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petrichor

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pet·ri·chor:
/ˈpeˌtrīkôr/
noun

an earthy smell that accompanies a storm's first rain after a period of dry weather.

Kim Seokjin. 27 years old. Part time coffee shop owner and supervillain--

Seokjin winces and deletes his bio for the fifth time. Then he closes out of the dating app and uninstalls it off his phone, for extra measure. “Supervillains,” he murmurs to himself, in the darkness of his coffee shop, “aren’t meant for dating.”

He sighs and stands up, tucking his phone back into his pocket. Folding his arms on the counter, he stares out the window, watching pedestrians outside pass by his coffee shop. Some look inside, apprehensively. That’s fair. By now, everyone knows that this place is a front for a villain organization, fueled by theft and old money. Nonetheless, his baked goods are by far the best and cheapest in the city and regulars have guaranteed protection.

Seokjin wishes he could say he has some deep and dark villain backstory. That there is some tragic explanation on how he got to where he is now, full of death and pain and overly drawn out metaphors.

But...he doesn’t have one. He just inherited this business.

Villainy is something he’s bound to through the blood that runs through his family, and the blood that stains their hands. His parents left him this small coffee shop before fucking off to some country, god knows where. He dropped out of school to take care of this place--traded dreams of movie sets for early mornings wiping down tables. It isn’t bad. Seokjin doesn’t think he’s content, but, then again, supervillains rarely are. It comes with the job.

It’s a slow day today, and he’s been drinking more of his coffee than his customers. His other employee, Hoseok, is sitting at the counter, practically dozing off. He should reprimand him but Seokjin is five seconds away from falling asleep himself.

Hoseok is a good barista, with his sunshine-y smiles and easygoing temper, happy to wake up early and take excruciatingly long orders. He’s a decent villain as well, but Seokjin knows that he never wanted a job like this. He probably would’ve quit by now, if they weren’t such close friends.

(Hoseok also had thought this was a LARP group instead of an actual villain organization. The reveal had been awkward, to say the least.)

Seokjin’s phone buzzes, and the sound is enough to jolt Hoseok awake. Seokjin snickers at that, before checking the text.

“What does it say?” Hoseok rubs his eyes blearily.

“Mm..” Seokjin frowns. It’s from Yoongi, who never texts, which means it can’t be good news. “Shit. Looks like another employee just walked out.” Coward.

“You’re kidding.” Hoseok sits up straight, all former sleepiness wiped from his face. “That means we’re down to you, me, and Yoongi. The superheroes are gonna kick our asses.”

“No,” Seokjin grits, “they won’t. I’m not gonna make myself and my people be the laughingstock of Kim fucking Namjoon. That’d be humiliating.”

“We could die, too,” Hoseok reminds him. “If that’s a concern worth mentioning.”

“Nah,” Seokjin scoffs. “Heroes don’t have enough of a spine to kill anyone. Kinda goes against their moral code, right?”

“I mean,” Hoseok says slowly. “Have you killed anyone?”

Seokjin freezes. “Get back to work,” he snaps, “and stop tarnishing my reputation.”

Hoseok grins that annoying, all-knowing grin of his. “Aye, aye, captain.” He salutes mockingly. “Carry on with your villainous deeds.”

Seokjin scowls down at the coffee beans he’s grinding. He is villainous, he’s just very busy, okay? He will get on to world domination, soon. It’s not his fault he keeps needing rainchecks.

“I think I’ll close up early,” Seokjin sighs. “I doubt anyone else is coming.” He turns to Hoseok. “You head home, I’ll take care of everything.”

“You sure?” Hoseok stands up, hesitant to go.

“Yeah, go ahead. Unless you need a ride home…?”

Hoseok cranes his head to peek outside. “I think I’ll fly home. The weather is clear enough.” Hoseok is a shapeshifter, and a damn good one at that, switching forms as easily as he breathes. “Just try not to make it rain, okay?”

Seokjin smiles thinly. There’s already a pool of anxiety bubbling up over Yoongi’s text. “No promises.”

Hoseok takes his time leaving, chattering with Seokjin as he gathers his belongings, before shifting into a small songbird and flitting out. When he leaves, he takes the energy with him, leaving the coffee shop dull and dead. Seokjin looks out of the large windows until he can no longer see Hoseok, then grabs and rag and goes to wipe down the tables.

Closing up shop is therapeutic in its own way, but Seokjin’s mind is too loud to zone out like he usually does. They’re up against the superheroes tomorrow. That’s too soon--they’re drastically underprepared. He’ll have to make a midnight run to the convenience store and grab some extra bandages.

God, he’s too stressed about this. He doesn’t even remember what they’re fighting over anymore, but he’s not ready for the heroes to stare at him as he juggles trying to protect both Hoseok and Yoongi. And he’s definitely not ready for Kim Namjoon.

Seokjin stills. Kim Namjoon. He’s seeing Kim Namjoon tomorrow.

The sky starts to darken outside as Seokjin tightens his grip on the cloth and wills himself to calm down. But the clouds thicken anyway, and by the time Seokjin steps outside, soft raindrops are already there to meet him.


His life is told in rain clouds, sunshowers, and the rustle of wind. His mother used to tell him that his magic brewed like a storm, and he needed to keep his emotions locked down in the furthest chamber of his heart to tamper it down before it consumed him.

He tries to hold it all in for the sake of the town, but he can’t always help it. When he cries, it rains.

The town Seokjin lives in isn’t exactly small, but isn’t quite big either. Most faces don’t stay for long. It’s young, though--there’s a university nearby, so college kids flock here on their days off. An unsuspecting person would call it peaceful. Seokjin, however, knows that the air is thick with tension.

Heroes and villains have been clashing before his parents’ time. Seokjin doesn’t know how it started, but most cities and large towns have superhero agencies to clean up the magic related crime that police can’t handle. Fewer, however, have villain organizations. The big ones have giant spheres of influence, stretching out around the globe, with drug rings and human trafficking.

Seokjin’s villain organization is, well...it’s more like a gang, and even calling it that is being generous. Seokjin doesn’t really have the money or manpower to do anything more than annoy the heroes with pointless battles and meaningless crime. The superheroes don’t have much to do except fund community service projects.

(The heroes and villains in Seoul would keel over laughing at them.)

The town is used to it--or as used to it as one can be--and the police are too easily paid off to enforce anything. When Seokjin became the leader of the villains, he did his best to at least not run his parents’ legacy into the ground, and he’s doing all right, mostly. Fighting the heroes is a fun challenge, despite any worries he may have. Performing crime is not quite his taste, but he has a reputation to uphold.

Now he stands, flanked by Yoongi and Hoseok, in the town square. It’s empty of civilians today, as word has gotten around of a battle. Those who are smart stayed home today. Hoseok shifts uneasily beside him as the heroes trickle in.

“There’s a lot of them.” Yoongi voices the concerns they’re all thinking. “We’re so outnumbered.”

“Skill can beat size,” Seokjin reminds him. “The heroes hire anyone they can find off the streets.”

The superheroes are a scrambled group of people with the annoying tendency to want to do the right thing. Seokjin detests the whole holier than thou spiel they have going on. He watches sharply as they assemble, until his eyes draw, inevitably, to their leader.

Kim Namjoon, also known as the bane of Seokjin’s existence, stands tall in front of them, with light brown hair swept out of his face and lips pursed in a frown. Vines curl up and down his body and gnarled branches are already forcing their way up out of the concrete. He’s wearing ripped jeans today. It looks good.

Yoongi elbows him. “Are you seriously ogling his legs?” he hisses.

“I’m sizing up the opposition,” Seokjin says, eyes glued to Namjoon’s thighs. Despite his desire to win, he also wouldn’t mind if said thighs choked him.

Nonetheless, he sighs and snaps himself back to attention. “Namjoon,” he drawls. “Lovely weather today.” A breeze rustles Namjoon’s hair. It’s a warning.

“Seokjin.” Namjoon raises an eyebrow at him, pointedly glancing at Hoseok and Yoongi on either side. “Nice team you’ve got there.”

Seokjin glares at him. God, he hates him. He’s so fucking hot. “Business has been slow,” he responds airily. “Had to lay some people off.”

“Or did they quit?” Namjoon counters, because they both know Seokjin’s only two constants have ever been Yoongi and Hoseok.

Thunder rumbles in the distance. Seokjin curls his fingers into a fist, but wills himself to stay calm. It’s three against six. That’s fine. They’ve dealt with worse.

Seokjin waves an impatient hand. “Are you done stalling? Or can we start now?”

Yoongi cracks his knuckles and flames spark at his fingertips. Hoseok’s body contorts as his shape shifts into a snarling tiger. In response, the earth rumbles beneath their feet. Trees shoulder their way up from the pavement, blossoming flowers burst to life with sharp thorns, and the vines encircling Namjoon’s body snake out, like serpents poised to attack.

Seokjin grins as thick, dark, swirling clouds blot out the sun, because, for all of Namjoon’s intent to thoroughly destroy him, it’s beautiful.

 

Combat has never been fun for him.

When he was younger, his father had brutally trained him, teaching him how to block hits, which parts of the body were most vulnerable, and how to cultivate his powers to destroy. Those were the days Seokjin had tried hardest to forget, when he had to slip off his backpack and meet his father in their basement’s makeshift gym.

Get up, his father had hissed when Seokjin was reduced to a heap of trembling muscles on the floor. He can still taste the blood in his mouth, even now. Is this how you’ll survive in the real world? Get up and fight.

Fighting back then was a ruthless sport, where his only goals were kill and survive. But fighting with Namjoon? Fighting with Namjoon is like dancing. There’s an art to it, in careful steps and matched blows. He doesn’t fight to survive. He fights to see Namjoon’s eyes widen when he’s caught off guard or his smile when he’s victorious or the tight draw of his lips when he’s concentrating.

(They don’t ever seriously hurt each other. Not anymore, at least. Namjoon doesn’t like to hurt even a fly, and Seokjin...well, Seokjin can’t really muster anything in him to bloody a face like that.)

Somehow, in the midst of everything, Namjoon ends up on top of him with his hands planted on the ground on either side of Seokjin’s face. His eyes are dark and intense as they stare down at him. Seokjin’s breath catches, for just a moment, before he remembers himself.

“Enjoying the view?” he simpers, batting his eyelashes. Namjoon grits his teeth and vine shoots out and embeds itself in the concrete right next to his face. Seokjin grabs onto it and his hand crackles with lightning. Namjoon rolls off of him to avoid being electrocuted and Seokjin stands up.

“Rookie mistake, Joonie.” He drops the fried vine. “Don’t let me distract you.”

“I’m not distracted,” Namjoon growls. The earth underneath him shifts as plants threaten to sprout. Seokjin’s body is already aching, but he can’t help but grin, because flustering Namjoon is always the highlight of these fights.

Seokjin likes to flirt with him. Namjoon thinks he does it to annoy him and part of him does. But a bigger part of him likes to because it lets him grasp onto what he knows he can't.

Seokjin is a villain. Namjoon is a hero. They are each other's destruction. And Seokjin is irrefutably, immeasurably in love with him.

It’s silly, he knows. Namjoon hates him, and is hardly subtle about it. But he can’t help it, not when Namjoon is so undeniably good.

“Getting tired?” Seokjin tilts his head and raises a cocky eyebrow. “Need a five minute break?”

“I don’t,” Namjoon steps back and Seokjin blinks, confused. “But you might want to consider one.”

Seokjin’s stomach drops. He whips around to find Yoongi being thrown to the ground by one of Namjoon’s superheroes. Hoseok switches his form back to human as he ducks a blow from another. While he was distracted fighting Namjoon one on one, Yoongi and Hoseok have been holding out against all the other superheroes by themselves.

Fuck Kim Namjoon and fuck his unfairly hot 148 iq. He thrusts a hand out to send a strong gust of wind that knocks Namjoon down to the ground. That fills him with a little satisfaction, at least.

While Namjoon scrambles to stand up, Seokjin runs to the other end of the square, grabbing Yoongi as he does so. “Yoongi,” Seokjin orders when they’ve retreated. “Can you give us a wall of fire to hide behind?”

“Yeah.” Yoongi drags his hand up and dancing flames grow high in response. Hoseok shifts into a bird and flies high above them, before unsteadily landing next to them as a human. Seokjin holds out an arm for him to take.

“Do we--'' Hoseok juts a thumb behind him and raises an eyebrow. “My place isn’t far.”

“So we’re actually retreating?” Yoongi looks offended at the mere idea. “We’ve been retreating for the past few battles.”

“It doesn’t matter. We’re stretched too thin.” Seokjin sucks in a breath. He spares a glance over at Namjoon, who’s helping one of his own stand up, concern on his face. He quickly looks away. The air smells of fresh rain and earth--of petrichor--and it makes Seokjin feel slightly sick. “We need to go recruiting.”


“When you said go recruiting,” Hoseok whispers to him, “I didn’t think you meant college students.”

“He’s the only one who filled out an application,” Seokjin mumbles back. Glancing over it, the application seems fairly normal. Kim Taehyung, twenty years old, photography major. He and Hoseok are crowded in the back, staring out at the applicant in question, who’s tapping his fingers on the table restlessly.

“He looks like a liberal arts major,” Hoseok mutters. “That’s not very evil. I was expecting, like, a business major at least.”

I was a liberal arts major,” Seokjin says, offended. He looks back at Taehyung. “Might as well interview him.”

