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dreamscapes (need to escape)

Chapter Text

The first time it happens, Namjoon assumes it’s just a normal, albeit weird, dream. He recalls the last few pieces in vivid detail, him laying on a bed in a somewhat small apartment. There’s another boy on another bed in the room with dark hair and dark eyes. They’re crinkled up with the way the boy is laughing, revealing a cute bunny-toothed smile. Namjoon feels such huge amounts of affection towards this boy, who he’ll realize he doesn’t know when he wakes up later, but in that moment it doesn’t matter and he finds himself returning the smile.

“You haven’t been at it long, huh, hyung?” The boy teases, but his words hold no malice, “It is pretty confusing at first, but you get used to it. Especially when you meet everyone else.”

Despite Namjoon’s contentedness in this place with this boy- Jungkook, his mind helpfully supplies- this statement strikes a chord somewhere deep inside of his being, and everything feels a little bit too real because Namjoon knows he’s dreaming, and can’t you control dreams when you’re dreaming? Panic begins bubbling up his throat. He tries to change the boy- his name is Jungkook. He can’t. His eyes widen and a look of recognition crosses the boy’s face, and suddenly the boy is up from his bed, reaching out to Namjoon.

“Wait, hyung, calm down, don’t-”

He wakes up in a cold sweat. Everything is still there, he remembers it so clearly. Namjoon grabs his phone and checks the time. One minute before his alarm is supposed to go off. He grimaces.

* * * * *

Namjoon is seriously questioning his life choices, and not in the way that would help him on his essay in philosophy that’s due, shit, tomorrow? He winces internally because not only does he have that to deal with, but he’d gotten held back in an uncomfortable conversation with some chick in his last class that he’s got no interest in, and now he’s sprinting halfway across campus to meet Jackson for lunch. By the time he reaches the new cafe, he’s gasping for breath, his painfully styled hair and outfit disheveled.

“Wow, you look great,” Namjoon’s head whips up in the direction of the sarcastic comment, and he glares at a very amused Jackson.

“Shut up,” Namjoon huffs as they walk in, “it’s not my fault that you had to choose a place all the way across campus on the day that I have class with that one girl who won’t leave me alone.”

Jackson rolls his eyes at that.

“Oh, yes, I know. It’s so hard to deal with having so many girls head over heels for you,” Jackson snickers at the look Namjoon shoots him, “Go sit down, I’ll order our stuff.”

It’s really a testament to their friendship that Namjoon complies without much protest. He even ends up forgetting about the weird-ass morning he’s had when Jackson gets to the table, the natural flow of conversation sweeping him away from his thoughts. When their names are called, Namjoon automatically stands to retrieve their order, a product of the routine he and Jackson have created over the past few years. He’s still smiling slightly from what they’d been talking about when he reaches the counter, happy in the friendly atmosphere of the cafe with the warm ambiance of quiet conversations layered underneath the slightly busier chatter of the cafe staff. Another person’s name is called as he’s gathering up the tray with the coffee and snacks Jackson ordered for them- hey, haven’t you heard that name recently?- so he tries to get out of the way quickly, almost falling in the process. He’s so focused on trying to not ruin the order he’d come up to get that he hardly notices the strong grip around his waist that saves him from ending up face-first on the ground.

“Holy shit, oh my god” Namjoon breathes to himself, slightly in relief and also slightly in mortification, “Uh, thanks for catching me and all, that was really close.”

“Yeah, no problem. You okay though, hyung?” And when Namjoon turns to look at the person who’s saved him from falling flat on his ass, he’s met with dark hair and dark eyes and a bunny-toothed smile. Namjoon knows they haven’t met. They’re strangers to each other. So he does his best to quell the panic that is suddenly filling him and mutters something along the lines of ’yeah totally fine haha’ before booking it back to the booth and not looking back. It was just a dream, he reminds himself. People you don’t know show up in dreams all the time, you’ve just probably seen him around campus before.

It isn’t until later when he’s staring at his half-finished essay with dead eyes that he realizes that the boy- no- that Jungkook, who is not supposed to know anything about him, called him hyung.

Chapter Text

Namjoon doesn't realize it's happened a second time before it's too late.

Upon waking, he remembers the normal blurred fragments of emotion and imagery that typically make up his dreams, but they are also accompanied by distinct memories of a man with a heart-shaped smile who his brain identifies as Hoseok. The difference this time is that, for one, the dream seemed not to be as innocent as his previous one- half lidded gazes, subtle touches, wait, is he shirtless?- and two, he actually knows the subject of this dream, though vaguely. The man is the leader of the university's dance team who is famous campus-wide and who goes by J-Hope. Namjoon flushes as he remembers the tension in the dream, inwardly groaning because he thought he'd been done with this months ago, then pushes those thoughts away so he doesn't have to deal with them.

