Did you know that he learned how to rap just because he wanted to debut? Just like Hobi-Hyung learned it from you." Jimin asks him, following through the aisles like a puppy, "By the way, what do you even need from the store, Hyung?"

Yoongi turns around the corner, walking straight towards the alcohol and grabbing a six-pack of small Soju bottles, "This and ramyun."

"What?" Jimin asks, perplexed, and somehow, very deep within his stomach, annoyed, because he could be in his bed right now, "And I had to come with you for this?"

"Yes."

"But Hyung! We had ramyun and Soju only an hour ago!"

"I know.", Yoongi retorts and pushes the bottles in Jimin's arms before turning on his heels to walk towards the ramyun machine in the corner, "What flavor do you want?"

"None, I want to go to my bed."

"Alright, beef it is then.", And without paying Jimin any mind, Yoongi gets two cups of noodles, hot water and then strolls to the check stand to pay for everything.

He puts the Soju in his small backpack and gives Jimin one cup of the noodles when they get out of the store. It feels warm and pleasant against his cold hands, and Jimin takes the cup gratefully, finger curling around the material.

When they get into the tiny park near their apartment with maximum seven trees and one small pond just big enough for a very aggressive swan couple and a few ducks, Yoongi sits down on one of the frost-covered benches, patting the wood next to him, "Sit."

"Hyung."

"I said, sit and eat your ramyun."

And Jimin does. Carefully, draping his coat so he wouldn't have to sit on the cold bench without any protection against the frost and then probably getting the flu, he sits down and starts to eat the lukewarm cup of noodles. Yoongi grabs into his bag and gets two bottles of Soju, opens them, and gives Jimin one.

Hesitantly, he accepts it and takes a huge gulp of it, "So, why are we sitting in a park in the middle of winter, roughly around 1 am drinking Soju and eating ramyun like idiots?"

In the beginning, Yoongi had been kinda terrifying, judging glances through intelligent cat-shaped eyes and a hard, determined line of his mouth, and Jimin wanted desperately to be respected by the other male. However, by now, he figured out that the rapper was as soft and sweet as a hot brownie filled with a caramel core, and he didn't need to be scared and hesitantly with him, especially didn't need to keep in his words, since Yoongi seemed to appreciate a straight conversation more than talking around the bushes.

The older takes a sip of his own Soju, nose running from the cold and the spicy ramyun, and he grins, "Well, nice to know, that you didn't swallow your tongue, Jiminie. Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"Are you gay?"

Jimin, who'd took a sip of his own bottle merely seconds after giving Yoongi the permission to ask, starts to cough violently, eyes burning and lungs screaming.

"What the hell?" He splutters, wiping some of the liquid from his face before it can freeze on his chin, "You could have warned me before asking that."

"I did.", Yoongi replies, leaning with his elbows down on his knees, watching the moonlight on the little pond in front of them, "I asked if I could ask you something. It's not my fault you drink right then."

"Yeah, sure it isn't."

"So, are you?"

Jimin shakes his head, "Nope, I'm not. Not sure why you think that."

Yoongi snorts loudly, kinda unattractive, "Of course you don't."

"Ballet dancer being gay is a harmful and very outdated stereotype. Just like rappers have to be overly masculine and cannot be gay.", He looks at Yoongi with a pointed glance, eyebrow raised.

The other huffs, "First of all, I know that. Secondly, I would never assume someone's sexuality because of the things they like to do as a free time activity, Jimin. I met too many guys overflow with masculinity who like to get fucked into the ass. These things don't have anything to do with someone's sexuality."

Jimin's heart beats faster in his chest, and actually, he knows what Yoongi tries to focus on, but he isn't ready to lead this conversation in this direction, so he says, "If you ask because of my slightly creepy worth shipping of Taemin and maybe even Jongin of EXO, then you are completely wrong."

"I know.", Yoongi says, moving his leg so he can hit Jimin's with his knee, "I'm not talking about Taemin, or Jongin, or even that dancer you are obsessed with. What's his name again?"

"Seongho Cha.", He whispers sheepishly, staring at a spot on his black jeans and tries get rid of it with rubbing his wet thumb over it.

"See," Yoongi says, watching him from the corner of his eyes, "I'm not talking about your role models."

Obviously, Yoongi doesn't want to take his small hint and let it go, so Jimin swallows hard, and although he took another sip of the alcohol, his throat feels dry and it clicks audible, "You don't?"

"I don't." He says, voice not unkind, "We are talking about Namjoon."

"No, we don't."

Yoongi snorts quietly, sighing just like Seokjin tends to do, deep and with full force, "And that you wear his shirt, his already used shirt. And not for the first time."

"I.," Jimin stammers, blushing furiously now, voice shaking, "I grabbed the first shirt I could find at home. I wear clothes from all of you guys, and look who is talking? These are my gloves."

His hand curls around Yoongi's hand, tugging at the woolen fabric.

"Besides, I'm not gay."

He can see Yoongi raising an eyebrow sarcastically, but then he turns his head away, pinching the bridge of his nose like Namjoon sometimes tends to do. They obviously hang out too much in the small studio space. It's funny how all of them started to adapt different habits from another, merge together into one more significant concept, than staying a single individual. Strangely, Jimin likes it.

"Listen, Jiminie. This was not exactly how I planned the conversation earlier, you don't have to answer me about your sexuality. I just wanted you to know that whatever you feel isn't wrong or bad."

"I know.", Jimin whispers, following his glance, staring at the half-frozen pond and wondering where the swans stay in winter nights like this one. If Namjoon was with them, Jimin could ask him about it, because the other seemed to know a lot of useless stuff, like how snails reproduce. Namjoon blurted it out at one of their dinners a few weeks ago. Cheeks turning bright red with embarrassment when they all stared at him with wide-open eyes, spoons halfway to their mouths, and he was clicking his tongue, "I'm sorry, read it earlier and had to tell it to someone. It's a tick of mine, blurting out random stupid facts."

Jimin thinks, he knows, what Yoongi tries to tell him, "I know."

"Do you?" Yoongi replies with a sad smile, "I see how much you try to fit into a stereotype, which isn't you, Jimin. If I take this into consideration, I'm a hundred percent sure that not fitting into a hetero normative society makes you feel uneasy. Not because you are an asshole, but because you never had a lot of contact with other queer people, and you just didn't learn a lot about it and how to be comfortable into your own skin."

"And you did?" Jimin returns, voice dripping with sass.

Yoongi laughs, without much humor, but still kind, "I did, being queer as you can be, you know."

It takes a moment before Jimin finally realizes what Yoongi tries to tell him, and he can't help but stare, "What?"

The older chuckles, almost laughs out loud, all gummy-smile and teeth, taking another big gulp from the alcohol, "Gender, sex, origins, skin color, all those things don't concern me while dating. I like decent human beings, the better if they are interested in music."