Stepping out, he plasters on a welcoming smile, then immediately regrets it because he doesn’t want his first impression as a supervillain to be kind. He slides into the seat opposite of Taehyung and holds out his hand. “Kim Seokjin. I’m the owner of this coffee shop. Kim Taehyung, I presume?”

Taehyung nods rapidly and shakes Seokjin’s hand. “Yeah. I, uh, saw your job offering. I thought I could help out.”

“And you’re aware that this is...not just a coffee shop,” Seokjin says carefully.

“Yeah.” Taehyung gives a shrug. “I don’t see how being a villain can be so hard.” He’s so nonchalant, Seokjin’s almost offended.

“Uh-huh,” Seokjin says, unconvinced. “Have you done anything particularly villainous?” he asks. He isn’t quite sure how this interview is supposed to go. Most of his employees kind of just...appear. “Theft, murder, reposting art on Instagram...that sort of thing.”

“I punched a homophobe once,” Taehyung offers.

“That’s not a crime,” Seokjin says. “That’s like, civil service.” He draws a hand over his face. This is worse than he thought. “Any experience working in a coffee shop?”

“I volunteered at the local pet shelter once,” Taehyung guesses.

“That’s...nothing like working at a coffee shop,” Seokjin says slowly.

Taehyung wilts a little. “It’s customer service, but for dogs.” He chews his bottom lip. “I’m a fast learner, I promise. My superpowers are telekinesis--I could make a valuable fighter.”

“Telekinesis...” Seokjin mulls it over. “What’s your limit?”

For the first time, an ounce of confidence shines through Taehyung’s face. “2,000 kilograms.”

“Two thousand--” Yeah, okay, that was definitely worth something. “Damn.”

“So do I make the cut?” Taehyung presses eagerly.

“You’re in college,” Seokjin says, peering at him over his paper. “That’s young. A young age to make a decision like this.” Nevermind the fact Seokjin himself isn’t much older.

“I need a job,” Taehyung admits. His eyes are wide. Earnest. Seokjin doesn’t want to hire him and shatter that light. “I’m resourceful. I can do whatever you ask. All I want is minimum wage.”

“I don’t know if I can trust someone this young,” Seokjin says. Don’t want to break someone this young, he means.

“Please.” Taehyung’s voice cracks. “I can’t find a job anywhere. I need to help my parents pay for my tuition.”

Seokjin’s heart breaks. Charity isn’t something he’s supposed to give out, but Taehyung looks so vulnerable and an inner part of him just wants to protect. He stands up and tosses the resume on the counter. “Your shift starts tomorrow at 8 am,” he says briskly. “Don’t be late.’

Just like that, Taehyung lights up. “Thank you!” He beams like a ray of light, looking so out of place, and there’s something in Seokjin that just feels grateful.

Taehyung is a good worker. Sometimes he drops a cup or mixes up orders or burns cookies, but Seokjin can overlook that. The expression on Namjoon’s face when Taehyung levitates a car makes it all worth it.


With Taehyung now working at the coffee shop, it’s strange how much he brightens it. He’s like an overexcited puppy with a romantic, disillusioned idea of barista life, who also really enjoys abusing his powers. The amount of times Seokjin has to scold him for levitating customer drinks is getting a bit ridiculous.

Seokjin is nursing a cup of coffee behind the counter as he listens to Taehyung hum happily to himself while they wait for customers. Hoseok is somewhere in the back, idly preparing fruit tarts for tomorrow.

The door is pushed open as someone enters. Taehyung perks up and Seokjin lifts his head up, squinting at the new customer. Dark hair, long legs, dimpled cheeks--

Oh no.

Seokjin’s grip slips on a mug and he fumbles to catch it. Amusement lines Namjoon’s face and he hates how adorable it looks. “Why the fuck,” he says slowly, trying to mask the flushing of his face, “are you here?”

“I just want a coffee,” Namjoon says innocently. He sticks his hands in his pocket as he scans the menu. The last time he was here...Seokjin can hardly remember. Judging from the scorched ceiling, it probably ended in a fight he can’t recall.

“A coffee,” Seokjin almost spits the word. “I have half a mind to throw you out.” But, since Seokjin is also a man desperate for money, he waves a hand in Taehyung’s direction. “You take care of him.”

“Me?” Taehyung turns to him wide-eyed. Seokjin wants to tell him that he doesn’t need to be scared of Namjoon, that he’s seen him quietly talk to the squirrels in the park. “Um.” Taehyung steps up to the cash register. “What can I get you?”

“An Americano is fine.” The moment he addresses Taehyung, something in Namjoon’s gaze softens. It’s not Taehyung’s fault at all, but Seokjin feels something burning and ugly crawling up his throat at the sight of that look, a look that Seokjin could never be on the receiving end of--

“No problem!” Taehyung chirps. “That’ll be 3,000 won.” He side-eyes Seokjin. “Should I charge him extra, or…?”

“No,” Seokjin sighs. “We have a reputation to uphold.”

“So no spitting in his drink either?” Taehyung sounds disappointed.

“Ah, my pupil, you’ve learned well,” Seokjin says gravely. “But we must pick and choose our battles.”

“The health inspector likes to swing by the flower shop often,” Namjoon offers as Taehyung sets on making the Americano. Seokjin resists the urge to flip him off because of course she does.

On empty days like this, Taehyung likes to chat with customers as he works. Namjoon, despite his status, is no different. “I feel like I’ve met you before?” Taehyung asks him, tilting his head. “Like, I know I lobbed a car at you last week, but before that…”

“Um.” Namjoon shoots a glance towards Seokjin, who rolls his eyes. “Maybe?”

Taehyung snaps his fingers. “Oh my god, you saved my life once!” He gestures excitedly at Namjoon’s face. “There was that fire in the music department...Anyway, I never got the chance to thank you!” He frowns at that, contemplative. “Want a coupon for next time?”

Taehyung,” Seokjin says warningly.

“I’ll throw in a free cookie instead,” Taehyung decides. “Chocolate chip or peanut butter?”

“Chocolate’s good,” Namjoon replies, completely ignoring Seokjin’s death stare.

“I am going to fire you,” Seokjin seethes.

“I’m an extremely valued employee,” Taehyung assures Namjoon, completely ignoring him. “My good looks are responsible for 70% of our customers.”

Seokjin is so going to fire him. “More like 20%.”

“Fifty?”

“Forty.”

Forty?” Taehyung shakes his head. “You really think you reel in 60% of customers?”

Seokjin turns to Namjoon and throws him a ridiculous wink. “Wouldn’t you say this face sells?”

Instead of rolling his eyes or even biting back with a snarky response, Namjoon pinkens and looks away. “Whatever you say,” he mumbles.

Seokjin frowns a little at the lack of response and crosses his arms. “What was that?” The question doesn’t come out as harsh as he wants it to.

“Nothing.” Namjoon clears his throat. “Can I have my coffee now?”

Taehyung’s eyes widen a little as he looks at Namjoon. “You--and him--”

No,” Namjoon says warningly.

Taehyung squeaks--honest to god, squeaks--and breaks out into a grin. “This is the best day of my life.”

“It’s not what you think,” Namjoon hisses, taking the cup of coffee from Taehyung. “It’s just a--a dumb sort of--”

Taehyung puts a finger to his lips. “It’s cool. Your secret is safe with me.”

“I’m so confused,” Seokjin announces, because he’s starting to get mildly offended that they’ve forgotten he’s here.

Namjoon starts and glances at him before quickly looking away. “Um.” His face turns a shade pinker. Is he getting sick? He takes a too-big gulp of coffee. “I have to. Go. Water my uh. Clematis. Yeah.” He backs away, runs into the door, and is gone.

“He forgot his cookie,” Taehyung says mournfully.

Seokjin has to take a moment to process everything. “Is anyone going to tell me what that was about?”

“That,” Hoseok chimes in, poking his head out from the back, “was the funniest thing I’ve seen to date.”


Another employee walks out on him after they get their asses handed to them by heroes again. Seokjin can’t bring himself to feel upset about it (the guy was a bit too hung up on the whole “supervillain aesthetic”), but it’s just another reminder that he’s a pathetic excuse of a villain. He remembers how obsessed his parents were with taking over this town from the superheroes. He remembers how much they drilled into his head that he was their only successor. What would they think of him now? He can hardly support his own business.

His thoughts stray, inevitably, to Namjoon as he leans against the counter, idly conjuring up wind to make leftover blueberries whirl around in a circle. Namjoon must have been told the same thing as a child, right? He must’ve grown up both fearing and hating the villains--they were formidable under his parents’ rule, after all. Seokjin wonders what he must think of them now. He must be bored to death with the lack of activity. Hm. Maybe Seokjin should go break into a museum or something.

The little bell jingles as the door is pushed open and Seokjin looks up to see Taehyung steer a wide-eyed college student into the shop. He looks a little younger than Taehyung, half-hidden in a black hoodie. His eyes dart over from Taehyung to Seokjin, then to the ground nervously.

“Hey,” Seokjin greets them. He lets the wind settle and the berries drop into his hand. Taehyung’s friend follows them with wide eyes. Taehyung’s not working today, so he assumes he’s here to camp out and study, like he usually does. “Can I get you anything?”

“This,” Taehyung announces, “is Jungkook.” He claps the boy in question on the shoulders. The poor thing looks scared to death. “He wants to work for us.”

“You told me this was gonna be a study session,” Jungkook hisses to Taehyung, who ignores him.

“Work for us?” Seokjin blinks, looking at Jungkook. “Really?”

Jungkook shifts his feet. “I want a job,” he admits. “Taehyung told me that this was a fun place to work at.”

Seokjin doesn’t know how he feels about Taehyung promoting his organization as fun. It’s supposed to be dark and evil and terrifying. Certainly not fun. Seokjin crosses his arms. “Got a decent superpower?”

“Uh.” Jungkook glances over at Taehyung, who nods reassuringly. “Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

“Well, go on then.”

Jungkook purses his lips and Seokjin watches curiously as he picks up a ceramic mug and weighs it in his hand contemplatively. Then he squeezes it and it crushes under his fingers.

“Well, damn,” Seokjin breathes. “You’re paying me back for that.”

Jungkook cracks a grin, cockiness and confidence trickling through his shy exterior. “I can power any part of my body to give it super strength,” Jungkook replies. “It’s a real bitch when you’re trying to open doors and the handle comes off.”

“It’s that powerful,” Seokjin says in disbelief. Enhancement-type superpowers are exceedingly rare, especially if it’s a beneficial enhancement. He turns to Taehyung. “And you vouch for him?”

“He’ll be better than me for sure,” Taehyung assures him. “We need a strong fighter like him on the team.”

Seokjin thinks for a moment, taking in Jungkook. He’s definitely no older than twenty and Seokjin thought he had sworn against taking in students, despite dropping out himself at nineteen. Nonetheless, he nods. One more couldn’t hurt.

Once he gets Jungkook settled with the paperwork, he sends him and Taehyung off with a complimentary cupcake. “You can start tomorrow,” he replies. “I’ll text you any time we need you for backup against the heroes. We’re a very put-together supervillain organization, after all.”

Jungkook turns around very slowly. “You’re a what.”

“A villain organization,” Seokjin repeats incredulously. “Didn’t you read the contract?”

“I just signed the thing!” Jungkook throws up his hands. “I wanted a coffee shop job!”

Hoseok, who is experimenting with some chocolatey, syrupy iced drink, chimes in, “It’s an easy mistake.”

“It’s literally not!” Seokjin yells. “Why else would I ask you what kind of destructive superhero powers you have?”

“I don’t know!” Jungkook cries. “For lattes?”

“This is going to be so fun,” Taehyung declares, steering Jungkook out the door. “You’re gonna love getting your ass kicked by Joon.”

 

Jungkook, surprisingly enough, does love getting his ass kicked by Namjoon. He ends up begging Seokjin to teach him how to fight, relaying to him with starry eyes how cool Namjoon is when he fights and did you see how he judo-flipped me, hyung? I want to do that too!

Seokjin had reluctantly agreed, partly because Jungkook needed to learn self-defense and partly because Jungkook’s admiration-slash-fear of Namjoon was getting on his nerves. Seokjin’s terrifying too! Jungkook would learn to fear him after a harsh training regiment.

(Jungkook ends up thoroughly enjoying doing fifty push-ups. Taehyung watches on in awe. Seokjin realizes that he’s more scared of Jungkook than Jungkook is of him).

Now, with Taehyung and Jungkook’s combined forces, they’re beating back the heroes. Every battle, Namjoon’s cocky smile slips more and more, and Seokjin feels--well. He doesn’t feel vindicated, really. He knows in his heart this is what he’s supposed to be doing--he’s a villain for god’s sake--but he just. Doesn’t really like to see Namjoon lose, either.

Whatever. His feelings don’t matter. He can indulge in them, perhaps. Dream up kissing dimples and moonlit walks and teary confessions and whatnot. But he won’t let them dictate his actions. That has never been the way villains are.

Their recent wins have given Seokjin the burst of confidence he needed to get back on track. For years, he’s been passive, but now? Now, he’s going to focus on building his organization. And maybe, just maybe, if he can gain power, his parents will feel safe enough to return to Korea.

He, Hoseok, and Yoongi have spent weeks mapping out their next plan--a good, honest bank heist. With the money, they can buy connections to other villain organizations and reforge the alliances his parents had, the ones Seokjin lost. With Taehyung’s levitation and Jungkook’s superstrength, they can’t go wrong. It’s perfect. His parents would be proud of him.