*****

It turns out Namjoon isn't good at repressing himself, a surprise to no one but him. Still, Junmyeon is getting frustrated.

“And… wait are you even listening?” Namjoon doesn't even register the shift in conversation. Junmyeon huffs. This is at least the third time he's had to catch the younger's attention. “Namjoon!”

Namjoon startles at that before realizing himself. “Sorry, hyung. Got distracted.” He mumbles sheepishly.

“Obviously.” Junmyeon narrows his eyes. “Is this about that guy you had a crush on? The dancer?”

“Oh my god, no!” Namjoon replies, a little too quickly and loudly, judging by the glares he's now getting. He can feel his face heating up with a telling blush. “Besides, that was like forever ago, hyung. Forever.

“It wasn't even a month ago, Namjoon.” Junmyeon replies skeptically. Namjoon just replies with a collection of exasperated garbled noises, feeling attacked.

“Look, if you don't want me to ask about your personal life, don't make it so obvious when you're having an existential crisis.” Junmyeon shrugs unsympathetically. Namjoon frowns(pouts,really, but he would never admit it) and wonders why he made friends with such heartless people.

*****

Namjoon had made Junmyeon promise not to tell Jackson about what had happened during their study session, but Jackson always had a talent for finding things out when Namjoon was trying to hide them. Namjoon loves Jackson, they'd been best friends since they were in high school, but Jackson definitely has much different coping mechanisms than Namjoon, presently consisting largely of partying and avoiding his responsibilities. Namjoon can protest as much as he wants when Jackson decides to bring him along, but he can’t really do much about the whole thing where Jackson can literally drag him bodily to the party. Of course, this is why Namjoon is now awkwardly standing against the wall in some frat house on the opposite side of campus alone with a cup of something noxious shoved into his hand. He doesn’t know where Jackson is at this point, though if he’s honest, he’s not sure he wants to know. His friend’s a little notorious for getting himself into some pretty weird situations when he’s drunk, after all. To his credit, Jackson had tried to get him to come mingle with some of his other friends, but Namjoon is perfectly content with his stretch of wall. He's pretty much out of the way and unnoticeable here, which is always something he can appreciate considering his lacking social skills. The dim lighting allows him to observe the crowd at an inconspicuous enough distance for the party goers to not pay him any attention.

This means it comes as a surprise when the person he's truly watching meets his eyes and then holds the gaze. Namjoon gulps, his throat suddenly dry, as the man rolls his hips(just as fluid in person as on the videos Namjoon does not watch) with a smirk painting his usual sunny disposition, and he is not okay with this.

Namjoon breaks the eye contact and escapes to the kitchen in attempt to shake the tension of what just happened. He pours himself a glass of water and tries to reason with his pounding heart, because there's no way that J-Hope was actually really looking at him like that.

His thoughts are totally shut down, however, when he feels someone slide up to him and he turns to meet an unusually lustful expression on a face he was used to seeing shine like the sun.

“Hey handsome,” the shorter male grins cheekily, causing Namjoon to splutter in disbelief.

“W-what?” Namjoon offers, his face burning. Smooth, Namjoon. Smooth.

Surprisingly, J-Hope just laughs lightheartedly.

“Damn, you really are cute, Joonie.” J-Hope grins teasingly, cocking an eyebrow curiously as he adds, “but I thought you weren't a party kinda person?”

Namjoon’s brows crease in confusion.

“You know my name?” He asks quietly and J-Hope’s expression drops immediately.

“Yeah, you don't remember? We talked last night,” J-Hope replies, his voice more cautious and soothing, “But if you’re wanting an actual face to face introduction, I'm Hoseok.” He’s looking at Namjoon like he’s a scared animal that might run at any moment. Namjoon flinches when he feels Hoseok’s hand on his arm, and as nice as it is to have the dancer’s attention, he’s feeling very sick all of a sudden. He’s really dizzy and he vaguely registers how one of his shaking hands grip Hoseok’s arm to help steady him further.

“Um, y-yeah, uh, I think I need to, I gotta go, uh, go to the bathroom, I'll just-”

His hands are still shaking by the time he gets back to his dorm. And if he spends the night internally yelling at himself for running, for not capitalizing on the obvious attraction Hoseok displayed towards him and thinking about how different actually speaking to Hoseok was from watching videos of him- how his eyes shone when he grinned, how smooth and sweet his voice was, how gorgeous his muscles looked in the low lighting of the party, how fucking sinful that heated gaze was, shit- well. If Namjoon spends his night in a confused whirlwind of feelings and hormones and Hoseok, then nobody has to know.