"So, you are bisexual?" Jimin asks, heart pounding in his rip cage because Yoongi was the very first person he met with whom he could talk about it, without getting judged, without having to fear about anything at all, "Like me?"

Apparently, Yoongi didn't expect him to tell him this piece of information that early because he glances at Jimin, a mysterious smile on his lips, "Yes, like you."

"Please don't tell the others.", Jimin whispers, knowing Yoongi would never do that, never tell anyone about this, and still. It feels necessary to emphasize it, "Please, don't tell Namjoon."

Yoongi's hand finds his knee, squeezing reassuring, "Of course, I won't tell anyone. This is yours and I will take care that no one will ever take away your choice to come out or not. Though I think you should tell Namjoon about your feelings."

Jimin only shakes his head, taking the last sip of his Soju and making grabby hands for another, which Yoongi gives him without hesitation.

"Namjoon wouldn't mind, he doesn't care about me being queer, he wouldn't care about it."

"You say that now, but realizing that a queer guy likes you more than just a friend might be too much for a straight boy."

Yoongi shrugs his shoulders, "Yeah, might be. Still, you could tell Namjoon if you want to."

Jimin closes his eyes and imagines how it would be to tell Namjoon about his feelings, about him being bisexual and wanting to hold his hands. It would change everything in their group. Maybe then Namjoon would tell Bang Sihyuk that Jimin won't fit into their group and that they need to work with a different person, and the debut for all of them would be postponed again. Or Namjoon would bear with it but would be hella uncomfortable with Jimin in close proximity, and everything could get awkward and kinda shitty.

No, Jimin wouldn't tell him about it, no matter how open-minded and how much of an ally Namjoon might be.

Because despite how much his heart aches to be with the other, Jimin thinks that friendship is much more worth it than anything else.

So, he takes another sip of the ice cold alcohol, feeling the familiar burn in his throat and the warm tingling in his belly because of the alcohol.

"Thanks.", He whispers into the night, looking up and watching the full moon and something that looks suspiciously like the first few snowflakes of the winter.

"No problem, Jiminie."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

PJ : Listen, Jihyun-ah. I get that you might feel sad or kind of angry with me for not telling you about it, but I wasn't ready and not entirely sure what to tell in general. As you might know after reading my diary, which is a shit move and you should apologize for that, I like guys. I like girls as well, and I needed my own time to come to terms with it. It doesn't mean that I don't trust you or lied to you, and I need you to understand that my sexuality won't change me or our relationship if you don't want it to change anything. It might be hard to adjust to it, especially since we grew up very sheltered and without much contact to the LGBT+ community, and it is kind of a foreign concept, but I can't change my feelings, and I actually don't want to.

PJ: I'm sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable or anything, but this is a part of me, and you have to learn how to deal with it if you don't want to lose me.

PJ : I love you so much, Jihyun. You are my favorite little brother, and I need you to understand that with whomever I might get intimate with or into a relationship won't ever change that.

Jihyunnie : I'm your only little brother.

Jihyunnie : I'm sorry I read your diary.

Jihyunnie : It wasn't ever my intention. It might sound idiotic and like a lie, but it was open, and I only read the blowjob thing, and it freaked me out a little bit. I don't mind you being gay. It won't change anything between us, I just didn't expect it, because you never said anything and I thought we talk about everything.

Jihyunnie : But now, all those posters of Taemin make a lot of sense, you know?

Jihyunnie : And I hope you know you can talk to me, and of course, Eomma and Appa don't know about it. Are you going to tell them? Please don't do it during Chuseok next year.

PJ : Jezz, Jihyun, come down. I'm not angry with you. I'm not coming out during Chuseok, and I'm glad you don't mind as much as I feared. Btw, I'm bisexual, not gay.

Jihyunnie : Are you implying you thought I might be homophobic?

PJ : No, of course not. But you are an idiot sometimes, and I was scared you would stay an idiot about that a bit longer.

Jihyunnie : I'm not an idiot.

PJ : You are.

Jihyunnie : I'm not, you are.

PJ : Sure, I am.

Jihyunnie : I love you so much, Hyung. No dick sucking fantasies will ever change that.

PJ : Now, you are being a dick.

Jihyunnie : Please don't suck me.

PJ : Gosh, you are gross. Stop that.

Jihyunnie : Ok, btw, I found your porn magazines. You know that normal dicks aren't that huge, right?

PJ : Good night, LITTLE brother.

PJ : Have fun with the magazines.

 

 

Spring 2014

 

They are all quiet in the car, driving away from the studio where they got out of another strange interview and back to the hotel.

Yoongi and Hoseok are sitting in the back, both have their headphones up, staring out of the car or, for Yoongi, eyes closed and sleeping. Jeongguk tips something on his phone, fingers running over the display fast and almost without pausing, while his shoulder leans against Hoseok, and one leg is up on the seat. It's probably with his new friends Yugyeom, and BamBam he met through Namjoon's close friendship to the Chinese rapper Jackson Wang.

Jimin sits between Namjoon and Taehyung, arms and legs kinda linked with them and feeling the warmth radiating off the bodies next to him. It's comfortable and makes him more relaxed again, tense muscles losing up again.

They were cut from the broadcast again.

It wasn't the first time it happened, and Jimin isn't even angry about it. Not anymore. Bangtan is small, a no-name group, the easy fame, like they dreamed about before debuting, hoped for, is a long time coming.

It's just frustrating to get into a show, an interview, get some random questions, and don't get the recognition they deserved. Dances and songs are skipped by the producers, the MC's often tend to interrupt their answers or the material is cut in such a way, it is easy to use their answers or expressions in a different content or context.

There is nothing much they can do about but sit through it with clenched teeth and a stoic smile on their lips.

It's tough to see Yoongi's hard eyes, Hoseok's crestfallen face, and the fear of failure in Seokjin's beautiful face. Jimin wishes he could do something to make it better, to show the world that his friends and group members deserve more acknowledgment, more time to express themselves on stage and show the world how good they are.

And one day, all of those people will see and understand that they underestimated them.

He hears Seokjin talking tentatively with their manager from the passenger seat, watching them from time to time through the rear-view mirror. Namjoon next to him fiddles with a pen and his notebook, random words in three different languages are spread on the page. His handwriting is messy, ink stains are all over the paper and his fingers, and Jimin doesn't know how he's able to read the chicken scratch without any troubles.

He can feel the nervousness coming from the older rapper, leg bouncing up and down, and all Jimin wants to do, is make him feel calm again.

So he lays is hand on Namjoon's leg, finger curling around the tender flesh, while his heart beats so loud, Jimin can't hear anything else in the car anymore. The fabric is rough against his sweaty hand, and for a moment, Jimin thinks he shouldn't have done that, but then Namjoon stop, turning his head slightly and sending him a tired smile.