“If we can pull this off, we’d really shift the playing field,” Hoseok muses. The three of them are in Seokjin and Yoongi’s apartment, crammed onto the small kitchen table. “We can use this as a warning and then--”

“We rush their base. Burn it, wreck it, whatever.” Seokjin thinks of Namjoon’s flower shop, and how he talks to each and every plant and gives grandmothers discounts on bouquets. His stomach twists. “We can gain the upper hand and take control of the town.”

Yoongi is quiet. “Seokjin. You really want to do this?”

Seokjin knits his eyebrows. “It’s a bank robbery. I’ve done worse.”

“You’ve done worse years ago,” Yoongi points out. “We haven’t done something this big in ages.”

“Well, I need the money,” Seokjin argues, frustrated and not knowing why. “I can handle this, Yoongi.”

“I know you can.” Yoongi sounds exasperated. “It’s not about your skill, it’s about what you want.”

Seokjin frowns at that. Yoongi has never been very vocal about the crimes they do, but he has always supported Seokjin, ever since the beginning. “Are you in or what?”

“I’m in,” Yoongi mutters. “You know I always have your back.”

Seokjin does know, which is why he doesn’t bother to argue. Hoseok’s eyes flicker between them nervously, before clearing his throat. “Let’s call it a day, okay?” He plasters a smile on his face. “I think we have the plan down by now. We’ll reconvene in the morning.”

“Got it.” Seokjin nods wearily. “This’ll be good. This’ll be fun.”

He can’t bring himself to sound convinced.

 

“Pretend this is a family outing,” Seokjin suggests as they all pile into his car. Yoongi is in the passenger seat, playing with the sparks that flicker into life on his hands. Seokjin hopes he doesn’t burn down his car. “A family outing, but with a flair of illegal activity.”

“I feel like I should call the cops on myself,” Taehyung comments as Seokjin starts the car.

“Please don’t,” Seokjin says. “But the paramedics never ask questions, so don’t worry about them.”

“Paramedics?” Jungkook squeaks. Oops. Seokjin probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. He checks Jungkook’s face in the rearview mirror. He looks a bit pale.

The car is full of nervous energy as he drives, a stark contrast from the excitement Seokjin remembers the villains used to hold whenever they pulled stunts like this. “It could get real dangerous,” Yoongi warns Jungkook and Taehyung. Hoseok nods. “Heroes have never used guns but the police will.”

Jungkook swallows. He’s--god, he’s so young. He and Taehyung...they didn’t really think before they signed up for this sort of stuff.

Seokjin’s hands tighten on the wheel and he veers left instead of right. Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow. “This is--”

“I’m in the mood for ice cream,” Seokjin says loudly. “Let’s call it a night and grab something to eat. We can push back the heist.”

Yoongi’s eyes widen, then they soften. “For ice cream?” he murmurs.

Seokjin shrugs his shoulders. “Jungkook’s got an exam tomorrow,” he replies. “We’ll tackle the bank next week.”

They never do.


Okay. So maybe it’s a little hard to try and commit crime without risking getting Taehyung or Jungkook in trouble. Sue him. They’ll quit someday when they both get better jobs, and then Seokjin can go back to his plans of world domination. It’s totally fine. He’s got this.

Seokjinnn,” Jungkook sings as he sails into the coffeeshop. “Your favorite annoying younger brother is here to take the stress off your shoulders!”

“Uh-huh.” Seokjin just served the last customer in line and is now working to perfect his latte art. He doesn't spare Jungkook a glance as he asks, “How was class?”

“The usual.” Jungkook shrugs. “Stared at the cute guy in front of me instead of taking notes, so that’s a win.” He throws on an apron before sidling over to look over Seokjin’s shoulders. “That looks like an inverted vagina.”

“It’s supposed to be a cat!” Seokjin protests. “It looks nothing like a--” He tilts his head. “Oh. It kinda does. How did I do that?”

“Natural talent,” Jungkook replies, accepting the cup with a smile as Seokjin hands it to him. “I passed Kim Namjoon walking up here.”

“Did you trip over yourself?” Seokjin asks dryly.

“No, I didn’t!” Jungkook says, sounding a bit too proud. “He didn’t notice me. He looked a little tired, actually. Maybe there’s something wrong with the flower shop?” he wonders. “Though I guess that’s good news for us.” He looks at Seokjin carefully. “That is good news for us, right?”

Seokjin just bites his lip. Namjoon hasn’t been looking good lately. Well, that sounds wrong because Namjoon always looks good. But there are bags under his eyes and he doesn’t smile as much anymore and Seokjin just worries.

“Seokjin?”

“Hm?” Seokjin shakes himself out of his thoughts. “Oh. Yeah, it would be good news.”

“That’s what I thought.” Jungkook takes a sip of the latte. “Namjoon usually goes to the park in the afternoons to write. I’ve seen him there quite often.”

“Okay?” Seokjin looks at him quizzically.

Jungkook flashes him a grin. “Just a tip-off.” A customer comes in before Seokjin can grill him, and Jungkook is already conversing with her shyly.

Jungkook, he thinks, might read him a bit too well.

 

The day is bright and sunny, but, when Seokjin steps outside, clouds start to gather in response to his nerves. He glares up at them, and they quickly disperse. In his hands he holds freshly made japchae, scooped neatly into the cutest container he and Yoongi own and now he’s--what? Going to give it to Namjoon? Going to say, hey, I made you some food because I'm actually very worried about you, please eat it?

“What am I doing right now?” he asks the japchae helplessly.

The japchae, thankfully, doesn’t respond.

Seokjin’s feet tap nervously on the ground and he forces himself not to turn back around to the safety of his apartment. This is the closest he’ll get to a love confession. Might as well savor it while he still can.

The park is a bit emptier than he had thought as he wanders through it. Some people give double takes when they see him. Seokjin sends them death glares when they do. Villains can go to parks! Villains can want a breath of fresh air! Villains can like petting the dogs that run up to them!

Namjoon is sitting on a bench with a notebook out, tapping his finger to a tune only he hears. He scribbles down something then frowns, and crosses it out. Seokjin knows he composes music in his free time, but he’s never listened to it. He doubts he’ll ever.

Seokjin quietly watches Namjoon a moment more, then gathers up his confidence.

“Namjoon!” he calls. Namjoon jumps and whirls around, and Seokjin has to smother a smile. He walks over to the bench and crosses his arms on it, looking over Namjoon’s shoulder. Namjoon shuts his notebook and stands up.

“Seokjin,” he replies warily. “What do you want?”

You, the dumb part of his mind thinks, but because Namjoon is painfully dense, he bites his tongue and levels a stare on Namjoon. “You haven’t been taking care of yourself.” He curls his lip. “Don’t think I don’t notice when I have eyes everywhere.” Cough, Hoseok and his budding love for succulents, cough.

Namjoon eyes narrow. “That has nothing to do with you.” He really doesn’t look well. Seokjin wants to take his hand and bring him home and give him a warm meal.

“It has everything to do with me,” Seokjin argues. “I’m not about to have a superhero faint from exhaustion on me while we’re fighting. What kind of win would that be?”

Namjoon just shakes his head, exasperated, and moves to walk past Seokjin. “I’m fine. My parents are just--I’m fine.”

From what he’s gathered, Namjoon’s parents, unlike Seokjin’s, are very active in their son’s career as a superhero. Too active. They work in Seoul now, he’s pretty sure, under a big superhero company that busts actual crime and supervillain groups. They must be frustrated with Namjoon’s lack of progress in defeating Seokjin. Seokjin knows his parents would be.

“Maybe you can land a punch on me and photograph the result,” Seokjin suggests. “But on my left cheek, since my right is my better side.”

Namjoon laughs and the words die in Seokjin’s throat. His face loses some of that tension and his dimples appear and it’s because of something Seokjin said. His heart stutters. He wants to kiss him so badly, it’s kind of insane.

Namjoon catches himself and his smile slips off. Seokjin steps forward, a little unsteadily, then stops. His fingers twitch, aching to take Namjoon’s face in his hands and tell him that it’s okay, that he can be happy with him.

“I should go,” Namjoon mumbles.

Desperately, Seokjin grabs Namjoon’s arm and Namjoon tenses, but he turns around. Seokjin shoves the container in his hands. “It’s japchae.” he says. “I made it myself. Eat it.”

Namjoon takes it and looks at it suspiciously. “Is it poisoned?”

“Of course not.” Seokjin sniffs. “Poison isn’t my style.”

“You’re feeding me?”

Seokjin glares at him. “I told you. I want you in your best shape when we fight in a week. I don’t want an easy victory.”

Namjoon is still turning the container over incredulously. “You made japchae for me.”

“Don’t expect me to feed it to you too.” An image flashes in his mind of Namjoon’s lips curled over a spoon. He quickly banishes it. “Just take it and go. Give me back the container sometime.”

“I--okay.” Namjoon backs away, clutching the container to his chest. “I’ll see you around, Seokjin.”

They don’t say things like that to each other, but Seokjin gives it a pass since this entire interaction is an anomaly. “I’m gonna beat that pretty face to the ground next time.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Namjoon replies on beat. “And...thanks.” He gives him a small smile and starts to walk away, examining the japchae as he does so. That’s so Namjoon. He can never let Seokjin have the last word and the last word in question is thanks.

The clouds start to part, letting golden sunlight finally wash over the park, and something in Seokjin’s chests lightens.

 

During their next battle, Namjoon lobs something at him. Seokjin catches it easily in one hand. It’s one of his tupperwares, empty and freshly washed.

(Seokjin can’t help but beam at him. It’s very un-evil, but maybe, just maybe, Namjoon smiles back).


Life goes on. Seokjin picks a fight with Namjoon for buying the last Eggo box and ends up getting slammed against a building (it’s painful but also kinda hot). Taehyung ends up being a natural at latte art (unfair) and Hoseok and Jungkook start picking up earlier shifts (bless their hearts).

Yoongi, as he’s always been, is a comforting constant in Seokjin’s life. They walk together to the coffee shop from their apartment, then walk back at the end of the day, provided Yoongi has time. (He works as a music producer and lyricist. Seokjin can’t wait until he makes his break). Then, they go grocery shopping together if they both have the time and squabble over which dish sponge to buy.

Seokjin is in the kitchen now, grabbing mandu from the freezer while Yoongi is at the stove. He’s making the broth for mandu-guk, because they’re functional adults who don’t live off instant ramen, or so Seokjin likes to tell himself.

Yoongi nudges his side and he hands the bag over, watching as Yoongi drops frozen mandu in the pot. “We should make our own mandu sometime,” Seokjin comments. Yoongi wordlessly hands him a few eggs and he dutifully cracks them in a bowl, whisking them with chopsticks. “It can’t be that hard, right? We could enlist Jungkook and Taehyung to help now. That might not be a good idea though…” He tilts his head thoughtfully. “Honestly, I don’t really trust Taehyung to cook but Jungkook might be pretty useful--”

“I’m joining the heroes.” Yoongi interrupts. He wipes off his hands and turns to look at him. “I talked to Namjoon and he agreed to take me in.”

The chopsticks slip from Seokjin’s finger. He fumbles to catch them. “What?”

“I’ve known him from before, because of the underground rap scene. He gave me a good deal. He says--” Yoongi pauses. “He says I can use my powers to help.”

Seokjin’s fingers dig into the countertop. Yoongi’s not wrong. He’s never wrong. “You’ve been with the villains for years. You were my first employee." His voice sounds hollow to his own ears. "We were going to do everything together.”

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi says quietly. “Seokjin, you’re my best friend. But I joined this organization when I was bitter and alone and sad and I want to leave that section of my life behind. I don’t want to be working under a reminder of all my mistakes.”

“So you’re just. Going. After all that.”

“I know.” Yoongi stares hard into the soup pot. “I would feel betrayed too. I don’t want to move on from you or Hoseok, but I don’t want to work in that coffee shop anymore. If you don’t want to see me after this, then I understand.”

“Please,” Seokjin chokes out, “don’t move out.”

Yoongi blinks. He slowly raises his head to meet Seokjin’s eyes again. “You’re not mad?”

“I can’t lose you.” Seokjin looks away. “Just tell me you’re not leaving because of--because of me.”

“You’re the best roommate I could ask for,” Yoongi reassures him. “And besides,” he gives a weak little smile, “I have to say I prefer plants over people.”

“Of course you do,” Seokjin murmurs. “How I got you to run that cash register is beyond me.”

“Free cookies.” Yoongi snaps his fingers. “Remember that? When you first hired me? I think you promised me a free cookie a week.”

Seokjin laughs. The soup looks almost done, so he drizzles in the beaten eggs and Yoongi gives it a good stir, before turning off the heat. “I’m pretty sure that just ended in me teaching you how to bake.”

“And now my brioche is better than yours,” Yoongi agrees solemnly. Seokjin elbows him and Yoongi kicks his ankle.

“We’re going to have to fight each other,” Seokjin says, amusement dimming. “Hoseok, me, Taehyung, Jungkook…”

“Oh.” Yoongi scratches the back of his head. “I didn’t really see that as a big deal?” He shrugs. “Last time we fought, you and Namjoon were mostly just sniping at each other, so Jungkook started teaching a handful of heroes TikTok dances.”

“What.”

“Hoseok is in a book club with a few heroes, too? I mean, the battles feel more like the training we used to do rather than actual fights. I can’t remember the last time I gave someone third degree burns.” He opens his palm and whips out a blue ball of hot fire, as a test.

“Extinguish that,” Seokjin hisses, because he just bought new curtains and he can’t have them burned down again. “And what do you mean you haven’t been actually fighting with the heroes? Should I fire you all?”