Chapter Text

Namjoon thanks god for how quickly the past week went by. After his encounter with Hoseok(which he mentally refers to as The Incident), he’d done his best to ignore the panic building up inside him, pretend the guilt and frustration he was feeling wasn’t there. He wouldn’t admit it, but it was kind of getting to him. He wasn’t even sure why he felt so bad.

(He also ignores the voice deep inside him saying, “stop running away, let them explain. Maybe then you’ll understand.” He definitely ignores the temptation to cave in and go see the hot new TA everyone’s been talking about, does not want to think about how he’d left him last year with a broken heart and half-assed excuse. He doesn’t think about those beautiful eyes, the way those pretty lips used to press against his own, the way they held each other.)

Namjoon ignores his emotions in favor of flopping face-first into his bed as soon as he arrives at his dorm, sheets muffling how his roommate is laughing at his exhaustion. He groans into them, knowing he would need to move eventually, at least take his backpack and shoes off, but he can’t do it just yet. A few seconds of rest, then he’ll get up. Just a few seconds.

*****

Darkness melds into soft, soft light, warm hues of pink and the smell of strawberries filling up Namjoon’s senses. Teasing laughter fills the air, just as squeaky as he remembers. And then him.

Head thrown back, eyes pushed into crescents from his laughter. His hair is a chestnut-brown, blonde highlights dispersed through his short hair. So beautiful. So goddamn gorgeous that it hurts. 

Because Namjoon can’t help but remember how similar their last meeting was, peaceful and happy, no trace of whatever it was that caused Seokjin to leave so suddenly with no explanation, to leave Namjoon to break his own heart by finding out that Seokjin wasn’t just busy but was gone from Jaehwan. Because seeing that beautiful smile again fills him with a sense of betrayal. Because he still doesn’t know, he still doesn’t understand why-

“Why’d you leave me?” He doesn’t even realize he’s said it out loud until Seokjin’s laughter cuts off abruptly, eyes wide as he whips around to stare at Namjoon, wide with sadness and guilt. Namjoon distantly registers Seokjin beginning to tear up before his own eyes water too much to see too clearly.

“What did I do? What happened? You-” Namjoon hiccups as the words spill from his mouth, “you left me, alone, and I didn’t know why, didn’t know where you went, d-didn’t know what I did to make you so upset, but I- I-” And his voice breaks as he begins to sob in full, hands weakly reaching to Seokjin because he’s missed this, missed him so damn much he can hardly stand himself.

Suddenly the scene changes and they’re lying back on what must be a bed, plush with soft pink silken sheets, though Namjoon can’t really discern where the bed ends or anything beyond it. He’s lying on his front on Seokjin’s chest, encompassed by the older man’s arms, held tightly against that familiar body and Seokjin is kissing his forehead and what areas of his face he can reach from the position they’re in and murmuring apology after apology into Namjoon’s skin.

“Oh my god, Namjoon, I’m so sorry, it wasn’t your fault Namjoon, I’m sorry, I should’ve been better, Namjoon, I’m so sorry,-” And Seokjin squeezes him tighter, like he’s terrified at the thought of not having Namjoon there with him, and Namjoon can’t help the broken sound that claws out of his throat.

“But why? Why, hyung? What happened?” His voice wavers as he tries not to choke on his tears.

Seokjin frowns, considers him, brows furrowed.

“Can I tell you in person?C-can-” He hesitates, startling Namjoon because Seokjin was always so composed and self-confident, “can I take you to dinner and explain myself? I can’t take what happened back, and if you don’t want me anymore, I understand. But I want to try again. Because I know I ruined everything, and I’ve missed you so much, and-” 

Namjoon stares in wonder as Seokjin chokes on a sob, tears rolling down his cheeks, still beautiful despite the red puffiness from crying. Gently, he leans up and -finally, finally- he presses his lips against Seokjin’s, sighing at how familiar they are and how well they fit against his even now. Seokjin stiffens, and Namjoon pulls away, barely but just enough to see the confusion on Seokjin’s face.

“Come over,” Namjoon’s voice is a whisper, hardly discernible, and when he next closes his eyes, he is carried back into swirling darkness.

*****

Namjoon is jostled awake by the feeling of someone taking his shoes off, the familiar voice muttering complaints that seemed to be directed at him for being lazy and not actually getting in the “appropriate kind of clothing” for sleeping. His brows furrow in confusion because this is definitely not something Hyunwoo would do.

