Actions

Work Header

old wounds

Work Text:

It started out in a dark hotel room at 1.53am, right in the middle of winter.

 

Slowly, Seoul was going to sleep, but Namjoon and Taehyung weren’t.

 

Just two hours earlier, they had finished their training for the day; one hour ago, they snuck out of their dorm.

 

The hotel they would stay in for the night was in a rather shady area of Seoul. Their faces were still unknown to the public, but neither of them had wanted to risk anything. Here, no one would ever suspect them.

 

Namjoon stood by the window, his body partially covered by the curtains as he stared out at the city. The noises of the traffic blended together with the ones coming from the shower, so Namjoon didn’t even realize when Taehyung turned it off and stepped out of the bathroom.

 

Only when he said his name from where he stood next to the bed did he turn around.

 

Taehyung had a towel wrapped around his hips. His chest was still damp; Namjoon swallowed heavily as his eyes followed the trail of a water droplet that made its way down his stomach.

 

“I’m done,” Taehyung said. Namjoon started at him, his lips slightly parted. He nodded before stepping closer, and once he stood right in front of Taehyung, he hesitantly raised a hand to touch his jaw.

 

“You sure about this?”

 

Taehyung nodded. “Absolutely.”

 

Namjoon’s eyes flickered across his face, searching for any sign of discomfort. Anything that would tell him that Taehyung was lying.

 

He found nothing.

 

When he didn’t move, Taehyung put one hand on his shoulder and leaned a bit closer; he halted once their lips were just mere inches apart. Namjoon could feel his breath on his face.

 

“Are you?”

 

Namjoon’s throat tightened. All he could focus on was Taehyung’s mouth.

 

“Yeah,” he breathed.

 

A beat passed, and then, Taehyung was kissing him.

 

Namjoon wrapped his arms around his waist and pulled him close. His skin felt so smooth underneath his touch, he could feel him shiver, the goosebumps and the fine hairs rising. It was almost addictive, the way Taehyung arched his back the slightest bit to escape the cold of Namjoon’s fingers, and he wanted to touch, kiss, taste, everything.

 

And he could. Taehyung was right in front of him.

 

This was nothing like the secret kisses they shared in the bathroom or the dark hallway at night when no one was looking.

 

Namjoon licked across Taehyung’s lips, then he kissed down his jaw and to his neck, nibbling at the skin — not hard enough to leave a mark, but just enough to elicit a reaction from Taehyung.

 

“Hyung,” he breathed, tilting his head back. He let out a stuttered sigh; faintly, Namjoon heard the towel dropping. He pulled back, glancing down to see Taehyung completely naked.

 

His heart clenched in his chest.

 

“Hyung,” Taehyung said again. He took his hand and walked backwards until he could sit down on the bed. “Come on.”

 

Come on. We don’t have forever.

 

In the morning, they would have to return to the company, practice, work hard. They both wanted to debut soon; they couldn’t afford to be distracted.

 

But tonight, they would allow themselves to fall.

 

Namjoon stepped closer and leaned over Taehyung until he had to lie down, then he kissed him again.

 

With his arms on either side of his head, he engulfed him whole.

 

 

 

 

The day starts out like any other. Namjoon arrives at the company, sleep deprived and only half aware of his surroundings. Up in the small kitchen area by the studios, he meets Yoongi who is getting himself some coffee; he doesn’t look like he left to get some sleep last night at all.

 

They’re in the final stages of their album production. It’s supposed to come out at the end of the year around Christmas, so their schedules are tight. Next week, the shoot for the title track’s music video is gonna start, and after that, they are having a photoshoot for the promotions.

 

“Hyung,” Namjoon greets Yoongi, “You look awful.”

 

Yoongi huffs. “You don’t look any better.”

 

“Mhm. Got at least a bit of sleep.”

 

“I think I’ve been living off of coffee for two days now,” Yoongi mutters as he waits for the coffee machine to fill his cup. Namjoon watches him quietly.

 

“Are Jimin and Seokjin hyung here already?”

 

“They’re going over the choreography.” With the steaming coffee mug in his hand, Yoongi turns to face him. “Management scheduled a meeting for eleven, by the way. We all have to be there.”

 

Namjoon frowns. “I didn’t get a notice.”

 

“It’s quite last-minute.”

 

“But we’re all busy. We have an album to finish.”

 

At that, Yoongi only shrugs half-heartedly, already turning away to leave the kitchen. “Must be important, then.”

 

Namjoon leans against the counter and hums.

 

“Apparently,” he mutters, then he follows Yoongi out of the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

It’s a surprisingly small meeting, Namjoon realizes once he steps into the conference room. Their manager is there, the producer, too — and a few higher-ups, all of them in sleek suits.

 

“This isn’t going to take too long, hopefully,” Kangdae, their manager, says, “We just have to discuss something concerning the date of your next comeback.”

 

Immediately, Namjoon is alarmed. He feels Jimin next to him tense up.

 

“What about it?” he asks. It’s not unusual for comebacks to be delayed for budget reasons or any injuries that might occur during the production, but it is never a happy occasion. And from the look on Kangdae’s face, Namjoon can tell that this isn’t going to be good news for them.

 

“Yesterday, we received a notice that another group is going to have their comeback around the exact same time as you. It hasn’t yet been announced, but the company decided that it would be worth to discuss and alternative comeback date.”

 

Namjoon raises his eyebrows. He did not expect that.

 

“Another group?” Yoongi asks with a slight tone of taunt to his voice, “How big are they that we can’t release albums around the same time?”

 

Kangdae shifts uncomfortably. “Well, your sale numbers are about the same. They’re definitely a competitor.”

 

“How close to our current date is theirs?” Jimin asks.

 

“Two days before.”

 

Yoongi huffs. Seokjin frowns. Namjoon stares at Kangdae.

 

“Who is it?” he asks. Kangdae lowers his gaze to the paper in front of him, pretending to read through it as if he didn’t know. His lips are pressed into a thin line; silence ensues.

 

“Kangdae-ssi,” Seokjin mumbles, “Who’s the other group?”

 

“It’s Beyond Dreams,” Kangdae replies, and immediately, the atmosphere shifts.

 

Jimin clenches his jaw so hard it looks painful while Yoongi lets out an almost disgusted chuckle. Something akin to hurt flashes across Seokjin’s face.

 

Namjoon’s brain needs two, three more seconds to catch up with the information it has just received.

 

“You mean Taehyung?” he then asks. Kangdae throws him a glance.

 

“Well—”

 

“No.” Jimin shakes his head. His eyes are furiously flickering left and right. “Fuck this. We’re not gonna reschedule our comeback.”

 

“Jimin-ssi.”

 

“I said no,” Jimin repeats with much more intent, the tip of his cheeks flushing red, “He’s not gonna ruin this for us.”

 

“You could antedate it, too.”

 

“We’re still in the middle of production,” Yoongi throws in.

 

“And even if we weren’t — it doesn’t matter,” Jimin continues, “They can reschedule for all I care. We won’t.”

 

Kangdae lets out a drawn sigh. Namjoon knows that he doesn’t want to fight with them like this — hell, he probably even agrees. But in the end, it’s the company that pays him every single month.

 

“I know this is very emotionally overwhelming for you, but I need you to look at this from a business standpoint,” Kangdae says, “We aren’t sure if the actual sales numbers are gonna be as high as they could be if we go with the current release schedule. And I just want you to rethink the situation.”

 

Kangdae has been with them since the beginning. He knows what has happened, he witnessed the breakdowns and fights and all the screaming and crying after Taehyung left. Namjoon knows he is on their side. But a glance at the men in the suits tells him who he is doing this for. Or, rather has to.

 

“I have,” Jimin says, crossing his arms in front of his chest, “This is stupid. I don’t care if we’re competitors, we’re not gonna let us be pushed around like this. They know exactly what they’re fucking doing. They think they own the industry.”

 

Kangdae stares at him. His upper lip twitches dangerously. At last, he sighs.

 

“Namjoon-ah,” Seokjin mumbles, and when Namjoon turns to look at him, he can tell from the look on his hyung’s face that it’s up to Namjoon to make a decision now. He glances at Jimin who seems to barely be able to hold his anger at bay, then at Yoongi who tries his best to keep a calm composure.

 

“We’re going with the current date,” Namjoon says, “If not, then we’re not gonna release the album.”

 

Kangdae lets out a groan and pinches the bridge of his nose.

 

“You’re going to get me in so much unnecessary trouble,” he mutters, then makes a dismissive hand movement. “Alright. You can leave. I’ll figure something out.”

 

Jimin all but jumps up and rushes out of the room, Seokjin and Yoongi following him. Namjoon leaves a bit slower and with some distance. There is a heavy feeling his stomach.

 

 

 

 

The music video shoot has been going for five hours now. Namjoon is tired, and he can tell that the others are, too. Just last night they stayed at the company until three in the morning to finish recordings and go over the choreography.

 

There is no time to rest. There never is.

 

They’re all dressed in black blouses and pants, and the entire room is dark and dimly lit, too. A while ago, the director brought out a few background dancers, and now they’re filming the bridge. It’s mysterious, dark, elegant. Intriguing. Just one more scene, then they’re done.

 

When the director finally yells, “Cut!”, Namjoon feels a wave of relief wash over him. Sweat is running down his temples and his muscles ache; he bends forward, supporting himself against his knees as he tries to catch his breath.

 

Somewhere, he hears Jimin asking the producer if he can redo one of his scenes. Somewhere else, Seokjin talks to a staff recording for backstage material. Yoongi sits on the floor, drinking cold water. Slowly, Namjoon walks over to him and stretches his hand out. Once Yoongi gives him the bottle and he gets some water into his system, he dares to look around. 

 

A small group of dancers stands not too far away from him. They’re talking, stretching. One of them has caught Namjoon’s eye earlier already, and now, he finds himself looking over once more.

 

“Yah,” Yoongi warns, “Tone it down.”

 

He is still sitting on the floor, halfheartedly stretching. Namjoon gives back the water bottle and scoffs.

 

“I’m not doing anything,” he mumbles before he walks over to the dancers.

 

He smiles softly, bowing when they do so, too. They all seem a bit flustered, especially when he tells them that they did a great job. Namjoon glances at the dancer next to him, the one he noticed before. Their eyes meet.

 

She has nicely tan skin and her dark hair reaches down to her shoulders. Shorter than Namjoon, muscular thighs. Her smile is warm.

 

And when the other dancers bid goodbye, she stays.

 

“I know the others said that already, but… thank you for giving us this opportunity. It was an awesome experience,” she says after only a short silence.

 

“Don’t worry about it. You’re very talented.” He doesn’t miss the slight blush on her cheeks. “How long have you been dancing for?”

 

“Since I was a child. But I haven’t been doing it professionally for too long. I never get to be a part of big projects like these, so this is a big deal for me.” She beams as she looks around the set, something like innocent amazement in his eyes. Namjoon smiles softly.

 

She is certainly attractive. It’s been a while since Namjoon has gotten intimate with someone else — sure, Yoongi always says not to hook up with the people you work with, but Namjoon is pretty sure that even Yoongi himself doesn’t abide by that rule.

 

“What’s your name?” Namjoon asks before he can overthink this even more.

 

“Hyeyoung. I’m twenty.”

 

“Mhm. I’m older, then,” Namjoon replies with a a soft grin.

 

There was a time, a while ago already, when Namjoon gave himself to anyone who’d take him. When he’d sneak out in the middle of the night to go to shady bars where no one knew him, and when the schedule became too tight, it was backstage in a cramped closet with another idol, another producer — anyone.

 

Back then, when all Namjoon wanted was to forget that one night in a rundown hotel right in the middle of winter. When he wanted to forget every touch and every kiss and every gentle gaze, every word spoken in a hushed voice.

 

But Namjoon has changed since then. He’s grown and matured, he knows it. Now, he doesn’t need to forget anymore. Right. Now, he can afford to let someone in for a while just for the sake of it. Just to feel pleasure and have fun. He is sure of it.

 

So, when he accompanies Hyeyoung to her place, then no one has to know. When he spends a few hours too many between her bedsheets — no one has to know.

 

And when he leaves afterwards with a heavy heart and a nasty feeling underneath his skin, then no one has to know about that either.

 

 

 

 

Seoul is only ever beautiful at night.

 

Namjoon has fallen in love with the darkness trying to swallow the city whole and failing; Seoul is bright, Seoul has heart.

 

These days, as summer passes and fall takes over, the moon comes out earlier. Namjoon enjoys watching the city move in front of him, then; the cars driving down on the road, windows everywhere brightly lit, and faintly, Namjoon can hear the white noise.

 

He wonders if somewhere out there, true happiness lies and waits for him.

 

 

 

 

The atmosphere backstage is hectic. Only five more minutes, then the performance starts. Jimin’s makeup is not done yet. Namjoon has trouble buttoning his shirt. Somewhere, he hears Seokjin complain about his shoes being too tight.

 

The only person that seems to keep it cool is Yoongi. He is standing by the door, stretching his arms.

 

“Five more minutes! I need the artists to follow me, now!” a staff member calls. One of the stylists pushes Namjoon’s hands away from his chest and quickly buttons his shirt for him.

 

“Get it together, hyung,” Yoongi hisses when Seokjin frowns at the pain in his feet.

 

The next moment, they’re guided out of the dressing room and down a busy hallway; equipment is everywhere and staff is running around like crazy.

 

“Four minutes!”

 

Two people huddle around Namjoon get his microphone and earpieces on him. He closes his eyes, breathes through.

 

The moments right before he steps on stage are always the worst. He feels nauseous enough to throw up, doesn’t feel like he is in his own body; everything sounds a bit muffled, his surroundings are blurry.

 

“Three minutes! Everybody in position!”

 

Namjoon squats next to Jimin on the platform that is going to move them up to the stage. He breathes through, then he looks at the others, makes sure to meet their gazes.

 

“Everyone, we can do this,” he says and nods once, “Good luck.”

 

Then, he feels the platform move. A few seconds pass before he sees blinding lights, hears deafening cheers, and everything slows down.

 

The moments right before Namjoon steps on stage might be the worst; but everything that happens right after feels like true bliss. Whenever Namjoon faces the audience, he is finally sure that he is real. Everything suddenly makes sense.

 

It’s a miracle, really.

 

 

 

 

“Good job everyone! Good job! Take your microphones off — I need the next artist, now!”

 

From somewhere, a distressed staff member replies; there is something wrong with the mic cables. They need a moment. Namjoon lets himself be pushed to the side and then there are hands on him, removing his microphone. The adrenaline is still rushing through his veins and he feels a bit dizzy.

 

Another staff member guides them through the crowd of idols and technicians and over to their dressing room.

 

“Goddamn it,” he faintly hears Yoongi breathe, “We did well.”

 

Namjoon sits down on a chair in front of a mirror; two stylists are quick to fix his hair and makeup, someone else hands him a water bottle. Everything is always so goddamn hectic. No time to breathe.

 

“Good job everyone,” he says and hardly hears his own voice. On the chair next to him, Jimin looks close to passing out as a staff member fans him. Seokjin clearly tries not to let the pain he is in show. Yoongi is stretching against a cramping leg.

 

They have five more minutes to cool down and get ready, then they return to their table in front of the stage. Everything calms down a bit.

 

Namjoon has never particularly enjoyed award shows. He likes performing despite their slots regularly being cut short and moved around. Sometimes, it’s nice to meet industry people, and receiving awards does feel empowering.

 

But most of the time, it’s boredom and fake smiles, technical difficulties, rude reporters. At the end of the night, Namjoon always feels drained in a way that makes him want to hide in his bed for a week straight. But they don’t get that luxury.

 

On stage, two moderators announce the next category. Nothing of Namjoon’s interest. At the beginning of his career, he still thought it would be a good look to get excited for all the other artists he doesn’t know; these days, he doesn’t care much anymore.

 

He nudges Seokjin next to him and leans closer to tell him that he’s going to use the bathroom — a classic excuse. Seokjin gives a halfhearted nod, so Namjoon gets up and hushes past the tables around them, ducking his head slightly as to not block anyone’s view.

 

Once he reaches the backstage area, he slows down and breathes through. He doesn’t even have to pee, he just wants to get away for a short while. Close his eyes, calm down. There is a slight pounding headache making itself noticeable right above his brow.

 

Namjoon strolls through the hallways and into the general direction of the bathrooms. The floor is carpeted, the lights on the ceilings are warm. Faintly, he can hear the audience cheering and the beat of the music.

 

He keeps his head low, his eyes trained on his feet and the maroon carpet underneath his shoes as he turns around another corner.

 

The next moment, something rams against his chest. Or, someone.

 

All at once, the air is knocked out of Namjoon’s lungs. He recoils and lets out a surprised gasp; the other person hisses a curse, and they both look up at the same time.

 

The world stops moving for a moment.

 

Namjoon sucks in a sharp breath. His eyes widen the slightest bit as his jaw goes slack. He can feel his heartbeat everywhere, in every vein, right underneath his skin, pounding against his temple. He’s almost forgotten about his headache — until it comes crashing down on him with an intensity that almost makes him tear up.

 

“Taehyung,” he whispers as he stares at the man in front of him.

 

He hasn’t changed too much. He’s gotten older, more mature, but Namjoon knew that. He has seen him on stage from far away, saw his billboards and magazine covers, and on the days it got really bad he saw the interviews, the music videos, the social media profiles.

 

And now, he is in front of him, right there, just a meter away. If Namjoon wanted to, he could reach out and touch him.

 

The look on Taehyung’s face is equally as shocked as Namjoon feels, almost incredulous, like he didn’t expect to ever see Namjoon again. Maybe he didn’t. He swallows heavily, his eyes flickering across Namjoon’s face.

 

“Namjoon-ssi,” he mumbles, “Sorry.”

 

And it hurts. It hurts so much that Namjoon almost winces. The way a hyung has turned into Namjoon-ssi. How any joy that used to be on Taehyung’s face whenever he’d look at him has vanished.

 

Namjoon wasn’t ready for this moment, and now that it’s happening, he feels like he is falling.

 

Something changes, and for a moment, Taehyung’s face softens. Then, a door somewhere opens, and two voices echo through the hallways. It seems to be enough to snap them out of whatever trance they were in.

 

Taehyung clears his throat, adjusting his jacket. He keeps his head low and mumbles a quiet, “S’cuse me,” before hurrying past Namjoon. Their arms brush.

 

Then, he is gone and all that’s left of him is the smell of his perfume.

 

Namjoon stays there, frozen in place. His hands clench and unclench by his side, again and again until his skin grows sweaty. His heart is beating slowly but heavily, each beat shaking his entire body, and every breath is painful.

 

A cold shiver runs down his spine. Slowly, Namjoon takes one step, then another one, and then he hurries down the hallway and bursts into the bathroom.

 

His hands find the marble counters to support himself against; he leans over the sink as his breathing quickens, his heart pounding against his ribcage. He gasps for air and quickly turns on the sink. A glance at himself in the mirror is telling enough; he looks like a wreck. His skin is pale and his eyes are open wide, pupils blown. He splashes his face with some water, well aware that he is going to ruin his makeup, but at least the cold droplets help ground him a bit.

 

Taehyung. Fuck. 

 

He shouldn’t have such an effect on Namjoon anymore, and he hates that he does. Namjoon wishes he could hate Taehyung for it, too.

 

He turns off the water and breathes through, then he looks up at the mirror again. Now, he just looks tired.

 

Kim Taehyung.