“I mean, honestly, Seokjin.” Yoongi gives the manduguk a good stir. “Haven’t you noticed that the only ones taking this whole superhero-villain thing seriously are you and Namjoon?” Seokjin opens his mouth indignantly, but Yoongi talks over him, “Like, when I say I’m joining the heroes mostly for the flower shop, I mean it. You know that both the heroes and the villains are an utter joke.”

That doesn’t mean Seokjin wants to admit it. “That’s why we’re working to get better,” he argues.

“Okay. Sure.” Yoongi grabs a dish towel to lift the pot. “I think this is done now. Want to eat?”

“This conversation isn’t finished,” Seokjin says, even as he grabs chopsticks and spoons. “I’m still very mad you for not only joining the enemy but also belittling my entire organization and--oh, fuck, this is really good.” He takes another mouthful of soup.

“Wait until we’re sitting down,” Yoongi scolds him, but he doesn’t stop smiling.


Seokjin takes Yoongi’s departure a bit harder than he would’ve liked to admit. For so long, he was Seokjin’s right hand. It’s weird to not have him there, working as a cashier or making espressos.

Hoseok seems to pick up on this and sends him outside the coffee shop on a particularly rough day. “You're going to cause a thunderstorm in here,” he complains. “We can’t serve customers like this.”

“I’m your boss,” Seokjin protests as Hoseok pushes him forcefully outside.

“Take a walk around,” Hoseok insists. “Go visit the maknaes. Come back when your head is a bit more clear.”

Seokjin rubs the back of his neck and squints up at the sky. This morning, the sky was clear, but now a few clouds are rolling in. Did he do that? “I guess a walk wouldn’t hurt,” Seokjin admits.

“That’s right,” Hoseok says encouragingly and more or less shuts the door on his face.

Seokjin wanders around town for a little bit, aimlessly. He wishes he brought his earbuds, but it’s a nice day out as the clouds quietly disperse, and people-watching is entertaining on its own. He should cook dinner for Hoseok someday, in thanks for keeping his head on straight. He could throw together bibimbap pretty easily with what they had in the fridge...

Namjoon rounds the corner and Seokjin stops in his tracks.

Sometimes, when Seokjin goes weeks without seeing Namjoon, he forgets how gorgeous he is. Because, fuck, he looks good in casual clothes, and it’s incredibly unfair that Seokjin shuts down whenever they run into each other.

He’s literally wearing a t-shirt, Seokjin tells his brain, he’s wearing a normal fucking t-shirt and that’s nothing to be thirsty about and bare arms bare arms BARE ARMS

He doesn’t realize Namjoon’s noticed him until they’re standing in front of each other. The flower shop is right around the corner. Seokjin suppresses a groan. He hadn’t been paying attention--if he knew he was nearby enemy territory, he wouldn’t have pushed his luck.

“I wasn’t going to do anything,” Seokjin mutters. He doesn’t want a fight. He doesn’t have the energy.

Namjoon narrows his eyes. He’s so imprudent; Seokjin would’ve been endeared any other day. “And you think I believe that?”

Yes, Seokjin had. He crosses his arms. “Why would I even try to pull something right now? Just by myself? In broad daylight? You’re getting paranoid, Joonie.”

“I protect the heroes too.” Namjoon’s scowl deepens. “And I know one of yours is now working for us. I don’t want you anywhere near this flower shop.”

The ground falls out from under Seokjin’s feet, and he can’t help but stagger backwards. Namjoon’s not--he can’t be implying--Seokjin would never hurt Yoongi, never. “Do you really think I would--” Seokjin falters because, yes Namjoon would think he would, yes Namjoon thinks he’s that evil, yes Namjoon is so good and did Seokjin really think he had a chance? That Namjoon would ever see him as nothing but a rival, a villain?

A cold raindrop hits his forehead and runs down his cheek and he snaps his head up to see that the sky has become a mess of dark, rolling clouds. Fuck. There his emotions go again. “Nevermind,” Seokjin mumbles. “I’m going back to my coffee shop.”

Namjoon catches a drop on his finger. “Seokjin,” he tries, but Seokjin ignores him. He can’t do this, not right now. “Seokjin.” Namjoon grabs his arm and Seokjin forces himself to meet his eyes.

“I don’t want to fight.” It comes out worn, pleading.

“Seokjin,” Namjoon whispers. “Tell me what’s wrong.” The rain is coming down heavier now, and Seokjin is hyper-aware of every drop that hits the pavement, the gentle thud-thud-thud making his head spin.

“I’m not someone for you to save, Namjoon.” He wants it to sound spiteful, but it’s just. Defeated. “Let me go.”

Namjoon drops his arm and steps back. Part of Seokjin almost wants Namjoon to stop him from leaving, to walk him home or something, but he doesn’t, so he leaves.

 

He doesn’t end up going to the coffee shop. Instead, he swings over to Jungkook’s dorm room, right after grabbing some homemade rice porridge from his apartment. Jungkook caught a nasty cold a few days ago, and Seokjin’s been meaning to drop by with some food. He’s technically not allowed inside university buildings without a pass, but he...has his ways.

“How is my disastrous little henchman?” Seokjin kicks open Jungkook’s door and prays his roommate is nowhere in sight.

Thankfully, Jungkook is alone in his bed, burrowed in layers of blankets. “Hyung,” he whines. His voice sounds hoarse. “Don’t call me your henchman. It sounds unattractive.” He doesn’t comment on Seokjin’s rain-soaked clothes. Smart kid.

Seokjin sets down the juk on a nearby table. “Well, what do you want me to call you?”

“What’s that?” Jungkook has already zeroed in on the possibility of food, which means that the conversation is over. “Is that for me? Is it daejuk? There’s a microwave and bowls over in the corner.”

“Brat. Do you think I’m gonna feed you?” Seokjin asks scathingly as he sticks the container in the microwave and sets out a bowl and spoon.

“You’re the best,” Jungkook grins at him toothily. “My mom just told me to drink hot ginger water.”

“Typical,” Seokjin says, as if he knows how normal mothers work. When the microwave beeps, he ladles out the porridge in a bowl and brings it to Jungkook. Jungkook pushes himself upright and takes the bowl gratefully. “Is this your first meal today?” Seokjin asks.

Jungkook sneezes into a tissue loudly. “Yeah, I woke up not too long ago. Feeling a lot better than yesterday, though.”

“Take tomorrow off anyway,” Seokjin urges.

Jungkook pouts. “...Fine. But only because I don’t want anyone else to get sick.”

“Good.” Seokjin ruffles Jungkook’s hair. “I’ll let you rest, then. Finish the whole bowl, okay?”

Jungkook peers up at him and his eyes crinkle. “For a villain, you’re really, really nice.”

“Don’t say those sort of things,” Seokjin reprimands him, moving toward the door. “It’s very unprofessional for a supervillain to be nice.”

“Hyung,” Jungkook says softly.

Seokjin’s hand pauses on the doorknob. “Yeah?”

“You don’t really want to beat the heroes, do you?”

Seokjin smiles bitterly at the ground. “No. No, I don’t.”

There’s silence, and then soft rustling as Jungkook shifts on his mattress. “Then why don’t you just quit?”

“We all have our roles, Jungkook.” Seokjin sighs. “This one’s mine. Yours is to get better soon and ace your exams, okay?”

“Mm.” Jungkook sounds a bit uncertain. “Okay, hyung. Thank you for the food.”

Seokjin doesn’t know how to respond to that (Anytime. Of course. When have I not taken care of you? Your health is my priority.) so he doesn’t, opening the door and leaving Jungkook to eat in peace. Outside, he takes a lungful of air and wrinkles his nose. Petrichor. He can’t love that scent, not when it’s a constant reminder of his fragile emotions, and the turbulence that occurs from it.

It means the rain has stopped, though. Seokjin will take that as progress.


The year passes. Seokjin worries less about world domination and more about running a good coffee shop. Taehyung and Jungkook start rooming together, and Hoseok steps up as Seokjin’s second-in-command. Yoongi gossips about his own workplace over dinner. Their most recent crime is stealing one of those flailing, floppy-armed, bright red balloon men from a gas station and dumping it on the flower shop’s front door. (Taehyung tries to write out a death threat, but the marker ends up dying halfway).

Namjoon still doesn’t look at him twice.

They fight, though. Seokjin discovers horrible pick-up lines, which embarrass Hoseok to death, and has taken delight in relaying these to Namjoon. Seeing how many shades of red his face can turn before he starts throwing rosebushes is incredibly entertaining.

(“Are you the sun?” Seokjin shoots Namjoon finger-guns. “Because you brighten my day.”

“Seokjin,” Namjoon bites back, touching a bruise on his cheek. “You’re the reason why the sun isn’t even out right now.”)

Namjoon’s hero organization has grown as much as Seokjin’s has (read: it hasn’t), but he does manage to rope in a new hire: a perky college student named Park Jimin with an affinity for water. The hero had snatched Seokjin’s raindrops right out of the sky when they first fought, and slammed them all right into Jungkook. Seokjin had been worried that Jimin’s presence would spark a hatred in Jungkook that he had never wanted to cultivate but--

“--and then he took my hand and walked me to class,” Jungkook is despairing, facedown on the counter. “And his smile. Oh my god, his smile. I think I’m going to combust.”

“Didn’t he kick your ass yesterday?” Hoseok asks, puzzled.

“Yeah,” Jungkook says mournfully. “It was so hot.”

“It was hot,” Hoseok repeats slowly. Seokjin looks up from his latte art just to shoot Taehyung a questioning look.

“He’s been crushing on Jimin all year to no avail,” Taehyung supplies as he pats Jungkook on the back. “I think this is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.”

“Villainy gets boys.” Jungkook nods solemnly. “I don’t know why I didn’t try before.”

“They like bad boys,” Seokjin says sagely.

“Because Jungkook is such a bad boy.” Yoongi rolls his eyes. Technically, Yoongi really shouldn’t be here, but Seokjin won’t complain. “He cried over Animal Crossing yesterday.”

Jungkook sniffles. “Roald wore the beanie I gifted him.”

“Aha,” Seokjin interrupts, as he perfects his latte art. “Soon my dastardly plans will be fulfilled.”

Hoseok wrinkles his nose. “What does that even mean?”

Seokjin shrugs and pushes the latte over to Yoongi, who takes it eagerly. “It makes me sound uh.” He waves a hand. “Evil.”

Taehyung shakes his head in wonder. “I can’t believe I was intimidated by you once.”

“Slander,” Seokjin declares. “Lies and slander.”

“I don’t think anyone can be intimidated by Seokjin after seeing him moon over Namjoon,” Yoongi comments. “If I have to hear about his dimples or his eye smile or his hands one more time.”

“His hands?” Taehyung asks.

Seokjin kind of wants to stick his head in a coffee press. “They’re very nice,” he mumbles.

“Just ask him out!” Jungkook perks up. “Go on a date and get it over with!”

“Oh no.” Seokjin shakes his head rapidly. “No no no no no. I will never date Kim Namjoon.”

“You always complain about how hot he is.” Taehyung stirs his drink lazily. It’s a mango smoothie because, despite working at a coffee shop, Taehyung despises any and all coffee. “Maybe if you two finally let out all that sexual frustration, we wouldn’t even need to fight.”

“No,” Seokjin says firmly. “Anyone with eyes would thirst over Namjoon. Just because I appreciate art doesn’t mean I want it in my bed.”

“You’re so full of shit,” Hoseok says, “that it’s kind of funny.”

Seokjin rolls his eyes, but he doesn’t bother arguing. The conversation turns back to grilling Jungkook about Jimin again, and he lets it wash over him. They all know about his attraction to Namjoon, but Seokjin doesn’t think they get it. Because, for all their joking and teasing, they don’t really know how far gone Seokjin is. They don’t know that Namjoon has Seokjin’s heart, has held it unknowingly for years.

This is getting embarrassing. Seokjin should really check himself before thinking things like this.

“I’ve got it!” Jungkook’s excited voice snaps Seokjin back to attention. “Seokjin, how about a deal? If you land a date with Namjoon, I’ll ask out Jimin!”

Seokjin sighs. “Jungkook, Jimin is a hero. I don’t want you to ask him out.”

“Oh.” Jungkook deflates. Then he perks back up. “Then how about if Jimin asks me out, then you--”

Seokjin tunes him out again.


The sun sets behind lazy clouds as Seokjin waits for the bus after an impulse grocery run. He’s brought a book to pass time and he flips through pages mindlessly. There’s a quiet rustling behind him and Seokjin’s glances up, then does a double take when he sees who it is.

Namjoon looks just as caught off guard, approaching the bus stop with trepidation, as if Seokjin’s gonna jump him. But, right now, Seokjin feels like being a civilian, so he doesn’t pick a fight.

Instead, he chooses to eye Namjoon suspiciously as he slides onto the bench beside him, but Namjoon doesn’t speak, so he goes back down to his book. Even then, he’s hyper aware of Namjoon by his side. It’s tense, he’s sure anyone standing around them can feel it.

“You’re planning something.”

Seokjin groans and lets his book fall shut. “Why do you always make me out to be a bad guy?”

“Because you literally are?”

“I...have no comeback to that.”

Namjoon’s lips twitch up in a smile. It’s so foreign that Seokjin has to stop himself from staring.

“Why are you taking the bus anyway?” Namjoon arches an eyebrow. “I thought you had a car. Unless you’re--” His face grows pale. “Oh shit, you’re not planning to orchestrate a car accident…”

“God, no.” The thought of doing anything remotely that strenuous makes Seokjin’s eyes hurt. “I’m just going home.”