"Sorry." He whispers, pressing his leg more into Jimin's hand.

"Don't be." Jimin replies equally quiet, rubbing his thumb over his leg and seeking out more warmth.

The interview had been one of those with stereotypical questions, like who's the best dancer? What type of girl do you like the best? Who's the best looking in the group? Judge yourself.

Jimin, and he knows it isn't any different for the others, hates those interviews. They want to talk about their music, about the meanings of their lyrics, and how much they appreciate ARMY's support, but all they always have to do is make a fool of themselves, doings some girl group dances, and tell them what kind of girls they would like to date. However, most fans would hate it if they would date someone.

It's only to create a fantasy for them, to let them dream about dating one of them, and Jimin doesn't know how to feel about it anymore. He wishes, their music industry was more about music and not about all this.

Jimin is still in awe, how his Hyung managed to talk around the questions. The way Yoongi plays with words and gives them answers without answering anything, in particular, makes Jimin grin and want to laugh, but today, it had been different.

They were all tired like hell, and Yoongi somehow snapped a bit.

"What do you notice first when you look at girls?" The MC had asked them, and the rapper didn't want to answer the usual bullshit, like a cute nose and chubby cheeks and stuff like that, but he took a deep breath and said, "I focus on personality and atmosphere. I don't have an ideal type, and it is not limited to a girl."

Basically, he came out to the whole industry with two sentences, and Jimin doesn't know if he should applaud for his bravery or hit his Hyung into the side because of his stupidity.

Sejin-nim didn't look amused after they got out of the building, sending Yoongi stern glances as if he wanted to say, "We are going to talk about this later, young man."

Which he will probably do after talking to Bang Sihyuk and finding a solution to this minor problem.

The car stops in front of their hotel they booked for the nights since they are still in Japan, and slowly, hesitantly, Jimin lets go of Namjoon's leg to follow Taehyung and the others out of the car and inside the building. It is already dark, and a few isolated raindrops fall onto his cheeks and head. The air smells like storm and rain, and so entirely different than in Korea, then in Seoul or even in Busan.

They squeeze into one elevator with a mirror, and before they can get out of it on their floor, Seokjin states, "We are all going to Yoongi's and mine room, we have to talk."

They pause a moment, Jimin exchanges a meaningful glance with Taehyung, and then they all follow their eldest into his small hotel room, like some ducklings behind the mother hen.

When the door is closed, and they all found a spot to sit on, water and beers within reach, Seokjin starts to talk, "Well, about Yoongi's coming out on television."

He sends Yoongi a stern glance, not unlike their manager did earlier, but before he can say anything in his defense, Seokjin holds up his hand, interrupting him with a small wave of his fingers, "Before you start an argument, the good thing is that a lot of people will think it was a translation mistake and therefore a misunderstanding due to the language barrier. Which is good."

"No, it's not good.", Yoongi pips up, two red blotches on his normally pale skin, "I know, coming out as an Idol is always a bad idea, but we could do something no one did before."

"We are not famous enough to do anything.", Seokjin replies, a sad frown on his face, "Not yet, anyway. I can't say I know how you feel and how important this might be for you, but Yoongi-ah, you have to understand that we are not in the position to do this."

"To support the LGBT+ community and show that even rappers and Idols are gay?", Yoongi says, voice growing hard, angry, "Listen, it doesn't matter how famous we are, supporting a minority will always make us lose and gain new fans. And being open about something like this makes us different from other groups. I do understand when you guys don't want to because it might not concern you, but there are a lot of young people out there who need reliable role models and people who show them that it will be alright in the future. That falling in love with someone of their own gender doesn't make them weird, or bad or is a horrible thing just because our society says so."

Jimin can almost feel Yoongi's eyes on him, knows he talks about him as well as about all the unknown people from all over the world, who feel trapped within their close-minded society and family structures.

"You're both right.", Namjoon suddenly speaks up, who sits on one of the chairs next to the small, shabby window, long legs stretched away, and looking around, "Jin-Hyung is right, we can't support the LGBT+ community openly, without feeling the consequences too much. Like getting cut out of broadcasts, as we've seen today. However, we could try to show our support in little things. Let's not make a statement about Yoongi's coming out, let them figure it out themselves and let the people think whatever they want to think."

He looks around for support or some objections, but the two youngest are silent, and Hoseok is watching them attentively.

Jimin takes a deep breath and says, "We could show our support in small ways, like using more gender-neutral pronouns in our songs, ignore the stereotypical questions in interviews like today, and so on."

"That's actually a perfect idea.", Namjoon smiles at him and then looks around, watching Jeongguk and Taehyung intensely, "If the others are alright with this."

Taehyung nods slowly, "I think it's a good idea. Perhaps we can try to make a love song in the future for gay ARMY's."

Hoseok claps his hands quietly, "Yeah, and we can all try to avoid questions like today, talk around it and leave gender-specific terms out. And maybe, in a few years, you can shout out your sexuality and hit those idiots with it in the face."

Jimin looks at Jeongguk, the only one who didn't voice out his thoughts about this thing until so far, and he knows their maknae was raised just like him: he never really got into contact with the topic before and probably doesn't know how to handle it with care. It doesn't really matter that everyone within three miles knows how much the boy likes Taehyung, even if he doesn't seem to realize it himself. Not yet, anyway.

He shrugs his shoulders, a small smile appears on his face, "If we can help others to feel good with themselves, then I like the idea." 

And then Jeongguk turns his head, big brown eyes watching Yoongi, who sits curled up next to Hoseok, pillow pressed against his chest and face hidden behind his bangs, and asks, "So, does this mean, you are gay, Hyung?"

Yoongi laughs, it's rough and sounds a little bit agitated, like he tries far too hard to hold back his tears, and then he says, "I'm bisexual, Kookie."

"I knew it.", Taehyung shouts out, one arm raised in a triumphal pose, and he is grinning brightly.

For a moment, Jimin contemplates about coming out as well, since all of them seem to be alright with it. He can even feel Seokjin's eyes on him as if the older expects him to tell them now as well, but somehow he can't. This moment is Yoongi's, and he doesn't want to take it away from the older male. Then he feels a hand between his shoulder blades, rubbing comforting circles over his skin, and when he turns his head, Seokjin smiles at him, and his eyes seem to say, "One day, you can tell us as well. Don't worry."

Jimin had known that the other figured it out on his own as well. The way Seokjin observed him since the day they watched the MAMA's in 2012 made it very clear that he probably also knows about Jimin's feelings for Namjoon.

He never asked, so Jimin never told him in return, never wanted to tell anyone about his feelings for Namjoon in the first place. The fewer people know about that, the easier it is to hide it and maybe forget about it sooner than later.