 

It’s been two years. God fucking damnit.

 

 

 

 

The dorm Namjoon and the others were moved into during their trainee days was shitty to say the least.

 

There was just one bedroom, Namjoon could barely turn around in the bathroom without hitting his arm against something, and the walls were extremely thin. There was an odd smell in the air, like wet, molding wood, that never disappeared.

 

Someone once had broken the lock on the door that lead up to the roof, and no one had been bothered to repair it. Whenever Namjoon felt like he was going to suffocate, he walked up there and sat by the edge. The way the city unfolded in front of him — at first, it had overwhelmed Namjoon, but as he got used to it, it made him feel grounded.

 

Sometimes, the other members would sit there with him as the sun set, and they would talk for hours, or not talk at all.

 

Namjoon knew he had found lifelong friends in them. He was sure nothing was ever going to tear them apart. Nothing.

 

 

 

 

There is a party being thrown by an artist Namjoon once worked with. He rented out the V.I.P area of a decent club downtown, invited a bunch of idols, producers and other higher-ups in the industry with good connections; Namjoon’s here, too.

 

He is never a big fan of parties, rather enjoys small circles, but with all the pent up stress and hectic schedules from the last few weeks, he thinks he deserves this.

 

Hyeyoung is by his side, too. She’s dressed nicely, a short skirt that reveals her muscular, smooth legs, a black halter tank top hardly covering her stomach and a leather jacket to keep her at least a bit warm. Like this, she easily blends in with the other female idols, and she seems to be enjoying herself.

 

Originally, Namjoon didn’t want to invite her. He hadn’t even texted her after their first and last night together. But these past few days, his mind has been going wild and he hasn’t been able to just — forget. His dreams are haunted and he hates to admit it.

 

So now, they’re here.

 

For a while now, Hyeyoung has been caught up in a conversation with a man Namjoon doesn’t know but who is very likely some manager or producer. And, good for her, really; she might benefit from all kinds of connections, so Namjoon doesn’t intervene. He sips from his beer that is slowly but surely growing warm as he allows his gaze to travel across the crowd.

 

The music’s too loud, the lights are dim. Namjoon really hates parties. Sometimes, it’s good to be seen out, but it always makes him wonder whether it’s truly worth it. He almost hates it as much as award shows.

 

He finishes his beer, then he leans closer to Hyeyoung to let her know that he’s gonna get another drink — originally, he wanted to stick to his one beer to be able to drive later, figured they’d both not stay long and instead retreat to a private place after a while, but now it seems like Namjoon’s not able to leave for another while. So, he makes his way over to the bar and orders a shot.

 

At least the drinks are for free. A bummer he’s not gonna get wasted.

 

Just when he has downed his shot, he can hear steps behind him.

 

“Namjoon-ssi.”

 

His entire body tenses. He knows that voice. He knows it too well.

 

When he turns around and sees Taehyung standing in front of him, a mixture of emotions overcomes him. It’s nothing like the when they bumped into each other in the hallway a few days ago; it’s not rushed, accidental, Namjoon doesn’t feel overwhelmed.

 

Right now, there is mild irritation buzzing right underneath his skin, but he is too exhausted to let it out.

 

“Taehyung-ssi.”

 

Taehyung fiddles with his fingers, cautious to keep some distance between them even as he steps up to the bar.

 

“I didn’t think I’d see you here,” he says without looking at Namjoon. A dim, purple light falls right onto his skin and makes him glow. He looks objectively good tonight, wearing a loose dark blouse and wide cotton pants. Simple yet pretty earrings dangle from his ears and expensive looking rings adorn his fingers.

 

So, yeah, he looks good. That’s it. He looks good, and even after all this time Namjoon can’t bring himself to fight those thoughts.

 

“Likewise,” he mutters and lowers his gaze down to his empty shot glass. He should leave, probably. Or, even better, tell Taehyung to leave. These past few weeks, he’s been haunting Namjoon’s mind way too comfortably; he seems to be everywhere. Dimly, Namjoon wonders if this was bound to happen eventually.

 

A few times, Taehyung turns his head and opens his mouth to say something, but he never ends up doing so. Eventually, he chuckles lightly. His fingers tap against the bar’s sticky surface.

 

“I saw you… over there,” he says with a soft smile on his lips, nodding over to where Hyeyoung is still standing, talking to a small group of people. “Who is she?”

 

Namjoon tries to keep a straight face. “None of your business.”

 

A hint of hurt flashes across Taehyung’s face, but he quickly catches himself.

 

“I see,” he mumbles, “You two seemed close.”

 

Namjoon’s stomach clenches. He doesn’t know why, but suddenly, he feels the need to explain himself. The irritation slowly grows into anger.

 

“’s just fucking,” he mutters and regrets it right away when he hears the way Taehyung breathes out. Like it’s exactly what he wanted to hear. But when Namjoon glances at him, sees his soft expression, a hopeful smile on his lips, his heart tightens painfully.

 

“I really didn’t think I’d see you here today,” Taehyung repeats, “It’s nice, really.”

 

The way he fled from him in the hallway a few days ago made Namjoon believe he would never be happy to see him again. Funny.

 

He straightens up with a sigh.

 

“Look, Taehyung-ssi,” he starts, the name sounding so foreign to him, “I don’t know what you’re trying to do here, but I’d appreciate it if you left me alone. I already have company, I don’t need yours.”

 

Taehyung stares at him with widened eyes, his lips parted. For a moment, he looks a bit shocked, but then, he lets out a dry chuckle.

 

“Right,” he says and leans against the bar, “Nice company you’re having here.”

 

Namjoon clenches his jaw. The words lie at the tip of his tongue, Fuck off, and he could just walk away. Just like that.

 

It’s just Taehyung. Taehyung, trying to steal their comeback. Taehyung, running away from him. Leaving him. It’s just Taehyung.

 

But it’s not though, and Namjoon knows it. It’s not just him, and the hold he has around him is still too tight.

 

So, Namjoon doesn’t end up saying anything. He can’t. Taehyung is still too breathtaking and overwhelming, and Namjoon is a fool for believing he was strong enough.

 

He just huffs and walks away, pushes through the crowd until he reaches Hyeyoung. She is still immersed in a conversation. Two female idols stand by her side, and they all drink from their cocktails as they laugh. Namjoon puts his hand on her lower back and leans close to her ear.

 

“I don’t feel so well, I think I’m gonna leave,” he tells her, “You wanna stay?”

 

She looks at him with wide, surprised eyes, and he can see her conflict in them. He smiles reassuringly.

 

“Don’t worry,” he adds, “I’ll be fine.”

 

“You sure?” Hyeyoung asks. Namjoon nods.

 

“Yes. You enjoy yourself, yeah?”

 

She smiles and squeezes his hand, then he turns away and quickly makes his way towards the exit.

 

The air inside the club is too suffocating. He pushes through a few people until he reaches the backdoor that leads him outside through a narrow, dark hallway. So far, no one has spotted him, and he hopes it’ll stay that way. The party hasn’t been going for too long, but there could still be paparazzi around.

 

Once Namjoon steps outside and into the alleyway, he feels like he can breathe again. The light effect the alcohol has had on him has long passed, and slowly, as his heart calms down, he feels the exhaustion kick in. He leans against the cold brick wall, his head tilted back, and rubs his eyes. The sky is black and empty, no stars to be seen.

 

The backdoor opens again and someone steps out.

 

“Hyung…”

 

Namjoon’s eyes fly open. Taehyung approaches him quickly.

 

“Don’t—” Namjoon rasps, pushes himself away from the wall, “Don’t fucking call me that.”

 

His patience is running thin. Or maybe it’s his self-restraint that’s slowly leaving him. Namjoon has trouble breathing, and suddenly, the night is too cold for him.

 

Taehyung stops a few meters away from of him. He looks torn, concerned, maybe; Namjoon hates that look.

 

“I just want to talk you,” Taehyung says, “Please, I just—”

 

“What the fuck is there to talk about?” Namjoon angrily spits, “What do you want from me, Taehyung?”

 

He feels a tremor go through his body that makes him gasp, his heart beating so fast it might as well break his ribcage. Taehyung stands there, speechless, and Namjoon’s brain just yells at him, begs him to leave. Leave, before he can give into whatever feeling is burning underneath his skin and makes him unable to be mad at Taehyung.

 

He is so, so weak.

 

The only light is coming from an old streetlamp not too far away from them. It makes Taehyung look a bit pale, but beautiful nonetheless. Namjoon has always found him beautiful. His skin is smooth, so nicely tan, and his hair frames his face in dark curls that reach all the way down to his neck. And his eyes, there is something that glimmers in them, something that makes Namjoon neck burn and his stomach coil. It’s all too familiar.

 

“I just wanted to talk,” Taehyung says calmly, “You look like you’re about to pass out.”

 

All gentleness slowly vanishes from his face. Like this, Taehyung has always been most dangerous.

 

“There is nothing for us to talk about,” Namjoon mutters, “We haven’t spoken in two fucking years, I don’t know what you want from me now.”

 

Taehyung clenches his jaw. He raises one eyebrow, tries to look provocative. It works.

 

“You left your date at the party,” he notices and crosses his arms in front of his chest, “I didn’t know you were one to sleep around.”

 

“That’s rich coming from you.”

 

He sees the exact moment Taehyung’s face falls, how his facade slips away for a split second. How his eyes darken even more.

 

Taehyung knows exactly what Namjoon is talking about.

 

“Listen, Taehyung,” he says and steps a bit closer, his heart beating heavily, “We’ve managed to avoid each other for two years, and I’d appreciate it if we kept it that way. I don’t know what the fuck you think you’re doing here, but it’s not working. You’re not a part of my life anymore and you never will be again. I know that you guys are trying to steal our comeback, but we’re not gonna let that happen, okay? No matter how fucking nice you’re being right now. So drop it.”

 

For a moment, Taehyung’s eyes widen the slightest bit like Namjoon caught him off guard. Then, a smirk curls his lips up.

 

“Steal your comeback? Hm… do you really feel that threatened by us?” He chuckles. “I guess I should take that as a compliment. I didn’t think your ego was so fragile.”

 

It’s enough for Namjoon to snap. He knows he shouldn’t, he should just ignore Taehyung, but he can’t.

 

“Fuck you,” he mutters as he surges forward while Taehyung backs away, his face falling the slightest bit.

 

“I told you to keep your fucking mouth shut,” Namjoon snarls. Taehyung’s back hits the wall and Namjoon is right in front of him, his hands on either side of his head, and it’s supposed to be intimidating, Taehyung is supposed to look at him with wide, fearful eyes, he is supposed to apologize and beg Namjoon to forget about it.

 

But instead, Taehyung’s hands come to rest on Namjoon’s shoulders, and although his breathing quickens, he looks calm, the ghost of a smile flashing over his parted lips. His eyes are hooded as he stares up at Namjoon. One beat passes, two three.

 

Then, it hits Namjoon.

 

Taehyung isn’t scared of him.

 

And Namjoon is so, so weak.

 

He leans in, slowly at first; Taehyung curls one hand around his nape and pulls him close. Their lips clash together.

 

And for a moment, time stops. Namjoon doesn’t feel the cold of the night anymore. He can’t hear the music coming from the club or the noises of the traffic just down the alley. For a short moment, all he can feel is Taehyung’s lips against his, and all he hears is his heavy breathing.

 

And then, it comes back all at once.

 

Taehyung’s fingers tangle in his hair, tugging at the strands until Namjoon’s scalp tingles. At the same time, he bites down on his bottom lip, and when Namjoon’s lips part to a low gasp, he slips his tongue in between them.

 

Namjoon is a goner.

 

He lowers his hands down to Taehyung’s waist, tugging his blouse out of his pants to slip his hands underneath. Although he is the one caging Taehyung against the wall, it’s obvious that Taehyung is in control. He guides the kiss, tilts his head to slot their lips together and licks into his mouth. His hand tugs at Namjoon’s hair until he emits a low groan and pulls away to kiss down to his neck. Taehyung lets out a breathy gasp when Namjoon fits his thigh in between his legs.

 

Two years. They hadn’t seen each other for two years, and all it took Taehyung was an hour to break down all of his walls. Namjoon is a weak, weak man.

 

“Fuck,” he mutters and pulls away from Taehyung’s neck in order to look down the alleyway at the road. “Not here, we should — go somewhere else.”

 

“Where’re you gonna take me?”

 

Taehyung looks a bit disheveled already, but Namjoon feels the same way. He nods towards the other end of the alleyway, away from the street.

 

“Go down there and right around the block. I’ll go get my car and pick you up. Give me five minutes.”

 

Taehyung nods. They both put on a face mask and Namjoon a pair of sunglasses to match.

 

“Alright. But hurry.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

Namjoon can tell that Taehyung is grinning at him. He just rolls his eyes and turns away to make his way around the club and to his car.

 

His heart is pounding heavily and Namjoon can feel his pulse everywhere, right underneath his skin. He doesn’t feel real, rather like he is dreaming; this has to be a dream.

 

Namjoon can still feel Taehyung’s lips on his.

 

And he could just go home now. He could just leave Taehyung behind, drive away and forget this ever happened. It would be so easy.

 

But when Namjoon gets in his car, he knows he won’t do that. He can’t. And maybe a part of him simply doesn’t want to.

 

Taehyung is waiting behind a large trashcan in the shadows of an alleyway when Namjoon pulls over.

 

“Took you long enough.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

They both take off their face masks again and Namjoon stores his sunglasses away. Taehyung sinks into his seat. The streetlights throw pretty shades onto his face.

 

“Nice car,” he mumbles after a while, dragging his finger across the leather on the door, “How much?”

 

“A hundred million.”

 

There is a patronizing smile on Taehyung’s lips. “Cute.”

 

Namjoon scoffs. “Right. I bet you don’t even have a fucking car.”

 

“Hm, you’re right. Just invested in a new house instead.”

 

“Where?”

 

“Pyeongchang-dong.”

 

Namjoon scoffs and rolls his eyes, but he can’t deny that his stomach clenches with jealousy. He can’t possibly be making that much, right? Both of them haven’t been working in the industry for too long.

 

“Right. As if you’re that famous.”

 

Taehyung’s head whips around. Namjoon can see the grin out of the corner of his eyes.

 

“Oh. Oh…” He shifts around until he can lean over the middle console; his breath hits the shell of Namjoon’s ear.

“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to pay for dinner when you take me out…”

 

Namjoon clenches teeth, his grip around the steering wheel tightening. Taehyung nibbles at his earlobe, then he kisses down his jaw to his neck. He does it like he has done it many times before, like this is his thing. He does it with confidence, and dimly Namjoon realizes that the does everything with confidence, so unlike the Taehyung he knew two years ago.

 

“How long?”

 

“Five more minutes,” Namjoon mutters. His breath hitches when one of Taehyung hands comes down to his thigh and kneads his flesh.

 

“I love your thighs,” Taehyung whispers, “Always have…”

 

And, how can he just say that? How is it so easy for him to acknowledge the past like it’s nothing?

 

Still, his words spike Namjoon’s arousal. He breathes heavily.

 

Just when Taehyung’s hand comes dangerously close to his crotch, he pulls into a narrow, empty street.

 

“Almost there,” he says, then he drives onto a huge, deserted parking lot behind a little shop. Like this, they’re shielded from the street. Around them, huge apartment blocks reach into the sky. The parking lot is surrounded by a high fence, at least two meters, and even higher trees and bushes. It’s perfect.

 

Taehyung pulls away from his neck in order to look out the window in awe.

 

“Wow,” he says, “This looks apocalyptic.”

 

Namjoon hums. That’s what he used to think, too.

 

“Come on. Backseat. The windows are tinted there.”

 

Taehyung nods. “Do you have lube and condoms?”

 

Namjoon points his chin at the glove compartment. When Taehyung opens it and retrieves what they need, he looks at Namjoon with something akin to surprise and disbelief.

 

“You were gonna fuck her in your car?”

 

Namjoon shrugs. “I like to be prepared.”

 

“Wow, you really are just a fuckboy.”

 

He says it as an obvious joke, and there is a teasing glint in his eyes, but Namjoon still feels irritation boil up in his stomach.

 

“Just shut up and show me I made the right decision by bringing you here instead.”

 

Taehyung licks his lips, one eyebrow arched. He throws the lube and the condoms on the backseat, then he climbs over the middle console. Namjoon follows him, and as soon as he sits down, Taehyung is on his lap and kisses him.

 

It’s not pretty, rather a clashing of teeth than a real slide of lips. Namjoon can feel the desperation that lies in Taehyung’s touch; and still, it makes him grow hot all over. He slips his hands underneath Taehyung’s blouse again, feels him shudder and gasp. Just like all those years ago.

 

Still the same, Namjoon thinks, but he isn’t. Not really, anyway.

 

“Your hands are cold.”

 

“Deal with it.”

 

Taehyung glares at him before kissing him again, a bit softer this time, but no less intense. One of his hands cups Namjoon’s jaw and slowly, he rocks his hips. Namjoon is quick to match his movement.

 

It’s dark inside the car and there is hardly any light coming from outside, but he is glad. This way, he doesn’t have to look at Taehyung and see the arousal on his face. It’s bad enough he can feel it; it’s already addicting. Fuck, Namjoon will regret this. He knows he will, but right now, he couldn’t care less.

 

He grips Taehyung’s thighs and guides his movements, speeds them up until they’re both panting into each other’s mouths. Taehyung is already half hard, he can feel it. Just the thought alone makes a wave of heat rush to his groin.

 

“Hyung…” Taehyung whines and buries his face against his neck. Namjoon chuckles.

 

“Aww… suddenly, you’re all quiet… where did that attitude of yours go?”

 

Taehyung kisses his neck, nibbles and licks at his skin while his hand comes up to his chest. Then, suddenly, he takes one of Namjoon’s nipples in between his fingers and twists it, enough to send the sharp pleasure right to Namjoon’s cock. He lets out a loud, surprised gasp. Taehyung chuckles against his neck.

 

“Careful with your words.”

 

Namjoon’s head is clouded. All he can think of is Taehyung, Taehyung on top of him, Taehyung’s lips, his smell, god, he smells so good. Quickly, Namjoon’s hands move to unbutton his pants, then he helps Taehyung out of them and his underwear.

 

“Fuck,” he gasps, “Come here…”

 

He needs him close, he realizes with horror. He wants Taehyung on his lap, touch him everywhere, run his fingers up and down his spine, touch his cock. It’s scary, the effect Taehyung is having on him.

 

There is a mischievous glint in Taehyung’s eyes as he settles back down on Namjoon’s lap. Just when Namjoon moves his hands to rest on his hips again, Taehyung swats them away, his lips curling up into a grin.

 

“Don’t touch me,” he orders as he reaches for the lube, “Unzip your pants.”

 

Namjoon dumbly does as he is told, breathing heavily. He pushes his jeans down as far as possible with Taehyung occupying his lap, then he tugs his cock out of his boxers. Just the slight touch makes him hiss; he’s hardly realized how sensitive he is.

 

When he looks up again, Taehyung has already worked one finger into himself. The way he lifts his chin and gazes down at Namjoon is intimidating in all the right ways. Namjoon’s breath hitches. His hands itch with the urge to reach out and touch Taehyung, but he doesn’t even dare to.

 

“Hm… feel so good,” Taehyung sighs, “Wonder if you could ever make me feel this good.”

 

Namjoon has to bite down on his bottom lip to hold back any snarky remarks. Fuck, Taehyung looks good. So different, but so good.