“But why on a bus?” Namjoon insists on grilling him as the bus draws closer to them.

Seokjin shrugs. “It’s greener.” The bus screeches to a halt at the stop and Seokjin stands up to get on.

“It’s greener?” Namjoon chokes out, following him onto the bus. Seokjin bites back a grin when he slides into the seat next to him. “Since when are villains green?”

“This world is dying, Namjoon,” Seokjin chides him. “I’m willing to set aside my moral code--or lack thereof--for the environment.”

Namjoon is still staring at him, so Seokjin quirks up an eyebrow. “What?”

“Nothing.” Namjoon laughs a little. “It’s just--I can’t make you out.”

Seokjin bristles. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

"Nothing," Namjoon says again, but his eyes are oddly fond.

Seokjin squints at him, but decides to let it slide. “Why are you taking the bus? I’ve seen you with a car.”

Namjoon shifts. “I don’t have a license.”

Seokjin shuts his book and turns to look Namjoon dead in the eye. “You don’t have a license?” He points at Namjoon accusingly. “You’ve been driving! That’s illegal! You can’t be more illegal than I am! That’s not how this works!”

Shh,” Namjoon hisses, swatting away his hand. “I only do it sometimes. It’s uh.” He tilts his head. “Chaotic good.”

“This is the best day of my life,” Seokjin says gleefully. “You’re no better than me.”

I don’t rob banks,” Namjoon shoots back.

Seokjin pouts. “I haven’t done a robbery in ages.”

“You haven’t.” Namjoon looks at Seokjin strangely. “Why not?”

Seokjin shrugs, suddenly uncomfortable. “I’ve got good people working for me. I’m not gonna stain their clean records.”

“That’s kind of you.” Namjoon’s voice has gone weird--it sounds soft and gentle, and it feels wrong directed at him.

“Yeah, well.” Seokjin opens his book back up, eyes burning into paragraphs he can’t even focus on. “They’d probably mess it up, anyway.”

It’s silent for a little bit until Namjoon nudges the bag by his feet. “What did you buy?” When Seokjin’s hackles rise, he tacks on quickly, “Not that I’m suspecting you of anything, just curious.”

Seokjin reluctantly closes his book again and peeks into the bag. “Um...well, I splurged a little, I guess. Some cute cups, some fancy ones, fruit, ice cube molds, this milk frother thingy…”

“For the coffee shop?”

Seokjin hesitates. “Don’t laugh,” he warns Namjoon, who nods encouragely and gestures for him to go on. “I’ve been watching these home cafe vlogs recently. The really aesthetic ones, where they make all these fancy drinks in their own kitchen.” He shrugs. “I just wanted to try it out.”

Namjoon looks like he’s suppressing a smile. “Very cute.” He’s eyeing the cup peeking out with a pastel pink bunny drawn on it.

Seokjin flushes. “Do you watch anything better?” he shoots back.

Namjoon bites on his lip. “Aquarium unboxing,” he mumbles.

“Aquarium--what?”

“You know clothing hauls?” When Seokjin nods, Namjoon continues, “It’s kind of like that. But, um, with fish. Because people usually order fish online.”

“You watch people unbox fish,” Seokjin says slowly.

“Neocaridina shrimp are so cute,” Namjoon tries. “Also aquascaping. Aquarium designs are really cool.”

“You’re such a nerd,” Seokjin says wondrously. “Holy shit. I mean, I always knew because you read books thicker than your skull but...fish?”

“Should I tell you I read botany books for fun?” Namjoon asks. “Because I do read botany books for fun.”

“Absolute nerd. I’m loving this.” Seokjin nods to Namjoon. “So give me a botany fact, then.”

“Um.” Namjoon thinks for a moment. “Did you know that there’s a theory that plants domesticated us? It’s called the exorphin theory. It argues that wheat tricked humans into taking care of them and therefore caused them to evolve. I mean...the theory is pretty ridiculous but I, for one, do believe in plant supremacy, so.”

Seokjin narrows his eyes. “Is this a threat?”

Namjoon grins toothily. “Maybe you should swing by the flower shop and find out for yourself.”

“Definitely a threat.”

Namjoon laughs, unbidden and carefree. Seokjin watches, drinking in the slope of his nose, the light in his eyes, the corner of his lips, and he can’t help but feel and want and love. But he reigns himself in, and allows himself to bask in Namjoon’s light.


A week later, Seokjin blasts Namjoon with a bolt of lightning.

Today’s fight is...entirely his fault, Seokjin’s not even going to try to lie. He practically asked for it, taping up an advertisement for his coffee shop right on Namjoon’s window, obnoxiously neon colored and clear as day. And, to be honest, he’s been aching to see Namjoon after the whole bus incident and picking a fight is the best way to get his attention.

The lightning bolt does nothing to Namjoon. His reflexes are as quick as Seokjin would’ve expected, summoning up a wall of wood to absorb the shock. Thick, wooden branches slither back into the ground and Seokjin grins cheekily at him. "Graphic design is, after all, my passion.”

"Shut up," Namjoon snaps. "Watch me tell Yoongi to stop cooking for you.”

“He wouldn’t,” Seokjin says loftily. “He loves me more than he loves you.”

Namjoon raises an eyebrow. “And I write his paychecks.”

Shit. Got him there. “Now, Joonie, I’m sure we can work this out…”

Namjoon snickers at that and flicks his wrist. Before Seokjin can blink, spindly branches erupt from beneath him and latch onto his feet. Two more shoot up to restrain his hands. He tugs at them, but they only curl around tighter, rough bark digging into skin. Seokjin rolls his eyes. Namjoon must be playing with him now.

His fingers spark with electricity and the branches crumble at his touch. Wind billows beneath his feet as he jumps up, ripping up the plants around his ankles, and lands lightly on the pavement.

“You didn’t try very hard with that one,” he accuses. Namjoon knows the extent of his power by now.

Namjoon shrugs a shoulder and the plants slink back. “Just testing your reflexes,” he replies lightly. “I have a business to take care of, like a responsible adult.”

Seokjin blows him a kiss. "Next time then, Namjoon."

Instead of scowling or flushing with anger like he normally does, Namjoon's hand curls around the thin air where Seokjin directed his kiss at. Then he winks--he winks--and waves a lazy hand in farewell as he walks away.

Seokin spends the rest of the day with his head spinning. Namjoon does not flirt back. That’s just not how it is. Their relationship has clear, crisp, uncrossable lines all over it. Seokjin flirts, and Namjoon ignores him.That’s it.

He accidentally electrocutes a styrofoam cup and, flustered, apologizes profusely to the poor customer who just wanted a caramel latte. The customer looks more shocked that the local town supervillain is apologizing than at the smoking cup remnants in Seokjin’s hand.

Right up until closing, Seokjin never stops cussing out Namjoon in his head. It’s his fault he has a crush, and crushes suck.

When he flips the coffee shop’s sign over from OPEN to CLOSE, it’s already dark outside. After Taehyung had wearily collapsed at the counter a week ago, drained from studying for exams, Seokjin has started extending his hours later and later, providing solace to worn-out college students.

Seokjin gratefully pours himself a cup of steaming coffee and takes a sip. He grimaces. He usually doesn’t drink it black, but he downs it anyway. “This,” he begins, stepping into the backroom, “was the worst day ever. God, Namjoon’s going to drive me crazy. Him and his fucking heroes and his fucking superpowers and his fucking legs.”

Hoseok is in the back, along with Jungkook, crouching over someone else sitting there. “His legs?” he asks mildly.

“His proportions,” Seokjin spits out, “are so perfect.”

“He has great thighs,” Jungkook pipes up.

“Jungkook gets it.” Seokjin finally looks up from his cup and promptly does a double take. His employees are kneeling beside one very beat up Park Jimin, sitting on one of the beat-up stools they keep in the back. Jungkook has a tissue pressed against his busted lip. “Jesus, what happened to you?”

“Fight broke out on campus,” Jimin answers after a beat. “I tried to break it up, and, well, they had some pretty tough superpowers.”

First instinct says to kick him out, and snap at Jungkook for leading superheroes into his shop. No, that’s a lie. That’s what he wants his first instinct to be. First instinct really says to let Jimin stay as long as he wants, and maybe wrap him in a blanket for extra measure.

He flits his eyes over Jimin, taking in his bruises and cuts. “Looks like they did a number on you,” he murmurs. “Hold on, let me fix you a cup of hot chocolate. Looks like you need it.”

Jimin’s eyes go wide. “Thanks.”

Seokjin busies himself with digging out the cheap cocoa mix he keeps for winter, digging out a clean mug and some marshmallows that hopefully aren’t too stale. As he boils milk, he steals glances at Jimin and Jungkook, conversing quietly amongst themselves. He smiles.

“Here’s your hot chocolate.” Seokjin walks back towards Jimin, and pushes the steaming cup into his hands. Jimin eyes the cup a little suspiciously, and takes a cautious sip.

Seokjin raises an eyebrow at that, sitting down cross-legged on the floor beside Hoseok. “I didn’t poison it.”

Jimin ducks his head. “Sorry. It’s just that--last we met, you kind of sucker punched me.”

Seokjin winces. He did do that, didn’t he? “What goes on during a battle stays at the battle,” he replies instead. “You’re a customer now, and customers get treated with respect.”

Jimin looks uncomfortable regardless. “I’m sorry for imposing, still,” he continues. “I know it’s rude of me to just take your supplies.”

“There’s enough,” Hoseok argues. It’s a blatant lie, but Seokjin doesn’t bother correcting him.. “Besides, you might be a hero, but you’re also Jungkook’s friend.” He elbows Jungkook, who swats him back. “Can’t let the maknae be upset, huh?”

“We should get going, anyway.” Jungkook clears his throat. “Jimin, are you sure you want to walk?”

“I can call Namjoon to pick me up from here,” Jimin replies and Seokjin nearly chokes.

“You called him here?” he asks, horrified. “He can’t see me like this.” He has a reputation to uphold, after all.

Jimin raises his eyebrow in a way that’s a bit too scrutinizing for Seokjin’s taste. “Why do you even fight Namjoon if you have a crush on him?” he asks. “Kind of counterproductive, right?”

“A crush?” Seokjin splutters. “I don’t have a crush on him. I can find a dude aesthetically pleasing to look at without wanting to hop in his pants.”

“That’s too bad,” Jimin muses. “I think Namjoon’s written sonnets about you.”

“Waitwaitwait hold on.” Seokjin leans forward. “What was that? Please feel free to tell me every fucking detail about this.”

“Ask for them yourself,” Jimin replies smoothly. “Namjoon would be happy to share them with you.”

“You’re a little demon, did you know that?”

Jimin beams. “I know that.” He hops off the stool he was sitting on and digs out his phone from his back pocket. “I’m gonna go call Namjoon, okay?”

Jungkook nods and Jimin retreats to a corner to talk in private. “Hey, Joon,” Seokjin hears him say. “This is gonna sound bad, but I’m in villain headquarters right now and I kinda need a ride home--”

WHY ARE YOU IN THE VILLAINS’ LAIR? THAT’S ENEMY TERRITORY, JIMIN, ARE YOU FLIRTING WITH THE ENEMY AGAIN--”

Seokjin winces and turns to Jungkook, who’s watching Jimin with a half-smile. “You really like him, don’t you?” This isn’t the silly crush Taehyung had led him to believe.

Jungkook’s face stiffens and he rubs his jaw. “Am I that easily read?”

“Extremely.” Seokjin shakes his head. “You’re getting into a lot, y’know.”

Jungkook scoffs. “Like you’re the one to talk.”

That packs a harder punch than Seokjin expects. “Namjoon doesn’t feel the same,” he replies, trying to sound nonchalant and failing miserably. “Jimin does, I can tell.” He hesitates, before bumping their shoulders together. “Nurture this, okay? Don’t let it--don’t let it go. I can see he’s a good guy for you. He makes you happy.”

Please,” Jimin is begging Namjoon. “Just bring your car, I don’t want to go on the bus with all these bruises on me--oh, wait, no, the bruises aren’t from the villains, I just--it’s a long story--can you please just come now--”

Jungkook’s smiles. “He really does. He’s incredible.”

When Namjoon’s car pulls up at the front of the coffee shop, Seokjin chooses to watch from afar. Hoseok gives him an encouraging arm squeeze, which does nothing but reinforce the fact that Seokjin is very, very obvious in his feelings.

As Jimin darts out the door, he pauses to look at Seokjin. “Thank you, seriously,” he says, and the sincerity in his voice is almost too much. “You’re a good person.”

Seokjin can feel his ears flush. “Whatever,” he replies. “Tell Namjoon I’m gonna kick his ass next time we meet.”

Jimin winks. “I most definitely will.”

Jungkook escorts him outside just as Namjoon steps out of his car. Seokjin can’t help but stare from the coffee shop’s front window. Namjoon can see him from this angle, clear as day, but he doesn’t really mind at this point.

Namjoon has equal parts exasperation and concern on his face as he meets Jimin. Seokjin smiles as Jimin lifts himself up on his tippy toes to press a soft kiss to Jungkook’s cheek, who turns bright red in response.

Jimin ducks in the car and Namjoon turns to Jungkook. They exchange a few words, and then Jungkook’s eyes wander to the coffee shop.

Namjoon follows his gaze. His eyes lock on Seokjin and Seokjin stares resolutely back. Something in Namjoon’s expression softens, inexplicably, and then he’s gone.


