it's not something namjoon's ever really thought about. when jungkook's hands touch his shoulders from behind and he feels jungkook's warm breath on the back of his neck, it's become a habit. routine. and like a warm blanket in winter, it's become welcome. comforting to namjoon, even though jungkook does it to make himself feel better. it's their thing, but it's also how namjoon reads jungkook, like their own love language.
nerves mostly. anxiety; too many thoughts. loud crowds and too many noises. that's what has jungkook gravitating towards namjoon, as if the latter's shoulders can bear some of the stress for him. and they do. they always have, before namjoon even really noticed it.
the loud noises and thick american accents in their ears are enough to get to all of the members. unfamiliar words in unfamiliar places and the chatter amalgamates into a continuous boom of irritating sounds. namjoon can adjust better than the others once he focuses on the language and figures out their words. he straightens his back and smiles as they make their way down the red carpet. hoseok listens for the music in the background and starts to dance on the spot to release his energy and most of them pick out their fans from behind the barriers. they listen out for the screams of their names, because it always comes. their fans are always there. when they stop to huddle around four big cameras and three reporters with little microphones, namjoon stands in the centre - right at the forefront of the band. he watches in his peripherals for the members to huddle around. hoseok, seokjin and jimin are squished on his right. namjoon notes their smiles and turns his attention to yoongi and taehyung on his left. they're not as easy going in their smiles, but their arms crossed and confident posture lets namjoon know they're comfortable. maybe a little too comfortable, but namjoon won't bring it up. he'll let them intimidate the americans; they deserve it.
next, namjoon waits. he waits for the reporters to start saying hi, and although they begin their interviews quickly, time stands still for namjoon. it feels like hours as he stands and waits for the familiar tap on his back. every second feels even longer as he waits for the hands to find a firm grip on the tops of his shoulders. time finally starts back again when jungkook says a small, "hi," from right beside his ear. he stands on his tip-toes to look over namjoon's shoulder at the reporter and namjoon breathes again, because he only relaxes when jungkook's in his safe space, right behind namjoon. leaning on namjoon.
jungkook feels okay behind namjoon, and namjoon feels okay with jungkook close to him, breathing on his neck and holding the tops of his arms.
jungkook doesn't really get scared. namjoon can't really count a time he's seen genuine fear on his face; jimin will swear the time he screamed in jungkook's face as he turned a corner counts, but namjoon saw how fast jungkook calmed himself down (and promptly decked jimin on his ass right there), and so he doesn't count it.
when it first happens, namjoon not only supposes it makes sense that jungkook finds solace behind his shoulders when he's scared, like he does when he's nervous, but he relishes it. he loves the security he seems to be offering their youngest. he has to fight the fond smile that creeps on his face when jungkook rushes to hide behind him because well...jungkook's scared.
but the fond smile quickly falls when he realises. when he sees the fan rush past security and sprint their way towards them. the way they have a split second to decide what to do before she ambushes them as they wait for the airport staff to check their passports. jungkook and namjoon are at the end of the queue, their staff are preoccupied in their own queue, and the other members are ahead of them, getting their own tickets and everything signed off. they were supposed to be out of the mob of fans. they were supposed to be safe.
a high pitch screech warns them as the woman, maybe a teenager, runs up to them with one name on her lips, "jungkook!"
namjoon thinks he recognises her, maybe she's met them at a fanmeeting, maybe she comes to the airport to see them often, or maybe she just happens to be around a lot, which is worrying. worrying because she seems especially determined and worrying because jungkook has the tightest grip on namjoon's sleeve and his face is completely white. he's ghostly pale as he watches her sprint intensify. namjoon's thoughts are going a mile a minute as she gets closer. within maybe half a second, he makes the decision to keep jungkook safe. as his leader, as his hyung, as his friend, as someone who loves him, namjoon will keep him safe. so he does it how he knows how. it all happens faster than he can really comprehend. the fan is still screaming jungkook's name as she gets to the boys and the second she grabs onto jungkook's arm, namjoon's forcing himself in front of jungkook, keeping him safe behind him. within a flash, a security guard's already apprehended her, was clearly already hot on her tail, and dragged her off and away from them.
her sprint had felt like slow motion but the moment was so fast that namjoon doesn't know how to react. in shock and just stunned, he stands there. it's a small weight settling in between his shoulder blades that brings him back into the moment and he realises jungkook's resting his head on him. so he meets seokjin's worried eyes from across the queue and nods slightly. they're okay.
jungkook breathes heavily for a few moments before the weight on namjoon's back is alleviated.
"thanks hyung," jungkook says, and despite the quietness, the almost whisper, namjoon can hear the stability in it, because he knows he's safe and okay if he's behind namjoon. if he has namjoon to lean on.