 

With a content hum, Taehyung leans closer until his lips brush over the skin on Namjoon’s neck.

 

“Maybe I should make you watch me while I make myself cum,” he moans, “Not let you touch me at all…”

 

The thought alone makes Namjoon breathless. He has to control himself so he won’t accidentally whimper, but it’s hard. His hands clench by his sides.

 

When Taehyung pushes in a second finger, his hips buck forward and their cocks brush. Immediately, Namjoon’s hands fly up to his waist, almost out of reflex, and he gasps pathetically. Taehyung sits up to glare at him.

 

“I said no touching,” he hisses, then he moves forward until his knees pin down Namjoon’s wrists. For a split second, his gaze softens. “Are you okay?”

 

Namjoon swallows heavily. “Yes.”

 

He is more than okay. God, he loves this, and that’s exactly the problem.

 

When Taehyung wraps his free hand around his cock and he finally gets a little bit of relief, his head falls back against the headrest, his mouth hanging open.

 

“Fuck…”

 

Taehyung flicks his wrist in rhythm to the way he thrusts his fingers into himself. And when he adds a third finger, he simultaneously squeezes the head of Namjoon’s cock, making a moan slip past his lips. Immediately, Namjoon feels his cheeks heat up, but the way Taehyung looks at him afterwards makes it worth it.

 

“That’s it,” Taehyung breathes, clearly affected by all the arousal that must be clouding his brain, “Don’t hold back.”

 

His bony knees dig into Namjoon’s wrists, so much it hurts, but it burns just in the right way. And if Namjoon wanted to, he could just pull his hands out of Taehyung’s hold, it would be so easy to grab him and flip them around, but Namjoon won’t. He doesn’t want to. Maybe he enjoys this a bit too much.

 

Taehyung throws his head back and releases a breathy moan, then he pulls his fingers out.

 

“Okay, I’m ready…”

 

He releases Namjoon’s hands and reaches for the condoms.

 

“You alright?” Namjoon asks. Taehyung nods and opens one of the condoms, then he rolls it over Namjoon’s cock.

 

“Just want you to fuck me already…”

 

Namjoon chuckles lightly. “Now my cock’s good enough, huh?”

 

Taehyung glares at him. “We’ll see.” He lifts himself up and lines Namjoon up with his hole. Then, he slowly sinks down. He hisses, his eyes closed and his head thrown back. Namjoon grips his hips to keep him in place.

 

“Careful…”

 

“Shut up,” Taehyung shoots back, “You’re not that big.”

 

Namjoon presses his lips into a straight line, but all irritation quickly dissipates when Taehyung bottoms out. He tries his best to hold back any noises, to focus and keep his head clear, but he fails miserably. A series of stuttered moans slips past his lips and he has trouble keeping his head up and not letting it fall against Taehyung’s shoulder.

 

“Fuck… you’re so tight… so warm…”

 

He still feels the same. He still feels the same.

 

Namjoon pulls Taehyung down for a kiss. Right when their lips touch, Taehyung rolls his hips. Namjoon has one hand on his thigh, the other one cupping his jaw, holding him close. Their kiss is oddly passionate, wet and dirty, and when Namjoon thrusts up, he feels Taehyung gasp against his lips. Then, he pulls away and leans back, his hands supporting him against Namjoon’s thighs as he bounces up and down, his head thrown back. Namjoon’s breath hitches in his throat.

 

It’s almost empowering to see Taehyung slowly lose himself and his arrogant demeanor just by fucking himself on his cock. Makes Namjoon feel all proud, a chuckle falling from his lips. He moves his hands to the collar of Taehyung’s blouse and starts unbuttoning it, one by one, slowly, as if Taehyung’s heat around him wasn’t bothering him at all, as if he wasn’t affected by him in any way. It costs him every bit of self control he has, but it’s worth it when he sees the desperate look in Taehyung’s eyes, his lips parted to a silent moan.

 

“Hyung…” he whines, “Hyung, am I… am I doing well?”

 

Namjoon lets the blouse slide down Taehyung’s arms and trails his fingers down his shoulders.

 

“Hm…” He kisses the column of his throat and drags his tongue across his skin.

“I’m sure you can do better.”

 

It’s all a lie; of course it is. Namjoon is so close to falling apart underneath Taehyung’s touch, and he is sure he has never been this aroused. And he swears Taehyung can tell, too.

 

He bites down on his bottom lip and rolls his hips back and forth, so quickly it’s dizzying. Namjoon clenches his jaw and lets out a muffled groan, his hands gripping Taehyung’s thighs once more to help him move.

 

“Look at you,” he mutters, “All exposed for me…”

 

Taehyung arches his back in the prettiest way. His cock slaps against his lower abdomen with every bounce and leaves a trail of precum there.

 

“Completely naked,” he gasps, “Letting you fuck me in your car like a slut…”

 

Namjoon feels the heat pool in his stomach. He slides one of his hands into Taehyung’s hair and lightly tugs at the strands.

 

“Like a little slut,” he echoes with a soft grin on his lips, “Is that what you are?”

 

Taehyung mewls, his eyebrows drawn together in desperation. “Mhm…”

 

Namjoon kisses his shoulder, then he buries his face against his neck and wraps his arms around Taehyung’s waist when he feels his orgasm approach fast. He fucks up into Taehyung, three, four, five times, revels in the wonderful sounds Taehyung makes as he desperately tries to hold onto Namjoon, before he finally spills into the condom with a loud groan. He doesn’t stop moving, rides his orgasm out as Taehyung’s moans grow high pitched and louder. When he looks up to see him, his heart stutters in his chest.

 

Taehyung makes the prettiest face, his lips parted and his eyes closed as he rides Namjoon into oversensitivity. It’s painful in the best way, makes Namjoon’s jaw go slack and his entire body tense up. Something akin to a sob leaves his mouth, and then, Taehyung is coming, too, spilling all over his stomach.

 

He stills, breathing heavily, his eyes still closed before he falls forward against Namjoon’s chest. And all at once, everything is over.

 

Namjoon wraps his arms around Taehyung, shifting them around until he can slide out of him. He feels Taehyung tense up, so he trails his fingers down his spine and presses his lips against his hair.

 

The next few moments are oddly sobering. Outside the car, the world is still the same as it was before. Inside Namjoon, everything is different.

 

Fuck.

 

“Hey,” Namjoon whispers, “You okay?”

 

Taehyung nods against his neck. “My thighs hurt.”

 

Namjoon chuckles. “You’re a dancer. You’ll get over it.”

 

A few more moments pass until Taehyung finally raises his head. They’re so close, only mere inches apart. Taehyung looks drained, like he could fall asleep right then and there. Namjoon swallows heavily and turns his head away.

 

“Come on. I have some tissues in the glove compartment.”

 

He helps Taehyung sit down on the seat next to him, then he takes off the condom, ties a knot into it and tugs himself in. Taehyung sits next to him, his knees pulled up to his chest.

 

Namjoon climbs back on the front seat and quickly searches for some tissues and a small plastic bag, then he waits for Taehyung to get ready. It has to be around twelve, not too late for a Saturday night, but still he can’t wait to get home. With every second that passes now that his mind clears up and the sweat dries on his skin, the regret grows.

 

When Taehyung sits back down on the passenger seat, fully dressed again, he looks equally as uncomfortable as Namjoon feels like. The atmosphere is tense.

 

“You sure you okay?”

 

Taehyung turns his head away. “How many times are you gonna ask?”

 

Namjoon clear his throat. “Right.”

 

It feels all too fucking familiar. The shame, the disgust. Taehyung not looking at him. And now he is going to leave again, and that’s it, they won’t see each other again, won’t talk, as if this had never happened. So much time has passed, and Taehyung isn’t his Taehyung anymore, but the pain is the same.

 

“How do you even know this place?”

 

Namjoon glances at Taehyung. He is looking outside, eyeing the high-rise buildings all around them.

 

“We used to live here. Seokjin, Yoongi, Jimin and me. No one comes around here at night. Was always nice for late night walks.”

 

Taehyung grows visibly uncomfortable from that answer. He shifts around in his seat, lowers his gaze to his thighs. Namjoon circles the gearstick with his index.

 

“You’ve changed a lot, you know?”

 

Taehyung turns his head to look at him, face blank.

 

“Well, it’s good to change,” he says and pretends to be confident, but Namjoon can hear the tremor in his voice, “Maybe I just didn’t like who I used to be.”

 

It almost sounds passive aggressive, the way he says it. Like he knows all Namjoon wants to reply to that is, But I liked you.

 

I liked the person you were, and I liked the person you were supposed to become.

 

But now, it’s all different.

 

In the end, Namjoon stays quiet and just starts the car. Taehyung tells him his address, then they drive in silence. The city’s still bustling; Namjoon feels numb.

 

Taehyung tries his best to fix his messy hair, then he slumps against the car door. When Namjoon stops in front of his house, he leaves the car without saying anything.

 

Namjoon waits until he has disappeared inside the house.

 

He waits a few more minutes.

 

The regret never goes away.

 

 

 

 

It was around midnight when Namjoon heard the door to the living room open. He’d been enjoying the view over the city for a while now as he drank his peppermint tea, hoping to grow sleepy eventually.

 

When he threw a glance over to the door, he half expected it to be Seokjin, about to tell him to go to bed already before making his way over to the bathroom. Instead, it was a sleepy Taehyung. He was wearing boxers and a large white shirt that was probably Namjoon’s.

 

“Hyung,” he mumbled as he walked over to the couch. Namjoon smiled warmly.

 

“Hey…”

 

Taehyung sat down next to him and leaned against his legs, his eyes fluttering shut.

 

“Why’re you still awake?” Namjoon asked, ruffling his hair.

 

“Can’t sleep.”

 

“Hm. Nightmare?”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “My head’s full with thoughts.”

 

Namjoon glanced at the bedroom door to make sure no one else was here, then he pressed a kiss to the top of Taehyung’s head.

 

“Happens,” he whispered, “You wanna tell me about those thoughts?”

 

Taehyung nuzzled up against his knee. He was quiet for a while, his eyes still closed and his lips pouting.

 

“Just… the meeting,” he mumbled, “Can’t stop thinking about it.”

 

Namjoon hummed, carding his fingers through Taehyung’s soft hair.

 

They’d had a meeting about their debut date that day. Namjoon hadn’t even been surprised when they’d been told it would be postponed once again; for the fourth time now.

 

“Are you upset about it?” Namjoon asked. Taehyung sighed.

 

“Not really… just… disappointed,” he said, “Makes me feel like we’re not good enough.”

 

Namjoon’s heart clenched in his chest. He knew the feeling all too well, they all did. It was whenever it got too bad that Jimin danced himself to the verge of passing out while Yoongi locked himself in the studio, running on little to no sleep and too much caffeine and Seokjin sang until he lost his voice and broke down crying in a locked bathroom stall. Namjoon knew it all, he’d seen it before.

 

“We are good enough,” he said, “We just… need a little more preparation. They want us to be our best version, you know? I’m sure this is going to be special.”

 

Taehyung was quiet for a while, thoughtfully staring off into space. Eventually, he sat up and gave Namjoon an earnest look.

 

“My parents are getting impatient,” he said, “They think this is just a scam.”

 

Namjoon frowned. “It’s not, though. Other idols have debuted with our company before us.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung sighed, “I guess they’re just frustrated.”

 

To that, Namjoon couldn’t say much.

 

“Aren’t we all?”

 

Taehyung hummed in agreement. The mood shifted a bit to something gloomy.

 

“Hey.” Namjoon nudged his thigh, “Come on, let’s go to bed, yeah? We’ll be fine. I’m sure that this time, they’re going to let us debut.”

 

Taehyung threw him a doubtful glance but forced himself to smile anyway.

 

“Yeah, okay. If you say so.”

 

Namjoon brought his empty teacup to the kitchen, then they both made their way over to the bedroom. Right before the door, Namjoon stopped Taehyung one more time. He cupped his cheeks and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

 

“Everything will be alright,” he whispered, “I promise.”

 

Taehyung’s gaze softened. He nodded.

 

Then, they both entered the bedroom and went to their separate beds like always. Just as Namjoon was dozing off, he wondered if the sobs he heard were part of his dreams already.

 

 

 

 

On Monday, they have a photoshoot for their comeback in an old opera. They’re all dressed in dark, expensive yet simple clothes.

 

Decadence versus evanescence. Yoongi is the one who came up with that theme. The second part of their photoshoot will be at an old abandoned industrial site that has yet to be demolished.

 

“The acoustics in here are wonderful,” Jimin marvels and sings a few clear notes that echo through the hall.

 

“Be careful not to miss any notes, otherwise our ears are going to suffer from it for ages,” Yoongi says and chuckles when Jimin glares at him. A staff member stands close to them, camera in hand.

 

“Yah,” Namjoon hears Seokjin ask and turns around to him, “Are you okay?”

 

He almost feels like a little kid that got caught stealing sweets. He ducks his head, averts his gaze, hopes he isn’t blushing.

 

Truth is, he is not okay. Hasn’t been since he’s run into Taehyung in that stupid hallway, and especially not since what happened on Saturday. And that’s all his brain can think about, Taehyung, Taehyung’s lips, his touch, his smooth, smooth skin. Everything about him is freshly engrained in Namjoon’s mind once more, and even though he knows it’s wrong, he can’t help but yearn for him.

 

But he can’t possibly tell Seokjin that. He didn’t tell him or the other members that he saw him at the award show only for Taehyung to run away from him either.

 

They don’t even know what happened two years ago shortly before Taehyung left. And Namjoon swore himself he’ll take that night to his grave.

 

So, all he can do is force a warm smile, say, “I’m alright, hyung. Just a bit tired,” and hope that Seokjin buys it.

 

He doesn’t, Namjoon can tell, but before he can ask any more question, the photographer steps out and the photoshoot starts, and at least for now, Namjoon is safe once more.

 

 

 

 

Aeon’s RM Spotted With Beautiful Young Woman

 

(Netizens speculating if the rapper is dating the mysterious woman he was seen with attending a club party in Gangnam.)

 

 

On Saturday, a few idols were seen attending the Club Octagon — among them, Kim Namjoon, otherwise known under his stage name RM, leader of popular group Aeon. In his company: a young, unknown woman. Possibly his girlfriend?

 

Fans of the group began speculating immediately and searched the web for any hints at the beauty’s identity. And while the rapper is very secretive about his private life on social media, someone dug up the Instagram profile of the dance agency Aeon has been working with a few times in the past. And — bingo!

 

The stranger’s name is Choi Hyeyoung and she is part of the DXS dance studio based in Seoul. While she hasn’t been seen in any of Aeon’s music videos yet, a collaboration is never out of the question. Maybe for their next comeback?

 

Neither RM nor Hyeyoung have confirmed or denied the dating rumors so far, but bystanders have rumored to have seen the rapper leave the party by himself. Oh no! Trouble in paradise already?

 

Netizens responses to the scandal are mixed. While a lot of fans are very supportive of the possible relationship, a lot are asking RM to stay professional and concentrate on his career. While we understand that fans might be worried a relationship will distract the rapper, we want to remind everyone to stay respectful. Love is wonderful! And who knows, maybe it will provide for new song ideas?

 

(Aeon are currently preparing for the release of their next album “Phantoms”, out on December 20th.)

 

 

 

 

Another night, another award show. These days, everything passes in a blur, and Namjoon has trouble catching up.

 

He knows they’re nominated for something, isn’t entirely sure about the category — Yoongi wins an award for the production of another idol’s song, Seokjin gets another one for a movie OST. Namjoon’s chest swells with pride when he sees his friends up on stage, talking into the mic all flustered and nervous.

 

In the end, they’re nominated for ‘Best Dance Performance’, an award that especially Jimin is excited about. They’ve been in the business for little more than a year, but the reputation of their choreographies is good.

 

And when they end up winning, Namjoon can hardly contain his grin. It might not be a praise of their music, but he’ll take what he gets.

 

Up on stage, Jimin eagerly accepts their award and speaks a few thankful words as the crowd cheers loudly. Namjoon squeezes his shoulders when his voice breaks the slightest bit. They’re not yet used to receiving awards, and every single time turns out to be nerve-wracking.

 

Then, it’s all over, and they sit back down at their table. Namjoon’s heart is still beating too fast.

 

Taehyung is there, too. Nominated for ‘Best Music Video’. When Beyond Dreams ends up winnings, Namjoon does feel the slightest sting in his heart, and when he sees Taehyung on stage, grinning happily, it’s easy to mistake the pain for jealousy. The whole mood at the table shifts. Seokjin doesn’t even clap.

 

After three hours in total, the show is finally over. There is always the after party; Jimin insists they go, and Seokjin reasons it might be good to meet new people, make some valuable connections, especially after the disaster that was Namjoon’s dating scandal. So, they take some time to get ready, pose for some pictures on the red carpet, and finally, finally they are back in their car.

 

“I hate award shows,” Yoongi mutters, then grins weakly, “I only like receiving the awards.”

 

“You just hate stepping out of your studio,” Jimin replies. Yoongi just rolls his eyes, probably too drained to bicker.

 

The after party takes place at a nice, prestigious venue; a club, apparently, though it almost looks too glamorous for that.

 

A security guard escorts them through the entry and up a flight of stairs, then down a hallway until they reach a huge double door. Inside the hall, it’s dark and music is playing, but not loud enough to overshadow the loud chatter. Namjoon sighs. This is going to be exhausting, he knows it. He throws Jimin a glance that means something like, This is your fault. Jimin just rolls his eyes.

 

There is an abundance of champagne, soju and little snacks. Namjoon sees plenty of familiar faces, so many it’s dizzying. He already tries to come up with a way to escape most of the impending conversations when Seokjin hands him a glass of champagne.

 

“We’ll need it,” he says as he drinks from his own.

 

As Namjoon takes a sip of the sparkling drink, he it faintly dawns in on him that Taehyung is here, too. He must be. And suddenly, nausea claws at his stomach.

 

He downs the champagne in one go.

 

This is not the place to get drunk in, certainly not the right company, but Namjoon will do anything to make the evening a bit more pleasant for himself.

 

After a while, Jimin and Seokjin mingle with the crowd to make some new connections and praise people whose egos are too big already. Yoongi stays by Namjoon’s side. After a while, a young producer approaches them, tells them he admires them a lot. Tells them he hasn’t been in the industry for long. Namjoon knows what he’s trying to do; get them to work with him to boost his own reputation. He is too nice to tell him to fuck off, but he knows he is never going to agree. After a while, he excuses himself to go use the bathroom even though he doesn’t need to. He just wants a moment of silence a calm, away from the buzzing energy of the crowd.

 

The hallway is very dark, but after two steps, an automatic light switches on. The bathrooms are in the very back; Namjoon takes his time walking down the hall. Everything is black, the floor, the ceiling and the walls. It looks kind of fancy, Namjoon has to admit that.

 

The party’s noises get quieter and quieter, slowly drifting into the background. Namjoon can relax.

 

And then, someone is calling for his name.

 

It’s almost pathetic how goosebumps rise on Namjoon’s skin while a cold shiver runs down his spine. He stops walking, his shoulders tensing up.

 

Please, he thinks, Please, don’t come closer. Don’t talk to me.

 

But when he turns around and sees Taehyung approaching him, he knows it’s already too late. His throat runs dry.

 

“Hyung.”

 

“Don’t call me that,” Namjoon says just because. Taehyung clenches his jaw.