“Okay, sit up, Joon-ah. I need to take your backpack off,” And Namjoon freezes, suddenly wide awake, because it is definitely Kim Seokjin who is currently in his room, trying to wrestle the straps of his backpack over his stiff arms. Suddenly, the hands give up and Seokjin huffs in the way that reminds Namjoon of a frustrated mother (he can practically feel how Seokjin must be crossing his arms over his chest right now), “C’mon Namjoon, get up. I know you’re awake.”

Namjoon is up before he even registers what he’s doing, flinging his backpack into the corner of his room before flopping back down on his bed, curling up with his back to Seokjin, pulling the thick comforter up to his eyes. There’s a quiet tension in the silence between him and Seokjin, and he feels a strange mix of anxiety, guilt, and resigned sadness clawing its way up his throat. He’s so immersed in this feeling that Seokjin’s sigh causes him to jump. But what really surprises him is when the covers are lifted and a body slides into bed next to him, curling up against him in such a familiar way that it’s bittersweet. He feels the swell of Seokjin’s chest as he inhales deeply, arms wrapping around him tentatively.

“Hyung?” Namjoon starts, but trails off, not sure of where to take the sentence, too many choices of what to say and not enough of them all at once.

“I’ve missed this,” Seokjin says, and they fall into silence for another moment.

“I’m sorry,” Seokjin murmurs finally, and Namjoon tenses, eyes burning suddenly as he holds back tears, “I can’t believe I never explained what happened, and I regret it so much, Namjoon. Everything was, just, it was just so much. I don’t know how I managed to overlook you though, I thought about you the whole time.” He feels Seokjin squeeze him, curling in a bit more to rest his forehead between Namjoon’s shoulder blades.

“What happened?” Namjoon whispers, straining to keep his voice steady.

“Mom got worse,” Seokjin states simply, and Namjoon feels weighed down suddenly as he remembers Seokjin’s mother, a wonderfully sweet but sick older woman who his older brother, with the help of his wife, took care of. “Jaeun was due for the next month, so she and Seokjung were keeping an eye on mom and were making plans with me to come help if things hadn’t gotten better by then. But then Jaeun went into labor, and it was so unexpected, and they were so unprepared, and I had to go help them. I don’t know how I didn’t explain that to you because I know you would’ve understood, but when I realized I hadn’t I was so scared you’d hate me that I couldn’t work up the courage to talk to you.” 

Namjoon gulps, trying to keep quiet because he is definitely crying now, but judging by the moisture on his back where Seokjin is nuzzling into him, he is too. He's not sure what to say, but the silence between them is so pressing that he mutters a tired, understanding “shit.”

Seokjin chuckles a little in response. The sound of his laughter, although not his laughter in its full squeeky glory, fills Namjoon with an irrepressible urge to see Seokjin, so he shifts, turning around.

Seokjin’s face is red from crying and his expression is one of such fragile hope that Namjoon feels himself falling in love again. But he doesn't know what to say. He sits there, watching Seokjin biting his lip nervously, and doesn't say anything because what the fuck I'm so awkward and it's been so long and I don't remember how to interact with Seokjin how the fuck does anyone talk to someone as beautiful as him-

“I'm not sure what you're thinking about, but you're over thinking it,” he's startled from his thoughts by Seokjin, who's looking at him with so much fondness it hurts his heart.

“Shit,” Namjoon breathes, and this time it's in a mixture of resignation and awe.

***** 

Jackson is so shocked when Namjoon tells him that he almost inhales some of his sandwich and spends the next minute coughing while Namjoon watches, face red in embarrassment.

“You're dating Seokjin again?!” Jackson manages to choke out eventually, his tone just incredulous enough for Namjoon to get even redder.

“I guess?” Namjoon’s voice is a few octaves higher than what it would normally be here, being as quick to fluster as always.

“Dude, what happened? He practically fuckin ghosted you, and you're just letting him back into your li-”

“It was his mom.” Namjoon cuts in shortly. He takes a deep breath in the pause as Jackson processes exactly what Namjoon is talking about. “She got worse.” Namjoon elects to ignore Jackson's soft “oh” as he remembers and gets up to throw away the majority of the food that he just doesn't have the appetite to eat.

At least he can explain this to Jackson. He's still unsettled by his situation, still unsure whether any of what he's going through is real. But at least it's Seokjin. He only hopes that maybe now it'll stop.

 

 

(Hint: life really enjoys fucking up Namjoon's hopes and dreams, pun completely intended.)