"you're okay," namjoon matches his quiet tone and turns around to face him. he takes jungkook's arm, the one the fan had grabbed, and slowly massages it, washing away any feeling or sensation of her. jungkook's eyes are transfixed on the movement before he slowly retracts his arm and hugs namjoon close. as if that one touch wasn't enough. as if he needed namjoon all around him.
it's clingy. it is. there's no skirting around it. jungkook is clingy. jungkook knows it. namjoon knows it. the members know it. when it comes to namjoon, jungkook is clingy. but nowhere in namjoon's mind is it a bad thing. he can't even comprehend a world in which jungkook isn't clingy because that is not a world he wants any part of. jungkook is clingy when he needs to be and namjoon kinda, maybe, lowkey, don't-ask-jimin-because-he'll-say-highkey, wishes jungkook always needs to be clingy. when he needs safety, security and to feel better, he's clingy.
so no one's surprised when an argument breaks out and jungkook inches himself closer and closer to namjoon before he's completely pinned against the leader's back. namjoon hates it when the members fight, especially in the dorms because it throws everyone off. he can't really blame them, since different personalities and living together 24/7 during stressful schedules is bound to cause a rift or two eventually. but when jungkook's big doe eyes widen and he pouts in his seat as yoongi and jimin, who are either side of him, begin yelling at each other, namjoon finds the fighting abhorrent. disgusting. hurtful. painful. insulting. and yeah okay, maybe he has a super soft spot for jungkook and wants him smiling all day, everyday. whatever.
they're on the couches in the living room, only jimin, yoongi and jungkook; namjoon stands in the doorway. he had heard the commotion from the bathroom and came to investigate. too wrapped up in their argument, which namjoon now realises is because they don't want to watch the same movie, neither jimin nor yoongi notice namjoon's entrance or how uncomfortable jungkook is. jungkook's not great with conflict, nor is he really fond of loud noises and namjoon isn't surprised to see him edge his way off the couch. yoongi and jimin adjust their heads as jungkook shuffles in front of them and then he's quickly padding across the floor in his socks until he stops to grab onto namjoon's arm and stand behind him.
"it's okay," namjoon whispers to jungkook who's hooked his chin onto namjoon's right shoulder. namjoon gulps to get his mind to focus on the argument and not jungkook. "hey! hey, what the fuck is going on? just pick a movie you both like or go to your rooms, don't act like fucking children!"
jimin and yoongi stop mid rant, clearly startled by namjoon's sudden presence. he watches jimin's brow furrow as he notices a little peaking jungkook behind his shoulder and he looks confusedly between his empty spot on the couch and where he's stood. "when did you..?"
"in the middle of your stupid argument," jungkook pouts, chin back to resting on namjoon's shoulder, "you started yelling…"
yoongi's face softens as jungkook's sentence trails off. "sorry koo, just. sorry."
yoongi and jimin offer them apologetic looks but it's obvious they're just frustrated and tired. it's obvious they shouldn't lie here and try to watch a movie, and maybe namjoon's a bit selfish because he's already formulated the best plan he's ever thought of.
"you're both ridiculously annoying when you're tired. please for the love of god, go to sleep and wake up nicer." namjoon says, arms across his chest with a little cutie hiding behind him.
"fine." yoongi grumbles and the tension has officially been cut clean.
"but i wanted to watch something," jungkook murmurs and namjoon can feel it vibrate against his shoulder. "like a superhero movie or something."
"why don't you go load one on the tv in my room and i'll watch it with you. we can get comfier, there anyway." namjoon turns and offers a small smile. the absence of jungkook's chin on his shoulder and breath on his neck is placated by the promise of a snuggly jungkook waiting for him.
"unbelievable," yoongi shakes his head.
"we can see right through you, you know." jimin joins in as he picks up his thick blanket.
"wow!" namjoon says startled, but sarcastically, "i don't care."
"he's just gonna make you watch iron man for the 87th time." jimin yells as he walks into the corridor and namjoon can only shrug,
"it's a small price to pay for cuddles with kook." and namjoon can hear yoongi laughing to himself as he walks away.
nerves. jungkook's nervous again. namjoon knows this because jungkook's currently behind him with his fists in his t-shirt. they're getting tighter and tighter and namjoon offers the woman behind the counter in the cafe a polite nod as her eyes travel quickly to his chest, where it obviously stands out against the now very tight shirt. the other members have memorised their orders in english, telling the cashier one by one what they want to eat and drink, but jungkook's nerves have clearly got the better of him this time.
"and for you two?" the lady asks nicely, namjoon spots her nametag.