 

“I didn’t think you’d come to the after party.”

 

“Well, wonders never cease.”

 

It’s obvious that Taehyung doesn’t like his attitude, not one bit. He protrudes his chin, breathes through deeply and closes his eyes for a second.

 

“I just wanted to congratulate you. You know, for the award.”

 

“You could’ve approached the others. They won more than I did.”

 

Taehyung huffs. “Yeah, well, Seokjin would have killed me if I had.”

 

“Mhm. I wonder why.”

 

For a split second, Taehyung’s face falls. He glares at him.

 

“I’m trying to be civil here.”

 

“I didn’t ask you to be,” Namjoon replies as calmly as possible. He doesn’t have the energy to fight, but a part of him still wants to tell Taehyung that what happened a few nights ago meant nothing. It was just a mistake and it can’t happen again as it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Namjoon doesn’t want anything to do with Taehyung anymore; times have changed, they’re not who they used to be. Taehyung made that very clear, and Namjoon would be stupid if he believed that he himself hadn’t changed either.

 

“I told you, I don’t know whatever you’re trying to achieve here, but I don’t wanna be a part of it,” he ends up saying. Taehyung scoffs, one brow arched.

 

“You still think I’m trying to manipulate you? Ruin your comeback?”

 

He doesn’t. Not really. But Namjoon has no idea what other reason Taehyung could have for suddenly, after two years, approaching him again. For sleeping with him.

 

“Just leave me alone,” Namjoon mutters and is about to turn away, but Taehyung’s next words make him freeze.

 

“I read the articles. So, you are dating her?”

 

Namjoon whips his head around, glaring at Taehyung who just stands there, smiling calmly.

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Namjoon hisses and steps closer, throwing a cautious glance down the hallway to make sure no one is around to hear them, “Are you crazy? Anyone could hear you!”

 

“So it’s true?”

 

“You know it’s not. I told you it’s not.”

 

“Mhm… the internet seems to be convinced otherwise.”

 

There is a dangerous glint in Taehyung’s eyes, and from his smile alone Namjoon can tell that he enjoys this. Riling him up like this. And Namjoon should be the bigger man, he should just walk away and not fall for Taehyung’s trick.

 

It’s moments like these that make Namjoon realize how truly weak he is.

 

“Fuck off,” he mutters, but it only makes Taehyung’s smirk grow.

 

“I wonder,” he all but purrs, “Does she know what happened between us? That you left with me instead of her?”

 

Namjoon’s heartbeat speeds up. His eyes flicker to the end of the hallway.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

Maybe it’s the way he says it, as calmly as possible, that makes Taehyung’s mask falter for a split second. He gaze darkens.

 

“That you came up with an excuse to fuck me in your car instead of her,” he continues as if Namjoon hadn’t said anything, “And how much you enjoyed it?”

 

Listening to Taehyung talk like that feels bizarre. He has changed so much; it’s hard for Namjoon to see the person he once was so close to in him. But still, his hands itch with the urge to reach out and touch, to just give in and feel him again.

 

He knows it’s wrong and that it will only hurt him again, but oh, that only makes it so much more tempting.

 

“You’ve changed,” he mumbles, “So fucking much.”

 

It’s enough to stun Taehyung. Namjoon himself is surprised; it’s like he doesn’t have control over his lips.

 

For a moment, Taehyung looks like a frightened animal about to back away, but then Namjoon reaches out and grabs his hand. It stops him momentarily, and the tension explodes.

 

His hand is so, so soft.

 

Everything happens fast, then.

 

Taehyung starts walking and pulls Namjoon along, down a hallway to his right, away from the bathrooms. He is hurrying his steps, and Namjoon has no choice but to run after him until Taehyung pushes a door open.

 

The next moment, they’re alone inside one of the dimly lit private rooms companies can rent out for their groups, and then, Namjoon feels Taehyung grab his collar, pausing for a moment to let their eyes meet.

 

Namjoon swallows heavily, cups Taehyung’s face and kisses him. Fuck. Fuck.

 

It’s a lot less harsh than last time but still nowhere near soft. Taehyung doesn’t waste too much time before pressing his tongue against his lips, and when Namjoon parts them, he eagerly licks into his mouth.

 

It’s intense, Namjoon feels too much at once and yet not enough. He allows their tongues to fight for dominance, trails one hand down to Taehyung waist and then to his ass, squeezing once. Taehyung pants into his mouth.

 

“So eager already,” he breathes, “You are not even trying to hide how much you want me.”

 

Namjoon scoffs. “Are you trying to upset me even more?”

 

“I’m upsetting you?” Taehyung asks with a slight grin on his face. Namjoon’s lips curl up.

 

“Very much so.”

 

Taehyung kisses him again, a lot softer this time. The slide of their lips is wet and so good, so sweet. And for a split second, Namjoon doesn’t feel any anger in his chest. Instead, they’re back in the hotel room in the middle of the night, and Namjoon feels his heart rate pick up at the thought of sleeping with Taehyung for the very first time.

 

The memory hits him like a lightning, and he almost pulls away from Taehyung.

 

“What’s wrong?” Taehyung mumbles against his lips. Namjoon swallows heavily. There is no space for softness, he realizes.

 

“Nothing,” he breathes, then he deepens their kiss and bites down on Taehyung’s bottom lip as he starts pushing him back towards the couch that stands in one corner. Taehyung easily plays along.

 

He falls down on the couch with Namjoon between his legs, a small whine escaping his throat at the impact. Namjoon kisses down to his neck and licks across the skin there, feeling Taehyung shiver underneath him.

 

He smells like expensive cologne and soap and nothing like himself. Namjoon feels a little nauseous.

 

Taehyung lets out a desperate sounding whimper.

 

“Please — let me blow you.”

 

Namjoon pulls away from his neck, looking at him with surprise. His cheeks are flushed and he looks a little affected already. Heat coils in Namjoon’s stomach.

 

“Fuck — okay.” He sits down on the couch and pulls Taehyung on top of him — he goes along pliantly, maybe even eagerly so. Namjoon strokes his cheek, then he pushes him until he slides down to the ground. “Show me how well you can take it then.”

 

Taehyung holds onto his thighs and nuzzles his crotch.

 

“I’ll be good,” he mumbles as one of his hands starts palming Namjoon through his slacks, “You’re never gonna want someone else after me…”

 

Namjoon’s eyes widen the slightest bit. It’s almost unfair how easy it is for Taehyung to say these things and not mean anything by it.

 

But when Taehyung glances up at him and Namjoon sees the look in his eyes, he wonders if he truly doesn’t mean it.

 

In the end, it doesn’t matter, because ever since the night at the hotel Namjoon hasn’t wanted anyone else. Taehyung has already ruined him without even knowing it.

 

It’s oddly sobering. Namjoon grits his teeth and tries to chase away the bitterness.

 

“Prove it,” he mutters and pushes Taehyung’s head closer to his crotch, “Prove how well you can take my cock.”

 

Taehyung’s breath hitches. He quickly unzips Namjoon’s pants, then he is already reaching into his boxers. Namjoon isn’t fully hard yet, but when Taehyung wraps his hands around his cock, he knows it won’t take him long to get there. He leans his head back, his eyes trained on Taehyung as he pulls him out of his boxers.

 

“I’ll be so good,” he says as he strokes Namjoon to full hardness, “You’re going to forget about that stupid dancer of yours.”

 

Namjoon chuckles dryly. “You’re honestly still hung up on that?”

 

Taehyung just glares at him. Namjoon’s heart stutters in his chest.

 

“Are you?” he repeats, and, really — the chances that Taehyung actually feels jealous are very slim, but still, the smallest bit of hope lights up in his chest.

 

Taehyung doesn’t reply, though, and instead just wraps his lips around Namjoon’s length. When he starts taking more and more of his cock into his mouth, Namjoon’s head falls back against the wall, his lips parted around a silent moan.

 

He runs his fingers through Taehyung’s hair as Taehyung starts bobbing his head up and down, slowly at first as he drags his tongue along the underside of Namjoon’s cock, then faster. And he looks so fucking pretty doing it, with his lips all stretched and his eyebrows drawn together.

 

Namjoon’s cock hits the back of Taehyung’s throat; Taehyung coughs but doesn’t pull away, not even when his eyes water. He glances up at Namjoon who brushes his hair out of his face.

 

“You’re doing so well,” he whispers, not trusting his own voice anymore, “Fuck… so pretty…”

 

He feels like he is in heaven. Yeah, Taehyung was right. Namjoon won’t ever want anyone else after this.

 

Taehyung pulls away and gasps for air, then his lips are back around the tip of Namjoon’s cock, swirling his tongue around it before sucking and licking. This time, Namjoon can’t hold back his moan.

 

“Fuck,” he hisses, “Taehyung—”

 

All words die in his throat when Taehyung pulls away once more, breathless, his hand slowly jerking Namjoon off.

 

“You can fuck my mouth,” he rasps, “Do you want to?”

 

Namjoon’s eyes widen. He nods.

 

“You sure?”

 

“Don’t be so fucking worried,” Taehyung bites back while rolling his eyes, “I’ve done it many times before, I like it.”

 

Namjoon shouldn’t feel his stomach twist with something so ugly. He shouldn’t feel the bitterness rise up in his chest. Judging by the glint in Taehyung’s eyes, it’s exactly what he wants, though.

 

“Many times before, huh? What are you, a fucking slut?”

 

Taehyung lets out a noise that sounds too much like a whimper. Namjoon chuckles.

 

“Right. You like it when I call you that?” He pushes his head down towards his cock. “A slut?”

 

Taehyung squeezes his eyes shut, squirming where he kneels on the floor. The outline of his hard cock presses against the fabric of his pants. He nods.

 

“Yes.”

 

The way he gazes up at Namjoon, his eyes still a bit watery, and so, so pliant, so vulnerable — maybe it should make Namjoon hesitate.

 

But then, Taehyung licks the already leaking tip of his cock without breaking eye contact, and — fuck.

 

“Alright,” Namjoon mutters, his hands finding the back of Taehyung’s head, “Be a good slut for me, then.”

 

Taehyung’s jaw goes slack as he takes Namjoon into his mouth. The slide is slow; Namjoon holds himself back even when he hits the back of Taehyung’s throat once more.

 

“That’s it,” he mutters, “You’re doing so well.”

 

Taehyung squeezes his eyes shut, trying to swallow around Namjoon’s cock. He whimpers.

 

It’s so different from how they fucked in Namjoon’s car; Namjoon loved the power Taehyung held over him then, but he honestly doesn’t mind this either.

 

Slowly, he thrusts into Taehyung’s mouth, his hands still holding his head in place. The wet heat around him is kind of overwhelming and it’s so easy to get lost in the feeling — so easy to get lost in everything that Taehyung is.

 

God. How the fuck did Namjoon even get here? He is so fucking weak.

 

Taehyung hums around him, the vibration making the heat build up in his stomach already. Namjoon lets out a breathy moan and fucks into Taehyung’s mouth even faster, tugs at his hair until he whimpers.

 

He groans, stills abruptly, Taehyung’s nose pressed against his pelvis, holds him there. Taehyung chokes and coughs. One of his hands is pressed against his clothed cock.

 

“So fucking good,” Namjoon breathes, “So fucking good for me…”

 

Taehyung taps his leg and Namjoon lets go of him to let him catch his breath. He brushes his hair out of his face when he gasps for air.

 

“So good,” he mumbles again. Taehyung gazes up at him with glassy eyes, his free hand wrapped around Namjoon’s cock.

 

“Told you I’d ruin you for anyone else,” he rasps. Namjoon smiles.

 

“Yes,” he replies without thinking twice, “Yes, you did.”

 

Taehyung drags his tongue along the underside of his cock before letting it slide back into his open mouth. Namjoon’s hands find his hair again, and then, he is fucking into his mouth again, faster this time as he slowly feels his orgasm approach. Faintly, he registers Taehyung desperately grinding against his own hand, and it’s so fucking hot that Namjoon moans out loud. 

 

Everything is too much, the choking noises and low whimpers, Taehyung’s mouth is wet and warm and Namjoon can’t hold his orgasm back any longer. He thrusts two, three, four more times before muttering a quick, “‘m coming—”, and then he stills, spilling down Taehyung’s throat.

 

Taehyung whines as he eagerly swallows it all, and even when Namjoon lets go of him and he pulls away, he nuzzles against his pelvis, licking his lips, his hands holding onto his thighs.

 

Namjoon lets his head drop back against the wall. His chest is rising and sinking rapidly.

 

“Are you okay?” he asks, running his fingers through Taehyung’s hair. He looks like a mess — his hair is disheveled, a few strands sticking to his sweaty temples, and his cheeks are flushed. Taehyung nods.

 

He looks so fucking vulnerable. Namjoon’s heart hurts. He pulls him up until he is sitting on his lap and holds him close. Dimly, he notices Taehyung isn’t hard anymore. It takes him a few moments until he realizes that he came just from having his mouth fucked by Namjoon. The thought alone makes him flush.

 

He presses his nose against the top of Taehyung’s head, and for a few moments, everything is calm.

 

And then, Taehyung starts to pull away from him.

 

The way he moves is a little stiff and he doesn’t dare to look at Namjoon. Instead, he just gets up, runs a hand through his hair in a weak attempt at fixing it and straightens his shirt.

 

“I, uh…” He clears his throat. “I gotta… go. Use the bathroom.”

 

Namjoon nods as he tugs himself into his boxers and buttons his slacks. “Okay.”

 

Taehyung doesn’t look good at all. He frowns, turns away from Namjoon, clearly uncomfortable. Namjoon watches him as worry flares up in his chest.

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he whispers, “Did I go too far?”

 

“No,” Taehyung abruptly says, “Not at all.” He almost looks like he is in pain just saying it. He slowly shakes his head.

 

“You didn’t go too far,” he repeats, miserable and quiet. Then, he slowly walks over to the door, and the next moment he is gone, and Namjoon is all alone, confused and with a heavily pounding heart.

 

 

 

 

Aeon Wins Award for “Best Dance Performance” — and Netizens Are Not Happy About It

 

Yesterday, the first annual Grand Korean Music Awards were held at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul ( we reported ), and with performances from big acts such as Got7, Twice and Seventeen, the event was definitely an overall hit — yet, some netizens expressed their unhappiness when it comes to one particular winner of the evening.

 

Aeon, who have been around for merely more than a year, won the category “Best Dance Performance” for their song “Wings”, the title track of their latest album . And while their fans are happily celebrating the success, a lot of people don’t seem to be too happy about the win.

 

“They didn’t deserve it,” one user writes online, “The choreography was mediocre at best and they were seriously slacking… not impressed with this one tbh”.

 

Someone else says, “honestly this is a bit disappointing to see like nothing against aeon like I’m sure they are hardworking but this was not it :/ imo monsta x would have deserved it so much more or even someone like beyond dreams like their choreographies are always SO creative (sic)”

 

Another person replied, “this!! like except for jimin aeon doesn’t have any good dancers and even he is not comparable to tae from bd like aeon all have too different styles its really weird… (sic)”

 

Of course, Aeon’s fans did not let their idols get dragged like this. “I honestly don’t understand why people are getting so upset at Aeon for winning the award. Just leave them alone. I don’t care if you don’t like them, but don’t be so envious just because your faves didn’t win,” one fan writes.

 

“Jimin has not poured his heart and soul into dancing since he was 13 for y’all to compare him to Taehyung,” another one says, “Honestly, everyone who says Aeon didn’t deserve this award can go to hell”.

 

Just last week, member RM was involved in a dating scandal when he was sighted attending a club with dancer Choi Hyeyoung . It seems like the controversy around the group has yet to cease.

 

Both Aeon and Beyond Dreams have announced their comebacks for later this year.

 

(Editor’s note: we’re asking everyone to stay respectful in the comments. Harassment towards either of the groups will not be tolerated.)

 

 

 

 

It all happened so fast, way too fast. One moment, everything seemed to be okay, and the next, it all collapsed.

 

One moment, Namjoon sat on his bed in the dark, Taehyung between his legs, leaning against his chest, and the next he was alone with no one there to keep him warm.

 

One moment, they were in a shitty hotel room, bodies and souls aligned, and then, the sun was rising.

 

One moment, they were five, meant to live their future together, and the next they were only four. And something was missing.

 

Namjoon still remembers the exasperated gasp Jimin let out when Kangdae broke the news, or the tears in Seokjin’s eyes that he tried to hold back; the hurt flashing across Yoongi’s face.

 

And he remembers looking at Taehyung who hadn’t said anything until now, he hadn’t even moved, he just sat there, fiddling with his hands, his leg bobbing up and down. And then, when he finally looked up and met Namjoon’s eyes, his gaze was so, so shallow.

 

And it hurt so fucking much.

 

He had gotten an offer from a different company. A very renowned one at that, and they promised to let him debut soon, over the next six months even. They had a lot of faith in Taehyung.

 

Namjoon got it. Really, he did. Of course it was tempting. They were all tired of being told over and over again that their debut was going to be postponed; it had happened so often. One too many times, maybe, and Namjoon knew how impatient Taehyung had gotten.

 

He’d just never thought Taehyung would choose his career over his friends.

 

That’s what hurt the most.

 

It all went on quietly after that. Taehyung packed his stuff without trying to talk to anyone, but Namjoon could see the pain in his eyes. Then, his last day came. The goodbyes were cold and empty without any promise of getting together in the future. Namjoon didn’t hug him. He wanted to, badly so, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. So instead, he gave a tightlipped smile and nodded once, and Taehyung seemed to appreciate the gesture.

 

He opened the door, and then he left. What came after was even more painful.

 

Jimin didn’t cry, at least not in front of the others; but Namjoon could hear his sobs at night when he thought everyone was already asleep. Yoongi claimed he was okay, but the shadows under his eyes grew every day. And Seokjin desperately tried to hold everyone together, he cooked for them and made sure they slept and ate and he didn’t stop smiling, but Namjoon could see the cracks in his facade.

 

It took a lot of time to recover.

 

Half a year later, Taehyung was debuting. Beyond Dreams was the name of the group. Namjoon, in a way, felt it to be oddly fitting; Taehyung did feel farther away than most of his dreams.

 

Even now that Taehyung wasn’t a part of his life anymore, he managed to get under his skin. Faintly, Namjoon wondered if he was ever truly going to get over him.

 

Or, if he even wanted to.

 

 

 

 

Namjoon doesn’t see Taehyung for a while; he is busy with the finishing touches on the album, practice and promotions. They give interviews, have photoshoots, exercise, dance until they are exhausted, and at night, Namjoon is almost too tired to think about Taehyung.

 

And then, late October comes around, and with that, this year’s MAMA nominations are announced. It’s always nerve-racking; this is Aeon’s second time experiencing the show since their debut, and last year, they didn’t get any nominations at all.

 

Part of Namjoon feels like it’s going to happen again this year. He feels like half of the entertainment industry loves them while the other part hates them — they come from a small company and are still trying to find their place in the world. It’s hard.

 

So, when he and the other members gather around Yoongi’s computer in his studio, waiting for the nominees to be published, Namjoon feels tense, and he can tell that the others are, too.

 

Especially after the degradation that came online after the last award show, Jimin has been on edge more than ever. Namjoon knows that it hurt his pride a lot.

 

Then, the nominees go online. Namjoon’s holds his breath as his eyes scan through all the categories.

 

Best Music Video:

Twice — “What Is Love?”

