Namjoon should have seen it coming.
Way back when, Jungkook looked like the world was too big for him. His wide eyes were constantly searching up and around himself, and it was like he was scared something would pluck him right out of his trainee life and back into his regular teenage life in Busan. With his eyes frantic and curious, they latched onto Namjoon and never let go. Not long after Jungkook joined the team, Namjoon's birthday arrived. Jungkook, like he always did, let the older members take the reins and plan out the day and the gifts and the cake. The smaller boy let his shyness get the better of him and he’d struggle to keep a conversation, especially with the guy he joined the company for. Namjoon found himself watching Jungkook trip over his words and fight with his instinct to stay in the background and not draw attention to himself. He wished Jungkook could find himself soon. Perhaps the best present Namjoon received that year was the small,
“Happy birthday Rapmon Hyung, thank you for leading us well. You’re really amazing, I think.” Jungkook offered him when it was just them left in the kitchen that evening.
Over the course of the year, Jungkook seemed to blossom and Namjoon enjoyed his front row seat. Jungkook let himself be dragged into Taehyung’s antics and be cuddled to death by Hoseok, whereas skinship was hard for him before. Jungkook rarely initiated anything, but letting himself be included and coddled made something in Namjoon's heart melt ever so slightly. S baby step was still a step, afterall. Perhaps Namjoon’s favourite gift for his birthday that year was Jungkook going out of his way and deciding to go to Namjoon’s favourite store and buying the clothes Namjoon had reserved. His heart stayed in a warm, mushy puddle.
Namjoon couldn’t help but notice Jungkook’s physical growth alongside his emotional growth. And perhaps Jungkook’s heart had always been big, but Namjoon spotted his generosity a lot more these days. He would lend an ear for Taehyung to talk to, a shoulder for Hoseok to cry on. He would offer advice to Jimin when he wanted it. Jungkook seemed to get a lot more invested in his hyungs' wellbeing in a way that Namjoon couldn’t help but feel good about. Jungkook’s maturity and growth served as a reminder that he was a good leader; a good influence, role model. Jungkook didn’t get Namjoon a gift that year, instead he wrote him a letter detailing his admiration for Namjoon. Perhaps the letter was Namjoon’s favourite gift...or maybe it was just Jungkook being; Jungkook existing. Perhaps Jungkook's presence, over presents quickly became his favourite gift.
2017 and their careers were starting to take off in America, but it was hard for Namjoon not to add extra weight on his shoulders. Standing next to Seokjin in interviews calmed him down, grounded him, but going back to Jungkook’s room made him feel light again. Jungkook would light candles in his hotel room; expensive, soft flowery scented candles for the nights Namjoon would visit. He didn’t even have to say a word. A knock at the hotel room door and Jungkook would answer it with makeup remover and fluffy slippers in hand. Namjoon didn’t know how Jungkook knew he was coming over on those nights. He learned from Seokjin that Jungkook would save the expensive candles for his visits only, and it always seemed to be burning before Namjoon would even make his appearance.
It was when Namjoon had his eyes closed and head tilted back that he felt someone looking at him. When he opened his eyes and turned his head, he saw a red faced Jungkook averting his gaze suddenly and Namjoon knew then. He didn’t tell Jungkook he knew, didn’t want to embarrass him by letting him know that he knew Jungkook kept an eye on him all the time. Maybe because he was scared Jungkook would stop doing it? He didn’t want Jungkook to stop. Je found those hotel room visits healing, and maybe he spent his birthday night innocently sharing a bed with Jungkook. Perhaps that was just favourite birthday present that year; a face mask, fluffy slippers and a warm night sleep next to Jungkook.