"i'll have an americano, please jade. and what sandwiches do you recommend?" namjoon asks. he hopes showing the cashier as someone friendly and approachable would coax jungkook from behind him, but as she continues to talk, his fists only get tighter. he listens to her list off their sandwiches and even some cakes on display next to them. maybe jungkook will notice her pronunciation, or even muster the courage to point to which one he wants with a small "please" from his lips. but as she comes to a finish and namjoon selects the sandwich he'd prefer, the hair on his arms stand tall and goosebumps rise as jungkook's breath is hot against his ear. it's a simple whisper, "just water and a ham salad sandwich, please hyung." but namjoon swallows at how jungkook's voice travels through him.
namjoon relays jungkook's order without sounding too shaky and he counts that as a win. except he's not able to collect himself when he turns his head and sees jungkook's wide eyes. jungkook's bottom lip juts out slightly before he starts chewing on it, and his fists get even more tighter on namjoon's t-shirt, as if he's trying to rip it straight from his body.
"easy," namjoon whispers and he reaches behind himself to tap on jungkook's wrists before turning completely around, "all done."
jungkook's face softens and his pout returns. namjoon finds it a task to connect the way he felt when jungkook whispered directly into his ear to the most endearing, adorable little pout in front of him; but namjoon supposes he just has to get on with it. that's just jungkook. looking like a cute innocent baby whilst making him feel...things.
namjoon hiding behind jungkook is...a lot. it means a lot. it reveals a lot. it's just a lot to namjoon.
firstly, there's why he's even hiding behind jungkook. they're about to go through a haunted house. namjoon's absolutely, positively Not Happy about it, but once jungkook pouted and widen his eyes and said, "but, please hyungs!" all of them agreed to it and they all definitely felt like fools the second jungkook smiled at them and all traces of begging disappeared from his face. they can only go in groups of up to four and namjoon hangs back with jungkook and jimin as taehyung, hoseok, seokjin and yoongi go in first. with each scream from their friends, namjoon finds himself gripping onto jungkook's biceps tighter and tighter.
secondly, there's staying behind jungkook. waddling is namjoon's preferred way of walking through the corridors as he keeps a hand on either of jungkook's arms and stays as close to his back as possible. he sees jimin clutching onto one of jungkook's hands and their fearless maknae somehow finds it in himself to laugh as the actors pop out of the shadows with chainsaws and axes screaming bloody murder.
namjoon's had enough of the scares, but maybe not so much of the back he's pinned to. because thirdly, there's jungkook's back. it's all muscle. he can feel muscles moving that he's not even sure he himself possesses. between jungkook's deer eyes and bunny teeth, it's easy to forget he's buff as fuck, but it's impossible for namjoon to ignore this fact as his arms grip jungkook's biceps and his chest rubs against jungkook's upper back because, that's a strong back. has he mentioned that before?
"yes," jungkook giggles, "you've mentioned it once or twice."
"did i say that outloud?" namjoon groans and he lets his forehead fall onto the back of jungkook's neck. "i'm embarrassed but also...i'm right."
he notices jungkook gulp suddenly, "your breath is hot on the back of my neck."
"it is?" namjoon asks, making a point to sound as breathy as possible. he keeps his eyes closed and forehead to jungkook's neck, and he moves with jungkook as he shivers slightly.
"goosebumps," jungkook says awkwardly. namjoon opens his eyes and looks up to see jungkook's jaw set and the tips of his ears bright red.
"mm, gives me goosebumps when you do it me, too." namjoon lets his grip ease off jungkook's biceps as he realises they're stood stock still in the middle of a corridor in the haunted house and the actor's have already tried to scare them here.
"gives me goosebumps when i feel the first touch of your fingertips on my shoulders," and with that namjoon delicately taps jungkook's shoulder with his index finger, before slowly holding on with his two hands.
jungkook clears his throat but doesn't say anything. namjoon takes this as his cue to continue. "i like you finding comfort in me. i want to always be that person for you." namjoon's hands slowly descend down jungkook's shoulders and back to his biceps, "but maybe i want more."
"more?" jungkook asks, and it's a breathless whisper that makes namjoon want to see jungkook's eyes. so namjoon slowly moves his hands down jungkook's arms, and eventually he takes his wrists to turn him around. namjoon's hands gently coax his upper body to twist around until jungkook's feet remember to follow the rest of him. jungkook's so obviously affected by namjoon as his cheeks are rosy and his eyes are deep and dark.
"more." namjoon confirms before he leans in and plants a soft kiss onto jungkook's lips. he only plants a peck before he leans back, but a familiar fist is, this time, in the front of his t-shirt,
"more." jungkook mumbles before they both lean back in for more.
"these two dicks just fucking abandoned me to make out! what the fuck?!" namjoon thinks he hears jimin yell, having honestly forgot his presence completely, and at the back of his mind he realises they must be near the exit. but his thoughts are consumed by jungkook and him asking for more everytime they break apart for air.
"let's be more, hyung." jungkook says once they realise they're holding up a queue at the start. namjoon finds comfort in that one sentence.