It’s late. Seokjin’s moderately tipsy as he stumbles home from a bar. His face is stinging, cheek freshly cut and bleeding. Hand to hand combat is usually easy for him with his powers, even if the opposing party is armed with a knife, but he had been distracted and dumb and, well--

He’s hurt, and Yoongi will kill him if he sees him like this.

Pain shoots up his side and he sucks in a breath, clutching at the wound on his stomach. It doesn’t feel deep, but either way, this is downright embarrassing. He needs to get back home quickly, or his shirt will be a bloodied mess. While he’s trying to figure out whether or not to call a ride, he nearly collides with another person.

It’s Namjoon who catches him as he stumbles and almost falls. He grips Seokjin’s arm and stares at his face hard, taking in the cut on his face. “Fuck, who did this?”

Seokjin paws at Namjoon’s chest. “No kidnapping.”

“I’m not--you need help!” Namjoon insists. “Where do you live?”

“Not that dumb,” Seokjin mumbles.

“Oh my god,” Namjoon sounds exasperated but also...a little affectionate. Maybe. “Can I walk you home?” he asks, voice gentle. “Or can I call Yoongi or Hoseok?”

“Don’t call them!” Seokjin says quickly. “I can't deal with them right now.”

“Let me walk you home,” Namjoon pleads. “I don’t want you to walk alone. You’re clearly hurt.”

Seokjin considers. Namjoon’s arms around him feels really nice and his face feels kind of numb now and he would really like to go home and sleep. “You shouldn’t know my address,” he says instead. Not that Namjoon will send out an assassin but--tradition.

Namjoon huffs, exasperated. “Then let me take you to my place. It’s close by.”

Seokjin squints at him. Walking straight into the lion’s den is, arguably, worse, but perhaps this could give him an upper hand, to know the inner workings of his enemy’s home and...fuck, he just wants to see Namjoon’s interior design. “...Okay.”

Namjoon blinks. “Really? Just like that?”

“Either that or you leave,” Seokjin snaps. It’s unfair to be so curt with him, but Seokjin’s mind is such a weird mix of high on adrenaline and drop dead tired that he’s afraid he’ll blurt out any and every feeling he has.

“My place it is.” Namjoon lets Seokjin go, but he keeps a steady hand on his back as they walk. The heat from his palm seems to burn through Seokjin’s clothes and to his skin, distracting him from the throbbing pain in his side.

It’s not bad, he discovers. The walk is short and Namjoon stays close to his side and Seokjin finds it a little hard to breathe but...it’s not bad.

Namjoon’s apartment is small but lived-in. It’s a bit messy and disorganized, with loose papers flying around and stacks of books teetering on chairs and tables. Every inch of spare space has been taken over by plants. Even ones that are out of season are blooming and thriving under Namjoon’s touch.

“You’re hurt,” Namjoon says as they walk in. He grabs a first-aid kit and hands it to Seokjin. “Let me bandage you up.”

“It’s fine.” Seokjin takes the kit and settles down on Namjoon’s couch. “I can do it myself. I’ve been through worse.”

Namjoon looks like he’s about to argue, but he holds his tongue. “Can I get you something to drink then? Anything?”

“You’re always so eager to help.” Seokjin peers up at him. “Why is that?”

“Um.” Namjoon looks genuinely stumped. “Superhero instincts?”

“The fuck does that mean? Some tea would be great. Superhero instincts? Does that mean I should be getting odd cravings to commit homicide?”

“You don’t have to be like this,” Namjoon mutters, but it’s with a playful sort of annoyance that Seokjin isn’t met with often. “I’m just trying to answer your questions.”

As Seokjin busies himself with bandages, Namjoon begins to make tea, the telltale whistle of the kettle permeating the silence between them. Finally, Namjoon asks, “Who did it?”

Seokjin sticks a bandaid on one of the cuts on his face. It would look hot if it scarred, right? Yeah, definitely. “I don’t know, one of my old employees. Hey, why are there lollipops in this first aid kit?”

“As a treat?” The water boils and Namjoon fills two cups up. “It’s like a little reward after battles.”

“You coddle them,” Seokjin says, like he isn’t jotting a reminder to buy candy in his notes app right now.

“Jimin loves it,” Namjoon replies, as if that explains everything. He sets a cup of tea in front of Seokjin, who takes it to warm his hands. Namjoon sits beside him, his own cup untouched on the coffee table.

“It was an old employee,” Namjoon says carefully, like he’s treading dangerous waters. “Why?”

Seokjin sips his tea. It’s sweet and slightly bitter, and nothing has ever tasted more comforting. “He was drunk. He was probably mad that I fucked over the villain organization. It was a safe haven for a lot of people coming from dark backgrounds.”

“Dark backgrounds,” Namjoon repeats. “And now you’re hiring innocent college students.”

“Taehyung is the opposite of innocent,” Seokjin replies. “But I think what he--and all my other former employees--are really mad about is how I can’t match their passion. That I never really wanted to hurt people.”

Namjoon is quiet for a moment. “You never were cut out for this, were you?”

Seokjin shakes his head. “It’s like--I don’t have a villain backstory, y’know? Yeah, maybe my childhood kind of sucked but that never made me want to be evil. That just made me want to curl up in bed all day apathetically.”

“Can’t blame you,” Namjoon mutters. “I know that you care for your parents’ legacy more than anything.”

“We could have been a multimillion organization, y’know?” Seokjin waves his hand. “My parents had eyes everywhere, interconnected with villain groups all over the country. They were so, so close to taking this town from your family. And then they got in trouble with a group in Daegu and they hightailed it out of here. I was left in charge out of the blue. Had to drop out of school and everything.” He rubs his eyes. “I don’t know, I guess I thought...I thought I could escape it once I graduated but. Obviously not.”

“And then what happened?” Namjoon asks.

Seokjin smiles bitterly. “I didn’t know how the fuck to run a business. I could barely keep a coffee shop afloat, much less a villain organization. All of my ties were severed. My employees started leaving once they figured out I was just an inexperienced kid. The only reason I was still a threat was because the heroes were running themselves into the ground as well.”

“Hey,” Namjoon protests. “I thought I did decently as a new leader.”

“You wanted to be a rapper,” Seokjin says softly. “I know you love plants and helping people but...you love music too.”

“I didn’t--” Namjoon swallows. “I didn’t think you’d remember that.”

“Well,” Seokjin leans back. “I know more about you then you realize, I guess.” The movement causes a spike of pain and he winces.

Namjoon’s hands touch the hem of Seokjin’s shirt hesitantly. “You’re still bleeding,” he murmurs, by way of explanation. “Were you hurt here?”

“Oh.” Seokjin swallows. “I didn’t get to that yet.”

Seokjin carefully lifts his shirt up and Namjoon examines the cut. His skin feels hot and prickly under Namjoon’s gaze. The quiet is almost oppressive now.

“It isn’t deep, luckily,” Namjoon muses, unaware of Seokjin’s internal turmoil. “Can I bandage it?”

“You--” Seokjin’s voice cracks and he coughs to cover it up. “Yeah. Yeah, sure.”

Namjoon takes antiseptic and applies it carefully on the cut. His hands are warm, gentle in their touches, like he’s treating his body as something fragile. Seokjin’s breath hitches, and it’s not from the pain.

Namjoon looks up at him and their eyes meet. His face is so close now, the same closeness they usually are in battle but this--this is not a battle. This is just Seokjin and Namjoon, and the faint hum of nighttime traffic and Namjoon’s hands are still on Seokjin’s bare skin.

Seokjin’s fingers curl into the couch. “The bandages.” His voice is weirdly hoarse, but Namjoon doesn’t comment.

Namjoon leans back slightly to unwrap the bandages, before winding them around Seokjin’s waist. This time, his touch is light, fleeting. Seokjin isn’t breathing through the whole process.

“You should be more careful,” Namjoon chides when he finishes, standing up to throw out the wrappers. It’s already too cold without him.

Seokjin’s mouth feels like cotton. He wants to say something back, but his mind can’t think up anything witty and what instead slips out is, “thank you.”

Namjoon doesn’t stare at him in surprise. He doesn’t demand him to repeat himself. He just smiles at him, one of those melancholic smiles full of what if what if what if, and replies, “I’ll bring blankets, sleep over tonight,” because he knows that Seokjin will put up a fight if Namjoon offers a bed.

“Okay,” Seokjin breathes. “Okay, I’ll stay.”

 

Seokjin wakes up before Namjoon does, when the sun is still sleeping and the sky is dark. Namjoon’s door is creaked open, so he lingers there for a bit, watching the rise and all of Namjoon’s chest as he sleeps. It feels creepy to intrude though, so he quickly slips on his shoes and leaves.

Later, after opening the coffee shop, he passes by Namjoon’s flower shop. The morning mist is still thick, so he cloaks it around himself, shrouding him from where he stands on the opposite street.

A mother and her daughter are browsing through the plants kept out in front as Namjoon chats with them. His body is animated as he talks, eyes bright as he guides them over to a hanging pot bursting with flowers. Seokjin watches as Namjoon picks one and kneels down in front of the young girl. He twirls the blossom in his hand and gives it to her, smiling when she lights up with delight.

Seokjin’s chest tightens, and he walks away.


This is before.

Seokjin is 20 years old. He’s been in charge of a villain organization for a year now, but that was scrambling to keep everything afloat, that was learning how a business worked, that was deleting the contacts of all his university friends. This is his first time leading a battle.

It only happens because they get a tip-off that the former superheroes--his parents’ arch enemies--have left for Seoul, to take down the villains there. They left their son in charge: a tall, long-limbed boy Seokjin remembers seeing sprout flowers on sidewalks.

The new leader is in front of him now, pressed up against a wall as Seokjin grips him by the throat. Behind them, the battle still rages, but it’s all so distant now. The superhero--Namjoon--chokes for breath and Seokjin tightens his hold. Wind whistles through his hair as he calls down on the heavens to help him.

A bolt of lightning shoots towards them. Seokjin catches it in his fist. One hit, and it’s over.

Namjoon feels weak and crushable under him. His eyes are blown wide with fear. His legs are shaking. He’s a year or two younger, Seokjin remembers distantly, and is still enrolled at the local university. He can kill him now, and the heroes will crumble.

Namjoon’s fingers weakly scrabble at the hand Seokjin has pressed against his throat. He looks so scared.

And in that moment, Seokjin hesitates. It costs him everything.

The moment his grip slackens, Namjoon makes a break for it. Concrete erupts around them as branches come to form a natural barrier between the heroes and the villains. Seokjin growls and throws the lightning bolt into them, but the thick wood takes the hit with a mere falter.

They call it a draw, but Seokjin knows they’ve lost.

Afterwards, things fall apart. One by one, the villains under him leave. Word gets around, and villain organizations across Korea rescind their alliances. He’s a kid, they gossip derisively. He doesn’t have the backbone to do anything.

A week later, he knocks on his roommate’s door for the first time, desperate after a week of broken connections, lost battles, and burned coffee. Min Yoongi, burnt out, tired, and angry at the world, agrees to work at the coffee shop after he was scammed out of his music.

They try to rebuild.


Five years ago, Seokjin was a nineteen-year-old college dropout, with nothing but a secondhand moral code and a failing coffee shop. Today, Seokjin is twenty-four, his coffee shop is more aesthetic than it is villainous, and his biggest concern is paying for rent.

He’s out of breath, having sprinted from his apartment to the coffee shop, where the heroes have ambushed them. Of course they choose the one day he has off. He bets Yoongi tipped them off.

“Seokjin!” Taehyung waves to him. Around him floats various bits of shrapnel and no hero seems to want to get close. Hoseok and Yoongi are duking it out nearby, hand to hand.

“I was going to help out Hoseok,” Taehyung says, as soon as Seokjin’s close, “but I forgot how easy Yoongi goes on him.” He cracks a grin. “If I joined in, he’d be toast.”

“Just defend the coffee shop,” Seokjin instructs. “Any property damage I have to pay for is coming out of your paycheck.”

Taehyung salutes him and takes off, sending a rock flying at a hero who tries to intercept him. The rock narrowly passes by her cheek and slams into Seokjin’s window. There’s a loud crack and he lets out a string of curse words at Taehyung’s retreating back.

Something taps his shoulder and he slaps it away on instinct, only to have his hand come back covered with scratches. He whips his head around just in time to see a thorny vine slither away from him and back to Namjoon.

“Why is it,” Seokjin says, “that everytime I try to catch my breath, you’re there.”

“It’s my job, isn’t it?” Namjoon tilts his head confidently, vines snaking up and down his arms and god, does Seokjin love him.

Seokjin takes in a breath. When he lets it out, torrents of wind, rain, and thunder begin to gather around him, swirling faster and faster until he stands in the middle of a small hurricane. Namjoon stumbles at the force of the wind, but branches latch onto his feet to root him to the ground and bear the brunt of Seokjin’s attack.

Vines dart out from around Namjoon’s body and launch at Seokjin. Most are torn up in the swirling wind, but the ones that break through curl around his arms. They forcibly pull him to the ground and his hurricane falls apart.

Seokjin catches himself on his hands. The familiar burst of adrenaline is already pumping through his body. He lifts his head to meet Namjoon’s gaze challengingly. There’s a brief moment of stillness, and then Namjoon’s lips twitch up, and they’re fighting again.

They parry back and forth, evenly matched. After Seokjin beats back the bulk of Namjoon’s plants, Namjoon retreats a few steps, chest heaving. Torn vines litter the pavement, and the area around them is wet from rainwater. Eyeing Seokjin warily, Namjoon snaps his fingers. The earth cracks as thick stems muscle their way up, stronger and faster than before. In response, Seokjin raises his hand, fingers sparking with lightning.