This secret communication between the two of them progressed. Jungkook seemed to be able to read Namjoon’s thoughts and it got to a point where all the members would joke about it. Namjoon would sigh and Jungkook would have some sweets on hand to brighten him up. It would work every time. Namjoon would yawn and Jungkook either had an energy drink or a hot chocolate on hand, depending on the situation. It was right every time. Namjoon would cough and Jungkook seemed to know if it required a cough drop, cold medicine or simply a drink of water. It was needed every time. Jungkook just seemed to know Namjoon, and Namjoon pretended to ignore Jungkook’s eyes constantly watching him. Pretended like he didn't have butterflies in his stomach. Namjoon pretended like days where their schedules never intervened weren't his least favorite days because he found himself needing Jungkook's gaze on him, like a fish needed water.
Namjoon wasn’t too present on his birthday, being on the tail end of a slight head cold and just wanting to nap the free day away. So, when Jungkook turned up at his bedroom door with a new sleep mask, comfy pyjamas and new stuffy slippers well... perhaps Jungkook’s attention was the best present Namjoon was given for his birthday that year.
Last year they were in the middle of their hiatus. Namjoon knew he was either going to spend his birthday with a couple of the members or none. He wasn’t too sad about it, he was seeing them soon enough and he knew they were all busy enjoying their time off. They all deserved it. He expected the birthday texts that came through and each text made him feel warmer and calmer, like he was with his members and it made it okay.
Jungkook’s message was the sweetest of all, endearing like everything Jungkook does.
Rapmon Hyungie!! Happy birthday, I hope your day is as wonderful as you and everyone spoils you just as you deserve. Thank you for always uplifting and leading the team! I wouldn’t be here with you!”
And Namjoon had to giggle. Jungkook couldn’t take credit for his own achievements if his life depended on it. He was so quick to attribute his success to Namjoon, but Namjoon felt like he could only be a good leader when he had people as perfect, lovely, wonderful and amazing as Jungkook. But Jungkook’s sweet text left him feeling cold where the other texts left him warm. The other members meant a lot to him; they were his brothers, his best friends, but Jungkook felt...different. He felt special in a way Namjoon had never felt with anyone else before and the cold feeling the text left in its wake was loneliness. It was an ache. It gave him a taste of the Jungkook he had watched grow and blossom and for once Jungkook’s birthday present didn’t feel like enough. Except it did. It was enough. Because Namjoon’s favourite birthday present wasn’t Jungkook’s text message...it was Jungkook showing up on his doorstep with a cupcake, a lit candle and a handmade card that said Happy Birthday Rapmon Hyung and Namjoon felt warm again. Light again. Happy again. He didn't even mind he would forever be Rapmon Hyung to Jungkook.
Namjoon should have seen it coming. It’s his birthday, and of course Jungkook would be his favourite present, just like every year.
It happened late in the day, after his birthday vlive. The other members resumed their practice after joining his livestream, but when Namjoon went to rejoin them, his favourite present was nowhere to be found. Jungkook had been smiley and saying “Happy Birthday” every chance he had all day. However Namjoon couldn’t understand it, but he felt like he had another present incoming.
As Namjoon look around the practice room, he thinks that perhaps he’s grown to understand every detail about Jungkook in the same way Jungkook has about him. Jungkook's looked on edge, like he was waiting. Waiting for the right time. The right time to do what though? Namjoon doesn't know.
Namjoon catches Jimin’s eye as he waits by the door of the dance studio and with an incline of his head, Jimin tells him to go next door, to the smaller studio.
The thing about Jungkook is; he’s unassuming and modest in what he does. He’d walk up Kilimanjaro to fetch you a glass of water and claim it was nothing, that he was just being nice if you tried to thank him. Similarly, Jungkook goes out of his way to buy Namjoon clothes, make him feel at ease, support him emotionally and yet he claims he’s not doing anything special. That he’s not special. And when Namjoon walks into the smaller studio to see Jungkook sitting in the middle of the floor with his legs crossed, looking the perfect picture of innocence, Namjoon should have expected it. He should have expected Jungkook would simply write on a bit of paper (because he’s too scared to say it aloud, to draw attention to his emotions that way) Happy Birthday Rapmon Hyung, will you be mine?
and Namjoon’s favourite birthday present that year is the way their lips connect in a slow kiss as Jungkook’s hands come up to Namjoon’s strong chest and Namjoon's hands circle Jungkook’s small waist. Because with each birthday, Jungkook’s adoration and love has become more and more apparent but in a simple, unassuming way, that Namjoon should have seen this confession coming.