"How did you know?" Jeongguk asks, gnawing his lips nervously.

Yoongi smiles, all gummy-smile and sharp teeth, "There was a boy in my class when I was sixteen. He was cute, and I realized that I get horny when I see cute people."

"How romantic.", Seokjin snorts out loud, his hand falls from Jimin's shoulder, and somehow the awkward and tense atmosphere from before leaves the room, and they joke about the shitty interview that day, make fun of the MC's face after hearing Yoongi's answer.

Suddenly, Yoongi takes a deep breath, looks around but doesn't concentrate on one of them in particular, and says, "If anyone of you ever wants to talk about this topic, no matter if it concerns you, I'm always there to listen and help. I hope you know that."

 

Summer 2014

 

His heart beats too fast in his chest, his feet hurt so much with every movement, he already put his shoes and socks to the side. His naked feet making slapping sounds on the floor with every jump and turn.

Sweat is running down his spine and drenches his white shirt, and the humid air in the small practice room makes it even harder to breath.

Jimin remembers the day he first met Namjoon, and the boy told him, that in summer, there was no fresh breeze in the small room with the old, wooden tiles on the floor. He had been right.

The mirror is fogged up, and dancing to the music in the background while not being able to see the way he turns his body, makes it look mystical, and somehow, just a little bit creepy. The way his shadows dance over the mirror, dimmed light, making them more prominent.

It's in the middle of the night, Jimin is sure about that, even if he hasn't picked up his phone for hours. His body is tired, weary, worn out, but his mind? Still there and running circles and Jimin only wants his thoughts to shut up, only for once. Only for a few hours, so he can lay down and get some proper sleep, but it doesn't happen.

So, he turns up the music once again, louder, always louder, hoping it will drown the screaming inside his head and moves, ignores the shadows getting longer and the sky outside lighter.

He moves until he is physically not able to do so anymore. Until his legs shake so much, he has to keep one hand on the wall to support him and stay upright. And then, only then, he is able to get a few hours here and there of fitful sleep.

He hurts so much.

He'd always been a perfectionist. Always tried to please everyone. His parents, his teachers in school, while dancing in school, and now ARMY, the company, the other guys in his group. He doesn't want to fail them, to be the reason why they won't take a step forward and show the world how good they are.

Jimin knows, his body changed in the last few months. The muscles he worked so hard for in the prior years, became less pronounced. The chubby mochi-cheeks thinned out, and his jawline, as well as his cheekbones, stand out more than before. He knows the others are worried about him. Taehyung and Hoseok tried to talk to him about his weight-loss, the insomnia, and all those hours in the studio multiple times, but Jimin doesn't want to hear it, doesn't want to admit that they might be right. He knows they mean good, but it is so hard to listen to them when the little voice inside his mind is getting louder every day, more demanding, more prominent.

"You'll never gonna be good enough."

Good enough for what? He wants to ask it, but he knows he will not get a straight answer. Not good enough for everything.

"Jimin. Please!" Taehyung had begged him the night before he grabbed his shoes and training bag, heading for the door, "Please stay at home. Let's watch a movie together or read a manhwa or let's go on a walk together."

But Jimin shook his head, smiling, always smiling, "I'm coming back soon."

He didn't. He doesn't know how long he's already in the studio, but he can see that the lights outside the windows are changing, that it is getting brighter, and the night turns into a new day.

Jimin knows when he picks up his disregarded phone, it will show a few messages from Hoseok and Taehyung, eventual some from Seokjin as well. Their eldest doesn't push as much as the other two, but there will probably still be a message, telling him about the dinner he cooked and is waiting for Jimin in the pan on the stove. It's just that Jimin doesn't get the food down, isn't able to swallow around the lump in his throat. He is aware of the fact that the other boys believe that he's developing an eating disorder, which he isn't, right? He just can't get the food down, isn't hungry anymore.

There is a soft knock at the door, but Jimin ignores it, turns around, moves with the music, which isn't loud enough to drown his thoughts, his own heartbeat, the rushing blood through his veins and the increasing knocking at the door.

When he looks over his shoulders, Namjoon stands in the doorframe, leaning against the surface with one shoulder and survey him pensively.

Only after Jimin turns off the music and slides to the ground with a dull sound, Namjoon begins to talk, "Have you been here the whole night?"

Jimin shrugs, closing his eyes because he doesn't want to see Namjoon right now. Doesn't want to look at him, not when he looks the way he does at that moment. Because Namjoon is disheveled, lips red and swollen and a healthy blush on his cheeks.

Jimin knows what this means, and he doesn't want to see it. It hurts too much. It hurts to know that Namjoon meets up with a girl from time to time, and maybe even got into a relationship which might be too fresh, too new to tell them about it.

Not for the first time, Namjoon comes back to the dorm after a night out, looking thoughtfully fucked and satisfied, and Jimin is happy for him. It suits him, it makes him look even more radiant, even more handsome, but at the same time envy is clawing in his guts like a monster, trying to escape. He hates the girl with all his heart, although he doesn't even know her name, doesn't even know what kind of person she is.

And Jimin hurts so much, he can barely conceal the upcoming emotions whenever he's near the other guy.

"Come on.", Namjoon suddenly says, trying to smile, but Jimin can see the worries in his eyes, "Let's get some breakfast."

He wants to say that he isn't hungry. That he will go home and take a quick shower, and then he'll be ready for a new day, but the words die on his tongue when Namjoon steps towards him and crouches down right in front of him, his hand curling around Jimin's thin wrist. Since when are Namjoon's hands big enough for that? He wonders, looking at the fingers, feeling his skin against his own. A warm feeling bloom right where they touch and spreads up his arm and through his whole body, making him shiver a bit.

"Please?" Namjoon never begged before, never used this kind of tone in his voice, so Jimin only nods, no words come out of his mouth anymore, his heart beating so hard, he thinks the other must feel or even hear it in the silence of the room.

With that, Namjoon stands up, doesn't let go of his wrist and pulls him up as well.

There is a small smile on his face, one dimple showing, and it makes Jimin smile in return.

"How about a big cup of coffee?" Namjoon asks and reaches for Jimin's shoes, hand still around his wrist, fingers instinctively feeling for Jimin's pulse point.

"Shouldn't I take a shower before we go out, at least?" He takes the shoes and gently frees his wrist from Namjoon's grasp. The older watches him from head to toe, slowly shaking his head, "No, you look good like that. The shower can wait for a bit longer."

His words warm Jimin's whole body.

The biggest problem is that from time to time, Namjoon's words, his actions, the way he looks at Jimin suggests that there could be more, that he could feel attracted to Jimin as well. And it makes it so much harder to let go of these feelings, which are so much more than a harmless crush.