Like this, Seokjin has the upper hand. One blow should send the heroes scrambling. He risks a glance around, praying the rest of his crew are still in commission.

What he sees should honestly result in pay cuts all around. Taehyung is levitating up rocks for Yoongi to shoot down with fire as Hoseok videotapes. Jungkook is off the the side, pinned down on the ground by Jimin, but they aren’t fighting, instead they’re--

“Oh my god.” Seokjin drops his arm. “Are Jimin and Jungkook kissing?” He turns, completely disregarding Namjoon, and yells, “You’re not allowed to seduce the enemy! That’s playing unfair!”

The vines Namjoon have been summoning slither back into their cracks. “You’re not?” Namjoon blinks. “But isn’t that what you’ve been trying to do to me?”

Seokjin chokes, undignified. “What? No! Oh my god, no. I was just flirting with you because...because…” He can feel his ears burn red. “Um.” He coughs, looks away. “Actually, no, we can go with evil seduction.”

Namjoon is watching him with a careful light in his eyes. “No,” he says slowly, “I don’t think I want to go with that.”

Seokjin’s mouth goes dry. The lightning coursing through his veins fizzles out. “What do you mean by that?”

“That means I want to take you out for dinner,” Namjoon says. He digs into his pocket and pulls out a marker, and then he’s grabbing Seokjin’s arm and scrawling on it. “That’s my number. Call me.”

“For dinner?” Seokjin splutters. “But I’m--you’re a--we’re enemies.”

Namjoon drops his arm and takes a step back. “We’re retreating!” he calls to his superheros. “We’re done for today.”

“But--” one of his employees looks at him in shock. “We can’t stop now.” They tactfully do not mention Jimin and Jungkook, who have stopped kissing and now are staring into each other’s eyes. “We’re winning.”

“Yeah.” Namjoon looks at Seokjin and waves the marker in his hand--a reminder. “I think I am.”


>hi namjoon. Its me seokjin

> so you wanted to get dinner?

> time and place

> hey fucker meet me in the parking lot and lets settle this with our fists

Seokjin bites back a scream as he quickly deletes another message. Namjoon’s phone number, still faintly visible against his skin, has been transferred to his phone under the simple, emotionless name of Namjoon. But Seokjin is feeling far from emotionless as the empty message stares up at him, because the words won’t come.

“Texted Namjoon yet?”

Seokjin yelps and throws his phone up in the air, just barely managing to summon a gust of wind to drift it safely back to his hand. “Don’t do that!”

“Do what?” Jimin slurps his bubble tea innocently from where he’s perched ontop of the counter.

“You shouldn’t even be here,” Seokjin grumbles. “You’re a superhero, you can’t go around chilling with villains.”

“Jungkook gives me a free pass,” Jimin replies, unperturbed. “Do you know how cool I sound when I say my boyfriend’s a villain? All the kids in my chem lab who made fun of me for saying I was a superhero shut up real quick. ”

“Did you tell them it was Jungkook?”

“No.” Jimin’s smile takes a mischievous twist. “And he’s in my lab group. Turned bright red when I said my mysterious boyfriend could beat all of them up.”

“He definitely could,” Seokjin says thoughtfully, “but would he?”

“No.” Jimin sounds a little dreamy. “He’s too soft. Soft and muscular. I really hit the jackpot.”

“I don’t think I want to be in this conversation anymore,” Seokjin mutters. He slips his phone in his pocket and leans on the counter to properly talk to Jimin. “So it’s official-official. You two are really dating.”

“Yeah.” Jimin’s fingers curl around his drink, suddenly looking bashful. “We stayed up all night talking it over. I just...I really really like him.”

“How do you do it?” Seokjin picks at an imaginary speck of dust on the counter. “How do you like him when he’s your opposite?”

Jimin shrugs. “We fight, and then we go on a date. It’s pretty simple.”

“But--”

“I don’t know,” Jimin replies. “I think you want me to say it’s hard, just so you can avoid your feelings. Seokjin...villains and heroes aren’t different. We’re just a bunch of idiots who got roped into these labels, and we’re pretty bad at keeping them on.”

“I’m a villain,” Seokjin says weakly.

“Your recent “crime” was spray painting dicks on a government building.” Jimin laughs. “I’m pretty sure you just work at a coffee shop and piss off the police.” He shrugs. “For what it’s worth, the heroes just sell plants and do community service. The crime rate here is really low.”

“So…” Seokjin huffs out a breath. “You’re saying I should try. Make this into something.”

“I think you should be happy,” Jimin said softly. “I think you should put yourself first. I think you deserve it.”

Seokjin’s eyes are stinging and he looks down, swallows harshly. “And what if I’m still scared?”

“That’s okay too.” Jimin hesitates. “And I’m not gonna pretend I understand all your pain but...it’s hard to choose to be happy, and I think you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have that choice. But Namjoon’s a good stepping stone. Start with him.”

“Ah…” Jimin checks his phone and looks back up, apologetic. “I’m meeting Jungkook in five. Text me if something happens?”

“I’ll give you all the details.” He’ll have to add Jimin to the groupchat. Sure it’s for top-secret villain plots but. Technicalities. Yoongi’s still in it, anyway. “Go meet your secret hot villain boy toy.”

Jimin shoots him finger-guns. “Oh, I will.” He slips off the counter and pushes open the door, sparing one last glance to shout out, “Good luck with Namjoon!” in front of all of Seokjin’s customers. Seokjin winces, but waves back anyway.

After Jimin leaves, Seokjin stares at the empty space for a moment. Then, he quietly unlocks a phone and taps out a message.

im free at six tonight. pick me up outside the coffee shop.

It only takes forty-three seconds (Seokjin counts) for him to receive a reply.

I’ll be there

Three words. It’s hardly romantic, much less friendly. But Seokjin’s heart won’t stop thudding.


Even staring down at each other from opposite ends of a restaurant table Namjoon manages to both infuriate and endear him at the same time.

He had picked him up, as promised, at six o’clock sharp, and Seokjin had Namjoon surrender the steering wheel because I’m not gonna have you arrested on my watch. The drive to the restaurant had been quiet, a bit tense, but then they fought over who got to control the radio and, by the time they were seated, the ice had started to melt.

“Just to be clear,” Seokjin announces, after they order their food, “you’re paying for all this.” The place Namjoon brought him to isn’t fancy--your average barbecue restaurant--and Seokjin is thankful for the casual atmosphere.

“That would be the gentleman-ly thing to do,” Namjoon agrees. “After all, I am the one who called you out here.”

Seokjin squints at him. He still doesn’t quite believe that this is just a harmless dinner date, even if their relationship is so...weird. “Jimin had to talk me into this. I have half a mind to walk out right now.”

“But you haven’t yet, have you?” Namjoon doesn’t miss a beat. “You’re still here.”

“Kismesis,” Seokjin says automatically. “Attraction through hatred.”

“So you’re attracted to me?”

“That wasn’t my point.” Seokjin takes a delicate sip of his water. “My point is that even if you’re hot, you’re still annoying."

Namjoon chokes. Seokjin patiently waits for him to finish coughing. “Your flirting,” Namjoon says, once he’s composed, “never fails to catch me off guard.”

“It wasn’t like--seduction.” The very word makes Seokjin feel uncomfortable. “I was just--it’s funny to see you be annoyed by them.”

“I was flustered by them,” Namjoon corrects. “Not annoyed.” A pause. “Although some of them were really bad. Did you google them?”

Seokjin clasps a hand over his chest. “I’m not an amateur. All pickup lines come straight from the heart!” He points at Namjoon accusingly with his chopsticks. “And I know you like puns just as much as I do.”

“How could you know that?” Namjoon argues. “You’ve never seen my songwriting.”

“And you’ve just proved my point,” Seokjin says smugly and Namjoon sighs, defeated. “You probably like to call it wordplay,” he adds.

“...I like to call it wordplay,” Namjoon admits.

Before Seokjin can tease him about it, the waitress returns with their food--plates of meat for grilling, along with rice bowls and lettuce. “What kind of songs do you even write?” Seokjin asks Namjoon as he begins to grill the meat. “Like...waxing poetry to plants or something?”

Namjoon hums thoughtfully. “Poetry for plants…” he contemplates. “That’s a good idea, actually.”

“Oh my god,” Seokjin mutters. He tries to make it sound derisive but fails miserably at the adorable mental image of Namjoon reciting poetry to his strawberry plants.

“I write about a lot of things,” Namjoon continues. “Just thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it gets political, sometimes it gets nonsensical. It depends on my mood. I don’t usually finish them though.”

Seokjin nods. He’s never tried to write music before, but he knows Yoongi can pump out at least one a day. “Nonsensical stuff seems easier to write than feelings.”

“I guess.” Namjoon tilts his head. “It depends on the subject. Usually words flow out pretty well when I’m angry or sad. Love songs are pretty hard, when they’re not cliche.”

“Love songs?” Seokjin repeats. “I guess it’d help to visualize the person behind it.”

“Maybe I’ll write the next one for you,” Namjoon replies on beat.

“That was almost smooth,” Seokjin says, trying to frantically stop his face from flushing because what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck. “Give me one with lots of puns, okay? Oh, shit, sorry. Wordplay.”

“You’re going to spend this whole date ribbing me, aren’t you?” Namjoon mutters.

"This is not a date," Seokjin says frostily. "This is a highly important business meeting between superhero and supervillain. I hate you," he adds, just for good measure.

The softness in Namjoon's eyes is almost unbearable. "Okay," he agrees. "Can I still walk you home?"

Seokjin bites his cheek to prevent a smile and looks away. "If you insist."


If someone asked Seokjin a year ago, or, hell, even a month ago, how he’d picture Namjoon walking him home, he’d imagine bound wrists (in a distinctly un-sexy way), a few bruises on his face, and possibly the sound of sirens in the distance.

Here is what he sees instead: Namjoon walking alongside him, his long legs stopping occasionally to admire a plant, or to point out a bird, or to smile at a stray cat. Seokjin is chattering--about what, he’s lost track, he’s just saying anything at this point--and Namjoon is a good listener and an even better conversationalist. They bounce off each other well, Seokjin realizes, in both banter and arguments.

When they reach Seokjin’s doorstep, they both linger at the door. “You...want to come in?” Seokjin ventures. “I can make you something to drink.”

“That’d be nice.” Namjoon ducks his head. “I don’t want this to be over just yet.”

Seokjin can’t help the smile that breaks over his face. He wants to do something, like grab Namjoon’s hand or kiss his cheek, anything. But then he remembers why he’s here, and why Namjoon’s here, and the feelings that are brimming up and threatening to spill over. Something must read in his face, because Namjoon’s bashfulness slips away.

“There you go again,” he says. “You’re closing back up. You don’t need to push me away, Seokjin, I’m not your enemy, you know all that is bullshit by now. You can let me in, I want to be let in.”

Seokjin digs his fingernails into the palm of his hand. “I’m not the sun,” he says bitterly. “I’m not here to light up your life. I’m rainstorms, thunder, grey clouds--have you ever paid attention to my powers?” He can’t will the sun to come out, for light to shine on him.

“I don’t need you to light up my life," Namjoon replies softly. "Sometimes the sun can be suffocating. I find comfort in the rain.”

Something pricks Seokjin’s eyes and he blinks it away. “You can’t just say shit like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like…” Seokjin waves a hand. “Like that. Like you’re giving me hope.”

Namjoon fiddles with the cuffs of his sleeves. “Seokjin...I know that we dance around with each other a lot. I know that our relationship is hardly what you could call conventional. But tell me I’m not reading this wrong. That you want something...more.”

Seokjin kicks at a pebble. “You already know the answer. Just let me down gently.”

Namjoon balks at that. “You think this is one-sided.”

Seokjin feels slightly sick, but Namjoon deserves an explanation, if not a confession. “I think you’re too kind to lead me on,” he forces himself to press on, “but you end up doing it anyway. I know I’m not someone you would ever view that way, and I’d appreciate it if you would just let us pretend this never happened, for my sake.”

Namjoon is quiet for a moment. Finally, he says, “Petrichor. You know that word, right?”

Seokjin’s too thrown to question him. “Yeah. What about it?”

“I didn’t pick it up at first,” Namjoon admits, rubbing the back of his neck. “But I noticed it after our first fight, and I kept noticing it. And it's weird because I should associate it with the pain after battle, but, Seokjin, whenever I smell the rain, I just smell home.”

“Namjoon--”

“I’ve never thought of you as evil,” Namjoon says softly. “You’ve been the one constant in my life. I’m in love with a supervillain, and I can’t find it anything but comforting.”

“Namjoon.” Seokjin’s voice is a bit strangled. “You can’t fucking--you can’t say it so simply.”

“It feels simple to me.”

“That’s--” Seokjin runs a hand through his hair. Three years of pent up pining and repression and Namjoon’s face is so open and honest and Seokjin loves him so much. It’s too much to process all at once and, when he opens his mouth, every word he wants to say fizzles out and dies.

Instead, he holds out his hand and Namjoon, endlessly understanding, takes it and laces their fingers together. Seokjin stares at their hands, intertwined. Namjoon’s hands are a warm weight, fingertips a bit calloused. There are no bruises on his knuckles. A lump forms in his throat and he swallows harshly.

“I can’t say it, not yet,” he murmurs. “And this is all kinds of new for me. But I’m--I’m willing to try.”