Blackpink — “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”

Beyond Dreams — “So What”

Shinee — “Good Evening”

Aeon — “Wings”

 

It takes Namjoon a bit longer than he’d like to admit before he realizes what is going on. Next to him, Jimin gasps and lets out a soft, “Hyung,” probably directed at no one in particular. Yoongi rubs his eyes in disbelief. Seokjin stands behind them, his wide eyes trained on the computer screen.

 

For a few moments, it’s completely quiet. Then, Yoongi slowly turns around, and his eyes meet Namjoon’s.

 

They did it.

 

“Fuck,” Namjoon mumbles, tangling a hand in his hair, “Fuck…”

 

“We’re nominated,” Jimin says, “They nominated us for an award…”

 

It feels surreal.

 

“In the same category as Shinee,” Seokjin stresses, “What the hell does that mean?”

 

A lot. They all know it.

 

Beyond Dreams is nominated, too,” Yoongi is quick to point out, and although Namjoon does feel a little sting in his chest at that, he quickly forces it to disappear. He is not going to let Taehyung take this moment away from him. Not this one, too.

 

“I don’t care,” Jimin says, “We’re nominated. That’s all that counts.”

 

And then, the euphoria hits them. They laugh and hug each other, and then Yoongi plays some music and they promise each other to have some drinks together just to celebrate this milestone. It feels too much like they made it, like they finally arrived in the industry, and even though Namjoon knows that the feeling is probably a false sense of security, he can’t help but revel in it for the time being.

 

And then, later that day when the sun has long set, his phone buzzes with an incoming message.

 

(Unknown)

Hyung

Congrats on the nomination (10:34 PM)

 

Namjoon sighs. He has half a mind not to reply, but there is something inside of him that already knows who is sending this message.

 

(Me)

Who is this (10:36 PM)

 

(Unknown)

:)

Taehyung (10:37 PM)

 

(Me)

How the hell did you get my number (10:37 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

I have my connections (10:39 PM)

 

(Me)

Right, gotta go

ttyl (10:40 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

No wait

I’m sorry

I asked my manager to get your number (10:40 PM)

 

(Me)

Why (10:43 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Because I wanted to congratulate you (10:47 PM)

 

Namjoon locks his phone and puts it away. He really doesn’t have the nerves for this. He still hasn’t forgotten about their last time together, when Taehyung just left him alone afterwards, without another word. He just ran away from him. Again.

 

But really, it’s Namjoon’s own fault. He shouldn’t have let Taehyung in, not again. Once was enough. And he still isn’t sure why it’s so hard for him to stay away from Taehyung. But on the other hand, he doesn’t understand why Taehyung keeps doing this, get close to him and lure him in with his arrogance and the power he radiates just to drop him again right after. It can’t possibly be fun for him.

 

Right?

 

Before he can think about it twice, he has picked up his phone once more.

 

(Me)

What do you really want? (10:55 PM)

 

He’s been asking this himself a lot. It just doesn’t make any sense to him.

 

(Taehyung)

I just wanted to be nice

But fine, if you don’t appreciate it

I guess then it’s ‘may the better win’ (10:56 PM)

 

Namjoon clenches his jaw. He wishes Taehyung wasn’t so infuriatingly annoying. And he wishes he wouldn’t like it so much.

 

(Me)

There it is

Be honest, you just wanted to get on my nerves all along (10:57 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Sure. I don’t have anything better to do. (10:57 PM)

 

(Me)

Seems like it (10:57 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

That was sarcasm (10:58 PM)

 

Namjoon chuckles.

 

(Me)

Hm. Seems plausible enough though. (10:59 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Suit yourself. I’m busy preparing for our comeback. (11:00 PM)

 

(Me)

Oh yeah? Where are you right now? (11:00 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

At home (11:00 PM)

 

(Me)

Interesting. I’m still at the studio. Makes you wonder who really is preparing for their comeback. (11:01 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Well, right now you’re busy texting me, so I’m not sure how much preparation you’re actually doing :)

Besides, maybe it just means that I don’t need to put in as much work as you to achieve the same goals. (11:03 PM)

 

It almost crosses the line. Almost. But Namjoon knows he doesn’t mean it. He is just saying whatever he can to rile Namjoon up.

 

(Me)

Careful, Taehyung. (11:04 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Why? What’re you gonna do?

Beg me to let you touch me while I fuck myself on your cock again? (11:07 PM)

 

Fuck. Namjoon swallows heavily. His heart beats a bit faster.

 

(Me)

Hmm so confident

You’re at home? (11:08 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

:)

You know the address (11:09 PM)

 

Namjoon locks his phone once more. He sits there on his chair in his studio, and everything is so awfully quiet around him. His chest rises and sinks rapidly.

 

For a few moments, he stays unmoving. Then, suddenly, he all but jumps up and hurries out of his studio.

 

He still remembers Taehyung’s address. Of course he does — how could he ever forget anything about that night? No matter how often he tries to fool himself that he doesn’t care anymore, in the end, he still does.

 

The drive doesn’t take too long. Maybe Namjoon drives a bit faster than is allowed, too.

 

Last time he dropped Taehyung off, he didn’t even take a good look at the house, but now that he is standing in front of it, he can’t help but feel the slightest bit overwhelmed. It’s a very nice, modern house with huge windows. Honestly, Namjoon is impressed by the fact that Taehyung can even afford a house all to himself. He still lives in a high-rise building in Gangnam together with his bandmates, and he doesn’t think he is going to upgrade anytime soon.

 

The front gate buzzes and Namjoon enters the lot. A small path leads to the front door, lined by green grass and neat bushes. As Namjoon approaches the house, the front door opens, and Taehyung peeks outside. He is only wearing a shirt and boxers, and it’s so simple that it momentarily stuns Namjoon.

 

“No one followed you?” Taehyung asks, glancing past him towards the gate. Namjoon shakes his head.

 

“No.”

 

“Good.”

 

Taehyung grabs his wrist and pulls him inside. As soon as the door falls shut, he is already holding onto Namjoon’s collar.

 

“Took you long enough to get here.”

 

Namjoon huffs. “I’m just glad I didn’t get a speeding ticket.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes sparkle. He grins. “Oh, were you that excited to see me?”

 

Namjoon raises one hand up to his cheek. “That’s rich coming from you.”

 

Taehyung leans in and slots their lips together. He wraps his arms around Namjoon’s neck to pull him close and kisses him eagerly. Namjoon’s hands automatically find his hips. His shirt is so thin, Namjoon can feel his warmth right underneath his fingertips.

 

There is something about the way Taehyung kisses him that is different. It’s a lot softer, deeper; when Namjoon pulls away to take off his jacket and shoes, Taehyung even chases after his lips and whines.

 

Namjoon chuckles before wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s middle once more. “Easy there.”

 

The way Taehyung pouts as he tugs at his shirt feels so familiar. It’s almost like now he’d have to say, “But I missed you,” and then Namjoon would say, “I know, I missed you, too. But now I’m here, yeah?”, and then, their kiss would be agonizingly soft, just like the way Taehyung would try to take off Namjoon’s shirt, and then he would kiss his neck and whisper, “Hyung — hyung, I love—”

 

Let’s go to my bedroom,” Taehyung interrupts his train of thought with a teasing smile. Namjoon nods once, swallowing around the lump in his throat. There is a dark blush on his cheeks as he follows Taehyung through the living room to his bedroom, past all the modern, expensive furniture that Namjoon is still only dreaming of one day owning.

 

This is so fucking dangerous. If he doesn’t get his thoughts back under control this won’t end too well.

 

Inside the bedroom, Taehyung doesn’t hesitate to kiss him again, harsher this time, his tongue sliding into his mouth the moment Namjoon parts his lips.

 

“Are you mad?” Taehyung whispers, hardly pulling away. Namjoon scoffs.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because of the award.”

 

“Hm.” Namjoon slides his hands underneath Taehyung’s shirt and up his back. He can feel the goosebumps on his skin. “No. Should I?”

 

Taehyung grins and presses a soft kiss against his lips. “Maybe. We’re so gonna win.”

 

Namjoon moves his hands to Taehyung’s chest and finds his nipples. He traces them with his fingers, then he twists them lightly. Taehyung gasps.

 

“Sure,” Namjoon mutters and kisses his neck, “Dream on…”

 

Taehyung laughs lightly, and the sound alone is enough to make Namjoon feel dizzy. Fuck. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with him today.

 

His hands slide down to Taehyung’s ass and he squeezes it as he presses their lips together once more. Blindly, they stumble back to the bed, and when Taehyung’s knees hit the edge of it, he wraps his arms around Namjoon’s neck to pull him down with him.

 

It feels like a déjà-vu, way too familiar for Namjoon’s liking. When he moves between Taehyung’s thighs and breaks their kiss, when he sees the way Taehyung gazes up at him, a little dazed already, his heart feels ready to burst out of his chest.

 

But fuck. Namjoon knows how this is going to go. He is going to let Taehyung in, and afterwards, Taehyung will push him away once more, like he always does. Like he did at the after show, and the way he did when they fucked in Namjoon’s car.

 

Like he did two years ago.

 

Namjoon doesn’t realize he is frowning until Taehyung is, too, as he cups his cheeks.

 

“What’s wrong?” he breathes. Namjoon blinks.

 

“Nothing.”

 

He kisses Taehyung again and pushes his shirt up to uncover his chest, then his hand finds his nipple again, twisting and teasing. Taehyung moans into his mouth. They momentarily break the kiss to get rid of Taehyung’s shirt, then their lips are back together, almost like two magnets, pushing and pulling, again and again…

 

It all moves fast from there on. Namjoon doesn’t waste any time to undress Taehyung completely, until he is naked underneath him, squirming a little.

 

“Take this off,” Taehyung breathes and tugs at Namjoon’s shirt, but Namjoon just pushes his hands away. No time for tenderness.

 

“Where is your lube?”

 

Taehyung jerks his head at the nightstand. Namjoon quickly leans over and retrieves the lube and a pack of condoms that’s half empty. He chuckles dryly.

 

“Getting pretty busy in your free time, huh?”

 

Taehyung glares at him. “I’m not the one fucking random dancers in my car.”

 

Namjoon makes a low, warning noise at the back of his throat as he grabs both of Taehyung’s wrists and pins them down on either side of his head.

 

“Careful,” he hisses against his neck before nibbling on his skin and then dragging his tongue across the same spot. Taehyung pants.

 

“You’re a fucking hypocrite,” he says, “What, are you jealous?”

 

Namjoon halts, breathes against his skin. Slowly, he raises his head until he is leaning right over Taehyung. He can see the exact moment Taehyung’s expression changes; at first, he squints his eyes the slightest bit, and then they widen. He huffs quietly.

 

Namjoon clenches his jaw.

 

“Don’t fucking say that,” he mutters and grinds against Taehyung who throws his head back with a gasp at the sensation of Namjoon’s rough jeans against his naked cock. Namjoon leans down to kiss him and bites down on his bottom lip, then soothes the pain with his tongue.

 

He doesn’t stop grinding, not even when Taehyung whines and buries his face against his neck.

 

“Look at you,” Namjoon breathes against his ear, “I’m hardly doing anything and you’re already falling apart.” He lets go of Taehyung’s wrists and instead pushes one of his thighs up to his chest. “You think I could make you come just like this? Hm?”

 

Taehyung breathes heavily, arching his back in the prettiest way. “Don’t wanna come like this…”

 

He is already so hard, Namjoon can feel it. So hard, and he is so, so, pretty. Fuck. All Namjoon wants to do is give in and let himself fall and hope Taehyung will be there to catch him. But he can’t.

 

He kisses his cheek. “How do you wanna come, then?”

 

Taehyung swallows heavily. “On your cock.”

 

Their eyes meet. Namjoon’s heart clenches.

 

“Fuck, okay.” He reaches for the lube, but Taehyung stops him.

 

“Wait.” He grabs Namjoon’s wrist and pushes his hand down to his ass. Namjoon arches one eyebrow, but when he slides his fingers between his cheeks and hits something hard, his eyes widen.

 

“Is that a butt plug?”

 

A cheeky smirk grows on Taehyung’s lips.

 

“You like it?”

 

Namjoon feels a little dizzy. He wishes he could just say yes, kiss Taehyung’s neck and tell him how beautiful he is and how much Namjoon wants him.

 

But he is only going to get hurt again. That’s all that is on his mind.

 

“So eager, huh?” he says instead, “Was this your plan all along when you texted me? To get me over here to fuck you?”

 

Taehyung’s smile falters. Something flashes in his eyes.

 

“Don’t act so surprised. I know you’re only here to fuck me, too.”

 

And — maybe Namjoon is. Maybe he really is. But why does he feel so confused, then? Why is there an overwhelming emotional turmoil in his chest, and why doesn’t he know what to do? Why does he want to be soft and gentle and take his time with Taehyung, to be fully vulnerable and give him his all, while another part of him just begs him to fuck Taehyung into the mattress and hope to get it all out of his system this way?

 

“All that decency for nothing,” is what he mutters in the end and reaches for a condom, “Could have just told me how badly you want me.”

 

There is a bitter scowl on Taehyung’s face. He juts his chin forward when Namjoon pushes his thighs up to his chest and lightly pulls at the butt plug, then he pushes it back inside. Taehyung’s eyes flutter shut and he makes a deep noise.

 

“So fucking desperate for my cock,” Namjoon mutters and kisses his neck, “Such a little slut.”

 

Taehyung’s hand flies to the back of his head. “Hyung…”

 

“Hm?” Namjoon pulls the plug almost all the way out again, the presses it back inside. Taehyung whines. 

 

“Please,” he mumbles and squirms. Namjoon hears his blood rush past his ears.

 

“What do you want?” he rasps. Taehyung’s eyes fly open. Their gazes meet.

 

“You,” he pants, “Please.”

 

It’s like something inside of Namjoon snaps. He feels like there is a fire rushing through his veins, burning him and spurring him on. Quickly, he leans down and presses his lips against Taehyung’s while he unzips his pants and pushes them down. Taehyung whimpers into his mouth, licks against his lips. Namjoon has to pull away to take off his pants and his underwear and to put the condom on, but as soon as he is done he is back on top of Taehyung, pressing his thighs against his chest as he kisses him.

 

His hand finds the butt plug once more. He slowly pulls it out and throws it on the bed next to them.

 

“Ready?” he asks, and Taehyung nods, holding onto his arms. Namjoon presses against his hole.

 

Once he sinks into him, Namjoon feels utter bliss. He pants, leaning his head against Taehyung’s shoulder. The younger wraps his arms around his shoulders, and for a moment until Namjoon bottoms out, they’re utterly connected. So, so close. Namjoon feels all his senses getting fogged.

 

Taehyung has his eyes shut tightly, his head thrown back. He looks so beautiful. Breathtaking, like an angel. Like the sweetest person Namjoon has ever seen, just like back then.

 

“Fuck…”

 

Namjoon squeezes his eyes shut and wills those thoughts away. He can’t allow himself to feel like that.

 

He starts moving, both hands on either side of Taehyung’s head as he leans over him, and Taehyung’s hands slide back down to his arms. Like this, they can look at each other. It’s almost too intimate, the way Taehyung stares right into his eyes, a little dazed, like he can look straight into his soul.

 

Namjoon clenches his jaw.

 

“You just can’t get enough of me and my cock,” he mutters as he picks up his pace, “Always so willing to let me fuck you. Such a fucking slut just for me…”

 

Taehyung chokes out a moan.

 

“Just for you,” he stammers, “So good… fucking me so well…”

 

Namjoon hisses a curse and leans down to kiss Taehyung’s neck. His skin tastes so sweet, it’s so warm. Namjoon nuzzles the sensitive spot right underneath Taehyung’s ear. His mind is clouded.

 

“Harder,” Taehyung moans, “Please — ah, harder…”

 

Namjoon promptly speeds up his thrusts. He fucks into Taehyung so harshly that the room fills with the obscene sounds of skin slapping against skin mixed with Taehyung’s loud, desperate moans.

 

“Fuck,” he gasps and arches his back, “Right there — hyung…”

 

Namjoon pants. He can feel Taehyung everywhere, his hands trailing down his back and his fingernails digging into his skin. It’s too much, everything feels too much —

 

In a quick movement, he grabs Taehyung’s wrists and pins them down against the mattress. Taehyung lets out a surprised moan; his eyes are dark, pupils blown as he stares up at Namjoon.

 

So beautiful. So fucking beautiful.

 

Namjoon tightens his grip around Taehyung’s wrists when he squirms and whines.

 

“What happened to you, huh?” Namjoon mutters in between heavy breaths. The room is too hot and his hair is sticking to his sweaty forehead. “Suddenly, you’re not so fucking arrogant anymore.”

 

Taehyung starts rolling his hip, meeting each of Namjoon’s thrusts halfway. The whole bed slams against the wall in rhythm to their movements.

 

“So fucking desperate,” Namjoon grunts and presses an open-mouthed kiss against Taehyung’s lips, “Begging me to fuck you like a slut.”

 

Taehyung mewls. “Love — ah — love how you fuck me… y’do it so well.” His eyes roll back into his skull and he arches his back once more. God.

 

Something inside of Namjoon changes.

 

He mutters a curse, then he circles his arms around Taehyung’s waist and flips him over. Taehyung lets out a surprised yelp, but as soon as Namjoon presses against his rim once more, he pushes back to meet him.

 

When Namjoon fucks back into him, he is nothing but a crying, moaning mess. The new angle has Namjoon hit is prostate with every thrust, and he can already feel the familiar heat pool in his stomach. His skin buzzes with electricity and the whole situation is so incredibly obscene — yet, the only thought that occupies his mind is how utterly beautiful Taehyung is.

 

Even with his face pressed against the mattress, tears caught in his lashes and his face contorted with pleasure, he looks ethereal. Especially now. And Namjoon feels his chest grow with something he can’t quite describe, but there is an urgency underneath his skin that is burning, and it’s almost painful.

 

He wants to tell Taehyung. He has to.

 

I love you.

 

The thought hits him like a truck and leaves him momentarily breathless. Namjoon stutters out a moan.

 

I love you.

 

“Hyung,” Taehyung cries, “You fuck me so well… hm — want no one else… jus’you…”

 

There is a low growl building up in Namjoon’s chest, and he sees white.

 

His right hand moves to Taehyung’s nape, gripping him tightly and pressing him further down into the mattress while his left one has an almost bruising grip on his hip. He snaps his hips forward against Taehyung’s, so harshly that it surely must be painful, but Taehyung just sobs and mumbles a few incoherent words.

 

Namjoon sees Taehyung wrap a hand around his cock and desperately flick his wrists, and after only a few more thrusts he is coming all over his hand and the bedsheets with a loud cry.

 

Namjoon fucks him all through his orgasm, even when he grows impossibly tight around him. Like this, it doesn’t take him too long either.

 

He doesn’t hold back his moans anymore, just fucks Taehyung until he whines from the oversensitivity that sets in, and then, his own orgasm knocks the air out of his lungs. He throws his head back, jaw going slack as he is momentarily blinded by the pleasure. His hips twitch forward two, three more times until he has spilled into the condom, and then, he stills.

 

For a few moments, everything is quiet except for their heavy breathing. It’s like the world is standing still just for them.

 

Then, as Namjoon’s head clears up, it’s like everything bad in the world hits him at once.

 

He sobers up real fast and slides out of Taehyung who falls to the mattress, limp and exhausted. He has his eyes closed, his chest heaving and sinking rapidly.