 

December 2014

 

He shouldn't have followed Namjoon into the hallway.

He really shouldn't have, but he did, and now, Jimin can't forget what he'd hear, what he'd seen, the pictures his mind unhelpfully provided him.

The excitement of being at the MAMA's in Hong Kong had been running through his veins and made him fuzzy and happy and far too giddy than it should make him after almost one and a half years of being a part of the music industry.

But being there, in the massive hall with all the other artists, with his friends not only from his own group, but with Jongin, Chanyeol and Taemin as well, and listening and watching the better-known groups perform on stage, was amazing.

Being a part of it at all, doing the fun dance battle against Block B, tearing the white tank top apart, and hearing the shouts and screams of the crowd, made him flow with energy.

"What the hell, Jiminie?" Jongin came laughing to him, slapping him on the now clothed shoulder, grinning like a fool, "Who's idea was it to let you dance half-naked on stage?"

Jimin giggled excited, one hand flying up to cover his face and the other to nudge his friend into the sides, "As if you wouldn't do it if you get the opportunity."

"Never said, I wouldn't dance like that, but you? Our sweet little Jimin-ssi?"

Taemin stepped to them, standing so close to Jimin that their arms touch with every movement and laughing as well, pinching his tummy gently, "Don't listen to him. Jongin is only jealous of your body. I didn't expect you to hide all those muscles under your clothes."

"Yah!" The other dancer exclaimed, "I'm not, my body is almost as buff as Jiminie's."

"Sure it is.", Taemin laughed, leaning onto Jimin's shoulder, turning his head to whisper into his ear, "He wishes."

The lights were dim, and all of them were sweating profusely due to the stuffy air, make-up not quite on place anymore, and the expensive stage clothes were sticking with sweat and full of unflattering wrinkles.

From the corner of his eyes, Jimin could see Jeongguk talking with Yugyeom and BamBam, while Seokjin and Yoongi stood with some rookies with whom the rapper might be friends with. Taehyung and Hoseok were at the other end of the backstage area, talking to some different people, some of them might be some actors if Jimin could remember correctly.

Near them, he saw Namjoon, easily spotted due to his bright red hair, talking with a pretty girl, leaning down to her to hear her answers better, and smiling softly.

A hard sting went through his heart, and Jimin turned back to his friends, who started to discuss the up-coming party of Chanyeol in a few days.

"I still don't understand why Hyung wants to do a party right during the end of the year shows. It's stressful enough without getting drunk." Jongin said, rolling his eyes when he saw Chanyeol and Baekhyun grabbing each for a new glass with champagne, talking to each other and not looking at anyone else.

"And you are sure you want to come alone?" Taemin asked Jimin, ignoring their distressed friend, who was watching his Hyung's making fools out of themselves, and smiling brightly at him. It made Jimin's own lips respond and mimicking the friendly grin. He understands why his friends joked about him having a crush on the older dancer since Taemin is beautiful and welcoming and fun to be around.

A few months prior, he met him through friends of friends, and somehow they become close with each other instantly, talking to each other almost every day, sending text messages and voice mails as often as possible.

"Yeah, I don't know with whom I would want to come.", Jimin replied, shrugging his shoulders, turning around and searching for Taehyung in the crowd, contemplating if he should take his best friend with him to the party. However, Jimin didn't think the other would appreciate it as much as others might, and sometimes, Jimin wants to be selfish. Want some things only for himself. And this, meeting with his friends and going to this party, was one of those things.

"How about your girlfriend?" Taemin questioned him with a soft voice, eyes sparkling with mischief, and Jimin laughed.

"There is none." He simply answered him, heart jumping slightly in his chest.

A few weeks ago, Jimin met up with another Idol, a girl, but both of them realized pretty early on that they don't match, and being an artist in the music industry isn't a good enough reason for one should try to be with someone.

He'd like her well enough, her long legs, the blond hair, and the warm smile, but there wasn't more than sexual attraction between them, so they stopped seeing each other with the intention to stay friends.

"You don't have a girlfriend?" Jongin challenged him with big eyes, smirking, "I thought you're in love with someone."

Jimin felt the blush spreading on his cheeks, shaking his head, vehemently, "Nope, I'm still not telling you."

During one of their regularly happening get-together parties, they drunk a bit more, and Jimin told him about his one-sided feelings for a person but didn't tell him who it is. Since then, Jongin tried to coax it out of Jimin every single time they see each other and have a similar.

"One day, Jiminie.", He promised with a raised finger, "One day you're going to tell me."

"Maybe.", Jimin grinned and nodded towards Yoongi, who was pointing at his clock around his wrist, indicating that he understood his demand to follow him out of the hall and to the backstage rooms, where they could get out of the fancy clothes and then go back to their hotel rooms.

He said his good-byes to his friends, slapped Chanyeol gently on the shoulder when he passed him during his walk out of the room, and then he saw Namjoon's red hair in front of him, walking in the complete opposite direction he should go.

It wouldn't be a surprise if their leader would get lost in the massive buildings with multiple hallways all looking the same, so Jimin followed him, wanting to walk back to their small room together.

He shouldn't have followed him, should have let Namjoon go alone and get back to the rooms on his own. Should have talked to Hoseok about something or played with his phone instead of following the guy he's so stupidly in love with.

But Jimin didn't know, so he followed him, didn't call out his name and didn't run to catch up, which he should have done.

When he turned around the small corner, he could see Namjoon pressing against a smaller person. Jimin could hear the distinctive sound of two people kissing intensely, and then a soft moan reached his ears. With one arm, Namjoon was leaning at the wall, while the other was grabbing for as much naked skin he could get.

Jimin pressed himself flat against the wall behind the corner, didn't dare to breathe out normal, didn't dare to move in case they could see him.

He closed his eyes, head leaning against the wall, trying to figure out what to do, how he could get away without disturbing them, without attracting their attention.

He could hear Namjoon moan, lowly, rumbling, rough, and there were some whispered words and then the sounds of clothes.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Jimin wanted to shout and cry and run away, but he couldn't. It was like he was glued to the floor, to the wall, to the sounds reaching his ears and showing him how it could be.

It was like an accident, you didn't want to witness, didn't want to watch but couldn't tear your eyes away, and the only reason Jimin didn't watch, was because his eyes were squeezed tightly closed.

He could hear them moaning, the sound of naked skin slapping against each other, and fuck, it hurt so much.

Was this girl the one Namjoon was meeting up for months now? Were they in love?

He could feel an incoming call, the phone in his pocket, and the slight vibrations making his half-hard cock twitch. Hastily, he grabbed his phone, seeing Yoongi's name on display, and as if the spell was broken, Jimin finally was able to walk away, legs as unsteady as some jelly in a bowl, and ignoring his friends concerned glances when he reached the room they were waiting in.