Namjoon’s favourite present every year from the year they meet to their last year on earth, will always be Jungkook.
And Jungkook will spend every moment with Namjoon showing him exactly why he deserves everything he does for him.
For Jungkook it started out as admiration for someone talented and in charge. Namjoon was their leader and when he felt the crushing nerves of what was to come as they embarked on their rookie days in the industry, Jungkook's eyes and thoughts found Namjoon. They found confident Namjoon who seemed to lead them with ease, and he found comfort in Namjoon's assuredness that they would succeed; that they would be okay. Namjoon made everything feel okay.
As Jungkook grew and started to come into himself, he became more aware of how he would sit on the sidelines far too often. Getting close to Namjoon was still daunting, despite them being bandmembers and friends, because Jungkook found he looked up to him a tremendous amount...and this is when he started to question whether or not it was admiration he felt for Namjoon or something more. He decided to start making more of an effort. He went out of his way to do something nice for Namjoon by picking up the clothes he wanted, and he found himself conscious of the way Namjoon saw him. He strived to be better.
Jungkook strived for the group to see his big heart. Where it was previously clouded in his shyness, he wanted to show the members who he really was. He wanted to be there for all of the members...but maybe especially Namjoon. So he wrote the letter to him. He told Namjoon outright how wonderful he was and the older seemed to blush. Namjoon was so completely touched by it that Jungkook strove to be more to him.
So, he watched Namjoon. Not creepily, just keeping a gentle eye on him, because things weren't easy for Namjoon despite how seamless he made leading BTS seem. Jungkook felt overwhelmed by adoration for Namjoon, that he wanted Namjoon to feel light after the moments of heaviness. That's when he decided to make his hotel room a safe haven for Namjoon, which in turn made them a save haven for himself.
Namjoon became his safe haven.
So when Namjoon and him stayed up late laughing and talking only to fall asleep swaddled under lots of blankets, Jungkook had never felt more comforted in his entire life. Jungkook was feeling so attached, but the next year when Jungkook saw Namjoon getting over a little cold and feeling sorry for himself, Jungkook's heart completely burst with love. He just wanted to get a hot water bottle, fluffy slippers and cuddle Namjoon until he felt better...and maybe that's exactly what he did. Maybe that was to make Namjoon feel better but to also make himself feel better.
When the hiatus happened Jungkook felt cold. He felt lonely and distant at the possibility that he wouldn't be able to spend Namjoon's birthday with him. Like a moth to a flame he was drawn to Namjoon, and it was definitely teetering on a problem he needed to fix. Except Jungkook refused to analyse his feelings, instead he just bought a cupcake, a candle and drew a card for Namjoon and rushed over to his apartment because it felt right. It felt warm.
Jungkook spent much of the year talking to Jimin about what his feelings meant...which actually included Jimin sitting there and listening as Jungkook talked his ear off about how much Namjoon meant to him. Jimin just listened and never judged. He ultimately let Jungkook work it out on his own as his adoration progressed and he eventually realised he needed to get his feelings out there and do something about the problem that is his attachment and feelings towards Namjoon.
The realisation that he loves Namjoon was a scary one, but he always felt safe with Namjoon. He always felt warm. So when Namjoon walked into the studio to his unsure self in the middle of the floor he felt like it was okay. He handed him the handwritten note and the next thing he knew he was in Namjoon's arms, surrounded by safety, love and comfort. Every sense was filled with Namjoon, Namjoon, Namjoon and he felt okay. They would be okay.