 

Namjoon quickly ties up the condom and throws it to the ground. Taehyung needs him, he knows that.

 

But he is going to send him away.

 

Yet, Namjoon knows he has to be there for him now.

 

But he will end up hurting him.

 

Numbly, he realizes Taehyung’s hand circling around his wrist. The younger isn’t looking at him, just holding onto him. Namjoon’s stomach drops.

 

Something changed.

 

He has half a mind to just get up and leave, run away before Taehyung can push him away — but then, Taehyung blinks at him, and he looks so fucking vulnerable, and Namjoon realizes that he couldn’t hurt Taehyung even if he wanted to.

 

So, he silently lies down next to him and pulls him against his chest, allowing him to curl up against him and hoping that he can’t feel his fast heartbeat.

 

They stay like that for a while; eventually, Namjoon loses track of time as he trails his fingers up and down Taehyung’s back. He even starts suspecting that he might have fallen asleep, but then Taehyung suddenly sits up, looking around with a distant look in his eyes.

 

“I’ll go clean up,” he mumbles then and gets up. Namjoon follows him with his gaze.

 

“You need help?”

 

Taehyung shakes his head and walks into the ensuite bathroom. The door falls shut behind him, and Namjoon is alone with his tormenting mind.

 

The room smells like sex. He wants to get up and open the window, but his body doesn’t listen to him. In the end, he just so manages to gather enough energy to get up and dress himself.

 

When Taehyung returns to the bedroom, he is wearing a bathrobe. He has his arms wrapped around himself and he and Namjoon both stand there, awkwardly avoiding each other’s eyes. The tension between them is high.

 

“Maybe you should go,” Taehyung ends up saying, and even though Namjoon expected it, it still hurts. He nods.

 

“Yeah.”

 

At least Taehyung has the decency to walk him to the door.

 

As Namjoon puts on his shoes, he thinks that something about the situation feels very final. Today was different, and unspoken words are hanging between them in the air, weighing down on both of them.

 

Or, maybe Namjoon is just a delusional fool.

 

When he stands up again, Taehyung isn’t looking at him.

 

“You were weird today,” he says, “Different.”

 

If the group opened up and swallowed Namjoon whole, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. He stares at Taehyung with wide eyes.

 

“The way you fucked me felt like you truly hated me.”

 

Namjoon swallows around the lump in his throat.

 

“Is that bad?”

 

Taehyung slowly shakes his head. “No. I don’t think so.”

 

And this is not how it’s supposed to be like at all. Namjoon wants to grab Taehyung, shake him and tell him the truth, that he loves him, that he always has.

 

But instead, he stays quiet.

 

“Do you?” Taehyung asks, “Hate me, I mean.”

 

I love you. I love you so fucking much and it pains me because I should’ve been over you a long time ago, I shouldn’t even be here, and you keep pushing me away and you’ve changed so fucking much but I still love you. And I don’t understand why you left us all those years ago. Why you left me. And all I wanna do is turn back time and stop you from leaving and then tell you about my feelings for you. But I can’t, and now everything is different, but my pain is still the fucking same and I love you.

 

“Yeah,” Namjoon says, his voice breaking, “I do.”

 

And maybe, in its own way, that is the most honest thing he has said in a while.

 

Taehyung nods, lips pressed into a thin line. The look in his eyes is distant.

 

“Yeah,” he mumbles, “Figured.”

 

Then, he opens the door for Namjoon and steps aside. With one last look at him, Namjoon steps outside and leaves Taehyung behind. He doesn’t realize that he is crying until he gets into his car and a sob forces its way out of his throat.

 

When he throws one last glance at Taehyung’s door, he finds the spot empty.

 

 

 

 

They’re in the practice room when the article comes out — so, at first, Namjoon doesn’t even see it. None of them does.

 

They’re going over their choreographies again and again for hours until they’re all exhausted and sweaty. It’s already past nine in the evening when they finally get another break.

 

Namjoon plops down on the floor and leans against the wall, cold bottle of water in his hand. Next to him, Jimin fishes his phone out of his bag.

 

The past few days have been so stressful; Namjoon feels drained, both mentally and physically. They still have another hour of practice, and then he will finally be able to go home and just sleep.

 

He tilts his head back and closes his eyes. Slowly, his body cools down a bit as he sips his water and breathes calmly. Yoongi and Seokjin are quietly talking with their trainer. The music is still going, but the volume is turned down. It’s very calming.

 

Suddenly, Jimin lets out a gasp.

 

It destroys the serenity of the scene; Namjoon frowns and glances at him, and at first he is ready to make an annoyed remark, but then he sees the horror on his face.

 

“Jimin-ah?”

 

He looks up and their eyes meet. Wordlessly, Jimin hands him his phone.

 

There is an article open on screen. The headline alone is enough to spark worry in Namjoon’s stomach.

 

Kim Taehyung Opens Up About Career and Trainee Days.

 

Before Namjoon can stop himself, he is already skipping through the article.

 

“ (…) Kim Taehyung, who was originally supposed to debut with a different group (…) What was the reason why you decided to leave your old company and accept the offer from a different one? (…) They postponed our debut a lot, Taehyung says, honestly, at this point I am surprised Aeon got to debut at all.

 

So, there were no fights? There must have been, right?

 

— No, no fights really… well, I do believe there was a huge difference in abilities amongst the members and that caused a lot of tension, especially in the beginning. I can assure you that some people in that group have a very quick temper. It’s not all fun and games. (…)

 

You never talked about your old trainee days, though. Is it something you’re ashamed of?

 

— Ashamed? Hm… I never thought about it like that. I would say that I never intended on bringing it up. But of course, now that it’s out, it leaves a lot of room for debate that probably won’t be in my favor. I wouldn’t have left if it hadn’t been absolutely necessary.

 

Really? Are you sure there weren’t any fights?

 

— (laughs) No. I just don’t think it would have been good for anyone had I debuted with Aeon. There were a lot of problems apparent to me that I wanted to avoid and didn’t feel like I could communicate with the members. (…)

 

Are you still in contact with the members?

 

— No. I haven’t talked to any of them in years. And honestly, it’s better that way. (…) I don’t think a conversation between us these days would benefit any of us. It would just open old wounds and we all deserve to find closure. I have moved on and they should, too. But I don’t know, maybe the other members are still extremely bitter about what happened (laughs). (…)

 

In hindsight, are you looking back at your time before Beyond Dreams with fondness?

 

— Hm… I think I just try to forget, for the most part. The reality is that I learned a lot from the members of Aeon and I’ll forever be grateful for that, but unfortunately, it is a little bit more complicated than that. I moved on, and I hope that everyone else can, too. I am happy were I am now — honestly, the happiest I could probably ever be. So in hindsight, I am convinced I made the right decisions, and I would do it all over again.

 

(…)”

 

It’s like Namjoon’s heart freezes, and slowly, every single inch of his body is taken over by the frost. He doesn’t move for a few, long moments, only staring at Jimin’s phone as he reads through the article again and again.

 

Faintly, he hears Jimin talk, loud and agitated; Seokjin is desperately trying to calm him down.

 

“Namjoon-ah.”

 

Namjoon looks up. Yoongi is standing in front of him, a mixture of concern and suspicion on his face.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

Wordlessly, Namjoon hands him the phone, then he gets up. He feels a little out of it as he looks through the practice room. Jimin is crying. Seokjin holds him close.

 

Namjoon tries to concentrate on his own heartbeat, the blood rushing past his ears. He takes one step back, then another one before turning around and hurrying towards the door. Someone is calling his name, but he doesn’t stop; he runs out of the room and down the hallway as he pulls his phone out of his pocket.

 

Quickly, he dials Taehyung’s phone number. He doesn’t even think about it.

 

It rings for about thirty seconds, then — mailbox. Namjoon hisses a curse.

 

He stops in front of the elevators and calls one of them, but after just five seconds he grows too impatient and runs down the stairs. Down in the foyer, the receptionist throws him confused glances.

 

“Namjoon-ah!”

 

He stops, turns around. Yoongi stops by the foot of the stairs, breathing heavily.

 

“Don’t. I swear to fucking god — whatever you’re about to do, don’t fucking do it.”

 

Namjoon holds his gaze for a few beats. Yoongi looks so desperate and helpless.

 

Namjoon’s jaw clenches. He takes a step back, then another one. In the end, he turns around and pushes the door open.

 

It’s like he is moving on autopilot. He somehow reaches his car, then he is out on the road, driving. Everything is a little blurry and Namjoon is deaf to the city around him; all he can hear is his heart racing in his chest.

 

By the time he arrives at Taehyung’s house, the sun has set completely and the sky is covered in dark clouds. Somewhere, deep thunder rolls. The air feels electric, smells like rain.

 

Namjoon rings the bell by the gate and waits for a few moments before someone answers over the intercom.

 

“Taehyung,” he snarls, “Open the fucking door.”

 

Silence follows. Taehyung lets out a small, pained gasp.

 

“Hyung — why are you here?”

 

“You know well enough why I’m fucking here,” Namjoon hisses, “Now open the door!”

 

Taehyung hangs up, then the gate buzzes. As Namjoon paces through the front yard, the first few raindrops hit his face.

 

“Namjoon hyung.” Taehyung stands in the doorframe, his arms wrapped around himself. He looks a little lost and confused —  but Namjoon isn’t going to fall for his trick. Not again.

 

“Don’t call me ‘hyung’,” he says and walks past Taehyung and into his house. Breathing heavily, he whips around, glaring at him. Taehyung slowly closes the door, his eyes darting back and forth between Namjoon’s.

 

“What’s going on?” he asks, his voice trembling the slightest bit, “What happened?”

 

“Don’t play fucking stupid,” Namjoon says and steps a little closer, “One minute. I’ll give you one fucking minute to explain yourself.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen. “What are you talking about?” he whispers, “Explain… what?”

 

And Namjoon is this close to bursting.

 

“The fucking article!” he yells, “You know exactly which one I’m talking about!”

 

Taehyung’s parted lips are trembling. He looks like he is at a loss for words — but his silence only adds fuel to the fire.

 

“Fucking — talk!” Namjoon shouts and pushes him back, “Don’t pretend like you don’t know what this is about.”

 

“But I don’t,” Taehyung stammers. When he pulls out his phone and unlocks it with shaking fingers, Namjoon turns away with a groan, tangling his fingers in his hair and pulling at the strands. The pain helps only a little bit to relax him.

 

A few awfully long moments pass as Taehyung reads through the article. It’s funny, the way his expression changes; he frowns, then raises his eyebrows in surprise as his mouth falls open. In the end, he looks devastated. 

 

Raindrops fall against the windows as thunder rolls over the city.

 

“It’s edited,” Taehyung mumbles, “I didn’t say any of this.”

 

Namjoon huffs. “Sure.”

 

“I didn’t!” Taehyung quickly puts his phone away and steps closer, “You know I wouldn’t say any of that shit about you!”

 

Namjoon raises his chin. “Do I?”

 

It’s almost comical, the way Taehyung’s face falls. He says nothing for a few, drawn moments, so Namjoon speaks up once more.

 

“I knew there was something fucked up going on. You just didn’t fucking change, did you? Not one bit?”

 

Taehyung stares at him with something akin to fire burning in his eyes.

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” he says, his frame trembling visibly. Namjoon scoffs.

 

“You know exactly what it means.”

 

The sound of the raindrops hitting the window grows louder and louder until it’s almost deafening. Taehyung breathes through deeply, closes his eyes for a second as if to calm himself.

 

“I did not say any of the things in the article,” he says slowly, “At least not like that. We talked about you and the group, about our trainee days and how I was supposed to debut with you. But my answers — they’re taken out of context. I did not say these things about you, I swear, you have to believe me!”

 

“I don’t have to do shit,” Namjoon mutters and steps closer, so close that Taehyung’s back hits the door, “You know what I think happened? You saw how happy and successful we were and you didn’t like that because you’re so fucking miserable. Were you trying to ruin our comeback, huh? Or are you trying to ridicule us in front of the entire industry and destroy our image? Let me fucking guess, you probably enjoyed it when half the internet trashed us for winning an award, right?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes are so wide, it almost looks painful.

 

What? Are you even fucking listening to yourself?” he frantically asks, “I told you the truth behind the article — it’s not my fault it’s not what you wanted to hear.”

 

Namjoon just turns away with a frustrated groan. Maybe Taehyung is right, he doesn’t want to hear it, none of it; it just hurts too much. He shouldn’t ever have let Taehyung in again. All he does is cause pain.

 

“You know, I almost feel sorry for you,” he chuckles dryly, “You must live a very lonely life. But that’s on you.” He shakes his head. “If you think that this is going to benefit you in any way, then you’re very fucking rotten. But you’ve always chosen your career over your friends, have you not? The only true friends you’ve ever had in your entire life.”

 

It’s like the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Taehyung’s entire body is trembling at this point, and his eyes mirror all the anger he must be feeling inside.

 

“Fuck you,” he all but sobs and takes one, two unsteady step towards him, “Fuck you, Kim Namjoon, you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about!”

 

“I know very well what I’m talking about,” Namjoon hisses, “I was there, in case you forgot. I was there when you took the first best opportunity to fuck off and screw us over. You fucking — left all of us behind, you left me, after everything we’ve been through, you just… left.”

 

Horrified, Namjoon realizes that there are tears burning in his eyes as his throat tightens uncomfortably. He quickly wipes his eyes with his sleeve and turns his head away.

 

“You just left.”

 

“I had my reasons,” Taehyung rasps, but Namjoon just frowns.

 

“Fuck your reasons. I don’t care.” When he meets Taehyung’s eyes one more time, he slowly feels all control and strength leave him.

 

“And now, you’re back and you’re fucking us over again,” he says, “You knew exactly how much I still—” He halts, swallows down the words that almost slipped past his lips.

 

“You just used me. And what for? Your own stupid ego? To get a good fuck? Both?”

 

Taehyung stares at him with parted lips, and somewhere underneath all that emotional turmoil, there is the pain, all the hurt Namjoon just caused.

 

But he doesn’t want to see it. He doesn’t — can’t care.

 

So, with one last huff, he rushes past Taehyung and rips the front door open. The temperatures outside have dropped significantly and he isn’t wearing a jacket; his shirt is quickly soaked as he hurries down the path through the front yard, too, but he doesn’t feel any of the cold.

 

“Hyung!” Taehyung yells from his porch and then Namjoon hears steps running after him. When Taehyung’s fingers circles around his wrist, he rips his hand out of his grip and spins around, glaring at him.

 

“Please,” Taehyung sobs, “I can — let me explain everything, okay? I swear, this is all just one big misunderstanding, don’t leave, please, you can’t leave me now—”

 

“Just drop it,” Namjoon says, “Don’t drag me into your fucking misery.”

 

And with those words, he walks away and leaves Taehyung behind as the rain continues to mercilessly pour down on them.

 

 

 

 

“You know that we’re gonna be great.” Taehyung gripped the railing tightly as he leaned forward a bit; the colors of the sunset painted his face in the most beautiful way. Namjoon smiled softly.

 

“Sure.”

 

“All of this will be ours. We’ll conquer the entire city.”

 

“You make it sound like we’re going to war,” Namjoon chuckled. Taehyung turned around and spread his arms out, arching his back over the railing with his eyes closed.

 

For a while, they both enjoyed the silence between them as the city in front of them bustled.

 

“You know,” Taehyung said eventually and sat straight again, “I’m glad I get to debut with you guys.”

 

Namjoon glanced at him, an embarrassed blush creeping up on him. “Huh?”

 

“Jimin-ah, Seokjin hyung, Yoongi hyung, you — I’m glad it’s the five of us.” He leaned his head against the railing and watched Namjoon with the softest eyes. “I feel like we’re gonna be great friends.”

 

“We already are,” Namjoon mumbled, and when Taehyung only hummed in agreement, he added, “For the record, though. I’m glad it’s us as a team, too.”

 

Taehyung threw him a glance, then he moved closer until he could lean against him. Namjoon wrapped an arm around his chest.

 

“We’re gonna be great,” Taehyung mumbled, “I know it.”

 

 

 

 

“Come on, hyung. Yesterday, you promised us you’d join us!”

 

Namjoon sighs and rubs his eyes. Was it really yesterday? All days feel like one big mushy mess to him.

 

“Can’t we do it tomorrow?”

 

“No way.” Jimin tugs at his arm and pulls him out of his chair. “Tomorrow, me and Yoongi hyung aren’t free. It only works today.”

 

With a dramatic exhale, Namjoon relents and follows Jimin out of his room and to the living room. Yoongi is already sitting on the couch; the coffee table is covered with glasses, soju and beer bottles.

 

“Wow,” Yoongi says, one brow arched up, “You managed to lure the beast out of its cage.”

 

Namjoon throws him a glare. “Fuck you, hyung.”

 

They’ve talked about having a nice evening together a while ago already — just drinking, laughing, relaxing. And now, on a free day amidst all the pre-comeback stress, is the perfect time.

 

Namjoon’s mind is somewhere else, though. Once Yoongi and Jimin fall into a conversation, and even when Seokjin joins them shortly after, he spaces out.

 

It’s been tough. Namjoon doesn’t want to admit it, but it’s the truth. At night, he hardly gets any sleep which makes work every day a lot harder than it has to be. Three days ago, he even missed his alarm and arrived too late at a meeting.

 

At least now, he has his beer to help him relax a little bit.

 

“Namjoon-ah.”

 

It takes him a few moments to realize someone is talking to him. When he opens his eyes, Yoongi is peering at him.

 

“Hm?”

 

Yoongi sighs. “I asked you something.”

 

Namjoon looks down at his beer and takes a sip. “Sorry. Spaced out.”

 

He can feel his friends exchange a quick, telling glance.

 

“You look quite tired,” Seokjin notices then, “Are you okay?”

 

“Sure,” Namjoon is quick to reply. He isn’t entirely sure if he has the energy to convince his friends that he truly is, though. But if he were to tell them what happened — well, it’s not that he doesn’t trust them, but he also knows that it’s a lot to take in. And he never told them. Not one thing about what happened between him and Taehyung.

 

When he senses Seokjin’s concerned gaze on him, he already feels his composure crumble.

 

“It’s nothing,” he insists, “I swear. It’s just — stupid.”

 

“You’ve been walking around looking like a corpse for about a week now,” Yoongi says, “I’m sure it can’t be nothing.”

 

“But it doesn’t involve you,” Namjoon shoots back and immediately regrets it when Jimin’s head whips around.

 

“I hate to say this, but if you sleep through meetings and can’t keep up with us during dance practice, then it does involve us.” He takes a sip of his soju and his face softens.

 

“But even if it didn’t. You’re still our friend. I know we’re all grown up now and we don’t talk about everything anymore, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t give you advice whenever you need it.”

 

Namjoon hates that he is right. He stares at his beer bottle, scratches off the corner of the etiquette that has macerated.

 

“It’s stupid,” he mutters as a last try, “And a lot.”

 

“We’ve got time,” Yoongi replies and leans back in his chair. Namjoon glances at him, then he lets out a drawn sigh.

 

“You can’t be upset though,” he insists, and then he finally admits, “Back when we were still trainees, Taehyung and I had sex.”

 

The silence that follows is tense and too much. Namjoon downs the rest of his beer and reaches for a new one immediately. What a stupid idea. What a stupid idea. What a stupid idea—

 

“Oh,” Seokjin says, looking a little lost, “Okay.”