"Where is Namjoon-ah?" Seokjin had asked him, staring at the dark blush spreading on Jimin's skin, and although Jimin knew that Seokjin didn't believe his, "How do I know?" the older man let it go.

He shouldn't have followed Namjoon, shouldn't have wanted to stay close, shouldn't have stood still instead of walking away as fast as possible.

Because now, now he couldn't forget the soft groans he'd heard. They seared themselves into his memory, and whenever Jimin tried to go to sleep, had one small moment just for himself, they popped up into his mind and made it clear that his heart, his body, and his mind weren't ready to let go.

That, although he hurt so much, his feelings for Namjoon wouldn't end soon.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

That night, when he was lying in his bed in the small hotel room, Hoseok still out with Yoongi and Namjoon, who came back to the backstage room a few minutes later, a satisfied blush on his skin and a cheeky smile on his nicely-shaped lips, making it clear for all of them why he was missing, he couldn't stop his wandering hands. Fingertips softly wandering over his taut skin, hard nipples, and leaking cock.

All the time, since he met Namjoon and fell head over heels for the other guy, he never touched himself while thinking about the other. It always seemed like invading his privacy, invading a space he shouldn't get into, especially since Jimin always feared he wouldn't be able to get back at the very same moment he would start this.

But now, even when he tried to suppress his thoughts, he couldn't get Namjoon's voice out of his head, couldn't forget the way he pressed the girl against the wall, his body covered hers and Jimin automatically imagined him instead of her place.

His hand curls around his hard penis, slowly moving over the skin, thumb brushing the wet head and smearing the pre-cum all over his erection, while he presses the other hand over his mouth.

Living with six other boys in one room taught Jimin how to stay quiet, how to get off without attracting any attention, the soft gasps escaping his lips, are barely audible.

He imagines the hand on his penis isn't his own, tries to imagine it to be someone else, someone without a face, but...

It doesn't work. It is as if he can hear Namjoon whispering his name, moaning against his skin and his rough hand moving up and down, making him come closer to the exploding relief.

"Oh fuck," Jimin groans into the darkness, legs tangled with the beddings, and he shakes them, so they get out of the tight grip, and he can spread them further, maybe reach behind his balls, maybe get a better angle. Maybe delude himself that this is more than a standard handjob, but the soft press of a finger against his rim.

He doesn't even reach the puckered skin, the thoughts, the subtle images inside his mind were enough, and then his orgasm hits him with full force, making him moan out loud, louder than he'd done for years, and he can't control the words falling spilling over his lips, "Namjoon. Fuck, shit. Joon-ah."

His heart is beating so hard, he can't hear his own harsh breathing which must be echoing through the room.

"Are you finished now?" Jimin hears Hoseok's voice and the way he kicks his shoes towards a corner.

"WHAT THE FUCK!" He shouts, reaching for the blanket, trying not to smear his cum on the fabric and still cover himself up as fast as possible. He gropes for his boxer shorts he kicked away earlier, but can't find them in the darkness. He can feel the shame burning on his skin, heating up his whole upper body.

"Sorry, no need to scream at me.", His friend chuckles, slightly drunk, "Are you wearing any clothes again?"

"I can't find my underwear." He whispers as a reply, and suddenly Hoseok turns on the lights. He's still out of sight, so Jimin rolls out of his bed, wiping his hand at one of the shirts on the floor and immediately jumps into the black underwear, getting back under the covers to hide his embarrassment.

"Finished?"

"Yeah."

Hoseok turns the lights off again and walks to his own bed, getting out of his clothes and into his pajamas. They stay silent for the entire time his friend takes to get ready for bed, using his skincare items, humming softly under his breath, while Jimin tries to forget what just had happened.

Never, in all those years living together with all of them, Jimin's was walked in, and now, the first time masturbating to one of them, moaning out Namjoon's name like the damn little idiot he is, his Hyung comes in and hears everything.

He is humiliated, burning with shame and seriously considers to get out of bed and out of the room, and never ever talk to him again. He sighs quietly.

"Stop whining.", Hoseok says, turning towards Jimin, legs crossed under himself and fiddling with a random tube.

"I'm not whining.", He pouts, trying to pull the covers further up and vanishing into the bed. Why has Taehyungie the single room this time? Couldn't they swap for once? Maybe he can get into his room and hide there until Hoseok is grey and old and forgot about this incident.

"You are." Hoseok fires back with a noticeable smirk in his voice, "Don't worry, I wasn't in the room for long before, you know, you finished."

"It's bad enough.", Jimin retorts, groaning slightly, feeling another shameful blush spreading on his chest and face, making his ears feel like smoldering.

"It happened. Masturbation is completely normal."

"I know! You don't have to have that conversation with me now!"

Hoseok chuckles a bit, but then he turns serious, and although Jimin can't see his face in the darkness and due to the covers above his eyes, he knows the other is watching him intensely, "Jimin, you know Namjoon isn't gay, right?"

Shit, there it is. He'd known the other would address what he'd hear earlier.

"I know."

Jimin knows. He knows, and he doesn't need to hear it again. He probably knows it better than anyone in their group, since he was the one seeing and hearing Namjoon fucking into a pretty girl in a deserted hallway in Hong Kong. It hurts too much thinking about it, knowing about it, and he doesn't need anyone telling him about Namjoon's sexuality. He just doesn't.

One day, he will stop loving Namjoon the way he does now. One day, he will look at the other guy and only see his friend and Hyung, and not a person he wants to be close with, wants to kiss, and hold his hand and feel his skin against his own.

"I know.", He repeats before Hoseok can say anything else, biting his lip and feeling his heart crumble a bit, "It's nothing, and it doesn't matter. Please don't tell anyone."

"I won't, don't worry.", Hoseok promises, and Jimin feels his bed dipping, the older rapper crawling next to him and getting under his covers.

He wouldn't have asked for cuddling this night, wouldn't even think about it, but now, feeling how the other's arms curl around him and pulling him close, it is precisely what Jimin needs. The post-orgasmic bliss is gone, and now he only feels like crying.

"You know, if you want to come out to the others, no one will judge.", Hoseok whispers into his hair, and Jimin nods, sniffling against the upcoming wetness in his eyes, "Just like with Yoongi-Hyung."

"I know, I just don't want to, now.", Jimin replies, pressing closer to get some body heat, "Despite, with you now, almost all know about it anyway."

"Really?" And he sounds so surprised, so funny, it makes Jimin's heart go lighter again.

Jimin giggles a bit, feeling the embarrassment finally vanishing completely, "Yeah, Taehyungie knows since the very beginning and Yoongi-Hyung and Jin-Hyung for two years."

"Ah!" Hoseok laughs and makes Jimin jiggle with him, "The MAMA's 2012, your crush on Taemin."