The bush beside them promptly explodes in flowers.

Seokjin jolts, dropping Namjoon’s hand. He’s pretty sure he’s never seen that thing bear flowers, ever. “What just happened?” He looks at Namjoon, who’s bright red.

“You’re not the only one who’s emotions affect their powers,” Namjoon mumbles.

“Are you--are you happy right now?” Seokjin asks, dumbfounded.

Namjoon flushes deeper, and another bud blossoms. “Yes?”

“That’s…” Seokjin fumbles for words and settles on, “adorable.” He steps back, grateful for the change in subject, because he isn’t quite equipped to handle this. Digging out his key, he unlocks his door and motions for Namjoon to come inside. “Does it only happen when you're happy?”

Namjoon nods. “Usually. It can happen when I’m sad, too.” He toes off his shoes. “Hasn’t it happened to you when you’re happy?”

Seokjin shakes his head. He doesn’t think it’s possible. Even when he’s happy, he can always feel an underlying sense of doubt.

"I'll make tea," he suggests, turning towards the kitchen. Seeing Namjoon standing casually in his house is almost too much. "I'm pretty sure we have some here."

“So,” Namjoon starts, watching Seokjin bounce around the kitchen, looking for teabags. “What’s next?”

“Next?” Swiping up a box of green tea, Seokjin deposits it on the counter. "What do you mean by that?"

“Are we going to date?” Seokjin nearly trips over his own feet. “If we both like each other, isn’t that the next logical step?”

Dating?” Seokjin sticks the teabags in the cups. “As in. Romantically?

“Preferably.” Namjoon looks too endeared for Seokjin to handle.

“I mean, you are a superhero,” Seokjin says, because he’s a piece of shit. “That seems a bit morally grey, on your end. Not to mention extremely unprofessional.”

“A year of flirting and now you’re bringing up professionalism.” Namjoon raises an eyebrow.

“Over a year,” Seokjin corrects. “Not my fault you just noticed now.”

"In summary, you like me,” Namjoon says, crossing his arms, “but you won’t date me.”

"Never," Seokjin scoffs. "You're a superhero and I have dignity."

Namjoon’s eyes crinkle. He takes a step forward, Seokjin takes a step back, and then he ends up against the counter, granite digging into his back. Namjoon’s hands rest on top of it, one on either side of him and Seokjin’s pulse jumps. He wets his lips, suddenly very aware of their proximity, of every detail on Namjoon’s face.

"How about now?" Namjoon asks, head tilted cockily. Bastard.

Seokjin looks away. "Still a superhero."

Namjoon wraps an arm around his waist, and Seokjin lets out a squeak as he pulls him close. “And now?”

“If you try to pull something, I’m gonna break every bone in your body,” Seokjin warns him. His hands come to settle on Namjoon’s shoulders anyway, pressing into him, but not pushing away.

Namjoon leans closer. Their noses brush. “What if it’s something new?”

And Seokjin’s not going to let Namjoon win this one, so he takes Namjoon’s face in his hands, smiling at the way Namjoon’s eyes widen and his lips part. He lets himself enjoy it for a moment, before taking Namjoon’s mouth in his and kissing him.

He had imagined their first kiss like: burning and passionate and intense, maybe in the midst of a fight, where tensions are high and logic is out the window. It always ends in Namjoon shoving him away, after they’re both out of breath and confused.

But this? This is soft and slow, like Namjoon wants to learn the shape of his mouth and explore the feel of his lips and draw out soft gasps from the back of his throat. Seokjin can’t get enough of it.

“You have no idea,” Namjoon says, between kisses, “how long,” another kiss, “I’ve wanted to do that.”

Seokjin breaks apart to look at Namjoon. “How long?”

Namjoon frowns. “I don’t know. I only realized it last year but I think...I think I’ve been wanting this for a long time.”

“Hold on.” Seokjin pulls away. “I just realized it. I’m not a failure after all.”

Namjoon’s brow furrows, reaching out to hold Seokjin’s hand. “What? What’s wrong?”

“All this time, I’ve been thinking I’m a shitty villain,” Seokjin explains, “but I’m not! I’ve successfully seduced you!”

“You’re the one who fell first,” Namjoon points out but Seokjin steamrolls past him.

“I’m a genius,” he says sagely. “My pickup lines were all calculated correctly. This was my ultimate, subconscious plan. To trick you into liking me, and then…” He spreads his hands. “World domination.”

“Oh my god.” Namjoon stares at him for a moment, before keeling over in laughter. “Oh my god. I can’t believe I’m in love with you. I can’t believe I find you hot.”

“You do, and it’s your fatal flaw.” Seokjin wraps his hands around Namjoon’s neck to drag him in close again. “You like my hair and my eyes and my lips and you want to kiss me and hold me and attempt to cook me breakfast.”

“Yeah.” Namjoon’s breath catches. “Yeah, I really want to do all that.” He kisses Seokjin again, and Seokjin never ever wants him to stop doing that thing with his tongue. “Will you let me?”

“Mm.” Seokjin presses a kiss to his neck, right where his pulse is. “Never stop asking.”


This is later.

The morning sun is spilling its early rays over Seokjin’s bed, dappling the sheets gold. Namjoon is next to him, limbs splayed out besides Seokjin’s. They’re both awake, but neither have gotten up yet. Seokjin likes it like this, likes being able to feel vulnerable around Namjoon.

He prompts himself up on one arm and traces the bare skin of Namjoon’s chest, running his fingers over old scars. “I think I gave you that one,” he murmurs, hands stalling.

Namjoon catches his hand. “I don’t mind,” he says, insistent. “I like that I get to keep part of you on me.”

How many scars has Seokjin inflicted on his body? How many scars has Namjoon put on his? How much have they hurt each other, just because fighting was more ingrained in them then loving?

“We wasted so much time,” he says instead. “Imagine, we could’ve been doing this ages back, when we first started out.”

Namjoon huffs out a laugh. “Like a secret relationship? That sounds romantic. Like Romeo and Juliet but with superpowers.”

Seokjin cracks a grin. “I think we could’ve pulled it off.”

“Are you kidding?” Namjoon tugs at him, until they’re lying side by side again. “Just because I’m dense doesn’t mean you’re not obvious as hell. We would’ve been found out in the first week, tops.”

“I’m not obvious,” Seokjin objects, even though he knows this is a losing battle.

“For someone who’s so bad with feelings, you wear your heart on your sleeve,” Namjoon teases. Seokjin smacks his shoulder, half tempted to push him out of the bed.

“You tried to confess to me by talking about the smell of rain,” he shoots back. “Don’t act so high and mighty.”

“Hey, I thought it was cool at the time." Namjoon absentmindedly begins to play with Seokjin's fingers. "Do you know the etymology behind petrichor? It comes from the Greek words petros and ichor, meaning rock and godly blood, respectively.”

Seokjin hums. “You could call it the blood of the earth, then.”

“I like to think we’re a little connected that way.” Namjoon presses his lips to Seokjin’s wrist. “Our powers are closer linked than they seem.”

Seokjin’s phone rings, shattering the quiet bubble of peace they had built up. He sits up to check the caller ID, just as it goes to voicemail. “It’s Yoongi,” he tells Namjoon while typing out a quick text. “Probably wondering why I kicked him out last night.” Yes, he had texted Yoongi and told him to stay at Hoseok's with no explanation. No, he doesn't regret it.

“We should get up,” Namjoon groans and swings his legs over the side of the bed. “Work calls.”

“Not like we have scary bosses to report to.” Seokjin rolls his eyes, but he stands up anyway. “Think we have enough time to wash up and eat breakfast?”

“Of course we can,” Namjoon says confidently. “As long as we don’t get distracted.”

Twenty minutes later, they’re both sprinting through the streets towards the flower and coffee shop respectively. A few strange glances are thrown at them. Seokjin attempts to check his twitter feed as they run and nearly gets hit by a car. Namjoon complains the entire way there, but the buds blossoming under their feet as they run give him away.

They end up being half an hour late. Seokjin wouldn’t want it any other way.


“This is the big one.” Seokjin is pacing back and forth in front of the other villains, who are lined up dutifully before him. They’re standing on one side of town square, the heroes on the other. “The final battle. The determination of whether this town,” he sweeps an arm dramatically, “rises or falls.”

Taehyung raises his hand. “Do we get a bonus for this?”

“No,” Seokjin says gravely. “The new Starbucks across the street has been tough competition.”

“Damn,” Taehyung sighs. “We should graffiti it.”

“I think you’re getting a bit too into graffiti.” Hoseok squints at Taehyung.

“I’m just expressing myself artistically--”

“Okay, okay,” Seokjin interrupts loudly. “Can we get back on track?” He hedges a glance towards the heroes. It’s just Namjoon, Yoongi, and Jimin today, and they’re talking amongst themselves quietly. Yoongi catches Seokjin’s eye and gives him a thumbs up. Seokjin flips him off.

“We need to win this one, guys,” Seokjin stresses. “My pride is on the line. Namjoon won’t ever let me live it down if we lose.”

“I’m with you,” Jungkook agrees. “Jimin wanted to go out tonight but I wanted to order in.” He flexes his hands and energy crackles between his fingers. “Winner gets to choose dinner.”

“Nice.” Taehyung grins. “Then I get dibs on Yoongi.”

“Hey!” Hoseok protests. “I wanted to beat up Yoongi.”

“Two on one?”

“Deal.”

“This seems incredibly unfair on Yoongi’s end,” Seokjin mutters, but that’s not his problem. He hears footsteps behind them and turns to see Jimin and Yoongi, walls of water and fire backing them, with Namjoon and his league of plants standing out in front.

“The heroes are so stacked,” He hears Jungkook mutter enviously, and then Taehyung lobs a flower pot at Yoongi, and it all goes to hell from there.

Namjoon and Seokjin meet each other first, in a clash of leaves and lightning, and the force of it shakes the ground. They still match each other in blows, but it’s just--it’s fun. Seokjin doesn’t need to hide his delight in parrying Namjoon’s attacks and Namjoon is allowed to openly smile when Seokjin gains the upper hand, and it’s just light and fun and the stakes are nonexistent.

A laugh bubbles out of Seokjin. It’s unrestrained and freeing, and the sky responds with him. Rain pours down in thick sheets, thudding onto the pavement. Thunder shakes the ground as a lightning bolt streaks out from the stormy clouds and hits Seokjin, traveling from his outstretched hand, through his veins and muscles, and out the heel of his foot.

He closes his eyes and breathes. It feels so good.

Jimin yelps and tugs Jungkook close to him, using his right hand to create an umbrella of water. Taehyung levitates Hoseok’s discarded jacket over him and Yoongi for cover, and Hoseok shifts into a bird to flit over to them. Namjoon throws up a shield of branches to shield them.

“Seokjin,” Namjoon gasps out, “what the fuck.”

Seokjin can’t help but laugh again, and more thunder rolls over the sky as he does so. “This, I think,” he says, “is my victory.”

Namjoon squints at the rain, then he steals a glance at Seokjin, and suddenly he’s wrapping a hand around Seokjin’s wrist and tugging him forward.

“Wh--hey!” Seokjin squeaks as Namjoon drags him out inside the rain. Seokjin moves a strand of wet hair out of his face. “Namjoon! We’re gonna get soaked--”

The words die in his throat when he sees Namjoon. His head is tilted up, grinning up at the rain as it trails down his face and neck. His usually fluffy hair is plastered to his head, his white t-shirt sticking to his chest.

Namjoon catches him staring and he starts towards him. “I told you,” he responds. “I’m not gonna run from the rain anymore.”

Something blossoms in Seokjin’s chest, warm and bubbly, as he meets Namjoon halfway. He grabs the back of Namjoon’s neck to pull him down in a kiss, tasting rainwater and roses. Namjoon’s hands are warm where they rest on his waist, even as the chill of the rain sets in.

When they break apart, Namjoon’s eyes are glowing. “You’re happy,” he says, and wipes away a drop of water under Seokjin’s eye. It’s not a question.

The sky quiets above them, turning the heavy downpour into something lighter, softer. The sun peeks out, golden and warm, as the last wisps of storm clouds scurry away. “Yeah.” he exhales, and some weight in him lightens. “I am.”

From behind them, Jimin draws water out of his clothes with one hand, the other holding onto Jungkook. “So, did we lose?”

“I don’t see how this is our victory,” Taehyung complains as he digs out his phone and examines it for damage. Jungkook nods wearily and Hoseok shakes out his wet jacket. Yoongi however, is watching Seokjin with a fond light in his eyes.

Never once had his powers triggered because of something good. He didn’t think it was possible--didn’t think rain and thunder and lightning could ever reflect happiness. But here he is, rain-soaked and happy.

Namjoon catches a stray drop on his finger. “I’ll accept my loss. Want to grab lunch together?”

Hoseok shrugs. “As long as you’re paying.”

“Cool. Let’s crash at the coffee shop to dry off.” Yoongi whips out his phone and starts scrolling through it. “I think there’s a new restaurant that opened up nearby…”

As the group heads towards the coffee shop, bickering over where to eat, Seokjin lingers behind. He walks slowly enough to take in the air around him, breathing it in and letting it settle in his lungs. It smells clean and fresh. Petrichor. Blood of the earth.

“You won.” Namjoon drops back to walk besides Seokjin, and bumps him with his shoulder. “When can I expect world domination? Later on today?”

“World domination,” Seokjin muses as he tangles their hands together. He squeezes them together, and hopes it can convey all he can’t say in words. “It’ll have to take a raincheck.”