 

“Yeah,” Namjoon breathes, “Just once, though. And then he left the company.”

 

Jimin looks like a drowned rat while Yoongi frowns at his drink. They all seem to be thinking — what was it like back then? Where there any signs?

 

“A few weeks ago, I ran into him at an award show. We didn’t talk and the moment was over in, like, a few seconds, but after that… I saw him a few more times and… well, we talked.” He halts. “Did some more than just that.”

 

Yoongi scoffs. “Alright, we get it, I think.”

 

When Namjoon glances at him, he is relieved to see a slight grin on his face. Immediately, he relaxes.

 

And then, he tells them everything.

 

About how he’d seen him at the club and left with him, what had happened at the after party — then, the day the MAMA nominations were announced. How Taehyung pushed him away every single time once they were done. He does spare them the details, though.

 

“And the article…” Namjoon sighs. “It was too much.” He lowers his gaze to his thighs. “We fought and I left. Said some messed up shit, but… how could he, you know? Why would he say that stuff about us. I just…” He shakes his head, pressing this lips into a straight line.

 

“I just don’t understand.”

 

Next to him, Jimin slowly nods, his eyes trained on the table.

 

“It hurts,” he says, “I get it. Even I didn’t like what he said about us.”

 

“I don’t think any of us did,” Seokjin supplies, “It was rude and shady. He knows us and it’s simply not polite to say stuff like he did in an interview.”

 

“It does seem very out of character for him,” Yoongi says and then looks at Namjoon, “How much has he changed?”

 

Namjoon shrugs. “It’s hard to tell. He… well, at first, I thought he was a completely different person. Intimidating, proud. Arrogant, almost, not so different from most other idols we’ve met so far.” He squints his eyes in thought, circles the top of his bottle with his finger.

 

“But I don’t think that’s really him. I think… it’s more of a facade. And sometimes, he still seems like the person he used to be. It’s hard to tell.”

 

Maybe Namjoon just wants the old Taehyung to be somewhere behind his mask. Maybe it’s all just wishful thinking, and that thought is scary.

 

“I just hate… that he still holds so much power over me,” he admits at last, practically blurts it out before he can stop himself, “No matter what happened, I still went back to him. And if he showed up in front of our door right now, I’d still take him back. I honestly have no fucking self-respect.”

 

He shakes his head to himself and takes a sip of his beer. Seokjin thoughtfully stares off into space, his lips pulled into a pout.

 

“It’s not your fault for loving him,” he says so soberly, it makes Namjoon splutter, “You can’t just turn your feelings off whenever you want to.”

 

Love. It has taken Namjoon so long to come to terms with his own feelings — hearing someone else say it just like that makes him feel all weird.

 

“Yeah,” he mumbles, “I guess I can’t.”

 

But even if he could, he isn’t sure whether he would do it, and maybe that’s the worst part about it.

 

 

 

 

(Taehyung)

Hey, hyung

I heard the song you just released. It’s good, I really like it

Well done (31.10. 02:32 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Namjoon hyung

I’m sorry I’m messaging you again

I just thought that maybe we could talk? (05.11. 09:56 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

I want to explain myself (06.11. 04:12 AM)

 

(Taehyung)

So, I don’t think it’s fair of you to just ignore me.

I mean, I’m not the only one who made mistakes here

You asked for an explanation and I gave you one. It’s not my fault you didn’t like it.

I’m not the villain you think I am (12.11. 20:43 PM)

 

(Taehyung)

Hello, I’m sorry. My last few messages were uncalled for.

I’m just so frustrated, you know?

Things didn’t have to go this way (13.11. 10.45 AM)

 

(Taehyung)

Hey hyung

MAMA will be in a few days and I just wanted to wish you good luck. Honestly. You guys deserve to win. (07.12. 08:29 AM)

 

(Taehyung)

Namjoon hyung

I’m sorry you didn’t win…

I guess in the end neither of us was good enough, huh? Of course our egos were too big.

It’s funny how this was so important to us a few months ago, but now it seems so irrelevant. (11.12. 02:17 AM)

 

 

 

 

Beyond Dreams’ V Admitted to Hospital, All Schedules Cancelled

 

Just mere days before Beyond Dream’s comeback, member V (Kim Taehyung) has been admitted to the hospital this morning. Two hours later, CM Entertainment issued a statement.

 

“Our artists’ health always come first,” it says, “So, upon advising with doctors and Kim Taehyung himself as well as the other members, we came to the conclusion that it will be better for him to rest. Therefore, we’re sorry to inform Beyond Dream’s fans that he will not be able to take part in any comeback activities. We ask you to respect this decision.”

 

While some fans are upset by this announcement, the majority are wishing Kim Taehyung a speedy recovery. The hashtag ‘GetWellSoonTaehyung’ trended on social media shortly after (…)

 

 

 

 

Namjoon slowly lowers his phone. There is a burning sensation in his chest, one that gets worse by the minute until it makes its way down to his stomach and turns into nausea.

 

A few meters away from him, Seokjin, Yoongi and Jimin stand, talking; laughing. Namjoon’s gaze lingers on them.

 

He locks his phone and puts it away, then he makes his way over to his friends.

 

Even though he tries not to let it show, his thoughts are racing.

 

Even though he forces a smile on his face, the worry gnawing at his heart is making him want to cry.

 

 

 

 

It’s three days before the comeback when Jimin knocks on Namjoon’s door late at night.

 

“Come in…”

 

The door opens, and Jimin slips into the room. He has a warm smile on his lips.

 

“Hyung,” he says, “I need to talk to you.”

 

Immediately, worry flares up inside Namjoon. He looks up, alarmed.

 

“Everything alright?” he asks. When Jimin nods, he continues to fold his clothes; he was doing some laundry earlier and right now, all he wants is to go to bed and get some sleep.

 

“I just… there is something I have to tell you,” Jimin says. He stands in the middle of the room, fiddling with his fingers in a nervous manner, and only when Namjoon throws him a suspicious glance does he sit down next to him on the bed.

 

“Everything alright?” Namjoon asks. Jimin nods.

 

“Yeah, yeah… don’t worry.”

 

Then, he is quiet for a few moments as he sorts his thoughts, and Namjoon lets him. He finishes folding his clothes and carries them over to his wardrobe to put them away.

 

“Please don’t get mad at me,” Jimin starts with a sigh, “I know this might come as a surprise to you, but… yeah. Just, don’t get mad.”

 

Namjoon halts. He closes his wardrobe and turns around to face Jimin, his eyes narrowing.

 

“What did you do?” he asks.

 

“Nothing,” Jimin replies a bit too fast, “I mean — I didn’t do anything.”

 

And when Namjoon just stares at him with a questioning expression on his face, Jimin says, “Taehyung reached out to me.”

 

Immediately, Namjoon feels his insides turn around. He clenches his jaw as he stares at Jimin, trying to find any hint on his face indicating that this is a joke.

 

Jimin sits there, squirming underneath his gaze.

 

“What?” Namjoon asks, “Taehyung — what?”

 

“I told you not to get mad!” Jimin quickly says and gets up, “Just — he is not okay, hyung. He really isn’t.”

 

“And why should I care?” Namjoon mutters; he hopes that Jimin can’t see right through him and tell that he, in fact, does care.

 

But then again, Jimin knows him well enough.

 

“You don’t have to,” Jimin says calmly, “I wanted to tell you, though.”

 

“So, you’re best friends again now or what?”

 

It’s bizarre. Jimin was so, so hurt by what Taehyung did — and rightfully so. It just doesn’t make any sense.

 

“No, we’re not,” Jimin replies, “Of course we aren’t. But we talked last night and I decided I want to visit him at the hospital tomorrow.” He halts, releases a long breath. His expression softens. “I know… this isn’t easy for you. And I don’t want to defend Taehyung in any way. But I do think that having some proper closure is better than whatever is going on right now.”

 

Namjoon stares at him, teeth gnashing.

 

“So, if you want to come to the hospital with me, you’re free to do so. I personally think it would benefit both of you to just have a proper talk.” He tilts his head to one side as he looks at Namjoon with those soft, caring eyes of his.

 

“I know that this is still important to you,” he says at last, “And I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t think it would help.”

 

Namjoon lowers his gaze to the floor. There is a weird feeling in his stomach, one that feels too much like anticipation, and then there is the worry, too, concern for Taehyung’s health.

 

Because Jimin is right and Namjoon has never stopped caring. Not one second.

 

“Fuck,” he mutters and rubs his eyes, then drops his hand with a sigh, “Alright. I’ll go with you.”

 

If Jimin is surprised, he is good at masking it.

 

“Great,” he breathes, “Okay. I’m sure it’ll help you.”

 

Namjoon throws him a doubtful glance.

 

“Let’s hope it will.”

 

 

 

 

Namjoon hates hospitals. Even though he has never been in one himself and no one he knows had to be hospitalized because of a major issue, he still hates them. The atmosphere is always heavy.

 

In front of Taehyung’s door, two men are waiting. One looks like a bodyguard, the other one is wearing a neat button-down shirt as he talks on a phone. A manager perhaps.

 

Jimin greets the bodyguard and lets them know they’re friends of Taehyung’s; the man must have known they would visit today because he just steps aside with a nod and opens the door for them.

 

Taehyung is alone in the room. There are two beds, but the other one is empty. The TV on the wall is running, but the volume is so low that it’s hardly understandable.

 

Taehyung is sitting in his bed, a book in his hands. Once he hears the door open, he raises his head.

 

He looks good. A little pale, maybe, hooked up to an IV, but still good. But Namjoon isn’t necessarily surprised.

 

“Hey,” Jimin breathes and slowly steps up to the bed while Namjoon closes the door behind him, “Long time no see, huh?”

 

Taehyung stares at him for a few moments, then at Namjoon. He looks genuinely surprised.

 

“You came,” he says to Jimin, “I didn’t think you would.”

 

Jimin scoffs. “Yeah, right. I don’t break my promises. You know me, don’t you?”

 

Taehyung blinks. “Yeah, I suppose I do.”

 

And then, as if a dam broke, tears stream down his face, and the next moment, Jimin is by his side, hugging him close.

 

It’s a heartbreakingly intimate scene. Namjoon stays close to the door to give them their space.

 

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung sobs, “About everything, I swear, I can — I can explain…”

 

“It’s okay,” Jimin whispers against his hair, “Let’s talk some more later.” He pulls away with a smile, then he glances at Namjoon. Taehyung follows his eyes. His and Namjoon’s gazes meet.

 

“I think I’ll give you two some time alone,” Jimin says and steps away from the bed, then he walks towards the door, all the while giving Namjoon a pointed look.

 

The door falls shut behind him, and they’re alone.

 

Taehyung puts his book on the bedside table and wipes his tears away. He is decidedly avoiding Namjoon’s eyes.

 

Namjoon grabs one one the chairs in the corner and slowly carries it over to the bed, then sits down on it.

 

It’s hard. There is a heavy weight that sits on his chest and makes it almost impossible to breathe. Just looking at Taehyung feels like too much, but Namjoon still forces himself to do so.

 

“How are you doing?” he asks, his voice merely more than a rasp. Taehyung shrugs.

 

“A bit better. Passed out a few times so the company decided I should be hospitalized. The doctor said it’s mostly stress.”

 

“Hm. Doesn’t sound too good.”

 

“It’s alright.”

 

“You gotta take care of yourself.”

 

Taehyung throws him a hesitant glance. “Sure.”

 

Namjoon shifts in his chair. He clears his throat, rubs his sweaty palms against his pants.

 

“Look, I…” He sighs. “I wanted to talk to you. About the article and… everything.”

 

Finally, Taehyung dares to fully look at him. He seems a bit reluctant as his eyes flicker across Namjoon’s face.

 

“I swear to you, what was said in the article… it was taken out of context and heavily edited. I know it sounds like a lie, but it’s all I can tell you,” he says tiredly, “Someone leaked online that I was originally supposed to debut with you and the reporter found that information. So, of course they asked me about it, pushed me to reveal the reason why I left the company, all that stuff. I guess my answers weren’t controversial enough.” He scoffs and shakes his head, then looks up at Namjoon again.

 

“I have always looked up to you and the other members, even long after I left. I would never talk badly about you. I had my reasons why I left, but they weren’t what was stated in the article.”

 

“Then tell me your reasons,” Namjoon is quick to say, “You never did.”

 

Taehyung’s face falters. He seems a little bit uncertain, but then he breathes through and relaxes a bit.

 

“Promise me you’ll listen to me and not get mad,” he says. Namjoon nods.

 

“Okay.” There is an uneasy feeling in his stomach, but he tries to stay calm and just focus on Taehyung. There are dark circles underneath his eyes, a stark contrast against his pale skin, and his hair is a little messy. His lips are chapped like he’s dehydrated, or like he’s chewed on them out of nervousness.

 

“There were several reasons,” he starts, “Do you still remember what Kangdae said back then? During the meeting?”

 

Namjoon nods slowly. “You got an offer from another company that promised you to debut sooner.”

 

“I didn’t want to accept the offer,” Taehyung continues, “I really didn’t. But you know how pushy my parents were, and it just got worse the longer our debut was postponed. They hardly had any money themselves, they just wanted to see me succeed.” He leans his head back against the pillow, his eyes flickering across the ceiling.

 

“In the end, they even went as far as saying they’d come to Seoul and get me to take me back to Daegu. Help them out there, get a proper job.” His eyes flutter shut, and for a moment, pain flashes across his face.

 

“Accepting the offer was my only way to ever debut.”

 

Namjoon’s heart beats heavily. He has his arm crossed in front of his clenching stomach.

 

“You could have told us,” he mumbles but doesn’t sound very convincing, even to himself. Taehyung throws him a weak glance.

 

“It wasn’t my only reason,” he says, and there is a weird, piercing yet tired look in his eyes. Namjoon freezes.

 

“What are you implying?” he asks, unsure if he even wants to hear the answer. Even more so when tears glisten in Taehyung’s eyes.

 

“Hyung,” he whispers, “Our relationship would have destroyed the group.”

 

If Namjoon thought he wasn’t prepared for Taehyung acknowledging what happened two years ago before, then he doesn’t know what he is now. His eyes widen as his heart drops, and the ground underneath him might as well open up and swallow him whole.

 

“It would have never worked out. You know it wouldn’t have. It was already stressful to sneak around the other members and arrange our time together around our tight schedule. Can you imagine what it would have been like if we’d debuted together? What if someone had found out and told the press? It would have ruined all of us,” Taehyung continues as the tears spill over and stream down his pale cheeks.

 

Namjoon swallows around the lump in his throat, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees.

 

“You could have just told me,” he whispers and runs a hand over his face, “You should’ve talked to me and we could have figured it out… you didn’t… you didn’t have to leave the group!”

 

“I just told you that I had several reasons,” Taehyung says, sounding a bit irritated, “And no, I couldn’t have talked to you.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“You would have tried to stop me.”

 

Namjoon halts. Wants to disagree but he knows that Taehyung is probably right.

 

“I’m sure we could have figured something out,” he still mumbles and sounds all defeated. Taehyung gives him a sad smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.

 

“Maybe,” he says, “And in hindsight, I would have done things differently. I’m not saying I was right back then — I’m just trying to explain to you why I left. You can still be mad at me, I get it. I really do.”

 

Namjoon’s eyes are wet. He tries to blink the tears away.

 

“You hurt us so much,” he says, “You know I really loved you back then?”

 

It’s out before he can stop himself. His heart drops a little, but apart from that he is surprised to find himself completely calm. Taehyung looks a bit shocked, but the emotion quickly vanishes from his face.

 

“I know,” he whispers.

 

The world is still the same, Namjoon realizes then. The TV is still quietly running in the background and the fluorescent lights are flickering like they did before, and outside, Seoul is loud.

 

Nothing’s changed. Namjoon chuckles dryly.

 

“Really took me two years to say that, huh?” he mutters. Taehyung smiles gently.

 

“Good things come to those who wait… or whatever.”

 

Namjoon rubs his eyes and inhales sharply. His chest feels a little lighter.

 

“I’m sorry I yelled at you after the article came out,” he says, “I was really furious. Couldn’t believe you’d say all that shit after everything we’ve been through.”

 

“It’s okay,” Taehyung replies with a shrug, “I mean, it did hurt, but I think I get it.”

 

“Don’t say it’s okay,” Namjoon says, shaking his head, “It’s not. When I said that we were the only true friends you’ve ever had… I didn’t mean that. It was unfair of me to take out all of my anger on you.”

 

Taehyung winces a little. “Well, you weren’t even wrong. I think that’s the worst part.” And when Namjoon just throws him a confused glance, he adds, “The people I’m working with aren’t the nicest. We fight a lot, there is no real harmony or friendship… it’s why I moved out the moment I had enough money. Couldn’t stand them anymore.” He scoffs. “Guess that’s what I get for being an asshole two years ago.”

 

Namjoon can’t suppress his chuckle at that. He dares to shoot another glance at Taehyung and their eyes meet; for a moment, it’s like the world stands still, and all Namjoon can see is Taehyung’s dark, intense eyes. A warm, gentle wave washes over him, almost like a hug. He quickly averts his gaze.

 

“Uh, well — Jimin’s still waiting outside. I’ll go get him, yeah? So you two can talk.”

 

Taehyung rubs his neck and nods. “Sure.”

 

“Get well soon, yeah? And don’t overwork yourself again, it’s not healthy,” Namjoon says and gets up, but just as he is about to walk to the door, he hears Taehyung’s sheets rustle, and when he turns back around, Taehyung is in front of him and pulls him into a tight hug.

 

He freezes momentarily before he relaxes and wraps his arms around Taehyung’s waist. Such a gentle touch; so foreign. He buries his face against Taehyung’s hair.

 

“I’ll see you again, right?” Taehyung whispers, “Is that okay?”

 

Namjoon nods. “Yeah. We’ll figure something out.”

 

“Okay.” Taehyung pauses and takes a deep breath. “You know, I was in love with you, too. Back then.”

 

Namjoon’s mind hardly has the time to understand what he just said when he pulls away, a deep red flush on his cheeks.

 

“You should leave,” he says, and Namjoon just nods dumbly before turning away and rushing towards the door. Jimin is waiting outside, greeting him with a warm smile.

 

“And?” he asks when Namjoon closes the door behind himself.

 

The lights still flicker. My heart is still beating. Jimin is right here. Outside, the world moves on.

 

Everything is still the same.

 

“’s all good,” Namjoon breathes, “You can go in now.”

 

Jimin nods once and moves past him. Namjoon all but stumbles over to the chairs and sits down there.

 

It’s all still the same. They used to be in love with each other and the world hasn’t changed.

 

For the first time in a while, Namjoon feels like he can breathe again.

 

 

 

 

If the weeks leading up to the comeback were stressful, then the time right after is pure torture. Namjoon and the other members are in and out of interviews, livestreams, practices and meetings. There is hardly time to breathe through; and so, a few weeks go by and Namjoon hardly notices it.

 

At night, during those few moments he is still awake enough to think, Taehyung is on his mind, and Namjoon is okay with it. It does make the yearning worse, but finally, he doesn’t feel like his heart is going to split open just thinking about him anymore.

 

As far as Namjoon is aware, Taehyung left the hospital a few days after his visit. He is still not taking part in any comeback activities and is resting at home, but Namjoon knows that just means he disappears from the scene for a while and works hard in private.