"I don't have a crush on him."

"Sure, you don't.", his hands find their way into Jimin's hair and softly disentangle them, caressing him, until his eyes flutter closed and make him tired and relaxed.

"Never had a crush on him.", Jimin pronounces again, letting sleep finally claim his body, whispering into Hoseok's chest, "I've always liked Namjoonie-Hyung."

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

 

The music is far too loud, and Jimin lost Taemin and Jongin out of sight over an hour ago. He doesn't know most of the people around him, and he isn't exactly talkative at the moment. Some faces are vaguely familiar, he'd maybe met at some random shows before or seen in the teenie magazines his brother tends to get from time to time to read at the loo.

All in all, the evening is fun. The music is good, Chanyeol and Baekhyun come around from time to time to look after him like after a smaller brother, asking, "You're alright?"

And pinching his cheeks when he nods with a big smile on his lips, looking around and watching all those people around him, dancing, having animated conversations, or getting in and out of the apartment.

When he first stepped into the apartment on the 36 floors and seen the spacious place with the white furniture and chrome accents with glass tables and leather chairs, he'd been in awe. It's entirely different than the small two-room apartment with the shabby couch and the wall full of stains he's living in. For a moment, Jimin felt incredibly out of place, and as if his big eyes and open mouth would tell everyone within sight where he was coming from, but then Baekhyun embraced him in a tight hug, "Nice to have you here tonight, Jiminie-ssi."

And he meant it. If there is one thing Jimin is grateful for, then it's the numerous new friends he met that year and now don't want to miss anymore. He doesn't want to miss Chanyeollie-Hyung and Baekyhun-Hyung ever again, or Taemin and Jongin with whom he can meet for coffee or to dance. Artists, who understand when he tells them about his struggles to be perfect, about the always gnawing anxiety in his stomach to fail. Often they don't have pretty words to help him, but their presence is enough to make him feel a little bit better, to shut up the voice inside his mind.

It is almost midnight, and the room is still packed with people, moving their bodies to the music, and Jimin had enough conversations with strangers for now.

When Jimin gets out of the living room onto the small balcony from where he's able to watch the city lights of Seoul, he almost entirely alone.

At the railing leaning stand two girls, Idols of another group, who whisper to each other, giggling about something and sharing a cigarette. They stop talking when they see him coming from the living room and smile at him, waving friendly, but don't show any intentions to engage him into a conversation.

In one corner, he can see two people clinging to each other and kissing deeply, who look suspiciously like Chanyeol and Baekhyun, but otherwise, he is entirely alone.

Jimin sits down on one of the cushions on the bench and hugs his knees to his chest, looking over the city. It's too cold to sit outside without enough clothes, without his scarf and hat and the thick coat his mother sent him a few weeks earlier, and it reminds him somehow of a night more than two years ago, which tasted like soju and instant ramyun with beef flavor from a convenient store around the corner.

He misses his family, misses being with them and talking, sharing small gifts, and singing to American holiday music, but this year he wouldn't be able to go home for Christmas since their schedules are getting fuller and fuller, and a move into a different, slightly bigger flat is upcoming right at the start of the year.

Jimin isn't sure what to think about it in general. He doesn't know what to expect in the new flat, but at the same time, he is looking forward to more space, more time alone, and taking showers longer than roughly 13 minutes.

"Can I sit next to you?" He hears someone ask, and without really looking, Jimin nods and makes some room for the newcomer next to him.

When he turns his head to look at the person sitting down at the place at the bench, rubbing his hands over his long legs, he comes face to face with Lim Sungbin, better known as the rapper Beenzino.

"Hey." The older male says, smirking a little bit because of Jimin's baffled expression, "I'm Sungbin."

He lets out a small huff, a laugh, because, of course, Jimin knows who that guy is. Who doesn't?

"I know.", Jimin replies, bowing as much as his position lets him, tries to be as polite as possible, "I'm BTS' Park Jimin."

"I know.", Sungbin laughs as well, reaching for the pocket at his jacket and gets out a packet of cigarettes, holds them up towards Jimin, and when he shakes his head, only gets one out and puts it between his lips, "I've seen you in Hong Kong during the MAMA's. Nice performance, by the way. You made them all drop their jaws with showing off your body like that."

"Thank you.", Jimin murmurs, feeling an awkward blush spreading on his cheeks and nose, and tries to hide it behind the fabric of his turtleneck jumper, acting as if the cold gets to him, "Born Hater is pretty cool as well."

Yoongi likes the song enough to turn the volume up all the time when he is listening to it, and although it's not entirely Jimin's taste in music, he remembers the older rapper next to him in the MV and the way the black clothes highlighted his skin and sharp edges.

"Is it?" Sungbin challenges with a strange tone in his voice and takes a long drag from the cigarette, which lightens up in the darkness, all orange and glowing red.

"Well.", Jimin starts, grinning at the handsome man beside him, "It's not exactly the song I would listen to all the time, but you all did pretty well. And my Hyung, Min Yoongi, likes it a lot. He's a rapper as well, and I think he concentrates on the technique."

Sungbin chuckles lowly, and it is a pleasant sound. A sound that makes some shiver running down Jimin's spine. The older turns his head towards Jimin, sharp cheekbones and eyes enlightened by the faint lights from the city below them, and he rather feels than knows that this is more than an ordinary conversation. It's deep and heavy, and somehow promising, although Jimin isn't sure what it is promising right now.

Sungbin sits far too close to him, their shoulders and legs touching, and in a different situation, during a different evening, Jimin might not like the proximity, but tonight and after what happened in Hong Kong with Namjoon? It is the perfect distraction. So he presses back into the touch and smiles even wider when the man asks him more and more questions, lets the conversation grow and turn into more interesting topics. How is it in a boy group? When did you start to sing? Can you rap? Where are you from exactly? Tell me about Busan. Do you miss home as much as I miss New Zealand?

After a while, Jimin actually starts to shiver in the cold air, doesn't even feel is fingertips and nose anymore, but when Sungbin asks him if he wants to get back inside, he shakes his head, telling him honestly, "No, it's nice to talk right now."

The smile he gets after those words and Sungbin's thick leather jacket was worth it.

Lim Sungbin isn't beautiful, not according to Korean standards, with his hard face and edges, but there is something about him. Perhaps it is his full, heart-shaped lips, or the sharp cheekbones and jawline. Perhaps even the three birthmarks under his right eye most magazines and photographers tend to mask out from the pictures. Jimin doesn't understand why, since they make his face even more interesting and pleasant to look at.

"I like talking to you, BTS' Park Jimin.", Sungbin smiles gently, nudging him with his equally sharp shoulder into his sides and leans even closer, close enough for Jimin to feel his hot breath ghosting over his icy skin.

"Me too.", He whispers, and when he glances at him, he can see in Sungbin almond-shaped eyes the hunger he feels in his own gut.

One shove towards him and their lips would touch, and he knows the other wants it as well.

When he licks his lips, he sees him watching him through heavy-lidded eyes, following his movement with such intensity, it takes Jimin's breath away.

Jimin isn't stupid, no matter what other people sometimes think. He knows this could end badly, with a bad reputation and even worse consequences, but somehow he feels it deep in his bones that Lim Sungbin wouldn't want to harm him and that they are on the same wavelength.

And, it has been a while since he was intimate with someone. Months ago, when he had been very drunk and feeling very lonely, he'd kissed another guy, and the kiss turned into skin against skin and hot, open-mouthed moans in the darkness. It turned into Jimin's first time having sex with a man. It had been fumbling and awkward, and both of them didn't really know what they had to do, but at the same time, Jimin felt safe and loved. They'd promised each other to never tell anyone about it, never talk about this incident, and it never happened again after that night. So, feeling another human being against his body feels like ages ago, and Jimin wants. He aches for closeness and someone other than his own hands, touching him with intentions.

He wants to kiss, to touch, to feel heated skin against his own and maybe even a little bit more. Maybe he wants to feel someone pushing inside him, someone who's more experienced than the guy before and makes him see stars and shows him how sex with a guy works. Although he doesn't know if Sungbin is gay or experienced in this, he thinks, it will feel good enough. And the older rapper and Namjoon not looking alike will help as well.

Those, and many other reasons, make Jimin lean forward, being bold and brave, and presses his lips against Sungbin's.

The man doesn't move at first, and Jimin thinks, it is the biggest mistake of his entire life, but right before he can get away, mumbling his apologies for misunderstanding the situation, Sungbin's huge hand sneaks around his neck and holds him still, slowly opening his mouth and sucking Jimin's bottom lip between his teeth. For a first kiss, it is good enough, it isn't awkward or feels odd, which often happens with first kisses since they don't know how to fit their mouths together.

Their kiss is chaste, no tongue, no heat, and still, at the same time, it's promising. Like the whole situation.

"Have you ever been intimate with a guy?" Sungbin whispers against Jimin's lips, and they taste and smell like cigarettes and party and human, and not exactly pleasant, but addictive at the same time.

For a few heartbeats, Jimin thinks about lying, about never ever telling anyone about this night a few months ago, but then he nods. Only nods, doesn't want to say anything out loud since he's scared his mind will tell the name without asking before and braking his promise.

"Sex?"

"Once."

The hand in his neck tightens a little bit, possessively, and it feels good, like, even if only for tonight, Jimin belongs to him and no one else.

"Top or bottom?" Sungbin asks roughly, and he can hear his smirk in his voice, doesn't really see it.

"Bottom." Jimin replies quietly, his cheeks getting hotter, and he is sure the other must feel the heat radiation from his skin.

"Did you like it?"

"Yes."

"Wanna go to my place?"

And Jimin knows he should say no, but like a few days prior, he doesn't do the right thing. He lets his gut lead him and doesn't listen to the faint 'oh no no no-don't do it' signals inside his brain.

"Yes.", He whispers and presses another kiss against the other's lips, and this time there is nothing chaste about the way their lips mold together, and their tongues curl around each other.

 

🐨🐥🐨🐥

When Jimin opens the door to their small apartment, he can hear the coffee machine making funny sounds the way it always does, and the door to their bedroom is closed.

By the stove, next to the tiny refrigerator, is Namjoon, arms outstretched and searching for a clean cup, and when he hears Jimin entering the room, he turns towards him, a tiny, tired smile on his lips.

His red hair is sticking in strange angles from his head, and all Jimin wants to do is running his hands through the strands of hair, caressing him until his eyes aren't still swollen from sleep.

"Morning.", He murmurs with his rough, sleepy voice and pointing at another cup, "Want one as well?"

Actually, Jimin wants to take a shower to wash away the smell and feeling of sex and party, but he never can say no to Namjoon, so he only nods and hopes he doesn't smell like lube and fucking.

"How was the party?" Namjoon asks while turning back to the counter, preparing Jimin's coffee exactly how he likes it, zero sugar, and around twenty percent milk and a bit cinnamon.

"It was...", Jimin stops, unsure what to say since he didn't experience too much about the actual party, but mostly felt the cold sheets of Sungbin's large bed and his tongue on his skin and finger tangled in his hair, in a flat somewhere in the Gangnam district, "Delightful."

The sex had been good, he can't say otherwise. Sungbin was an impressive lover, taking care of Jimin's needs and knowing exactly where and how to touch him to make him feel good, to make Jimin lose himself in the sensation, but something had been missing.

Something he experienced with the man before. Familiarity, safety, and affinity.

"Delightful?" Namjoon replies and snorts, raising an eyebrow while sipping from his coffee, "Never heard that word in connection with one of those typical parties."

Jimin shrugs with his shoulders, smiling as well, "Just, you know. Loud music, lots of people you've seen before, but never talked to and probably never will, some alcohol and yeah."

Namjoon nods, knowing fully well how those parties work, what kind of people go to them, and what he must have been missing.

"Delightful." He repeats again and chuckles, "By the way, would you like to go out for a walk later and maybe stop by one of the bookshops?"

It had been a while, due to their long days and less free time, since Jimin accompanied Namjoon on his little adventures in the capital, walking through the streets until he finds a cozy-looking coffee shop and a bookshop to browse through.

The thing about Jimin and Namjoon is that despite his enormous feelings for the older man, they are friends. Good friends with similar interests and free time activities, who can sit together, talk about everything and nothing at the same time for hours no end, and Jimin wants that as well. That's how their friendship works, going out together, riding a bike along the Han River, drinking coffee, walking, searching for places with chill vibes and sweet-tasting cakes, or books and music shops.

"We didn't do something like that for quite some time, and I thought, if you want to, we could chill together again.", Namjoon mumbles, almost shyly.

"I would love that.", He replies, smiling brightly, a warm feeling spreading through his body after realizing that the older guy asked him specifically, "I wanted to buy some new books anyway."

The door opens, and a grumpy, tired-looking Yoongi comes out of the bedroom, feet scuff on the floor, making dragging sounds, and without even looking at them, he makes grabby hands towards the blubbering coffee machine, "Come to daddy."

With shaky hands, due to the low blood glucose, he makes himself a cup of coffee and then sits down next to Jimin, stretching out his thin legs, sniffing the air, "Who of you two got laid last night?"

Jimin feels his face heating up, wanting a hole in the floor to open up and let him vanishing through it.

"Must be ChimChim.", Namjoon laughs out loud and nudges him with his foot, "Delightful, right?"