 

They don’t text and they don’t talk on the phone. They could, but they don’t. Namjoon isn’t even sure why; maybe they’re both still careful around each other after their last conversation.

 

Or, maybe, things have changed. Maybe it’s all awkward now and nothing’s the same.

 

Namjoon, as he lies in his bed, opens his eyes wide and wills the sleep away for another while. He sits up, rubbing his face with a soft sigh. His room is dark and it must be close to midnight already.

 

His gaze falls on his phone lying on his bedside table, and without hesitation, he reaches for it.

 

It’s up to him if things are different now or not. He can just reach out to Taehyung and talk to him and pretend like everything is normal.

 

So, he does.

 

Taehyung doesn’t take long to pick up. He sounds a little sleepy already.

 

“Hey,” Namjoon greets him, “Did I wake you up?”

 

“No,” Taehyung mumbles, “Well, yeah, you did, but it’s fine.” He moves around; Namjoon hears the sheets rustle. “What’s up?”

 

“Just wanted to talk to you,” Namjoon says and lies back down, “How are you?”

 

Taehyung hums. “Good. Tired.” He chuckles. “What about you? I listened to the album. You did great, hyung.”

 

“Thank you. You too.”

 

“Well, thank you. A shame I can’t participate in any of the events now.”

 

“It’s good to rest,” Namjoon says and lies on his side. His phone is squished between his ear and his pillow. With the dark surrounding him, he can almost imagine Taehyung lying next to him.

 

“I want to see you again,” he says after a short silence, “Go for a walk and just… talk for some time. Maybe have dinner.”

 

Taehyung takes his time to answer.

 

“I’d like that,” he says eventually, “When are you free?”

 

Namjoon puts his phone on speaker and goes through his calendar app.

 

“Hm… next week, we have a day off,” he says, “Tuesday. Does that work for you?”

 

“Tuesday? I think I should be able to make some time in the afternoon.”

 

“Okay.” Namjoon raises his phone back to his ear and smiles into the dark. “Great. I’ll pick you up.”

 

“Sounds great.” He can hear that Taehyung is smiling, too, and it warms his heart. “See you then.”

 

“Yeah. Take care.”

 

Namjoon waits until he hears the clicking that signalizes the end of the call, and even then, he stays like that for a few more moments. His smile doesn’t disappear.

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, Namjoon picks Taehyung up a few blocks away from the company. He is leaning against a building with his sunglasses on and one knee bent. Namjoon almost scoffs when he sees him.

 

“Are you trying to intimidate me?” he asks when Taehyung slides into the passenger seat.

 

“Hm?” Taehyung takes off his sunglasses. “I was just trying to look cool. Let me live.”

 

Namjoon grins as he starts driving again. “You don’t have to try that hard.” He throws Taehyung a quick glance before focusing back on the road. “You look good.”

 

He is wearing a long, dark coat and black slacks as well as a green turtleneck. The wind messed his hair up a little bit, but it still falls nicely.

 

“Thank you,” Taehyung says with a smile, then he peeks out of the window. “Where are you taking me?”

 

“How much time have you got?” Namjoon asks in return.

 

“Three hours.”

 

“Okay. It’s a surprise, then.”

 

Taehyung groans and starts complaining right away, but Namjoon just grins to himself and turns the radio on.

 

They drive out of the city and to the countryside; quickly, Taehyung becomes mesmerized by the view of the landscape around them. Namjoon has to concentrate hard not to get distracted.

 

After about 45 minutes, they finally arrive; Namjoon pulls onto the parking lot and stops the car. Taehyung looks around curiously.

 

“A strawberry farm.”

 

Namjoon hums. “Thought you might like it.”

 

Taehyung whips his head around, his eyes practically shining. “I love it.”

 

He opens the car door and gets out, already walking up to the farm before Namjoon has even unfastened his seatbelt.

 

“I’ve been wanting to go strawberry picking forever,” Taehyung sighs once he has caught up with him, “I never have the time.”

 

“Well, today’s your lucky day. One and a half hours of strawberry picking,” Namjoon tells him. Taehyung’s face lights up like the one of a little child on Christmas.

 

He insists on getting his own basket, then the owner of the farm leads them to one of the huge greenhouses. There is no one here with them, luckily, so they get at least a bit of privacy.

 

“So, you remembered I like strawberries,” Taehyung says after a while of picking in silence. He doesn’t sound suspicious or mad, though; a little teasing, maybe. Namjoon sighs.

 

“How could I forget? You used to be obsessed.”

 

Taehyung chuckles. He picks one strawberry, cleans it with his sleeve and bites into it.

 

“Still am,” he says with a full mouth.

 

Outside, it’s cold, but here, inside the greenhouse, it’s warm; Taehyung flushes from the heat and Namjoon can’t take his eyes off of him.

 

“You know,” he says, “I wanted to talk to you.”

 

Taehyung halts. He chuckles and rolls his eyes, but it’s obvious that the is just trying to mask his nervousness.

 

“I see,” he says, “You had an ulterior motive all along.”

 

“It’s nothing bad,” Namjoon tells him, but he guesses even that is up for debate. When he stays quiet for another while, Taehyung seems to grow a little impatient.

 

“So, what is it? You found another article of mine you don’t like?” he jokes. Namjoon huffs.

 

“No, it’s nothing like that.” He picks another strawberry only to find out it’s not completely ripe yet. “It’s more about… us.”

 

Taehyung glances at him. “Us?”

 

“Mhm.” Namjoon’s heart beats way too fast for his liking. He hopes his tenseness doesn’t show on his face.

 

“Us,” Taehyung repeats once more as if he likes how the word sounds; Namjoon does, at least.

 

“Just, the last few months,” he clarifies, “You know, everything that happened after we bumped into each other at the award show.”

 

Taehyung hums. “That was a bit awkward, wasn’t it?”

 

“Yeah.” Namjoon still remembers his breakdown in the bathroom right after. “Awkward.”

 

Taehyung must sense his discomfort. He halts and turns to face him, giving him a scrutinizing look.

 

“What’s up?” he asks, “Tell me what you really want to talk about.”

 

Namjoon clenches his jaw. He picks another strawberry, twists it between his fingers.

 

“I wanna know where you stand with me. With this.” He puts the strawberry into his basket. “I don’t want to get involved with you just for you to disappear again.”

 

Taehyung chuckles dryly. “You still think I’d do that?”

 

Namjoon throws him an uncomfortable look. “You never really stopped.”

 

It’s quiet after that. He can tell that Taehyung is thinking about his statement; it’s a bold statement to make.

 

In the end, Taehyung lets out a resigned sighs and puts his basket on the ground. He turns to Namjoon, both of his hands buried deep in his pockets.

 

“I think I should explain some things, shouldn’t I?” he asks, and he sounds so hurt. Namjoon focuses on the strawberries in front of him; he is too scared that his face is going to portray something he doesn’t want Taehyung to see.

 

“Only if you want to,” he mumbles.

 

“No, I really should,” Taehyung insists, “I don’t want you to be insecure about this.”

 

This. Technically, they aren’t even anything, really. Friends, maybe. Friends who used to be in love.

 

“I care about you. A lot,” Taehyung says, “I never stopped caring about you.”

 

Suddenly, it feels even hotter inside the greenhouse. Namjoon shifts uncomfortably.

 

“That’s the truth. And I don’t want you to think that I’m just using you for my own pleasure. I’m sorry that I kept pushing you away, it’s just that—” He halts, makes a frustrated noise at the back of his throat.

 

“When I ran into you at the award show, I realized how badly I’d missed you and… and the others, too. Truth is, I don’t have any real friendships anymore. I told you that you were right when you said that I chose my career over my only true friends, and now I have to live with that knowledge. And seeing you again… I just thought, maybe I can fix this. Of course that was naive of me, and I didn’t really expect you to forgive me after two years, but I genuinely wanted to try. But every time I approached you, you were so closed off and you just… pushed me away. And I was so scared that I’d never be able to get close to you again… but then you seemed to like that other side of me, the one that everyone likes, the pushing and pulling, the teasing. And even though that wasn’t me, I went with it. Because it worked.”

 

Namjoon halts. In his mind, he goes over every single interaction they’ve had since the award show.

 

“I already said that I don’t blame you, and it’s true,” Taehyung continues, “I was just scared. And I know that’s not really an excuse, but it’s an explanation.” He breathes through deeply. “Every time after we had sex, I just felt awful about myself. And sometimes I was even mad at you — I didn’t want you to like that fake version of myself that everyone loves. I wanted you to like me. But I quickly realized that it was my fault we were in that situation to begin with.”

 

“It’s a lot easier to fuck someone who hasn’t hurt you before,” Namjoon interrupts him, “You don’t really resemble the person you used to be. That just makes it easy for me — but it doesn’t mean I like you better this way.”

 

“But that isn’t me,” Taehyung says, “It’s just what everyone wants me to be.”

 

Namjoon gets it. The worst thing the industry can do to a person is make them forget who they really are.

 

“You can’t expect me to just forget about everything that happened,” Namjoon explains, “I’m not lying when I say that you hurt me a lot. It’s not easy to get over that.”

 

“I understand,” Taehyung says and nods once, “I don’t expect you to.”

 

Namjoon throws him a glance before he lets out a drawn sigh.

 

“I don’t want you to feel like you have to be another person in order to get close to me,” Namjoon says, “I like you for you, not for the person the media wants you to be.”

 

Taehyung nods once more. “I just felt like I couldn’t get close to you otherwise.”

 

“You could have been a little more patient. Two years is a long time, after all,” Namjoon says, “But I guess I’m sorry that I made you feel like I hated you.” He pauses. “And when I said that I do, I… I didn’t mean that. I don’t hate you. I really don’t.”

 

It seems to help at least a little bit to relax Taehyung.

 

“Okay,” he says, “Thank you.”

 

Namjoon smiles gently. A comfortable silence ensues during which they both continue to pick strawberries. Eventually, Taehyung lets out a soft chuckle.

 

“We really did go about this in the worst way possible, huh?”

 

Namjoon grins. “I guess. But it seems to have worked out in the end, hasn’t it?”

 

Taehyung glances at him; their eyes meet.

 

“Yes,” he says, “It seems so.”

 

They leave the farm a little later than planned. Outside of the greenhouse, there’s a group of young children who visit the farm on a school trip. Taehyung immediately seems to be taken with them; Namjoon watches as he animatedly talks to them and plays with them from afar.

 

It’s then that he realizes that maybe, Taehyung has changed. Maybe he hasn’t; it doesn’t really matter. Namjoon himself has probably changed a lot, too.

 

In the end, he really likes the person Taehyung has become, and that’s all that’s important. Everything else is irrelevant, really.

 

 

 

 

At night, Namjoon finds out that there is a spot on the back of Taehyung’s neck that makes him squirm whenever he kisses it. He comes to realize that he loves the way Taehyung’s breath hitches when he trails his fingers down his rips and nibbles at the inside of his thighs.

 

It’s a beautiful kind of sensitivity, and Namjoon is eager to learn all about it.

 

His embrace is still warm, and his kisses taste wonderfully.

 

Namjoon figures he could really get used to this. 

 

 

 

 

Time is a luxury that people like Namjoon can’t afford to have. Everything is always too hectic; once the excitement about their comeback dwindles, they’re back in the studio, writing and recording once more. It’s a routine that he loves and that he is passionate about, but it comes at a cost.

 

It’s been about a month since he’s last seen Taehyung and even though he doesn’t like to admit it, he misses him a lot.

 

At least now they have made it a habit to talk on the phone and text every now and then, but it’s not the same.

 

During their first night off in a while, he feels restless. Seokjin and Yoongi prepared a nice dinner and Jimin chose a movie for them all to watch. Namjoon is excited to spend some time with his friends outside of busy schedules, but he can’t deny that there are other things on his mind right now.

 

Jimin, being the person he is, quickly catches on to it.

 

“Hyung,” he says amusedly when Namjoon checks his phone for the nth time that day, “You waiting for something?”

 

Namjoon quickly puts his phone away. “Uh, no.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Just… I was hoping I could call Taehyung later today. Talk to him, you know?”

 

Jimin’s eyes sparkle dangerously at the mention of Taehyung. “Everything okay between you two?”

 

Namjoon nods. “Yeah. We just don’t have a lot of time to see each other. It’s been about a month already and—” He stops and rolls his eyes when he sees the grin that is slowly growing on Jimin’s lips.

 

“Okay, you know what? Forget about it.”

 

“No! Hyung, wait — I got an idea.”

 

Namjoon frowns at him. “Not sure I wanna hear it, to be honest.”

 

This time, it’s Jimin who rolls his eyes. “Don’t be so dramatic. I actually wanted to suggest you invite Taehyung over for tonight.”

 

He says it so causally that for a moment, Namjoon’s brain doesn’t even realize what he just said.

 

“What?” he asks, “Jimin-ah — just because you’re friends with him again doesn’t mean Yoongi and Seokjin hyung are.”

 

Jimin just shrugs. “I’m pretty sure they would be happy to see him again after everything that happened over these past few weeks. Besides—” He grows a bit more serious. “I think it’s time we move past what happened two years ago. It would benefit all of us, don’t you think?”

 

Namjoon holds his gaze for a few moments, then he nods slowly.

 

“I guess so,” he says, “You sure about this, though?”

 

Jimin grins. “Oh, don’t pretend like you’re not dying to see him again. Now go, call him before it’s too late!”

 

Namjoon has never dialed someone’s number this fast.

 

Taehyung picks up after only a few seconds.

 

“Hyung!” He breathes, “I was waiting for you to call me again—”

 

“Taehyung,” Namjoon interrupts him. He gets up and walks into the hallway, away from Jimin. “I have a question.”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung says, “I’m listening…”

 

“It’s nothing bad,” Namjoon assures him, “Just, uh…” He breathes through, closes his eyes for a moment. He can do this. This is not too bad.

 

“We’re having a nice evening together, the members and I… and I think they’d like to see you again. Well, really, this was Jimin’s idea, but — I thought that maybe, you’d like to join us?”

 

It’s out before he knows it, and then, he can just hold his breath and hope for the best. Taehyung makes a surprised noise.

 

“Now?” he asks.

 

“Well, yeah. If you want to.”

 

“Uh — what time is it?”

 

Namjoon lowers his phone to check. “Around seven.”

 

“Oh, okay.” A few seconds pass in silence. Then — “Okay. Yeah, alright. I’ll be there. Text… uh, text me your address, yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” Namjoon replies a little breathlessly, “I will.”

 

Then, Taehyung hangs up, and Namjoon stands there, feeling a bit stunned, before he catches himself and quickly sends Taehyung their address and apartment number.

 

When he walks back into the living room, Jimin throws him a pointed look.

 

“And?”

 

“He’ll be here.” Namjoon sits down next to him. “Do you really think this is a good idea?”

 

Jimin shrugs. “I think so, yeah.” He nudges Namjoon’s shoulder and smiles. “Hey. Everything will be alright. Yeah?”

 

Namjoon glances at him.

 

“Okay,” he breathes, “Everything will be alright.”

 

 

 

 

In the end, Jimin was right. When the doorbell rings, Yoongi and Seokjin are clearly confused, and when Namjoon goes to open and returns to the living room with Taehyung in tow, a heavy silence fills the room; but only until Seokjin rushes up to him and pulls him into a tight hug.

 

And afterwards, everything goes easily.

 

Namjoon keeps to the background and Yoongi and Seokjin grow emotional in their own ways. Taehyung looks a bit overwhelmed at first, but happy all the same. When he looks at Namjoon and their gazes meet, his eyes sparkle.

 

It’s a nice evening, a warm reunion. They all know that there is still a lot to clarify and talk about, but for now, it’s just good to be together again. Taehyung quickly relaxes and grows comfortable around the others. Namjoon sits right next to him, and every time their hands and legs brush, he feels electrified.

 

There is something so comforting about being together like this, so casual; it’s kind of everything Namjoon used to hope for two years ago. As he looks at Taehyung and sees him talk animatedly with shining eyes, he figures that this is not too bad.

 

And by the end of the night, after a few drinks and a lot of delicious food, when the others have long gone to bed and it’s just the two of them, Namjoon dares to brush the hair out of Taehyung’s face and cup his cheek.

 

“You want to stay the night?” he asks, “I could also call you a taxi, but… it’s already late, y’know.”

 

Taehyung smiles softly. He nods almost unnoticeably, his eyes trained on Namjoon’s lips as they both lean in.

 

“I’d love to stay the night,” he whispers, and then Namjoon kisses him in the softest way he can muster. Such a gentle, simple yet loving touch. Almost too good to be true.

 

“But don’t leave,” Namjoon says as they break apart, “Don’t push me away. Okay?”

 

Taehyung gazes up at him with wide eyes and nods.

 

“Okay,” he says at last and sounds like he means it, “I promise.”

 

 

 

 

When Namjoon opens his eyes, it’s still dark in his room. He blinks, feeling a bit disoriented at first. His left arm is hurting and there is a heavy weight splayed half across his chest. Soft fingers tap against his skin and trace up and down his collar bones.

 

“Hey,” Taehyung whispers. Namjoon hums. He circles his arm around Taehyung’s waist and pulls him closer.

 

“Morning.”

 

He is still here. Taehyung didn’t leave over night. Despite the sleep clouding his brain, he feels the joy overcome him and a smile curls up his lips.

 

Taehyung crawls on top of him and kisses his cheek.

 

“Did you sleep well?”

 

Namjoon lets his fingers run up his back. He is so, so warm. Alive, breathing, right underneath his fingertips.

 

“Yes,” he replies, “Very well.”

 

Taehyung chuckles against his cheek. It’s kind of overwhelming how slow and domestic the situation is. Namjoon thinks he could really get used to this.

 

“What about you?” he asks as he caresses Taehyung’s side and nuzzles his hair. He smells like shampoo and Namjoon’s perfume.

 

Taehyung sits up, a smile on his lips.

 

“Great,” he whispers and brushes Namjoon’s hair out of his face, then he leans down and kisses him.

 

Afterwards, they lie next to each other, one of Taehyung’s legs thrown across Namjoon’s waist, their eyes locked as Namjoon rubs his thumb across Taehyung’s skin.

 

“Do you have to get up soon?” Taehyung asks after a while. He cups Namjoon’s cheek, then soothes his fingers down his jaw. The featherlight touch sends a shiver down Namjoon’s spine.

 

“No,” he whispers, “I don’t.”

 

He probably does. Or, should; there is always a lot of work to do, and he already had last night off. But how could he leave when Taehyung is right here with him, looking at him with sparkling eyes and the gentlest smile on his face?

 

“You sure?” Taehyung asks with a slight grin, “Does your company know about your plans, too?”

 

Namjoon props himself up on his elbow and leans over Taehyung, pecking his lips.

 

“Don’t worry about them,” he mumbles, their faces just mere inches apart, “Yeah? Don’t worry about anything today. We’re here, and that’s all that counts. The day is ours. Okay?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes light up in the most beautiful way. He reaches up and cups both of Namjoon’s cheeks.

 

“I love you,” he says, his voice cracking. Namjoon smiles, pressing a kiss against his wrist. His chest feels so, so warm. Taehyung is warm.

 

“I love you, too,” he says, “So much.”

 

Taehyung chuckles, wraps his arms around his neck and pulls him close. And Namjoon allows himself to fall, and it’s not scary anymore; he doesn’t have to be scared because Taehyung is still here, and he is warm and alive and they’re okay. Everything is going to be okay.

 

The night is over, and they’re still together.